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Anxiety

Phoebe ran to the stables, tears threatening to pour down her face. She blinked mutliple times, trying to clear her blurry vision. Classes had finally ended, and she was all over the place. This usually didn't happen. Usually, she was able to control it, but she didn't know how to fix it in such a foreign place. All she knew was she had to get away. She had to get away from, well, everything.

Phoebe leaned her forehead against the stone wall that surrounded the stables. She was hyperventilating, clenching her fists so she wouldn't hit the wall and instantly regret it. Despite her protests, tears began falling down her cheeks in a rush. She clenched her teeth, collapsing onto her knees.

"Please. Please, no, please stop," she whispered to herself, sniffling. She knew her teachers were disappointed in her. She knew of the other students' pitiful glances as they spoke amongst themselves about how lonely she looked when she sat by herself. Why was she so stupid? Why was she so self-conscious? Her cries intensified, resulting in her biting her hand to muffle her whimpers. She brought her knees up to her chest, wrapping her free arm around her legs.

The snow was too bright. The birds' chirps were too loud. Her lungs felt like they were collapsing. She could feel herself become dizzy. The dizziness began to increase, getting worse and worse the more she attempted to control her breathing. She knew what was happening, and she wasn't sure if she'd be able to help it at this rate.

Phoebe had experienced sensory overload before, but it had never gone to such an extent. She turned herself around, leaning her back against the wall. She tried her best to focus on controlling her breathing, and it was working slightly. Tears kept pouring out of her eyes, but at that point she was more focused on not passing out. She buried her hands in the snow, leaning her head back.

In, out, in, out, she thought to herself, trying her best to focus solely on her breathing. Ever so slowly, her breathing started slowing down, returning back to a normal pace after about five minutes. Phoebe buried her face in her freezing hands, continuing to cry for some time.

The trees cry in autumn because their hearts are growing cold.
Phoebe McCrary

Anxiety

Koko’d been being antisocial again. The girl hated talking to most people, but at Hogwarts she’d been trying to make some more friends. She’d earn the sound of deep breathing in addition to her own hyperventilation, so she went to inverstigate.

Her hair, tied in a high ponytail, swung behind her as the snow crunched under her feet, matching her steps as she snuck up to the stables. She heard the sound of sobbing, too, but it wasn’t as prevalent because she was used to it. She peeked around the inside of the stable and saw... Phoebe?

“Hey,” she said softly. “I’m not going to ask if you’re okay, because I can tell you’re not. But we’re friends. You said you’d be there for me, so I’m here for you.” She sat down next to she other first year, already her mind absorbed Phoebe’s emotions as her own. Koko slid her arm around Phoebe, trying to comfort her a little. Not that she was usually comforting. More like she was the least comforting person in the world. But she’d try to make one of her only friends feel better if it was the last thing she would do. She made a great friend... but also a terrible enemy.

Koko reached into the pocket of her jacket, which she had decided to wear under her robes, and she produced a piece of paper and a quill. She then slid an inkwell over to the other girl. “Here,” she said. “Either crumple up the paper, rip it up and then crumple it, or write or draw on it. That should help a little,” Koko finally tried to say, using a tactic that she used. “If you want, I can embarrass myself by singing to you, not that I’m the greatest singer.” Koko had terrible self-esteem. “Whatever you want. If you want me to, I’ll even go away.”

"We all have our demons. The only thing that really defines us is how we deal with them."

---Koko Riddle

Anxiety

Phoebe didn't say anything. All she did was grab the paper, preparing to rip it up. However, she changed her mind, knowing that Koko only wanted to help. She grabbed the quill and held the two objects, still shaking slightly.

Phoebe sat the piece of paper onto her lap, trying to think of something to write. She tightly gripped the quill, using her sleeves to wipe away some more tears that had fallen. She dipped the quill into the inkwell and began to write.

ANXIETY

That was all Phoebe had written before she carefully placed the quill on top of the inkwell. Phoebe was still shaking, taking minimal comfort in the girl's small embrace. She continued to wipe her tears away, sniffling.

