Rowan Allard

The only words anyone could muster were just lies

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This had to be a lesson in learning to keep her mouth shut. That was the only logical explanation that Rowan could come up with as to why she was in this situation. Well, it had been that or the universe had decided to simply play a sick joke on her, and she refused to believe that the universe would be that horrifically mean. So the prior it was.

 

If Rowan had known to keep her mouth shut on the train when faced with Ryan, she would not be here. Had she kept her mouth shut instead of yelling at a professor, she would not be here. Were she able to keep her mouth shut (and her eyes dry) when anyone brought up last years attacks, she would not be here.

 

Of course, she was unable to do any of those things.

 

Instead, she allowed her emotions to rule over her brain, and land herself in deep trouble. Hence the detention Professor Foster had assigned to her. Of course, Rowan could handle detentions, she'd managed to rack up the most of her entire class last year without even trying, so one measly detention with a professor who hated her shouldn't have been bad. Foster, however, had different ideas.

 

Therapy. Rowan had been under the impression that cruel and unusual punishments like this were considered illegal. Apparently, Hogwarts didn't care about that - or at least Foster didn't. That was how she found herself shuffled off to the hospital wing for the literal worst detention of all time ever. This was obviously going to be a replay of that one duel she'd had with Havana where the girl had pretended to play counselor.

 

Her stomach churned with every step. This was going to be awful.

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The owl had come earlier that week. Professor Foster had told Decan that she had a special case for him. After receiving the details of the situation, Decan was certain of a starting point and the importance of his intervention. A time had been set and Decan was eager to begin his first official session as Hogwarts counsellor.

 

He set up his office the way he wanted it. On his desk was a stone basin with runes around the edge. His pensive had been one of his first purchases on becoming a magipsychiatrist and was a necessary tool to his craft. His plan for this session though was a little different than what he usually used it for. Next to it sat one bottle with a silvery substance in it. Decan thought it might be a little disturbing for a young girl to see him pull out a memory, so he did it beforehand. He hoped the session did not come to that, but Decan liked to be prepared.

 

His clock chimed the hour that Rowan was supposed to arrive. He hoped that she would be arriving. Foster had been in charge of telling the student that. He decided that he would go out to the wing to wait on her. He stepped out of the office to wait for the girl. It shouldn't be too much longer.

 

Once the girl arrived, Decan smiled, "Hello Miss Allard. Let's go ahead and get this started. If you would please step into my office."

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The hospital wing carried a negative energy with it. Rowan had never been there out of her own free will; she was dragged there by other students to have her wounds taken care of. Wounds that she had never given herself by having two left feet and poor balance, but by trusting others a bit too much. Hence why she'd been tempering herself, attempting to train herself out of being so naive. She had so desperately wanted to believe the world was full of good people, but with each passing week at Hogwarts she'd been learning that was not the case.

 

Her apprehension only increased upon seeing the counselor. Blonde, happy, younger than some of their professors; her stomach churned at the mere thought of having to talk to him (or anyone really) about her emotions. They were hers and therefore she should not have to share them.

 

Refusing to return his smile, she glided her way past the man into his office. Rowan had made it a point to make sure her Heelys were extra shiny and to use their wheels whenever possible that day. Specifically in the hopes to frustrate the councilor enough to terminate their session early. She'd picked up on the fact that adults hated the shoes - they had even landed her a detention once - so it was safe to assume he would feel that same way.

 

"You can just call me Rowan." She grumbled, plopping herself down in one of the chairs. She didn't elaborate on how she hated her last name or being called miss; she simply kept her mouth shut and attempted a grouchy expression.

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Rowan walked, well rolled, into the room looking quite sour. Decan had seen this expression on patients before. He knew most people didn't like to talk about their emotions, but he knew that it was healthy. He also knew that Rowan was much younger than his average patient had been so he needed to be a little more delicate.

 

"Very well then Rowan. Feel free to take a sugar quill from my desk. Merlin knows that I don't need to eat them all."

 

Decan swiveled on the spot and followed the girl into the office. He took his seat behind the desk and motioned with his wand. The door closed behind them with a soft click. He took in the grouchy looking girl. He knew the basics of what happened on the train, but he still didn't know the details of the events leading up to it. He knew that Rowan had been attacked last year, but outside of that the details were hers to tell him. However, starting with that line of questioning was going to get them nowhere.

