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like the rain chooses the grass

Chapter Text


 

“Fuck are you following me ‘round for.” It’s not a question and it is, all at once.

The girl (spirals of black curls, brilliant green eyes and altogether too white for him to ever give her a second glance) wraps one hand around her wrist and nervously shuffles her feet. There should be absolutely no reason for her to keep popping up in his dreams like this.

“I, uh, our marks.” Oh fuck no.

Erik Stevens clamps one hand down over his thigh, scowling at the girl before him. She’s near his age, probably a year or two younger, if he had to take a guess. Not as smart as him, not as driven; it’s written all over her face. There’s a strength in her eyes, but it’s not hardened, it’s not burning like his. It’s defensive in nature; she’ll come out with teeth and claws but only when she’s pushed, only when she’s backed into a corner. She doesn’t have the drive to get out there and chase what she wants, that much is obvious.

There’s a scar on her forehead, short and simple and way too crisp to be anything but purposefully bestowed. He’s not interested in the slightest.

The mark twisting up her forearm (Wakandan in design, curling into the same lightning bolt shape that spears across her brow) keeps screaming otherwise.

Fuck. Not once had he ever considered his soulmate would be anything other than a black woman. His opinions on that are already far too solidified to allow for anything else.

Yet green eyes and a carbon copy soulmark are telling him otherwise.

Fuck this shit.

 

She’s there again the next night, as usual. But unlike all the other times, she actually begins to venture closer now. Her hands (small and callous and lily-white) tremble ever so slightly before she clenches her fingers, face firming up. He hasn’t got time for this. He’s got six exams rapidly approaching, lingering in wait on the horizon as a final semester ambush. He’d much rather be revising than be here. There’s little he wouldn’t prefer to do over being present here with this, this, whitey.

She stops beside him and Erik instantly stands, shoulders straight and head high. Stupidly big green eyes (and fuck they are green, green like summer grass, greener than any eyes he’s ever seen before) stare up at him; he’s at least half a foot taller than her and promises to keep growing, she has no choice other than to look up because like hell is he gonna sit for her.

“My name’s Harrie,” she opens with and Erik snorts.

“I don’t care.” Pale as fuck lips twitch up in a tiredly amused smile, hand raking through the only dark part of her. The black curls flutter down, sweeping out across her shoulders and framing the long column of her neck. No jewellery. Given the clothes she’s wearing it hardly seems like she can afford a half decent set of threads, never mind some gold or silver. Hell, they ain’t even girl’s clothes; god in heaven please let this be a necessity and not a fashion choice. He’d like to say the name’s a choice, but with what white people are like now…

“That makes a change.” And fuck, she’s actually acting like this is something she’s pleased about. As if she’s happy he thinks little of her name (it’s not just the name he thinks little of).

He doesn’t answer her when she asks after his name.

 

It goes on that way for a week; they meet in their dreams, Erik valiantly mentally recites knowledge on his approaching tests, ‘Harrie’ gets ignored. On the eighth day, however, things change. Things change because when he shows up, Harrie doesn’t greet him. When he shows up, she’s not wearing the ridiculous baggy clothes that swamp her frame. If the English accent hadn’t given her away before, the private school girl uniform certainly would now. What’s outta place though is the sheer amount of dirt, blood and grim she’s caked in. And the blood, well, there’s too much around her arm and she’s too pale (just when he thought she couldn’t get any more white she goes and proves him wrong) for it not to belong to her.

“Fuck happened?” His mouth runs away with him. But hell, it looks like someone grabbed the girl and dragged her through the sewers by her ankles. Her privilege-hinting outfit is shot to hell which is a shame because, typical white gear or not, it’s the first half decent thing he’s seen her in. She looks fucking wrecked and not in the bitch fight kind of way Erik would have expected to see of the girls from his childhood home. There’s no bullet or stab wounds that he can see either, so whatever occurred is not something he’s ever seen before.

Harrie flicks her gaze up to look at him without really seeing him. Erik’s teeth grind against one another. He’s fucking tired of that shit, of people acknowledging there’s a body but not really a person. He’s made the teachers acknowledge him, made the senior staff sit up and take note, made himself shine so fucking bright that they can’t ignore him even behind closed eyes. So, she doesn’t get to do that either.

“What happened, Coloniser.”

It all comes spilling out. As if that single command is enough to shatter a dam, to dissolve steel and collapse barricades, and Erik can only sit back to watch as the bomb go off. And hell, what a bomb it is. Were he anyone else, he’d probably never have believed shit about a secret society. But he knows of Wakanda, what’s the chances of a second one going unnoticed too? He bitterly picks up on the underlying context to all of her words, how the circumstances of a person’s birth can leave them inferior in the eyes of others. White superiority under a different banner that’s not technically ‘white’ but still all about remaining pure. He’s not surprised in the least. He also feels pretty fucking sick. These muggleborns aren’t his people (they’re not one of his, he’s not one of them) but their struggle… a society that seeks to oppress them and a fucking madman hunting them down for sport… it’s too close to the bone.

