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A Little Twist of the Knife; *closed* Claire
Topic Started: Jan 4 2018, 04:37 PM (472 Views)
Odette Harper
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Manipulative | Insecure | Captain & Beater | Learning to Cope | QQS Assistant

Odette was in a stormy mood. Hayden had broken up with her, he had dumped her for a silly prank she was pulling on her sister. It made her more angry than sad right now, because he had been an utter sh*t about it. Not only had he broken up with her, but also taken points and even taken her to Styx. It was absolutely ridiculous. A few days as a prefect and the power had clearly gone to his head. Whatever, she didn't want a stupid snitch of a boyfriend like him anyway. Never mind that she now had no one to go to any dance with, and that a part of her felt utterly abandoned. It wasn't like he was that good a boyfriend, anyway. At least, that's what she tried to tell herself.

She was hanging out with Margo after a charms lesson, wondering if she should tell her about the situation with Hayden. Margo was her friend, so she was supposed to take her side. Right? And Odette was kind of in the mood to have someone on her side. "So, Hayden and I broke up." She muttered, breaking the silence that had fallen between them.
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Margo Ellis
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It hadn't slipped Margo's notice that her best friend had been acting a little... unusually, of late. For one thing, she'd dyed her hair dark brown, which was so un-Odette-like that the Ravenclaw was still trying to wrap her head around it. But what concerned Margo more than anything else was the change in her behaviour: the brooding, and the rudeness, and the episodes of quiet that tended to follow. Admittedly, Odette had always had a sharp tongue, but at least she'd been clever and subtle about her comments. Now she was just plain rude. Something was seriously wrong with her, and Margo couldn't figure out what it was.

She was just beginning to think she might ask when all of a sudden, after one of their Charms lessons, Odette dropped a bombshell that Margo was completely unprepared for. Suddenly, things seemed to make sense. "Oh, no," she said, reaching out to comfort her friend. Then she frowned, suddenly furious that anybody would hurt Odette, and jumping immediately to the conclusion that Hayden must have been the one at fault. "What did he do?"
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Odette Harper
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Odette knew Margo had been concerned about her, but it had mostly annoyed her. The little glances she gave whenever Odette said something less than nice (though often true), and the way she sometimes looked at her hair said enough. But Margo would have to deal with it. If she wanted to stay Odette's friend, and surely she did, she would have to get used to the changes. Margo's reaction to her declaration made her feel a little better, though she didn't really want to be comforted. "He let that stupid prefect sh*t get to his head." She said with a scowl. "Thinking he's better than anyone. He caught me doing something that wasn't entirely within the rules but it wasn't hurting anyone. And he totally went all prefect on me. Broke up with me to boot. But it's whatever. I don't want a boring jerk for a boyfriend anyway." She muttered, crossing her arms in front of her chest. "Do you have more classes today?" She asked the girl, a wicked glint appearing in her eyes. "Let's do something fun, something that will make little mister prefect's hair stand on end if he knew."
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Margo Ellis
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At first, Margo's anger felt justified; Hayden had grassed Odette up for breaking a tiny little rule. That creep! But as Odette continued, a devilish look in her eye, the Ravenclaw felt herself waver. After the flyer incident, she'd done her very best to stay out of trouble, which wasn't always easy with Odette for her best friend, but for the most part, she'd managed it. House points and doing well meant a lot to Margo; she valued integrity, and hard work. What Odette proposed went against everything she prided herself on. Odette knew that. Only, as usual, she didn't seem to care.

Margo bit her lip. Maybe she ought to be a good friend and just agree to whatever Odette wanted to do. That was what friendship was about, after all - making sacrifices for each other, and having each other's back no matter what. But then again, Margo couldn't remember the last time Odette had had her back. Most of the time, it was just Margo trailing after Odette, ever at her beck and call, even when it inconvenienced her. So why should Margo keep on agreeing to things she didn't want to do?

