Chapter 10 : Murky
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Chapter 10: Murky
I glanced up briefly to Callie as she entered the dorm before flipping my hair back down to continue to drying it. “Yeah?”
“You missed dinner?”
“Didn’t feel like it,” I answered, running my fingers carefully through my hair, one hand positioning my wand to shoot hot air at it.
“But you missed lunch too,” Callie stepped further into the room.
“I had to finish the Charms essay,” I reminded.
“You slept through breakfast…”
“Friday means I get to sleep in,” I said, “Free first.”
“Have you eaten anything today?” Callie asked carefully.
“I had some chocolate cake in the kitchens after Charms,” I told her, flipping my hair back as I straightened up to glance back over at her.
She was looking me over with a scrutinizing expression, running her fingers though her hair. “That’s not healthy, Rina,” she said finally.
“Probably not,” I agreed, tossing my wand onto my bed and picking up a book.
“What are you doing now?” she frowned.
I raised an eyebrow at her. “Reading,” I held the book up before settling on my bed and opening it.
“You should eat something,” Callie told my seriously. “You haven’t eaten properly in a while.”
“Haven’t been hungry,” I shrugged. “I suppose when you’re not going through regular hellish practices, you don’t need as much food.”
“You still need more than a bit of cake!” Callie cried.
I looked up from the book, eyes wide; she looked a bit hysterical.
“You’ve lost too much weight and you’re always up here all alone and –“
“Well, excuse me for not wanting to venture out and be continuously glared at by my house mates,” I said sarcastically, rolling my eyes.
“You barely even see the guys anymore!” she went on, motioning wildly with her hands. “And you only see us because you live with us! If I’m worried, you wouldn’t believe Louis and Scorpius –“
I just snorted. “They’ll be fine.”
“No they won’t be!” Callie cried. “Albus actually told me that he’d stop glaring at James if you’d come out.”
“Wonderful,” I rolled my eyes. “But I’d still prefer to not be glowered at myself.”
“Even Austin’s getting anxious and –“
“Well, if Austin cares,” I snorted, returning my attention to my book. Is it really that bad to not want to sit around with a bunch of people that hated me? I gave it a try at first, but after we lost the Hufflepuff match, I’d actually had to dodge a few hexes.
“You have to come out!” Callie cried.
“No, I don’t,” I told her.
“But this isn’t healthy!”
I’m sure it’s plenty healthy, considering the hexes.
“What?” I looked back up at her in annoyance.
“Why won’t you at least come eat?” she demanded. “You haven’t stepped foot in the Great Hall in over two weeks!”
“Because the last time I did, The Slytherins and Ravenclaws began applauding, the Hufflepuffs thanked me for quitting, and the Gryffindors tried to kill me,” I reminded her simply.
“No one tried to kill you –“
“I’m pretty sure I saw some flashes of green light,” I affirmed.
“What, Callie?” I demanded, now glaring up at her. I was getting sick of her and Rose getting on my case all the time.
“You have to come back to living with the rest of the world and –“
“I’ve seen plenty of the rest of the world!” I argued. “I did the Arithmancy essay in the library during free period on Wednesday and I worked on Charms homework with Austin, Al and Allison in the common room the week before. Not to mention all the classes I’ve been to and –“
“You hid in here during lunch on Wednesday because there may have been people in the library and then snuck down during free just because you needed a book,” Callie crossed her arms. “And it took Austin thirty minutes to convince you to help him on Charms in such a ‘public setting,’” she added with a scoff.
I narrowed my eyes. I couldn’t stand it when Callie got all bitchy. As of late, the only times anyone took the effort to talk to me was when they wanted to criticize me. Fucking arses, the lot of them.
“If you don’t want to talk to me, then leave me the hell alone.”
“But we want to talk to you!” she cried. “That’s the point! We miss you, and want you to come down and –“
“Oh right, because you lot are such fantastic friends that it’s alright if I get glared at and jinxed everywhere I go,” I rolled my eyes sarcastically.
