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Irene Redgrave

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Irene Redgrave

The last Slytherin was shuffled onto the train and Irene slouched for a moment to blow hair out of her eyes. Either she was getting older or the younger students were becoming more careless every year. It never failed that someone left behind their "LUCKIEST SOCKS OMG MUST GO BACK" or a stack of books, or their favorite hair tie. Usually it was the girls making the biggest fuss - boys seemed to not really care if they left things behind.

 

Irene tried to remind everyone they'd be back in a couple of months but that only appeased a couple of people. The life of a prefect was never done. Although for Irene there would only be two more train rides after this one - and maybe... possibly... dreamily... this could be her last as a mere prefect. For the last week or so her eyes had strayed far too often in the confines of the common room to the green and silver Head Girl badge that Eleanor Potts wore with such casual grace. She wanted it. She wanted it so bad. She wanted it enough to know that she was better off guarding her heart against disappointment if that didn't work out for her.

 

As if conjured by parallel thoughts she spotted Tobias Winchester shoving a tiny Ravenclaw onto the train at the next entrance. Talk about things to guard herself against... She avoided his gaze with a frown and turned in the opposite direction. Luck was on her side and she found Addison Toft almost immediately. Quickly linking arms with her, Irene all but dragged her to a compartment.

 

"We need to talk."

Edited by Irene Redgrave
Post 2500 <3<3

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Addison Toft

Addison normally would have gone to find a seat with Briar somewhere on the train home, but this was a special train ride for Briar, because it would be the last time she saw Mercutio Bates at Hogwarts. Leading up to this day, Addison had been consoling her, sitting beside her with box after box of tissues, while Briar wept and sobbed and cried that the 'hunkiest hunk of all hunks' was going to be leaving her. She eventually came to accept the fact that there was nothing she could do to prevent Mercutio from graduating (save for sabotaging every single one of his exams, which Addison begged her not to do), so today, she knew Briar needed to go sit with Mercutio (and probably Desmond, which would annoy him to no end).

 

Planning to be seated alone, or at least in a compartment of strangers and/or casual acquaintances, she was taken off guard when someone slipped an arm around hers and started pulling her in one direction. "Wha- woah oka- oh, Irene!"

 

There was a pang of guilt when Irene said they needed to talk. She was ever grateful to the Slytherin for being there when she needed her, but for the past few weeks since then, Addison had been procrastinating, continually pushing back the conversation she acknowledged was necessary for them to have. But she was nervous - what if it went poorly? What if all she did was drive Irene away again?

 

"Hi, um, sure?" She was practically flung into a deserted compartment. Collapsing onto one of the cushioned benches, she watched as Irene shut the door, and locked it with a sharp tap of her wand. "... What did you want to talk about?"

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Irene Redgrave

Her mind changed over and over again as she sat down next to Addie, almost as if she were giving herself the option to just curl up on the other girl and burrow away from the world. "Anything. Everything. Whatever."

 

"Occupied!" She sat up and called out when the door handled rattled as if someone else were looking for a seat. Her voice barked out the word but softened again when she lead back against Addie.

 

"I need an escape. And to see you, of course. Someone's been scarce lately," Irene teased with a wagging finger. It was true they hadn't spent a lot of time together recently. Given what she'd seen and heard over the past few weeks she had her suspicions as to why that was but knew better than to try and push Addison for information.

 

"I gotta get my Addie time in where I can steal it. Next year is going to be brutal and I definitely don't want to think about that yet. So you go. Tell me something! Or nothing. Sometimes nothing is good too." Nothing could be fine and great and make her self-sufficient... hadn't she told herself that many-a-time to make her lonely self feel better?

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Addison Toft

She leered at Irene, who was acting strangely restless. It was the most chatty she'd seen her, in quite some time, and she had the agitated energy of a hummingbird that couldn't find a place to rest. Irene, who was normally reserved and brimming with elegance, had never before seemed so much like... a teenager. And that sounded weird to think, and was also unfair to Irene because she had every right to act her own age and let down her hair every now and then, but it was just a sight that Addison was unaccustomed to.

