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Friday

Thursday had come and passed without incident, and without speaking to anybody. Philip had continued to hang around Mabel, meaning (to Olive, at least), that she couldn’t. And so, she didn’t. She sat a few chairs away in Transfiguration and Defense Against the Dark Arts, by herself. Philip had sat with Mabel, Lottie was, of course, with Charles again, and Aggie was obstinately refusing to acknowledge her.

It was like they were slipping away from her. All of her friends were gliding right through her fingers, and no matter how tightly she closed her fist, she couldn’t make them stay.

It wasn’t until Friday night that she finally had a conversation with one of her dorm mates.

“I assume you’ll be going to Hogsmeade with the rest of them?” Myrtle asked her. Olive looked over at her. Myrtle was lying on her back on her bed, staring at the ceiling. Her arms were crossed over her chest and her knees were up so her feet lay flat on the mattress.

Olive cleared her throat. She didn’t hear the usual animosity in Myrtle’s voice, but then again, she was probably just imagining things. “No,” she mumbled. “No, I’m staying here.” Olive returned to flipping through her Divination notes while sitting cross-legged on her own bed. It wasn’t the most convenient place to study, but it took her away from Mabel and Aggie, who were sitting by the fire in the common room. It crossed Olive’s mind more than once that they were probably talking about her. It made her dizzy.

“Why not?”

“Don’t have anyone to go with,” Olive said, then added, “unless you’d like to go.”

Myrtle shot her a glare – back to normal, Olive thought – and said, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I’m not-” Olive broke off suddenly and sighed. Shaking her head, she said, “never mind.”

Myrtle eyed her carefully, the glare dropping from her face. “What’s got you so melancholy? It’s Friday, aren’t you supposed to be having fun with your friends?” she waved her hand, as if suggesting Olive should leave.

Olive looked at her. “No,” she said. “No, I’m just – I was going to get some studying done.”

“On a Friday night?” Myrtle scoffed. Olive blushed. It did seem…lame, didn’t it?

Well what are you doing here, then? She wanted to ask, but bit her tongue.

“I’m failing Divination,” Olive confessed, looking down into her book and flipping through the pages rapidly. Her blush deepened. She was a Ravenclaw, for Merlin’s sake, wasn’t she supposed to be smart?

“I’m sure I’m failing most of my classes now, too,” Myrtle said. “But I think it’s more important to make sure I don’t die than to go to class.”

“The castle’s safer than you think,” Olive said softly, desperately hoping that she wouldn’t upset Myrtle. “I’m sure you’ll be okay if you go to class.” Even as she said this, she knew it was a lie. Myrtle didn’t need her to say it to know that she was terrified every time she left the tower. Olive was sure of it.

“I’m sure that’s what Eva thought, too,” Myrtle pointed out abrasively.

Olive squeezed her eyes shut as her heart dropped. She didn’t want to think about Eva. She didn’t want to think about anything. But the image of her lying on the hospital bed came to Olive’s mind before she could stop it. She started getting nauseous again.

“You’re lucky you haven’t been hurt.”

Yes, that’s right, she thought dryly, lucky. She opened her mouth to respond, when the door sprung open and Aggie came into the room. Her eyes flickered between Olive and Myrtle, and then narrowed.

“What have you been doing up here?” she asked suspiciously.

Olive held up her book for Aggie to see. “Studying,” she said, as Aggie walked across the room to her dresser and opened the top drawer.

“You couldn’t study with us?” Aggie bit out.

Olive couldn’t think of anything to say. She sat there, staring at Aggie, thinking desperately of something to respond with that would assuage the tension in the room from every direction, but nothing was coming. Her mind was blank. Again. She hadn’t even known she would be welcome to study with them downstairs. If she had, she probably would have –

“She doesn’t have to study with you, you know,” Myrtle said, interrupting her thoughts. “She can do what she likes.”

Aggie shot her a look. “I didn’t ask your opinion,” she sneered, then turned back to Olive. “Anyway, it’s no use now, I’m going to bed and Mabel will be up in only a minute. She’s just getting her plans set for tomorrow.”

