Since then Roxanne thought about how they were doing, she had thought many times to visit but she wasnt sure if Aliya would even want to see the girl who nearly ruined her wedding day. But finally after a month Roxanne got up the corage to visit the new family, only if to see they were well. Even standing on their door step she wondered if this was a good idea.
Lysander stood up quickly at the same time as her, worried that she would pass out from stress and the alcohol that he knew was still lingering heavily in her system. He didn’t touch her- knowing she would just fight him off right then- but made sure he was close enough to catch her- either from falling or from doing anything drastic, at least physically- at a second’s notice.
Her words pounded against his heart like swords, piercing the pain that was already heavy there and bringing back the harsh reality of how bad the situation was. Standing in front of him- yelling, shivering and overwhelmed with guilt- was not the Ali he knew. She was not the Ali he had met years ago, the one who strove only to make other people happy. As a girlfriend, wife and mother, this was all she cared about, and now- after all of the trauma that had infiltrated her life- she was different. Changed. She looked at him with deep contempt and for a second, he couldn’t help but wonder if she really, truly didn’t love him anymore.
Despite this thought, he swallowed his own anguish and shook his head. “I don’t know how I can help you, but you need to talk to someone, that I know. You just tried to kill yourself and that- that, Ali, is beyond arguing with me about. Do you really want Andrew and Jasper to grow up like Aislinn is going to ? Without a mother? Yes, if you want to blame me for what happened to Zooey, then I accept it. I accept all of the blame because I did do those things, and I am not going to deny them,” he said carefully. “If you hate me, then I am going to have to live with that even though I still love you so damn much, Aliya. I love you so much that I am going to let you tear me down and hate me as much as you need to if it means you are going to try to get better. I can’t…” he hesitated, his throat catching again as he wiped his hands down his face in stress, “I can’t let you destroy yourself, so tell me. Tell me what you need, and I will do it.”
Aliya felt hurt and sympathy for Lysander. It wasn’t that she hated him. It was just so confusing how he could have led her to do what she did. All he did was turn away from, give her the cold shoulder, even judged her common sense.
"I don’t hate you," she whispered, "Despite it all, I don’t hate you. You could drag me through hell and I would go…"
'What was this Ali? Is this not hell?'
"My mind," she cried, holding her head in her hands as if in pain, "I can’t be in here anymore Ly. I’ve almost died, I’ve seen people die, I’ve been the reason people die. Remember Gabriel? He died for me. And now this… I just want to be happy and live a normal life, but as long as everything’s still in here, I can’t do that. I need all that to go away. God, I love you so much and I want to be the perfect wife for you, but staying put together is so difficult. I don’t know how you can go on with your life. You saw the minister die! You were there! And Zooey?! What is wrong with me! Why can’t I just let it go?!?!?!"
She was rambling. She knew it. It was just coming out. She had no control over her words right now.
Lysander felt Aliya push him away, his arms releasing her even though he had been gripping her so tightly just moments before. His clothing stuck tighter to his body when she detached herself, and even through the tears of terror in his eyes he could see the look on her face. She crawled away and covered herself up- pulled the robe over her as though ashamed of letting him look at her. He was baffled- he had no idea what was going on and the shock of everything was sending his mind spiraling continuously, desperate to attach onto anything that made sense.
"I’m not.. I’m not leaving you alone, Ali," he whispered, shifting his body slowly across the floor and closer to her- cautiously. "It’s OK- we’re going to figure this out. We’re going to get you help, OK? Please…" he begged, knowing that even if she were to snap again he wasn’t going anywhere. If he had to drag her kicking and screaming from this house in order to get her help, he would. But with every inch closer he got, he hoped that she would just agree. That she would come back to him and let him help her.
She crawled backwards as far as she could, her movements rushed and clumsy. Her wet limbs were slipping against the cold tile. From the hallway, she could her her babies crying and the pitter patter of Zorro’s paws as he roamed the house, looking for his owners. Even their pet could sense that something wasn’t right in the home. Her heart ached for the children and for a split second she forgot this entire ordeal. She quickly brought back to it by the sound of Lysander pleading with her.
