Lian Dracel-Cortes

But the gravity between us will keep us safe

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title credit goes to IAMX - "I am terrified"

 

The last time Lian had graced St. Mungos had been when...well, truly when Cassandra came down with a serious case of the Bogglespox from her last trip to Spain. But she'd been glad to find out that the visit to Mungo's would be avoided in favor of Aurora's secluded home in the outskirts of London. Donning her most casual of clothes, under one of her simple black robes, Lian had been ready to leave her place in Chelsea. That was until a loud crash was heard and the cries of a four year old clouded her thoughts. 

 

"NAN!!!!"

 

While both Sebastian and his wife Leyda worked for the Ministry, their young son, Phillip would stay with Sebastian's family. This meant that either Lian, or whoever was in the house at the time, would babysit until Ley or Seb got out of work. Kienna was supposed to have been on watch, but this incident proved to Lian that her second oldest was holed up somewhere in the large house. Taking a deep breath, Lian turned around and hurried into the family room. A pile of books had fallen around young Phillip and he was rubbing his small knee. Lian's wand was quickly at her hand, pointed at where the soreness was indicated. "Obtorpesco!"

 

She dropped down to check on Phillip, finding nothing else wrong with the child, Lian whipped around and mouthed 'sonorus' at her throat.

 

"Kienna, get your arse down here and watch your nephew!"

 

The patter of Kienna's feet, along with her dreaded cat 'Flingus' - Lian sneezed as soon as the blasted animal was within sight. She should have put her foot down upon seeing the ugly kneazle mix. Why couldn't they bring home a bird...or a dog!? Ugh. - She released the charm and once she was to her normal voice, Lian said: "Phillip is getting into climbing, so help me god, keep my house from falling apart. I'll be at Aura's."

 

A nod from the brunette and Lian was soon turning to apparate...

 

*˜*˜*

 

She was terrified. As much as Lian kept her cool at home, her heart continued to pound against her chest. How could it have been that she missed such an important event? What kind of friend was she? Granted, she hadn't always been the best friend anyone could hope for, but for the last twenty years she'd turned her life around. Lian had mended bridges and had begun fixing all the crap she'd broken during her time spent as a puppet to her deceased husband. 

 

Her booted feet hit the ground and Lian looked over to the vast house that Aura and Spike both called home. Her place in Chelsea was smaller by comparison, but after having spent a life time in large family homes and living the illusions of grandeur - Lian had chosen to downsize. It was perfect and no one suspected her or Darcie of having a relatively modest home. Granted, they did possess property in other places... but their main home? It was meant to be their stabilizing point. So much had happened to make Lian realize so much had changed.

 

She changed.

 

And it terrified Lian just how much.

 

Reaching the door, Lian lifted her hand and began knocking against the wood.

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Her mum had taken the twins, and her other children were off doing Merlin knew what these days. Blood had turned to venom between Spike and Edward, putting more stress on Aurora than she really needed at the present time. She'd only been home from the hospital for less than a day, and she sent Spike on to the office so he could catch up on the work he'd missed over the last four days. Naturally, he fought her every step of the way to the fireplace in the living room, but when she pecked him on the lips, and nudged him to the hearth, he sighed in defeat. "I'll only be resting, on that couch right there," she pointed. "There's nothing for you to do here."

 

Settled, and Spike was gone in the flash of green flames.

 

The house was silent, wood occasionally creaking, its own sigh of relief. Aurora went to the couch and gingerly sat herself down on the cusions. A blanket and pillow were there for her already and she settled in for a long afternoon of doing nothing but watching the television set that had very little use in a magical household.

 

Naturally, there was nothing to watch, and she simply shut it off and listened to the birds outside, hoping their chirps would lull her into sleep. They didn't, and before long, there was a tapping at her door that made her want to cry. She had just gotten comfortable!

 

Aurora managed to sit up and eventually take to her feet. "Coming," she called. After all this effort, she didn't want the person on the otherside to leave. As soon as she reached the door, she looked out the curtains next to the door and saw her good friend Lian was there. She opened the solid door and leaned heavily on it. "San Diego," she said breathlessly. She hadn't seen the woman in such a long time. "Come on in. What brings you by? Shouldn't you be in... uh... America?" It was America, right?

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Darcie hadn't lied when she said Aura looked like she'd been run over repeatedly by a tractor and spat out by a shredder. Lian shot her friend a pained look and shook her head. - "What else do you think brought me home?"- She asked in deadpan. Only a few things could get Lian San Diego back from her natural state of 'poof' and this just so happened to be one of those things! Judging by the state of matters, Lian extended a hand. - "You went and ended at bloody Death's Door. I swear, the Reaper's got you on speed dial and you keep giving him candy bars so he'll go the hell away."

