There must be a silver lining
Thu Apr 12, 2018 05:16

Both Danny and Emmett had grown taller than Holland over the last two years. They didn’t think heels high enough to make them taller than Emmett existed, but they were close enough in height to Danny that they could gain an inch on him with the right pair of shoes. Today, though, they were wearing Oxfords, which meant that Holland was the right height to rest their chin on his shoulder when Danny pulled them into a hug. They leaned into the embrace, and the last of that on-edge feeling dissipated.

You have not, nor could you ever, ruin my life,” Danny said, unprompted, immediately addressing the one aspect of Claudia’s message that was believable to Holland. Everything else—about their gender identity, their orientation—had been sickening to temporarily feel, but Holland knew it was untrue. The worry that their relationship wouldn’t be worth it was real. Danny had said early on that if his future turned out different than he had planned because of their relationship, it would be his choice, even if they eventually broke up. Holland agreed that becoming estranged from prejudiced friends and relatives, even at social and financial cost, didn’t constitute ruin. They also believed that they alone couldn’t ruin his life, considering that Holland had no direct control over whether Danny was disowned: if that happened, it would be the result of someone else’s decision. Holland just wasn’t sure whether Danny would still feel that way after the fact.

But if he could justify the risk to himself, they weren’t complaining, especially if that meant Holland could stay right here for a little while longer. Holland’s face was warm, and their cheek where Danny’s lips had touched them tingled. They managed a small smile that didn’t quite reach their eyes. Regardless of how many sweet things Danny said, regardless of their actual beliefs, Holland couldn’t shake the memory Claudia’s spell had given them.

Holland swallowed hard so that they could speak again. “I know,” they said. It applied to everything he’d said, but their next response was only about Claudia. “Neither did I. It’s not your fault.” Holland should have expected things would keep going badly after Claudia hexed Danny, but the part of their mind that usually found patterns had only seen an isolated incident. Dinner had gone well—but that had been with her parents around, when she would have wanted to make herself look more like the injured party. One-on-one in the theater didn’t lend itself to restraint. Why hadn’t they seen this coming? Holland had known Claudia was willing to use magic, even against people she ostensibly liked. They’d told Danny that they could take care of themself, but they’d still let their guard down the first time they’d faced someone openly hostile.

Lesson learned. They felt capable of thinking clearly again—with their whole brain, not just the reactive, cold part they’d used to defend against Claudia. Holland would get better at offensive and defensive magic. They wouldn’t trust Danny’s sister just because they’d gotten along with her in the past. They wouldn’t let anything like this happen to them again. Fierce and determined, Holland squared their shoulders. “Now we know. The next time something happens, we’ll be ready.”

  • That much is apparent - Danny, Wed Apr 11 09:39
    Danny wasn’t sure if it was better or worse that Claudia had used a different spell. The hex she’d cast on Danny had been so destructive to his emotional state, he’d be alarmed if she ever used it... more
    • There must be a silver lining - Holland, Thu Apr 12 05:16
      • Every cloud has one - Danny, Thu Apr 12 15:13
        Danny had interpreted Holland taking his other hand as a sign they would be comfortable with more intimate contact, which they confirmed as they leaned into his embrace. Both Lyras had understood... more
        • At least, that’s what I’ve heard - Holland, Fri Apr 13 15:15
          “A lot better now,” Holland said, still not quite able to match Danny’s genuine smile, but making an effort. They felt a rush of affection that surpassed their usual feelings for Danny. It wasn’t... more
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