Maybe it was the overwhelming emotions. Exhausted and upset. Curious. It was all too overwhelming. Yet I felt not much at all. The wind flew through my hair, on my skin. Cold and fresh to the touch. The floor was cold, the gray cement making me uncomfortable, so I was not sure what had made me stay. Sleep drowsed me, a free drug for my thoughts.
Maybe what made me stay was the cotton pressed lightly at my side. A cotton coat perhaps. The material sat warm against my left arm, I was sure I was the one leaning against the feel. My head was laid to my side, on a shoulder. The soft cloud-like hair tingled my cold skin. My back was pressed to the cold bricks of a wall behind me.
Next to me, short breaths. Small puffs of air. They seemed at peace, a chest slowly rising and falling. Sometimes, a small twitch of their arm pressed against mine made me wake, slightly.
There was a weight on my lap. A book. Then with a small movement of my limbs, a quill rolling off my lap.
Confused, I wanted to stand up and leave. But it felt too calming. It felt nice. I was not sure why.
I forced myself to think of the humiliation I would have to face when we woke. The laughs passed around our group. The looks and stares telling me the only reason he stayed was that he was tired. Yet, with all that, I did not want to leave. I would just face it.
Hearing a small step, a long gasp, then silence, It should’ve been enough for me to realize. Then the snickering.
A shove to the shoulder woke me, my eyes darting open with fear. I could now feel my legs and arms. I could feel the fast movement of people filling the room. Then to my left, a groan.
Passing my hands over my eyes to wake myself up, I focused on who was towering above me, a cruel smirk plastered on Daphne’s face, “Well look who we found,”
I look to my left, Draco was moving away from the ground where he had slept beside me and stood up. He clenched his tongue and watched Daphne, his eyes locked on her waiting for her to say something.
Before standing up from the hard floor, my eyes search across the room. Besides Daphne being in front of us, Astoria was holding her bags over her shoulder. Hermione was at the far left of the room and there was someone else who I could not identify.
“Late night encounter is it?” Astoria laughed.
Daphne placed a smile above her face, maybe trying to hide the shock and betrayal she felt. She has always liked Draco, maybe she thought something happened here. Feeling like she’s in second place was not her thing. But who was going to tell her there were no places, no game. “After Flint, I wouldn’t have expected you to be able to shag anyone else-”
Draco dropped his head and laughed, but his body was tense, “Funny how you think we did.”
Flint’s name was like poison. It makes my heart stop for a second before I could get my thoughts straight. Then I spoke with slight mockery, “I’m not that desperate.”
Her face went serious for a moment, she knew what I was implying. But then she confidently smiled again, “I am not desperate.” With each word, she pronounced it like a knife to the throat.
If we continued, more people would walk into the astronomy tower and find us all here. I began to walk in between both the Greengrass sisters and onto my way out, I made sure Daphne could hear my last response. “Never said you were, you assumed it yourself already.”
My thoughts were racing, loose around in my mind. Daphne loved rumors. She loved to gossip. She would twist the situation to make it her own. Bloody hell.
What I need is a cold shower. I made my way towards the Slytherin common room. Students were up and talking through the halls. How long had I slept? The blinding light from the sun was warming the halls through the grand windows. Early classes had most likely already started.
I need to find Pansy.
The Slytherin common room was flooded. Students were walking in out of dorms, young first years were running across the room, I’m guessing they were playing a game of tag. That was until Pansy found them and told them to stop creating so much commotion before she slits their throats. The little kids stayed quiet and made their way outside the common room. I watched her wave the kid’s goodbye like nothing happened before she turned to walk my way. She definitely does not enjoy a positive morning being ruined.
She stood in front of me and viewed my expression of worry, “I still don’t understand how you wake up so early,”
I realized she believed that I had just left this morning. Maybe she was busy and didn’t realize I was gone since yesterday. We could keep it that way. “I forgot to study for a test- the library was empty.”
Pansy quirked her head as if she knew it was something else, but then the thought of me studying wasn’t much of a shocker. She sighed and nodded, “Are you coming for breakfast?”
“I’ll take a shower and meet you guys in charms don’t worry,” I smiled before walking off to the dorms.
I dropped my robe onto the table at our entrance and shrugged off my shoes. The floor was cold and the white bathroom tiles smooth beneath my feet. I tugged my hair loose and let it run down my back. Removing all my clothes, I turned on the shower. The cold water hit my skin like an alarm. Tensing all my muscles. I let it run through my hair, down my face, over my stomach.
