The Crossed Pathways to Home

Lucy's world is fading. Sad, alone, her grandmother dying, the rest of the world hating her, what's to look forward to?
But when a mysterious blonde haired boy turns up...

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12. chapter 12 (just to say, trigger warnings)

~~We sat in the same corner in the same bookshop cafè. For some reason, I wasn't extremely upset...just saddened, but calm. Maybe Finbarrs' word made perfect sense. Maybe Finbarr being here made perfect sense. Maybe.
"Wow, I needed that!" Finbarr breathed, blinking hard, his diamond pupils expanding slightly.
"Yeah, now you're going to be hyper all day" I told him.
"Gotta love it" he grinned, his arms spread apart, leaning back in his seat.
Maybe I did. Maybe I did love him.
I smiled and the bubbliness and warmness erupted up within me.
I looked at my ring finger.
Imagine.
But then that reminded me.
"Oh hey, Finbarr, any clue what this is?" I stuffed my hand into my pocket and dug out the creepy eye ring and held it out to him. His caffeine fueled eyes widened.
"Where...how..." he touched it but quickly snatched his hand away again.
"Um...it used to be in my nightmares" I uncertainely told him. "But when I met you, the bad dreams stopped." I paused and gulped. "Don't think I'm crazy but...It spoke to me last night."
"IT WHAT?"
A couple of heads turned.
"Shut up!" I urgently whispered.
"It what?" he repeated quietly.
"It spoke to me. Sort of."
"Tell me exactly what happened!" he asked, panicked.
"Well, I was wondering about things Christopher and Seamus said about a Hnart. I said, am I a Hnart, and a little yes formed in the corner. Then I said some other stuff, it didn't say anything until I said maybe I should bring it with me today. Another yes formed in the corner. Didn't really respond to anything else."
"Oh my...Lucy...that's...it's"
"What?" I asked him impatiently.
"Here, wait!" He coughed. "An qua le unowa?" I raised my eyebrows. Gibberish?
He shook his head.
"Here, here here here! Look at it and repeat after me."
"What, why?"
"It's Wolvien language" he hurriedly explained." Ancient. Bit like Irish, now! Say an qua fe unowa."
"An qua fe unowa?" I repeated, unsure of myself. Yes popped up in the corner of the ring.
"It says yes." I showed it to him, so he didn't think that I had lost the plot.
"We need to go."
"Why?" I asked in frustration.
"Come on!" he urged. He pulled me out of the cafè and ran.
"Crap, you're fast" I said breathlessly, a painful stitch in my side.
"Come on then!" He hoisted me up onto his back and sprinted, and I felt as if I was on a run-away horse.

Finbarr banged on Masons' door.
"Woah, Finbarr" Mason said calmly.
"Mason...ring...Lucy...an qua fe unowa....said yes" Finbarr tried to explain in between gasping for air. He was bent over, completely out of breath, small stitches emerging in his sides. Carrying a girl on your back while legging it was difficult, even with werewolf strength.
"Lucy?" Mason asked. I shrugged and held out the ring.
"Oh." His eyes were wide, his face holding the resemblance of worry, apprehension.
"Finbarr, wait out here. Come in for a minute, Lucy" he said, holding open the door. Finbarr was too tired to say anything.
I stood in the middle of the dark, fire-light cottage.
"Lucy, where did you get that ring?"
"My mum gave it to me" I told him, confused. What did that have to do with anything?
"Why?" he asked. I frowned.
"She died, and left it to me. What's it to you?" He looked crestfallen, his eyes shifting from place to place.
He knew something I didn't.
"Your father?" he cautiously but somehow bluntly asked.
"Left. Why?" I asked, suspiciously angry.
"Your mum...her name wasn't...Stephanie?" he asked, his normally calm voice tainted with nervousness.
"Yes, but why?" I asked impatiently.
"Hnarts. Legendary creatures. In theory, for a Hnart to be born, one parent must be a werewolf, the other, human." He paused and sighed. "I...I gave this to your mother."
He reached out to touch the ring, but I snatched it away and stuffed it into my hoodie pocket.
"What?" I hissed.
"I'm your father."
"How dare you?" I snarled. "How could you leave a pregnant woman like that?"
"Lucy, trust me, it is not how it seems."
"Yes it is!" I yelled. "Dress it up any way you like you bastard! You left a pregnant woman, who developed cancer by the way, on her own, all by herself! Someone who loved you, God knows why, with a child you have never bothered to even try and find! You make me SICK!"
I raced out the door.
"Lucy! Hey, Lucy!" Finbarr caught hold of my arm and spun me around.
"What's wrong?"
"Ask that son of a bitch in there!" I spat.
"Hey, no need to talk about Mason like that" he said, hurt prominent in his voice and facial expression.
"Yeah?! Ask him what's he's done and see how you feel then!"
I snatched my arm away and ran off into the forest, ignoring the voices calling after me.