It’s not so much that he’s paying rapt attention to the girl’s words, but it’s hella hard to ignore the world shifting around them, the story playing out on film, a layer of dirt upon the surface the only thing separating Erik from being present in the whole spectacle. Her description (brief and short, formed with sharp words that does nothing to smooth the mental image into existence) is lacklustre but the moving images behind her more than make up for it. He watches the little scrap of a white girl face off against the very image of white supremacy wrapped up in an anti-‘muggle’ package. Watches as the tiny twelve-year-old (she’s two and a half years younger than him, she hasn’t even turned thirteen yet) armed with nothing more than a sword goes up against the biggest fucking snake Erik could have ever imagined. He’s barely listening to the girl now, too busy witnessing the trial she’s been through and against every damn instinct he has, he feels a little seed of respect for the whitey settle in his stomach. Ignoring their physical forms… at least he’s been lumped with a fighter.

The tale also explains why the Wakanda word for ‘great snake’ has worked its way into their soulmark designs. He pushes down the bout of hysteria that bubbles up. Because hell, if Whitey here is going to be off gallivanting around a magical community getting up to fuck knows what… well, his soulmark is only going to continue to grow in interesting ways, that much is clear. As the show comes to an end and the cracker girl slumps down to sit on the ground, Erik can’t drum up the willpower to dismiss her as usual.

“Erik.” Her head snaps up, those ridiculous eyes the only colour to her face.

“What?”

“I’ma not saying it again,” he snarls, arms folded and valiantly ignoring the little smile that slowly blooms across her lips, the way she repeats his name softly beneath her breath. As if that American name is something to treasure or some shit like that.

 

After that Erik doesn’t warm up to her, so to speak. But… he does give her a little leeway. It’s minuscule but she’s like a mouse he’s found in the pantry and doesn’t quite have the heart to kick out. No one will know of this soft spot. She’s at home (sort of) in her own segregated society, it’s not like they’ll ever really meet. It becomes a strange kind of resting place; they never truly talk to each other, but one will start to rant or explain the events of the day, the other will listen but not offer any real substantial input. It’s tense as hell but it’s not the deathly silence Erik had treated her to before. Harrie is back in her older cousin’s cast-off’s (something’s not right there but Erik’s not gonna jump on it, it’s not his business) and she’s bitching about the aunt of her cousin coming to visit. An aunt she hates with a passion because she’s released hounds on Harrie more than once. Privately, Erik wonders why Harrie just doesn’t magic them out of existence or something but he supposes, like vibranium, even magic could have limitations. He’s worked out how to will paper and pens into existence here and, while he can’t bring books here he’s not yet memorised, he can rehearse what he knows again and again, until it’s embedded in there and he doesn’t even need to think before he knows the answer. His exams for the year are over and done with, it’s summer vacation but he’s hard at work for the next lot. That’s when he’s not busy with the summer job to rake in some cash for savings purposes. Oh, he’s gonna ride on the best white collage on government grants, he won’t accept anything less. But he’s desperate for financial independence from the state.

“I blew up Aunt Marge.” It takes a second for the sentence to register in Erik’s mind, but th second it does, his head snaps up to look at the girl. She’s laid flat across the ‘ground’, limbs sprawled out every which way and looking a hella lot less distressed than he’d have expected. He recalls the giant snake’s gory death, the shade of white privilege under a different banner and the scream the… being had made when she stabbed that book. That sound had been a highlight in his nightmares for a bit, right beside his daddy’s body and those panther claws that haunt his every waking moment. A quick scan of the girl’s slumped frame shows no blood or bone; given the state she’d been in after the giant snake-

“You wash up before you slept or something.” She startles and Erik’s not surprised by it, It’s the first time he’s really addressed her with something to answer since the snake incident.

“Wha- no. I’m knackered. I just went straight to sleep.” Huh. Probably something to do with the magic then. Erik takes note of it but then returns to his revision, jotting down the next formula in a long line of equations because it’s not his shit to deal with. If the girl’s traumatised by it all (though she doesn’t seem to be which should be ringing some fucking alarm bells with someone) it’s not his problem. It’s not like she can cause him any harm given that they’re not physically meeting each other and that they’re… soulmates. Swallowing around the lump of disgust in his throat (not that it clears his pharynx in the slightest), Erik forges on with the maths revision. He’ll get through all this before the night is out and start looking up the new shit tomorrow. In the very least, this meeting in dreams crap is at least allowing him to continue striving forwards with his education.