My hands began running over my arms, slowly over my spectrum. The water was soothing my body. Maybe I could keep going. There is nothing wrong with needing a distraction. I let my hands run over my stomach slowly reaching a pulse point. My fingers began to tease my own skin. I felt my body heat. I felt warm even though the water was landing like cold darts above my spine.
The door abruptly opened.
The sense of my hands above my thigh was now ghostly. My eyes shot open and my body turned towards the door.
Ashton had his eyes firm and lip curled as he stepped inside.
There was a towel on the counter. Instantly, my hands reached out to cover myself while I stepped out of the shower. I reached out for the towel and wrapped it around my body. The white fabric soaking up the dripping water from my skin. His face was worrying me, scaring me. My wand was left on my bed, I don’t have it. I need it. What does he want? Nothing bad I bet. But he makes it seem bad. “What the fuck-”
“Sorry for interrupting, but it’s kinda hard to wait when I hear my girlfriend is fucking people in the astronomy tower.” He spat. Running a hand through his hair.
My mouth opened to say something, but I was shocked. I wasn’t entirely sure what he was talking about-
Daphne likes to gossip.
“This is insane. How could you assume I could possibly cheat on you.” I sneered.
He looked serious. His face was red and his stance was dominant. He threw an arm up in the air, making me take a small step back. He didn’t notice. How has Daphne already managed to tell him such a lie, it was all too quick.
His nostrils flared, “And it gets worst as people keep telling me-”
“-Ashton I did not sleep with anyone. Anywhere-”
He laughed, “Because of course, it had to be fucking Malfoy too-”
I raised my voice to match his, “You can’t believe everything you hear!”
His eyes traveled around the room, spotting everything out of place. Then his gaze landed back on me and his fist curled at his side. “I should have believed her.”
I almost wanted to slap him. I wanted him to realize what a dick he is. He’s wrong, but someone has clearly made him think otherwise. Could it maybe be the same person I tasted on his lips, “Her?”
Did he think he had the leverage now?
Maybe I was meant to be crying. “Fuck you.” I spat.
“I’m the bad guy now? You were the one who went and shagged Draco-”
“You know I didn’t!” My chest was breathing harshly, “Go with Daphne if you want, she’s the reason why you don’t talk to me as often in the halls right? The reason we don’t even see each other except at night when you show up and all you really wanted was to have a quick shag-" At my last words, I felt myself gasp. That’s what happened yesterday, right?
I knew it, but I never let myself believe it.
But now I even allowed myself to say it.
He shrugged, then something passed through his mind. Regret maybe. Or did he make me think it was regret? He took steps forward, he placed an arm on my shoulder, making his hand run down my arms and land at my hand. He locked his fingers in mine. “You know that’s not true.”
I stayed quiet. Confused as to why his attitude has changed all of a sudden. Had he remembered something? His eyes looked soft, he smiled. It reminded me of the time he was smiling on our picnic date. I felt guilty, but why did I feel guilty when I did nothing wrong? “I would never use you for your body, you know that right?”
Looking around the room, he had left the door closed. I wasn’t sure where he was going with this, “I don’t know-”
He interrupted, “But I know who would,” His hand raised from my hand towards my cheek. He caressed his finger softly against my skin. I leaned into the touch, now I regret that. “Malfoy is desperate for you, but you love me correct?”
I was at loss for words. What am I doing? What is he doing? I have never crossed Draco’s mind, he needs to know that. But he’s manipulating me, making me believe I did all the wrongs, he wants me to be at his beck and call, he wants me to need him, to never ‘love’ anyone else besides him. But I don’t believe in love.
So why did I agree?
“Daphne is no comparison to what you did with Malfoy-”
I leaned away from his touch, “Nothing fucking happened-”
He kept, “-She only gave me what I wanted when you wouldn’t. So before you get out there and humiliate yourself, I think it’s my right to let you know, everyone knows what a fucking slut you are.”
Without a second thought, my hand reached out to slap him. He deserves it. A red hand mark grew irritated on his face.
He stepped back, in shock. “You’re psycho Nyla-”
There was a click at the door. Then it opened once more.
Draco stood, eyes finding me then Ashton. “Look’s like someone’s already heard.” He dragged out his words, making them sarcastic.
Ashton watched Draco, the anger in his eyes was direct. When he turned back to face me, his eye twitched. That was enough for me to realize he was hurt. Betrayed. There was a chance that he could believe me before Draco came, he could’ve understood it was all just another rumor, but now Draco has officially made it impossible to change Ashton’s mind.
Ashton spoke while shaking his head, “All the confirmation I needed.”
I spoke to Ashton, “He can prove you wrong. We didn’t do anything,” I looked towards Draco, a smirk on his face. It must have been the tone of my voice, it sounded as if I was pleading. But I was. Because Draco had the power to prove we did nothing. But then would I want him to save this?
