Healing Spaces

Healing Spaces

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Healing Spaces

Post by Robert Lupin on Mon May 01, 2017 2:17 am

The rather unusual request for help had come from Keiran, and much as Robert did not know Oliver well, he did know him, at least by reputation, to be a young but capable leader at one time. The story was that Oliver had stepped away from the leadership of the Order for a multitude of reasons, but now because of injury, Oliver had stepped away from everything and found himself feeling unable to use his magic because he could not wield a wand anymore, could not hold it in his hand. Keiran had asked Robert to see what he could do.

Robert understood personal demons more than he liked to admit. He'd grown up with demons crawling about in his soul from the moment Fenrir had bitten Remus and had changed the Lupin family forever. Robert had been just a small boy, and, one year older than Remus, he hadn't been expected to keep Remus from harm, but then again, Robert had held himself to that standard and it had never been resolved. He had not been a model father, not when Khaat was small. He had learned by the time Khaat had been nearly grown. His grandchildren adored him, and the bitterness between him and Khaat had passed--for the most part. When the subject of Remus came up, the bitterness resurrected.

And then there was Thaor and the curse that Thaor had cast upon him that had thrust Robert into a whole new kind of hell for months on end. That demon was not one that Robert talked about. The curse had made him mute and had twisted his soul inside out and brought out all the blackness, madness and lethality that Robert knew was, largely, at work in every man but on certain days seemed to be an even louder voice for Robert. It had threatened to destroy him entirely before it was removed. Since, Robert had tightened what he had always believed in. He had wrapped his emotions and his vulnerabilities even tighter to himself and he had thickened the cloak of a stony exterior to shield himself. He was far from stone, but the cold and logical exterior kept him safe. It always had. In his own way, Robert believed he had some true understanding of personal demons and how toxic they could become. Leaving Oliver to battle his alone felt like leaving a fellow Order member behind. Even though Robert's job no longer allowed him to be an Order member, it did not mean he did not still feel the alliance to it and a kinship to its members.

Whether Robert could bring function back to Oliver's dominant hand, he had no idea, but he did feel that Oliver could possibly be trained to use his other hand, or to do wandless magic. Either was possible, but according to Hayes, Connolly had become reclusive. It was down to luring him out of hiding. Robert sent Connolly an owl, "requesting" his presence. He had no reason to order him to come to the Ministry, but he did not intend to let a now-skittish man run from himself if he could help it. He used the usual bureaucratic language that the Ministry typically used in a summons, only substituting the word "request" for the word "require." He did not underestimate that Connolly would miss the change, but he felt he would likely respond--eventually. He attached an ordinary looking large paperclip to the top corner of the parchment and then added a postscript: "Dumbledore once believed paperclips to be exceptionally useful for all kinds of things."

Connolly would figure out that Dumbledore left odd riddles like that about things he believed to be of importance. Connolly would work it out soon enough that the paperclip was a portkey that would activate once he closed his fist around it. He could do that in his non-dominant hand and still end up in Robert's outer office.

Satisfied, Robert sent the owl and then set his teapot on to boil on the hearth. If he were going to rattle Oliver's cage, the least Robert could do was offer him a decent cup in the process.

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Re: Healing Spaces

Post by Oliver Connolly on Wed May 03, 2017 8:50 pm

There was a moment, when the fire happened, that Oliver tried to apparate and failed. He'd always struggled a little with magic, with himself. He wasn't ready to go, though. He just remembered being stuck, the beam falling, and something to do with Jack. When he woke, he was in Jack's home, Layabout Lane, and had no idea what was going on. He half thought he was seeing things as the life left him, but that wasn't true.

He hadn't convinced himself to go back to the flat, but rather asked Jack to go in and bring Oliver's dog to stay with them. And so he had begun bonding with Sunny and Jack's father, who happened to have the same name as Oliver's. But Jack's Greg was quite different, and things weren't perfect in her home but they were working on it. The main thing, of course, was that Oliver refused to go past the wards around Jack's home. He knew it was a hassle for them. He did. And he felt bad about that.

But he couldn't go to his boat for too long without fear of Keiran or somebody else stopping by to try and find him. His hand was a mess, half his face was disfigured, and apparently both were beyond repair because it was more than just fire. Fiendfyre was its own monster with its own rules, and Oliver had been unable to escape them. Not completely, anyway.

When he got the letter from Robert Lupin, Oliver was suspicious to say the least. This had Hayes written all over it, didn't it? Jack almost seemed to enjoy having someone her own age in the house, and he was pretty sure Sunny liked him alright. She was being too helpful to want rid of him. A summons? He hadn't done anything. Ever, as far as Connolly was aware. So this had to be about something else.

