Worrywarts

Worrywarts

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Worrywarts

Post by Maddie McKillon on Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:42 pm

[OOC: Backdating it to the last day of term as not sure when Teddy would have taken up the position. Can amend if necessary.]

“You won’t believe who I just saw, Mum.”

Maddie, attempting to straighten her daughter’s tie, paused in her fussing to shoot Kathryn a quizzical look, whereupon Kathryn took the opportunity to duck out of her grasp and re-loosen her tie, a sly glint in her eye.

“Who, Kathy?”

“Teddy. Remember Teddy?”

“That’s Dr. Lupin to you, Kathryn.”

“He prefers Teddy.”

“Hmm...I rather think you prefer Teddy.”

“Well then that works out perfectly, doesn’t it?”

Maddie suppressed a smile and shook her head slightly as Kathryn flashed her a bright grin, leaning forward to place a kiss on her mother’s cheek. She began to step away, shrugging her hair off her shoulder, and grabbing the handle of her trunk before seeming to pick up her trail of thought again and turning back.

“Anyway, Mum, I think he’s teaching, because I heard from Gertie’s cousin that the old Curative Magic professor left, so they’re bringing in a professional. Teddy’s a professional, isn’t he, Mum?”

At this new piece of information, Maddie nodded absent-mindedly, bringing up an image of the staff table that morning and comparing it against her mental roster of the staff.

“Yes, Kit-kat.”

The Curative Magic professor’s seat at the end of year feast had indeed been empty, though Maddie hadn’t paid it much thought that morning. She was surprised she hadn’t heard about it before, but she supposed most of the staff were too rundown at this point in the year to keep their own rumour mill churning.

She brought herself back to the present just as a swarm of giggling Gryffindor girls swept Kathryn up in the wave of their approach. The crinkling of her forehead was quickly erased by a sudden smile, as she waved Kathryn off with a shout to “keep an eye on Charlie!” Just to reassure herself, she looked around for a glimpse of his familiar mop of brown hair, tagging behind Casper and his group of friends, half-running to keep up. Affection surged within her, as it always did at the sight of her boys, and the smile widened. She was taking a risk by sending Charlie along, but after all the pandemonium of the previous year, she hoped this time they’d be safe on the Hogwarts Express.

Only when they’d all wandered out of sight did she turn back to the school, climbing the steps purposefully and straightening her thoughts as she made her way through the castle.

If Teddy was indeed the curative studies replacement, he may have already moved in, considering his predecessor had already left. She’d not had much word from him since the disappearing act he’d pulled last year, the cause of which she still had no idea of save for some vague mentions of a cousin from Kathryn. But as someone in whom she’d seen something of a kindred spirit, and who had done much to help in a tricky period of her life, she felt duty-bound to check on him, particularly as she doubted he did much checking on himself. Not as much as he did on others, at any rate, which was certainly the impression she got. And he was a Hufflepuff after all, and of course there was less of that Gryffindor vanity about them and more of a dedication to others rather than an ideal or a cause or…

Knock knock knock.

Well, she just hoped he hadn’t worked himself to the bone.
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Re: Worrywarts

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Wed Aug 10, 2016 9:31 pm

Teddy Lupin figured it was easier to move in while everyone was moving out. He knew the simplest thing would be to wait for the summer holiday, pick a day, and come in. But he wasn’t just taking a job. He was desperately attempting to regain a sense of normality that he had lost and had eluded him ever since… well, the problem is he didn’t know when (or where) it had gone. But normality meant allowing himself to be around people again. He had withdrawn for far too long. It was time to take the plunge again.

Besides, he had the day off. So why not?

He figured, like most of the professors nowadays, that he would spend some time back at home, but he did want to do this right, so he was trying to make his staff quarters at least somewhat comfortable. He didn’t have to bring any furniture, which was nice, but he had brought a chair he was particularly fond of as well as a few boxes of books. Currently, he was conducting a well-orchestrated dance of his clothing – professor clothes to the wardrobe, all else to the dresser. He would have to move Sylvia when he fully moved in and Jag… he wasn’t sure what to do with Lily’s dog. Hopefully, she would take him.