 

Blame it on Aura showing her the old muggle "meme's" and relics of the electronic past. Merlin only knew what Muggles did these days to satirize life and as we all know, Magical community is a zillion years behind everything. Anachronisms, aren't they fun? - "Let's get you inside and get you to resting... I figured I'd come by and check up. Make my self useful and help around the house till Spike gets home or something. Anything you need..."

 

She was just happy to see Aura alive and well.

 

Lian slid in so that she could help Aura hoist herself, being careful not to cause any further ailment. - "Don't worry about the tour, or blame yourself... I regret nothing."

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"Death and I like to keep in touch every so often," Aurora said, though there was very little humour in her voice, "kinda like you and I." Oh, that was a slight jab to the jaw, wasn't it? She loved Lian to pieces, and it sucked that the woman wasn't around as much as she would have liked. She missed her friend, and the family get togethers they had.

 

Aurora closed the door behind the former Gryffindor and found that Lian had slipped into Mother-Hen mode, physically taking Aurora's arm to drape over her shoulder. "Lian," Aurora huffed, but truth be told, it was somewhat easier as they took steps back towards her living room. "You shouldn't have come home because of me." Despite Lian's words, guilt immediately started seeping into her very core. "I'm so sorry."

 

She angled her head to look at her ex-lover and hoped that she understood that it wasn't because she didn't want Lian there. She'd interrupted enough lives because of this, and now she had to live with the fact that she'd interrupted yet another. "Come to think of it," Aurora mused as they approached the couch, "I could use a hug. Definitely a hug. Don't worry, you won't hurt me -- I won't break."

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Lian feigned hurt at the jab, though these days she took it in stride. She didn't mean to be so distant, but after her writing picked up - things had been messy to say the least. Maybe now things would be easier, right? - "At least if you offered me more candy bars, I'd be happier...they'd possibly go down to my hips, but I am not complaining." - Lian had lost weight over the years, finding herself at trouble to gain the damn weight back. She was as active as she'd been in her youth, apparently that translated to a lean body. 

 

Slipping into Mother-Hen mode was natural for Lian. She'd always prided herself in being the one to do for her friends, whether it'd be listening to them or doting on them at a time like this. To grant Aura the simplest thing made Lian brim with joy, though her friend's obvious attempt to brush off the fact she was likely inwardly berating herself did not go amiss. They'd known one another far too long to lie so blatantly. Lian reached, pulling Aurora into a hug that spoke volumes: of love, forgiveness, worry, adoration, admiration. 

 

"I found out so late, I'm sorry I wasn't here sooner. Some arse aide of mine was withholding my owl post." - She grumbled at the memory of the now jobless Lauren. Utter gobpest if you asked Lian. She held on to Aurora, as if anyone were to try and take her away and she would be tempted to stab them with a hot poker. Try her, she's capable of it too! Tears would have brimmed, if she hadn't already cried her fill at home in anger at the entire situation. But proud of herself for keeping such emotions in check, Lian released Aura and offered a comforting grin.

 

"But what matters is, we're both here and ooo is that a candy bar?"

Sue Lian, she's got a sweet tooth. By the way, she also just totally stole said candy bar and began nibbling on it. 

 

"Sorry, sweet tooth...not sorry for stealing it like I'm in my own house or something."

 

One just never knows what to expect from Lian Dracel-Cortes, right? 

 

"So, how have you been? Besides being chewed up and spat out by life, of course..."

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Aurora leaned into the hug, eyes falling closed at the small comfort. It was a comfort many people had given her over the last day or so, but it was the first time she had asked for one and had no idea why she was asking for it. Well, she missed Lian -- that much was clear, and all the sentiments listed above were certainly reciprocated. She squeezed Lian as tightly as she could manage and held on for as long as Lian would allow. "I'll remember to keep a supply of junk food if it means you'll come and visit me more," she assured, as Lian pulled back just enough to give her a grin and go off to steal the candy bar -- thus ruining the touching moment.

 

"Did that arse aide of yours withhold food as well?" Aurora asked lightheartedly as she eased herself down on the couch again. Lian could find her own damn place to sit, since she seemed like she owned the place. She adjusted the pillow behind her, quite the labour and looked up at Lian, expression turned serious.

 

"Even if you had gotten your letters sooner, you know I wouldn't have wanted you to come back because of this. See? I'm alive. I've been... well, I've been unconscious the last few days." And just like that, her mind descended into the events leading up to that circumstance. And only just now was she beginning to get her colour back.

 

"I'm more interested in you, anyway. How is the tour going? Would you like a drink?" she offered after bringing herself back to the present. Her gaze flicked to Lian's book, which sat on the coffee table, and she chuckled. "You know you have some explaining to do, don't you?"

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Lian gave a charming look, one that she hadn't ever truly used in a very long time. - "Well of course, you offer me food and I'm more than happy to arrive. But then will you get me to leave?" The tone was in  jest, one of the few things that hadn't ever gotten complicated between Aura and Lian. Granted they had ups and downs...and downs, and then down right infernal times - but Lian valued their friendship. She'd worked hard to ensure everything got to where they are today. No easy feat.