After a few more minutes, Phoebe had stopped crying. She still felt anxious, though. She bit her lip and shook her foot. Those were a couple of her mechanisms when she felt nervous. She strained herself to stop shaking her foot, but it almost physically hurt her when she did so. She continued to take deep breaths, worried that she might continue where she left off and start panicking again.

Phoebe lifted her head up to Koko, smiling weakly at her. She tasted blood. She had bit her lip too hard.

The trees cry in autumn because their hearts are growing cold.
Phoebe McCrary

Anxiety

There was a tiny bead of scarlet glistening on Phoebe’s bottom lip. The poor girl seemed so nervous... it was apparently anxiety issues, Koko couldn’t relate to being anxious, but she could relate to being ridiculed for her problems. “Anxiety,” she whispered. “I see...” she didn’t know what to do. Sitting next to Phoebe, she kept her arm tight around the girl and tried to calm both of their breathing. It was unlikely to work, but at least she tried.

Koko was not usually a comforting person. In fact, just by hugging Charlie one time, she’d accidentally made his scream in what she had awkwardly assumed was terror. However, she really hoped she could comfort Phoebe. Whispering to the girl in a soft, sweet voice, but not the honey-coated one she used when lying, she said, “I may not deal with anxiety, but I do have some... issues,” she finally finished awkwardly. She hated talking about herself. It wasn’t out of selflessness; she was plenty selfish, but it was because she hated to reveal anything about her. Surprisingly, her being adopted wasn’t as bad to talk about as who she’d been adopted by. Her adoptive mother was a Dark Witch, and Koko was the only person in the family who knew...

Stop thinking about it! she urged herself. It was hard enough to even remember what she’d heard, the rumors that her adoptive mother could have been even deeper than she was in Dark Magic, that Koko just didn’t want to think about the terrible memories flooding in.

"We all have our demons. The only thing that really defines us is how we deal with them."

---Koko Riddle

Anxiety

Although it didn't help much at first, Koko's hug seemd to have calmed her down. She had stopped shaking after a few minutes, but she still felt a little uneasy. Phobe delicately lifted her arm and placed it on the girl's back, returning her embrace. She knew Koko wasn't the type of person to comfort people knowing how awkward she seemed. Because of that, it made Phoebe feel as though she actually cared about her.

Phoebe tightened her hug when Koko mentioned having issues. It made her sad knowing her friend was struggling. "It's alright," she began. "We get through our struggles eventually. I hope your situation, whatever it is, gets better," she said. smiling at the girl. Phoebe then did something unexpected, at least in her case: She leaned her head against Koko's shoulder.

She took a deep breath, staring ahead of her. "You know, no matter how long our issues last, they're all temporary. I sometimes forget that, but it's certainly true," she said, hoping her words comforted the both of them. Sometimes it helped to say somthing encouraging out loud.

Phoebe licked her lip again, still tasting the blood. She either didn't notice it or didn't mind, because she pay any attention to it. Instead, she silently sat there, hoping Koko didn't feel too awkward.

The trees cry in autumn because their hearts are growing cold.
Phoebe McCrary

Anxiety

To her astonishment, she didn't really feel uncomfortable. In fact, she felt more at home than she ever had at the Wreath's house. Koko normally would have been shivering in the cold by now, but with someone else next to her, she hardly felt the wind. She pulled Phoebe closer, trying to keep both of them comforted and warm. Koko's hazel gaze caught on a bead of red shining on Phoebe's lower lip. "Are you okay?" she whispered. At first she didn't know why she was even whispering, but maybe it was because she liked the seclusion. Perhaps it was because she didn't want anyone to hear her, but it was much more likely that she didn't want anyone to know that they were there, tear tracks frozen on their cold cheeks.

Koko, being somewhat resourceful--or was it just being prepared for a random emotional outburst of her own--, produced a Kleenex and handed it to the other girl. "Your lip's bleeding," she said, holding out the tissue as if it would fix everything.

