Author Needs CW For: Audism and abelism, anti-LGBTQ+ themes, assault.
I am doing that thing you wanted me to do. [Valentine]
by Bonabelle Row
Study dates were not an uncommon occurrence for Bonabelle and Val, but Bonabelle did try to make them at least a little bit fun for her friend too. Well aware that, while she herself would be comfortable hanging out in the library all day and losing herself in books, Val would prefer to be doing many other things than this, they mixed it up. Sometimes they studied here, and sometimes they went to the MARS rooms or outside and sort of . . . well Bonabelle studied more than Val during those times usually, although she knew the Teppenpaw tried. Today, it was Bonabelle who was distracted.
It was early in the term still and it felt like it was too early to talk much about her feelings, but she also knew that it would get worse - and Valentine especially would think it would get worse - if she put it off. Since they'd already had their catch up conversations after break, Valentine knew that Ema had come to visit and that she and Uncle Killian were gross and smushy and . . . cute. And probably fairly secret so don't tell all our classmates. But it was quickly becoming apparent to Bonabelle that she couldn't leave it at that. Between her uncle getting his groove on with the deputy headmistress' daughter and Valentine going out with somebody and everyone being something squishy . . . well, she couldn't help feeling feelings about all the feelings that were being felt.
"Hey," she said, interrupting herself and her friend with an apologetic smile (it was a gesture she'd learned from Val actually as she'd rarely found the need to be anything but direct and blunt before meeting her best friend), "You said I can talk to you about feelings. I have a feeling and I don't know what to do with it. How do I talk about it?"
22Bonabelle RowI am doing that thing you wanted me to do. [Valentine]148815
Valentine was starting to get some of this. Well, honestly the theory had never been all that difficult really. The main problem was usually turning theory into practice. She could understand how and why these things were supposed to work, which was mostly because of Bonabelle's never-ending wonderfulness of smarts and studying. The difficult part for her was convincing that theory to somehow become reality. So, they were trying to subvert reality with one the teachers seemed to like better, and having the normal mild amounts of success, but nothing to write home about.
She was just about to give this another go when Bonabelle interrupted her. That wasn't all that unusual, so her first reaction was to check her wand grip and make sure her elbow was raised the right amount. However that wasn't what was on Bonabelle's mind. Instead, Valentine's eyes brightened with delight and she dropped her wand entirely.
"Yes! You absolutely can!" She smiled wide and openly. The actual question was trickier though to respond to. "Well, this is an excellent start for one. " She knew her friend, Bonabelle was a very smart and logical person. Feelings were not at all logical, they were the opposite of logical. "Feelings are a completely irrational response we have to," she wave her hand about indicating the universe as a whole, "something. Sometimes," Valentine suggested, "Associations are a good way of talking about them." She gave her friend a warm look, "Those could be people or just nonsense descriptors. For example, when you help me study I feel warm and fuzzy that you care so much and" she stressed the word, "at the same time I feel a hard resolve to not let you down and" now a minor look of unease passed across her face, "a sinking, swampy feeling that I'm never going to get this right and let everyone down."
Ready to stop any sort of objections that came from Bonabelle, should they come, she quickly continued. "Feelings aren't wrong or right. They simply are." She shrugged and smiled, "So whatever your feelings are, they are a part of you. You are trying to tell yourself something, and that's the best language you have. Give it a try." She glanced down at her attempts of school work in front of her and then looked back up at Bonabelle. "Don't feel like you need to start with this big feeling, it's often easier to start of with something more familiar and work your way up."
Bonabelle blinked at her friend, a bit confused by how anyone could feel that many things at once. She wasn't quite sure how to even go about addressing it since she wasn't sure whether she should thank or comfort or correct or encourage the Teppenpaw. In any case, it didn't seem she needed to in that me and she supposed that Val wasn't way off base in that . . . well maybe some of Bonabelle's own confusion was coming from the fact that she hadn't known so many emotions could be happening at once all about the same thing. She'd known she was happy and sad that her dad wasn't back, but neither of those were very sincere emotions. She just felt them because they were easier to feel. It was easier to feel happy that her dad was gone than to wrestle with the fact that he hadn't ever been much of a dad in the first place and to tussle with the guilt that clawed at her when she saw the way her extended family had been hurt by someone who'd mostly been there for her and who had now left her to be a burden on the only people who actually seemed to care. And it was easier to be sad about the fact that he'd left too, rather than think about the fact that she was alone in the world and she was actually just sad because she was supposed to be and because she missed her friend and her old life even though it wasn't a life worth having and she was better off. Those things were way too hard to feel, so she just stuck to happy and sad.
And now she was sort of happy and sad and . . . something else? But she admired Valentine's ability to put those things all in boxes and feel okay about them. Perhaps that was the way to do it. If emotions could fit in boxes with neat labels and color-coded ribbon, then they could be stacked in the corner of a neat room, viewed from the outside, and locked up when visitors came by. Did that make her a hoarder, inviting a friend over to help her get packed?
