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 [TW] Cooling Down, #Nova | After After Prom
Savannah Zucker
 Posted: May 29 2018, 09:17 PM
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TW: talk of molestation and abuse

Sav had her arms crossed, already calling the uber as she left the gigantic building. She couldn't believe that Noah had tried to punch the guy who'd grabbed her on dance floor. He hadn't even done that much, just got a little handsy. It was her own fault for wearing such a revealing outfit.

"You didn't have to do that." Savvy uttered seriously, her eyes on the road, waiting for headlights to break through the darkness and taken them back to the school. Her whole demeanor had changed since the moment that stranger's hands had touched her skin, pulling her into him and running his hand under her jacket. An unexpected touch like that brought her to a place she didn't like to visit. It came in flashes where parts were missing that she'd pushed deep deep down in the darkest crevasses of her brain. Sav closed her eyes trying to think of something else, anything else.
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Noah Clarke
 Posted: May 29 2018, 09:49 PM
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Did he have to shove the asshole who slid his hand up Sav's jacket? Yes, yes he did. He heard her over the music, heard her over the crowd, tell him to get away from her and yet he refused so yes, Noah did have to. "He shouldn't have touched you," The Brit said simply, fist clenching to keep him reaching out for her, knowing she would flinch if he even tried.

He couldn't blame her.

He stood nearby in an attempt to be a comfort while not being a looming presence, his eyes firmly planted on the road much like her own. He hoped the car would get there sooner rather than later, and that the driver was female instead of male. "So yeah, I did."
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Savannah Zucker
 Posted: May 29 2018, 09:55 PM
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Even if she was annoyed with him, and off in her own world while she tried to keep her mind from reeling, Sav was brought down by his voice. Something about having something familiar with her while she was trying to keep her emotions in check was comforting. It brought her to the moment when she realized it was really over. She'd never have to see him again, and Noah had been there for it, ready to be there for her when she needed it. Just like he was here for her now.

"You were making everyone stare." Sav huffed, pulling her arms in even tighter. She knew deep down that it was ridiculous to push Noah away when he was the one who'd rescued her. If he hadn't been there, she would have just locked up like normal. It was always her response when she was being touched like that, to stiffen up and wait for it to be over, or for something to interrupt it. The fact that she'd told him to stop was a pretty big step in itself.

"I would have been fine, I can deal with shit like that." What a lie. She could pull away and she could draw herself into her mind and endure, but she never actually dealt with it.
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Noah Clarke
 Posted: May 29 2018, 10:22 PM
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Noah didn't take it personally when she started to attack his actions, namely because he knew this is just how she dealt with things. Though they knew of each other for quite a while before their attendance at KPYA, the two stuck together since their freshman year, so he'd seen almost all of what Sav was capable of. He also knew what happened to her that made her shut down at the touch of another guy - even he had to be careful where his hands landed on her, the person she came to whenever she had an awful nightmare or a generally shit day.

"I'm sure you would have been, but next time they may think about doing that to someone else." Noah offered, primarily to please her. He saw headlights in the distance, and when the car came up and parked, he quickly moved off to the side to open the door for her.

-----

They reached campus about half an hour later, a long, relatively silent drive. Sav still pulled away even with the driver's attempt at making conversation; Noah kept it light, but the young woman stared out the window and he simply continued on as if she weren't there. It were easier than drawing attention to her, especially in the state she was in. He thanked the driver with a smile, but quickly returned his attention back to Savannah once the door shut, "So where do you want to go?" They had options - either her dorm or his - but he'd be damned if he would leave her alone.
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Savannah Zucker
 Posted: May 29 2018, 10:30 PM
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He had a point. It was a point of guilt that Sav had found out she wasn't the only one being taken advantage of. When Xavier was murdered, it wasn't just one picture found. There wasn't even her picture found. Maybe if she'd said something sooner... Savvy shook her head and forced her thoughts onto another topic. Luckily, the car was coming up and she could focus her sights on that.

The car ride had been awkward, quiet, and Savvy spent the whole of it chastising herself for getting worked up over something so trivial. She was supposed to be free now that her abuser was dead, but it seemed like he was still haunting her in the touch of every jerk who thought she owed something to them. Noah knew about this part of her, knew that he couldn't meet it with a warm embrace or even a kind touch. So he carried on for her and took at least some attention off of her.

