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Kyle Winters
7th Year | Chaser
7th Year | Chaser
Player: Jae


Post by Kyle Winters »

This is the first of a series of vignettes about Kyle. He has a rather complicated backstory, and I thought it’ll be good to flesh out his story a bit more. This is also a chance for me to explore different aspects of him as a character, so 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 :)

“One More Year”
7th July, 2005

“Aren’t you supposed to be helping out at Osman’s restaurant?”

So engrossed was Kyle in watching the news on the telly that he let out a startled yelp at the unexpected interruption. “Didn’t expect you to be home so early, Mum,” he said after he had gotten a hold of himself. “Haven’t you heard the news?” he asked. “London’s been hit by four bomb attacks during the rush hour, and a couple of hours later the Met Police Commissioner confirmed that it was a terror attack.” He scooted over to one side of the small sofa so that Laura could take a seat and watch the news. “We’re a long way from London, but Osman was worried that racial tensions were going to flare up again here in Bradford,” he continued. “So after we heard the announcement he closed the restaurant and sent all of us home. And I’ve been glued to the telly since.”

“Right after I heard the news, I took the day off to check if you were alright,” Laura said, worry still etched on her brow. “But before I reached the restaurant I suddenly realised that I forgot to…” Her face suddenly scrunched up in confusion. “Wait, that doesn’t add up.”

“That means it’s working,” Kyle said.

“What’s working?”

“The Muggle-Repelling Charm,” Kyle explained. “It’s a spell that prevents Muggles from seeing or entering an area. Excluding Osman and Yasmine, of course. I thought it might keep the restaurant safe for a while.”

“Good on you for looking out for Osman and Yasmine.”

“That’s the least I could do, given how much they’ve helped us over the past few years,” Kyle said. Glancing at the clock, he realised that it was way past lunchtime. “Are you hungry?” he asked as he got up from the sofa. Grabbing his crutches, he crossed over to the kitchen. “Yasmine packed some food for us from the restaurant so it wouldn’t go to waste.”

“No, not really. I’m honestly not in the mood to eat.”

Kyle gestured dramatically at himself. “Look, I’m safe at home in one piece, and Osman’s restaurant will be fine. Besides, worrying about the situation in London will get you nowhere.” Without giving Laura a chance to protest, he began to set the table. “We’ve got aloo tikki, chicken korma—”

“I ran into him again today.”

Caught off guard by the unexpected revelation, Kyle almost dropped the plate he was holding. His estranged father had been the last thing on their minds for the past four years, a problem that they had largely tried to ignore even as it reared its ugly head from time to time. When his father abandoned them four years ago, Kyle was still trying to come to terms with his best friend’s death and his own amputation. Laura, on the other hand, was struggling to make ends meet: after they moved out to live on their own, her meagre salary was barely enough to cover their rent and daily expenses, much less Kyle’s medical bills. Had Osman not offered to pay for Kyle’s prosthetic leg, they’d never be able to afford it ever. 

“What did he want?” Kyle asked cautiously. It was a messy topic with too much baggage, and he didn’t want to touch it even with a ten-foot pole.

“He said he was sorry.” There was neither anger nor resentment in Laura’s words, only weariness.

In spite of his best efforts, a wave of turbulent emotions welled up inside the teenager. That man was not worth getting himself riled up over, but he found himself so bleeding close to losing it entirely. “He said he was sorry,” Kyle repeated mockingly. “After all that he has done to us – turning his back on us, tracking us down to our new flat to rail at us and make a scene, contesting the divorce and dragging out the proceedings – he has the fucking nerve to say he’s sorry? If he dares to show up at the door again later I’ll show him who’s sorry!”

“Kyle, he’s still your father—”

“He tried to kill me!” Hot, angry tears filled his eyes and blurred his vision, but he didn’t care anymore about them. The dam inside him had broken, and everything that he had kept repressed and unresolved within him was now pouring out uncontrollably. There was nowhere else for his rage to go, so he directed it all at Laura from across the tiny flat. “He fucking tried to kill me!”

