Holland Keene
Danny, do you have a minute?
Wed Jan 24, 2018 01:16

For the rest of the summer after the road trip, Holland had questioned whether they actually liked Danny. Holland questioned everything, but they didn’t like uncertainty about their feelings. They liked having specific words to describe concepts and well-vetted sources to support conclusions. Unfortunately, Holland was supposed to be the world’s leading expert on their own emotions, and their findings were inconclusive.

Maybe it was just that they were flattered by someone liking them, and who it was didn’t matter. That was what the argument Holland and Danny had had after the beach party was about. Holland had said themself that they liked feeling liked. And then Danny had almost immediately said he liked them. Was that suspicious? It seemed like something they would normally be suspicious of, but Holland didn’t want to feel suspicious.

If they were only interested in Danny because he’d said he was interested, why weren’t they just crushing on Ruben, who actually flirted with them and didn’t just confess feelings with no intention of action? Was this the same? Ruben had kissed them at the blind date dance, and Holland had liked that, and then all of a sudden they were dating. Holland got the same stomach-flipping feeling when they were around Danny now that they’d had when they were dating Ruben. They weren’t crushing on Ruben now, though, and they didn’t think that was because he was dating Kaye. Clearly the other person’s relationship status didn’t stop Holland from liking someone, because Danny had been dating Marissa.

And that was the biggest reason why none of it had mattered. So what if Holland did like him? Danny was dating another one of their best friends, and even if that weren’t the case, and even though he’d said he liked them like that, it didn’t mean he would want to date Holland. There was a big difference between questioning a system, liking someone who was completely incompatible with that system, and—and some other third option that Holland wasn’t considering. So what if Holland liked Danny? Not everything that was true was important, and this one might not even be true. Then again, maybe they were just talking themself out of it because it was inconvenient for them to like Danny. Ugh. If they could just make up their mind about their own motivations, that would help.

It would have been possible for Holland to ignore all of this—they had other things to focus on, like college applications and Animagus work—but Danny and Marissa breaking up changed things. Not by a lot. Regardless of any other relationship, Danny was still Dardanius Dubois. But it meant Holland was down a reason to pretend none of this was happening, and it meant that saying something was low-risk. The conversation with Marissa in the theater the other day felt like a go-ahead. Marissa had confirmed that the breakup wasn’t about them, and asked about who they were interested in, in a tone that wasn’t quite innocuous enough not to set off every conspiracy theorist bell Holland had in their brain, and they’d talked about that.

Saying something might make things awkward with Danny, but, Holland rationalized, their friendship could clearly weather awkwardness. The risk of pain attached to doing things didn’t make those things not worth doing, and in this situation, the risk felt small, even if there was a similarly small reward on the other side. What did they expect to happen? “Then nothing.” Maybe talking about it would help them figure out what was actually going on in their head. They couldn’t possibly feel less comfortable than they already felt.

Decision made, Holland climbed the stairs to the boys’ side of the Lyra dorms. Hopefully Emmett wasn’t around. Holland definitely couldn’t do this with their best friend there, and even stopping to talk to him would probably weaken their resolve. In theory, it was simple: they just had to say what they needed to say, and then they’d know whether it was true or whether they had tricked themself into thinking it was. They knocked at Danny’s dorm room door.

“Hey,” Holland said after Danny let them in. “Can we talk?” Except that they didn’t especially want to have a conversation. “Actually, I just wanted to say something,” they rephrased.

    • Sure. What's up? - Dardanius Dubois, Wed Jan 24 06:20
      Danny was trying to decide if he still had the energy to go running or if he should call it a day and chill out in the commons instead. He had already done Quidditch drills earlier in the day; he’d... more
      • Just delivering a message - Holland, Wed Jan 24 10:03
        “Okay. So,” Holland started. Now what were they supposed to say? I know that you like me, and you and Marissa just broke up so now I can say something. I might like you back, but maybe I just think... more
        • Message received - Dardanius, Wed Jan 24 16:36
          Holland seemed rattled, which did nothing to abate Danny’s suspicions that something was amiss. He braced himself for the bad news. In hindsight, the revelation wasn’t disagreeable, exactly, but no... more
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