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Erik Beru

Sweet as sugar, Cold as ice

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Erik Beru

A confused look crossed the tall Slytherin's features as he left the greenhouses. Herbology class had been uneventful, despite the crazy Professor Mendelssohn's attempts at stirring a rise out of the Fifth years, OWL stress was waning on them and they worked quietly and studiously after the lecture. Bryony had been sitting next to him at first, but after the lecture ended, the small brunette had gathered her things and moved to a table towards the front of the class instead. Puzzled, Erik had tried to get her attention, but she'd ignored his advances. 

 

Erik thought back to every little thing that he'd said or done in the last week that could have upset her. He drew a blank, as most teenage boys tended to do. 

 

After the class was over, Erik already had everything packed up so he could head Bry off at the door, leaning against the door frame and waiting with a sheepish grin. "Alright' King?" He said, angling his head towards her in question. She made eye contact with him for the briefest of moments before her eyelashes fluttered and she pushed past him out into the snowy grounds. The air swirled with little flurries as he watched her form start to disappear into the cold. Pulling his beanie closer, he rushed out into the winter wonderland and quickened his long strides to catch up. 

 

"Oy, Bryony." He yelled, but she didn't respond. "Bry! What's wrong? Did... Did I say something?" 

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Bryony King

Bryony, truthfully, had been irritated by Erik all week. All month maybe. He still hadn't actually returned her profession of her love and that had been playing on her mind, and now with all the stress of the OWLs, well lets just say she hadn't been getting the attention she wanted from him. They hadn't been as close at all recently and she hated it. She had honestly moved in class to try pay attention to what Mends had been saying. But maybe it had been to get a little space between them. 

 

He wasn't a bad guy, but Bryony had been struggling to deal with the stress of her OWLs. Her Grandmother had been only short of sending her daily Owls reminding her of the insurmountable amount of pressure she was putting on Bryony to do well. Erik didn't understand that and it honestly only needled her more. 

 

She had made a move on after class to get up to the common room and get a move on at least some of her mountain of work to get through before dinner, and she knew Erik would only lag behind slowly lobbing his way back to the castle, and today she just didn't have time for that. Or the patience. 

 

Although now the way she had been addressed by her loving boyfriend, had been the last straw. Her face broke out into angry red splotches. And they were totally visible. She was having spot break out from all the stress which meant she had to relax on her make up, to stop it getting worse. But the anger was all over her face as she turned to face Erik "What am I one of the lads on the Quidditch team?" She snapped, clearly irritated. 

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Erik Beru

Erik was taken aback at the sudden outburst from Bryony. He stammered. Then stuttered. And then finally sighed to get his head back on straight. "I dunno what y'mean Bry. I was just foolin'." It was like he'd addressed her dozens of times before, and the Slytherin rubbed the back of his neck, getting hot and red with embarrassment as they stopped in the middle of the snowy walkway back to the castle, the lake shone over with ice to the side of them. 

 

"Y'been ignoring me, lately anyhow. What was th- that-... " He sighed again. "What was that in there?" 

 

The Slytherin boy had been stressed as well. When your mum's in the magical education field, and your grandparents write textbooks, there was no small amount of stress on your back. He'd grown used to seeing the Norwegian Falcon that delivered Durmstrang's staff mail on a weekly basis, asking in rushed, swirling German for updates on his class work. He'd been falling behind. Up until this week, Bryony had been the one who helped him keep from going under and drowning in all of the parchment.  

 

"Is it OWLs? D'ya need a breather? We can go 'round to the kitchen ifn ya want." He stepped closer to her, reaching out to take one of her cold hands from our of it's deathtrap of a crossed, angry position on her midriff. 

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Bryony King

"I haven't been ignoring you at all.." She stated coolly. Almost matter of factly. "I've just been busy trying to get all my work done for OWLs and prep for it..." Lies. Complete lies. She had been ignoring him, even if it was just a little bit, she had been doing so. 

