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O-Okay

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Re: O-Okay

Post by Avery Bishop on Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:14 pm

Right. "Leave."

Avery had tried to decide, though she'd never settled on an answer to the question, whether or not she would've rather he just left her instead of dying. He could have been there for their daughter, that way. And Avery would likely never know the truth about Robin's circumstances, so she had long since decided that perhaps she was wrong about wishing for it. He didn't have a choice this way, and Sophia wouldn't go through what she had gone through this way.

But there was no good answer.

And Teddy had looked almost afraid for a moment there - or she had read him that way, at least. So perhaps discussing that further would not be a great idea. It seemed, luckily, like he was okay with moving past it, too.

But, then again, this is Avery we're talking about. And she has never been one for subtlety.

His smile helped a little, and Avery was certainly curious to know who he meant. But she was still horribly distracted, which didn't make things any better. Her eyes found her finger, realizing it had managed to land and keep its spot on the rim of her cup. Setting her hands on the table instead, and hoping they wouldn't fidget about.

"He's sort of alright when James comes by to train with him, but without him around it's a bit mad. So perhaps it would be good to get another look at him. Maybe you could bring them by at some point," she offered, more than happy for another excuse to see him, as that would mean she hadn't managed to scare him right off. Even if that wasn't precisely what he meant by his offer; she didn't linger on that for very long.

She looked over at the counter again, feeling oddly like the room itself was stifling. Was she the only one feeling that? Surely not, if he had looked away as well. So she made a decision not unlike the one she had made the day before, looking back at Teddy. "Look, I shouldn't have mentioned that. I just... I feel like we aren't going to get away from it if we stay here. So, do you want to go-- somewhere? Get these drinks to go and just, maybe, walk or something?"
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Sat Jan 28, 2017 4:11 am

His panic was subsided, but now the counselor had been roused, adjusting its glasses as it began to examine Teddy's odd reaction. And just why had he been so alarmed to briefly think Avery was married? Why had he jumped to the extreme, hurtling over hints otherwise, and why had it been such a disastrous discovery? The sudden self scrutiny made him feel uncomfortable, and his glasses slipped down his nose and his hands twitched as he pushed them back up. Because he knew well enough that the most likely solution to any question was the simplest one, and he knew what the simple answer was.

He wanted Avery Bishop to be single.

It had been a long time since Teddy had felt that way about someone he actually knew. Pining over nameless secretaries for the three point seven minutes he knew them was common enough, but for this sensation to persist once he knew a bit about a person's temperament... He had become convinced, as had Sawyer, that he was going to basically die waiting for Bernice to return his feelings. He hadn't supposed to wait would be punctuated by... this.

This realization, of course, horrified him. Once upon a time, Teddy had been good at this. Once upon a time, Teddy Lupin had actually had some level of game with the women. No one spent as much time as he had with James Potter and didn't learn a thing or two about how to flirt. But adulthood and strife had robbed him of the easy-going, comfortable nature that was required for the sort of flirting he knew-

Oh, Merlin, he didn't know how to flirt.

He forcibly reminded himself that Avery probably didn't want to see his horrible attempts at a flirt anyway, especially after all she had just said. Merlin, he was in way too deep.

He only caught the tail end of her statement about Fergus, something about mad sometimes. She agreed, however, to a consult, and he didn't miss the part where he was invited as well. He felt a flurry inside, some sense of success, which was quickly crushed when he remembered this meant interacting with Jack Foul-Mouthed Dyllan - oh boy.

Avery's next question, an apology and a mindful consideration all in one, somehow reminded him of how much it was worth it. Even putting up with Jack Dyllan probably getting them killed while she tried to saddle a dragon... It'd be worth it.

He was getting ahead of himself. It was just a favor.

He found himself nodding, top lip caught under his bottom as he pursed back a smile. "Yeah, I could got for a walk."

