The Presence of Absence
Roleplaying Log: The Presence of Absence
IC Details

Takes place directly after The Crossroads. A grieving Zatanna Zatara tells Tim Drake about her encounter with John Constantine in the city, leaving him with truths that stand an equal chance at either strengthening what they have or destroying it completely.

Other Characters Referenced: John Constantine, Giovanni Zatara, Jessica Jones, Spoiler
IC Date: January 08, 2019
IC Location: Titans Mall, Long Island
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 12 Jan 2019 08:38
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It is at some point during the dinner hour when Zatanna Zatara finally returns to headquarters, where she falls seamlessly into her usual routine. Mission briefings, debriefings, dinner with those who make the mall their home, she manages to hold onto the pain under the mask of her usual smiles up until it was time to put things away at the kitchen, where it becomes too much. She disappears from sight quickly, once the evening's chores are done and for a couple of hours, she hasn't looked at her phone. Any messages sent her way would have been met with radio silence.

It's easy to get lost in the large complex, but Red Robin, being who he is, manages to find her anyway. In the building's rooftop overlooking the rest of Long Island, on one of the chairs surrounding a cozy firepit that has been built there, she's bundled up under a warm shawl, her boots removed and her socked feet pulled up on the cushions. It may appear like she just wanted to get some fresh air, rejuvenate herself with the winter chill, but her shoulders are slumped, her head lowered, her face encompassed by the spread of her fingers against one side of her face.

And the quiet, unmistakable sounds of her grief; they're faint, like ghosts carried by the wind.

He's seen her shed a few tears before, in their two-year acquaintanceship. These instances are rare, and always silent, but this may be the first time he would hear her actually weeping, having retreated into the embrace of the evening to unleash this unbridled display of heartbreaking sorrow. She had been fine, even happy, the last few days since the New Year, even moreso after their night out together with Dick and Kory. Whatever happened now, whatever fresh wounds that have been inflicted upon that perpetually open heart must've been a sharp, bladed thing, leaving her hemmorhaging again…and vulnerable enough to feel as if she has to retreat this far away from everyone else.

To the world outside, there would be no sign.

Cyborg's holographic technology was beyond state of the art, and they'd had the combined powers of three spellcasters to make sure outside attention was subtly directed away; all for the sake of keeping the Titans in New York, if only barely. To give them somewhere safe to hide out, in a city where their very presence was increasingly against the law of the land.

It wasn't perfect, by any means. As comfortable as they'd made the mall hideout, and were continuing to make it, it just wasn't Titans Tower.

But for now, it would have to do.

It was obvious to anyone with any awareness of Zatanna that something was bothering her. Something that had seemingly come on like a bolt from the blue, a sudden change from the way she'd started out the new year. It was only a couple of days ago that they'd gone on their date: A couple of days in which Zatanna's spirits seemed higher than they had in a while, after the beatings her indomitable spirit had taken in the last months of 2018.

But who knows: She was a magician after all, a performer. Misdirection and sleight of hand were a key part of her skillset. Who's to say she hadn't just been keeping her grief and pain under the strictest wraps she could?

It takes a bit of time to find her, some searching in the abandoned mall. There were plenty of spaces as-yet unused, places where someone could hide. There was her own room, perhaps the most secure spot in the structure if she chose to keep people out. But she wasn't in any of those. No, it was only with the benefit of some time that Red Robin was able to find her on the roof, and when he did… When he did, it felt like intruding. So for a long moment, he hides. Just another part of the shadows, as he feels a sickly sour sense of guilt at seeing the witch in her private grief. She'd retreated from the others for this on purpose, after all.

But he also feels…

There's almost no noise as the former Boy Wonder settles himself into another of the chairs, looking incongruous in his Titans costume, his eyes lost behind that domino mask, his hair spiked up in a shock of black. No noise, at least, until he speaks, until he draws attention to himself.

"Hey," he offers. "Sorry, I know you probably wanted to be alone, but I was worried about you."

She could have gone to Shadowcrest, too - in an old mansion that straddles the nebulous line between worlds, it would have been the perfect place to hide for weeks, with nobody having the means to follow her. It's a mystery why she decided to take refuge in their team's headquarters; perhaps by now, it's instinct, to move to the nearest place of safety she could find. Or maybe she needed some social interaction before making her retreat, a bit of normalcy to remind her of how promising the New Year started before visiting, or revisiting, whatever it is that upset her so thoroughly.

