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Author Topic: living in ruins // Tallulah  (Read 91 times)

Helen Kane

    (08/19/2017 at 22:57)
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The last week of summer
7 PM


Tallulah Belle Sloe was a large part of Euphemia Vane's life, and by extension, and by the rule of logical law that dictated that A was B, and B was C-- then A was C and Tallulah Belle Sloe should also be a large part of Helen Kane's life.

It was a tried yet untested thing that the two girls should know about each other, two incandescent objects with differing velocities and escape trajectories-- and yet set on an undeniable path of collision by Euphemia Vane's common denominator disappearance. Whilst Hel could count the interactions between herself and the Gryffindor on the fingers of two hands-- Hogwarts' hallways were magical, after all-- something about their upcoming conversation ached a different way.

She had little missions tucked into her fingertips, frazzled energy stretching thin skin and making skittish shapes out of her knuckles. If anything, she flitted through simultaneous time and space to make her energy match Tallulah Sloe's energy; to make the impact as blinding as possible. She'd always been weak for destruction of the beautiful kind.

Perhaps it was the reason she, herself, was drawn to Effy and the wide spectrum of colours the two of them made across the sky. Perhaps it was the reason for cold envy pulling at her ribs whenever she could see remainders of Tallulah in the golden ichor and pink blush sitting high atop Effy's cheeks.

Her stomach dropped into her shoes when she spotted the other girl moving through the dark towards the juniper tree. Her stomach could not stop her feet from moving ever forward in persuit, however.

Tallulah Belle Sloe was as unknown a variable as her relationship to Effy, and Hel was far too familiar with the sensation of jealousy and possession to call it anything else. With the way that Tallulah's name passed Effy's lips; the way she brightened and dimmed in the same sentence if Tallulah was the topic of conversation-- what could Hel think about save for her own gradual trajectory into neglect?

Effy's evanescence had created a black hole-- a vaccuum so strong that Hel ached faintly with it. She tapped Tallulah on the shoulder and it multiplied.

"Tallulah-" She couldn't help it, the worry and the jealousy and the numb nervousness drenching the syllables of her name, "It's about Effy."

She felt like a whirlwind.

"Where is she? Have you seen her? Have you been able to contact her?"

SLYTHERIN
don't tempt me

Tallulah Sloe

    (08/22/2017 at 19:15)
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She needed to get altitude.

In her cabin (she didn't remember which one it was even then, or it had actually been the one assigned to her that she had entered), she had flung her things, or what she had of her things, which was one small bundle containing only some clothes and some art supplies she felt like she might never use again and, before she had to surrender it at the camp office, her wand. Everything else, all her books and her uniforms, her journal and her letters, her packs of Filibuster's wet-start, no-heat fireworks from what felt like a simpler time and her best cupcake tin and her favorite pencil and every little seemingly useless knickknack from her window sill (the shells and the tide-polished rocks and the dried flowers and the feathers), were left behind, to be delivered at some nebulous and yet-undisclosed time. Without her things, she was weightless in a most uncomfortable way, as if it was her things, the things that belonged to her and in part defined her or at least contextualized her, that gave her weight and worth.

She had only just gotten here, and everything was already crushingly normal.

The door of her cabin, which she had slammed, had sounded more like cheerful chimes than angry wood-against-wood, because it was (as ever) set to some fairy tale theme and spelled up for summer. Before that, she had been accosted by a friend and housemate about Quidditch, defiantly fun and (as ever) considered the Most Important Thing by most. Even before that, the girl that checked her in at the camp office had been one from her own year--or, it should be said, her old year.

All of it stood to remind her how aggressively normal things still were here, and how stark it stood against the barely-controlled chaos that swelled inside of Tallulah Belle Sloe.

She needed to get altitude, to very literally get above all of it; it was a way to quiet her insides that she had figured out long ago in the better hidden rooms of the South Tower. Finding the highest place she could had become a sort of livable metaphor for the girl; it removed her from it all in more ways that one, gave her distance, space, a different perspective, gave her clarity.

There had never been a time yet when she needed altitude quite like she did now, so she picked the shadow of the highest tree she could make out against the darkening horizon and she ran.

