But how much is it going to hurt along the way?
Sun Jan 13, 2019 06:10

“Can she do that?” he asked, in a frightened voice when Professor Brooding talked about the risk of Professor Skies firing her for marrying Professor Hawthorne. He knew people could be mean but there was a difference between meanness, the kind that someone like Matthieu engaged in, and the example Professor Brooding had just given. “She should only be able to fire you if you’re a bad teacher. And you’re not. Does that mean she can expel me for liking boys?” he asked. He understood that this was not particularly the point she was trying to make, but it just opened up a whole other realm of things for him to worry about. “A-are those things going to happen?” he asked.

“I don’t know if you can stop them,” he replied, when she promised he would not be taken out of Sonora. It was the first thing she had promised that he had really doubted. “I… They are legally in charge of me until I am seventeen. They can make choices about my life. About my education. If they decided that I can’t come back… how would you change that?” There were nice things in what she had said. She wouldn’t let him be alone. He knew she really could help with that, and he appreciated the steady stroke of her hand against his back. And that she thought his friends wouldn’t be mean.

“I… I sometimes think so too. That it would be ok to tell them… But once I say it… I can’t take it back. I lose control. And…. anything could happen. And then, on top of everything else, I feel bad that I don’t trust them. That makes me a bad friend…”

He wished she could make everything better too. He wished she could have promised him that none of the terrible things he thought would really happen. But she had confirmed that they might. Everything he was scared of was a real possibility, and the adult he trusted most in the world, who normally fixed all of his problems, couldn’t make sure that none of his worst fears came true. He freed up a hand to stroke Ailuros and adjusted himself slightly so that she could join the hug, appreciating her care concern.

He noticed that Professor Brooding hadn’t mentioned his family, particularly. She had said that if people were mean to her, they were not good people. And he agreed. If people did the things she’d said, he would fight them. Even Professor Skies, if he had to. And she had said that if his friends rejected him they were bad friends… That was harder to take on board. He could see that was true in that if someone was unkind that was being a bad friend, but he found it harder to believe he would just be able to shrug his shoulders and accept it. And there was a big difference, wasn’t there, between Professor Brooding having to put up with some horrid teenager she barely knew (Simon Mordue sprang to mind) being mean to her and his family rejecting him? Horrible as it was, wrong as it was, it was easy to write Simon off. He didn’t matter.

“My family aren’t bad people,” he explained, his voice small and sad - for all that it was a protest at what she had said, it simply sounded lost and upset, “My Mama is sweet and kind. My sister too. She is my best friend before I came to school. I love them. And I’m supposed to be a good son.” He struggled, not feeling up to trying to explain about rén, and feeling lost and alone, sad that she wasn’t capable this time of simply understanding the way she usually did. He wondered whether Professor Brooding was picturing his family as cold and cruel based on what he had said. If so, he had done them an injustice, one which he now sought to correct. And one which made writing them off as bad people an impossible solution to the problem. That was not going to work. If they had all been like Matthieu, it would have. He could see that his brother was a horrible person, and what he thought didn’t matter, so long as Dorian stayed far enough out of his reach. But Mama and Émilie were not like that. “It’s important to me to be good to her,” he tried, so she didn’t start pushing the idea of how what he wanted mattered and how he had to make his own choices. He wanted to please his mother, and could not see what was strange or unnatural about that. She had brought him into the world. She had raised him. “You said it’s wrong to hurt people you love,” he pointed out.

  • This too shall pass.Mary Brooding, Sun Jan 13 01:58
    Mary considered quietly and carefully. She was loathe to frustrate or embarrass Dorian, but he was a rational boy and she doubted that comfort would help him any. She couldn't use Tabitha as a... more
    • But how much is it going to hurt along the way? — Dorian, Sun Jan 13 06:10
      • Undo! Backup! Reverse! Abort!Mary Brooding, Mon Jan 14 17:45
        Mary grimaced, realizing with a big lump of dread that she shouldn't have used the example that she did. This wasn't exactly the time to admit that yes, sometimes people of non-normative sexual... more
        • Come back!Dorian, Tue Jan 15 19:40
          "Ok," Dorian nodded, when Professor Brooding assured him that he wasn't about to be kicked out. "And are any of those other things going to happen? To you?" he asked, noticing that she had only... more
          • I'm always here. Mary Brooding, Wed Jan 23 20:51
            Mary allowed her shoulders to relax, surprised by how much tension they'd in carrying through this conversation. She was certain that she was projecting, or possibly just confronting some of her old... more
            • GoodDorian, Sat Jan 26 21:39
              Nothing bad was going to happen to Professor Brooding. That was one less thing to worry about. Well… that was one thing to worry less about. He wasn’t sure he could stop worrying altogether. He... more
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