Don't forget to sign up for a cabin!

Author Topic: black salt and rosemary [Vagary snaps]  (Read 182 times)

* Avery Elliot

    (04/01/2019 at 17:12)
  • Hufflepuff '57
  • C6D10T7S5
    • View Profile
saturday, july 21st, 1956


Avery sat on the crumbling steps of the fortress, absently chipping at the stone with his heel as he waited. He had already waited for half an hour, but that was his own fault. Not that he minded the time alone, Avery was beginning to wonder if he should have been more explicit. The note had mentioned something about the position of the sun, vaguely commented on a house in water, and an offer to meet him there for consumable goods. 

He opened one of the bottles of iced tea and watched an incoming boat.

« Last Edit: 04/01/2019 at 17:26 by Avery Elliot »
You carry the heavens in your eyes
(Like one of those old Greek tragedies)
and I'd call you Atlas but
he wasn't given a choice to hold the stars
(You were.)

* Vega Nettlebed

    (04/03/2019 at 14:28)
  • *
  • Gryffindor '57
  • C12D10T10S8
    • View Profile
She'd seen the note.

She hadn't been able to make sense of it (or perhaps it was that she hadn't wanted to try), so she'd left it there on the windowsill and forgotten all about it. When she'd returned, it had vanished. Vega hadn't given it another thought.

Yes, she'd seen the note; no, that wasn't why she was here now.

For once, it was actually a coincidence, her being here when he was, and not something forced by her hand or his.

Her shadow fell across him, the glint of his golden curls in the sunlight suddenly growing dark. Hands on her hips, and looking more like Maia than she ever had before, Vega Nettlebed stared down at Avery Elliot.

"What are you doing here?"

* Avery Elliot

    (04/05/2019 at 03:05)
  • Hufflepuff '57
  • C6D10T7S5
    • View Profile
She was there, but not for him.

He wasn’t surprised.

It took a moment to consider his options, one involving staying silent and eating all the food himself, the other asking her to join him - likely get declined - and then eating all the food himself, or the last being a little bit presumptuous - probably get rejected anyways - and then eating all the food himself.

They all had a high chance of him eating alone but Vega never failed to surprise him.

Avery leaned back on his elbows to look up at Vega, chin tilting lazily. “Having lunch with you,” he said in fireflies and signal fire, lifting the bottle, “Iced tea?
You carry the heavens in your eyes
(Like one of those old Greek tragedies)
and I'd call you Atlas but
he wasn't given a choice to hold the stars
(You were.)

* Vega Nettlebed

    (04/07/2019 at 11:59)
  • *
  • Gryffindor '57
  • C12D10T10S8
    • View Profile
Oh, I don't think so.

In your dreams, Avery Elliot.

Normal people would ask first.


She thought of saying all three of these things, and ended up saying none of them. Instead, she let her hands slip from where they had sat on her hips to rest by her side, and took a seat on the step beside him.

"If you're offering."

His eyes matched the crashing waves against the grey stones. Vega looked away, focusing on the bottle in his hand instead.

"What's the occasion?"

* Avery Elliot

    (04/10/2019 at 22:49)
  • Hufflepuff '57
  • C6D10T7S5
    • View Profile
She folded herself like a paper crane, elegance with edges, the siren that would make shipwrecks. The step didn’t seem large enough for both of them, but Vega made space. Avery felt himself move towards the edge, folding his legs closer to give her room. It was expected in the same effortlessly way he gave it.

He pulled grapes from a vine as he considered the question. “The fact both of us ended up here?” he tried, lacking conviction considering it was supposed to be planned.

Coincidence was sour irony on his tongue.

The sage-steeped boy threw a grape into his mouth, elbows on his knees with his eyes filled with her rainforest sunshine. “Think that’s worth celebrating?”
You carry the heavens in your eyes
(Like one of those old Greek tragedies)
and I'd call you Atlas but
he wasn't given a choice to hold the stars
(You were.)

* Vega Nettlebed

    (04/11/2019 at 20:56)
  • *
  • Gryffindor '57
  • C12D10T10S8
    • View Profile
Her knee knocked his, perhaps deliberately, as she settled. She watched him retreat into himself, folding smaller and smaller until he might as well not have bothered being there at all. Her fingers wrapped around cold glass.