The Order, maybe? He'd turned it over, just as Jack had once done. Neither of them really wanted it back, and Lupin wasn't in a position to take sides. Not this Lupin anyway.

He frowned at the note attached to the letter, pulling it off and squinting a little as he read it over. His eyes scanned the page until they settled on the paperclip. The only thing left out of place. Did he really want to go?

.... Did he really have a choice?

With a sigh, he pulled the paperclip off, turning it between his forefinger and thumb, and then let it fall into his palm. With a heavy sigh, Oliver pocketed the note so Sunny wouldn't find it, and closed his fist around the clip. He only realized once he landed that he should have told someone he was going out. But it was too late, and he was in a place he didn't recognize. This wasn't part of the Ministry, was it? Turning, he looked about and frowned again.

Ah. Robert was there, making tea or something. "I take it this is not an unofficial arrest, then."
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Re: Healing Spaces

Post by Robert Lupin on Thu May 04, 2017 2:20 am

This was one of Robert's favorite safe houses. It was a farm rather out in the middle of nowhere. The safe house wasn't in the house. Robert hadn't actually liked the farmhouse. It had been a tall, narrow, cobbled together mess that was hard to secure.

The barn, though? Now that was another matter. It was a large, old stone barn that had been standing strong on this plot of land almost forever, and it was strong enough to stand another forever. The barn had been redone to be a tastefully rustic safe that could be warm and intimate for two or could be pressed into service without much notice for a whole tribe if he had to.

He had brought is own teapot because, as snarky as the pot tended to be, it could be talked into not burning the tea. He'd set out a couple of Kate's handmade pottery mugs because he liked how they held the heat in the tea.

He heard the sound of porting. Ah, good. Connolly. He stood up and looked around, seeing he had arrived. Hayes was right that Connolly looked a bit battle weary, Robert would give him that, but it wasn't going to make him respond any differently to him.

"Arrest? Nah," Robert said, laughing lightly. "I have no reason to do that, not that I know of anyway." He was cut off by a metal clanging sound. He turned around and gave the tea kettle a reprimanding frown. "Don't be rude. We have company. Just make the ruddy tea, and don't burn it." He looked at Connolly. "It was a gift from Tremaine. He said it makes the best tea, but this one's a cheeky little buggar. If it gets really ticky, it bites."

He set out milk and sugar, allowing Connolly to wrap his brain around where the heck he was, even if he might not have put together entirely yet where he was.

"Make yourself at home," Robert gestured to him. "The reason I asked you here is because a well meaning friend of yours asked me to get your attention, for starters. He believed you were in a bit of a bind, and he believed I could help. So, perhaps we should discuss this a moment, if for no other reason than to talk about your friend's concern. So, how about a cup of tea?"

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Re: Healing Spaces

Post by Oliver Connolly on Thu May 04, 2017 3:29 am

Oliver was a romantic. No, really. He was. That's all there was to it before the fire. He'd had a relationship in which he was far too open and sappy. But it was his first successful attempt at one, so he had been happy. And leading the Order didn't fit that image, per se, but he cared so much he felt obligated to return that second time and help. But, frankly, he had become a snippy little prick over the last few weeks. Not that he didn't have a lot to deal with, mind. But it wasn't nice, and he knew it. Despite his best efforts against that, though... Well, he wasn't very kind these days.

It was because he couldn't look himself in the eye when shaving or brushing his teeth. Because he'd had to re-learn how to eat and talk without any sort of speech impediment where the skin pulled strangely at his lips. It was the fact that he had suddenly stopped showing up to work because he knew that someone like Keiran would do something exactly like this. Who else had the connections to pull this? Nobody he knew, that was certain. And Jack wasn't mad enough to mention this when she was already of the mind that she was looking after him.

Oliver was almost shocked at how casually the Minister spoke. But then, he was the bleeding Minister. He could talk however he wanted to. So long as he didn't look at Olly the wrong way, the younger man would not be particularly fussed. So far, that wasn't really a problem.

"There's no reason to-"

But, indeed, the kettle had a thing or two to say, and apparently felt they were important. Oliver definitely knew Michael, though. Of course he did. The Order had been to hell and back in the past few years, so that wasn't at all surprising.

"I'm not sure I would call that a gift," he mused. "But no, I wasn't anticipating a court order or anything like that. As you may have guessed, my only crime is being under the radar the past couple weeks."