Ashton dramatically laughed, “See, he’s even staying quiet.”
Draco was leaning against the bathroom wall. His arms folded above his chest, eyes hooded. He caught my gaze, then shrugged.
“He will never pay as much attention to you as I do.” Ashton spat. He walked past Draco and didn’t meet his eyes. The door clicked again and he was gone.
I stayed silent for a minute. Then Draco spoke, I wasn’t sure if he was joking or not, but I could care less, “At least he has some intelligence.”
I hate him.
“Why the fuck didn’t you say anything?!” Finally, there was a pair of silent tears running down my face. I looked miserable. I couldn’t look like this in front of him. But I couldn’t prevent it. I didn’t feel the loss of Ashton, or at least I made myself believe it. I felt loss to Draco. He was right. He was fucking right. I just never allowed myself to think he could be. He knew everything- this whole time- he knew. He just let me figure it out.
“It looks like little huffle puff prince won’t be around anymore,” He clicked his tongue.
I watched him, how could he be acting so- so calm? He isn’t worried about what people are saying? Is he not even phased that he did not help me with Ashton? “So you just let him believe it?” My voice was rough, getting his attention to focus on what he caused.
“He believes what he wants. If he truly wanted to stay, he would have believed every word you said.” Draco pulled away from the wall and walked towards the door, he turned the knob rolled his eyes.
“You know you just ruined the only thing I liked right?” -that wasn’t exactly true, but he had to feel the weight of it- “You fucking emotionless bastard-” He walked outside the bathroom leaving the door slight agar. I followed behind him, the cold room air hit my skin, I had been in the humid bathroom this entire time.
In the dorm, Theo was sitting there.
Theo quirked his head, “Is this-” He pointed towards us both then towards the steamy bathroom behind me, “-Supposed to answer all my questions?”
Draco almost laughed, “Depends what questions,”
Theo cleared his throat, “Well the rumors, they say that you guys sh-”
“No,” I interrupted.
Draco swung open the dorm door, “That’s one thing that for sure is never going to be on my bucket list.” Then he left.
I watched the place he used to stand at. What he said didn’t exactly bother me, I think.
“He’s lying,” Theo rolled his eyes before standing up and gripping my shoulder. “You should probably correct the rumors.”
I forced myself to think of every possible outcome. I forced the insults and the stares into my mind. I know everyone believes the rumor, but they won’t if Draco tells them it’s all false. He hasn’t corrected Ashton what makes me think he’ll correct everyone else?
He said he would never do anything like that with me, he lives by it. Why he won’t correct anyone is beyond me.
That afternoon I went to all my classes. I ignored comments as best I could. Luckily I had no classes with Daphne nor Ashton today. I felt relieved.
I brushed each rude remark off. My face would give nothing away. Sometimes I would laugh at some of their comments, not because they were funny but because I was tired of them.
Finally, the class was over. But I had a whole day to go.
After surviving each class. The looks of concern were nothing new. People assumed I was tricked into doing something with Draco. But I knew they only thought that because of Flint.
I wasn’t able to focus. By the time the class was finished, I would remember only the small sentence of the teacher saying goodbye while we walked out of the room. My mind had always wandered off in thought of Ashton, thinking what he might be doing. At times, my mind would also wonder what Draco was hearing, did he not even flinch at the sound of our names together? I wondered who I would go to for affection now. Even though I did not want to admit it right there and then, Ashton was a nice company. But thinking about it, he is probably accompanying Daphne.
Luna always claimed that a mind-freeing walk was ‘wonderous’ but everyone knew that she herself could only make such an annoying day so great. She always reminded me that her crystals healed, they offered their help to me anytime I need.
But I can’t disrupt her calm state of nature. I could not barge into her dorm and beg for her to listen to all my issues. I could not bear shoving my problems onto somebody else’s shoulders, mostly not Luna’s.
I decided to take her advice. The day was bright enough for a joyous walk, right?
I walked outside our common room, holding the brown leather notebook Pansy had once given me. I was planning on writing thoughts down like she once said. The wind was dancing on my skin. The noise of water dripping from a fountain was music. There was a lake in the center of the grassy campus. Bushes colored with flowers surrounded me, in every direction. The bright hues of fish beneath the water looked like birds swimming beneath the earth. Behind the greek poles surrounding the garden, there were students drowning in each other’s kisses. On the benches to the left of the lake, sat a girl reading a book on her lap. Then, a stack of books sitting beside her.
The forbidden forest came after the lake. I followed a small path across the campus and began to pass the first oak trees from the forest. Looking up, small gaps formed by the tree branches allowed the sun’s rays to soak up on my skin.
