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Olive hated being in the library by herself. Well, not literally by herself, but alone in the sense that she knew no one. In actuality there were two Hufflepuff girls sitting at a table close to hers, but the fact remained that she didn’t know them and had no desire to initiate a conversation, as vain as that sounded.

Her aloneness was due to the fact that, on Tuesday mornings, she had a free period, something which wasn’t true for any of her dorm mates or, as it would seem, most of the school. The library was always empty at this time except for her and a few other students. These Hufflepuffs, however, Olive had never seen in her life, which made her think they were actually skipping class rather than not having one at all.

They were laughing. Olive hated the sound of their laughing. It was whiney, and loud, and high-pitched, and she just couldn’t shake the feeling that it was directed at her. But she didn’t look – she didn’t want their attention. Olive blushed, ducked her head, and continued writing, though still wondering what they could be laughing about, needing to know that it wasn’t her.

Her arm froze, quill still touching the parchment, and she listened. They were talking quietly now, so quietly that Olive couldn’t hear them, but she was sure they were talking about her. Why else would they feel the need to keep their voices so low? She tried to ignore them. Cheering charms, she told herself, turning back to her essay. Focus on cheering charms.

Someone sat down beside her. Olive turned to see – it was one of the Hufflepuff girls. Olive’s breath caught in her throat. Were they going to make fun of her to her face? It happened to Myrtle all the time – why shouldn’t it happen to her as well? She began to brace herself.

The girl giggled and opened her mouth to speak. She took a deep breath, but before she spoke any words, she started giggling again and had to look away. Olive’s heart sped up, her hands began to sweat. This girl was laughing about her, and was about to point it out. Olive started closing her book, desperate to escape.

“No wait,” the girl said, sobered. “I just wanted to ask you something.” Olive stopped, her book halfway closed. She sighed, and let it fall open again.

“Is it true,” the girl started, then grinned and shook her head. Olive was growing impatient. “I mean – do you really share a dormitory with Myrtle?”

“Oh,” Olive swallowed. “Well…yea. I do.” Why did they want to know?

“What’s it like?”

Olive lifted her head up and looked at the ceiling. What did they want her to say? Did they expect her to say something bad about Myrtle? Because Olive didn’t want to. Would that make them upset? Perhaps she should just lie. 

“It’s,” Olive searched for an appropriate word, “alright, I suppose.”

The girl was not satisfied by this. “Isn’t it annoying?” she pushed.

Olive’s head was pounding. Why wouldn’t this girl just leave her alone? Or ask Aggie? Aggie would surely have a lot to say, and this girl would probably be a lot more interested in that conversation than this one.

Olive glanced over at her, then down at her book, refusing to make eye contact. “It can get a little,” she swallowed, “annoying.” Would she be happy now? Olive had talked badly about Myrtle, and that was what the girl had wanted. So why wasn’t she leaving?

Olive was growing weary of straddling the line between saying what would prevent this girl from laughing at her and judging her, and saying what would keep Myrtle from being angry at her. It was difficult because Myrtle was offended by just about everything, and this girl seemed to be judging her anyway.

“I’ve heard she cries all the time.”

Somehow, Olive could tell that this conversation would eventually make its way back to Myrtle, and Myrtle would keep thinking she was horrid and mean, and really, Olive couldn’t help but believe her. She just hoped not too many people thought the same way.

“Not – not all the time,” Olive stammered. “She’s not…that bad, really.”

The girl snorted – Honestly, who was this girl? – and began giggling again. And this time, Olive was sure it was she who was being laughed at, even though she was almost certain she had done nothing wrong. Her head hurt, and she wanted to leave.

She gave the girl a small smile, packing up her books and getting up. As she was leaving, she could hear the girls whispering and giggling, and it made her nauseous. She stopped for a second to take a deep breath and calm herself down, and then she continued out of the library, even quicker than before.

