Hey there! Welcome to Wizarding Realm! We are an Alternate Universe HP role-play set in the present day Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please register with a first and last name, properly capitalized.
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Brydon was starving. After a long day holed up in the dormitory to finish the last of his make up work finally, the young man really wanted something to eat. As he descended the dormitory stairs to the common room, the sixth year inwardly groaned. With all the dangers that were going on in the castle, he needed to find someone to head down to the kitchens with. Dinner had long been cleaned away by the house elves and students were probably long past thinking about their digesting supper. The dangers were real and the wizard didn't really want to find himself in trouble. More than your average 'I'm going to get a detention' trouble. So the seventeen year old began to scout out the common room for potential candidates. But as the Gryffindor surveyed the nearly empty common room, the lion sighed. There was only one person that he knew that was milling around in the tower. It wasn't his first choice to pick to ask to go to the kitchens with, but at this point, the seventeen year old's stomach was desperate.
Even if it meant that he had to ask Lydia. It wasn't that he minded spending time with the witch. No, not at all. It was just that ever since he had returned to the castle the wizard and the witch hadn't exactly had the best of times together. The common room snap fest about Kieran, which really had been the wizard taking steam out on the young woman, for the simple reason that she was there and probably because she was his ex. And after the drinking/detention fiasco, the young man wasn't really sure he wanted to. But accounts had been the young man's fault. All of the problems between them were. He knew that. The wizard also could never understand how that the witch seemed to find him either at the worst time or in the worst situations. It wasn't that he was a bad person. The lion knew that he really wasn't. But somehow Lydia Elderwood has always been hit by the worst in him. It needed to stop. But how could he go about it once more? They had been so close to a better relationship, a rekindled friendship last spring, before the duel, before he had disappeared in the coma... Now what? Did she even want to be friends with him anymore? He really didn't know. His shoulders sagged. It was a bit sad, really. They had been so close last year while they dated. So wonderfully happy. But his stupidity had wrecked it all. His stupidity had cost him his girlfriend. His best friend at the time. Everything.
But it was no use dwelling over that. Even she had told him that. They were happy in their own lives now, and after the night in the common room, the sixth year suspected that his exgirlfriend was in love with his best friend. He was sorry for the way that he had acted. Sorry for every little and stupid thing that the wizard had ever told her about their relationship, about Ki, about having her catch him drunk... Especially since his drinking was what had driven them apart in the first place. Brydon ran his fingers through his hair. Should he chance it? Should he try once more, to actually show he wasn't so bad? Could he ask her to take the trip down the kitchens because he was starving? The young man knew already if he asked she wouldn't say no. It was just Lydia's way. Especially since it was her rule he was trying to keep. The new Head Girl had put the rule into place about never being alone, so the seventeen year old already knew she would make the trip. But was it worth the awkwardness? For either of them? The Gryffindor's heart told him no.
However, the teenager's stomach told him otherwise.
With a heavy heart, the wizard cautiously padded across the room to the witch. "Hi," he greeted her. He stopped. Should he just push ahead to what he wanted? Or should he try to make some small talk with her first? The lion sighed. Why was this so damn hard? Why was it always hard with Lydia? Why? A small smile crossed his lips, as he regarded the lioness. It wasn't that he had feelings for her any longer that made this so hard. No. The Gryffindor had come to terms that they would never again have what they had when he had been a fifth year. But she was a good person. No. A great person. The type of person people looked up to and wanted to impress. Brydon knew he would always fall short in her eyes... But he still wanted to shine in them. Wanted to be her friend. Wanted to be able to talk to her and let each of them enjoy the others company again.
"I know I'm probably one of the last people you want to talk to," he paused, "but I'm starving. I haven't eaten today... Would you come with me to the kitchens?"
If Lydia could have melted into the over-stuffed couch cushions, she would have done so, curling up in its fluffy embrace and hiding for a few weeks as she slept the hours away, forgetting the current stress of her life. She could have hexed Blysse for stepping down. Smacked the girl for leaving the brunette in this new position of Head Girl. Though she knew that this situation - this whole centaur scenario - was not Blysse's fault, nor was it par for the course as far as Head Girl duties went, Lydia still knew in her heart that her vampire friend would have been able to handle it all so much better than she ever could. The fifth year was not strong. She was not cunning and she had absolutely no clue what to do. Every day failure seemed to weigh heavier and heavier upon her shoulders. She couldn't do this. Any of it. Where the hell were the teachers? As soon as the centaurs had arrived, the teachers had vanished, and the entire school had been left to her and Balthazar's leadership. Though she would never admit it to anyone, the young witch feared that their partnership would surely lead to the downfall of Hogwarts School. Lydia wasn't a leader. Not the type of leader they needed now, and Balthazar... Well, he had been surprisingly helpful under the new circumstances. But still... The lioness just wanted to forget it all. Other students never said as much, but she was convinced that the damp, stone walls of the school were filled with the echoed whisperings that Lydia Elderwood was not fit to be Head Girl. She was going to ruin everything, she just knew it.
But she never said a word. Never betrayed her inner turmoil to the rest of the world. Every day, Lydia tried her very best to maintain at least the appearance of strength, of calm. It would do no good to fall to tears as she tried to comfort the younger students, and crying certainly would not move the centaurs away from their unknown motive. They were vicious and intent on chaos. Every day Lydia wanted to cry. Every day she wanted to throw her badger to the ground and renounce her position as Head Girl. That's what the other students wanted, was it not? Let someone else take the position. But she did not give up, nor did she cry. Instead, the fifth year went about her business, helping out in the kitchens to make sure the house elves knew what to do, comforting the first years as best as she could, and patrolling the corridors with Balthazar and the other prefects. It was only at night, when her dormitory turned as black as pitch, did Lydia give in to the tears that pricked her eyes perpetually throughout the day, as she cried into the silent caress of her pillow.