"Not particularly, no."

She was under no illusions: they were not worth celebrating, for they were made up of crystal shards and long-dead flowers and blurred photographs of bare skin stamped with 'return to sender'.

Vega took a sip of iced tea, and set the glass back down on the warm stone. Nails painted the colour of clementines peeped out from open-toed sandals; she glared down at the chips already forming in the paint at its edges.

To her toes, rather than to him, "How about the fact that we managed to avoid each other for almost a week instead?"
« Last Edit: 04/16/2019 at 19:23 by Vega Nettlebed »

* Avery Elliot

    (04/15/2019 at 07:58)
  • Hufflepuff '57
  • C6D10T7S5
    • View Profile
Vega always seemed determined to celebrate their distance and Avery couldn’t imagine it any other way. He wasn’t sure if that an indication of their familiarity or a sign he was losing his mind. Both, probably. The fact he didn’t find it offensive at this point only proved it further.

His humming laughter was one of habit, warm with his faint amusement and subdued as to not draw further ire. “Alright,” he conceded, following her gaze to also speak to those carnelian toenails. “Cheers then.” He opened another bottle to tap lightly against hers.

He decided not to comment on the (added) irony they were celebrating the fact of avoidance together.

“What did you do during the week?” A pause, a hint of cheekiness, “Other than avoid me.”
You carry the heavens in your eyes
(Like one of those old Greek tragedies)
and I'd call you Atlas but
he wasn't given a choice to hold the stars
(You were.)

* Vega Nettlebed

    (04/16/2019 at 19:42)
  • *
  • Gryffindor '57
  • C12D10T10S8
    • View Profile
He was softer than she remembered him being; softer around the edges, like the blurring lines in the photographs she had sent him of the oleander plant and of herself.

Had he always been like this, so acquiescent with her, and she had simply forgotten it in the distance of six thousand miles she'd set between them? Or had something changed across that distance, perhaps in the coming and going of withered petals born of dried flowers?

In the clink of her bottle against his, Vega winced, barely a flicker of a thing that pulled taut at the corners of her mouth and her eyes.

What had she been doing during the week? She had yelled at Téo, and she had kissed her, too. There had been other things, she was sure, to fill the gaps in between, but she didn't remember them. "I made my potions," she answered in not quite a lie. "For the duel this afternoon."

When she looked at him, it was the silent question, will you be there to watch me?

It stayed unspoken; she replaced its absence with, "You?"

* Avery Elliot

    (04/22/2019 at 04:39)
  • Hufflepuff '57
  • C6D10T7S5
    • View Profile
“Duelling with potions? Do you throw the bottle at them?” Avery asked, only half joking. He hadn’t yet witnessed one of the duels and didn’t particular care to change that -- unless, and this was in the slight arch of his brow to her silent gaze - are you inviting me?

"You?"

Part of him wanted to dance this line of teasing and mention his own potions. Part of him wanted to challenge that she cared for his answer at all. However, the other part (the larger more rational part) didn’t feel like starting an argument and he considered a more neutral answer. “I made some parchment, I’m considering using the addition of certain plants to be part of some type of spell or intention,” he said honestly.

Then, because he didn’t really want to hear if she was interested in it or not, Avery rummaged in the food he brought. “Want a sandwich?”
You carry the heavens in your eyes
(Like one of those old Greek tragedies)
and I'd call you Atlas but
he wasn't given a choice to hold the stars
(You were.)

* Vega Nettlebed

    (04/23/2019 at 11:46)
  • *
  • Gryffindor '57
  • C12D10T10S8
    • View Profile
"Yes, actually, that's exactly what I do."

Both the making and the throwing of her potions were infinitely more exciting, she thought, than his plant parchment.

Do you know how crazy you always sound, was what she wanted to say next. What she actually said, the words slipping out without her meaning them to, was this:

"Maybe you should come and see for yourself."

Regretting it instantly, and as her cheeks flared with pink, "Yes, I'll take a sandwich."

sunday 29 july 1956
avery elliot's cabin


This was not the first time Vega Nettlebed had ever cut hair.