 

She looked up to him. She was cooling down a little, and didn't appear as angry. But she was still pretty irritable. So much so that when he reached out for her hand, she snapped it back to her midriff. Which was definitely off. She always loved holding his hands. Especially in the cold weather when she could selfishly use him as a heater of sorts. But that was the perks of having a boyfriend right?

 

"No...it's just..." She looked down, heaving a heavy sigh. She was getting suffocated and fed up. Months had gone on and they were still doing the same things. She had said she loved him and had basically gotten 'cool' in reply. And that had been months ago. The situation had been glossed over and forgotten about. Erik was a great boyfriend. Most of the time. But she still couldn't forgive that. "Nothing. It doesn't matter..." her eyes snapped up again and she motioned to the castle getting irked once more "I'm getting cold and have a mountain of work to do. Come on lets just go inside.." She forced her face into the usual cool neutral she made it when she didn't want to let her emotions give her away. She wasn't snapping as such, but her tone wasn't exactly nice. There was clearly something wrong but she was definitely going to be a girl about it and bury her feelings passive-aggressively and get on with things.

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Erik Beru

Erik narrowed his eyes. He'd seen this side of Bryony before. This hiding, avoiding, ignoring, pushing away side. Bry was subtle and Erik couldn't always pick up on the signs something was happening, but he'd been with her for over a year now, and he was bound to have gathered some of her mannerisms by then. The tall boy stepped tentatively closer to her, eyes still narrowed as he turned his head to look directly at her. 

 

Again, she avoided eye contact. 

 

He knew then that something was wrong. He didn't know what it was. Maybe it was that Erik had grown up, not in small part due to Bry's influence, and no longer lost his composure around the pretty girl. He was relaxed, confident, arrogant at times even. Maybe she missed the scared 15 year old that used to stammer at the sight of her. Maybe she missed that Erik. But he had no control over that Erik anymore. They spent time together now, but it wasn't the same, earth shattering encounter it'd once been. It wasn't something that drove Erik's heart into his throat when he tried to speak. It was... comfortable. 

 

And maybe that wasn't what she wanted. Bryony ripped her hand away from him, crossing her arms again over her jacket and turning away. Shocked, the Slytherin boy took a step back and looked intently at the side of her face. He felt things brewing inside of him, frustrations and unsaid feelings brimming to the top like a cauldron about to overflow. With one long stride, he stood again in front of Bry, taking each of her shoulders in one hand and turning her to face him. He looked at her intently with concern. 

 

"Bryony King, don't lie to me," he said, as clearly as he could. "I know you better than that." 

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Bryony King

She stared up at him. Her feet were getting damp now, the longer they stood in the snow. Another thing she would be annoyed at him for. She was pouting too. Probably a little annoyingly so. The more she stared at him the more she was getting annoyed at his stupid good looking face. He wasn't the Erik he used to be and in some ways she liked that. He had grown up but the arrogant look he had on his face most of the time now irked her. Along with the fact that the more good looking her got, the more other girls noticed him. And that unnerved her to no end. Especially after the fact he still didn't return her feelings. 

 

She had turned again and started towards the castle. But she was surprised when he actually touched her and tried to confront her. Bryony's mannerisms were difficult to detect and predict. But it would have been obvious to anyone not to touch her like that right now. Even to her seemingly loving boyfriend. 

 

Her perfectly drawn on dark eyebrows rose, almost in a warning to Erik. Her eyes flared. But then she paused, and side stepped, taking a split second to compose herself again. "Nothing. I'm fine." She said through almost gritted teeth. 

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Erik Beru

After previously being concerned and confused, a shift happened rather suddenly within Erik as Bryony avoided his gaze yet again. He felt all of the bubbling things deep within him and it shot to the surface like a volcano as his patience ran out. Anger flashed behind his eyes for a moment, before he was able to reign it in. When you girlfriend was in this sort of a mood... you didn't explode. You kept it contained, spoke clearly, made sure she couldn't misinterpret what you said. 

