Part 75: Interview 37 BonusBarracks 37 - Fracture
It is a calm evening in the Green Earth barracks. The celebrations for successfully saving Orange Star had lasted for some hours, but with more battles to come in the morning, most soldiers had retired early. The only ones that remain are Mulligan and Howard, enjoying a drink around the tables outside of the barracks.
The balmy evening means it is comfortably warm outside, and the last vestiges of sunset provide just enough light to see by. The door to the barracks opens, and Sebastian steps out, looking a little lost. He catches sight of the two men, and meanders over to them.
“Sebastian, isn’t it?” Mulligan says. “Is everything alright?”
“Um. Sort of. I… I was actually kind of looking for someone to talk to. It’s about Addy.”
Mulligan’s tone grows serious, and Howard nods.
“You can always talk to us. What do you need?” Howard says.
Sebastian slumps in his seat.
“I… Amarah told me the other day that Adelaide might be controlling me. Like, emotionally, I mean.” he murmurs. “And I didn’t believe it, but then she was saying all these things about you guys. Saying that the guys just want to steal my money and don’t want to be my friends, and that the girls want to steal me, and… that’s not true, right?”
“Look at me, Sebastian.” Mulligan says gently. “I don’t want to tell you what you can and can’t believe. But you must ensure that you are happy. And if somebody tells you that only they can make you happy, they are, unfortunately, lying. Happiness comes from satisfaction, and satisfaction comes from family, friends and romance. Good food, and a nice book. A party, or a quiet walk. No one thing, or person can make someone happy.”
“Me and Mulligan are happy together, but we don’t spend all our time together.” Howard replies. “I keep in touch with my friends from Orange Star. I hang out with Matilda, Noah and the others. I watch shows that Mulligan doesn’t like when he’s away.”
Mulligan nods. “And I do much the same. I love Howard, but I also love walking in nature. Howard’s never up in the morning, so I usually do that on my own. My friend Cassandra is like a sister to me, and she makes me happy too. Spending time playing cards with Edgar and the Old Guard is good. All of those things combined make me happy.”
Sebastian nods. He seems to be battling thoughts inside himself, but he places a shaking hand on the table.
“I… I figured. I just needed someone to confirm it. I want to make friends with people, and I… never feel like I can. She’s always there, and I love her, but… maybe I don’t love her. Maybe I want to break up with her.”
“Breaking up with her doesn’t mean you don’t love her.” Howard says, taking a drink. “Because you love her, you want her to be happy. And you know that whatever’s going on right now, it’s not working. Separation might be what is needed to make you both happy, even if in the short term it hurts.”
“R-right. I’m going to talk to her.”
“Just make sure you break it to her gently.” Mulligan says, but Sebastian is already striding off.
“Just like that?” Howard asks. Mulligan shakes his head.
“I have a feeling his mind was already made up when he spoke to us. He just didn’t quite understand why his mind had come to that conclusion.”
“Hope things work out.” Howard says darkly.
“They’re young. Things usually do for the young.” Mulligan replies. He turns back to Howard and takes his hand. “Now then… are you going to hog all the drink, or can I have a pint?”
“Heh. Alright, here.”
It’s about half an hour later when Cassandra hears the noise of running feet and sobbing. This is followed by a slammed door, which Cassandra soon locates; the door of the kitchen area has been shut tight, and as she eases it open, she spots Adelaide on the floor.
“I… I don’t want to see anyone right now!” Adelaide cries. She looks up and spots Cassandra, and quails in the face of a much older and more experienced woman. She shrinks away a little. “...Me and Seb. Broke up. Just now.”
“Oh, heavens. I’m sorry.” Cassandra murmurs. She kneels down besides Adelaide. “What happened?”
“He said he… he wanted to talk. And then he…” Adelaide sobbed. “Said I was too clingy, too c-controlling, and he wanted the chance to make friends with other people. I said he was seeing another girl, and he refused, b-but I know that’s what he’s done! That’s why he’s e-ending things!”
“I can’t say for sure what’s gone on. But based on what I’ve not seen, he may have a point.” Cassandra says, as gently as possible. Adelaide lifts her head up.
“What you’ve… not seen?”
“Sebastian is almost never around. I see him on the battlefield, but he never speaks. He never comes into the barracks rooms, or joins us for meals. I barely see him in the corridors. He doesn’t seem to have any friends. Or have any fun.”
“We-we have fun!” Adelaide says. “He… h-he and I are all we need. Why would we n-need friends when they’re all just a bunch of l-losers and l-liars!”
Cassandra sits besides Adelaide, and listens to her ongoing monologue as she cries. Slowly, she becomes more coherent, crying less, and soon, she’s simply sniffling as she cuddles up close to Cassandra.
“I… I kind of did keep him locked up, h-huh? Oh, god, I’m such an idiot...”
“It’s good that you’ve recognised what you did wrong.” Cassandra says. “Why do you think you did that, Adelaide?”
“I… w-was an outcast in military academy…” Adelaide murmurs. “S-Sebastian was the only thing that m-made me happy, so I figured that I was the o-only thing that made him happy…”
“You can’t pin all of your happiness on one person.” Cassandra says, her mind thinking about her brother-in-arms Mulligan, and the heartache she endured during her service in Orange Star. “You’re not in military academy anymore. You’re amongst people who genuinely want to be friends with you. You aren’t alone.”
Adelaide looks deep into Cassandra’s caring eyes, and tries to hold back her tears once more.
“Wh-what about Seb?”
“I don’t know what’s going to happen there. But the first step is to recognise that it’s over. It’s OK to feel sad during this step. It’s natural, in fact. But that’s why you have girlfriends.”
Cassandra nods, smiling at Adelaide. She stands up and proffers her hand - Adelaide takes it, and is momentarily surprised at Cassandra’s strength as she pulls her upright.
“Let’s go find some of the girls, get some ice cream, and talk about things, shall we?”
“That s-sounds nice…”