- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 19:29, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
The train station is abandoned, deathly quiet in the post-afternoon gloom, so Renee considers it safe to stay here and wait for her daughter to show. It's obvious by her face that she's... not so much tired, but there's a strange pale wash to her skin, even beneath her usual flawless makeup. She looks like she's been out on the lash, maybe, or - crying? Whatever. The edge of the train platform offers a nice waiting area so she's perched there, legs swinging back and forth, looking up at the first appearances of stars.
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 19:35, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
Though she looks better than she has in days (she'd go as far as to say in months), something that can be linked to Tilly's reappearance, she doesn't exactly feel it. She's just becoming increasingly good at hiding it, something that she doesn't feel good about. So maybe it's time she talks. But all thoughts of that disappear when she finally sees her mum, and a warm smile slides onto her face. She doesn't say anything, doesn't have to, just slips her hands into her pockets and approaches the older woman.
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 19:38, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
Having become adept at hearing approaching footsteps, her head snaps backwards at the noise, but relaxes when she sees Tessa. "Bonjour, ma cherié," she smiles, looking ever so flat and pale but still the same warmth in her smile. "I was going to get you ice cream, but they closed early today. Something to do with a freezing charm backfiring."
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 19:45, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
Her brow furrows the moment she sees her mother, because even with the smile she puts on, something feels off about her. Something looks off. "Backfiring freezing charm, huh? I wonder what's the story behind that," she muses, and a shake of her head follows. "Are you alright?"
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 19:49, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
Her heart flutters for a quick second at the question - damn, she was sure she wasn't that transparent - before she plays it off with a dismissive wave of her hand. "Soren had me in Russia yesterday, stealing from some old witch. The timezone difference is messing with my head." Hopefully that's enough; she hates lying to Tessa, it makes her feel physically ill, but sometimes it is absolutely necessary.
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 19:58, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
She quirks an eyebrow, skeptical about her answer, but then she relaxes and nods. She isn't sure she believes her mum, but she does like to believe she wouldn't lie to her own daughter. Not so bluntly, not straight to her face. Her mother is better than that. "Stealing? I thought you leaned more towards spying."
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 20:08, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
Normally, she is a bulletproof walking facade, able to churn out lies like simple sentences. It's not difficult to her, it's basically common practice. But Tessa doesn't let her. It's the disappointment in her daughter's eyes, the pleading, that causes her to break. "Fine," she mutters, eyes dropping to the hem of her skirt. "I was in Italy. Sorting things out."
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 20:12, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
She takes a step back. It's instinct more than anything. The last time her mother had a traumatic incident, she went insane. You can't blame her for being wary. "So you did lie to me. Lying doesn't get us anywhere, you know. Not even by omission. I'd have thought you knew that better than anyone else by now," she frowns, disappointed and hurt. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. Not the specifics. But I don't appreciate being lied to. I've had enough of that in my life."
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 20:16, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
A multitude of tasteless words spring to mind - grow up, get used to it, I had my reasons - and she bites them all back beneath a twisted mouth. "Yes, mother," she says with a hint of attitude, clearly not in the mood to receive lip from her own kid, as right as she is. "Maybe you should stop lying to me about what you've been through. And before your smart reply, withholding information is equivalent to lying in my book."
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 20:29, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
"So I can't call you out for lying to your own daughter? Your only one, at that? The very one that has been forced to deal with all your lies, all the ups and downs you've gone through, all your personal situations?" Something changes in her tone, and she takes on one she hasn't ever held against her mother. She sounds cold, testy, and really irritated. But then her expression changes at the mention of her own kidnapping, becoming more guarded. Wary. Controlled. It does a number of effects on her, because she shuts up and crosses her arms over her chest, pointedly avoiding her mother's stare.
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 20:31, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
Acid spills from her tongue, a flood before she can stop it. "Well, pardon me for not leaving you to rot in an orphanage. Though sometimes that seems like the preferable option." She regrets it immediately, face setting to stone afterwards in horror of what she's just said, but she's not herself. Not right now.
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 20:39, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
She isn't going to lie. That hurts, and it hurts a lot. She knows it shows on her face, and she doesn't bother to conceal it. "I'd always felt like you did it out of duty. Was I your charity case? Was that it? Or did you just want redemption for all the horrors and atrocities you've committed, and saw adoption as a good way to get it? Save pitiful 'ol me from the orphanage," she takes a deep breath and exhales, but it's shaky. Before she knows it, tears are welling up in her eyes and threaten to spill. "I'm done," she mutters, shaking her head and turning away, to leave that place - and her mother - behind. She really doesn't fancy the idea of letting her see her crying.