My anger started to melt, except by that time, I was completely lost in the shadows of the forest.
I sat down on a low branch.
Mason? My dad? It didn't seem...real.
I never thought I'd be so angry when I found my father. I always imagined I would be happy. I'd have answers, and someone to call family, somewhere to call home.
But I was furious. How could you a leave a pregnant woman by themselves?
I sighed, my head in a mess.
I heard a rustle behind me and jumped.
"Oh, Christopher. What do you want?" I tiredly asked.
"You don't listen much, do you?" he asked, sitting beside me.
"Again, what do you want?" I agitatedly repeated.
"You don't listen, and you're stubborn. No wonder Finbarr likes you so much!"
"Christopher" I moaned, feeling uncomfortable, remembering how only about two hours ago I was wondering if I loved Finbarr. Now I had insulted the person he looked up to, who had saved his life, and ran into a potentially fatal forest with Swedish werewolves.
"Look, you didn't let Mason explain."
"He can dress it up all the way he likes, he abandoned a pregnant woman!"
"You don't understand!" he then snapped. "You have no idea what it's like to be a werewolf. To have that constant urge to kill someone."
"I thought that was only for a couple of years."
"When it's at it's strongest. It's always there" he sighed. Then he paused. "Look, I know you know that I killed someone. You're a horrible liar."
"You're telling me" I grimaced. How come I could keep my depression and self harm so hidden then?
"I can't live with myself, and I didn't even know that girl. Imagine what Mason would've felt like if he had killed your mum, or even you. You don't know what I would give to be human" he said wistfully.
"Trust me, you don't to be human" I honestly told him.
"Why? Because I'd have to go to school?" he angrily asked. "I love to learn. I'd love to to be able to go to college. I'd love to get a PhD, make my own money, live in the real world. I'd love nothing more than to be a husband and a father" he resentfully spat, turning his head away.
"Then go!" I told him. "There's plenty of girls in the world, human and werewolf. Go to school if you want. What's stopping you?"
"What's stopping me?" He laughed sadly. "I can't go to school because I might bloody kill someone else. I can't get a human girlfriend because for one, we're not really supposed to, two, I might kill her, and three, I will never forgive myself for what I did to that girl. She died a horrific, painful, gruesome, terrifying and unneeded death because of me. What type of turn on is that to any girl, human or werewolf?"
After a pause, I said
"You wouldn't believe what I'd give to be a werewolf."
"You're crazy" he sighed in exasperation.
"Am I? I never knew my mum, I've had to live with my aunt who hates me for the past few years, I get bullied in school and when I got depression, instead of helping me, my friends abandoned and turned on me. And to top it all off, my Grandma just died." I sighed a raggedy breath, and did my best to ignore the niggling urge I had to slit my wrists.
Silence.
"Mason didn't abandon your mum" Christopher said quietly. "Someone followed him one day at the time, can't remember who. He used to go up to the house where your mum lived, check on her, make sure she was safe. When she disappeared, he thought she'd left, taken you a long way away. He thought she'd be safe, living somewhere else. He couldn't kill her. Swedish wolves in other areas wouldn't know about her, have no reason to kill her. To them, she wasn't a witness.
"Swedish wolves?" I asked confusedly. "I thought that problem only flared up in the last few years."
"It has. But they still killed before, it's been in their law since the beginning. But seriously Lucy. He was only trying to do his best for you." I ashamedly looked the down.
Maybe Christopher was right.
"So my dad isn't a scumbag?" I tentatively asked.
"No. He's really upset back home that your mum is dead. I think he loved her." He was trying to be gentle, sympathetic, understanding, but his voice held a harsh quality that made it difficult for his gentleness to shine through.
I gulped and nodded.
"Maybe we should go back. Finbarrs' out of his mind with worry."
