The redhead almost felt a pang of guilt after Noah had refrained from snapping back at her, knowing that this was significant - Noah wouldn’t normally be one to hold back. But then Zoe remembered that she was in the right, and she had nothing to feel guilty for. Sure, Noah evidently had his own problems, but they couldn’t be so bad to excuse him behaving like a class A dick, so as far as Zoe was concerned, he deserved everything he got, in terms of her own snark.
When Noah made his prediction, Zoe’s eyes looked him up and down, a blank expression on her face. “Let me look at that,” she said, snatching the cup from his hand. Divination wasn’t her best subject, but even Zoe could see that Noah was ridiculously wrong. The shapes were symbolic of unlocking something - one of the most basic concepts in tessomancy, one of the first things they’d learnt. How could he be getting this wrong? And confusing it for the sun? Another basic symbol; one that a toddler could pick out from a crowd. She wasn’t sure if Noah was being particularly obnoxious, or if it was a genuine mistake. Maybe his secret was that he’d attained a head injury during the summer, and was now failing all his classes. It wouldn’t surprise Zoe.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" Zoe replied, her tone of voice sounding exasperated, rather than snarky. "This shows I’ll probably be finding out something I didn’t know before. It’s literally one of the first things we ever learnt. And we were sitting here whilst we did it. I still remember our first tessomancy lesson. Not that that really matters now. None of this does. I bet you’re not even listening. In one ear, out the other, as usual.” Then, with an eye roll, she shut her mouth for the next few minutes whilst everyone else finished with their teacups.
At the end of the exercise, Zoe batted her eyelashes at Firenze and reeled off her actual prediction of Noah’s future based on the remnants of the tea leaves - his was shaped in a triangle, usually meaning something unexpected would happen. The triangle was pointed south too, so that suggested it would be bad. After that, and without uttering another word to Noah, Zoe packed up her things and got up to leave.
“Wait—” he began, but it was too late. Before he knew what was happening, the teacup had been snatched from his hand, and it was now in Zoe’s grasp. Noah’s face went blank as he ran a hand over his mouth. Was there even a point to giving her a false reading? Zoe was both too smart and too stubborn to accept anything other than the absolute truth, and he really should have seen that coming. No one needed any divine means to figure out that Zoe was one of the most headstrong girls in her year, and quite possibly all the Houses combined. It was moments like these where he wanted to freeze time and show her just how much of a Gryffindor she was, but like the way most things in their relationship had gone, it was just too little too late for that.
As she accurately read her own tea leaves, Noah couldn’t help but let a faint smile tug at his lips. The memory of their first tessomancy lesson was still fresh in his mind, and as he let himself get lost in the recollection, Noah didn’t notice when Zoe’s tone turned bitter. When all was said and done, they waited a few minutes while everyone else finished up. It was nothing he wasn’t used to. Typically, he always finished his assignments before the majority of the class was done, but whenever he and Zoe were paired together, the work only got done twice as quickly. Although this time, she’d done it all herself.
Firenze arrived once he’d graded the others on their results, and upon hearing Zoe’s actual prediction, Noah’s muscles tensed. Looking at his own leaves, he knew her reading had been accurate, and that if there was any verity to what she was saying, there was no telling what the unforseen event could be. It was bound to be something unexpected… and bad. But what could be a worse surprise than finding out he was a werewolf, or risking discovery as he snuck to the Forbidden Forest during each full moon, or sacrificing the only relationship that mattered to him the most? Then—as if out of nowhere—a wave of clarity washed over him. He could deal with being a werewolf, he could deal with lying to people in order to protect them, and he could even deal with any unexpected trials life had to throw at him. The one thing he definitely could not deal with—however—was losing Zoe.