But Zatanna was never accustomed to hiding her feelings. She has never been discouraged to rein in her heart. Had she grown up under Bruce's tutelage, perhaps she would have learned, but unlike most of those who surround her, she has never balked at showing what she feels - it's only recently that she has tried to keep her own sorrow from bleeding out towards the rest, if not just because of the guilt…above all, she hates feeling like a burden.

She supposes that she should have expected this, Red Robin suddenly melting out of the shadows, moving to occupy the space next to her on the long chair that sits two in front of the firepit. Her eyes look up, bloodshot from all of her crying, her face easing from her hands, her expression twisted by grief.

"Oh, Tim," she says, weakly, her voice low and chafed. "It's all so wrong. I never wanted…I never…"

It might be his presence - something about him just suddenly being there forcing the rest of her resolve to crumble. Her shoulders hunch further underneath the shawl, as if in an attempt to ball tighter within herself.

"The things I've done…the things I have to do in the future…the things Daddy gave up. I thought maybe there was something unique about me that…I never had to pay before, Tim, but the last one….I think the last one was a huge enough ask from the universe that it had to take something from me to redress what it lost. And I thought…oh god, Tim. I was wrong. I was so wrong…"

She could have.

She could have gone almost anywhere, if she'd been so inclined. Stepped through a portal just to get away.

But instead, she'd gone to where the others were likely to be, most of them spending a fair bit of their time around the mall. Where Red Robin would likely be, still engrossed as he was in making sure the base was up to par, still shepherding the team along in what was a delicate time. It wasn't that he was always there, or even always in New York instead of Gotham. But it was a fair bet.

He speaks, he draws her attention to himself, and she looks up at him. Those huge eyes bloodshot, puffy from her crying. Grief was obvious in every expressive line of her features, and when she speaks her voice was raw from the sobs that wracked her: Any one of those signs by themselves would paint all the picture anyone needed. Together, they make the young detective's heart lurch in his chest, a reflexive, sympathetic pain all but overwhelming him. But she speaks…

She speaks, and he remembers - as of course he does - that conversation in the library of Shadowcrest. How she'd worried about the implications of the very fact she brings up: What did it mean that she was seemingly immune to those terrible costs that had afflicted her father, and every other mortal sorceror she knew of?

She hunches further under the shawl as she talks, as though to hide herself. As though to curl up protectively into a ball, to shield her vulnerable belly from the sharp claws of reality. He can't help it: He leans closer to her, his arm moving to curl around her hunched shoulders, to try and impart some kind of comfort, some kind of relief from the simple human presence, the simple human contact, although nothing between them could really be called 'simple' these days, if it ever could've.

"What happened?" he asks, quietly still. There was nobody else on the roof to overhear them - he could tell - but still he pitches his voice low. She was using his real name, after all. This was something vulnerable, something private. Private in a way that might even exclude him, but… Well, here he was. "It's okay, you can tell me."

The dam breaks further when he wraps that arm around her, lending her the solid weight of it, the warmth blunted by the synthetic weave of his suit. But with comfort so freely given, the strength and solidity of his presence pressed against her, Zatanna is unable to help herself here, either. Some part of her hates it - she's cried so much, too much, in the last couple of months that all she wants to do is to stop it and move forward. But whatever happened has been enough to shake her resolve there. That's what tends to happen when one realizes that the way her life has turned may have been pulled out of her hands all along, that she couldn't even take some solace in the idea that it had been her own decision.

She turns her face against his shoulder and for a while, all she does is cry. She sobs against her best friend, someone who, as of late, has occupied a space more complicated than he had been relegated to before. It feels like forever, when she slowly curls her arms around him - wounded enough that the way she moves is hesitant, a sharp contrast to the way she freely throws her arms around him, especially while gripped with exuberant joy, something he has experienced just days ago. But when she does manage to anchor herself against him, around him, her nails dig into the clinging sheath of his costume, her sobs buried against the unyielding wall he makes.

She tries to compose herself, at least, if not just for the fact that she wants to be understood. But first, he needs context, otherwise he wouldn't understand the significance of the loss.