 

"You don't have to steal me. Well actually, maybe you do, otherwise I'm probably never going to leave the library." Addison sighed and slumped back, sliding down the cushioned backing. "I think I made a mistake in thinking I could handle every NEWT class." Potions, muggle studies and runes, she could do. Arithmancy, history of magic, herbology, astronomy, care of magical creatures, defence, she could muddle her way through. Transfiguration, charms, divinations... 

 

She was delaying again, avoiding the topic of conversation she needed to have with Irene, even though this would probably the best chance to do it - privately, by themselves, locked in a compartment where they could hash things out. The blonde kept stealing glances at Irene, while attempting to scrounge up enough courage to say what had to be said.

 

"Is everything okay... ?"

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Irene Redgrave

"I don't know how you even get any studying done in the library." Irene crinkled her nose. She had similar weaknesses to Addison: divination and transfiguration were her worst subjects and with the added stress of learning to apparate; this term had been rough. The library near end of term though was usually filled with the desperate students who had waited until the last minute to cram and somehow thought being near all the books would allow them to absorb the information via osmosis. It wasn't really Irene's scene.

 

When Addie asked about her, she wanted to break down and gush. She needed someone to talk through this situation where Toby was concerned. But she didn't know if Addison should be that person. The boundaries were all blurred for Irene between Addie, and herself and Silas now. She didn't know how to be best friends with them both while they were closest to each other.

 

She'd seen they way they acted in class; they'd held hands at the charms field trip. They looked... happy despite not saying anything about it to anyone as far as she knew.

 

"Everything goes... It goes." Irene shrugged off her own thoughts and feelings. Too many times in her friendship with Addison she had focused only on herself and her own wants and needs. She had promised Addie to do better and she'd meant it.

 

"What about you?" Irene had partially snuggled up against Addie because she somehow knew that talking to each other would be easier if they weren't looking directly at the other, if she decided to talk. She stifled a yawn after her already long day. "Exams are over for the moment. Time to be footloose and fancy free?"

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Addison Toft

"It's easy, just try sharing a room with Briar. The library's the only place she won't go, although now and then she does come around to do whatever she says is 'scientific research'." Addison made the air quotes around that last part, because she highly doubted Briar's scientific process was a valid as she claimed it to be, but at the same time, Briar refused to divulge her methods because she suspected Addison of 'stealing her research'. 

 

Irene's answer wasn't really an answer. It was the classic response Addison spent years giving her. The chattiness evaporated, and now Irene was quiet again, tucking herself comfortably into Addison's side, while on Addison's side, the level of discomfort rose ever higher - could her conscience not take a break for even a minute?

 

"Maybe... probably not. I should look for a summer job this year, since I didn't do anything last year." Finding student employment was going to prove difficult, since she still didn't know what sort of career she wanted to pursue after she graduated. Based on her OWL qualifications, Addison was sure she would be able to find something, but she didn't want to commit to any single field before she figured out what she was passionate about. There were always muggle jobs she could look up too, even though they wouldn't be nearly as exciting.

 

"So it'll just be work, I guess..." And maybe, if she could get off her damn butt and stop being a coward, she could see Silas too. Her shoulders sagged - it was now or never. Time to enter the minefield. "Can I... can I ask you... do you still like Silas? Like, do you still like like him?"

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Irene Redgrave

Irene nodded along and was about to ask Addie what kind of job she was looking for when her whole body tensed up. Irene waited. Her instinct was to tighten her hold on the other girl, let her know Irene had her but there was no one else in the cart to make her uncomfortable, so instead she waited for whatever bomb Addison was about to drop.

 

She didn't disappoint.