While Zoe continued her reading, Noah enchanted his quill to write a message upon a piece of parchment, making sure to manuever his wand carefully and discreetly underneath the table. She was nearly done with her analysis, but half of the message had yet to be written. Right as she got up to leave, the last bit of ink settled onto the paper, and once Zoe had her back turned, Noah quickly folded it up, muttered a seeking charm, and tapped his wand against the fine crease of the parchment. With one quick flourish, the note flew from his hand and landed safely into Zoe’s bag. A quick look to Firenze told Noah that his professor had seen the whole thing, but instead of asking for an explanation, the centaur merely nodded and went on his way.
A grimace appeared on Zoe’s face as she learned of her impending doom - being paired with Noah, of all people, of all times? This was typical of Firenze. He’d probably seen in the stars that they’d be fighting. And, he’d want them to make up. But that wouldn’t be happening anytime soon, as far as Zoe was concerned. Noah was utterly ridiculous, and she didn’t understand how she hadn’t seen it before. He was a liar, and Zoe couldn’t forgive that. What could be so bad that he couldn’t tell his best friend? He wasn’t secretly gay - at least she didn’t think he was - he’d never killed anyone, to her knowledge, he didn’t have a drug addiction…He was just being stupid. Did she miss him? Undoubtedly. Did she think their friendship would be good for her health? Unlikely.
“Rise above," Zoe muttered under her breath as Noah approached. Her pale fingers caressed her strawberry blonde hair, tossing it over one shoulder. She slipped her parchment into her bag beside her, deciding angry scrawls weren’t the kind of thing she wanted Noah seeing. Then, she got another piece out and slowly started writing, her letters perfectly formed, everything in line, not a thing out of place, her quill floating across the page. Zoe’s brows furrowed in concentration. This was how she acted whenever she was paired with someone she didn’t know; it was her own way of demonstrating that she was better than them, that she didn’t care about their assignment, or who they were, she just wanted to get a good grade with as little talking as possible.
Unfortunately for Zoe, tessomancy required talking. When the cups were ready, and neither of them had spoken a word, Zoe went ahead and grabbed Noah’s cup. She observed it for a moment, stroking her chin a little, a mocking expression of thought present on her face.
"Hmm…well, I see two oval shaped objects. Close together…very close together, actually. Sort of like two cheeks," Zoe said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "Well, would you look at that. It’s a butt. I guess that means you’re a massive arsehole. We’ll get an A for sure, with this prediction.”
Noah shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Even though they were only about a foot away from each other, it felt as if there was a huge brick wall separating them. He was pretty sure that if he tried, he could practically cut the tension between them with a butterknife, and when Zoe finally moved, it was like the sky had opened up around them. Finally, they had something to focus on other than each other. He propped his elbow atop the table and rested his chin in his palm, wondering how this was going to pan out.
The minute she opened her mouth, Noah knew he was in for it. As predicted, a slew of sarcastic quips rolled off of her tongue without an ounce of hesitation, and he could already feel the dread inside of him magnify tenfold. Truly, he really did feel like shit for the way their last conversation panned out. Noah had planned to gradually drift apart from everyone, not end things on an explosively sour note, and Zoe—of all people—was the last person he wanted to alienate, but it really wasn’t up to him. The only thing he could really do now was avoid making things worse, so instead of offering a witty retort like he normally would, he reached for Zoe’s cup and studied the contents.
His eyes focused on the patterns, examining them carefully. The markings were very strange, and he wasn’t sure what to make of them, but he had to say something, if not to pass the assignment then to quell the silence between them.
"There’s something that looks like a circle inside of an oval over here. Maybe it could allude to the orbit of the sun if it weren’t attached to these two parallel lines—" Then it suddenly hit him. Together, the markings formed a key, which was typically symbolic of ‘unlocking’ something, whether it be a mystery, or just finding out something you didn’t know before. If his reading was accurate, that meant Zoe was going to discover something soon, and considering the lengths he’d gone to to make sure she didn’t learn his secret, he found himself dumbfounded. Suddenly remembering he had to finish the assignment, he snapped himself out of it before the quietness went on for too long. "I’m guessing the circle resembles the sun, which indicates future happiness, and the lines leading to it represent your rewarding journey to it." It was complete bullshit, but at least Firenze would give him credit for trying. Zoe—on the other hand—he wasn’t so sure he could fool.
