twelve inches, warped vine, basilisk fang
a few lyrics !
i wasn't born to walk on the water
i wasn't born to sack and slaughter
but on my soul, i wasn't born to scoop,
to scorn, to knuckle under.
a man can learn to steal some thunder,
a man can learn to work some wonder.
lyrics from "a falcon in the dive" from the the scarlet pimpernel, blaine's favorite musical
the app !
You have been walking the lonely halls of the Montague Manor for some time now. It's been quite a long evening, and in all honesty, you're a bit worn out. Your search hasn't been fruitful and you just don't give a damn about your goal any more. You just want to get the hell out of this twisted, ugly house. The decor is elegant to a fault - it looks like it's straight from a 17th century tapestry mixed with a Cary Grant film. The combination doesn't quite "click," and you feel uneasy as the portraits on the wall tsk tsk
your failed search. On a frustrated whim, you shove the closest door open...and there it is. The Pensieve. Well, there actually appear to be a few...How strange. The room itself is cold and desolate with the appearance of a dungeon - rocks for the walls instead of plaster. Each member of the family has their own Pensieve, but no one has bothered to protect or hide their thoughts from the others in the family. You note the curious emphasis on honesty and carefully shut the door behind you. Since your ultimate goal is to understand Blaine, the Gryffindor twin, you approach his Pensieve. Careful, now, don't hit your head...
At first, you think you're seeing a reflection. The boy has dark hair and bright eyes...you know already that he'll be good looking when he grows up. He is grinning at his reflection, tilting his head slowly to the side, and winking. A shout from your left. You and the boy turn, synchronized. It's a smaller girl, stumbling through the field. The field floats to the forefront of your mind...in the distance, through the fog of memory and Ireland, you recognize the outlines of the Montague Manor. The girl trips over a log, and the boy asks if she is okay. You look back to the boy...and realize that only half of the reflection is speaking. With a shock, you realize that there are two boys...it's the twins. They were mimicking each other perfectly, amused by their own appearance. One boy scurries forward to help the smaller girl. The boy that hangs behind crosses his arms and calls out, "She's totally fine. Just give her time, she'll be okay." The twin that helps glares over his shoulder at his brother and replies, "Blaine, stop being such a shit and come over here." Begrudgingly, you watch Blaine stomp forward to help the sister that he doesn't think needs help. The twins are eight years old.
It's Graham Montague's office. He is sitting behind his desk, and the details of the room hazily float in...a large, cumbersome plant sits behind the desk. A smiling, chattering photo of all five of the attractive Montague clan. Windows that display the city, Dublin, and the beach beyond. Graham looks up, and you almost think that he can see you...but his grey eyes look beyond you. They crinkle in a smile as he says, "So which one of you can offer me the best solution?" You turn to see who Graham speaks to. The twins are there, although now they are sixteen. One sits, cross-legged, on the arm of a sofa. He wears a loose grey sweater pulled over a button down. The other twin, in a polo shirt and a blazer, is perched on the edge of a cushy armchair. The blazer twin says, "Simple, offer the market to all possible takers." You glance at Graham - his expression doesn't change, but he tilts his pen towards the other twin to offer him a chance. The sweater twin crosses his arms and says with a broad smile, "Bullshit. Restrict the market offers and extend it to the three top competitors, encouraging your partners to believe they are special. If you're worried about gross income, lighten up on stock restrictions." Graham claps his hands together. "Bravo, Blaine. I love it. Son, take some tips from your brother." Blaine, the sweater boy, basks in the praise - you notice that the other twin's lips snarl before you are sucked into a different memory.
