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Sep 21, 2023 4:31 AM
this plot literally came to me in a dream
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He winces when she mentions the word "force". That's what he was doing, wasn't it. Damnit! "Yes, definitely, I will do that," he says quickly, trying to get past this. "Sorry. I should have done that in the first place. Sorry. I'll never do anything like that again." He won't. He can't ever ever ever do something like that again. It's awful

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"Um. That's not quite... hmm. I, um. I don't quite know how to say—I feel like what you're telling me is that you feel really bad about what happened and you don't want to think about it and don't want to think of yourself as someone who could do it, but none of that really addresses the problem, which is that you did it and you don't have a clear and concrete plan for doing less of it in the future. I mean, unless—no, I'm going to do you the courtesy of assuming that you don't want this to be the new normal."

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"I don't!" He doesn't. Even if he were the kind of person who would do such a thing (he isn't) this clearly isn't being done in a way that he enjoys (and also he shouldn't even be considering such a thing, it's wrong). "I'm not sure what you mean by concrete plan," he says, still trying to get past this. "I guess just, notice that I'm going to do something like that and not do it? I'm not going to do it again." 

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"...okay." She is not at all sure about this, but he is a different person from her and perhaps he works differently. She hugs him again and kisses his forehead.

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He can tell she isn't entirely certain about what he's saying, but he is. "I promise," he says as he hugs her back (and means it). "I don't want to be that kind of person. I'm not going to let it happen again."

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"Okay." Hug. "I love you."

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"I'm glad," John says. He's been getting used to saying that, starting to feel like it's been ok to say it. It doesn't this time. It feels wholly insufficient. (How could he have done that?!) He hugs her harder. 

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Well if we're doing emphatic squeezes, then emphatic squeezes it shall be.

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Her squeezes still feel full of love, and he's still not sure if he deserves that right now. (How could he have done that??) Still, he clings to her anyways. 

"What... now, then?" he asks, for what feels like the third time. (Is it third? Fourth? Who knows.) "Maybe I should just go?" He doesn't want to go, but maybe doing something else will help, since all he seems to be doing now is making mistake after mistake. 

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"If you like. Or we could, I don't know, do Cozy Math."

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Oh! Math! He smiles despite himself, then frowns, his face hidden by his hugging of her. (Does he really get to do fun things with her right now? She wants to, but does that make it ok? Does he just want it to be ok?) "We could try math," he ventures. 

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"I would like that."

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"Oh. Okay. Then lets." he should probably let go of her, shouldn't he. He sighs and lets go, and turns to pull things out of his bag, trying not to think too hard about what he's done. 

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Will she help or hinder this endeavour by perching cozily next to him?

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Both? It gives him the energy (love, whatever) to go on, even while at the same time making his movements a little more constrained and also making him feel awful for having done something so stupid to someone who cares about him so much. So it's probably both. 

After a few moments he's pulled out the book and looks around for a sensible place for them to work on it. Will they both fit at her desk? Are there chairs for both of them to fit at her desk? 

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Rosy follows his gaze. "I can bring a chair over from our office?" she suggests. "Or we could move somewhere with a couch."

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The couch sounds cozy but does he really deserve that at the moment? "Might be a good idea to get another chair," he says. 

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"Sure." She kisses him on the cheek and hops out of bed.

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And John sets up the desk and runs the scenario through his head again and again while she's gone, doing his best to make certain it never ever happens again. (He can't and won't ever try and force things just because he wants them! Especially when she didn't want! And shouting about it was also bad! Just because he wants to make things better or right doesn't mean he gets to violate her consent!) 

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Rosy returns shortly with the chair from John's desk in the other room, it being the lighter of the two. She has a bit of trouble maneuvering it in through the door, but manages just fine.

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Oh, fuck, he hadn't realized that getting a chair would be any difficult. He rushes to help her once he sees the door open and realizes that she needs to maneuver (even though she's done most of the relevant maneuvering already...) (he really can't do anything right today can he?). 

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"Hmm? Oh, thanks—can you take it to the desk?"

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"Sure, of course." He does so. It probably makes more sense for him to sit down in "his" desk chair, so he does just that, moving aside so that she can easily get into hers.

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"Cozy Math!" she declares triumphantly, taking a seat.

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John smiles wanly, despite himself. "Cozy math," he agrees. And so they get to work. 

 

Things are still things he's done before, but they're starting to get into the zone of things that he's found difficult before. And so as much as he might want to be concentrating on all the mistakes that he's made, picking over them carefully... his attention is drawn elsewhere. And so slowly, but surely, his mood changes. 

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