“Rina, you –“
“I don’t want to have a bunch of people around just so that they can be hateful! No one said that you have to talk to me or harass me; what’s so bloody wrong with living your own life without obsessing over the pitiful Rina?” I demanded. “I’d think it’d be a bit more refreshing. Just let me be.”
“I will not,” Callie crossed her arms defiantly. “You have me going insane worrying over you –“
“Then stop worrying,” I told her simply. “No one said you have to pretend to care. Do your homework and hang out with your friends; I’m fine.”
Callie looked me over with her darkened blue eyes before brushing hair out of her face. “You sure as hell are not,” she told me before turning on her heel and leaving the room.
I glared after her for a moment before throwing my book aside and glaring around the rest of the room.
Allison didn’t even care to talk to me anymore, too preoccupied with whoring around, and Callie and Rose seemed to feel the need to always yell at me. And it was always the same thing; the bints seemed to feel the need to take a little time out of their pretty little lives to come around and remind me that mine was hell.
I know I’m stuck up here; I don’t need them around to bloody remind me what I’m missing. It made me furious how they’d come around and pretend to care, just rubbing it in my face that they were going to flounce back down to the common room and chat and laugh with the guys once they were through with yelling at me.
I swiped angrily at a tear as the stupid image of Austin telling a joke and everyone else rolling around in laughter while Callie made eyes at him flooded my mind.
They knew I couldn’t leave the bloody dormitory; they knew that everyone was still either hating me or mocking me. As if I didn’t already know that the failure of Gryffindor house and the fight between the Weasleys and James’s now long shot Quidditch career were all my fault. I know perfectly well, thanks.
And I don’t bloody care if everyone wants to hate me for it. Honest to God, it just doesn’t matter.
I’m already well adjusted to being hated, so there’s no need for those stupid bints to pretend to care.
I hate how everyone feels like being friends with me when they can get Quidditch and homework out of me, and as soon as everyone hates me, I’m suddenly some sort of embarrassment.
They all take turns sitting with me in classes because somebody has to, and the only time somebody took the effort to seek me out was when Louis knew I was hidden in a back corner of the library where nobody could see us when he needed something. I can just imagine how painful it must’ve been for Austin to seek Charms help from me right there in the middle of the Gryffindor common room. And that too, only because Callie was already tutoring second years, Scorpius and Rose were doing their Prefect rounds, and Allison and Albus, who was with him, refused to let him copy. As soon as Allison and Albus left, Austin hightailed it out of there as well.
Which left me alone to fend off two Stinging Hexes and three Trip Jinxes as I tried to get out of there.
I felt the sudden urge to throw or break something, but looking around, I found nothing that would be satisfying enough, and I ended up having to sit up there on my bed and sob my frustrations out into my hands.
I hate my life.
I woke up late in the morning and glanced around to my bedside table, snorting at the plate of toast and muffins.
Somebody was feeling guilty.
I was tempted to just vanish the food back to the kitchens, but my hunger was outweighing my resolute determination to not accept anything that pretended to care from those idiots. Besides, it was Saturday, so there would be people everywhere all day, so I wasn’t going to make it to the kitchen undetected today. So instead, I begrudgingly ate the food and drank the glass of milk before getting out of bed and crossing the room.
I stood there pointlessly for a moment before crossing back. I then walked into the bathroom, glanced around, and then made my way back out to the room.
And so it went, me aimlessly wandering around the room for three hours, mindlessly shuffling things around, until I finally sat down in front of the mirror and pulled out my wand.
I began flicking it around at my hair, changing its style just for the hell of it.
There was nothing to do.
I think I may have even preferred James screaming at me on the Quidditch pitch.
Actually, the best part of the last month was that James hadn’t spoken to me once.
I felt a pang in the pit of my stomach at that realization.
Despite the fact that I just had not cared for the past month, I wanted James, if not anyone else, to want to talk to me. It’d been years since we’d just sat around and talked. We used to be able to carry on conversations about nothing for hours. James had always been so easy to talk to.
Before he hated me, that is.
I suppose I miss talking to everyone, but it pissed me off that I was missing people that didn’t miss me. That just wasn’t fair.