When they left the confines of the car, Noah posed the question and Sav sighed. She knew she shouldn't be alone with her thoughts in the mental state she was in. She was much safer with Noah than she was on her own, so she finally voiced what was on her mind. "Could I stay in your room? Maybe spend the night?" Noah wasn't someone she should push away. He was the only person in the world who knew what she was going through, knew what triggered her to curl away from everyone. At least she could count on him to be there for her. "Sorry I snapped at you..."
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Noah Clarke
 Posted: May 29 2018, 10:40 PM
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If he knew what went on in her head and how she blamed herself for even the most minor aspects of that encounter, he would have tried to silence her. After all, Savannah always tried to be happy and positive (if sometimes bitchy but in the best way) despite it all, so the fact that it'd be her fault was absurd.

The guy who was generally not a serious human being had to have those moments because he made a promise after he found out about what happened to her - he'd keep her safe as long as she'd let him. His hands remained in his pockets, gaze focused on her face, "Yeah. Yeah, no problem." Noah jerked his head slightly to indicate they should start walking, doing exactly that shortly after, "Come on, you can make it up to me later." His lips turned upward slightly, though he'd hardly hold her to anything.
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Savannah Zucker
 Posted: May 29 2018, 10:45 PM
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He was making such an effort for her, and when she was feeling better, she knew she'd have to thank him some how. Most people wouldn't put up with a girl who was having a minor freak out. Noah was one of her best friends for that very reason. Despite his goofy exterior and aloof persona, Noah knew when to be there for others. He knew when the joking had to stop in order to be there for someone.

Finally, a small smile came to Sav's lips as he teased her lightly, and she reached out for him as she followed him into the dorms. "Yea, after I cut short your after prom and chewed you out for helping me and then you put me up for the night..." Her voice was still soft, but it wasn't strained in fear anymore. Having the quiet time in the car and having her friend beside her were starting to bring her back to reality, to help her return to herself...or as close to herself as she could be.
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Noah Clarke
 Posted: May 29 2018, 11:01 PM
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Noah didn't expect to feel her hand pull at his but he removed it from his pocket, intertwining their fingers instinctively. Brown eyes flicked to her figure and when he saw the slight tilt of her lips, his own smile grew, "Well, I guess that means you'll really owe me, now doesn't it?"

He realized she was coming back after she reached out for him, but she still was in a bit of a mindset. After all, this was Savannah Zucker, the girl who roasts him on a daily for any and everything, and very rarely reached out for him in any other way; it's what he enjoyed about her, but the fact that she did hold his hand was telling that she still was feeling uncomfortable. He pulled her up the stairs, finally reaching the third floor and honestly being out of breath.

"Too much food," He huffed, opening up the door with his key. "Damn."
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Savannah Zucker
 Posted: May 29 2018, 11:07 PM
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A soft chuckle came from Sav at his light joke, and she nodded an in agreement, albeit gingerly. She squeezed his hand as he finally allowed for her to join hands with him, and took another deep breath. It was grounding to touch someone who was firmly set in reality. There weren't any flashbacks if she was holding onto something real. Someone real. She followed him up to the third floor to the familiar route to his dorm.

"Drawback of getting desert before prom." Sav noted with a teasing tone, although the softness had not left her yet. She pulled off her jacket and laid it on the back of a chair and made herself at home, curling up no Noah's bed. Everything smelled like him and that grounding feeling that she got from holding his hand was starting to wrap itself around her. "Did I tell you thanks before? Because thanks...I really need this."
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Noah Clarke
 Posted: May 29 2018, 11:18 PM
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There it was, as minute and unremarkable as that statement was to the untrained ear, to Noah it marked a slight turning point in her demeanor. It indicated the brunette slowly started returning to her previous self, though he doubted she'd make it anywhere near normal until the next day, if not a few days. He'd be there for her, regardless of how much time it took. "Yeah well if it weren't someone's favorite, then I wouldn't be out of breath," He chuckled, setting down his own jacket at his desk.

Rather than move towards the bed where she sat, he still kept some distance, unless, of course, she otherwise requested it. Instead, Noah opted to sit on his chair and kick off his shoes, his eyes firmly planted on the girl sitting in his bed. He'd even sleep on the floor if he had to, but at this point the buzz from the night still ran through his veins and he had no intentions of sleeping any time soon. "No need to thank me, Sav." Noah said simply, "I promised you i'm here for you, and I intend to keep that promise."
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Savannah Zucker
 Posted: May 29 2018, 11:27 PM
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If I remember correctly, I believe you were trying to bribe someone to be your prom date." Sav pointed out, her voice finally easing as she was surrounded by the familiar. Things that indicated safety. Naoh's video games, Noah's bed, Noah. She nuzzled into his pillow as she watched him take a seat away from her. She really had him trained. Apart of her felt bad that he knew to stay away from her when she was like this, lest he scare her into a state of all out panic, but Sav was grateful that he obliged her.

