Chapter 21

Ines believed that nothing can be gained through extensive study and wide reading. Give them up immediately. The more content you try to capture during a lecture or a meeting, the less you're thinking about what's being said. You burn through most of your attention parroting the source. But, thanks to her wonderful friends, her philosophy was thrown out the window in the week before their O.W.L's. Ines didn't want to admit it, but the only reason she was going to do well - or so she hoped - on her O.W.L's was because of Lily's persistence. Her O.W.L schedule worked out quite nicely. First History of Magic then Charms on Monday, Tuesday she had Potions, and Astronomy at midnight, Wednesday the dreaded Herbology, Finally Thursday she had Defense Against the Dark Arts and Transfiguration. The next day they would be heading home, but instead of the usual dreaded ride she would be going to James'.

She poured over a Herbology book, something she struggled in. It was something her and Gavin often bonded in, and it hurt to think that they hardly spoke anymore. After she stormed off the Quidditch pitch at their last game, they lost, taking them out of the running for the championship. But he was more upset about the fact that she wouldn't confide in him, or even give him the time of day. She had opted to be completely alone, in every sense of the word. Her friends noticed and kept their distance while staying close in case she needed them. In this case, she did, as she was rotten at Herbology.

She was learning about the Fanged Geranium, but all she could think of was the catchy introduction from Toots, Shoots, 'n' Roots. She whispered it under her breath as she pretended to read, "Bouncing bulbs losing height? Devil's Snare merely tickling? Fanged Geranium nothing but gums? Then tune your wireless to Toots, Shoots 'n' Roots the award-winning herbology presented by Tilden Toots, the wizard with three gr-". Lily cut her off "Does he really have three thumbs.". Ines looked up at her, and she looked down at her disapprovingly. "Lily I'm sorry, I just can't focus, especially on Herbology of all things.". She leaned back in her chair, "Fine, if you won't work can you fetch me Defensive Magical Theory by Wilbert Slinkhard.". She jumped up from her seat, stretching her legs. She laughed at her eagerness and went back to her strut through the shelves, searching for the Defense Against the Dark Arts section. She had been in the library plenty of times, but the majority were for circumstances very different than reading or studying. She had had many 'dates' in the library in the past. She spotted the old sign labeling the correct section and turned into the first shelf. But instead of looking at the spines of the books for Wilbert Slinkhard she was face to face with another person. It was if she was staring at her own reflection, she knew his face so well. He was staring right back at her with a semi-blank expression. She had caught him off guard and was able to see his face without his mask for only a second. He was shocked to see her, and the fact that nobody was around allowed him to be able to look at her. Ines struggled to tell if he missed her, or pitied her, or hated her.

There was no need for any sort of segway when it came to Oberon, Ines didn't have the ability or need to go through any sort of pleasantries with him. "How is everything?". She asked. To an eavesdropper, the question would sound like a polite introduction, but they both knew what it really meant. How was everything at home, their parents, how were they treating him? "Fine, I don't want to talk about it.". The answer wasn't what Ines wanted but she almost melted at the sound of his voice. She hadn't had a conversation like this with him in forever. One where they weren't practically spitting in each other's faces. Ines knew what his answer meant, nothing was ok. She could have expected that answer but wished for it to never come. His expression turned uncertain as he saw that her eyes were watering. After clearing her throat, Ines managed an unsteady reply "We used to share a bond. We used to do everything together. We used to have a piece of strong, thread connecting us, and I like to think that it's indestructible – it can never be broken. The thread is the key item that links us together. We understand each other. Am I wrong?"

What came next wasn't exactly silence, because although it was quiet, a thousand things were being said. Ines was used to it, it came with being a part of an unhappy household, that feeling of being perched and listening, the way an animal must feel at night in the dark, assessing danger. She stepped towards him, and he looked to be debating if he should step away. "I don't know who you are anymore," he mutters. Ines wasn't happy with his response and strode up to him and grabbed his arms, tears brimming around her eyes "You do! I know you do! You just don't want to believe it! You don't want to believe in anything that I believe in because Mother and Father don't believe it, please just consider my perspective!". There's a sob building inside her so immense and powerful she feels that it's going to break all her bones but she just doesn't care. He doesn't rip himself from her grasp and just stared down at her, emotion creeping onto his face. "Please don't do this, please don't leave me. Please-".

His name was called from the end of the row of shelves, Regulus stood there, a book in hand and his mouth opened. Ines looked from Oberon to Regulus, Oberon knew what she was thinking and she wondered if Regulus did too. That they were the same. They were both in love with a Black boy and it wasn't allowed. She gripped him tighter and whispered her next words "You think you can get what you truly want by staying in line and being Mother and Father's good little boy because you're sorely mistaken. If you truly want love him-" Oberon tried to rip himself from her, not wanting to hear her talk about him and Regulus but Ines persisted "-Then you should do what is right".

She pushed him from her and walked away, strutting back to where Lily would be. She thought about how they would only grow further apart in life he would develop a personality that she would know nothing about, they would start our families, have children of their own, and there would come a point when in thinking about 'family' he would think of the ones he made, not the ones he is from.