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The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

How could he be strong? Eris wasn’t sure what strength was, anymore. But, she was sure why everyone needed to be strong. In a place like Hogwarts, in a world as dangerous and painful as the one they lived in, personal strength was all that they had. Friends could and would be ripped away from you, just as Dorian had been taken permanently from Eris. Getting hurt was common. There was always an influx of things that could go wrong, in this world of theirs. Without strength to get through, there was no reason to get out of bed and face the next day.

We have to be strong. Because without strength, we aren’t anything but scared kids with no purpose, just trying to survive.” Eris said softly, falling silent as Kaegen asked more questions, the pain in his eyes startling enough that Eris was silenced for a long while.

“Whatever you do, I’ll help you with it,” Eris vowed then, a sombre infliction in her words, as she looked at Kaegen. She tucked a strand of matted hair behind her ear, the dirt from having smashed at the walls making her hair look even more tangled than usual. Relishing the ache in her hand as she moved it to tuck hair behind her ear, Eris turned to fully face Kaegen.

Leadership wasn’t always her forte. When it came to Kaegen, however, it seemed that Eris was the one in the front seat. She was the fire, and Kaegen was usually the cooling ice to her fire. Now that his spark was diminished, Eris realized she had no opposition to whatever crazy ideas she suggested. She had no voice of strange reason to contemplate her actions and add to conversations with bizarre comments about magical creatures and the sage wisdom that could be achieved through staring intently at bizarre beasts. Everything was up to her. Which, was an impossible amount of power. Helping someone she had inadvertently broken was a terrifying process, so Eris tried to proceed with care. To look back was to be lost in her own guilt. All Eris could do was trust herself, and the slim chance that she still knew Kaegen enough to aid him.

She spoke firmly, trying to make her words sound like they were rehearsed and well thought out, even if she was making things up as she went. “We’ll go to Hogsmeade. See if we can get you blood lollipops. Then we can go to the Three broomsticks and ask them for their steak blood. When do you want to go?” She was willing to get up and sneak out, whenever. If he chose to go now, Eris would gladly leave the school to help a friend. She’d do anything to help regain Kaegen’s former spark, even with the insanity that encompassed that. Not just for him, but also to alleviate the still fresh mental image of him lunging towards her, fangs and inhibitions bared.

Once again, Eris was not correct about how one got a bloody steak. But, she was trying her best to help. She didn’t get up, even if she wanted nothing more than to grab her map and tug Kaegen straight to Hogsmeade to try and solve his problems. She hated seeing him suffering. She hated seeing anyone suffering if it wasn’t justified in her own brain. Eris had a very black and white pattern of thinking. Those who were kind to her deserved nothing but good tidings in their own life, and those who were bad deserved the same kind of pain Eris had been through. This pattern of thinking, while inadvertently wrong, had never been corrected. And, it was this thinking that led to Eris’s one-sided determination to”fix” Kaegen’s emotions.

Seeing Kaegen in such a pathetic place took Eris back to her own second year and how miserable it had been. It made her hands turn to fists in her robe pockets, her body reacting to the memories of her own helplessness. What she had really wanted was someone to support her, then. It was a shot in the dark, because Eris had no idea what Kaegen wanted-- ever. In her first year, she’d had faint guesses about what Kaegen wanted or was feeling. But, now that distance had rusted away at their friendship, Kaegen felt miles away from her. It didn’t help that he seemed so utterly betrayed by her. Yet, support was still support. Even if came from someone who was a horrid friend.

Instead of sitting, Eris pushed herself upwards, putting her weight on her knees, feet flat against the ground. Now in an ideal position, Eris gingerly opened her sore arms in a universal gesture that could easily be acknowledged as an open invitation for Kaegen to come forward and receive a hug.

The blood on her hands had dried, which she assumed was enough to stop the hunger pains that Kaegen was referring to. She didn’t really know how being half-vampire worked, but Eris knew that hugs were splendid distractions. Eris hadn’t been hugged very many times in her short life, but knew that it was helpful when someone was sad.

If he didn’t accept the offer for a hug, then Eris would just make a fool of herself by holding her arms out. Though, looking like a fool around Kaegen wasn’t a new thing. Eris was sure he wasn’t going to judge her that much. She was sure, wasn’t she? A faint part of her, a part that Eris refused to acknowledge, was worried that she was putting more strain on their friendship by even bothering to try and hug him. Eris wasn’t sure what to do to help him.