Beneath her, her feet fell fast and hard, arms pumping gracelessly at her side, pulling her through the dense space of the forest. She ran, and even in the cooling night she could feel the sweat bead at her temples, marring her bangs against the skin there. Her feet carried her and she let them, through underbrush and out of it again, her arms all the while working, and earlier than she thought it should, the air began to sting her lungs, sewing stitches into her chest and her sides.

"No," she hissed to herself, and it sounded like sad steam escaping a sad engine.

Still, she slowed, stopped, doubled over to clutch her aching side; she hadn't yet made it to the grand tree when she heard her name.

The voice was familiar.

"No," she exhaled again, breathy and shallow.

Of course it was about Effy.  Most things were, even for Tallulah herself. The Slytherin was, after all, her very best friend, a part of her, her soul mate, or at the very least her soul twin. Right now (and for once), Tallulah wanted things to be about her, about Tallulah, and she wanted to experience the crushing weightlessness of that alone, and certainly not with--

"Helen."

Tallulah had many feelings, and most of them were not the best, when it came to Helen Kane. She clutched her side, pinching hard against a stitch there as if to rip it out. Without looking up, she listened to the other girl's words, her demands, largely because she had run herself out and was, for all intents and purposes, a captive audience.

And maybe it was the stitch in her side, the uncomfortable pounding of her heart, the sting of the breath in her chest, maybe it was the near-night and the suddenness of being here and of who and what she had left behind, maybe it was because it was, of all the people in the world, Helen Kane who had found her now, when she was so close to the juniper tree and to breaking down that she did what she did next, which was this:

Tallulah glanced up through her sweaty bangs at the blonde-headed girl and she smiled. It felt hot and stinging and a little dirty and terribly vindicating.

"She didn't tell you."
IN GLORIOUS TECHNICOLOR.

Helen Kane

    (08/23/2017 at 03:27)
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The single, stormfront shift of cumulus clouds stacking to cumulonimbus took shape over Tallulah's shoulder, casting darker shadows over the evening horizon. Hel noted it with the same intensity she noted Tallulah's sweaty forehead, the hiss of her escaping breath. She was out of breath like Hel wished she was breathless, running endless at the behest of the conversation-- so she could take a breath and think about the words leaving her mouth, or simply look at the depth of grave she'd shortly be pitching herself into.

But Hel had never been the bystander. In everything she'd experienced this summer, she'd been the instigator, pure and simple-- and the knowledge shaped a hollow death-knell between her ears.

Tallulah Sloe was breathless and Helen Kane was heinously unprepared, and the stardust she attempted to collect into the semblance of thoughts scattered at the stir of her fingertips. Her mouth ran dry, a river in the middle of a drought, and Tallulah's harsh breaths only exacerbated Hel's clamouring desire for air. Theirs was a timeless dance of bleeding feet and aching ankles in which the steps were the same, and only the partners ever seemed to change.

But the stormclouds gathering on the horizon compared little to the materialising elemental in front of her, and the girl that Tallulah Sloe became was one that Hel had never met before-- and didn't ever want to meet again.

"She didn't tell you."

Blue-black-green solution dripped from the words, her eyes misting in natural defence against the sting, and she took a step back to remove herself out of Tallulah's immediate blast radius. Helen Kane cried very rarely, and if there was anything she felt even fewer than grief-- it was fear.

But Tallulah was something unrecognisable in the fragmented twilight, time splintering apart underneath her fingernails as she pressed. Hel's leeching wounds bled a little deeper under the other girl's flickering gaze; the asseveration and the dirt and the hurt of it.

"Tell me what?" There it was again, the white-knuckled grip; the pursuit and the mission; the beating heart that plunged her ever forward to crest the waves. She had half a heart, but only a full one would do.

She skirted around the edges of Tallulah's space, taking steps around the girl's perimeter to plant herself in directly in front of her. Cornered animals were the most dangerous kind, but the space proved a barrier-- and Hel hadn't tasted freedom since April.

