The blonde girl came over to him, every bit the circumlocuting youth. He allowed her a few moments of meaningless chatter before snapping at her. The girl sprang back in shock and whispered a request for a date.

"Oh! Ah…" Raven felt his cheeks heat as he realized how vulnerable the girl had probably felt even before he had snapped at her. A pang of guilt followed his embarrassment. "I'm sorry. I…" He closed his eyes and sighed.

"I'm not used to this sort of thing." His image was crafted to avoid exactly 'this sort of thing'. Someone would find anything attractive, of course, but his usual form was not something most people thought of as mate material. His attitude scared off the rest.

Raven had his reasons, and he felt he owed her some explanation. "I'm not sure it would be a good idea," he said, eyes still closed, head shaking very slightly. "I have a very complicated life, and—"

"Yeah, but this is all outside of continuity."

Raven blinked.

He looked at Amanda for a moment, who looked back at him with intelligence and a touch of innocence that showed she was honestly surprised he had forgotten, vulnerability briefly gone with her simple statement of fact. No consequences.

He drew himself up tall and nodded. "There will be dancing."

He heard Amanda's friends cheer in the background. When he opened his eyes, she still beamed.

He smiled back and offered his arm.