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Author Topic: mystified || téga  (Read 366 times)

* Vega Nettlebed

    (04/07/2019 at 12:48)
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early afternoon
monday 16 july 1956
téo wittington's cabin


She had been back at Camp Loki for several hours already, but it had taken her this long to make her way over to Maria Téodora Wittington's cabin.

The lengthy unpacking process she had embarked on upon arrival had been an excuse, more than anything else, to gather her thoughts and her feelings and to corral them into some semblance of order. It had worked, she'd thought, as she'd arranged her final Potions books on her bedside table and stood back to survey her tiny rectangle of space. It had worked, she'd thought, as she'd closed her trunk and then her cabin door. It had worked, she'd thought, right up until she'd found herself standing outside Téo's door instead.

It was here and now that she still stood, and had been standing for the past three and a half minutes.

With her hand closing on the doorknob, Vega recalled Christmas and Platform Nine and Three Quarters and the tiny little cupboard of a room that they had found and pressed themselves into together. With her fingers twisting it open, Vega recalled a certain letter that she'd received four months before. With cold brass still clutched beneath her fingertips, Vega looked across the room at the girl who was waiting on the other side.

"Calvin? Really?"

* Maria Teodora Wittington

    (04/07/2019 at 19:43)
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Téo’s room was pleasantly airy and seemed at home in the summer. The windows were held wide open, sunshine warmed air filtered through the room, tinged with the fresh smell of the abundant greenery just outside, and even cool notes, further off, due to the canal that ran through the area.

Much like last summer, canvases and sketches could be seen everywhere, upon the walls, or upright and leaning, settled on the floor. Her room though, because it was a room now, had a touch of more intimacy, the bed wasn’t as narrow, and there was a small wooden table with two chairs near the largest window, both panes were thrown wide open. The table itself had a rustic, colorful look to it, with the tiles that lined the tabletop looking hand-painted - they had been and in bold brushstrokes.

With how Téo had changed the room, one might forget it was in France if it wasn’t for the architecture of the room, the hotel, carved of pink stone.

A sketchbook lay opened on an already made bed, but the covers were slightly ruffled as if someone had been sitting on it for a while. Téo was up and changing, having somehow ended up with paint not only on her hands but her clothes; a distinctive blue, matching the flower on the sketch, still streaked her left hand. Warm, golden hues could be seen on the inner parts of her arms, and somehow, a sheen of gold had ended up across her collarbone.

Those were dried though, as Téo pulled on the denim shorts, a thin belt looped through them, and tucked in a white undershirt. She had just been pulling on a breathable, off-white button-up and rolled back the sleeves when her door opened. Téo’s fingers were at the first two buttons, but froze when she looked up and saw who it was.

“Calvin? Really?”

Téo felt like she’d just been slapped.

Her lips parted to speak, then closed, and then tried again, “Vega?” it was soft, almost stunned to see the other girl in front of her. “I—Calvin—Wait, what?”

But there could only be one reason Vega was looking at her the way she was now, why she was bringing up the older boy’s name.

* Vega Nettlebed

    (04/09/2019 at 22:16)
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She had occasionally thought, when writing to Calvin -- and, sometimes, a little more guiltily, when writing to Avery -- that perhaps she ought to have been sending Téo a line instead. But it had never felt right, writing to her, for writing wasn't something that came easily to Vega Nettlebed (the sentimental kind of writing, anyway) and Maria Téodora Wittington felt things so deeply and intensely that Vega was sure that any line she might have scribbled would have fallen so terribly flat that it wouldn't have been worth at all.

With Calvin, it didn't matter, for she strongly suspected that neither of them had cared enough to mind the mundanity that had formed the base of those first few letters that had been exchanged.

With Avery, it didn't matter, because they had exchanged fewer words than they had flowers, and she had never -- or so she told herself repeatedly -- cared what he thought of her, anyway.

With Téo, it was different. It mattered; her opinion mattered; she mattered. And it was easier to leave things like she'd left them (hanging at the end of summer, hanging at the end of the Christmas holidays; hanging, always hanging) then to try and tackle the looming question mark of their relationship over something as troublesome as the written word.

"Oh, don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about."

She let go of the doorknob then, the force with which she pushed it from her enough to make the door rattle on its hinges and against the frame. As she turned back to her friend, her arms folded across her chest.

She didn't want to be doing this. What she wanted to be doing was kissing Téo like she'd kissed her back in December. Unfortunately for Vega, and perhaps for Téo too, she had too much pride to let this go so easily.

"He wrote and told me. He said you were, and I quote, 'all over him'. The day after Valentine's Day. Does that ring any bells for you?"

* Maria Teodora Wittington

    (04/10/2019 at 02:26)
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Téo knew that look.

She remembered that look, remembered the tone of voice cutting into her like it was now. Her hands dropped, abandoning the buttons of her shirt, leaving it opened as she rested her hands back on the desk behind her. It was a writing desk, but Téo didn’t write, so a few of her sketchbooks were piled there instead. Her fingers gripped the intricate, wooden edge behind her, her gaze never leaving Vega.

