Paxton didn’t actively avoid the Prophet, but he didn’t exactly keep up with it. It was a residual habit from living with his parents. The media was under the thumb of The Man, and The Man was often biased. It was no different in the wizarding world, Paxton had found. Of course, this had its own drawbacks. Namely: utterly inexcusable ignorance in the 21st century. “What are you talking about?” Paxton asked, alarmed by the outburst. Puppets? Unforgivable Curses? It seemed he’d caught Zane in the midst of a hysterical breakdown. “Lowell’s the Department of Mysteries one, right? He’s running for Minister, yeah?”
Zane didn’t know who it was that he had been talking to, but as he heard a voice, he spun around in his seat so incredibly fast that his head started spinning. “Oh, hey!” he exclaimed as he saw Pax standing there. Part of him didn’t even remember what it was he had been talking about in the first place, until the name Lowell was mentioned again, and his face twisted together in a look of disgust. “Oh no, no, no… He’s not just in the Department of Mysteries anymore… As of this morning, he is out beloved new Minister.” He pulled a smile, but it looked pained and full of sadness, almost. “He’s the devil,” he hissed, and went into a fit of laughter, all because his voice sounded stupid. It was certain now that he had had one too many sips of Firewhiskey.
You lot are so boring. I can’t for the life of me imagine why you’d all be so concerned with these silly politics. It’s utterly dull.
Silly politics? Once you’ve experienced being called a monster because of what you are, you might just see it differently. It might not ruin your life, but it ruins a lot of other people’s life, so you might want to find your sensitive side in this and actually care about what happens to other people.
"Of course it’s not, I’m just… saying things to make me feel less guilty. What I want in life is to be surrounded by people who accept me and love me for who I am… people like you. I pretty much think you gave me a lot of things. Well, here’s bad news: the reason I’m really bad at Dark Arts is because I’m just that bad at retaining my focus. I can’t focus well enough to cast a good defense spell, so just imagine how bad will I be at apparating. I don’t know, I probably need lots of practice…" Rosie stared at Zane with sad eyes, gulping slowly as she reached for her sleeves, slowly rolling them up her forearms. "I’m afraid I haven’t been truly honest with you…- I’m sorry, I just… I’m so embarrassed to tell you," Her voice got caught in her throat before she dared herself to look at Zane again. "I-um… I did the scars… to myself,"
“Of course I accept and love you for who you are, Rosie, I always have,” Zane muttered, and gave her a confused look. Maybe him insisting on paying for her made it seem like something else, but it was only that he wanted to help. He would always want to help. “Well… You’ll have practice before even getting the license for apparating, and if… If you’re bad at it, there’s always the Floo Network to get around. You don’t have to do anything you don’t feel comfortable with.” He watched as she slowly rolled her sleeves up, and even if he’d seen her completely undressed before, he couldn’t remember having seen the scars. Maybe his mind had just been on something else entirely. His gaze was on the scars as she spoke though, and he ended up giving a loud sigh as he gently reached for both her hands, and brought them both up to him, one after the other, kissing the scars that were on her wrists. “Why? Why would you hurt yourself like this, love?” he asked, and glanced up at her, a sad smile on his face. “When did you do this?”
Upon reading the article in the Prophet, a sense of absolute and total defeat had been drawn over him like a blanket, and it didn’t take long until he had emptied a bottle of firewhiskey. It seemed to be the only solution when things were difficult these days, it was the only thing that didn’t send him into a fit of rage, and rage was not a good thing when he was attempting to keep the beast in him under control. Zane didn’t know how he ended up out by the lake, but there he was, cursing to what he thought was no one. “We’re all gonna be… pup-puppets for the Ministry. Just like the re-rest of them are. Working for the GREAT and powerful Lowell. Ooooh, I bet he cast the imperius spell on them all, that great piece of sh-shit that he is!” He was laughing without knowing why. It just seemed the obvious reaction to the world changing.