There wasn’t much noise except for the crackling of leaves and twigs snapping. Looking through the grand tree’s I still saw nothing. There was a hollow sound. Like a rock thrown into a lake, slowly sinking by its own weight.
Curiosity took over my mind. My steps formed themselves. I began to walk towards the nonstopping noise of items being thrown into a liquid. My hands reached up to move the gran bushes in front of me, slowly separating them, creating a middle opening for me to cross. When I shook the plants to get through, a single blue butterfly arose from the greenery. It was beautiful.
The colorful delicacy. Black veins spread through her wings like poison, but it was nothing like. The bright blue hue of her wings was like a pearl to the eye. She cast a spell on my eyes with the iridescent glow of her wings. The butterfly sat above my finger, its wings slowly fluttering to keep balance.
Another item was thrown into such a puddle. The butterfly seemed to get notice of the disturbance and flew away. I made my way past the trees until the sound was much clearer to the ear.
There, sat Draco. On top of a massive log, he was reclining his body weight onto his arms that extended towards his back and laid above the log. There was a puddle of water towards his right and a stack of pebbles by the side of his feet. He was gazing straight forward. I followed the path of his eyes but, there stood nothing. Odd. I wasn’t sure what he was starring at.
But he looked different. Almost- peaceful?
The soft wind ruffled his hair above his brow. The tree’s shadows marking his skin. He was wearing a loose white long sleeve. The top two buttons were undone. His black trousers matched the black of his rings.
I cleared my throat.
Instantly, his head snapped in my direction. When he saw me, he rolled his eyes. “I’m glad you’re eager to find me.” He smirked, his tone was in mockery. He stood.
I wasn’t sure if to walk his way. Maybe sit down beside him, explain to him that he needs to address the rumors for what it truly was. Or if I should turn and walk away. I probably should’ve done the second one. If only I could change my response now.
I pointed towards the emptiness of the vast space in front of us, “What were you staring at?” A slow approach.
He shook his head, “No no,” then quirked his head and looked me up and down, at that, I felt my entire body freeze. “First, why are you here?”
“The same reason you’re here I assume.” I looked around. It was completely empty.
He laughed, “And what do you assume I’m here for?”
I clicked my tongue, about to give away my reason as to why I’m here. Maybe changing my words would benefit me. “You needed a getaway from the commotion.”
He rose a brow, “What if I told you I was here because of a herbology report on-” He thought for a second, “-trees?”
This time I rolled my eyes, “Because you never do work, that excuse wouldn’t work,”
He looked away, clenched his jaw, then looked back. “Right.”
His stance was dominating, he could do anything and I wouldn’t be able to. We are out in the middle of the forest completely away from anybody else. I wasn’t sure what to respond so I aimed to move away, moving past him towards the log was what I did until he spoke, “What do you think you’re doing?” His tone was curious, but his words harsh.
I sat on the log, the notebook beside me, “Sitting?” I quirked my head in question.
He walked towards me, he looked irritated. When he spoke, it was as if he was correcting my statement, “Interrupting my space.”
A twig snapped. My eyes tried finding the source of the noise, but I only met with the vast open space Draco had been starring at before I got here. I was confused. Draco sighed, “You decided to barge in here, don’t tell me they annoy you.”
My brows furrowed. He was going insane maybe. The confusion must have shown on my face, all the questions that needed answering.
He rolled his tongue onto his cheek and scratched the back of his neck. “Of course,”
My voice was harsh, his words seemed like he was mocking me. “What? Am I missing something?”
He rolled his eyes, and for what seemed like a split second, his face had relaxed. He pointed towards the vast open space and spoke, “There are thestrals.”
At his words, my obsession with trying to figure them out came back into play. I felt shocked at knowing the animals were so close. Millions of questions filled my mind, I wondered what they looked like. Ashtons drawing came back into my mind, the frightful creature he had drawn on the parchment. At this time, I have completely forgotten to confront Draco about the rumors.
The gasp was loud enough for Draco to raise a brow at me, “What do they look like-” I corrected myself, “-In your eyes?”
He kept starring at me as if I was asking the most impossible. I felt ridiculous for asking now, I should’ve gone the other way. I felt like gripping the notebook tight in my palm while I waited for him to speak, but I didn’t. He would know I was nervous. I let the book sit peacefully beside me.
Draco’s eyes looked me up and down, “Unique.”
I was too late to stop the words from escaping my mouth. “That’s all I get?”
“I suppose so,” I could tell he was considering leaving me here. Maybe he was uncomfortable enough.
