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Hotel Heart[tw], open
It was a typical day at Hogwarts for Briar Westbrook. The dull grey sky and the usual quiet buzz of students coming and going from the library made it just hard enough to concentrate without a charm to quiet the whispery chatter that overflowed from the aisles of books like a goblet overflowing with red wine. Briar stood anxiously in the back corner, hands in the pockets of her robes as she waited for the person she was told to meet here. The blonde rocked back and forth anxiously, feeling sketchy as she waited for the student she was supposed to meet here.
“There’s my girl” the seventh year said, taking easy strides over to her. He was joined by his other two friends, both of them with wicked smiles on their faces. “Hi” Briar responded, her pale skin already growing red with embarrassment. They hadn’t done anything yet, or said anything, but she already felt guilty. Guilty of the work she was doing, guilty of what he would ask for... and generally crummy emotions ran through her already. But, she had to suck it up, he said they were friends, all three of them claimed to be her friend... and people did nice things for their friends. People helped their friends.
“You got that essay for George, right?” The seventh year’s younger brother was George, he was in the same year as Briar, he was in Slytherin too. She fumbled through her books, dropping one, before handing him George’s Care of Magical Creatures essay. “Here.” She said, eyes trained down on her book which had hit the floor. Once Dominic took the essay from her, she bent at the knees to pick up the book , reaching out to grab it before one of Dominic’s friends kicked it away.
“Stay down there for a second, you look really good down there” Dominic pet her blonde hair, in a weak attempt to calm her. His hands gripping the length of blonde and pulling slightly so she looked at him. “We’re still on for later, right ? I can’t miss my date with my girl...” she blinked, scrambling to answer.
“I-I... sure” she nodded, seeing her I’ll fated protest stir a frown upon his lips. No, she couldn’t disappoint him. “Good girl. Don’t be late” he pat her on the head and started to walk away. The third boy kicked the book back towards her before they all started to snicker among themselves making fun of her quiet voice and attempt to tell him that she really needed to study tonight... she sighed, moving out of the aisle and to a table, opening a book before she even arrived and attempting to calm down before anyone else came over to her.
While she read, her mind wandered, trying to figure out exactly how she had gotten into this predicament. The boys, Dominic, George, Garret, and Antoine, had thought she was someone else, and invited her to a party they were having. She, stupidly, had decided to go. Since her siblings all had plans. She didn’t like the party, it was cold, and everyone was enjoying the fire whiskey they had stolen from their homes and brought to school. She didn’t drink, she just held it. Eventually, Dominic had started talking to her, she was making a friend, she was happy, they went for a walk and he mostly spoke while she listened, the liquor in his system making him open to talking about his girlfriend, how she wouldn’t do ‘stuff’ and was no fun... while she listened and walked beside him. He said they were friends, and friends helped each other.... she obliged... she didn’t want to lose a friend the night she made the friend.
Lost in her own thoughts, she barely noticed the departure and arrival of others around her, no longer even reading the page, Briar sat, still, blank expression, a little heartbroken wit.h herself and her actions...
Maria so often frequented the library, she liked to think the books could keep no secrets from her. Now she thumbed through the titles, running her fingers across the spines of every book, the deep indents where letters had rubbed off from many students rubbing and rubbing the engraving until it flaked off, dried and shriveled, or simply wore down into the leather. She loved all of them, even the ones missing pages, even the ones filled with obscene drawings and rude words, even the ones with “turn to page 200”, “turn to page 20”, “turn to page 3”, “turn to page 69”, and a drawing of a penis. Even wizards were immature. She pulled a few Charms books down from the shelf; she needed to study for her OWLs. She always needed to study for her OWLs.
She’d been studying so much, she had deep bags under her eyes, and she’d had her up up in the same braid for three days. She’d at least manage to wiggle into her school uniform yesterday afternoon, but she’d slept in her robes over night, and woke up with her own handwriting staining her face. Try as she might, she wasn’t able to get all of the ink off, so she still had faint grey lines on her left cheek. She’d definitely avoid sitting with any of her classmates. She looked downright ridiculous; even if she definitely wasn’t the only one. She scanned the room for an empty table. She didn’t see one, but she saw something even better: Briar, her sister. Sometimes, it seemed her sister was an entire galaxy away from her. Now, she sat at the table, with a blank expression painted on her face. To Maria, it seemed like there was hurt behind her eyes. Maybe today wouldn’t be a studying day, but a Briar day. Her grades wouldn’t drop too much if she spent the day with her little sister.
She set her books on the table quietly, and wasted no time at all scooping her sister up in a hug.
“Hullo,” she chirped cheerily, though her voice was hoarse and croaky from lack of sleep, “let’s hang out today.” She tucked Briar’s hair behind her ear, and kissed her head.
“Unless you’re meeting someone here, but let’s face it, I’m more fun anyway.” She yawned in the middle of her sentence, stretching out the word fun, saying it a little louder than she intended. Tears leaked from her eyes, and she quickly wiped them away on her robes. They could study together, or just read the ridiculous things people wrote in the library books. They didn’t even have to stay at the library. It was a nice day outside today, they could spend it by the lakeside, maybe stick their toes in the water and watch the clouds. Maria had taken up magical knitting; maybe she should show Briar how. Maria found it immensely soothing, she could do it while she studied, and she’d nearly finished a pair of black and gold striped socks for Briar already.
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