(1938-01-17) Ophelia's Choice
Details for Ophelia's Choice
Summary: After taking the time Hephaesta asked for to think things over, Ophelia comes to tell Phae what she has decided.
Date: January 17, 1938
Location: Workshop
Related: Ophelia Comes Out of Hiding

Workshop, Hogwarts Castle

Long, heavily shielded windows lining one side of the workshop are designed to guard against even the more forceful projectiles that often spiral out of control from heavy tables that serve as work surfaces. The walls are scarred with burn-marks of many a project gone awry, and even the ceiling is scorched here and there by past misfires. Those familiar with the history of this room might even know that some of those "accidents" were anything but a mishap, and were even sometimes carefully planned. Shelves line the far wall from the entryway, stacked with models and manuals of wizarding innovations, as well as the students' current attempts-in-progress to duplicate those innovations.

Tink, tink, tink, tink, tink! Hephaesta taps softly with a little hammer, carefully shaping a piece of metal to fit into her current project that will do Merlin-knows-what. She's looking a little different today. Her hair is straightened, instead of its usual wavy mane, and currently pulled back into a ponytail to keep it out of her vision and away from the candles she's using for light. Otherwise, the workshop is rather dark, as she hasn't bothered to light any of the torches in the wall-sconces.

Ophelia slips through the door as silently as she can. She still carries her cloak and bookbag, and her own hair is as loose and untouched as it had been the day before, so that it sticks out oddly in places. Silently, she blinks as her eyes begin to adjust to the dimness, then slowly, keeping her eyes on Hephaesta, she steps over to start lighting the sconces herself.

Hephaesta isn't so engrosses that she doesn't see that shine of red hair in the candlelight. She's been a bundle of nerves, awaiting this moment for the entire day, not even sure if it would come. She watches Ophelia light the torches, swallowing to wet her drying throat. She sets down the hammer and metal piece, and reaches back to tug the tie out of her hair, letting the straight brown strands cascade down around her shoulders.

Ophelia stops, nearly dropping her match, when she sees Phae loosen her hair. She just stares for a bit, before looking down with a sudden blush. "I don't think you'll ever know… " She starts, then shakes her head. "No, no I came to do what you said. I thought maybe I should write it, send it to you, in case you stil… wanted space. But I changed my mind, I hope… that's ok."

Hephaesta clasps her hands in front of her, waiting anxiously. Her lips part as Ophelia speaks, brow going up expectantly. She nods, hummingbird-quick. "Yes…it's okay." She takes an unsteady step forward, hesitant, yet eager.

Ophelia's head comes up again, hope lighting in her eyes. She moves as thought o step forward as well, but stops herself. "I… I have a lot to say, I want to start from the beginning. When… when I… " She sighs, and tries again, "I think… I liked you before I saw you. When I heard of what you could do, the things you were already making. I went to find out who you were, But I was afraid to speak to you. To bother you. I tried a few times, but it didn't work out."

Hephaesta tilts her head, brow crinkling in bemusement. "You did?" Suddenly feelings of guilt plague her. What if she hadn't noticed Ophelia before? Was she so focused on her work that she couldn't see this beautiful girl trying to get her attention? What does that say about herself?

Ophelia nods. She goes on, fidgeting with her sleeves now, glancing up from the floor every few seconds. "But I was too afraid. With Kaiden, too, I just watched, I was sure neither of you would ever be interested. So I was safe, I could imagine knowing you, I could wonder what it would be like. And then he did notice. Or rather, I was pointed out to him, I think. And then, well, everything happened."

Hephaesta winces visibly when she recounts her beginnings with Kaiden. The suddenness of it, that abrupt feeling that she had lost her chance before she even knew she wanted it, has never quite lost the sting for Phae.

Ophelia doesn't miss the wince. She bites her lip, pausing, taking a step forward again before she speaks. "I… I still haven't figured it all out, yet. And maybe some of it went to my head. But you were right. I mean… I still miss him. Maybe I always will, I don't know. But even though I hid, and I didn't see you, it was /you/ I wanted to see more than anyone. Since the beginning, I've been afraid. I don't know how, but I'm going to start being braver now."

Hephaesta licks her lips, blinking as her eyes moisten. "So…what haven't you figured out? I don't understand. Have you made a decision?" Her heart pounds out a steady rhythm of GO-TO-HER, over and over. But fear still stays her feet, until she gets an answer.

"I… I haven't figured out what's going to happen, or what exactly I'll do when I see Kaiden again. But I've figured out one thing, and I've made my choice. This is where I want to be, Phae." Ophelia swallows, after saying this, and looks up to truly meet Hephaesta's gaze for the first time.

Hephaesta lets the floodgates open, and happy sobs starts to pour out as she limps hurriedly toward Ophelia, arms open.

Ophelia rushes forward the moment she sees the tears start, thorwing herself into Hephaesta's arms. She doesn't speak, for a bit, but buries her face against Phae's shoulder and breathes in the girl's scent, while her hands grasp the other girl's sweater tightly.

Hephaesta's face is pressed similarly into Ophelia's shoulder. She squeezes her as tight as she can, her words muffled. "I thought I was going to lose you."

Ophelia nods against Hephaesta, sniffles, and pulls back. The strength is leaving her again, as the relief takes over, and she quickly looks for a bench for them to sit down. "I thought… I thought I'd lost everything, when you left last night."

Hephaesta sits as close as she possibly can to Ophelia, snuggled right up against her, hands linked. "I'm sorry. I just…needed you to think about things…without me right there. I didn't want to. I cried all night, Ophie. But…but I still think we needed it."

Ophelia nods, though the thought of yet more tears from Hephaesta brings more to her eyes. She twists in her seat to wrap her free arm around Phae and pull her close. "I… probably did. Thinking about loosing you… " She shudders.