Olive gulped. Tomorrow was the Hogsmeade weekend. Mabel had plans? What kind of plans? She hoped they didn’t involve that awful Philip. She wished Mabel had told her, but she really wasn’t surprised. She had barely said anything to her all week.

“Plans?” She asked calmly, trying not to let her voice betray her.

Aggie nodded as she pushed her blankets back and climbed into bed. “Philip’s asked her to Hogsmeade. At first she told him no, but I think she’s just agreed to it.”

Olive leaned over and placed her book on the floor, hiding her face from Aggie. She didn’t want Aggie to see that something was wrong. I have no right to be upset, she thought to herself. Mabel can go to Hogsmeade with whomever she likes. Olive had no claim over her. But still, she couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed, like Mabel had replaced her.

“I don’t like him,” Myrtle said bluntly.

“That’s only because he hid your glasses in Charms last week,” Aggie replied.

“He teases me all the time.”

Aggie snorted. “Well it’s no wonder you haven’t got any friends, if you’re just going to dislike everyone who dislikes you.” Myrtle huffed, and Aggie rolled her eyes.

Olive tuned them out, instead focusing on the voices approaching the door. Almost instantly, she recognized them as Lottie and Mabel.

“I’m so glad you decided to come with us,” Lottie said. “Philip’s been talking incessantly about asking you, and I know Charles would love to have you come along with us.” Olive grimaced. Suddenly it seemed as if Aggie, Mabel and Lottie were inseparable. Where did that leave her?

“Are you sure it’s okay? Philip and I can always go out on our own.” At this point, the door was pushed open and they walked into the room. Olive was still sitting up in bed, underneath the covers, looking intently at the wall and listening, but when she heard the door open her eyes snapped to Mabel. Mabel was looking at Lottie as they both walked to their beds.

“It’s no problem at all,” Lottie grinned. “We’ll have to go to Gladrags, I have to show you some of the clothes there. And Charles has been wanting to go to Tomes and Scrolls. Oh, and we have to go to Honeydukes!”

Mabel was smiling. She looked excited. Olive could feel herself growing more and more angry as Lottie continued to talk. Her and Mabel always went to Hogsmeade together. They always looked into Gladrags and laughed at the things they saw there. They spent most of their time in Tomes and Scrolls. And they always went to Honeydukes.

It isn’t fair, Olive thought.

Mabel cleared her throat, and Olive looked up at her. She was staring at her, but Olive couldn’t place the look on her face. Was it apologetic? Expectant? Angry? Olive couldn’t tell, and it only made her more upset. She wished people would just say what they were thinking so she wouldn’t have to guess all the time – and she wouldn’t always be wrong about it.

Olive ignored her and slid further into her bed. She looked away quickly, rolled over, and pretended to sleep.


Saturday

Mabel was gone when Olive woke up Saturday morning. Myrtle was still asleep, not surprisingly, and Aggie and Lottie were shuffling around the room, getting their things ready for the day.

“You can still come with us, you know,” Lottie said quietly. Olive peeked over at her. She was sifting through her closet, taking various items out and laying them on her bed. Aggie was on her bed, working with her hair.

Aggie snorted. “I’d rather go by myself then watch you four get all…coupley,” she said. “No offense.”

“Well, I’m sure nobody would mind. Besides, what are you going to do by yourself?” Lottie picked up a dress from her bed, holding it up to her body and observing herself in the mirror. She tilted her head to the side and bit her lip.

“I’m not sure Mabel would be too happy about me intruding on her first date with this guy. I’ll probably just be at The Three Broomsticks the whole time.” Olive felt the now familiar twisting feeling in her gut at the mention of Philip, and pulled her blankets tighter around her body. Aggie glanced over at her at the slight movement, and blinked before turning back to Lottie.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Lottie said. “You know she wouldn’t mind. She’d love to have you there, you know how upset she’s been about…well, you know.”

Olive pursed her lips. She didn’t know. She was Mabel’s best friend, supposedly, and she didn’t know. Or maybe they weren’t best friends anymore. Olive wasn’t sure where she stood with anybody anymore.