"Do we have to?" she asked. "Why don't we just forget about Hayden and move on? I don't want to get into trouble again. My parents will kill me if they get another letter home."
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Odette Harper
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Odette watched her friend's reaction closely, waiting for the indignation. But Margo mostly seemed to care about Odette's plan to do something fun, and Odette frowned in response to her question. "It's not all about Hayden, I've already moved on." She snapped, her annoyance clear. "Don't talk about what you don't understand, Margo. I just want to do something fun. I've been doing fun things all semester." She said with a grin. "I was actually leaving a sweet little message for Charlotte on the wall in the entrance hall, though Hayden spoiled it and she never saw it. Perhaps we could try to slip some gross things into her pumpkin juice. You can distract her while I do it." She said, a smirk appearing on her face. "Don't be a wimp. Your parents won't get another letter, you'll just be talking to her."
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Margo Ellis
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"You're crazy," Margo said, before she could stop herself. As soon as it slipped out, she regretted it, but it was too late to take it back, so instead she kept going. "Putting gross stuff in someone's drink isn't funny, Odette. It's stupid and immature. Why can't you just be nice to people for once? I'm tired of you being mean to everyone. It makes people not want to hang out with me because they think I'm mean like you." Margo knew she was going to kick herself for this later, but at that moment, she couldn't stop her feelings pouring out. She'd been bottling it up for some time, keeping it to herself, and now the cork had burst. She folded her arms. "If you want to do something stupid that gets you into trouble, you can do it by yourself."
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Odette Harper
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Odette's mouth dropped open when Margo said she was crazy, and she was surprised to feel that actually hurt. She quickly hardened herself though, glaring at the girl. "You're stupid and immature, and being nice to people won't make them like you." She said with a sneer. "Don't blame me because people don't want to hang out with YOU. That has nothing to do with me. It's because you're a pathetic brainless idiot, who blindly follows whoever you think will get you further. Do you have your eye on a stupid prefects badge too Margo?" She laughed mockingly. "Please, you need to be smart for that too." She gave her a dismissive look. "I've been done with you for a while now. Go run off and cry, you know you want to." She forced herself to smirk, even though she felt her eyes prickle a little. She knew what she had said would push Margo away from her forever, but if she had apologized and she had left anyway it would've been much worse. At least now it was her idea. Now she was the one with the power. And Margo had hurt her, she just knew how to hurt her back better.
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Margo Ellis
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Margo felt her world grind to a sickening halt. Her face turned pale, her cheeks cold, and a pit formed in her stomach. Was this how Odette really felt about her? That she was a pathetic, brainless idiot who only ever trailed after people? All right, the last part might have been true. And now that she came to think of it... maybe the rest was, too.

No. Margo refused to allow Odette's silly comments doubt herself. She knew she was in the right - that nobody thought it was clever or funny when Odette pulled stupid little stunts - and for once in her life, she wouldn't back down. But the pain welled up in the Ravenclaw's eyes anyway, because she knew what all of this meant. She'd lost her best friend. Her only friend. So much for that. Real friends didn't call each other names. Had Odette been lying all along, using her? Margo might not have been brainless, but she certainly wasn't brainy - or at least, her naivety clouded her wisdom. Several tears slipped down her cheeks. "I hate you," she said vehemently. "I don't care if I never see your face ever again. In fact, I'd be glad." Margo turned to flee, nearly barging straight into a professor who'd approached from behind without her knowledge. Great. Just what she needed: Professor Pendleton to see her crying. She shouldered past, keeping her head down as she ran. The worst part of it all was that it wasn't true. She didn't hate Odette. Even after all the things she'd said and done, Margo just couldn't hate her best friend.
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Professor Monty Pendleton
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Monty didn't spot Margo and Odette until their raised voices drew his attention down the corridor. He didn't make a habit of interrupting arguments, but on this occasion he felt that simply walking away would weigh heavily on his conscience. Margo sounded to be quite upset, and judging by the smirk on Odette's face, it had everything to do with something the Slytherin had said. Just as he approached, Margo spun around suddenly, and he caught a brief glimpse of her tear-streaked face before she fled past him. An entirely different girl to the one who'd comforted him at her family's dinner-party. Odette possessed the capacity to bring much happiness to the Ravenclaw's life, but she also had the capacity to tear her down - and it was this power, unfortunately, that she frequently seemed to exercise.

The Potions professor fixed his gaze on Odette, and frowned. "I think you'd better explain to me what I've just seen. In here," he said, opening the door to an empty classroom and gesturing Odette inside. A fair man, he was willing to hear the Slytherin's side of the story before casting his blame. Since he'd bumped into the girl's mother one day in Brightstone, he'd suspected there might be something going on in Odette's life that caused her to lash out the way she did - something beyond pure malignancy or spite. That was usually the way; it wasn't a difficult conclusion to reach. The hard part was reassuring the student they could talk about what was bothering them without judgement or blame.

