Jump to content
Julian Pritchard

in the clear light of day down here, everyone's a monster

Recommended Posts

Julian Pritchard

“Behati.”

 

Julian had just turned a corner to find himself face-to-face with said Hufflepuff, the name tumbling from his mouth before he could stop himself. It wouldn’t be accurate to say that he’d been avoiding his yearmate since the start of the new term - the sheer amount of classes they shared had made that impossible - but he’d certainly made a habit of never lingering around her for too long. Instead of being eternally ten minutes early to every class, he now intentionally arrived one or two minutes late. Instead of immediately setting off with his classmates after it, he’d stick around, faffing about with his books so he could be sure the rest of them would have some distance on him.

 

He wasn’t sure why, exactly. He didn’t know what he was afraid she’d do. The words she’d spoken on the wireless and, after, during the posters incident, occasionally echoed in his mind, but even if she was likely to randomly launch into a diatribe about the dangers of werewolves, it shouldn’t have the power to affect him. She was wrong. Lots of people were wrong about lots of things all the time. The world (and, most important, him) went on. The way he was acting made him feel constantly silly, even as he went rather deliberately out of his way to ensure that he wouldn’t remain in her presence for more than a few seconds, and even as his body constantly betrayed him, his heart picking up in her presence, muscles clenching like he was bracing himself for something.

 

It occurred to him, as he stood in front of her - like a deer caught in the headlights, eyes wide and hands frozen where they’d been clutching the strap of his book bag - that he was a little tired of it. Annoyed, even, with the whole situation. Behati was a person, who could exercise reason. Maybe she just needed reassurance, or the correct facts. Maybe he could help, and then he could stop with all the silliness.

 

“Can we talk?”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Behati Gadot

Since that day over winter holiday when Trudy Veritas had announced Julian’s name on the Wizarding Wireless for all of magical Great Britain to hear, Behati had been avoiding Julian. When they had class, she intentionally avoided sitting next to him (often choosing to sit by herself because the drama from last term, as well as her anti-werewolf views, made her especially unpopular with her year-mates), and whenever she caught his eye in the Great Hall, she quickly looked away. Julian must’ve had the same intentions as her, because he was usually the first to isolate himself from his Hufflepuff year-mate, not that Behati minded in the least. She’d be lying if she said that she hadn’t grown more afraid and distrustful of Julian since Trudy Veritas’s news broke.

 

Even admitting such a thing sounded ridiculous. Julian: who she’d had a water pistol fight with back in pre-Hogwarts primary, who she’d banded together with to help Hazel clean up her glittery mess in the library during their first year, who she’d dueled with and engaged with during their lessons, who she respected and saw as a boy of great intelligence and logic. Julian now made her feel fearful. In the past, Julian had been one-half of the Ravenclaw boys Bee considered to be as close as brothers to her. She and Simon and Julian and Hazel had shared so many memories together in their first year. Now, she was avoiding Hazel and Simon because she couldn’t handle the way Hazel looked at her anymore, and Simon now made her feel like she always did something wrong, and Julian was... God, Julian was a bloody werewolf.

 

He was gnashing teeth sharp as knives that could use human bones as toothpicks, pointed claws that could rip flesh from skin, and uncontrolled anger and aggression. Granted, with the help of the wolfsbane provided through Hogwarts, Julian was more in control of himself than most werewolves, but Julian wouldn’t stay at Hogwarts forever. Eventually, they’d all graduate and he wouldn’t have Hogwarts’ wolfsbane supply to rely on anymore. And then what?

 

Despite all the history they both shared together, Bee couldn’t see him the same anymore. Every time she looked at him, she said the werewolf who’d scratched her chest that fateful evening of November 8th. She saw the way the werewolf had stuffed its snout in her hair, mocking her, and how the thing had taken off, leaving her to die, to go after another student. No matter how much Behati had tried to view Julian through the lens of who she’d known him to be before the attack, there was a mental block in her brain that was preventing her from doing that. The trauma of that night, along with all the night terrors she’d suffered immediately after, prevented her from seeing any werewolf as anything other than the wolf who’d attacked her.

 

It all made her feel like she was losing her sanity, and it didn’t help that staff at Hogwarts insisted on letting every single infected student continue their studies at the school. Behati didn’t feel safe: she was a prisoner in her own mind, and also a prisoner in her own school.

