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March 8, 2015

Teresa,
It happened again. Can you come?
Mary

The handwriting on the letter was shaking, a couple words close to illegible. Mary’s owl had gently poked Teresa awake; Ferlen was the one still sound asleep. Teresa read the note over and over again, trying to comprehend it through the effects of the Dreamless Sleep Potion. At least it was beginning to wear off; she wouldn’t risk Apparating otherwise.
She wrote a quick note to Ferlen, saying where she had gone but giving no additional information. Mary’s secret was not Teresa’s to share.
Teresa gave Ferlen an extremely gentle kiss on his forehead, making sure he stayed asleep as she tucked the covers around him. Then she took her leave, walking outside before Apparating with a loud crack.

Mary was on the couch shaking when Teresa walked into her apartment.
“Tea?” Teresa asked.
Her sister gave a slight nod.
Fighting back yawns, she put the water on for the tea and sat down next to Mary. She didn’t speak; she had learned from unfortunate experience that it was best not to say anything or touch Mary at first, and simply be a silent, steady support beside her.
Mary bit her lip. “It was Jerem-m-my this time.” She shivered.
Teresa nodded, hiding a strong flash of anger. He had hurt Mary deeply.
Mary continued shaking beside her until the tea was ready. Teresa rose and poured the tea, handing the larger cup gently to Mary.
Mary took a sip, her eyes haunted. “When will this stop, Teresa?”
“I don’t know, Mary. You haven’t had one of those nightmares for months though… right?”
Mary nodded. “The last o-one was about a m-m-month before Benjamin and I started dating.”
Teresa flexed a bit, trying to wake herself up more so she could listen.
“Do you think that any of them would track me down?” Mary whispered, looking at Teresa with fear in her eyes.
“Why would they, Mary?” she replied gently.
“What if they approach me again, or I’m truly forced somehow to be with them? And this dream was about Jeremy… oh, sis, what if he comes after you?”
“He won’t,” Teresa said firmly. “Last time we saw each other, I turned him into a mouse and left him in a box by his own front door for his roommate to find. Unless he wants a repeat, or something worse, he won’t get anywhere near either of us.
“But what if he wants revenge?” she asked, her voice shaky.
“Then he has to get past Ferlen and Benjamin. And both of them would protect us.”
Mary nodded slowly, wrapping a blanket around herself.
Teresa watched her closely. “I know you told Benjamin about your history- but have you told him about your nightmares?”
Mary shook her head. “He wouldn’t understand.”
“Why not?” Teresa pressed gently.
“I don’t want to concern him about me any more than he already is- he’s seen me have more than one breakdown about what happened to Ph-Phoebe.” She wrapped the blanket tighter. “I don’t want him to think there’s nothing he can do. And I don’t want him to question how I can fully love him and still have all these guys pressing in my head.”
Teresa let out a slow breath. She completely understood Mary’s need to let Benjamin she think she was okay… she would be a hypocrite to suggest anything different. “From what I’ve seen of Benjamin, he’d be able to understand and sort that out.” She paused. “I just thought you told me that you wanted to be honest with everything with him….”
“The real things. Not some stupid dreams.”
“Then you have no reason to be concerned with my own nightmares,” she said with a small shrug.
Mary sighed.
Teresa looked seriously at her. “What can I do to ease your worries about those guys?”
“I really don’t know, sis. And the worst part is that I know it’s stupid.”
“Not, it’s not.” Teresa’s voice was quiet but firm. “You’ll probably never forget everything that’s happened to you. Mary-”
“Why did it even happen?” Mary turned a desperate gaze toward her sister. “What good was supposed to come out of all that?”
"I don’t know exactly why, Mary. But I do know that, like your illness, your relationship history has fueled your compassion for others. It’s also given Benjamin a reason to protect you.”
“I guess that makes sense,” Mary said slowly.
Teresa gently pulled Mary in for a hug. “With the way your relationship with Benjamin is going, he’ll be number one in your life soon, if he isn’t already.” She gave an understanding smile. “How you deal with your nightmares and troubling thoughts is completely up to you. But don’t let your past hinder your ability to do what’s best for Benjamin, and for herself.”
Mary hugged her back, taking deep breaths as she calmed herself down completely.