 

He doesn’t’ pay too much attention to her rants, though the whole escaped convict out for her blood does have him twinging with interest. Learning that it’s the man who sold her parents out to the pureblood-pushing bastard does send a twinge of unwanted sympathy through his guts, but he stomps the sensation out before he can do anything stupid. Like volunteer to teach her where to strike best to kill a man with maximum pain (he’s already well aware he’ll be going into the Black Ops in his future, it’s all part of the plan that’s slowly fleshing out). Besides, there’s probably some kind of magic shit that allows her to do a better job of it. Like exploding a human being which she is, apparently, perfectly capable of. The blasé way she’d spoken about it indicates that these magics are fucking psychos and Erik’s quite comfortable with the knowledge there’s an ocean between them.

By the end of the year he’s aced his exams (as expected) and it’s revealed that Harrie’s murderous convict is innocent and her godfather. He’s still on the run though, she informs him drolly. So, no better living conditions for her. Erik considers her last school year, considers the current one that has just wrapped up, and concludes she’s probably done with all the antics now. Of course, he’s wrong.

 

He’s heard one too many screams (Cedric, whoever the fuck that is), hasn’t been able to do nothing but watch as the lilywhite skin beneath her eyes steadily trooped towards an exhausted black and she doesn’t talk anymore. It’s the throbbing on the mark on his thigh (the syntaxes they share now decorated with a disgusting brand of ‘violated’ in Wakandan) that pushes him to do it. That’s the truth of it, nothing more, nothing less. Before he’s really got his head on right, he’s on the cheapest flight out to London he could find with two Great British Pounds for every three Dollars he transferred over. The exchange rate sucks balls but at least the coins are sensical, decreasing in weight as they decrease in value.

Finding her isn’t easy. He’s got no last name to work from but he does have the blood aunt’s full name; Petunia Dursley. He might not have responded to her rants, might not have shown he’s listening. But, like it or not (and he fucking well doesn’t), she’s his soulmate. It’d be his luck for some fucker to find her and use her against him somehow. Hey, there’s magic in the world, he’s not ruling it out.

 

The neighbourhood is something right out of a baby boomer’s 1950s wet-dream. All uniform houses, all cookie cutter shit that he’s surprised to see aren’t decorated with the typical white-picket fences. The little luggage he’d decided to bring with him is back at the hotel; he’s only got a rucksack full of essentials with him as he prowls down the street, grinning at the nosy as fuck housewife that’s peering out her kitchen window at him. With his ripped jeans and worn tee, he sure as hell doesn’t fit in with the aesthetic they’ve got going on here. He doesn’t rush to approach number four (though he does have to inspect each house carefully as he goes past; they’re all so fucking similar), sauntering up the drive as if he’s the most dangerous thing in the fucking place.

Luckily, he doesn’t even have to get to the front door before two heads are peering at him from the rosebushes. One’s got the face of a horse, fake-ass pearls collaring her unnaturally long neck; Erik’s skin crawls just from looking at her. The other one, well, he knows the face more than he’d care to given he’s seen it practically every night for the last two years. She’s staring, mouth hanging open and grip on the hedge trimmers so loose they’re a half-minute away from hitting the ground. Cheeks red, pasty English skin sunburnt from too much time in the summer heat. Fuck, he’s almost relieved to see her and he’s not enjoying the implications of that.

“Who are you.” Horse-face snaps and her tone indicates that any answer she receives is going to be the wrong one and nothing he can do will change that. Well fuck her. Erik’s been leaving fuckers like her in the dust for more years than she’s probably been hosting half-assed dinner parties. Just another whitey scum filled to the brim with bitter self-entitlement, riding on the coattails of her ancestors who got their riches by riding on the backs of his own. He’s got nothing to say to her, nothing ‘cept-

“Don’t worry ‘bout Harrie, I’ma take her off your hands for a while.” He smiles, makes sure it flashes more bone white teeth than is strictly necessary. It’s not a friendly expression. Horse-face goes to say some shit but Harrie’s already dropped the hedge-trimmers to the scorched earth with a heavy thunk, all but fleeing from her aunt’s side. She’s still staring at him as if she can’t quite believe he’s there. It’s flattering, in a way that makes him feel slimy for it. He don’t need her positive attitude. Just needs her to stop with the nightmares that’re leaking into his own wellbeing. If that means coming over here and instructing her on how to sort her shit out, then so be it.

“Hello,” she whispers, all English accent and stupid big eyes. He’s never been anything near welcoming to her but with a homelife this shit, he can see why that’s not put her off yet. Sparing one last glance to the horse-faced woman that must be Harrie’s aunt (and if he’s stuck with her, at least she’s not as ugly as whitey could be) to peer down his nose at her, Erik spins on his heels and heads back down the drive.

He barks,” keep up,” and she’s quick to fall in step with him, still smiling. Ridiculous thing she is.

Now he just needs to know how he’s gonna figure this shit out in the next three days.