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In this alternate universe, Lord Voldemort is dead, but so is Harry Potter. Factions continue to fight, Hogwarts educates the next generation of witches and wizards, and the Ministry of Magic does its best to hold everything together.

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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:38 pm
The four worst words in the world were those. Foreboding could never be better loaded into another collection of syllables. It was a sentence that inevitably led to anti-climax.  So much was a given by the sum of those words that to go through with it almost seemed like a waste of time and energy. It pulled from the witch just a little bit of resistance. Resistance she knew she had no cause to give when it could have and should have been channelled elsewhere a long time ago. Stubbornness should have been reserved for salvaging their relationship. Twilight had fallen over them, though. It was the beginnings of the closing chapter in a book neither of them had started but had written the middle of, entirely unsure of the ending but both, hopefully, in agreement that it should have been this. No part of her wanted to end it in the way that she could feel they were going to, in the sort of resignation that was almost comparable to the mild disappointment sustained when a barista got a coffee order wrong. So this is it.

The arm around her felt foreign for reasons entirely unrelated to the magic that was popping and fizzing uselessly within her, threatening to let go of the mess that it was trying to keep at bay. It was the arm of a stranger, wasn’t it? After everything, her skin no longer felt the electric current dash through her. After everything, she no longer felt as though she could turn into him, turn to him, even. She didn't know which had come first, the mental or physical dislocation. It wasn’t right. Any of it. To feel comfortable against him. To seek comfort in him. To take it from him. How could she when … it all felt rehearsed, natural but unnatural at the same time, a poor mimic of what love was supposed to feel and look like. How could they do it when it was there before them in the way their witch had flown to the side of the man who they’d all been against and who she’s stuck behind in spite of their warnings. Stubbornness reserved for forging a relationship.

When they arrived at Simon’s flat, Millie waited a few breaths before sliding out from under Keiran’s arm. She sent him an apologetic look, unsure if he’d seen it. She felt she owed him that if she was going to do nothing else to account for her errors. It was too late for that, even, in a way.

The blonde let out a soft squeak of surprise when arms curled around her and she found herself being squeezed by the younger girl. Millie blinked rapidly against Liv’s shoulder, trying to focus on breathing, before gradually bringing her arms around the girl. She dimly heard Livia’s whisper of thanks before she was released. Millie took a step back, a hand lifting to her temple to rub at the headache that was thrumming under her skin. Muggle pills wouldn’t quite cover this one as a remedy.

“Thank you!” Liv exclaimed, throwing her arms around Keiran next. “I’ll need a few bits,” she mumbled, her voice obscured a little by the tangle of their bodies. “But I’m sure I can transfigure most of what I need. I’ve been taught well after all.” She laughed a little and pulled back, a bright smile on her face.

“That you have,” Millie agreed, folding her arms over her chest. “Make sure you move somewhere a little safer than this or at least contact Athena and get her to put up some wards.”

“Yes, mum,” Liv winked before turning to Keiran. “Don’t worry about getting anything. I’ll pop home tomorrow for an hour to make sure the boys are alright and pick up some things. You two should really go and do something fun. Today’s been a bit heavy. Bowling. Bowling’s fun.”

“I’m not much of a fan,” Millie lied, finding a smile for the girl. “I’m sure we’ll find something to do, Liv,” she took a breath and reached in, grabbing the brunette for a hug of her own making that time. “Stay safe, for god’s sake. Don’t do anything stupid, alright?”

“Pot calling the kettle black,” the Scot accused with a laugh, lifting up her head to look at the blonde.

“You’ve got a better head on your shoulders than me, kid,” Millie smirked, patting her hand fondly against the brunette’s cheek.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” An eyebrow lifted, a mirror of the expression the Hayes man often pulled that would have been funny in its uncanniness if it had been a different moment, a different life, even.

“Right as rain, babe,” Millie assured her after a moment. “I love you. You know that, don’t you? Don’t you ever doubt it.” Livia nodded, confusion tightening her features. “Go on, hug Keiran again. Time for us to go.”

