Graduation Beyond Naiveté - Page 3

Graduation Beyond Naiveté

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closed Re: Graduation Beyond Naiveté

Post by Dom Weasley on Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:45 pm

Dom opened her mouth to respond, to go on and on about how her mother and sister insisted on calling her Dominique and how it was a dreadful name, when Declan came in and spared her the trouble - which was probably good. Considering that she knew very little of the girl's sentiments towards family, especially with her already troubled circumstances, maybe it wasn't the most relatable topic. Declan, worrywart he was, wanted to get to the bottom of the problem, but something instinctive in Dom knew the girl wouldn't share. She had seen something like this look in Lily's eyes and, despite her help, she had still not been told exactly what her cousin had been subjected to. Cookies and couches were probably not likely to tempt Ant to share. No, that took time.

She was right, but she let Declan handle it, nodding in the appropriate places to back up his promises that both could help. She glanced towards Declan once the matter seemed likely to wrap up and quickly added, "There's no pressure. Tell us in your own time, if you even want to. But we're always in need of another excuse to bake."

Right, like she needed any more excuses.

A holiday film sounded more than perfect, and she was probably more enthusiastic than anyone else at the prospect. A platter of brownies (undercooked just slightly because who didn't love their brownies sort of gooey) was polished off by the time they switched from Rudolph to Frosty and Dom suddenly felt a weight on her arm. She looked down to see Ant's head falling against her, eyes closed as her chest swelled with the heavy breath of sleep. Dom got Declan's attention and the pair gingerly moved, helping arrange the girl so she was tucked in nicely and a glass of water was nearby should she wake up and need some respite from the chocolatey mess she had devoured.

They crept off to Declan's bedroom and Dom closed the door behind them, turning. "She's a cool kid."
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closed Re: Graduation Beyond Naiveté

Post by Declan Arryn on Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:13 am

As they settled in on the couch, Declan started off sitting next to Ant, but at some point he got up to hit the lights, thinking that perhaps it would coax Anette to sleep since she had such trouble getting there. When he sat back down, he settled in next to Dom in time to hear her laugh - at the movie, at Ant, he didn't know - and smiled as he sank back onto the cushions. His arm fell across the back of the couch and as he settled, he leaned towards her, one foot sitting on top of the opposite knee.

Into her ear, he offered a quiet, "I've missed you."

Pressing a kiss to her shoulder, he'd turned back to the movie, feeling strangely content despite everything that had gone wrong that day. That week, really. So by the time Dom told him that Anette had fallen asleep, he was more than ready to move with her into the bedroom and finally talk about what had been going wrong recently. Something told him that she was really ready to hear it, too.

"Definitely," Declan agreed before casting a charm to ensure that their talking wouldn't wake Ant up. "I wish she'd tell us what happened," he reiterated uselessly.

Shaking his head, he set his wand down on the bedside table and then dropped onto the bed. As usual, when Dom was around, the state of his bedcovers was unimportant, so he didn't care that he messed them up as he landed. One hand reached out, his fingers walking along her back, from side to the middle. "You never told me," he started, giving a tug towards himself. "Why did you come by earlier? I should've asked, but I was just... I couldn't believe she'd come to me like that."

Letting out a sigh, he reached up to his hair, pressing his fingers through the shorter pieces above his ear. They rubbed back and forth a few times as he tried to work it out in his head, but he ended up focusing in on Dom again.

"I suppose it doesn't matter right now. I'll figure it out eventually. Anyway, you came over because...?"
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closed Re: Graduation Beyond Naiveté

Post by Dom Weasley on Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:55 pm

She nodded at Declan's words, more empathetic to his desire to know the reason for her distress now that she had properly met the girl. Dom supposed she was more predisposed to be patient in that matter - she had seen how unhelpful it was to push Lily to own up to her problems. Sometimes the best thing was to just be a safe place for someone in danger. She couldn't do that for Lily now that she had so aggressively intervened into the Potter girl's life. She could only hope someone else was watching out for her.

