False Hope of Redemption - Page 6

False Hope of Redemption

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Re: False Hope of Redemption

Post by Simon Marek on Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:41 pm

Simon had understood that there was something different about Livia's relationship with the people she called her parents. He had thought that maybe she had been adopted late and kept her name. Had thought it was maybe fairly recent. He didn't realize that might not have been the case. And perhaps it still was, but he wasn't sure. And he was afraid to pry because then she might decide to pry as well. And he felt like that would just be frightening for the both of them.

Instead of asking, he simply nodded, expression grim. His free hand moved to her wrist, running up and down her arm a few times before covering her hand where it held tightly to him. "Liv, if you need to stay somewhere I'll see to it. The Leaky, the-" he faltered, realizing she might be going back to the Hog's Head, so that was a stupid idea. "I- I do have a flat, but it's not exactly nice enough for someone like you. And you'd probably rather your own space, but-" Simon shrugged, shaking his head. "I don't know, Liv. Drawing it out might hurt worse, in the end. But it's your choice. If you think they need time, I'll help you. However I can."

He couldn't tell if she was faking the bright tone of voice and the light in her eyes, but he got the feeling that perhaps she needed to behave that way to feel right with the world for a few more minutes. If he had known a way to provide her with that feeling, he would have done it in a heartbeat, whatever it was. But he didn't know how. So he let her lead him instead.

When she turned it around on him, the smile that appeared was a sad one, though still genuine. "Ah, well, that'd be my mum, wouldn't it?"

So much for not prying or delving too deep. Maybe this was actually a good sign for him. Maybe he was learning to move on. "My family," he began a bit more brightly, trying to match her and picking up the pace of his speech, "they're Muggles. And they- they're great. A lot of people probably get strange about their kids having magic, but mine didn't. Really good about it. I thought that my sister would be bothered by not being magic too, but she wanted to follow mum and become a nurse. Mum's the one that got us into medical shows like I mentioned. Dad was always busy, helping wealthy families handle money and things, and I was closer to mum. She's English, so that's where I learned most of it. The language, I mean."

Sighing, he knew he had to address the thing that has brought on his disappointed expression from earlier. "I moved here to play and they were good about it. Mum always thought the whole thing was really exciting. But after what happened, well... They thought they must have misunderstood what I wanted to do with magic. What I was capable of. Now, I grew up as something of a lad, I guess, but only in appearance. I would never have done anything dangerous, and I'm not interested in jumping into bed with some random woman. But my classmates were and it was easier to pretend. I got very good at it. But they believed it. They thought I'd really done it. I don't even know where they are anymore," he admitted reluctantly. "I wish they'd had faith in me, but nobody did and they were dealing with things they don't understand. So it's... It's okay, I guess. Just don't know how to fix it."
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Re: False Hope of Redemption

Post by Livia McCallum on Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:06 pm

It was unfair to demand a reprieve from Simon and Livia knew it. No, she had to go home. It was foolish of her to want to hide, really, even if she wasn’t sure she could withstand what was going to come of her facing the situation that had unfolded head-on. Regardless of however much she wanted to avoid it, she had to go home. There was no which way about that, really.

Home. But which home, though?

She let her eyes flutter closed for a moment as an unwanted surge of feeling coursed through her, making her heart squeeze painfully in her chest. For all of their sins, and perhaps indeed hers, she did miss her parents. Her actual parents, that is. The Hayes’ did go some way to fill that void but it wasn’t quite the same. In some ways, that was for the better but in others … Merlin, she just missed them.

She missed those summer days when the holidays were coming to the end and the air was getting heavier with the nip of the oncoming autumn. She missed stealing into her father’s office, when the sun had only just peeked up over the trees. She longed to hear his chuckle and the soft thump of his glasses hitting the stack of papers to his left that were grimy with coffee spills. Sometimes she could feel his arms around her and his lips lingering on his forehead and sometimes she could hear his warm, deep voice in her ear, explaining the intricacies of his work even though she had been too young to understand. And then, she missed her mother.

