A/N: I got a black and red eyeshadow duo pack and I found out really quickly that it stays on really, really well and it goes on very dark. o.o;; So to remedy the problem, I scrubbed off what I had before and then did a sort of geisha look I suppose.
More crimes are being committed against anti-twilighters by the twilight fangirls. A book bag thrown as well as scissors and the fangirl cursing out a fellow anti when all he had said was "I haven't read it, no." She was dragged away by the teacher in the classroom.
Astra seemed to fit in well with the boys. She enjoyed talking with Alphonse and chatting with Edward, though he sort of didn't talk that much to her. She enjoyed being around Erik and he enjoyed her company as well. She spoke relatively well for an American and liked to talk about music, art, and the afterlife and God in general. While she wasn't a total genius, she was well schooled and sounded like their mistress when she spoke. He found her cheerful attitude refreshing and her white hair and pale skin quite lovely. However, the most important thing above all else was what attracted him to her like a fly to honey: she was the only female doll amongst them.
So, when Edward and Astra sat together and chatted with one another, Erik was not far behind and eavesdropping. When Astra and Alphonse sat outside and soaked up the sun and the bird calls in the air, Erik could be found sneaking around by the house and hiding. Stalking was perfectly within his nature, after all, and he made full use of it at every opportunity.
"Ever get the weird feeling you're being followed around?" asked Astra as she sat with Edward on the banister of the second floor of the relatively large house their mistress lived in. She was in doll form and wearing that blood red corduroy Lolita dress, of course, as she didn't actually have anything else readily available to wear. She kicked her heels as she hunched over slightly and leaned on her hands.
Edward was beside her and he had his coat off, both his doll arms perfectly normal. He leaned back on his hands and looked up at the sunlight hitting the ceiling and thought. "Yeah, a bit. Probably the cats or that masked guy," said Edward.
Astra sniggered and looked down at the three cats as they wandered around in the living room that the second floor looked over. A grayish-blue Siamese looking cat wandered around sniffing at everything. She looked relatively old, but still fit; her blue eyes were still as bright as if she were younger. There was a mostly white calico crouched on the couch, three reddish brown spots were on her mouth and made her look as though she had a goatee. She also had a perfectly symmetrical pattern on her head that was inverted in its color scheme on the other side of her head like a harlequin. Sylvester, meanwhile, sat off the side near the stairs and looked mysterious.
Astra smiled as she gazed down at the cats. "I miss my pet kitty, Skywise," she said softly, "Although, last year I found out he was really an animagus."
"A wizard that can turn himself into an animal," said Astra quickly.
Edward looked down at the cats and grunted faintly. "Al tried to smuggle a stray cat in his armor once. It's funny now, but at the time it was so crazy. I kept telling him we couldn't be attached to anything, since we needed to keep moving to find a way to make a Philosopher's Stone, so we could get our bodies back to normal and all." He smiled ruefully as he gazed down at the cats and sighed. "But, that's all in the past."
"The past is what makes you," said Astra. "If you forget the past, then you'll simply just repeat the mistakes you made."
"Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it, yeah I know." Edward grunted once more and eyed Astra from the corner of his eyes, feeling just a little bit put out by her intelligence. In a way, he wanted to impress her a little, but she seemed forever capable of matching him at least in a few areas. He knew of one way he could impress her and he was unable to do his alchemy in this world or, at the very least, as a doll he was incapable. "Do you always sound like that?" he asked.
Astra blinked in confusion and then looked over to Edward in surprise. "Sorry? What do you mean?"
"I mean," said Edward, "Do you always sound like you're trying to be profound or sound like you're trying to be the older one here?"
Astra's cheeks flushed and she looked away, laughing. "Sorry, man, I didn't mean to be snooty or something. I tend to be very blunt and I know a lot of stuff, so…" She trailed off as she looked away from Edward, gazing at the glass back door and the concrete slab porch past it. "I was made fun of a lot growing up for being the smart kid, for being the fat kid, for being the tall kid, for being the weird kid, and for being the unpopular kid. My grandma didn't like that the school didn't teach me everything so she would teach me after school things like Algebra, science, history, and English."
