Holland Keene
It only knocks once
Tue Jun 12, 2018 16:21

With seventh year winding down, Holland had gone to Pearl Street for what they suspected would be the last trip there before they were an RMI alum. (Monty and Bryony Keene were going to take Holland—and Emmett, who was an honorary Keene for the occasion—out for dinner on Pearl Street soon, but that would be after graduation.) They’d chosen an outdoor table to enjoy their turkey club wrap and iced coffee on this warm, sunny day.

It was June, which meant that Pittsburgh Pride would be happening when they got home. Some of the usual Pride events were over-the-top for Holland, but they’d still participated in the kid-and-teen-friendly events over the last ten years, usually accompanied by their parents. This year they were eighteen, and they had a few acquaintances from the queer cafe downtown, Rainbow Connection (slogan: “the java, the creamers, and you”), with whom they could probably go, so there were more options. If the timing worked out, they might invite Danny to one of the more low-key events. Pride didn’t seem like it would really be his thing (bright colors and lots of people, yes; open discussions of sexuality, less) but he’d liked going to Rainbow Connection over midterm, so Holland would ask. It was fun to take him to explicitly queer spaces. Marissa would definitely be interested too, and she didn’t have summer plans as far as Holland was aware; they should invite her as well.

Despite Holland’s best efforts, it had been decided that Rose would not be living with Holland and Marissa after all. Holland had mixed feelings about that, and about the ongoing tension between the two Aquilas. But Marissa would be a fun roommate, and she and Holland had already started discussing how to decorate the common areas of their future apartment; Holland was looking forward to moving in with her in August.

The arrival of Claudia at their table surprised them—she had yet to voluntarily approach them since the fight—but they were in broad daylight in public, and Holland could get a Shield Charm up faster than Claudia could cast. Even Holland couldn’t perceive her as a serious threat under those circumstances. They still glanced quickly at Annie Ehrenstein and Alice Lemont, who they’d noticed at a table nearby earlier. You always wanted witnesses. The girls were still there, and after an initial spike of suspicion when Claudia drew her wand, Holland managed to relax more as Claudia set it on the table, aimed at herself.

I don’t understand it. You.” Holland didn’t know what to say to that. Was it just their identity she didn’t understand, or something else? Regardless, Holland didn’t need or expect Claudia to understand them, as long as she just treated them with respect. Before they had an opportunity to respond, Claudia continued with a real apology. Last time she had only apologized for her attempt to convince them to break up with Danny, which had been far less upsetting than the spell. If it weren’t for her using that spell against them, the semester would have gone a bit differently.

“Thank you,” Holland replied after a pause, and their tone wasn’t quite friendly, but it was sincere and warmer than their drink. They weren’t going to brush off Claudia’s apology: first, because she seemed to mean it, and second, because as long as Danny was part of their life, Claudia would peripherally be part of it too. “I’m glad you get that now, even if you don’t understand me. It sounds like the essay helped.”

  • Not an opportunity to be missed [Holland] - Claudia Dubois, Tue Jun 12 13:58
    The end of term had objectively begun to improve for Claudia, although there was still some way to go before she would admit to being anything close to ‘okay.’ If things had to get worse before they... more
    • It only knocks once - Holland Keene, Tue Jun 12 16:21
      • No second chances? - Claudia, Tue Jun 12 16:55
        Claudia waited nervously for Holland to react. She didn’t think they would cause a scene here on Pearl Street, which was partly what had driven Claudia to have this conversation right here and now,... more
        • I might make an exception - Holland, Wed Jun 13 15:36
          Despite wanting to interject something several times, Holland managed to remain silent throughout Claudia’s explanation. They wouldn’t have argued that their identity was completely irrelevant to... more
          • Now I feel special - Claudia, Thu Jun 14 06:23
            Holland had allowed Claudia to get through the things that she wanted to say to them, which was ideal because otherwise she might have forgotten parts or become sidetracked by less relevant debates,... more
            • But no third chances - Holland, Thu Jun 14 12:05
              Holland had thought Claudia would demurely defer the offer for answers. Instead, they were pleasantly surprised by her unleashing a barrage of questions. It was as though she had been saving them up... more
              • Duly noted - Claudia, Thu Jun 14 16:11
                If she had realized Holland would start to answer her questions right there and then, Claudia would not have asked them: she was only intending to give them an idea of the things she was pondering,... more
                • I don’t think you’ll need one - Holland, Fri Jun 15 01:45
                  Claudia probably didn’t know that she had brought up a point of contention in the trans community. Trans people were often expected to perform hyperfemininity or hypermasculinity to “prove” that they ... more
                  • “Not letting society dictate how gender should be expressed and experienced is a good ideal, and it’s worth striving for,” Holland said. Until this year Claudia had not given much, if any, thought to ... more
                    • Can I guesstimate them? - Holland, Sat Jun 16 01:10
                      “You don’t get to choose the society you’re born into, but you still have choices about how you participate in that society,” Holland said patiently. “If you attend a ball with your family, you can... more
                      • How are you at divination? - Claudia, Sat Jun 16 15:47
                        Holland breezed over agreeing that you could be born into a society, but Claudia didn’t miss it (in fact she considered that it would be easier to discuss things with them if they just allowed her to ... more
                        • I dropped it - Holland, Mon Jun 18 15:17
                          “ Or it’s a quick way to become unpopular and ostracized. ” Holland had nothing reassuring to tell Claudia about that. Yes, that was a possibility, maybe even the most likely outcome, even in this... more
                          • That's why you didn't see this coming - Claudia, Tue Jun 19 15:41
                            Claudia didn’t see how her current community could thrive on equality in the proportions Holland was advocating. She was confident there were many social prejudices that did not apply to her... more
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