Silas Harding-Clarke

every color goes where you do

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Silas had a reason to get out of bed in the mornings during the summer: Kaelyn's parents went to work first thing in the morning (as did his own) and his siblings were shuffled off to various babysitters and camps and Silas was left alone to do whatever he wanted. This probably would not have been allowed normally, since it was unfair for him to stay home alone, not to mention unproductive, but he had asked his parents for a stack of OWL exam prep books and his father had been only too thrilled to oblige.

 

"Let the boy study," he'd told Della. "Wish they'd had organized OWL prep when we were kids."

 

"They did, it was called Hogwarts," his mother muttered, but she wasn't going to argue. She didn't need another reason to trust her eldest, most responsible child at home alone. So, Silas did a fair amount of studying but he also did a lot of laying around, running, and wishing he actually had something fun to do. He longed for Toby's mirrorsnaps or letters from his friends, and tried to keep his mind from straying to his mother's library ..and Addison Toft.

 

But today he was up early after everyone was out of the house, pacing excitedly. He pushed a few cushions around on a sofa in the parlor, walked into another room, needlessly straightened something there too. He wouldn't wait directly in front of the fireplace, so he flitted from room to room, always peeking back into the living area to make sure he hadn't missed her somehow.

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While Kaelyn was pretty good at laying around doing nothing, it wasn’t long before the novelty of began to wear off and those endless summer days felt just that way: endless.  Who knew Kaelyn could actually miss school until she had no classes to drag herself off to, no homework to procrastinate on, no late night cram sessions to put her to sleep?  There were still her dad’s books, but somehow even that wasn’t quite the same without her (literal) partner-in-crime around to explain some of the trickier sections to her and keep her motivated.

 

And that’s when the sneaking over first started.

 

At first Kaelyn only did so for short spurts of time, not wanting her parents to come back home in the middle of the day to find her gone, or for her brother to rat on her.  It wasn’t long before she realized her parents had grown so busy in their respective careers that they not only didn’t come home in the middle of the day but often worked late, and her brother couldn’t care two knuts what she did, and those visits started to grow longer and longer and longer.

 

That morning Kaelyn accidentally snoozed her alarm one time too many and was running later than usual.  She hastily pulled on her shorts and ran her fingers through her hair in lieu of the comb she thought she’d put back on her dresser (she hadn’t), not wanting to look like a wild mess before stepping into that fireplace but not wanting to spend a minute more than necessary getting ready when all she wanted was to be there already.

 

Kaelyn settled with quickly swiping mascara on her lashes but didn’t much bother with anything else before she was racing into the fireplace.  As usual Silas wasn’t completely visible when she first appeared in the now-familiar living room, careful not to trail soot onto the rug as she stepped over to hearth, but it wasn’t long before a tall figure filled the nearby doorframe and she broke into the wide grin that, these days, seemed to be reserved just for him.

 

It didn’t matter that she had just seen him a couple days ago; Kaelyn had missed him.  “Hey, Stranger,” she joked as she wrapped him up in her customary hug, delighting in the empty house and all the fresh, uninterrupted hours ahead, reserved just for them.  “Want to actually go somewhere today?  Although… do you have anything to eat, actually? I, um, kinda forgot about breakfast this morning.”

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There was always that briefest of moments when Silas had that motherly fear that perhaps Kaelyn had gotten lost in the floo network, but she always appeared in the end. Not once had she gone spinning off into oblivion and wound up somewhere unintended, and not once had their plans been canceled unexpectedly because of someone returning home or catching one of them red-handed. In fact, it was quite a success streak they had going. Though not a gambling man, Silas suspected they were due for a loss sometime soon. They would have to be a little more cautious.

 

Silas turned on a lamp (then turned it off) in the foyer, then walked back into the study as Kaelyn materialized among a wash of emerald flame, neatly dusting herself off and stepped out onto the carpet noiselessly. Silas felt the tension ebb from his shoulders and his face split into a smile. She'd grown taller, this summer. He wasn't sure when he'd discovered it--last week, or the one before, but now he felt he took particular note of it each time.