Lily. He knew that his problems were deeper than his feelings of failure towards his sister-of-sorts, but it was hard not to divide the times of his life between Before and After he lost Lily. Because that’s what it felt like. It felt like loss. And thoughts of her felt an awful lot like grief.

He paused and glanced around, trying to figure out what was next as the last pair of jeans folded themselves and tucked into the dresser. His eyes scanned the small room. Bed, done. Wardrobe and dresser, full. Small table with two chairs place, comfy chair positioned. Bookshelves, yet to be filled.

It was awfully minimal. But it was his.

He went to go open the window when he heard a knock. He paused and continued opening the window before turning to approach the door.

He opened it and found mild surprise taking his face, before it left. Obviously. Maddie worked here. He knew that. Why had he not considered the inevitability that they would interact as coworkers.

“Maddie,” he said, considering how much he should say, all things considered. Instead, he began with a class. “Hi.”

*
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Re: Worrywarts

Post by Maddie McKillon on Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:47 am

Maddie checked she was at the right door only after delivering the three firm raps, pocketing her wand and brushing her hair behind her ear. As she waited for Teddy to answer, she had no idea what to expect of the erstwhile counselor. She had a horrible feeling that some disaster had befallen him and taken him off the map, and a worse feeling that no-one had noticed. She shook her head at that, dismissing the dismal thoughts that she suspected were simply the result of her own tendency to worry excessively. In reality, nothing was probably wrong. It was probably an extended break, and he'd simply forgotten to give a head's up. He had seemed a little strained before he'd vanished, so it was definitely well-deserved.

Still, she couldn't help but worry.

Needlessly, perhaps, but worry all the same. For a half-second, she was sure he wasn't there, that Kathryn had simply been repeating some half-baked rumour the Gryffindor girls had exaggerated, as, she'd discovered, they had a tendency to do. But since her daughter had claimed to have actually seen him, she waited until the sound of approaching footsteps confirmed their exchange.

Then the door opened, and for a second, Maddie was also taken aback. She registered the flicker of surprise, but she more closely noticed the deeper grooves of worry, the heaviness that seemed to surround him. A heaviness that she couldn't quite place but that she recognised a little too closely. Somewhat belatedly, she acknowledged that she herself was no stranger to disappearing acts- she'd taken two years, hadn't she? And it was only now, three years after the fact, that she'd managed to slip back into her old self. The Maddie of two- hell, even one- years ago would have worn that same heaviness like a shroud. And though she liked to think of it as having been shrugged off completely, perhaps it just fit a little better, looked a little nicer, didn't drag as it once did.

In any case, here she stood, fine, and here Teddy stood, most definitely... not.

"Hello, Teddy," she said, bestowing all the warmth of a smile on the younger man. Over his shoulder she could see that she'd been right in her assumption- he'd taken the chance to move in. Briefly, she registered the empty bookcase and filed away a mental note to bring over some books he might find of interest at some point that September.

It's been a while, she almost added, instantly cringing inwardly at what he might mistake for a reproach. The last thing she wanted was to nag him while he was (seemingly) down. So she went with the safe option, leaving explanations and concerns to the side for the moment and  tacking on a "How are you?"
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Re: Worrywarts

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:54 am

Teddy honest looked at Maddie and felt… bad. Not that she was making him feel that way, no, nor was he unhappy to see her. Maddie was one of the few people who seemed to understand his tightly wound nature, his struggle to let things go because he could see all too well how a bad situation could snowball into a worse one. Back when Harry and Ginny were alive, he didn’t have to worry. He was laidback, healthy, happy… popular. And then he lost Harry, and he was lost. But to lose Ginny was to take away his youth. He desperately grasped at the straws of the only family he had ever known, and they had all finally slipped through his fingers.

