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Kelby Matos

Don't speak, I'll try to save us from ourselves

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Kelby Matos

Continued from here

 

Trembling fingers grasped the door to the stall, desperate to somehow push through the barrier and conceal herself in a private space where no one could watch as she fell apart. Somehow in her panic, she managed to make it up three flights of stairs, forgoing the usual bathroom she used right next to the Dueling Chamber in hopes to find a less frequented space where she could finally attempt to catch her breath. It wasn’t until Kelby finally situated herself behind a locked door with only her feet poking out of the bottom of the stall that she realized the wand firmly grasped in her hand was not hers, but Radueriel’s – the entire cause of her panic.

The first year almost dropped the object like it burned her as the realization crossed her face; her avoidance tactic was doomed from the start this time, especially since there was no way anyone would be able to function even minutes without their wand at Hogwarts. She stared for a moment at the light-colored spruce wood that bonded itself to her friend - wait no, not friend. Her acquaintance? Their friendship was born from circumstance, two twin satellites who orbited the same moon with nothing more in common than just that  orbit. Kelby and Radueriel found themselves together because it was easy, not because there was any deeper connection there linking them.

Yet for some reason, Kelby still struggled with the fact that she wanted him to like her. She wanted them to get along so Jack wouldn’t leave her in the dust because he was forced to pick a side; that side was never going to be hers. But more than that? Kelby wanted to be liked so desperately, she thought that they could have a friendship of their own. The Gryffindor was realistic about the fact that it would be small, a seedling that had barely sprouted, but she hoped with enough time and nurturing, they could have something sustainable enough to stand without the support of the others in their group.

That all came crashing down when Jack was cause for ruining everything, even if the Slytherin wasn’t even there to witness the … could she even call it a fight? One second, she was whining at Rad for missing breakfast, and the next, Jack’s name was slipping off her lips while Rad’s eyes were flashing, his voice raising as anger coursed through him.

Kelby squeezed her eyes shut, pulling her knees up to her chest as she wrapped her arms around her legs. Her wand had already found its way to the holster that kept it safe which meant the first year was still holding Rad’s in her hands. Possibilities ran through her mind as she tried to brainstorm a way to get it back to him without talking; he had already gotten all the information he could possibly ever want from her. Could she just avoid his eye contact and hand him the wand? Or maybe Akiva would be willing to pass it on, none the wiser of what actually happened during their duel.

Kelby’d do anything to ensure that she stayed safe from the panicking monster that made its home in her chest. Maybe she could just die here instead; the bathroom was abandoned, and she rarely saw anyone occupying it because of its haunted nature. If she could just lay out some blankets and pillows, perhaps she could even sleep here. The first year had already done a primary cleaning, though the idea of a sleeping in a bathroom with the connotation of being germy disgusted her.

But anything was better than facing her problems. Kelby was willing to spend all day, every day cleaning this mess if it meant she was safe from the confines of the world.

 

The one thing she hadn’t anticipated was Radueriel finding her huddled up in a haunted loo, but when the door opened, Kelby froze, hoping that she could hide in the shadows long enough that he would leave. The plan would have been great if Kelby hadn’t forgotten her brightly colored shoes were sticking out the bottom of the stall.

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Radueriel Benson

Panting, panting, panting— Rad was running through the halls, wand shoved hastily into his pocket, out, out, out, away from the Dueling Chamber. The ghost of that conversation (of Rad’s legs suddenly snapped together like the jaws of a nutcracker, of his voice ringing out and screaming things in Kelby’s face, horrible words he was already trying, trying, trying to forget) rang haughtily in his ears as suits of armour and wizened portrait faces turned to watch the tiny jackrabbit of a boy with bemused detachment.

 

There was no detachment to be found here for Rad.

 

No, he was a live-wire countdown bomb of emotions, all tingly fingers and sweating brow. He could barely, feet pounding on the ground, thump, thump, thump, take stock of his emotions. There was guilt, though, of this he was sure. So much guilt he was a little worried his entire body content would be transformed into a bunch of tiny Catholics chanting, “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned,” over and over in monk-like unison. But there was fear, and there was frustration, and there was a sort of emotional exhaustion, too, which felt like a shrug made of gravity draped over his shoulders.

 

He couldn’t slip it off, so he wore it, boring him down, as he ran as fleetly as he could after Kelby.

 

On one hand, he was chasing her because she hadn’t given him his wand back. With a masterful Expelliarmus, a spell which he had meant to learn in preparation for the Tournament that would begin after the holidays but had not, she ended their duel by disarming him. This wasn’t the first time it had happened to him (once, Alvis did it and then bizarrely and suggestively polished it before handing it over), but it was the first time his opponent tore off, out of the chamber, still clutching to the little piece of spruce.

