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 The Horror of Pressure (Kamren & Serenity - TW: Depression, Self-Harm, Suicidal Thoughts)

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PostSubject: The Horror of Pressure (Kamren & Serenity - TW: Depression, Self-Harm, Suicidal Thoughts)   Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:28 pm

OOC: It should be noted that this thread jumps in to triggering topics from the start. I would therefore suggest that unless you are completely comfortable reading the topics stated in the title, you do not continue to read.

Bringing Serenity home from the Ministry had not been a question in Kamren's mind. He simply could not, and would not, allow her to go home with Ms Newman for even an evening longer. Nor would he ever think of pushing a child in to the system. No, Clarinda and his home was more than big enough for Serenity to stay - even if it was on a temporary basis.

Clarinda had not questioned him either - not in front of the young witch - when he'd brought a fifteen year old girl home, and explained that, until further notice, they would be looking after her. Lux... well, Kamren could not be completely sure how his daughter had taken the arrival of another young witch - even if it was temporary - but he was sure he could put his faith in her to at least know that they weren't trying to bring in another child to better her.

Nevertheless, after showing Serenity where the bathroom was, Kamren had gone to speak to Lux, and calmly explained the situation. He'd expected no reply, and he was given exactly that. Kamren had left her be, and returned to the kitchen and his wife. In hushed voices, Kamren had explained why they were taking Serenity on. What had gone on that day. Explained why he couldn't have taken her anywhere else, before finally thanking her with a soft kiss for being so flexible with the food, and his bringing home of a child.

Not that he'd believed for a second that bringing Serenity home would have caused any issues with his wife.

That had been two days ago. Kamren had taken Serenity everywhere that she wanted himself. Yes, he was the Minister of Magic. Yes, he could lay this off on another. But the witch was vulnerable, and though he'd allowed the House Elf to stay in her company, he was not going to allow her to be gotten to by others. Not that he stopped her from doing things alone. It was just... carefully planned.

The school were complying with the flexibility Kamren needed, as well, and after dinner each evening - when Serenity was only going to be heading back to her dormitory, the House Elf brought her back to the house. It was not ideal, but until Kamren had some kind of idea on how this was going to pan out, the witch's safety was his concern.

It was a Friday evening though, Clarinda had been called in to an emergency. Lux was out with her friends - or so Kamren presumed - and he'd left Serenity to do whatever it was that she wanted to do. His company had been on offer, but not imposed. It was growing late, though, and Kamren - still not very used to being a fatherly figure for teenage girls - moved up the stairs to check on Serenity, and then say goodnight.

Kamren had paused just short of the door, giving it a soft knock before pushing the door open. He'd been too quick in his entrance, though, catching Serenity off guard, it would seem. The young witch was wearing shorts, and upon her legs... Kamren's eyes could not help but notice the scars. He knew the mark of a scar all too well from Clarinda's body. The marks of abuse were not something you forgot in a hurry, and even less so when you had come to love those small marks for a sign of the bravery, the tenacity, of the woman you loved more than the world.

And yet, here he was, the Minister of Magic, looking at a witch of no more than fifteen years old, with marks on her legs that could only ever mean one thing.

With Clarinda not yet home, Kamren had only one choice.

Moving from the door - but leaving it ajar out of politeness - Kamren stood for a moment, trying to think of something to say. There was a small lump in his throat, though, that took more than a few moments to dislodge so that he could speak to her. "Serenity..." Kamren managed, but his tone was not that of a Minister of Magic. It was not an authority figure speaking down to someone for doing something they shouldn't have.

It was a tone of concern - not pity - that was held only for people who mattered to the man. Concern for a witch he barely knew, but already felt something of a connection with.

"Your legs," he added, though he knew she would probably deny it. Try to hide them, he wanted her to know he'd seen. "I can get you a potion to help to heal them." Kamren explained, because he'd seen maybe a handful that were red, fresh. Had she done that here? Had he caused her to pick up the razor...

Pushing those thoughts from his head, Kamren motioned to the chair that sat before her dressing table. "May I sit with you, for a moment?" Kamren asked, his tone very clear that this was Serenity's decision. That she could send him away, and he would not press her. It wouldn't stop him from trying to find a solution. But he would give her her privacy.

