a thousand missing moments

"No!"

Ariana tugged off the dressing gown that Albus had been sticking her arms into repeatedly for the last ten minutes. She tossed it onto her bed and stuck her chin out defiantly, daring him to try putting it on her once more. She could feel her blood boiling beneath her skin, and half hoped that Al would be stupid enough to try and get her to wear the dumb dressing gown again. She felt like letting something out, though she wasn't exactly sure what.

Somewhat to her disappointment, Al seemed to have learnt his lesson and picked up the garment, carefully folding it and tucking it back into her wardrobe. He gave a great sigh. "Fine, Ari. Then why don't you change into your dress?" His tone was cajoling and sweet, and made her want to kick his shin like she had seen Abe do many times.

"No," she said again, falling down onto her bed. Her nightgown felt nice and cool and comfortable. Why should she have to change just because some stupid friend of Al's was coming to visit? It wasn't fair.

"I don't know why you're being so bloody difficult today," Albus muttered to himself.

"Bad word." Ariana felt quite superior for a moment, because at least she didn't say naughty words.

"I know it's a bad word. I can say it if I want to."

"Bad word."

"I get it, Ariana."

"Bad word."

"I know it is."

"Bad word, Al!"

"You say that one more time, I swear-"

"Bad word!"

"For Merlin's sake, would you just shut up!"

Ariana stilled for a moment, stunned by Albus' words. Everything in the room stilled, it seemed, even Albus. She turned over in her bed, so she wouldn't have to look at him. Fine then. He wanted her to shut up, she'd shut up.

To her surprise, she felt kind of like crying.

"Ari-" he began softly. She heard him come up behind her, and didn't turn around.

"No."

"Ariana, I'm-"

"No, Al." Her heart felt very heavy, all of a sudden, and she was worried it might stop all together. She hated having her heart hurt. She wanted to turn around and say she was sorry that she didn't want to wear her dressing gown and that she was sorry she had made him angry and that she would wear the stupid dressing gown even though it itched all over, and why couldn't he understand why she didn't like it?

But her heart hurt so much that she can't take the energy to turn back over, so Ariana continued staring at the pale blue wall, the paint flaked from age. Albus sighed again, and she listened to the rustle of his robes as he turned to leave her alone in her bedroom.

As she finally started to cry, still not totally sure why, she didn't think to contemplate that Albus was standing out in the hallway, doing the exact same thing.