The other girl had been angry with her before, she now knew, because she had kissed other people. Other people that were not Vega Nettlebed. She didn't know then; she didn't know anything then.

As the door slammed so hard Téo wondered if someone would come to see what was happening, she couldn’t decide if Vega was angrier now or then. She hadn’t flinched, though her eyes had widened a little at the force, of Vega herself. But it had meant nothing, the kiss with Calvin Sharppe, nothing. She had felt literally nothing, except that she didn't want to be kissing him and that she couldn't think of anything else but the person standing in front of her now. Still, Téo knew that just the idea of Vega kissing anyone else made her feel sick, and she wondered briefly if she already had--

"He wrote and told me. He said you were, and I quote, 'all over him'. The day after Valentine's Day. Does that ring any bells for you?"

"--He said I was what?"

She was pretty sure her jaw had dropped, initially, then her lips pursed, standing up straighter as she stared at Vega, now in (slowly becoming outraged) shock. “But I didn’t—I was not—“ English, apparently, was not expressive enough, because the rest came out in Spanish, a few words of which she would never even think within a one-hundred-foot radius of her abeulita.

Téo stopped after a moment because she had come to the conclusion that was going to kill Calvin Sharppe, but also because Vega was still there. She was there. In front of her. She held her hands up, as if trying to steady herself, and took a breath. “I was not,” there was a strong emphasis on each word, “all over him. It was one, stupid kiss. Barely. He was just there.”

Her hands returned to the desk behind her, leaning heavily against it. She met Vega’s eyes, even though connecting with that blue had a tendency to unravel her, “He was just there.” she said again, made it sound like an apology because she didn’t know how to explain why she kissed him. That she was terrified and thought maybe, maybe, it would pass. A fluke. Because it wasn’t like she hadn’t ever kissed boys, she had, but when she thought back on them, compared them to Vega - she had panicked.

Calvin just happened to be the only male around at the time. Sighing, Téo crossed an arm over her chest, propping the other up with it, as her hand covered her eyes, as if she had a headache, muttering, “Gilipollas,” she realized then that Calvin wouldn't even be at the camp for her to kill.

This was not what she wanted to be doing. Not at all. What she wanted now that Vega was finally, finally here, and neither of them had anywhere they had to go--for once--was not this.

“Vega,” Téo’s voice came out soft then, almost a plea because she didn’t want to be fighting. Especially over something that shouldn't matter to them because it was too small in comparison to them. But she knew Vega, she didn’t try to make it seem at all wrong how angry her friend was with her, even if Téo herself was too afraid to question the why. Still sounding at a loss, she added, “Why did he even write you?”

* Vega Nettlebed

    (04/12/2019 at 14:38)
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"All--"

Here, she faltered for the first time since showing up in Téo's cabin. Here, she considered, for the first time since receiving that letter back in March, that perhaps Calvin Sharppe had not been telling the whole truth when it came to his successes with girls, particularly ones as pretty as Téo.

Vega ploughed onwards, "--all over him. Apparently. He said."

He'd said. He'd lied, more like. It was becoming clearer and clearer with every passing second and with every word that Téo spoke--

(I was not all over him.)

--that Calvin had just been trying to make himself look more impressive than he really was. This should have not have been a surprise to Vega Nettlebed, who tended to believe the worst in people, and especially in Calvin Sharppe. But she'd thought that they'd come a long way over the course of the last year, and that they had gotten along better on paper than they might have done in reality, if she'd still been at Hogwarts with him and not halfway across the world instead. She'd thought, stupidly so, that she could trust him to tell the truth.

She would not be making that mistake again.

She wouldn't have the opportunity to, because she was going to kill Calvin Sharppe, unless, of course, Téo -- the look in her eye was bordering on murderous -- got there first.

“He was just there.”

Vega visibly winced at the words. Her breath caught in her throat; even as it began to form, an oh died on her lips. He was just there. Just there, at Hogwarts with Téo, like she hadn't been, like perhaps she should have been.

I'm sorry, she wanted to say, because she was sorry for not having been there, but also because she had loved every minute of Brazil, and because she would have gone back and done it all over again, if she could have done so.

I'm sorry, she wanted to say, and almost did, but as she took another step forward and opened her mouth to say it, Téo cut in with a question of her own.

“Why did he even write you?”

It was not what she had been expecting, not what she was prepared for. For a moment, she simply stood there and said nothing, as she scrambled for the right thing to say. Something slightly panicked, slightly guilty, flashed blue behind her eyes.

"He just was," she said, though the just made it sound worse than she wanted it to, and it came out more defensive than she wanted it to. "He wrote in September about Quidditch and about--" Vega's gaze darkened ever so slightly, "--Nash. And then he just kept writing."

As had she.

* Maria Teodora Wittington

    (04/13/2019 at 21:01)
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Her hand had still been over her own eyes when Vega winced at her words, so it had gone unnoticed. Téo hadn’t stopped to think about how Vega might take what she was saying, even if it was partly because Vega wasn’t there--in any sense--to help her figure out what was happening. To her. To them.