"It's rare when it happens," she says in between halting breaths, beginning here as she has never told him this before. "When two magicians form an astral link. It only really forms when they've managed to tie themselves so completely to one another that it just forms from the ether. Normally it's eternal. I had one with Daddy, for almost my entire life, and when he was forced to leave me here, he had to sever it. It's no easy feat, either, destroying it…he's one of the only people in this world - in other worlds - who knows how. I didn't know why until very recently why he cut me off, but when I lost it…oh, Tim, I can't even begin to describe to you how it felt. The hole it left behind…the gaping, yawning empty. It's like getting something important inside of yourself cut out….that sense of abandonment, made so breathlessly real that it presses into you until that's all you feel. It took me months after that to even find my feet and fly back to the United States. I didn't even have the strength to teleport."

She falls quiet for a heartbeat, before: "John and I had the same. When we broke up…I thought he did it. He confronted my father about our connection, sometime last year. According to him, Daddy told him to break it, that he would show him how. So when I woke up a few days after our fight, after everything, it was just gone…I thought he had cast me off, too."

Her eyes close, moisture trailing down her cheeks.

"I ran into him today," she tells him, words so low they were barely audible. "A piece of the Primordial Darkness escaped a cursed item and started eating at the building of a mutual acquaintance. I was there for something else."

That gauntleted hand tangles loosely in her hair, cupping the back of her head as she turns her face against his shoulder. He can feel it, the warmth of her tears as they fall, though his suit absorbs the wetness of them. He lets her take her time, lets her get it out, as she slowly reaches up with her arms to curl them around his shoulders. As he feels her nails claw against the black and red fabric, modified and derived from the same protective nanoweave that Jane Foster had given him back in Germany, just like the others.

He doesn't pay attention to how long it takes - why would he? - and instead lets time drift away, lets it stop having any real meaning to him as he tries to provide some kind of comfort to Zatanna. He doesn't shush her, or try to still her sobs and tears, not so callous as to try and force her to stop crying, as though it were a nuisance to him.

And when she collects herself, when she manages to focus enough to tell him something of what's so upset her, giving him the important context that goes with it. She tells him, at least in general terms, about the astral links that can form between magic users who are closely connected. How she'd had one with her father, which Giovanni had severed when he was forced to abandon her. How she'd had one with Constantine.

That stirs… Something. Something sour and unpleasant, like envy, like jealousy. Inferiority. How was he ever supposed to compete with the idea that she'd had a literal soulmate? It mingles with other things there, with a surge of sympathy at how Zatanna must feel to have gone through that not once but twice in only a few years; how this time that she'd gone through it had come on the heels of all the other emotional punishment she'd endured during the demonic invasion, which had led to that same fight she mentioned.

But he notices the way she says things. He can't not, even now. He can't help but pick apart what she's telling him, look at it from other angles.

I thought, she says.

"Okay," he says, leaning his face against the crown of her head, his gloved fingers lightly stroking at her hair. "I'm guessing you guys were able to handle it, at least." He hadn't had to worry about the Primordial Darkness for months, now. There'd been so many other things to worry about. It made the short hairs on the back of his neck stand on end, thinking about it now.

"We banished it to the endless," Zatanna whispers, stilling his fears in that at least - they don't have to worry about that speck of the Darkness, at least, trapped in a place where there's nothing to erase. "But the proprietor - our mutual acquaintance, Cienzo Basile. He lost his nerve, and he ended up banishing us too. It took some doing, but we ended up at The Crossroads and then we were forced to try and find a way back. It's like Hell…these pockets in between realities, Time tends to move differently in them."

She falls quiet at that. She does nothing but turn her head, to let his fingers sink into her tousled midnight tresses even further, lets them tangle in. Talk of being cast off, drifting, she finds at least some respite in this, in the arms of someone who would anchor her to where she belongs if she just asked.

"John and I talked when we were trapped there together. Tim…it wasn't him. He didn't…" She swallows. "Jess warned me before, about how it might've been a misunderstanding. That there may have been someone out there who knew about it, who wanted to drive us apart. Because it would make sense, right? Magically, we're impossible to deal with on our own, let alone together. But the more I thought about it….it wasn't right either."

Her eyes close again. "It was the ritual, Tim. What we used to bring Emily back to life."