Maybe that nice Hufflepuff boy and his brother.

She spotted one of her cardigans draped over a chair, abandoned and then set aside from a sleepover weeks before. Her jacket was still out in the other room so she crossed to the chair, slipping the cardigan over the straps on her dress before crawling onto the bed to face Declan, whose warm hands trailed across her back. She, too, reached out, smoothing the fabric of his shirt over his chest, desperately wishing to simply transfer all of her thoughts and feelings towards him instead.

She had fallen away from the present and his reiterated question drew her back with a start. She looked up at him and blinked, wetting her lips to speak. "Me? Oh... I..." What? She wasn't even sure how to properly explain what she was feeling. Or perhaps she did and she was just putting it off...

"Well you said we should probably talk. Why don't you go first? I want to get caught up on what's been going on with you."

You can only stall for so long, babe.
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closed Re: Graduation Beyond Naiveté

Post by Declan Arryn on Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:19 pm

Declan frowned slightly when he realized how conflicted she looked. Maybe she hadn't had a reason at all. But after they had spent most of the week apart, he had thought that something must have brought her in. His new theory, though, was immediately proven wrong. He should go first. That meant that she did have a reason, and it would needle him until he found out - particularly given how hesitant she seemed.

If it took him telling his truth first, Declan could accept that. He didn't need to push it.

So he leaned back against the pillows, figuring that it would take a bit of time to discuss everything they apparently needed to. Might as well get comfortable. And where to start was an entirely different matter; one that pulled his eyebrows together for a moment before he wetted his lips and began.

"I'm gonna tell you some stuff that I really need you not to panic about. If you panic, I'll panic. Okay? But.. I've been having some .. health issues," he confessed, tilting his head to the side as he questioned whether he should call them something else. "I didn't want to tell you because you've been doing so well and I knew it would just distract you. And it's not like they're even close to life-threatening. But, well, I mentioned them to Henry this morning and he was concerned," Declan frowned again, looking down as he tried to figure out how to explain them.

"See, since we got back, you haven't been staying over as much, so you haven't really seen it."

And, in truth, he had a little twinge of doubt somewhere in his mind when he realized how different they were after Ilvermorny. He'd hardly seen her, but Declan knew full well that it was because of school. The pessimist that Danica had planted in his mind had been given time to grow, though, and he didn't know what to think. If his eyes gave that away, he didn't really mean them to.

"But I- I keep forgetting things. Little things. Like where I left my shoes or umbrella. And it's not that big of a deal but it's really frustrating, because I've never been like that. Y'know. Forgetful." One hand waved vaguely, as though it would help him explain. "And, I won't claim to be fearless or anything, but I've never been afraid of little things like bugs or thunder or any of that. But now, .. It sounds really stupid, actually." Shaking his head, his gaze drifted to the ceiling. It was too late to take it back; she'd just ask anyway. "Now, I can't stand to see lightning. It's mental. I feel like... I dunno. I feel like I'm four years old or something."

It was a heavy sigh that brought his eyes back to hers, and led him into the big one. The one he expected her to feel guilty about. "And I don't really sleep anymore. I'm used to running on fewer hours than most people do, thanks to the pub. But I- I don't know what it's called, really. It's like sleepwalking, but worse. Sometimes I know I'm awake, but sometimes I just wake up on the couch, or something has been moved and then I really don't know where I put whatever it was."

It doesn't happen when you're here, Declan wanted to add. But he couldn't. Then it would definitely sound like he was blaming her for not being there. Neither of them could have expected it, and neither could possibly be at fault. Well, actually, Dec would admit that it was almost entirely his fault, since he was the one who had touched the damned barrier.