 

"Okay Rowan, I'm Mr Hextor and we're here to discuss the events that transpired on the train. Now I know most of the details that Professor Foster told me, but I want to hear them from you. Sometimes some details can get lost when you don't know the whole story from someone who was there from the beginning." Decan wanted to try and give the girl a chance to give her side of the story. It was important for know that he was not taking sides. Professor Foster wasn't there for the inciting incident and Decan needed to know what had triggered her emotions.

 

"Please try to give me everything you remember from it." Decan took out a pad of parchment and a quill to begin taking notes. 

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The tension in her shoulders relaxed slightly at his inquiry. The events that had transpired on the train were nothing, they had been a fleeting moment of weakness in her otherwise strong mask of happiness. Talking about them might make her throat raspy or her eyes with tears, but she'd still be able to speak. She'd be able to explain what had transpired; granted he'd obviously already sided with Foster so there wasn't much point. But he hadn't asked about the attack or the bathroom or the all too prominent scar that ran down the back of her leg - or subsequently why she'd chosen not to have it removed, covered up, healed magically.

 

Her mind flicked back to the train ride in. She'd remembered being excited to see her friends, happy to be leaving her mum, but he didn't need to know either of those things. Fast forwarding through her memories - through her time with Ollie - she picked the appropriate moment to start with.

 

"Beware the school is unsafe," She spoke the words like rote memorization, "That horrible Ryan boy, the one who likes to start trouble, put up posters that said that." She wasn't sure if she'd needed to explain that - just what had Foster told him? What exactly did he need to know? Regardless, she continued, "Everyone was talking about the attacks so... idly" She wasn't sure if that was the correct word for how she'd felt in the moment. Their utter disregard for what they had been saying had cut her to her core.

 

"I just got mad. People don't get to talk about those things like that," Her voice wavered through 'those things.' Even vague illusions to the events that transpired to her managed to get her worked up. She paused, swallowing hard before continuing, "I tried to leave. Foster didn't like that. Things got heated. I got sent here."

 

She had breezed through the brunt of the issue, afraid that is she gave too much detail it might cause her to crack; she'd already cried in front of enough people, she didn't need to add another person to that list. In order to avoid eye contact, she retrieved one of the sugar quills from his desk, twirling it in her fingers and inspecting it with scrutiny, "You cry on a train and suddenly people think you need therapy."

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The room was silent for a brief amount of time after Decan asked the girl to recount the event. He wasn't sure if she would start talking about it on her own for a couple seconds. Then Rowan's shoulder's relazed and he knew that she was letting her defenses go. It was a small step, but most of the time therapy was all about a series of small steps.

 

She began her recollection with a strict cadence, but quickly began to speed it up. Decan quickly took notes on what was said. He never circled or underlined anything until the entire speech was said. He didn't want the patient to key into what he had noticed. However, by the time Rowan had finished there wasn't much he could zero in on. She had been fairly vague on most of the details, probably on purpose. Decan eventually underlined two parts of the story, though.

 

Idly and those things. She had paused before idly and that meant she wasn't sure of the word choice she used. That wasn't a part she had practiced if she had memorized her account. And those things had a distinct change in inflection. That meant those things, whatever they were, were sensitive in nature to her.

 

Decan thought about his next course of action. He decided to hold off on ripping the bandaid, for now. "Rowan, therapy isn't a bad thing. I know a lot of people tend to think of it as only for crazy people, but it isn't. Therapy is all about helping cope with difficult emotions or events in our lives. In fact, I go to a therapist at least twice a year." It was mostly to help him cope with some of the cases he handled, but it was also to deal with one of his weaker moments. "We're not so different really. Trust me when I say I understand those things you were mentioning."

 

Decan finished his words with some stress on the two words that she had also stressed. Decan had case files on the attacks from last year, but he hadn't had a chance in the quick job change to look over them all. He knew Rowan had one, but he didn't know the details inside of it. Her experience was likely vastly different from his, but he knew that establishing a common ground was going to get her to open up. He decided that the next move was Rowan's. He wondered where she would go?


Edited by Mr Hextor

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Having an adult so focused on what she was saying was almost overwhelming and definitely intimidating. It had been such a seldom occurrence in her life that she honestly wasn't exactly sure how she was supposed to react to it. The only emotion she could find was a curiosity at what he was scribbling down on his small pad. Had it been possible to do without being obvious she'd have made an attempt to peek over at his notes, but they were the only ones there and she had nothing to distract him with.

 

The mention of therapy not being bad caused her to sigh, loudly and with slight frustration. She didn't think therapy was a bad thing. In fact, she thought a lot more people needed to go to therapy. The issue was that she didn't need therapy. She needed whatever the opposite of it was; she needed anti-therapy. A place where she could go to not talk about things and not think about things and not feel the emotions she didn't want to.