Mostly to them.

By the time Téo had looked up, she had noticed two things: Vega was about to say something but stopped and a look that passed in blue eyes, it was quick, but she had caught it. They hadn’t been apart long enough for Téo not to have seen it.

Slowly, Téo stood straighter, staring at Vega again, but now it wasn't about anyone else. Vega’s words sounded flat to her, he just was, replayed in her head. Nobody just wrote a damned wall, with nothing to respond to, nothing to go off of. React to. Which was exactly what Téo was doing then, her face a mixture of hurt, incomprehension and… anger.

She was actually angry.

“You were writing to him.” Not a question, as she pushed off the desk, “Did you write anybody--" she stopped, lips pursing, tightly, before she tried taking a breath, much like she had done not a few minutes ago when her anger had been at Calvin. Vega had written Calvin Sharppe. Of all people. Did she visit people too while she had been back on break? For longer than ten minutes?

Téo looked away from Vega then, hand running through dark hair, as she looked around her own room instead, trying to gather her thoughts. She didn’t write. She wasn’t a writer and Vega knew that and while, on some level, she knew she had written nothing to the other girl either, writer or not, Vega had started this whole thing. Then left her.

Suddenly, she caught the shade of gold, and that blue, that very blue she was refusing to meet at the moment. She had to move around Vega to get to her bed, but she did it, managed not to look at her at all, as she got to the sketchpad that lay wide open.

"--You could have said something." she continued, her back to Vega. "I haven’t heard from you since you—“ kissed me, “were at the station. You could’ve done something, Vega, jesus. Did you even miss me at all?”

Téo immediately regretted the last part, she hadn’t meant for something like that to come out of her mouth. She hadn't meant for any of that to come out of her mouth. Feeling exposed enough as it was, she slammed the book closed, likely ruining the painting inside, and her hands gripped tightly on the leather. Almost, she almost threw it, but stopped herself at the last second. She’d done too much already.
« Last Edit: 04/13/2019 at 21:55 by Maria Teodora Wittington »

* Vega Nettlebed

    (04/14/2019 at 21:22)
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The look on Téo's face was one that Vega hadn't ever really seen before.

She had seen fragments and shadows of it in the past, certainly, especially over the course of their fifth year, almost every time that they'd come out of Transfiguration after yet another lesson that Téo deemed to be unethical and inhumane. Even that, the anger she had directed towards Professor Toomey, wasn't quite the same was the fury that was lit behind brown eyes now.

And it was fury, Vega realised as she took an involuntary step backwards.

She was used to being the one that came in armed with accusations. She was not at all used to being on the receiving end of them. She didn't know what she was supposed to do. It wasn't supposed to have gone this way.

"Did you write anybody--"

Golden curls, stormy blues, and flowers, so many flowers, flashed in her mind.

Yes.

She was spared from having to say it, because Téo cut herself off. Vega loved her in that moment for stopping before she finished, because it meant that she didn't have to lie her way through an answer. Instead, she watched as Téo skirted around her, leaving a distance between them that she wasn't used to.

"Don't be stupid." The words landed at her best friend's turned back. "Of course I missed you. I missed you every damn day. But you never wrote, you never said or did anything, either. And then I get Calvin telling me you threw yourself at him, even after--after that day at the station. What was I supposed to think? I didn't know what you were doing or thinking, because you never wrote to say! Do you know what it felt like? Not ever getting anything from you? He sent me something the very first week of term--we're not even really friends, we don't even like each other, and he still did that! But you couldn't even be bothered to send me a birthday card."

It worked both ways, she knew, and she hadn't sent a birthday note or present, either. But she had been there at King's Cross to surprise Téo before the train left, and that surely counted for more than a stupid card with happy birthday written on it.

* Maria Teodora Wittington

    (04/14/2019 at 23:12)
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Téo could feel her nails digging into the leather material of the sketchbook, looking down, as Vega spoke, Every time she wanted to interject, cut in with something of her own, her hands tightened on the book.

I get Calvin telling me you threw yourself at him; how could she possibly even think that she'd do that--but, she tensed instead. I didn't know what you were doing or thinking; neither did she, and Vega started this whole thing, not Téo--but she bit her lower lip, hard. Because, as Téo raised her eyes, though not to turn and look at Vega, but out one of the windows instead, where the sun was streaming in the brightest, she took a breath, seeming to breathe in the actual sunlight itself.

Dark eyes had turned much lighter then, before she closed them, took another steadying breath. Each of Vega’s words hit her squarely in the back, and every breath felt like an effort through a suddenly tight throat. Téo breathed as if it’d somehow unwind the twisted knot in her stomach.

“Do you know what it felt like? Not ever getting anything from you?”

It was then that her eyes opened, and the sketchpad dropped from her hands. “I can’t,” the words were barely audible, coming only after Vega had stopped speaking. “I can’t do this.”