Honestly, if Tyler hadn’t been rather baffled by the whole situation he was certainly baffled in the first few seconds of seeing Zane. He hadn’t seen anyone really use their Werewolf senses, he supposed he hadn’t spent time around Werewolves, or at least not knowingly. It took him a good few moments to get over the fact that Zane had such control over his senses in what seemed like such a short amount of time, though I suppose the faster he took control of it the easier it would be. Zane was talking and he was listening but all he could think was a million questions about how this worked. How did he find them? Was it sight? Sense of smell? Extremely good hearing? He’d read about Werewolves almost as much as he had about vampires but he’d never had anyone to ask about the things he actually wanted to know- books only told him so much and as far as he was concerned he hadn’t learned enough. “I- er-” His mouth felt dry. Talking about Philip was never easy because he was rather positive Philip didn’t want to be talked about. The Slytherin’s expression dropped into a slight frown as the other spoke and he automatically felt defensive towards the question, “He isn’t a creature or a thing, he’s just different and of all people you should understand that! He was here attempting to warn me about all this shit happening and thanks to you he didn’t get to finish.”
Watching the other draw away from his senses was admittedly rather incredible and once again he was filled with questions but instead of allowing his mind to wander he kept focus on the fact that he would have to form some kind of explanation. “His name is Philip. Yes, he is a vampire. No, he is not some mindless killing creature out to drink everyone’s blood.” He took in a small breath and dragged a hand through his hair, “He was just talking to me about what’s happening with Werewolves and Vampires, he wasn’t going to hurt me. It may be hard to believe but he wouldn’t hurt me- actually that shouldn’t be hard for someone like you to believe, considering you aren’t exactly the average person yourself.” He didn’t mean to sound harsh but a part of him wanted to make a point. The Slytherin was a little baffled by the idea that people could happily attend school with a Werewolf in their classes but one mention of vampires and everyone was terrified. “I appreciate the concern but I can assure you he was under the impression that it was you I needed protection from, I suppose we’re lucky you were both wrong.”
It was almost as if Tyler wasn’t paying attention to what he was saying, to what he was asking, but Zane was just too damn worried about someone that he considered to be a friend, because a blood sucking creature had been standing right there, in front of him, and the Ravenclaw had been terrified of having to witness more people getting hurt. And that was just too much for him to handle. Especially considering Tuesday was one of his closer friends, too, he really didn’t want for her boyfriend to be harmed in any way. His eyebrows knitted together as Tyler stared at him, and even raised his voice at him, telling him off for scaring the creature away. But what he was saying was really making sense too. “He-“ Zane started, but cut himself off quickly. There really was nothing that he could say to any of it. People always misunderstood him, there were still students who were scared to look at him, so maybe he had been a little quick to judge. Surely not all vampires were cruel. Just like not all werewolves were evil monsters. “I’m… I’m sorry, I… I smelled- Blood. A metallic blood kind of scent, and it just smelled wrong. And when I saw him, I… I panicked.” There had been something so very wrong with that smell. It wasn’t surprising that he had been worried.
“His name is Philip… Hey, I’m sorry, I just… Sensed something wrong in the forest. And I don’t… I don’t really know all that much about vampires, so I freaked out.” Zane pulled his shoulders up in a shrug, almost feeling a little silly that he had overreacted. Besides, Tyler would know better than to just stand there if he had been in danger. He would have had his wants up. “How- How do you know this cre- Philip?” he asked, struggling to not use the word creature when describing him, but surely there was a better way to explain him. Zane didn’t know his story, maybe he had been turned against his will too. Maybe. “And what was he… Telling you?” He felt awkward now, because he’d only been worried about someone that he considered to be a friend. Clearly, he hd been all wrong about the vampire that had been there. “What… What situation with the werewolves and vampires?”
You’re making this seem like a competition- a competition on who gets to spoil the other first. But I’ll make sure to spoil you as much as I can on your next birthday… or more accurately, our birthdays. A part of your thumb? H-how did that happen? Was it painful? And… and how did you manage to attach it back? What if I splinch more than just a thumb? I think everyone knows a raging eighteen year old boy is far from innocent, Zane. I gave up keeping my innocent facade around you too. Did you feel it, the risk? When you opened your heart again, after Becca passed? I mean, what made you so sure that I wouldn’t leave you, and that I wouldn’t hurt you? And that I’m completely honest with you, and my feelings are just as honest? Well, you can… if you want to. Or you can opt for me telling you endless stories about the animals I get to meet every day, though you should be forewarned that listening to me talk endlessly can be quite tiring. And speaking of me talking… do you want to hear a secret?