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 20:43, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
She expects the words that come from her daughter, so they feel more like rubber bullets than knives - not sharp enough to do real damage. Her daughter walking away is a more painful sight, to be fair, but it's also one that feels disgustingly familiar. Like she's seen it so many times, it feels like watching a replaying tape. With a sigh and a shake of her head, Renee jumps from the platform onto the train tracks, kicking at the loose gravel idly. The tunnel is a big gaping chasm - she's sure she's killed someone in there before. "Tessa," she calls, throat starting to close up. "Do me a favour, sweetheart. Promise me something."
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 20:51, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
She swallows thickly and wipes away the tear that's already fallen. She sucks in a breath, dreading the next words that will spill out her mother's mouth next, but nonetheless going for it. "What? What could your charity case ever promise you?" she asks, with more bite than she originally means. Well, she deserves it. When she turns, though, and doesn't see her mother, she frowns. She's hurt and she's angry, but she's also confused. Until she realizes where the voice has come from. "Wait - wait, what are you doing?"
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 20:54, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
"Well, two things, really," she replies, eyes fixated on the bottomless darkness of the tunnel. If she squints, she can just about make out the contours of the brick and the train tracks disappearing into nothing. "First of all, never go down this tunnel alone, or at least without your knives. All sorts of - unethical things have occurred in there. I should know." She shoves her hands in her pockets, fiddling with a few loose coins and an earring she stole as a safe-keep. "Second..." Her eyes shoot up, to Tessa. "Don't get involved with the Mafia. Ever." She delivers it like it's a life lesson, like all those rules she'd hammer into her daughter when she was a child. "As tempting as any offer they make is. It's isn't - it is not worth it."
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 21:03, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
"What are you doing down there? It's not safe, and I have and entire organization that would slaughter me in cold blood if I let you get hurt. Not that you'd care," Tessa's eyes narrow and she approaches the edge of the platform. She isn't sure why - Renee damn well made sure to push Tessa away. But here she is.
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 21:05, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
"Are you listening to me?" she snaps, more out of desperation than anger - it is clear she has her mind set only on her daughter's answer. "I need you to promise me. No matter where they are; America, Ireland. Somewhere in -" She swallows, the word sticking to her throat. "Italy." It comes out in jagged pieces. "Please promise me."
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 21:09, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
"No. Get your ass out of the tracks, out of trouble's way, and then we'll talk," she retorts. She refuses to let Renee get hurt because of pure idiocy. She glances both ways, sighs heavily, and then finds herself jumping right next to the brunette's side. "Or, disapparate us both out of here. Your choice. Show me you care. Or don't. Lady's choice."
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 21:12, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
Her brow furrows and her eyes roll at her daughter's stupidity. "These tracks are only in use when the school is coming to Hogsmeade, and I doubt they'll be visiting at gone nine o'clock at night. And I can't Apparate us anywhere. Your absence will be flagged once you leave Hogwarts' threshold. We talk here."
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 21:41, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
Her cheeks flare in embarrassment, something she does her best to ignore. She just rolls her eyes. "Well, you've gone crazy on me once. Do you remember that? Stabbed me along the way, too. So you can't blame me for being wary," she quips. "Oh, so you wanna talk, huh? After that - well, that very, very sweet confession? So motherly, honestly."
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 21:49, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
"I didn't mean it in the way you think I did." She sighs, kicks over a stone. It clatters across the tracks noisily. "Forgive my tone, I can see why you would - misunderstand it." There's an air of helplessness about her, a weakness not usually present in anything she does; a crack in a facade. Her shoulder slope miserably as she continues, words coming out in jarring speeds. "It's just, sometimes I think how much better your life could have been if a healthy, unaffected young couple had adopted you. You'd have grown up in a suburb somewhere, with a pet dog and a little brother, and we would be the most distant of memories. You would not need constant surveillance, you would attend Hogwarts as a normal child, you'd be - you'd be safe." Her voice cracks on the last word, into a thousand pieces. "All I have ever wanted is for you to be safe. It is my one goal in life, and after everything that has happened to you? And the majority of it, I have inflicted upon you myself?" Slipping herself back up onto the platform, she says simply, "I failed you, mon papillion. As a mother. I have done nothing but fail you."