Last edited by Kamren Jennson on Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:46 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Horror of Pressure (Kamren & Serenity - TW: Depression, Self-Harm, Suicidal Thoughts)   Sat Apr 15, 2017 4:46 am

Things had progressed so quickly Serenity hadn't had a chance to think, let alone breathe. One moment she was going about her life as usual, attending class, keeping her head down, and trying not to do anything to upset the Ministry; the next, she was told she wasn't working for the ministry, that aunt Sally and those she'd been reporting to had done so illegally, and that she was not to return to what she'd (finally) come to terms with as being her home. Instead, she was invited (although it was one of those invitations where one couldn't say no, even if one really, really wanted to decline) to stay with the Minister of Magic himself and his wife and adopted daughter.

The only thing that had stayed constant was Oliver, and even then she hadn't seen much of him. Sometimes, at night, when she had bad dreams or was too mentally exhausted to find proper rest, she could sneak out and make her way to the Hufflepuff dorms, where she would find Oliver and find refuge with him.

But -- for reasons she could hazard a guess at but never fully confirmed -- the Minister of Magic had her apparated to his place every night. This was freedom, apparently, but Serenity knew what it was -- prison of a different kind. Perhaps Kamren's (for that is what he had told her to call him) intentions were good (and Serenity didn't doubt this for a second) but in her mind, this was merely another type of cell.

And then there was the confusion. The questions that plagued her, the doubts that swamped her mind, the weight of uncertainty pulling her down, down, down until she could feel nothing but a desperate urge to curl up in a ball and do... nothing at all until sleep took her for the last time. But as she always did, she put one foot in front of another. Attended just one more class. Answered just one more question. Written just one more essay. Woke up just one more morning.

What else was there to do but survive? It was what she'd always done.

A knock on the door startled her; she'd forgotten where she was for a moment, absorbed in her thoughts. She turned from her position by the mirror, hastily shoving the now-clean blade into the drawer, and made towards the bed as quickly as she could. But she was too slow. She'd never had to practise speed before, not with Aunt Sally arriving home at such late times, and as the door opened she froze entirely. She felt exposed in her shorts and baggy t-shirt, and already she was mentally berating herself.

Why hadn't she locked the door? Why hadn't she gone to bed just a moment earlier, instead of allowing her thoughts to carry her elsewhere? Why hadn't she opted for longer pants? Why hadn't she called out, said she wasn't decently dressed and could he just wait a moment? It was too late for what ifs, too late for regrets, and, slowly, deliberately, she walked to her bed and sat down on the edge, waiting.

All he said was her name, and she knew that he'd seen and understood. Forcing bravery she did not feel, she looked up, straight at him, and waited. What could she say? His next words confirmed what she already knew, and she fought the urge to glance down at them; she knew what they looked like. There would be the dull, faded ones from months ago; there would be the ugly, pink ones from weeks ago; and there would be the fresh ones, the ones with beads of red still lingering around the edges despite her having cleaned them up, from that evening. No, she knew exactly what they looked like -- messy and ugly, like her -- and she kept her gaze on Kamren.

I don't want them healed, she thought -- but all she did was shrug lightly.

"Your house," she replied, tone somewhat flat; but still she scooted a little, giving him space beside her. There was nothing else to be said or done except to see what he had to say.
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PostSubject: Re: The Horror of Pressure (Kamren & Serenity - TW: Depression, Self-Harm, Suicidal Thoughts)   Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:50 am

The moment he'd entered, Kamren had felt guilt flood through him. He'd intruded on a moment he knew Serenity would not want him to see, and yet, now, he could not deny what he'd seen. He could pretend that he hadn't see it, but that would be denying someone the help that they needed.

Even if he wasn't going to hide his knowledge from the witch, though, Kamren did give Serenity a small, apologetic smile as she sat down.

Her suggestion that this was his house and therefore insinuating that he could do as he pleased was not an idea he liked, but Kamren didn't speak to begin with. Instead, the Minister pulled the chair from the table, and turned it so that it was facing Serenity. Sitting down slowly, Kamren looked only at Serenity's face, and not the scars on her leg.

