I jumped unsteadily back in to my bed, pulling back the duvet that I had earlier kicked aside. My thick socks were in need of a wash, the holes needing to be sewed. I had stayed quiet this morning, lying silently as the other girls stepped out of their pyjamas and in to their school uniforms.
Marilyn sniggered as she took sight of the closed curtains around my bed, laughing with her friends about my absolutely pathetic abilities when it came to social tendencies. I closed my eyes and held the book close to my chest.
No one had returned to the dormitories today, not one. I had double potions today, two sessions with Albus, then double Charms, sat between Jack and Perry. I finished with Runes, an hour with Scorpius. I knew I would be lectured. I took the cowards way out and failed to even open my curtains until past lunch.
Opening my eyes I sat back up groggily. I wasn’t tired, but I had absolutely no intentions of going anywhere. As I leaned forward I caught sight of myself in the small wall mirror. A pale figure stared back, red blotches upon her face from where she had buried it in to her pillow. Her light eyes seemed lifeless, colourless in the dim light of the room. Fake rain pelted the underground windows.
I turned away and fell back on to my bed.
Upon looking back to the door way only moments later, I was no longer alone.
“Oh,” Nina exclaimed lightly, a startled expression shot on to her face. “I’m sorry; I didn’t think anyone was in here.”
My arms crossed childishly and I lay back, straight. “It’s okay.”
She took another step in to the room, her high heeled walk seemingly louder than I remember. “I just need to grab my cardi, Marilyn borrowed it last night and didn’t give it back.”
“Go ahead,” I said, gesturing to the chair, where her cardigan lay.
Nina walked quickly, grabbing the folded garment and returned quickly to the open doorway. I waited for her to leave, to just walk and not come back. Yet she didn’t. Still with her back facing the room, she waited for a moment, her head low.
After moments of silence and a sigh, she turned back to me. “I didn’t want you to get mixed up in it all Ranny,” she said quietly. “Albus and I were fighting a lot, but I meant what I said, when I told you that I wanted to be friends. You’re kind and generous-“
“I’m sorry.” She finished with. She turned around to leave but stopped once again at the wooden door. Her slender fingers ran down the panelling. “The only friends I ever made at this school were the likes of Rose and Marilyn, the girls who like to cause others misery. I thought that, that is all there was. But then I met you. I thought Al was joking when he told me that you weren’t exaggerating your love of all things mythical.”
I rubbed my left eye with the back of my hand. “So I love fairy tales and legends. You can borrow a book if that what you’re after.”
“No, Ranny, no, that’s not what I’m trying to say.” She sighed again and walked towards my bed, perching on the end. I pulled my feet up to my chest and crossed them. “I just … that night, in the Common Room, with Jack, we spent hours just talking, there was no bitching, no name calling, no plotting, we just sat and talked, mostly about Perry and his bat-crazy antics.”
My chest seized up at the mention of his name. I had hurt him; Jack had told me that I had upset him. It appeared that I had made quite a few people angry.
Nina laughed nervously. “It’s just, when I didn’t see you anymore, I realised that I … missed you. I missed the way that you turned everything in to a fairy tale; it made a shit life seem grand. You always have a knack for making other’s feel better Ranny. I understand if you don’t forgive me, but I would love to have a second chance.”
I brushed my hair away from my forehead and ignored the internal nudging that my heart was providing me with.
She wasn’t Hook at all; she was, and always had been Wendy. Nina didn’t want the wreck the life of Peter, she wanted to help; she wanted a friend. Whether or not she wanted to grow up, she knew that she had to, and right now she was rising above what other’s thought of her and her decisions, to apologise.
“Of course,” I said quietly. “Everyone makes mistakes. I didn’t realise until recently just quite how easy it is to hurt someone. But Scorpius thinks you’re a liar … if I found out that he’s right then I don’t know what I’d do; I don’t know if I can take much more social attack.”
“I’m not a liar.” She buried her hands in to the material of her jumper. “Thank you, Ranny. But, as your one and only girlfriend, do I get the honour of knowing why you’re ditching today?”
“Nope,” I popped the ‘p’. “I don’t even really know myself to be honest.”
“You’re just, taking a break?” she substituted. I nodded and she seemed satisfied with the answer. As Nina stood up from the bed and walked back towards the door. “Thank you Ranny, really, thank you. And I am here if you need some girly advice. I won’t pass it on to the Sherrif, I promise.”
It wasn’t until the door had clicked shut that I realised that it wasn’t a façade. She honestly was sorry. Nina had a knack for lying; she was a brilliant actress, but she remembered the name I had for Rose. Another of her qualities was her memory; she had the brain of a sieve. For her to remember something as touching as a name – it made the punching in my chest seem less than it was.
