Graduation Beyond Naiveté - Page 4

Graduation Beyond Naiveté

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closed Re: Graduation Beyond Naiveté

Post by Dom Weasley on Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:47 am

She didn't know why she felt so shocked, so embarrassed to say it. Perhaps it was because she had taken so long to figure it out, and because she had always been the one so staunchly against getting more serious than she was ready for. Was there anything more serious than love? Than real love? It felt like he had been telling her from the beginning that she would fall for him one day and now that she had, she was more worried about the 'I told you so' than of the complications that came from being in love.

Or maybe she was just embarrassed because she had yelled it at him like an insult. Not their most romantic moment.

For a second, it seemed she might get a do over. He was so worked up that he did the same thing she had done and jumped right over the moment. So her face fought to reclaim an expression of stubborn indignation, but as realized dawned on his face, a flicker of uncertainty crossed her features, lip catching between her teeth, eyes almost apologetic for the sentiment. She struggled to take on that fierce expression but mostly succeeded in looking as though she were anticipating the worst.

As if Declan had ever given her reason to.

"Did you-"

"I did."

Again. More obstinate than affectionate. Fortunately, some tenderness did work its way in there.

He stumbled on, and his complete surprise was exactly what made him too good for her. Of course he had not thought to presume too much. Of course that had been far from his mind. He was too good.

She smiled at him. Having finally rid her voice of that stubborn edge, she managed to say, "Have I ever been one to say something I didn't want to say?"

He reached out for her and she could feel the swelling in her chest at hearing the words repeated. Some part of her knew, had known, but had pushed the thought away for fear of... what? Not being able to live up to the honor? Not being able to return the sentiment? Now that one of those was out of the way, the thought filled her, took away some of the sting to all the other problems.

Her hands reached up to grip his wrists. "I love you. And I don't want you to get so bad that I lose you. That's all. I won't push you. But I want you to be better, because you deserve a healthy, happy, long life."
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closed Re: Graduation Beyond Naiveté

Post by Declan Arryn on Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:23 pm

Declan let out a brief, almost surprised laugh, shaking his head. "Well, no. But I think you can admit that sometimes you say stuff without thinking about it, right?"

When she said the words again - properly, that time - he leaned back and drew in one of those breaths that go along with relief and with finally, finally knowing that he had been right all along. It was wonderful, really, to suddenly know for sure. It didn't happen in the way that he had expected it to -- but, then again, Declan had no idea what he had expected. It wasn't the sort of thing he wondered about, because he hadn't wanted to get his hopes up for no reason.

At least, not without some hint that he ought to, first.

"I'll tell you what," he said, clearly reluctant despite the way his shoulders had relaxed. "If you trust Teddy or whoever else you mentioned, then I'll talk to them. But you know I won't be afraid to send Henry after them if they make it a bigger deal than it needs to be."

Still, his lips quirked up at the sides, unsure, now, if he really meant it or not. Declan shifted, his hands moving to grasp hers. Lifting one, he left a kiss on the back of her hand before dropping both onto her crossed legs.

An opportunity had presented itself, without Declan really having to search for it, so he almost didn't realize what he was saying as the question left him. "I know you probably have plans with your family for the holidays, but... Well, Henry and I were talking about what to do, since we usually spend them at his, or going to a match or something. And I've been thinking that, really, I'd like to go back to my parents' this year, instead. And Henry'd said he would come with me, but I thought- You know, if you wanted, maybe you could come, too? My cousins come round and Dublin's got lots to see if you haven't been, so.."

He shrugged, trying to play the whole thing as though it were nothing. Of course, it was anything but. It was terrifying, in some ways. If she didn't go, he wasn't sure that he or Henry would, either, given who had returned to the neighborhood. So many horrid things could happen if he went and Dom didn't, but she was there to make a mess. She was brilliant at making messes, really.
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closed Re: Graduation Beyond Naiveté

Post by Dom Weasley on Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:48 pm

At his tease, Dom's nose wrinkled, unable to argue, irritated that he was right, pleased he knew her well enough to be right - a nice little collision of emotions, all culminating in a rapidly widening smile.

