He had a reputation as a brilliant prankster when he was a young child.
Half the time, he didn't even get in trouble for it; adults were too baffled and impressed with how he had managed to break past three locks to swap test papers for blank pages, fill a bully's cubby with the scraps from the lunchroom rubbish bin, or cause a hated teacher's hair to turn a fetching shade of pink even as he wrote out assignments on the blackboard. No one believed that Justin himself was equally baffled as to how these things happened. By the time he was ten, he had convinced himself he must have some form of split personality or perhaps an evil twin that did them while he wasn't looking. Being a wizard explained so much.
His parents were deeply torn about sending him to Hogwarts.
After examining the curriculum shown to them by Dumbledore, they were adamantly against it. Charms and Transfiguration were well enough, but what about maths and literature? Whether or not Justin was a wizard, he was also Viscount of Reidhaven, due to become Lord Ogilvy of Deskford and a member of the House of Lords upon his father's death, and one did not simply toss aside nearly four hundred years tradition because a boy happened to have a few extra talents. However, they also saw Dumbledore's point that magic could be wildly dangerous if left completely untrained, so after almost six months of negotiation – and a great deal of open pleading by Justin, who thought there was no competition whatsoever between Eton and a magic school – they agreed on Hogwarts. With an intensive tutor in the summer and 'Muggle' books to take with him.
He wanted to be a Hufflepuff as soon as he knew what the Houses were.
Gryffindor seemed entirely too gauche, Ravenclaw too detached, and Slytherin simply never occurred to him as a possibility due to his birth. He met a few other Muggle-Borns on the platform, particularly Miss Granger, who seemed very put out by the Blood-Status requirement of that House, but he found it as natural as the order which had decided his career from the moment of conception. Hufflepuff, however, would still have been his choice regardless. Hard work rewarded, loyalty upheld, rules respected but not worshipped blindly, practicality emphasized, and promotion of duty. Duty above all else.
He missed choir more than anything else he gave up for magic.
He had a lovely, clear soprano as a boy, with an excellent sense of pitch. Though his parents had video of him singing happily along with the wireless as young as two, he had performed in public for the first time at the church Christmas pantomime when he was five, and he had loved it so much that he had to be bodily removed from doing it again by the thankfully understanding choir director. Church and school choirs had followed immediately thereafter, and he had been looking forward eagerly to the music programs at Eton, especially when puberty still left him with an excellent tenor. Hogwarts' lack of a choir was something he tried twice to change, but there just wasn't enough interest, and with the demands of his adult life, there simply isn't time. Still, he has indulged himself in a top-notch sound system, and there are nights when an office light burns late and the strains of Schubert make a janitor who can't even understand the words catch his breath.
He took it as his mission to culture Ernie.
When he first met Ernie, he thought the other boy was desperately poor and trying to lift himself beyond it. His clothes were sturdy but second-hand, his possessions rustically minimal, and he spoke with a painfully careful attempt to suppress his natural burr that offended Justin when he had for a few moments thought it a mockery of his own posh speech. It was a shock when he learned that Ernie was indeed vastly wealthy, but even more ashamed of 'vulgar money' than rural coarseness. So he showed him the fine clothing that came of his own flocks, taught him about art and food that was itself art, not mere nourishment, taught him poetry and manners, but it was never about having a personal Pygmalion. It was about turning a blush of shame to a grin of discovery, about proving that it was the man, not the money that held the line between beauty and vulgarity.
He loathed Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy almost equally.
He had thought that there might be a kindred spirit in Harry, someone else who knew what it was to have a destiny from the cradle, but he couldn't have been farther from the truth. Harry seemed only to see the anguish of his status as The Boy Who Lived, but he still refused to outright reject it, something that seemed the obvious next choice to Justin. Instead, he seemed to careen between wallowing and reveling, something that Justin and his friends roundly declared both ridiculous and somewhat self-absorbed, and an opinion which only cemented itself after the tragedy with Diggory. It took less than five minutes conversation to determine that Malfoy was just everything he hated about noveau riche faux aristocracy, and that was one case where first impressions proved entirely reliable.
He was inseparable from Ernie Macmillan and Hannah Abbott.