 

Since Irene had helped Addie by playing nurse earlier in the year, Irene hadn't expected a lot of further talks on the subject of Silas Harding-Clarke. It was an awkward situation at best and at worst... well Irene didn't want to think of the worst. She knew Addison liked Silas. She knew Silas had some sort of feeling for Addison. And finally, Irene knew she was going to be a good friend whatever it cost her - most likely the attention and care of her two best friends, but that was the selfish!Irene's excuse she was trying to pound down into submission.

 

A long slow breath released from Irene and she considered her answer carefully. Not because she wanted to attempt any kind of subterfuge, but she wanted to be completely honest with Addison. Irene would only want or respect the same from her best friend. The silence dragged on for a moment before she finally responded:

 

"I... don't know how to answer that, honestly." Irene sat up and shifted so she could look Addie in the face. "I don't exactly have a frame of reference, you see. Silas was the only boy I ever cared about deeply. I loved him." Her hands fiddled with each other and she struggled for the best way to articulate how she felt.

 

"I still love him. I just love him differently now I think." She didn't know how to always explain things for Addie - the two girls couldn't be more different in how they felt things.

 

Irene was the type of girl who longed to love and be loved in whatever capacity she could find and attach herself to. "I love all of you: You, Luke, Gary, Toby, Abigail and Silas. You're all I have. I don't think that's the same as being in love."

 

Irene reached up with a hand and cupped Addison's cheek. "I love you, Addie... and I would never, ever do anything to jeopardize that."

 

She couldn't deny that it didn't always sit well - whenever Silas turned his attention on another girl. It might always be that way though for the boy you first love, Irene just didn't know.

 

What she did know was that the love she had for Silas at age thirteen was very different from what she felt now for him and for other people. It was a different love and perhas a more powerful love for the age and depth added by growing up and her own personal trauma.  It was the best explanation she had to give. "Is that going to be okay?"  

Edited by Irene Redgrave

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Addison Toft

If she was being a hundred per cent truthful with herself, Addison was hoping Irene would immediately answer with a resounding 'no', or laugh and tell Addison she was being silly because of course she didn't still have feelings for Silas; they'd broken up a while ago and she had moved on since then. Unfortunately, those weren't the first words that came out of Irene's mouth

 

"I... don't know how to answer that, honestly."

 

If she didn't still care for him, then it would have been an easy answer. The fact that she didn't know how to respond to it put Addison on edge. If Irene said she still harbored lingering feelings for Silas, then Addison would be at war with herself. She wanted to have something with the Ravenclaw, and she had a glimmering hope that he wanted something with her too - but if it came at Irene's expense, was it worth it? Part of the reason she was taking it slow with him was because she wanted to clear it by Irene first... but if it wasn't clear, if it would never be clear, then what?

 

When she'd rejected Silas' advances all those years ago, Addison later felt as if she'd taken the key to the gate between them and thrown it away, and as a result, there would always be a wall between them. But now it was like she'd miraculously found the needle in the haystack! She'd recovered the key, and all she had to do was stick it in the lock and turn it to open the gates... but if it was going to hurt Irene, then she didn't know if she could bring herself to using that key, no matter how desperately she wanted to.

 

Prior to now, the only person at Hogwarts who she felt loved her was Briar, and in turn, Briar was the only person at Hogwarts that Addison felt she unconditionally and eternally loved. She still cared about people like Darcy, Reid, Luke, Molly, Mercutio, Navi, Silas and yes, Irene - but 'love' was a strong word, a sacred boundary that Addison only rarely crossed for others. She thought the list comprised of her adopted parents, and Briar. Silas' name floated around in there but she wasn't sure if that had been a twisted sort of love, the kind she'd learned was wrong and unfair.

 

But it was in this moment Addison realised that if she was willing to break her own heart in order to keep Irene's whole - even in spite of their multitude of fights and spats and disagreements - she knew she loved Irene too. From what she'd learned about herself over the past summer, she was sure she could come to be okay without Silas, in a romantic sense, and how she felt about Irene was no different than how she felt about Briar. Love was a strong word, but she felt about Irene strongly.