He suspected, deep down, that he had suffered through Maddie’s greatest fear. Not to say that Maddie had not suffered some horrors of her own. To go through a divorce after three children… the sheer idea of any form of abandonment from his future spouse was enough to freeze Teddy into attempting to acquire one at all. And then for him to die… once again, losing a spouse was a different beast entirely. No, Maddie had gone through her share of horrors, but he imagined that losing his siblings to the cruel, cruel world was a deep-rooted fear deep within Maddie’s heart too.

She smiled and brought him back to the now. They weren’t far apart in age but she had lived a small lifetime in milestones he could hope to aspire to, and for that she had become maternal. Her maternal sentiments were never heavy-handed towards him, more empathetic than anything, but always strangely welcome. James and Albus and Lily seemed to resent anyone who assumed they needed any extra sympathy. Teddy had grown up with it from the get-go and people had eventually decided he had his fill. But Maddie persisted. Because that was just the sort of person she was.

“Maddie,” he said, trying to put more substance into his breathless voice but coming off more confused than anything. He stuttered out a “H-hi” in the hopes of sounding more pleased than confused, though there was equal measure of both.

How was he. How was he. How…

“How did you know I was here?” he asked. Immediately, he recognized how ungrateful this question sounded and his face morphed into an apologetic one. “No, not that I’m not… no thrilled to see you, or- I just didn’t want you to think I was intentionally not telling you I worked here, or anything. I figured you would have taken the kids home early, skipped the train craze. Sorry. I’m, um, I’m good. I’m working here.” Wow. Lame. He cleared his throat. “You? I mean... how are you?”
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Re: Worrywarts

Post by Maddie McKillon on Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:46 pm

For all her determination, Maddie had never claimed confidence as one of her more prominent virtues, and she found her resolution wavering slightly at the unreadable signals in Teddy’s voice. He wasn’t entirely pleased to see her, that much she could ascertain, though why she was unable to determine. And though he tried to force out some form of warmth, it was actually the hint of bafflement accompanying his words that was strangely reassuring, as it made clear it wasn’t disappointment that drove the awkwardness. Why he should be disappointed in her, she had not the slightest idea. But her own disappointment in herself always seemed eager to be recognised in others.

His next words threw her for a loop again, second-guessing her actions in seeking him out so soon. Had he been hiding? Perhaps he was just popping in and didn’t want anyone to find out yet or-

No. That wasn’t it. Maddie had suffered through enough instances of uncertainty and insecurity to know how deep a hole one could dig, left alone with one’s own shortcomings. And Teddy, who understood the frantic, restless, anxious part of her that even Robin had overlooked- hadn’t she seen something in him too? That meticulous care over words, the fear of taking a wrong step and sending the whole flimsy structure of a life crashing down about your head. Maddie knew something or two about that.

But there was a place for doubt and a place for certainty, and it was the latter Maddie chose to take heed of now. No more, she admonished herself. Today, at least, she wouldn’t allow herself to second guess her words or her actions. She was a professor and an academic and a mother, after all- she had been wife to both husband and home, had lost one and almost lost the other, and now she was in control of her life and what became of it. Perhaps if Teddy saw that, he would-

What, be inspired to grasp the reins of his life, too?


All of a sudden, she felt worse for thinking it could be that simple. His life was one of loss, war heroes, suffering and sacrifice. He was steeped in it. She didn’t claim to know more of the Potter clan than any other civilian, but here was a man- a boy, too- who’d known nothing else. Surely that took a toll on a person. Something like that she guessed would build up, over the years, and then..

“Kathryn.” She said, giving a sheepish smile in response to his question, “You know the Gryffindor girls and their rumour mill. It never stops churning. Not that I- well.”