"Anyway, I think that's the gist of it. For all I know, I just haven't noticed anything else," he concluded with a shrug. "I'm... well, I'm mostly okay."
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closed Re: Graduation Beyond Naiveté

Post by Dom Weasley on Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:40 pm

The flicker of a frown would have probably been missed by anyone else, but Dom had tempted that frown on his face enough times to be very familiar with it. But he was quick to recover and shift to get comfortable. Her back ached from all the time she spent hunched over her table, so she sat up, legs crossed and knee close to him, head tilted so she could watch him.

"I'm gonna tell you some stuff that I really need you not to panic about."

F*ck, f*ck, f*ck-

It was instantaneous, the widening of her eyes and the quick stumbling motion of her hand as it shot out to grip his hand. His tone turned to that of reassurance, to get her to hear him out before she started calling in favors or doling out tears for the situation she still knew nothing about. She nodded her reluctant agreement to the terms - she wouldn't panic.

Yet.

The second the words 'health issues' touched the air, Dom gasped his name in a tiny voice, hand tightening on his. Again he spoke in a way that made her swallow down the millions of questions and desperate reassurances she wanted to sputter out, forcing her to cling to his hand and listen to his story, kicking herself over and over for not being more direct in her communication. She had just assumed he was fine. She had been so distracted that she had not thought to specifically ask him how he was. She should have asked.

Her other hand reached out to grip his hand and her eyes found his, serious despite the casual end to his statement. "Thank you for telling me," she said, figuring it was best to start. "I wish you would have told me sooner! I'm so- I'm so sorry that you didn't think you could. That's my fault. But it's not- I won't... Why don't we make an appointment for Mungo's tomorrow, okay? They'll probably be able to fix you right up."

And if they couldn't, she would throw a fit. A right fit.
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closed Re: Graduation Beyond Naiveté

Post by Declan Arryn on Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:37 am

"Dom," he started immediately, his tone somewhere between amused and disapproving. He didn't want to talk over her, though, so he just let his lips flatten into a line until she came up with a solution of sorts.

Then he felt obligated to explain all the more, nearly forgetting that he'd planned on turning to subject back to her. It was her suggestion - almost a decision, really - that startled him into thoughtful, fretting silence.

Declan knew what it would mean. He knew what Henry would say. What the papers would say. Oh, the poor pub owner who thought it would be fun to play at being a hero. Because that's what it was, wasn't it? Pretend. Anette had worked that out within an hour of knowing him. And everyone else would think it, even if they never told him so, as she had done. They would talk about it when they came in to get their butterbeers and shepherd's pies and whatever else. As if targeting him made it easier to forget what it was like to feel useless. Declan knew what it would mean if people found out, where Dom seemed not to care. And perhaps she was right not to.

But Declan most certainly cared. Who could trust a business partner in need of help because his brain was going a bit haywire after the incident? Why would anyone let him help Anette when he probably wasn't technically capable? And, the worst question to cross his mind inevitably had to do with Dom. Because who could learn to love someone who might forget the next thing you said to them? Who might not show up if you planned something or who would undoubtedly roam the flat at all hours because it was raining and they couldn't take it?

It was ridiculous. Laughable, really. And the weight of it all made him feel hollow. Like his faith and strength and everything else had been squished out the minute that stupid ferry had landed.

Oliver was an idiot. A bastard, too. Choosing Declan, of all people? C'mon, mate. Hardly his finest hour. But desperation makes people rash and irrational. It makes people panic.

"I- No." He shook his head firmly. A sense of guilt popped up to surprise him, but he didn't take it back. Instead he gave her hand a squeeze and kept on. "I could've gone already if I thought it would help. I just... I want to give it some more time. And, really, I just wanted you to know in case something happened and you didn't understand it. From the looks of things," he pointed out, fingers reaching out to brush across her knee, "you would've been more afraid than necessary."

