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Julian Pritchard

sentences rose high at night, and circled round my head

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Julian Pritchard

Breakfast had always been a pleasant time of day for Julian. It served his favourite food in the whole world - toast - and he often got to spend it sitting with Hazel, quietly chatting about what they might be covering in class that day, or what he’d read about the night before or news she’d gotten from home. Breakfast since the werewolf attack had been significantly less pleasant. It wasn’t just that that he wasn’t sleeping well, and he was often late and exhausted, or even the nauseous feeling that he inevitably got whenever he crossed the threshold into the Great Hall and which, while it had diminished with time, hadn’t quite gone away. Even toast had been ruined; his sense of taste had been ever so slightly off since he’d been bitten. There were only two reasons he hadn’t quite made a habit of skipping the meal: he knew Hazel would worry, and it was mail time.

 

Every day, he glanced up as the rustle of wings alerted him to the owls’ presence, hoping to see his pen pal’s distinctive lettering on an envelope, and every day he was disappointed. It had been his turn to write, before the attacks, but tried as he had, he’d been unable to pen a letter that adequately captured what had happened, and what he wanted - needed, even - to know (guess what? I’m a werewolf too, seemed like an inadequate start, but it was the only one he could think of). Part of him had hoped that concern might’ve moved Terence to break the pattern and write him, and as they’d gotten news of werewolves having escaped (surely ‘escaped’ was the wrong verb, there) Taith Coch, his need to hear from his pen pal had only become more urgent. It was hard to resist the thought that Terence wasn’t writing because he wasn’t there, because he’d left and had somehow ended up at Hogwarts. It was the sort of thought that was contributing to his sleeping problems.

 

He wasn’t sure what it was about that particular Tuesday and its lack of letter that finally moved him to action - maybe it was that, by pure coincidence, he’d picked out a place on the Hufflepuff table that was next to Rosie, and the memory of a certain overheard conversation months prior kept playing itself on his head - but, as he stared at his half eaten toast, he was seized by a sudden impulse and he turned around to speak to her.

 

“Hey,” he said quietly. “You have a pen pal at Taith Coch, right? Have they written to you at all? Since, well, you know...“ He turned to stare at his hands, which were worrying at the napkin on his lap.

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Rosie Ferranti

Rosie, round and tubby and still owning her puppy-fat, was helping herself to second breakfast. 

 

She loved the great hall and getting to spend time at the Hufflepuff table. Everyone was always so friendly and inclusive and there were always conversations going on. Even if she wasn't included in them, it was nice to hear their pleasant buzz and feel warm and cosy. Since the attack that feel had been a little... different. People still talked but sometimes it was hushed and other times they stopped abruptly when certain people walked past. Occasionally tones got heated and there were pointed remarks. It unsettled someone like her, whose whole thing in life was making other people feel happy. 

 

Another new thing since the attacks was quietness. Soft voices, hesitant ones, low voices like the one Julian was using now, as if not entirely sure that he should ask what he was asking - or like he didn't want other people to overhear. Rosie blinked at his words and finished chewing her mouthful of cereal (frosties, extra sugar, double-cream in place of milk) before replying. 

 

"I do, yeah. Or at least, I did." She bit her bottom lip, hesitant for a second. "I haven't heard from them in a while. Why?" She hoped Julian wasn't going to say that all werewolves were evil. He seemed too sensible for that, but since the attacks...

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Julian Pritchard

Julian relaxed slightly in his seat Rosie’s confirmation that she hadn’t heard from her pen pal either, his hands still for a moment in his lap. Of course, he shouldn’t feel relief. Lack of news from two people wasn’t better than lack of news from one, but it did suggest that Terence’s silence - if that was what was going on - wasn’t specific to him. It might be something going on in the whole sanctuary.

 

“Well,” he paused, reaching to nibble at his piece of toast as he thought how best to explain his concerns. “I suppose I was a bit worried because I haven’t heard from mine since then. Of course, I haven’t actually written him in a while, either. Not since that night. It was my turn. I just thought...” He trailed off, a faint blush making its way to his cheeks as he verbalised his hope. It didn’t make sense. He knew it didn’t make sense. They had a pattern for exchanging letters. It wasn’t rational to expect the pattern to be broken, but he still looked for the letter every day.  

 

“Have you?” He turned back to look at her. If Rosie had written a letter and hadn’t received a response, or if it was her pen pal’s turn and they hadn’t written, then that lent some credence to the theory that there might’ve been some interruption with the pen pal program in general. It was also entirely possible that Rosie hadn’t. There was always the possibility that the attacks might’ve made her afraid of talking to a werewolf. Assuming, of course, that she didn’t know about him. He reached to rub at his shoulder. 

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Rosie Ferranti

Oh! Julian had a werewolf pen pal too. How lovely!  Rosie's smile brightened -- then dimmed immediately as he said that he hadn't heard from his werewolf pen pal either. A frown creased her brow. 

 

"If it's your turn why aren't you writing to him?" she asked, sounding genuinely curious and not accusatory at all. Rosie found it hard to judge other people for their actions and thought that everyone always had a reason for what they did. She was sure Julian had one, it just seemed odd to be worried about his pen pal not writing when it was his own turn to write first. 

 

"Have I written to them? Yeah, last week. Or was it the week before? I feel like it was Wednesday. Maybe it was Thursday. We had treacle tart for pudding, I remember that. Or maybe that was the day before I wrote the letter. Did I write one? I think I did." She frowned some more. "Maybe I didn't." It seemed odd that she hadn't received a reply in a while from her pen pal now that she thought about it. She hoped they didn't think that she was against werewolves since the attack... Maybe she needed to send them something to cheer them up! Of course, what a great idea. 

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Julian Pritchard

Julian started a little at the question, even though it was a perfectly logical question to ask. It was, in fact, the question he would’ve asked if he was Rosie. That didn’t make it any easier to answer, though, and he stared at her for a moment, searching her face for signs that she knew about him; about what had happened. She did share a dorm with Hazel, after all, and it wasn’t like he’d ever asked her to keep it a secret.

 

“I haven’t written because I don’t know what to say,” he said finally, taking a sip of his juice once he’d spoken. It was the truth, albeit not the complete truth, and once it gotten started it was a lot easier for the rest of the explanation to come tumbling out. “I mean, it’s not like I can just go back to what we were talking about before like that night didn’t happen. He’s bound to know about it, right? So I don’t know if I should tell him what happened or… or how to tell him, really. And I want to ask him about the people that left - “ he was very deliberate not to use the word ‘escaped’ - “the sanctuary that night, but I dunno if I should. I don’t want to upset him.”

 

Some of Julian’s earlier hope dissipated when Rosie seemed not to know when she’d actually written to her pen pal, and he pressed his lips together and frowned at his plate.

 

“It’s still strange, though, right?” he asked, perhaps a little desperately. “That they haven’t written. I mean, if I was your pen pal and I’d heard that the school had been attacked, I’d want to know that you were alright.” He flushed again.

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