But you’re still all talk
Sat Jan 27, 2018 20:11

How was that fair? All dating was a maybe. You went on a date to see if maybe you liked each other enough in that way to go on another date, and if you still liked each other then maybe the relationship progressed. Even marriage was—well, Holland had a lot of opinions about marriage, the negative ones influenced by thousands of years of human history and patriarchy and heteronormativity, the positive ones by the relationship between Monty and Bryony Keene—but marriage was not an absolute either. It was a contract of partnership, as long as both partners could uphold their promises, and if that didn’t work out then people got divorced. It still seemed like a maybe to Holland. Maybe a couple would stay together for the rest of their lives, as was the intention of traditional marriage, or maybe they wouldn’t.

Holland was more convinced of their feelings now than they had been last week, but they resented Danny’s objection. Danny might be sure of his feelings for them, but so what? “Even if I was sure, I can’t guarantee things would work out,” Holland retorted. Holland could be one hundred percent sure now they wanted to date Danny; that wouldn’t necessarily mean anything in the long term. Danny and Marissa had seemed one hundred percent sure when they started dating, too, and Marissa had changed her mind.

Right. And that was what Danny was afraid of. Fair or not, dating Holland had potential to affect his life, in ways dating Marissa wouldn’t, in areas that didn’t even exist for Holland. The Keenes were hardly going to make a fuss if Holland dated a wizarding aristocrat. Holland had nothing on the scope of what hung in the balance for Danny to lose. (And that was a situation in which there were relationship guarantees: when you skipped dating, got betrothed right out of high school, and made a formal arrangement with someone and their family, that was a guarantee.)

Holland attempted to reassess. Danny had real concerns. Holland understood that. But how were they supposed to make an absolute statement, and why would they want to? What was going to happen? Then nothing. Say they considered things and then elected to—whatever. Danny could change his mind and decide that actually, he did want to choose his family after all. Holland wasn’t going to put themself in a relationship situation in which they were the clear second choice to anything. Conversely, Holland could change their mind, or things could just not work out for any other reason, and that would screw Danny over even more, which they also didn’t want even if the circumstances were archaic.

This was so much more complicated than Holland wanted to deal with at this stage. They were used to thinking about convoluted scenarios with twisting, nebulous answers, but they didn’t want their love life to be one of those things. The implied obverse—that Danny would want to consider it if Holland was sure—didn’t persuade them to make a call.

But the way he’d said he was sure made them quick-pulsed and light-headed. Holland sighed, exasperated, and passed a hand through their lavender hair. “We couldn’t just go on a date without you having to… consider things?” It seemed so manageable of a next step that Holland wasn’t nervous suggesting it. If they went on a date, Holland and Danny could see whether they actually needed to consider anything. They might discover they had no chemistry and realize they’d been worked up for no reason. Holland looked at Danny and decided that was unlikely. Okay, or things could go the other way, and they’d actually be motivated to consider things. But without that, Holland didn’t see a way of progressing.

  • That sounds like an encouragement - Danny, Sat Jan 27 14:18
    Danny blinked. “I don’t know,” he replied, almost automatically, feeling like a mooncalf caught in wandlight. He hadn’t thought about it - he hadn’t realized there was any reason for him to think... more
    • But you’re still all talk - Holland, Sat Jan 27 20:11
      • I feel some discussion is warranted - Danny, Sun Jan 28 06:22
        He hadn’t given much thought to pulling Holland aside for this conversation: he had been driven by distraction, and confusion. If forced to give a reason for being in the passages at that moment he... more
        • Talk is cheap - Holland, Sun Jan 28 11:40
          “Right,” Holland said curtly, ignoring the sinking sensation in their stomach. “ I don’t know wasn’t the same as “no,” but it was close enough. Holland had never asked anyone out before (well, there... more
          • So show me some action - Danny, Sun Jan 28 15:38
            Danny emitted a vexed huff of dissatisfaction. He understood why Holland wasn’t thrilled with that response, but what did they want him to say? That sure they could just go on a few dates like nobody ... more
            • Is that a proposition? - Holland, Sun Jan 28 20:34
              Holland once again had the feeling, like they had gotten last year in the Lyra practice room, that they were having this conversation wrong—like they were being tested on a chapter they hadn’t... more
              • Let's say Yes - Danny, Mon Jan 29 09:53
                “I am interested .” Finally Holland had said something definitive. “I like you.” The tightness in Danny’s chest was alleviated, and it was sensational to hear those words spoken, but they did not... more
                • I can’t just yet - Holland, Mon Jan 29 12:41
                  Holland sighed. Sure, now that Danny had said they should both just forget about this and Holland had agreed, why not explore a scenario in which they had gone on successful dates and wanted to keep... more
                  • Tease - Danny, Tue Jan 30 06:44
                    “Right,” he agreed immediately that Holland had practise handling situations. They had previously discussed that dating was easier for Danny than it was for Holland; just because it was suddenly less ... more
                    • You started it - Holland, Tue Jan 30 12:05
                      “I remember,” Holland said, in a tone suggesting there was no need for elaboration. First-year Holland had been able to handle first-year Danny well enough for him to get over his prejudicial... more
                      • You can finish it - Danny, Tue Jan 30 14:29
                        Holland laughed at Danny’s suggestion, which was definitely a reasonable reaction, although it also sounded suspiciously like Holland wasn’t instinctively and immediately ruling out that option. “But ... more
                        • I think I will - Holland, Tue Jan 30 15:35
                          Danny took Holland’s hand, and they had that sensation of being shocked again, like a shudder that went all the way down to the base of their spine. After the whole intense circuitous conversation... more
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