let the sky fall
“Don’t trust me, Tatiana.”
Somewhere behind her, a clock chimed, the late hour beckoning only two soft chords before rapidly stopping. On the sofa, Tatiana wrapped a blanket more securely around herself and checked the clock again, despite having just heard what time it was. The window was dark, the curtains drawn. The only source of light in the room was the dim lamp beside her.
It was too dark to be reading, or else she would have been. The Count of Monte Cristo lay beside her, its pages worn and familiar, but even one of her favorite books would not uncoil the knot of worry in the hollow of her stomach.
Chastity had been out for hours. She’d known because the redhead had slipped out just past dinner time with little explanation. Normally, this wouldn’t have been a source of consternation to Tatiana, but this had been going on for months. She had learned to trust Chastity as one of her best friends, as her flat mate, but this was getting out of hand.
Finally, at around half past two, the front door creaked open. Tatiana, dozing off slightly on the couch, was alert at once and whipped her head around to the door as the redhead stumbled in. There was something twinkling in her hands, but as she as she perceived the hazel gaze, suddenly, it was hidden.
“Where were you?” Tatiana asked from the sofa.
There was a brief pause. “Out,” Chastity replied shortly, pulling off her boots.
The brunette stood, wrapping the blanket around her shoulders as she stepped closer to her friend. “Out where?”
“Out,” came the reply again, this time her tone edged with annoyance.
Tatiana bit back irritation. “Well, you haven’t gone shopping, not for groceries or clothes, and I know it wasn’t work either, and don’t tell me it was the bar either, because you don’t smell like liquor in the slightest.”
Green eyes flitted up and then back down as the redhead pulled off the second boot. She offered no further explanation.
“Well, what?” Chastity snapped.
“You can’t keep doing this, Chas! You sneak out in the dark and you’re out all through the night and I never know where the hell you are or if you’re even okay!” Tatiana burst out, the blanket slipping off of her shoulders and onto the ground.
“Now that you’ve seen I’m fine, would you stop nagging and just go to bed?” Chastity replied shortly, pushing past the brunette, but the witch’s eyes were too sharp. She caught hold of the redhead’s shoulder and yanked her back. The glittering object she’d only glimpsed before fell from the other’s pocket onto the ground.
Tatiana crouched and emerged with a shimmering diamond necklace. For a moment, she gaped at it.
“It was my mother’s,” Chastity defended suddenly, reaching for the jewelry.
Tatiana yanked it away. “No, it’s not. I know because I saw this in the window of the boutique a block down from Mungo’s.” She lifted her hazel eyes to the other. “Did you steal this?”
“Don’t lie to me.”
There was a pause, and then the former keeper made another lunge at the necklace. Tatiana stepped back abruptly and turned, examining the shimmering object between her fingers. “Why do you need to steal?” she asked after a moment. “You’re one of those rich purebloods, anyway. You could have whatever you wanted without having to steal it.”
Chastity was defeated, appearing to finally admit her guilt. “Where’s the fun in that?” she replied after a moment.
Tatiana glanced back up and then quickly narrowed her eyes as she caught sight of something else. Reaching for the redhead, she pulled out a knife from the other’s jacket pocket, still slick with blood.
“What the hell did you do?”
“The shopkeeper refused to hand it over,” Chastity shrugged. “It was easier this way, but messier. At least there’s no blood on the diamonds.”
Horrified, the former beater glanced up at the other, her honey-colored gaze wide in shock. “This isn’t okay, Chastity,” she replied, trying to keep her voice steady. “You can’t steal. You have wealth, you have a steady Ministry job, why are you doing all of this?”
The redhead shrugged. “Like I said, it’s fun.”
Tatiana shook her head. “This isn’t fun, this is chaos. You just killed someone for – what, a diamond necklace you could have bought yourself? Are you so sick of your ‘boring’ life that you had to go take someone else’s?”
“Tell me this wasn’t the first time,” the brunette pleaded.
More silence. The redhead refused to lift her green gaze from the diamonds still clutched in her friend’s hand. Tatiana dropped the necklace into the other’s palm suddenly and then stepped back toward the door, distancing herself.
“I don’t even know you anymore,” she observed, her tone equal parts sad and horrified.
“Don’t trust me, Tatiana,” the other witch added after a moment, her tone just as dark as her emerald eyes as she flicked them upward. The witch pocketed the diamonds and looked pointedly at the other witch’s hand, where the dripping red knife remained. Tatiana dropped it.
“I won’t,” the brunette replied after a moment, suddenly striding past the other and up the stairs.
Chastity seemed shocked to have won this battle so quickly. “You’re going to bed?”
“No, I’m packing.” She halted at the entry to her room and made a few complicated wand movements, muttering the charms under her breath. A moment later, a packed bag was slung over her shoulder and she was striding back down again, pushing past Chastity once more.
“You’re leaving?” the redhead asked in disbelief, turning to face her friend. “Where will you go?”
“Anywhere.” Tatiana hastily pulled on her shoes and pulled open the front door. “I can’t stand here and watch you go down the path to self-destruction, Chastity. If you won’t let me help you, then you’re on your own.”
Shocked, the redhead watched as the brunette turned on the doorstep and disappeared, her spot suddenly replaced by the sliver of moonlight and the bloody knife.