Millie released Livia and the girl laughed before doing as she was bid. The other witch approached Simon almost hesitantly, her feet surer in their stride than the mind controlling them. She smudged her lips together, one side curling up in the ghost of a smile, and then stepped forward, wrapping her arms around his neck, an apology tumbling into the air.  

“Look after yourselves,” she murmured to him, pressing a kiss to his cheek. “And let her look after you. Enjoy having someone make you tea for a bit.” She managed a smile for him before stepping back and looking to Keiran. “Ready to go?”
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:17 am
It wasn't wrong for Millie to question the safety of Simon's place, given how dull, how average it was. But how long was Livia actually going to stay? Even as he looked at the brunette, something about it was difficult. Like somehow he knew her but didn't and he- Simon's eyebrows pulled tightly together as the dark realization hit him. He didn't know how he knew her. He just did. But he just knew, knew there was something else. How angry would she be if she knew he'd forgotten how they met? Given how much she cared about her parents that weren't really her parents, he doubted she would appreciate it. So he decided against bringing it up.

Instead, he just watched. He watched as Millie lied to Liv. He watched as Keiran's eyes closed while his wife spoke, his heart breaking if anyone cared to notice, but nobody else seemed to. Simon wasn't necessarily the cleverest bloke around, but he had done his fair share of people watching since his first trip to Azkaban. He hadn't been close to anyone since then, and he wasn't holding his breath that it would change. Unless Liv stayed for longer than he expected her to. Who knew, after all? Maybe he would get to know her properly and have his first friend since Kosta.

She really was quite attractive, though. That could prove to be a problem.

When Millie approached, he blinked and focused back on the room. Confusion flickered across his features and he watched as Keiran turned his chin, staring right back. Keiran knew that he knew, now. Simon caught it registering on the older man's face before he turned, sharply, meeting Liv's hug.

Keiran nodded, though, when Millie asked him her question. So Simon waited until they left before he spoke.

"I'm actually not big on tea," he admitted, crossing his arms over his chest again. "I never make it right so I just prefer not to drink it. I- I'm just tired, actually. Are you going to drag me elsewhere because of the wards? Or can I just go to sleep?"

He felt a bit bad for being so blunt and deadpan. Particularly when she had been so concerned about helping him. But he felt himself sinking further into the doorframe, his eyelids heavy as he watched her.


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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:29 am
With the snap of apparition, silence fell over the flat and the rooms seemed just that little bit darker. The ghost of a smile flickered over Livia’s lips as she concluded that so much of her own happiness must have been connected to those people. The feel of their arms around her was a reassuring thing. She knew that, if she needed them, they would never be far. She had never had to doubt that they loved her, that they would always be behind her. That was what family was all about, wasn’t it? This was her family. And Simon, in this strange, weird, roundabout sort of way, had just been pulled into it. With one hug, that was it. At the very least, Livia knew that the motherly blonde would always find the time for him and, in her way, not often when he wanted it, either.

As much as Simon worried, Livia didn’t find anything amiss with his flat. In her eyes, it seemed unmade, its lacking not in material items but in the sense that it didn’t quite wrap around her as so many other homes did.

Her own, childhood one had been this hidey-hole of trinkets and collectables. Books covered nearly every surface and it was in a perpetual mess that blurred the lines of adulthood and childhood as academic journals mingled with dolls and toy cars.

Her Hogwarts home was the backdrop of her formative years as a teenager. Makeup seemed to be the thing that the girls were most interested in, although Livia always found that parchment could be sourced, inexplicably, next to any mad shade of eyeshadow – the outlandish and homework always discarded together. It had been the place where they’d grown up, morphed from children into semi-respectable adults. That was a room she’d never forget.  

Then there had been Theodore’s house, the three-floor townhouse in Knockturn Alley that he was hell-bent on turning into something that he could leave for his children. During her time there it was almost always in a strange mid-way state between being finished and still very much a building site. He’d finished her room first, even if she’d insisted it be done up like a spare. The furnishings did not attest to the idea that it was a spare. It was something he’d made entirely hers, even if she’d not asked for it. To this day, she had a key on to the house, Theodore insisting in his brusque way that wherever she went, whatever she did, she’d always have a home with him.

