Sat Jan 26, 2019 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 didn’t know whether this meant she didn’t plan on announcing her engagement to the whole student body or whether she just had more faith in them than he did. He hoped it was the former, but he knew he couldn’t have input into those decisions.

“That’s a good way of looking at it,” he smiled, when she compared life to a book. He would write that down when he got back to Teppenpaw. The notebook Tatiana had brought him in second year had been put into service to write down things he wanted to remember. He found that, when he wanted to recall conversations he had had with people, he couldn’t call to mind the exact words and phrases they had used which had pleased him - a side-effect, perhaps, of having to operate in his less confident language most of the time. Given the musical notes on its cover, it had started as thoughts from him MARS room meetings with Jehan. Opinions of Jehan’s he had liked, or nice thoughts he had shared about Dorian or their friendship or their future. When Tatya had called him brave, that had gone in the book too. Last year, more and more of its pages had been dedicated to the wisdom of Professor Brooding. And when he felt unsure or worried or just didn’t like himself very much, he was finding more and more that there was usually something in the book that helped.

When she began her next answer with a tactful comment about not being in his shoes, he felt his insides clench. He didn’t want her to side step this and just remind him how it was his decision. He wanted help. He wanted to know. He didn’t want to make his own choices because there were too many and they were frightening and sometimes he spent what felt like hours stood in front of the library shelves almost wishing all but one book would just vanish because making decisions was just really, really hard. But then, she started putting it into questions for him to answer. And whilst a part of him wished she could just hand him a simple ten step plan for not screwing his life up, that had always been a fairly unlikely possibility. At least she was willing to point him in the right direction.

“Sleeping potion?” he suggested with a smile, when she asked what would help him sleep at night, “Not really. I don’t-” he had been about to say ‘don’t not sleep’ but that sounded so clumsy, and even though he thought English might allow such ugliness it still sounded messy and potentially confusing, “I am sleeping ok. The rest… I will think about,” he decided. He wasn’t sure what his actual answer was, and each possibility that ran through his mind, each comment to her comment was sprouting more, faster than heads on a hydra. But he needed to appreciate the advice he was being given, to slow down enough to actually think it through and have answers to those questions rather than to just throwing more and more panic her way. It wasn’t fair to do that and to not listen to what came back to him, especially as her advice was usually good.

He sat back a little, returning to the room at large, rather than the claustrophobic space of his own head, and the little bubble he had shrunk things down to, of him clinging to Professor Brooding. His eyes came to the open gift still on the desk beside them and he was jolted back to where this conversation had started, and wasn’t quite sure how they’d ended up here instead, with him crying and panicking, when they had been talking about something so warm and lovely.

“Sorry…” he apologised, his eyes on the red robe, “We… were supposed to be being happy. I didn’t mean to… “ he wasn’t sure of the correct phrase in English, “to steal the conversation,” he tried. “That was selfish.”

  • 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
    • Good — Dorian, Sat Jan 26 21:39
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