They bonded over their shared desire for Hufflepuff, but by the end of their first day at Hogwarts, they had become best of friends. Ernie, for all his insecurities, was wonderfully real and down-to-earth, with the romantic air of manual labor making his life fascinating, and Hannah was every bit a young lady, even as she threw back ribald jokes and rolled up her sleeves in the greenhouse without hesitation. Both had been raised in the wizarding world entirely, but for every moment they clashed over some detail of magical or Muggle upbringing, there were a thousand more where Justin would find himself marveling that he could have ever found such genuine friends in the pages of what were meant to have been fairy tales. They were so human.
He is an avid equestrian.
His father was an accomplished hunter and polo player, and against his mother's protests, Justin had his first pony by the time he was four. Maybe it was because he was magical, or maybe it had just been luck, but after being thrown violently and managing to land completely unharmed among the only patch of soft mud in the middle of a privet hedge, Justin was fearless on horseback. Cross-country and polo were his favorites, and he kept a large stable of horses that he pampered as shamelessly as the fussiest old biddy's lapdog. Discovering that Ernie could ride and teaching Hannah to do the same was better than any spell, and there was no broomstick that could match the raw thrill of crisp country air at a full gallop.
He had to juggle Hogwarts, Eton, and Sandhurst for the last portion of his education.
Thanks to some very creative explanations on the part of his parents, his previous tutoring, and a bit of magical assistance from Hestia Jones, they were able to redeem his place at Eton when he was informed that he would not be welcome back at Hogwarts for his final year. It was hard to fit in with the complicated culture and traditions of Eton at seventeen, but he managed it, and even participated in the Wall Game as eagerly as any of his fellows. There was just the little matter that he was still determined to secure his NEWT levels on principle, and that could only be studied after everyone else had gone to bed. Mixing his pre-officer's training at Sandhurst with his MAGI in Defense Against the Dark Arts and Auror training was worse, and after almost a year of increasing stimulant use and decreasing sleep, he wound up spending two weeks in hospital following a complete collapse. He still graduated. All of them. With honors.
He broke the Statute of Secrecy…extraordinarily.
It tortured him for weeks, but at last, he realized that it wasn't a question at all. The magical world had turned its back on him, had fallen under the clutches of a mad dictator, and if it was all about blood, well, not only could he technically claim distant cousins, but his blood had served the Crown longer than the House of Windsor had held it. If it had been any Muggle threat, his duty would have been clear, and so it was. It was hard enough to tell His Royal Highness that Justin had been watching his back because of the threat of magic and to explain that it was usually only the current sovereign and PM who knew about his other world or who held magical guard. What was almost too much to bear was the grace with which the young Prince accepted it, asking only if this 'Voldemort' had been behind the death of his mother. Justin couldn't answer, and both the question and the look in the Prince's eyes haunted him the rest of his life.
He has never had a girlfriend, or, for that matter, a boyfriend.
When he was fifteen, he came to the realization that he was very possibly in love with Hannah Abbott, but the thought of complicating or even – heaven forbid – losing her friendship held him back. By the time distance from her had convinced him that he had to at least try, she was on the arm of a war hero, and he had far too many things on his plate to allow himself to even hurt that badly over it. It wasn't lingering over a lost teenage love if you were too busy to breathe, much less date others, especially if you were genuinely happy for her as you saw what a match she really was for Longbottom. And they were still like brother and sister, which was so much better than any awkward could-have-been. As he told his parents a thousand times, it's just a matter of his schedule. Life moves so quickly, you see.
He has only wept once since childhood.
The Galleon was long-buried in the depths of his closet at home, and he didn't even know about the battle at Hogwarts until his former roommate, Zacharias Smith, showed up at Eton, recklessly uncaring that he had arrived openly on a broomstick, Obliviating onlookers with a readiness that said this was desperate far more than words. He had Apparated at once – his first time since his test the year before – and arrived in the middle of hell. That he survived the night was a miracle, as his dueling was rusty at best and he went down less than fifteen minutes after his arrival. That Ernie didn't was a slap in the face from fate, and he still keeps the scrap of his best friend's shirt that stayed in his fists when they pulled him away to move the body.
He secretly loves cheesy pop music.
It started with the Spice Girls, and that was easy enough to understand. After all, one could entirely ignore the music itself easily enough considering that he was a young teenage boy and they didn't wear much. Except that he did like it. It was bouncy and catchy and just plain fun, and although he could persuade himself on grounds of shame not to buy the albums when they were something you had to physically have, it's another matter in the age of digital downloads. On his iPod, the genre and playlist are marked as "Spoken Word – German Grammar" as the most properly unassuming thing he could think of for what secretly contains his stash of Take That, Backstreet Boys, Steps, B*Witched, and more others than he likes to think about.