 

"Food is awful in the states, so much junk..." - She bemoaned, realizing they either fried everything or bloody made some awful meals. She would have much rather ate Darcie's Charred Meals than subject herself to another greasy spoon diner ever again. - "Woman, if you start fighting me on this, I swear on Merlin's cave that I'll...I'll..." She threw her hand up in mock defeat.  But soon, Aurora was treating Lian like a guest and that was not flying. Not today. >.>

 

"Tour has been relatively busy. Managed to get this book banned in China... wonder why..." - The utter sarcasm could be read in there. Lian knew exactly why, but of course she had to play it up! With a wiggle of her eyebrows, Lian couldn't help but to play coy. - "I'll have pumpkin juice in a bit, I think I know my way around here...if you haven't remodeled in a while." - Wait, Lian, not everyone is like you who has to redo your kitchen every time Darcie gets in there. Goblin Insurance refuses to cover Lian's house as a result of living with a walking Liability. Damn. 

"As for explaining, it's not like I gave any sordid details on anything too personal, now did I?" Cue the giggle...

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"Oh, you gave plenty of sordid details that I told you in confidence! And Spike read it, too!"

 

"You guys... y'know... talk about that stuff?" Spike had asked as he turned the book over in his hands. She had to soften the blow before he read the pages Lian had written, and she thought she had done a pretty good job until he turned it around on her for sharing some pretty intimate details of their relationship with a woman who was Aurora's ex-girlfriend. No, that wasn't weird at all.

 

"Spike, honey, if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times. Women talk." Mic drop.

 

Aurora wasn't mad, though. "I'm flattered, actually," she said to the author before her. "And proud. I'm proud of you." From the bottom of her heart, she meant it, too. Lian deserved her success, and if a few private details managed to help her achieve it, well, so be it. It was just a story, and no one was going to connect the dots to her or Spike.

 

She closed her eyes for a moment, taking in a deep breath, exercising her lungs, and exhaled. "Best selling author looks good on you," she said after a moment. Then, she yawned, a deep and uncontrolled thing that pulled uncomfortably. A sigh later, she looked up at Lian with a smile. "Your book is keeping me company while I am out of commission. Thanks."

 

A silence fell between them, and Aurora found she didn't like it. "I heard Darcie came to visit me. You'll give her my thanks?" she prompted.

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"Whoa, I only gave the barest and used my uhh...imagination to fill the gaps. Sadly, I also had help from my darling wife in spicing matters up."- Lian blushed, a rarity on a good day. She would only hope Spike wasn't too upset at her these days. After all, their friendship had always been solid and while they didn't talk like they had whilst in school, Lian thought highly of him. She was flattered that her friends had agreed, even if she had sneakily set up a trustfund for Aurora's children based on royalties from the book sales. Best selling author hadn't gotten there without a lot of help.

 

"I am glad I was able to be of service, even if it's in the steamy details."- Lian added, the silence starting to nag and jab at her insecurities. However, the subject of her wife's visit made Lian somewhat uncomfortable. See, whenever the subject of Darcie and Aurora came up, Lian felt at odds. She adored both women, but she worried for Darcie's sanity - whatever she even had - and how perhaps her desire to relive days long gone would hurt their future. Maybe it is the fact that Lian was close to crossing the threshold of fifty that she saw things in a different light, whilst her wife, with her never-ending Narcissism could not release a fading past.

 

Who truly knew? 

 

Nostalgia, Lian found, was a bore. The future, however, held an excitement she was ready to embrace. 

 

"I shall pass it on," - Wait, was there a bit of dry undertone to that? Lian brushed it off, quickly placing a hand on Aura's shoulder. - "So...mind if I see the gory details? You know, I'm a sucker for gnarly wounds for my crime scene writing." A well placed wink followed that. Lian had become very well versed with details, many of which she found from the several crime scenes she'd seen during her overtures in the muggle world. A magically caused injury however, now that was a treat she'd missed in a while... - "And I promise you'll get special thanks as usual, along with a signed copy."

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Aurora huffed at Lian. "Steamy details do me very little good right now," she muttered. True. Still, the book was entertaining enough, even the third time through, that it was passing the time and keeping the healer from going stir crazy in her own house. She hated being laid up like this, much preferring to be on her feet, helping some poor soul heal from their injuries. Or punching Death Eater masks. She preferred that, too.

 

She nodded her head when Lian said she'd pass on her thanks to Darcie. There was a lack of enthusiasm in Lian's voice, however, that did not go unnoticed by Aurora. Before she could ask about it, Lian had barrelled on, asking if she could see the gore. She gaped at her friend, wondering just what the hell had gotten into her mind. How inappropriate... and yet, it was Lian.

 

And there was nothing she could deny Lian.