Oh, it’s not a competition at all, I’m just… I feel like I haven’t spoiled you enough, and I want you to have everything that you want in life. And if I can help with some of it, then I am more than happy. Yes, well… I didn’t focus enough on the location, I got distracted midway through, so part of my thumb was left in my original spot. It… Did hurt, yeah, but Madam Pomfrey fixed me right up. Some splinching is almost to be expected the first few times, but they don’t actually let you apparate unless you’re good enough for it. I can be innocent if you want to be, surely you know that too. Well… Of course I did. Opening your heart to someone is terrifying, but if you don’t try, you won’t get anywhere. I certainly hope that you are completely honest with me, Rosie, and I believe that you are. Hopefully you are. A secret? Sure, I want to hear a secret.
"I don’t mean to be worried about the students… I mean, you don’t know who could be listening. Just… be careful. Things are getting dangerous…"
Getting dangerous? Things have been dangerous for months, this isn’t something new. And I’m not about to alter my opinions or keep quiet about them just because things are dangerous. Besides, there’s nothing they can do that can hurt me any more than they already have.
The prospect of leaving Nolan out in the unknown where anything could have already happened to him - and they’d never know - made Keller’s blood run cold, but he tried to hide his fear from Zane as best he could. “I think he will soon, considering the Minister elections are coming up and the furor around the riot in London is dying down,” Keller said, talking to keep himself distracted. “When he does, though, asking about Lowell will be number one after asking how he is. He really wasn’t in the best shape when we left, but-… he’s strong - he survived falling off his broom, he can survive this.” Surprised to hear that Zane had released Tinky, Keller’s eyebrows rose. “She might be more able to blend in than we could,” he said, thinking for a moment. “Maybe you could ask her to mingle with some house elves that work in the cafeteria at the Ministry? See if they’ve heard anything?” he suggested, not sure if it would lead anywhere, but doing something was better than nothing.
It really was sad thinking about the fact that Nolan was alone, he was out there all on his own, but hopefully he would reach out to both Zane and Keller soon enough. “It’s scary. Not knowing what he’s doing, or how he’s doing… I wish he would contact us soon.” Nolan was a very strong guy though, he’d been through a lot in his life, he would be fine. Surely he would be fine. “Of course he’ll survive this, that’s not what I’m worried about. You’ll let me know if he contacts you though?” It was more likely that Nolan reached out to Keller, but surely he would hear about it too. Zane nodded quickly, and gave a small smile. “I can ask her, yeah. Maybe she’ll find something out. House Elf loyalty is going to be the biggest problem though. I’m not sure they’ll want to tell anything.”
But you need more than just food in the stomach and a place to sleep. You sometimes need to spend to keep yourself entertained, and you might need new clothes on occasional days… you know, stuff like that. Well fine, if you say so. I’ll just wait for the day I can spoil you back in return then. I… are you sure about that? I’ve seen how people splinch while I was at the hospital wing and it’s well… gory, to say the least. And some seventh year said that one wizard will have himself splinched at least once in their lifetime, and I think that scared me more than it should. Oh, judging from the amount of time I spend with you, I can assure you that you’re not innocent enough to not know why we should be alone together in the darkest corner of the library… but for fun’s sake, let’s play along and say that it’s for writing inspirational letters to my mother. Well, that is what I’m afraid of- I’m afraid that he’s just not the right person like my father was, and he’ll end up upsetting my mother, and I hate that. I wouldn’t be there to help make her feel better. Well, butt gropes up for betting is more like it. It’s all about the butt and gropes when it comes to you. You know what’s going to be a fun, field day for you? When you come join me, and Justin, and Fiona, and Cicely, and possibly Owen to one of the Magical Creatures club activities. There are so many of us who are not natural repellents to animals that we’ll conceal the repellent in you.
That’s… That’s not an immediately problem though, you know? I have clothes, I know how to entertain myself without money, but those aren’t… The important things in life. The important things in life are… A roof over your head, food, and people that you love and care about. And I have those things. You’re more than welcome to spoil me any day, Rosie. But at least let me spoil you a little bit when I actually can. It’s only money. I was splinched the first time I tried apparating. A part of my thumb, but it was fixed quickly enough. It’s all part of learning though. Damnit, you’re already figured out that I’m not innocent. Well, I’m not sorry about that either, and besides; any time I spend alone with you is time that I greatly appreciate. I like spending time with you, as you well know. Isn’t that… Always a risk when opening your heart to someone? That they might end up hurting you? But if you don’t take that risk, you’re in for a very lonely life, so you just have to try, right? Am I… Joining you for Magical Creatures club things? I wasn’t… Aware of that. Umm- I could try? But you’ll be disappointed when you find out that all other animals really- Really don’t like me.