The mere mention of the ordeal brought him back to Osman’s restaurant four years ago. He recalled the flames surrounding and entrapping him. Osman shouting at him to get out of the blaze. The broken plates stained with blood on the ground by his feet. Rohaan lying motionless just a few steps away. And the falling beam—

Kyle collapsed into a chair, physically and emotionally spent, and his crutches fell from his loosened grip. Defeated, Laura said nothing. And for what felt like an eternity, they stayed at their respective corners of the tiny rental flat, with no sound other than the depressing news on the telly. Suddenly the distance between them felt impossibly large.

Unable to bear it any longer, Kyle finally looked up just as Laura averted her gaze. Her eyes were red, and she looked like she had been stabbed through the heart with a knife. Immediately he regretted flaring up at her earlier.

“You still love him, don’t you?” he asked as gently as he could, even though he already knew the answer. When he was younger, Laura used to tell him how she met his father when they were teenagers. How he had carried her home after she fell and broke her ankle once. How they had been friends for years until something finally clicked and they fell in love with each other. She even talked about the little things she loved about him, like how the corners of his deep blue eyes crinkled when he laughed. Likewise, Kyle did remember snatches of his early childhood when things were simpler and they used to be happier, before things somehow went south and their relationship deteriorated.

Those hazy and faded happy memories only made his father's betrayal of them hurt all the more.

“I loved him,” she corrected. “But he’s changed. He’s no longer the man I fell in love with all those years ago.” There was an undercurrent of bitterness in her words now, and her voice trembled ever so slightly. “Or maybe it was me who had changed and finally saw him for who he was.”

Picking up one of his crutches – the other had fallen too far away – Kyle rose unsteadily and hobbled over to Laura’s side. He reached out to hold her hand, but she pushed him away. Undeterred, he tried again. She resisted, but couldn’t pull away.

“I’m sorry, Mum,” he said, dropping his crutch and pulling her into an embrace. “I should have realised how much harder this is for you." Even though he had his own burdens to bear, at the very least he was far away at Hogwarts most of the time. Instead, Laura had been the one to face the brunt of her husband's harassment alone after they moved out. She never breathed a word to Kyle, but he had found out about it from Yasmine. Furthermore, he had always sensed that Laura felt responsible for him losing his leg. While she was supportive of his friendship with Rohaan, she was always worried about the boys’ safety when they went to each other’s neighbourhoods. And even today, she had taken the day off and rushed over to Osman’s restaurant when she heard about the London bombings to ensure that he was safe. 

“Just one more year, Kyle.” Laura’s soft voice belied the strength she had to muster to keep her voice steady, and she squeezed his hand. Four years had already passed since they moved out, and soon she would be able to file for a divorce without her estranged husband’s consent. And then they’d be free.

Kyle nodded. “I’ll study hard and graduate and get a job. Then we’ll move out of Bradford. We’ll go somewhere else and start anew.”

“Just one more year,” Laura repeated, more for her sake than Kyle's. “I promise.”
happiness is only a word, just an empty dream that everyone wants
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Kyle Winters
7th Year | Chaser
7th Year | Chaser
Player: Jae

Post by Kyle Winters »

“Till the Dawn Breaks” – Part 1
9th July, 2005

A waxing crescent hung high in the cloudless night sky, distant and cold and uncaring as Kyle trudged home, worn out after a long day of work at Osman’s restaurant. Business had been brisk and everyone had been working in double-quick time to satisfy the hungry patrons. But right before closing time, an utterly pissed lad had to stumble over from some nearby pub and chuck up right outside the restaurant’s entrance. Kyle couldn’t leave the lad to fend for himself – the drunk was bound to get himself into trouble – but at the same time he knew he would be hard-pressed to find a taxi driver who was willing to take a drunk passenger. Mercifully, a second person, less intoxicated and much more apologetic, had swiftly swooped in to haul his alcohol-sodden mate away.

Better to deal with a manky puddle than the person that it had spewed from, Kyle had thought when he grabbed a mop and bucket to clean up the mess the Muggle way. He was no stranger to drunks, and as much as he disliked their irresponsible behaviour (both prior to and after becoming intoxicated), he could understand why some people chose to drown their sorrows in too many pints of beer. Bradford had more than its fair share of social and economic woes, and while he still felt something for the city that he had grown up in, he couldn’t wait to move out to a better place.