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 22:01, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
She purses her lips, shaking her head. She doesn't know whether to believe her or not. On one hand, it's her mother. The woman that raised her and made her who she is today. On the other hand, she can't help but feel as though the adoption had been a mistake. That she had just been a grave, grave mistake Renée committed and now she was realizing it. She takes a breath, steeling her nerves for what she knows is going to come. She closes her eyes, mentally chanting you'll be alright, no matter what. The fact that she has to confront the people that took her, still, doesn't comfort her much, or the fact that her mother seems to suddenly regret her, but OWLs are fast approaching and now more than ever she has to avoid them at all costs while facing the demons she can. She has to prepare herself. She thinks of the owls she's sent them. They're fooled - they think she knows nothing. But it doesn't make her feel any better, because she knows one day, sooner than later, she'll have to leave safety behind and venture into what she'd thought was her home. She would risk everything, for answers. Though they were valuable, she was going to be risking her life for it. On the other hand, if it all went to plan... well, they wouldn't be much of a headache for longer. "I- crap, uhmm..." she exhales shakily, blinking away tears that were threatening to fall and swallowing the lump already forming. "When I told you I died... it- it wasn't figuratively. I did die. I have a grave, in Godric's Hollow. Well, more so a hole. They... umm... they buried me alive, I was hurt badly, I couldn't really breathe, I was suffocating and couldn't call for help. Eventually, I died. I was dead, for a few minutes. But - but someone found me, pulled me out of th- the hole. Blunt force trauma, the doctors had said, when I was taken to the hospital. A-A muggle one. I was lucky to be alive. An investigation was begun, but it- well, it was steered away," she sighs, squeezing her eyes shut even as tears begin to fall. "Svetlana and Roman... they're powerful, and dangerous, and they're a little frightening," she exhales, but it comes out wrangled in a sob. "I- God, they hurt me badly that year, mum. I still have scars. But - but the day I was rescued... that's when Tatyana Romanova was born. I obviously didn't remember, because they'd also done wonders with their potions, something I'm... relieved Soren fixed," she has to take a break for a little, looking anywhere and everywhere that wasn't toward the older woman, because she just can't bring herself to do that. She's crying, but she's trying to muffle it. She doesn't want to exaggerate things, doesn't want to make things bigger than they need to be - she just wants to get all of this out of her chest. Even when she brings herself to push on, she still can't look at her. "They - they starved me a lot. Used me as their plaything. And - and my siblings... Apollinariya and Vlad. They knew, but they couldn't do anything," she's forced to stop again, taking a deep breath to force the sobs to halt. She fails miserably. "I- I was lucky if I got bread and water. They kicked me, hit me - they broke my bones for fun. My ribs. They patched me up, of course - couldn't afford me getting hurt too much. But I was always weak. I tried to defend myself, but I couldn't," she whispers, and with the sleeve of her jacket, wipes the falling tears. "It's - it's why I tried to do something this Christmas. Why I tried to get Karith to teach me a thing or two. I- I was defenseless. I couldn't do anything. I was always locked up. Did- did you know I didn't see sunlight? Not once. Not until I was Tatyana," The pain in her eyes, the way her face contorts... it's obvious she feels as though she's reliving those dark moments all over again. She's hurting, because of them. This pain... it's one she knows she won't get over - not for a long time. It'll follow her, haunt her, until she brings this to an end. Her pain, her misery - only then will it end. "I pushed on. For you, for dad, for Soren and Sabrina, and even Rupert and Karith. Family comes first, right? But- but that night... the night they tried to bury me alive and kill me, I - I wanted them to. I wanted to die. I gave up, and wanted to end my own pain," she cries softly, "I wanted it so bad. I'm not brave. I'm not - I'm not like you. Like anyone else. I was a coward. I couldn't put up a fight, because I didn't have it in me. I was so ready to just give up," she clicks her tongue, finally finding it in herself to wipe away the rest of her tears and force some oxygen into her lungs. For the most part, she can get herself under control, but it's not until she knows she won't break down crying again that she bothers to look at Renee again. "But I here I am. And that's good. What I went through... I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Not even my worst enemies. But - but I'd go through it again," she admits quietly, silently grateful her voice doesn't crack. "Because the storm was over and I'm back home. And you know - maybe it was worth it. I didn't think you'd be back, or papa, or Soren, or Sabrina. But here you are. All of you. Together," she licks her lips, silent for moments longer. She's contemplating whether to say something or not, but in the end, she decides to say it. "When I was little, I used to think I was a jinx. From you going crazy, to Soren disappearing, to dad dropping off the face of the Earth. Hell, because of Sabrina's... prolonged trips, I guess? I just - I used to think I drove everyone away. But I didn't drive myself away. A lot happened to everyone. You all went through hell, and I used to think it was my fault. But now? Now that I've gone through hell and come back myself? I like to think the worst of it is all over," she finished with a very weak, very small, very sad smile, but it's there nonetheless. But under that smile, there's hints of something else. It's like something has shifted for her - the end of a long-lasting, tormenting era. She feels it, too. Like this is rock bottom, and all that's left for her is to go up. And honestly? She can't wait for that. "I really want it. But that can't happen unless you want it to, mum."