"Didn't tell me what?" She was a queen unseated from her own position of power, the dais ripped away beneath dangling feet, the tug and gasp and claw for foundation. Heat built behind her eyes; the culmination of the nights she'd spent alone and heaving. She would not cry; she would not.

But the flash of glass-green eyes across a star-studded sky proved persistent, and it was the memory that brought everything to the surface.

She cried anyway.
« Last Edit: 08/25/2017 at 02:06 by Helen Kane »

SLYTHERIN
don't tempt me

Tallulah Sloe

    (08/25/2017 at 01:11)
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“Are you--”

Tallulah blinked.

“--crying?

Here was the thing about crying:

Under most circumstances, tears were not something she wanted to see on people's’ faces.  It wasn’t that she was uncomfortable with this particular expression of emotion; she had always been a supporter of having a good cry when needed, had never shied away from tears when they came to her.  On the faces of others, however, they were an unwelcome sight, for while she could understand the need for them sometimes, she always felt a strange sort of weight, a push within her, a duty to prevent others from feeling the sort of sorrow or uncertainty that often prompted the same response from her--as if a joke told just so or a hand reassuringly placed just right could spare them from such an ordeal.

Here was the thing about Helen Kane crying:

A part of Tallulah Sloe wanted her to.

And so she blinked, and she rose, heel of her hand still pressing hard to her ribs as she straightened and stood upright, and she watched the other girl dance in orbit around her.  Tallulah breathed, pulled air into her heaving lungs, and she followed the movement of the other girl, line of sight trained not to her eyes but to her cheeks.  Streaks shone against the skin there.

Tallulah shook her head.

Euphemia hadn’t told her anything.

It was a strange thing, the position she found herself in then, and the same dirty part of her liked the feel of it, the nervous rush of power that pushed to mingle with the adrenaline coursing through her body.  Euphemia hadn’t told Helen anything, but she had told Tallulah; somewhere in San Francisco, a single letter addressed in precise script bore her, Tallulah’s, name, returned twenty-fold in her own looping scrawl at regular intervals over the summer.  Even in the horrid, horrible rush of everything that had transpired hours ago--was it only hours ago?--the Sloe girl had found a pencil, stolen a blank sheet off a prescription pad, scribbled out a note (She fell apart; going to camp; miss you. -TBS), sent it out to where she felt Effy might be.  And it was true, some times over the months even Tallulah had cried; it had been, after all, a horrid, horrible summer, and Effy was one of the few people she knew who was Serious and Sensible enough to understand that.

Here was Helen now, crying, knowing nothing.

“That’s interesting,” said Tallulah, and the words felt like spit coming out of her mouth.

Truth be told, Tallulah Sloe didn’t know enough about Helen Kane to behave like this.  She never asked Effy about her, even when Effy came back smelling like lavender, or when, in the mornings, she waited outside of the Slytherin Common Room where Effy lingered over-long, or when they were together and suddenly Effy would drift, retreat within, go somewhere that wasn’t with her.  She knew Helen Kane, mostly, by the empty outline she left in Tallulah’s own life--a Helen-shaped hole that occupied the space that Tallulah didn’t.

Something dirty, something dark made her feel good that there was a Tallulah-shaped hole in Helen’s life, and that, if the tears on her face said anything at all, it was bigger.  The same smile that had flitted across her face earlier took a deeper hold.

“She’s safe,” she said, breaths coming steadier now, words becoming less shaky.  And she was, Effy was safe.  She hadn’t heard from her since the start of summer and then circumstances had been dubious at best, but Effy was safe--Tallulah knew.  She was sure of it because the world still had green in it, vibrant in the lusty throes of dying summer, and because the part of her life that was Effy-shaped, so full in comparison the the hole that was Helen, still felt warm and whole.

And because that part of her was still intact, she knew that she wasn’t meant to share this secret.  It was a given, the same as Effy’s continued existance in Tallulah’s life.

“If she didn’t tell you,” she said then, and power churned darkly inside of her again, her chest swelling with a terrible sort of confidence, “there was probably a reason.”
IN GLORIOUS TECHNICOLOR.