Your lip's bleeding, she scorned herself. It sounded exceedingly stupid now that she'd said it. Of course Phoebe probably knew! Koko stayed in the tight embrace, the Kleenex in her drooping fingers, as she bit her own lip to keep herself from screeching in exasperation. She never really knew what to say. "You know," she whispered after a moment. She could see her breath coming out in soft, cloud-like puffs as she spoke. "We all have our demons. The only thing that really defines us is how we deal with them."

Hoping that may have helped, she pulled her friend closer and closed her eyes, trying to keep out the tears. She didn't want them frozen to her eyelashes, nor did she want them to freeze her eyelids shut. However, sometimes all one can really do is cry.

"We all have our demons. The only thing that really defines us is how we deal with them."

---Koko Riddle

Anxiety

Phoebe lifted her head from Koko's shoulder. She smiled, taking the Kleenex from the girl's fingers. She dabbed at the cut on her lip. "Thank you," she whispered back, attempting a comforting gaze towards her. She had no idea why they were whispering, but it seemed fun for her in a way. She continued to press the Kleenex against her lip after folding it to add some thickness. She did so until the blood no longer appeared on the tissue. She shoved the tissue into her pocket, barely avoiding puncturing her hand with one of the multiple sewing needles she kept in her pincushion. She never knew when she would have any spare time to do some embroidery, so she normally kept her kit in her robes.

"I agree," Phoebe said regarding character. She laid her head back down on the girl's shoulder, closing her eyes. She didn't know why, but she felt really relaxed. She wasn't sure how comfortable Koko was, but she found the girl's presence to be comforting. However, she began to notice some slight tension in Koko's breathing, almost as though she were straining herself. Phoebe's eyebrows noticeably furrowed.

"Is something wrong?" she asked, tightening her hug to match Koko's. She sat for a while, listening to the birds as she waited for the girl's reply.

The trees cry in autumn because their hearts are growing cold.
Phoebe McCrary

Anxiety

You're fine, she told herself. "You're welcome," she said to Phoebe, careful not to let too much emotion pour into her voice. "I'm okay... Just tired." She took a deep breath to calm herself and at the same time, hugged her friend back. She didn't really know what had happened. A wish did spring up in the back of her mind, however much she didn't want to bother with any rationality. I hope this doesn't spur on a hallucination... Hallucination. Couldn't there be any better word for it? Dream? No, that didn't really fit the terrifying things she had seen. Nightmares? Too unrealistic.

Koko shivered, not because of the cold but because of her own thoughts. If only she could stop thinking for a moment, she'd be fine. "Sorry about this... My head just needs to shut up." She choked out a laugh and wiped off a few tears with a spare tissue. The soft birdsong made its way into her ears, and she relaxed a little. She had already felt more relaxed than before, just being with a friend, but music was her therapy. She could almost tell which notes were coming out of the birds' beaks. It was a mournful tune that sounded like it may have come from Ireland, not that the birds would know. "The birds' melody is quite beautiful," she commented in a soft whisper. It was almost as if they were playing a game, like when Koko had once played telephone with this white-haired girl when she was little... The memory had suddenly resurfaced, and it struck her as quite odd that the girl reminded her of one of her fellow Slytherins...

"Also, are you okay? Just making sure." Koko smiled warmly at the girl. Maybe she did have a friend, after all.

"We all have our demons. The only thing that really defines us is how we deal with them."

---Koko Riddle

Anxiety

Phoebe frowned when she noticed Koko wiping away her tears. "It's alright. Sometimes my mind can't shut up, either," she said, lightly patting her arm. "Normally, I can just wait it out. Sometimes, that's really all you can do," she said, knowing how terrible it was to say that. It was true, though, and she really couldn't say anything else. When Koko changed the subject, Phoebe welcomed it.

"I'm alright now," Phoebe said, opening her eyes, "and I agree. Birds have a naturally beautiful way of communicating. I'm sure to them it just sounds like normal talking; nothing special. It's strange when you think about it." Phoebe blushed, realizing how weird she must sound. "I'm sorry. I have strange thoughts," she laughed nervously, suddenly finding the snow on the ground to be quite interesting. She took her free hand and ran her fingers through the snow, seeing the marks she was leaving behind.