 

"Only you would ask such a thing," she teased. "It's time to apply more Murtlap Essence, anyway." Aurora braced a hand on her side as she leaned forward and took the container of the compound from the coffee table, but Lian took it from her instantly, and she turned a half-serious glare to the woman. "I'm not an invalid. I can do it."

 

And yet, there was Lian, getting off the couch and forcing Aurora to lay down upon it. "Stupid Gryffindor. I could take you." And yet, she still did as she was told and lay down on the couch.

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Lian reigned supreme over pettiness and inappropriateness, her friends should be used to something off colour coming from her of all people. Wordlessly, she summoned the vial of essence to her hands,  along with some cotton balls. She'd noticed Aurora, as always, trying to be the stubborn arse she'd been since the day they'd first met. Lian shook her head and made it clear by pushing Aurora back to the couch that she wasn't having it. "Stop being a stubborn arse and let me do this." She warned, chuckling at the half-threat. 

 

Sure, Aurora could take on Lian in many ways. Magically, physically to a point... but Lian wasn't afraid of Aura. She held little fear in life and as such, she scoffed. - "You can barely sit on your own loo the way you're looking, so I don't think you're in shape to take me on."

 

With deft fingers, Lian lifted Aurora's shirt so that she could peel away the previous bandages. Though the wound was a puncture, it certainly looked terrible (in Lian's perspective). Dabbing the murlap essence unto a cotton ball, Lian began to apply it around the wound. - "So is it true a wand did this? I'm surprised the person who did this did not think of casting a spell while the wand was jammed."  - Perhaps one gave criminals too much credit these days. Lian for one knew if that had been her to stab someone with a wand, she would have caused absolute fatal damage.

 

But this was also a trained Arken Operative speaking. 

 

"Shows how poorly they've recruited in their ranks, scraping the bottom of the barrels. Back when we were younger, they had at least half a bloody brain." Or they were relatively young recruits, Lian also thought with bitterness. Youthful morons, misguided into believing the lies of those who thought themselves above the rest of magical kind. Her face softened, perhaps her years as an Arken Operative had rendered her far too jaded when seeing the sheer stupidity of the so called "evil of the world".  She coated the wound with the essence and began reapplying fresh bandages, careful not to aggravate Aurora's side.

 

"I am glad you were able to stop the buffoon who did this. I thought...I believed those days were behind us. That it would have ended with our generation, yet... they spread like a plague. Infecting younger minds each time."

 

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Ugh, that damn Cortes woman. She was equally as intransigent as the rest of them, wasn't she? Aurora gave her a defiant look as she eased back onto the pillow and allowed the woman room to work. She was supposed to be the healer here, not her ex-girlfriend. "Always in shape to take anyone on," she growled, but she was only trying to convince herself of that fact. She still didn't have a wand that was 100% hers at the moment, but that wouldn't stop her from digging her nails in. But, as Lian said, there was very little she could actually do at the moment without the aide of someone.

 

She let Lian lift her shirt, pull at the bandages and ask her questions as she applied the Murtlap Essence that made Aurora hiss and do everything in he power to remain still enough for Lian to continue her efforts and just get it over with. In response to what she was feeling, her hand gripped Lian's wrist tightly as she dabbed more of the substance on the wound, but did nothing else to impede her work. "Yes," she replied finally, "a wand." It cut through her like butter, too.

 

Aurora couldn't help but look at Lian as she stated a rather obvious fact that had occured to Aurora more than once since she had woken up in St. Mungo's. What if that Death Eater had been smarter? "I stopped her before she could," was all the former Ravenclaw could say in response to that, because the moment it happened, that was her initial panic. Another hiss escaped her as Lian continued with her treatment, but Aurora knew it had to be done, and her ex-girlfriend was being quite tender about it, too. "Lucky for me," she added dryly.

 

Of course, she wasn't interested in being reminded of their Hogwarts days. She'd thought those were behind them, too. Lian applied new bandages, hindered the whole time by Aura's death grip on her wrist. And once the cooling spell on them activated, Aurora let out a a huge sigh of relief and relaxed with a groan. "Thank you," she said after a moment, licking her dry lips, grateful for the fact that her friend was there. "Missed you, San Diego."

 

Safety. Lian was safety. Odd, given their history, but they had come so far from those troubled teenaged-tree-blasting days. Now, she felt exhaustion set in; she could let it set in. Her grip on Lian's wrist loosened. Safety.

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"Missed ya too, troublemaker." - Lian replied tenderly, a softness around her indigo eyes. There had been many things and expressions to cross her face in the past, but the tenderness that had developed with age, children and maturing, was not lost upon her. Nor was the irony that at this precise moment, Lian Dracel-Cortes was a safety net. With a history that involved physical and emotional harm, Lian often wondered how was it that she was the lesser evil in this scenario. It dawned on her that Aurora never saw Lian at her absolute worst and for once, Lian's endless running away paid the hell off. Because no one she loved, besides Darcie, had witnessed the descent into madness and despair.