 

He briefly put his chin on top of her head during their hug, then pulled away, easily taking her wrist and draping her arm over his, leading her to the kitchen as though to a ballroom. "What would you like?" he asked, although he didn't know any cooking spells (that's what parents were for) he knew that they always had fruit and fresh whipped cream (and cocoa, in the winter), and easy things like cereal or toaster pastries. "And where shall we go? Shopping for our ... hobbies?"

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“Hmmm. I want cake, and meatballs,” Kaelyn replied honestly, because let’s be honest: when did Kaelyn not want cake or meatballs?  “But cereal with milk is good too, if you have that?” 

 

She didn’t park herself onto one of the kitchen stools right away, but wandered freely around the kitchen as Silas located a bowl and the cereal.  Normally Kaelyn didn’t have breakfast in the summers, mainly because by the time she got up it was usually closer to lunchtime, but sneaking over to Silas’ meant getting up earlier.  It was worth it, and it surprised her that she had managed to do it so many time already (normally getting up early was about the last thing she wanted to do), but she had learned that her stomach couldn’t wait until lunchtime on this schedule.

 

“You don’t have to call it ‘our hobbies’ when it’s just me,” she laughed, but she also liked that their secret pastime was still such a sacred topic of conversation.  Shopping did sound fun though.  “Diagon Alley?”  Would that be too risky?  It wasn’t like her parents would be there if they were supposed to be at work, and Kaelyn didn’t much care who else saw her with Silas.

 

“Or we could stay here.  I just feel like being outside.”

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"I don't have that but we could go out?" Silas offered with a laugh. She conceded that cereal would suffice, so he set about gathering the materials to make it happen. He pushed past the almond milk in the refrigerator that his mother used to make smoothies and grabbed the regular sort, assuming that Kaelyn didn't want anything ~weird~ that adults ate. While they lingered in the kitchen, she teased him about acting cautious about their studies.

 

"Just good to stay in the habit of secrecy," he said, voice light, but it was also true. He slid the cereal and milk over to Kaelyn and then went back to the fridge to pour himself a glass of juice, then stood at the marble countertop while she ate. "I'm happy to do whatever," he agreed. "Although, I'd like to get out of the house, whatever it is. What time do you think you need to get back, today? We could do some shopping and then come back and walk around the gardens."

 

He looked out the window. It was a sunny day. "Could use the pool," he mused.

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“I suppose, ‘specially with my big mouth,” Kaelyn grinned as she completed her little dance around the kitchen and flounced down on one of the counter stools. Although she was surprisingly good at keeping most secrets, theirs in particular, it was becoming increasingly difficult to resist showing off what she could now do. Kaelyn didn’t feel like the ‘dumb blonde’ anymore, as much as she might still seem like one to most other people, and there were times when she felt like Silas was the only other person who could see her potential.  Ironic, wasn’t it, considering he was the smartest person she knew?

 

“Let’s do all that,” she continued, spooning a bit of cereal into her mouth. She would be hard-pressed to choose between the three activities anyway. “Shopping, gardens and pool. I don’t have to get back ’til… maybe four? I can make a quick stop home to get my suit later, before we swim.” 

 

There was also a good chance she could change her mind and think up something new she wanted to do partway through the day too, but they could cross that bridge when they got to it.

 

--------

 

Half an hour later, Kaelyn (now fed) and Silas could be seen meandering down the cobbled paths of Diagon Alley.  The popular shopping destination wasn’t quite as busy on a weekday as it was on weekends, and Kaelyn didn’t need to hold Silas’ hand to keep them from being separated in the crowd, but without really thinking about it she slipped her hand into his.  It wasn’t meant to be a romantic gesture — it had more of a I-don’t-know-who-I-can-depend-on-these-days-but-I-know-I-can-depend-on-you feel to it — but it felt nice and familiar, and she didn’t make any motion to separate them again.

