"I'm just saying that even though Lily has lied so often in the past, she appears to be telling the whole truth now. Even though Ashley may know how to lie because of Lily, she also has observed how to tell the truth."
As much as it would be nice to escape because of a potion, or escape into a Muggle movie, she knew it was probably best to let herself keep thinking about all this for now- or else it would creep back into her mind later. She reached to give him a gentle kiss. "You get some sleep," she murmured. "I'll be just fine."
About a quarter of an hour had passed since Ferlen had lied down next to her. She thought she knew what she wanted to say now... but if Ferlen was asleep now, she would try to push it out of her mind... write it down, then take a sleeping potion. "Are you still awake?" she whispered.
"Umm..." Just let Ferlen sleep, one part of her brain argued. If you don't talk now, you probably won't for a long time, the other side argued. "I... think I want to talk. But only if you're not too sleepy," she added quickly.
"Yes, I did, Ferlen," she said slowly. "I kept my work with the Cruciatus Curse a secret... and sometimes I lied to keep it that way. In the end, I couldn't keep you away... just as Lily couldn't keep Ashley away."
She sighed and met his gaze. "I did lie to your face. I made up all kinds of excuses when you noticed I looked tired. I made up stories about why I came home from work late, why I didn't wait for you at the office. You had asked me before if everything was okay... and until the night I told you everything, I always said yes."
She measured her response carefully. "I think I've started down a shadowed path I can't go back from, and that I'm already tiptoeing the line. If I am like Lily...." She trailed off, firmly shutting down the emotion that was fighting to break through.
"I can't rid myself of the Dark knowledge I already possess. And I've already changed... probably irreversibly. My Patronus is no longer a lion; it's a badger. I have too much control over my emotions... I can almost dictate when to feel something. I don't think I can change any of that back."
"I disagree. I think you've just been so exposed...and it's like a sickness and you're showing all the symptoms. ...but if you beat it...aren't exposed again, you can heal and go back to how you were."
She was quiet for a few moments as she processed that. "I'm not sure I want to stop," she admitted in a whisper. "If I did stop... if I even found that I was able to... what would be the point of it all?"
"Because I know that there are ways I can use the knowledge for good, if I'm careful and if I think it through. I could do it better, if I did it out of love, and if I made trust and honesty a foundation."
"...and I think it might be a slippery slope. I'm not saying it won't be useful...but you might end up hurting yourself or those around you to get there...and it may not be worth it." He would hesitate. "I guess I assumed after you were done with this occlumency and the cruciatius curse, you'd be done..."
"I thought so too... until realized how much I'd changed... and how I could help Lily. I knew more about soul magic than I thought... and I have more information at my disposal. I didn't realize how much I'd picked up on." She bit her lip. "I am afraid of hurting others... and I know you disagree, but I can't see a way to change back to the person I was before."
"I don't know how to make it any different," she murmured. She propped herself up and looked at him. "I can try to stop... try to cleanse my mind, like you're saying... I just don't know how... and if it can't really be done, then... what am I supposed to do?"
He would prop himself up too to look into her face. He looked worried. "I guess I just don't understand. I feel like it's a decision...like choosing to walk on the sidewalk or in the street. If you choose to stay on the sidewalk...you will. It seems really simple to me. Obviously you don't feel the same."
She slowly shook her head. "It's not that simple. Look at my Patronus... a Patronus is a reflection of the soul. The exposure to the Dark Arts has already done its damage... changed the essence of who I am."
He would nod. "Yet...not quite all of those traits seem to fit me. I wouldn't really call myself pure or innocent, at least not anymore. Maybe that means not every traits of your patronus has to apply to you either."
He would frown, giving a shrug. "I just....don't know how to help you. ...and I'm worried about you. ...and I love you." He would look at her, his face etched with worry. "I don't just want to tell you you can't keep doing what your doing...but I want to protect you."