I wanted to see how the animals looked through him. In the fourth year when we were in class, care of magical creatures, he always said things about these creatures that it makes me question if they could truly look as beautiful as he once made them sound. I lied, I wasn’t sure why, “I have to draw them out, the way I preserve them, for a project. I have the most minor idea of what they look like, I thought maybe you could describe-”
He cut mid-sentence, “I’m not a very helpful person, you should know this by now,” Was he referring to our constellation project?
I sharply stood up. He wanted to be alone, I had interrupted his space, I had asked him for something to only help myself out. I now wanted to leave him again. “You’ve made it abundantly clear.” Without another look back, I walked past him. I heard nothing more while I walked away.
I imagined he sat back down again, began throwing more rocks into the puddle, gazing at the ‘unique’ thestrals before him.
Pansy was already in the dorm, she was sitting above the couch we had placed in front of the fireplace. She waved a hand at me before turning back to her conversation with Luna who sat on the couch facing Pansy.
I was not aware Luna would be here so I quickly greeted her.
“Hi Nyla,” She said politely, her voice soft. “I was just making my way out-”
Pansy stood and eyed me, almost like she was asking something, I was not sure. ”We," she corrected, “were just heading out,”
Pansy’s tone was light yet she was demanding me not to say anything just by the look in her eyes. I laughed under my breath, “Yeah- em-” I wanted to talk to Pansy about Ashton today, but there was no way I would ruin her night, “Have fun,” I smiled.
Pansy sighed in thank you. Luna smiled, “See you soon Nyla!”
They were at the door when I smiled back, a soft grin like a faraway hug.
They both left, the empty room was left to me again. I lay on my bed for what seemed to be for hours. The light outside the window was slowly dimming, turning from bright yellow to red. With a blink, the sky was black. Specs of diamonds in the sky. I had watched an entire film by starring at the changing colors in the sky and I hadn’t even noticed. The fireplace across the room was still crackling. I realized I had not changed out of my clothes yet.
I stood and walked towards the clothes cabinet on the side of my bed. Pulling the doors open, I pulled out a loose shirt. When I didn’t find any of my shorts, I remembered I had placed them all in the laundry. Bloody hell.
I’m sure Pansy would not mind me borrowing a pair from her. While I walked towards Pansy’s drawers, the floor was cold beneath my feet. I opened her drawer and looked for any shorts I could wear. On the side of one drawer, there was an odd-looking necklace.
It was a crystal hanging from a thread. A necklace. Hand-made it seemed. The crystal had a hue of purple mixing into blue. Both colors dark so that the shades match. There was a glimmer of light shining onto it from the window.
Remembring what I came for, I picked out a pair of shorts, making sure to close the drawer while I left.
Sitting back down on my bed, I heard footsteps from outside the dorm door.
A shadow, like last time, something being slid under the door frame, then the shadow was gone.
The object seemed thicker than the letter that was slipped last time. I got up from the mattress and made sure to soften my steps walking towards the door. I leaned down to get a better view, and the thin brown leather notebook Pansy gave me was on the ground.
Like an immediate click, the memory of me accidentally leaving the book on the log outside with Draco today made sense.
He must have been the one to return it unless he got someone else to do it.
I reached down and gripped the notebook in my palm. The soft thin strap that’s meant to hold the book shut was loose. I loosened it all the way and swung the front pages open. It was normal. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting.
When closing the book shut, a page fell from the spine. I watched the piece of parchment sway gracefully onto the floor.
I reached for it and instantly turned it around.
I was shocked. It was like my eyes were spelled twice in a row. There was a drawing on the yellow parchment. Precise lines built up onto the greater picture. Looking closely, there was detail in the smallest of places. It was a unique piece of mind. The bases of the drawing were coated with colors. Each stroke had a smudging feature that rendered the image watery, like a reflection in a rippled puddle. The hues of pale blue were shadowed with navy. The drawing was of something similar to a horse. The upper body was strong yet gentle. The horse’s body had two side wings, a mix of bird wings to gaining the black veins from the butterfly. The eyes were unnoticeable. They were grand, hues of gray coloring the inside. They had small diamonds in each eye. They looked like the night sky. The legs of the horse were thin but sturdy. It looked angelic. It had hooves perfectly shaped like crescent moons. It had a thin rare blue tale. Its face was one you want to remember. It was so gentle, it reminded me of the delicacy of a butterfly.
There was also scenery behind the drawing. The rich night sky covered in stars. There was a light hovering above the ‘horse,’ it was a bright white almost blue ring of light. Perfect just for the drawing to be seen. At the far bottom right of the page, almost too tiny to spot, sentenced,
“You wanted to see them in my eyes, correct?”
Draco drew a thestral.
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