On Sundays, their house would fill with the smell of baking as her grandmother tirelessly tried to imbue in her daughter some sort of cooking ability. They would all end up winded for laughing so much, head to toe in flour. Her grandmother would be exacerbated, or at least play to being so, but on those days, they could all relax and just be. It seemed wrong to her that they could be bathed in such happiness and then for such pain to strike. She would have given anything to relive one of those days, to feel her sister’s arms around her, to see her brother happy again. Her life, then, had been sunshine. Lightness. Such stuff that makes hearts soar. And now? Well, it was shades of grey, storm clouds, heaviness, even if the sun still tried to come out.

“It will only make things worse if I don’t go back and explain myself,” she conceded, reopening her eyes as a sigh ruffled through her. “I just don’t know where to begin with them. I know, with an apology, but … it’s finding the words.” She shook her head, reaching for her drink once more. “I suppose I’ll figure it out when I get home.”

There was that word again. Home. And then another. Mum. Family. In a rough sort of way, they all more or less have the same meaning that’s impossible to articulate. It’s a feeling. But they both had their reasons for not broaching these subjects and these weren’t the sort of waters Livia had had any plans of traversing through with Simon, yet. Mind you, she’d not had a specific timeframe for doing that, anyway. Perhaps she would never have done it at all. Not deliberately, anyway.

She reached out her hands after setting down the glass and curled them around Simon’s again, a sorrowful look pursing at her lips. She considered his words and her heart gave another pang as she realised she, too, had no clue where her parents were. The occasional letters she received from her grandparents alerted her to their holidays abroad – they were terribly fond of cruises now they were retired. Her parents, though? She hadn’t the first idea. They could have been home in Edinburgh but then they could have been abroad somewhere on a dig. She just didn’t know and it killed her a little bit to think that they could have been anywhere. They could have thought the same of her, too. And yet … there was radio silence … on both sides.

“It’s not really my place to urge you to do something but maybe it might be worth reaching out to them when you’re ready …” Livia’s brows furrowed a little as she realised the hypocrisy of the words. “It’s up to you, though,” she pointed out, trying to keep her optimism. “It’s not too late for … well, for anything, really.”

“My family are Muggles too,” she went on after a little bit of silence. She let her fingers draw down his forearm. “But we, my sister, brother, and I, were all magical. They supported us, wanted us to learn, but never understood that we wanted a future in this world. My brother … they wanted him to do maths or something like that. I don’t know what they hoped for me and my sister but, um …”

She took a moment to compose herself as one hand tightened around Simon’s. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment, wondering whether or not she was really going to do this, talk to someone other than the Ministry assigned St. Mungo’s therapist she’d been assigned after the crash. She hadn’t even spoken about it with Keiran and Millie, though they knew the details well enough.

“I suppose, in the spirit of talking about things we’d rather not …. Do you … did you ever hear about the train crash a few years ago? The Hogwarts Express went off of the viaduct or … I can’t really remember where it came off but I was there and … well, so was my sister. She … she didn’t make it.” She bit her lip, quite unable to believe she’d actually said it aloud. Sitting back heavily against the chair, Livia lifted her eyes to Simon’s face, trying to read his expression, unsure what she saw there.

“My parents didn’t trust magic, after that. I get that. I can’t blame them for that but … I couldn’t give it up. I couldn’t lose my sister and my future. So, I suppose, I lost them.” And, in spite of gaining as much as she had, in that moment, Livia had never felt more alone. Gaius was Merlin-only-knew-where, she had upset Keiran and Peter, and she was further from her parents (or at least felt it) than she had ever been. And yet Simon … Simon didn’t have anyone, her mind was quick to remind her, half in admonishment for her selfishness.

Livia’s fingers curled around his hands again and she looked up, breaking the intense staring contest she’d unwittingly been having with the table.

“What a pair we make,” she observed with a weak smile. “But now you know, and now I know so … at least we can be honest with each other about … I mean, I guess everything. Unless there’s something worse you’ve got to tell me,” her eyes gained their humour back as her smile grew despite herself. Yes, indeed, what a pair they made.
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Re: False Hope of Redemption

Post by Simon Marek on Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:08 am

"Maybe," Simon began gently, inclining his head sympathetically, "you should start with 'I love you.' Because clearly that's true."

