(1938-01-12) Tell Me!
Details for Tell Me!
Summary: Almost immediately after Ophelia leaves the Charms classroom, Kaiden stumbles upon her in the halls and tries to offer some excellent advice. But he reveals something almost too shocking for Ophelia to handle… just before Hephaesta arrives in the halls as well. What follows is the largest confrontation the three have yet had.
Date: January 12, 1938
Location: Charming Corridor
Related: The Trouble With Boys

Charming Corridor, Hogwarts Castle

Here the stairwell bears with it the weight of everything going on above it, and the depth of activity on the lower floors. The noise here might drive even stalwart Gryffindors to distraction, and much courage may be required to make sure one doesn't miss one's floor with the rush of activity going on in this level. Besides the twisting pathways of the stairs, there are waves of students from the floors above hurrying at various times to get down to the main floor, and the rushes of students hurrying upward toward their classes or research. This is a floor where traffic jams are not uncommon, though for the most part students will give way to civility - if a teacher or House Boy is close-by enough to earn good behavior.

Ophelia stumbles out of the door to the Charms classroom perhaps an hour before lunch, clutching Whizzbee in one hand and her book satchel in the other. She's wound her hair up in a braided bun, though its already falling out, and has pushed back her sleeves to protect them from the ink stains already on her fingers. But she's not studying anymore, and as she makes her way to the closest bench, a few tears spill from her eyes and down one cheek.

Kaiden is just walking along the corridor with no idea what he's about to get himself into. Nope, none whatsoever. He's just off to find an empty classroom and pour over some Defense Against the Dark Arts notes and BAM, there's a crying Ophelia right there in the hallway. The young Hufflepuff stops in his tracks and his face twists with concerne before he softly says, "Ophe?"

Ophelia sniffs, looking up, and her eyes widen. "Kaiden… " Darting a worried glance at the classroom door, she sits up straighter and tries to wipe her eyes. Unfortunately she's holding a kitten in the hand she tries to do this with. The kitten makes an annoyed noise as the beginning of his nap is interrupted, and Ophelia winces. "What… what are you doing here? I mean, inside, on a Saturday and all… "

Kaiden reaches up and scratches his head, unsure of what to do. "I was just…well, I fell behind on my studying over the break, so I thought I might try and play a little catch up. But that's not important." He moves over to have a seat next to her, setting his books down on the floor, "What's wrong, Ophe?"

Dropping her bookbag, Ophelia shifts the kitten to her lap and turns her gaze onto him, away from Kaiden. "I'm not sure you'd want to know." She mumbles, "It's about Hephaesta. I… I hurt her feelings, made her cry. And I… I lied to her."

Kaiden tilts his head to her, his eyes glancing down to the kitten for a moment before they once again light on her face. "You sure? I really don't like seeing you upset and if there's anything I can do to help…"

"Kaiden, I- I hurt her feelings because of you." This is harder for Ophelia to say, and she has to force it out, so that is comes out in a rush, "I know I shouldn't and there's no reason to because you left a-and she didn't and I was believing it but its hard sometimes, and then Eibhlin was talking about how Conall regrets breaking up with her and I-I wondered, and she saw and now she's crying and I tried to lie about it and say it was just Whizzbee because he scratched me but it wasn't and she knows it wasn't." The tears are coming out faster now, along with the words, but now she's a free hand she is wiping them away continuously.

Kaiden feels like he just got hit in the heart by a freight train. Ophelia's talking about things that he'd felt but couldn't really put words to until now and his usual happy-go-lucky demeanor is thrown right out the window. He takes in a short breath and exhales it kind of jaggedly, wrapping an arm around Ophelia's shoulder, "Hey, Ophe. Hey…it's okay." Dammit, and now the boy can't even word good.

Ophelia is tense for maybe a second, before leaning against Kaiden. She buries her face in his chest, but keeps her hands on the kitten in her lap. "I'm sorry." She mumbles, the sound muffled by the fabric of his shirt, "I'm just making it worse for everyone."

Kaiden rubs her back and shakes his head, "No, that's not being fair to yourself, Ophe. Things are just kinda…really tense and confusing right now, y'know? There's a lot of questions, Ophe. Don't blame yourself for not knowing the answer."

Despite herself, Ophelia is comforted by the words. The tears begin to slow, and after a small pause she pulls back to look up at him worriedly. "Do you think so? But I… I made her cry. I don't want to make her cry anymore."

Kaiden offers Ophelia one of those goofy lop-sided grins that he's not really gorgeous enough yet to play off as charming and says, "Hephaesta is a strong girl, but she's got her emotions and sometimes you've just got to let her cry. I know she puts up that calculating facade, but underneath it, I know she gets scared, too. Just like the rest of us. You're just gonna have to learn to be strong enough to push through it with her sometimes."