She stopped herself before she could lapse into the doubt and hesitance so customary to her, and so detrimental to the assured, capable image she always tried to project, now especially. Instead, she let out a small laugh with her next words.

“That would have been the wise thing, wouldn’t it? I’ve sent them all off, Charlie too, and Bertha’s meeting them at the station. I thought we’d take this opportunity to do the move back - you know we’ve been in Hogsmeade this year- and it’s so much easier to empty the cottage without kids and critters running about.”

She didn’t allow herself to express the worry that was now beginning to seep in at the thought of them alone on that train, and the possibility of another disaster befalling them. No more, she reminded herself. Worrying was not what picked you up and kept you strong when things fell apart. Worrying had never done either of them any substantial good.

“So I see. Teaching, eh?”

She didn’t comment on his side-stepping of what she really meant by her question, deflecting the focus onto her instead. It wouldn’t do to barge in demanding to know his secrets or sufferings. Perhaps, like her, he just needed the assurance of normalcy in the midst of chaos. The illusion of control over a life that was spinning out of your grasp. Some warmth, some comfort, after being left alone with your thoughts for too long. So she allowed some form of softness to seep into her response, understanding and reassurance merging together to give a kind smile and a-

“I’m fine, Teddy. Good, even.”

Then, gentler and yet somehow more emphatically, she rearranged her words into something easier to answer. A slight tweak, but something that cut more quickly to the point, with less of the pressure of self-analysis. And yet less rote, less avoidable. Concern over a journey, rather than a fleeting state of being.

“How have you been?”
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Re: Worrywarts

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Wed Aug 17, 2016 10:30 pm

Teddy remembered a time in his life where he could take charge of a situation and the Potter kids would fall into line behind her. Where he had the confidence to make a decision, formulate a plan, and move forward. Even with Harry gone, he had the strength needed to be a pillar. Losing Ginny had lost him the boys. They were shaken into a sense of impendence that Teddy could not relieve them from.  Lily alone, at the tender age of eleven, had needed him. And her brother’s perceived indifference kept her close to him for nearly six years.

Losing her to the fearful world had done it. Having her withdraw and pull away from him, and then get hurt because no one was there to shield and protect her – it had ruined her, and there was no undoing that damage. It was permanent. It was there. It was reminder every day that the world could take everything from him in one instance.

He didn’t feel like a Lupin anymore. He didn’t feel worthy of the time he had with either Potter. He had ruined it, let it all go to waste. What did he have to show for it? Someone stronger would have benefited more, would have made the legacy continue. He couldn’t even keep a family together.

These were the thoughts fueling the slightly ashamed look on his face as he faced Maddie, someone he wished he could look whole for, someone who had also invested the time and he had not succeeded. This woman stood strong after all of her tribulations, and had three wonderful children that stood as grinning testaments to all she had done. It was hard to admit how foolish and weak he had been, when he could have followed her example.

She asked about teaching and he went to speak, almost choking on his words, his mouth dry from uncertainty. He turned and glanced into his room, as though the reason lie in one of the unpacked boxes. He gestured vaguely before dropping his hand, awkwardly knocking it on doorframe. “Yeah. I don’t know. Needed a career change and it seemed to be… seemed to be the right fit.”

She said she was good and he found a smile lifting his lips without the permission of his mind, surprisingly him by the action. All he knew was that… at least there was that. At least Maddie was good.

The question came again and he blinked, pursing his lips and glancing downwards. He lifted his gaze, an apologetic grimace evolving his expression. She had him caught, and he was willing to admit it. “Wanna come in?” he asked.

He led them to the table, rummaging around for two glasses, pouring them both water. If he was better settled, he would have brought out tea or something better, but alas. He took a gulp of the water and then settled his hands, rubbing them together, staring at them. What had these hands forged that would last?