She had tried to cut herself a fringe once when she was thirteen years old. It had gone terribly. Since then, she had stuck only to trimming her ends when they needed it. She'd gotten rather good at it over the years, but it wasn't something that required much more skill than being able to keep a steady hand and a straight line.

When she'd said she would do the same for him yesterday, she had failed to take into account that, where hers hung perfectly straight, his curled every which way. When she'd said she would do the same for him yesterday, she had failed, too, to foresee that her love potion would flash the colour of his eyes ten minutes later.

It was her pride that had refused to let her surrender and had brought her here to his cabin now.

She stood, scissors in hand, eyeing him.

"Are you ready?"

She certainly wasn't.

* Avery Elliot

    (04/28/2019 at 02:17)
  • Hufflepuff '57
  • C6D10T7S5
    • View Profile
He decided to say something. At some point.

Maybe.

Avery’s thoughts had tumbled to a polished decision that he should bring up what may or may not have been possibly uncertainly revealed during the disaster that was that damned love potion and his own eye colour.

‘It's more likely to break hearts than heal them, if you ask me.’

Her voice was cheeky in memory, truth pointed to the wariness in his shoulders and the scissors she carried being the least of his worries.

‘‘I knew you were going to ruin it. You always do.’

‘No,’ he couldn’t help but say, but it never made it past his lips. A lot of things never did and now he was unsure what part of that was him being smart and him just not saying anything important at all.

“Depends,” he finally said after a heartbeat too long. Too long for him just being uneasy about a haircut. Too long for him pretend like yesterday never happened. He faltered, fingers twisting knots in each other, acutely aware he should avoid making her angry if she was cutting his hair. “Are we going to talk about … it?”
You carry the heavens in your eyes
(Like one of those old Greek tragedies)
and I'd call you Atlas but
he wasn't given a choice to hold the stars
(You were.)

* Vega Nettlebed

    (04/28/2019 at 22:45)
  • *
  • Gryffindor '57
  • C12D10T10S8
    • View Profile
She could have stabbed him with her scissors.

In the silent beat that followed, she considered it, her fingers twitching with a flash of silver. She decided that neither he nor his death was worth a lifetime locked up in Azkaban. This was lucky for Avery Elliot, who otherwise might have found himself severely regretting his question, if he'd still been alive to do so.

When she looked at him, it wasn't quite at him; she didn't think she could face seeing that shade of blue again so soon, and so her own eyes slid past his to rest somewhere just to the side instead.

"Do we need to?"

Yes.

Did she want to?

No.

"Is there something you want to tell me?" Her gaze collided with his and then averted itself just as quickly; the scissors flashed silver again where they turned, restless, in her grasp. "Or is there something you want me to tell you?"

 

* Avery Elliot

    (04/30/2019 at 17:57)
  • Hufflepuff '57
  • C6D10T7S5
    • View Profile
If Avery was a better wizard he might have ensured his wand was closer to him when beginning this discourse, but he was not, and his wand was somewhere in his bedside drawer. Likely beside some bit of sage. It was now, with Vega’s gaze skipping over his in a show of nerves uncommon for her, that he considered its location at all.

He wondered if she would hex him first. She would undoubtedly win.

He wondered if her answer would hurt more.

Avery shifted uneasily as he looked away, because to admit either way was to imply he had put words on it and deemed them either for her or not. He ignored her last question, at least intelligent enough to know asking her to do something was a sure-fire way for someone getting hurt.

He took a measured breath, stringing it between stars, “I think there are a lot of things I should have told you.” A part of him still twisted, confused, why didn’t you listen more closely, but he - who spoke in pressed leaves and smoke - couldn’t blame her - who spoke in words hiding meaning and eyes meeting across a cauldron.

Stopping, Avery stared at his hands, his feet, the floor and Earth that held them all up. He thought of her sharp edges and the scent of oranges. The richness of that cocoa bean and the faceless person who could make her smile. The vibrancy of the forest that lived in her.

The girl that needed sunlight to survive and who was he but a moonlit boy.