"And now the awkward apology to Mason" I sighed, hopping down.
"He won't expect one" he said honestly. As we began to walk, Christopher frowned and asked
"May...May I see the ring?"
"Sure" I shrugged. I held it out to him, but he didn't touch it either.
"What's the big deal about it anyway?" I skeptically asked.
"It's in prophecies and myths" he told me, totally entranced. "It's said to hold the soul of the first werewolf, Markievz. It's called the ring of the eye. The ringholder is supposed to be related to be a Hnart, but related to Markievz. That's why many wolves, especially Swedish wolves didn't believe it. They couldn't comprehend why a wolf would get so emotionally attached to a human, a human who could blow our cover. But the ringholder is supposed to bring peace between purebreds and wild ones."
"What?" I asked dumbly.
"Another name for Swedish and Irish wolves."
"No no no no. I'm supposed to bring peace?"
"Apparently. Mason thought that maybe it was him. That ring was knocking around in his family for ages. But when your mum fell pregnant, he gave it to her. He thought the baby might be a Hnart. I guess he was right."
"How am I supposed to bring peace?" I asked, dumbfounded.
"I dunno" Christopher shrugged.
I stuffed the ring back into my hoodie pocket as we reached the minuscule village. Finbarr ran up to me and squeezed me hard.
"Don't do that! You twat, I thought you were dead!"
"You do care" I chocked, and he loosened his grip.
Mason looked sadly over to me.
"Sorry" I mumbled. "Christopher set me straight." Mason gracefully shook his head.
"You have every right to be angry. I did handle it badly at the time" he reminisced.
"Maybe we should start over"
"No!" I swiftly interrupted him. "No...you're O.K. I don't think that's a great idea." He looked slightly taken aback. So did Finbarr, but Christopher looked like he understood. I gulped.
"I really don't think I'm ready. Sorry."
"It's O.K" he replied slowly. "Whatever makes you comfortable. Finbarr, Christopher" he nodded. "More things to study now, things to sort out." He miserably walked away, and I felt a pang of guilt.
But it was for the best.
Mason could never be my father, not now. Grandma had always been my parent, and she could never be replaced. There was no point in some scam relationship anyway.
"I'd better run" said Christopher, his voice monotoned, walking away.
"Um, Christopher?" I called. He uneasily looked back, but looked at the ground, not me.
"Thank you." He nodded and left.
Finbarr looked confusedly after him, but then shook his head.
"What were you thinking?" he snapped.
"Hey! No need!" I retorted.
"No need?! You could've been killed!" he yelled.
That's what he really wants. That's why his angry.
No. No, not the monsters in my head.
Go away! I told them.
"I just found my father! I found the person who left my mum! Anger builds up Finbarr! What would you rather, me hitting him?"
"You didn't need to talk to Mason like that either!"
You've insulted his idol, the monsters said. You useless cow, he'll hate you know.
Go away, back into the box I put you in, I begged.
"Grow up Finbarr" I growled. "How would you feel, huh?"
He could never feel as worthless as you. Who could?
Shut up! I desperately screeched in my head.
"How would I feel? How would I feel? I lived with a man who neglected me, hit me, who undoubtedly hit my mother when she was alive. A part of me is missing because of him! I lived with him for years, but I never went and got myself killed!"
That's because he's better than you.
Only voices, I told myself. Ignore them, they're making you angry.
So I took a step back from my rage. Finbarr was right, in fairness . I shouldn't have left.
I looked up to him, his face the picture of anger but his eyes filled with worry. I could've been killed in an instant.
"Ugh, you're right" I sighed. His face softened. "I'm sorry for running off."
"Just don't scare me like that. I thought I'd lost you." His eyes brimmed with tears.
"Finbarr?" I softly asked. He grabbed me in a hug again.
How weird.
For once it was me comforting Finbarr, me rocking him.
The voices in my head didn't say anything. I wanted to rub their faces in it, but I didn't want to do anything that might aggravate them, wake them up.
"Sorry" I whispered.

