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Kelly Ashcroft

I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe, that I'm in too deep

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Kelly Ashcroft

Had Kelly ever thought before she acted?

 

(The answer: A resounding no)

 

Nor did she tend to realize what was right in front of her, even if it slapped her in the face (again and again), oblivious to those around her who assembled the pieces before she knew what the pieces were. 

 

There wasn't an exact moment when she realized how deep she was into this. Kelly and Puck, Puck and Kelly - their peers had begun to not associate one without the other. It was, perhaps, a mirage of things - from their years in seamless friendship, the way she went out of her way to act like the best version of herself around her, their kiss and how it'd so quickly spiraled into constant time spent together, the ease in which they worked together. Kelly's desire sparked something in her she couldn't quite pinpoint because it wasn't mirrored by anything in her past, and jealousy that unfurled within her when she wasn't the sole object of Puck's devotions.

 

Then, also, more recently: The teasing on the train. The articles of clothing she'd left behind over the summer. These pieces formed a big picture, causing Kelly to realize with certainty that her feelings for Puck extended beyond the surface, that somewhere along the way, her mind had become almost completely occupied by thoughts of the Ravenclaw, and it wasn't good for her - she refused to let herself be vulnerable. She reached the executive decision that it was time for this to end.

 

The pair was a good distance away from Puck's tent at that point, Kelly insisting they get some fresh air - not allowing herself to say what she planned to say while in an enclosed vicinity. She didn't trust herself nor did she trust how Puck made her feel. Kelly had never thought deeply about her sexuality, nor had she cared who she spent her time with, but - and perhaps it was a factor of society - she always assumed messing around with girl was for fun, and of course she'd end up with a handsome man. White house, picket fence, 2.5 kids: The idea appealed to her immensely, as long as she didn't have to stay home doing dishes and laundry. Falling for Puck hadn't been in the plan - a plot twist she was ready to write out.

 

Therefore, she'd do what she did best. She'd lie.

 

Kelly paced back and forth, her steps creasing a bed of sparkling white snow that looked out to a glossy arena of ice, formerly the lake. Sun dripped down through frigid temperatures, patches of heat causing cold sweat on her skin under bundles of unnecessary layers. She wanted to expose as little of her skin as possible. The intensity of her strides reached the frosty grass under the snow, a scarf covering her lips as if not trusting herself or what she may do with them if they were free. She pulled it down only slightly to stop her voice from coming out muffled.

 

"It's come to my attention that people think we're a couple," Kelly began, with a raised eyebrow. Yeah, she was working herself into this - she'd get the clincher out in no time. "And I just want you to know that we're not, and I - I was just having fun with you. I mean, you're pretty much my best friend and like I said before, I've kissed all my friends. It's like a ticket into friendship," she repeated the line she'd originally used to sway Puck into the "benefits" portion of their friendship. "But don't confuse this - that's all we are. I'm not a lesbian, and I think that we should stop what we've been doing and go back to being just friends. Or whatever." It was a line she'd heard people use during break-ups before, so figured she'd make use of it now.

 

"So that's it. I can't do this anymore." 

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Puck Whitaker

Puck sighed loudly, finally snapping closed "The Ethics of Magically Tattooing Muggles"  and giving Kelly her full attention without sitting up in her hammock. The Slytherin had been lounging on her futon chattering for awhile, but the last fifteen minutes had been less and less subtle about the desire to go outside. With Puck.  

The Ravenclaw was dressed in silk pixie-print boxers and one of her Papa's muggle rock band t-shirts, but no one would ever know in her thick cocoon of soft fluffy blankets. The only weather-appropriate piece of clothing she was wearing was a dark blue toque pulled down over her ears to keep them warm. She did not want to move, let alone exit the magically heated tent of isolation. But it was Kelly, and Puck was in a full time friendship with Kelly. There were good benefits, and the company was actually quite enjoyable-- so Puck began the process of unfurling blankets, the book dropping lightly onto the growing pile under the hammock. 

Kelly was quite obviously struggling at this point, simultaneously looking and trying not to look at her newly exposed skin. Weird. Kelly didn't usually show any signs of visible discomfort, at least not subtle ones. The Ravenclaw shrugged it off, the tent wasn't that warm and she needed to focus on finding clothing for an outdoor adventure. Several layers later, though not so many as the Head Girl had taken upon herself, Puck nodded and the two of them exited the tent, setting up intensive home security measures as they left as casually as making sure the door was locked. 