Drawing his hand back, he shrugged again. "I didn't want to keep things from you anymore. Didn't feel right. So.. Just- I promise I'll tell you if it gets worse. I will."
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closed Re: Graduation Beyond Naiveté

Post by Dom Weasley on Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:18 am

Dom didn't like his answer. Not one bit. Time might heal it, sure, but there was also every possibility that he could get worse as well. She knew it was going to be nearly impossible for her to honor his privacy and not bring it up to someone, even vaguely, to try and gauge whether or not he was in any sort of trouble. What if this was some curse that only got worse with age, that only deepened into him. What if the longer it went untreated, the more likely the damage would be permanent? Declan didn't deserve to suffer anymore than he already had.

It was her turn to frown. Had it been about anything other than his health, she would have acquiesced to his opinion. Who was she to tell him to do anything? But this had been something that had physically harmed him, and it was working against his mind. She cared about him too much to just let that be it.

"Well," she said, "If you change your mind, I'm sure I could call in some favors, even get a healer to come visit you, or ask Teddy or somebody for you. I'm going to worry about it no matter what - I learned that from you, after all. I mean, Declan, it could be serious. What if, when it gets worse, it's too late."
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closed Re: Graduation Beyond Naiveté

Post by Declan Arryn on Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:40 am

He was prepared to shrug off her promise that she would help or check up on him. He was more than happy to change the subject, though he couldn't recall what he'd wanted to change it to. Dom's insistence not only surprised him, but it made him sit forward, dismay pulling harshly at his typically nonchalant features.

He even pulled his hand from hers so he could drop his head into his palms. Everything from his stance to the groan he let out screamed frustration, but not at her. At himself and the way the world worked.

"Dom. I'm serious. I can't just- ... Look," Declan said after a moment, finding his footing and refusing to give up any ground. He even lifted his head a little to look up at her. "People can't know about this. Okay? I could lose everything. That pub? It's all I have. It's the only thing besides this flat that's mine, and if the pub goes, the flat goes. 'Cause, do you know what happens when people find out about something like this? They cut ties. Nobody wants to work with someone who's losing their mind.

"And I think I might be."

There. Fine. He'd said it. He didn't know enough about how trauma could hurt, or the way a body reacted to it in an attempt to cope. He couldn't fathom how this could just be fixed. If Dom began staying over again, who knew what she would see? Who knew what he would do, or what he'd pretend he understood when really the information wasn't in his head anymore? And that's what pushed him to say something that he instantly regretted. Something painfully foolish.

His hands took Dom's, and although he tried to hide it, he couldn't avoid the fear and apology laced into his voice.

"Listen to me. If things get worse.. if I forget something, something important. Something about you. I- I want you to break things off with me, too. Just because I have to live with this doesn't mean you should. I-"

Don't. Don't you dare. Bloody idiot that you are, you said you wouldn't. Doesn't matter if it's true. Don't.

"I'm sorry," he finished instead. "I'm so sorry."
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Post by Dom Weasley on Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:57 am

He was being stubborn. Actually, he was being an idiot. But there was no kind way to say that, so she bit her tongue, irritation now settling onto her face as worry and care battled for their rights to her lips and brow. She felt her back straightening and her limbs straining, preparing for the battle she supposed was now inevitable. How was she supposed to just let it go? This could be horribly serious and she was supposed to ignore it? If she cared any less she might have been able to do that, but that wasn't the case. Didn't he know that-?

Oh. Right.

And whose fault was that?

"You think you'll be able to keep the pub and the flat if you turn full mental?" she asked, quirking an eyebrow, not quite subtle enough to think of a better approach, or even a better wording. "People who really respect you will find it more responsible you're getting treatment. And if you're cured, they'll have no reason to act any differently! Besides, I know people! People who can treat you anonymously, or at least give us advice-"

He took her hands and his eyes were on hers, and his voice was low and serious, and her heart was pounding and-

She was pissed.

Her face crumpled into an idnigant expression, but she glanced downwards, trying to get a control over her emotions. With the stakes this high, she was never too good at deception, so it was with almost full transparency that she fought to get her emotions under control. When she lifted her head, brushing her hair back, the frustration was still clear.