 

"Is that going to be okay?" 

 

"I want it to be, but..." She chewed on her lip, and then steeled herself with a sharp inhalation, and then a slow exhalation. "Okay. Okay okay, I'm just going to say it. I mean, you probably already know from when I told you about all that other stuff but... I still like Silas, in that way. And when we were on that charms trip to Florida, we talked and I thought... I thought that maybe there could be something. Maybe. But I... I didn't want to - and I don't want to - do anything without talking to you first. I mean, I could have just totally misread him and I'm making something out of nothing and he just wants to be friends but... if there could be something between me and him, would you be okay with that? Tell me the truth, because if it would hurt you, then I..." There was a gnawing ache in her chest, hollowing her out, eating away at the picture of what could have been, but Addison put her hand over Irene's and squeezed it, "I love you too, I guess in the same way you love me, and I don't like hurting the people I love."

 

The words came thick off her tongue because she wasn't used to making those sorts of expressive, emotional admissions, but that didn't make them any less genuine.

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Irene Redgrave

The intense, pleading look she was sure held Addie's gaze cracked and the corner of her mouth lifted. "Yeah, uh. I'm not blind." She tried to break the sudden tension she knew they both felt with humor. Perhaps Addie was feeling it more. If she tried hard Irene thought she could remember what it felt like to have fluttery light feelings of hope around her heart for someone and to have those feelings returned. She too had felt that way with Silas, never since then though. But she hadn't known or considered Addison's feelings at the time because no one had bothered to tell her anything: not Silas, not Addison. Since their last heart to heart Irene had decided she shouldn't feel guilty about her relationship with Silas. She hadn't done anything wrong and her feelings had been real even if no one else's were.

 

Silas was secretive and closed off. Even though she didn't find those traits particularly attractive or conducive to their relationship she'd never doubted that he'd had some kind of feelings for her. Though with Addie's additional history lesson she had some questions about Silas' ability to ever have loved her the way she had loved him. In the end he hadn't chosen her when she would have jumped off the Astronomy tower for him - it always came back to that. No one in her life chose Irene; hence her forever alone prognosis. But Silas would choose Addison. And Addison would choose Silas. They deserved whatever she could give them. 

 

"I... maybe... saw you. On the charms trip." Irene admitted sheepishly and grinned more fully. Her shoulder nudged Addie's, "Putting the moves on with the haaaand holding. I think Toby's face was going to fall off when we saw Silas walk you into the arcade." It had been a sweet moment. If she put a wall between her old feelings and Silas; pretended he was someone else - it had felt right to see them together.

 

"I- I think you should go for it." She finished the sentence confidently, trying to reassure Addison that she was fine with it. In the end their relationship would have nothing to do with Irene and she should do everything she could to firmly establish that now. "He's probably not going to do anything though unless you really shove your feelings in his face. I had to give him a present and kiss him first before he would admit he even liked me." Of course looking back now a part of her wondered if she hadn't just provided a handy outlet for Silas' rejected ego and he'd taken it.

 

"What would hurt me is if you weren't happy. If you think you have a chance with Silas - you are hereby honor-bound to see it through." She thought of her parents, "I mean it. Life is too short to push away the potential for love." Hypocrite, her mind chided. Of course her telling Toby to jump off a cliff with his feelings was different. Of course it is. Could a mind be sarcastic? Apparently Irene's was. She shoved her brain back with a force of will.

 

"And also," this part was harder. Her voice broke off... she wanted to say something, to beg and plead if necessary to not be abandoned by her friends but another part of her knew it wouldn't make a difference. If Addison and Silas, her two best friends, got together and forgot all about her - she would just have been a bridge they had crossed to get to each other. You're all I have - she'd said the words. She'd meant them more than either of them could possibly know. But this, this felt like saying goodbye somehow.  She was letting them go. The insecure pieces of her knew she would lose them both anyway - her two best friends were better friends with each other and not her.

