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 Better Than This [Edwina AU]

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PostSubject: Re: Better Than This [Edwina AU]   Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:31 pm

His words barely registered. By then, the bleeding had stopped, so minute was the wound. In a days time, it would be gone completely, barely a reminder of what had happened -- what she'd done. He gritted his teeth, and she held back a flinch. Had she ever seen him this angry?

His next words, the yell, brought forth another urge to shy away, but she won a second time and remained steadfast. "Feeling better now?" she said, but her voice wobbled. Her mind was clouded with emotions, confusion. Leonard has made her a target too, but she'd responded to all his attempts with a sarcastic retort and a carefree attitude, as though the words didn't sting. They did, of course, but she'd learnt a long time ago that her definition was not in what others called her but what she knew herself to be. Words were only words and could change none of that.

But Edward, sweet sweet Edward, with all the quirks that made him, him that she would never change for the world... he hadn't learnt this yet. And seeing him like this, so close to breaking, so close to giving in, broke her heart in ways she didn't know it could be broken. He was being so vulnerable, so raw, so honest. It was a moment to be treasured if not for the ledge on which it was balanced. It shouldn't be this way, she thought. He shouldn't have to contemplate murder for things to change.

She closed her eyes for but a moment, squeezing them shut in hopes that she could will them away, but her eyelids only collected the liquid and when she next opened them, she could see the tiny drops against her lashes. One more blink and they fell, two tears, tracing a glittery, invisible path down each cheek. She wasn't crying because he was yelling, or because she was hurt; she was crying because he couldn't see what she saw. And that, she realised, was what he needed to hear more than anything else -- more than a lecture, more than right and wrong, more than 'better than this', he needed to know this.

"Do you know what I see when I look at you?" she asked, softly. Any louder and her voice would break. She stepped forward. "I see a boy learning to become a man. I see a friend to confide in. I see a genius, someone who takes parts and odds and ends and builds-" she gestured around "-these amazing machines." She swallowed; two more tears fell. "I see someone who has so, so much potential -- too much to waste on a stupid, immature boy like Leonard." Another step forward, closing the gap. "I see someone I've let down, because I didn't realise how hard Leonard was on you, how much it affected you. I see humanity and the capability to do so much good, to turn something meant for evil into something that helps others facing what you are."

He was angry, she knew that much, but she was driven by something more than fear, something stronger -- love. Love for the boy she'd grown up these last few years with. Love for the boy she never fully understood but found remarkable nevertheless. Love for the friend he'd become. Love for the person he could be. In time, she wondered if this platonic emotion would turn to more; she was already teetering on the edge of it. But now wasn't the time and she pushed the idea out. Instead, cautiously, she reached out and put her arms around him, pulling him towards her and holding him tightly. Why was she still crying? She didn't know, not even as she hugged him.

"I see Edward, my friend, someone I care about," she continued, softly. "Leonard does not define you, Ed. What he says, what he does... that doesn't change who you are unless you let it." She paused, and then in barely a whisper, "Please, Ed, don't let him. I need you, not what this would make you."

She couldn't let go. Part of her wanted to, so she could see his face, look him in the eyes so she could tell what he was thinking, but she couldn't. Her arms had locked themselves around him and as she steadied her breathing to control the tears, she added, "We'll get through this together. But not like this, Ed. Not like this."
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PostSubject: Re: Better Than This [Edwina AU]   Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:25 pm

Upon seeing that Evelina had begun to cry, his stomach dropped. He hadn't meant to upset her, but he'd just... Snapped. All the years he'd spent acting as though he were completely fine, bruised and battered on the outside of course, those years where he'd cried external tears, tears due to the physical pain while paying no mind to the effect Leonard had on him internally. It'd built, and built, like a volcano. Until just now when he'd blown his top, and of all people, Evelina was the person who'd gotten the brunt of his anger. She was kind, too kind for him. Edward had a cruel streak, a streak that urged him to act on plans and schemes- never impulses. No, impulses were too dangerous, too unpredictable, his streak warned him. But plots, a logical approach. Hours upon hours of pondering everything that could potentially go wrong, and fixing it. He enjoyed that. He enjoyed it even more knowing that it would lead to Leonard's downfall.

