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In this alternate universe, Lord Voldemort is dead, but so is Harry Potter. Factions continue to fight, Hogwarts educates the next generation of witches and wizards, and the Ministry of Magic does its best to hold everything together.

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Re: I used to think maybe you loved me

on Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:46 am
For a moment, Avery felt bolstered by Claire's reassurances. But then her lips pressed together even more tightly. Avery wasn't sure if she was insulted by the implication or meant to feel guilty. She didn't know, really, if she would work her way into it, or if Robert was right or wrong. But it was the first time she'd stopped to wonder if Sophie being a good child was truly just a miracle. Because it certainly felt like her abilities as a mother were being questioned, which had been her greatest fear regarding Sophie from the very moment she'd found out about the pregnancy.

It wasn't unlike Claire to say precisely what she thought or felt - at least, not that Avery knew of. What she said, specifically, was about Jack. But the same rules translated over, so she just looked out towards the living room, silent and uncomfortable. And it was then that she made a potentially idiotic decision, but it was one that she could live with long enough to eventually find something else. Would it be so bad, really, if she 'weren't good enough' to make it into the field? She could live with searching through records and books and the like in search of missing objects. Particularly ones based in darker intentions. Choosing to be rubbish would surely be less disappointing than actually meaning to be good and just failing.

"Well, we'll see," she mused quietly, her grim mood not quite gone, but not as overpowering as before. She was no Jack Dyllan, as she'd seen first-hand, but she had purpose at least. Yes, it was a desperation rather than a desire to just be good at something, but that still got the job done. She'd lasted over a decade in a job she told herself she enjoyed and found that purpose in, but it had taken very little to prove her wrong. Now, her purpose was waiting in the next room, and that was enough.

Avery turned her attention back to her glass, but abandoned it in favor of just fidgeting with her hands in her lap. She was tempted to just stand right up and go wake Sophie with some excuse about how she wouldn't sleep that night if she napped for too long. But it hardly mattered when Avery wasn't sleeping much, herself.

So she just sighed, yet again, and wondered if one day she would sit across from her daughter like this, and if she'd feel accomplished or apologetic. Was it possible to be both? Maybe that was supposed to happen, and nobody had warned her.

Realizing she had all but zoned out, Avery turned her head, looking at Claire once more. "Have you ever thought about having kids?" she asked, only half out of nowhere.
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Re: I used to think maybe you loved me

on Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:15 am
Claire had messed up, as she was prone to do with her sister, with her family, with most people. The offenses she caused were rarely intentional and she could see the harm done sinking in mere seconds after the words were spoken, the deeds were done, powerless to reverse them because she was just not equipped. For all of her thoughts of fairness and justice, for all of her empathy for humanity, she just was not designed to be easy going or careful with feelings. It was something she hoped would just switch on one day - but it never did.

She knew she had to say something, or else this half-accusation (which she had no intended but still seemed to be more and more overt with every passing second) was going to do real harm. She didn't think her sister to be cruel, but in her self preservation, it may amount to Auntie Claire being relieved of all babysitting privileges. And she certainly didn't want that.

But as her lips parted to begin her apology, or rather her explanation as she had always been awful with the former, Avery hit back. A look of actual shock passed over her face, mouth tipping over and eyes widening. A triumphant moment for Avery surely. Claire clamped her jaw shut and closed her eyes, shaking her head.

Had she thought of having kids? Merlin, she was perhaps the least qualified. She had never really been a child, had never enjoyed the pursuits of youth. She had been called bossy from about age five and had begun wearing her hair like a middle aged woman by eleven. Sophie was her first real experience with children, as her social circle had never exactly been moms and functional families. She had never seen proper parents in action, had never really put herself in the position to know or understand children.