With luck, the drunk lad would be the last of Kyle’s troubles for the day. After closing up the restaurant with Osman, he bade the older man goodbye and started down the main road. The aforementioned pub was just up ahead; wanting to avoid it completely, he ducked into a small road to take a longer but more scenic route home.

Almost immediately, he found himself staring at yet another utterly sloshed person leaning against a fence, his legs splayed out across the narrow pavement and his face obscured by shadows. He thought of walking off and pretending that he didn’t see anything, but caught sight of a trio of suspicious-looking youths loitering at the other end of the road. If he walked off now, the youths would probably rob the man blind, and he simply couldn’t have that on his conscience. Chuffing hell, he swore mentally as he resigned himself to fate. Approaching the drunk, he hunkered down to check—

—and froze immediately as he recognised the drunk. It was his father. But as much as he hated the man’s guts, he did not have the heart to abandon him in the alley and leave him to the mercies of the delinquents who were still eyeing him. “Sod off!” Kyle yelled in sheer exasperation at the youths, half-prepared to resort to magic if they ever came to blows. Alarmed by his outburst, they ran off despite outnumbering Kyle, presumably to seek out an easier target.

A quick scan of his surroundings told Kyle that he was still not completely safe from prying Muggle eyes, which meant he couldn’t risk using magic to help his father to his feet. Putting his arms under his father’s from the front, he took a deep breath and lifted with all his might. While he was fairly strong, his intoxicated father was dead weight. With mounting frustration he grunted and heaved again. “Come on, stand up,” he urged through gritted teeth while his father’s legs dangled uselessly below him. In the end, gravity won, and the man plopped back into a sitting position, his head lolling back and knocking into the fence behind him with a resonant sound. “Sorry,” Kyle winced and muttered instinctively, before realising what he had just said. “No, you should be sorry, dammit,” he spat angrily as he tried a different tactic. Putting one of his father’s arms over his shoulder, he counted to three and lifted again. This time it worked, and with some difficulty he managed to pull his father up to an upright position, albeit leaning heavily on him for support.

Clearly his father was in no condition to walk, but he was running out of options and patience. Fuck it, he was going to Apparate them to his father’s flat. Squeezing his eyes shut, he tried to visualise his childhood home. The living room where he spent hours watching too many telly shows and rented VHS movies by himself. The kitchen where he and his mother peered anxiously through the glass door of the oven, wondering whether their biscuits would turn out all right because they had improvised and added extra ingredients randomly into the dough. His perpetually messy bedroom with one wall almost entirely covered by posters of his favourite movies and bands and footballers…

It struck him suddenly that, in all those memories, his father was absent. They had shared some happy moments together – his father had taught him how to play football and cycle – but they were few and far between. What came flooding into his mind instead were all the times when he wanted his father to feel proud of him, only for his father to callously dismiss his achievements. The day when his father learnt that he had befriended a Pakistani boy and went radge. And that particular day when he was lying on the hospital bed—

He winced at the recollection, as though he had been punched hard in the gut. Even though a few years had passed, the upsetting memory was still as raw and painful as it had been back then. The heavy weight pressing down on his shoulders pulled him back to the present and reminded him of his unwanted responsibilities towards his father, and for a few seconds he really, really wanted to dump that bloody wanker where he had found him and just walk off.

But what would that make him? A terrible son who deserved his shitebag father. Clenching his fists so tightly that his knuckles turned white, he fought to keep his rising anger in check. Just this once, and no more. He’d send his father home safely, and that would be the last nice thing he’d ever do for him. With renewed resolve, he shut his eyes again and tried to visualise his old home again – the lobby outside the flat this time round, rather than the inside. With the image firmly in his head, he opened his eyes to check if there were any gawping Muggles (there were none), and Disapparated with his father.