But I supposed I’d gotten used to everyone else’s exasperation with me. I guess that after spending so much time with people that just barely cared to make the effort to pretend to want to be around, it almost felt unnatural to remember back when they liked having me around.
I could remember clear as day back when James liked me, though.
And then he suddenly hated me without even bothering to make the effort to pretend to care.
And yet, I couldn’t stop wanting him.
Even the memory of his eyes twinkling as he smiled made my stomach erupt into butterflies. He used to always smile at me, and suddenly, I couldn’t remember how I’d been managing without his laugh.
He seemed to always find me amusing; he used to always tease me and laugh while I pouted like a little girl. I’d have a bit of a blonde moment or a klutz moment, and then he’d snort and I’d tried to defend myself, which would always make him laugh. And then other times, we’d sit up at night and talk about the most random things, for some reason getting so into the oddest conversations about Bowtruckles or cheesepuffs, that he’d at some point sit back and smile and comment on how ridiculous the whole thing was. And then I’d shrug and agree, and we’d get back into the rationalization of mammals like dolphins and whales in the ocean. (They need air, so why are they sea animals?)
I sighed, flicking my wand at my hair one last time and returning it back to its original state before glancing back around the room.
James can’t even stand the sight of me anymore.
I don’t even know when I got so selfish and bitchy, but James noticed one day and ran off before I could drag him into the same boat as everyone else.
The rest just stuck around a little too long, not taking the hint to run for it, and as a result, they got stuck having to pretend to still want me around.
I guess they manage pretty well when I’m in a good mood, but even that’s getting exceedingly more rare.
If it weren’t for Callie, Albus, Scorpius, and Louis’s patience, I doubt they would put up with me anymore. It’s no wonder why they always make me feel so ridiculous, at least. It’s as if they barely care that I’m a stupid idiot; they just sigh and give their advice and move on. The boys almost seem to find amusement in condescending me.
I know that Allison just doesn’t want to deal with me anymore, running off for a shag when I’m the only other option. She’s made it clear that she finds my entire existence to be just pathetic.
Callie and Rose take their pretending to care a bit too far. They get so annoying and controlling, and they repeatedly claim that the reason they always come around to accuse me of something is because they “care.” If they cared, they’d be around for more than just yelling at me about how pathetic I am. They’d take the effort to listen, and they’d try to help. Instead, they just tell me I’m stupid and then go back to their lives. And Rose didn’t even bother to come bug me anymore, getting fed up with the chore.
Which leaves Austin acting like the good guy. I suppose his general personality, which can handle things better than most people, allows him the ability to put up with me. Around Austin, it even sometimes feels like he wants me around. But, at some point, it becomes glaringly obvious that he’s just fulfilling some sort of duty, most likely keeping me out of everyone else’s hair.
When my vision blurred, my eyes narrowed again.
I’d made crying a daily activity, which is just absolutely pathetic.
For the love of God, I should’ve grown accustomed to being disliked.
But for some reason, I wanted so badly for my friends to like me. I wanted them to want to be my friends again.
While their lives went on beautifully without me, I missed them.
I was already hiding in bed by the time Allison and Rose came up to sleep that night. They whispered a bit by Allison’s bed, the farthest from mine, before actually getting into bed, but I was pretty sure they were discussing me anyways. Fucking bints.
It was around 12:30, and Callie hadn’t made it back yet. I rolled over in bed, away from the clock, instead staring at my hangings. I was hungry.
I wanted to wait until everyone was asleep before I went down to the kitchens, however, because the last thing I needed was to be attacked, whether my attackers were pretending to like me or not.
Another hour and a half later, however, Callie was still MIA, so I decided to screw it all and crawled out of bed. She’d probably fallen asleep in the common room; whenever we did that, the guys took us up to their dorm because they couldn’t get up to ours.
Shitheads, I’d practically killed them when they left me all alone in the common room back in third year.
I sighed, quietly slipping some shoes on and shuffling towards the door. I shut it softly after me and made my way down the stairs, pulling my sweater around myself a bit tighter; the castle was always a bit drafty at night.
The common room wasn’t empty, however. I heard the voices as I reached the first landing and immediately froze. I’d almost turned to hurry back to my room, too, until I recognized the voices.