 

No one saw the puppet she became under Aries' manipulation and unforgivable use. But Lian knew Aura was far more forgiving than some other people she'd met in her life. Lian's wand was again at her hand and she focused on the nearby recliner she assumed was probably Spike's. He would forgive her, but she brought it closer to Aurora's makeshift bed on the couch. Then, she transfigured it to a chaise lounge and settled in.

 

He could forgive her, or she could bribe him in expensive whiskey that would go into that reservoir for special occasions. It mattered not at this point.

 

"You look ready for a nap, it's okay. I'll be right here." 

 

You're safe with me.


Edited by Lian Dracel-Cortes

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Edward had found out of his mother's return through his sister. It was a terrible thing when his own father'd pride got in the way and wouldn't let him reach out to at least tell his eldest son that his mother was out of the hospital. At the present moment, his resentment for his father was a sleeping dragon in his belly, for at the moment, all Edward cared about was dropping everything he was doing and going to see her. On some level, he was actually grateful that he didn't have to see his mother looking like that. Darcie's description of her had done enough for his imagination, thank you very much.

 

As he stood on the doorstep of the large house he'd previously called home, his heart a thundering mess in his chest as he reached for the knob and twisted it to let himself in. The house was quiet; not even the hearth was alive. The smell of apple cinnimon strangely non-existent, which meant the house elf, Deew, was probably enjoying the day for himself.

 

Door closed behind him, he looked around and didn't take him long to find his mother in the living room with a guest. "Lian," he said, the tone of surprise that lasted for only a split second before he was hurrying to the couch and kneeling next to it as he looked at his mother's slumbering form. "Mum?" he whispered, wondering if she was awake, or truly sleeping. With no response, he realized she was actually sleeping.

 

But, it was nice to affirm for himself that she was alive, breathing and peaceful, for the first time since this all started. "How is she?" he asked their longtime family friend. He couldn't take his eyes off of his mum, though, as watery as they were now.

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Aurora had been sleeping, though her tossing and night terrors hadn't gone unnoticed to Lian.  But as soon as the familiar voice of Edward had filtered her ears, Lian had sat up, giving room for a son to see his mother. Lian had become quite aware in a matter of hours of the situation afflicting her friend's family and had done her best to ponder the matter. Her own family was far from perfect, and she'd developed years of fielding through estrangements and the whatnots to understand the current clash between father and son. Regardless, Spike was being an absolute arse and Lian knew damn well he was. But this was a matter for another time...

 

"She's tired, m'dear. Barely getting herself back in order, but she will certainly come out of this better than before. Your dear mum's always be a resilient one, or a cat with more than nine lives." - She winked. Aurora had, in Lian's eyes, always been one of the toughest women she'd ever encountered. - "She's already tried arguing about my mother henning and saying she'd take me on. So at least her spirits are starting to get back in order. Did you need some time with her, sweetling?"

 

She made the offer, keeping a careful eye over Aurora so that she may no aggravate her injuries. - "I could perhaps fix you a light snack while you do. She's been needing familiar contact, hugs are welcome."  - And Aurora, if Lian knew any better, would welcome any of her children. Especially after how estranged Edward had become from his family. 

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"Darcie said the same thing about her. Resilient. Like it's happened before. Like it's normal." Somehow, that left a bad taste in his mouth. He took his mum's hand in his own, making up for lost time in the hospital where he couldn't be at her side because of his father's pride. The man's priorities were completely out of whack as far as Edward was concerned. He sat down on the floor next to her and was content to just simply be there.

 

"Sounds like her," Edward smiled after a minute. It was the first time he had heard any real good news about his mother. It was one thing to know that she had been healing, but something wholly different to know that she was more herself after such a thing. "You don't have to leave," he said quickly. In fact, it was comforting, having Lian there to share company with. "You were always something of a mother hen." Of course, he was fondly recalling that time when he'd scraped his knee and Lian had been there to make it all better.

 

"I'm not hungry. This whole thing... it just makes me sick to think about."

 

Edward turned to look at Lian, offering her an awkward smile. "Well, when she wakes up, she can have all the hugs she wants, if my father doesn't come home first." Just the thought made his stomach roll and twist into tight knots. He considered the elder woman for a second before sighing.

 

"Do you think he'll come around? I mean... it's like he doesn't trust me."

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It was never meant to be a normal thing, Lian mused to herself, it should have ended with Voldemort. Hell, she remembers... The Boy Who Lived, only seven years her senior. She remembers how Voldemort was vanquished. She'd been destined to join Hogwarts in Septmber of 1999, or at least she should have. The castle was destroyed as a result of the final battle. Come to think of it, Lian doesn't remember a time where Magical England wasn't at a war of sorts. None of them did. - "I fear to say this was our normal, Edward.  I was...seven when Voldemort toppled the ministry of magic. My family abandoned England as soon it happened. When I say your mother's a tough person, I mean it because she's been through hell and back. Somehow, she's managed to retain her humanity along the way. She is far stronger than I ever was. Come to think of it, I see plenty of that resiliency in you."