She turned then, meeting blue eyes this time, knowing it was a bad move on her part, but couldn’t help it. The words she focused on, they were ringing in her head like a siren, but whether it was warning her of an impending disaster or just how stupid she was being, she didn’t know. What she did now was that they were yelling the same things at each other. She still didn’t know what Vega wanted from her, what they were doing, but Téo knew what she didn’t want to be doing anymore.

Moving from the bed, just enough to reach Vega, and step into her personal space - which could’ve been dangerous, but Téo didn’t care. She had been ripped between wanting to throw Vega out, because she was afraid of what would come next, and then, then there was this.

Hesitantly at first, she brought a hand up to Vega’s own, gripped it, and with a tug, brought Vega to her and met her best friend’s lips with her own.

It was soft, but with all the pressure of what she was feeling and terrified to say. Pulling back, but only just, so she could see Vega's eyes, “It wasn’t this,” the words were said against Vega’s lips then, and bringing her other hand up to rest on the other girl's collarbone, she pressed forward, kissing Vega again, as she backed her up against a wall. “Like it wouldn’t,” her voice was a little breathless now, but she didn’t stop, interlacing their fingers, her hand splayed against Vega’s collarbone, as spoke again, between their kissing, “be enough.”

Not like this was. Like anything they might’ve tried, forced into writing, it would’ve seemed weak. She knew that now. Might’ve known it then. But not like how she knew it when her hand left Vega’s own to rest on the other girl’s waist. 

Téo didn’t know what they were doing. But she knew what she wanted then. She wanted all of it, even if it hurt. Even though she knew on some level, her best friend wasn’t telling her everything. Téo could’ve shown Vega just what she had been doing and what she had been thinking about this whole time, but showing the paintings now, felt like an exposure she wasn’t ready for. Not when she remembered that look in blue eyes, and the hand at Vega’s waist tightened a little, as she moved her other hand up into Vega’s hair, and deepened the kiss.

* Vega Nettlebed

    (04/18/2019 at 18:53)
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She couldn't do this, apparently.

"Can't do what? Handle the truth? Admit that you're to blame, too?"

Vega Nettlebed had not been born with a sympathetic streak. If she heard the hurt in Téo's voice -- and she did, though the other girl spoke the words so softly, she could barely hear them at all -- she ignored it in favour of driving her own point home. It was easier to be like this, easier to focus on getting the upper hand and the ultimate victory than to let it all crumble into nothing.

She wanted an answer back, but what she got was Téo's brown eyes on hers, and Téo's fingers in hers, and Téo's lips against hers. Téo, Téo, Téo, until she knew and felt nothing else.

“It wasn’t this,”

Vega knew, without needing any further explanation, what she meant. She knew it in the moment Téo kissed her, and in the moment she kissed her back. She knew it as her best friend's hands -- familiar, yet still unfamiliar in this capacity -- moved to settle at her waist and in her hair; and she knew it still as her own fingers blindly searched to do the same.

mid-morning
monday 23 july 1956
vega nettlebed's cabin


She was still trying to get used to it, to being back here with people she hadn't seen in a whole year instead of in Brazil.

She was still trying to get used, too, to the turn that her relationship with Maria Téodora Wittington had taken. Yes, it had all started over a year ago now, but after so many months apart and so few words exchanged, it still felt as unfamiliar, as tense and as terrifying, as it had back then.

For the third time in as many minutes, Vega pressed her quill to the blank parchment.

Dear Brooklyn, Dear Brook Brook

The name was as far as she got this time, as it had been the last two times. At least she had yet to cross this one out.

The door flew open.

Vega jumped, splashing black ink onto her white bedsheets, where it promptly began to spread into blotchier patches. From where she was lying on her front on her bed, the Gryffindor glanced upward with a scowl. "Do you have to let it slam like that every ti--"

It wasn't any of her cabin mates, but Téo.

She was careful not to let any more ink fly as she shifted to sit properly upright. "What's wrong?"

It was clear that something was.

* Maria Teodora Wittington

    (04/22/2019 at 07:24)
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She hadn’t thought about knocking. Even though she and Vega hadn’t shared living quarters for a year, it felt wrong; if she even thought about it at all, and at the moment, the only thing Téo could think about was:

Fix it,” were the first words out of her mouth, holding the damned potion out towards Vega.

It took a good second, but eventually, her gaze moved to the ink spots, realized what she’d obviously made Vega do. She didn’t have her wand on her to take care of the stains properly, so instead, with an apologetic look to her best friend, she added, “Sorry, I’ll get you new ones.”

But it was absently said because it just wasn’t as pressing as the glass vial in her hand.

"What's wrong?"

Téo’s lips parted to answer, thought back to how Lia was looking at her, and her mouth snapped shut. Instead, a frustrated sound came out, and looking around, finally processing that Vega was in fact alone, went and closed the door—not hard, slowly, actually, as she was trying to figure out how to explain.

She held the potion out again, waited for Vega to take it, before saying, “You just need to fix it.” After a beat, she bit her lip, and continued, “Please. Lia made it, and it’s… I don’t think it’s supposed to do what it did.”