Brydon's voice pulled the girl from her thoughts. Exhaustion threatened to call her tongue to be unnecessarily sharp, to lash out at her housemate as to why he hadn't eaten before. Lydia had been working endlessly in the kitchens to make sure everyone was fed, yet somehow her ex-boyfriend had managed to skirt all of her hard work and go an entire day without food. Honestly, how was that possible? If she were any other person, the witch would have been convinced that the lion was just trying to bother her, trying to push her buttons and get under her skin. But Brydon was not Balthazar. He was not a spiteful Slytherin as much as he sometimes ruffled Lydia's feathers. Sighing softly, the brunette turned her eyes to his, chewing on the inside of her lower lip before speaking. She wanted to say no. Wanted to send him out into the hallways alone, to let him fend for himself against whatever centaurs he encountered. But she was not that sort of person. For now, it was just the exhaustion and stress of it all that darkened her thoughts and turned her mind to anger. "Sure," Lydia answered softly as she sat up from her supine position on the couch. "Why didn't you eat?" Without looking at him, the lioness made her way to the portrait hole and exited the common room, her wand held out in front of her as her eyes scouted the corridor outside.
polaroids and glitter in our hair
-running through sprinklers and nights at the state fair-
The lion let out a breath that he hadn't exactly realized he had been holding. The sixth year followed the Head Girl out of the common room and a quiet for the moment, thinking about how tired the lioness had seemed to become over the last couple of weeks since talking over for her best friend as the Head Girl. Especially after the whole centaur thing had started. Of course she probably put in a million hours a day doing who knew what everywhere. it probably was that she was running around with her head caught off most of the time, trying to help everyone, everywhere. The young man sighed softly, wondering if she was holding up, or if the Lydia that he knew was just being locked away into that small place so that others wouldn't know exactly how she was. Shoving his hands into his pockets, the Gryffindor fingered the wand that was in his right one, just in case. He didn't really believe they would meet up with anything on their way down to the kitchens, but better safe than sorry. When they had settled into their walking stride, the seventeen year old replied, "Homework. I've finally caught up with all of my make up stuff."
Silence took over the two students as they walked, their footsteps quiet in the corridors because neither really wanted anyone ~ or anything ~ to hear them. Brydon glanced at his ex-girlfriend from the corner of his eye, wondering exactly what she was thinking. The young woman knew all to well that he had never done schoolwork during the time that they had dated, let alone make up work. There was bound to be some questions there. But for once, the idea of sharing what was going on with the Gryffindor didn't bother him. He wasn't sure if it was because it was Lydia that would be doing the asking, or if it was because he hadn't had someone to talk to about the whole situation except Schuyler. Or maybe it was because that could be the opening into helping Lydia open up about the stress that the lion could see was taking its toll on her.
It had been pretty obvious that the Head Girl hadn't wanted to come to the kitchens with him. But he was very, very appreciative of the fact that she had agreed to come with him. Maybe the awkwardness wouldn't be so bad. It wasn't like they were in a bad silence. They were both just in their own thoughts about everything that had been going on and watching for the beasts that were roaming the castle at their leisure. Brydon felt a shiver involuntarily run down his spine. Stupid creatures, taking over the castles, scaring students, doing who knew what to the teachers. It was all very serial. What did the things want with the students anyways?
Half turning to his housemate, the Gryffindor broke the silence once more, his voice quiet,"Thank you for coming with me. I really appreciate it."
Lydia suppressed the urge to chuckle rather cruelly at Brydon's admission of what had kept him from eating, one of the most fundamental needs of humans. Homework. Honestly, of all the people in the world to miss food because of homework, Brydon was the last to come to mind. She was aware, of course, that he did have a great deal of make up work to do. The lioness had caught a glimpse of her housemate on more than one occasion - whether in the library or the common room - with his nose in the middle of parchment and textbooks, so she knew that his alibi was true. Still... it was amusing. The Head Girl remained silent, the faint tap of her shoe against the stone floor only barely hinting at her presence, until they reached the end of the small corridor. Holding her wand out, her hand shaking only slightly, Lydia glanced around the corner, her body ready to pull back and run at a moment's notice. But the hall was silent. It was empty. A thick wave of relief washed through the witch, and for a few seconds, she closed her eyes, thanking her lucky stars that - for now, at least - she would be allowed to walk safely. It was too much for her. Too much to constantly be at the ready, to fear for her life just by walking through the school. Hogwarts was supposed to be one of the safest places on the planet, right? What had happened? To this very day, the fifth year had no clue why the centaurs had chosen to infiltrate the school. Why they had targeted the students, removed the teachers, and why they seemed so hellbent on violence and chaos. It didn't make sense, and damnit... why did it have to be on Lydia's watch?
"You never did tell me why you were gone." The brunette's words were a mere whisper as the two Gryffindors continued on their trek toward the kitchens. Lydia wasn't entirely sure that she cared. What did it matter that he had disappeared and then randomly showed back up? It happened sometimes. Lucy had gone and the lioness still had no explanation as to why. But it was conversation. And though the sixth year wizard frustrated the lioness to no end, though his drunken escapade with James was still a black spot in her recent memory, the silence was too much to deal with. The tower was a long way from the kitchen and with the possibility of one - or twenty - centaurs just randomly showing up, well... if Lydia had to die, she'd at least like to be making polite chit-chat before her untimely demise. Well no... if the lioness had to die, she would only welcome death's arrival if she could be wrapped up in Kieran's arms until the very end. But her boyfriend wasn't there, so hopefully she would evade death just a bit longer. "Never thought I'd see the day when you actually cared about homework," she added with a half-hearted chuckle. "Definitely a new thing for you." Moving as silently as she could, Lydia glided down the stairs, her ears ever-vigilant for the tell-tale clatter of hoof upon stone.