Following that there was the flat about the Hog’s Head. That somehow mirrored her childhood home. Mess. In this charming, homely fashion. Shoes everywhere, that was the tick for them and they weren’t all hers, mostly, either. Finley’s toys and books and heaven only knew what else were everywhere. The fire was always crackling, a movie was always on the television and good food was never far behind. Peter, like Theodore, would never go wrong by her.

But of course, how could she forget the houses of the Hayes? Hogwarts. Galway. Bridget’s house. They all had that something which she couldn’t explain. As much as Millie rued the interference of the neighbours, Livia understood why they wanted to step inside and get in amongst their lives. It was the way the children seemed to light up every room with smiles that showed they’d seen no true hardship. It was the ease with which the woman of the house had learned to run the mad proceedings and that warmth that seemed to fill every corner when she knew Keiran was there, even if he was in the foulest of moods. There was something about them, there always had been. Something that sucked you in and made you stay. Something that made you want to dive into their world and bob along on their tide. Perhaps it was the constant smell of cooking or the laughter … the latter of which seemed to have been fading of late. But it had been there. It had always been there. And the love. Merlin, it was everything.

And so, while Simon’s little quarters didn’t quite have that yet, Livia felt as though she could see where the light would balloon and where the walls would swell with feeling as he was allowed the time and found himself disposed to the inclination of investing something into the place. Though there was something of Livia that wanted to get paint and rollers and buy a hideous coffee table even though Millie had told them not to, it was improper of her, so she left it at just a thought, and instead she turned, putting her considerations of homes out of her mind. She smiled at Simon, taking a few steps over towards him. Then, she grabbed her own hug, winding her arms tightly around him. It felt good. Not just the embrace, but seeing him outside of those hideous walls of his cell. He was free. Merlin, he was free. And he was safe. Safe to sleep.  

“Go on,” she soothed, pulling back, one hand finding his cheek. “I don’t know what I’ll do but, um,” she shrugged her shoulders lightly again, a smile tugging at her lips. “Go and get some sleep. I’ll … I don’t know what I’ll do. Maybe read something …” She still had her backpack with her, after all, which she’d set down once they’d arrived. Work for Keiran was stuffed in one compartment. She had a few magazines in another. Crucially, also, she had sweets. There was plenty for her to be getting on with. “You look so sleepy,” she murmured. “Go on, I won’t keep you. I’ll be about when you wake up.”
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:13 pm
He felt bizarrely obligated to release his arms so he could return her embrace, but something about it felt comfortable and familiar, so although it started as something quite awkward, Simon couldn't help it when he sank into her hold quite properly. Perhaps it was the exhaustion. When she pulled back, he searched her gaze curiously, trying to place that feeling.

He couldn't, though, and he was starting to get a serious headache. So he nodded and stepped backwards, away from her hand and into his bedroom. Less than twenty minutes ago, he would've told her she could do her work on the bed if she wanted to, just to have her there. Or would've fallen asleep on the couch instead so she wouldn't be sat in a strange flat by herself, waiting for him to wake up again.

But he was oblivious. Unfortunately for the both of them. So he flopped onto his bed, pulling the sheets over his head, and fell asleep within seconds. Strangely, he slept so deeply that he woke within the hour, groaning and rolling over, tangling his feet in the sheets quite unhelpfully. Simon grumbled to himself, running a hand through his hair to push it out of his eyes, and moved into the bathroom with a painful desire to brush his teeth. It had been a disgustingly long time.

The next task, obviously, was to get something halfway decent in his stomach. And halfway decent was probably the best he was going to hope for, given what a shoddy chef he was.

When he stepped out into the living room, however, Simon halted, suddenly remembering that Liv was there - because he, you know, saw her. So that was helpful. Good clue, that. His fingers pulled at the skin across the back of his neck as he shifted his weight and tried to come up with a decent thing to say.

"Um. Hey. Y'alright?"

Ugh. Cringe.