 

“So Toby and I are friends again,” she announced.  She sounded happy about it, and she was, but somehow Kaelyn still couldn’t figure out in her head what it all meant.  Toby had mentioned that her spending so much time with Silas had made him feel like she had chosen Silas over him, when in her mind the two friendships each stood on their own and she wanted — and felt she could have — them both.

 

“I said sorry and he said sorry and… yeah, friends. Oh! This place!” Kaelyn’s face lit up in recognition of a very worn-looking storefront with an array of odd trinkets clustered in its dusty front window.  “I’ve heard of this place - well, I think my dad comes here sometimes, but never when I’m around… come on.”  She dropped his hand to open the door for them, already making a beeline for a row of small boxes displayed under the sign NEW! Training Exercise Charms.  The sign didn’t look new at all, and the boxes were further categorized with labels like life-threatening situations, chaotic situations, and mildly-dangerous situations.

 

“I think they’re kind of like patented daydream charms,” Kaelyn said as she scanned the back of one box, which promoted the development of collaboration and teamwork skills.

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Silas gently kept Kaelyn's hand cupped in his, occasionally entwining their fingers if he needed extra leverage to pull her out of the way of an oncoming shopper or to direct her toward a shop window with something tantalizing, a companionable stance one of many that they had adopted over the past months. He listened with interest as Kaelyn beamed about Toby, their friendship restored, as Silas had known it would be. His understanding of the pair was that Tobias cared deeply for Kaelyn; he could not believe (despite both parties' insistence to the contrary) that he could ever be done with his childhood friend.

 

Still, Kaelyn saw this as an unexpected victory instead of a confirmation of Silas's hypothesis, and so he allowed her to have it, smiling faintly. He was still firmly of the opinion that Kaelyn had nothing to be sorry for and, as such, would have counseled her not to apologize, but then she wouldn't have gotten to this happy medium, so... Perhaps Silas's advice was not always the best course of action.

 

He looked up as she drew his attention to an unfamiliar store, and before he could even scan the shop window for interesting items, Kaelyn was leading him inside.
 
“I think they’re kind of like patented daydream charms."

 

"So they look and feel real, but are not?" Silas asked, his back facing Kaelyn as he took in their surroundings, which were moderately seedy. It was always best to face forward, he thought. He had Kae's back and she had his...when she was paying attention. So for now, he would stand for both of them. "I wonder what Luke would have to say about that. You could make interesting choices, but you wouldn't show any of the physical gains from complicated exercise."

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Friends, Kaelyn had said.  And her and Toby were friends again.  Only… there was a little bit more to the story than that, but she wasn’t sure how to just say it to Silas, even if it was practically bursting out of her.  It wasn’t like Silas was one of her girlfriends that she typically giggled secrets with (not that Kaelyn even had many of those, her go-to person for that type of thing was Ryan Fowler).

 

Fortunately the training charms momentarily diverted both their attentions.

 

“Yeah, I think so… like you imagine the situation, and feel like you’re acting in it, but it’s not real so you can’t actually get hurt.”  Her voice picked up speed as her excitement grew, realizing the possibilities.  “Silas, this is perfect!  Imagine all the things we could train ourselves to do if we had these! Should we get some?”

 

Kaelyn started pulling various boxes off the shelf to scan the contents of the daydreams on the back.  Some of them involved trying to trail people undetected, and others involved actual wand-to-wand combat.  Those ones had a warning on the box, telling you not to actually hold your wand in your hand when engaged in the exercise, in case you accidentally cast a spell at someone for real.

 

“I wonder what Luke would have to say about that. You could make interesting choices, but you wouldn't show any of the physical gains from complicated exercise.”

 

“Luke?” Kaelyn repeated blankly, not quite understanding what her ex had to do with all this.  “He’d probably just want to know if there was one where you get to work with dogs or something, I don’t know.  Why?”

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Looking over his friend's shoulder, Silas had to admit that the ones about trailing people, or other such scenarios that involved practicing stealth or defense, but nothing offensive, seemed both useful and safe. 
 