Maybe it was all catching up with her. Everything. Being obliviated, getting married, the auror assignment, the court case, Zooey’s death, the fight with Lysander. She just didn’t know how much longer she could just put it in a box and hide it away somewhere.
"I don’t want your help!" she screamed at him, "I don’t want it!"
She straightened herself up, using the wall behind her for support as she wobbled into a standing position, her palms flat against the surface.
"How are you going to help me huh?" she frantically asked, "How are you going to help me? Are you going to try to make me happy, make me forget. Are you going to tell me to do it for our family’s sake? Well let me tell you something, the girl I killed was family too. She is my niece’s mother and I killed her. You made me. You made me do it. I love you so much that I thought keeping her away from her four year old daughter was okay. Because of you!”
Lysander practically blacked out as he tried to revive Aliya. Breathing into her mouth and pumping on her chest, he didn’t have a single sense of time or anything going on around him- including the two sets of screams that were now coming from the nursery. The entire situation was a blur- complete panic taking over and when she finally spit out the water and gasped for breath, he had to catch himself from falling over out of relief.
Tears streaming down his face, he clutched her tightly and kissed her soaking wet head, quickly tipping her sobbing face up to his so he could check her color. Make sure she was really OK as he suddenly realized how violently he himself was shaking. Her crying filled the room and at her words, he felt like a dagger was being pierced through his heart. Leave her. Leave her to die. That was what she had wanted- that was what she was trying to do. She was so deep in her depression that she was trying to kill herself and he had been getting mad at her and making himself sandwiches?
"Aliya… please… Ali.." he choked out, gripping her skin tightly, "it’s OK. It’s going to be OK. I promise. I’m here… we’re going to get you help and I’m here…I promise…"
She cried and cried and cried. It was like she was bottling it all up and it wasn’t until now that she finally let him know how deep she was hurting. It wasn’t as easy as just mourning Zooey and moving on with her life. She legitimately felt like she had been the cause of everything that had happened. Why would anyone want to waste their time with someone like her. And her… Why had she allowed Lysander to influence her. If she hadn’t made that statement, maybe the judge wouldn’t have even allowed the verdict to be passed. Zooey might have been able to see her daughter. She would have been alive.
Aliya felt cold suddenly and the fact that she was naked began to shiver, her arms crossing in an attempt to keep warm as she shook. She almost felt exposed to Lysander. It wasn’t like he had never seen her like this before, but things were so different now. If she was a completely different person then who was to say he wasn’t. He had been the one to tell her that Zooey was wrong and that she deserved what she got and she went with it. This hostile emotion erupted within her, not even wanting to touch him right now. She crawled away from him frantically, grabbing at the robe that she had set down when she first came into the bathroom. Aliya covered herself up quickly, as if she was in danger. She didn’t realize what she was doing. She didn’t understand that this was the same boy that she had fallen in love with and married and that he loved her so much. To her, he had been the one to instigate the wrongdoings against her best friend.
"Get out," she muttered.
Lysander didn’t take long in the kitchen- opting to throw a few sandwiches together rather than bother turning on the oven or even defrosting something in the microwave. He filled up a large glass with water and took a few sips before carefully balancing the plate on his arm, carrying his food into the living room so he could sit on the couch instead of the- now rarely used- kitchen table.
He flopped back onto the couch in exhaustion, inhaling one of the sandwiches within seconds and letting his mind drift back to Aliya. To be honest, he had no idea what he could do about their situation right then. He had tried to be gentle with her, to assure her as many times as he could that she wasn’t at fault for what happened, but all it had done was driven them further apart. In reality, he knew that if anyone were to be blamed for Zooey’s death in this house, it was him. Aliya hadn’t done anything but try to be a good friend to her despite all of the terrible things she had done, but he had written her off a long time ago. She could have been the best mother in the world to Aislinn upon her return, but to wouldn’t have mattered. He had done everything in his power to keep the little girl from her mother, and now- now they would never see one another again.