"I was thinking about making something to eat. Do you-? Are you hungry?"
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:01 pm
Quiet enveloped the flat. The silence was permeated occasionally by the distant, muffled sound of the world thrumming by outside. Then, for a while, there was the hiss and patter of rain against the windowpanes. Mostly, the sounds that could be heard were the scribbling scratch of Livia’s pen against the pad of ruled paper that was resting on one knee, the soft, even sound of breathing as it caught in her nose and lifted her chest up and down, and the intermittent turn of a page as she moved between chapters of the tome resting on her other knee.

With a press of ink into the page, marking the end of her sentence, Livia set down her pen in the crease of the pages. She let out a breath of air and drew her fingers up through the front of her hair. Drawing it over the crown of her head, she let her fingers tighten around the band that held it up. Pulling it off, Livia shook her head, letting her hair fall around her shoulders. She smiled a little, pressing against the base of her scalp gratefully. Then, as she reopened her eyes, her ears quirked at the sound of the door opening.

“Hi there,” Livia dropped her hand down into her lap and a sleepy smile lifted her lips.

Closing her book, Livia gathered up her things and set them down on the sofa beside herself. She unfurled herself and pressed her feet down on the floor. Then, pushing herself to standing, she crossed the room to Simon and wrapped her arms around him. She buried her head into the crook of his neck and cuddled him close for a moment, just so that she could memorise the feeling of him there, safe and warm from sleep in her embrace.

“Starving,” she whispered with a little laugh as she lifted her head up again and drew back. “What do you fancy? I can help if you like … or we could order something, maybe? My ma thinks the best cure for all ills is a good curry.”
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:54 pm
Simon's eyebrows wanted to lift at Livia when she stood, but instead just watched her, waiting to see what she was doing. Really, she surprised him to the point that he wished he'd done something about it. Not because he felt that her attempt at comforting him was unwarranted. He'd been in bleeding Azkaban, after all. If he'd had family to turn to, he would have done so.

Rather, he felt like the contact was too familiar for whatever relationship the pair of them had. And, even as he thought about it, he couldn't explain what their relationship actually was. Friends? He didn't have friends that held onto him like Livia was doing now. He wasn't actually sure what to do, so while his arms did curl around her, they hovered more than held, and he didn't know if she even noticed.

As she suggested they order a curry, he was quite tempted to agree, but then he wondered what they were meant to do in the time between ordering and the meal arriving. Continue standing like this? Simon wasn't sure he could do it without going a bit mad before it ended. The questions piling up in his head made it hard to even accept the comfort that she was offering as something as simple and pure as a hug. Something about her felt like it was supposed to mean more. He just... didn't know.

"I think that we should try making something," he suggested, moving his hands to her upper arms as he backed away. That way, he supposed, it was more casual than anything about him trying to get out of her hold. "Will give me something to do with my hands, I guess, rather than just... waiting. I'm not a fan of waiting after that cell."

With that, he backed away and turned towards the kitchen, wondering if he even had anything decent that could be made. He would've suggested they just go out and pick something up or eat somewhere, partly because in public she probably wouldn't cling to him like that. But he wasn't sure how safe it would be to go out. And, really, he wasn't sure that the flat was the best place to stay, even for now. Lord, why was life so complicated?

"I don't think I'm going to stay here," he mused aloud. "It's probably about time I sold the place anyway, so I guess there could be better reasons for doing it, but this may have to do. Kosta definitely knows where this place is."

He glanced up to the clock he'd hung over his counter alongside the cupboards, frowning. It was much too late to go out and look for something. Even if he didn't actually care what the place looked like or where it was. Anywhere but here.

"I'm not actually sure what I've got so just... pick whatever strikes your fancy. I don't care much if they don't go together. Not picky," he added over his shoulder.

