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if i loved you less

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The sound of the doorbell cut off the start of Enid’s attack. After a beat of silence where the warriors each glanced at another, Emmett stood slowly and made his way to the door. It was here. The nourishment they’d all been craving an-

"Emmett?" a blonde voice inquired as he walked back into the dining room where the papers and dice were scattered across the table.

"Elle."

She smirked. “Why were you narrating the pizza delivery in your dungeon master?”

A snort was heard to his right, followed by Serena’s short ‘again’.

Dropping the pizza boxes on the table, Emmett glared at his (losers) (friends) (potential love interests) whatevers. “Honestly, you guys forget who’s paying for this greasy crap.”

"I believe that would be me, actually," Elle said as she stood up beside him, leaning subtly into his left bicep as she snagged a piece of the pineapple (he only ordered it for her - no one else would eat it).

Soon, they all settled into the living room with their paper plates and room temperature soda cans. The current adventure had been going on for nearly three hours already and Margot and Paulette insisted on a quick break to see the newest Say Yes to the Dress; something about a celebrity guest star? Emmett stopped listening after he concluded he would get no say in the matter.

Enid, Vivienn, and Chad (or was it Dewey?) were leaning against the coffee table, having pulled the sofa cushions off to use as a backrest. Nearby were Selena and Pilar, both discussing potential cosplay plans for next season’s Wiscon (“the premiere RP convention focused on feminism!”) That left Paulette and Margot to snag the cushion-less love seat and Elle took the recliner. Emmett’s recliner. Where he had been planning to sit and play his PSP until the program finished.

He told all of this to Elle who just shrugged and patted the arm of the chair mid-yawn. “My girl getting sleepy?”

A chuckle. “Mostly tired of those weak enemies you keep throwing at us. When do we get to the real adventure?”

"Wow. Uncalled for." That left only one type of retaliation; Emmett quickly ruffled her hair as much as possible before she managed to shove him back onto the floor. The blonde’s screech and his own cackles made the interaction more obvious than he’d hoped.

"Hey! Lovebirds! Not during the engagement stories, ‘kay?" Enid barked without tearing her eyes from the TV.

Unspoken rule of role-playing nights: don’t cross Enid Hoops. She WILL use friendly fire and kill your favorite characters.

Soon, everyone was settled down and Emmett’s blush had gone (for the most part) unnoticed (Paulette saw everything). As each bride, including Miss Celebrity, said “yes!” to their dresses - “honestly, we all knew they were going to approve!” “shut up, Chad, it doesn’t happen every time!” - Emmett leaned back to whisper to Elle before noticing that she’d fallen asleep. The glasses she wore on RP nights had slipped down her nose and she was curled around an empty MelloYello can.

The rest of the group stretched as they stood, moments from Vivienne and Enid pulling them into a raving discussion on… whatever, before noticing Emmett’s “shh” gestures. Nods. Soft footsteps. They’d taken their conversation back to the dining table.

Emmett looked back down at the sleeping Elle. She looked so much smaller and delicate - shocking, with how loudly she snored. He’d have to tease her about it later. Noticing her bare feet and goose-bump covered arms, he tiptoed over to the couch and snagged the Harry Potter blanket his mom had knit for him back in his freshman year of college. Slowly, Emmett tucked it around her, and took the soda can from her artist hands. God, she was so beautiful. And totally out of his league. Guild? Out of his guild.

…She would have laughed at that.

His smile slowly fell. Everyone else joked about the two of them, but these feelings were so real to him. And her, it seemed. “Seemed.” That’s exactly what kept him from saying anything. What if’s were everywhere though inevitable.

Vivienne peeked her head into the room. “Em, we gonna finish up here or what?”

"Yeah." He turned around. "Can we put Elle’s halfling at the inn for now?"

Once everyone had left, Emmett walked back to check on Elle, who was still asleep. When he placed the glass of water he’d brought beside her, a small voice beside him whispered.

"Thank you, m’lord."

Maybe she hadn’t been dreaming after all. “Way to chicken out of my final battle, huh?”

A scoff. “Fuck off.” Beat. “Can I stay tonight?”

"Anything for my heroine."