 

“Julian,” the Hufflepuff responded, surprised to see that he hadn’t immediately turned in the opposite direction. She’d gotten so used to him avoiding her. “Sure, we can talk.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Julian Pritchard

Julian had been so ready for his attempt to approach Behati to go poorly - shoulders tense and braced against whatever she would say next - that he was momentarily at a loss when she suddenly agreed. He squinted at her, trying to determine whether something in her tone hinted at anything but civility. When he couldn’t discern anything, he took a small step towards her and opened his mouth.

 

He didn’t immediately speak. It was hard to know where to start - which of her remarks to pick on and start trying to unravel. It was hard to tell what he could even say that would be effective. He understood that Behati was scared. It had to be what was driving all this. She, like him, had been hurt on the night of November 8th and she was scared that it would happen again. It was perfectly reasonable. He was scared too. He still woke up regularly, having dreamt of that night - or other nights, imagined nights in which he was the monster - with his heart pounding the taste of iron on his tongue and screams that weren’t his own in his ears. He understood that. It was how that led to the idea - to the certainty - that they could not be trusted, that the system in place wasn’t safe enough, that they should be expelled. That was where his understanding faltered.

 

It occurred to him that he probably wouldn’t be able to pick a place to start if he didn’t understand, so he led with a question of sorts. “I guess, I wanted to understand what you think will happen if we stay here. At school. The people who were bitten. Or...” He shook his head slightly at his own words. That wasn’t quite right. He knew what she thought would happen - the constant reference to Galen Ward was tell enough. He jumped in to amend himself.

 

“Or… I suppose I want to understand how you think it’ll happen.” That was much better. Maybe if she had a better understanding of how the process of getting Wolfsbane and to the Hospital Wing during the full moon worked, he could explain where she was wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Behati Gadot

It was an ever-frustrating thing to feel like the safety net you relied on had been coldly and brutally snatched away from you. It was a horrid thing that Behati wouldn’t wish on anyone, despite everyone's belief in her to be the contrary. She knew that Hogwarts came with a risk factor—the school was notorious for attacks; one would have to be a complete buffoon to think that the school was foolproof—but never had she believed that that risk would come so violently and so early on in her education. Granted, she’d gotten three whole years at school before the attacks happened, so it wasn’t like this was her first introduction into Hogwarts like it was for the first years, but still. It was the principle of the thing.

 

Nobody else seemed to truly understand that, though. Well, except for Ryan and Hatty and a select few.

 

Nobody seemed to really understand that Hogwarts wasn’t foolproof. The systems they’d come to trust had failed in the past, they failed on the night of November 8th, and, as anyone with half a brain could tell you, precedent dictated that they would fail again. And Behati didn’t want to be there when that day finally arrived. The anger that filled her made her boastful whenever the wizarding world witnessed attack after attack because everyone was so hellbent on denying the seriousness of this whole situation, but she didn’t actually want to be right. Not at the expense of others’ lives. It seemed, however, that everyone had completely forgotten that werewolves could actually kill people, and instead had settled on pretending as though all of the students who feared for their own personal safety were simply being mindless bigots who had no legitimate reason to hate or fear werewolves.

 

“Julian,” Bee said in that way she did when she knew a question was rhetorical. Julian must’ve realized his error, because he backtracked almost immediately and instead asked her a different question. “You want to understand how I think what will happen, exactly? You all losing your minds and ripping our throats out with your teeth?” It wasn’t meant to be crude or passive aggressive—simply an honest reveal of the truth that she felt everyone was trying too damn hard to sanitize.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Julian Pritchard

Behati didn’t really answer his question. She merely rephrased it, and Julian found himself immediately regretting having started the conversation. He winced at her words, at the way she laid his worst fear bare in the crudest possible terms. Gritting his teeth slightly, he looked away, hoping momentarily for an excuse to leave.

 

None was forthcoming, of course.

 

He bit his lip. “Yes,” he said mildly. “I suppose I do.” He fiddled with the strap between his fingers. “That’s actually very unlikely- I mean, it’s very unlikely that just one of us would-- “ He shook his head lightly, unable to bring himself to repeat the words she’d used. They stuck in the back of his throat, refusing to be spoken. “All of us would be practically impossible. It’d probably take someone actively sabotaging the potion and the wards.” He pursed his lips, suddenly feeling acutely silly for having mentioned it at all. It was something he worried about sometimes, when he was lying awake late at night. He didn’t think it was likely or anything, but with no information about how the werewolves had gotten in during the November full moon, his mind refused to rule it out. It was certainly not the kind of thing he wanted Behati to think about.

 

He tried changing tack.

