Sep 17, 2019 3:57 PM
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"Okay," says the receptionist. "You, are you a student?"

"Yeah. Undeclared, first year. Annabelline Swan."

"In that case we have to change the passcodes... Aldaras, if this happens again and you wind up with a collection, you'll let us know right away, yes?"
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The very thought of - winding up with a collection makes him wince. "Yes. Of course."

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"Are you okay?" asks Annie.

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"Mostly. The idea of randomly falling in love with enough people to start a collection is - sickening, but I vastly prefer it to - the obvious alternative of if I didn't touch the necklace."

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"Sickening because you just generally don't want to be in love with a bunch of people or sickening because at the moment being in love with me is doing Extreme Monogamy to your brain?"

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"... Second thing."

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"I should probably give you the flyer on proper keeper behavior," says the receptionist.

"There's a - oh, that's probably good, unless it just gives people ideas. Learning that there is a handout just gave me ideas. I will not enact them, but - yeah, give me the flyer."

The receptionist gives Annie a flyer.
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Aldaras smiles a little.

He's gone back to looking at Annie like she is the center of his universe. Nothing strange going on here, carry on.
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"Does giving this thing out usually help? I wasn't likely to think of half of this unethical abuse of the guilt trips on my own."

"I don't make the policy," shrugs the receptionist. "Or write the flyer."

"Okay. Well. Thanks."
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"Usually it's enforced reasonably well because if you abuse the guilt trips enough, you will stop being the tracker's favorite person."

He does not mention the one exception. She's a smart woman, she can figure it out on her own.
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"Fair enough, the necklace is new." Annie folds up the flyer and bags it. "Anything else we need to do while we're here?"

"Is there a good daytime phone number for you? When the Dean has results?"

"Yeah, sure -" Annie writes it down. "That's my mother's landline, I won't be home all the time but she can take messages."
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"And you already have mine," says Aldaras.

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"Yes. The first priority for him to look into is whether it will be able to cure the cut, and I or someone else from the office will call when we have that in a few hours," says the receptionist.

"Okay, great," says Annie. "Uh - Aldaras - I don't have any more classes today. We are probably going to be hanging around a lot, you and me, where's a good place for us to go and - talk?"
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"I... have an apartment, or we could go some place less freakily mine."

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"I live with my mom. I haven't decided how to describe you to her, so your apartment works."

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He nods.

"It's within walking distance," he says, as they exit the building. "Um - it's not going to bother you being in my apartment?"
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"...should it? I mean, realistically, if you were going to club me over the head and drag me off for nefarious purposes you should have done it before letting the receptionist get my name and telling her that you're touched about me."

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"No, no," he says assuredly. "I'm - you're the last person I'd ever hurt or do - terrible things to. Of any kind. I'd just be freaked out in your position."

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"It turns out that if somebody wants me to trust them the shortcut is handing me large amounts of unchecked power."

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Aldaras quirks an eyebrow. "... Huh. Okay."

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"I mean, pretty obviously you didn't do it on purpose, but regardless. Anyway, I should be fine in your apartment unless it is squalid, floored with bear traps, or inhabited by ravening hordes of barbarians who you keep around to help with the rent."

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That one actually causes him to laugh.

"No. To - all of those, actually."
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"Good. That's definitely a case where it can't be even one of the listed things."

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"Ah, darn. I'll have to tell the ravening horde of barbarians to find some other place to go."

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"Barbarians are not meant to live in apartments anyway, it's really the kindest thing."

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