A friend? Definitely Hayes. Oliver had few friends, and it sure hadn't been Ariel, considering. So, fine. He'd play. But the tea? Well.

Oliver did sit, but he allowed himself a small grimace. Then he caved, and lifted his left hand. Put gently, it looked unfortunate. Put bluntly, it was really horrific. Nothing like what a hand should look.

"I could say that I simply couldn't, but.. to be honest, I was never much of a fan to begin with." And so he lowered it back to his lap, actively keeping it away from his other hand. That, oddly, had become a habit. Much like he no longer touched his face if he didn't have to. The reminder was too much. What little he remembered sent him into furious night terrors and fits from which he woke doused in sweat thanks to a racing pulse. "Tea isn't my... cup of tea."
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Re: Healing Spaces

Post by Robert Lupin on Fri May 05, 2017 3:08 am

Limitations, disfigurements. Connolly had them. That had been at least one reason the young man had retreated from wizardry. His face and his hand were disfigured, and it looked very much like scarring from burns. The skin would be painful, stiff, and would not move much. Moving would attempt to stretch the damaged skin and would cause more pain. Not to mention the pain it took for Connolly to even begin to look in the mirror. It would take the young man's spirit and mind into places where it likely had never been before, and, hopefully, would never need to go again.

Robert had dealt with patients who were disfigured, and eventually, when the wounds had healed sufficiently, Robert had been able to partially, and in some cases, completely reversed such scarring. However, he was not going to offer such things to Connolly yet because he did not want Connolly to get rather stuck in thinking in extremes in one way or another.

Besides, it wasn't a quick, easy or painless process. Some patients took repeated magical surgeries in order to restore even a small area. Robert believed in magic. He did not believe in miracles. It was tedious, hard work on his part as the surgeon but even more so for the patient. And that was not what he had been sent here to do, not so far as he understood. If Connolly sought out such repairs, it was likely St. Mungos would refer Connolly to Robert anyway when the time came.

He resisted his own urge to go over and ask to check it for himself, to see if what his own skills would tell him about how extensive the damage had been to Connolly's face and hand. Was it superficial? Did it extend down to the musculature? Did it involve ligaments or tendons or cartilage or bone? What had it done to the delicate network of nerves? Beyond appearance, what amount of use would he regain? Robert could only surmise it would be limited at best without some assistance someday.

Having a form that looked not as friendly or human as one would like seemed to be part of the Lupin family history on a semi regular basis, it seemed. While Robert had never been disfigured like Connolly, he had walked enough of the road alongside Remus and then again alongside Khaat when James Blood had ravaged her face and her shoulder. He at least had some concept of how much more the wounds could go than what the physical wounds would ever go.

He did not believe Connolly came for sympathy. If Connolly needed him to be paternal, Robert could certainly do that, but Robert did not believe that was where Connolly needed him to go.

"Coming here was indeed a difficult thing, then," Robert said quietly, looking directly at Connolly, not given to staring at injuries but more interested in the man himself. "I think your friend wants to see you at least being able to view that you may still have options left that you are not able to see right now.

"Your dominant hand?" he asked. "Your magic is not limited in your body to strictly that hand. It is a system that runs through your entire body. Muggles have eleven systems that make up their physiology and keep it running. Wizards have twelve. It runs along through your system in many of the same pathways as your neural pathways. What I'm saying is that your choice of a dominant hand, while it might be preference, it surely does not mean that your other hand is less capable of magic.

"It is equally capable," he added, going to the hearth and pouring himself a mug of tea before settling into a wing chair. "If you choose, you can learn to use that hand to wield your wand with at least the same capacity that you had before, and with training, it could be better. Connolly, I know we don't know each other well, but there's another one or two things you might like to know.

"I have no desire for what I learned in the last 50 or so years to go to waste, so I have an interest in training wizarding fighters and rehabilitating them from their battle wounds. Just as a piece of history, so it makes sense for you, I was six and my brother was five when he was bitten. My parents let me grow up feeling like, as a big brother, I still had a responsibility to help look out for Remus. I aligned myself with both my brother and his werewolf counterpart--as much as anyone might want to try to align with a werewolf, and I had to learn to more than I dreamed I'd ever need to protect them both.

"If you want to get your life back, we'll do that. I can help you learn to wield a wand again, and, if you choose, I can teach you wandless magic if you want. You want more than that, we'll do more. What no one who loves you is prepared to do is to let you put your life on hold indefinitely."