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 22:13, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
She listens with fervent interest, her face taking the journey through emotion after emotion through Tessa's monologue. During the descriptions of the abuse, she heats up; her blood runs hot in her veins, every inch of her muscles tell her to run, run and find these people and tear them to shreds with her bare teeth and hands - and that is what she's going to do. Mark her words. But then Tessa talks about her, about the Parade, and Renee feels her heart swell and burst and overflow at the edges, into her ribcage. She's crying when her daughter finishes talking; big, shameless tears, trickling silently down her cheeks. "You are so special, Tessa Bellerose," she whispers, reaching up and tucking a piece of hair behind her daughter's ear. "All you have suffered and yet here you are. Living through it all." The truth of her own experiences is there, stuck in her throat somewhere, but refuses to come out. Maybe it will. Maybe it just needs a push.
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 22:28, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
She shakes her head, licking her bottom lip as she finds the right words to continue. The truth is out now, or at the very least the big one. So why is she so tense? So unsure and hesitant on how to continue? She supposes she's said all she's had to, but there's this concept. This concept that's nagging her and she can't ignore for much longer. "Family is what kept me alive and encouraged me to face my demons. It was my love towards everyone that made me strong. Resilient. If I'd ignored it - if I had chosen a path without love and isolated myself, I wouldn't be here. I'd be dead. Long since," she whispers, "Don't do that. Don't isolate yourself. You're doing nothing except hurting yourself, me, and everyone else. We can help. We are a family and we help each other out. It's what we do. We watch out for one another. We are - along with multiple significant figures - The Black Parade. And powerful or not, the Mafia can not and will not be able to hurt or destroy anyone. We've all gone through hell and back on our own. There's no need for it again. No. Next time, we'll be stronger, more powerful. Together. You just have to put faith in the rest of us. You have to trust us."
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 22:33, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
"The Mafia can hurt us," she interrupts Tessa harshly, talking over the subsequent words. "They are more powerful than the Parade, than almost any organisation. For God's sake, Tessa, you need to promise me." The desperation is so clear in her voice, it's spilling out in every direction.
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 22:48, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
"I'm an atheist, though. I lost any belief the second the thought of my family began to do more to save me than the idea of some old creep everyone worships. So you'll have to find another way to convince me," she waves dismissively, a hint of amusement in her tone. "Why do they worry you so much? What have they done to you?"
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 22:56, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
It takes every fibre of her being to not blurt it out in one sudden, awful answer there; but Tessa deserves a decent truth. So Renee takes a breath and, bunching her hands in her shirt to stop them from shaking, says simply, "They raped me." It feels like - shit. She can't explain how it feels to finally say it. Sickening and violent and relief, all at the same time.
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 23:04, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
She's so fucking startled at the admission, she nearly chokes on her own saliva. Out of all the things she may have expected, that was not it. Her mother... strong, independent, beautiful mother. Raped. She blinks, otherwise unmoving, completely silent. There's gears turning behind her head - you can see it from the look in her eye. Three words was all it took to separate her from reality completely. Three little words, with so much meaning that it physically hurts her. She has to lean back, for support, because she's one hundred percent sure she'd otherwise fall to the floor. "What?" she asks, so quietly, Renee will likely have to strain her ears to hear her. All this time, she's been such a brat. She can't even begin to think how awful everything must have been for her these past couple of months.
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 23:15, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
Now the initial cloud of emotion has cleared, Renee feels... strangely cold. Like now it's out and all that hurt and pain that's been stored up in her chest has come crashing out, there's nothing else there. Her face is straight, awfully expressionless; she regards her daughter with a blank stare and blinks slowly. "I was stealing from them," she begins, monotonous. "Quite a lot - enough to fund new things for the Parade. Well, more specifically, our family. And it was going well. Nobody knew until somebody did." She swallows, eyes dropping to the cracked pavement. "The Mafia have less regard for human life than even the Parade do. Whatever Sabrina would do to somebody stealing from her, the Mafia would do ten times over. A Cruciatus curse would be a warm up. But... this one thing - not a man, he doesn't class as human - found out. And he said he'd keep quiet as long as I repaid him." Reliving it makes it hurt in her chest, makes it rerun like a movie in her head; over and over and over again, in black and white and technicolour. "Obviously, I fought him. Tried to run. But he knew where you were, and he knew where Sabrina was, and Xavier and Soren and everybody. He reeled off the exact coordinates of the Citadel to my face, blamed it on some sort of tracking spell he formulated. So... I had no choice." She squeezes her eyes shut, swallows a lump. "Every night. Until I strangled him with a stolen necklace and Apparated, ended up in that mill in the forest."