Helen Kane

    (08/25/2017 at 04:27)
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She wiped at her cheeks with a force borne of desperation, trying in futility to puzzle a chestpiece together from the iron remainders of shattered pride at her feet. It seemed dumb to try; but even dumber to look Tallulah in the eyes and lie when the other girl could see the extent of her cumulative grief, clear as the light of day.

Hel was proud. It was a taught behaviour; social identity reduced to the characteristics that directed her towards her house. She was made of scales and silver blood, and poisoned fangs behind her lips ached heavy with the need to mount a defense. She had been raised with a black mamba lying dormant inside her throat, and she could command it to take down the lion in front of her with a single word-- the only thing she had to do was bite.

Of venom she had enough.

However vicious she was, though, Effy's residual haunt between her ribs was far better at providing a deterrent, and no matter how hard she tried to summon her hidden vitriol-- she couldn't do it. Tallulah was blessed with a knowledge Hel wasn't, and she realised with a sinking sensation that the power dynamic between them had always favoured the Gryffindor.

And she, herself, had always tried to shake Salazar Slytherin's heavy standards off her shoulders. There was a galaxy of people who wouldn't forgive her if she attacked.

What else, then, was there for her to do?

The ground trembled underneath Hel's feet, the result of muscles quivering in protest-- in trying to contain the radioactive supernova rattling around the bonemarrow. She was a broken heart and bending spine, unable to control her own escape velocity as she rocketed out of the stratosphere encasing her comfort.

“That’s interesting,”

She flinched, then, and felt her impulsive bravado evaporate away under the harsh glare of Tallulah's sun. She turned her head away, jaw working furious. Her eyes hardened, the moisture ebbed away. But for all this physical change-- she could feel the grief crawling under her skin. It itched for release.

Hel was too proud to let it.

She was powerless, and she didn't know aenough about Tallulah to know how to respond. Her only memorable interaction was this one, sculpted from pillars of salt and water, and the coursing undertone of barely-contained adrenaline. She closed her eyes and thought collision; of furious and dark and vacant things.

She wished Effy's endless expanse was there for her to disappear into. Effy's storm, in the least, was something she could predict.

Tallulah's steadier “She’s safe,” wasn't reassuring-- Hel could only watch with a powerless petrification as the chasm between her and Effy seemingly grew. Jealousy was something tried and tested in her bloodstream, but it had never occured to her until just how precarious her position with Effy really was.

She'd always assumed, in the same way that trees lost their leaves only to grow them; in the same way that 2 plus 2 would always equal 4-- that she and Effy were inevitable. Their atoms simply pulled too strong to let the world wrench them apart, and she'd always lived (somewhat) secure in the knowledge that whatever they were was an enduring thing.

But Tallulah, standing here with heaving chest and hissed breaths, had her hands wrapped around the bundle of thread-- and she was unspooling it. Hel's reassurance spun away between Tallulah's fingers.

"“If she didn’t tell you,” / “there was probably a reason.”

"Oh yeah?" There was a darkness flecking Hel's lips, inward-bound and poisonous, "And what reason is that?"

She turned her head to the side, out towards the gathering storm on the horizon. Perhaps she'd find reprieve there. "She knows she can tell me anything. I'm her best friend."

SLYTHERIN
don't tempt me

Tallulah Sloe

    (08/25/2017 at 14:41)
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Standing where she was, in the ever-darkening shadow of the juniper tree, there were very few things about which Tallulah Sloe was sure.  She wasn’t sure of what exactly she had left behind, of what chaos must be erupting so many thousand miles away across the ocean or if she had forgotten her toothbrush amid it all.  She wasn’t sure what waited for her ahead--what was done with O.W.L. level students who didn’t sit their O.W.L.s, to speak nothing of students so poor they would have failed them if given half a chance, and of where she would even be settled because something strange and green and decidedly un-Gryffindorly had been growing inside of her for some time and was soon fit to burst.  She wasn’t even truly sure of what was happening now, in that ever-darkening shadow--unsure of where nearly everyone important was, unsure if she even cared, of why she couldn’t have been just the slightest bit faster on her feet so she could have made it to the tree in time, of why it had to be Helen Kane in this particular nighttime.