“He’d probably just want to know if there was one where you get to work with dogs or something, I don’t know.  Why?”

 

"Huh?" Silas realized he'd been thinking aloud and Kaelyn had missed the train on what he meant. "Oh, just that-- you know, he does so much physical exercise. A daydream charm about physical exercise probably wouldn't show any results in muscle gain, so he'd probably think it was useless."

 

Now feeling mildly awkward discussing their friend's physique and workout regimen, Silas gave a shrug. "I'll take a couple of the trailing people ones. That could definitely be useful." He led the girl to the checkout counter and they each paid for their respective treasures (Kaelyn's stack of boxes was more considerable than his), then left the seedy shop.

 

Silas felt a small chill run through his body as he stepped back out into the sun. He looked at his purchases again and was surprised to see that one of the boxes held a training exercise on passing someone in disguise, and then dosing them with a potion, undetected. "That's odd," he murmured. He didn't remember selecting this one...

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Of course, Silas was talking about actual exercise.  Now that everything made more sense, Kaelyn stopped her train of thought before it could run away from her some more.  She had been picturing Luke doing exactly what her and Silas had been doing over the last couple years (training themselves to be a more formidable match against a dark wizard, should they ever encounter one again) and for some reason that thought bothered her.  Kaelyn still remembered how oddly he was acting after his attack and hated to think he could also be carrying around this awful darkness inside of him, like she was, ever since.

 

“Oh, right. Yeah, maybe,” Kaelyn said in reply before selecting at least one of every type of training exercise there was (she wanted to try them all), but stockpiling more of the attack ones.

 

Now that the training charms and thoughts of vengeful!Luke were no longer a distraction, the memory of her secret kiss (well, kisses) with Tobias came rushing to the forefront of her mind again.  Silas wasn’t someone she normally giggled these types of secrets with, but he was her friend — her very good and very close friend — and he was also a dear friend of Toby’s too.  There should be no reason why Kaelyn was having such a hard time admitting what had happened to him, but for some reason the words didn’t come very easily.

 

She glanced sideways at him as they walked, watching a small knot appear between his eyebrows as he peered into his bag of purchases, and realized she’d forgotten to tell Toby that she was going to see Silas today.  Did it matter? Would he mind?  If he did, what was she going to do? She couldn’t drop Silas just like that, but the thought of upsetting Toby all over again was unbearable too.

 

Kaelyn chewed on her lower lip for a moment before forcing the words out of her, if only to stop herself from feeling so conflicted.  “So… we kissed.  With Toby, I mean. Toby and I.”  She could feel the colour rising on her cheeks as she stumbled over the words.  To her great disappointment, Kaelyn realized that that those conflicting feelings didn’t go away.

 

They grew.

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Silas was finally shrugging off the weirdness of his absentminded purchases when Kaelyn brought him back to the present with her somewhat jarring confession.
 
“So… we kissed.  With Toby, I mean. Toby and I.”  

 

The Ravenclaw looked at Kaelyn, his lips slightly parted, eyes clear. There was no mistaking what she had said. It wasn't her words that gave him pause, but the way that he reacted to them. Silently, Silas felt both his stomach drop and his heartrate quicken. He was utterly confused, not at his friends, but at himself... a little with his friends... admittedly he hadn't foreseen such a thing as a possibility. Toby had barely seen Kaelyn this summer, whereas Silas had been with her every week.

 

Holding hands, walking arm in arm, sharing the deepest of secrets, in the closest of comforts.

 

With her words, every illusion of those comforts vanished.

 

"Did you?" he said finally, mouth dry. He felt a phantom ache in his hand, where just moments ago her palm had rested. The boy expertly feigned a knowing smile and continued walking, moving past Kaelyn. "So he was even more reconciliatory than I had imagined."

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Knowing Silas as well as she did, Kaelyn felt like she should have a better read of his expression as he moved forward, causing her to quicken her pace just to keep up with his longer stride.

