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Real isn't how you are made. It's a thing that happens to you.
Really?
flusterbuns wrote in pandoraheartsdr
No one noticed Hare during her first week or so at the mansion, and that is just the way Hare likes it. She likes being quiet, and she likes being unseen, and she likes it when she isn't the center of attention. She likes it when things are calm and she can maybe possibly consider considering not worrying about anything, and she likes to have a bit of spice cake as a night-time snack sometimes.

But most of all, Hare likes to read. Being separated from her Liam and pushed into her very own human body has meant she's been obliged to seek out books on her own, now that she's listened and learned all about her new home, and so she's in the library right now. A pile of books by people like Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters rests next to her, but the book sitting open in her lap is one meant for children. It is called The Velveteen Rabbit, and Hare is so very lost in it that she sits there in the middle of the floor with it, paying no attention at all to who might come in.

"'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse." Hare reads the words softly aloud to herself. "'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.'"

Hare thinks of her usual body -- of her tattered cloak and her worn, shabby ears and her hat that has been squashed just a few too many times. Reading the passage again, she puts her hands on her cheeks with a soft little "Oh," and she wonders.

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He's browsing through the library when he comes upon her, and the way her presence resonates with his contract leaves very little doubt who she is.

As he comes closer, he sees what she's reading and smiles a bit.

"Good book?"

"Oh!"

Hare closes the precious book quickly and clutches it to her chest, flushing. After a moment, though, she loosens it just a little. Even if she sometimes feels shy, she doesn't have to hide anything from a Liam. Not really.

"It's -- it's about a toy rabbit. And the child the rabbit belongs to loves him so very much that he -- becomes Real."

He's a bit surprised by her reaction, but is relieved when she relaxes a bit.

"Sounds like a familiar story," he murmurs.

After all, Hare has become real here. Three versions of his Chain, now.

Liam doesn't seem to be angry with her for not coming to find him, so she stands, still holding the book close as she moves nearer to him.

"Do you -- do you suppose --" She loses her nerve and nibbles her bottom lip before she starts again. "Perhaps I am Real, too? Because we...have a Contract?"

It's that bond that pulled her up and out of the Abyss, after all, and she wouldn't be with Liam if she wasn't supposed to be with Liam. She can't help him very often, not like other Chains can help their own Contractors. But if she's important enough to be Real, perhaps that's alright.

"It's possible," he says gently. "But there are Chains here who have no Contract."

He pats her head, smiling.

"But you're Real to me, even in the real world."

"Because I'm always there with you, even if -- even if I can't come out!"

She feels sorry for Chains who don't have Contractors, and for the ones whose Contracts don't last very long. But that isn't so bad, here. This place has its quirks, but it's certainly much nicer than the Abyss.

"Exactly."

He finally takes a moment to look at her. She's certainly different from the other two, and he wonders if each of them belong to a different Liam.

"You've come out when I've needed you, and you keep me company. And you saved my life. I can't ask for more than that, Hare."

She beams at him so brightly that the contrast when her face suddenly falls is almost heartbreaking.

"...I -- saved your life...?" Hare paws through her own mind; she can't think of any time her Contractor had come at all close to being in such danger. He was always so careful!

Oh. That hasn't happened in her timeline. He gives her an apologetic look and pats her shoulder. He'll be as vague as possible, so as not to upset her further.

"I took on a mission, and ran into a Baskerville. You saved me with False Death."

Liam may have good intentions, but his attempt to soothe her doesn't really work, and she tears up a bit.

"Oh, but that's -- that's terrible! I never wanted to have to use it! Never, ever!"

"I know," he says softly. "I had hoped never to have to use it, either. But you have a very stubborn master, and I got myself into trouble. And you got me out of it."

He's sorry now that he mentioned it, if it upsets her so.

"I'm very glad that you're my Chain, Hare."

She makes a little noise as she gulps her tears down, doing her best not to get truly upset in front of him as he says such a kind thing. He's here, isn't he? And he's up and walking around on his own and even though he seems just a little distant, Liam isn't...he's not angry with her. If he were she'd be able to tell.

Greatly daring, she reaches out one hand and allows it to curl in his sleeve.

When she reaches out, he thinks he understands a little. Hare is, after all, used to being in his head, quite close, and now she's not. It must be quite disconcerting for her--as arriving here to find his connection with Hare severed had been for him, but probably moreso.

Gently, he draws her into a little hug.

"It must be different for you here."

Hare takes his returning affection as permission to allow herself to cuddle up close to him, and as she opens her mouth to reply, she lets her head fall to rest against his chest. That, it turns out, is all she needs, because that's where his heartbeat is -- something she's always aware of in her Chain form, whether it's slow and steady as he sleeps or rapid and frantic from this or that giving him conniptions.

She doesn't feel like she has to say anything, then, so she closes her mouth and relaxes, her book still clutched to her chest between them and her hand still attached to the fabric of his shirt.

He holds her quietly for a while. She's his Chain, and he's always enjoyed Hare's affection. And it's clear that she needs him close right now.

After a while he asks gently.

"Are you acclimating well to the differences here?"

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