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 The Persistence of Memory (Brooke)

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PostSubject: The Persistence of Memory (Brooke)   Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:50 pm

His third year at Hogwarts was coming to a close. So far, it had been an interesting journey, different from what he'd always known. The wizarding and Muggle worlds were do different from each other but Ceyal couldn't say that he hadn't enjoyed it. It was a welcome change, and though he wasn't used to the wizarding ways of doing things yet, he was learning.

The only thing he didn't like was being away from Esther. He received weekly correspondence from Mr. and Mrs. Brown, but that wasn't enough for him. He wanted to hold her in his arms and know for sure that she was alright. At least he would have the summer holidays to spend with her.

With his History of Magic essay done, Ceyal grabbed his harmonica, and whistled for Hope. The husky jumped off his bed and stayed right at his heels as he made his way down to the lake. It was one of the places - besides the library - that Ceyal frequented, mainly because it gave him silence. That, including the absence of other human beings, made it very appealing to him.  

As usual, he was the only human in sight and he headed towards his favourite spot, a large grey rock the perfect distance from the water. He sat himself down and watched for a while as Hope went sniffing amongst the bushes. She brought a branch for him, urging him to play fetch with her. He obliged, a rare smile curving his lips in the slightest bit as he sent the branch flying over and over again. When Hope tired out, she lay down with a huff at his feet and Ceyal gave the dog a rub behind the ears.

Taking his harmonica out, he blew a tune in time with the rhythm of the water against the shore, enjoying his solitude and the peace of nature as his mind ventured - like it always did - to the past.
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PostSubject: Re: The Persistence of Memory (Brooke)   Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:55 am

TW: Rape, depression, etc.

Fifteen was a weird age.

Sometimes, Brooke felt so very, very old, experiences no 30 year old should have gone through, let alone someone her age, swarming in her memories. The flashbacks didn't happen quite as often anymore, but there were still some triggering things. One of those things had been a conversation she'd overheard while passing by a group of students; they were talking about some homework they had, a report on some war, and had mentioned rape. Without quite knowing what happened, her throat caught and she found her mind going back to that day.

So she did what she had been taught to do and turned, quickly, making her way out from the crowds. Her plans to meet up with a friend from her house was long forgotten, but Brooke knew that she wouldn't mind. They all understood if she didn't show up it was because she needed time alone to sort through whatever it was that cropped up.

Leaving the castle, she started down the path to the lake. Cassie had told her to find two or three places of solitude that she could go to whenever she needed to calm down and for that reason alone. So, Brooke had explored the castle and found just that -- one was in a small nook in the owlery, the other was behind one of the Greenhouses, and the last as a rock, some distance away from the lake.

It was to this last one that she headed to now. By the time she neared it, her mind had cleared somewhat, but there were still the lingering traces of panic that clamped her heart and made her stomach churn.

"I'm safe. I'm safe," she muttered to herself. "Nothing can hurt me here." Just to prove her point, she slipped out her wand and focused on Carissa's face and laugh when Colby made a funny face, her parents watching with huge grins. "Expecto patronum," she muttered. Cassie had made her practise it over and over and over until she could produce a corporal one, and Brooke watched with dim satisfaction as the dolphin danced momentarily in the air. It wasn't so much the spell that helped, she'd only recently realised, but the practice behind the ability to produce it -- it was the focus on a happy memory that helped. She let the dolphin swim through the air, leading the way, for a few more seconds before she ended the spell; she had arrived.

It was only now that she heard the music and turned, eyes wide that someone else was there -- not because she was worried or wanted to be alone, but because she hadn't meant to show off or be seen. It was a Ravenclaw in the same year; she recognised him from around school, although they'd never really talked much before.

"Mind if I sit?" she asked, straight to the point as always, nodding at the ground. "I won't bother you or anything, I promise. This is just the place I come to when I need to..." She searched for the right word, pausing momentarily. "...to find peace. But I can go somewhere else if you'd rather be alone."
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PostSubject: Re: The Persistence of Memory (Brooke)   Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:35 am

The last notes of the harmonica hung in the air before floating away on the slight breeze that filtered through the trees. Ceyal listened to the silence for a minute before putting the instrument to his lips and beginning a new song. This time instead of playing one that already existed, he composed one, a lullaby for Esther. The melody told the story of sunshine dancing on the waves of the lake, it spoke of timid creatures hiding in the trees, it spoke of the whisper in the breeze. It spoke of peace.