They reached the edge of the lake before long, frozen blasts from the water cannon lilies Puck had added to her water garden acting as beautiful ice sculptures. She didn't have long to admire the effects before Kelly started pacing. More subtle signs of agitation. The Ravenclaw pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows, waiting uneasily, not totally sure what to do in this scenario. Her best friend had never struggled to speak in living memory, at least outside of brief moments under a silencing charm or equivalent and the Slytherin knew how to resolve such predicaments easily.  

Puck watched as the girl pulled down her scarf, but the additional access to facial features didn't help get a read on the situation. 

"It has come to my attention that people think we are a couple."
Um.
What? 
No. 
The expression that the Ravenclaw was putting out probably looked somewhere between horror, skepticism, and concern. People were stupid, Kelly had access to a lot of rumours, and there was also a small chance that Kelly had been cursed unwittingly and Puck was only just noticing now. 
She lifted her toque slightly, sacrificing the warmth for ensured clarity of what she was hearing. It was important to get all of the information so that she could find the appropriate cure for this ailment.

  "And I just want you to know that we're not, and I - I was just having fun with you. I mean, you're pretty much my best friend and like I said before, I've kissed all my friends. It's like a ticket into friendship,"
Hadn't they covered this years ago? Obviously kissing was for Kelly's casual friends. But Puck was in a full-time friendship with Kelly, which obviously came with other benefits. It was fairly simple logic to follow, even if Puck didn't extend the same logic to literally any other friendships she had developed over the years. When in Rome, or whatever, right? 

The slow nod given was exaggerated. Kelly's memory was failing. Did confundus influence memory? Maybe if you're hit hard enough... 


"But don't confuse this - that's all we are. I'm not a lesbian, and I think that we should stop what we've been doing and go back to being just friends. Or whatever."
Puck blinked repeatedly at the mention of the word lesbian. That word suggested romantic relationships, which they had already established was not a relevant feature in this conversation. What they had been doing was friendship, right? It was just the career version. With amazing benefits. And closet space. And fantasies about a future togeth-- what? Um. This wasn't about her. It was about Kelly's head trauma. 

Why was this making her so sad? Kelly had been jinxed loads of times, and this wasn't a break up because you had to be dating to break up. Puck's not crying. You're crying. Shut up. The Ravenclaw blinked twice more and the foggy vision caused by the cold air or something dissipated and she was fine.


"So that's it. I can't do this anymore." 

She stared at the Slytherin, a sharp inhale of crisp icy air burning her nostrils as she opened her arms in an exasperated and confused surrender. Her denial logic could not follow. She started running through the list of healing spells, coughing slightly to clear her throat which felt full for some unknown reason. In the small chance that Kelly wasn't suffering from some magical malady, what line had she crossed that made them not friends? Was it the study help? Because she could stop that if it was becoming a problem...

  

Edited by Puck Whitaker

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Kelly Ashcroft

Kelly was going through a mid-late-teen crisis. 

 

Recently, she found herself speculating (gross) and looking more deeply at herself (even grosser). She wished she could skate through the rest of her life thinking she'd always been right, and she always did the right thing - thinking that her insides were as perfect as her outsides, a flawless contraption of a human. She wished she could go back in time and retrieve her 11 year old mentality. She wished she could be the age again where life had no end, and where the universe was centered around her.

 

She wanted to return to the days of black and white. Back to when there were good people and bad people, villians and heroes - but everyone was the hero of their own story. Kelly reflected, looking at herself in the lake's glassy sheen, making out a broken, parceled version of a girl. Her thoughts betrayed her with realizations, and something in particular stood out, like a diamond on black velvet:

 

People were what others said they were.

 

She knew it wasn't 100% true, otherwise she'd be nothing but a selfish, ignorant, bossy, rude, manipulative bigot, and yet perceptions formed the way a person was seen, and Kelly had a harder time, recently, countering this.

 

Sometimes she wondered if she ever believed anything she said.

 

Fact: If people called Puck and Kelly a couple, then they were a couple. 

 

The sun dipped lower in the sky, warning of twilight, whispering soft, gentle tunes. She wondered if she could extract joy out of pain like a needle.

 

(She couldn't)

 

Kelly exhaled, watching the cloud of her breath form and then dissipate, fade as if it hadn't been there to begin with. For the first time in perhaps ever, she felt small and insignificant - thought of herself and her presence as unimportant to the big picture (she didn't know what the big picture was). She could wax lyrical about her recent realizations, but Puck may have laughed.