If there was one thing she was terribly sure of, one thing that she believed whole-heartedly still like she had blindly believed all things in her youth, one surety that made all of the other uncertainty bearable, it was this: Euphemia Vane was hers, her best friend, a part of her, steadfast and stable and hers, whether they were twelve and in the South Tower or going on seventeen and flung far across the world.

“No, no,” she corrected, chided almost, and there was no hint of the vitriol that had carried her through the rest of the conversation; her tone was one of a person simply correcting a misstated fact.  “No, I’m sorry,” she insisted, head shaking minutely and fast.  “No, I don’t think that is correct.”

If there was one thing that Tallulah needed then, as the shadow of the juniper tree grew darker and darker still, it was for Helen Kane to be wrong.  She handled it then like she handled things now; she straightened her spine, she swallowed hard as if to suck the problem into her belly, and she moved on to the next issue squared ahead of her.

Tallulah didn’t know why Effy hadn’t told Helen.  Perhaps it had something to do with the way she was behaving now, the desperate and biting tone of her voice; perhaps Helen dealt with things like this and Effy would have known.  Perhaps just as likely, Effy knew Tallulah didn’t deal with things in such a suffering sort of way, that she would deal with it like she did with most things too big and heavy for her to carry--quietly, inwardly, dutifully--because if anyone understood the weight of the world, it was Tallulah Sloe.  It was how she had handled things these summer months, supportive but from a distance, a loving arm’s length that she knew people (even Effy) sometimes needed.

“She must not trust you as much as you think she does,” she said, and in crept the vitriol again.  Though Helen had, Tallulah didn’t look away, eyes still trained on the other girl.  She could see why Effy liked to be around her even in the darkness, and a pang of something Tallulah seldom felt--self-consciousness--settled in her side to rest beside the still-biting stitch there.  Helen was pretty in a way Tallulah was not, had a sort of elegance like a film star about her as she stared into the middle distance, her hair light and easy and her skin tanned pleasantly and in the right places.  There was a sort of intensity that radiated from her, a sophistication, a general sense of more-ness, better-ness that Tallulah hadn’t realized until that moment she herself lacked.

This, too, she swallowed, but it made her belly feel hollow.  She bit down on the inside of her cheek, her hands balling into fists, nails pushing hard onto the meat of her hand, half moons biting into the flesh there.  Their sting made the sting of realization dull just-so.

“She probably didn’t think you could handle it,” she went on, clenching her firsts one last time and releasing them.  “She probably knew you’d do…” Intentionally, with the very smallest hint of her prior dramatic flair, Tallulah trailed off, hands waving to at once dismiss and illustrate the other girl’s erratic behavior.  “...this.
IN GLORIOUS TECHNICOLOR.

Helen Kane

    (08/26/2017 at 13:33)
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It took a moment for Tallulah's reprimand to sink barbs into her skin, hot and tugging, but Hel didn't even need a nanosecond before she felt like she was tumbling head over heels and back into freefall. The back of her mouth tasted sour with vertigo.

She felt like she was losing it, somehow, not only in the way with which she could see her future narrowing; darker and colder, lonelier and filled with holes shaped like Effy's shadow. She was losing the Big Things; the lifechanging Things-- and she was losing the little things too. Like; what did she have for breakfast? What was the name of that flecked colour on her nails? Had the sky been so dark in the morning?

Or, rat h e r;

What did Effy have for breakfast? What colours did Effy paint her nails with? Was the sky so dark where Effy was?

Helen Kane felt like she was dreaming; floating weight and powerless towards the giant black hole Tallulah had shaped into a question mark and placed in front of her. Everything was a question; Effy the Ask and Tallulah the Answer, and was Hel was painfully aware she was neither.

Hel was Losing.

If only she open her eyes (it was a frantic, irrational thought), she might wake up somewhere else-- like a tropical beach with Effy in her arms and a distinct Tallulah-shaped absence on the horizon. If only, if only.

If only Effy needed her like she'd first believed.