 

She offered a reassuring smile, clasping a hand over Edward's shoulder. Maybe she'd always been a mother hen, but she took pride in letting each and all of them know they were loved. Something she'd not been showed much of while growing up. It'd been a vow Lian took as soon as she'd known that she would be a mother. - "Well... I couldn't help being a mother hen. Not that I heard any of you complaining about it when we'd sneak off to Fortescue's for ice cream."

 

"Well, when she wakes up, she can have all the hugs she wants, if my father doesn't come home first." 

 

Lian's expression changed briefly at the mention of Spike. She was going to have serious words with that man, if that was the last thing she did! 

 

"Do you think he'll come around? I mean... it's like he doesn't trust me."

 

"Darling, he worries. Of course, his pride will never let him say it out loud. If he comes home early and starts a fuss, I'll talk with him." 

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Voldemort. Now, there was a history lesson that Edward had always tuned in for, even if he'd heard it before. There was something about the dark wizard that was completely alluring. No, it wasn't the whole blood supremecy angle the malformed man championed. It was the level of power he had achieved. Edward fancied himself that power. One day, maybe.

 

He swallowed thickly and looked back at his mother. Lian was right. He had seen her strength first hand. After all, how many parents could carry on healing everyone when their own children were in harms way? Or wait, was he supposed to feel anger that she could leave him behind? It was a very confusing thought, and one that he didn't want to bother with anymore. The past was the past and no one had died. That was enough.

 

"She's the best mum ever," he found himself saying. With the hand on his shoulder, he glanced up at Lian again. "Maybe I gave dad reason to worry," he found himself saying. "I haven't exactly been a saint recently. You know that." He knew there would be no judgement from Lian. "I feel so out of control, Lian. It's like... I just can't stop my life from going down the drain."

 

Edward pulled out the picture he'd shown her, the one of Elarinya. "I let her go. I love her so much and I let her go. I don't know how to get her back, either. All I do know is... when I am with her, my life makes sense."

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Lian nodded her understanding. She didn't know what it was like to disappoint her parents, as they had died during the Death Eater raids of 1997. They had ensured that Lian and her older brother had left England, but they fell for being "blood traitors". Something that couldn't have been further from the truth, as Lian learned in the Arken Industry archives. Miguel and Fionella Cortes died at the orders of Donovan Arken himself, as he planted the evidence necessary for the Cortes family to be a prime target of those very same Voldemort sympathizers. She had no advice to give in the "art of making parents proud". But she could, however....try to help?

 

Her expression remained soft, understanding towards the younger man.

 

"I feel so out of control, Lian. It's like... I just can't stop my life from going down the drain."

 

Everything hit her at once when the picture of Elarinya was before her very eyes. The girl looked familiar... as such, Lian tilted her head and studied the girl further more. - "She looks familiar and pretty. Like a girl I knew from my school years." With her luck, it's probably the child of someone Lian had probably known. Certainly not a Sparhawk, she would have known Janus and Caitlyn's children from the word go. Rayya Brown? Rohtia and Feuris? Lian kept going down the mental list of all the potential people. She hadn't hung in a lot of their same social circles, but she wouldn't be surprised that their children and Darcie's own had mixed up along the lines.

 

"I let her go. I love her so much and I let her go. I don't know how to get her back, either. All I do know is... when I am with her, my life makes sense."

 

"Oh Sweetling..."- What they boy needed was not Darcie's tutelage. She was the queen of broken hearts and leaving the mess for Lian to sweep up.  


"You want in on a few secrets?" - Lian's body relaxed, as everything seemed to finally be coming together and in full circle. - "In your early twenties? You're supposed to mess up. You're supposed to lose control and not know where you are going, and explore... and make all the mistakes you're going to make. I know. I did it. And if it hadn't been for your mom's love, support and even her fighting? I would likely be dead right now." Granted, they were products of their upbringing, horrible as it may have been in some cases.

 

"Life doesn't make sense now, because you're in the thick of this big adventure of finding yourself. Of learning just who Edward is supposed to be. Your mom went through it. Darcie, Myself... all of us. Granted," - Lian paused with a sparkle of sage wisdom - "We were products of an era where our world was rebuilding from a war. Conflicts rose from those who refused to let go of the old regime. Our mistakes may seem silly now, but to us? They were full on blunders. We were expected to be a certain way and have our crap together by a certain age."

 

Lian did what any one in her position would and reached to the younger man, pulling him to a tight hug.

 

"Your father doesn't want you to go down a path you may not return from and I get it. No one of us want that for our children, darling. He's doing what any parent would do, try to steer things in a direction he believes it to be best. But you're a wild river, you will set your own course. And you'll change it as you feel life will take you." - She reached to soothe Edward's hair, offering a bright smile. - "And if you know in your heart that she is the one, fight for it. If she's the daughter of who I believe she is... she's likely to be a strong-headed woman. You're the son of two of the most stubborn, strong-headed people I know. You will find a way and if you need it, I will help you."
 