After another breath, she continues. "It's not like necromancy, what we did. It was resurrection - actual life, put back in the body that lost it. Not just life, but a life we need to help ensure that the world just doesn't end up getting erased. It was our plan - me and John's. Since I was carrying the Blood of Isis, it made sense for me to perform it and in doing so….oh, Tim. I don't think I have to tell you how much it costs to truly bring someone back from the dead, let alone bring back someone so important to keep others alive. It was a big ask. It was a huge favor for me to ask. And then I realized…"

That it might've been big enough to make me pay.

She doesn't say it, but she knows he'd be able to put the pieces together. It's difficult enough to tell him, but to say that single, devastating realization out loud once again is…

"I thought I paid it, with what happened in the Island," she murmurs hoarsely, her voice raw from the fresh pain of it, of reiterating it all over again. "But you all forgave me. You all kept telling me it wasn't my fault. I never really lost any of you, did I? All I lost was John." She swallows thickly. "He was the cost. He was the price I had to pay."

Her form sags further against him, limp and exhausted. Weak.

"…as far as actual experience in the fact is concerned, nobody knows how much Magic really takes better than him," she continues. "The moment I realized it, he knew it was true. He said it was part of me, doing big things, impossible things…that I was born to make these kinds of sacrifices." Her shoulders tighten again, another wave of sadness washing over her. "He said it before he kissed me…kissed us goodbye."

And at that, she breaks. Her grip on him tightens, her sob pressed at where the juncture of his shoulder meets his neck. "I never asked for this much power," she repeats within a breathless sob. "I don't want to keep giving up what I have with the people I love whenever I have to try and save what's here."

They'd talked about that before, too, about bringing the dead back to life.

About the Lazarus Pits, and the terrible consequences thereof.

But this, Tim had figured, was different: Emily Montrose had never really died, her body just stuck in some kind of stasis while her soul, her essence was split off from it. That was different, surely, surely. He'd carried that soul around in himself, safely ensconced in Isis' tyet that he'd swallowed - or well, his astral form had swallowed, he guesses, and he's not entirely sure how that's different from his 'soul' in the first place - and there'd been seemingly no side effects, no consequences to that.

But when she tells him that, when she speaks the words, that it was the ritual they'd done which had cost her that ineffable connection with the Smiling Magician, he feels a sharp blade of guilt sink into his belly. Guilt, and something else, too: Fear.

Fear that whatever fragile, nascent thing they'd begun would be snuffed out by this. After all, it was his fault in part, wasn't it?

It hurts, as she talks, as she tells him all of it. It hurts selfishly, tangled in with the reflected pain of Zatanna herself, of the sympathetic, empathetic pain he feels for her, hearing what she's endured, on top of everything else.

He doesn't speak, doesn't interrupt her, because saying anything now might cost Zatanna her momentum, might make he clam up, and that's not what he wants either. He might not want to hear this - the thick hurt in her voice a testament to her still powerful feelings for her first love, the knowledge that whatever they had now maybe only existed because of the whim of some cosmic force - but he needs to, in a way. Shying away from painful truths would be hardly in keeping with how he'd been raised, anyway.

And when she describes that farewell between herself and Constantine, he can feel her shatter somewhere inside. Her grip tightening on him, her tears fresh and warm against the crook of his neck.

I never asked for this much power.

"I know," he tells her, quietly. She doesn't want to keep having to sacrifice like that. Who would?

"I know," he repeats. "I'm sorry, Zee. You shouldn't have had to go through that. You work so hard to save people, to put things right, and you get punished for it." That, he knows. He knows it intimately. It isn't just magic that demands terrible costs in this world: It's like anyone who stands up, who makes ripples the way they do, finds tragedy rippling back to them. That they pay the price… Or perhaps more accurately, the people they love do.

His own selfishness makes him burn with shame, though of course he keeps it well-contained. It's human nature, in the end: To, on one level or another, evaluate a situation based on how it affects oneself.

"What can I do?" he asks, instead. "What do you need, Zatanna?"

She knows that this probably isn't easy for Tim to hear, but she had never hid it from him, did she? Her attempts to get him furious with her at Christmas, her request that they take things slowly. She had been trying not to run roughshod over his feelings by telling him, as always, the truth of the situation - her situation, and that she needs the time to properly move on from someone who consumed her thoughts years before she even met him. And was that surprising, coming from someone such as her? That she feels the pain of this loss so acutely, and even moreso now that she realizes that giving up something so important is part and parcel of who she is, and whatever grand and painful destiny was waiting for her?