The last letter she'd sent her housemate felt like a leaden weight inside her stomach. She'd given too much of herself away between the pages, and no amount of folding could ever piece the parts of her heart she'd enclosed back together. It, like so many other things the summer had given her, was her burden to bear.

The knowledge, however, didn't make Tallulah's second remark sting any less, and Hel flinched against the steady pour of vitriol that stained Tallulah's lips. It was a stark contrast to the sunshine locked away in her pores-- the very same sunshine that Effy must have been so attracted to. And try however Hel might, there had always been a darkness to her that Tallulah was lucky to be free of. Perhaps the difference between them lay there.

"You're wrong," she said, with a quiet confidence that started deep in her belly, as opposed to between her ribs. It surged up and coated her teeth, and for a split-second, she felt invincible enough to look Tallulah in the eye. Like pixies released by a gust of breeze; like stardust teased out between an enigma's lips; Hel's bravado returned in little puffs and breaths, stronger with every inhale. "She does trust me."

The fresh surge of heart-flavoured golden blood echoed hymns, even when Tallulah waved an absent hand and Hel felt red settle high in her cheeks. Floating, floating.

There was one thing she knew, by now, and that is that although she and Effy might not be inevitable, or inescapable-- there were plenty other things that were. Trees would lose their leaves to grow them; poles would pull; and she and Tallulah would be rivals. And that is the way the world would be.

"She left you, too," she said, and felt the muscles in her face pull towards a grimace. Her grief was still fresh; the wounds still oozing plasma. "Besides, at least I am emotional."

SLYTHERIN
don't tempt me

Tallulah Sloe

    (08/27/2017 at 18:00)
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Helen met Tallulah’s gaze, and her own brown eyes held steady, hardened slightly; no, she thought again (the constant refrain of the dreadful hymn that was this day, this night), no, she wasn’t wrong, could not be wrong. Something seldom stirred within her told her so.

And then that part of her, that small and shriveled and destructive piece of her, quite suddenly swelled.

No,” she spat, voice loud and shrill and cracking whip-like through the falling night.

Euphemia Vane did not leave her--this she had to believe.  Euphemia didn’t leave her, couldn’t leave her, for she was part of her, a constant, her constant.   As she stood in the darkness of Helen’s glare and the nighttime, Tallulah Sloe had to believe this, stubbornly and relentlessly, even as the the impact of the other girl’s words sent cracks spidering out in her resolve. 

“No,” she struck out again, brown eyes narrowing dangerously.

It wasn’t as Helen accused; Tallulah, too, was quite an emotional person.  She felt things deeply--the pure bliss of laughing until her lungs hurt, the overwhelming relief of finding just the right friend exactly when you needed them, the sheer joy of watching those she loved (and she loved most) succeed.  It was this truth that made her belief all the more important.  Upon the crux of Effy not having left her hung the whole weight of Tallulah and her summer and of everything that had happened to bring her here, now, so late in the evening and so late in the summer, in the shadow of the juniper tree.

Effy hadn’t left her--she had simply left, as it sometimes must happen, and she would return to Tallulah.  It was her belief in this absolute truth that held her together even as the whole of the world threatened to rend her apart.

“No,” she insisted again, mostly to herself, because the cracks of Helen Kane were growing, swelling, filling her with a breathtaking sense of panic.  With it came the threatening weight of the last twenty-four hours, the last four months.  It pressed hard against her aching chest, consuming her.

She would not let it--not here, not now, not in front of Helen Kane and her blonde hair and her tears--so she swallowed hard as if to suck the problem into her belly and she moved on to the next issue squared ahead of her.

“You clearly don’t even know what you’re talking about, do you,” she said, and her tone was easy, almost gentle, soft but scolding the way a mother might scold a young child doing something she doesn’t yet realize is embarrassing.  Tallulah breathed out, shifted on her feet, shook her head.  Nighttime was falling and she was the sort of tired sleep could not fix.

“I think it’s best if you go now,” was her simple solution.
IN GLORIOUS TECHNICOLOR.