He hadn't yet fully finished the song when something bright caught his eyes. He shot a glance at Hope to see that her ears had twitched but she hadn't bothered getting up or moving her head. He was in no danger. His gaze returned to whatever it was, and what he saw made his lips part in surprise. It was a patronus, a dolphin, glinting silvery blue and swimming through the air. Where'd it come from? Whomever it belonged to had to be very skilled.

He stared at it for a while then put the harmonica back to his lips, wanting to capture the beauty of the dolphin and put it in song. He'd only gotten a few notes out when the dolphin disappeared and was replaced by a voice. His dark eyes turned to the source and landed on a witch with the most fascinating eyes. There was a story behind them, he could tell, just like there was one in his. Eyes spoke of things a soul and mouth wanted to but could not form in words.

He inclined his head to the empty space near him as a silent answer to her question. Though he did not particularly like company, he understood what it was like to crave peace. Growing up in a tumultous household, it was an elusive but necessary thing. It was something he'd been trying to find his whole life but it stubbornly remained out of his grasp. Horror was too strong and peace too fleeting.

It was very apt to phrase it as 'finding peace'. It was a constant search for something he had never experienced and would probably never find, in this life or the next.

Hope did her thing, sniffing the girl out and seeking attention from the newcomer. He'd seen the girl around and knew that her name was Brooke. He recalled that she'd disappeared for a year, but that was all he knew about her.
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PostSubject: Re: The Persistence of Memory (Brooke)   Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:51 am

She was grateful for the 'permission' to join him, and she slid her wand back into her pocket before sitting, raising one knee up and leaving the other leg straight. Part of her wanted to say 'hi', so make conversation and possibly a new friend, but most of her wanted solitude, even if it was beside someone else, and so she said nothing, instead shooting him a smile. She let her gaze move out towards the lake before a wet nose startled her and pulled her out of her thoughts seconds later.

She turned her head to regard the dog, a smile growing. "Hey," she murmured, reaching out to pet its head. A quick glance told her the gender of the dog, and she let out a laugh as she forced her head onto Brooke's lap. "Hey girl, what's your name, hmm?" she asked, her tone the typical high tone it took on around dogs.

Scratching behind the dog's ear, Brooke let her mind wander.

Her daughter would turn four months in a few days, and Brooke was itching to be there on that day. It was a Saturday, and the last her parents had said, they were going to floo over to Hogsmeade so that Brooke would be able to see Carissa. Once more, she was filled with love at the thought of her family. Imperfect in so many ways and yet so perfect at the end of it all.

Her mind turned to the male sitting next to her. Ravenclaw, if she wasn't mistaken. He'd been seen around classes, before her year off, but she'd never talked to him. She'd been too busy with her friends and talking to those who initiated conversations with her to go after those who seemed to enjoy being alone -- at least, that was before she realised how much solitude helped her cope. A whole new world opened up to her and she began not just noticing those who preferred to be alone but wondering the reason behind it.


That was his name. It was unusual, and not one that she had heard before. It suited him, somehow, although she couldn't say why. But true to her word, she wasn't going to say anything or speak; if he wanted to talk, he'd initiate.

A sudden flash. A face in her mind. A familiar sensation of falling, falling, falling, and she was back on the floor of the wooden cabin. Why now? Why here? she chided herself mentally, but it was no use, and her breath caught as she squeezed her eyes shut. She knew exactly what it was -- a panic attack, triggered by nothing. They were getting less and less frequent, but they still happened at random times. PTSD, she was told, and while she was almost better, almost didn't mean completely.

In. Out. In. Out. She focused on her breathing, forcing herself to take slow and steady breaths. Her hands were squeezed into fits by her side, her nails digging into her palm. They would leave a mark for a day or so, but nothing permanent. Luckily, there were no tears this time round, and all Brooke could do was ride it out. Minutes passed by as the anxiety and panic slowly faded to numbness, and as soon as she had gotten control of her emotions and feelings, she opened her eyes.