Téo really, really didn’t want to say what it was, but it was Vega, and she was pretty sure she was going to get ink thrown at her if she didn’t say something. She had sort of been pacing, but now, she took a seat on Vega’s bed, sitting in front of her, careful not to disturb whatever she had been working on. Running a hand through her hair, muttering a few words in Spanish, mostly to herself, she finally let brown eyes connect with blue.

“It’s--" looking Vega in the eye and saying it was harder. It also made her want to forget about the stupid potion entirely and focus on other things, but she (mostly) resisted. Téo didn’t know if she should be amused or annoyed at what she had to say next, so she decided on staying with frustrated, and clearly looking like it wasn't her idea, continued, “--a love potion.”

Téo was quick to add, "It's for the case study, but it's supposed to be mild."

* Vega Nettlebed

    (04/23/2019 at 21:47)
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She was worried for a second that she was the one who'd done something wrong, worried that yet more letters between her and Calvin had been unearthed, perhaps, or -- far worse -- that Téo had discovered she'd been exchanging flowers with Avery Elliot over the course of the previous year.

It was none of those things.

It was not Vega who'd committed some heinous crime (or, at least, it was not Vega who'd yet been discovered to have committed it, which was, as far as she was concerned, the same thing), but Lia Ayres.

She didn't know the girl well. They had worked together in the apothecary on a mere handful of occasions -- Vega infinitely preferred to work alone when it came to brewing potions, and she wondered whether Lia was not the same. Outside the hospital wing, she had little to no contact with the other girl; the Gryffindor did not make it her business to go around befriending everybody in sight, and Lia had never given her cause to either like or dislike her. She was simply another face in a sea of faces that Vega happened to share a home with for most months of the year.

There was something overly agitated and restless in the way Téo was pacing the room, something a little frantic burning bright behind brown eyes. Vega recognised the signs of frustration all too well. The feeling that something, though she couldn't be sure what, wasn't right prickled at the back of her neck. Something about it -- the potion, Lia, the whole situation -- had set Téo on edge. Vega, in turn, grew suspicious.

The truth came out as she took the potion and Téo settled on the bed across from her:

“It’s a love potion.”

Of course.

Vega knew all about love potions. She had spent the majority of her earlier years at the castle trying to brew Amortentia (she had always liked to aim high) on the off-chance that Flynn Flanagan Morrissey might fall in love with her. It had never paid off, but she was all too familiar with the consequences of poorly-brewed concoctions, mild or not.

For a moment, she said nothing, concentrating instead on stoppering what was left of her ink, and clearing the bed of the bottle, the quill, and the parchment. With these left abandoned on her bedside table, she picked up the vial again.

"What," she tried to make the word sound less accusing, but it still rang sharply in the space between them, "--did it do?"

* Maria Teodora Wittington

    (04/25/2019 at 01:42)
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In the silence, one she tried not to fidget in, she watched as Vega went about putting all her materials away. It was meticulous which was not unusual, but there was something tense about the movements. Téo had seen something like the look on Vega’s face before. She thought, anyway, it was a little difficult to tell what with her own agitation and other mess of emotions she was trying to ignore.

Being around her best friend helped, usually, but there was something there between them, something in Vega’s tone that didn’t help to ease her completely.

She had caught it, of course, whether or not she was supposed to. Téo heard it. But when she opened her mouth to answer, nothing came out again, and instead, she let out a frustrated sigh, running both hands through her hair and turning away. Shifting, she rested her hands at the edge of Vega’s bed, gripping, not facing her; instead, the door was easier to look at.

“Nothing… happened. Not exactly,” Téo was really bad at this. Tilting her head to the side, she caught Vega’s eye. “I think she made it too strong, but I didn’t take it, she did. I thought maybe it’d be better to have one of us stay clear-headed, but,” Téo paused, again, trying to figure out how to explain the way Lia had looked at her. “She, um… got very close." yet another pause, "She was just staring. A lot. At me,” she looked away then, around Vega’s room this time, and a small part of her, the part that apparently really did not like that other people were sharing a room with her best friend instead of her only fueled the tension she felt in her chest.

Téo bit her lip, looking like she might be resisting the urge to roll her eyes, “Mostly going on about how… pretty I am. That sort of thing.”

Lia Ayres had not kissed her though, but Téo had a feeling that was only because they hadn’t got any closer to each other, or Lia maybe had some serious self-control, or it could have been the random appearance of Apollo Marquis that stopped her.

Brown eyes finally connected back with blue. “It’s not even supposed to do that though. The potion's more of a--it’s supposed to reveal, not--" she really didn't want to use the word love more than she had to, "infatuate. It should be a simple potion, really, so it’d be easier for the younger kids.” Shrugging and leaning back a little on her hands, palms now planted on Vega’s bed, she turned more towards her, “Maybe Lia just mixed it wrong?”

* Vega Nettlebed

    (04/28/2019 at 22:00)
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Well, you are pretty, Vega could have said and wanted to say as she looked from the love potion to Téo's turned back and dark curls and then back again. The words were there in her throat, on her tongue, but she thought that they would sound silly out loud, trivial and childish, and so she left them there to die between her teeth instead.

