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 This is Our Fight [Elouise]

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Brooke Walker

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PostSubject: This is Our Fight [Elouise]   Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:03 pm

Third Week of September || 6th Year

Ever since the discovery of Elouise, Brooke had felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. "I won't be okay until I've found my sister." The words Ceyal said to her all those years ago, when they first met... And now that Elouise was found, now that they knew where she was (safe), and now that she was Home with them, she knew for sure that Ceyal was going to be okay -- that they (all three of them) would make it.

Of course, a single text to the officer that found her had not been enough to help Elouise. There had been promises made and she'd been told that they would update her on any information they got throughout the investigation, but it was difficult. She'd put them in touch with Professor Blake after finding out, of course, but there was only so much that could be done.

Still, where there was life there was hope (as she read on a t-shirt once), and Brooke wasn't going to give up or give in that easily. They would find the people who did this to Elouise and they would make sure those people paid. Jail was not enough, but it would be a start. If nothing else, they would be sent away for a very, very long time.

But that was only one of the things on Brooke's mind, and she knew that she could trust the officers to do their job. It wasn't hers to hound after them. It was her job (or rather, privilege) to look after her family, to protect those she cared about and make sure they were okay. And now she had a new member of her family, the sister of her boyfriend.

Picnic basket resting in the crook of her elbow, Brooke made her way over the grounds, smiling at the fresh air and the clear skies. It wasn't a particularly hot day, for September, and there was a gentle and cooling breeze. She'd sent a note to Ceyal, telling him she'd not be able to meet with him for lunch, that she had a date with his sister instead, and that he wasn't invited for it was a girl's only thing. And then she'd sent a second note, asking -- not telling -- Elouise if she'd like to have a quiet picnic lunch in a secluded area just at the edge of the forest. The note had included directions, and added that if Elouise didn't want to she didn't need to go.

Hopefully, the young witch would say yes instead of no. If not, Brooke didn't mind the alone time, although she had packed enough food for two. (In truth, it was more like enough food for four people, but the house elves had taken her request rather seriously, not that Brooke minded.) Arriving at the spot, she chose a shaded area and, with a few muttered spells, set out a blanket and the food items. Taking a seat, she checked the time on her phone, sat back, and hoped that Elouie would show.

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Harry Potter: Hufflepuff || Adopted || Sixteen
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Elouise Kalhoun

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PostSubject: Re: This is Our Fight [Elouise]   Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:09 pm

It was strange how one was sometimes drawn to the familiar, even if that meant re-living fear, terror, and pain. There was something about darkness that made you never want to see light and there was something about being broken that made you not want to be whole. Perhaps it was because the darkness was familiar, having been in it for so long, and there was comfort in what one knows.

Three weeks had passed since she'd come to this school, and everyday, Elouise found herself in the dance classroom. She knew almost every inch of the castle, having spent her first night familiarising herself with the place, needing to know exactly where she was. It didn't matter that there was homework to be done and places to be. At least once a day, she had to go to the dance classroom.

But she didn't go there to dance. Far from it. Instead, as she was doing now, she sat four feet away from the shiny metal pole that stretched from floor to ceiling in one side of the room. The door was left open, as it always was; she hated being in enclosed areas and shut rooms made it all the more harder to escape. She'd sit on the floor, chin resting on the top of her knees which were hugged to her chest tightly, and stare at the shiny metal pole.

Some days, it reminded her of the joy she'd once found in dance, of the exquisite pleasure it brought to be able to move to music that sung in her soul. Other days - like today - it would taunt her, reminding her of the life she'd once lived, of the things she'd done, of the shame it stood for, of the terror she'd experience when the man came leaping at her. Always, she wanted to reach out and touch it, but she never did. And so she just stared, listening as it condemned her, throwing dart after dart that she let pierce her soul because she'd given up the will to fight.

When it got too much to handle, she shut her eyes, her hands coming up to cover her ears though it was not physical sound she heard. It was then that she realised she'd been clutching the note Brooke had written to her, inviting her to lunch in the Forbidden Forest. She hadn't wanted to go, but now, she needed to. Picking up the piece of paper that had fallen to the ground, Elouise slowly got to her feet and left the room, casting one last glance at the shiny metal pole.

Unoticed by anyone, she followed the directions Brooke had written down, glad that it was outdoors. Automatically, her gaze lifted to the sky, in search for clouds. It was a habit of hers to look for clouds in the sky and imagine the various shapes they represented. It was one of her coping mechanisms - although she didn't know that. But the skies were clear.

Elouise continued on the walk, entering the forest. She hadn't yet explored it and venturing into the unknown frightened her. She increased her pace and soon found Brooke seated on a blanket laid out with food. She lowered herself at the opposite end, folding herself back into the fetal position and remaining there, her eyes on the food instead of Brooke though she didn't feel like eating at all.