Aggie didn’t respond, but Olive heard her sigh deeply. She stood up and walked over to Lottie and began whispering. Olive strained her ears to try and hear what they were saying, but quickly found that they were being too quiet, which meant they were probably talking about her. Olive closed her eyes and took a deep, calming breath as she clutched her blankets even tighter. Her head had started hurting again, and her chest was starting to feel constricted.

“Wear the green one,” Aggie said finally.

“You think he’ll like that?” Of course. Everything revolved around Charles. When it wasn’t revolving around Philip.

---

Olive had gone to the library almost as soon as Aggie and Lottie left. There were a few first- and second-years hanging about, but for the most part Olive was the only one there, which suited her just fine. She had been thinking for weeks about how she needed time alone to focus on catching up in Divination, and now she had her chance.

However, this soon led to frustration. Olive simply couldn’t keep her mind on one thing at a time, and as soon as she opened her book, questions about Mabel and Philip filled her mind. She read the same sentence five times before it even began to make sense to her. This, coupled with the leftover anxiety from Eva’s attack, as well as fear for her own safety, only ensured that Olive would be unable to get anything done. She let her head hit the table.

A minute later, she shook her head and sat back up, closing her book and instead taking out a piece of parchment to start her essay on. Perhaps it was just reading she was having trouble with. Maybe an essay would be different.

She tapped her quill impatiently on her parchment. What could they all be doing? Were they holding hands? Olive’s fist clenched, but she didn’t notice. Were they talking about her? They were probably talking about how boring and stupid she was, or perhaps how cruel she was being. She didn’t mean to be cruel, but she was starting to think that’s how people viewed her.

She felt tears prickling in the back of her eyes and closed them, opening her hands and letting her quill fall to the table. This wasn’t working. She wasn’t getting anything done, and she was sure nothing would change in the next few hours. She looked around the room. A young girl was sitting a table a short ways away, flipping through a large book and taking notes on a piece of parchment. Olive felt a jolt of envy. Why couldn’t she focus like that?

With one last short glance towards the girl at the table, Olive crumpled her parchment and threw it roughly into her bag.

---

It wasn’t until she had left the library that she realized how alone she really was. Not just emotionally, but physically, too. She passed nobody on her way back to the tower, and the only sounds which kept her company were harsh breathing and her loud footsteps. They echoed off the walls and down the corridor, leading her back to the Tower.

She was stopped by an approaching sound, which she immediately thought odd, as she was sure she was the only one wandering the corridors at this time. The second thought that struck her was that it was unlike anything she had heard before. It wasn’t a sound of footsteps, that was for sure, but she simply couldn’t place it. It was more of a…a sliding sound, although even that was inaccurate.

It scared her. It wasn’t the not knowing part – she was no stranger to that – but just the fact that someone was coming and she wasn’t going to be alone anymore when she truly, deeply, wanted to be by herself. She didn’t want to see anyone or be around anyone or anything of the sort. It was an unexplainable, unfathomable reaction, but Olive was often anxious at very random moments, and this was nothing new to her. Without a second thought, she ducked behind a tapestry and pressed her back up against the wall. Her heart was beating so hard in her chest that she could feel it in her ears. No matter how deeply she breathed, it was never deep enough.

It was the strangest sound Olive had ever heard. It didn’t sound like footsteps, and she wasn’t sure how she had ever thought that that’s what it was. It was more of a squelching sound, but Olive couldn’t place what it was, and had no desire to lift the tapestry to find out. She held her breath and stood completely still until the sound had past, and it wasn’t until almost five minutes later that Olive finally felt comfortable lifting the tapestry out of the way and looking both ways down the corridor.

---

“What’s wrong with you?” Myrtle asked her as soon as she had gotten back to Ravenclaw Tower. “You’re trembling.”

Olive looked down at herself. She was shaking. She hadn’t even noticed. She looked back at Myrtle, her heart still beating wildly, her palms still sweating profusely. She wiped them on her shirt and swallowed.

“W-what?” she stammered, her voice betraying her. “There’s nothing…nothing wrong.”

Myrtle looked at her suspiciously. “I’m not stupid, Olive. I know you may think that I am, but I’m not. I know something’s wrong. Where have you been, anyway?”

“Oh, I-” Olive faltered, looking toward the stairway, then back at Myrtle. “Second floor. Bathroom.” This was, of course, untrue, as Olive had merely been in the library all day, but the words just came out. Whether it was a subconscious wish, or just a force of habit, Olive was unsure.