She was glad a moment later that she hadn't said them, and that she hadn't diverted the conversation down this easier -- in some ways, at least; certainly more complex in other -- route, for as Téo continued, Vega grew more and more suspicious of both whatever it was that had been brewed and the girl who had brewed it.

"No." She said it with the utmost certainty, grey steel flashing hard behind blue. "Lia didn't mix it wrong."

Lia Ayres was not incompetent. Nor was she someone whom Vega had ever known to struggle with potions. If the Hufflepuff had wanted to brew, as Téo had labelled it, a mild love potion, simple enough for the younger kids, she was perfectly capable of doing so. It was an insult to the girl to even attempt to assume that she wouldn't be able to grasp a set of instructions designed for children of eleven or twelve years old.

"She'd have to have done practically every step wrong to have so drastically altered its effects. And I sincerely doubt that that was the case." She wondered whether Téo had the same suspicions that she did (she didn't make it her business to listen to baseless gossip, but it was impossible not to hear the occasional whispered rumour, whether she wanted to or not), or whether she had managed to fool herself into believing the explanation she had tried to offer up.

"Maybe," Vega held Téo's gaze, turning the vial over in her hands; a single eyebrow arched, "she was just hoping you might give her a chance."

* Maria Teodora Wittington

    (05/02/2019 at 03:45)
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At Vega’s words, Téo just sort of blinked, unsure of how to digest what she had just heard. Her body turned even more towards her best friend as if that somehow would aid in her understanding; but then her head tilted a little, listening with more and more confusion (admittedly, she had been mostly watching Vega’s lips as she spoke).

It wasn’t until Vega got around to saying that Lia would have literally had to do every step wrong, that Téo finally met blue eyes, just as Vega expressed her sincere doubt, and being that it was Vega Nettlebed and potions, Téo had zero reasons or even a tiny grain of uncertainty to think she was wrong. She was always right about these things (it was why when it did come to such things, the blonde sitting next to her was the only person she fully trusted her livelihood with).

“Maybe,”

Téo had moved, subtly, brown eyes studying as if trying to observe several angles at once (she was). Her eyes had found Vega’s hands for a while, as she spoke, watching the little movements they made, before noticing how the sun was coming through the windows, hitting the lighter parts in Vega’s otherwise darker blonde hair. While the look in her eyes was that intensity often held for her models, it was a shade different when it was on Vega.

One difference--Téo was a naturally affectionate person, especially with people she adored--but it generally did not extend to her art subjects, though she adored them too, it was different from how she felt about Vega Nettlebed. That, though Téo still wouldn't look too closely at it, she still knew, had been different from the very start. Téo felt like she had to sit on her hands to stop herself from reaching out. Reaching out for something that hadn’t been there all year.

Then she realized Vega’s eyes were on hers, steadily so, and dark eyes stopped their visual scan as if she had needed to make sure all of Vega was really, physically in front of her.

“she was just hoping you might give her a chance.”

Téo’s mouth opened to say something, then didn’t, and closed in a frown instead, brow creased. She looked genuinely confused. “What? I--but--a chance at what?” Téo bit her lower lip a little, “A chance at… I mean, what could I possibly have that’d she want a chance at-- Oh.” here, her eyes widened, looking at Vega for confirmation. “Oh.” she repeated, and after another beat, “Oh. Well,” it was softer, and Téo finally looked away.

As if the revelation was exhausting, she let her hands slip out from behind her, her gaze finding the ceiling instead. Finally, she looked back at Vega, suddenly tired of talking about Lia Ayres and love potions. About everyone else but them, really.

While she still felt confused and didn't know what else to do or say, because it was all crazy and because she wanted to lean upward and kiss Vega--and she didn't know where that came from, where it kept coming from--but she didn't.

Instead, a slow smile started to curve her lips, and it was one that was only for Vega Nettlebed because she missed her best friend. She missed them. She poked the other girl in the ribs (even though she wanted to kiss her).

“I’m not that pretty, jesus.”



after this and this
29 July 1956
infirmary, early afternoon


Apart from one injured fifteen-year-old boy that’d be sixteen in two months so, really, it was more like he was sixteen, as he made sure she knew—there were two others, another boy and one girl (whose ages she couldn’t remember) Téo just knew that they were both getting sick and had stomach cramps, so she’d given them some of her Mama Lupé’s remedies to not only ease nausea, but relieve the stomach cramps, and put them to sleep so they could rest through the process.

The fifteen-year-old, on the other hand, was remarkably well rested.

He was playing tough guy while also grinning sweetly at her and being very obliging. Téo was sitting at his bedside, currently having to hold his hand, while she bandaged his right wrist, being sure to set it so it couldn’t be bent. She had a feeling he was enjoying the hand holding a little too much.