Her bright blue eyes watched him carefully as he drew back, tracing his profile, down to his throat and then his chest, which was swelling with emotion. This bed was their little life raft. Everywhere else was potentially hostile territory, but this was safe. They knew their own alliances, that they would each do whatever it took to make the other person happy and safe, and it was a luxury not many people in this world had the chance to enjoy. She wanted to apologize all over for withholding it from him for so long, for not seeing that she could trust herself as long as he trusted her, because she certainly trusted him. It was all fear, all self doubt. But that, for now, had taken the backseat to this.

He finally conceded and she nodded, her face uncharacteristically serious, though it was certainly softened by the look in her eyes. "If they say anything, I'll go after them," she amended, lips toying with a smile.

He kissed the back of her hand and that was invitation enough. She curled closer and rolled onto her side to curl up against him, interlacing one of her hands with his as she settled her cheek on his shoulder, gazing with him across the room.

She could feel his body rumbling when he spoke, her mind getting ahead of the question before it came. She wasn't the quickest one out there, but she sure did know Declan if only an introduction to the subject could induce her to fill in the rest of it. She smiled privately, out of view of him on her new perch, and she shifted closer, rubbing her thumb along his index finger. He shrugged and she tilted her head upwards, pecking a kiss to his jaw. "I'd love to." She smiled. "I just have to pop 'round my parents house to drop off gifts and collect my stash, but no plans I can't negotiate my way out of." She glanced up at him again with a smirk. "Unless, of course, you're worried I might speak without thinking."
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Post by Declan Arryn on Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:05 am

It was easy, somehow, to relax into the pillows now that things seemed so settled. And they weren't, really. He hadn't asked if he was supposed to call her his girlfriend now. Wasn't it weird for a man now in his thirties to call a woman that? He didn't know. He had stopped asking himself questions like that once he realized it wasn't relevant to him. But now they were again, and he hadn't even realized it yet. What Declan really needed, he felt, was a decent night's sleep. Perhaps, despite what had happened with Anette, he would be granted one since Dom was back.

Declan pulled one hand free of hers, but only so he could reach for her side, pulling her closer even as he laughed at her joke and tried - albeit briefly, and not very determinedly - to tickle her a bit. A minor punishment for sass if there ever was one. But it didn't last long, since he wasn't really interested in having her squirm away.

"No, I don't think I'm worried about that. I'm sure they're used to it by now," he said, not bothering to look guilty about any of it.

He should've taken the moment after, when he stopped teasing her and just settled into the mattress and the comfort of their embrace, to be forthcoming about Danica's potential intervention. But with Henry's help, Declan felt quite sure that they could avoid it and still have a brilliant holiday. If absolutely everything else failed, he could put up wards against her. He actually was quite sure that it would be hilarious to walk her stumble into one and bounce backwards. Even Dom would get a kick out of it.

So he just quieted down, wondering absently about what time it might be, now. He hadn't fixed the door to keep Ant - or her nightmares - out, but they hadn't heard anything yet. A good sign, he felt. And as he pressed his cheek against her hair, he just gazed up at the ceiling and let his fingers brush up and down her side. Declan didn't know if Dom expected another surprise attack from him, but there wouldn't be one. He was enjoying the relative peace, and half wondering what his parents would think when all three of them showed up the next week. His father already liked her, he thought, so that was a good enough start.

He left a kiss in her hair, shifting his torso just a little more towards her. And then he offered a whispered, 'I love you,' just because he could and because he'd missed her and because he was happy.

Despite everything, and for the first time in a while, he was just happy.
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closed Re: Graduation Beyond Naiveté

Post by Dom Weasley on Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:05 pm

This felt nice. This is what normal people wanted, it seemed, something she had wanted as well but had assumed she had earned too much bad karma to be allowed to enjoy. The simple pleasures of sinking into the cushions next to someone you cared about, someone you had no doubts reciprocated those feelings of affection, and just breathing them in, teasing them, drawing close between each breath. That shift between silliness and somber, light and heavy, and yet all of it good. This is what Declan had wanted for them for so long. What Dom had considered herself incapable of maintaining.