Edited by Lian Dracel-Cortes

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"Elarinya Thanrion," Edward said with a grin, bringing the picture back in to admire once more before setting it down on the table. He simply adored the former Gryffindor, and couldn't help but wonder what she was doing now. Was she thinking of him as much as he thought of her? Probably not. He'd burned that bridge really good, to the point where there might not be any structural integrity anymore. 

 

The young man adjusted himself on the floor, kicking his feet out so he could lean back on the couch his mother lay upon and face Lian. If she was going to offer him some secrets, he was going to be all ears. And it was every bit as predictable as he imagined it would be. Oh, Lian... where was your original material at today? "That's it? That's all I get?" he said after a moment, slightly dumbfounded. "I'm twenty, so I'm supposed to make mistakes?" Maybe he should have just kept his mouth shut, because she didn't need to be there to share her wisdom with him. "Sorry," he added quickly, and let her continue.

 

And then she mentioned his dad, and he did his best to keep his short fuse from sparking. He mulled over her words, and took them to heart; as much as he didn't like it, Lian made sense. "You and Aunt Darcie have been so good to me, and you helped me to realize..." he murmured, "... I have to change. Elarinya deserves better, and I have to be better if I want her back, so I can proove to her that... I'm the one."

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She had been sleeping, but for how long, she had no idea. She was roused by the voices around her, and could have sworn there weren't as many when she closed her eyes.

 

Aurora wanted to open her eyes, to move her body, but she felt like a tonne of bricks at the moment. She just wanted to stay in this vegitative state, and alas, if it let her eavesdrop on the two people in the room, well, she was going to take advantage. Lian was still there, and that was enough to make her inhale deeply and exhale long and slow. That was relief. Her voice was soothing, and kept her wrapped up in that bubble of safety she didn't realize she needed.

 

And then... Edward? Oh, her sweet Edward. Spike had told her about their falling out, about how her son didn't return to the hospital afterwards. Her heart ached for him and for what he must be feeling at the moment. She felt safe with him, too, and promised herself that she would do whatever she could to mend the rift that was forming between father and son. Their family was tight-knit, and this just would not do.

 

"She's right," Aurora said after a moment, turning her head and opening her bleary eyes to see Edward sitting on the floor in front of her. With his hand holding hers near his shoulder, she offered him a tired smile. "I was so screwed up, I ran away to Paris." Afterthought, "Don't you dare run away to Paris." She chuckled and turned a thankful glance over to Lian before looking at her boy again. "You can reinvent yourself every second of your life.

 

"Good to see you, kiddo. Proud of you," she whispered. "You know what you have to do to fix things; that's more than we knew at your age."

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Thanrion... but of course! Calen and Lelly were the eternal sweethearts of Gryffindor house. Lian couldn't help a chuckle at that, remarking: "Her parents were both in my year, same house." - That was as much as Lian would allow herself to think of the past. She wanted to say more, but Aurora started coming through and knowing her bounds, Lian couldn't help but to remain quiet throughout the exchange between mother and son. Now if only the same could be done in her home between Morgi and Darcie... But we all know that'll never happen, so long as Morgi continues to remind Darcie of a past lost and a man who made his choice.

 

And in her own heart of hearts, Lian now understood that saying that would forever be engraved in her heart, a testament of fundamental years and growth. Of sage wisdom she longed to still have, but just how different things would have been had their places been exchanged? Would Lian even... 

 

"Paris?"- Lian quirked an eyebrow at this bit of knowledge she did not quite recall knowing - "And here I thought I was San Diego..." Naught filled Lian's voice, with underlying curiosity of this Paris Era in Aurora's life. She both wished to pry, yet did not wish to bring up old wounds. Instead, Lian's right hand absently gripped her covered left forearm. A scar that still remained, gnarly and a bitter reminder of mistakes made by individuals who didn't know any different. Though thirty years have almost passed since that dreaded incident at the old Dueling Club, with many whispered apologies in between kisses...

 

"I...before your parents got married, Darcie and I weren't exactly on speaking terms. Poor choices, caused a rift between our friendship." - Melancholy marred Lian's eyes, a sight of crow's feet from where her eyes had narrowed. - "Back then, we did things I wish could have been taken back. I spent every day since your mother's wedding working towards bettering myself... I disappeared. She tracked me down all the way to Florence." - A smile now crossed Lian's face, this time she reached over to Aurora and leaned slightly, resting her face against the other's woman's shoulder.