An axe to the face. It'd be difficult to clean, but he'd manage. Perhaps he'd even be able to dismantle his little device, and get rid of the body before anyone even noticed that Leonard's absence was unusual. His mind was slipping again. He instead decided to focus on the present, on Evelina as she spoke, words soft and gentle and uplifting, and undoubtedly making him doubt his decision in the first place, to think up such a plan. He found himself relaxing, shaking not nearly as much as he had been when he finally vented to her his frustrations.

He stood rooted to the spot as she moved steadily towards him while she spoke. In all honesty, he didn't know what else to do. Until finally she hugged him. His arms remained limp by his sides, feeling like lead, for a few moments at least before he decided to bring them up, returning the hug. He mulled over her words. Amazing potential, genius... In that moment he felt like nothing of the sorts. He'd always feared being rendered ordinary, it was one of the reasons he'd taken pride in being who he was, which had ultimately made him a target. His supposed potential had become a curse, a burden. That curse had twisted it into something almost unrecognisable. Something, he was now realising thanks to Evelina, that would become permanent had he followed through with his plot.

She was trying, she truly was. And part of his rational brain had started to berate him, for letting himself become so pathetic that he was willing to risk it all for someone as useless as Leonard. If per chance, he was caught, he'd lose everything, from his future to his family. It was thinking back over his words, however, that he realised that something worse bugged him. The fact that blamed herself, that she thought she'd let him down. No. He couldn't let her put herself at fault. All she'd ever been was supportive, was kind and generous and caring.

A moment passed. A second, a minute. He couldn't really tell, only that all the time seemed to merge together. He analysing, processing and trying to figure out the best possible response he could give. He squeezed his eyes shut while he figured out how to place the words he wanted to say.

"M-much better," his voice was barely above a whisper, a stark contrast from his yelling beforehand. It was the truth too, now that it had flooded out of him, he'd felt a sense of relief. As though the pressure had been released and he was back to himself. Himself was an odd feeling, after all this time.

"Pl-please don't blame yourself," he murmured, pulling back slightly in an attempt to look her straight in the eye "I-I don't think you c-could. Let me down that is," he added softly. That was something he needed her to know, something he needed to emphasise.
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PostSubject: Re: Better Than This [Edwina AU]   Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:41 am

The two words brought a sense of comfort to her. She believed him; there was a sense of realness to his tone that told her he wasn't merely saying words to make her feel better. He was going to be alright, and the relief of that stopped the tears. Still, she didn't let go of him for a few more moments. Now that her mind had cleared a little from the panic of seeing someone she cared about teetering so close to the point of no return, she was beginning to realise the implications of what she was doing. Sure, she hugged people often, but never like this -- never with so much meaning or for so long.

Why had she done it?

For too many reasons to understand. She'd wanted to do it previously, although exactly when she couldn't recall. It was just something she knew she'd considered before. Of course, she hadn't, mostly because she didn't know how he'd react. Was he a hugging person? Did he hate physical touch as some of her other friends did? Was he sensitive? She also didn't want to send any mixed messages, as some hugs did. But mostly, she didn't do it because she wasn't sure it wouldn't be a mixed message; she wasn't sure how she felt about him, not of late -- and especially not now.

But before she could say anything, he'd gone on, and she blinked, watching his eyes intently as he spoke. There was so much she wanted to say, but couldn't, didn't know how to.

It felt... right, somehow, hugging him, holding him. Like she was meant to be there and he was meant to be here. But as much as Evelina wanted to stay there forever and have the feeling never end, there were some thing she needed to clarify and needed him to know and needed to know. And so, almost reluctantly, after letting the hug drag on for as long as realistically possible, she let go and stepped back.

"I'm glad," she said, a fluster of embrassment making her cheeks heat up just a little. Why was she feeling like that? She didn't know. But that wasn't important right now. Instead, choosing her words carefully, she said, "But Ed, I have. Friends are supposed to be there for each other. To make sure the other is okay, and make sure they never fall off the cliff and lose themselves to darkness." She paused. "Actually, they're supposed to make sure they never get close to the edge. But I haven't done that. I've been so caught up in other things that I didn't realise how much you were hurting and suffering and I let-" she gestured to the axe behind her "-this get planned. I didn't see it before, didn't see the warning signs. And for that, I am sorry."