The door swung open a second time.
“Did I just see Nina Clark?” Scorpius asked rudely. “Bloody bint, she is.”
He walked straight forward, not for a second stopping to see if I were in a state of undress, and pulled the duvet from my grip. He took the book from my pillow and placed it in to my trunk at the foot of my bed.
I nodded and pouted slightly at the new found cold.
He sighed and picked at a strand of my dry hair. “Oh Ran, when Jack said that we’d deal with this in the morning, I think that he actually expected you to get up.”
“I can’t,” I replied. “I can’t face them, not after what I’ve done.”
“You haven’t done anything wrong – don’t argue.” His voice was so stern even the portraits in the room stopped moving.
Scorpius took a moment to take in my appearance, something he should have done at the start. He grabbed my green knitted cardigan from the end of my bed and threw it at me. I peeled it from my face to see my boots being hurled towards me next.
I opened my mouth to speak, but seemed to only retract letters instead.
“Get up,” he said sharply. “I promised to make you dinner in the kitchens – I think it’s about time I followed through.”
My eyes cast towards the material in his grasp. An apron.
“I didn’t realise that it got this busy,” I acknowledged as I sipped on my tea.
Scorpius laughed and spooned another mound of mashed potato in to his mouth, “its dinner time above us, the elves work like soldiers.”
“They’re like clockwork,” I admired as I watched quietly upon the line of elves, working away at a chosen station.
The lighting was dim, the windowless room lit only with lanterns and candles. A curtain hung behind where we sat, the cold stone covered. I helped myself to a spoonful of potato and ate it happily. Beside me, Scorpius sat cheerfully, still wearing his apron. He had cooked the meal himself, the house elves more than happy to encourage him as he worked.
Only minutes before ago he had approached the small resting table and placed down two plates filled with sausages, mashed potatoes and an array of vegetables. ‘It’s the only meal I can cook’, he claimed. It’s lovely.
Scorpius sighed and tugged at the strings on the apron. “Ranny, do you want to talk about it?”
I suddenly felt the urge to simply push the potato around the plate rather than eat it. “Not really.”
“Too bad, we’re discussing the fiasco.” He told me, before looking up from his plate. “There’s nothing that I can say to you, that’s going to help you make up your mind; you’re too indecisive.”
Gripping the cutlery, I used the end of the fork as a sword to the table. I was indecisive, I’d give Little John that, but I always made the right decision in the end. Always.
“Consider it a quest,” he resumed. He had seen my vacant expression, using this to his advantage. Taking hold of the fork I was jabbing against the table, he resumed, “you’re the Princess, no … the Kings Ward, so beautiful it’s been rumoured that you are the reason the stars shine at night. You have been told to marry by the Great King – in this case, the Great King being blonde and short with eyes that are too big for his head.”
“Don’t be mean about Jack,” I said through a mouthful of tea.
The blonde simply chuckled lowly and began to tap his fingers against the wooden table. “You feel trapped, humiliated, caged in, but you do have options. There’s the protective route, you could marry the Prince who will take care of you, who will nurture and love you. But you’d be his forever, he’s got anger issues, but he’s always had a soft spot for you. He’s the Great Kings brother, so naturally the King is a little unsure about the whole ordeal.”
I snorted. “The Great King isn’t unsure, there’s a rift between the kingdoms; he and his brother don’t get along. Besides, Thomas is lovely, but he’s not the one for me.”
“Then we ignore that option, another?” he questioned. I nodded and waited patiently as he considered an analogy. “There’s the suitable option, sensible, lovable, what would usually be considered right. He is everything you could want in a Prince, intelligence, bravery and kindness. He cares deeply for you, and of course, the Great King approves; his friendship with this suitor is stronger than any bond blood could form. But he’s promiscuous, and he’s already hurt you once; he gets along a little too well with your enemies.”
“Too far, and besides, he’s not just brave, he’s stupidly brave.” I added timidly. “Perry is always hurt; I don’t like to see the people I care about hurt. And then of course, he’s got himself a long chain of admirers. ”
“Don’t all of the Princes?”
“But one of them is rather a rather nasty, persistent character.” I felt my lungs suddenly become weighted as I considered what the next option was. “Besides, Perry is too calm. I’ve never seen him angry.”
I felt Scorpius’s eyes wander over my half eaten dinner. He handed me back my fork and began again. “You’ve always got the prerogative of care. The last suitor drives you crazy, he makes you cry, he makes you run in to a forest and set fire to your most prized possessions, he is easily angered, and easily jealous. But he’s your best friend.
