I clung to your hands so that something human might exist in the chaos.
—Hélène Cixous, "Olivier de Serres—A Single Passion, Two Witnesses" from Love Itself: In the Box
YOU'RE SO DETERMINED, people have always told Cassiopeia Wallace ever since she was little, youngest of six children, only daughter after five sons. She has heard it in voices coated in admiration and pride — her friends — and others sometimes mixed between endearment and amusement — her brothers, when feeling particularly vengeful over one fight or another, and adults of minds so little that dreams like hers sound incomprehensible.
Either way, it is still true. She's never been shy about what she wants, her big plans; she's no stranger to her ambitious desires, her overwhelming feelings. She is, perhaps, too familiar with them. At night she tends to lie awake and picture herself, matured, independent, talented and rewarded for it, owner of the knowledge of freedom's taste on her tongue and the way it cloys in the mouth. At night is also when her impatience becomes hardest to tame.
Yes, Cassiopeia knows what she wants: to stretch towards the light like a flower seeks out the sun because it needs it to grow. She's ready for it to happen, has been ready for years. She wants to be good, she wants to be useful, she wants to help. Her future is something sure because her hope has shaped it firm and unshakeable.
It feels inevitable.
Except darkness is inevitable, too.
Control slips away from Cassiopeia until she's left spinning, dizzy and lost, but she doesn't need to choose what side she'll be on when all hell breaks loose, because it was never a question to begin with: Cassiopeia is going to be good, and she is going to be useful, and she is going to help. She is, after all, determined.
And that includes helping Remus Lupin. That feels inevitable but in a different, helpless way.
(In retrospect, when she can look back on it, she'll allow herself to wonder. She thinks she will always see him, and feel her chest rattle, and stretch out her arm to offer him her hand. Cassiopeia will always want to help him. And he will take her hand in his, will pull her down to him, close close close until she melts into him...)
It turns out the future can be shaken and burnt and destroyed, but it can be rebuilt, too, and Cassiopeia knows nothing at all.