 

But on the other hand, Kelby was his friend. He thought she was, at least. Their relationship had always been fraught with confusion and awkward false-starts. In a moment of lucidity, Rad realized that if he didn’t go after her now, they would no longer be friends. He didn’t like the thought of the conversation they would have when he caught up to her, but his dislike of this paled when compared to the sadness he felt when he thought about never speaking to Kelby again. That was all he had to do, imagine losing her before even really having her as a friend, and suddenly he was fleeing the chamber, out, out, out.

 

Panting, panting, panting— up stairs, through hallways, Kelby always turning the corner right as she swung back into view. Finally, somewhere in the muddling maze of the second floor, the Gryffindor managed to throw him. Rad skid to a stop, leaning up against a wall as he fought to catch his breath. He ran a hand through his hair, pulling fingers through inky tangles. That’s when he realized where he was. He had been to this stretch of a second-floor hallway before, though that time he had been tagging along behind an insistent Lester Roach. Which meant that there must be…

 

Yes. There. A door to a girl’s bathroom that probably hadn’t been renovated since since the early 20th century. Granted, he wasn’t sure any part of the castle really got renovated. What did magical renovation look like, anyway? Surely there was no caution tape, no hard hats, no crews of burly men. Did you just… flick a wand? Did you even need to know about architecture or mechanics or anything? Did magic remove the need for any other skill set? These were all valid questions, and all were ones he could address later. Much later. Yeeeeaaars later. For now, he knew where Kelby must have gone.

 

Though Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom brought back gasping memories of his head shoved into a toilet, he needed to push past the undealt-with trauma and push that door open and find his friend. So Rad took a deep breath and did. It was just as he remembered, shabby and large, with an unerring aura of misery— no doubt the lasting contribution of its primary tenant. He was about to call out his friend’s name when he noticed two shoes poking out from beneath one of the toilet stalls.

 

Creeping toward it and crouching down, he found himself staring into the ashen face of Kelby Matos. “Are you okay?” he asked, settling down into criss-cross-applesauce. “I’m… I’m really sorry, Kelby.”

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Kelby Matos

Every time Kelby launched into some sort of panic, it felt like a foreign beast had taken over her mind. Growing up, she had watched numerous television shows about aliens and hypnosis, of people unable to control their thoughts and actions. She dreamt of it once in a nightmare that had her screaming into the dark in the middle of the night. The thought of someone having such control over her was her worst fear, taking away all the free will she had worked so hard to acquire. When she was younger, she always thought external forces were the only reason she would ever experience something so devastating.

It wasn’t until she was much older that she realized how haunting her panic could be.

Never once in that nightmare had Kelby envisioned herself as her worst enemy. There was no way she could lose the autonomy of who she was if she were in control, but Kelby had always fallen short when it came to thinking logically. If A was equal to B and B was equal to C, most people could see that A was equal to C within seconds. Things like that had never come easily to the twelve-year-old who struggled to see anything beyond her own intense feelings.

As Kelby sat on the floor of that bathroom stall, all she could bring herself to do was fidget. Those brief moments of movement made her feel as though she could control something. Each thought was darker than the last, swirling around her head like shooting stars. Kelby was unable to grapple with the fact that her mind was too far gone, but at least her physical actions, though she was struggling through them, were still her own. Slowly, she lost even that. Her breathing became strained, and the Gryffindor couldn’t manage to get enough air into her lungs. Every inhale fell short, accelerating her breathing until she just couldn’t keep up anymore.

The panic had progressed like a hazardous tumor, conquering one piece of her body before moving on for more. Every second she allowed it to consume her, it festered more until it completely conquered her mind, body, and soul. Kelby knew she needed to fight it, but she struggled to hold on.

The first year heard the bathroom door open and instantly cringed, wishing she could make herself smaller and smaller until she ceased to exist in this corporeal realm.  Wouldn’t things be much easier if she just managed to disappear like ash in the wind, floating until it was broken down into so many pieces, it wasn’t even tangible anymore. Would the world fair better that way?

Footsteps edged closer to her, and Kelby managed a quick intake of air in hopes that she could silence her panic, to pretend this life was alright. It wasn’t though; Kelby was just too naïve to admit these words to herself out loud.

Moments of silence passed before Rad was bent before her, sitting across the way with his legs crossed. He looked settled, like a brick wall that refused to move no matter how much Kelby willed it away. Her eyes flashed in surprise, wondering if he came exclusively to check on her when she realized the magical conduit that was still being tightly gripped by her left hand. Avoiding his questions and apologies because she was sure he only said it to get back the important object she had stolen, Kelby shoved the glorified stick towards him. “I didn’t mean to take it,” she claimed, trying to defend herself from how the situation appeared. “You don’t have to say anything else, I won’t take your wand hostage.”

As soon as she was sure he was going to take the item, she wrapped her arms around her knees, hoping to make herself look even smaller as she looked away. Maybe if she tried hard enough to disappear, her magic would help her find a way to make that actually happen.

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