Had she thought of kids? She had hoped to marry Robin Ivanov out of school. Hoped until it looked like it could happen. Maybe as she had imagined their wedding day, imagine married life, just maybe she had imagined a round belly and the sound of tinkling laughter, as large hands folded the impossibly tiny. She would tilt her head to see if he was just as in love, heartbreakingly devoted, and his eyes would shine back-

Had she thought of kids? She had been so focused on work for so long that she hadn't even gone on a real date. Perhaps a dinner here or there, often a work dinner misconstrued by the male colleague, accidental flirtations that alleviated a dry spell to keep her from winding up so tightly she actually snapped. But then she had left New York and left behind the certainty of who she was. She hardly had anyone here to imagine just being with, and even if she had, the smirking git wouldn't ever dream of procreating-

"No, I haven't," she said curtly, interrupting her own horrid train of thought, lifting the glass to her lips, drinking a bit more freely than perhaps she should have. As she lowered the glass, she said briskly, "Sophie mentioned something. Something about Teddy."

Yes, best to just move beyond all of that.
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Re: I used to think maybe you loved me

on Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:04 pm
Avery hadn't meant to upset Claire with the question; she'd just been curious. But evidently that was not a topic she was allowed to touch. But Teddy? Oh, of course. Claire quite obviously felt she had the right to poke at open wounds, but Avery wasn't even supposed to wonder about her sister's plans for the future. Okay. Fine.

"I sincerely doubt that she was as subtle as you're implying," Avery replied. But despite a pause to glance over at the wine again, she decided she didn't really need it. She'd never been one to drink, though the last several minutes would certainly suggest otherwise.

There didn't seem to be a way to backtrack, though, so she did her best to appear nonchalant. It was one thing to admit she was bad at her job and feeling confused. It was another to talk about another failed relationship when she still felt so strangely about her sister's previous relationship with Robin. Of course, as soon as she opened her mouth, she realized that she actually felt a little bitter. That understanding came when she said exactly what she meant, rather than what she wanted to.

"Well, he's been waiting for this girl since school or something. And she finally decided she was in love with him. So he's not around anymore. I don't think I've managed to properly explain to her that he just doesn't want me. That sometimes it doesn't go both ways. Pretty sure I've nudged her away from the theory that it had something to do with her, though."
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Re: I used to think maybe you loved me

on Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:42 am
Again, she had been too callous. Her lips parted immediately in the hopes of soothing Avery otherwise, but she was smart enough to recognize that there was little (if anything) she could say that would actually help. So her lips swooped back into a pursed position and her eyes closed for a brief moment, taking the implied rebuke and letting it wash over her. When her eyes opened, her face was as unreadable and serene as ever, as she lifted the wineglass up. Avery might be finished drinking, but Claire was just getting started.

(She couldn't believe it, but she was actually hoping Elsie came home drunk.)

Avery finally spoke and Claire's mouth collapsed into a frown. Ice queen she might be, but she felt her heart breaking a little for the sister that had always just wanted some semblance of consistency. And it was jarring, seeing as how sickeningly sweet the pair of them had been at the weird family reunion thing. Her arms loosened as her face showed just as much sadness as it would allow - which wasn't a lot, her muscles having frozen her face into a much more critical expression. "Avery, I'm... I'm sorry. That sounds-" she shook her head. "There must be more to it, no? It doesn't seem like him. Not like the person I met anyway."
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Re: I used to think maybe you loved me

on Fri Mar 23, 2018 4:00 am
A short, humorless laugh left her, nearly surprising Avery herself. That wasn't like her at all. She sent a wry look Claire's way, as an apology of sorts for her behavior. "I was surprised, too," she said unnecessarily. "I thought-..."

Avery looked down at the floor, shaking her head. The thing was, she wasn't actually angry with him. It felt good, for a moment, to act that way, and to have that mask to hide behind. But it wasn't her, and both women clearly knew that. It took only moments for her facade to crumble, and she reached a hand up to comb through her hair as a form of fidgeting.

"He said he cared, but wanted to be sure. I just don't see how... I mean, he still loves her. Still. It's got to have been a solid decade, at least, right? So, I can't figure how I'd ever be able to compete with that. I probably shouldn't, really. At least he told me. But it's been weeks, now. So that's not super encouraging." She shrugged, the motion huge compared to how quietly she was speaking. "It didn't feel like closure. It just hurt."
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Re: I used to think maybe you loved me

on Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:53 pm
Claire could be pretty obstinate about how to treat people, but she understood human behavior. She had instincts, instilled within her by her training, and they were itching somehow, trying to warn her that something was not right about the situation. Perhaps her judgement in character had become worse over time, but Teddy just didn't seem like the type...