He sighed. “I really needed a change. I think I’ve been stuck for awhile. Ever since… Have I told you anything about my sist- my adopted sister?”
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Re: Worrywarts

Post by Maddie McKillon on Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:29 am

When Maddie read the shame on Teddy’s face, she knew it was a deeper problem than just feeling out of sorts or discontented with his career path. And though he was standing in-front of her, evidently all in one piece and of sound mind, her previous thought crept back that some disaster had befallen him. She was thinking now that perhaps the disaster had been a continuous one, one of those things that simmer beneath the surface until eventually the lid under which they’d been slowly coming to a head blew off and you were left somewhat headless, running around trying to figure out where exactly everything had started to go wrong.

She thought this because she understood Teddy, and she understood Teddy because she understood herself. Their ways of being were startlingly similar despite their many differences. Both had a tendency to let their own problems fly under the radar and focus instead on trying to work on other people, or appearances—anything that would be a reassurance to others but never really a solution to the problem, if truth be told.

They differed in that Maddie had her children to anchor her when things got bad. She was mature enough to understand that without her own wellbeing she couldn’t really hope to ensure their own. And while oftentimes they’d been her greatest challenge they were also her greatest strength, a safeguard preventing her from sinking too far no matter how tempting the prospect.

Teddy, she mused, had not had that. He was an orphan, as most all wizarding England knew, and the Potters had been only too-temporary parents before his home had been shaken up again. He was not the only Lupin, of course, but at times he did seem the lone wolf [somebody...stop me XP]. And Maddie, who’d had a stable, comfortable, if not entirely affectionate childhood could not hope to understand the difficulties faced with that sort of isolation. When her father died Robin had been there to pull her up again. When her mother died, she hadn’t yet any awareness of loss. When Robin had left... well, it was Casper that gave her the kick she needed to pull herself together, after she’d already turned to less savoury ways of propping herself up enough to lead some semblance of a life. And when he’d died…

She couldn’t claim all the credit for the way she’d got her life back on track but she couldn’t deny her pride in how they’d all come together to make joy out of grief and loss. Hogwarts had been a big part of that for her- though she suspected for different reasons than Teddy sought the comfort of its halls now. For her, the chance to be closer to her children had been the biggest pull, though actively helping others, interacting and planning and even socialising had been what kept her. So when he said what he did about Hogwarts being “the right fit”, she more than understood. A silent nod was what she hoped conveyed her understanding, the need for no explanations when it came to seeking out the security and comfort of the familiar halls. Security that even here had been more and more fleeting in recent years, or so it seemed.

The sight of a rare smile on his wearied face was all the impetus she needed to follow him in, glad of the chance to bring some semblance of joy to his life, where it seemed it was lacking. She took the water, sat herself down at the table and watched as he studied his hands closely. When he spoke, she barely noticed the slip on the word “sister”, but once she did-

Aha. That must have been what Kathryn had meant in her unclear mentions of a cousin, though unsurprisingly, the rumour mill for which it’d formed the grist had evidently not been entirely accurate in its renderings of the situation.

“No, I don’t believe you have,” she stopped herself from tacking on a question about the Potters, or the events of last year, no matter how murky her understanding. No, she’d let him go at his own pace, with his own explanations. No need to answer or appease or apologise. Just...talk.
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Re: Worrywarts

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:07 pm

Inside, there was less reason for discretion, less reason to hide an expression, as all possibilities of being walked in on or overheard were rumored. The barriers of having a series conversation in public faded, leaving only the gentle reminder that honesty would only be lost if it was done purposefully... making the whole thing even harder. Teddy knew he had to be open and straightforward, but he had not voiced, in full, the struggles and trials of the past year and a half. Albus and James were so close to the situations that they couldn't see how horrible they had become. If Albus' housemate, or whatever, cared, she had a funny way of showing it. And how could he ever bother Hermione or Molly or any of the others, when they themselves were pillars of strength that he dared not shake.

No, when it came down to it, he had only had one job, and he had failed. And admitting it now to this woman who would have never let failure become an option in regards to her family... yeah, that was not a task easily done.