Trying not to roll her eyes, and smiling despite herself, she almost ran her free through her hair - except that it was done up, so she didn’t. Just in case, Téo had turned on herself instead of a canvas. Her hair was up in a decade old pin-up style, but being summer, she wore high-waisted, dark capris that was fitting over long legs, ending to show heels, and the shirt was a flowing button-up, tucked skillfully, the sleeves rolled in more of an artful way than functional.

Her hair and make-up may be from a decade before, but the clothing was recent, and as she had finished the look off in her room, she prepared it as if it were armor, shining and testing its durability.

Because Téo couldn't remember if--the very person walking into the infirmary at that very minute was even on duty today. She cursed, a low mutter in Spanish, which oddly seemed to give the boy some confidence.

Red lips parted but then quickly pursed, flashing back to yesterday and swirling colors.

Her attention was drawn away a second later, as the boy, all puffed up looking, shifted in a direction he should not have while telling her about some quidditch move he’d done (and he hid the wince impressively well). Téo hummed slightly, to show she was (not) listening, focusing entirely on the boy’s wrist, again, needing to reset it.

“Are you on today?” The question was abrupt, and her voice had come out quiet, but steady, and while the question was directed at Vega, Téo did not look up, except only to make reassuring eye contact (not that he needed it, but it was habit) with the younger boy.

* Vega Nettlebed

    (05/08/2019 at 19:52)
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She assumed that the question was meant for her, though it was hard to tell, because Téo hadn't so much as glanced in her direction when she'd stepped into the infirmary.

Her answer was just as short, a reflection of the tension that neither of them had seemed to shake for longer than a handful of minutes at a time since last summer:

"No."

Part of her wished she had never kissed Maria Téodora Wittington, because ever since then, she hadn't known what the hell they were supposed to be or where the hell they stood. It had been so easy, being best friends. It was so much harder, being...whatever this was.

And Avery--

She was not going to think about Avery Elliot.

"I need to brew something in the apothecary," she added by way of explanation, because no didn't quite account for why she was here when she wasn't required to be. Her gaze slid from Téo, who wasn't looking at her, to her patient, who was now glancing between the pair. Vega shot him a look that lay somewhere between what do you think you're staring at and mind your own business; satisfaction bloomed as he withered.

"You can come if you want."

She continued onwards without waiting for an answer, and began to climb the stairs up to the North Tower.

* Maria Teodora Wittington

    (05/10/2019 at 10:59)
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At Vega’s no, Téo looked up, briefly, brow creased and almost asked why--but that was soon answered. Potions. She probably could‘ve answered that herself.

Téo was sort of aware of the boy’s confusion, sort of aware of Vega’s stare, and sort of amused by the whole thing, even if she sort of didn’t have the best feeling in her chest. She had turned away, hiding the smile under the pretense of needing more wrapping.

At the very least, it had made him sit still long enough for her to finish, but by the time she looked up again, it was at Vega’s retreating back. Téo bit her lip, damn it, and with that, stood from her chair. She was pretty sure Vega had effectively killed the teenage boy because he barely reacted to her departure. She’d let one of the infirmary assistants know where she’d be if they needed her and with a bracing sort of look towards the steps, began climbing.

When she got to the top, she’d first spotted a large, fluffy traitor currently watching Vega from a nearby table that he was not supposed to be on. Zorro was just squinting contentedly at Vega to the point that Téo rolled her eyes. The only acknowledgment she received was an ear twitch in her general direction.

For a moment, Téo remained where she was, leaned up against the entryway, watching the other girl (though maybe not so obviously adoringly as the feline, or she hoped not, at least). There was an awful twisting beneath her ribs still, looking at the potion supplies, and her best friend, but before the memory could resurface, Téo pushed herself off the wall with her shoulder.

“So what is it that you had to brew today?” Téo was nearer now, not in the way (she knew better than that), but close enough to see what she was doing, and to see her. The tension between them was palpable, and sometimes, Téo wondered. Vega’s potion had wondered too, it seemed, to the point that it had looked like it wanted to explode.

Téo stood with her back resting against the table, arms crossed, and then went completely still.

The memory had just won, and she didn’t know how to ask. In fact, the casual question that had left her lips a minute ago was probably the best she had. Because she could ask about Avery Elliott, having been her first time seeing him, them, but she didn’t want to. She really didn’t want to. So it was probably the closest she was going to get to asking--

--abruptly, Téo turned, fully facing Vega. “Are you going to tell me what happened with your potion yesterday?”

Or, apparently, she was going to just ask.

It had happened without permission. It sounded more like, what happened with you. Because it was Vega Nettlebed and potions. Some potions had not hit the mark, but none had reacted like Vega's had, and it led Téo to only one possible conclusion.

* Vega Nettlebed

    (05/10/2019 at 18:22)
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It took Téo a few minutes to follow her up to the North Tower, though it had taken Zorro no time at all. Sometimes -- no, most of the time, actually -- Vega felt like the cat loved her more than the girl did.

She was nearly finished with slicing the ginger roots when she looked up to see Téo watching her. The knife in her hand almost slipped, but she caught it just in time, letting her gaze fall back down until she was finished with her task. With the flat side of the blade, Vega swept the roots into the cauldron.