He did watch her fingers that time, rather than her face. It seemed like a topic she would need some sort of implied privacy to discuss, though he couldn't quite explain why he felt that way. Something about how her shoulders seemed to fall inwards, towards each other, maybe. He was about to ask what the three had ended up doing, as he didn't even know what Liv wanted to spend her life on, but she gripped his hand more securely and it halted his tongue.

At first, he thought that something bad had happened to her sister but not to the extent that it turned out to be. Ironically, he suspected somethings along the lines of what had happened to Keiran, though he hadn't a clue that the accident had brought that about. But when she asked, he nodded silently rather than admitting that he heard about it while in Azkaban. Because while news did filter in after a while, it was never any of the good stuff. He'd thought it was just a story, a rumor, at the time. But then he'd been released and learned the truth. So that... Well. It definitely wasn't the good stuff.

His face didn't hold the pity it should have, mainly because he was someone who felt that pity was insulting. Instead, his expression was one of empathetic sorrow. Because while he didn't know the personal side of loss, he had definitely seen it. And she was far better off than the shell of a man that Tobias had become.

Rather than saying anything or giving her the look she probably wanted, he waited until she tore her gaze away, and then used his free hand to pick up his chair and move it up along side her own. After settling back down, he lifted that had to tuck a stray hair behind her ear. When she spoke again, he sank into the back of his chair and draped his arm across the top of hers.

"When I got out, I wrote to them." Simon said, rewinding the conversation enough to make his point. "But the owl came back, so I don't know if it couldn't find them somehow, if they didn't answer, or if they're-... Gone. I think I'd have to magically - pun intended - clear my name before they took any attempts seriously. But I've tried. And I'll try again. And I know it shouldn't be your job, Liv, but that's something they can't ignore or deny in the future. You'll be the one that saved things."

He knew that he could have said that he was actually pretty selfish. He could - and should - have told her something he knew would scare her off. Simon should've let her find someone who was perfectly happy with their life so that they could spend their thoughts on her in a way he never could. But he didn't want her to do that, so nothing serious came to mind.

"Well one thing, I guess, that my job is pretty dangerous. So I don't think I should get into that right now. I do think, however, that you're quite brave. And strong. And - beautiful," he added a bit less firmly and more distractedly, his eyes skimming across her features as he thought about what he was actually trying to say. "They would be lucky to have you back."
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Re: False Hope of Redemption

Post by Livia McCallum on Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:22 am

(OOC: 6am phone post woooo!)

"I want to help," the witch murmured, her brows furrowing in earnestness. She did. It was true. She wanted Simon to walk without his shoulders being encumbered by that burden. She wanted for him the luxury of breathing easy, without guilt on his chest. Though that was something none of them could really do, it was still worth the try - in that her belief was unwavering. By hook or by crook, too, she was determined to enlist Keiran also. Though that was an uphill battle for another time entirely, when the 'I love you(s)' had been exchanged and all forgiven.

"I want things to be right for you and your family," she added as she turned towards him, one hand scaling up from his neck to cup his cheek. It was partly, she knew, because things could never be right with her own. Just as Gaius had beheld her with eyes that couldn't see her, that were desperately searching for Octavia, she felt it was almost inevitable that they would do the same. She could barely withstand such a gaze from her surviving sibling. What it would feel like under the weight of their misplaced hopes ... she couldn't imagine it.

A flush of colour ripened the young woman's cheeks at his words. She ducked her head as a laugh bubbled past her lips and she let her hand drop back down to his shoulder as she wiggled in closer to him, as though intending to hide her embarrassment in his frame. She blinked up, an appreciative smile, bearing a certain sadness to it, alighting on her mouth.

"I don't know if it's me they really want back," she admitted to her thoughts. "We were twins, my sister and I. Octavia," she paused, rolling her lips together as she considered that this was be first time in months that she'd said her name. "She was always the more ... I don't know. I guess there's always one that's got more oomph than the other. But all I think Gaius, my brother, sees is her and I'm not Tavi. I'm me. I've always been me and I don't know if that's brave and strong and beautiful but ... It's not her. I'm not sure if they're who they're really expecting anymore. So maybe ... I don't know. I know it's stupid but with them I wonder if it's not better just to hang on and not get hurt again. It wasn't the most amicable divorce ever... once you inevitably meet Theo, who was my guardian until I finished Hogwarts, you'll probably see why it got as nasty as it did." She laughed weakly and let her head drop down against his shoulder.