Teddy exchanged their drinks and paid, before slipping outside and falling into step with Avery, trying to keep himself from saying what had burbled to the forefront of his mind, but there it was, and it was refusing to leave. "Um, it's fine that you told me." He glanced over at her, fingers drumming nervously on his cup as he sidled through foot traffic. "About how you got Fergus. I know you wanted to get away from it, but I don't mind." He blinked, glancing down, feeling horribly on the spot. "I mean, our pasts have a lot to do with who we are, so even if they are sad or scary or ugly or whatever... they're still worth talking about. Sometimes." He shrugged, feeling like he had somehow ruined what was meant to be a very nice sentiment.
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Avery Bishop on Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:01 am

Avery realized a touch too late that it was actually still winter outside. Right. Good thing she'd brought her jacket. One hand wrapped around her cup and the other dipped into her pocket and they started off. He brought it back up again. Of course. Surprisingly, it didn't make her as angry as it would have if Keiran had done it. But it wasn't entirely pleasant either.

"You know," she began, her voice gentle and almost light, though she didn't really know how she managed it, "I initially thought you asked me for coffee because you wanted to talk about your parents." She couldn't look at him. A quiet thud of guilt sounded alongside her pulse. That probably wasn't very fair, she decided. Even if it was true. Perhaps he wanted to stay on the subject so that he could turn them in the right direction. Or perhaps he had forgotten completely. But if that was true, what were they doing going to coffee?

Surely not-- that. Avery hadn't been on a coffee date since... probably since around the time she met Keiran and Gavin. And it had not gone well.

Not that Avery was of the opinion that this was going particularly well. Not for Teddy, anyway. She rushed into her explanation, trying to keep her pause as short as possible.

"I just- .. I haven't really talked about it with anybody besides Keiran. Not my sister, or my mum... And since it happened I haven't been as social as I used to be. So I'm not entirely sure how to talk about it. Nobody really asks me about it," she added with a shrug, as though she believed it was actually normal. "Which, I guess I understand. I'm just not really used to people wanting to know - or help - or whatever."

Avery turned her head to look at him properly, then. And for a second - just a second - she was back to her first lunch date with Robin. Drawing in a breath, her gaze whipped forward again, and then up to the overcast sky. Then push away the unimaginable...

And then she reminded herself that, actually, the day had started out as a disaster. Rather like all of her interactions with Teddy had begun. Her attention fell back on the street in front of them.

"Teddy-" She faltered, slowing down so she could face him. Eventually, she just stopped. She drew her hand from her pocket and reached out for his arm, completely ignorant to whether or not they were blocking anybody's way. If her eyelashes were a bit wet, she acted like she didn't notice. "Nobody ever asks. And I'd be willing to be that nobody ever asks you either. So.. we're sort of even. You don't know it all yet, so that may sound like a stretch, but- I don't want to spend the rest of the day acting like the problems aren't there. So maybe-" She blinked, refusing to release them just as she was trying to hide them, "-Maybe...we can take turns just -- talking about whatever we need to talk about. Then it's even again."

Her eyes shifted to her hand, and she realized it was still there on his sleeve. Avery curled her fingers into her palm and drew back a bit. She looked up at him again. "I don't know. Maybe it would be easier to just ignore that stuff. But I'd really like to get to know you. Properly."
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:21 am

He thought the husband word had thrown him for a loop, but nothing could have prepared him for her next words. Though there was no venom in her voice - he couldn't even imagine what a mean-spirited Avery Bishop would look like - but the words somehow cut him. He knew it wasn't her intention, and it all came back to his twisted lack of self worth and self esteem, but he felt chastised for having turned the conversation on her. In truth, he had forgotten her original intention in meeting with him, having been content for any excuse to see her again. But how inconsiderate it looked to have dropped it.

And he hated being inconsiderate.

He didn't want her to think he was wasting her time, or that he had met with her on false pretenses. His face must have betrayed the look of surprise, the desire to correct, the apology just waiting to burst from his lips, because she continued on quickly. He wanted to stop her, tell her she didn't have to say anymore, he understood, he was a stranger. But she didn't give him the opening. And the more she spoke, the more he was glad he hadn't ruined it with his words.

Nobody asks.

He didn't notice as they stopped, as they turned towards each other. He was out of himself, clinging instead to her words, her too true words, his sentiments given voice. That had been it, hadn't it? His entire life, he had watched as his siblings struggled under the weight of their own identity, taking for granted the people that gave them a legacy. No one thought of him as an orphan, because the Potters were taking care of him, but he still had been robbed of his parents. And when the Potters died, no one asked how it felt to lose them, because they had never actually been his parents. He watched James, Albus, and Lily turn on the people desperate to share condolences, all the while secretly hoping for a scrap of sympathy. And again and again, he got the same advice.