And she was not going to make any demands of him. Her gentle sentence and her kind expression put him fully in control of the conversation. It would be so easy to just breeze past the subject and say it had gotten sad and complicated and now he didn't know what to do, but that would not be completely honest and Maddie would know, but not hold it against him, and he would have to live knowing he denied help before it was even offered...

He should probably just start talking.

"When... When Ginny died, it sort of fell onto me to take care of Lily," he explained. "Not that I didn't want to - Lily and I were close from the start. But with her brothers growing up and doing their own things, I stepped into that role. And the past few years... I don't know what happened. I tried and tried but something happened to her and she dropped out and ran off, and we found her like... almost half dead, and we got her rehabilitated and off all those substances and she went back to Hogwarts and it was fine..." He sighed. "You probably heard via Kathryn about the end of the year party last year. Lily's a werewolf, something she managed to keep quiet, but she transformed in the castle by accident, scratched a kid. I haven't talked to her for more than five minutes since she graduated. She won't tell me where she lives or how she supports herself and keeps reiterating that I shouldn't worry but..." he finally met Maddie's eyes, certain she understood this sentiment best of all. "How am I not supposed to?"

He knew he had said a lot, and that it certainly could be enough to explain his distance. But wasn't he the sort to come for help if practical help or advice would be given? It was more than that. He let out a sigh, tracing his fingers around the edges of the glass. "I don't know. That snowballed, I guess. Work got hard. My friends got busy. My family grew apart. And I was just left stuck, unable to move. So I got a job where that wasn't an option. I had to move." He glanced up at her and gave a bit of a helpless shrug, the apology for unloading so much evident in his dropping gaze.
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Re: Worrywarts

Post by Maddie McKillon on Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:27 pm

[Maddie's making a bunch of assumptions about Lily here, if it's all bogus shoot me a PM and I'll amend it Razz]

The barrage of woes was something Maddie was prepared for, though not expecting such a forthcoming explanation. As he detailed the problems of the Potters and his own unfortunate situation, Maddie found that she understood. His disappearance made perfect sense, all things considered. The need to run when the reins of your life slipped from your grasp and the horrible stench of failure that followed you was a fitting summary of her own situation not two years prior. It was her first instinct, though her retreat took place mentally, into a place of denial and recrimination, rather than a physical change of location.

At the mention of the end of year party, Maddie couldn't hide her eyebrow's quirk of surprise. All she'd heard from Kathryn had quite literally been vague mentions of a cousin. Her daughter had failed (purposefully, she suspected) to detail the werewolf part of the story. She didn't share the ignorance of many in regards to lycanthropy, a source of suffering and pain for most of its victims. She held no ill-will to werewolves, transformed or otherwise. But she was also aware of the risks, and filed away a mental note to impress these dangers upon Kathryn, who had a tendency to shrug such things off. The revelation of Lily's situation seemed to shine a clearer light on things. And from her own experience with her children, and with the children she taught, she felt confident in her conclusion.

Nevertheless, his question hit a familiar, intrinsic part of her psyche. The inescapable urge to worry was a thread that tied them, overwhelming in its potency. It was something she suspected neither of them would ever truly outrun- even now, happier and more secure than she'd been in years, her brain was constantly dreaming up threats and scenarios she couldn't help but fret over. And she knew she didn't need words to express that to Teddy, whose capacity for concern matched her own. Instead, she held his gaze and nodded, expressing an awareness of the shared burden they carried, and an acceptance of the futility of attempting to escape it.

"Worrying isn't something you can control....but equally, it shouldn't control you," She offered gently after a pause, knowing as she spoke that it was far easier said than done. She was still working through her own anxieties and often failing. But she was beginning to learn, too, that worries could only hold you down as far as you let them. Ultimately, they had no power over you, as far as you had power to eliminate them by changing your situation. And so-

"Teddy, you've done your best. You couldn't have done more for the family, and you deserve an existence beyond Lily's brother or the Potter caretaker," Here, she paused, hoping he didn't take it as a criticism of them but as small reminder of his individual agency, "And I think...I think that Lily wants you to have that, too. No matter how worrisome, I think this is her way of trying to give it to you."