He lifted his head to look at her evenly, “But I don’t think I should say them anymore.” A pause because she deserved as much of a choice as he did, “Do you?”
You carry the heavens in your eyes
(Like one of those old Greek tragedies)
and I'd call you Atlas but
he wasn't given a choice to hold the stars
(You were.)

* Vega Nettlebed

    (05/03/2019 at 20:50)
  • *
  • Gryffindor '57
  • C12D10T10S8
    • View Profile
There were a lot of things he should have told her.

Why the celestite? Why the mistletoe? Why the viscaria, why the narcissus, why the oleander? Why, why, why.

But that was the problem with Avery Elliot, she saw more clearly now than she ever had before, when she looked at him again with fire in her heart and in her gaze. There were so many things he should have told her, but words had never belonged to him in the same way that symbols had. He did not speak, he showed; and she, who had never liked riddles or puzzles or boys that were made of those same things, had been blind -- had willed herself to be blind -- to it all.

There were so many things, too many things, that he should have told her, but he didn't think he should say them anymore.

Did she?

"I think--"

She swore that she could smell burning sage. Something was splintering inside, crystal shards shattering between her ribs. When she blinked, yellow carnations flared behind closed lids.

Vega Nettlebed had been afraid of Avery Elliot from the moment she had sat beside him and his tarot cards. She was tired of feeling that way, tired of shying from the truth, tired of letting him keep it half-hidden and veiled from her. There were a lot of things he should have told her, and now was not the time for them. But they had never quite gotten the hang of the right moment for things, and it was too late now, she thought, for change.

"--you should tell me."
« Last Edit: 05/03/2019 at 21:15 by Vega Nettlebed »

* Avery Elliot

    (05/06/2019 at 05:25)
  • Hufflepuff '57
  • C6D10T7S5
    • View Profile
Avery sighed, long and tired. Tired of this uncertainty. Of the goosebumps on his arms. Of the prickle of her gaze against his and the weight of her foolishness courage on his chest. He saw the path behind them that he’d tripped along, always seeing himself the Fool of their blurry future, but now he wondered if they had even been travelling together at all.

Perhaps he had lit the fire of wands with nothing but his own heartbeat.

Perhaps it was time to finally find out.

Rising, Avery reached out to take the scissors from her to place on the side table. He turned them over once, a distraction, but not for long enough. She had demanded words. The things he should have told her all those times he did, he swore he did, but she didn’t know how to listen to them.

He gathered all the messages he had told her, the words given life in his grimoire, the intentions he pressed into parchment with patience, the flowers he wanted to weave into her hair. Avery’s fingers twisted together, wanting to hold her shoulders, brush her hair back, speak in everything he had before and she had misheard.

For a second, Avery couldn’t say anything at all. It built on his tongue, an infinite weight until he couldn’t move his lips. He held up a finger before reaching beside her to open his drawer. He rummaged for a second, the rattle of polished stone against stone, before a small rock disappeared into his hands and the drawer snapped closed.

He wanted to give it to her. He wanted it to be enough. Words felt like butterfly wings compared to the points of the crystal in his grasp. How could words ever be enough.

“I should …  have told you … that I missed you,” he started, faltering before finding a gentle pace, “I should’ve asked you to meet me at dusk to dance with me on the rooftop because I wanted to see the moonlight in your hair.” A pause and awkward laughter lost in the shrug of his thin shoulders. “Or, something like that.”
You carry the heavens in your eyes
(Like one of those old Greek tragedies)
and I'd call you Atlas but
he wasn't given a choice to hold the stars
(You were.)

* Vega Nettlebed

    (05/08/2019 at 20:50)
  • *
  • Gryffindor '57
  • C12D10T10S8
    • View Profile
As she waited for him to tell her, she let him take the scissors from her like they were some kind of burden she had been waiting to release. As she waited for him to tell her, she watched him sift through stones invisible to her, recognisable only by the clatter of them against each other and against the wood of the drawer. She wondered, as his fingers curled around something, what it was that he had been searching for, what it was that he had picked up, and, as always with him, what it meant.

He told her, finally, years too late.

