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Fact & Fiction  PV Aubren Anson   Finished 

Aubren had begun to play with a strand of her brown hair, something she did when she was in deep thought. She stared down at the book in her lap, her chest beginning to hurt from the worry she gave herself- the thoughts she imagined eating away at her life a merciless animal. She was at war with her mind and heart, as though it was tearing her apart.

She wanted to ask him what he really meant by him being an Avery. She wanted to know why he snapped into a whole new attitude, like he was forced to. Was it because of her? Did he only become friends with her because he held pity on her? The thought of that made her very sad, an emotion that did not look right on Aubren.

What if his family are a bunch of murderers? What if he's making you another target?
She thought, the question not lasting too quickly before she denied it.
No, that's ridiculous!

What if he's fooling you? What if he's another Richie?

She stopped dead, biting down on her lower lip. Aubren refused to believe Max being another Richie, someone that harassed students based on blood type, something Richie did to her for being pure blooded. Luckily, Max speaking up snapped her out of the thinking state, having her swallow down all of that negative thinking and fear and replace it to her normal state. The sweet smile returned as she leaned forward to grasp another book.

"I've heard of him! Harry Potter was there, too. You think we'll get an adventure like that? Dropping a club on a troll's head?"

ѕнe вlooмѕ wιtн ɢrαce ιɴ lιfe'ѕ ɢαrdeɴ
~A.A, Gryffindor

Fact & Fiction  PV Aubren Anson   Finished 

Max didn't understand the sadness he saw flash on Aubren's face, and he quickly dropped his eyes because if this kept up then he was really going to lose all trace of happiness this adventure had brought him. It had been so long since he'd genuinely liked someone, far too long since he'd last hung out in a library with a friend like this. Aubren had reminded him what friends could be. But if this friendship turned out like the last one...

No. He refused to think about that. Before he could go any further down that particular rabbit hole, Aubren was smiling again and things felt tentatively okay. They were going to be like that famous trio. Minus a third person, he supposed - he doubted there was anyone else who'd be stupid enough to be excited at the prospect of fighting a troll. But he was, and Aubren seemed to be up for an adventure like that as well.

"Of course we will," he said with a cheeky grin, standing up to stretch the stiffness from his legs. He scooped up the book he'd been looking at and began pacing as he scanned through it, shaking his feet out as they started to tingle from falling asleep.

"We'll have adventures just like them! Well... minus the dying, on Harry's part. I, uh... I kind of don't want to die just yet and I doubt you do either. But it'll be like that. We'll fight dragons, and befriend werewolves, and get into trouble. But we'll also have each other's backs so we can save each other at the last minute." Maybe that was a bold statement since they hadn't known each other long, but it really felt like they'd just... clicked. Like they were destined to be friends.

M. Avery
STA - 7, EV - 5, STR - 1, WIS - 9, ARC - 10, ACC - 8

Fact & Fiction  PV Aubren Anson   Finished 

Aubren watched him stand to his feet and stretch, the smile she wore remained as he spoke about the adventures they wanted, and most likely would, go on. She didn't faze at his bold comment about having each other's backs, it was true. She was just glad he had felt the same way. For a beautiful moment, Aubren forgot the worry she just had before, the thought of Max being a Richie in disguise seemed ridiculous now, even after the awkward exchange. Aubren had almost forgotten it completely, until her warm eyes fell upon a boy walking through the doors.

Her face fell, like a ruined painting. Her smile dropped as she recognized the new arrivals, a boy she hated to see along with his group of even more hateful friends. It was almost too easy for Aubren to know who it was, the shaggy and unkept hair rastled about, messy clothes and skinny figure, almost similar to a skeleton, Richie.
A cold sharp fear struck her heart, causing her mind to race with the same prayer that Richie wouldn't see the two. To her demise, the boy scanned the room, and his dark and empty eyes fell onto her stare, a snake like smirk appearing on his face. As he began to walk, elbowing the lads that followed, Aubren seemed to jump to her feet and scoot over to Max. She stood in front of him, staring hard into his eyes to demonstrate that she was being deathly serious at the moment. She spoke quietly and quickly, her tone hushed and filled with a panic that ran much deeper than she was willing to say.

"Don't say anything. It's okay, I'll handle it, just don't--"

"Oi, Anson! How's your mum?" The boy was a good few feet away, the words he spoke made Aubren inhale sharply and look off somewhere past Max. As his group snorted and chuckled, Aubren bowed her head slightly before facing up again to look at Richie, her back towards Max as though she was a wall seperating him from Richie.

