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Feelings and Other Sensitive Subjects


RocketLord

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Claremont Academy, Room 203

8:30 PM, August 28th, 2019

 

It had been an eventful first day back to Claremont. So many new students, so many new friends, and then, of course, there was the whole issue with Leroy and Judy and the ill fated marriage proposal, and Micah getting caught in the middle of all that. Pan had wanted to know more from his friend, but, as he had suspected, Micah had not wanted to share too much in front of everyone that had shown up on the rooftop, so he had decided to wait. The Forever Boy had his own ideas about Micah's frustrations, of course, but was there any point to him just blurting them out, aside from scaring Micah off? 

 

No! Of course not!

 

It was still light outside when they reached their shared room, even as the sun was slowly setting and the first stars were beginning to appear on the sky above. Pan's side of the room was, of course, quite a mess. Not that he had many belongings, but the ones he had managed to accumulate with the extradimensional student funding was strew across his chair, desk and bed, including clothes, bags and various trinkets he had found interesting, including a ship in a bottle that was currently on his bed.

 

Slipping out of his shoes, he stretched and took a few steps up, away from the floor, just to stretch, before calling out to his friend. "Well then, time to get to business, no? Is there anything about Leroy, Judy and you that you need to get off your chest, my friend?" His voice was calm, reassuring. He was here to help, after all!

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Micah had already stowed his guitar and unpacked as much as he was going to for the night. He had finished putting on all but the headpiece of his power dampeners when Pan asked his question. For a moment, he stiffened. Then he closed his eyes for a moment and slipped the last of his gear on. He flicked it on as he opened his eyes.

 

"Just a sec."

 

He went to their door, ensuring it was closed and locked, before he turned back to his roommate, his expression serious.

 

"Before I get into this...promise me you tell no one, Pan. Not without talking to me. I don't care who it is. If Lulu brain-talks, I want you to do your best to not even think it. Please."

 

After Pan agreed, Micah sighed and ran a hand over his face.

 

"Okay, so the short version? I like Judy. I...no, okay, let me be clearer, because I know you come from a pretty different world and this isn't something I want ambiguous, if we're 'getting to business'. I am romantically attracted to Judy Smith. And on top of that, I can barely stand Prince Leroy."

 

He sat down in his own office chair, his face...not angry, but definitely not calm.

 

"Was that what you wanted to hear, Pan?"

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Pan did his best to look serious, and nodded. He knew the importance of secrets, and well, he did like to share some, but he also knew when to keep them. He had kept plenty of his own from his friends at Claremont already. "Of course, my friend. If Lulu brain-talks to me, I will make sure to show her images of nothing but Pixies." His tone was as jovial as ever, with a serious undercurrent. It wasn't in his nature to be too serious, but still, he took this seriously, and he wanted to be sure Micah understood.

 

He rubbed his chin, listening with intent as Micah laid it out, rather plainly, too. Nothing that anyone could misunderstand in any way, unless they did it on purpose. He remained silent while Micah sat down in his chair, and well, he looked absolutely worked up, as far as Pan was concerned. 

 

Pan floated over, putting his feet down near Micah's chair and put a reassuring hand on his friend's shoulder. "What I want, my friend, is for you to be happy." He took a step back, turning around and putting his hands in his pockets as he looked up at nothing in particular. "Seems I was right, then. You were not exactly subtle earlier, after all." He turned back again, a triumphant grin on his lips and his eyes almost shining, because of course they were. "It seems obvious that Leroy and Judy are not quite meant to be, if their earlier meeting was any indication, no? So, what do you want us to do about this?"

Edited by RocketLord
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Micah ran a hand through his hair, looking almost distressed for a moment.

 

"What can we 'do', Pan? My attraction doesn't give me a right to Judy to return it. I get what you mean, about me being happy. I appreciate it. But...man, this is high school. My folks were high school sweethearts, but other folks aren't, you know? It doesn't always work out. It doesn't actually matter whether I'm attracted to Judy. She's in a relationship with Leroy."

 

His face looked like he'd swallowed a past-due lemon.
 

"She's...I mean, she's basically engaged to that airheaded, stuck-up, show-off. I can hate him every day of the week and it won't change that fact."

 

Micah's dampeners were lit up at this point; they were in no way strained, but it was clear his emotional state was disturbed enough to put them to work.