The twins are in a row to be sorted, nervously nudging each other and doing the silly things that young boys do. The memory fills itself in, warmly recreating the Great Hall of Hogwarts. The hall is quiet during the hat's personal commentary, only charging the tension with enthusiasm as each student's assignment is called. A few boys ahead of the twins, Tristan Macmillan is sorted into Hufflepuff. One of the twins whispers, "Oi, what if we get different houses?" The second twin makes a face at the first and responds, "Pfft, no way, Blaine." The first one, who you now know to be Blaine, frowns, "But really. What will we do?" The second thinks and then changes his mind and smiles, "Doesn't matter. You're my best friend. We'll always be brothers." Blaine smiles back, "Alright. I'm going first, just tell the hat to put you with me." The twins stop talking, and soon, Blaine is sorted into Gryffindor. There was a deliberation, but the pause didn't take too long. It seemed clear that Blaine was destined for the house of scarlet and red. You, and everyone else in Blaine's memory, watch as the second Montague takes the stage. There is a long, long, long wait...and then, the hat calls Slytherin. The memory snaps here as if a mental earthquake has ruptured everything. The images, instead of melting calmly away, crash upon themselves and you are thrown violently into the next memory.
This memory is mostly dark. It appears that the twins are standing on a hilltop with an old man...the man is wearing a simple, tweed suit with a shockingly chartreuse button down beneath. The twins' suits are identical. It is their tenth birthday. The twins stand on either side of the old man. The old man carefully places the palm of his hands on top of the twins' heads. It is a gentle, kind gesture. In a strong Irish accent, the old man begins, "I been yer grandfather fer your whole lives. It ain't gonna change now that you boys are ten years old. In fact, you bein' ten don't really mean a thing. But you'll be getting better presents from now on, lads. Presents for men. My father and even your father woulda wanted me to give you some delicate speech about manners now that yer growing up, but I'll only say this: a man opens the door for ladies, he is true to his word, and brings money home to pay for the food. Be smart, be swift. And don't make me regret havin' sex with yer grandmother."
You recognize Graham, the elder Montague. He is the first of the image, and with the sudden bellow of a train horn, it all floods in. The smoke from the train stack. The pool of Weasleys scrambling trough 9 and 3/4. Cheerful kisses and goodbyes. A screech of a happy owl. You refocus on Graham. He is chatting with the train conductor, hands on hips, congenially laughing. Something moves out of the corner of your eye, and you glance to the side. A train window grumbles with annoyance as a petulant second year pushes it open. It's one of the twins, but you realize it must be Blaine because of his Gryffindor robes. "Dad! Dad!" Graham looks up and smiles. He farewells the train conductor and approaches the window. Graham is a tall man, and he is eye level with his son. Their words are drowned out by the train roar, and you hurry forward to hear the last of their conversation..."Said she was sorry she couldn't make it again. Have a good year, Blaine. Love you." The train wheels began to screech, and the car moves slowly, gaining momentum. Graham jogs briefly with the train just long enough to shake hands with Blaine through the window as the train pulls away.
Total darkness. Then, a single spotlight turns on. Then another and another. The lights all focus on a young man in the center of a stage - it's Blaine Montague. His confident swagger is recognizable anywhere. It is a Shakespeare piece...it is Hamlet's famous monologue. You can't help but roll your eyes. Please - Hamlet is the epitome of indecision, and yet Blaine is Mr. Confidence. He was fucking it all up, clearly...but then, Blaine suddenly became Not-Blaine. True worry invaded his face, his body posture slumped, and his walking became frantic and unsure. You find yourself caught up in the scene, riveted by Blaine's performance. You forget he is Blaine. He's Hamlet. The acting is spot on. The scene ends, and the lights click off simultaneously. There is a moment of silence before applause resounds throughout the theater. People stand, cheering. This is acting. This is what theater is meant to be. You clap too, even though it's a memory. It's only then that you see the other Montague twin, sitting in the front row...he is still, his expression blank, arms crossed, not clapping... Since this is a memory, you can do whatever you please - you jump atop the stage to where Blaine remains frozen in his final position. You turn, facing the audience like Blaine. And you see what Blaine saw throughout his incredibly moving performance - Blaine could see the boredom on his brother's face the entire fucking time.
