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Arwa Hashmi-Andrada

Maybe it's time I found a better place to hide

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Arwa Hashmi-Andrada

Third year hadn’t really been the catwalk Arwa had expected it to be, and surprisingly, it had all started to go bad from day one. It all went back to that bloody game of truth and dare that she’d accidentally stumbled into, and foolishly enough, she had decided to tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth. That night had only gotten worse.

 

Robin was quite possibly Arwa’s closest friend at Hogwarts, and their kiss during sorting night had turned everything upside down. She couldn’t talk to her properly anymore - and worst of all, Arwa missed the other girl more than she could imagine. 

 

The third year had had an entire year to think through her reaction, of when Robin had leaned in to kiss her, and she still couldn’t understand it. She had liked it, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that Robin had only done it because she felt sorry for her. It was a terrible thing to assume, but she didn’t think it was something she could come out and ask, either.

 

Now she had already boarded the Hogwarts Express to go back home to Scotland, and to think over everything she’d done wrong this year.

 

”Here, have some jelly beans,” she said, pulling an entire batch out of her robes and placing them carefully on the seat behind her. Somehow, Arwa had managed to save some from the end of year party they’d had in the Gryffindor Tower. “I know they’re your favourite,” she added, grinning down at her roommate.

 

That one look was enough to tell Arwa that everything was not okay (even though Robin did her best to turn her face away at the last moment).

 

She’d seen that look before: on the night of sorting day, when Robin had found her, much later, curled up in her bed in their dormitory. It was an expression that only filled Arwa with guilt, and she didn’t know why. Had she broken Robin’s heart without even realising it? Was that even possible at this stage? She didn’t know as much about love and feelings and crushes as she professed to, no matter how many money-making schemes she set up in the Great Hall.

 

Sighing, she took a seat next to the other Gryffindor and turned to face her fully. “Listen, Robin...” She started, hesitatingly. Arwa didn’t have any of the right words, and she didn’t want to ruin it any more than she already had. She couldn’t talk to Robin, she couldn’t joke with Robin - everything was tainted, like stitched together pieces of the same cloth that kept boasting of its one flaw. “I’m sorry,” she said, finally. “For that night. I guess I just...I don’t even know,” she frowned. “I miss you.”

 

Instead of loading this moment with baseless accusations of pity, Arwa chose to swallow those instead with a spoonful of brutal honesty.

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Robin Bagley

Ever since their somewhat fateful sorting night, Robin had missed Arwa the whole year long.  Of course, she'd seen her every single day: they'd had a lot of laughs, a few mild shenanigans, and by all appearances had had a pretty good time.  And yet...

 

Robin hadn't really been planning on kissing her best friend or anything.  Something in the moment between the two girls had just connected, and it had seemed like the right thing to do - which, to Robin, was as good as an instruction to do something.  She wasn't one for regrets or dwelling on things, so she'd been surprised by just how much she'd come back to that moment through the year.  Usually when she laughed a little too loud at one of Arwa's jokes, or broke eye contact with her a moment too soon, or when a silence dragged on between them just a little longer than it used to.  All of this was strange, new, grown up territory, and in an uncharacteristic and very un-Gryffindor-like reticent mood, she'd opted to bury it all down and tell no one rather than exploring it.

 

But on the way back to King's Cross, Robin had allowed herself just a momentary indulgence - and had clearly stared so long that Arwa caught her.  Flushing as though she'd developed an extreme case of Gryffindor pride, she attempted to save the moment by shoveling fistfuls of every-flavour-beans into her mouth. Unfortunately, just as she closed her jaw down around something that mostly tasted (so far) of regret, Arwa began to speak, letting words that had hung unspoken in the middle of the Gryffindor dormitory since September finally go free.  Robin sniffled, a tear coming to her eye that she told herself was definitely because of the ungodly chemical mess she'd just unleashed onto her tastebuds.

 

"I..." she said, around the most bizarre mouthful of her life.  "Mmmf..."  She swallowed, hard, and took a moment to stop herself gagging from the unharmonious cocktail of brown rice, scotch bonnet, petrol, and kumquat.  "I'm sorry.  If I made things worse. I really wanted to, really suddenly, and I just felt like it was the right thing to... it felt right.  I'm sorry too."  She took a deep, shuddering breath.  "I missed you all year.  Even though you're right here!"

 

There was still plenty of awkwardness hanging in the air between them, but it was a little easier to see now with some of the unspoken words cleared out of the way.  Robin felt herself relax a tiny bit, despite the deep uneasiness currently between them.  She gave a smile that was only a little teary-eyed.  "Was I really that bad a kisser?" she asked, finally letting out the joke she'd wanted to make all year but had lacked an appreciative audience for.

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Arwa Hashmi-Andrada

Arwa pretended not to notice the way Robin’s eyes were suddenly filling up with moisture. Luckily, nothing spilled over; it would’ve been awkward to both ignore it and acknowledge it. Man, friendship really was difficult. Turning in her seat slightly, Arwa reached out a hand for a sweet, coming up with a lone Chocolate Frog. It felt a bit like a metaphor.

 

Her eyebrows went up at Robin’s words - as the other girl finally managed to clear her throat and reply. “Wait, you’re saying it was just something you did because of what happened on the train?” Now wrinking her eyebrows, Arwa turned once more, this time to fully face the other Gryffindor. She couldn’t believe that all of her suspicions had turned out to be correct. “You just...felt bad for me?” She added, quietly, with her eyes turned down.