 

"...I hope that, whatever happens, You know I'm here for you and you can tell me anything, you don't have to sanitize anything or keep anything from me. When you need me, I'll be here. Always." Unlike when you both forget I exist, her mind finished lamely. It had hurt to know that Addison had entrusted Silas with her wand and run away and hadn't even told her. They both had so many secrets she'd never be privy to - they were on the other side of their own wall, but perhaps that's the way it should be: it was just more evidence that she and Silas were closer than Irene would ever be with anyone. Sometimes it felt like all she could do was pathetically cling to the sides of other people's lives and hope that someday she'd find a person to be that for her. Surely she could, it wasn't a question of IF but WHEN. Irene had just always stupidly thought she HAD. She'd work on getting over that later. Right now was for Addison. Someday it would be her turn.

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Addison Toft

Addison started, nearly jumping off the bench and upsetting Irene from her snuggled position. "Wait - what, what moves - I didn't put anything on! He asked me if there were any good games in the arcade and I wanted to show him one so - I was just taking him to see it and it wasn't anything-" She ran out of words. Tobias had witnessed it too? Was this the universe giving her a taste of irony? She'd once chastised him for coming off like he was trying to hit on everyone he talked to, but now the shoe was on the other foot, and she was getting to see his side of things. Maybe she owed him an apology.

 

And maybe not. After she told him about it, he'd started occasionally doing small things on purpose, just to tease her. So now they were square.

 

"He's probably not going to do anything though unless you really shove your feelings in his face. I had to give him a present and kiss him first before he would admit he even liked me."

 

Addison settled back into her seat, relaxing her body and resting its weight into Irene. Her cheeks flushed as she thought about making the first move like that - not because she was a prude, but because the memory of the last time she'd done something so bold still stung. She admired Irene's bravery, and envied the fact that it hadn't backfired on her - but it was hypocritical, in a way, for Addison to be jealous because she was the one who shunned Silas' advances. Still, in Addison's opinion it would be way easier for Irene to be so forward with a boy because... she was Irene Redgrave. She was every admirable superlative and more, and could have had anyone she wanted, while Addison... Addison took anyone she could get. Addison, who used to be so subconsciously desperate to be desired that she latched on to practically anyone who showed her interest, while simultaneously being deathly afraid of committing to someone. So of course Irene could confidently make the first move, because who would turn her down? Addison was trying to get there by ignoring the hisses of doubt in her head, but it was hard to break old habits. She was doing her best to forgo those old, concrete roads of self-deprecation, and instead, believe in herself.

 

But nonetheless, reservations of her own courage aside, Addison was grateful to have Irene's acceptance and wisdom. She gave the brunette's hand another squeeze, as golden-hazel met sea-green when she looked Irene in the eyes. "Me too. I promise I'll be better. I know I've been awful to this point, but I swear I'll be better. It's the same to you too: you can tell me anything. I can't guarantee that my advice will be anywhere near as good as yours, but I'll try. And if anybody wants to mess with you, they'll have to go through me first."

 

She side-hugged Irene. "Thank you... woah, have you been working out?" She laughed, and prodded Irene's iron biceps. "I can't even tell if I'm talking to Irene or Luke right now!"

Edited by Addison Toft

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Irene Redgrave

Addie seemed to take her words at face value, which was good. Irene didn't have any kind of subterfuge or alternative plots in mind, she wasn't trying to manipulate the Gryffindor into a mistake - she genuinely wanted her friend, both of her friends to be happy. And if she didn't think about what that meant too closely then she'd get through it like anything else in her life. It's all just time and distance. They were words she repeated to herself while she ran miles and miles around the school both to help with the burn in her legs, her chest and the other kind of burning she felt in her chest. The burn when she picked up a scrap of parchment to write home and remembered there was no one there. The ache when she turned to claim a partner in a class and all her friends were already paired off. The pain was there and she could acknowledge it but it would go away with time and distance, she just had to get far enough away.

 

"I can't guarantee that my advice will be anywhere near as good as yours, but I'll try."

