i miss yelling at you

i miss yelling at you

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i miss yelling at you

Post by Ace Longbottom on Sat May 20, 2017 7:58 am

Ace should have been happier.

Pavo had toned down since their last run in and the Dark Followers hadn't made so much as a peep. Nothing had turned up after the arson of Grimmauld Place, but no further attacks had occurred either. And the students at school had been forced to settle down after all of the antics of their flirty February, exams robbing them of the energy to be anything more than indifferent and incidentally civil to each other.

As the (self appointed) Peace Keeper of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Ace Longbottom should have been as happy as could be with a quiet castle.

But she wasn't.

A very particular silence, a specific show of civility, was - to put it in the only terms she could seem to own up to - bumming her out, big time. Rowing with Christian had been her baseline for months. But after their last two fights - about the party and about Julian joining Potter's Army - Christian had seemingly given up the fighting. And though instinct told her to try to bait him into a fight - she had great danger instincts but not so great social instincts - she found she didn't have the will to stir up a fight.

This was a first for Ace. And she hated it.

There was something different about today. It was a Saturday and it was nine in the morning and Ace Longbottom wasn't studying. She wasn't chasing down new recruits. She wasn't dogging her professors asking why points had been taken off of a particular argument she had made in an essay. But she wasn't terrorizing her professors, or the librarian. No.

Ace Longbottom was still in bed.

She remained in bed, wide awake, sun trying to prod her into movement. But she wasn't going. She wasn't stirring. She didn't want to.

And then Tracey Hopkins, nosy dolt she was, was leaning over Ace's bed, genuine concern on her face. "Are you dead?"

That was enough to force her into action. She rolled out of bed and, within the half hour, was moving quickly through the castle, on a mission...

But too afraid to pull the trigger.

Idiot. Coward. Rube. Dingus.

Oh and she could do much worse.

Come on, Ace, don't be a doorknob.

That was what finally made her head towards the library. She wasn't disappointed. Apollo Zabini was studying, which was all he seemed to do when he wasn't in class, at his internship, or on the Quidditch pitch. Across from him was a very focused Molly Weasley.

Ace suddenly felt uncertain as she approached the table. Their eyes lifted and she suddenly felt another weird impulse...

To play it cool.

"Um," she said, and she could feel Molly's eyes narrowing on her. "Hey. So. Um. Do you..."

"Christian?"

Molly felt a strange sense of deflation. "Yeah."

The Slytherin gave her a familiar look, the usual when she asked the question - am I my brother's keeper? She sighed but Molly was chewing on her lip, looking as though she really didn't want to say something. Which Ace couldn't quite understand, because Molly never said anything anyway, especially something she didn't want to say.

But Molly did speak. "I heard Charlotte say she was meeting him today by the lake."

Oh. Of course. Right. Duh.

You doorknob.

Obviously, she didn't go outside. That wouldn't help anyone. She instead headed towards the Room of Requirement, deciding that time spent among the Potter's Army room would do the best to calm her down. It was all she had nowadays.

So stuck in her determination to keep her mind off of anything but the task ahead, she didn't even notice that the door to the Room of Requirement had already been conjured. The handle turned and she stepped in, closing the door behind her with an exasperated sigh.

When she lifted her head, she found herself actually being thrown off guard - and she was always on guard.

"Christian."
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Re: i miss yelling at you

Post by Christian Zabini on Sat May 20, 2017 7:39 pm

Christian shot to his feet when the door opened, trying to make it look like he had been pacing instead of crouching. Like his hair had been pushed aside by the pace of his walking, not by the fingers that had pulled at the dark curls. Like he was frustrated, rather than hurt.

Apollo had merely stared when Christian stormed out of the Great Hall, but the Hufflepuff didn't care who all noticed. He was done playing this game, and more than that, he felt alone despite his brother and girlfriend literally within an arm's reach. If Charlotte hadn't known how poorly Christian was feeling before, she had to now. And he did feel sorry for that, but he still only managed to tell her he'd meet her outside later before fuming his way up the stairs and into the Room of Requirement. Surely Ace would be too busy with Julian to notice his exit, if she'd even been in the room. He hadn't dared check. Didn't want to.