---

She had passed very few people in the hallway, luckily. She had had enough of people for one day, and it wasn’t even noon. She only saw a Gryffindor girl named Hazel, she knew, as she had seen her play Quidditch, and a Slytherin – Tom, she thought. She wasn’t sure. He looked older than her. Neither of them spared her even a passing glance. No looks, no intruding questions, no giggling, and Olive was okay with that.

The second floor bathroom was her favorite. Nobody ever used that bathroom – there was no reason to use it. The second floor was filled with unused classrooms, empty corridors, and shady-looking suits of armor, and if Olive weren’t so desperate to be alone, she would probably bypass it as well. In fact, they could probably take the entire second floor from the castle and no one would tell the difference.

As she suspected, the bathroom was empty. Olive sighed in relief as she walked forward to the sinks. She turned on one of the faucets. Water didn’t flow. That’s right, she thought. That was the broken faucet. She tried the next one, and held her hands under the spout when the water began to come out of it.

She took a handful of water, splashing it onto her face, and leant over the basin. Droplets fell from her face into the sink, making a small splash on the porcelain. She stared at it as she tried to quell the nausea growing in her stomach. Her head was spinning. She clutched the edge of the sink so tightly that her knuckles were white.

She heard a sound. A short, quiet creak that a door made when opened on rusty hinges. The sound that the door to every one of these bathroom stalls made when opened or closed. Olive had been here enough times to be able to recognize the sound. How had she not noticed that she wasn’t alone?

She looked in the mirror. There was a girl walking towards her. She recognized her as a Ravenclaw – a second year, she thought. She wasn’t wearing her robes, her shirt was untucked, and her tie was loosened. Olive didn’t know what to say.

The girl walked up to one of the sinks and turned on the faucet before realizing that Olive was still staring at her. She looked at Olive for a second, then down to the sink, then back at Olive.

“What are you looking at?” she asked. Olive jumped slightly. She hadn’t even realized she had been staring.

“Oh!” she squeaked, surprised. “Sorry, I – sorry.”

She eyed Olive carefully. “You’re Olive Hornby,” she said. Olive nodded, feeling the nausea coming back. How had she known her name? Should she know this girl’s name? Olive sincerely hoped she wouldn’t start talking about Myrtle. She had had quite enough of that from the other –

“I’m Eva. I’ve seen you in the tower before.” Olive nodded. Of course, she was overthinking things. Again.

“Right,” Olive said, feeling the need to simply say something. She already didn’t like the way Eva was looking at her.

“Are you okay?” Eva asked.

Olive stepped around her to grab a towel to dry her face and hands. She was thinking about Ravenclaw Tower. Perhaps she would be able to be alone back in the dormitory. Hopefully Myrtle wasn’t skipping class again.

“Olive?”

“What? Oh – yes, I’m fine.”

When Olive left, Eva was still standing by the sinks, washing her hands. She’s probably supposed to be in class, Olive thought, and is trying to waste as much time as possible. Why else would she come all the way to the second floor bathroom?

---

Olive could feel something was off the moment Aggie and Mabel sat down with her, fresh from class. Aggie, who always had something to say, was unusually quiet, though seemingly frustrated for some reason or another (it happened so often that Olive stopped keeping track), and Mabel barely even greeting her, giving her a curt nod and a grim smile.

It wasn’t long until Lottie came into the Great Hall with Charles. She took a worried glance around the room, and when her eyes landed on Olive, she sighed a huge breath of relief and came trotting over. Charles followed her, whispering something in her ear. It was all very unnerving for Olive, especially combined with Aggie’s and Mabel’s strange behavior.

“Go on, I’ll be there in a minute,” Lottie told him, nodding, with one hand on his arm. He seemed to hesitate for only a second before glancing towards Olive and then making his way down the table. As soon as he had left, Lottie turned to them.

“Oh, thank goodness you’re okay!” She cried, throwing her arms around Olive. Olive felt slightly awkward, as she was sitting down while Lottie was standing up, but returned the hug as best she could, albeit confusedly.

“Why? What’s happened?” she asked. She looked between Lottie, who still looked worried, Mabel, who was avoiding her gaze, and Aggie, who was rolling her eyes.