"Serenity, there's something I need you to understand first. Me being here is your choice. If you would prefer I would leave, I would never impose myself upon you. Just because I am the Minister of Magic does not mean you have to bend to my wishes, okay?" Kamren explained to the witch in as nice a manner as he could muster, but he was serious.

Sliding his wand from the notch on his belt, Kamren murmured a soft summoning charm, and a few moments later one of Clarinda's potions for healing cuts appeared through the door, with a piece of cloth that he could use to dab the potion in to place. Taking it from it's flight, Kamren turned to Serenity once more. "This is one of Clar's potions, for cuts... might I?" He asked, motioning to the fresh cuts on her legs that he could do something with. Clarinda would have been the more capable person to deal with this whole situation, but Kamren would try.

"Is there..." Kamren started, pausing and shaking his head slightly before correcting himself. "I appreciate that you barely know me. And, I know I have very little right to question you for why you have done this to yourself. But... I am going to ask you 'why', even though that does not even begin to cover it." He explained, hoping Serenity would understand that he was only trying to help her.

Last edited by Kamren Jennson on Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Horror of Pressure (Kamren & Serenity - TW: Depression, Self-Harm, Suicidal Thoughts)   Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:15 am

Is it? Is it really my choice? she wanted to ask him, but refrained. He would, no doubt, reiterate, affirm that it was -- but Serenity knew otherwise. He'd already seen the scars, the cuts; he knew what she did and what she would continue to do. She would see it each time he looked at her. She would know every time she saw him that he knew her darkest secret, and she knew he would wonder. He might tell his wife (they seemed close) and if Clarinda found out, that was one more person knowing.

He might not ever bring it up again if she told him to leave, but she knew it would always be on his mind. It would be in the way he acted around her, spoke to her... No, there was only one option and that was to confront him head on.

He was wrong, there -- it wasn't about his position or his title. It was simply the fact that he had seen and he had understood, and Serenity of all people knew that once you Saw something -- whether with Sight or not -- you couldn't unsee it; it remained with you forever. The only way to deal with it was talking about it, sharing with someone, and if Kamren talked to her about it... perhaps, just perhaps, he wouldn't find a need to talk about it with others.

So no, she didn't really have a choice in the matter; he would stay, whether she wanted to or not, and they would talk about it. But she said none of this; she knew not how to explain. Instead, she nodded. She understood perfectly; it was him, she thought, that didn't.

She watched in silence as he summoned the bottle, waiting for him to initiate. This time she followed his gesturing, allowing her eyes to graze over the slits on her leg. The bleeding had stopped -- finally -- but the dried blood was still obvious. She'd need to clean it up again later to avoid being... Her automatic processing was interrupted by the stark and sudden rememberance that that wouldn't be necessary; she'd already been found out.

Lifting her head to look at the potion bottle he held, Serenity very slowly shook her head. If there was any truth to his earlier statement, this was the ultimate test. "Leave them," she said, softly. There was no authority to her tone. "They're my reminder."

His question was easy enough; she had an answer. After all, she liked figuring things out herself, and after that first time she had sat herself down to seriously consider the implications of it all, puzzling out the hows and whys before doing it again.

"Outward pain to salve inward pain," she said, simply. "It helps. It soothes the turmoil. It keeps me from the other solution. It stops the tears." She paused, running a single finger over the skin, taking in the roughness of all the multitudes of scars. "It's my reminder that I can still feel."
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PostSubject: Re: The Horror of Pressure (Kamren & Serenity - TW: Depression, Self-Harm, Suicidal Thoughts)   Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:44 am

The denial of the potion to make her cuts heal made Kamren nod slowly, placing the potion on her beside cabinet instead. He didn't say the words 'for later, should you change your mind' but he was sure that was implied. The potion would not do the witch any harm, should she choose to ingest it, so Kamren was not afraid of leaving it with Serenity.

Watching Serenity explain why she had resorted to the self-inflicted pain, though, had made Kamren's chest ache. It hurt to simply think that the young witch could think that this was a solution to anything. The obvious lack of outlets... of love... that the witch had experience shone through more than anything in that moment, and it took a lot for Kamren to not simply reach out and pull the witch in to a warm embrace.