As Brydon thanked her, the Head Girl turned her glance quickly to the side, taking note of the un-joking expression on the lion's face. The tiniest hint of pink crept up into the young woman's cheeks as she quickly looked away, focusing her attention ahead, her wand following her gaze as she returned to scanning the corridor. It was just... It was strange, that was all. Brydon's words hadn't made the girl flustered because she had any lingering feelings for her ex-boyfriend. Nothing of the sort. It was just weird being here with him - weird given the last few weeks, from him snapping at her in the common room to showing up drunk while she was patrolling the castle. They had once been so close, and now... Now Lydia had absolutely no clue how to act around him. Shrugging, the witch chewed on her lower lip for a moment. "It's what I'm supposed to do. Head Girl, and all that..." Though she wasn't entirely sure there was some rule written in some handbook somewhere that Head Girls were expected to accompany their ex-boyfriends through a centaur-infested school to find the kitchens, it sounded like a good enough reply. Truth of the matter was, she missed talking to Brydon. They had been good friends even before they had dated and it was a shame... a terrible shame to have lost all of that just because they had been stupid enough to think that being in a relationship was a good idea. Of course as quickly as the thoughts crossed her mind, Lydia's stomach turned nervously. What would happen if she and Kieran broke up? Breathing in sharply, the lioness closed her eyes for a mere second and pushed the thought from her mind. No... Now was not the time. It would never be the time to think about that.
polaroids and glitter in our hair
-running through sprinklers and nights at the state fair-
The soft spoken words hit the wizard's ears like a ton of bricks. While he had known ~ no, expected, ~ the question to come, the lion was sort of surprised at her word choice. The young woman wasn't badgering him into telling. Wasn't even questioning him. Her words had been simple enough. But the thing was, Brydon decided, was that the lioness had spoken more volumes than the words themselves. It wasn't the same, the way others had responded to him being gone. Others had pestered him with questions. Others had demanded to know what was going on in his life. Others had turned the Gryffindor against telling them before he had even started. Most of the people that asked, he bit his lip, shook his head, and moved away. Even Schuyler had assumed the worst of him, not returning owls that he had never gotten. No, that wasn't exactly fair, the young man knew. The Hufflepuff had tried. She had. But there's only so much one person can do. The badger had been caught up in every day life and with the Gryffindor out of sight, he had been pushed out of her mind too. It wasn't fair to say that Sky hadn't cared. No, she probably cared more than all of the other people that the seventeen year old had even attempted to talk to. With Lydia, it wasn't even a question. The words kept playing in his head. Over and over and over.
You never did tell me why you were gone.
The whisper raced across his heart. How was it, that of all the people to even mention his being gone, Lydia was the one not to ask, not to demand, not to question? His ex-girlfriend had left it open for him to answer, to comment, or even, if he wanted, to ignore. Adding the words about his homework. A small smile flirted upon the Gryffindor's lips as he continued to walk alongside of her, his eyes darting around to make sure that there was nothing creeping up on them. The lion licked his lips. Obviously, Lydia could be trusted. While the two housemates had a lot of things stacked against them, the one the sixth year knew about their relationship was that no matter what happened, the wizard could trust the lioness. Even as they struggled friends and understanding what exactly what was going to happen between them now that Lydia was dating Kieran, the Gryffindor would always feel safe trusting a secret with the Head Girl. It was just that simple and easy. He couldn't explain it. Brydon knew that most ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend couples hated each other. Or at least never spoke. Yet somehow, the two Gryffindors seemed to always have a connection in some way. The lion almost chuckled, realizing that yeah, his ex-girlfriend was dating his best friend, but hey, Brydon wanted to be dating Lydia's best friend as well. Maybe the fates were against them? Maybe something was trying to tell the two that they were supposed to stop the charades and be friends? Finally?
"No, I guess I never did," the sixth year replied finally, his eyes meeting the young woman's for the briefest of seconds in the darkened corridor. His throat constricted and he swallowed hard before continuing. "I went after him, Lyders. Schuyler followed me. She saved my life in the end, but I was in a coma for a few months." The Gryffindor licked his suddenly dry lips. Pulling his wand out of his pocket finally, the Gryffindor made the tip of it burst into light, helping to guide their way along down the hall. The easy admission didn't surprise the seventeen year old. They had always been that way with each other. Hard to get along with each other, sure. But when either of them needed the other? They were friends, through and through. The sudden realization made the Gryffindor shiver. How had he even thought that it was any different? Brydon's eyes found the girls once more, as she spoke again. Seriously? She thought that it was something that the young woman had to do because she was Head Girl? Well, while that was sort of true, the Gryffindor mused, the lion knew also that it wasn't because of that. At least not all of that. The young man nodded, "Part of your reasoning is correct, anyways." The wizard let the other part go. The seventeen year old knew the fifth year maybe a little too well. Or had she forgotten that? The wizard knew that while it was partially the Head Girl thing that had guided Lydia's decision making on coming with him that night, the lion also knew that it was because that was apart of who she was.
Brydon's words ran like ice water through the witch's veins, freezing the girl from the inside out until she stood rooted in one spot, her eyes wide and fixed on the boy at her side. For a few seconds, the entire world that surrounded them fell silent. Thoughts that had buzzed around inside Lydia's mind, fears and worries that gnawed at her carefully constructed facade all melted away into nothingness. For just a moment, the only two people who existed were standing together in the middle of a dimly-lit corridor. Suddenly Brydon wasn't her ex-boyfriend anymore. He wasn't the jerk who had cheated on her the year before. He wasn't the idiot who had received detention for getting sloshed with James only weeks earlier. In a flash the recent past was gone, and the boy who stood before the fifth year was someone she had once considered one of her closest friends. Someone on whom she had relied, and someone for whom she had cared tremendously. Breathing in slowly, Lydia struggled to pull the threads of thought back together. Struggled to make sense of the words coming from the lion's lips. "You... you what?" Her answer was soft, but her mouth melted into a frown and her eyes turned away from her housemate as a burning wave of frustration blossomed pink along her face and neck. Blinking a few times, the fifth year was quiet again as she searched for the words she needed. "I... You could have been killed."