Lysander swallowed the guilt rising up in this throat and turned his attention back to his sandwiches, pushing away the feelings as soon as they came. He had to remind himself that Zooey had never been quite right mentally, and unfortunately that was the reason she had been consumed above all others. Still, there was something oddly… similar about the way Aliya was acting in comparison to Zooey. The distancing, the erratic behavior, the dependence on substances….
His eyes widening, as though suddenly realizing how completely daft he had been this entire time, the realization that she wasn’t just acting out because she blamed herself, but because she was clearly depressed far beyond typical mourning, Further guilt rising up, along with anger over how selfish he himself had been lately concerning all of this, Lysander put his plate down on the table and rose, making his way to the bathroom quietly. When he arrived, he knocked gently on the door.
"Ali?" he called. Nothing. He knocked again.
"Ali?" he said. Quiet. He reached for the handle and began to shake it, finding it locked. Terror, the type he couldn’t explain, burst in his heart as he considered exactly how bad her mental state might be at the moment, and without even thinking, he slammed his entire body against the door.
"ALI!" he called, the silence still lingering. He heard a gentle cry from the other room- his call had been louder than he realized- but knew this was more important. Backing up, he threw his body against the door once more and it flew open, allowing him to stumble inside and see Ali completely submerged in the tub. Panicking, he rushed over and grabbed her body, pulling her up out of the water as it flooded the flood and soaked him.
Aliya’s body became motionless, paralyzed to whatever was happening around her. She was unconscious and had Lysander hadn’t stepped in at the right time, she would have been dead. Within minutes. But Lysander wasn’t about to lose her. It seemed that no matter how hard fate tried, Aliya just wasn’t ready to go yet. Her husband began trying to revive her and after what seemed like ages, Aliya choked and coughed loudly, water sputtering from her lips not long after. Her head was pounding and her chest hurt, but she was most definitely alive. Whether she was supposed to be happy about that or upset, she had no idea.
She gasped for breath and sat up right in Lysander’s arms, not realizing that she didn’t have a stitch of clothing on. It took her a few very long moments before she regained full consciousness and realized what exactly she had done and what had happened. She began to cry, once again, not quite why exactly. If it was because of the regret for what she had done or the state of which things were in; falling apart. She began to sob loudly, hiding her face in her hands. This was a complete and total mental breakdown and Aliya had no idea what to do with herself at this point.
"W-Why didn’t you just leave me?!" she cried loudly, "A few more minutes and you wouldn’t have to deal with all this!"
Roxanne smiled, the last thing she wanted to do was be a burden on Aliya when she had two new babies to worry about.
Her eyes lit up when she saw the tiny twins in their cribs. “hello Andrew” she said softly before her head whipped back to Aliya “you would let me?” she questioned her eyes wide with excitment.
Aliya nodded and carefully handed Andrew to Roxanne before leaning over to pick up Jasper. Both babies were happy and seemed to be happy to meet Roxanne. It was rare that they cried since so many people had been over to see them since the short time that they were born. They must have loved the attention or something.
Ali watched as Andrew looked up at Roxanne and a big goofy smile sprad across his face. His little hands reached for her hair, tugging at it as a way of trying to bring her closer to him. Aliya laughed and reached over prying his tiny fingers away from Roxanne’s brunette locks.
"Andrew, that isn’t very nice," she chastised lightly, "Sorry about that."
Roxanne smiled at the familar face that answered the door. “thank you” she replied politely as she stepped over the threshold into her home. She would have never imagined a couple of months ago that she would be in Aliya’s home. “I hope im not imposing” she started “I just wanted to see if you and the babies were alright”
Ali shook her head in response, “No! No! It’s fine. You came at a good time actually. Jasper and Andrew are awake. They just had their bath,” she explained, leading Roxanne to the nursery where they were laying in their cribs Andrew rolling over to crowd his brother with hugs. ALi smiled and slowly picked him up.