But what could she do? She wasn't the sort to investigate, to get involved, and she wasn't sure that would do any good either. Surely, it would just look like Avery had sent her and couldn't move on. And Claire didn't really know enough to be able to say anything with any authority either.

So she tried to instill hope instead. "If you didn't feel closure, maybe it's not over. Maybe there's still something that needs to be done or said."
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Re: I used to think maybe you loved me

on Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:59 pm
Claire's point was valid. Obviously. But on the other hand, it was frustrating. She couldn't very well go up to the castle without contacting either Keiran or Teddy, and both of those options were strictly out. So it wasn't like there was much she could do, was there? She had managed to ensure that, however predictably.

"Maybe," she mused carefully. "But if so, then isn't that his job? He said he wanted space. That he needed clarity, if not just ... her."

Avery was terrible confused, now. Not by Claire but instead by herself. She wasn't anxious to be over Teddy, as the whole experience had been an incredibly important series of lessons for her. What she really needed to do, she realized, was remember that she and Teddy had not signed anything. They hadn't decided upon a relationship that could only end in mutually-assured destruction, as marriages did when people were in love. Either one died and the other was broken, or they both broke each other and the whole partnership was ended. The former seemed preferable, though not in all cases.

Take Bridget, for example. It was too soon. But then, she supposed it would always be 'too soon' for those that really and truly worked.

It was a question, then, of the pros and cons, and whether or not the other person was worth it. It was still early, and Avery knew how easy it was for her to just love someone. She shouldn't have ever wondered what forever would look like with Teddy. There was no law to bind him to her, no rush. They'd barely known each other a year, and had been technically apart for most of it, even if her mind and heart had so often been lost, off looking for him.

Grieving for Robin was sensible. It was expected and valid and accepted, socially. Pining after a lost relationship that wasn't by any means perfect (well... depending on who you asked, evidently) -- that wasn't, so much. She had been, in James' words, a dementor for weeks. It was irrational. Avery, quite obviously, was not the most rational of people when emotions came into play.

This time, however, she had to force herself to make an exception. She had to force herself to be more like Claire. Like Keiran, even.

"I just can't wait forever," she decided finally, determination making itself known on her face as her features hardened into something almost foreign. "He wants time. And that's-- that's fine. But, if only for Sophie's sake, I need to just..." Her hand reached up, the base of her palm rubbing at her eye. "I'll give it until the end of the month. And then I have to be done with this. There's no point in wanting something I can't have, and I don't see it going well if I reach out myself. We both know I'd muck that up. It'd be best if I create that closure myself. By now, he could figure I've already gotten the message." She flinched a little. "I know, I know. It's not like him. But I never thought he would do this, either."

And although she couldn't let herself say it and instill false hope, it didn't help that she silently noted the truth of the matter: If he came back later on, she wasn't convinced she would turn him away, or ensure that they were merely friends. At present, though, Avery didn't see any other way to deal with it besides eating away at herself from the inside out.
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Re: I used to think maybe you loved me

on Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:13 am
Claire tipped her head in concession, murmuring, "Yeah, I didn't mean - yes he should." She blinked, revealing a bit more of her obvious discomfort, though she was desperately trying to reel it in so that Avery could say all she needed to say. She was trying to be supportive, but this simply wasn't an area she was good at being supportive in. She hadn't had a real relationship with anyone since Robin, as she didn't really count the brief fling she had with Cameron Roosevelt or that weird two month period with Dennis What's-His-Name back in New York. She hadn't been in love since she was seventeen. And while Avery hadn't said as much, Claire could sense that much.

Avery wasn't talking in a way that was very... Avery. It almost sounded like herself, but one that wasn't used to the rigmarole of putting off emotion for the uncomplicated, logistical answer. Claire had lived her life by this, obviously, and believed it to be the option that worked best. How often had she hoped her sister could be just a bit more rational, and here she was, trying.