She considered telling him that he had it all wrong, that it shouldn't have been the moon that he wanted in her hair, but the sun -- because it was this and not that which belonged to her. It was not dusk that she wanted, but dawn.

"No," Vega tried to correct him, but the word slipped out in nothing more than a whisper. "That's not--"

It wasn't right, or maybe it was; maybe it was right, but she didn't want it to be. Maybe she didn't know what was right anymore, maybe she had never known when it came to him, for it had been so much easier to assume from the start that he was wrong, all wrong, always wrong.

It was her turn to falter now, and so she did, stumbling closer with the same hesitation that had held his words back just a moment before. Her hand caught his shoulder, her grip laced with a tenderness that betrayed her even more so than the look in her eye when her gaze met his.

Vega Nettlebed leant in and kissed Avery Elliot like he should have kissed her in the doorway to Bryce and Co. Bakery over Christmas, but hadn't.

As she stepped back again, drawing away from him and back into herself, "That's what you should have done." Vega shook her head; blue eyes hardened with an unspoken resolution. "But it's too late now, Avery."

The moment was, like them, not right. She wasn't sure it ever would be.

* Avery Elliot

    (05/16/2019 at 07:01)
  • Hufflepuff '57
  • C6D10T7S5
    • View Profile
Avery stiffened slightly under her grasp, too aware of how it held him still, held him close — held him captive to her blue blue eyes and how useless that made everything else about him. He stared at her, wary of his own vulnerability. Wondering if she’d push him, laugh at him, or demand something more that he wasn’t ready or willing to give her. Maybe all three.

Instead, she kissed him. Actually kissed him, full of summer skies and endless horizons. The warmth of amber at noon lived in her and in the moment, and part of him didn’t want to let it go while the other said this wasn’t how it was supposed to go. But then again -- how else would it have happened except incorrectly?

Then she stepped away and Avery watched her go, he felt her energy pull away and away. Watched her slowly close every door to her soul and he wasn’t sure he wanted to try anymore. Avery heard her but he barely listened, turning words over in his mind that didn’t amount to anything.

He reached for her hand, gently turning her palm to the sky. The boy, the witch, the smoke signal speaker delicately balanced the dioptase, rich green against her olive skin. For him, it explained more, felt more, showed more than he ever could translate, but Avery took a breath to collect the words she wanted.

“It means to live in the moment, not letting the past decide the now.” Silence as he breathed in the forest right after a rainstorm. “It reminds one that to move on, for the world to move on, sometimes you have to let go.” His stormy gaze met hers and the decision that wrapped them. “Of things.” A shrug. “Or people.”
You carry the heavens in your eyes
(Like one of those old Greek tragedies)
and I'd call you Atlas but
he wasn't given a choice to hold the stars
(You were.)

* Vega Nettlebed

    (05/17/2019 at 16:32)
  • *
  • Gryffindor '57
  • C12D10T10S8
    • View Profile
She let him take her hand, let her fingers unfurl like sails in the wind, let the stone sit there -- a promise she didn't understand -- in her palm.

For what felt like a long time (days, weeks, months, years), Vega Nettlebed stood there, pinned to the spot by the physical weight of his confession-turned-advice. She watched the green and the way it gleamed in the sunlight streaming through his window; she listened to him and the way he came alive as he spoke in these half-meanings through which he perceived his entire world.

She thought that she wanted to kiss him again, to catch his curls in her fist and to draw him, this shadow of a moon, into the warmth of her sun. She thought that if she kissed him again, there would be nothing more left for them to do, and so, because the unknown frightened her, she kept her distance.

"Then I'll do it."

A breath, slow and measured; this was what four years came down to, in the end. She wondered if this was what he had wanted all along, if this was what he had been waiting for, if this was really what he hadn't said when he should have. She realised that she didn't want to say it either, now that the moment had finally arrived.

Her fingers closed around forest green, gripping so tight she could feel the points of the crystal cutting into her skin.

"I'm letting you go."

Vega Nettlebed left Avery Elliot there in his cabin, her scissors on his bedside table and his dioptase in her hand.


fin.
« Last Edit: 05/17/2019 at 16:33 by Vega Nettlebed »