"I haven't really mentioned this before, but I have a belief that plants have receptors similar to ours. There have been studies done by muggles on the growth of plants based on auditory stimuli, and the results were amazing. I can't help but wonder if plants have emotions like us based on the research," Phoebe said, showing off exactly how strange she was. She wondered why she decided to mention it. Perhaps it was because she wanted to see if Koko would distance herself from her because of how odd she was, or maybe she felt like sabotaging her chances of having friends. She internally screamed at herself for being so weird.

"I'm sorry," she said, wanting to crawl into a hole and never come out.

The trees cry in autumn because their hearts are growing cold.
Phoebe McCrary

Anxiety

Koko felt her eyebrows inch up her forehead in surprise. Phoebe was sorry? Why? She hadn't done anything wrong.

She thought for a moment that seemed to last forever in the awkward silence, until Koko finally decided to take the humorous turn. "Why are you sorry, lass?" she inquired exuberantly, trying to use a Scottish-sounding accent, but it was a terrible imitation. "I've graced you with my glorious presence!" Koko giggled at her own joke, not loudly, nor was it because she was that type of person, but it was because she wanted Phoebe to laugh and see that she had no reason to apologize.

"You make a valid point," Koko said, this time back to her normal voice. "In fact one of my old friends called me a bush, because I was always hiding like one. I ended up calling her tree because she like to tower over others." Koko wanted Phoebe to feel comfortable being herself around her, which was odd because usually, Koko didn't care. "I think about cats like that. Their meowing sounds adorable to us humans, but to each other they must be chatting about the weather, or something similar." A genuine smile lit up her face. Her eyes, normally filled with bittersweet longing, were alight with joy. "It's nice to know someone like me."

"We all have our demons. The only thing that really defines us is how we deal with them."

---Koko Riddle

Anxiety

Phoebe certainly wasn't expecting Koko to attempt a Scottish accent, a very bad one at that. She didn't know how to respond at first, but after a few seconds of processing the rather cringe-worthy accent, her lips slowly curled upward into a massive grin quickly followed by a loud and aggressive laugh. She squinted her eyes, laughing whole-heartedly until her ribs hurt. It took a few seconds for her to collect herself, but when she did, she replied to Koko with a terrible English accent saying, "Oh indeed, madam. I simply do not know whatever compelled me to apologize. Please forgive me," Phoebe said. She sarcastically bowed to her, grinning from ear to ear.

"A bush?" she asked, slightly confused. "If it were up to me, I'd say you're more of a gardenia," she said. "Gardenias are very elegant flowers, perfect for formal events." Phoebe blushed. She didn't want to tell her that gardenias mainly symbolize confessing one's love for another. That wasn't what she meant when she made the connection, but she also didn't want to tell her what she did mean. Koko seemed so regal to her, so elegant, but it made her feel embarrassed to express that thought. Because of that, she didn't say anything more.

The trees cry in autumn because their hearts are growing cold.
Phoebe McCrary

Anxiety

A smile broke across Koko's face. Her cheeks and ears had begun to turn red from the cold. She didn't feel it, though the wind was howling in her face. "A gardenia, you say?" She laughed, a rythymic pattern that was full of feeling. "I'm too klutzy to be a flower... Maybe one of those poor ones that gets knocked over by a breeze?" She meant it to be good-natured, but she didn't know how Phoebe would take it. "Thanks for having faith in me!" She puffed her chest triumphantly, and then she let out the breath she'd been holding.

Koko wasn't much of an herbologist. She knew nothing about plants and their meanings, except in one religion, throwing an apple at someone was a proposal. She knew flowers were delicate and beautiful, shrubs were dignified and anxious, and trees were obviously sad because of their height... Or maybe that last one wasn't true.