"I hope you stay safe on this job," she commented half-warningly before sighing. "How did it come to this? Sometimes I wonder what I did wrong or who I upset. For all of it though," she lifted her head again to look at him, only momentarily startled by how close they were, "I'm glad I met you."
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Re: False Hope of Redemption

Post by Simon Marek on Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:17 am

His chin dropped towards his chest, partly to sink into her touch, but he glanced back up from beneath his brow, wishing that her hope could be fulfilled. After all, in that moment they wanted the same thing. And it had been years since he had felt that sort of closeness - even that sort of comaraderie - with another living, breathing person. Perhaps more daunting, however, was the knowledge that she felt that way despite her own struggles. He didn't understand why she felt it, but it warmed him to know that she did.

A pleased smile pulled at his cheeks regardless of their discussion, happy with the knowledge that his almost accidental comments had made her light up like that. Simon did get the sense that she could turn that switch on easily and often, so it wasn't as though she did it just for him or because of what he had said. But he liked the idea that he was on the right track, anyway. Maybe someday he would manage something that made her smile at him in a way she wouldn't be with anyone else, and she would have that secret grin or laugh or look just for him.

Simon knew he didn't deserve it - at least not yet - but it didn't stop him from craving it. He wanted it nearly as badly as he wanted his freedom, and the things that came with it. Including a potential future with the woman next to him. That was worth more than some smile here or a glance there.

His hand drifted to her shoulder reassuringly as she looked away, but it turned out to be rather convenient as she replied. Her theory actually pained him as it met his ears, and he wanted so badly to prove that she was wrong. But he didn't know her parents' names, and even if she had told him about her brother, what good did a letter do when it came from a man who was both trying to earn her love but also had apparently murdered a small child? It would end up with that brother raising all hell against Simon if he was any real sort of man, nonetheless sibling. And while that meant her reconnecting with Gaius and her parents would mean bad days ahead for Simon himself, he didn't like seeing her so unhappy about it. Surely they had less reason to dislike her than his family did him?

Perhaps, if all ended up lost between the pair of them, it would be his last gift to her. A letter saying that yes, something awful and painful had happened. And yes they had lost a daughter. But Liv had lost a sister, brother and parents for something that wasn't her fault. For something she couldn't fix. And hey, wasn't that far less awful than a monster, freak of a son who killed a man's daughter and had tried to get the McCallums' own little girl to be the biggest part of his life? Surely that would make them see sense.

He doubted Liv would want it that way. And he didn't want to ever have to go through with it. But he promised himself that if everything else failed and nothing in the world could convince her that he was worth it, he would give it a try as he backed away and admitted defeat. Because he knew it wouldn't save him, but it might do a number on her lot in life if he got the words just right.

The subtle promise that Liv made and the presence of her cheek against his shoulder pulled Simon from his detrimental thoughts. Inevitable. That word was a weighty one for someone like him. Inevitable that he would meet more important figures in her life. Inevitable that Tobias would come after him. Inevitable that Simon would fall head over feet for the promises and affection of the lady at his side. And inevitable that he would end up ruining it with another bout in Azkaban. A part of him could feel it sneaking up, now. He had angered the wrong man on accident and the clock was ticking.

Liv looked up at him and Simon nearly froze. In a way, he wanted her to move back first. But he didn't want to break the moment, either. In the end, he couldn't bring himself to change it in that way. No, he did quite the opposite. His shoulders deflated somewhat as he pressed his forehead to hers and then closed his eyes. "I'm quite sure I would still be lost if it weren't for you." He informed her seriously. "I'll be careful - at work."

He shifted unconsciously, and the instant his nose brushed along the side of hers he had to reign himself in. They were sitting at a table in a pub, talking about their terrible lots in life, and she barely knew him, even after all that. It wasn't fair, it wasn't polite and it certainly wasn't going to win over her... 'folks.'

So although his lips parted and be drew in a particularly unsteady breath, Simon tilted his head the wrong way, pulling back just enough to stop himself. It wasn't quite enough to calm his pulse or temper his bubbling disappointment in his own decision, but it was enough to ensure that he didn't go back on it.

