The thing about Madeline is that she’s not that trustworthy when you consider you’ve got to extend her trust to every damn female with the last name Cross somewhere in there. Juniper Cross is an emotional, judgmental individual who chooses safety consistently over any other benefit: health, joy, friendship, love; she chooses safety over duty, over honor, over family, over self; she chooses safety to a point where she’s a cartoon, standing in the corner with a heavy metal buckler and shaking knees, knife extended, blindly stabbing towards what she can only imagine is the heart of the threat. Luckily, Madeline loves Juniper in the only way someone can: Carefully, quietly, and with minimal detail.
Alex chose danger the way Juniper chose safety: everytime her parents grew closer and closer to that stereotypical snap hidden in the back story of the fiercest fictions, she drew one more adrenaline hit from the edge of the cliff. The way she handles secrets is blood-sport: if she drops this word here and that word there, she risks discovery, destruction, and the devolution of her carefully constructed and artificial concerns. She operates on a cognitive wavelength that can’t perceive this as a violation of trust… after all, isn’t being the one to cause the destruction of your universe just safety in disguise? Don’t worry, mother fuckers, you can’t fire me, I’ll kill myself first?
Laura’s gonna be a doctor, a really good one, but she’s going to have to somehow get over the victim complex she developed as the youngest watching the flowers wilt. When you’re young, you know, there’s this big screen display, flashing opportunity and identity, you’re watching it as often as you’re watching anything else in America, and you’re focused on who you can be and who you will be and who you were—the identity is often victim to the environment of the identity-formers. Fights, violence, destructive safety, chaotic self-protection… she internalized the demage and pain as something that was her due. By thinking she had to carry the scars of her three older sisters to heal them she made herself ideologically convinced that all there is are scars of varying depths and permanency.
At the bottom of the rung is Cherysha, who Madline desperately hopes Frank and Juniper don’t replay their childhood in front of; Cherysha is smart, she’s strong, she’s loud, and she’s Madeline’s secret favorite; and she tells her things that only adults should know, that Laura misinterprets as bragging or insulting or judgmental, the things like you can’t control what others think of you so just think highly of yourself, and you can’t control what others do to you so try not to add to it by hurting yourslf, the things like no one’s going to call you beautiful until you call yourself beautiful first, and if you want to hit someone,
go ahead, but remember, it hurts both sides, the hitter the most, because there’s a little part of you that’s always going to die the more you hit.
The Fowl is common knowledge amongst these women, and he doesn’t even know it, and they’re the most trustworthy family he could potentially own, but it’s not really his choice: and thats’ kind of Madeline’s thing, the thing she developed over time, the secret she holds tight against her chest: if everything falls apart and no one steps up to fix it, then no one is ever fixed. She’s the fixer, and there’s fixers everywhere, and they make those decisions, they decide whose trustworthy, and that’s their reward for always fixing things, that’s their reward for being alone… you can’t be together if you’re busy watching out, if you’ve got to see it all, right? She’s earned it, the right to supercede her judgment over the general will of the people.
(But Madeline wonders this herself, as she lies awake at night: Who fixes the fixer? When do they get to be fixed?)