"You're not ever going to let me down," Bonabelle promised quietly, saying the only thing that felt completely true as a response to everything else Val said. Her eyes broke contact with Val's and she shifted a little in her seat as she got almost too close to saying things she didn't want to say. There were some rooms, she knew, she would have to pack on her own.
"When I saw my uncle with his girlfriend, I had a sinking, swampy feeling that I was never going to find anything like that and that I came from the wrong family line, so I'm basically already doomed," she decided, speaking matter-of-factly as these were basically just facts anyway. She kept her eyes down, as if the parchment in front of her was a list of emotions and feelings to read off of instead of notes on wand grip and pronunciation. Although that seemed apropos too; she just wanted to get a grip and learn how to say the right things. "And . . . well, you're dating, and everyone seems like they're dating, and I don't know if I want to date anyone ever. Moms leave and dads leave and no one sticks around, but if I don't date someone then I'm going to be alone. But boys are gross," she added resolutely, screwing up her face at the idea of anyone wanting to do anything with one of them. Then she looked up at Val finally. "Sorry," she mumbled. "I'm sure Stanley's not that gross." Except she was pretty sure he totally was.
22Bonabelle RowIt is hard and I don't know if I like it. 148805
Valentine watched patiently as Bonabelle processed things. She could see some minor glimpses of turmoil somewhere deep within her friend, but Bonabelle had always been a hard person to read. However, after much practice, Val had thought she'd figured out a few of the other girl's tells. She smiled in response to Bonabelle's declaration, it made her happy to think that Bonabelle had such faith in her and her abilities. It also twisted something in her stomach a little painfully to know that at some point, she would let Bonabelle down and they would both be all the more heartbroken for it. She didn't know when or how... but she could just feel the inevitability of it. She just knew she certainly wouldn't do it on purpose, and that helped lessen the anxiety about it.
When Bonabelle looked down at her notes, Val's heart when out to her. She wanted to take Bonabelle's hand to give her some support, to let her know that she wasn't alone and that she could do this. But... something stopped her. Bonabelle was an independent soul. She liked to be able to do things on her own, and as much as Val was there for her friend, she could do this on her own. That didn't mean that she wasn't going to help. She still slid her hand close enough to Bonabelle, so that she could take it if she wanted to.
It then took everything in Valentine's power to not wrap her friend up in the biggest hug she could give and not let go as she listened to Bonabelle finally voice her feelings. Loneliness, and the possibility of even more ongoing loneliness. She knew this wasn't about her, but she had been contributing to the problem. She'd been spending more time with Stanley, and as such, less time with Bonabelle. But that wasn't necessarily the heart of Bonabelle's feelings. She wanted to tell Bonabelle that Moms and Dads didn't always leave, hers hadn't, many other people's hadn't.. but she couldn't think of a way of phrasing it that didn't sound like she was telling Bonabelle that her parent's hadn't been the best people on the planet. While Bonabelle may know that, she didn't need Val rubbing it in her face. That wouldn't help things at all.
Valentine wanted to help her friend. Bonabelle had gotten her feelings out and that was good. That was very good. What was next? She gave her friend a sad and understanding smile, then in an encouraging voice, she responded, "You've taken a big step Bonabelle, thank-you for sharing that with me." Her eye glinted just a bit as her mouth quirked up in the corner for a moment, "Stanley can be gross at times. He is a boy." Her own feelings about Stanley were... uncertain. She still wasn't sure... but this wasn't the time for that. This was time for Bonabelle. "How do you feel now that you've said them out loud?" she asked, "Sometimes actually saying them helps to solidify things, it helps you identify those feelings and make sense of them where your thoughts just can't."
She couldn't help but to add, "As for you being alone, for as long as you want me, I will always be here for you."
2Valentine DuellEverything is hard at first, you just need practice.149005
Bonabelle saw Valentine's hand but it didn't cross her mind to seek physical affection when it wasn't explicitly an option, so she continued on her own. When she looked up and Valentine spoke, it made her feel funny inside to see the look on her face. She just nodded when she was thanked, not sure if the right response was 'you're welcome' or what. She felt a little better to hear that Stanley could be gross sometimes, although that still didn't help her much; if Valentine also thought boys were gross and still wanted to date one of them, did that mean that there was something wrong with Bonabelle? Was her tolerance for boy-grossness just lower than everyone else's? But then, some boys were really not that gross at all. Jean-Loup and her uncle seemed alright; did boys stop being gross at some point when they got older, or had Bonabelle just not seen the whole spectrum of how gross they could be because they were being polite around her?
"Confused," she decided when Valentine asked her how she felt about saying it out loud. How she felt about her feelings . . . there was no good answer. "I guess I don't understand what to do with them all. I guess saying them sort of helps solidify what they are, but now what? I still don't want them." She only barely managed not to pout.
Her heart gave a hard thump at Valentine's promise. It was so hard to believe it but she really really wanted to. If nothing else, she could believe that Valentine believed it. Finally, she reached out to put her hand on her friend's, her expression still serious although less downcast than before. "I always want you," she said. "And you'll always have me too." That much, at least, she was sure of.