"The assigned pairs are as follows." Firenze began listing off the names of the Divination students who would be working together on the latest Tessomancy project. Noah wasn’t too worried. Sure, his grades had been slipping, and Divination wasn’t exactly his strongest subject, but the assignment was a relatively simple one. Tea readings were largely a matter of interpretation, and as long as Noah’s reading made relative sense, he was sure to get a good mark. Anyway, it would certainly be easier than the Potions exam he had coming up. As more names were called, however, a dread began to settle in his stomach. Neither his nor Zoe’s name had been called yet, and knowing his luck…
"Huntington and Waters," boomed Firenze, as if knowing he’d just summoned a storm. Noah’s throat went dry as whispers could be heard around the room. Without being too obvious, he glanced at where Zoe was sitting, her gaze fixed down at the parchment she was scribbling on. Had she heard the professor use their names in the same sentence, or was she just refusing to give anyone—including him—the satisfaction of visibly reacting? Knowing Zoe, it was most definitely the latter.
Once Firenze finished assigning pairs, the class became a mess of billowing robes as people met with their partners. Noah got up as well, and reluctantly, he walked across the room and took the seat next to Zoe’s. He tried really hard not to look directly at her, he did, but it was as if the choice wasn’t even his when he snuck a glance. She didn’t return his gaze, but her brows were drawn together. They always did that when she was focused. Up until now, it had been easy to push their last conversation out of his mind, but now, being right next to her, being this close, he didn’t know if he could trust himself not to make amends. It would only put her at risk in the end, and as much as he missed her, Noah knew he’d never be able to live with himself if something ever happened. Now that he was of sound mind, he realized he hadn’t been paying attention at all when Firenze was giving instructions on how to carry out the readings. He cleared his throat awkwardly, hoping Zoe had been paying more attention than he was.
Nothing, as of now.
They don’t necessarily have to be in the same person, if that makes sense. On the other hand, sarcasm doesn’t automatically define someone as a raging bitch.
Noah enjoys pretty much anything but country, but he does have a soft spot for a collection of old blues records that his dad gave to him. Sometimes when he’s in the middle of an intense study session, everyone in the Gryffindor Common Room can hear John Lee Hooker crooning from the boys’dormitory.
Thanksgiving. Largely because of the food.
It really depends on what he wants revenge for. The most extreme cause I can think of is finding the wolf that bit him, but Noah probably wouldn’t have the stomach to do anything. Being a werewolf is the worst punishment imaginable, and it’s not like whoever turned him did so consciously.
Well, you just said I should be worrying about you, but now I’m not supposed to? What is your big secret, split personalities?
Fine by me. The last seven years meant nothing. Just don’t come crying back to me when you can’t cope on your own anymore, because I know it won’t be long. You can’t even cope now.
I’m the one with split personalities? Jesus fucking Christ. Sometimes I can’t tell whether we’re friends because you actually like me or because I just remind you of yourself.
I guess none of that matters now, does it? And don’t worry. I won’t. I’m not your problem anymore.
So that’s where you skip out to all the time. Have to say: your absences where getting a little weird.
Well, the important thing is now you know. I can’t imagine what everyone else has been going through, not knowing where I am each minute of every day.
Do you know what best friends do, Noah? They talk to each other about things. They let each other be there for them, so they don’t have to act like a huge dick all the time. I’m not the only one who’s noticed, you know. Holstrom’s thinking about dropping you as Head Boy. I convinced him not to, but of course, I’m not worried about you, so why does it even matter?
Is that so? God forbid I try dealing with something on my own for once, because the minute I do, I’m a huge dick. And Holstrom was what?
You know what? Let him. What do I care, anyway? That way, you don’t have to defend me anymore, and we can stop pretending like we were ever really friends.