"She's fine. Doing well. What do you want, Richie? Why are you even here?" Aubren had pulled her sweater cuffs higher around her hands, making it easier for her to grip onto with her slender fingers. Richie smirked again, as though the question amused him.

"It's the library. I can come and go as I please. Besides, I only came in here because I heard loads of high pitched giggling, which one of you did that? You or the boy your trying to hide from me?"

Another fit of chuckles from his friends. His remark didn't seem to bother Aubren at all, in fact, she seemed to just push it aside like lint on her shoulder. Straightening herself (though it didn't make her any taller than Richie) she looked at Richie as though he was the smaller being.

"Don't you have class to get ready for? Or did your grades drop that surprisingly low that they won't allow you through the front door?"

That caught the boys off completely. The chuckles were silenced as Richie's sharp face bloomed red. Of course, the comment would have made him angry anyway, but it was said in front of his friends, in which he needed to constantly be superior against. As the embarrassment fled, anger boiled in the skinny boy's eyes. Richie took a dangerous few steps closer, now at least a foot away from where Aubren stood.

"Listen, Half-Blood, I know for a fact you still have that bruise I gave you on that wrist of yours. I won't have a single problem giving you another!"

ѕнe вlooмѕ wιtн ɢrαce ιɴ lιfe'ѕ ɢαrdeɴ
~A.A, Gryffindor

Fact & Fiction  PV Aubren Anson   Finished 

Of course someone would have to come in and ruin the atmosphere just when it had started to go back to normal. Aubren had been smiling, Max had been feeling better about the whole situation, and life was an airy fairy dream. Not. He'd long since given up on life being as simplistic as a lot of people claimed, but could it give people a break once in a while? What was this, karma? He knew from the second the guys walked in that they were bad news, and his eyes narrowed to slits.

Aubren seemed to think her words could make him back off from these guys. That he should let her handle them alone, keeping quiet while they said whatever had to be said. Alright, fine - he kept his mouth closed for the moment if only to humour her. And to study the boy who thought that messing with them was okay. Seedy, weedy, and the type of person who was too cowardly to go after someone by himself... Oh yeah, Max knew the type. A common, garden-variety bully who didn't understand the complex inner workings of the human psyche. Beating someone and throwing out random insults was the stupidest way possible to 'bully' a person. This kid was an insect.

Eyes dropping to Aubren's figure in front of him, Max decided that being defended like this wasn't for him. The comment about giggling made him smile in a way that dropped the temperature around him, and his good humour vanished like it had never been there. He was planning to say something so terrible his mother would be proud of him, but the words vanished off his lips before he could speak them. Half-blood. Half-blood? No, no, no, Aubren was an Anson. Was it a mistake? But Aubren hadn't corrected him nor said anything arrogant about her mother.

"Aubren." His voice had began somewhat shakily, but it sharpened into a command as possibilities blurred through his head. "Move." Without waiting to see if she'd obey, he snapped his book shut with a sound that seemed to echo in the space around them and stepped out from behind her. The anger in this kid's eyes could mean danger if things got physical, but it also meant he would be prone to making mistakes. For now, Max focused on that instead of the implications about the word 'half-blood.'

"Listen to me, boy," he said softly to the bully, stepping close enough that he could smell the kid's rancid breath. "Here's what's going to happen. You're going to turn around and walk out that door, or I'll be forced to do something. Do you know what something means to my family?" He hefted his book, balancing it on one figure with a smirk before letting it fall back into his palm.

"If you hit someone in the right place with a book, it doesn't leave an external mark. Even weight distribution and the lot. A fist, however... it leaves plenty of marks. Evidence, I suppose you could say. So here's what'll happen. You hit me. I hit you. You hit me. I hit you. On and on. I get marked up, but you don't. I call my parents and they throw money at this to make it go away. You're expelled before I can - " He lifted his other hand beneath the boy's nose and snapped, lifting his shoulders in the slightest shrug. "I'm an Avery, you're a... bug, of some sort. So buzz away back to your caliber of people, and let me deal with the - " It hurt. Internally, one of the puzzle pieces that made him who he was ached at what he was about to say, even if it was one of the pieces that didn't fit together with who he was supposed to be. " - mudblood."