“– eating isn’t even a priority anymore.”
“That’s why we have to do something!”
I sat down on the top step and listened.
“If you wake her and she cries again, I’ll kill you,” Austin’s voice went on.
“They used to never cry,” Scorpius spoke again after a moment.
“What does a twelve year-old witch have to cry about?” Austin questioned in response. “Even boarding school isn’t bad when it’s Hogwarts.”
“And with Al and Louis as friends, even Malfoy’s a pretty alright bloke,” Scorpius added.
Even I couldn’t help but smile at the memory of a tiny Albus Potter demanding, “Do you think, I’d make friends with a Death Eater? No? Then scram.”
I held back a snort of laughter that I hadn’t been able to resist at the time; they’d been second years, us first years, and James had spent a week proudly telling everyone about how his little brother was a boss.
That’s what had made being a twelve-year-old witch so easy; Albus and Louis had a way of making it crystal clear that they liked me, screw the stupid Slytherin bints.
But when Louis looked at me like I was pathetic and he needed to escape, things got murky.
“You ever feel like we might be bad friends?” Scorpius spoke again.
“I’m a fantastic friend!” Austin protested.
There was silence for a moment before Austin spoke again. “She’s been exhausted with the past month; nothing will wake her. But no, I don’t think I’m a bad friend.”
“But girls are different,” Scorpius said. “They go loopy if they get a bad feeling. I mean, look at Rose; I can’t tell her I disagree with her without her thinking I don’t love her anymore and want to breakup with her and shit. Their emotions are insane.”
“Are you sure that isn’t just Rose?”
“Yes,” Scorpius insisted. “I mean, look at Callie going crazy over being a failure or something. At least, I think that’s what I got through the tears.”
“Well, yeah, they cry easily and have a tendency to be dramatic, but how is that our fault?” Austin pointed out. “We just have to be the poor blokes that deal with it.”
“Maybe we don’t deal with it right,” Scorpius suggested. “Rina hates it when I try to help. I don’t even know what I’m saying wrong.”
“She thinks you’re condescending,” Austin told him. “She complains to me about it.”
“But I’m just trying to help!” he cried. “Would she prefer me yelling at her like Rose? Because I don’t think that does much good either.”
“That’s the problem with girls,” Austin pointed out. “They think everyone’s out to get them. I half wonder why we even try.”
“Because we care,” Scorpius answered immediately. “I don’t like it when Rina cries; she used to be happy, and she’s always been tough.”
I could barely remember being happy; as far as I could remember, I’d always been just fine.
Maybe before my parents died, back when Jacob made it seem as if Julianne was to be just a petty existence to me. Before my parents were dead and the wall that kept Julianne at bsy crumbled. Before reality made it through the walls people like Jake and Al had put up around me that made me think that everyone liked me and if they didn’t, they didn’t matter. Before the harsh reality became apparent that these people had lied to me. I wasn’t all good; I was a selfish bitch. Just like Julianne had always said, and just like James had one day realized.
I closed my eyes, leaning my head against the wall next to me.
“Maybe it’s like you said,” Austin spoke into the silence. “Maybe we’re just bad at being friends with girls.”
“Not bad, maybe,” Scorpius mused carefully, “Just…ill-equipped. I supposed it might be important to keep in mind that they read things differently.”
“No kidding,” Austin snorted. “I didn’t realized going up to bed was an attempt to escape. She was almost okay that night, too.”
“See, that’s the thing with girls,” Scorpius agreed, “How are we supposed to know if they’re okay or not if they don’t tell us?”
“Louis always claims he knows,” Austin pointed out.
“He has two sisters,” Scorpius reminded, “He may as well be a girl.”
Maybe Scorpius is stupider than I thought. He was always better than Louis, or at least just as good. None of them were bad. I’d always thought that the stability of their emotions made them better friends at times. Less dramatic, at least. The girls were better to talk things out with, but then I always needed the guys to get my head on straight.
It was like I said, guys like Albus make it easy to always know that I have friends, and then girls like Rose have me wondering what exactly it is that she thinks of me.