Take care of those kids.

And he had. He had done the best damn job he could, from too young an age, at that. And James had run away, Albus had withdrawn, and Lily had gotten lost. And each time, it came back to him, his failure. But even when they were in his reach, they wouldn't let him in. He had been given an impossible task, a thankless job, and even though he asked for nothing in return, it had slowly reversed who he was.

Teddy had always been a boy without an identity. So he built one. And as a man, it had been taken from him.

And no one had asked.

Only now did he really realize her hand on his arm and he was thankful for it. He went to raise his hand, to cover hers, to thank her. Keep himself from falling to pieces right there in the middle of the street under the weight of all these revelations.

But her hand was gone, withdrawing a moment before he could catch it.

So it goes.

He lifted his head, meeting her gaze. In that moment, he wanted to thank her. To hold her. To apparate them away from all of the watching eyes and find somewhere quiet and private to just talk.

But that might be a tad creepy.

He cleared his throat. "That-" His voice was faint, strained. He cleared his throat again. "Yes." It was all he could say. Merlin, why couldn't he say more. "I mean... I couldn't have said it better myself." And a breath tumbled out of his lungs, relieving all of the built up pressure in his stomach, all the tension in his shoulders, and across his face came a small smile, kind and sincere.

He turned, looking down the street, through the crowds of people who wouldn't bother to listen, because none of them would have asked anyway. He tilted his head. "Shall we?"
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Avery Bishop on Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:05 am

She caught the movement of his hand out of the corner of her eye, but there was something dark behind his eyes that worried her too much to look away. Maybe it was his concern for her that caused it, but considering the little she already knew, Avery was sad to say that she doubted it. That shadow inside of him was probably something haunting him about his past, and the more she thought about it, the more she wished she knew how to help him.

The irony of it all, of course, was that she would later convince herself - for however brief a time - that she had guilted him into this whole scenario and back-and-forth.

Even though that little smile of his was particularly charming.

She managed a shy mirror of it, nodding and bringing her coffee cup to her lips to cover how nervous she felt. This could either be very good, or very bad. But she still struggled to pull her gaze away from his. So as they started off, she finally looked forward and tried to find a place to start. It didn't feel right to just wait for him to realize she wanted him to share in return. He had just agreed, so she could at least start them off again.

"Well," she began slowly. "You know about my marriage. But, um, another thing about me -- I've sort of have two sets of parents. My biological parents divorced and the family sort of fell apart, when I was really young. And there's more to that, but I have no idea where to start. But, my second family - if I'm allowed to call them that - is actually Keiran and his parents. I met him after graduation, and he realized I didn't have anywhere to go for Christmas, so he asked me to come with him to stay with his folks.

"To be fair, he didn't know the truth about his family, given the whole Rookwood thing turned out to be true." Avery shook her head a little, still confused by that whole thing, despite being very proud of Bridget and what she'd done. "It got to the point where I call them mum and dad. But, Aiden -- was killed a few years back. And then my father, he was sick, and, we lost him too. And then my husband left, and--"

A shudder ran down her spine and she couldn't keep her shoulders still when the urge to shake struck her. "There's more somewhere in there, but, again... Not sure where to start. But, I guess that's a decent overview of my big problems."

Blinking the discomfort away, she reminded herself that this was a good thing, and that if it ended badly, Teddy would just avoid her and it wouldn't matter anyway! But she did try to focus on where they were walking rather than looking his way and seeing his reaction. It led to Avery reaching over for his hand to pull him out of the way of a group that was walking far too many people side to side for a single sidewalk.

Turning to look over her shoulder at them with a disapproving frown, she faced forward again before actually realizing what she'd done. She rolled her lips inward as a strange sort of feeling curled in her stomach, before finally releasing him. Better to pretend it wasn't a big deal than to apologize for it, probably, but she felt herself forming the word before she could stop it. That figured.
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:34 pm

Despite the fact that they had ahead of them a potentially heavy conversation, Teddy felt the weight of his uncertainty rolling off of him, allowing him a sense of peace. The permission to take an active interest in her more personal details, and not feel bad about revealing some of the less known facts of his life. She was so right about their natures, the sort of people who simply just didn't get asked after how they were. He wondered if there was a certain level of tragedy in which people assumed you had to be alright. As if your mere survival was answer enough.