Glancing around, she took in the machine, and an idea formed. "Why put this to waste? It's Christmas, right? Let's do what you said -- make this a present for someone. Except let's actually do that. A few years ago, in this awards show for muggles, they dropped these packets of sweets from above. They were attached to some parachute thing, so it didn't hurt anyone and... I don't know. Is that something we could do? For Christmas, I mean."

There was a short pause, and then Evelina took a breath. There was something else she had to do. Turning a little, she picked up the axe. It was much heavier, now that it was stone, but she just about managed. Holding it towards Ed, she added softly, "I think you know what you need to do."
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PostSubject: Re: Better Than This [Edwina AU]   Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:36 pm

The hug was something that he hadn't realised he'd needed until he got it. He normally didn't like hugs, nor was his family very warm in that regard. He normally insisted on keeping his distance. Though this wasn't a normal situation. Warmth, compassion, they were things that Evelina seemed to give so freely, and yet he'd been deprived of them for, well, he couldn't remember how long. Things that one didn't realise they were missing until they finally received it. He felt calm with her around, something he rarely felt. His brain always seemed to be buzzing, thinking of something, anything, and yet not really of the present. He tended to look to the future, to what he might do. Rarely to the past, rarely of the present. The present often wasn't pleasant. Until of course, now.

She stepped back, almost too soon in Ed's opinion. But he wasn't about to say anything. He wasn't entirely sure how long they had hugged, he hadn't been keeping track. Longer than normal though, that much he was sure of. Was there a 'normal' hug time limit for this sort of thing? He didn't know. He couldn't pin point why he'd thought of that. He was overthinking it, as per usual. He felt weird, nervous again, almost. Though not in his usual way. It was then she went on, talking again about her being too oblivious to realise that there had been something wrong.

Edward was, by nature, secretive. He could act entirely normal (well, as normal as himself would allow), despite the situation he was in, despite what he was feeling. He was no master at lying, no great manipulator (yet), he was simply able to focus his energy on things that kept him busy. It was no wonder that Evelina hadn't noticed his decent as he acted like, well like Edward normally would. Overly excited about new and intriguing concepts, focused on whatever his project was at the current time, sometimes flitting between two or three different ones... He supposed they were all distractions, the things he threw his spare time into. All ways of making it so no one could see the real him, not even himself. They were a means to bury whatever woe he was feeling at the time. Could that be why sometimes it was difficult for even himself to identify what he was feeling? Over thinking, yet again.

The conversation, thankfully, turned up, with Evelina forming an idea that would redeem him. They'd gone full revolution of a story, it seemed. Discovery, conflict, high-intensity emotions. And now, Edward was feeling calm, and all those emotions had been let loose, thrown to the wind. Instead of it being a present that would slice someone's face into two, it would be more of a traditional sort. One that was actually welcome, not one that was the most terrible kind of surprise. That, he could easily do. It wasn't hard, especially if he used some sort of charm so it would release the sweets only when one walked underneath it. And honestly, he liked that idea. It was much better than his initial thought, to smash it to pieces. Weeks upon weeks of hard work, planning, wasted. That wouldn't do. Edward wasn't wasteful, especially since resources for his machines were so difficult to get. It had to be a good idea, because already in his mind, he was turning over what improvements he could make that would lead to something less deadly.

He carefully took hold of the axe as she handed it to him, and he could really feel the weight of it, so much so that he had to rest it on the floor. Almost automatically, he'd thought this sort of axe might be better. A greater weight, blunt... There'd be less blood, he could even make it look like Leonard had hit his head while falling at a high force down the stairs, or off the astronomy tower... He physically pulled himself back, glancing quickly at Evelina before looking back to the axe. Slowly, he took out his wand before he dragged the axe to the centre of the room. Standing a fair distance away, he aimed at it, hand shaking only slightly.

"Bombarda," he murmured. And the axe, it shattered. Redemption, of sorts, achieved. There was still an ever so slight inkling of disappointment. That Leonard would eat, and drink, and breathe... Exist in general. That Leonard would be back after the Christmas holidays, and that things would be back to normal. He'd been hoping for change, something new, refreshing. 'Perhaps instead of his usual torment of name-calling and some punches to the stomach, he'd be more creative and use something that took actual skill' he thought bitterly.