 

“They watch us, you know, drink the potion. It’s not like we can just... not.” His cheeks warmed at that particular admission. It always felt slightly humiliating, trying to force down the bitter liquid while someone watched on. It made him feel like he wasn’t trusted, which of course was exactly the case. It made perfect sense that the school staff would want to make sure, and Julian found comfort in the idea whenever he worried about one of the other kids not taking their potion. It felt galling nonetheless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Behati Gadot

“It’s not like it’d be the first time someone’s sabotaged the wards or didn’t take their wolfsbane,” Behati countered, matter-of-factly. “If someone really wanted to, I’m sure it wouldn’t take that much effort. Especially if they were already inside the school.”

 

She let the words hang between them, let the implication of it wash over Julian. Her eyes never left him. She watched his face for any ticks or tells, or any semblance of understanding. Bee had a hard time believing that she could trust Julian anymore. If she’d been attacked by rogue werewolves outside of school, maybe she wouldn’t look at him with newfound fear and scorn. Maybe she wouldn’t regard him as the thing that went bump in the night. But being attacked at school, on the quidditch pitch, by werewolves who’d managed to break through Hogwarts (supposedly) impenetrable (what a load of nonsense that was) wards, only solidified in her mind that allowing the turned students sanctuary within the walls of Hogwarts was a bad idea. If it took very little for rogue werewolves to break in and cause so much bloodshed, Bee didn’t even need to imagine how much easier it’d be for werewolves that were already in the school. McGonagall was practically handing the non-afflicted student body to the werewolves on a silver platter.

 

“And I’m supposed to care about that because...?” The werewolves who had attacked them all on November 8th had been in a werewolf reserve under the watchful eye of professionals, as well. They’d had their wolfsbane monitored, too. There’d been protections put in place to prevent them from getting out. There’d been protections put in place to prevent them from getting into Hogwarts. And, yet, all of that hadn’t been enough to stop what had happened. So Julian would have to forgive Behati for not seeing the comfort in being reminded that there were staff members watching the werewolf students take their wolfsbane. “All it would take is one of you, Julian. Do I believe that every single werewolf has a desire to murder every wizard they come across? No, I don’t. But that doesn’t matter in the end, does it? All it would take is one or two. And that’s the point.”

 

She stepped closer to him, folding her arms across her chest. Her scar rested just beneath her uniform. “You wanna understand how I think it’ll happen if we continue to house you all at school? Fine. I think that all it takes is one or two werewolves with a personal vendetta skipping their doses for Hogwarts to turn into a slaughterhouse. And who’d be able to stop them? The adults who watch you drink your potion? Because they were all so helpful the night you all got turned, right?” The sarcasm dripped from every word. Bee had been unconscious for the attack in the Great Hall, but she’d heard more than enough about what went down from others who’d been there to know that the professors’ hexes and spells had been no match for the werewolves who’d surrounded all of the students in the Great Hall.

 

If the aurors hadn’t shown up when they did, there’d most likely wouldn’t even be students left at Hogwarts.

 

“Even if you wouldn’t do something like that, that doesn’t mean others are the same. You can’t control their actions. I can’t control their actions. McGonagall can’t control their actions. No amount of nice words and inclusivity changes the fact that when the full moon hits, nobody can control the actions of werewolves. And all it takes is one missed potion. One werewolf who says “screw it” and endangers the rest of us. You saw how all of Hogwarts’ wards couldn’t protect us that night. I remember during a Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson, before the attack, Professor Foster told us that something like that wouldn’t happen. She told us that Hogwarts had security measures that would prevent something of that magnitude from happening. Guess what, Julian? She was wrong! You’ve all been wrong before!” Bee threw up her arms in frustration.

 

That was one of the things that annoyed Behati to no end: it felt like nobody even wanted to admit that they’d been wrong in the past. Nobody could guarantee that they weren’t wrong about this, too.

 

“This isn’t about trying to keep you all out of a birthday party or a cool club or whatever other nonsense the lot of you want to make it about. It’s literally a life or death situation. You all possess the ability to kill every single last one of us. Think about that, Julian. On a full moon, you could kill me and you wouldn’t be able to stop yourself. You could kill Hazel. You could kill Simon. It wouldn’t entirely be your fault, and I’m sure you wouldn’t mean to, but it wouldn’t make us any less dead. Galen Ward didn’t mean to kill his sister, but no amount of time that he spent in Azkaban can bring Margo back to life.”

 

“So, yeah, I don’t want any of you at Hogwarts because I don’t feel safe around any of you. It’s nothing personal.”

Edited by Behati Gadot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.