Her next revealed secret certainly explained her closeness to Keiran, which was somehow still comforting to him, despite what he knew already. As though there was still some worry that her brotherly affection may transform. It also gave him a further look into the strange life that was Keiran Hayes' the man with all the ambition and all the familial strife. It struck Teddy then that Keiran was almost certainly another that no one actually inquired after. He would make it a point to ask him how he was next time he saw him. And he'd mean it too.

He offered him a small bracing smile at her summation. "Loss never gets familiar," he offered, his own way of offering empathy without making her feel like she was still under scrutiny. He cleared his throat, well aware that she had been kind enough to kick things off when he really should have led the game.

He had glanced over at her, to check in on her, and it was only because of the slight moment of decision he saw cross her face that he knew something was coming their way. He had just looked forward when he found his hand suddenly warmed by hers, and she tugged him to safety, both of them glancing over their shoulder to see if the group had realized what they had done.

But don't think for a minute that he wasn't completely aware of her solution, clinging to her hand as his heart thumped.

She released him, depriving him of the warmth and momentary comfort, though both would certainly linger every time he considered the moment.

"Thanks," he said, eyes flicking towards her. "Um," he continued, ever the orator, and cleared his throat. "I was sort of tasked with raising my adopted siblings, after our- after their mum passed. The elder two, James and Albus, they were independent enough that I wasn't much to them by then. But Lily, the youngest, I watched out for her. And she and I got along like we really were siblings. She was turned into a werewolf when she was fourteen, which was horrible, but things got worse. She still really won't tell me what exactly it was. I know it had something to do with, um," he again cleared his throat, almost embarrassed for his sister. "Uh, drugs and... other stuff, I think. I've been taking care of her dog this whole time but now... she works as a professor. And she seems clean, and okay, and rumor had it she even had a boyfriend. But we still haven't talked. And I still have her dog. And I have no idea how to talk to her about any of it."

Wow. As horrible as it was to consider, it sure was nice to get it off his chest.
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Avery Bishop on Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:07 pm

Avery's fingertips rubbed together before she slid her hand back into her pocket. Once the odd little feeling running through her palm was dealt with, she could actually listen to what he was saying. And she felt truly sorry to hear it. A funny, hidden section in the back of her mind pointed out that she could see he must be a rather good professor. Somehow, it was very easy to pay attention to him. So she glanced his way every now and then, almost waiting for when the pain of it all truly broke out on his face.

What perhaps hurt Avery the most, however, was when he corrected himself, right there at the start. Had he never been granted the luxury of calling people Mum and Dad? And there she'd been, going on about having two of each. How awful for him.

She felt herself sway a bit towards him, narrowing the gap between their arms without really thinking about it.

Lily, though. Avery knew that name. Keiran had gone through the professors, telling her about little things here and there when she was over with Sophie. He had never spoken ill of the girl, though something had clearly changed as of late. while he still went on about the staff as a whole, the Potions Professor was noticeably left out of his stories.

She didn't know if that was good or bad, or if he was merely indifferent and she was too busy for him.

Avery couldn't help but wonder, along the strain of people failing to ask, if anyone had looked at him and thought, That poor boy, he's lost his way. And yet, of course, they had never tried to see if they were right. Wasn't that just the way?

"You see her every day and she doesn't say anything..?" Avery asked finally, her eyebrows pulling together. It was a more polite way, she felt, of asking why he hadn't tried. But it was on Lily, too, it seemed. Particularly considering their history. And, of course, the dog. "You'd best not let Keiran know about that," she said quiet seriously, giving him a warning look. "He will absolutely try to fix that without you asking him to."

Taking another drink from her cup, she ran her tongue over her bottom lip before rolling them together just to savor that warmth for another moment. As she did so, she tilted her head to one side and tried her best to come up with some sort of proper response. It didn't sound like he was asking for advice, but it didn't sound like he wasn't, either, so Avery wasn't at all sure what to do with that.