Claire didn't like it.

Claire let silence sit in the air, because what could she really say? She had no solutions, no positive thinking, no distraction. She finally took a breath. "I'm... I don't know what to say. I'm sorry. That's..." She shook her head.

But there was the matter of her niece. As much as she hurt for Avery, she had a responsibility to Sophie. But she had to be careful.

"Sophie seemed pretty... sad about it too," she said looking into her wineglass. "If you're ever feeling like you just... can't fake the smile or, or whatever... I could take Sophie. Or maybe Mum can, and we can go out and do something. Just... I'm here for what you need."
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Re: I used to think maybe you loved me

on Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:04 am
Perhaps, if Avery had not already felt such panic and devastation at the idea that she was a bad mother, she would have taken Claire's suggestion as just a sister trying to help. Instead, she wanted to run. To get up and make no promises. Bizarrely, and actually the most surprising turn of the evening, she wanted to go back to that house Robin's family had never sold, just to see if Sophie remembered it. Just to see if things could be normal there. Dublin was hardly close for Claire or their mother, though, and Avery struggled to tell herself that she hadn't thought of it to hide away from them.

It just wasn't true.

She was by no means dreadful enough at taking care of Sophie that anyone could do to her what they were trying to do to Keiran. Surely not. But Avery also knew how easily influenced she was, emotionally. Maybe it didn't register all of the time, but this conversation had it at the forefront of her mind, creating anxiety where there didn't necessarily need to be any. So it wasn't like her family would have that hard of a time convincing her to have Sophie stay with someone else on a more frequent basis. Taking a moment, she tried to imagine losing Sophia from her daily schedule. To imagine having to visit her daughter like Claire and Else did. It nearly broke her heart all over again.

The worst part of losing Teddy was actually the fact that she was suddenly lonelier again. Sophie was brilliant, obviously, but there was a different relationship between a mother and daughter - particularly one Sophie's age. Going without both of them... she had never even thought about that. In a way, she knew the day would come, with or without someone like Teddy ever having come into the picture. Sophie would go to school eventually and she'd be lost as to how to spend her time.

"I..." Avery stared at the entrance to the living area where her daughter slept, struggling yet again to convince herself of something. Because while she knew that things were working as far as their home life was concerned, that didn't mean that things were good. Of course they weren't. Not lately. It just struck her as counter-intuitive to place her daughter elsewhere in hopes of not ruining her the same way Avery herself had been. "I don't know," she concluded finally, shaking her head. "I would need to talk about it with her. I know it's wrong to be like this around her. I do. But i--it doesn't really..."

She trailed off, shrugging again. What she wanted to say was that it didn't hurt as much with Sophie there. Except that was selfish, and not at all how a mother was supposed to be. She'd been that way for too long, now. Maybe the end of the month was too long. Maybe she would find a way to wake up in the morning and go back to how she'd been before that trip to St. Mungo's with Keiran so long ago. If not for her, then at least for her baby.
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Re: I used to think maybe you loved me

on Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:11 am
She could see her sister dissolving, tail-spinning into a vortex of insecurity and doubt, and Claire had caused it all. She was too careful, it left too many gaps for Avery to fill with her own preconceived notions of what she thought they all thought of her. Avery would be horribly surprised if she ever had to climb into Claire's head and take a stroll through the Hall of Biological Sisterhood. As of late, the latest exhibits in that wing were all titled "Looking Better", "Mom of the Year", and "Surprisingly Composed." She wasn't half the mess she thought they thought she was.

Merlin, this was getting out of control.

"Or I could spend some nights with you both," she said, practically having an out of body experience as she said it. "I don't mean to say 'give me your child and get lost' Avery, that's not what I'm saying. I'm just worried that you're dealing with emotions too heavy for yourself, let alone while having to worry about hers. And that's fair. Most people don't have to go it alone. So don't... go it alone, that is. Let Mum help, or me, or tell us what we can do to help." She paused, and fought the temptation to finish off her glass of wine right there. "Elsie can have a few nights unsupervised without the world collapsing, I think."
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