“Haven’t you heard?” Olive shook her head. “They’ve only just told us. Someone else has been attacked.”

Olive froze, her eyes wide, her heart sinking rapidly into her stomach. Suddenly she was nauseous again, but for a whole different reason than before. “Who?” she managed to ask.

Lottie shook her head. “I don’t even know,” she replied, “but surely it doesn’t matter does it? There’s been another attack. I can’t even believe this is happening.”

Olive’s mind was in overdrive, and so many questions were running through it. She opened her mouth to say one thing, but then thought of another thing she wanted to say, and another, and another, until the best thing she could do was close her mouth, sit back, and hope the issue would be addressed some other way.

“Where-” she started, then closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Where did it happen?” she tried again.

“Just outside the bathrooms on the second floor. They’ve closed off the entire corridor!”

Just outside the second floor bathroom. The second floor bathroom, where she had been just half an hour ago. The second floor bathroom, where she could have been attacked had she been there only 30 minutes later.

“When?” Olive pressed on. She had an idea about the identity of the victim. She only hoped she was wrong. She looked up and down the Ravenclaw table, looking for Eva. She wasn’t there. It can’t be, Olive thought. It can’t. Myrtle wasn’t there either, but nobody seemed to be worried about her.

“Only twenty minutes ago. Maybe a little longer. They came into our Arithmancy class to tell us, but they wouldn’t tell us who, and I know you had a free period this morning and – oh, Olive, I was so worried!”

Twenty minutes ago. Second floor bathroom. Lottie was so worried, but it only happened twenty minutes ago. Ten minutes after she had been there. Outside the second floor bathroom. Why was Lottie worried? She had barely seen Lottie all month. Why wasn’t anybody else worried? Olive was going to be sick, maybe. She couldn’t quite tell yet.

“Did you know?” She asked, directing her question at Aggie and Mabel.

Mabel looked at her guiltily. “I didn’t want to worry you-”

“It could have been me!” The panic was going to Olive’s head. She couldn’t think. She had forgotten all about those two girls laughing at her in the library, Myrtle calling her horrid, Ardella thinking she was a dunce. Mabel had lied to her. Mabel, who had just yesterday held her hand and told her everything was going to be okay. Mabel, her best friend since first year. She would expect this from Aggie, but Mabel?

“I figured you would be careful, I know you’ve been anxious about all this!”

Olive shook her head. She wanted to scream. She wanted to run through the corridors as fast as she could until she was lying, shaking on the floor, unable to get up again. She wanted to hurt something. She wanted to go up to Ardella, or that girl from the library, and-

“I’m sorry, Olive.”

She was going to be sick. Olive’s eyes widened as she clapped a hand to her mouth and ran out of the Great Hall.

---

Classes had been canceled for the rest of the day. Prefects were required to keep students in the Common Room. Lottie stood off to the side with Charles, who, conveniently, was also a prefect. Mabel sat in a large armchair by the fire. Olive, Aggie and Myrtle studied at a table close by. There wasn’t much else to do but study.

It hadn’t been Myrtle – she had been in Ravenclaw Tower all day, still refusing to go to classes. Eva was nowhere to be seen, but the victim of the attack had yet to be announced, and Olive was still holding out an ounce of hope.

“Where’s Myrtle?” Aggie asked. Olive looked up from her work.

“Upstairs,” she said.

Aggie nodded, taking her quill in both hands. She smirked. “I thought maybe she was-”

Mabel coughed loudly from behind Aggie, effectively interrupting her and shutting her up. Aggie glared at her.

“Like we all weren’t hoping it,” she muttered.

---

Olive blinked. Two hours had passed, and she had reread the same line in her book four times, and still hadn’t grasped the meaning of it. Everything was blurring together. Her head was aching and her arms and legs were getting heavier and heavier. She couldn’t stop thinking about Eva. Perhaps she was just in her dormitory.

Olive closed her book loudly and got up, tucking the book under her arm.

“Where are you going?” Mabel asked. Her eyes darted to the Common Room entrance, as if Olive was planning a great escape. As if Olive would even try to escape.