"I certainly don't think I'm qualified to offer sibling advice -- like, not at all. But nothing changed for me and Claire until we finally talked. And she was the one that approached me, admittedly, but that was right after I found out about Robin - um, well. That's actually a long story. I think just about everything in my past is like that, though," she conceded, managing a laugh. "At any rate, I know very well that I have my sister to thank for the fact that I have a new place to live and that the family is sort of coming together again. Sort of. But... I don't know. If you say she had a boyfriend and went through all of those things, maybe she just doesn't know who to talk to, either."
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:17 pm

It felt... strange. To so freely admit a problem that had plagued him to what was, for all intents and purposes, a mere acquaintance. His brothers did not know how trained his relationship had become with Lily, and they were still relying on him to be their lifeline to the girl- the woman, now. Maddie knew, of course, but only because she would have figured it out anyway, and the woman had worked hard to make it into his circle of trust. But Teddy had always been very self conscious about burdening anyone else with his problems, his training as a counselor prompting him to shield his own insecurities and flaws so that he might be the pillar of strength and logic that others might need.

But Avery had given them both permission to expel these burbling, brewing feelings, these stories that needed saying, and Teddy marvelled at how quickly those words flew from his lips, as though they had been clamoring at the door to be released. Though there was a certain seed of doubt, a sliver of fear that he was burdening her, it was nothing compared to what it might have been in any other situation. Teddy found that he was telling her because she would understand, and because it meant fostering more than just an acquaintance with her.

He grimaced at her question, glancing down, because that was the worst part of it all, wasn't it? "To be fair," he began, beginning to fill with disappointment for having to make this admission, "I don't speak to her either. I just... I don't..."

I don't know what to say.

He swallowed. "I mean, it's not like we have loads of time alone, anyway. I mostly see her at meals, and it's not a conversation to be had with hundreds of students milling about. And honestly, she doesn't much leave her classroom. There haven't been many oppotrtunities."

Except that time in the staff lounge, where she suggested we talk sometime, and you just mouthed at her like an idiot and haven't followed up since, This, more than any of his other admissions, was just small enough and just shameful enough for him to be unable to bring it into words. He knew this conversation alone was enough to send him running to Maddie for advice on how to approach Lily, enough to fuel his guilt until he had no choice to act.

But Avery didn't need to see all of his crazy at once. Despite their permission to divulge who they were, he wanted to be a better man that he was currently capable of showing.

She tempted him from these brooding thoughts with her warnings regarding Keiran and he managed a short laugh, grin spreading wide. "Noted. He's got enough on his plate as it is."

As though she knew his inner trepidations, his hesitancy, his own tally of personal failures, she offered her own insight, gently and without pressure. He wasn't sure how he had missed it, the importance of that word: had. He had taken any attempt to form a personal connection as a sign that things were alright, so convinced that this was an improvement, that he hadn't even extended his consideration far enough to realize that losing that relationship probably meant Lily felt horribly alone. Why had he been acting all this time like it was her responsibility to approach him?

He was the elder brother, after all.

"You're right," he said, his voice a bit more hoarse than he might have liked. "You just get so caught up in feeling guilty that you convince yourself that they don't want to hear from you-" He shook his head. "I think most people are hoping for a reconciliation, regardless of who is to blame." He paused, glancing over at her, and then cracked a smile. "You're better at this advice stuff than you give yourself credit for."
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Avery Bishop on Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:29 am

Avery certainly had opinions about the reasons he gave for not speaking to Lily. None of them sounded like her, though. They sounded like Aiden. And that kept her mouth shut for the moment, allowing him to just think everything through as he perhaps needed to. In the end, of course, he came to the same conclusion she finally had after talking to Claire. It would've been so much easier to just talk.

Her expression was one of conflict and near-sadness, and she turned towards him, halfway-formed words halting on her parted lips. He- She was right? She'd been ready to say that he should just ignore her, but also, not really. He should ignore her attempts at helping. Not... just her, altogether. Still, she managed a smile even if it was a bit timid. And when he complimented her, she actually blushed.