 

To be fair, Irene doubted she'd ever make the first move again given how that had turned out. So perhaps her advice wasn't as good as Addison gave her credit for. Her face burned. People like Addison and Tobias always seemed to shove too many compliments on her - like they were trying to make up for a perceived lack of self-assurance she possessed naturally. Despite thinking she was a very self-aware young woman, Irene would not consider herself to have low self-esteem. She was just realistic about her expectations when it came to other people. Experience had taught her the true worth of her features and attributes.

 

Addie hugged her and Irene continued to blush, hurrying to cross her arms and hide as much of her as she could. "Staaahp." She pushed against Addie in a half-shove.

 

"I dunno, I guess if you keep moving you're not drowning." Irene shrugged off the comment on her physical form. The past two years she had run longer and worked out more than ever before. It was something to do and an activity that she never realized how alone and separated she felt from the rest of the world while she did it.

 

Coupled with the stress and pressure she'd felt from the events she'd experienced, she'd lost weight and leaned out. She would have been angular if she hadn't been constantly buffing up to fill in the gaps. Thanks to her slightly compulsive nature she appeared quite normal if a little hard up close.

 

"Speaking of moving... what are we still doing here, hmm? I bet I know somewhere you'd rather be." Irene jumped up and tried to pull Addie to her feet. "You're only young once." She reached up and grabbed Addie's face, giving her huge smacking kiss. "Off you get, then." Her head tilted towards the door.

Edited by Irene Redgrave

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Addison Toft

Addison low-key compared her biceps to Irene's and was woefully outclassed. A year or two ago, she would have given the Slytherin a run for her money - probably even been in better shape, considering Addison went twice a week to a boxing gym in the summer where she was coached and given a specific exercise routine to follow while she was 'away at boarding school'. But now the tone she'd built was gone, and when comparing herself next to Irene, she might as well be a walking sack of flab (which would be the first time Addison considered herself fat).

 

"Not true," she protested, and though she wiped off her cheek with the back of a hand, she grinned toothily. "Case in point: @Jake Morent. He's young forever. And I don't know what you're talking about - I have nowhere in particular that I'd rather be, unless there's a compartment full of ice cream on this train."

 

Addison chuckled and grabbed Irene's hand, pulling her towards the door. Freeing her wand, she gave the handle a tap to unlock it, and began pulling Irene out after her. "If you're talking about finding a certain someone though, why don't we go together? It'll be more fun if we gang up on him, don't you think?" There was a mischievous twinkle in her eye, as she imagined the disconcerted expression on Silas' face when both Addison and Irene were staring him down with smiles that were far too innocent to actually be innocent.

 

The future was still as uncertain as it ever had been, but at least now from Addison's point of view, it was all looking a bit brighter.

Edited by Addison Toft

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Irene Redgrave

...why don't we go together?

 

Oh yes good, exactly what Irene wanted to do - have a front row seat to her best friend and ex-boyfriend making eyes at each other. ...Except not at all or ever. Not a single iota of her existence wanted that. If she wasn't digging deep into her reserves of personal control she would have actively shuddered at the thought of standing awkwardly in the corridor of the train trying to be invisible while Addison and Silas did... whatever.

 

"Of course! Let's give him hell." She might have said it too brightly trying to compensate. In for a knut.... she thought to herself, not letting her smile fade until Addison wasn't facing her anymore. If this is how she proved herself as a friend so be it. Here we go, to hell town. From Irene's point of view the immediate future looked an abysmal dull palette of shadows and decay. Hooray. Friendship.

 

Irene used the time pulled behind Addison across the train to also pull herself together and put on her Social face. She was going to need every one of those damn etiquette lessons her mother had given her as a girl to not betray her discomfort. Irene kept herself in check mostly by reminding herself guiltily that Addison had done almost this very thing for her, unbeknownst to Irene, once upon a time. If Addie could do it- so could she.

Edited by Irene Redgrave

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