"You didn't do anything wrong, Princess. Sometimes grief is hard to overcome. Sometimes we aren't strong enough, yet," he mused aloud, doing his best to cover the tense tone of his voice, brought on by the distinct desire to do something other than talking. His hand lifted to cover hers as her gave her a steady, serious look. "It isn't who you're not. It's who they lost. And that's not fair to you, but it's love, Livia. And heartbreak because the other half is gone. And I know you feel it too. You must know that part of what's behind their eyes is fear. Fear that it could've been you, and then how would Octavia have felt? Fear because you might do something you regret, or because you might be in pain. No one wants someone they love to be in pain. But it's hard not to be.

"And that's something they can't blame you for, something no one can fault you for. But I can tell you one thing that's sure. There's nothing you could do or say to make me think they wanted her instead. No parent should have to choose, but no parent should have to grieve their child, either. That's not how life is meant to happen. And I couldn't fix it for Tobias but I can try for Keiran and Millie and your parents. And I will, if you let me."

Jaw set, he looked at her, daring her to tell him he couldn't manage it or refusing him the chance to attempt it.
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Re: False Hope of Redemption

Post by Livia McCallum on Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:18 pm

In truth, reader, it was a good thing that Simon changed his mind and did not allow anything to occur between them. Though, it didn’t quite stop her from wanting it, from wavering just that little bit closer to him before he pulled away, as close as she would ever come to initiating it herself in that moment. As her rational mind caught up with her irrational one, though, she realised that no amount of wanting it could have guided her through the experience in any way that wasn’t clumsy and ill-practised. Her heart quaked as fear welled up within her and her mind turned to what might have happened if they had. Then, just as it was budding, her fear elapsed and her smile grew soft and warm as her eyes fell into his.

It was, perhaps, odd that the witch was ready to tell Simon about what had happened to her but not prepared for the physical manifestation of such intimacy between them. Mind you, she was sure that Keiran would have been quite glad to hear that. But, somehow, there was something a little bit more precious about kisses, about entrusting them to another human being, than entrusting secrets that a few dusty issues of the Daily Prophet could render common knowledge if he so wished to look. Like his secret, in that regard, as the aforementioned Hayes had exhibited.

Her story had been pored over by dozens during their first coffee of the morning, or perhaps during a raucous family breakfast where no real due care could be given to a tale. In a way, it was not something hidden at all. It was in the world, given out freely by mass media. Details were sparse, of course, but the bare bones of the story were there. Names. Ages. Losses. It was all listed in there for people to be horror-struck by. Her kisses weren’t. They weren’t for everyone, nor were they freely given, not least because no one had appeared before Simon, really, who she wanted to give them to.

And she was scared, of course, because those kisses promised so much more than that. They said that he was a person whom she wanted to be with, he was a person who she wanted to be her person, someone she wanted to entrust her kisses to. Someone she wanted to entrust her heart to, too. And that was scary. A scary thing for a girl who knew upheaval well, who, despite wanting to protect herself as much as possible, wanted to take a chance on someone who sense (and Keiran) would say was unequivocally the wrong man for her. She just needed a little more time.

She considered his words carefully, trying to open up to the idea that maybe she could be enough for them. She wondered if any of them had realised that her loss was as great as theirs, if not greater. She had not just lost a sibling, she’d lost her double, her mirror in every possible way. She had lost one half of herself. Gaius had lost a sister, her mother and father had lost a child … but Livia … Livia had lost herself somewhere along the line, too, and clinging onto what she had left was all she could do. Clinging onto magic. That’s all she could do. To lose that, too … it was then and still was to this day unthinkable. She wondered if they had realised, when Simon who, in truth, barely knew her, could see it plain as day.

“I think,” she found her voice gradually, “that if you had gone to Hogwarts, you’d be in my house. We don’t give up lightly,” her smile flashed upwards quickly. “If you would like to, you’re welcome to try but …” she shrugged her shoulders in a quick up-and-down motion. “I don’t know where my family is, either, and … the thing is, so much has changed. What if none of this is repairable? What if they decide it’s not worth repairing? I’ll never be the person they want me to be. This could be a little bit disappointing.” The understatement of the century, perhaps.
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