Chapter 1 : smile though your heart is breaking
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You smile because this time you’re together.
The grounds of Hogwarts are bursting with colour; splashes of blues, pinks, yellows and purples litter the lush green grass of the lawn. The Great Lake spreads across the land like an ornate mirror gilded by rocky banks and leafy ridges. Beside you, he is seated serenely, his dark hair turning into molten bronze in the golden sunlight of the afternoon. He is smiling too—bright, sunny, far from the dying sun of the present, and you feel warmth spread over you simply at the sight, glowing under the heat of his smile.
He’d been away—gone, disappeared. But he is back—and so are you, in Hogwarts, your home—and you are together and everything is fine again.
Unfortunately, though, that seemed to be the pattern between you, that glorious, horrible, amazing pattern; that was the way it always was. Albus and Ariadne; you might as well be star-crossed. What should be easy, simple even, is hard, practically impossible. A Hufflepuff and a Ravenclaw; innocence and intellect.
But then, knowledge will always corrupt the naïve.
You both tried and tried and tried again but something was always wrong, missing, broken—and then there was The Accident—but you somehow made it here, to Hogwarts, together. You lace his fingers into yours and he’s still smiling, still there. But he’s always there—once you think about it, you realise he’s always there, waiting in the wings, waiting to pick you up, waiting to be there when you need him, in some way or another.
His arms are around you now, on the edge of the lake in the dying sun—and it’s okay because he’s here, with you. The Accident is a distant memory now, fading back as if it never happened; the blood, the screams, the fire—it’s all gone now. He’s here; he’s here with you; he’s here to stay.
Ever since your childhood, that’s where you’ve wanted to be; with him, always. His parents and yours—the war heroes, each one of them—had dreamed of the day they could call you family, but it wasn’t to be. He saw you as one of the boys, a best mate. And no matter how hard you tried, how short your skirt was, how much make-up was on your face, you couldn’t change the way he saw you.
It wasn’t until that fateful day, a distant memory now, when everything changed.
You remember the spiders in Care of Magical Creatures in Forth Year. The horrid spawn of some long-dead acromantula hidden deep in the Forbidden Forest, and the moment you see them, you freeze—you hate spiders and these ones are enormous—unable to move, breathe, think. He knows you hate them, a phobia he’d never once joked about—and Albus jokes about everything—and suddenly his arms are wrapping around you, warm and soft like a blanket in winter, and you’re breathing, you’re thinking, you’re moving.
It was different after that, for the better. Suddenly he was noticing you, and somehow, someway, you came together and you were couple. Each touch became a promise; every word, a thrill; every moment, forever.
Maybe it was the Hufflepuff in you, the optimist, but suddenly everything seemed easy. You’d never been great at being a realist but it was okay, Al had reality enough for the both of you. Whatever he said, though, whatever he did was nothing because you are a pair, like a long lost puzzle piece brought together. You’re whole whenever he is near. You’re forever in orbit around each other, forever in motion with him.
Simply watching as he skims the water with his fingertips, sending ripples across the smooth, glassy façade of the Great Lake, you can’t help but smile wider, smile brighter. Forever young, forever whole, forever together; you know that now—now—is your chance to stay like this. Locked in the eternal memory you will stay with him, a perfect forever.
You smile because this time is forever.
From the porch of the old rehabilitation clinic in Dorset, Lily Potter stood with one of the senior Healers, watching Ariadne on the bank of the lake. The smile lighting up her sister-in-law’s tired, pallid face broke Lily’s heart and she felt a tear well up in her eyes as she remember the bright, sunny girl who used to be her brother’s wife.
“How long has she been down there?”
“Hours.” The Healer’s voice rung slightly with concern. “She’s hallucinating, regressed back in her last year of school. Just sits there, smiling at…well, at nothing.”
Lily smiled sadly as she stared down at the girl on the bank; it had always been Ariadne and Albus, ever since they were children, not one moment where there was one without the other. With the accident, the fire Al had set himself that lead to his death and the death of their three children, Lily was not surprised when Ariadne had changed. What she was not expecting was a full mental collapse, though the Healer told her that it was in the cards. Ariadne was a lovely girl; lovely girls like her couldn’t comprehend copping well with triple murder-suicide, no one could.
She glanced at the Healer, her smile lingering. “No harm in smiling.”
The Healer nodded in quick agreement, her expression soft as she watched her patient smile serenely into the sunset, clasping for a hand that wasn’t there.
“Well, yes,” she said, her eyes sad. “It’s better than the screaming, ma’am.”
Disclaimer: Araidne - the name, not the character - is unashamedly stolen from the movie Inception and the idea of a triple murder-suicide is, of course, the property of the creators of Shutter Island.
This was written for the Second Round of the TGS Writathon where our requirement was to include a brown-haired, blue-eyed Hufflepuff with a fear of spiders. Thanks for reading!
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