"Heh, for me it was Alchemy and my brother and I would learn on our own," said Edward, smiling faintly. His smile faded, however, very quickly. "My dad left us when Al and I were really little. It was just Al, me and our mom."
"My dad died when I was about two or three. I don't remember a lot about him, but what I do remember of him are nice memories. My sister and I live with our grandma and our mom. Mom's a bit strange and ditzy, but she's very nice. Mama is a full elf and lived far up north with her tribe for a long time before finding my dad during auror training." Astra grinned and looked to Edward, her cheeks still quite pink as she looked at his profile. He was a very handsome boy; that was for certain. She especially liked his long blonde hair and golden eyes; if only he wasn't so short compared to her in their spirit forms.
Erik listened intently to their every word and made a decision for himself: he prove himself to be the more worthy of Astra's affections even if it killed him to do so! And so, he ran off as quickly as possible and spent the next several days writing and rewriting a poem or something he show to Astra his appreciation for her beauty and her intelligence, as well as the fact that she was the only woman among the lot of them. What could Erik say for himself? He was desperate for some female attention!
When at last he was done, he congratulated himself on the perfection that was his poem and set off to find where Astra was. She sat outside and hummed to herself while Edward and Alphonse weren't very far off from her. He stepped outside in the glare of the afternoon fall sun and eyed the grass of the backyard. It needed to be trimmed, but he didn't really care that much about it. It was grass. Grass grew. It grew and grew until it was cut down by either animal or human means.
He sat on the big black storage chest that sat against the side of the house in the backyard and watched Astra play with a couple blades of grass before letting them fly away on the wind. This was it! It was now or never and by God he was going to kick that blonde child away from Astra's side with this poem or he would have to actually find a way to strangle him to get rid of him.
"What can I say about her?" he said softly. When Astra didn't turn or even acknowledge him, he spoke a little louder.
"What can I say about her?
What words can a shadow use to describe a sapphire-hue rose
whose pale blue glow shames even the pure light of the moon?"
Astra turned slightly to look at Erik and watched him in mild surprise. He smiled faintly and continued in a lower voice, an almost hypnotic voice.
"How could I write of those remarkable eyes
Whose hypnotic depths pull me in time and again?
Of those pools of moonlit water,
Beautiful in the light that spills from your face?
What can I say?
What good could the words
Of a broken, torn spectre be for a beauty like you?
What can I say?
For I am silent in my admiration of you."
Astra simply stared at him in wide eyed wonder, her pale cheeks flushed faintly in the sunlight. Even if she was somewhat transparent to everyone in this world, she looked as solid to him as if she were wholly human. Toward her feet he could see more of the transparency, but the rest of her was normal looking.
And then she spoke. "Who did you write that for? It's beautiful!"
Erik's left eye twitched slightly behind his mask. "Pardon?"
"I asked who you wrote that for. Is it in memory of Miss Christine or something?"
Erik was having a hard time believing that the young woman before him could be as dull as to believe that a poem recited to her could be for someone else. She clearly had the same level of intelligence as her creator, their mistress, but for all that intelligence she now seemed incredibly dull brained in comparison. "Er, no…" Erik couldn't manage to say much else as his mind was still reeling from the sudden turn of events.
"I liked it, whomever it was for," said Astra, smiling. "I'm glad you told it to me. It's really nice of you to trust me like that."
"It was for you, you silly woman!" he shouted. "What part of this did not register?!"
Astra blinked in surprise, moving backward slightly when he began shouting at her as though she were a little afraid of what he might do to her. "Sorry, um, I didn't really think something like that would be for me, sir," she said hastily.
"Why the hell not?!"
Astra smiled sheepishly and shrugged. "Boys don't like me usually unless it's because to them I'm one of the guys."