22Bonabelle RowIs there a book I can read first? 148805
Valentine gave her friend a sad smile in response to her 'confused' answer. Sometimes that was undoubtedly the best description for it. "Unfortunately, you've got them and there's not much you can do about it." She gave a small shrug and tried to look sympathetic and understanding. "The good news is that they are a good thing. They are what make us human. They help connect us to each other." Now she gave Bonabelle a warm smile. "There is a world of difference between me knowing that you are my friend, and all of those warm fuzzy, joyful swirls of emotion when we get to hang out." Her expression sobered, "But, along with the good feelings, there are the not-so-fun ones." She sighed, "Despite not being much fun, they are still good." An analogy jumped into her head almost immediately, "They are like... well, they are another form of pain. Pain isn't any fun, but it is your body's way of telling you to stop touching that really hot thing or whatever. Those feelings work in the same way, but.. differently." She stopped talking for a moment and gave Bonabelle an encouraging look, "Is this making any sense? I don't know if I'm very good at explaining things."
Valentine's smile visibly widened when Bonabelle took her hand. She looked less bad, so that was good. "Good." She stated firmly, "Otherwise it'd be really awkward when we're two old ladies sitting out on the front porch somewhere in the countryside drinking tea and gossiping." Val wondered if Bonabelle would remember the reference from last year. The image had stuck with her, it made her smile whenever she thought of it.
2Valentine DuellProbably, but I don't know it'll help much.149005
Bonabelle thought that it was very unfair of feelings to keep happening even when she was doing her best to go and fix them, and she thought it was very unfair of feelings to happen in two people at the same time and that not be enough. She felt warm, fuzzy, joyful swirls when she hung out with Val too, although she wouldn't have described it that way, but that wasn't enough for Val not to go off and date someone. What good were feelings if they weren't going to get you where you wanted to go, just get you into a big mess? Heartache seemed inevitable and the heart really was the stupidest organ.
She nodded as Val likened feelings to pain, thinking that was a very appropriate metaphor. "So when I have bad feelings, it's my body's way of warning that I'm about to get burned, and I should back away?" she confirmed, her voice coming out stiffly controlled despite feeling strangled.
A burst of surprised laughter came out at Val's reference to a long past dream they'd shared and Bonabelle let herself hope for a moment that they could still share that. "I am looking forward to that," she said softly. "And . . . I don't have to have a husband to make it happen?" she confirmed, suddenly worried she wouldn't have anything good to gossip about and it would just be the two of them sitting on a porch, drinking tea while Valentine regaled her romantic adventures to a stonefaced Bonabelle. The mental image was suddenly less appealing.
"Sorry," she murmured, using her free hand to rub her eyes. "Is there a word for a feelings hangover?" she asked, almost more to herself.
22Bonabelle RowWell life needs a better LMS then. 148805
Valentine bobbled her head back and forth in a noncommittal sort of way to Bonabelle's question about bad feelings. "Sort of?" she responded a little hesitantly. "Or at least be cautions and deliberate with what you are doing." The analogy mostly worked, so she decided to stick with it for the moment. "Like, if you try to move a hot cauldron with your bear hands, the pain will make you want to let go and back away. But, you still need to move that cauldron. If you let it on the fire to long, it'll explode and you'll need to spend a lot of what would have been your free time helping to clean up the potions room." She was totally not speaking from experience. "So, you need to listen to that pain and think about how to work around it. You grab a glove or cloth or something to protect your hands while you move that cauldron."
She paused for a moment or two so that Bonabelle could process it. Bonabelle was smart, she wouldn't need more than a moment or two. "In the case of feelings," She glanced back down at the books and notes in front of her. "The swampy, sinking feeling is me realizing that I'm sunk and doing terribly with this stuff." She shrugged and gave her friend a smile, "But I need to do it. So I go and grab a hold of you. Someone that fills me with good and warm feelings and can help pull me through this mire." She sighed gently, "Then I just need to worry about not letting you down and figuring out some way to repay your kindness. Those feelings both help motivate me to pull myself through this mess."
Valentine giggled as Bonabelle laughed. That was a good sound, she liked the sound of Bonabelle's laughter. There just wasnt' enough of it at the moment. She gave her friend an encouraging smile and waved her hand dismissively, "Certainly not if you don't want one." Bonabelle wasn't into boys right now and that was fine. Val herself wasn't actually sure how much she was into boys herself, but she was dating Stanley and things were... fine. "We'll be to busy discussing your latest magical discovery and how it will revolutionize the world to be worried about some silly boys."
The words Bonabelle were almost to quiet for Val to catch, but she was to focused on helping her friend to let the slip past her. "I'm not sure," She said while putting her second hand on top of Bonabelle's, sandwiching it. "But, I've found that hugs are pretty good remedies for them, and I have quite a few here with your name on them."
2Valentine DuellMaybe you could write one yourself?149005