M. Avery
STA - 7, EV - 5, STR - 1, WIS - 9, ARC - 10, ACC - 8

Fact & Fiction  PV Aubren Anson   Finished 

Max was terrifying. There was no doubt in that, Richie's friends knew almost instantly that they were in trouble, since they started to mumble to each other and look at Max with uncertainty. They stared as he spoke his words, words so threatening that it left Richie dead silent as well. Neither of the boys were laughing now, nor cracked a gin. They knew full well who the Avery's where, and having the relative infront of them wasn't the best feeling in the world.

As for Aubren? She was stock frozen, unmoving, and possibly not breathing. She was replaying what she just heard come out of Max's mouth, as though she didn't believe it...or didn't want to. Mud-Blood? Did he just call her a mud-blood? She could feel herself on the edge, a breaking point where her eyes begin to burn and threatened to let out water works. Her mind was racing, but her heart still refused. She told herself that maybe Max just...needed an idea to get Richie away, and that was the only word he could think of.

Then again, Max could have said a million other ones.

"Come on, Richie, can we just go now?" A smaller boy said, a Slytherin by the looks of it.

Richie was in a silence trance, before suddenly, he exploaded like a volcano. He shoved away the boys hand as he tried to grab him and death stared Max, his ears red and cheeks flaring.

"You're an Avery, huh? I'm a Harper! I know what your family's like, because mine is exactly the same! Your supposed to be following your family's footsteps but instead your hanging out with a mud-blood? A Half-Blood?! Her family is a bunch of Ansons, the worst lot, you should know that! You don't scare me! You don't- I'm not scared of you!"

Richie's words were fast paced and flustered. He was looking in every direction before his eyes fell onto Aubren, and almost instantly, he began to smirk. If Max would have turned around to look, he would've seen Aubren, standing there with her delicate hands over her delicate face...crying. For her, it felt as though someone tore her heart right out of chest and gave it to Richie and Max to beat. How could she be so stupid? She should have known from the moment Max went all formal on her, that fake dinner boy smile as he said his speech...how could she be so stupid?

"Good lord, she's crying like she's nine years old again. Come on, let's leave Avery to the mud-blood. We'll have fun another time." With a simple turn of his heel, the group of boys gave sideways looks at Aubren and Max. It was hard to tell if it was out of fear or pity, but what with Richie almost at the door, the group scooted away, following their leader out of the library.

Oh, did words hurt.

Aubren's silent tears could prove that, the pain she felt could prove that too. The tears came harder, but she remained quiet. The truth stung like salt in a flesh wound, only that Max Avery was the one who poured the salt in the wounds. A quiet sob escaped her before Aubren briefly forced it away, finding herself taking three steps back before her knees felt weak. She wanted to go home, her real home, where she wasn't teased. Where people didn't trick her, didn't lie...where they actually liked her. She wanted her grandfather to tell her stories, she wanted her mom to hug her, she wanted her dad to play chess with her. But of course, she couldn't. She knew she couldn't, and in those painful moments, Aubren realized that she was alone. Completely, utterly alone.

ѕнe вlooмѕ wιtн ɢrαce ιɴ lιfe'ѕ ɢαrdeɴ
~A.A, Gryffindor

Fact & Fiction  PV Aubren Anson   Finished 

If circumstances had been different, Max would've laughed at Richie claiming he wasn't scared. He knew from the moment he invoked his family name that these kids would back off - they, at least, recognized it. Dark wizards known for their clinical viciousness and mastery over Unforgivable Curses weren't the type of people even other pure-bloods messed with, especially if they were children. He only wished Aubren would've recognized it way before now, because if she had then they wouldn't be in a situation where he'd be forced to do what he was about to do.

He resisted the urge to shut his eyes when Richie pointed out the fact that Aubren was crying. As much as he'd like to think it was all because of Richie's words, he knew better. His words were always sharpened to a point and it was only a matter of time until they cut the people around him.

A better person would've turned around the second Richie left to comfort Aubren with words promising that none of the insults had been meant. This 'good Samaritan' in his head would also probably draw her into a hug to calm her down, and maybe even find something to say that had some semblance of kindness to cheer her up. He wasn't sure what kind of words those would be - he was much better at the cutting kind - but anything nice at all would likely help. Instead, the second the library door shut behind the Harper boy and his cronies, Max closed his eyes and dug deep.

No more Mudbloods or Muggles anymore. He'd promised on his hands and knees, sworn on the pain of death for his former-friend. He was pretty sure his parents wouldn't lord it over him anymore, but who knew? Why did it matter, anyway? He didn't care about Muggles. He shouldn't care if they killed Tom after all this time. Just like he shouldn't care about the fact that this stupid half-blood girl was silently crying behind him because of what he'd said.

