Holland Keene
I guess that’s my cue
Tue Apr 17, 2018 13:29

After the meeting with Aaron, Claudia had gone crying to Toby, who assigned Holland a month’s detention for bullying a younger student and failing to set a good example. Never mind that the younger student in question had insulted Holland, had implied their identity was something to be ashamed of, had unnecessarily used magic to defend against words, had in effect bullied them because they were gender non-conforming—the administration apparently wanted Holland to take all of this lying down, not defend themself. Why should they? Because they had been awarded Head Student, a position for which they had not applied and had no means of refusing? Because they were older and “supposed to know better”? Holland was reminded of the protest suppression tactic of telling dissenters not to “stoop to the level” of their majority oppressors, expecting peaceful activists to suffer abuse for existing rather than use the tools freely available to their detractors. Holland wanted peace with Claudia; they would not roll over and play the good victim to get it. They would not have the morality of their cause weaponized against them.

Weekly detention for a month wasn’t that bad—especially compared to Claudia’s twice weekly until the end of term—but Holland had never had detention before. Theirs was, apparently, to be the kind of detention where you stared at a wall and did nothing, as opposed to completing a task. They almost would have preferred being forced to learn about pureblood culture; it might give them a future advantage, in a know-thy-enemy way.

Besides their aversion toward being idle, Holland questioned Toby’s wisdom in arranging a scenario in which Holland had to sit in a room with him and was provided nothing to focus on but how much they disliked him. They had resolved to spend their time in detention getting very good at performing small acts of wandless, nonverbal magic. So far they had come up with swapping the covers on his books using Switching Spells and changing the colors of his wall art. At least this way Holland would get something out of their time in detention, and if it confused or bothered Toby when he noticed, all the better. He might just think it was one of the ways the school magic was being unpredictable lately. (No one had been blamed for the lights going out in the library yet, but it was only a matter of time. This administration loved to point fingers.)

Because Holland was over the age of majority, Mr. Tennant had let them choose whether the school informed their parents about the conflict. Holland had asked him not to. The last thing they wanted was for Dad to freak out and try to pull them out of school or implement whatever other form his overprotectiveness took this time. Holland had never been afraid to share anything with Monty and Bryony Keene, and they weren’t going to start now, but they didn’t want to break the illusion that they were safe from discrimination at RMI. Their parents had never had to worry about that before, and that shouldn’t change for the spring semester of their seventh year. Holland had written home saying that they had had an argument with Claudia, that Claudia had used magic and that they had successfully defended against her, and that both of them had gotten detention. Their parents might pick up on the vagueness, but Holland could save details for the Pearl Street visit they were sure their parents would suggest after receiving the letter. It’d be easier to convince Monty and Bryony that they were fine in person.

They were fine. Ish. They were less fine if they thought about the effects of Claudia’s spell, so they didn’t for too long. It had only been a couple of days; that angry-sick feeling would go away sooner or later, they hoped. In the meantime Holland had the support of their friends (Emmett had not even tried to punch anyone yet), some of whom they were having dinner with when Danny approached their table with Claudia in tow.

Holland looked up from their bowl of mushroom risotto to give Danny a significant, suspicious what are you doing? look. Claudia seemed only a bit more uncomfortable than Holland felt, although she probably wasn’t suppressing a fight-or-flight instinct. Danny was clearly putting her up to this, but as Claudia spoke Holland could tell that he hadn’t coached her on what to say: Danny would have come up with a better apology. Claudia had apologized for the least of her actions; trying to persuade Holland to break up with Danny wasn’t as bad as the way in which she’d done it. She hadn’t said she was sorry for using the spell or wrong to have done so, just that she hadn’t known what it would do. Saying she wouldn’t confront either of them again would perhaps help if Holland trusted Claudia to keep her word, but they didn’t.

Still. Holland reminded themself that it wouldn’t help anyone if they were anything other than polite and gracious right now. They straightened in their seat. “Thank you for apologizing, Claudia,” they said, trying to sound warmer toward Claudia than they felt, with limited success. “I appreciate it.” If they were really gracious, they would apologize now too, but Holland wasn’t. They tried to think of something to say that wasn’t a lie. “I hope we can settle our differences more civilly in the future,” Holland said, choosing their words deliberately and looking right at Claudia.

  • Any takers? - Claudia, Sun Apr 15 11:56
    Claudia bit her lower lip. This was stupid. Everything about it was stupid, and Claudia was tired of fighting. She hated that Danny had done this to them, and she wasn’t sure she would ever forgive... more
    • I guess that’s my cue - Holland Keene, Tue Apr 17 13:29
      • Sharing this one - Danny and Claudia, Sat Apr 21 11:56
        The look Holland gave Danny suggested they were not impressed with whatever he had schemed (it didn’t take a paranoid conspiracy theorist to assume Danny had been scheming something when he brought... more
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