 

"Part of me would love to see them broken up, yeah. I don't think he's good for her. He's either going to use her and lose her, or drag her off to a place she doesn't want to go, get her to do things she doesn't want to do, with a smile on their faces, because he just...he's the sort of person who seems like he just drags people in his orbit. He sets my teeth on edge but I can't even tell if that's fair, Pan.

 

I barely know the guy. I'm not on a team with him, and the classes we share have loads of other people. We're in different social circles, me and him. Which is fine, you know? Not every single person is friends with every single person. We're not all wired the way you are, buddy. But every time I see him be...him...it's just..."

 

He blew air out of his mouth in a frustrated sigh.

 

"It's a lot. The guy's just a lot. And I wager Judy fell for him because of that. He's flashy and fancy and all that jazz. And of course he totally converted to Christianity despite the fact nothing about him changed and he only ever shows up to anything even vaguely church-related if Judy's there. No, he's definitely a good Christian boy who Judy definitely isn't missionary-dating in a relationship that seems doomed!

 

And regardless of all of that, I don't have a right to tell Judy who to love! My attraction to her and dislike for him doesn't give me a right to dictate things. Judy has to right to make her own decisions. Even if they're mistakes."

 

Micah stopped, closed his eyes, and seemed to begin some breathing exercises. Pan ought to be able to get a word in now! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pan thought about it for a moment. He crossed his arms and his mouth twisted into a pout, as he looked up at the ceiling.

 

"On Neverworld, this would be much easier. You would be the dashing prince off to rescue the fair maiden, Leroy would be the dark lord holding her captive on his secret island," he finally said, throwing his arms up in the air in frustration. "This world is too ambiguous at times. Right and wrong get all mixed up."

 

He turned away, thinking. Yes, it would have been much simpler back home, the way stories were supposed to, not this whole tangle of the much too real Earth Prime. He cupped his chin with his hand as he started pacing around the room, his feet never  touching the floor.

 

"You say they are bad for each other, yes? Or at least bad for Judy. And yet, you cannot simply go and save her." He shook his head, then lit up with a smile. "I would not say they are practically married. Did you see the look on Ashley's face? She has hardly been approving of the relationship so far, and it seemed that Leroy's proposal took it too far for Judy's keeper." He nodded to himself, as if it were some great revelation. "But, so many of your movies, they show the heroine in a bad relationship, only to be saved by her true love as she learns that the first man was not for her." His expression changed, as he thought it over, going from revelation to shock. "Have your movies lied!?"

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"Yeah, that's fair enough, Pan. I get that our worlds operate on different...rules? Laws of physics?"

 

Micah shrugged and sat down.

 

"But you're also right that things get muddled too much. I'm...I like things to be clear. My dad, my mom, that's generally how they raised me. My dad did law enforcement. That's supposed to be pretty clear right and wrong."

 

He looked at least a bit thoughtful at the mention of Ashley.

 

"Yeah Ashley looked mad. And I don't think it's just 'you're too young'. If that's all it was, with where they're from, that kind of world, I don't think it would be as big of a deal. But no, that was the face of a very unhappy sister. I think she was mad at Judy and mad at Leroy. She can't make Judy say 'no' but I'd almost bet money she has the same concerns I do."

 

Micah couldn't help himself and barked a short laugh at Pan's aghast question regarding movies. 

"Sorry man, just...um. So, you know a lot of movies aren't real events that happened, at least not on this world, yeah? Part of that is that a lot of movies compress stuff that would take weeks, months, or years, and have a lot of...I guess stops and starts? Cram all of that in 2-3 hours and a few major emotional scenes. So to answer your question, yes and no. Things are rarely as simple as in the movies. Sometimes that sort of thing doesn't happen at all. Sometimes it does."

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Pan grumbled again, thinking it over. "Something being a story does not make it not real," he finally concluded, returning to his usual grin. "Even if it might not be realistic, yes?" He had honestly thought that the non-fantastic movies of this world might at least be based on real events. Of course, the Star Wars and Treks, the stories of Rings and magic swords and all that, now that was probably not real, or at best something along the lines of his own world's connection to this strange world he found himself in, but in this, he had been betrayed.

 

He sat himself in mid-air again, leaning his hands on his knees and leaning forward to smile at Micah. He hadn't given up quite yet. He would help his friend, one way or another. "Yes, something is certainly up with the sisters, would you not say so? The older sister certainly has some peculiar ideas and stances at times." He nodded thoughtfully to himself once more. "They are refugees from another world, here with nothing but the grant from the foundation that helps people such as us, should she not be happy to see her younger sister and boy with wealth like Leroy get together? Ashley has other reasons, I believe, but I am afraid that I know little beyond that." Another thought. He remembered their journey into dreams. "She did have a peculiar reaction to seeing the Raven, of all people, in a dream of our greatest nightmares..."