Myrtle looked at her disbelievingly. “Well that was stupid. Do you have a death wish?” she said. Olive shook her head quickly. “Why would you possibly think that that was a good idea?”

“No, I…I didn’t…” Olive trailed off and ran a hand over her hair, grabbing at the back with a fist. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Nobody ever goes there. I wanted to be alone.” Another lie, but she couldn’t backtrack now. Myrtle would only admonish her more if she did.

Myrtle narrowed her eyes. “Well, I’m sorry I’m not good enough company for you.” she griped.

Olive sighed. She wanted to cry.

---

“Where’s Mabel?” Olive asked from her bed. It was dark outside. Aggie had returned at least two hours ago, and they were getting ready for bed.

“I don’t know,” Aggie said dismissively. “Probably with Lottie. Or Philip.”

“They’re not back yet?”

“No.”


Sunday

Olive was aware of her before she sat down across the table. She pushed her hair behind her ears and folded her hands in her lap before looking up at Mabel.

“Hi,” Mabel said, giving Olive a small smile. Olive bit her lip and looked down at the table.

“How have you been?” Mabel leaned over the table to look Olive in the eye, but Olive continued to look away. She was sure that if she met Mabel’s eyes, she would start crying again.

“Good,” Olive said quietly and vaguely. “I’ve been good.”

Mabel’s face seemed to fall the smallest bit, but she soon picked herself back up and smiled. “That’s good,” she said. She took a deep breath and continued. “I had a date yesterday.”

Olive closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, unsure as to why Mabel was bringing this up. Was she trying to torture her? She didn’t want to hear about it.

“Oh?”

Mabel nodded. “I did. With Philip, you remember him.” Of course she remembered him. How could she forget? “We went with Lottie and Charles. It was fun. You should have come”

Olive grimaced. She had no desire to hear about how fun her date had been with Philip, and she most definitely should not have come. Mabel’s smile faltered at Olive’s look, but didn’t disappear completely.

“So how was your day yesterday?” Mabel asked.

“It was fine,” Olive said noncommittally. Mabel arched an eyebrow.

“What did you do?”

Olive shrugged. “Went to the library.”

Mabel looked at her for another second. “Olive, what’s wrong?”

Everything. “Nothing’s wrong, I-”

“I know you’ve been avoiding me. And now you don’t even want to talk?”

Mabel was getting all of the wrong ideas, but Olive didn’t know how to correct her. She hadn’t been avoiding her. In fact, Olive was sure that Mabel had been the one avoiding her. And then she said the first thing that came to her mind.

“I’m sure you’d rather be with Philip right now, anyway,” Olive said. She regretted it instantly, as soon as her head caught up to her mouth. Why did I say that? Mabel’s eyes narrowed into a look that Olive hoped never to see directed towards her again, and shook her head. Everything Olive was feeling was beginning to spill over, and she was trying her hardest to control it.

“Fine,” she said suddenly, rising from her seat. She lifted her goblet and took a last, long swig of water. “Forget it. Thought you might want to talk, but apparently you’re doing just fine on your own. Fine.” Olive gaped at her as she slammed her goblet down on the table and stalked out of the Great Hall.

---

Olive had never spent much time out on the grounds. She was usually in the library or Ravenclaw Tower, or sometimes even the second floor bathroom, but today she decided that she had nowhere else to go. She had grown rather tired of the library recently, and the Common Room was a definite no.

The grounds were emptier than she thought they would be, but perhaps that was only because it had grown a bit chilly over the week. Olive didn’t mind, but maybe others did. The wind wasn’t blowing very hard, only hard enough to cause a gentle sway in the branches of the trees. Birds flitted to and fro as Olive walked along.

A little ways away, she saw Lottie sitting under a tree with Charles. She hadn’t known that Lottie came here, and was a little surprised. However, when she thought about it a little more, it began to make sense. Why she never saw Lottie around the castle, that is.