“I need a break,” she said.

She heard a third-year chuckling behind her. She closed her eyes and she ignored it.

---

The second-year girls’ dormitory was empty. Olive thought maybe she had mistaken Eva’s year, so she checked the first-year and third-year dormitories as well. They were both empty.

Myrtle, however, was occupying the fifth-year dormitory. She looked up when Olive entered.

“I haven’t been attacked, if that’s what you came up here to see,” she pouted, although Olive could sense a lack of enthusiasm behind her words. She knew Myrtle must be as scared as she was.

Olive shook her head. “You should come study with us,” she proposed. Myrtle looked up at her, threw her head back and gave a short laugh. She didn’t say anything else. Olive blushed.

She took her book from her bed and left quickly.

---

It wasn’t until after the prefects escorted them to dinner that Myrtle finally came downstairs. So, when they all came back from the Great Hall, she was there, at the same table Aggie and Olive had been studying at earlier. Aggie groaned.

“What’s she doing here?” she mumbled. Mabel only walked back to the armchair by the fire. Olive hadn’t spoken to her since lunch, but was too nervous to start things back up, even though she was supposedly her best friend. Maybe she didn’t want to be Olive’s friend anymore. Maybe she had grown tired of Olive. So many maybes, and Olive was sure one of them must be true.

Everyone went back to their original seats and positions except for Aggie and Olive, who stood just inside the entrance to the Common Room. Olive bit her lip.

“Shall we find someplace else, then?” Aggie suggested tiredly. Olive met her eyes for a brief second before glancing at Myrtle, sitting alone at their table, books open. Her elbow rested on the table, and she was twirling her pigtails around her fingers.

Olive hesitated for the shortest of moments before walking over to the table and sitting down next to Myrtle. She didn’t look at her while she set her things on the table and resumed her reading. She saw Myrtle glance up at her from the corner of her eye. She didn’t meet her gaze.

Aggie sat down next to Olive less than a minute later. She bumped into Olive - accidentally-on-purpose, Olive assumed - as she moved past her to sit down, and refused to look at her or speak to her.

It made Olive uneasy, not knowing who her friends really were, or who really cared about her. At the moment, it seemed Aggie couldn’t care less, and Mabel and she hadn’t spoken in hours. Weren’t they supposed to be best friends? Lottie had gotten over her anxiety fairly quickly, and hadn’t said a word to Olive since ‘the incident’.

The only one to show genuine compassion towards Olive that day had been Eva, and now she…

Olive shook her head and continued reading, hoping her studies would be able to take her mind off of everything.

---

Myrtle was drumming her fingers on the table.

Thump thump thump.

Thump thump thump.

Olive hadn’t noticed at first. What she had noticed was Aggie’s increasing irritability, shifting in her seat, looking up at everyone at the table, and growling under her breath when she thought no one could hear. That’s when Olive realized what was bothering her.

Olive didn’t mind, at least not enough to say something. She was sure she had a few nervous ticks herself, and would be mortified if someone pointed them out to her. She didn’t want to embarrass Myrtle. She kept quiet.

Finally, Aggie sat up and pressed her palms against the surface of the table. “If you keep drumming those damn fingers on the table, Myrtle,” she hissed, “You won’t have anything to worry about some sodding monster, because I will murder you myself.”

Olive looked around the room. Surely a remark like that wouldn’t be allowed. No one had heard. Lottie was sitting in the corner with Charles, her prefect duties apparently forgotten. The sixth-year prefects were playing wizard’s chess in front of the fire, too wrapped up in their game to pay any attention to what was going on around them. The seventh years were nowhere to be found. Had they forgotten, or did they just not care? Did anyone care besides Olive?

“Don’t be so insensitive,” Mabel admonished quietly. Olive met her eyes briefly before looking back down at her books.

 

A/N: Like I said, I'm trying to get this up rather quickly to meet the deadline and also so I can keep working on K&Q. Please Review!

Also - got a question? Visit my MTA page! 

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