 

There was a silence between them now that hadn’t been there just a moment again, an awkwardness that Kaelyn didn’t think could exist between them.  In many respects Silas knew her more intimately than anyone else.  He’d seen her helpless, struggling to maintain sanity as they stumbled together over broken bodies.  He’d seen her eyes flash with a vengeance that he not only understood but could feel as vividly as she could.

 

He’d made her stronger. He’d given her fight. He’d nurtured the darkness inside her, growing it into something beautiful, something worthwhile, something she was proud of.  

 

Kaelyn chewed her lip as they walked, wishing her thoughts were more readable; maybe then she’d know what to say.

 

“Yeah, I… I guess he was upset because he liked me, for a while, and… and I guess it was like I never liked him, even though I did, at one point, a long time ago, and I… I don’t know.  It just… yeah.  We’ll see how it goes.  I mean, we’re going to… he said we’ll make things work out, but… it’s not a thing yet.  So… so I’ve only told you so far.”

 

The rambling made the situation sound pathetic, even though she’d thought it to be the most romantic thing at the time, wrapped up in Toby’s arms, hearing him say the things he did.  She liked him, a lot, she knew she did… but it was almost like she’d lived three months in just one day.  The feelings she’d left his house with weren’t the same ones she’d entered in with; everything had happened fast.

 

Somehow Kaelyn felt like Silas could see that, the way he could see right into her soul when he looked at her, but she wasn’t so sure she wanted him to see thisThis wasn’t strong, or beautiful, or worth fighting for.

 

This was nothing more than a girl who ached so badly for requited affection, she’d gone running for it like a dog at a whistle.


Edited by Kaelyn Paddock

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It made sense, now, Toby's bitterness toward him for the majority of the previous year, his picking a stupid fight with Kaelyn and being so aggressive about it that she thought they were "done" and then acting completely nonchalant about it when Silas had asked. Silas remained quiet while Kaelyn explained the situation, the words tumbling out, as if she were just discovering them herself for the first time. 

While he wasn't surprised that Kaelyn had liked Toby in the past, given her propensity to love and care fiercely and deeply, and how upset she had been when she thought their friendship was over, Silas was surprised to hear that Toby liked Kaelyn. The past few years had been a flurry of girls with Toby-- Baby, Eloise, Darcy (apparently), Columbia, Baby, Ronnie, and now Kaelyn.. But here she was telling him that Toby had liked her for a while?

 

He had never said such a thing to Silas.

If he had, it might have made things...

 

Silas cut off his own trailing thoughts with surprising ease. 

 

"Well," he said at last. He gave her an apologetic smile. "Mum's the word until things are official then, I suppose. I'm sorry--I haven't got much else to say, I guess."

 

He never once mentioned wanting you, Silas thought. So why now?

 

It didn't matter, really, the boy supposed, looking up at the sky, which was now threatening rain. Hopefully it wouldn't change things too much.

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Kaelyn couldn’t help but notice that there weren’t any well wishes for the almost-couple: no “I’m so happy for you guys” or “I hope it works out”.  While her announcement didn’t require one (things weren’t even official yet) and Kaelyn never thought she needed Silas’ approval when it came to romance before, without it she was merely left wondering.

 

There was so much she wanted to talk about when it came to Toby, but it didn’t seem the right time or place — or person — for her to bring these things up.  “That’s okay. Thanks for keeping it secret,” she said with a small smile, feeling like this should be the right moment to give his hand a gentle squeeze. She didn’t.  Her gaze followed his up to the sky.

 

“Hmm. Looks like we’ll be getting some rain later?”

 

And on that note they continued down the street, bags in hand and a deafening silence growing between them.  Kaelyn could sense that this wasn’t just another one of those times, like all the times before, where they’d walked together in comfortable solace.  It wasn’t that words didn’t need to be said, and yet…

 

Kaelyn stole another glance at Silas and awkwardly cleared her throat.  “Um, so…. we’ll go this way then?”

 

And that’s exactly what they did.

 

End <3

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