Her smile grew even wider as she looked Phoebe up and down. "You, lass," she said, with an even worse Scottish accent. "You are a Scottish thistle. Prickly at times, but always priceless to close friends." Koko believed she had done a wonderful job of relating her friend to a plant, a plant that just so happened to be Scotland's national flower.

"We all have our demons. The only thing that really defines us is how we deal with them."

---Koko Riddle

Anxiety

Phoebe frowned when Koko degraded herself. "It's not just me having faith in you; I'm also being observant. It doesn't matter if you fake it or not, but the way you carry yourself in front of others is admirable," she said. It was true. Phoebe had no idea how to seem as calm and collected as her, even if she internally felt otherwise.

Phoebe blushed when Koko compared her to a thistle. She was flattered because nobody had compared her to anything of the like, but she was also slightly confused. However, she did find thistles to be quite pretty. They had an unusual shape, but that's what Phoebe liked most about it.

"Thank you," she said, lifting the corners of her lips. Even though she couldn't really make a nice connection between the plant and herself, she still appreciated her words.

"My aunt told me I was like a strawberry bush because of my naturally red face," she giggled, lightly patting her cheeks. They were almost cherry red from the cold (and definitely not at all from her shyness). "Strawberries are my favorite fruit, actually. They go well with almost any dessert, and best of all, they never have to be pealed," she said, patting her tummy a couple times. Just talking about it made her crave some.
Last edited by Phoebe McCrary on 28th December 2018, 4:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

The trees cry in autumn because their hearts are growing cold.
Phoebe McCrary

Anxiety

She’d been taken aback at the other girl’s words. Never had someone complimented her like that. ”thanks...” she didn’t mean for it to sound quiet, but she was quite astonished. Astonished that one would think so positively of her. ”I’m only like this because I’ve always tried to hide myself. Like a chameleon, maybe.”

Her eyes grew warmer whenever she saw Phoebe smile. She’d made someone smile. It felt like a milestone, making someone except Victor happy. Koko had some sort of an exuberant glow to the smile she wore, and it definitely wasn’t fake.

When Phoebe brought up her favorite fruit, Koko was mildly excited to have something she could go on and on about—however, she wouldn’t. ”My favorite fruits are blackberries. Especially the big sweet ones,” she added happily. In fact, if she was stranded on a desert island with only one type of food, she would prefer blackberries to anything else. She let go of Phoebe, for fear that the girl would think her too clingy, or something else, and scooted back against the wall of the stable, resting her head against the rickety wood. She didn’t care if she got splinters in her hair. ”Well,” she said after a moment of pause, ”Slytherin’s in the lead for the House Cup! Are you excited about that?” Koko had only seen a notice about it earlier, but it spurred her competitive instinct and she was going to try to get a few more points for her House, if she could. A warm ambition filled her inside, as well as a fierce loyalty to her House, her friends. She would do almost anything for them.

"We all have our demons. The only thing that really defines us is how we deal with them."

---Koko Riddle

Anxiety

Although Phoebe didn't particularly mind it, she found the absence of additional warmth a little unpleasant. She decided to join the girl, leaning against the wall next to her. She closed her eyes, listening to everything around her.

"If I'm being honest, I don't really care much for competition. I've never felt the need to prove I am better than someone or where I belong is better than where others belong. I also haven't really felt the need to obtain prizes for my efforts. It's probably because I just don't understand it. However, one of my passions is seeing others happy, so I'm pleased to see our house members smile when they earn points," she said. "Of course, I earn points, but they just come naturally," she said, unknowingly sounding cocky.

Phoebe's mind went back to Koko mentioning her trying to hide herself. "I do that, too," she said. "I don't know about you, but I tend to act like I'm alright when the reality is quite the opposite. It could be that I don't want others to worry about me since I don't like to attract very much attention, but it could also be that I don't want others to look down on me."

Phoebe brought her legs up to her chest and hugged them, trying to trap in some warmth. She watched the steam escape through her lips, amused.

The trees cry in autumn because their hearts are growing cold.
Phoebe McCrary
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