He could not say he understand the pain - Kamren had been through some dark times, yes, but never to the extent he would wish to end his life - but he could, and would help the witch. If he could.

"You know... when I was a little bit older than you, not a lot, but older, I was caught up in and amongst the IRA attacks in Ireland." Kamren told the witch, though he doubted she would know exactly what that meant, he continued anyway. "There were frequent attacks on the street. Gun fights, murders, soldiers everywhere, resistance from the people who thought they could change Ireland in this way and that.

"It was years, of living in fear when my parents went out. When I went to school, work, even the shops, I didn't know if I was going to come back alive. I had to keep going, though, for my family. And I did." Kamren continued to explain to the witch. "Until one day, a bomb went off in my street. My dad... was caught in the blast. There was nothing anyone could do to save him, the wound much too severe even for magic to repair.

"For a time, I felt numb. Like I would never be able to feel any other emotion in my life. Except hatred." Kamren explained, though he knew that the situation wasn't entirely the same, perhaps not even close. But, the end result, the feeling of helplessness, of needing to feel, he had felt that. Even if only short term.

"I thought that bottling up my emotions would be the right way to deal with it. To not talk about how I felt about my father's passing with anyone. To pretend I hadn't been hurt deeply by his passing. But... I was wrong." Kamren explained, smiling wryly to himself for a moment. "And, then I met Clarinda. Now, this isn't a love story, that isn't what I'm trying to explain to you. Clarinda was someone who opened me back up to the world, because she would listen to my pain, and help me to realise that hating someone - be it myself or others - for something I couldn't change, was not going to help me.

"What I'm trying to say is, that whilst you... you think that the pain means you're feeling..." Kamren hesitated for a moment. "You're only making another problem. So... a friendly suggestion... talk to someone. Maybe not me, if you don't want to. Maybe not even Oliver, either. I can find... someone who can talk to you in a professional sense, if you would like that, or, you can take up someone else entirely. I'm here now, though...

"Why don't you tell me about this mark?" Kamren asked, gently reaching out to point to the freshest looking mark on Serenity's leg. He didn't touch her, but he hoped this would show that he cared. Enough to try to help her.
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PostSubject: Re: The Horror of Pressure (Kamren & Serenity - TW: Depression, Self-Harm, Suicidal Thoughts)   Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:36 am

Her eyes followed the movement of the potion to the table, understanding at once what it meant. Should she want it, should she decide later on she needed it, should she have a sudden change of heart... The gesture didn't go unnoticed, although it did go unappreciated. She wouldn't. The scars were there for a specific reason, to show her that she was still alive despite not always feeling like it, and she would not hide them -- except, perhaps, from Oliver. He had enough pressure on him without the added burden of her actions.

As Kamren began to talk, she turned her attention to his words. She'd never personally witnessed those things, but she'd Seen similar things. Still, she listened to what he was saying. Did he understand? Or was he just talking, like so many adults did, trying to get her to understand she wasn't any special, that her pain didn't count, that she was being stupid?

Did she hate herself? She hated the Sight, yes. She hated not being able to save those she Saw. She hated having to live with all the weight of others. And yes, she realised; perhaps, at the end of it all, she did hate herself -- for everything she wasn't.

But she didn't know how to respond. What was there to say? What was there to do? So all Serenity did was nod, once, and tuck the information away. She'd been told all her life that it was weak to ask for help; that, as a Seer, she was chosen to bear the responsibilities. Slowly, she was realising that not everything she'd been told was right, but it was difficult to unlearn something.

The question, though, she could answer. That was easy enough.

"Did Oliver tell you?" she asked, softly. A moment later, she answered herself. "No, he wouldn't have." She paused, bringing her gaze to the freshest cut. "I almost broke the future," she said, simply. Then, a few seconds after that, took a deep breath. "There was an accident at school. A Slytherin girl misplaced her footing and fell down the stairs. I Saw it an hour before it happened. I was alone with Oliver when I Saw her body at the bottom of the stairs, twisted in angles nobody should ever be twisted, and I thought her dead."