 

Bryony King had taught him that much, at least. She's taught him what it meant to be dating in the first place, and for that, he would be forever grateful. Even if she infuriated him with her unwillingness to face problems head-on. It was something that honestly kept him up at night, wondering if he'd said something she took the wrong way, unsure if she'd be happy to see him in Charms the next day, or avoid him entirely. Since they'd gotten back from Winter break, she'd done a lot more of the latter. 

 

The small brunette sidestepped away from him, out of his grasp. His fingers trailed on the arms of her coat as she left his reach, and he looked at those fingers for a moment. Was there something wrong with his touch? Something that made her uncomfortable? She certainly hadn't complained before, but now, Erik had no idea what was rushing behind those green eyes. He narrowed his eyes again, turning to face the girl again, infuriated by the cat and mouse play happening when he was trying to talk to his girlfriend like a civilized wizard. Erik shot a warning look as a few other Fifth years walked by them, whispering under their breath and giggling. They hurried their gait and made it to the castle before Erik spoke again. 

 

"For Merlin's sake, Bry. Get it out already!" His voice raised slightly, looking at her with a mix of frustration and pleading. "I can' take it anymore, the constant guessin'. I need to know what I've done wrong, and I need you to say it. Out loud. Now."  He growled the last word at her with fire behind his eyes, daring her to avoid the conversation again. 

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Bryony King

Bryony was small, and didn't look like much. But she was fierce, probably too much so. When Erik snapped at her, she had definitely not been expecting that. She had never experienced that. Well at least not aimed at her. She'd seen him tear Syd to pieces once or twice. But she thought that had just been how siblings could be. Not that she knew anything about that. She just went with it. 

 

So when he addressed her like that, she stood in shock for a second. Trying to work out if that had actually come out of his mouth. Erik didn't speak to her like that ever. And it had her reeling for a moment. That was until she remembered the stragglers were still moving past them. And for that she would have to keep her composure. So she just stared up at him, her face now glaring, a dark eyebrow raised again as if challenging him. Daring him to do it again. 

 

But she could only hold onto that for a few moments. For then her eyes started to water and she could feel her composure slipping away. Desperately she still grasped at it though, even if her cheeks were reddening, and tears welled in her eyes. She still solidly look up at him. Staring him down. Now glad the stragglers had moved on at least. It lessened her embarrassment somewhat. 

 

"I'll keep this simple and quick then since you insist on discussing it out here where my feet are growing increasingly damp and I'm definitely going to catch pneumonia.." She tried to keep her voice even, but it cracked as the tears, some sad, some angry threatened to well over and pour down her cheeks. She held them in just barely, as she clutched onto the last bit of composure she had trying not to be angry. That would get her nowhere. 

 

"It is clear that I love you. Months ago. Yet you still haven't returned the feeling." Her voice remained even she was a little steadier now their classmates had moved on. But now the anger was growing. Even if the tears were there still threatening to spill over. "I've also seen the ways other girls look at you. And maybe I'm crazy and insecure but i swear you look back at them. And I hate it and it makes me needy and desperate" Now there was a tempo in her voice as she forced it to stay even, but it was quick everything coming pouring out. "But I don't think we're happy anymore and maybe we shouldn't be together.." The last part came out snappy and irritable again. A lot more than Bryony had meant it to. But putting emphasis on the effort it took to not cry had made it so. And that she wasn't going to sacrifice. She needed not to cry if she was going to hold onto any dignity. 

 

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Erik Beru

Erik's composure had been completely lost as the girl responded to him haughtily. Leave it to Princess Bryony King to take a simple request for honesty and turn it around on him to mean he was tearing her to pieces. He rolled his eyes. "Oh heaven forbid you be a little cold, Bryony. I thought that was the only state you knew." He regretted the comment as soon as it left his lips, but the burning anger bursting forward kept him from voicing the regret. If nothing else, he'd inherited his parents' temper. They were legendary for their screaming matches, and though Bry was always subdued, Erik's blood boiled and pushed him further into it. 