Astounded, Erik stomped inside through the glass door and marched up the stairs of the house. Astra blinked and looked around to Edward and Alphonse. Alphonse shrugged and looked to his brother, who looked a little like he was about to murder something.
"I really didn't think it was for me!" said Astra, throwing her arms up. "Seriously, what's his problem? I said it was nice."
"Well, he has been working on it for the past few days, Astra," said Alphonse.
Astra flushed and looked away. "Oh," she said, "Oops. I guess I'll have to apologize to him. And thank him."
That night, Erik found Ehren sitting in the computer room and talking with her friends over the internet. Something seemed off about Astra. It was as though she really meant what she had said in regards to her never really being seen as a girl or a woman. His mistress sat in the little computer chair and was wearing her usual black tank top and strange leopard print pajama pants. As underdressed as she was to Erik he had grown accustomed to it as being more conservative for this new era than his own. That and she had shown him what a lot of girls wore to bed and at "sleep-overs"; a term describing a sort of all night party for girls and young women to enjoy sleeping in one big room together and play games while being comfortable in their pajamas.
"Demoiselle Ehren," he said softly, keeping his voice down in case Ehren's mother was around and awake as well, "Could you tell me about this new girl you made?"
"Astra? Eh, she's sort of my self-insert into the Harry Potter world," said Ehren quickly. She laughed a little nervously and looked away to the screen. "I wrote those stories around 2001 back after I graduated from high school. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was announced to come out the next year during summer, but it never came and then there was the publishing company saying it wouldn't be out until the next year. I began writing my own version of Harry Potter and the Oder of the Phoenix around that time and I put in myself and my friend Andrea into it as characters. It was a lot of fun and, while it's not the greatest thing in the world, Astra's evolved since then as I've played her in various role playing games and matured in my writing a little."
"So she is your own creation exclusively?" asked Erik.
"Yeah, she is," she said, "But she is also me."
"If I were to recite a poem to you, would you ask if it was meant for someone else?" asked Erik, narrowing his eyes slightly.
"Well, yeah, of course. You're just reading me a poem, right?"
Erik rubbed his temple and sighed. "Do American women simply have no ego whatsoever? Shouldn't you be flattered to have a poem recited to you by a man?"
Ehren looked up at Erik and raised her eyebrows. "Ah, well, I think I'm beginning to get what's going on here. See, I'm used to people asking me how something sounds before they go off and give it to someone else. I'm the proofreader or English teacher, as it were. I'm the art teacher or the music teacher too, come to think of it."
"But you, you as yourself, do you become flattered by a man reciting poetry or singing to you or playing a piece specially made for the occasion? Aren't you flattered by that?" asked Erik, getting a little frustrated with his mistress.
"Well, if you say it's for me then yeah, but then I'd be almost completely useless after that because I really don't know how to deal with that sort of thing. Never really had it happen before." She smiled sheepishly and played with a lock of her hair as she attempted to keep whatever good humor there was left in Erik at this point. "I take it you tried to recite a poem you personally wrote to Astra, right?"
Erik flushed behind his masked and coughed into his hand. "Yes, well, I had entertained the notion she was an intelligent young woman who clearly should be flattered and flirted with, courted properly," he said.
Ehren covered her mouth with her hand and laughed; a more feminine move that he would not have expected from someone such as her. "Oi, she's intelligent. She as intelligent as I am. It's not a lack of intelligence that is the problem here. Neither one of us has ever been treated very much like a girl by the opposite sex. As a result, neither one of us really knows how to deal with that sort of thing. Plus it's easier to think that it's for someone else and you're just asking our opinion than to take it as just for us."
"But why? It is not as though you are ugly, nor is she!"
"Hard to explain, if what I said earlier doesn't make much sense," said Ehren, finally looking seriously at Erik.
"What do you mean?"
Ehren looked up at Erik and crossed her arms in front of her chest as she leaned against the back of the computer chair. The move made her large breasts more prominent in the low cut of the black tank top. "Seriously?" she asked.
"Yes, please do tell me what the underlying problem is," said Erik, adopting a similar position.