He can drink like the proverbial fish.
He's not an alcoholic – and that's not denial, he's quite certain, as he's checked himself against all the lists – but when he goes out with the lads, even he isn't sure where he puts it. Sometimes he thinks he must get far more monged than it seems, and that it's just a lifetime of self-control that keeps his gait steady and his diction clear long after his mates are on the floor. Whatever it is, it doesn't extend to an immunity from a sore head the next morning, so he doesn't do it often. A nice glass of wine with dinner or a nightcap after a particularly difficult day is more than enough unless there's a bet on the line. In which case, he doesn't mind cleaning you out. Gambling, after all, is a fool's game, and he's really doing you a favor in the end.
He is the first person in 200 years to sit as an MP and MW simultaneously.
Taking the seat on the Wizengamot had just seemed like the thing to do when Shacklebolt asked him to consider it. There were so few Muggle-Borns returning at all, and even at twenty-two, he was more qualified than most. That was when he had dropped to Reserve in the Aurors, trying to be sensible about things for once and not take on too much. What he had not been planning on was for his father to have a heart attack less than two years later, but by that time he was already so deeply embroiled in the emergent Unity Party that he knew leaving the Wizengamot was just not an option. He would have to hold both, and if that meant working a little harder, well, it was a small price to pay for what he was so, so, so close to seeing happen and what being an MP as well could only make that much more possible.
He holds a commission in the Royal Air Force as a Flight Lieutenant, as well as a position in the Auror Reserves.
Justin doesn't consider himself a soldier. Though not lacking for courage, he always hopes that neither of his commissions will be called upon for more than ceremonial duties. It's basic decency, of course, that nobility should never hold themselves above the wars they wage, and since Agincourt, his family has held an unbroken line of military service, but whenever the need comes to don his uniform – whether wings or crossed wands at the breast – he can't help but shiver. He knows too well that battle doesn't care what you want to do with your life if it chooses to take it.
He still has nightmares about Druim Cett.
The desperate plea of the eyes still alive in the mutilated face. The way she clung to him, trusted him. The stop of a heart in the catch of a boot. Feeling her knocked from his arms. The eyes and the teeth and the chants and the voice in his ear like the word of the God that didn't care that demons were loose. Trying to die well. Leaves in his mouth and white stars behind his eyes. Eyes and teeth and chants and seeing her eyes open and empty in a head that lolled back. The world already torn apart tearing its last reality into a blast of lightning. It's hell; over and over again, but the only sign of it is that when the office lights are on at four in the morning, there is usually also a cold bed with sweat-wrinkled sheets. His mother thinks the scars on his face and shoulder and the streak of white in his hair are from an encounter with a vicious dog.
He collects vintage art glass.
It's beautiful. It's that simple, really. Oh, there have been moments when he feels particularly analytical, and he'll point out the delicate strength of it, the skill of the master glass blower, how it's just melted sand at the end, and the miracle of human ingenuity that gives it curve and grace and color that look like magic itself made solid. But he's often awake at sunrise, and when those first rays of still-pure light breach the windows and throw the shelves into his own private aurora, it's so beautiful it can stop him for a few minutes no matter what else he's doing. That's worth every pence, and once, he had a friend who wouldn't even have had to ask.
He can quote an astonishing amount of Monty Python.
His parents never exposed him to such low-brow humor, but it was ironically enough at his father's beloved Eton where he was thoroughly indoctrinated to what he had already heard snippets of from the other Muggle-Borns at Hogwarts. Perhaps it was to be expected for someone whose life encompassed both Ascot Hats and Weasleys Wizard Wheezes, but he always had a weakness for absurdist humor. And when you hum "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" while you're preparing to face the armies of darkness and Irish nationalist extremists whistle along with you…Dali never imagined that kind of perfect surreality.
He never intended to change the world, but he believes he must.
At his core, Justin is nobility. Not money. Not privilege. The noblesse that comes with oblige, that beneath the finery is no more than a servant to his sovereign above and to the commoners below. No one has been able to definitively tell him when last a wizard was born into the peerage, but he has never asked why him, why now. To most, Justin appears to straddle two worlds, but he learned when he was eleven that both are human, and in both, he sees his promises, whether to a fifteen year-old boy who will someday be King or a friend whose memory he carries in a scrap of cotton. If it takes bringing those worlds together to keep one from tearing itself apart, then that is his duty. Above all else.