She was about two minutes in, and nothing had blown up yet.

She squirmed against his touch, playfully shoving him away, but he stopped as soon as he began, and she closed the gap that had been formed as he reassured her... only to follow it with the guarantee that his parents had picked up on that particular character flaw of hers. She gasped but he looked much too proud of himself for her to think she was supposed to be offended or worried about it. Maybe his parents found it as endearing as he did.

Again, they settled into comfortable, familiar silence, enjoying the warmth and comfort of their closeness. She had no intentions of leaving anytime soon. She knew Declan well enough to know that any indication of uncertainty from her would cause spirals of doubt within him. She knew if she seemed even a little too eager to get home, even if it was to practice for his exam, might turn him into the Island Unto Himself yet again. It wasn't happening. Tomorrow, she would reconfirm that he would meet with Teddy or someone, and they would talk with Ant. And things would be good.

Things were good.

She glowed at his touch, shifting to draw near and look up at him, through sleep-heavy eyelids. Her lips flickered into a warm smile.

"I love you too."
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Post by Declan Arryn on Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:13 pm

One more brief kiss and a few minutes later, Declan was through with trying to hold onto the real world, and let himself drift off to sleep. After the extent of exhaustion that he was clearly feeling that evening, it was with a very high level of contentment that he succumbed to it.

It lasted until perhaps three or four in the morning before a voice broke the silence of the flat.

"Declan?" It questioned timidly. And then, a few moments later, "Declan?"

He had rolled over, you see. His flat was always kept at the same temperature if it was only him. But they'd essentially collapsed on the bed, fully-clothed from the day, and all he had done was call over a spare blanket to drape over them at the last minute. There was no point in crawling under the covers when they were already content. But, that didn't mean that he slept soundly. He should have. Probably would have, if he hadn't been the sort to be a little more warm than cool, like some. So, at some point, he had rolled over, his fingers the last thing to pull away from her, and then it had begun.

So now, as Ant rushed into the bedroom and stood next to Dom's side, Declan was up to something in the kitchen.

Unsure as to what might happen if she scared Dom into waking, Ant started pushing down on the mattress in front of Dom's shoulder. It would've been nice, Ant figured a little sarcastically, if the man could just care a little less about cooking. Wasn't this lady supposed to help him? Otherwise why was she staying over?

"Dom. Dom! You've gotta get up. He's scaring me. I tried to tell him but he won't answer. C'mon!"

And then she gave up on being nice, because her new friend was up to all sorts of mess, judging by the crash that resounded from the kitchen. Instead, she grabbed Dom's hand and started pulling, regardless of if the blonde was already getting up to go check things out.

Because there, in the kitchen, stood the pub owner in question, his eyes only half open and glazed over. He thought he was cooking something, actually, when he wasn't at all. He was standing in front of the place he usually set his cutting board, as though he were entirely aware of where he was. One hand was flat on the counter, because he thought he was holding some vegetable in place. Probably a pepper or something. Maybe he was preparing to fry something. He wouldn't remember later. And, in his other hand, was an unfortunately sharp knife.

It was a good thing, really, that he was moving slower than a lazy seventh year, or he might have already managed to cut himself.
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Post by Dom Weasley on Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:22 am

Dom was sleeping well. She usually slept well, honestly. Before, she had slept well because she had little to trouble her. These days, she was too exhausted to stay up. If she couldn't fall asleep, she would get up and practice her recipes until she got tired, and then she would fall asleep, dead tired. But she always slept soundly and deeply and it was always a near traumatic experience to tear herself from her beloved bed.