A soft pop heralded the pair’s arrival right outside the door. Disorientated by the teleportation spell, Kyle’s father retched and promptly threw up in the lobby. Seriously… This would be the second puddle of puke he’d need to clean up within the span of a single night, but at least he could use magic for this. “Let it all out. Better here than inside,” he said sarcastically as he rubbed his father’s back perfunctorily. By now Kyle was so fed up with the whole situation that his anger had all but evaporated, and in its place there was a depressing and dull dreariness instead.

After the latter had completely emptied the contents of his stomach onto the ground, Kyle fished out his wand and aimed it at the door; he could deal with the mess later after he had helped his father into the flat. “Alohomora,” he said, and the door clicked open immediately. “Come on,” he urged, and father and son stepped into the flat together for the first time in years.
happiness is only a word, just an empty dream that everyone wants
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Kyle Winters
7th Year | Chaser
7th Year | Chaser
Player: Jae

Post by Kyle Winters »

“Till the Dawn Breaks” – Part 2
9th July, 2005
♪ “Big” – Man-Made Sunshine ♪

Staggering unsteadily through the doorway, Kyle looked around the flat for a good place for his sloshed father to sit down and rest. The place was almost the same as he remembered. It was noticeably messier, but not too significantly so. Amongst the stack of bills and pamphlets on the coffee table, he spied a bottle of pills. Otherwise, not much had changed since the fateful day he had dashed out of the flat to save Rohaan. After they fell out with his father, his mother had packed his belongings on his behalf when she had moved out since he was still stuck in hospital, so he had never set foot in the flat after that.

Deciding against the sofa, Kyle half-dragged his father past the dining table. “Finally, it’s my turn to let you down,” he quipped dryly as he lowered his father onto the floor near the kitchen, propping him up against a corner so he wouldn’t keel over. Almost immediately his father did the exact thing he didn’t want him to, and that was to topple to the side with his back sliding against the wall until he was lying down on the ground. “Don’t—fine, whatever,” Kyle huffed. “You can choke on your own vomit.” He acted as though he couldn’t care less, but that situation was unlikely to materialise for his father wasn’t lying flat on his back. And even if he had been, Kyle wouldn’t have the heart to leave him in that potentially dangerous position, most certainly not after going through all that effort of sending him home in the first place.

Relieved of his burden, Kyle headed to the entrance of the flat and drew his wand. After a quick incantation and a wave of his wand, the puddle of puke was gone, banished to Merlin-knows-where (because Kyle definitely didn’t). Turning around, he gave the flat one last look before he left… but there was something about the sight of his father lying there in a semi-conscious state and some of the pamphlets he had saw on the coffee table earlier that gave him pause. The man who betrayed his trust entirely by going radge and cursing and swearing at him at his most vulnerable moment when he was in hospital. That fucking arsehole whom he promised he’d never ever forgive and hated with all his might over the past few years. Right now he looked so alone. So helpless.

Suddenly Kyle realised that his eyes were wet. Why was he wavering now? His anger was rising again, but it wasn’t directed towards his father. Instead, he was pissed at himself for being a bloody softie. And for a few seconds he stood at the door, debating whether he should just leave. But in his heart he already knew what he should do.

Walking over to the phone, he picked up the receiver and dialled a number from memory. Please pick up… he prayed as the ringback tone sounded.


A wave of relief washed over Kyle. “Hi Yasmine, it’s Kyle,” he said, trying his best to keep his voice steady. “Sorry for calling so late at night.”

“Is everything okay?”

“Yea,” he lied. “C–could I ask you for a favour, Yasmine? I'm sorry, but could you ring my mum and tell her I’m helping Osman out with something at the restaurant, and that I’ll be staying over at your place tonight?”

There was a pause. “Kyle, what happened?”

“It's complicated. I’ll explain tomorrow, I promise.”

Another pause, followed by an audible sigh. “All right, I won’t probe if you’re not comfortable revealing what happened. But if you need any help, please let us know.”

“I will.”

“Take care, Kyle. I’ll ring your mum.”

“Thanks Yasmine. Good night.”

“Good night.”

As the phone clicked off, Kyle returned the receiver to its cradle and turned to check on his father. The man was fast asleep and snoring peacefully, oblivious to everything that had transpired. Oblivious to the hurt he had inflicted on those closest to him. Oblivious to the conflict that raged in his son’s heart.