Although he felt a bit strange about how blank his expression was, he didn't want to wonder whether or not Livia noticed or worried about it. Perhaps she would chalk it up to his being out of sorts, still. "Uh, so.. How long do you intend on staying with me, then?"
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:29 pm
Emotions are strange, whimsical things: something that no one really has any control over although all attempt to harness some sort of power over what is unmasterable – or would be, in any case, if that was a word. But of course, dear reader, you get the gist of what I am saying, don’t you? Emotions, anyway, are funny things. The emotions that were often such an uncontrollable torrent in the belly of the young Scottish woman flared in a way that she had not, at first, been expecting. Hurt lanced through her like a blade being shunted in between her ribs, poking at her heart. She opened her mouth, trying to find the words that constituted an answer. An explanation. Her mind conjured her oft-repeated mantra: what would Keiran do? Only, she had no clue what exactly he would do. For a moment, at least, she was sure even he would be flummoxed. The age and experience that separated their beings was crucial, of course. Poise wasn’t something that Livia McCallum would ever master.

It wasn’t Simon’s fault, though. Of course, of course, it wasn’t his fault. He’d had a traumatic few days. She gathered her countenance and told herself that it was foolish to feel that way. It was foolish to foster hurt where it had no place. He was well within his rights to question it, regardless of however much it made her feel as though she should have left as soon as he’d said it. She conceded that, perhaps, she was taking it the wrong way. In fact, that idea was what she clung to. She told herself that she was just being ridiculous, that she was scared, merely, of losing him and scared, by extension, that if she took her eyes off of him then the Ministry would come back and haul him to Azkaban again and there would be nothing she could do about it. She was wrung out, fatigued herself, and hungry in spite of all of the strawberry laces she’d been eating while Simon had been asleep. It was natural, perhaps, to take things in ways they would not have been if she had been firing on all cylinders.

“As long as you need me,” she replied with a shrug, finding a smile despite her unease.

The smile drooped a bit when she turned away, shuffling off to the kitchen, absent-mindedly fiddling with the cuffs of her cardigan as she went. Livia exhaled and came to a stop in the middle, unsure if she really had leave to rifle through the cupboards even if Simon had told her to pick whatever she fancied. She bit the inside of her cheek and gathered her unravelling bits of consciousness once more, stifling the part of her that wanted to run to Keiran and Millie just to vent, regardless of how wrong she knew she had been. She was just afraid, that was all, and fear had never been something that Livia had known what to do with. She wasn’t a Gryffindor, after all. She was a Hufflepuff. And Hufflepuffs… well, they were badgers!

In the cupboard, the first which she tentatively opened, she found tinned tomatoes and pasta. There was mince in the freezer. She found a lone onion kicking about. A few other bits and pieces and she had everything they needed for a spaghetti bolognese. What else would they need? It was hearty, warming enough and easy. Livia brought down some pots and got the water on for boiling before finding a knife so that she could start cutting up the onion. There weren’t any mushrooms but that was alright because she’d spotted a couple of okay-looking peppers in the salad drawer. It was fine. It would see them both fed.

“Do you have anywhere in mind?” She asked, remembering what he’d said about leaving. “Should it be somewhere out of the ordinary? Like, out of the ordinary for you, I mean? Isn’t that usually the best way to, err, not be found?”
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Tue Oct 04, 2016 3:31 am
Her answer really was fair enough, but he found that it grated on his nerves, frayed as they already felt. He correctly understood the intention behind it, though - that she wanted to help somehow, wanted him to feel better. And he could understand that drive to do that for another person, despite how bizarre he was acting, according to Livia's reaction to him. It felt like something had changed after he asked that question, and Simon could admit that he had done it to himself in a way.

It didn't mean that he felt comfortable with the situation, though.

Now she was making dinner even though he would rather have done it himself, despite having a guarantee in his mind that he would manage to make a mess of it if he did so. He heard her question, even as he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back against the counter. And he, in some ways, didn't want to answer. But he knew he had to, if only to keep the peace.

"Yes, I imagine I'll find somewhere more remote. Living in a subset of London is not very efficient when it comes to hiding."

For a moment, he just stood there, letting her do whatever it was that she was working on, glancing between her and the floor. Finally, he got to a point where shaking the feeling wasn't enough, and he broke, standing up and dropping his arms to the side.

