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hands to the sky
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The momentary awkwardness cooled (for the moment) as soon as Olive began her story. To his credit, Danny sat in patient silence throughout the retelling, the only outward sign of his distress the clenched fist at his side; when her distress became obvious he kicked up his magic, soothing her enough that she could continue. The story came to its conclusion with why she'd been standing outside of Thoth's workshop - she'd looked for the late King's soul everywhere she could access easily, and had now been retracing her steps to those areas she hadn't been able to get into. She doubted Arthur's spirit would be lurking behind closed doors, exactly, but somehow... it felt like she was sentencing Alder to death if she dared to return home without being able to honestly swear she'd looked everywhere.

"You didn't get a good look at the guy?" Danny asked at last, his voice calm - pleasant even - despite the muscle twitching in his cheek. Olive shook her head.

"He... he stayed behind me the whole time. I don't know that I could even recognize his voice," she admitted, tangling her fingers in her dress. Danny scooted his chair closer, squeezing her hand in a reassuring way.

"That's not your fault," he said gently. "I was just wondering if there was any way we could find out. It just seems a bit weird, some stranger coming out of the blue demanding something like that, right? There're loads of other people they could have talked to, people closer to the source. I can't even think how they would have known about your powers!"

"I had... a problem, before we moved houses," Olive admitted after a moment. "There're a few who know, and Cy's mentioned the 'Water Witch' thing as a joke a few times. I don't know why he'd have been watching me for that long though."

Olive's shoulder twitched, her jaw tightening. It was so creepy to think someone might have been observing them, listening in. For how long? For what purpose? Or had it simply been that the right person had said the wrong thing and set him after her... Somehow, that seemed even worse, but at least if that was the case she'd have a chance to resume her normal life after this. Provided, of course, that she could find some answers.

"Have you told anyone else about this? Torram?"

She shook her head. "I thought about it, but..."

"You didn't want them to get hurt," Danny said knowingly, nodding a bit. She gave him a relieved smile. Of course Danny understood. Family was everything to him, just as it was everything to her. He shook his head, as if nudging away that smile. "I think we're going to need Tor's help, at least. You said you've looked everywhere you could. Did you go to...?"

She shook her head, lips compressing into a flat line. "No, I wasn't sure what excuse I could use. And..." she hesitated. "I'm not sure I really want to see him. Of course I do, for Alder's sake, but..."

"Those problems you mentioned?" Danny asked gently. She nodded anxiously. "Want me to go with?"

"Really?" Oli said, not even bothering to try and hide her relief. Danny smiled, even as he kicked himself internally. It wasn't that he didn't want to go - Olive was a friend, and if she needed help, there wasn't any question for him - but he did sort of want to stew privately over his earlier embarrassment, and the feelings that had come with it. At least Oli seemed to have moved past it too.

"Yeah man, no problem," he replied, getting to his feet. Why did he keep calling her "man"? He was picking up bad habits from Sol, had to be. He offered a hand to help Olive up, which she accepted with a smile.

The door swung open, a cheery-faced maid pausing at the sight before her. Her lips formed a perfect "o", one eyebrow flicking. Why, oh, why did it have to be someone he knew?! Sol stood just behind the maid, a delighted look on his face. If he were human, he would have been flashing Danny the thumbs up sign, mouthing "Way to go, dude!" in the most painfully obvious way possible.

"Sorry to disturb y-"

"IT'S NOT LIKE THAT!" Danny squeaked. Both girls (and Sol) looked at him in surprise; Olive blushing and the maid stifling a giggle.

"Mmhmm, whatever you say, doc. Do y'all mind if I do some tidying?"

"Of course not, I'm so sorry we're in the way, please excuse us," Olive said, dragging Danny out behind her.

"Really, it's not like that. Tell her, Olive. We're just friends, right? We'd never be anything more! I mean, we'd never... Why are you looking at me like that?"

Olive had paused in the corridor, her eyes narrowed as she glared at him. "What exactly are you trying to say, Danny?" she asked quietly, her tone and the expression on her face scaring him a bit. He backed up, eyes wide.

"Wh-what? I'm not saying any..." he gulped when she took a step closer to him.

"Are you saying you don't find me attractive?"

"No! No, of course not, I mean, we're just friends! Just friends! And you're..." Realizing this wasn't going at all in the direction he'd wanted, he quickly shut up. Olive's glare intensified. She wasn't really sure why she was so mad, but... she'd thought they had a moment, and now...

"I'm what, exactly?" she growled, holding up a hand to cut him off when he started to object. "You can be a real jerk, Danny, you know that?"

She turned on her heel and stormed away. Danny held his hand out to stop her, but she was already too far out of reach.

"Wait! Didn't you-?"

"I'm fine to go by myself, thank you very much."

"But I..." he dropped his hand, stared after her retreating back with a bewildered expression on his face. Sol burst into laughter as soon as Olive was out of earshot, rolling around in the corridor.

"H-hey, don't laugh," Danny said weakly, nudging his familiar with his toe. "Did she want me to say yes? I thought it'd be... awkward..."

"You thought that was gonna be less awkward?" Sol said, choking on his laughter. Danny flushed, nudging him again, and Sol tried to pull himself together. "Sorry, bud. I mean, chicks, man. No one knows how to handle them. Sp-sp-specially not YOU!"

Sol burst into laughter again, and Danny stormed off in the opposite direction. Sol padded more slowly behind. Just wait tell he told Lunarian!


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