 

Arwa didn’t know why she was so upset by it: it was something she’d already assumed herself, so being told it was true shouldn’t be that much of a big deal. She swallowed heavily around the lump in her throat, and tried to compose herself. There was still a way out of this that didn’t completely ruin everything for the both of them.

 

She just needed to find it.

 

“I missed you too,” she said now, acknowledging her feelings all year long. It was terrible that the ‘incident’ happened on the first day of the year, effectively killing the rest of it for them. The two friends hadn’t even been able to enjoy a day out in Hogsmeade. “You’re not a bad kisser,” she replied. “Just bad timing, I guess,” she shrugged. Arwa didn’t remember much about the kiss they’d shared - she’d been in too much of a panic.

 

”We could try again?” She said, casually, completely in contrast to what she had said earlier. Arwa could see herself blundering towards yet another big mistake, but this time, she couldn’t stop herself.

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Robin Bagley

Arwa turned to look straight at Robin, who found herself squirming.  She definitely wanted to do one of two things: get up from her chair and run out of the compartment at full speed, or study Arwa's face in as much detail as she possibly could, to the point where he might have to move just a little closer to her.  She definitely wanted to do one of those things.  The problem was, she had absolutely no idea which.

 

But then, Arwa said she thought Robin had only kissed her because she felt bad for her, and Robin decided that by far the best course of action would be to hide under her chair. But somehow, instead of diving for cover, she found herself sitting frozen in place, thinking far too hard about whether it would be weird to put a hand on Arwa's arm.

 

"Oh, no, no!"  the words burst out of Robin, horrified, before she could formulate any kind of plan.  "I didn't mean it like that!"  In her panic, she decided that one hand on one arm wasn't enough, and went emphatically for one hand on each.  "It wasn't some kind of like... apology or gesture, I just..." Robin found herself glowing scarlet with a mysterious burst of house pride, "I just sort of realised I might really want to kiss you.  And it seemed like a good time."  She paused, and bashfully set her hands back in her own lap.  "I guess I didn't quite get that part right."

 

She'd have thought that the adrenaline coursing through her veins would numb her to any new feelings, but when Arwa said she'd missed her, Robin felt a new glow rising inside her along with her blush.  But when Arwa said that perhaps they could try again, it was definitely a new wave of blushing rising in her.

 

"I mean..."  said Robin, "are you sure?  I don't want to... I don't know, I want to make sure it's okay.  I probably should have asked last time.  Like... I'd be up for it but I don't want to make you or..."  And then, a slight note of playfulness creeping into her voice, she added "Just because my kissing is so unmemorable, you don't have to or anything." She found herself smiling a little; at least there was something lightening the tone of what Robin suspected was the longest serious conversation she'd held in her last three full years at Hogwarts.  And then, just to make sure Arwa didn't get the wrong idea, she added, "I mean, I will if you will.  Obviously."

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Arwa Hashmi-Andrada

”Oh,” was the first word that fell out of Arwa’s mouth at Robin’s explanation. She didn’t know if she completely believed her, but Arwa also didn’t think the other girl would lie to her. That was just...purely looking for issues where there weren’t any. Then, what Robin had said finally caught up to her. “Wait, you wanted to kiss me?” The tone of incredulity was perhaps a tad bit overdone, but Arwa couldn’t help but feel like she was being pawned.

 

There was no way someone like Robin would want to kiss her (or was there?).

 

She was now completely turned towards Robin; she could count individual eyelashes fluttering just below her eyes, as she slowly moved forward. This might just be an impulsive decision, but Arwa still found herself leaning in without a hint of predetermined regret, as Robin’s words came to a stop. “I do,” she muttered, an inch of separation between them. “You’re not quite as unmemorable as you think you are.”

 

Then, they kissed. It was as simple as that.

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Robin Bagley

"Wait, you wanted to kiss me?"

 

Robin found herself anxiously wondering if Arwa could really be asking that.  How, she asked herself as she nervously looked across at her fellow Gryffindor, could Arwa really ask that?  There had been times over the last year - plenty of somewhat sleepless nights - where she had thought that the real problem, back at the sorting feast, was that she'd just assumed that Arwa would have wanted to kiss her, when Arwa was clearly in a whole different class of kissing than Robin could hope to aspire to.  But that didn't seem to be quite true...

 

She was sitting awfully close to her now, saying something.  To Robin, no stranger to tuning out of important conversations, the words seemed unimportant compared to the sheer closeness of Arwa's face to her own.  She was looking straight at her.  She was....

 

Robin's heart stopped, and their lips touched, and it was extremely memorable indeed.

 

For a moment, any trace of awkwardness between them had gone.  But then, as Robin's hand went up to brush against Arwa's hair, the train juddered to a sudden stop, and Robin realised that - all too soon - they'd pulled into King's Cross.  There was a sudden rush of the sound of people standing and scraping of luggage, and Robin reluctantly moved away from her, trying to catch her breath back.

 

"Wow," she said, giving her friend a shy smile.  "I, um..."  am not going to be able to think of anything else all the way home , her mind finished for her.  "That... you're right, that was much.... I guess we should..." Robin could feel herself babbling, and willed herself to deliver a coherent sentence as the train around them swarmed their way onto the bustling platform.  "Arwa, I..."  She felt like the moment was being snatched away from her.  "I... I'll write?"

 

Months of looking forward to the Summer, and now she suddenly only had eyes for September first.

Edited by Robin Bagley

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