"Livia, why are you doing this? I'm free now. I'll find somewhere to go and we'll just... pretend it didn't happen. You can go back to whatever you do and I'll do my job and I'll just... go back to how things were before. You really don't have to spend your time on me."
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Tue Oct 04, 2016 2:42 pm
“Scotland is always a good place to hide,” she laughed a little, lifting her hand off of the board as the knife slipped a little, sliding between the layers of onion. “My dad always used to say that the best place to hide was in the Highlands. No one really understands the way they work. Scots do o’course, but … you know. It’s a tricky land to navigate. It’s … well, home – to me at least.” She smiled down over the chopping board, her mind conjuring the images of summers spent wearing hard wearing boots and macs despite the sunshine because the rain was never far behind as they hiked across the hardy landscape. She missed it – more than she’d realised.

Shaking the thought from her mind, Livia quickly finished chopping up the onion. She put down the knife and washed her hands before reaching for a bit of kitchen towel so dab under her eyes where the water had run under the fumes of the vegetable. She turned a little, half to check that Simon was alright, and it was at that moment that he spoke. She lowered her hands, balling the bit of towel into her left palm. There was something amiss here, she was almost certain of it now. She hadn’t been sure before but there was something different about Simon. Something in him had changed.

“Have I done something to upset you?” She asked, trying to keep the quiver from her voice. “Simon I … I care about you. I … I want to make sure you’re alright … I … Simon I really do care about you, a lot. And I thought … I … well I thought maybe …” She closed her eyes, tipping her head down towards her hands, wishing she didn’t feel so dreadfully awkward about it all. “Simon I was hoping that we could maybe … that we’d … oh for fudge sake…” She pushed her hands through the air by her sides as though attempting to get herself together. “I would like to be your girlfriend. I am doing this because I’d like to make a go of what we were doing. The coffees, the faire … it means a great deal to me and I’m here, making you dinner because I can’t go back to whatever it is I do because I am scared that if I turn my back on you then you’ll disappear again, Simon! You’ll disappear and I won’t be able to get you out and I won’t … I won’t get the chance to maybe … make something of what was beginning to happen. But if you don’t want any of that if … if you’ve changed your mind I … well, I’ll … I’d … I’d like the chance to make sure you’re okay when you … when you move if that’s not too much but then I’ll … I’ll go and I … I won’t call again.”
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:12 pm
He probably should have - could have - interrupted her, and probably would not have been reprimanded too harshly because of it. But the truth of the matter was that he felt massively confused, and wasn't sure at all what to do about the offended ramble she seemed to be going off on.

His best guess, initially, is that he had somehow made it seem like his interaction with her was more than it really was, though that idea almost made him laugh, considering he was quite sure that he didn't know much about this girl at all. His second, as stupid as he knew it to be, was that she had mixed him up with someone else at some point and it hadn't been corrected.

So the only way he could think to handle it was to handle each of her issues one at a time as accurately as he could given what he ended up remembering. That plan didn't last very long.

"Livia, I don't... I don't understand. Upset me? No, you haven't upset me, but I also don't understand why you're this insistent on staying. Because you're interested? I don't know what you're on about with that fair thing, so I can't say I know what you think has started." Simon shook his head.

He probably could have been classed as a cold-hearted liar if his expression hadn't been one of shock and hadn't shown how absolutely bewildered he felt. It probably helped that he began gesturing when the exasperation became too much for him.

"Liv, what are you talking about? I don't- I hardly know you. I'm not even sure how, actually, I know you. So, I mean, it's flattering and all, but... Whatever it is you're after, I don't think I can give it to you."

In the realm of impossibility, it would have baffled Simon if he'd known that, actually, he had already agreed to be her boyfriend. He had wanted only hours ago for her to kiss him, except then he didn't because it would've hurt too much when she left. He had wanted the approval of the man she looked up to the most, seemingly, and was afraid he couldn't earn it. But now? Now he just wanted to understand why this woman was so terribly persistent in her belief that he was something to her that he wasn't and couldn't be. Not so suddenly, anyway.

"Liv, it's obvious that you're caring, and.. and beautiful and everything else. Very much so. But I can't be involved with someone who I don't even know."
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