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 23:25, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
She wants to reach out, she wants to hug her, let her know she's there for her mother, but now she's at a point where she doesn't know what's okay and what's not. She exhales. She feels bad, for everything she's put her mother through these past few months, when she had a huge problem of her own. She's such a shitty daughter, there's really just no point in denying it any further. "Well at least you're safe now," she whispers, because really - what else can she say? Offer apologies? Hug her? What can she do? How can she make things better? She has so many questions about where to go from now, but she knows better than to try and figure that out right now. "Does Sabrina know?" She wouldn't let that man go unscathed.
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 23:31, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
"She knows something happened," she says, chewing her bottom lip. "She doesn't know what, though. And for the time being, I have no intention of telling her." Her eyes go back to her beautiful daughter, who is no doubt blaming herself for all of this - something Renee can relate to. "That's the reason for all of this - the hair, the name. To hide myself from him, yes, but so I don't feel like myself. An old acquaintance called me by my true name yesterday and something just snapped." She shakes her head, shakes the thoughts from her head. "Enough about this. The only way we can go is forward from here. One day, we will resemble something of a function family - I believe that."
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 23:36, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
She takes a deep breath, because of course she hasn't told the one person that could get rid of this guy. But she supposes it's something she should respect, so she will. She's silent for minutes, because she's still processing everything, but eventually, she manages to find her voice again and use it to formulate proper words. "Tessa Leroux doesn't really sound half as good as Tessa Bellerose," she says, with a broken smile, in a weak attempt at lifting her spirits up.
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 23:39, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
The beginnings of a sad smile twitches the corner of her lips up, and she sighs, reaching out to stroke Tessa's cheek. "I don't know, I think it has quite a nice ring to it," she says. "But maybe one day, I will be able to return to my old name, and my old hair. I just have to get past this first."
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 23:44, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
She nods. Understanding of the situation now, she doesn't plan to push on that front. Not anymore. "We're so messed up," she says quietly. "Sometimes I wonder if leaving would be easier. But we've all got things tying us here, don't we?" she sighs softly, because naturally the first thing her mind drifts off to is Tilly. Not that she'd ever willingly admit that.
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 23:47, June 20, 2017 (UTC)
She tilts her head to the side, a genuine soft smile blossoming on her face for the first time all day. "Like your dad, and Soren. And your friend?" she asks, referencing Tilly, with the ever-so-slightly suggestive intonation on the word friend, a knowing maternal lick that Tess would have to be expecting to notice.
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 16:16, June 21, 2017 (UTC)
She kicks a pebble around while she gathers her thoughts. (And in all honesty some courage, too.) She personally wants to back out, she really does, but Soren's words are ringing in her head and she knows she has to do this. "I-I might... you know, I might..." she trails off, wincing at how pathetic she probably sounds and looks. Woman up, you twat. "...like girls?" she ends with a tone more questioning than she wanted. "I mean... and guys, but... you know, it's just... girls, too? I guess? I don't know, I'm probably being stupid," she sighs, running a hand through her hair. Shit, I shouldn't have told her. I really shouldn't.
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 16:23, June 21, 2017 (UTC)
There it is. It's not a surprise whatsoever, and there isn't a flicker of it on Renee's face compared to the stuttering, red teenage girl stood in front of her, whom Renee sees so much of herself in. Pretending to mull over it for a second, she eventually speaks, in the most casual manner ever. "Thank goodness. I was starting to think you were straight, I was terrified." Then she grins, a big, proud thing crossing her lips.
- “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Message Me - 16:35, June 21, 2017 (UTC)
"Darling," she says, softly, stepping forward to gently stroke her daughter's cheek. "I'm with a woman. Your dad is head over heels for Soren - God knows why. It should go without saying. And even if we were all heterosexual, it would matter not one bit to me who you want to spend your life with. Let whoever makes you happy, make you happy. As long as they treat you well, I have no issue."
- "People like us know how to make hell feel like home," Message Me - 16:45, June 21, 2017 (UTC)
"You can never be too sure, though. Especially nowadays, when it seems there's more hatred in this world than there is love," Tessa reasons quietly, and shrugs. She hesitates, but in the end decides they could both use a hug, so she leans forward, slipping her arms around her mother's waist and embracing her. "Can we try and be happy from here on out? Even with the odds stacked against us?" she asks, just as quietly as before. She's tired of being sad. She's tired of hurting. She's tired of all the drama, and she just wants to put a stop to it and live while she's young.