There was nothing that she had to brew today. The potions store cupboards were well-stocked enough for the next week, at least, assuming there wasn't a mass breakout of accidents and emergencies over the next couple of days. And even if they had been lacking somewhat, it wasn't Vega's job to keep them full, it was Lia's, presumably, or whoever else they had assigned to the responsibility.

No, there was nothing she had to brew, not in that sense; it was for her own peace of mind that she had come here after leaving Avery Elliot alone in his cabin, his hair uncut and the scissors still on the bedside table.

"Just a Wit-Sharpening Potion." Merlin knew that she needed it. Vega began to pour a vial of armadillo bile into the cauldron with a steady hand, watching for any changes in colour. She was on the verge of saying something else -- some further explanation, perhaps, or an apology, or even a question of her own -- but she dithered too long over the words, whatever they were, and while she was still deciding what, exactly, she wanted to say, Téo got there first.

“Are you going to tell me what happened with your potion yesterday?”

There it was.

She'd known it was coming, of course. She just hadn't expected it to be this soon.

The potion turned blue. Vega stopped pouring, and shook some dead scarab beetles out of a jar and into the mortar. As she began to crush them with the pestle, "No." She winced at the way it sounded, and tried again. "I don't know. I don't know what happened."

Except that wasn't quite right, either. She suspected that she knew exactly what had happened and that was this: that nothing had gone wrong with the potion, and that it had worked exactly as it was supposed to. But she was never going to tell Téo that, and so she turned to the same excuse that she had used on Avery yesterday.

"He put the herbs in--he interfered, that's all. Love potions are touchy enough as it is without multiple pairs of hands meddling with them." She tipped the ground beetles into the cauldron, and stirred. She moved across to the store cupboard, pausing at Zorro's table to scratch behind his ears, and knelt down there to search for more armadillo bile.

It was easier to lie when Vega didn't have to look at her. Almost scornfully, "It doesn't mean anything, Téo."

* Maria Teodora Wittington

    (05/11/2019 at 15:29)
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“No.”

Hurt flashed across her features, she knew it did, by the dropping sensation she suddenly felt. By the time Vega had said something afterward, Téo had already turned away from her, leaning back against the table again, hands gripping the edge behind her. She took a slow breath in, looking even further away from the other girl and at the cat.

Zorro was in a slightly more alert sort of position, laying with two large paws stretched out in front of him, and his head held up, eyes on either her or Vega, she couldn’t tell. He just looked overly pleased to her, basking in the sunlight that streamed through high windows.

She didn’t know. Vega Nettlebed did not know what happened with a potion.

A simple potion, as they’d figured out. It had been watching Vega with Avery Elliott, watching her behavior, expressions, movements that Téo knew. The potion had simply just been a slap in the face. Listening to Vega’s explanation, she stayed put, watching as she went rummaging through the supplies (and Téo was able to hear Zorro’s purring from where she stood).

Téo looked upward, eyes trained on the tower’s high ceiling instead of Vega in response to the answers she was receiving. She was trying to stop the hurt from showing because she knew it would on her. Even if a steel resolve had developed after her mom’s death, the emotions could still be seen, particularly in brown eyes.

“He put the herbs in--he interfered, that’s all.”

So it just happened to be the exact same eye color as Avery’s, she nearly said but bit her lower lip. Téo was grasping at the table’s edge, hard, as she resolutely studied the tower’s highest points, torn between wanting to say what she had thought, wanting to know what the real answers were, and being too scared, too uncertain that she even wanted them.

Vega Nettlebed made her feel something she couldn’t possibly feel. She wasn't supposed to. But Téo couldn’t figure out what she was more terrified of: being that way, and her family’s reaction if they ever found out or losing her best friend.

“It doesn’t mean anything, Téo.”

Along with everything else the other girl made her feel, Vega could also hurt her more than most could, apparently. At that though, she did look at her, with an expression of, did you really just say that to me?

But Téo could tell, for some time now, Vega wasn’t saying what she should be. The fact that a boy--a boy that Vega had complained about a lot--was part of it had simply intensified everything else. But that realization had unhinged her a bit, made her finally begin to look at it, at her, at them.

Despite the faint burn behind her eyes, she walked over, coming smoothly up beside her best friend. Moving past the tightness of her throat, she said, “I’m not stupid.” then paused, retaining the composure she had developed.

“I don’t need a potion to tell me, Vega.” it was quiet but steady.

Téo spared the other girl a look, but she refused to meet blue eyes, because she didn’t know what her emotions were doing to her. Whatever it was, it would not make her cry. At all. Even out of frustration. Turning away from Vega, Téo made her way out, but upon reaching the entryway, she hesitated. Without looking back, she managed to add, “But I did need you to.”

On some level, Téo knew she wasn't being entirely fair, but it was too much. She was only vaguely aware of the large feline that had padded after her, following her down the steps.




fin.
« Last Edit: 05/11/2019 at 16:21 by Maria Teodora Wittington »