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Mary felt herself let out a breath she didn’t know she had been holding. Normally she wouldn’t feel so out of place, so jittery and terrified by just sitting on a bench in a dark hallway. The stupid dungeon, it was all she could think to blame for her uneasiness. She smiled to herself as she looked down at her hands, noting that she needed to paint her fingernails again; the Gryffindor red nail polish had started to chip and she didn’t like the look of it. Either remove, or redo, she decided in the small, relaxed, silence. She didn’t really know Ciara – she didn’t think anyone ever really knew another person, but there were different levels to that as well. She was feeling safe and a lot more relaxed with this girl, than with a lot of other girls she knew. Knew of, she corrected herself. There was something about Ciara that Mary agreed with, what that was, she didn’t know. And a part of her really didn’t care much. <b>”I could really use a cup of something warm,”</b> Mary said in a small voice, her one response to Ciara’s comment about it being early. She looked at the other girl with a slow smile. <br><br>
Mary turned to Ciara, feeling oddly open for once – with someone she hadn’t known since her first year or school. <b>”Is it quite all right that I feel like the monsters down here would be wearing green striped ties and be, mostly, human?”</b> she said, her voice just a little off. She wasn’t scared of Mulciber anymore. She was angry at him. She angry at the whole thing; at having allowed it to go so far, at having been hurt, at the fact that he had faced almost no reprimand. But she left out those bits, not actually wanting to push her own buttons when she was getting along quite well with someone new. She gave a smile that was more for her own benefit, to steady herself, than for Ciara. <br><br>
Mary bit at the inside of her lip, quite hard, and frowned. She would have responded to Ciara, but she realized there wasn’t much need; she didn’t have the attention of the other girl anymore. She watched, carefully, as the other girl’s eyes flicked across stones, a soft murmur or numbers leaving her lips. She swallowed hard, not sure how to deal with something that was so closely related to fear, or so it seemed. She wasn’t good at being afraid of things, she was reckless and headstrong, and so when Mary was afraid, she was terrified. She didn’t know the anxious kind of fear, the one Ciara seemed to be experiencing. With some effort on her part, since she had no idea what the right thing to do was, Mary placed a gentle hand over the two hands of the other girl, giving her a tentative smile. <b>”Ciara,”</b> she said softly. <b>”Hey, it’s okay. You’re not alone,”</b> she said, knowing the words to be one of the few things that had settled her own worried mind, not too long ago. <b>”I won’t let anything happen,”</b> she promised, and only hoped to God, and whatever else was out there, that it was a promise she could keep.
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