Zatanna Zatara is not a fickle creature; would he have been so enamored of her if she was?

Perhaps the only thing that is keeping everything they're trying to build together, however slowly, from falling apart is the fact that she isn't…and he isn't.

But that doesn't stop her from acknowledging it. How much it hurts to know how powerful her emotions are, how they linger on someone she can't be with again. This isn't fair to him either. It isn't. She has acknowledged that, to herself and him, from the start. She has never hid the fact from him either, always so open, halfway done in the hopes that Tim would reach for some semblance of self-preservation and save himself before he sinks even deeper.

"I'm sorry." Her voice is tired, and so very small. "I'm sorry, Tim, I know it's…" It isn't easy. "…but you asked, and I can't hide this from you. That's not how I…" That's not how she is.

That same fear that he harbors, unbeknownst to her, grips her, too. That hearing all of this might be too much, too. That at the wake of her sobbing confessions, he'll finally decide that they made a mistake, that for the sake of them both, he'll cut the line too, and give up on whatever it is that they're trying to create together. After this, especially, could she blame him?

But she's lost enough, hasn't she? How much more would she have to endure today?

When she speaks again, the words are formed so softly, so quietly it's only his position that enables him to hear them:

"Please don't go."

Three words that barely illustrate the yawning chasm that she's staring into within herself, poised at the brink of throwing herself into it if that's what it takes. There's nothing prideful about her plea, no hesitation in exposing the soft underbelly of her, presenting her vulnerabilities for him to sink a knife in and disembowel her on the spot with a word.

Despite her pleas and the terrified certainty that he would despite them, he keeps holding her anyway and even asks her what she needs, and she doesn't know what hurts more - knowing that she was doing this to him again, or the sinking realization that she doesn't deserve anything that he provides. For all that she thinks that she has cried enough today, the simple question has her grip tightening on him even harder, embracing the all-encompassing need to destroy herself in his arms, to reduce herself to rubble in the hopes that upon doing so, she could start over. To be rebuilt stronger, more resilient.

Jessica's words from their last conversation slip across the tumult of her memories, and in that wild, unhinged storm of everything she is presently feeling, can she truly dare to hope they're true?

What do you need, Zatanna?

"This," she dares to reply. "You." Her eyes squeeze shut. "I wish I could say something less selfish. I keep holding onto the tenuous hope that you meant what you said to me, that it was okay to be. But it doesn't feel okay because it hurts you too and I'm sorry. I'm so sorry…I'm sorry a hundred, thousand times."

She's always been afraid of being too much for other people, for the people she cared for the most, the people she needed the most. Tim knows that, knows it without the words ever needing to be said, because he knows her. Someone he's been close to for almost two years now, ever since events had conspired to put him in a position where he saw no choice but to divulge his secret to her. Someone he's studied, as he does everyone he knows… But more closely than he gets the chance to so many others. He knows that under that shameless, gregarious, almost larger-than-life persona there was something deeply fragile.

Now that fragility had been tested, dangerously so. Now her fears had become manifest.

And yet, she apologises to him.

He doesn't want her to hide things from him, even the things that weren't easy. The things that might hurt him to hear. He knew that love wasn't some light switch you could flip on or off: If it were that easy, surely he would've gotten over her ages ago, found a way to move on. Instead, he'd carried a torch for her even knowing it was hopeless. Instead, part of him will always love her, whatever happens between them now. Just as some part of him would always love Stephanie Brown.

Just as part of her would always love John Constantine.

Please don't go.

At those three words, he nearly breaks, too. He feels something inside of himself crack, and all his own selfish concerns seem so petty, so small, so stupid and pointless. Right now, in this moment, what did his envy matter? What difference did it make if he could never offer her the sort of connection she'd shared with her first love? She was hurting, like her heart had been torn out all over again, scourging her own spirit until bled.

That was what mattered right now. Her, this. Everything else could be dealt with another time.

So he asks, what does she need? And she answers, as vulnerable as it makes her.

"I'm not going anywhere," he tells her, so gently. "I'm going to stay right here, with you. Okay? So be selfish, Zee. Tell me whatever you want to, whatever you need to, because… You don't need to hide anything from me. I don't want you to hide anything from me. The only thing that hurts me is that you're hurting and I can't do anything to fix it."