Dammit... what did I get myself into, he thought to himself as he sunk into the sofa, tired and defeated. It was going to be a long night.
happiness is only a word, just an empty dream that everyone wants
User avatar
Kyle Winters
7th Year | Chaser
7th Year | Chaser
Player: Jae

Post by Kyle Winters »

“Happy Christmas, Mr Winters”
24th December, 2005
♪ “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence” – Ryuichi Sakamoto ♪

Don’t look. Keep walking.

A gentle breeze picked up as Kyle pulled the hood of his jacket over his head, trying to hide his face as best as he could. Not that it made any difference: his height, coupled with the bright yellow jacket, made it impossible for him to slip away unnoticed.

“Kyle, is that you?”

Ignoring the man’s voice, Kyle pretended not to hear anything. The sound of hurried footsteps from behind made him quicken his pace. And before he could get away, the owner of the voice finally caught up to him, standing in his way and panting lightly from the exertion.

“It really is you, Kyle. It’s been so long.”

Unsure of what he should do and how to extricate himself from this unwanted chance encounter, the teenager did absolutely nothing as he stared blankly at his father, neither acknowledging nor ignoring him. The man looked much better than the last time they had met (though admittedly that was a low bar), but he still looked haggard and tired.

It took a good few seconds before Kyle realised that walking away was still an option, and he gladly took it.

“Kyle! I just wanted to talk.”

His father reached out to grab his arm, and instinctively he pulled away. Undeterred, his father tried to reach out to him with words instead. “I know there’s nothing I can say or do that would change anything, but I need to tell you this. I’m sorry. And thank you for sending me home that time.”

“Save it,” Kyle snapped, not particularly keen on lingering any longer to hear what else his father had to say. Watching the man squirm so uncomfortably was awkward enough. “Is that all? I need to go.”

“Wait! I… Tell Laura that I won’t contest the divorce anymore if she wants to file for it again.”

“Why?” Kyle asked, somewhat blindsided by that unexpected revelation. All those years ago his father had fought to keep the family together despite how glaringly obvious that his marriage had broken down irretrievably.

“She deserves better,” his father replied. “If she wants to move on, I won’t stand in her way anymore.”

That sentence was oddly worded, and Kyle had to clarify. “What makes you think she doesn’t want to?” It was only when the words left his lips did he realise what his father meant. “Hang on… you’re not hoping that we’d forgive you and pretend that nothing ever happened?”

His father looked away and didn’t say a word, but the silence was telling.

“You’re mad.”

“No, Kyle,” his father protested frantically. “I—I can’t expect you or Laura to do so, but… but…” With no compelling reason to offer, the man’s voice faltered.

“Wait, just—“ The whole situation was too fucked up and too much for Kyle to deal with, and he had to take a few seconds to process everything. “So do you want Mum to divorce you, or do you wish for us to get back together as a family?”

The blunt question elicited a blank stare from his father that made Kyle explode with frustration. “Oh for fuck’s sake, make up your bloody mind!” he yelled.

It must have been awfully loud, because someone from across the street turned and stared. “Sorry!” Kyle apologised with a bob of his head, before turning back to the source of his troubles. He opened his mouth to say something… but then he realised he didn’t even know where to begin. What was he supposed to do in such a messed up situation? Should he even relay his father’s words to his mother? A few months ago when he had met Selah, she made him promise that he’d wait till the New Year before deciding on his next move, but that deadline was swiftly approaching and he was still none the wiser.

“I need to go,” he said lamely. Right now he wanted nothing more than to forget that this exchange ever took place so that he wouldn’t need to deal with it. He had to, eventually, but it was Christmas Eve and he really didn’t need something like this to gnaw at the edges of his sanity. Adjusting his backpack, he turned and walked away. For a moment he was afraid that his father would try to stop him from leaving… but there were no words, no following footsteps. He was tempted to turn back and look, and after suppressing the urge for a couple of times, he finally gave in.

But his father was no longer there.
happiness is only a word, just an empty dream that everyone wants
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