Helen Kane

    (09/07/2017 at 03:49)
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A chorus of 'No's fell from Tallulah Sloe's lips like water, and Hel felt her resolve crack under the definitive weight of every uttered syllable; sinew and bone shifting simultaneous to accommodate the weight of the Gryffindor's refusal. Everytime Tallulah shook her head, the ground under Hel's feet trembled; and everytime her eyes flicked from one surface to another, Hel saw the veined lightning in the clouds hanging over the horizon.

And everytime Tallulah said No, Hel's heart ached a little harder at the resulting splinter.

The thing that raced through Hel's bloodstream was white-knuckled and desperate, grasping for foot-and-handholds on a shifting cliff, whilst Hel hung powerless from its legs and could only resign herself to watching the earth crumble into the abyss below. For all her gathered ground; or the power pooling in her bloodstream-- she was becoming more and more aware of just how extensive the illusions thereof had been.

She was still the loser-- she was still the weaker.

It filled her with a haze; a red, hard and shining mass of writhing insects-- but it also filled her with a desolation, and a vaccuum so large that everything disappeared into it, including the last reserves of hope she still had left.

She looked at Tallulah Sloe, the set to her shoulders and the glint in her eyes, and felt her core collapse under the girl's glare. She couldn't take it any longer-- not Effy's silence, nor Tallulah's quiet confidence. Her hydrogen had run out, burnt and fused to her bones along with the rest of the galaxy's stardust; there was nothing left to sustain her.

She knew that Tallulah knew, and that Tallulah could see that she was nothing but a construction site on failed foundations, and that the pride and self-direction she was trying to sustain would only end up sinking into the mud like the rest of her. She was a scaffold; bones inscribed with sins, broken promises and failed futures-- nothing worthy of notice.

Hel looked away, jaw working against the pain; against the overwhelming loss and undeniable knowledge that she was lost; and had lost. The grief was already tugging at her tearducts.

Her eyes snapped to Tallulah's with the request, and she bled at the strength she could see there.

"I'll go," she said, hissed, rather, and it was nothing but surrender, "But I just want you to answer one thing."

She sucked in a selfish breath. "Why did she go?"

SLYTHERIN
don't tempt me

Tallulah Sloe

    (09/07/2017 at 16:16)
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Though in the end Tallulah Sloe would never truly doubt her placement into Gryffindor House (her current venture into the world of relenting notwithstanding), though she would go on to believe always that it was her bravery that meant the most in the end, an outside observer might have questions.  The specifics of why and how and what would lead the viewer down such a thought path are unimportant now save for this:  Tallulah Sloe was a terribly loyal creature, and when it came to the ones who mattered most, her resolve was unshakable.

Effy certainly mattered--in this moment, she was the only one that mattered.  Something inside of her, a native kind of knowing, made her believe that if Effy had chosen to tell her, Tallulah, and not Helen Kane the wheres and whys (however vaguely) of her absence, it was for a reason.  The reasons her Very Good Friend had done so were not hers to know, which she understood just as firmly as she did the truth that these secrets were not hers to tell.  Even if she had wanted to (and she didn't; there was nothing more in that instant that Tallulah Sloe wanted to do less than give up the power of knowing she held over Helen Kane), she would never share something someone so important had entrusted to only her.

Helen seemed not to understand this, seemed not to honor it, and (the damaging beast inside her kicked menacingly) Tallulah wondered if it was perhaps this that had made the distinction between the two of them in Effy's ephemeral green eyes.

Tallulah huffed out a deep sigh, condescending, a breath less from her own lungs and more from those of the terrible beast growing in size inside of her the longer she stood in the presence of Helen Kane.  Across her chest, she crossed her arms as if to provide an extra layer of protection for the secrets she kept inside of there.  The hiss of the girl's voice did not shake her resolve (it was, after all, unshakable) or her spirit (it was, after all, already so downtrodden), and she stood in the darkness with her head high.

She would not give any ground this night.

"Goodnight, Helen," was all that she said, stretched thin but with an edge of cutting triumph, and she turned (twirled, for it was her way) on the ball of her foot, walking away.  Her path would lead her past the branches of the juniper tree and further into the darkness of the rapidly-falling night; when she was far enough away, she would run.
IN GLORIOUS TECHNICOLOR.

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