He didn't know how long he spent looking at the remains of what had been the star of his master plan. Hopefully it wasn't so long that it would be weird. But over that either long or short time, he realised that a sense of peace had settled over him. He wasn't in control of himself, not consciously at least. His legs were oddly light as they carried him back over to where Evelina had been standing.

Was it acting on impulse if he didn't actively decide to do anything? Probably. Almost certainly in Edward's case. Edward always overthought things. Weighing the pros against the cons, deciding what course of action would be good, what bad. His mind, normally a jumble of thoughts, was crystal clear. It wasn't often that that happened. It was strangely pleasant, though he certainly wouldn't want it to be a daily occurrence. A one off, however, was occasionally needed.

He stopped in front of her, standing closer than he'd stood before. This choice however, was active. It had to be. He couldn't be passive about it. Of course, he was still acting on impulse, he'd given himself no time to ponder over what the effect might be. It was something, he reconciled, he'd wanted to act upon for quite some time, yet he'd never had the guts to do so. Slowly, he reached out his hand, placing it gently on her cheek, not saying a word, before he leaned in and softly kissed her.

Impulse wasn't usually an indulgence he allowed himself. It simply felt right to do so. Right for him, hopefully right for her. He'd hoped beyond hope that he hadn't made some stupid mistake.
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PostSubject: Re: Better Than This [Edwina AU]   Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:26 am

There was nothing to be said, nothing to be done. Everything she wanted to say she'd laid bare, and what she couldn't had been said in the hug. All that was left was Edward and these emotions inside her that she couldn't place and didn't ever want to; why complicated feelings with words? They existed as they were, hopeful and wonderful and heartbreaking all at the same time, speaking of second chances and redemption and love. Evelina watched, the light refracting off the unshed tears in her eyes that didn't fall, making them glint and shine.

In them reflected Edward as he took the axe from her. In the silence that followed, she could hear only her breating and his breathing, somehow in sync, as though in that moment they were one. Still she waited, still she said nothing. She could see him hesitate, the thoughts running through his mind. What was he thinking? What was he wondering and hoping? She could not tell, and did not want to know. Whatever it was, he would make the right choice -- that much she believed and knew.

The glance was returned with a smile and a single nod. Yes, she tried to tell him without words. You can do this. I know you can. The spell was cast and she felt her heart soar. He'd done it, as she knew he was capable of. There was a short, dim rattling as the pieces fell and scattered around the room, the sound of victory and triumph, not defeat.

She watched him watch the pieces. It had taken a lot for him to do that, and she was more than a little proud of him. But now was not the time to speak, and in silence, she waited. He needed time to come to grasps with what he'd done, the path he'd chosen to walk away from, the consequences of it. Life wouldn't be the same for either of them, that much she knew. Better, but different.

They -- for now she was as much a part of this as Edward -- would have to hide this forever, a buried secret of the depravities of the human mind. It was a secret worth hiding, and a incident worth forgetting. And they would have to find a way to stop Leonard, together, without sinking to violence. But Edward would never be alone again, that much Evelina promised both herself and him.

He stepped over towards her, and for a moment she wondered what he was going to say. What was she going to say? Well done sounded so... small in comparison to what he'd done. She was proud, yes, but it wasn't enough to convey how she felt, either. And then his hand was on her cheek and her thoughts came to a stop, her heart starting to race. What was he doing?

She felt his lips on hers before she could comprehend what was going on, her body tensing for a brief moment. And then, as time slowed down and her brain caught up with the moment, she found her arms moving automatically, one moving around his waist, pulling him towards her, the other resting gently on the back of his neck. Slowly, her eyes closed and she found herself kissing him back, feelings suddenly clear -- she loved him.

Loved him not as a friend, nor as that Ravenclaw she hung out with, but rather as more, as one loved the night sky -- fully, for themselves, and for no other reason than they exist. The kiss lasted many long moments, each one more enjoyable than the last, until it came to an end moments too soon. Pulling back just a little, Eve met his eyes, searching them, needing to know he felt the same, that this hadn't been done for any other reason. And then, when she found what she was looking for, Eve smiled, a content, happy smile, and pulled him closer once more, allowing their lips to meet in happy, complete bliss.
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