Of course, she couldn't claim to speak for the Potter girl- she'd never even met her. But the burden of guilt sagged both ways, and both the carer and the one cared for felt its weight. She'd realised that when she'd seen the strain of the last three years play out on her children as well as herself. On Casper, who always tried to be so capable, so understanding, older than his years. Her eldest, who'd changed the course of her life and recognised the fact better than any of her children. Part of it was care for her, but another part, a part she hated to see, was the awareness of being a responsibility, and the fear of being a burden.

But the problem of a fractured family remained, and it was not something you could simply shrug off. If Maddie were faced with a boggart, she suspected it would take that form. Of her own family, scattered and suffering. And even worse- the sickening sensation that it was all her fault and her failure as a mother and guardian. The sensation she'd been suffocated by in those awful months after Robin's departure.

So she understood that urge, too, to stay in motion if only to escape being left alone with your thoughts. To pull yourself out of stagnation. But how could she express to Teddy that she herself had failed in that duty, had only dragged herself out when her son had threatened to join her? He was someone who needed some kind of hope, not a reminder of the ugly truth of failure, that sometimes it was inevitable. And though she struggled with putting her own weaknesses and shortcomings into perspective, she could see her friend clearly for what he was, and a failure he was not, no matter what his worries tried to convince him. So she leaned forward, set down her glass, held his gaze, and injected a note of firmness into her next words.

"You have not failed them. You've kept them hanging on, and... given the circumstances, I suspect that's more than anyone could have done. Not every success must be a success story. Sometimes, moving is good. Moving on is good."
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Re: Worrywarts

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Thu Sep 01, 2016 1:45 am

((I legitimately teared up because of how badly Teddy needed this))

There was a moment after an emotional release where it felt like nothing else remained. Barely a person beyond those automatic functions, the feeling of crumbling certainty. If he closed his eyes, he supposed he could have floated off into the world, the spirit of Teddy Lupin, last of Remus and Nymphadora, and that would somehow be the end. Cease. Cease sight. Cease breath. Cease pain.

He kept his eyes open, because Maddie was watching him, and as deflated as he felt, there was too much to live for, too much to see and do and feel. Too many wrongs to right, too many rights to experience for the first time. He had to stick around if only to know that everything he used to so firmly believe was true : that suffering always taught something valuable, that endurance paid off, and that everything always worked out the way it was supposed to. He still believed all of this, he had just stopped acting like he believed it.

That’s where the frustration came out tenfold. When it came down to it, Teddy had always been the rock, the foundation for those around him, and in that role he had thrived. So far removed from that role, he felt idiotic for not acting the way he knew would fix it all – to accept the things he could not change and persist in his good works anyway. But doubt had slipped in and cemented itself into the cracks of his personality, becoming one with him. Now he had to reached in and scrape it out the best he could and hope that he stayed all put together.

Everything Maddie said made complete sense. As it should – it was all true. He knew he had slipped beyond natural concern into destructive anxiety. He knew Lily well enough to know that distance was her greatest weapon. He knew that he alone could not keep the Potter family together and that his efforts needed to be rewarded for their hard fought battle.

Of course he had known it. But he needed someone to say it.

His elbows found the table and he removed his glasses, dropping them on the table. His hands sought his face, cupping it before beginning to rub small, deep circles into the tired tissue. His hands flopped onto the table and he met Maddie’s eyes, before resting his chin on his propped up fist. “Remind my again why I don’t just go straightaway to you?” The beginnings of a laugh touched his cheek but did not form in his throat. It faded and he cleared his throat. “Thank you.”
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Teddy R. Lupin
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