She began to walk over to them, but stopped halfway there. She knew Lottie, but she had only spoken to Charles once or twice since she was sorted into Ravenclaw. And, she wouldn’t be surprised if Charles had heard much about her from Lottie and, now, Mabel. Would they have said good things about her? What good things were there to say in the first place?

In the end, she turned around and walked back into the castle. She had no doubt that Charles already had a few preconceived notions about her, and she had no wish to find out what they were.

---

Olive could hear the yelling even before she opened the door, and braced herself for what was coming. Quietly, she pushed open the door. Myrtle was lying on her bed, as usual, and Aggie was standing by her own bed, across the room.

“-sleeping, you bint!” Aggie was yelling. Myrtle stood her ground defiantly, her chin in the air and her arms across her chest.

“Well how was I to know that? It’s three in the afternoon, most normal people are up by then!”

Aggie laughed humorlessly. “Oh, I hope you’re not referring to yourself!”

“And why shouldn’t I?” Myrtle replied. Olive groaned inwardly. Knowing Aggie, the answer wasn’t going to be pleasant.

“Because all you are is a bloody pain in my arse! Honestly, I wish that bloody monster would just come and-”

“How you have any friends is beyond-”

“Oh, and you’re one to talk about having friends? You have no one, Myrtle. You’re alone, and you’re going to stay alone for the rest of your pathetic life!”

Silence filled the space between everybody. Olive froze as she walked over to her bed. Aggie was breathing hard as she kept her hand raised and pointed straight at Myrtle. And Myrtle looked as though she had been petrified. Olive’s eyes closed instinctively as she fought down another wave of nausea. The description Aggie had pointed out sounded so familiar to her.

“I have Olive,” Myrtle said finally. Her voice was strong, though Olive was sure she must be shaking madly on the inside. Aggie’s eyes shifted to Olive, as if she had just realized she were there, then focused back on Myrtle. Her lips twisted into a dark kind of smirk.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she scoffed. “Olive isn’t your friend. You’re delusional.” Olive wanted to protest, to yell out that she could make her own decisions. But what would Aggie think? She would think that Olive was leaving her behind, and the thought scared Olive. She didn’t know what Aggie was capable of, or what she would do to her.

“She’s perfectly capable of speaking for herself,” Myrtle said, and suddenly all eyes were on Olive. This isn’t what she wanted. She didn’t want to be in the middle of their argument, as if she didn’t have enough worries of her own. They were looking at her expectantly, and it was giving her a headache. How was she supposed to answer?Surely, they weren’t asking her to choose, were they?

She looked at Myrtle, then at Aggie. They were asking her to choose. But how could she do that with both of them there in front of her? All she wanted was to go to bed and she wished she had only waited for the yelling to stop and dammit she was going to cry again.

She wished that she and Mabel weren’t fighting anymore, and that she were in this room with them, and that she were defending her. Mabel would know what to say. She would probably tell them that there was no reason to choose, and that Olive could be friends with whomever she wanted.

But she and Mabel weren’t talking, and even if Mabel were there, Olive doubted that she would even consider helping. And Olive couldn’t defend herself, because no one would listen to her.

She needed to get out of that room.

---

The second floor bathroom had been opened again the day before, and for that, Olive was glad. She was glad that she had somewhere to go, and extremely thankful that everyone else was too scared to come there. Olive couldn’t say that she wasn’t scared, but everything else going on had overpowered that fear, and now there was only an urge to be alone.

It didn’t feel the same as it had before. With every step Olive took towards the sink, the image of Eva washing her hands only became clearer and clearer. The room, her room, was tainted. It was different. How symbolic, Olive thought wryly. How fitting, that as her own life falls apart, so does her peace and solitude.

Aggie was right. She had to make a choice. She couldn’t continue trying to be nice to Myrtle while trying to appease Aggie at the same time, because the two were complete opposites. But she couldn’t just choose one. Myrtle was weak and misunderstanding and sensitive, but Aggie was so abrasive and mean. Truthfully, Olive would be okay choosing neither of them.

But even she couldn’t predict that by that time the next day, there wouldn’t be a choice to make. The choice would be made for her.

---

When she returned to the Tower, Olive stayed in the Common Room, avoiding everyone until she was sure they would all be asleep. It was two in the morning when she finally decided it was safe to go back into her dormitory.

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