 

Pan shook his head, shaking the thoughts away. "But that is not important right now!" he concluded, once more focusing on Micah. "So, your world, and romance. If the movies have lied to me," he made sure to dramatically emphasize the word lied, "then, if you were in love with someone in a relationship, how should you act? Make your feelings known? Keep it all bottled inside and hope it fades? Plan a daring scheme to convince your love to choose you?"

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Micah smiled at Pan's declaration about real vs realistic.

 

"My grandfather said more than once, that something can contain truth, even if it isn't true."

 

Micah gave Pan a thoughtful look at mention of something being up with the sisters, but he shrugged.

 

"Well, I'd wager she shares similar concerns about Leroy's character that I do. Ashley strikes me as someone who cares more about character and action than stacks of dollars."

 

He ran a hand over his face at the question.

 

"The easiest thing is the bottling and hoping it goes away. I'm not certain a one-stop-shop scheme to make me and Judy end up together is a good idea, either, though. I mean, really there's a couple different things at play, right? The fact that Leroy's not a good match for Judy, and separately the fact that I like her. I'd love a chance to go on a date with her, but even aside from that, I'm concerned about Leroy. But Judy's loyal; she's not just going to dump him. Honestly, Leroy would have to pull an even more blatant stunt than apparently not talking to her for several months. I'm not sure how we could...what, incite him to shenanigans?"

 

He looked very unsure and a bit uncomfortable.

 

"I'd love to do something but I can't think of anything that doesn't leave me feeling...well, honestly, a bit sleezy. Do you have any ideas, Pan?"

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"There is of course, always bad advice, but I am not entirely comfortable playing the role of a shoulder devil," Pan shrugged. A cold feeling ran down his spine, like he had just stopped himself from making a wrong choice. Yes, going down the path of offering advice like that was not something he would, or should, do. Not something fit for a hero, after all.

 

"If that is how it is on this world, then perhaps that is for the best, but knowing Leroy, he is bound to end up doing something at some point, no?" he thought aloud, almost directed more to himself than to Micah. "But perhaps I can play the role of the shoulder angel!" He stood up straight, a foot or so above the floor of course, and put on a mock feminine voice, obviously exageratedly acting out as Judy "Oh no, it is raining, the picnic is ruined!" then, he shifted back to himself, nudging the Judy he had played just before, "Do you know who would be great to have around right now? Micah! He would have the rain gone in but a moment!" 

 

It wasn't much of a plan, of course, but at least it was the beginning of one! 

Edited by RocketLord
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  • 2 weeks later...

Micah laughed at the rainy picnic scenario idea.

 

"It's funny because you're right! I've actually done that, to boot. But as for you playing shoulder devil, no, please don't. That'll only hurt everyone, including you."

 

He looked concerned for his friend at that though. Considering Pan's extremely narrative origins, that might be more literal than for some people, too.

 

"You're right about him messing up, though. And...I mean, I don't mind you putting in a good word for me. Just don't...layer it on? Um."

 

He was clearly thinking through his phrasing.

 

"Don't do too much all at once of that kind of thing. Spread it out, just small bits here and there, yeah?"

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"I am completely fine with not having to do that!" Pan was, of course, all smiles at not having to be a little shoulder devil. There was no reason for anything like that if it could be helped, after all! Not to his friends, at least. Even if he was pretty sure that Micah and Judy would be less troublesome together than Leroy and Judy, at least.

 

He made a quick bow. "I will strive for the good word, then, but only in an acceptable number of layers, of course." Well, he was not quite sure that this was going to work or not, but oh well, he could try his best for his friend, at least.

 

"Any other ideas that might be acceptable in this world, then?"

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  • 1 month later...

"I mean, if she and I do end up spending time together, likely in groups, outside of class and school, cool. Not sure if you can actually make that happen, but cool."

 

He looked out the window, his demeanor much calmer now. 

 

"Keep an ear to the ground about how they're doing as a couple, I guess? Like, not weird spying level stuff. Just awareness. If they get closer and stuff, it is what it is. Like I said, Judy's free to make her choices. Even if they're mistakes."

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