Maybe there was more troubling him than just this conversation. There was more that was wrong besides his hunger for blood, if Kaegen’s comments about not being strong enough from earlier were to be believed. “But, what’s going on for you? What have I missed over the past year? Clearly, I’ve missed a lot.” Eris remarked, managing a muted smile. “We can catch up now if you want. Or go to get some b-blood” She stuttered over the words, finally realizing how strange it was to be attempting to buy blood for a friend. “Or, I can leave you alone.” Eris finished, sheepishly.

sorry not sorry bout' what i said
STA: 6 EVA: 7 STR: 1 WIS: 8 ACC 9 ACC: 9
abilities: transfig DC -5

The Blade and the Grindstone  PV 

So, strength was purpose? Just being strong was purpose? Did that work, was that a thing? Kaegen blinked confusedly at Soap-Eris. No, that wasn't what she meant. She meant that they had to be strong because they had no purpose. They had to be strong because if they didn't stay strong then that was it, they were doomed. Kaegen didn't want to be doomed, and he felt so very, very tired. Too tired to do much about it. He would follow along with what his friend wanted, and give up.

"No you won't. But, that's okay."

He had heard her say that she was going to be there before. And realistically, all he wanted was someone that was there. It was a dream so big that he didn't even consider it a dream. The little ravenclaw didn't want to try and find someone, didn't want to try to find a friend like that because he knew what would happen. Somewhere deep in the little twisted brambly passages of his mind he remembered perfectly what had happened the last time he had a friend. He wasn't doing that again, and he didn't want to believe he was.

"Thank you"

The thanks was more of a backpedal. Kaegen was realistically deaf to most social norms and cues but he was aware that he had just said that soap-eris wasn't going to help, and he did want help, he just didn't want to rely on it, or depend on it, or even think that it was coming. The lower your expectations were, the harder it was to get hurt. But if she thought he didn't want help, she might just leave. So he had to carefully use his words to find a middle ground, and the little ravenclaw was struggling.

"I mean... thank you for help..."

His voice gradually got quieter as he realized just how much he was messing up, trailing off as he collected his thoughts, hands clenching as he dug his fingernails into the pads of his hands, not enough to break the skin, but enough to hurt. He was much too tired, and it helped to stay awake and think.

"No, I can't eat... that. It's something else in me, a part of me that's not me and it's hungry. If you feed a wolf it gets stronger. I don't want this to get stronger, I can't feed it, I refuse to feed it. If I don't eat, I starve, and then get dizzy, and shaky, and weak. After that comes death. I can kill this, I just need to last a little longer."

We was wrong, he was utterly entirely irrevocably wrong, but the little ravenclaw had never really been told how what he was actually worked. He was working off of assumptions and reasoning that had never really been the best to begin with. For Kaegen, it was a hungry part of him that was different enough to be starved separately. It could die and he would be fine. Or at least that was his theory. His flawed theory, to be sure. But it was the best he had.

He accepted the hug, because it was a hug. Hugs were one of his favorite things, hugs usually came once a year, more when people offered them. And soap-eris was offering one. It didn't matter if she was a bit different, she was still a friend, and he was still going to get a wonderful, wonderful hug. He dropped down forward on his knees, scooting forward a bit and carefully wrapping his arms around her as best he could. He tried to only touch her back with his palms, lifting spidery fingers up enough to not tear the nice fabric any more than it already had been. She smelled of dust, and laundry. Of old books and things he associated with house elves. And of course, of blood. Not not so much the last one. Only faint lingering traces.

He buried his nose in her shoulder to block out anything but the dusty clean sort of smell that came from her robe, and set about trying to put together adequate sentences

"Spent a lot of time on a useless book, and then gave up and made my castle. I can't really remember a lot. I guess I almost killed one or two... or four people. But you probably already know about that. it made the newspapers, after all. People avoid me now, for the most part. It's probably a good thing. I'm a little tired, now. But not bad."

Kaegen paused to catch his breath before going on. It was hard to make sense, his brain felt muddled and foggy and gross.

"Stay, please. For as long as you c- well, as long as you'd like."

He kept his face buried in her shoulder, but made sure not to cry. He was going to be strong, or at least as strong as he could manage.

Shade-Beacon, Master of the Castle of Avarice