The first thing you hear is the music. Jaunty, bright. The light is overwhelming, and as it dims, you see a wide expanse of windows with a row of brightly colored barstools. Turning, you recognize the interior of Florean Fortescue's -- a wonderful ice cream establishment. Florean's is bustling and busy, but the only thing that catches your eye is the one note of stillness. A young man, handsome, his muscles taunt from carving ice cream is on the other side of the counter, leaning lazily near the Java Chip. Blaine's normally perfectly fixed hair is smashed slightly from the boxy paper hat he must wear for what you realize, with a bit of shock, is his job. At first, you think he is flipping through a fashion magazine (for that is most likely) but what you see instead is the Prophet. He is looking through the job classifieds, crossing out some and circling others. You might not realize it now, but those he is crossing out are jobs he has already held. Blaine Montague, drama prince of Hogwarts, has been working odd jobs for a few months now. Florean's is just another stop on his journey of trying to find something that makes him happy. A collection of high voiced giggling distracts you from Blaine, and you glance back to see a group of teenage girls, no more than fourteen years old each, approach the counter. Blaine, tired and brokenly patient a few moments ago, has stood up and is now flashing his patented grin. The girls giggle as he alternates arms to scoop their sundaes (he's working up muscles in both arms, of course). He winks as he puts rainbow sprinkles on their sundaes. They giggle some more. When they leave, they leave quite a few extra knuts as a tip. He smiles at them some more before sitting back down and returning to the newspaper. Both your eyes and his catch on the front page of the paper -- an explosion at the Ministry thought to be attributed to the Phantoms. Blaine's eyes narrow, his shoulders hunch over, and he pulls the paper close to him to read secretly, retreating so much that no other customers approach him.
You are gently coaxed into the next memory. It's the Hogwarts graduation. Blaine and his twin Jude sit side by side. They do not look at each other. When the names are called, they rise but do not look. Loud clapping and applause comes from the side, though parents have been told to keep quiet until the end. It's Graham Montague, a smile so familiar that you recognize it as Blaine's (or perhaps it's the other way around). Next to Graham is a woman you haven't seen before. She's older, but still a delicate waif. She was pretty once, but her skin is taunt from years of smoking cigarettes and she's drinking vodka from a water bottle.
Something is violently thrown through the Hogwarts grand stands past your head, smashing on to the wall of this room, right against that photo containing the same waif woman that you had been admiring moments before. This photo, wait, you know it, you've seen it. You recognize this place, Graham's office, from memories previous, but it's different. There's something off about the light, and glancing up, you realize the chandelier has tilted slightly, the lights flickering. At the foot of the wall behind you is the thrown object, broken shads of a vase with dead, wilting flowers. There's shouting everywhere. Is it Blaine or Jude? Though they hate to admit it, they're more similar than they think. Graham shouting. You can't even catch the meaning of their words, this fight has existed long before you were invited. You're not blinking, afraid and caught in the crossfire. You don't miss the slap. It's from the back of Graham's hand, across his son's face. The boy stumbles back, surprised. This doesn't happen...often. He cracks his jaw, gently feeling out his facial features to make sure it's alright. Definitely Blaine. He's still, and Graham is angrily muttering something, but again, your pulse is beating too quickly in your ears for you to hear. And suddenly, Blaine has stopped forward with a perfectly executed roundhouse to his father's face. The older man reels backward, falling against his desk and collapsing to the floor. Blaine's body heaves, his breathing heavy. He knows his father isn't dead. He storms out, his well-outlined suited back storming through the doorway. You wonder why you haven't left the memory when Blaine comes back in, unexpectedly. He tears the framed photo off the wall and leaves, bringing you with him.
Gasping for air, you stumble backwards, hitting your head on a low hanging rock. This time, the rock does not float away like a barely tangible memory...instead, you feel a quick moment of searing pain before the sensation dulls. Getting to your feet, you watch the silvery swirls of the Pensieve calm into a still, mirror-like surface.