Once both inside the classroom, Monty closed the door, bringing out two seats from beneath a desk to face one another. He took one. "So," he said, his face and his tone considerably softer now than a few moments ago. "What was that about, hm? I was under the impression you and Margo were like peas in a pod. What have you two been arguing for?"
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Odette Harper
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Odette knew that every word that had come out of her mouth had been nothing but a weapon. A weapon to scare the other girl off before she could be the one to drop her. Still, she felt a pang of regret as she saw her words have their impact on the other girl. But even though Margo cried, she didn't react as hurt and broken up as Odette had expected. Her next words sliced through her like a knife, and she had nothing else to say. Margo hated her. She knew she deserved as much, but it still hurt. She felt tears well in her own eyes. Of course Margo hated her, everyone who knew her did. She saw the girl nearly collide with Professor Pendleton. Of course. Of course he would be here to see this. Odette tensed up as he approached her and ushered her into an empty classroom. By now she knew arguing wouldn't help her. She took the other seat, crossing her arms and looking away. Tears were still stubbornly present in her eyes. She tried to force them back, but the traitors spilled over her cheek no matter what she wanted. "Why do you care?" She spit out at his question. "It's just a stupid fight between two stupid students. Don't you have better things to do?" Her voice as thick with more tears, and she wished she could just cry for a little while. But she wouldn't in front of this man. Or anyone else.
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Professor Monty Pendleton
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Sat opposite Odette, her eyes brimming with tears and her arms folded across her ribs, Monty felt a strange pang in his chest. It was familiarity. Though he had been in his office the first time he had spoken to Saveli privately, Odette's manner - the avoidance of eye contact, the thick, restrained anger in her voice - was so similar to Saveli's that it took the professor a moment to gather himself sufficiently to think. He often wondered whether it was a weakness that he allowed himself to be so affected by his students' lives. Then he remembered how he had felt when his own professors had turned their backs on him - how he'd wished someone would notice he wasn't all right - and knew that whether it were a weakness or not, he did not want to change.

The professor conjured a handful of tissues, offering them to Odette. "Nothing terribly more important than this," he said. He leaned back in his seat. "And, please - you're not stupid students. Believe it or not, your professors care equally about your well-being as your education. We're here to teach, yes, but we are also here to support. Besides which, the Odette I know wouldn't relish in reducing her best friend to tears, which raises more than a few alarm bells in my head. So - what's happened, hm? If you hadn't already noticed, I'm incredibly stubborn - and my schedule's quite clear for the rest of the afternoon, so..." He smiled to show that the last comment was in jest. Then he sighed softly. "No - I won't force you to tell me - you know that. But you mind find it helps if you do."
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Odette Harper
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Odette saw the tissues Professor Pendleton conjured and offered to her, but she refused to take them. She wasn't crying. Not really. A few tears may have escaped, but that didn't count. She had rather hoped Professor Pendleton hadn't noticed that, but it seemed like she hadn't been that lucky. Stubbornly, she didn't look at him as she listened to him. He claimed to care bout more than just their education, and she could almost believe that coming from him. What surprised her was that he claimed the Odette he knew wouldn't do something like she had just done. Surprise was clear on her face as she finally glanced at him. How could he say that? She had always been awful, she was known for it. He had seen her put up those posters in her first year. Why would he now think differently? "You remember first year. I don't see how it's that surprising that I got bored of Margo and got rid of her." She said, trying her best to sound dismissive even though a tremor in her voice betrayed her. Talking wasn't what she wanted or needed. That would make her weak. Especially to Professor Pendleton. But there was also a part of her that wanted nothing more. For some reason, that part won out. "She doesn't want me anymore." The words burst out of her, and she couldn't stop them. "No one does, not anymore. I always only kept them around by being fake and pretending to be someone I'm not. Now that I'm not doing that anymore, I just get dropped left and right." Even as she said it, she knew it wasn't entirely true. This angry person wasn't her. But she had been pretending to be something else for so long that she didn't really know who she was under all the layers of pretense. And that scared her. It was easier to be angry at everyone and everything than to confront that feeling.
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Professor Monty Pendleton
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At first, Monty didn't think he could breach Odette's wall. It was just built too high, too wide, too thick. But then suddenly her tone changed; and though she was still angry, the defensiveness had faltered. With renewed hope that he might perhaps be able to help, Monty tilted his head. "Really?" he asked simply, gently. He gave the question a moment to sink in before he continued. "Then am I correct in understanding that the real you takes pleasure in making Margo cry? Because I find that quite difficult to believe." Perhaps Odette thought that because she'd raised her wall so diligently, nobody would ever be able to see through it. But Monty knew better. Indeed, Odette herself had never given the professor any reason to believe that her attitude was a facade. But her mother had. Rebecca Cross had given Monty every reason to suspect so. It was impossible to live with such a woman without eventually hardening. To form a cold, impenetrable shield was not just advantageous - it was necessary. A survival instinct. A way to protect oneself from humiliation and contemptuous, backhanded remarks. Not only that, but Margo was Monty's niece, and he had grown to know her over the holidays well enough to know that while indeed she was quite naive, she stood up for what she believed in. And if Margo believe in Odette, then so did Monty.