He wished he had done.


His expression fell into a scowl, unsure which PA member had interrupted him. Charlotte maybe? But he hadn't told her where he was going, and was hopefully out on the grounds by ow. He could pretend like he was better, just for being around her without Apollo nearby. So maybe not her. Graham? Surely not the one he-

His stride halted, heel pressing into the ground because you walk heel-to-toe because it's more powerful, Christian, and power is everything.

Everything. Except for Ace. Alice trumped power, mainly because he had none when she was involved. No, when Ace Longbottom was around, nobody else mattered because she didn't need to let them. Christian Zabini not excluded.

Turning, he blinked at her as he tried to appear casual. Almost friendly, even. But, after Julian... Christian didn't know what he felt, or wanted. Particularly considering Charlotte.

Alice. "Ace."

Invisible shutters went up behind his eyes and he crossed his arms over his chest. Damn Apollo for getting into his head and messing everything up. He'd been ready to go groveling back like the dunce that he obviously was, but now he didn't know what to think. And he didn't know why he was so pissed off about it.

"I'm kind of in the middle of something." Liar. "Did you need the room?"
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Re: i miss yelling at you

Post by Ace Longbottom on Sat May 20, 2017 9:56 pm

On a usual day, Ace was pretty much ready to go by seven in the morning. If she had extra time before breakfast, she'd send off some sort of placation to her parents, who owled her much more often than she managed to owl them back. And then it was breakfast and pouring over the Prophet and the Quibbler. Class, studying, homework, Potter's Army preparation, lunch and dinner sometime in between, if she remembered. Working with Julian, if she was so unlucky. And then more homework, more studying, more crusading in anyway she could.

On a usual day, Ace felt like a tightly wound spring, full of inertia, ready to effect change. She felt certain and prepared.

But she wasn't feeling her usual self today.

And it seemed neither was Christian.

There was something challenging in his voice. Perhaps challenging wasn't the right word, but his entire demeanor was more assertive than his normal state of being. Which was something she should have been proud about, all things considered, because obviously it came from her influence.

Maybe that wasn't a good thing though.

"Oh," she said. He was busy. Right. Of course.

"Sorry."

They had officially entered some sort of alternate universe. This was not Christian. This was not Ace. This was not their world.

"No," she said, stepping back to lean against the door. "I was just. Um-" She reached up and scratched the side of her head, hoping to stumble onto some sense of normality. "I was just looking for you, was all."
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Re: i miss yelling at you

Post by Christian Zabini on Sun May 21, 2017 11:28 pm

"Oh," he parroted back, his shoulders relaxing before his arms fell to his sides. Realizing what he had done, Christian stuffed his hands into his trouser pockets. Then shifted his weight and ran his gaze over her before snapping it back up to her eyes.

He'd heard. Rumors, that is. About Pavo and his idiot friends. But Ace could surely handle herself, and she looked fine enough. Scratch the 'enough' part. She looked fine, as usual.

For a breath, they were outside and it was freezing and they were both dressed to the nines with no clue what awaited them. But he blinked that away, nearly frowning. Bad timing.

Because, in truth, he had wanted to talk to her as well. Up until that morning. As usual, he blamed Apollo for, well, everything. Other than the stuff he blamed their father for. But she was looking for him as well? A thread of anxiety curled around Christian's stomach, squeezing too tightly for him to really think.

She'd checked in the Room of Requirement. Was this about the PA? What else could he have possibly done to upset her? It was nearly the end of the school year and he was tired of fighting. So tired of it. And she needed to know. He had to tell someone.

"Apollo isn't my only sibling."

What? Had he said that out loud? Whoops. Christian looked down, tearing a hand out of his pocket and up to his hair. "I don't- I'm.. just, nevermind. It wasn't meant to come out like that." He shook his head, swinging that hand out in a vague gesture.