The rush of emotion was too much for the Head Girl to handle in that moment. It had been so easy up until then. For days Lydia had remained emotionally disconnected from the rest of the world, finally unpinning the heart from her sleeve in order to best serve the students during the current crisis. But this... She couldn't take this. The Gryffindor moved forward a few paced, her wand arm falling gracelessly to her side. Inside her slight frame, the temporary walls she had constructed begin to crumble - walls to keep the emotions from slipping out, to keep her strong, to keep the rest of the world from seeing just how scared and weak she felt every day the centaurs continued to walk the grounds of Hogwarts. An image of Brydon on a stark white bed, silent and supine in the middle of a coma, caused a few tears to prick at her eyes. Yes, there had been pain. Yes, there had been betrayal and cruel words and tears and memories that the lioness longed to forget, but he was still Brydon. Her Brydon. Not her Brydon, but despite the end of their relationship, the boy would always hold some place in her heart - for better or for worse. The sixth year had been her first boyfriend. And more than that, he had just been a good friend. What would she have done had he died? What if things had ended differently? The boy would not be standing with her now. He would have simply disappeared. Gone until news of his death made it through the wizarding community as it inevitably would have... what would she have done?
Turning back to face Brydon, Lydia was quiet for another moment, her eyes glassy with tears that she refused to shed. Any frustration that had existed before melted from her voice as she broke the temporary silence. "You could have died," she repeated, still willing herself to understand the meaning of those very words. "I... You didn't need to be alone. You shouldn't have been alone. I... We... We could have helped. We could have been there." Chewing on the inside of her lower lip for a moment, the witch turned away, focusing her gaze on a low spot on the wall, refusing to blink for fear that fallen tears would give her away. "I can't believe you were in a coma... Merlin..." Lydia was about to ask Brydon if he was okay - to make sure that the lion wasn't holding it together in the same, piecemeal way that she was - when a sound caught her attention. Glancing over her shoulder in the direction of the noise - or at least, the noise she thought she had heard - the lioness saw nothing but empty space. Just the stone walls and staircase of the school. Empty portraits hanging on the walls, their subjects still preferring to hide in some undisclosed location. Had it only been in her head? Or had she heard the faint clacking of centaur hoof against the cold, hard floor? The heat that burned her face drained slowly from her body as the fifth year turned back to face her housemate, her eyes wide and questioning, wondering if he too had heard anything. "P-perhaps we should just... get to the kitchen," she whispered, her voice shaking a tiny amount. Lydia gripped her wand even tighter in her hand as if drawing some ounce of strength from the smooth feel of its ebony handle.
polaroids and glitter in our hair
-running through sprinklers and nights at the state fair-
Brydon's heart ached as he listened to the girl's soft responses. The words rang true both in his ears and in the spot in the middle of his chest. Never had he thought that he would actually duel his father like that. Well no... That wasn't exactly true. The Gryffindor had gone after him, with ever intention of dueling Jim Wilkins. Though... Truth be told, Brydon hadn't actually thought about what would happen during or after it. Hadn't thought about the fact that he could get hurt. Hadn't considered the notion that he would have no home to go to at the end of the school year. In fact, now that the wizard thought about it, the lion had never once thought about a what if scenario. Especially not one where Brydon got hurt as bad as he had. Or one that involved him dying. Never once had the young man really thought about that fact that people at school would possibly be affected by his decision. Yet, here he was with his ex-girlfriend, who was horrified by the fact that he could have died. His brown eyes searched the corridor some more rather than look at Lydia. Anything was better to look at than the sorrow and the pity and the simply raw emotions racing across the features on her face. Brydon shifted awkwardly, running fingers through his hair, just for something to do.
A silent moment passed between them once more, as the fifth year struggled to comprehend all that his few sentences had meant. Were there others that cared as much as she? Brydon knew that his ex-girlfriends emotions hadd always been pretty readable, but for a second, the Gryffindor appreciated that fact. He knew where he stood with her in that moment. In those brief seconds, the lion understood that he.. died... Lydia would have missed him. Which meant that his conclusion that they were friends was concluded. Not only on his end, but hers as well. Despite their horrid breakup, despite everything that had ever happened between them ~ both good and bad ~ they had made it through the last two years to this moment to a friendship of some sort. It might not show all the time, but the lion had a feeling that the reason they had as many spats as they did, even if most of them were his fault, it was because in the end, they cared about each other. Were those tears in her eyes? Merlin. Maybe people cared more than he thought. Brydon swallowed hard, a deep knot settling in the pit of his stomach. If his ex-girlfriend cared, who else would have missed him? Schuyler? Kieran? Wyatt? Even so, the lion was inclined to think that they would miss him for a while and then forget about him. Just as Schuyler had almost admitted when they had met in Hogsmeade. She had grown busy, life events taking over, and Brydon had been a thing of the past.
Brydon met the fifth years eyes as she began to speak once more, her words soft. Her stuttering of what could have happened, how people could have helped, how he shouldn't have been alone... The Gryffindor bit his lip. Confusion rushed through him. No, he hadn't asked for help, but no, he hadn't wanted it either. How could he explain that to her though? How could he explain that Brydon had needed to do it on his own? How he hadn't wanted anyone to help because most likely than not, they would have gotten hurt too? The lion didn't know how to explain that he had needed to do it on his own so that he could finally prove to everyone ~ especially himself, that he could stand up to Jim Wilkins. That Brydon was a little kid anymore that could get pushed around and abused and tortured any longer. He sighed, not knowing what to say exactly.Swallowing hard, he reached a hand out and placed it on her arm, as he struggled some more for words to reach his tongue. Finally, all he could come up with was, "I didn't die though. I'm okay." Brydon wasn't sure if he was trying to reassure Lydia or himself more... and then suddenly it didn't matter.
Hearing the soft click of a hoof against the the stone floor sent a shiver down the sixth year's spine. His eyes flicking to his companion that was already glancing behind them into the darkness. Turning around, the Gryffindor stepped in front of the young woman more out of a reflex than anything else. His face hardened as his eyes strained, searching into the dark corridor for any sign of a living creature other than the two students. His heart pounded in his ears as the moment became real, as everything Lydia had been telling the students about the centaurs became true. Until this point, the lion hadn't really thought all that much about the beats that had taken over the school. But in that moment, as the young man stood, his wand gripped tightly in the fingers of his right hand, the lion knew that something was about to happen. His ears strained to hear any moment noises. His lip hurt and Brydon realized that he was biting it hard. But then... Nothingness reached the sixth year. No sounds. No movements. Only Lydia's breath behind him and his own heartbeat filled his ears. Her words were soft, but the Gryffindor nodded, turning back to her. "Yeah. Let's got outta here."