"You know, I just came from Hermione's," she said, with no better introduction. "She told me what you told her after the party. She was upset I lied to everyone, or let them believe something under false pretenses. Firstly, Declan," the word was almost an insult "I knew what I was doing. I know I can be clueless but I do know my own family. If I didn't want them to think what they thought, I would have told them. I don't need you following me around to clean up my messes. I'm not a total idiot. But that's besides the point! Because here Hermione is asking me if I'm ready to treat you like a teammate, like a partner - as though that's not what you are to me, always have been, regardless of a stupid label or not - and now you're telling me to leave you behind if things get too rough. You didn't leave with the Roxi business. I didn't leave at the bloody school! How dare you, Declan. Really. C'mon, you know me better! How dare you tell me to leave somebody I love. I was just here to tell you I've been a huge idiot and I can't imagine my life without you-" Yeah, that's right reader. She said love. She said no life without him. But she was still going, not having fully registered what she had just said. "-and you're acting like I'm not tough enough to handle this. I haven't left yet. If you think I'm going to leave when you might really need me, then you're the idiot, not me."

For a second, she glared at him, breathless. And then she caught up to her own words. And she froze.

Because she did love him. She loved him so much.

And she had just screamed at him.
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closed Re: Graduation Beyond Naiveté

Post by Declan Arryn on Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:22 pm

Thank Merlin for the ward he had put on the door.

Declan shot her an exasperated look at the term she chose for it, but he chose not to acknowledge that she was right. She had been right from the outset, really, and he knew as much. But that didn't mean he wasn't embarrassed.

Why was it, he wondered fleetingly, that they couldn't have any sort of serious conversation without shouting at each other? It made him feel restless and powerless and by the time she was talking about her family, he'd rolled away, feet hitting the floor as he stood up. He needed to walk, to act like he wasn't turning a little red at her chiding.

He wanted to talk over her. Tried to, then stopped himself. But how was he supposed to know that she'd done it on purpose? He didn't know her family, like she'd implied. He had assumed that she had been too embarrassed - or perhaps too pleased with the attention that came from it - to correct them. Declan knew how strange things were for her and her immediate family, so who said cousins wouldn't be the same?

Finally, she finished and he jumped on the opportunity. "Of course I don't think you're an idiot, Dom! But you can't fault me for thinking that-"

He stopped, mid-stride. His entire body felt stuck, even down to his tongue, which had frozen to the roof of his mouth at the end of the word. His hand, which had been gesturing randomly, hovered in the air and after a moment, he felt like someone had released him, deflating and relaxing as the shock washed over him. He turned his head towards her, finding that she was staring right back, and his mouth practically fell open as he let out a breath.

"Di-Did you...?"

So he let himself turn towards her, his mind rebuking all of his ideas. Don't walk back over there. Don't hover. And stop staring.

Declan blinked, looking down at the floor for a second. "You know," he started finally, "I'd thought, at Ilvermorny.. When I woke up and I finally recognized you, the way you looked at me-" his eyes lifted to try and catch hers, "-for a moment, I thought.. But I didn't expect that you'd tell me either way."

He reached up and ran his fingers across his mouth, unsure what to say next. Of course, it hit him that he hadn't actually replied to it directly. He'd just gone off on a tangent of sorts. Boy, did they have bizarre timing. Finally, he stepped forward and sank onto the bed again.

"Thank you, Dom. For telling me," he said, disregarding the manner in which she had said it. "But I hope- that is, you said that the thing you learned from me was to worry, so I hope you aren't saying it because you think you have to. Or because you think it'll change how I feel about this. Sweetheart, nothing in the world could change how I feel about you."

Why was it suddenly so daunting to say it back, now that he was allowed to? Declan drew in a breath and reached out to brush his fingers over her cheek. "I love you, Dom. And I could tell you the exact moment I realized it, but I think you already knew. I just..." he shook his head, leaning in and pressing his forehead to hers. "I just don't want it to get so bad that you start to resent me for it. I couldn't live like that."
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