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“I was doing it for both of you!” Jana was yelling. Bria gaped at her even though she had purposefully provoked her sister. Bria had been trying to get a rise out of Jana. She was just so angry with her sister. So stretched to the limit due to the strain Jana was causing on her bond with Helene.
Bria had been yelling, but she dropped her voice to a reasonable level. “What I don’t understand is why you think you can tinker with a person’s healing process. What you did—patching Helene up without her knowledge or permission—you cut her off from something important. You separated her from the pain she needs to feel. For her own resolution. You know? And now she’s . . . She’s . . .”
Bria watched fat tears roll down her sister’s cheeks. Jana’s face was red. Bria watched with her mouth open, unable to gauge how her sister was feeling because Jana had blocked the bond. Jana folded her arms over her stomach, and the block failed. Her feelings rushed into Bria. There were footsteps. Their mother burst into the room, looking back and forth between them.
“I didn’t mean to . . . I didn’t know she would . . .” Jana was blubbering as their mother looked back and forth between them. Bria stared stupidly.
Finally, their mother snapped, “Sit down!” Bria sat. Jana sat. Their mother sank onto the couch between them and wrapped her arms around both saying, “Shh. Shh. Shh.”
Bria put her face in her palms and discovered she was crying. “Jana,” she began, unsure of what to say now that she knew what her sister was experiencing. Bria shifted and began to rebuild the wall between them. “Don’t,” Bria said. “Don’t do that. I don’t want you to block me out. I love our bond. If you’d keep it open with me—“
“And me,” their mother cut in. “Keep it open Jana. Don’t hide from us.”
Bria continued, “It’s just, well, you should’ve told me what you were doing. You should have checked with Helene. I don’t know how you did what you did. Can you undo it?”
Jana’s shoulders shook. “I’m not sure that would help,” she said from between her hands.
“Can you undo it just a little bit? Helene needs to connect with this pain.”
“Do you know what you’re asking? You’re asking me to go inside a person and break them. To tear them inside. Hurt their spirit. I can’t! I can’t do that!”
Bria rose to her feet and reached for her sister, but Jana stumbled away. Elric was waiting for her in the doorway, looking from face to face to discover why he had been pulled here. Elric, who couldn’t reciprocate a bond had felt the nauseating guilt Jana had let loose and come to investigate.
“Stay,” he said when Bria moved to follow.
“But you don’t even—“
“Stay,” he said again, holding up a large hand. “She needs some space.”
Bria sat with her mother as Elric went after Jana. Space. That was something Elric could give her. They were connected, but Elric’s inability to return the bond afforded privacy. Sure enough, Bria felt sadness wash through Jana, and relief. She bit down on her own jealousy that she couldn’t provide that kinship to her sister, but here was her mother beside her, and here were her mother’s arms.
“Tell me,” she was saying, so Bria did.