Lydia was frozen to her spot, rooted into inaction. The scraping sound she had heard - the sound Brydon seemed to hear as well - had disappeared, yet the Gryffindor's gaze remained glued in that direction, her eyes searching for any flicker of evidence that something was coming. She couldn't bring herself to walk. Couldn't will her legs to push her forward, to leave this wretched place and find some modicum of safety. Her whole body was like ice and the lioness stood there, wide-eyed and silent, waiting for the inevitable. Thought fell silent in her mind. All that existed in that moment was a pair of Gryffindor students and the impending danger that was sure to come. Raising her wand slightly, Lydia kept her eyes focused on the spot in the distance where the corridor came to a dead end, bleeding off to the left and the right. There was no sound, no anything, yet the witch was certain that in only a moment's time, the angry visage of some centaur would turn that corner. A small tremor shook her body. By spending so much organizing things, making sure that all students were fed and as safe as possible, the fifth year hadn't had to deal with the centaurs much at all. So this moment... was something else entirely.
Brydon's voice pulled her from her thoughts and after a ragged breath, Lydia pulled her eyes from the darkened corridor and focused them on the Gryffindor next to her. His words were foreign to her, refusing to register in the stillness of her mind. Blinking a few times, the lioness stared at her housemate for a moment before his statement sank in. Her gaze turned back to the shadows. Suddenly she felt like a rabbit, stalked by a number of wolves, sitting alone in the middle of a meadow. There was nowhere to hide, nowhere to go to get away from the centaurs that were invading their school. Standing in the middle of the staircase made the Gryffindors too vulnerable, too open to attacks from nearly every angle. A nauseating churn of Lydia's stomach caused the young girl to inhale sharply as the blood slowly drained from her face. There was no way this could end well. So many centaurs had attacked Hogwarts and no one had any clue as to why they had come and what they had planned on doing. The teachers were gone, the common rooms weren't even safe... everything was in a shambles and the lioness felt like she was at the center of it all, one of the few people that could help, that could take care of the students, that could possibly find some sort of end ... and she was completely powerless. She was useless. If the entire school went up in flames, Lydia wouldn't be surprised, because as the days passed by with the chaos not a single step closer to ending, the reluctant Head Girl found herself feeling more guilty for her inability to do anything.
Turning her eyes back to Brydon, the witch simply nodded. After another quick glance toward the direction of the noise they had heard earlier, Lydia continued down the staircase, moving as silently as she could. Hopefully they would make it to the kitchens safely. At least then she'd have accomplished something, small thought it may be. Every so often, as the brunette slowly walked down the stone stairs, Lydia thought she heard the scrape of hoof against rock - the sound coming from everywhere, every possible direction, haunting her. Taunting her fear. At every noise - real or imagined - her body jerked slightly, her face and attention turning toward the possible source and her wand always at the ready.
polaroids and glitter in our hair
-running through sprinklers and nights at the state fair-
Licking his lips, the Gryffindor nodded back even though the Head Girl had already turned away from him. The wizard's hand shook slightly as he held his wand and the lion hoped that Lydia didn't notice the waver in the beam of light that was illuminating a small part of their pathway. The young man swallowed head as his mind played tricks on his ears, causing the sixth year to flinch at any small sound his head thought was real. Brydon was glad that the lioness seemed as focused as he was to get out of the corridor and safely to the kitchens. He wondered briefly, as they walked in silence once more, what it would be like, being in charge right now. Certainly it would not be easy. Surely the fifth year was feeling the pressure and the strains of having to be there for people day in and day out, even when all she wanted to do herself was throw up her arms and call it quits. At least, the seventeen year old could imagine Lydia wanting to do that that. Not that she would, but yes, she probably wanted to. His eyes shifted for a brief second to the young woman walking silently next to him, her focus completely on the task at hand, getting through the corridors safely. Why? Because her ex-boyfriend had been stupid enough not to eat all day. It was enough to cause laughter, or at least a smile, in any other circumstance. But right then? All that Brydon wanted to do was apologize and return to the tower and call it quits.
But the two of them were already nearing the kitchens, where if rumors were true, the fifth year spent most of her days. Brydon breathed a sigh of relief, at the thought that the two Gryffindors had almost made it all the way through the castle to their destination. Just few more stairs, a few more hallways, and this adventure would be put to an end... At least for a while anyways, so that the young man could feed his growling stomach.
Brydon flinched suddenly his wand going up, his eyes narrowing. Had he been caught off guard once more? Kieran would literally kill him if he let anything happen to his best mate's girlfriend. The sudden thought, should have once more, made the lion grin, but the truth of the matter was, the boy's lips felt frozen and hollow, like his rain couldn't make the corners of his lips move any longer. It was a wonder the sixth year could even walk. His body felt stiff and heavy as they continued down their path, Brydon convinced that his brain was playing tricks on him once more, as there was nothing there. Swallowing hard, the lion's eyes narrowed as he stared into the darkness some more. Now that the thought of Ki had entered into his mind, the seventeen year olds brain wouldn't stop. The possibilities remained endless as the images of Lydia hurt because Brydon had wanted some food this late at night, of Lydia ending up in the hospital wing, of Kieran pissed and hurt because his best friend had even considered going out this late with his girlfriend... Why hadn't he thought of this before? This had been such a stupid reckless idea to begin with....
They were coming up on the kitchens even closer now and Brydon's heart couldn't have possibly been pounding faster. His blood was on fire, from rushing through his veins so fast. A lump was in the lion's throat and he couldn't have been happier that they were getting closer to getting to a place with more lights and people, even though it was just house elves. The Gryffindor took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. they would make it. They had to. Everything would be okay... Right?
