I said it first
Wed Dec 13, 2017 00:37

At least Danny wasn’t practically shouting at them anymore. The two hadn’t argued before—not like this—but it didn’t surprise Holland that Danny got loud when he was angry. He was shirtless again, but it wasn’t as distracting this time as it had been at the party. When Holland was angry, they usually got cold and quiet and spoke in even, precise tones. It was good to be that way in a debate, but right now they just felt upset: tight-throated, and too warm.

This was stupid. Holland considered walking out of the practice room, heading up the stairs to the girls’ dormitories where Danny couldn’t follow, and warding their door against messages or visitors. They didn’t want to talk to anyone and Lyra was full of people who liked to talk, like Marley and… well, mostly Marley. Holland didn’t mind terribly when Marley showed up to talk to them; it was almost like having a younger sister, although Marley had mildly terrified them on more than one occasion by being on the threshold in the instant that Holland opened their door. But they weren’t especially in the mood for conversation or advice-giving right now. They tried to think of someone at RMI they would be in the mood to talk to, but couldn’t think of anyone right away. Kaz, maybe, at a stretch; he was a calming person, and could usually make Holland feel better about most things. But it was a weekend night, so that wouldn’t happen.

Danny’s tone had softened, which helped, but not much. Holland didn’t leave, though; he clearly had something to say, so they were going to let him say it. Holland hadn’t been expecting an apology, which was good because they didn’t get one. “I just… I really don’t like the idea of you with Ruben.

“Why?” Holland retorted, almost automatically. They usually tried to see both sides of an argument, so they tried to apply that principle here. Danny’s summary of Ruben’s flaws—the willingness to use violence, the crudeness about sleeping with Marissa—yes, they understood why those things would worry Danny. They understood that Danny cared because he was their friend. They didn’t understand why Danny had picked this hill to die on. There were a lot of points on which Danny and Holland didn’t agree, but they’d never had an argument like this.

It was a moot point anyway, because Holland wasn’t planning to be with Ruben. Danny should be able to remember the conversations they’d had about flirting (or whatever) not having to mean a commitment. Unless he meant a more loosely-defined with, not “with” as in dating but “with” as in having any kind of intimacy. But why?

Holland folded their arms in front of their chest. “If you don’t want me to think you’re doing that, then don’t do it. And I’m usually careful. It comes with the territory.” Of being the kind of person they were and of believing the kind of things they believed. Danny might not agree that they were already careful, but Danny had no idea. “If you’re worried about my safety, I can protect myself. I’ve been taking Defense just the same as you, and I’ve had self-defense classes at home.” Courtesy of Monty Keene’s overprotectiveness in the face of homicide statistics. Ruben was, admittedly, both physically stronger and better at offensive magic, but Holland thought that they could hold their own in a duel for a respectable amount of time. After all, Danny had technically won when he dueled Ruben. “Give me some credit. If I really had to, I could take care of myself. But do you seriously think Ruben would hurt me?” Holland didn’t. They knew Ruben, and they were pretty sure he had been nicer to them than he had been to anyone else at RMI. His punching people had made them uncomfortable, but it didn’t seem to be borne of personal malice. Besides, if he was going to hurt them then he would’ve done it already. He’d had means, motive, and opportunity.

  • Likewise - Danny, Tue Dec 12 15:55
    Holland professed to not being an idiot, and Danny thought he did well to merely frown in response. Then his friend altered the direction of the argument - they were definitely arguing; this was... more
    • I said it first - Holland, Wed Dec 13 00:37
      • What’s your point? - Danny, Wed Dec 13 03:59
        He hadn’t meant to say that last bit out loud; he had just been trying to come up with anything coherent, and that had been what his mind and mouth had provided. It was true, but it obviously just... more
        • I must have had one - Holland, Wed Dec 13 15:28
          Are you kidding me, Holland thought, with an extra modifier in the middle of the sentence. They couldn’t believe Danny was dragging Marissa into this—that he was insecure because she’d slept with... more
          • I think it got lost - Danny, Wed Dec 13 16:24
            “Ruben knows things about me that you don’t because he needed to.” What? Needed to? What did that - oh. No, that’s not what Danny meant. It, well, it might have been a part of it, but that wasn’t -... more
            • I’ll organize a search party - Holland, Wed Dec 13 21:25
              Danny looked agitated now. He was pacing and messing with his hair and avoiding eye contact and not finishing sentences. The mood in the practice room had gotten tenser in the span of a few seconds.... more
              • Just tell me what to do - Danny, Thu Dec 14 05:42
                It sound like Holland was going to argue that’s not what they had wanted, but then they stopped themselves. Danny was exhausted. He felt raw and restless and he just wanted to go back to his... more
                • First we need a map - Holland, Thu Dec 14 12:27
                  “ It doesn’t matter, ” Danny agreed. Holland exhaled, unnoticed tension leaving their shoulders. They’d known that. They knew Danny; it had never felt like that mattered, not since first year before... more
                  • I found your map... - Danny, Thu Dec 14 16:47
                    Holland apologized. Danny looked at them, and blinked. Why was Holland apologizing? Okay, they’d said some stuff that had caused distress, but Danny hadn’t apologized for the original grievance of... more
                    • This is not the map you’re looking for - Holland, Thu Dec 14 21:01
                      “ It matters because Ruben’s not the only one here who likes you like that. ” Holland stared blankly at Danny. For a long moment, they didn’t understand— who —and then the right neurons fired... more
                      • Oh. Whoops. - Danny, Thu Dec 14 22:10
                        He had no idea what to expect when those words had left his mouth. Danny almost wished he could take them back, but the truth remained it was absolutely impossible he would be able to keep something... more
                        • Maybe a cartographer would help - Holland, Fri Dec 15 03:26
                          For the first time in this entire conversation, Danny said exactly what Holland expected him to. “ Then nothing. ” That was the right answer, Holland thought, with something almost like relief.... more
                          • Do you know any? - Danny, Fri Dec 15 14:51
                            Holland didn’t sit with Danny, but they did move towards the door. For a stomach-lurching second, Danny thought they were just going to leave. He suspected both of them had considered vacating the... more
                            • Afraid not - Holland, Sat Dec 16 22:56
                              It sounded like Danny wasn’t going to get in the way if Holland wanted to flirt with Ruben again. Ultimately, that assurance was what Holland had wanted, although they could say with some certainty... more
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