“All the way through the hardship of your struggles, he’s been there. The Great King has never approved, neither have many others, but he’s always been stood beside you, him and a dashing young blonde.” He explained with a wide grin and a wink. “He’s also kind, and generous, and loyal to those of whom he loves, one of which, no matter what option you take, will always be you. He will be with you always, no matter which kingdom you choose.”
Neither of us spoke for several minutes, we simply ate in silence. A house elf asked if we needed anything, but quietly Scorpius insisted that we were alright. And I knew that he wasn’t lying, for once, I felt like things were going to be okay. Sitting in the kitchens, away from the others, reality felt so far away.
I could burry my face in to my pillows again tomorrow, I could hide away from the choices I had to make, or I could face them head on, like the heroine, which I knew was inside me somewhere, would want me to do.
Draining the bottom of my tea mug, and scraping the last of the food from my plate, I sat back with a satisfied sigh.
When put in to the analogy that I was presented with, was I honestly looking for Jack’s approval? A part of me knew that I was. I had grown to adore the boy; he had helped me through when the two that I trusted the most weren’t around to. Yet, if I didn’t choose his way, a part of me wondered if he would ever speak to me again.
But would I benefit from being with Perry? I would be calm, there would be no arguments, and there wouldn’t be any secrets … from my part. Perry James was known for being mysterious. Unless I dragged the sentence from him, it wouldn’t come. But he would be kind to me.
It didn’t feel right, liking more than one person. I felt dirty. I felt like a liar, a cheat.
The plates between the two of us disappeared and were replaced with a second pot of tea. I thanked the elf in charge.
“Do you want to hear option number four?” Scorpius asked me cautiously. After a brief consideration, I nodded feebly. “Sod it, sod life, and sod everyone in it. Don’t choose, don’t choose any of them. You only have a few months left in this school; you don’t ever have to see any of them again afterwards if you didn’t want to.”
My lips twitched as a small smile grew on to my face. “I think it would be rather difficult getting rid of Albus. He’s rather clingy now.”
“Seven years of friendship can do that to a bloke.”
“Stop it.” I pleaded. “I know I’m a horrible, horrible person, okay? I can’t hurt them; I don’t want to hurt them.”
“Then don’t.” he said. “Ignore them all, choose me instead.”
If my head hadn’t instantly snapped up to look at him, reeling up from its pitiful gaze down to the floor, and caught his grin – I might have thought he was serious.
I threw my napkin across the table, hitting him square in the face. “That’s not even remotely humorous.”
“It was a little,” he retorted, running a strong hand through his thick hair.
My thumbs ran over each other; I resisted the urge to pick at the skin. “What do you think I should do?”
As if it were I spoke a tabooed word, he recoiled. “Nu-uh, not this time Ran, I’m not telling you what to do.”
“I wasn’t asking you to do that,” I backtracked. “I just wanted to know … that if you were in my position-“
“No you didn’t.” He interrupted. “Ranny, I love you. You’re the most important girl in my life, you’re up on the pedestal with my mother, and nothing that you could do could knock you off of it. But I’m not telling you what to do with this one.” His voice lowered, his eyes hardening. “You have to choose, King Arthur, or Robin Hood? Which tale do you want to be yours?”
An; Thank you for reading! I’m honestly so sorry for the long wait for this chapter; I’m better now, and have finally made the tweaks in this chapter so I’m happy with it! :)
I felt that it was time for Scorpius and Ranny to have some time to themselves, everything has been so dramatic lately, they both needed a break.
So, I would just like to throw this out there. This story is based on fairy tales, ledgends and stories and so forth, in which these types which it are based on are all very exaggerated in terms of characterisation and ideals. I realise that the decisions that some people make aren’t at all realistic, but that’s the point – it’s the reasons behind the decisions that are supposed to make you think. :)
For example, growing up, love, hate and jealousy are all there, and they’re what you’re supposed to ponder on. Also, Ranny is very, very naïve and she tries to see only the good in people. I would like to think that I haven’t made characters such as Perry seem like a perfect angel; in fact if you read back, I’m sure there are actually hints towards his behaviour and demeanour – especially what is described in the pictures that Ranny took of him.
I honestly don’t want to rant, and I love to hear everyone’s opinions, but please keep in mind that not everything is going to be realistic – because if it were, it would completely defy the concept of this story.
I hope that you like the next chapter, it’s called ‘Merlin’; there are only two left, including the epilogue. Ranny finally see’s what I would consider ‘sense’ in the next chapte,r having been encouraged by someone that even I was a little shocked at as the writer – what can I say? Sometimes, these stories write themselves.
Thank you again, and don’t forget to leave a review! I hope that you enjoyed this chapter!
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