How awkward. Avery looked down at the sidewalk, trying to gather herself. She should have been sarcastic, and certainly would have been if she were around Keiran. But this was not Keiran.

Teddy was-

Well, she didn't know yet. Interesting might be a good word. She could have also filed away other adjectives, such as handsome, charming, and endearing. She decided, though, that the last one might not sound too great, depending on who you asked. So she figured she should keep the lot of them to herself.

As if she was going to gather enough courage to say them out loud. Hah.

She needed to answer, really. It hadn't even been that long but she felt like he was probably just staring at her or waiting for something. So she swallowed and lifted her chin again.

"Claire is my younger sister. My only sister. But, when our parents divorced, she didn't understand exactly what was happening. And, ... I - I think I was trying to explain, but I was also really scared. I'd seen families just, ruined, really. Because of a bad marriage, I mean," she clarified, lifting her hand from her pocket to gesture vaguely. "And..."

Her jaw tightened and her eyes lifted skyward. What was that about Teddy feeling ashamed?

"And I took it too far. I started this row between us, so she lived with our father, and I lived with our mother. But I think that our mother was sad that Claire was gone. She said, recently, that I was just reading into things - which, of course, would be entirely plausible. But, at the time it seemed like.. she just wanted to see Claire. So whenever Claire visited, I'd stay out of the way, and-"

She shook her head, unable to really explain it. "It didn't matter, in the end. I went to Durmstrang first, and thought it would fix things. And it didn't. And I've always blamed myself, for all of it. So, when I was fifteen, I ran away to live with a distant cousin of ours." Offering a self-depricating grimace and a tilt of her head as she looked up at him, Avery knew she had to at least try to lighten the mood. "I'd say that's hardly the model of someone who ought to dole out advice."
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:13 pm

There was something strangely so private about their conversation, despite the fact that they were slipping between groups of people and passing strangers nearly every moment. The crowds were thinning, however, and their surroundings were beginning to reflect the nature of their conversation, quieter, more private, the street also somehow growing more idyllic as if the universe knew they needed some soothing stimuli to maintain their courage.

He was still amazed at how she seemed to answer the admission he had withheld, had known that he knew exactly where he had failed his relationship with Lily and had managed to speak wisdom into it. She had been vague until now about her relationship with her sister, and it wasn't lost on him that she seemed more comfortable, more at ease, describing her built family, Keiran included. He could understand that idea, a family you chose for yourself.

It was hard for him to imagine watching her parents fall our of love and drift apart. He had seen how painful clinging to love could be, witnessed the Weasleys and Potters mourn for those they refused to let go, had seen in Ginny the gentle deterioration of her will, the acceptance of a new standard of 'okay'. He could hardly imagine what it was like to lose someone permanently but still know they were out there, and that loss was your decision. He'd had that decision made for him so many times, he couldn't imagine making it.

Once again, another surprise. Avery didn't seem like someone who could up and abandon her family, jump into the unknown. It took a special sort of loneliness to abandon everything one knew in the hopes of having a better place.

Teddy wished he would have known Avery during that time. He liked to think they would have been friends. A good friend could make bad times much better.

He was learning that every day.

He glanced over at her, and offered her a bracing smile. "The people with the best advice are often the ones who needed it most. I was a counselor. I get it."

He found that they were settling into a rhythm, finally getting the flow of this... it wasn't a game, but it was certainly a plan to help ease their conversation. A share, a quiet reassurance and maybe a push for acceptance, but no digging. They could go deeper if they wanted, but they didn't need any pushing to get there.

He supposed the counselor thing was as good as anything. "Everybody told me I should be a counselor. And at first, I was really good at it. I mean, I understood grief and loss and had seen addiction and whatnot. But I think I was kidding myself, putting this clinical veil between myself and people. And the more I tried to put myself in their shoes, the more I drew that curtain aside, the more I saw myself in their place, and saw that I had so much that was just... un-resolved. And what right did I have when I couldn't even help those closest to me, you know?" He paused. "That's why I tool a job teaching.. Doing curative magic is like teaching students how to physically cure themselves, and I try to be there for any of them if I can. But I can't act like I have it put together for my clients, and I shouldn't subject them to my mess when they have their own."
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Teddy R. Lupin
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