 

"She personally chased me to tell me she was pregnant with you and Jon. To bring my arse home...to promise I wouldn't leave her again. A promise I broke, when I went searching for Darcie." - Well this was something Lian had never truly said. But San Diego earned her name due to her constant travels, trying to outrun a future that was never going to stop until it had caught up with her. It had, but thanks to someone's timely interference, Lian was saved from part of that future - as such, she lived to a vow she'd made on a man's honor. She found Darcie, Morgi and took care of them. She'd just never expected to finally see what had been there the entire time. - "I spent four years tracking down Darcie. When I found her and began to bring it all together, that was when I could finally stay for good."

 

Grateful didn't even begin covering it.

 

"I have spent years mending the bridges I broke. It has been worth it, every step of the way. Begin slowly, don't expect to change your path overnight and for it to stick. Do it for her, but most importantly, do it for yourself."

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"Mum!" Edward claimed, shifting back to his knees to hover next to her and appreciate that she was alive. There was no containing the smile on his face as he adjusted his grip on her hand. He took in her words, the sound of her voice was so comforting, and real. Her movements when her survival more tangible. He looked at Lian, wordlessly sharing his happiness with her before turning back. He beamed when she declared her pride in him. "Love you, mum," he replied, kissing her forehead.

 

He felt like he could breathe now. He sat back down on the floor, his emotions effectively knocking him on his arse. There was a whole other life to his mother that he didn't have a clue about, and the two women were talking about things that made very little sense to him.

 

"Lots of history there," he mused, taking in the details. "Maybe you should write a biography about it -- all of you together. Sounds like it'd be an intense read. Y'all used to date each other, right? And yet, you somehow stayed friends." With all the new details being divulged to him, one thing rang clear. There was always hope, and Edward needed to hang onto it if he truly wanted to make things right with Elarinya. "Even if Ellie... won't take me back... maybe I can still be friends with her. It's better than not having her in my life...

 

"Mum always says that everything happens for a reason," he said, squeezing her hand.


Edited by Edward Braelin-VonHaus

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Aurora breathed deeply, struggling to stay awake in that moment. She wanted to let sleep claim her again, wrap her up in its welcoming arms and not wake up until the next morning. She pressed a kiss to the back of Edward's hand, hoping that was enough to convey how happy she was to see him. She was just barely keeping track of what the two were saying, and found herself humming in acknowledgement. "Paris," she mumbled, "back when I was engaged to Harko. Left him behind for ten months. Came home, gave his ring back. Nothing I regret more than how I handled that. Was not a good person in Paris."

 

Take it away Lian. Aurora found herself being lulled by the sound of their voices, certain words sticking out every now and then that would pull her back to the present, like Lian touching her shoulder. Such a comfort, she hummed again. "'lready wrote one," she said. "'s in my desk drawer." The same drawer no one else could get their hands on without her hand. "Think... think I have a new chapter to write."

 

Then it hit her. "... How the f... hell do you know that?" she asked her son, tired heterochromic eyes landed on him. Not once had she told her children of the fact that she used to date their Aunts... a different times, mind you... "All friends here." Yup, she's gone loopy. "Fate is a bi...." And then, she was out again.

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Lian took the information in, chuckling at Edward's input. - "I would write my biography, but I fear I would need to omit parts of my life for legal reasons." - She winked after, knowing that if she began to truly write an expose autobiography, she would need to do some heavy alterations on the matter. Names, Dates and places would be slightly changed in order to avoid incriminating herself in a metric ton of seedy matters. Not that it bothered Lian anymore, a lot of her story was liable to be omitted anyways. Somethings were best left in between the people with whom the events happened with. 

 

 "Maybe you should write a biography about it -- all of you together. Sounds like it'd be an intense read. Y'all used to date each other, right? And yet, you somehow stayed friends."

 

Before Lian could say anything, Aurora was asking - albeit groggily - who told Edward that bit of information. - "He went to Hogwarts, woman. And he's been around Darcie. Bound to have found out."- She shrugged, not truly bothered by the whole sequence. Her own children knew, especially given Darcie's obsession with Aurora.  Once Aura was out like a light, Lian summoned a blanket and covered her. She turned her focus on Edward, an indiscernible look to her face.

 

"Another piece of advice..." - She offered, this time lowering her voice enough for the both of them. Her original material was due to come any minute now... - "In life, we have three loves. One that will get away. One never meant to be and the other, our forever. I've had all three. Your mother wasn't meant to be. Lexus was meant to get away and Darcie... well, need I say more?" - Aurora was a short spell of time, marred by the ghost of lovers past [Darcie] - meaning it hadn't meant to happen. But wait, wasn't Lexus a short spell, set up by Darcie? Lian mentally made the run down; he was a kind hearted soul meant to get away from her. Lian had actually fallen for the other man, but... life had other plans.

 

But it's funny now, how everything had one singular person attached to it all.

 

Her wife. It made her wonder if Darcie realized this herself? - "This advice is in the case things don't work out the way you hope. Your mother is one of my dearest friends, I would kill and I would lay my life on the line for her. Just like I know she'd do the same for me. Sometimes, the friendship is far more valuable than the romance, m'dear."

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