Only then did she remember she wasn't entirely alone, and her eyes widened as she turned to look at Ceyal. Had he noticed? While she'd never seen herself having one, she knew that sometimes she made strangled cries, and sometimes she stopped breathing and gasped for air when she next did. She didn't know when she did either, for in the moment all she knew was the panic and fear. Her eyes found him, and she waited, not knowing what else to do or say.
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PostSubject: Re: The Persistence of Memory (Brooke)   Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:11 pm

Ceyal eyed her from the corner of his eyes as she seated herself. She had to be a pretty powerful witch to be able to summon a patronus. He may not be entirely familiar with the wizarding world yet but he did know that it took skill to be able to produce the charm, much less a corporeal one like Brooke had done. There were not many people Ceyal respected in the world but his regard for a girl grew the tiniest bit.

He cringed a little when she addressed Hope in a different tone of voice. He never understood why people had to change their voices around babies, dogs, or animals in general. Why? You could talk to them normally they'd still respond. There was no necessecity to alter one's voice at all.

"Hope," he said, breaking the silence. "Her name is Hope." Another thing he disliked was when people called Hope 'girl'. She wasn't a girl, she was a dog, a dog who meant the world to him and was deserving of a name and not just 'girl'. To be fair, Brooke had indirectly asked for her name.

He watched as Hope soaked up the attention Brooke was giving her, enjoying the silence as he thought back to the time he'd found Hope. Esther was fast asleep and he'd taken a walk, needing to be alone for a while. He'd heard a soft sort of crying noise and went to investigate, finding a puppy with a broken leg. That was the start of the only friendship Ceyal ever had and he cherished it. "Hope" seemed to be the only fitting name to give her at that point in both their lives.

A low whine broke him out of his reveried and his eyes refocused on the dog and Brooke. The former had laid her head firmly in Brooke's lap, whining quietly as her deep brown eyes gazed upward at the human. Ceyal frowned. Hope only ever did that when she was comforting someone, namely, him.

His gaze travelled upward to see Brooke, her eyes closed as she tried to steayd her breath. He knew what was happening. She was having a panic attack of sorts. While he'd never had a full blown panic attack, more than once, he'd woken up in a cold sweat in the grip of terror. The nightmares happened almost every night and Hope was always there to help him through it. He'd hug her tight as he breathed through the pangs of fear.

He waited, letting Brooke calm herself down, keeping his eyes on her to make sure that she didn't need medical aid. People did not get panic attacks for no reason. There was always something that triggered it, some past experience in which panic made its home. Brooke, up till now, had seemed like such a normal girl. When he saw her in classes or with her friends, he didn't think there was anything much beyond what she portrayed.

Her eyes opened and met his. Although he disliked socialising to the point that he would do everything in his power to avoid speaking unless absolutely necessary, he knew that this was not the time for silence. He understood hurt, he understood pain, he understood distress. He understood. And he had to say something. Mr. and Mrs. Brown had done so much for him after his beloved mother passed away. The least he could do was be there for someone else who needed it.

Hope herself was showing her concern by licking Brooke's hands and fingers, the same way she always did for him.

"Are you alright?" It was a sincere question, not the kind that people threw around to seem polite when they really didn't want to know if you were doing okay.

He wouldn't ask about what caused the panic attack because then, he was obligated to share his part of the story. Nobody knew who he was and he wanted to keep it that way.

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PostSubject: Re: The Persistence of Memory (Brooke)   Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:51 pm

Her hand automatically went to the dog's -- Hope's, she distantly recalled him saying, just before the attack happened -- head, telling her without words that she was now okay. Balto often did the same, although he was still too playful to accompany her to school. A few more lessons, though, and he'd have his cert, proving that he was qualified as an emotional support dog, and she'd be able to take him with her everywhere.

As she turned, she found Ceyal looking at her. Damn. How would she explain it away? It was difficult to begin to articulate it, why someone of fifteen would act that way. She had a few go-to lies, of course, but she hated using them; still, not everyone took kindly to her saying she had PTSD, and she knew why the lies were important -- wrong, perhaps, but important and necessary nevertheless. But as she met his eyes, the lies died on her lips.

There was something akin to understanding in his look, something that said 'I know', and know intimately, not the fake kind where you'd read one or two articles on a subject. It was a look that said he knew exactly what it was like because he had those, too, and been through it and still went through it. It was a look that said she'd found someone who, like her, was a survivor of things so horrible they couldn't be spoken about to anyone but those who Understood. Interesting, how she couldn't talk about her past without making others uncomfortable.