It was late and I was about to go home.
"What will I do with this?" I asked, loosely holding the ring.
"Bring it home, keep it safe" Christopher uneasily informed me when Mason didn't answer.
"See you all tomorrow then." I gave a small smile to Mason. He sadly smiled in return, and I wondered whether I was doing the right thing.
"Is Mason O.K?" I asked on the way back to Aunt Peggys' house.
"No, not really. A lot to take in."
I raked my fingers through my hair.
"I feel horrible."
"Then try to get to know him!"
"I can't! It's way too late."
"Never too late" encouraged Finbarr. "We're still egging on Christopher to move on with his life even after eight years."
"I suppose" I sighed. "I just...Grandma was, is my parent. I don't want to replace her.
"You're not replacing her. You're just getting to know some lost long family. Think about it?" he hopefully asked.
"I'll see" I sighed, really only to ease my conscience and to humor Finbarr. I don't really see me and Mason getting on.
I winced as we left the forest.
"What's up?" he asked.
"I don't want to go back to my aunts' house. I wish I could stay with you."
"Me too."
He's lying.
His eye isn't twitching, shut up.
"It would be easier if I was a werewolf."
I'd been trying to bring this up. I was serious when I told Christopher that I would give anything to be a werewolf.
"You're not becoming a werewolf" Finbarr said simply, seeing right through me.
That's because he doesn't want you with him all the time.
"Why not? If I'm a Hnart, I'm already half way there!" I protested.
"Lucy, no!"
See, he doesn't really want you there. No-one does. Listen to Olivia, go top yourself.
I shuddered. These monsters were dangerous.
"Why not? Are you afraid I'll smother you?" I asked agitatedly, giving in to the suspicions of the monestrous voices.
"No, it's not that. I would love it if you could be close all the time!" His eye didn't twitch.
Silence.
I breathed a sigh of relief.
"But you are not changing into a werewolf, O.K? That's it!"
"You can not tell me what to do?" I snapped.
"Watch me" he growled.
"What is your problem?!" I burst.
"My problem? What's yours?"
Let's not get started on that.
Everything, the monsters piped up. Ugly, fat, annoying, no-one likes her.
I clenched my eyes shut in frustration.
"You're a Hnart" I heard Finbarr continue. "Is that not enough?"
Not for this selfish cow.
Shut UP I seethed to myself.
"No! Then I can't be with you guys! I might as well be a hundred per cent human! There's nothing...wolfish about me!"
"Look" he warned "I don't care, it's not happening."
"I'll do what I like, Finbarr" I told him authoritatively.
Including slitting your wrists? Killing yourself? Please, go ahead and do us all a favour.
I struggled to blink away the tears. It was worse than having Olivia stuck in my head.
"No, you won't" he retaliated.
"I don't know who you think you are!" We reached Aunt Peggys' house. "I'll do what I want!"
Go on, you know you want to cut at least.
"Goodnight!"
I stormed in. I stuffed my face in my pillow, sobbing, screaming at the voices in my head to go away. They teased me, jeered me.
Guess who's back, they laughed.
"Go away, shut up" I sobbed.
I felt as if Finbarr was in the wrong, so why did I feel so guilty then?
Because you're worthless and he is perfect.
I curled into myself, bawling my eyes out. Not again.
I couldn't run away from these voices.
I was a prisoner in my own head. 

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