This wasn't her bed, and she hadn't been cooking all day, but she sure slept soundly. The comfort of being in a safe place next to a person she found so dear to herself was enough to ensure her sleep was a restful one, and it grew heavy with pleasant dreams as her subconscious slowly sifted out all of the scary and ugly thoughts that might marr her pleasant feelings, leaving her with happy dreams.

Her dream self began to quake and she heard a foreign voice trying to reach her. She let out a groan. She didn't care what early morning obligations she had, Rose would be kinder to just let her miss whatever she was supposed to be doing. She squeezed her eyes tighter and tried to roll away, but a hand, small but firm, suddenly grabbed her shoulder, jolting her mind towards consciousness. Dom pried her eyelashes apart and caught the ghostlike face of Ant in the darkness. "Ant?" But the girl had already reached for her hand and was doing her best to pull the blonde out of bed.

Dom rolled after her, suddenly alert. "Ant, what is it?" Declan wasn't by her side.

Dom immediately reached out to catch Ant's shoulders, moving her so the younger girl was behind her, for whatever danger there might be. She fumbled for her wand and stepped out into the main room.

"Oh, Declan."

Her voice was soft and her eyes were sad, but they grew with fear at the realization that he was in danger from himself. "Ant, stay back," she warned the girl, in the off chance she was thinking of getting involved, though Dom doubted that was her plan of attack. Dom began to repeat Declan's name aloud soothingly, hoping to penetrate his dreamstate with her voice. She slowly came behind him, her form ghosting against his, hand floating above his...

She slowly tightened her grip over the hand holding the knife, holding it in place, hoping her Quidditch muscles could be of help, hoping he wasn't about to jerk away.
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Post by Declan Arryn on Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:37 am

In the upside-down dream world that Declan was experiencing, Dom's favorite thing was carrot cake. And he hated it. But apparently, he just knew somehow that he had promised to make it for her birthday. Not that it was her birthday in real life or anything, but that hardly matters in a dream. The point is, he was chopping carrots in his mind. Because that sentence isn't strange or anything.

Declan's mind conjured a Dom as well, once she began saying his name. He didn't understand why she kept saying it, but he did know that he suddenly felt exhausted. Looking down, he found that it was almost impossible to cut the carrot. Like he was pushing through ice rather than air.

Dom was still saying his name, he thought. But she had moved - had jumped somehow to stand right next to him. Her hand reached out, taking the knife away from him, and he jerked a little in surprise. Not enough to accidentally hurt her, but he thought he might have-

Declan, in the physical, cursed as the pad of his thumb stung sharply. He pulled back, only to stumble into Dom and properly recognize the fact that he was awake, on his feet, and bleeding. Blinking, he turned his hand over so he could stare at the cut and then looked over at Dom.

"I don't-... I don't understand," he muttered, mostly to himself as he turned his gaze downward again. "This doesn't happen."

The pain swept in again, and although it was something he could easily handle, it was a distraction that he needed. So he turned to the sink and turned on the tap to run it over his finger.

This shit wasn't supposed to happen with Dom around. If she didn't fix this, he didn't really know what would. Unfortunately, Dom was more than right. He needed help.

"I'm sorry," he said after a moment, finally coming back into the room properly. He looked over at Ant, who had climbed back onto the couch and was watching them over the top with just her eyes and the top of her head sticking up. He shut off the tap, that hollow feeling returning with a vengeance. His eyes found the knife.

Then, to Dom, "I didn't hurt anyone, did I?"
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Post by Dom Weasley on Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:22 pm

He was so close to his own hand, and her options were horribly limited. If she pulled it from his hand, it could end up somewhere worse than a hand, but if she tried to talk him out without steadying the knife, he could jerk and stick it through the hand rather than against it. With her hand over his, she suspected she could control the recoil down to a minor twitch at the most and as her hand covered his, it was exactly as expected. The intake of breath from him as he cut himself, a common cut for anyone who worked in a kitchen it looked to be, and she slid the knife from his grasp entirely, leaning away briefly to push it away from him onto the counter as he stumbled against her.

She caught his shoulders, hands firm on his upper arms as he turned to look at her, eyes bloodshot from being wrenched from his slumber so unceremoniously.

