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[personal profile] just2hands
Dancing barefoot on glass shards would be easier than coming home some days. The bizarre thing was that no one actually had to be home at the time, and the feelings would still be there, emotions weighing down the apartment like someone had changed the gravity under the carpets. The tension was so think that it was hard to breathe, and Anika had actually started holding her breath from the front door to the time she made it to her room. If someone was there, she'd wave as she went by, her eyes downward, her shoulders hunched against an invisible weight as she made a bee-line to her bedroom.

Ani could breath when she got to her room, and she did, as soon as the door was closed. She would lean against it, taking in huge gulps of air, letting out spent oxygen that she'd held from the time she unlocked the front door. It was only then that she would strip off her hat, her jacket and scarf. Her sweater and turtle-neck shirt under that, allowing her arms to be blessedly free at last. And finally came her gloves.

Out there it was no longer a battlefield of emotions, it was more like a cold war. In her room it was peaceful. Out there? She could walk by and accidentally become one side or another of a feuding faction - or at the least she would end up as a civilian casualty. In here? In here she could try to forget the stress that was tearing her family apart. And she would wonder to herself for the hundredth time, why the hell she bothered coming home at all. She'd always been able to lose herself in her work before, pushing her body and mind to the edges of exhaustion, but succeeding in pushing away the pain and sorrow, the chaos of her personal world.

Now though? She found herself leaving her office or the lab only an hour or so after everyone else had gone. She found herself home at night instead of sleeping on the couch in the sleep lab. Why she came home, she didn't know. Most times she'd end up back here in her room. But she was here. That counted, right? Here if or when her family needed her.

Only this time she wasn't sure that they actually did need her at all. Neph was gone most of the time. Logan was - oh Logan. If she could have gotten away with saying beaten and bruised on the inside, she would have. But that was a professional opinion. Ashley didn't come around often, and when he did it was to glower and ask after Nephele. Onida was here, then gone, then visiting with her new, strange companions, then gone again.

Ani hurt for all of them, and felt helpless to help any of them. And she felt so alone, stuck on the outside, with no one to talk to. Talk to? Hell, no one to listen to either. And for the life of her, she couldn't understand why she felt the need to have to be home, when no one else bothered. And where she, and everyone else, felt so lost and miserable.
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