"This is Andrew," she introduced, "He’s the younger one and loves his brother already. Would you like to hold him? Both boys are really very good with others. They don’t really get cranky or anything."
Roxanne hadn’t heard anything since that day she had helped Aliya to St Mungo’s. She had wanted to stay stay and see if she and her twins were alright. Despite what had happened in the past she did want them to be alright, she would not wish anything bad to happen to any of them. She had stayed with Aliya through her screams and yelling until her mother showed up, then was she asked politely to leave. She waited outside and watched as more and more of her family arrive and last of all Lysander. She wanted to stay but she didnt feel it right, she had already interupted their wedding she didnt think it was right if she was present at the birth of the first children also. She Roxanne left them to have the moment on their own.
Aliya had just gotten the boys all cleaned up after their baths, dressed up in their comfy onesies. Both giggling and gurgling up at mummy. If there was ever a time when Aliya did genuinely feel okay, it was when she was with the twins. It was early in the afternoon. The boys had just woken up from their nap and if they were anything like mummy, a nice bath was sure to cheer them up.
"Do my babies feel squeaky clean?" she spoke in a childish voice, "Hmm? Are my boys ready to take on the world now that they’re awake and fresh?"
Andrew squealed in response, causing Ali to laugh and tickle his little baby tummy.
"My babies look so handsome. Yes they do. Oh mummy love you so mu-" her words were interrupted by a knock at the door and she left them for a second to see who it was. Without checking, she opened the front door and was slightly shocked to see Roxanne at her doorstep.
"Hi," she greeted, not quite sure why the other girl was here, "I-… Come in. Come in."
Oh. So she was wandering aimlessly like him. Her point about Diagon Alley being a place filled with nostalgia was spot on. He almost didn’t know if he came here to be happy about the memories he had made here or to feel saddened and melancholic at the fact that he didn’t have that anymore.
"Well if I’m not intruding or anything and you have some time, I’d like to buy you coffee. That way I can say hi to your mum so she’s questioning who that strange man was that you ditched her for. Also, those cute babies. I love children. Have one myself. His name’s William. He’s a little older though. By about fourteen years or so."
After telling Dominique, it seemed a lot easier to mention him in conversation now. He wasn’t quite sure what people would think but if they were worth it and still wanted to know him when they knew then that was what really mattered in the end.
She didn’t know why she did, but she nodded and said yes almost immediately. What was the harm in it? It wasn’t as if she was doing something wrong. They were acquaintances, they knew each other and from what she could tell, they were on their way to becoming friends and God knew she could use one of those. Someone who wasn’t judging her. Someone who didn’t even know about the darkness looming over her life right now. It was that blissful ignorance that would help her. She didn’t want to talk about Zooey with anyone. She definitely didn’t want to talk about with Lysander.
"I’m sure my mum would love to meet you. The boys are pretty mellow too. They like everyone, but since you obviously have experience in that field, I’m sure they’ll like you even more. C’mon, I’ll lead the way."
As soon as they arrived home, Lysander felt a bit of weight lift off his shoulders. Though she had held herself together during the wedding rather well, he still hated it when she drank and couldn’t understand why she had been doing it to such an extreme lately. Sure there was trouble in paradise- she felt guilty over Zooey’s death and they had been fighting a hell of a lot more than either was used to- but her words from a few weeks ago- that he and the twins weren’t what she thought they would be- still bothered him more than anything. He didn’t like, either, that the only time she had seemed calm and happy around him was just a little while ago at the wedding. Still- maybe it was a sign. Maybe she had realized, while being surrounded by old friends and positive energy, that life wasn’t all that bad. That there were still so many good things to experience and so many other people that mattered left in the world.
It comforted him even more when, despite her clearly very intoxicated state, her first destination as soon as they landed was the nursery. He knew her mother was probably in there with them, and deciding not to be a third wheel he instead took off his jacket, tossing it lazily over the back of the couch and loosening his tie. Mrs. Moreno came strolling from the nursery a minute later, smiling gently at Lysander and hugging him hello before proceeding to the fireplace and disappearing.