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Brooke Walker

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PostSubject: Re: This is Our Fight [Elouise]   Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:07 am

[[OOC: Sorry this took me so long. >.<]]

Brooke slipped out the book she'd brought with her, opening it to the page the bookmark sat in and leaning back against a tree. It was a pleasant day, not too hot but not overcast, either, and she smiled gently to herself. Being outdoors was nice, and while she didn't always like or enjoy woods, she found this particular clearing to be calming. There was another reason she'd chosen this location -- privacy. Not many -- if any -- knew about this place, for it was in a secluded part of the forest, and if Elouise wanted to get away, Brooke would show her where she could go. There were, of course, places in the castle. But after hearing Elouise's story, Brooke figured the young witch would prefer something outdoors and not with four walls blocking her in.

Much like Brooke found peace in open air spaces, she was certain that Elouise would, too.

A noise made her glance up, and she smiled a little as she saw Elouise entering. Not saying anything just yet, Brooke watched the girl, trying to gather her thoughts. There was so much to say, so much she wanted to tell her. But where to start? What could she possibly say that would help the hurt? Nothing. That much Brooke knew from experience; no words could take away the pain caused by human hands. There was a difference between physical and verbal hurt, and neither could be mended by the other.

Harsh words could be countered by gentle soothing and comfort; violence could only be countered by love.

But how to love Elouise? It wasn't that Brooke didn't; she did. She loved the younger witch so much it physically hurt, sometimes, when she thought of all the abuse she suffered as a child. It was the how. Different people needed to be shown love differently. Some needed to be held, to be hugged closely without words. Some needed to be reminded of their worth, of their value. Some needed space and time to mend on their own. Figuring out which Elouise was would take time.

"Elouise," she said, finally, a few moments after the girl sat down. "I'm so glad you could make it!" She made sure to keep her tone gentle, not allowing the excitement and glimmer of hope she felt to shine through. "Are you hungry? The house elves got a little overzealous when I told them I wanted food for two, and I wasn't sure what you liked, so there's a bit of everything." She paused, taking a second or two to adjust her emotions and tone. "Go ahead and take whatever you want."

Trying to maintain the calm and casual atmosphere -- although inwardly Brooke was nervous, and anxious, and wanting to hold Elouise and promise her everything will be alright -- Brooke took a plate from the blanket and did just that, putting a little of everything on it before settling back into her previous position and smiling encourgagingly at Elouise.

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Harry Potter: Hufflepuff || Adopted || Sixteen
Superhero: Emotion Manipulation || Adopted || Fifteen
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Elouise Kalhoun

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PostSubject: Re: This is Our Fight [Elouise]   Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:56 pm

During the times when the darkness overwhelmed her, Elouise often found comfort in the company of Desire. Words didn't have to be exchanged, just the knowledge that someone who fully understood what she was going through, and to share the pain with her, was enough.

But if the darkness was loud enough, even company could not help. In those times, the battle was hers alone. The first few times Elouise experienced darkness that intense, she'd fought to find the light no matter how dim. She soon learned that fighting did her no good; the darkness always came back no matter how hard she fought. She gave up fighting altogether, letting the darkness rip into her until there was nothing left. Those times left her waking up screaming in the middle of the night and unable to go back to sleep. Not even Desire could comfort her back to sleep.

Coming to Hogwarts, the nightmares recurred less but still would not leave her alone. It was just as well that she did not have a roommate. Elouise was certain that nobody appreaciated beig woken up in the middle of the night by a hellish scream.

A few of her the professors who could see her brokeness, counselled her to find a friend. But nobody knew how to be her friend, not until Brooke. She did not know Brooke well, knew nothing about her, in fact. But she did know that she was not like other girls. It was uncanny the way a person who knew darkness could sense if someone else had gone through something similar.

She listened as Brooke spoke, her voice providing her a slight comfort from the onslaught of memories. She registered the words that were spoken but did not respond until she could breathe more easily. "No," she said in response to the question, shaking her head slightly though her eyes remained on the food.

The sight of food always surprised her. Living with Duncan, all she ever had was bread and water - milk if she was lucky - and sometimes a boiled egg if she earned enough cash the previous night. Food at Hogwarts was always abundant, but so used was she to her staple that she only had bread and milk the first few days.

Her gaze lifted as Brooke helped herself to the food. Elouise usually didn't - couldn't - eat after memories haunted her, but the food looked tempting. Slowly, she reached out and chose the  roasted chicken. She took a bite, remembering the first time she'd seen it at the dinner table in the dining hall. She hadn't known what it was and had to ask. The girl had laughed at her, telling her that it was roasted chicken, and teasing her afterwards.