If he Understood, she wouldn't -- couldn't -- lie.

The question came, as they always did. What's wrong? Are you okay? What happened? You alright? There were so many variations of it that she was certain she'd heard it all. She'd learnt, therefore, to distinguish between those who meant it and those who were asking because it was the 'right thing' to do and not because they cared. Ceyal was the former, and a smile touched her features as she raised a shoulder in a shrug.

"No." She let her shoulder drop. "But I will be." A pause. A wider smile as she decided to not hold back. It was so rare to find someone who Understood, after all. "In time, I suppose. That's what my parents say; they mean well, but honestly, they have it wrong. My therapist was more blunt, which I appreciate. 'Brooke', she said to me, 'I've never fed you bullshit before and I never will -- some people live with PTSD their whole life. If you're one of those people, you'll learn to live with it.'"

She'd mimicked Cassie's voice as she quoted her, and then let out a laugh when she finished. "It sounded much more comforting when she said it, I swear." There was another pause and then, genuinely, seriously, Brooke added, "Are you? Alright, I mean."
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PostSubject: Re: The Persistence of Memory (Brooke)   Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:00 pm

He waited for her to answer, wondering what she would say. Would she - like him - shrug and nod then put up a wall of silence nobody dared to penetrate? He would understand if she did that. They'd just met and it wasn't common behaviour to show one's demons to someone you barely knew. He'd asked the question to let her know that he cared and would listen if she wanted to talk. But if she didn't that was alright too.

Merlin knew that he'd kept his silence for days after his mother passed. Questions that could be answered with a yes or no was done with a nod or shake of the head. Oftentimes, he'd ignore the question altogether and stare at the person until they felt so uncomfortable they never approached him again.

But Mrs. Brown had got through to him merely just by tucking him into bed and staying outside his bedroom door as he sobbed through the night. He'd refused to let her in but she always stayed right at the door and the knowledge that she was there helped him go back to sleep. It was that persistence that helped him break his silence even when the first words out of his lips to her were, "I like your cake." Mrs. Brown had taken it in stride, not making a big deal out of his speech.

After that, he spoke more easily. Of course, there were days where he just needed to be in his bubble but when he was comfortable, he'd venture out of his den and take a sniff of the fragrance of kindness that Mrs. Brown offerend before going back into hiding.

The only person he spoke regularly to was Esther.

Brooke answered and Ceyal responded with a nod, keeping his eyes on her as she continued to talk about her parents and therapist. It always did annoy it when people said, "You will heal with time". He found that statement rather untrue, at least for him. Time didn't erase what happened in the past. Nothing could erase what happened in the past.

Brooke revealed that she had PTSD and Ceyal wasn't surprised. There was a reason she had a panic attack. While he didn't have PTSD, he knew what it was like when the memories threatened to suffocate him.

Her laugh was beautiful. That she could laugh after having gone through something so traumatising that it left her with PTSD amazed him. He couldn't recall the last time he laughed. He always had reason to smile when he was with Esther, but apart from that nothing else ever gave him cause to laugh.

She returned the question and he paused, not quite expecting it. He was tempted to give his usual response of a shrug but she'd been honest with him and he felt compelled to do the same. Besides, he had a feeling that she was different. If she could go through whatever she did and still be capable of laughter, she wasn't like anybody else he'd ever met, and his instincs weren't usually wrong.

"No." He let the word hang in the air for a while, tearing his eyes away from hers and letting his gaze drift to the lake. "And I won't be."
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PostSubject: Re: The Persistence of Memory (Brooke)   Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:28 pm

The no didn't take her by surprise. Ceyal, from what she remembered, was a loner, and those were usually that for a reason. Besides, he'd been sitting in solitude with a dog for company, staring at the lake. How 'alright' could he be? But she said nothing yet, waiting for him to add more -- if he was going to. He did, and the words made a wry smile tug at her lips.

Hadn't she thought the exact same thing? Hadn't that been the only thing on her mind as she cried herself to sleep, only to wake up hours later screaming? And hadn't Cassie simply said "You're wrong"? She'd been right, of course, and Brooke was here, not dead.