 

Her grand speech had begun, and Puck was clearly not buying anything. From her expression, akin to horror, at Kelly's proclaim of their public-defined status as a "couple" - to what looked like tears pressing against her eyes. Kelly swallowed a lump in her own throat, tasted starch and salt, and she was glad the cold froze her potential tear-drops behind her eyes.  

 

Mainly: Puck looked baffled. She was clever - it was one of the many things Kelly loved liked about her. Surely she realized? The Slytherin felt her lips dry, blood pulse against her ears. What else could she say?

 

"We can still be friends. Just without.. the other stuff."

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Puck Whitaker

"We can still be friends. Just without.. the other stuff."

Just like that.
All the other stuff.
 All the other stuff?

Were they still allowed to cuddle on the futon and doze in and out between classes while listening to the wireless wizarding network? What about sleepovers? Were they allowed to study in Pyjamas all night and sleep in together in the mornings? Could she wake Kelly up with tea and kisses in the morning? Would she ever be woken up to Kelly dancing barefoot to some horribly catchy song on the wireless radio and making omelettes and bacon, wearing only a Ravenclaw quidditch jersey that Puck stole from tryouts in first year? She would suffer through muffins as a food group forever. The risk of scurvy was well worth it.

The 7th year dropped her arms to her side in defeat while she stared after her friend that seemed to be getting further away without moving. 

There would be no more quick kisses hello and goodbye in the door of her tent. Would they still share midnight patrols for youngsters along the edges of the forbidden forest? Were they allowed to hold hands? Puck bit her lip and dropped her head to stare at her gloved fingers. She suddenly wanted-- no, needed --to feel the warmth and pressure of Kelly's hand in hers.

 Her brow furrowed at the thought. Accio Kelly
But her wand was in her sleeve, and it was becoming more clear that her friend was not suffering a brain injury or some hex. It was worse. She was suffering some deep magic curse that would take her away. 
The cold was freezing tears in her lashes, the prisms refracting light in her peripheral vision and making the world seem much smaller. 

She had to try. 

Puck started to walk towards her friend, slowly, not even looking up from her hands as she trudged through the hard crust of snow between them. She couldn't watch Kelly walk away.

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Kelly Ashcroft

She'd suggested they be just friends - Puck didn't seem convinced by the idea. Kelly tried to justify it: "We were just friends before, weren't we? We can be just friends again."

 

What was it with the word "just" that made everything worse? Way, way worse.

 

"Not 'just'," she mumbled. "Friends without.. you know."

 

Logic. Immaculate logic. Kelly should be a public speaker. 

 

Unlike Puck, Kelly (consciously) didn't think about the ensemble of memories, and the feelings of pure happiness (sunflowers blooming in the center of her being) they brought - she didn't dare mull over the emotions they ignited within her. Block, block, block. She couldn't - if she wanted a clear-mind, she couldn't think about anything, otherwise her resolve would crumble completely. It was a tactic of avoidance she'd perfected years before.

 

The Slytherin wasn't sure what else to say, or do - not without losing herself again (mid-teen crises were hard).  Not without forcing herself to realize just how upset Puck was and consider how her friend's pain translated, morphed into her own, vibrant and thriving. She made a decision, an executive one, and she had to be confident in it - had to follow her head over her heart. 

 

Kelly had to remember the strict codes:

 

1. She wasn't a lesbian.

2. She didn't do monogamy.

 

With a swift, sweeping motion, biting her lip hard enough to draw blood (the taste metal), she turned away, turned before she felt her own tears, before she had to deal with the extent of her pain and underlying regret. Kelly would run if she had to - she'd plow through the snow toward the castle, and not look back, hopefully not ever (right now this made sense). Right now this also hurt. Her steps were slow and purposeful, however, and for a moment she felt Puck's strides behind her, yet she did not look back.

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Puck Whitaker

Puck had made her way halfway to Kelly, but stopped short at the word 'just'. It felt worse than the snow filling her boots. Worse than the painful cold nipping at the tips of her ears.
It was a sort of dismissal. A shrugging off. 
Kelly had never dismissed her before.

The openness that had bloomed over seven years tried to slam shut with a herculean effort, but something got stuck-- and it hurt like a bludger. 

The Slytherin tried to fumble, to take it back, but it was a mumbled effort and far too late. She didn't look up. She didn't have to to hear Kelly turning and crunching through the snow away from her. She couldn't move. She wanted to apparate and stand in front of her best friend. Demand a hug. Give in to an urge that had never once possessed her before.
But her heart was splinched, one mangled half throbbing unbearably in her chest, the other frozen and numb somewhere in the snow between the two teenaged witches. 




 

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Kelly Ashcroft

the end

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