Taking a slow, deep breath, Ophelia nods. "Push through," She echoes. "I'll try." She looks down at her lap, then up once more, apologetic now. "Thank you. A-and sorry… for your shirt."

"Just push through, Ophe." He repeats once more for solidarity. He smiles warmly and squeezes her a little bit, before looking down at the tear-stained shirt which causes a soft chuckle to escape, "I think it'll be alright. I didn't really like this shirt, anyway."

Ophelia nods with more strength this time, and even manages a small laugh. "Thank you." She says again, "You were always so good at making me feel better. It makes me wonder, maybe you stole all the 'being good at people' from Ria before you two were born."

Kaiden grins and says, "Bah, I'm not good with people. I just…I guess I just know you." He shrugs and looks away. Dammit, you're making it awkward again. He quirks his lips and decides not to comment further, pretending he didn't bring up their history.

Ophelia is smiling, though, until he looks away. Then, getting worried again, she bites her lower lip and looks down at her lap once more. "Um, so, um. Sh-should I… go back in there? Or, um, let her talk to Eibhlin some more?"

Kaiden clears his throat and almost blurts out that he does infact regret breaking up with her, but manages to keep his calm, reaching up to rub at the sides of his lips. He manages a smile and looks over to her, "I don't know. What do you think would be best?"

Ophelia lifts her head to watch the door. "I'm not sure. I'm… I'm afraid. That I'll hurt her more. That I… " She sighs, "Maybe I shouldn't. Not… until I can be more… sure of myself." Glancing up at him, siwdeways, she lifts her brows in question. Was the the right thing?

"I miss you and I really hate that I ever broke up with you," Kaiden blurts out before a look of terror comes over his face and he covers his mouth, looking over at Ophelia like a deer caught in headlights.

Just otuside the charms classroom, Kaiden and Ophelia sit on a bench together. Ophelia's eyes are red, her books dropped at her side, Whizbee sleeping in her lap. Kaiden is, at the moment, staring at Ophelia with his mouth covered, and a terrified look on his face. Which is now mirrored on Ophelia's, as she stares right back at him. The redhead opens her mouth to speak, but all that comes out is a wordless squeak.

Kaiden just looks away quickly and clears his throat, shaking his head and opening his mouth to speak, aswell, but very much like Ophelia, he fails to do so. He clears his throat again, staring straight at his stack of books on the floor.

The Charms classroom door opens, and there is Phae, once again walking into an awkward moment with Ophelia and Kaiden. Her eyes are red and her cheeks have the sheen of recent tears. At the sight of them, her jaw drops, and she turns white as a sheet.

Ophelia jumps, hearing the door. She turns, her expression still frozen in that wide-eyed look of terror. The expression stays in place for nearly a full minute before she jumps to her feet. Whizzbee, dislodged, leaps for her bookbag and gives her an angry look, but she doesn't see it. "I… " Her voice is high, pinched again with worry, "I don't… I don't want to make you cry anymore." She says to Phae, "But," turning to Kaiden again, "I… I miss you, too. And I… I don't know what to do about it. B-but I think we have to think about some things." Then, trying not to hyperventilate, she collects her bookbag and starts walking stiffly toward the stairway.

Kaiden just starts chewing his his lip, his brow furrowing as he continues to avoid eye-contanct with anybody and every-hehe, look at the kitty. Ahem. His eyes slowly drift upward as Ophelia marches off before they turn to Hephaesta to see what she's going to do."

For a moment, Phae is too stunned to do anything but stare in horror. Every worst case scenario she can imagine is once again running through her head. Finally, it's all too much for her. Lifting her braced leg, she stamps it down hard, metal against stone in such a way that she knows will create a very loud, and very shrill clang, echoing down the hall. She bites back the lightning bolt of pain shooting through her limb, and clenches her teeth in anger. "Just…TELL ME!" The diminutive girl quakes where she stands, fists clenched, lips trembling, and new tears streaking down her cheeks. But the tears are silent — she's too mad to sob.

Ophelia stops, flinching. Its the clang and the pain she already knows accompanies it that stops her, more even than the words. She turns, Whizzbee clinging now to her bookbag, swallows, and with her eyes on the floor says fearfully, "I- I did. I miss him. I don't want to hurt you anymore, but I do. A-and he just… " Then she runs out of words, bites her lips, and waits.

"I told her I missed her! And that I regret breaking up with her, okay!?" He stands up and leans down to pick up his book, looking back to Hephaesta, "I'm sorry. She's your girlfriend, not mine. I was just…I don't know. I'm sorry." He looks between the two of them and begins his trek past Ophelia on his way to the stairs.