"Eh," she said, lightly. A moment later, she went on. "If there's one absolute statement I stand by is that absolute statements are usually always wrong." She grinned. "Of course, that means I could be wrong about that, but it's a chance I'm willing to take." She paused to put her arms around Hope and give the dog a short, fleeting hug, and then let go and resumed her scratching. "It might seem like you won't ever get better, but it does, eventually. Never back to the way it was before, of course, and it would be stupid to think it could ever be the same. If not better, different, and I've always been one to say that different is better than staying the same."

Absentmindedly, she stopped patting Hope and brought her hands together, gently feeling the scars on her wrists. She'd been given the option to hide them with spells and potions, and for many months she did, until Cassie. Now she left them visible to anyone who had eyes, but not for them -- it was for her, a reminder of all she'd been through and all she could survive. A nudge made her return her attention to the dog with a chuckle and a soft, "Alright, alright, you impatient thing."

She, too, turned to look at the lake, watching the sky reflecting across the still water, only tiny ripples breaking the illusion. Long moments passed, during which she said nothing, enjoying the light breeze and the view. One day, she would have to show Carissa all of this in person. Time passed, although how much Brooke couldn't say, before she turned back to him.

"You're wrong, you know," she said, so quietly he could ignore it if he wanted to. A short pause, another laugh. "I suppose it's our way of giving the demons of our lives one large middle finger. Surviving despite all they've thrown at us, I mean. Making it. Others'll never really understand, of course. How could they? But from one survivor to another, you'll make it." She shrugged. "Or you won't. Either way, give 'em hell."
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PostSubject: Re: The Persistence of Memory (Brooke)   Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:15 pm

He'd never admitted it before, never said out loud that he wasn't alright. Whenever people asked him that question - or some other variation of it - he'd always just answer in the affirmative or ignore them altogether. It was easier than saying 'no' and having to deal with everything that came after. People didn't know how to respond when you said you weren't alright. To Mrs. Brown, he'd never lie and when she asked that question, he chose to turn his head away instead. It was his way of telling her that he wasn't alright without having to say it out loud. Because saying out loud made it real.

But he'd fooled himself into thinking he was alright, into thinking that there was nothing wrong, that perhaps ignoring everything would make it go away. Saying it out loud to Brooke, made him realise that in reality, he wasn't alright. And he believed what he'd said, that he would never be alright. How was he supposed to be alright when every night he dreamed of his father beating him and his mother up? How was he supposed to be alright when the knowledge that he had a sister somewhere out there - and he might never find her -  haunted him? How was he supposed to be alright when he was the cause of his father's death?

The man deserved to die, but Ceyal didn't want blood on his hands. Nobody knew about that day and he certainly didn't want Brooke to know. How'd she react if she knew she was speaking to a murderer? Sure, she might be one-of-a-kind and not like everybody else. But he didn't think that she take the news very well if he revealed the way his father had perished.

She spoke and he listened, the tiniest of smiles curving his once passive expression when she wasn't awkward at his admission that he wasn't alright. Most people always expect a 'yes' to the question that when they received the opposite, they didn't quite know what to say. But Brooke had a lot to say and while he didn't completely agree with her, her words made sense. Until she got to one part. Never back to the way it was before, of course... Never back to the way it was before? He didn't want to go back to the way it was before. That meant his father still an abusive drunkard, that meant his mother still suffered under his hand, that meant his sister thrown out into the world at three months old.

There was no happiness in before. There never was happiness. It just was. The only time in his life that he was remotely happy was when Arnold was dead and they came to London from New York. Loveen struggled to make ends meet as she worked odd jobs to put food in his mouth, but they had each other and that was more than enough. Even then, it didn't stay that way. The only before he wanted was one with his mother alive and Elouise with them. But that had never existed and so that could never be.

He didn't say anything in response. There was nothing to say. It was too long and dark a story to tell and he wasn't ready to let her take a peek into tumultous soul. She might drown in what she stepped into.

Movement caught his eyes, and he glanced at her in time to catch her fiddling with her hands to which his gaze travelled. Almost immediately, he noticed the scars that were there and his eyes widened in surprise. He knew she'd been through a lot from what she'd told him. But to have gone to the point of cutting herself, it must have been something really really bad. He'd never thought of harming himself, but then again, everybody responded differently to situations in their life.

Before he could think about it, the words were out of his lips. "You cut yourself." It wasn't a question. It was a statement. Realising what he'd said, he apologised. Another thing he hated was nosy people who just wouldn't leave him alone when he wanted to be. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to..." Out of words, he used his hands to motion to hers.