 

She'd already had the first bit down, not talking to anyone about the attacks had been easy. Hogwarts didn't exactly have the best options when it came to adults; if they hadn't been outright hostile towards her, they were indifferent. Neither of those things screamed confidant or even implied they were someone she could confide in. Plus confiding in friends, especially friends who had faced their own attack, felt selfish and wrong. So she simply confided in herself and only herself. That was, like, a totally healthy coping mechanism, right?

 

"I don't know about all that. You might understand somethings, but you're wrong about the whole us not being different thing." She said, the frustration that had been apparent in her sighing was missing here. It wasn't like he was the one who had forced her here, he was simply doing his job. Therefore he didn't deserve to be the target of her anger; no, that was something that should be reserved for Foster.

 

Perhaps being hostile towards him - and this whole endeavor - was the wrong way to go about things. She highly doubted crossed arms and eye rolls was going to get her out of here any faster."How about we do, like, a tradeskies?" She asked, quirking her eyebrow, "I'll tell you something about me and you can tell me something about you. Or you can give me something cool. You know then we can both enjoy this experience."

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She was retreating back to her defensive self. Decan wasn't quite sure what had prompted the massive sigh from the girl. He had been honest with her about therapy not being for crazy people. He wasn't totally sure, but he thought there was something there. She definitely thought that she didn't need therapy and that was a danger sign. She was trying to keep all her emotions about what had happened inside and that was not a good coping mechanism.

 

Decan continued to write notes when the girl talked. He felt like he was getting nowhere fast with her. She hadn't bit on the we're not so different line. He was just beginning to think about going for the direct route when Rowan presented an option that might work for him. 'Tradeskies', as she put it, might get her to start opening up. 

 

"I think that's a wonderful idea Rowan. Except, let's make it a little different. I get to ask you one question for you to answer. And it needs to be an honest answer." He would know if it wasn't. He kept a sneak-o-scope in a empty space in his desk where a drawer used to be. "And you get to do the same for me. It'll be like truth or dare, but without the dare bits."

 

He had to make sure this worked so his question needed to be blunt, but not insensitive. He needed to think on it for a little bit. So he decided that Rowan would ask first. It would also maybe open her up to trusting him a little more.

 

"We'll go ahead and have you ask your question first Rowan. It can be anything you want to know and so you know I'm not lying we'll use this." Decan grabbed the sneak-o-scope and placed it on the table. "It's a sneak-o-scope. It will spin whenever someone is being deceitful in the area. This one has been fine tuned for lying. So if I lie you'll know. So ask away." Decan knew this was a long shot, but he needed to open up his trust with Rowan otherwise they were getting nowhere.

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Rowan had played her fair share of truth or dare - well, okay, she'd watched enough movies and seen enough people pretending to be teenagers play it. Typically, they would transform into dare or dare, unless of course someone was attempting to pry a secret or the name of a crush out of one of their friends. Even the few games she'd managed to weasel her way into at Hogwarts ended up that way. Hence why the idea of playing truth or truth with an adult was more than slightly odd. Granted, she had technically been the one to suggest the game - or an offshoot of it - he was simply laying out the terms they'd play by. 

 

Nodding gently, she silently signified that she was agreeing to his terms. And just like every other game of truth or dare ever played, she had assumed the rules would be simple: lie if you want. Because no one ever actually told the whole truth when if came to their secrets; they instead told a fake version that would get people to shove off. 

 

Obviously, he had realized her ploy - perhaps because he'd remembered playing the same way as a teen - and placed an odd item on his desk. Her brow was furrowed in confusion at the object, attempting to take in what he was saying about it. A lie detector or sorts, interesting. Wizards, what would they think of next? 

 

"Okay, let me think."

 

If she was going to be the one to start this whole thing off, she'd need to ask him something good, something hard. Otherwise, he'd end up asking her something personal and intimate and all she would know was his favorite color - which you can't do anything with save for pick out gifts. She pursed her lips, moving them from one side to the other, in thought. Typically, she had bit her lip as that was the most aggressive of her nervous habits, but for some reason she wasn't quite as on edge as she thought she would be. 

 

"Alright then," She said, finally deciding on her question. Before asking, she pushed herself up a bit in the chair, taking the time and care to turn her legs up under her. She wouldn't admit that she was 'getting comfortable' but was definitely the directive behind the movements, "If you could erase one event from your past, what would it be?" 

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