"It's a word," he said quietly, in a voice edged with frost. He refused to turn around as he struggled to keep his face blank, working his bottom lip between his teeth hard enough to shred it. Aubren was smart and she'd been good with the spell she'd used. But his parents would still grind her up and use her to salt their egos; destroying her wouldn't even be a full meal for them. "You're crying over a goddamn word. It's ridiculous." He could feel the ghost of his father's fingers digging bruises into his shoulders.

"You seriously thought you could claim you were a pure-blood and have my friendship for the next few years? What kind of person does that? 'Oh, I'm an Anson, my family is from Hufflepuff and Gryffindor.' Are you that pathetic that you can't be friends with one of your own kind? Who do you think you are?" The hardest thing about saying it was how easy the words came. They lived on the surface of his mind and he barely had to think for them to roll out of his mouth. Blood welled up where he was digging his teeth in and spread across his lower lip. "You can forget everything that just happened. He was a bug, but you're less than that. You're less than the dust the family maid washes off the floor."

Then he couldn't say anymore, because bile was burning his throat and if he opened his mouth he was going to throw up. He opened his eyes, the library suddenly looking overwhelming bright, and forced himself to move forward. "Never talk to me again." His voice had never sounded so much like his mother's as he stiffly walked to the door, refusing to allow himself to look back. It was for her own good. It was for her own good. Itwasforherowngood.

He was going to throw up and then sleep for the next seven years.

M. Avery
STA - 7, EV - 5, STR - 1, WIS - 9, ARC - 10, ACC - 8

Fact & Fiction  PV Aubren Anson   Finished 

He broke her heart.

You could hear it in her quiet sobs, her soft voice, everything.

She quietly said his name, almost in disbelief.

"Max?"
Over, and over, and over. Each call a bit louder, each tone more broken.

How would he be able to sleep at night? Having her say his name like that? To call out to him in pain? How could he walk away with her broken, falling all alone?

He was an Avery.
That's why he was able to say every word, and take every step.
Without a glance back.

She thought of herself to be a fool, an idiot. Her body was shaking horribly, a strong cold air swept over her like a frost bitten winter. There was no warmth from the girl, no longer did her eyes burn with joy or kindness, there was only a hollow brown, like a dead tree. The warm smile was gone, replaced with melting sobs. Her face in all looked shattered, a priceless doll knocked off of it's shelf, only to be left in pieces.

Was it for her own good? Or was it for his?
Time would tell, but in the present, the Gryffindor watched the Avery step out from the library. A sudden rush of anger, and a quick whip of her wand, and the mighty library door slammed shut behind him, clipping him on the heels in a strong force. The echoing slam spoke silent words, although it were to remind him of the broken girl he had shattered himself.

"YOU'RE HORRIBLE! I TRUSTED YOU! I TRUSTED YOU!" Aubren's voice screeched from the library, only to have the angry tone break at the end, where a sob had choked out.

"PURE-ASSHOLE!" The door shuddered with a loud thud, an obvious spark of a spell was shot at the door, as though the spell was meant to keep him out for good. However, the anger that honed that comment died, and as soon as she finished, there was a scream.

From her.
Not of anger, but from pain.

Then there were more sobs.

At this point, you would believe a librarian would have arrived, or a student, or a teacher, or anyone, but no one did.
It was just Aubren.

She was hurting, her mind racing and racing in a downwards spiral. It was clear she was never going to leave the library, not now, not in an hour, and not for a long time. Her mind ached, confused and pain sparking in every direction of her body. Like a candle, she was a burning fire. She was a gift, but the cold words of Maxwell Avery blew that fire out, leaving her melted and cold by his own hand. What happened to the other Max? The Max that promised to have her back when she needed him? The Max that promised adventure?

She missed him, dearly, but she would not let him in.

With tears streaming, she threw herself into one of the wooden chairs, folding her arms on top of the wooden table surface before covering her face, hiding her sobs from him, the school, the world.



"For a moment, I didn't think you'd do it."
A familiar voice near Max called out, right before the familiar crunch of what sounded of an apple.

"Then again, here you are. I haven't been able to make her cry like that, guess I've been playing the game wrong." Richard Harper appeared from the shadows casted by the torches above. A green apple in one hand, a proud smirk plastered on his face, and the look of no regret in his eyes.
A monster.

"I give you my thanks. With you out of the way, you left her perfectly defenseless. It'll be so easy for me now to shatter that Anson slut, with you gone, she'll won't even bother to fight."
That's what Max gets in reward.
A thank you, from the Richard Harper.