Lydia couldn't have gasped even if she had wanted to. Her voice caught in her throat, thick and heavy, refusing to move from its place, refusing to spring forth into sound. Probably a good thing though. The lioness' eyes had been trained elsewhere, the young witch silently counting every footstep as they neared the door to the kitchens. They were so close. As the two walked, the brunette had noticed a subtle shift in her housemate. Had she had time to think about it, Lydia wouldn't have even been able to figure out what exactly had changed. There had simply been some imperceptible - yet perceptible enough for the witch to stop walking - in Brydon's demeanor that had caused the Head Girl to pause and glance in the direction in which he faced. Never in her life had she felt anything like this. Nothing in the world could prepare her for the overwhelming numbness that would take over her body, the complete absence of thought and the total inability to even move that came from the moment her eyes first caught site of the centaur. In the same moment, the fifth year felt impossibly heavy and terribly light. It was as if she were floating outside herself - a mind separated from a body - yet she felt hopelessly rooted to the ground, her legs and arms suddenly feeling as though they were filled with lead, holding Lydia to the spot in which she stood.
The centaur wasn't looking at them though. Not at that moment. If he had been... well, who knows what would have happened? Perhaps he would have charged them. Perhaps he would have killed them. The centaurs that had invaded the school didn't seem intent on bloodshed, yet there was always room for some rogue who decided to go against the mindset of the masses. Or maybe their intent had changed. Maybe there was some silent agreement among the creatures that they would somehow lull the students into a fall sense of...well, not security, but at least a feeling that they weren't likely going to die. Tease them with false hope and then wrench it from them. Perhaps it was only a matter of a few seconds, moments long enough for the centaur to turn his face to theirs, moments long enough for him to take action... Perhaps they were only seconds from their death. A few breaths... a few steps... that was all that was keeping them alive at this very moment. Lydia couldn't break her gaze from the centaur, couldn't tear her eyes from the slope of his back, strong and muscular and more than capable of causing a terrible amount of harm. Her wand was still raised, still pointed in the direction of the creature, but the witch was certain that anything she had ever learned at Hogwarts had disappeared from her mind. Any sort of spell or charm that could possibly help - Merlin, even the ones that wouldn't help in the leas t- had all fled from her memory. She was trapped. Silent. Still. Completely unable to form word, thought, or sound.
polaroids and glitter in our hair
-running through sprinklers and nights at the state fair-
He felt the air in the corridor come to a freezing temperature. Or was that just him? The Gryffindor froze, his sneakers rooted to the hard stone floor as his eyes widened, watching the huge monster move. Almost in slow motion, it seemed like. His fingers shook, his heart pounded in his chest and something... Something was wrong. With him. Why did it feel like he couldn't breath or couldn't move. Wasn't he supposed to be brave in these types of situations? Hadn't that been why he got sorted into Gryffindor in the first place, because he was brave and courageous? In that moment, Brydon forgot everything. All the magical spells that he knew, everything he had thought for so long he would do when he finally came across one of the monsters that had come from the Forbidden Forest to take over the school and kidnap teachers and scare kids half to death. All the anger that he had for the creatures, all the determination, it all disappeared like a leaf in the autumn breeze. Where had it gone? Wasn't he supposed to be doing something to ensure safety? His and Lydia's? Something, anything? Yet the Gryffindor just stood there... Rooted to the stone floor, his breath hitched in his throat. What could he do? Brydon felt powerless, standing there, watching the centaur move. Luckily it wasn't looking at them, cause it would be over before it began if that had been the case.
The centaur paused for a moment, as if he could feel the fear that the two students were giving off, frozen in their spots from behind him, barely out of sight. It was just about to turn around, or Brydon thought it was, when suddenly, everything seemed to speed up. An adrenaline rush stormed through the seventeen year old unlike any other he had ever felt. Never before any Quidditch match had he felt like this. Not even in the moments before he had faced his father, Jim Wilkins, had Brydon felt this i] alive. [/i] Without thinking about it, his previously wooden fingers reached out, grasping the wrist of his ex-girlfriend, before his feet were moving, dragging the girl the last of the distance to the entrance of the kitchens. It seemed like an eternity before the door swung open after he tickled the damn pear. The lion wanted to rip the painting right off the castle wall in impatience, as he glanced over his shoulder, his face now full of a hard determination to get the hell out of dodge.
Stepping through the door, he quite literally pulled the Head Girl through, making sure the portrait closed tightly behind her. Finally feeling safe fore the moment, his shoulders sagged. A huge breath found the young man's lungs. He shook in the aftermath of the adrenaline that was still filling his veins and making them on fire. His fingers shook as he stowed his wand away in his pocket. His eyes were on the floor, not wanting to face the lioness just yet. They had faced a centaur. And it was his fault. What the hell could he say? He was the reason they had both just been a dangerous situation. Why the hell would she ever want to speak to him again? Running his fingers though his hair, he worked on calming himself down. The lights were stinging at his eyes, as well. Closing them, he focused on making his breathing even once more. When the Gryffindor felt relatively calm again, he blinked against the bright lights of the kitchen. Turning to the Head Girl, he gave her a wobbly smile, but he already knew that she would see past it. "You okay?" he asked finally, looking at her for the first time since they entered the kitchens.
Her whole body was heavy, a weight more dense and consuming than metal seemed to render Lydia's entire body immobile, unable to move in any direction except downward, melting into the stone underneath her feet. Breathing stopped. Her heartbeat stopped. The world around her fell still and quiet as the lioness stared at the centaur, simply waiting for the inevitable moment in which he would turn around and the two Gryffindors would meet their untimely end. She wasn't supposed to be here. Wasn't supposed to be meandering through the corridors at this time of night. For once the brunette had been curled up safely in the confines of her dorm, away from the rest of the world, yet here she was... Only a short distance away from an intelligent and incredibly capable creature. It wasn't supposed to be like this. The blood drained from Lydia's face and her cheeks burned with the chill as the heat melted away. In a flash the world blurred around her as Brydon's hand roughly circled her narrow wrist and the sixth year boy pulled her off in another direction, locks of hair whipping in her face and eyes, obscuring her vision. Tripping over her own feet, the lioness stumbled into her housemate as he tickled the pear in the painting, a soft gasp escaping her lips upon impact.