Gently, she touched the edge of the cut, just beginning to scab over. The pain she'd gotten used to already, and it was nothing but a dull ache. "I tried to change it. I almost left the room. Warned her, warned a Professor, a prefect... Someone, anyone. Oliver stopped me." She chose not to mention that he was willing to let her go; as far as anyone was concerned, he'd done the right thing. The last thing she wanted was for him to get into trouble.

"She didn't die. But she may never walk properly again. That's why Oliver came to you. I almost broke the future. He promised to set me free." She ran a finger over the cut; she'd been wrong, earlier. There was still some very slight bleeding, and her finger came away damp. She wiped it on her shorts, a smudge of pink against the blue. "I saw her today. She was in a wheelchair. Her leg had given way during physical therapy, she told someone, and they want her to wait at least another month before trying again."

"This mark..." Serenity took a deep breath, let it out again. "This mark is for her."

[[OOC: Sorry this is so meh. I'm writing it on semi-sick brain (I think I'm coming down with something) so words aren't flowing as well as I'd like 'em to.]]
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PostSubject: Re: The Horror of Pressure (Kamren & Serenity - TW: Depression, Self-Harm, Suicidal Thoughts)   Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:41 pm

No response came from Serenity in respect of the words he'd spoken except for a nod. Kamren did not know what the nod was supposed to symbolise in that moment. Understanding? Acceptance? Simply a sign she'd listened... He didn't know, and he doubted the witch would help him in that respect. Clarinda would have known, his mind supplied unhelpfully, but he pushed that idea away.

The direct question, though, did get Serenity speaking. Kamren listened quietly to the full tale, very little being given away in his features because he knew better than to allow emotions to cloud someone's story. His face, instead, stayed neutral to the words spoken, with the occasional nod to show he was still listening.

It was the final sentence that hit home, though, and Kamren took a silent, steadying breath. "This is the part where most people would tell you that it wasn't your fault." Kamren said. It wasn't a question, he knew how many an adult would try to take the pain away with those kind of words, after all, a child should not have the weight on their shoulders from such a young age. "And, the same part that you fall further away from them because they simply can't understand."

The second part had been something of a stab in the dark, but Kamren was more than sure that this would be something Serenity had felt.

"So... you turn to pain instead, because that makes sense." Kamren finalised, his eyes moving away from the witch momentarily to try to think of a solution. Not that he thought he could fix the witch, but because he wanted to find a better outlet.

"Hear me out for a moment." Kamren spoke again, eyes reverting to the witch once more. There was an air of uncertainty in his words, but he didn't let that dissuade him. "You're hurting. Because you can't act on what you See. Bottling up makes it very difficult for you to be able to... cope?" He paused once more, trying to decide if that was a fair summary before pushing on once more.

"You believe you have no outlet. No control. I've come up with a... middle ground, maybe. Instead of bringing a blade to your skin, to make you feel..." Kamren explained, getting up and moving to the desk, opening the drawer and taking out a felt tip pen. Moving back to his seat, he sat, and undid the sleeve of his shirt, drawing it back until his forearm was completely on show. There were no marks on his arms, but that was not important.

Opening the pen, Kamren drew a butterfly across his wrist. A crude one, yes, but this wasn't about art, not right now. "Draw a butterfly." He stated, before holding up a finger to show he wasn't finished. Beside the crude drawing of a butterfly, the Minister took a few moments to draw another butterfly. More detailed this time, with an intricate design. It took time, concentration, but after those few,
brief moments, he'd completed it, and he looked up at the young witch once more.

"But not just any butterfly." Kamren continued, putting the lid back on the felt tip, and using it to point to the crudely drawn butterfly. "This butterfly, only took a few moments, and signifies the instance this morning when the paperwork I needed for an international meeting was five minutes late, thus making me look bad in front of my visitors.

"Whereas, this detailed butterfly... this detailed butterfly signifies my own sadness upon finding you in this moment." Kamren explained, though he did not use the more detailed one in a manner that suggested she should feel ashamed for causing him pain. No, it was more a manner of it was done. "Both things are still important to me, not equally, but I have identified that they made me feel. They will leave a mark on my skin for a time, but with time, I will find a resolution."

Kamren held the pen out towards Serenity, wondering if she would take this idea on board. "And, should you wish it, I can always come and ask you about your butterflies."
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