"I may be terribly mistaken, Odette, but I think there's a sweet girl in there who's afraid to let herself out. And for reasons by which I am baffled, she's convinced you that this is the real you. I think - maybe - she's afraid to be seen in case she becomes vulnerable. Because that would leave her open to being hurt, wouldn't it?" Monty paused, wondering whether he was doing or saying the right thing, and afraid of making everything worse. He considered joining his hands to disguise the fact they were shaking slightly, but then decided against it. "This isn't your fault, Odette. We are most susceptible to pain when we let people in - when we let them see us for who we truly are. It opens the door for all sorts of hurt and humiliation. Believe me, it's an issue I struggle with on a daily basis. But it doesn't have to be like this. There are ways to cope and to deal with our frustration that don't involve pushing everybody who cares about us away. You've got to give yourself a chance. Give yourself a chance to prove that this isn't you. Give yourself a chance to be vulnerable, if only for a moment. Because there is nothing braver than admitting that, really, we're all a little bit scared."
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Odette Harper
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Odette wished she was anywhere but here. She wished she could go back in time and change everything she had said to Margo, or at least walk away before Professor Pendleton overheard them. Tears pricked in her eyes but she stared ahead stubbornly, ignoring them. She hated that he said he found it hard to believe, why would he? He hadb een the one to catch her with the posters in her first year, when she had accused Harley of stealing. It all seemed so long ago, but she still remembered how she had felt. How vindicated she had been feeling, how she hadn't even thought she was doing anything wrong. She had just been getting back at somoene that hurt her, and hurting her more. In her mind, it had been normal.

As he told her he thought thre was a sweet girl inside her, her gaze snapped to him with incredulity. Nobody thought that, least of all herself. Odette was many things, and she had been called sweet before as a kid, but that had always been about her appearance. Her sweet smile, pretty blond hair, the beautiful clothes she had been wearing. But she no longer looked or even tried to act like that, so why? His words hit home a little too hard, and she was unable to keep the tears back anymore. The moment he said it wasn't her fault, a sob escaped her. She was listening to his words, but it was still hard to believe them. She covered her face with her hands, trying desperately to calm down. This was humiliating enough. Thankfully, she was an expert at pushing emotions down. It didn't take her long to stop the sobbing, though she didn't lower her hands yet. "I... I don't know what you mean. How can I do that? What good would it do?" She asked, her voice muffled by her hands. "All it would do is make it easy for others to hurt me. I don't need to be vulnerable. It won't do me any good." She said, shaking her head as she lowered her hands. Now she used her dark hair to hide her face from view, her body shaking slightly with the suppressed emotions. She needed to get out of here. What she wanted most of all was to go flying, or maybe scream into a pillow for a little while. There was nothing keeping her here, she didn't need to stay. But she stayed in her seat, wondering what else he would say even it scared her.
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Professor Monty Pendleton
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Though Monty hadn't meant to make Odette cry, he didn't feel terrible when she did. He'd been almost entirely convinced she would shout at him and storm out, so the fact she had instead allowed her walls to come down, if only for a moment, was really quite a relief. Still, it pained him to watch her bury her face in her hands, and to hear her sob, and for a moment he wondered whether he'd done the right thing, or if he was meddling where perhaps somebody else was better qualified to meddle.

"Well, that may appear so," the professor said, his confidence faltering. He knew what he meant to say, but didn't have the words so quickly to say it. "But if we forever raise our defences at every chance to be hurt, we not only deflect the opportunity for pain, but also the opportunity to be helped, and understood. It's our vulnerability that shows we're human. Not to mention it's completely exhausting trying to stifle all of our feelings. As for being hurt... the only way somebody's words can hurt us is if we agree with them. If somebody tells you - I don't know - for instance, you're a terrible singer, but deep down you believe you've the voice of an angel, you'll hardly give it all up for one person's opinion. You've got to believe in yourself."

Monty sighed softly, aware he wasn't cut out for anything he'd just got himself into. He didn't want Odette to think she couldn't talk to him, but he knew there was other help for her in the castle, if she wanted it. "Listen; it's only a suggestion, and I shan't ever know whether you decide to take it up, as it will be strictly confidential, but we have a terrific school counsellor whose door is always open to anybody who needs to talk. You're very welcome to speak to me, of course - or any of your professors, for that matter - but I realise it can be rather daunting to share these feelings with somebody you see on a regular basis. Besides which, though I'm here to support you in any way I can, I'm not quite as well equipped to help as a qualified counsellor." Actually, Monty had qualified as a counsellor, many, many years ago, when he'd wondered if offering emotional support might have been his vocation. Unfortunately, he'd soon discovered that he was much too afraid to offer advice for fear of upsetting somebody further. In twenty years, not very much had changed. "You're not alone, here. You've the support of your professors, and the school counsellors, and, returning to the reason I asked you in here to begin with, of Margo. I don't need to be a Legilimens to see she's quite clearly devoted to you. The real you. But I'm sure if you try hard enough, you'll convince her you're glad to be rid of her."
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