When he spoke again, he sounded far off somehow. Broken or breaking or fragile at the least. "I've wanted to tell you for days. I just didn't think that you-... I mean, I don't know. I didn't know who else to tell. Nobody else would understand what it means to us. To me."
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Re: i miss yelling at you

Post by Ace Longbottom Yesterday at 4:33 am

There was something strange about being alone with him here. They did find an odd moment or two alone these days, but it always by accident, always just a moment or two before someone else joined them. But now they were alone, and very unlikely to be interrupted, and she had just admitted that she had wanted to see him - even if she had changed her mind once she figured he was off with Charlotte doing... whatever it was they did together.

(Ugh.)

But he didn't need to know she had abandoned the search. She didn't want to explain why she was deterred, as she was sure it'd turn into a 'you should give Charlotte a chance' blah blah blah talk. And she wanted to get back on track with Christian - that talk would almost guarantee that wouldn't happen.

But now that she had found him she found that she didn't have an adequate excuse for why she had been looking. She could barely articulate how she felt and what she could articulate - I just miss you okay!? - was not a statement she could imagine coming from her lips and not accidentally sounding aggressive.

Thankfully, he had something to say.

But holy plot twist, batman, how was she supposed to respond to that?

Her eyebrows were frozen high on her forehead, her eyes wide in surprise as she tried to grasp this. Her eyes slide away from him, searching the empty space of the room as though someone would step out and announce it was a joke or clear their throat and explain what he meant. Because for all of the pressure King and Queen Zabini (eyeroll) put on their children, how dare they force their sons to play the perfect part when they had such skeletons in their closet. And to not tell them for so long? Because this had to be a new development. Christian would have told her otherwise. Despite everything, she knew that much to be true.

"How?" she finally managed, her incredulity all to clear. "Not how," she clarified, wincing slightly. "I just mean - what?" And maybe it was a mark of how well Ace had read into the Zabini family dynamic, maybe it was just a stab in the dark, but she grumbled in an almost offhand way. "I imagine your mum's not a fan."

He was trying to backtrack but he pushed forward and Ace felt a strange squirm of comfort to know that he had been wanting to tell her - confirming also that this was indeed a new development. She nodded at his words, wavering slightly on the spot like she wanted to move towards Christian. She remained planted, however, instead saying, "That's really stupid that you only just found out now."

Surely he knew what she meant. What she meant was I'm sorry and you deserve so much better, not to mention I'd never lie to you like that, with just a hint of what can I do to make it better?
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Re: i miss yelling at you

Post by Christian Zabini Today at 4:20 am

He threw his hands in the air at the first of her questions, shaking his head as he stared right back at her. Many things went through his head after that. Mainly, a warning against talking badly about his mother. She was right, of course, that Father had been the one to do something he shouldn't have. So perhaps her comment had more to do with how wronged Daphne had been by Blaise. And the absolute last thing in the world that he wanted to think about was the 'how' of the matter.

A shudder probably would've gone up his spine if she hadn't spoken again. "Yeah," he agreed without a trace of irony or malice, "no shit." In fact, the words left him like his lungs had all but pushed them out on his next exhale.

But then his brows furrowed and he dropped his attention to the ground. "They're called Vanora. I think. Apollo said they only get brought up when Mum wants to hurt our father but he isn't even sure about the name at this point. Much less if we've got a sister or a brother." Christian sighed heavily. "It's mental to think that, if not for the whole marriage thing, Apollo might not have even been the heir at all. Then maybe neither of us would be like this."

Okay, so saying it out loud actually hurt quite a lot.

He suddenly felt much younger than he really was, which didn't often happen for someone like Christian. He had always been so sure that he was mature for his age, and capable of dealing with what life threw at him. Much more so than Apollo, at the least, right? It was utterly ridiculous - and he recognized the fact - but some part of him wanted Ace to tell him that he would've been an excellent brother when it came to them. Because he was not at all certain he'd done very well with Apollo. If this was something they could make better, perhaps he would have another chance.

But it wasn't like he was a particularly good friend, either. Obviously. Rather than letting her tell him what she'd come from, Christian had blurted out his own problems.

Selfish, that. He hadn't considered that to be an aspect of his personality, but perhaps it was sometimes.

"I..." He faltered again, running a hand over his face. "Sorry. I'm not trying to ignore whatever you came to tell me. Honest, I'm not. I just can't believe he never told me."
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