things you said when you were scared
Blue was curled into a ball against Ronan on Monmouth’s much abused couch—knees pulled up to her chest, forehead pressed into them, arms wrapped over her head. She was absolutely not shaking, no matter what he said.
“You do know he can’t come through the screen for you, right?” Ronan crunched his popcorn loudly. It was a wonder the movie was affecting her as much as it was, as tethered as he was keeping her to the here and now. It would be annoying if she didn’t suspect he was doing it on purpose.
"Ronan,” she said into her jeans. “We spend our time in a cave that can bend our fears for its own purposes. The odds that I’m going to be murdered by some asshole in red leather and a motorcycle helmet because you refused to watch Grease are higher than they should be!"
"I will not let you get murdered by some asshole in red leather," he said, and punctuated it by poking her in the shoulder.
"You can’t promise that."
"I can. It listens to me."
Blue tilted her head up. “Does it listen to everything you want?”
"Well, not everything. Why?" He tilted the bowl toward her and she took a handful of popcorn. She picked through it before putting a few pieces into her mouth.
On the screen the heroine was running through a series of white clinical corridors, trying desperately to escape the murderous experiment of her captor. Ronan might have had a point about the universality of psychological thrillers really, because who among them hadn’t ever felt that way?
"I don’t know. I was just thinking, if there was something that you really wanted that you couldn’t have. Can you manifest it?"
"I can’t just build you a Gansey, if that’s what you’re asking."
She knew that wasn’t quite true, but there were ethics in dream beings that she felt need to be addressed more seriously before anyone made any demands on that end. It also wasn’t what she’d really been asking. The synth line from the movie score seeped between them as he studied her in the glow from the screen.
“Do you ever think about what you are?”
“I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I found out.” He wiped his hands together over the popcorn bowl, placed it on the floor, and then turned to face her, pulling his feet up onto the couch so that their toes were touching. “I mean, I’m not really a person am I?”
“No, you are. What else would you be?”
“I feel like one, but you know, I bet Matthew feels like one too. I bet my mother felt like one before…” his voice broke, but he maintained eye contact. Ronan Lynch was a force of nature when he was staring down the impossible and demanding it become possible and more often than not she’d seen him react that same way to his own fear. Blue wondered if that was a side effect of his birth or his upbringing. Or if it mattered for him. If it mattered for her.
“Yeah,” she said. “Fathers.”
“Is that what you wanted?”
“I just don’t know anything about him. Or how I’m supposed to feel about him. Or if I’m at all like him. I didn’t know if the cave might have an echo stored somewhere.”
“Like a computer hard drive?”
“Why not? Magic is electricity, right? Like people?”
He tilted his head back and looked up toward the high windows. “I don’t know. I’ve never studied it. I only know what I can do. Maybe,” he said. “I think what Adam does is definitely to do with electricity of some kind.”
“We’ll have to be extra vigilant of murderers in red leather though, okay?”
“You’re such a wuss.” Ronan reached over and ruffled her hair.
She tried to retaliate, but it wasn’t as fun for either of them with no hair to be messed up. Instead she stretched her legs out and settled against him just in time for jump scare involving a humanoid tar creature. Blue buried her face into his chest.
“Never again!” she yelled, and punched him in the thigh. “Next week it’s definitely Grease!”
(As a side note, Beyond the Black Rainbow is a terrifying movie and Ronan is mean for making her watch it. Excellent score, though.)