"I know. Not everyone would do that." Sav watched him from his bed for a minute. Prom had been fun otherwise. Dancing together and singing the songs that blasted on the stereo, that had all been awesome. Even the after party had started out great with her going all out with her fashion choices. It just sucked that it ended this way, but Sav knew Noah wouldn't want her to blame herself for that. He'd much sooner blame it on the guy who'd made a handsy pass at her. "You don't have to sit all they way over there. I'm fine, I promise."
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Noah Clarke
 Posted: May 29 2018, 11:42 PM
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"Whats past is past," He said, swiveling around in the chair some, back and forth, while still facing his side of the room. He didn't know what his roommate was doing for the night but he hoped, like many of the other students, that he'd be grabbing a hotel room and hanging around for the night rather than venturing back to campus and taking up the other side.

He merely shrugged at her, knowing full well that it didn't matter what others would do, but rather, that he'd do what he did in a heartbeat if it ever occurred again. Something so instinctive hardly warranted a thanks, but he appreciated it nonetheless.

Outside of that, however, they did have a wonderful time, more than he even expected. They danced, they laughed, they ate, and they spent time with some incredible people along the way. It only ended poorly because of the asshat that touched her, but he didn't want to give him anymore power on top of it.

His brow raised, "Are you sure?" Noah didn't want her to feel as though she had to accept proximity if she still wasn't comfortable. "I don't mind sitting over here."
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Savannah Zucker
 Posted: May 29 2018, 11:50 PM
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Sav's laugher was much lighter at his joke and she gave him an impish grin. He effortlessly reminded her of their relationship, a fun relationship, outside of the shitty one she had growing up. "The past is what's biting you in the ass now that you're getting too fat for a couple flight of stairs." She probably shouldn't have been calling him fat after he'd just saved her from having a panic attack at a party, but she did so in good faith that he knew he was quite muscular under all those clothes.

Noah's question was met with a nod, and Sav stretched out slightly to prove that she didn't need to continue in the little ball she'd stuffed herself in for comfort. She cared about Noah, and he was doing a lot for her. Even if he didn't say it, she knew he wanted to rest after all the excitement, and she wasn't going to deny that to him. Besides, if there was a single guy that she could be around at this point, it was Noah.

"I'm fine." Sav repeated, smiling a little more genuinely this time. She took another deep breath and moved to look at the ceiling. "I know I act like a wounded animal when shit like that happens, but I think I can sort out that you're not a hunter...you're someone trying to help." Did that make any sense? "You're probably the only person who could get close to me right now, and I don't want to be like this forever. I have to grow up some day."
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Noah Clarke
 Posted: May 30 2018, 12:15 AM
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Noah snickered, "I'm not fat. I just have more to love." The guy worked out four to five times a week to maintain the physique he currently sported. It wasn't easy, and damn did he love his sweets, but seeing as he got to this point as a way to prove to himself he could, he wasn't about to lose it.

At her reassurance, and the realization that it indirectly implied that she wanted him beside her, Noah obliged. He moved to sit beside her, scooting back so his back was to the wall and his shoulder brushed hers. Noah frowned at her words, "It's not about growing up, Sav. It's about moving past the shit that happened to you in a healthy way. You reacting like that to a guy touching you isn't childish... it's traumatic." He extended his hand, reaching for her face and gently leading her to look at him, "You're not any less of a person for feeling the way you do, for fucks sake."

He couldn't imagine her feelings, but he did understand the after effects simply because he's seen them and not once did he blame her for those reactions. He only wished she wouldn't do that to herself because it wasn't fair. At all.
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Savannah Zucker
 Posted: May 30 2018, 08:08 AM
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The teasing banter encouraged another giggle from Sav as her smile became light and natural. She wasn’t forcing herself into a feeling anymore. Noah successfully insisted a reaction that wasn’t her trying to prove that she wasn’t still in a state of panic.

Noah moved to the bed and joined her and she stayed still as he tried to make himself comfortable. The dorm room beds weren’t exactly built for two, but they could make it work. ”I guess, it just makes me feel like I’m a kid again.” It was like being transported back to when she was most vulnerable, when she couldn’t do anything about it. Noah touched her face to make sure she was looking at him, and although she tenced under his touch initially, she eased into him at the sound of his voice.

Sav smiled meekly at his words and put one of her hands on top of his. ”Maybe not less of a person, but it makes me feel weak. Like everything is out of my control...” She had to be thankful that Noah knew her well enough to avoid contact when necessary, but was aware enough to know when she needed a friendly touch.
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