He spoke and she watched him. She had taken control of the situation but she certainly didn't feel in control. Declan didn't look like he was in control. Ant definitely didn't look like she was in control. Those were the scariest moments, when life felt so impossibly out of control for all of its participants. She didn't know what to say and he seemed to be at a loss as well, turning to wash his cut. She blinked and felt her body taking action, moving for the cupboard where the first aid kit was available because she seemed to have forgotten the wand that she had been so ready to use just moments before.

She pulled out an alcohol swab and some gauze, along with a bandage.

He spoke again, his concern for their well being clear in his wide eyes and uncertain voice. She reached out and took his hand, dabbing at the cut with the swab before pressing the gauze to it. "Here - hold it here for a bit until it stops bleeding. It's a good thing you keep such clean knives, but just in case."

She had ducked his question because she didn't want to add to the fear in the room, but she knew it lingered still. She glanced back at Ant and said warmly, "He's properly awake, dear." She wanted to tell the girl there was no need to hide, but she wasn't about to make her feel guilty for feeling like she was in danger. She could have been.

She turned back to Declan, focusing still on his hands. She lifted her own to rub his arms, but said without looking at him. "This isn't a problem you or I can fix," she said. She looked up. "There's no shame in a check up. It could be something silly. You might need more Vitamin A or something." Her words had the edge of lightness but concern still gripped her expression.

"What time is it?" she asked, glancing around. "Anette, did you get some sleep?"
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closed Re: Graduation Beyond Naiveté

Post by Declan Arryn on Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:44 am

Declan sometimes liked to pretend that the Ilvermorny catastrophe had never happened. If he imagined hard enough, he could convince himself that he was right. That every day was a dream he had to find a way to wake up from. But the sting of swab suggested otherwise. Even if it would have been much easier.

She ignored his question, but he hardly even noticed. Instead, he was trying to work out what was going on. Stress could keep people from sleeping. Or make them exhausted. Fear could develop over time, leading to his distaste for stormy weather. That clearly came from the bolt that flew up from the shield when he touched it.

But this was something else. It was like the barrier had done something more than just shock him. He just didn't know what.

Dom's focus kept bouncing back and forth from him to Anette, and Declan realized just how quiet he was being. None of his thoughts or ponderings had made it to the surface, apparently, since Ant was staring and Dom was trying to soothe both of them as though it were something she was used to.

Surprisingly, he was able to bring himself back into the room, his pulse skipping as he grappled for some semblance of control.

"Tomorrow," he agreed, nodding once. Then he followed her gaze to Anette.

She was standing on the couch cushions now, balancing against the back with her hands. "Yes, I slept."

"It's nearly four," Declan added, glancing to the clock on one of his appliances. He peeked under the gauze at his thumb and frowned, but let it balance there as he ran his free hand over his face. "Merlin, I'm sorry. You should get back to bed," he sighed, unsure who he was talking to.

Another glance at Dom's concerned expression told Declan that he needed to collect his wits and lighten the mood. Particularly for Anette and the hope that she would be able to get back to sleep.

"At this rate, you may have to put wards up around the bed."

Declan wasn't at all convinced that he was kidding. In fact, it almost sounded like a rational plan. The most important thing, though, was probably that he needed a full, deep rest if he wanted to be less anxious. And so did Anette. But she was already sitting down on the cushions, yawning widely.

"You're not gonna do that again, are you?" She asked, her tone gentle despite the seriousness of the matter.

"I won't let that happen," he assured her. Not that he actually knew how to ensure it. But he would figure it out. To Dom, he added, "C'mon, love. I owe her some peace and quiet."

So his good hand reached around her waist, and he tried to ignore the pounding headache he felt coming on thanks to how tired he was. Anette kicked up the sheets around herself before burrowing into the couch again. She watched as he directed them back into the bedroom, though, her eyebrows pulled together in concern. When Declan looked back to check on her, she feigned trying to sleep.
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