Lysander was tired- it had been a long day and an even longer night, so all he really wanted was to have a snack and then head to bed. Before he could turn to the kitchen, however, he saw Ali come stumbling back in, her aura of relaxation filling the room despite the still present tension between them.
"OK- I’m going to eat something and then go to bed," he told her, deciding it was probably best to eat and then wait for her despite these words. She wasn’t used to the amount of alcohol she had been taking in lately, and the last thing he wanted was for her to get hurt or to start throwing up. He considered offering her pepper-up potion, but immediately pushed the thought away. She knew it existed, and the offer would likely make her snap given how she had reacted to all of his offers to help lately. So with a final nod in her direction, he went into the kitchen.
Aliya was glad to see that he had nothing else to say to her besides “okay.” There was a nagging sensation inside of her that was almost waiting for him to turn into a parental figure again so she could snap at him. So when he didn’t say “are you sure you don’t want to wait until morning?” or “you should take some pepper up potion,” she felt a relief that he didn’t bring that out in her. She was drunk. Who knew what she would say. And Lysander being the aloof, sentimental man he was would take whatever intoxicated commentary she threw at him to heart.
As Aliya made her way to their bedroom, she began to take off her jewelry, kicking off her heels at the same time so as not to forget. Had she not done that at this point, she might have left them on when she got in the tub and she wouldn’t be very happy with herself when she saw their state come morning. There was a very numbing feeling about drinking so much. It wasn’t so much the effect it had on her mental capabilities, but more so the fact that she never really drank as much as she did nowadays and it was just an uncomfortable feeling physically. She felt ill and gross and incredibly light-headed. Was she going to tell anyone that? No. It did help refocus her anxiety though and instead of having to think about the fact that she basically killed her best friend, she thought about how uneasy she felt and how her stomach kept turning every few seconds. She had to think about not throwing up way too often to worry about her past sins.
The young woman walked into their room and into their bathroom, closing and locking the door behind her. She drowned out most thoughts as she waited for the tub to fill up with warm water, dropping a few splashes of bubble bath and watching the foam rise. The waiting began to feel empty and she slowly began undressing to pass the time. So she stood there naked, not really knowing what to do now as the tub wasn’t full yet. The previous thought of pepper up potion came to mind and she opened up the mirror cabinet. Sure enough, there were a few vials of the stuff, sitting around gathering dust. Neither of them drank much before so now that she did, it would seem obvious that Aliya would put the potion to good use. But she didn’t want to and closed the cabinet once again, letting them rest there until the next time one of them was intoxicated, probably her.
She turned to the tub, waiting just a little longer for it to fill up before shutting off the faucet and stepping into the hot soothing water. A sigh escaped her lips as the fragrant soapy water caressed her skin, leaving it glistening and shining. Ali stared up at the ceiling as she laid there. Her mind wasn’t necessarily a good place for her right now. She tried not to think much, but it was happening. Nobody could really help that; thinking. It just happened. She didn’t notice herself slipping further and further into the water until she was completely submerged in it and natural instinct caused her to immediately come back. Ali gasped a little and coughed, her hands gripping onto the sides of the tub in tight grip. And then realized: this was how Zooey died.
How? How did she do it? Even a few seconds under was uncomfortable to Aliya, but Zooey had essentially drowned herself. Her mind began to wander again and Aliya slowly released her grasp on the tub as she tried to relax again. But it was already on her mind.
"She was obviously a lot calmer," she mumbled to herself as she began to lower herself in the tub once more. This time, on purpose, much more relaxed than the moment before. Sound became muffled and echoed as she slipped under the surface of the soapy water once more. She tried to open her eyes, but the bubble bath stung her eyes and she closed them again and decided to just stay calm and relaxed. Aliya found herself in a state of sleep almost, not even noticing the tightening in her lungs beginning to become more prominent. A ringing began in her ears. Her body was telling her to resurface, but her brain said that she was just fine.