Hephaesta leans into Ophelia's embrace, clutching at the front of other girl's jumper. "So…what if Kaiden decides he wants you back? Everyone is s-saying he and Crocker broke up. What if…what will you say to him?"

"About that, you were right. He's going to have to do more than just say he wants me back." Ophelia tightens her hold on Hephaesta, "Maybe they really did break up. But I didn't make him do that."

Hephaesta tenses, lifting her face to look into Ophelia's eyes. "Do more…? You mean…he could win you back? Ophie, please…no…I can't do this if it's just a matter of waiting for him to do the right thing to take you away from me."

Ophelia presses her lips together for a minute, and shakes her head. "I'm sorry, that's not hot how I meant it. There probably isn't a right thing for him to do, anymore. Part of me may always miss him, like I said. But also, like I said, this is where I want to be."

Hephaesta takes a deep breath, settling her nerve. "If you're sure. I promise, I'll do whatever I must to show you that we're right for each other. You're the only one for me, Ophelia. Only you."

Flushing, Ophelia squeezes Hephaesta's hand. "And I'm going to do what I have to to be better to you, to stop making you cry. I want to make you happy, no matter what."

Hephaesta tilts her head in an endearing gesture. "Ophie, I was happy. I am happy. It was just this…all of this with Kaiden again. I was so confused and scared. But…we were doing good, weren't we? Did I do something wrong to make you miss him? Just tell me, I swear I'll fix it."

Ophelia shakes her head. "You didn't do anything wrong, Phae. It was just… well, Christmas, actually. I kept remembering that we'd made plans, that they'd never happen. That's when I realized that I missed him. And I thought maybe I could try to be friends with him."

Hephaesta nods, taking a few more controlled breaths. "I'm trying not to be mad at him. But…he didn't have to say what he did. He could have just left it alone and everyone would still be happy. He'd have Briar, and we wouldn't have fought."

Ophelia gives a small sigh, and shakes her head. "But what about her? I already know you wouldn't be ok not knowing it if I had said something like that to him. Do you think she should have to go around not knowing, too?" Not that she knows, yet, what exactly happened between the two.

Hephaesta shakes her head. "I mean what he said to you. He never should have said he missed you too. It just made everything harder."

"Maybe not." Ophelia looks to the floor, trying to think rationally through everything this time. "But it was probably my fault that he did, anyhow. I probably said something that made him think it was the right thing."

Hephaesta shakes her head again, more insistently. "You can't make him do anything. It was his choice, and he should have known better." Things must be getting back to normal, as Phae absolves Ophelia of any possible wrongdoing. "I don't want to be mad at him. I just got back to friendly terms with him. But…that's what makes it even worse."

"But Phae." And yet Ophelia can't help defending him, just a little more. She looks up, worried again, "I can't believe he'd have told her that he cheated on her. Maybe what he did was dumb. But I just don't think he could be that mean."

Hephaesta sighs. "Ophie, I said that's not what I'm mad about. How should I know what he said to Crocker? I'm mad about what he said to you. That was unkind. After everything we've already been through, he should have just kept his silence."

Ophelia winces, flushing. "Sorry. Its the rumor… its gotten me all… tangled. Maybe it was mean, I don't know. Its hard for me… thinking that way. Everyone was always so unkind to him, I don't like to say unkind things myself."

Hephaesta sighs, leaning her head on Ophelia's shoulder. "Then we won't talk about it anymore. I'll…try to forgive him. Maybe I just need time."

Closing her eyes, Ophelia turns to lean her head against Hephaesta's. "Time sounds good. And distance. I wish we had another vacation. Already."

Hephaesta clings tighter to Ophelia. "I don't. I barely got to see you during the last one. Maybe…maybe we should make special plans together for the Easter holiday."

"Hmmm, maybe we should." Ophelia tightens her hold on Hephaesta as well. "Its true, I missed you during the holidays. A-at the New Years ball… everyone was kissing," She blushes, "I wanted you to be there so much. I … had my dress made with you in mind."

Hephaesta sighs, nodding. "I wanted to come. But Mother wouldn't hear of it. We had a Mulciber family party that night, and I had to be there. Besides, Archie would have been sad without me."

Ophelia bites her lip, swallows, then peeks over and asks, "Maybe… I can come and meet him? Over the Easter holiday? A-and I can bring my parents, if you like, I know mum would like to see your father again."

Hephaesta nods vehemently. "I'd love that. My family really did want to have you all over. But we had a cousin arrive unexpectedly and…well, Mother is rather embarrassed by him, and though the insult of cancelling dinner would be lesser than exposing your family to him."

Ophelia smiles, "Oh, I wouldn't worry about us. We're all so strange as it is. It will probably be all I can do to keep Dad from bringing books to the dinner table. And you know how I am about shoes… oh, Phae!" She brightens, suddenly, tightening her grip on Hephaesta's hand, "I saw Miss Strudwick again, and she agreed to take a copy of the petition to the Ministry for more signatures!"

Hephaesta beams, hugging Ophelia tight. "That's wonderful news. You're going to make history, Ophie! You know, I should write to Dada. I'll bet that he and Mother would sign it. If enough pure-bloods sign, Durmstrang will have to pay attention, won't they?"

Ophelia's blush darkens. "Oh, I… I don't know about all that. I don't want to be famous. I just want all the champions to be allowed in. But I'd like that, very much. I'll write to Miss Strudwick and ask her about it. Perhaps I can get everyone who signed to have their parents sign, too… "

Hephaesta sits up, and cups Ophelia's face in her hands. "You don't even care about the attention. You just do it because it's right. I love you so much." Phae leans in and claims Ophelia's lips with an uncharacteristic forwardness, sealing their renewed bond.

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