"This is as safe a place to learn as any. It's one of my...safe houses, no. Not yet, he thought. family's vacation houses. It's remote enough and protected enough that you can study what you want and work as hard as you like. The choice is yours--as much of a choice as some of your friends will let it be." He flashed him a bit of a smile, understanding the 'influence' of well meaning friends, even when they were being a pain in the arse.

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Re: Healing Spaces

Post by Oliver Connolly on Sat May 06, 2017 6:36 am

Oliver stared back, caught off guard by his sudden curiosity: What had Robert looked like, when he was Oliver's age? More than that, though.. why did it matter to him? The Hufflepuff had not always cared about his own appearance, but now he realized just how much that sort of thing mattered to people. Sure, he'd known off the bat that it drew him to Alice. It kicked everything off, though it wasn't at all the most important thing by the end of it. Not even close.

But this? Now? Oliver couldn't stomach it.

So he stared right back. That is, until Lupin started asking questions and making assurances. So this was a pity thing. Oliver had known, of course, but part of him had hoped it was a punishment instead. A stern talking to. But no. This was a ploy to get him back to work in a gentle way. It felt patronizing, though Oliver doubted that was the aim of the man next to him.

He turned his chin away, a dark glare roving across the rest of the room as Robert went on. Of course he wanted his life back. But he didn't see how it would be possible after everything that had happened. Oliver was only human, after all. Some things, humans couldn't recover from. Maybe this was his thing. He was silent until Robert spoke of friends and loved ones. That was hardly fair. It wasn't Connolly's fault that they wanted to get involved. The blame didn't belong to him, when they were the ones taking issue with problems that didn't belong to them.

"And what happens if I don't want any of that? Hayes coming after me in person this time? It's not like he knows where I'm staying now."

Immediately, a realization slammed into him. How was he meant to get back to Jack's now that he was here? Frustration flickered across his face but Oliver swallowed that. He could have Robert drop him elsewhere. The Leaky, maybe. Declan was pretty honorable. Hopefully he was trustworthy as well.

But, still... Learning to get around again, if nothing else, could be helpful. "What if," he went on, subtly correcting himself as he shifted in his seat. His attempt to look casual probably didn't work. "What if I only want to learn certain things? I have no intention of stepping back into the Order and taking up the fight again. I don't need to transition everything I picked up in school."

And so Oliver lifted an eyebrow, daring Robert to try and convince him otherwise. He was an author, not a Ministry employee. He co-owned Flourish and Blotts, he wasn't a professor. He gave little to the world even before this, so why bother trying to change that after all this?
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Re: Healing Spaces

Post by Robert Lupin on Sat May 06, 2017 3:56 pm

Pushback--Robert had fully intended to get it, and there it was. It was restrained for what Connolly was entitled to, but nevertheless, it was there. Robert sat quietly to let him express whatever and however he needed. What he didn't expect quite so soon was the next phase that Connolly leaped onto, showing Robert that Connolly had probably already been here in this phase for sometime, the lost phase that followed when the grief of what no longer was caved to exploring what might be left to build on.

"I'm not suggesting you leap back into the Order, not at all," Robert said. "In fact, I think that might be an extraordinarily bad choice for your own well being. Forget the bloody Order. It can take care of itself for awhile. This is about you. You need some time for yourself. I think you should learn what you believe is helpful to you. Then, if something else seems like it is interesting to you, or something else that you might need, then pursue that.

"In my own life, I have often found myself, as the Americans say, a day late and a dollar short because life in the wizarding world seems to draw me into situations I did not expect. I do not want to wake up some morning and find that if I had learned just one more thing, I'd have kept someone in my family from harm. I've always had the role of a protector of something or someone, so I go after as much training as I can get because it matters to keep those I love safe. I am in the position, for many reasons, where many lives depend on what I do and do not know. Frankly, I don't give a damn what happens to me personally, except that I can still make a difference.

"For me, I have spent a lot of time and energy to create a safe place for my family to live. It is as unplottable and secure as I know how to make it. Even so, even with all I do to try to keep the danger away, it can still come. And it does come, when I least expect it. I know how strong your desire is to isolate. I've done it myself, but I also know that whether or not you intend to stay isolated for the rest of your life, you need to be able to be ready for the next time the world comes to you, regardless of how much you decide to stay secluded or to be involved with the rest of creation.

"I can't tell you what the right thing for you is. That's for you to decide, but I can tell you that I don't know if you're ready to make that choice at the moment. I think when the time comes, you'll know. If I were in your shoes, I would take what's right in front of me and perhaps reduce the temptation to add even more overthinking into the mix."

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