I love you, he wants to say, aches to say, but he doesn't give life to the words.

Maybe because it's too soon to be putting that sort of thing on her. But also, because this isn't about him.

"You definitely don't have anything to apologise for. Okay?"

He doesn't go anywhere.

The relief that generates is so overwhelming that she actually feels somewhat lightheaded, as if she had been running for miles without breath, her blood attempting to catch up on the life-giving sustenance she has lost. It leaves Zatanna turning her face, burying it further into the refuge he provides, squeezing him within her grasp in silence thanks. For a moment, she can't trust herself to speak at the implacable fear that the moment she does, it'll start all over again. But he'd feel the steel-cable tension from her shoulders loosen; she sags, almost boneless, against him.

The only thing that hurts me is that you're hurting and I can't do anything to fix it.

She's still weeping, but at the very least the longer she goes on, the longer she lets herself, her tears will stop eventually. At the wake of her wholehearted effort to purge her sorrow in one devastating deluge, there's light at the end of the tunnel. Still, while his presence gives her the comfort she needs - hates herself for needing - his words stir nothing but the dregs of guilt at the bottom of her stomach. He's always been so generous with his care that she can't help but feel like a leech. They've talked about that already, though - he is only returning what she would do if their situations were reversed.

But she knows him. She knows that isn't true.

"Liar," she says softly, but there's no genuine rebuke in her soft, exhausted words.

It isn't the only thing that hurts him. It can't be. But he will say what he needs to in an attempt to put her first.

The rest, she can accept as she rests there, holding onto him with a grip that's faltering once the strength to do so finally wanes. There are finally no more words regarding her situation that are left to say.

"I know…I'll try not to hide anything else," she replies, her cheek resting against the hard curve of his shoulder, the nanoweave digging against supple flesh. After another breath or two, she slowly lifts her head to look at him, meeting his dark blue stare, her face wan and somewhat blotchy, her eyes red-rimmed - she must look terrible, but her appearance is the least of her present concerns.

"I…" Her arms slowly unwind from him so she could press her eyes against the heels of her palms in an attempt to rid herself of the moisture staining her cheeks. "I'm just…I'm really tired." She tries a smile, half-hearted as it is. "Bouncing uncontrollably in between dimensions will do that to a person. Would it be okay if we just turtled in for the night?"

Liar, she names him.

It's not like Tim can deny that, not under these circumstances… But that wasn't the point, he could argue. Whether any of what Zatanna told him caused him pain - because let's face it, it sucks to listen to someone you're in love with, trying to start a relationship with, agonise over their ex - didn't really matter right now. What mattered right now was her, and her pain.

Because, yes, he will say what he needs to, in his attempt to put her first.

For his part, though, he seems content to stay like that as long as she wants: He was unbothered by staying in the same position for a long period of time anyway, and he certainly wasn't about to try chivvying her along. But eventually, eventually she tells him she'll try not to hide anything else. It was sort of like his own words at the winter village, wasn't it? About letting her in. About them being patient with each other.

Eventually, eventually her arms move from him, rubbing her palms against her face to wipe away her own tears, aiming a weak little smile his way as she confesses that she's tired.

Would it be okay if we just turtled in for the night?

"It'd be pretty crappy of me to try and get you to do anything else tonight, wouldn't it?" he wonders, mostly rhetorically. "You should rest, Zee. Just let me know if there's anything I can do."

Just let me know if there's anything I can do.

"You're already doing it."

The sentiment sounds like she's humoring him, but it's nothing but the most honest truth. Zatanna finishes attempting to dry her face at that, before she slowly rises from the chair. She hadn't felt the cold earlier, but with the loosening of Tim's embrace, the weather is suddenly intolerable and she wraps her shawl even tighter around her. But she doesn't go anywhere else and he'd realize quickly that she's waiting for him. That when she said we, she meant together.

And so she waits until he, too, stands up, and together, they return to the mall's warmer interior. It might be more discrete, really, to teleport them both to his penthouse in Manhattan, but her exhaustion is bone-deep, down to the very marrow. She doesn't want to expend any more magic today.

She'll accompany him to his 'dorm room'; she doesn't intend to sleep alone this evening.

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