((I wrote Brainbent fic again, not accidentally. I was thinking about/planning on writing this some months ago, because I was dealing with something similar although on a much more mild scale. Things got better pretty quickly, but I decided to write and submit it anyway for anyone else reading this AU who maybe feels like this sometimes, seeing how some of the readerfic in this AU has resonated with people in the past, and since I’m working on writing more fanfic anyway. Hope you enjoy.))
Your name is Aradia Medigo, and you are not really sure you can be 0k with this.
You’re used to it, sort of: it’s been years, so you’d have to be, but that ‘sort of’ is key because you’re still just a little but sad every time. A little bit disappointed, a little bit angry at no one, a little bit surprised, for no good reason, because you weren’t actually expecting anything else… maybe just hoping for it.
It’s not his fault, and you don’t blame him. He’s trying hard, you know that, and you appreciate that, and you’re willing to give him time. And he’s doing the right things for himself, and he’s got people in his life who’ll help him through this, who’ll do it time and time again. You think sometimes that this ought to make it easier: that he, at least, has resources where so many others do not. Except no matter how much you want it to, it doesn’t. You wish there was more you could do.
You know that doing any more than what you’re doing right now, which is just being a support, would be too much and in no time at all you’d be veering off into codependency territory, a line you are very very careful in treading. You also know that it’s enough, as he reminds you fairly constantly. Honestly, you get tired of hearing how good you are to him, how thankful he is for you, how he’s not sure he could do this without you. It’s not that you don’t appreciate the sentiment, and knowing he’s grateful makes it easier to carry on with your day, with your lives when they are in disarray like how they are now. But it’s the way he says it. “Thank you tho much for putting up with me and my bullthhit, AA, I don’t know why you do thith for me.” You’ve had this talk. You’ve had it a few times. You’ve had it recently enough that he knows you don’t think of him as simply a burden. So even if that bothers you, it’s not what’s really bothering you.
It’s not about Sollux. It’s about you. It’s about the fact that no matter how many times this happens, and regardless of whether he’s doing the right thing, and even if you believe with your whole heart that he’ll get through this like he always does and one day even be all right on his own, it doesn’t change the fact that this sucks and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. And you have never felt more helpless.
You still visit him every day, or nearly every day. And it’s not like this is the first time he’s been to St. Lobaf’s. You know the whole staff, you’ve met most of the other patients in passing. So you figure ought to feel at place there by now. But you don’t. You, with your neurotypical brain and your happy family and all your little and big privileges can never and will never quite feel at place in a place like that. You can read every book, every Wikipedia article, on bipolar and mental illness and treatment options that you can scrounge up, and you have, oh God but you have. And when that isn’t enough, and it never is, you can sit him down next to you and have just talk about it, explain it in his own words without interference from scientific terms that are not in your field or his. But you will never, ever really understand. You don’t actually want to, thinking what it would mean if you did. Still, watching him suffer, and being incapable of understanding what he’s feeling when he does, is awful.
You can’t understand it. You can’t make it go away. All you can do is be there for him when he needs you, be his best friend.
Shouldn’t a best friend be able to do more?
You talked to CD about this, once, on a particularly bad day, when you were so near to tears you couldn’t stand it. Of all people, you thought he’d understand, and you knew he was an excellent shoulder to cry on. He didn’t have much to offer you that you didn’t already know: it’s enough, don’t push yourself too hard, we’re all doing our best, we’re so grateful to have you around. But it made you feel better just to talk to someone who understood what it was like, because he’d been there himself. As consolation for your mutual helplessness, he offered you a card with a phone number on it. A support group for loved ones of those struggling with depression or other mental illness. It surprised you at first… you were the lucky ones, what did you need a support group for? But you figured it was worth a shot. You only went a few times before the company kept there turned you off too much, but on days like today, when nothing is as okay as you might say it is and you just feel completely useless, you think about it, and you feel a little bit better.
You get back from an excursion to your current digging site where you couldn’t get your mind off of these thoughts to an email from Sollux. It wasn’t that different than what you usually get from him… some bitching about facility rules, some bitching about Karkat, some bitching about Gamzee, all of it laced with hidden affection that you’re too smart by now not to spot. About halfway through, you pause.
“rl got another letter back from her mother twoday, 2he and kn were in their room for liike an hour talkiing, iit pii22e2 me off 2o much 2ometiime2 when ii hear about everyone’2 parent2.
gue22 ii’m 2ort of lucky iin one way at lea2t.”
You close the email and bookmark it in your inbox. This way, the next time you have a bad day, you’ll know where to go to feel better about it.
Even if you’re not exactly happy about this, you think you might just be 0k with it after all.