Holland Keene
So nice to have me back where I belong
Fri Apr 6, 2018 13:39

Although Little Shop of Horrors rehearsal had yet to resume this early into term Holland wanted to work on the costumes without the “help” of their assistant or their assistant’s assistant. What Kit possessed in genuine craftiness and skill, she was equally distractible, impulsive, and accidentally destructive. Darby was as helpful with costume design as one would expect an arachnid to be outside of an E. B. White novel. Holland always got the feeling that they were being watched when the tarantula was around, although that could just be due to the eight eyes or to Holland’s usual thoughts about surveillance.

Holland made their way to the theater, attired in black jeans, a grey blazer, and a red graphic t-shirt. The shirt had been a gift from Danny; it was printed with a cartoon of a cirrate octopus as a flapjack, with syrup and a pat of butter. He’d also, for Christmas, given them a small solar crystal that glowed in the dark after exposure to sunlight. It was the coolest, weirdest, most beautiful thing Holland owned. Danny was difficult to shop for (what did you get someone who had loads of money and limited impulse control about it?) but Holland felt compelled to step up their gift-giving game. For Christmas they’d given Danny a nonfiction book about magical methods of communication; his current Spellwork project involved long-distance magical communication, so the two of them had recently discussed the subject the way they often discussed magical concepts. They thought it was a good gift, but not especially wowing. In the future, Holland wanted to wow.

They were on the stage measuring the platform for the largest iteration of the Audrey II puppet (it would require some collaboration between the costumers, set designer Maverick, prop manager Keith, and Ruben to develop) when Holland heard someone greet them. They turned to see Claudia Dubois approaching the stage. Huh. Her speaking to them was new. “Hi,” Holland replied cautiously, like they were trying to coax a mooncalf to take food from their hand.

Claudia had avoided them for most of last semester, so Holland didn’t force the issue, even in classes like Arithmancy in which they were two of only nine students. When they had seen each other during midterm, Claudia had sustained conversations with Holland if prompted, which was a promising sign. Holland had still not been sure that this effect would extend outside the social context of having to appear polite in front of her parents.

Overall they thought—and Danny agreed—and Alex and Ivy Dubois apparently didn’t disagree tremendously—that that dinner had gone well. To start with, no one had gotten hexed. Holland hadn’t thought a duel was likely, per se, but they hadn’t been comfortable ruling anything out given how midterm had begun for Danny. The evening had, they felt, held more ignored tension than would be allowed to just sit at a Keene gathering (Holland’s nuclear family, at least, was inclined to air their grievances rather than sit in a room with an unaddressed erumpent) but Holland hadn’t felt as unwelcome or uncomfortable as they’d expected to, for the most part.

The only thing that had been very weird was how different Danny was at home. Of course people acted differently around their parents versus peers—they were familiar with the concept of code-shifting—but Holland was sure that they didn’t act that differently around Monty and Bryony Keene. It was weird seeing Danny interact with his family in a way that was both familiar and stiff. It was weird hearing him called ‘Dardanius’ like that was what he was called, not like one of their friends was teasing or mock-scolding him. And it was weird how quickly, when it was just the two of them in his family’s library, he had switched back to normal. Although, Holland had reflected, maybe that was normal Danny, and the RMI version wasn’t the default. But that was the weirdest thing of all to think about, so they didn’t for very long.

Claudia, though, was almost exactly the same at home as at school. Almost. Holland doubted her current ensemble choices would go without comment at home. “No problem. I can understand not wanting your parents to know everything about your life here.” Holland told their parents most details about their life at RMI, but Monty and Bryony were open with their child in return. Open was not how they would describe Claudia’s mother and father. “I meant the offer, but you already knew that. You look nice,” they added. If Claudia had decided to be polite now, Holland wanted to do the same.

  • Hello, Holland - Claudia Dubois, Fri Apr 6 11:07
    A couple of months ago, Claudia had seriously considered transferring out of Rocky Mountain and attending a more elite school closer to home, where she would have liked-minded peers and could see her ... more
    • So nice to have me back where I belong - Holland Keene, Fri Apr 6 13:39
      • You're looking well... for now. - Claudia, Fri Apr 6 16:01
        Whilst Holland favorably accepted her apology without fuss, Claudia was affronted by the implication that she did not want her parents to know everything about her life. It sounded like Holland was... more
        • Is that a compliment or a threat? - Holland, Fri Apr 6 17:52
          Holland frowned slightly in disagreement. Clearly Claudia did mind her parents knowing everything—knowing about her appearance choices at school, at least—or she would have told them more. Holland... more
          • It’s open to interpretation - Claudia, Sat Apr 7 09:50
            For the first time since receiving news about this debacle in October, Claudia felt some spark of optimism. She felt remiss in not bringing her concerns to Holland sooner, as they were clearly the... more
            • But my answer isn’t - Holland, Sat Apr 7 12:54
              Ah. This made more sense than an apology. Holland took a moment to collect their thoughts. They had prepared for this conversation. Not for Claudia in particular—the argument had been drafted with... more
              • Then I’ll repeat the question - Claudia, Sat Apr 7 14:35
                Claudia was disappointed, but not entirely surprised by Holland’s obstinate resolution to continue to date Danny, despite apparently knowing all along the damage they were causing to Claudia and her... more
                • No means no - Holland, Sun Apr 8 02:05
                  Something shifted. Holland had thought their response was—well, reasonable. For what it was worth, they had only been trying to explain that they wouldn’t acquiesce to Claudia’s request. It probably... more
                  • I ought to respect that - Claudia, Sun Apr 8 09:35
                    Claudia resented Holland talking about Danny not being ‘straight’ - even the word itself implied that was the normal order of things - like they suddenly knew everything about him. The fourth year... more
                    • But are you going to? - Holland, Sun Apr 8 10:52
                      Holland managed not to scoff at Claudia’s assertion that they had talked Danny out of kowtowing to pureblood society: they did not agree. That dissatisfaction had preceded Danny and Holland’s... more
                      • Not so much - Claudia, Sun Apr 8 14:37
                        She had not anticipated Marley being brought into the conversation; Claudia knew her cheeks were burning at the mention of her ex-best friend’s name - there were some emotional responses that were... more
                        • I have to insist - Holland, Sun Apr 8 16:12
                          [ OOC: Effects of the spell confirmed by Claudia’s author, all godmodding approved. Content warning for homophobia/transphobia. ] The instant the spell struck, the benefits of Claudia’s society... more
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