And then when they’re all thrown together and reality is crashing into me, I never know what to think. Things get confusing and twisted. Suddenly, no one wanted me around, or maybe they didn’t know how to handle me, and that made me difficult.
Perhaps I was the burden that would’ve been better off in the fire; less drama to deal with, less to worry about.
“I think that’s it,” Scorpius spoke up again suddenly.
“What?” Austin questioned.
“Rina was always simple; less dramatic than the girls,” Scorpius said, “Even Callie and Rose said it used to be easier.”
“But she’s a girl, and she thinks we hate her,” Scorpius went on quietly.
“We’ve told her we don’t,” Austin reminded.
“We couldn’t hate you, Rina,” Rose repeated. “I promise you, Rina.”
“Then I don’t know what to do,” Scorpius sighed.
I think I believed it, but I didn’t think I could.
If I cleared my mind a bit, I think I knew what was happening, and I think I knew what I needed.
I didn’t bother to change or brush my teeth or comb my hair before I left the dormitory. I just put on shoes and a sweater and left.
Albus was sitting at a table by a window with Allison and Louis. I stepped of the staircase and approached him.
He blinked in confusion at me when I touched his arm slightly and he turned, but I ignored it. It was a lot, and then not really much, what I needed. And it was simple too, really. I thought it was. I may be insane, fussing over such details, but it made sense in my mind.
“Do you love me?” I asked him.
He blinked a bit more. “I – Rina, yeah, of course I do, you’re –“
“Then do something for me. Please?”
As his emerald eyes met mine, they were clear. Undoubting and determined. “Anything.”
“Make up with James.”
His eyes widened.
“If you’re not fighting with James because of me, you’ll have no reason to hate me,” I explained to him.
“But I don’t hate you Rina, I –“
“Then prove it,” I crossed my arms resolutely. “Forgive him.”
“If you have no reason to hate me, I have no reason to believe that you do.”
I’m probably stupid and ridiculous. My mind works in funny ways. Even I don’t understand its rationales at times, but I do know what it’s thinking. I never understand why, but this much, I knew.
Albus’s eyes flickered over to James, seated on the couch, completely oblivious, with Stacey talking to him animatedly. He was so caught up in listening to her that he didn’t notice Albus until he was right in front of them.
“What would you do if I told you that Stacey Hart is a bitch?” he questioned frankly.
“I’d break your nose,” James answered simply in the same manner.
“Then you should know,” Albus said, “Stacey’s a bitch.”
The common room fell silent as everyone stared. James had knocked the coffee table over as he leapt across it, now standing over his bleeding brother on the ground, seething.
As Lily quickly emerged and pushed him away and Molly healed his nose, Albus simply looked up at his brother. “Then you know how I feel.”
James shoved Lily out of the way and just looked at him. His eyes flickered over towards me for a moment, but then he was standing over his brother again.
Albus took the offered hand and pulled himself up as James pulled out his wand and directed it towards his face, siphoning off the blood.
A/N: I'll be back with a real A/N, but I have to get dressed for work now! Just review!
(I'm particularly interested in how you guys feel about this one!)
Real A/N: Alright, So, what do we think? A generally heartbreaking chapter to write. The first two scenes really got into Rina's head as she finally admitted what was going on. Her background has her looking at things with a really interesting (dramaitc/heartbreaking) perspective. And then there was Austin and Scorpius's conversation, which got to me about as much as it did to Rina. I guess being a girl herself and living with them, she sees Rose, Callie, and Allison as real people with their real faults, but from her point of view, Scorpius, Albus, Louis, and Austin are kind of idealistic. their conversation was areminder that they actually are really people, and more imporantly, actual teenage boys. Really sweet teenage boys, but boys nonetheless. I'm trying to work on making them real, so we'll see. Then there was the end which had me ecstatic. It's the definition of Rina and Albus, I think, and a really good look into James.
So, that's what I got on this chapter. I lied in the last A/N, by the way; I just finished chapter thirteen, which is where James returns, and I've now started chapter fourteen, which is the beginning of part four of the story. good stuff, and I'm counting on the permenant return of James, finally.
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