"I grew up being ridiculed on a daily basis because I'm smart, fat, tall and overdeveloped. I grew up with lots of friends until I gained weight and then most of them ditched me. Because I was suddenly unpopular. I lived in a trashy house and the kids I grew up with knew about this, so that got spread around as well. I used to be treated to boys saying 'Ehren Fatten' to the tune of the Twilight Zone theme in the hallways. I used to have a friend over at my house and we'd eat popcicles on our chest freezer and she'd play in my room until she turned on me. Boys treated me like I was dirt under their shoes. Girls were worse to me. I was alone for most of my childhood except for a few friends who remained by my side through this."
Erik blinked in surprise toward Ehren. And yet, as he gazed at her, he was not surprised at all that others would pick on her for being different from them. This blonde haired, blue eyed Amazon growing up taller than the boys and girls both and looked as though she could send them flying with a single punch to their face was likely very intimidating to many. Yet, from what she had told him he imagined that she must have fought back tooth and claw. She did not look like she was the sort to take all that lying down.
"I assume you got into trouble a lot," said Erik, smirking faintly.
Erik stopped and eyed her. "Oh? Sneak around and exact revenge and threaten the baddies with torture should they tell?"
"No. I just took it."
Ehren looked a little uncomfortable as she looked away from him. She took a deep breath and thought hard on what to say to him before she spoke again. "When I was growing up I was told to never start fights, but I was told to end them. Don't start a fight, but by God don't let the bastard win. That isn't the sole reason, but one of several. Another reason was that I genuinely wanted people to like me, but I was so awkward about trying to be as cool as everyone else that it came off haphazardly and I would just be laughed at all the more. I'm a nerd, what can I say."
"You could have at least stood up for yourself," said Erik.
"Why should I have when I was eight years old and clearly the fat kid no one wanted to be friends with? Why should I have when I was eleven and my hair was messy and I had a bigger chest than all the other girls clearly did? I was the class freak. I was the class nerd. I was the fat kid no one wanted to associate with. I was the tall kid that looked older than everyone else did. Children will immediately pick on what is different from themselves and keep harping on it and harping on it until you break. I snapped back when they finally wore down my patience, but mostly I just let it eat me up inside.
"Even in highschool when I was more my own person and didn't give a shit about what everyone thought of me I still had boys rejecting me before I even tried to speak to them," said Ehren. "Guys here don't like fat women. Someone like me is lucky to even get one guy paying attention, much less several. That's what Astra grew up with and what she dealt with while going to wizard school. She has no real ego in regards to that because she was never really treated all that well by boys in the first place."
Erik eyed Ehren and stroked his arm as he thought carefully on what Ehren had told him. "Then, why would you put Astra through that hell if you had problems with it yourself?"
"Your past is part of who you are," said Ehren, looking up at him with those blue-gray eyes of hers, "You can't forget it no matter what because it is what makes you who you are in the now. So I was ridiculed as a kid and picked on constantly through middle school and ignored in high school, but that made me build a tougher skin that could take it and take it without a care. Petty insults toward myself are unimportant now. It also taught me the value of true friends, those who were willing stand by my side despite being targeted for it themselves. It also forced me to become very protective of those I care about because of those friends being targeted.
"You can't regret the past. You keep moving forward with the past bolstering you," said Ehren. She was standing and Erik, as the super tall freak that he was, found himself almost dwarfed by simply the intensity in her gaze. "It also makes Astra more realistic as a person, too," she said in a softer tone.
With that, Erik left to contemplate what Ehren told him. He would approach Astra later and speak with her in a more direct fashion if that was what was required of him. For the moment, he was still reeling a little inside from Ehren's story. He had not lied. She was a pretty girl and was indeed chubby, but she wasn't ugly by any means. Astra was a little thinner than Ehren, but the two were virtually the same person and now Erik knew why that was. In the end, he would have to work hard to get Astra to see that he was trying to gain her affection and not just her friendship.