It was a minute before her brain registered her surroundings. A minute before the warmth of the kitchens thawed the cold that had held Lydia's body hostage for what had felt like an eternity. Slowly the witch moved toward the enormous island that stood in the center of the room, its stable frame beckoning the young girl closer. Pressing her fingers to the cool surface, the fifth year leaned forward slightly, pushing her weight against the comforting solidity of the granite counter-top. Too close. That was much too close. It had all happened so quickly, yet somehow it felt as if it had been an hour since their eyes had set upon the centaur outside. Thoughts bounced around the witch's head, her brain struggling at pulling together the loose threads, trying desperately to make some sense out of... anything. Turning around, Lydia leaned back, pressing her back firmly against the island. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Any of it. She wasn't supposed to be in the kitchens at this hour of the night. She wasn't supposed to be traipsing through the castle with her ex-boyfriend, wasn't supposed to be worrying about a herd of centaurs because there wasn't supposed to be a bunch of centaurs roaming the school. She wasn't supposed to be here, and damnit, she wasn't supposed to be Head Girl. With the faintest of whimpers, the fifth year slid to the floor, the tears pricking at her eyes, already threatening to fall along her flushed cheeks in a flurry of fat tears. This was all wrong. So very wrong. She wasn't supposed to be here. She was the wrong choice for any of this. How was she supposed to lead when she was clearly the weakest person possible?
Burying her face in the soft folds of her sweater, it was only a moment's time before the tears began and the girl's cries shook her shoulders. She couldn't do it anymore. This was so terribly wrong. No one in their right mind would ever have considered Lydia Elderwood to be a capable Head Girl. No one. Just like no one would ever believe that the sobbing heap of a witch on the floor would ever be a decent Gryffindor. It had been one horrible mistake after another and the lioness was ready to turn it all in. The badge, the robes, the wand. Everything. She didn't belong at Hogwarts and as soon as the teachers were returned, she had every intention of finding the Headmistress and informing her as much. Everything about her was a failure. Everything. And if she didn't stop soon, the whole of Hogwarts would crumble to pieces, all because someone made the error of thinking Lydia was more than she ever could hope to be.
polaroids and glitter in our hair
-running through sprinklers and nights at the state fair-
His question went unanswered by the girl as she moved, blinking, dazed, and Brydon found himself feeling more concerned about the Head Girl than he had in months. The last time that he had seen her like this, they had been in the common together, after nightmares about whatever happened in the dungeons had plagued and haunted the fifth year. That had been last spring, before some of the major milestones in either of their lives. she had fallen in love while he had been stuck in St. Mungos, weeks of being back, of seeing the way Kieran and Lydia looked at each other had made that clear to the sixth year. But yet, tonight, the joy and happiness that was usually so present on the fifth year's face had been washed away, leaving the young woman that Brydon had though was gone forever, the one that he had hurt, the one that had been tortured in the dungeons last spring, the one that had listened to his explanation of what had happened in his life, no matter how much it had hurt her. She had been a different person then, and looking at her now, a lump formed in his throat, realizing that Lydia had been hiding her fear for weeks, maybe months, since the centaurs had invaded, maybe even since she had gotten the honor of Head Girl.
She was so close to the meltdown, and Brydon knew what he would have done last spring, or even last year. He would take her into his arms, hold her until she was done crying, and then they would talk, him trying to make her laugh, to see the bright side of things, and Lydia would share the secrets of her heart and trust him, and for a moment, just a moment, they would both remember what it was like to be friends. Was that even possible now? Would she want him to come near, to try to help her through this time? it seemed to be their going thing, that when one or the other had a breakdown, that no matter how often they fought or how long time had come between them talking, they were there for each other? Was that what a true friendship was? That no matter what, Brydon could be there for Lydia and she for him? Would she see it that way? Could they somehow find comfort together in this time, where they were the only two around and still had to face going back to the tower, together? Running his fingers through his hair, Brydon realized he had to answers for what was happening or going to happen later that night. The only thing that he knew was that it was his fault that they were there. And for what? Some food that he really didn't even want to eat now anyways? Yeah, that was worth risking either of their lives.
Brydon let out a shaky breath as Lydia began to cry, trying to hide her face in her sweater, somehow even now, despite being worn out, trying to stay strong and now show him that she was this upset. Biting his lip, Brydon knew that no matter what their friendship status was, he had to be there for her. Kieran could kill him later for getting to close to his girlfriend, could kill him later for even being the cause of her being in the kitchens right now. But Brydon couldn't change what he had already done that night. He could only try to make choices right now that would benefit both Gryffindors in the long run. Settling down beside her on the floor, the sixth year waited a long moment, hesitating still. What if she yelled at him for trying? A small part of him told him even that would be good, she could at least get emotion out that way too. Gently, he reached to put a hand on her shoulder. "Lydia," his voice so low it was almost whispered, "It's okay. We're safe."
It was the worst she had felt in so long. Months had passed by without note, Lydia having finally found a level of happiness and confidence that she had never before experienced in her life. Perhaps it was wrong. Perhaps it was some flaw in her genetic makeup or maybe she just was the anti-feminist or something, but the lioness knew that Kieran was directly responsible for the change that had seemed to mold the witch into someone new. It wasn't just the simple pleasure of having a boyfriend - of having her crush finally acknowledge her existence and reciprocate the feelings with which she had fought for so long - it was just that Kieran brought out the very best in the brunette. With him, life felt perfect. Lydia was happy. More than happy - it was as if millions of tiny, sparkling bubbles filled the girl's body and tickled and swirled their way through her limbs, drowning her in sunshine and giddiness. For so long the lioness had found herself treading a dark path. For so long it felt as though the entire weight of the world were pressing down upon her delicate chest, waiting for the opportune moment to crush the fifth year. It seemed like things had finally changed. Being happy all the time was almost unnerving. It was the strangest thing when for months before, Lydia had cried herself to sleep on multiple occasions. That girl had all but disappeared. Yet after the close encounter of the centaur kind, the sharp fingers of doubt, fear, and hopelessness began to take hold of the young girl, weaving their gloomy way around the witch's heart, and filling her mind with thoughts of failure and disappointment.