He tossed the green apple up and down in his hand.
"Which reminds me, by the sound of it, you probably shattered her already. I bet your proud, your dad would be. I'm glad the blood's not on my hands, but don't worry about it, it's not like you even cared for her anyway"

He tossed the apple to the ground, the food rolling to a stop by Max's foot. With a swift motion, Richie was gone, walking down the hall with a skip in his step.

ѕнe вlooмѕ wιtн ɢrαce ιɴ lιfe'ѕ ɢαrdeɴ
~A.A, Gryffindor

Fact & Fiction  PV Aubren Anson   Finished 

He kept walking, no matter what he heard behind him. He wasn't overly empathetic or emotional, but he thought he might be able to empathize at this moment with how Orpheus had felt leaving the underworld with the one key rule of not being able to look behind him. Don't look behind you or you'll send Eurydice back to Hell. If he looked behind himself and saw the expression on Aubren's face he might just break, and to try and comfort her now would be the same thing as sending her to the underworld's pits.

The door slammed behind him before he was fully out, sending him stumbling a bit and again nearly breaking the embargo he'd put on wearing what he was feeling on his face. At least it blocked out the sounds of her breaking behind him. Friends weren't what they were cracked up to be, anyway. He knew that. Friends were more like toys - you played with them until they broke, and they always broke. Better now than after they'd spent a few years together and he'd worn her down with the kind of rough play he was expected to keep up. So why didn't it feel better?

Tonguing a bit of blood off his lip, he reflexively went still at the sound of someone nearby, side-eyeing the newcomer with a stiff-spined look of wariness. He thought he'd dealt with this guy already, this serpent who could bite big but didn't have enough venom to kill. Eyes narrowing to slits, he remained mute and didn't even allow himself to sneer. Let this boy know he wasn't worth an expression.

The game. The reminder that this was all a game and that you shouldn't get attached to the pieces did something Richie would never understand to Max's mind. This kid was clearly remorseless and if Max actually walked away from Aubren and left her defenseless, he'd probably do things that you could find if you looked up cruelty in the dictionary.

But here was a truth: to really break someone, you had to care. Once you knew them enough to care, you had an insight into just what cracks to widen to make them fall apart.

And here was another truth: sometimes, Max really did care too much.

He let Richie walk away without saying anything, thinking of how proud his dad would be. He'd get a hearty clap on the shoulder, a 'now you're acting more a like a man,' a night where he didn't have to tiptoe around his own house. If he wanted to be happy in his house, it really came down to ruining other people's happiness; he could either take one for the team or go around hurting people. And -

"Shut up," he muttered to himself when Richie was out of earshot. "Shut up. Shut up, you self-pitying piece of shit." His chest felt tight, constricted like the air he was taking in wasn't making it past his throat. With a sound that was mostly anger and a touch of pain, he lifted his foot and smashed it down on the apple, sounding white flecks and juice all over the floor. It didn't make him feel better.

Hand clutching the front of his robes like he was having a heart attack, he had to take a few shaky steps to set his other palm against the wall as he focused on trying to get air in. He'd broken her. He'd broken her like his parents had broken Tom, and he hadn't even needed the Cruciatus Curse. "Shut up." Maybe he could grow up to be even better at it than them. If he gave his entire self over to it, he could definitely find more creative ways to break people. "Shut..." Every time he'd break himself in the process, but when you put yourself back together the pieces fit differently. He'd keep changing, every time, until it stopped hurting. "Stop it." He couldn't breathe, he couldn't see. There was a film of tears over his eyes. "Stop it. Please. Please."

No matter how much he tried to fight it with cold logic, the quieter voice in his mind kept whispering an undertone of things about how he shouldn't have to think like this; he shouldn't have to be this way if he didn't want to. It was that voice he kept trying to get to shut up, because he had everything a boy could want and had no right to think badly about his life.

He didn't know how long he stood there, silently wrestling with himself until he was able to make the tears go away without spilling. So long that he was afraid Aubren might come out and find him like this, at least. The thought of facing her now almost drove him to crying again, but he managed to clamp it down just enough to straighten and make his shaky legs carry him away from the library. Crying and pitying was for the weak, he finally managed to convince himself as the fight for breath subsided and he could get a lungful of air again. Yeah, he'd done the right thing. He'd just try not to think about it again for as long as he lived.

Reducio
Exeunt Max, thread ended

M. Avery
STA - 7, EV - 5, STR - 1, WIS - 9, ARC - 10, ACC - 8
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