 

As tears began to form in the girl's eyes, he faltered. His blood ran a little cold and he felt himself running his hand over the back of his neck again, uncomfortable. Girls crying. It was always one of his weaknesses and he couldn't stand to have been the one to cause it. He sighed heavily. "Bry, I'm sorr-" 

 

But she continued, barreling over his apology before it had time to sincerely form. Her eyes were on his now, no longer avoiding him. 

 

Bryony brought up the "L-word incident," again and the boy's breath caught in his throat. He'd thought they moved past that, thought they'd gotten over the momentary spat. It hurt him, to know she'd held on to that one slip and held onto it as long as she had. It'd been, what, and entire term? Erik breathed in deeply, looking at the lakefront instead of her eyes in shame and guilt. She was right, he hadn't said it back. He knew the reason, but he had never breathed a word of it to Bryony, afraid that he'd lose the one constant he had in a world full of stress and anxiety. 

 

Anger still at the edge of his skin, vibrating there and reminding him not to falter again, Erik turned on her, eyes burrowing into hers as the tears pushed themselves away. He breathed in a seething breath, the cold air burning his hot skin as it mixed with his breath and made it visible. "I dunno what you want me to say, Bryony." He said, carefully, calculated. "I can't help if girls look at me. I can't help that." 

 

Erik's mind swam as Bryony declared that she didn't want to be with him anymore. He felt a sharp pain inside his torso, somewhere where his heart should be. His pride, wounded, turned on her and flared the fires within him, fueling his rage further. He could honestly say he'd never been more upset with a woman than he was right now, and the sadness and pain inside him pushed him into action. "You can't force someone to love you, Bry. You can't make somethin' that's not there out of thin air." Erik waived his hand around, moving closer to her as he gestured to the flurries swirling around them. "I can't say it back. I don't believe in lying. You don't deserve lies and deceit." 

 

Because he didn't love her. Not the way she wanted him to. It killed him, pushed him to the edge of sanity sometimes, but try as he might, he couldn't force himself to love her. She comforted him. She was there for him. She was everything he thought he wanted. He had tried a dozen times to return the sentiment, if only to make her feel better and push the sad, wounded look from her eyes that she'd had the night she professed it to him. 

 

But he still didn't. 

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Bryony King

She was now on the edge of blubbering. This was horrific. She never imagined breaking up with Erik, especially like this. She imagined they'd just carry on together. Maybe fulfil her grandmother dream (maybe minus the pureblood babies she wanted but hey not bad). Despite her insercurities. She thought they'd just go away. She assumed that hopefully eventually he would return her love. But obviously that wasn't the case.

 

He wasn't a bad boyfriend. He did still make her happy. Most of the time. When she didn't think about the L-word incident. When she buried that deep down. 

 

But then she guessed this was the end. Obviously he would never love her. Well in her eyes that was. IT was like her chance was gone, and all she could do is stand there, like an idiot, fiddling with the charm on the bracelet he had given her at the start of this year. 

 

And then the blubbering started. And she despised herself for it. Weakness. This is not how she intended this to happen. And she was furious at herself for it. She managed to reign herself in just enough, that is wasn't snotty ugly crying, but still there were tears. In as pretty a way someone could cry. She just hoped it wasn't destroying her make up. Because at this stage she wouldn't have time to go fix it before she had to go to Divination. 

 

"I know." She nodded slowly, taking a deep breath, trying to pull the crying in even more.  "So it's time I stopped trying..." She gave him one last solemn look, nodding and then turned, making her way back to the castle. She was going to skip divination. Probably blame lady problems. And just go lie in her bed and mope. 

 

 

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