"Why did you ask me here?" Elouise questioned after swallowing the meat. People normally didn't want to spend time with her, preferring to avoid her. She'd gotten used to eating and sitting by herself.

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Silent tears hold the loudest pain.
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Brooke Walker

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PostSubject: Re: This is Our Fight [Elouise]   Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:15 am

Her parents had found out mere hours after she herself did; she wrote to them as soon as she got back to her dorm, asking her father for help and her mother for advice. She knew, of course, how she had been looked after and brought back from the darkness. She knew exactly how she had been saved -- love and love alone -- but she didn't know how they had done it. And now, with someone to look after and try and save from the same darkness she'd been lost in, she had needed help. So, the letter had been written and a reply received, and Brooke had taken each piece of advice to heart. She would do her best -- and then work even harder -- to prevent Elouise from falling beyond saving. That much Brooke knew.

But before she could do any of that, she would have to be Elouise's friend first and foremost. It was hypocritical to try and save someone you didn't love, not that Brooke didn't love the young Ravenclaw, of course. It was simply that it was difficult to explain love that transcended a relationship, and Elouise still did not understand what it meant to either have or be a friend or sibling.

Trying not to make it obvious, Brooke had been observing Elouise as much as she could, using her friends where she couldn't. Bread and milk had been the witch's staple for a few days, and that had lead to all sorts of worries and understanding. When she'd been on the streets, she had eaten whatever she could get her hands on. Memories were scarce, but one she did recall was having fresh bread for the first time and the surprise she felt when it wasn't hard and chewy, but hot and soft. Familiarity was a friend in darkness, even if it meant avoiding the light, and Brooke had slept on the floor for a few weeks before daring to try the bed, even if the bed in that first foster home wasn't the most comfortable.

Bread and milk had, therefore, Brooke had guessed, been Elouise's staple for a long period of time. That suspicion was confirmed when it was reported to her the witch had asked about roast chicken. And familiarity, it seemed, was exactly what Elouise went for, taking the roast chicken Brooke knew she had tried. Instead of saying anything, however, Brooke pointed to the plate of boiled carrots she'd laid out. "These go well with the chicken," she said, casually. "Carrots. They're boiled, so they're soft and sweet." Both because she wanted some and to demonstrate it was safe and perfectly fine to eat, Brooke reached over and helped herself to a couple, smiling at Elouise as she bit into one.

The question caught her somewhat off guard, but she didn't falter. Almost immediately, as though without having to think -- although she had thought extremely hard and quick about it -- Brooke said, "You're my sister. Why wouldn't I?" Pausing to smile, she added, "I want to spend time with you. Of course, if you don't want to be here, you don't have to be."

Consent. That was the most important lesson Brooke knew she had to instil into Elouise -- that this was her life, now, and she could do what she wanted when she wanted. If she didn't want to do something or go somewhere, she didn't have to. Her life was now her own, completely. Of course, Brooke hoped that her choices would include opening up to Ceyal and herself, but as disappointed and sad as she would be if Elouise didn't, Brooke wouldn't force anything on the girl.

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Harry Potter: Hufflepuff || Adopted || Sixteen
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Elouise Kalhoun

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PostSubject: Re: This is Our Fight [Elouise]   Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:33 pm

The question she'd asked had been born out of the experience that people only called for her when they wanted something out of her. Petal do this, Petal do that. Now she was called 'Elouise' but even then, she'd never been called just because someone wanted to spend time with her. Why would anyone want to spend time with her? She was a nobody who startled at the slightest touch and never spoke more than a few words in a row.

Brooke had said she was her sister. Elouise knew the traditional meaning of the term. Desire had explained - or attempted to explain - what a family was. Her English book had shown a picture of a family and her curious nature had yearned to understand what that was like, what it meant to have a father, mother, and siblings. She was quite sure Brooke didn't mean 'sister' in that sense.

But then Desire had also explained - when Elouise had asked, "Who is my mother and father?" - that sometimes the terms extended beyond literal relatives. It could be applied to anyone who cared about you and whom you cared for, to those who understood you and would always be there for you through thick and thin. The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb she'd said. Elouise supposed that was what Brooke meant. Still, she didn't quite understand it. Why would Brooke call her 'sister' when they barely knew each other?

She averted her gaze and picked up the carrot Brooke had pointed out, biting into it as she tried to sort through her thoughts. The older girl had given her a choice, something Elouise wasn't familiar with. For her, it was either do what Duncan said or face the punishment. It wasn't a difficult decision to make when the punishment broke her so much she no longer knew who she was. She'd learned that it was useless to fight back, useless to attempt to protect herself. It took less effort to suffer than it took to rebel and after the first few times, she'd completely surrendered her will and endured silently.