She was silent for a while and he was content to leave it like that, the both of them enjoying the peace that nature offered. Then she spoke again, so softly that he almost didn't catch it. He understood where she was coming from and agreed with her. Living life, and not just surving, was like an 'in your face' to the darkness that haunted a person. But his own darkness he could live with. He'd lived with it for so long that it just became normal to him. It was something else that disturbed him far more than his own demons.

He made an assenting noise at the back to his throat, saying that he ageed with what she'd said. "My demons I can live with," he said, turning his eyes back to hers. Could she see the haunted look in them? "But I will never be truly alright until I know where my sister is." He paused, thinking about Elouise. There was a chance that she'd been picked up and adopted into a loving family. But what were the chances of that happening? There were hundreds and hundreds of orphans all around the world. What were the chances that one baby in a hundred would be adopted and brought up in a good environment?

"My demons I can live with and fight," he continued. "I don't care if I make it or not. I care whether she makes it. Whether she survives." It was the most he had revealed to someone. Not even Mr. or Mrs. Brown knew that he had another sister besides Esther.
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PostSubject: Re: The Persistence of Memory (Brooke)   Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:52 pm

TW: Cutting, attempted suicide.

He didn't reply, not that she expected him to. Not many people knew what to say in response to... well, her as a person. She'd had many one-way conversations before, and those never fully turned out well. It was stupid, really; they asked questions and then couldn't handle what she said. True, sometimes she liked to give more details than necessary, if only to mess with them -- she had to maintain some degree of fun in her life, after all -- but still. Why ask if you didn't mean it? That was something she'd never understand.

His question didn't exactly catch her off guard; with her scars on display, it was obviously a point of interest to others. Still, his sudden voicing out startled her, and she turned to flash him a smile, waving away the apology. "If I minded, I would have accepted their offer to hide it," she said. She gently touched the marks on either of her wrists, almost fondly, and then returned to petting Hope.

"No, I don't. I mean, I didn't, sort of," she said, her tone only matter-of-fact; it was her past, and it didn't change whether or not she wanted it to. The best she could do now was embrace it, and embrace it fully. Why bother hiding? She wasn't embrassed. It had been a mistake, sure, and she regretted it, of course, but she wasn't embrassed about it. There was no point in feeling shame for something you did a long time ago when you weren't in your best state of mind. "It wasn't the type of self-harming that I think you mean. It was more... well, two precise cuts at the veins."

She turned her free hand towards him so that, if he chose, he could take a closer look and see that she was right; there weren't repeated lines that came with a repetitive cutting habit. "I tried to kill myself," she clarified. "Luckily, dad's an auror and when he heard the water splashing out of the tub, his insticts kicked in, and then he did the same to the door. Luckily second, mum's a healer, so she knew what to do to stop bleeding. Luckily third, I didn't have enough strength to do the right wrist, and missed the artery."

Luckily fourth, I didn't kill my baby, she thought. That was just a tad too private for a first meeting, though, considering she'd have to go into detail about how she came to have a baby, and that meant reliving the rape, and while she was okay with sharing it, she'd just gone through a panic attack. Right now, she didn't want to think about it. And so she focused on Hope instead, and Ceyal, and the lake.

There was something about his eyes that said whatever he was admitting was something that he'd stuggled with long and hard. She didn't comment on it, instead taking his words in. His sister? Were they separated at birth? Whatever the case, she could understand, even if not fully. The last statement, though, she could relate to entirely.

"I know the feeling," she said, softly. Perhaps it was a different circumstance, but it was true nevertheless. For a long time, the only reason she ate and fought to not give up was for the unborn baby in her stomach, and then when Carissa was born, the baby that depended on her for survival. Her life suddenly had meaning again the moment she held her baby in her arms.

There was a short lull, and then, she said, "So we'll find your sister." She shrugged. "I mean, you know she exists, so that's a good start. Do you know her name or what she looks like? It'll be hard, of course, but not impossible. I mean, seven-ish billion people in the world, yea, but you know she's a she, so that cuts it down. And you know her age -- you do, right? -- so that cuts it down further. That leaves, what, a few million? That's a workable number, isn't it? We could do something with that, can't we?"
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