The tears that fell down her cheeks in small rivers were quickly wiped away with a brush of the brunette's sweater-covered hand, but immediately were replaced by a new wave of salty sadness. This was dreadful. Absolutely dreadful. With each sniffle and each passing second, Lydia become more convinced that her placement as Head Girl had been a joke at her expense. The teachers hadn't known the school would be overrun by a herd of centaurs; they hadn't known that the students would be left to fend for themselves, to protect the school and each other. They hadn't know the danger. Certainly if the professors had been aware of the creatures' dastardly plan, then they never would have endowed the fifth year with the position of Head Girl. They would have given it to someone capable. Someone strong. Someone with a backbone and half a brain. But they had made a mistake and now they were not here to rectify it. Shaking with the sobs that wracked her slight frame, Lydia returned her moistened face to the security of her sweater sleeve. "I can't... do this," she gasped in between waves of tears. Exhaustion settled in her body, working its way to the very center of her bones. The recent onslaught of centaurs had put the Gryffindor on perpetual high alert. There had not been a moment's rest and in this second, in which the lioness was huddled against the kitchen island, the fifth year felt the strain under which she had subjected her body. Leaning toward the side and finding a modicum of support in Brydon's position next to her, Lydia sighed loudly, tears still dripping down her cheeks.
"I can't do it. I can't do any of this. Any of it." Wiping her face dry, the lioness stared off in the direction of the entrance to the kitchen, her lower lip pursing into a childish sort of pout. It just wasn't fair. None of it was. It wasn't fair to her and it wasn't fair to the rest of the student body. If someone died... Lydia would never forgive herself. She would never forgive the Headmistress and the professors. With a shake of her head, a few strands of her dark hair sticking to her cheeks, the young girl sniffled softly. "I don't know why they made me Head Girl. I can't... I can't do anything right. I- I'm... just... the wrong person. I'm the worst... and... and... I can't do it. I can't do any of it. And now I don't know what to do..." Bringing her fears and thoughts to honest words left the witch feeling even more vulnerable and weak than she had felt only seconds before. Closing her eyes, Lydia took in deep breaths, trying to hold the threatening tears at bay. Her throat grew heavy and thick. "I can't do it," she whispered before dissolving into another fit of tears, though this time her cries were those of a girl resigning herself to the sadness and loneliness of her failure. With little more than a gasp and gentle whimper, Lydia pressed her face back into her hands.
polaroids and glitter in our hair
-running through sprinklers and nights at the state fair-
uilt crashed through the Gryffindor as Lydia sobbed, as he felt helpless to do anything to comfort the fifth year. Her body shook, and what was he doing? Sitting next to her, frozen, wrapped in guilt like it was a security blanket rather than something that he wished would go away. It was his fault she hadn't been happy last spring, it was his fault that she had suffered through the pain that she had, of a boyfriend cheating on her, and for the last year it had been ever present in his heart, creeping up on him at the most unexpected times. Maybe it had been forgiven by Lydia, maybe not. Although they had moved past it, Brydon wondered if she still thought about it, still had feelings of any sort about it, but it didn't matter. It was a question that he knew would forever be unvoiced. A lump formed in the young man's throat, at the thought of the fact that like last year, part of this break down, part of what was going on right now, was his fault as well. Would the Gryffindor ever stop hurting this young woman, ever be able to find a place, be a friend, without causing havoc of some sort in her life? Once more, it was a question that would go unvoiced, a question that only time could answer. It wasn't fair to the fifteen year old that he had asked her to come down, wasn't fair that as head Girl, Lydia had felt it her responsibility to come down. Where exactly had it gotten them? What had coming down accomplished?
Guilt stomped hard down on the lion's heart, as the young woman continued to cry, wiping her face with her sleeve the best she could, crying out how she didn't deserve any of this, didn't deserve to be Head Girl, the thought was almost too much for the Gryffindor to comprehend. How could she not think that she was a wonderful Head Girl? Sure, he had been placed in detention by her already, but surely that just proved she was doing her job correctly. He had been out of bounds, after all. Surely Lydia saw this? But it was obvious that she didn't believe so. Brydon swallowed hard. This was bad. It was something Lydia would have said last year, the same attitude that the young woman had held that night in the common room after the dungeons. Why was it such horrid things came into this girls life, including Brydon himself? Not that their relationship had been awful,but it had certainly cause havoc for her by the end. Not to mention the horror thing that had taken place in the dungeons soon after. Now, when she had the chance to shine, when it was her turn to prove to everyone, and more importantly, Brydon knew, herself, that she could do something, the damn centaur situation had all but killed the fifth year's confidence.
Brydon shifted, a sigh escaping his lips. he didn't really know what to say, how to comfort her with his words. The Gryffindor had never been very good with that. Her body shook more with the continued sobs, and the sixth years's mind was made up. Shifting slightly, the lion moved to wrap his arms around her, giving her the little warmth that he could offer. It wasn't much, especially since the lion knew that she would much, much rather be wrapped up in his best friend's arms, her boyfriends. It would have been a more ideal situation than what the fifteen year old was being presented with, who wanted to be comforted by their ex-boyfriend anyways? But it was what the young man could offer, sitting here in the kitchens next to her. It was his fault that they were even there. It was his fault that he hadn't eaten all day, and then had asked her to accompany him. The least he could do, damn it, was try to comfort her because a centaur had been less then fifty yards from them. They were lucky to be alive. Lydia was obviously scared and hurt. It needed to come to an end, the beasts scaring the students. But at that moment, Brydon could only do his one small part, and try to make one of the two leaders of the school feel better.
Because she was doing a good job. Even if she didn't see that herself, he did see it. She was making a difference.