Ophelia barely moves. Kaiden's reaction just causes her to draw in on herself even more, and though she darts a glance up at him as he passes her, she doesn't dare speak and is almost immediately looking at the floor again. "I don't know what to do." IS about all she is able to whisper.

Kaiden stops as he catches Ophelia's whisper and looks over his shoulder. He takes in a deep breath and sounds as if the only reason he's leaving is because he's breaking down a little, himself. With a voice that is weaker than usual he says, "Just…push through, Ophe. Like I said." He sniffles a bit and walks off.

Each word from Ophelia makes Phae wince. "Did you kiss him?" The question is whispered, but direct in its tone. Demanding, even.

Ophelia starts to tear up again, but also to nod to Kaiden, slowly. She switches to shaking her head forcefully enough to make her bun bounce and slip to one side, though, when she hears Hephaesta's question.

It's a small measure of relief, but relief nonetheless. Hephaesta lowers her eyes, sniffling back her tears. "I…don't want to be…your consolation prize," she says with considerably difficulty. "I don't want to be your sweetheart…just because he isn't."

Tears coming in full now, Ophelia keeps shaking her head. "No… no no, no its… its not like that. It was never ever like that! I just… I don't know what to do. I always… always, you both… things… I just… "

Hephaesta moves toward the bench, trying not to wince with the throbbing pain each step causes, but it's too much to hold back. She lowers herself down slowly. "If it isn't like that, why…why is this a hard decision?" She looks up miserably at Ophelia.

Ophelia wraps her arms around her middle, "B-because… because if it were this would be easy! Because I like you both!" She stops for a few seconds to breathe, then adds, "B-because its… its not a decision. I just have to think about things."

Hephaesta chokes back a sob, frowning and shaking her head. "While I just sit by and wonder if you're about to break up with me? That's not fair. You told me you love me. Why do you need to think about that? What is there to even think about?"

Closing her eyes, Ophelia draws in a shaky breath. "I do. I do, Phae. I just… I've been wondering if… if maybe I love him too. You… you make me feel like I can do anything, Phae. And Kaiden, he makes me feel… happy. Just… just by being around."

The hurt caused by those words are plain to see on Phae's face. "It took us weeks before you could say you loved me. But now…ages after he broke up with you, you think you love him, too. Good to know how easily it comes for him, but I'm a struggle." She drops her gaze to her lap. "Stop pretending there's anything to think about. Just…do it. Don't leave me wondering. That's just cruel, Ophie."

Ophelia clenches her fists, presses her lips together, and starts to look mad. "That's not what I'm doing! I told you I have to think! I'm not pretending! All I was doing was thinking, and I was going to go back in there," She tosses a hand at the classroom door, "And then he went and said that! I'm sorry if that was a little upsetting for me! The only two people I have ever been interested in both showing interest in me too is hard! I was trying, telling myself he wasn't interested anymore, that I could try to forget about him and just make you happy, but now I'm just confused again and I'm sorry!"

Hephaesta doubles over in a sudden fit of quiet sobbing, burying her face in her hands. Words have failed her, so all she has left is aimless grief.

Ophelia stares, torn. Her anger tells her to leave, go to her room, but everything else is screaming at her about the pain she knows Hephaesta must be in right now (both emotional and physical), telling her she needs to do something. And so for awhile the only sound in the room is that of Phae crying, quiet as it is. Then she steps forward, toward the bench, setting her bookbag down gently (to Whizzbee's relief) and kneeling in front of Hephaesta. Without a word, she reaches for her braced leg to get a look at it.

Hephaesta jumps a little when she feels Ophelia's hands on her leg. For a moment, she is frozen, save for her continues sobs. But finally she shakes her head, "Don't…just…just don't." She doesn't push her hands away, though. "I can't, Ophie…I can't just sit back and wonder if you're going to leave me. It's horrible. Please…please…"

Ophelia doesn't stop. She lifts Hephaesta's foot with gentle care that doesn't show on her face, which is hard still with her anger. "I'm not leaving you." She says, speaking with soft force. "Yesterday, when I said I wanted to be his friend, I meant it. But I also said I didn't know if I could, and I meant that too. This isn't just a sudden thing. What he said to me was sudden. But do you know what else he said to me?"

Hephaesta hisses in physical pain as Ophelia's lift starts to straighten her knee. But she bites her lip, bearing through it. Physical pain is nothing. She can take it. She always has. But now it's just a reflection of the pain in her heart. She doesn't answer Ophelia. Obviously she doesn't know, but she's listening.