Did she want to be here? When she first received the note, she hadn't wanted to come. She knew what the other kids thought of her, what they said when they thought she wasn't listening and she hadn't wanted to put herself in a position to receive that from Brooke. But now that she was here, it wasn't so bad. Brooke was nice and kind, not like the other kids.

She was about to say that she wanted to be here when a branch in the forest somewhere snapped and Elouise, in one second was transported back to the times when Duncan had used the whip on her. She no longer saw the sun shining or the picnic food laid out before her or Brooke's warm smile. Duncan's hard black eyes and cruel mouth replaced reality. It wasn't the snap of a branch she heard, but the crack of the whip at it flew through the air like a black snake and landed with a stinging bite on her skin.

The carrot dropped to the ground, forgotten, as Elouise raised her hands to protect her face. "No, please, no," she whimpered, tears beginning to pool in her eyes. "He's here. He's come for me. Go away. Don't touch me!" But Duncan would not leave her alone and she let out a heart-wrenching scream, curling into a ball on the ground as he laid the whip to her, her body cringing and muscles jerking with with every hit.

She didn't know how long it lasted - she never did. But when it stopped, she found herself curled up tightly on the grass, her body still feeling the pain of the lashing as if it had happened. She stayed there, the blades of grass tickling her cheek, sobbing and gasping for air, not wanting to look up and see horror or judgement in Brooke's eyes.

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PostSubject: Re: This is Our Fight [Elouise]   Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:35 pm

Almost at once Brooke dropped her plate, reaching into her pocket and pulling out her wand. It was automatic, now, the way she responded to things; if she'd been Caleb's by birth, people might've said she got his instincts from him. She wasn't, and didn't. However she got them, whatever they were, Brooke had developed them into something more. If she was to be an auror, like her dad, she knew she'd need them. Within seconds, she'd quietly muttered the shield spell and the silencing charm, casting it over them to provide privacy. She added another layer to the shield, making it a translucent blue, indicating that not only was it there, but it was holding firm.

And then she leaned back and waited, sitting straight, hands resting in her lap. Her grip on her wand was tight enough that she could use it at a moment's notice, but loose enough that it wasn't obvious. Duelling was one of her favourite subjects at school, after all, and she thrived in the fast-paced classes and exercises. It made her feel just a tad less helpless to know that, if it came down to it, she would now be able to put up a hell of a fight should anyone try to hurt her again.

She couldn't help but wince at the movements, wondering briefly what the girl was reliving. A beating? A whipping? Whatever it was, it was painful. Cassie had explained it to her, before, what it was. Memories resurfaced, phamtom pains as real as the day it happened... It was something like the placebo effect, where believing something worked meant it worked -- not because said thing was effective, but because the mind was a weird, weird place that did equally odd things. Except, in this case, instead of helping, it harmed; it brought you back to the place you once were, the memories no longer ghosts or shadows but real, living, breathing monsters.

Minutes passed, and Brooke counted the seconds, hoping with each one that Elouise's living nightmare would end. When it did, eventually, Brooke said nothing, waiting. As much as she wanted to gather the girl into her arms and promise her the world, physical touch was never helpful. Not now, not here. Instead, Brooke waited for the crying to slow, and then raised her wand. Closing her eyes momentarily, she pictured Ceyal, pictured them together, holding hands as they walked down the road laughing about something. She pictured him leaning forward, her pressing her lips against his for the first time...

"Expecto patronum," she muttered, opening her eyes and watching the dolphin burst out from the end of her wand. It was easy, here like this, although draining to her magical abilities. If faced with actual dementors, Brooke doubted she could do it. Still, there were monsters besides those that could be defeated by the silver burst of joy, and Brooke let it swim through the air, keeping it hovering around Elouise.

"Look," she said, softly, not raising her tone above a gentle whisper. "See that? It means nothing can hurt you; it means you're safe. I'm here. I won't let him touch you. I won't let him get near you. You're safe. Nobody's here but me. I sent him away." There was nobody, of course, but Brooke knew it didn't make a difference if they were real or not; as far as Elouise had been concerned, he was there. "He's gone now. It's only me."

She paused, moving the dolphin a little to the side. "See the shield? That means nothing can enter it. He's gone away now, and I've put the shield up, so he can't come back. It's a hard spell, but if you practise, I'm sure you can learn it. I can also teach you other spells that can protect you." She ended the patronus charm; it was taking a lot of effort to keep it going, and she wanted to save her energy. "There's a spell that can knock people back, a spell to freeze them... I can teach you, if you want."

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