Ophelia gives Hephaesta a moment to argue, and continues when she doesn't take it. As soon as she hears the hiss, though, she lowers Hephaesta's foot and instead leans down to look at it. "He said we should push through it. You and me. And when he left, that's what he said to me, again."

"I heard him," Phae whispers. "I just don't understand…why we have to push through? We…we were doing good. You keep saying you have to think…but about what? If it's not about whether you'd break up with me, then what?" Her leg is double concealed under stockings and the brace itself. There isn't much to see, save for the occasional misshapen muscle that becomes more noticeable upon closer examination.

Well, Ophelia didn't really expect to see the pain. Probably. After a moment's inspection she lowers the foot again. "I suppose I meant Kaiden and I have to think. In his case I don't know what all about. In mine… " She sighs, "I guess I was just wondering i-if… if missing him is… is unfaithful. Because if it is then I probably can't see him anymore."

Hephaesta lets out a sigh of both relief and exasperation. "Ophie…I told you I didn't mind you being friends. But…I keep finding you in these awkward moments with him. What am I supposed to think? Th-then you…you won't even talk to me. You just clam up, or walk away, and I can tell there is something you're not telling me. I've been so frightened of losing you."

Ophelia shakes her head. "I know. That's why I try not to say anything, I just keep thinking it will make things worse. Its just confusing. I meant all those things, about him not wanting me. I even told him, just now. Maybe its why he said that, I don't know. But Phae… I watched you both for years. Maybe he and I were only together for a few weeks. But I liked him before all that, too. Maybe I just haven't… haven't dealt with it all yet."

Hephaesta wraps her arms around herself, leaning back against the wall. "Saying nothing…doesn't help. I can tell when something is going on with you, Ophie. We…we have a connection. Please…please don't keep things from me. Then I just have to try to imagine what's going on and…" She shakes her head jerkily, trying to banish the thoughts.

"I'll try." Ophelia nods. She's still looking at the floor, next to where Hephaesta's foot rests. But she's relaxing, if only a little. "I don't know if I can promise any more than that. Do you have anything to help with the pain?"

Hephaesta swallows. She's been trying not to thinking about the pain in her leg. "My lotion, but it's in the dormitory." She extends a hand toward Ophelia, open palmed. "I love you. I've always known you care about him. I…I didn't know it might be love. That's…" She shakes her head again, and just reaches toward Ophelia, silently asking for her touch.

Ophelia stands, and not only takes Hephaesta's hand but pulls her up, gently, into a tight hug. "I don't have the words either. Part of what makes it so hard."

Hephaesta leans forward, and clings to Ophelia like it might be her last time in her arms. "I'm bad at this stuff. I…I don't know how people deal with this sort of thing. All I know is us. I need you, Ophie. Everything makes sense when I have you."

Hephaesta rises carefully, wincing slightly as a little weight it put on her lame leg. She leans into Ophelia and wraps her arms around her, clinging like it might be her last time in her arms. "I'm bad at this stuff. I…I don't know how people deal with this sort of thing. All I know is us. I need you, Ophie. Everything makes sense when I have you."

Ophelia holds tightly to Phae, "I'm bad at it, too." She closes her eyes tightly, trying to swallow back her own pain. "We'll simply… have to be bad at it together for awhile." Gently, then, she shifts to slip an arm under one of Hephaesta's shoulders, taking as much of her weight as she can. "Now we're going back to the tower for your lotion. I don't want you to hurt yourself like that anymore, Phae."

Hephaesta lowers her head, admonished. "I didn't do it for sympathy. I swear." She whimpers a little as she moves along with Ophelia's help. "I just couldn't think of a better way to get your attention. With the noise, I mean."

"I know you didn't." Ophelia takes only a few steps before pausing. "If I thought you had… I'd have gotten mad a lot sooner." She glances back the way they came, then the other way, and pulls out her wand.

Hephaesta takes advantage of the pause to bury her face in Ophelia's shoulder. It hides a grimace of pain, but also lets her feel Ophie, and smell her, trying to make it real again and banish those fears of losing her.

Ophelia hugs Hephaesta tightly, but only for a moment. Then she lets her go completely and kneels again, casting a quick cushioning charm on the bottom of Hephaesta's braced foot. "It might not do much. But its better than nothing." Cheeks now pink with embarrassment for the rule-breaking she just did, she stands again and once more reaches to support Hephaesta.

The simple act warms Hephaesta's heart, and her looks of fear and hurt melt away into adoration for Ophelia. Tears come again, but they are accompanied by a strained smile. "I love you so much. Th-thank you." Though the trip up the stairs is still difficult, the charm makes it that much easier, sparing a great deal of unnecessary pain. If only they could find a Cushioning Charm for their hearts.

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