1. Hal hadn't seen her before; of that he was certain. He would have remembered. His memory had never been perfect, but for a teenage boy coming across a pretty girl, he knew he would have remembered her. She was a pre-med student. He had been told that much. Upon first hearing this, he laughed. He could imagine the embarrassment her future patients would have to go through, and what sort of comments she would have to deal with. The second time he acknowledged her status, in the space of the same day, he realised why she would be perfect for it. She has a kind heart, but he believed that there was something much tougher underneath the surface, much more watching this girl, Hal began to believe that she could handle heartbreak, that she could handle almost anything. He saw the way some people regarded her, the way they regarded her faith. They thought she was irritating. They thought she was naive.

Hal thought she was wonderful.

2. Hal believed he had a fairly good idea of teenage girls. He had dated more than the rest of the boys in his year, being on the lacrosse team and generally being viewed as a handsome guy. Despite all of this, Hal had difficulty working out Lourdes. He had never met anyone like her. She regarded him with such patience, such kindness. He almost couldn't believe she was real. A fair amount of the pretty girls he knew had other faults in their personality, or something to weigh them out. Lourdes didn't seem to care about her appearance. Hal had seen more than a few guys ogle her when they believed she wasn't looking, but Lourdes gave no mind to it. She wore clothes that girls of the same age would call ugly, and Hal still thought she was more appealing than half the girls her age.

Her faith, also, was an aspect of Lourdes that Hal didn't share but admired. How she could throw herself into such a belief, Hal didn't know. His father, a history professor, had told him of countless wars and events that had taken place in history. Hal had always taken notice of the suffering, and how the problem was solved. Hal believed that it was up to people to solve things, such as they had done in these wars his father always spoke so enthusiastically of. To Hal, the idea of God was something to believe in without proof. Hal chose to believe in people; in good people. But Lourdes was a good person, also, and to have such a good heart that she can believe in the unknown, in things Hal himself didn't understand; to have such a good heart to do all of this, Lourdes was, to Hal, perfect.

3. Hal didn't hear his geeky younger brother, Ben, or even the youngest, Matt, who was giggling at an obscene volume. Their family dinner wasn't an unusual occurrence, and Hal usually found it impossible to ignore his family. This time, however, his thoughts were clouded. Lourdes. She was all he could think about. He could, of course, distract himself from her if he chose. He could bicker with his two brothers and return to some kind of normality. His mother had chosen the place to eat, this time. Hal was so distracted he didn't even know the name of the place, or the kind of food they served. He was sure that was what either of his brothers were talking about, and that his parents had informed him about the place before leaving, but he couldn't find it in himself to care.

The entire family noticed that Hal was acting strangely. Even Matt, who was generally oblivious to his older brother's antics. And when Hal jumps out of his seat to talk to a pretty brunette nearby, the Mason family aren't careful about watching how the pair act with each other.

4.

Hal knows he has to give in. He has never felt this unsure with himself before. What if Lourdes doesn't feel the same? How will he feel, then?

Hal has always considered himself a smooth talker around pretty girls. There was something about Lourdes that made him a nervous wreck. He had taken three showers today; one just ten minutes ago, and had changed his clothes four times. The change of clothes wasn't particularly necessary – he only owned shirts and jeans, with one suit he wore once for a family friend's wedding and never planned to wear again – and he still didn't know whether he looked good enough.

He realised that Lourdes had already said something. She was waiting expectantly, a small smile playing on her lips. Hal stopped himself there – taking more time to think about her lips at this particular moment would surely mean disaster. But Lourdes was smart; Hal knew she understood that he hadn't been paying attention. He quickly continued the conversation, despite not knowing what had been said before.
"So," he paused, grinning in a way that he knew must have looked idiotic, "how's... life?"

Lourdes was talking again, and Hal was trying really hard to listen, to focus on the words. He heard the few sentences, about someone in her course who had told them some interesting news, before his thoughts went back to his task. He had to ask her out, he knew it. If he didn't, one of his brothers would end up telling her about his pathetic crush, and Hal would rather humiliate himself than be humiliated by his annoying younger brothers.

Lourdes had stopped talking, and was now looking at him with her usual kind expression. It didn't take him long to realise he had spoken his thoughts aloud. But somehow, on looking at her expression, he didn't feel so nervous any more.

"It kind of requires an answer, y'know."
Lourdes smiled at him, a playful smile he never thought he'd get used to. "I'll go out with you when aliens invade the planet."
Hal smirked. "That's the best you could come up with? Aliens?"
Lourdes shrugged.
"What's your real answer?"
Lourdes regarded him with her usual soft stare, but there was something else breaking out: a smile. Not the soft smile he was used to, but something much happier. "It's about time, Mason."


I couldn't stop myself from commenting this time: I love Hal and Lourdes more than life itself. Season 2 was amazing but there was so little of Hal and Lourdes, but I had fun in searching out the little moments like Hal watching Lourdes/Jamil, Hal and Lourdes in the background when Tom is speaking, Hal and Lourdes speaking when Maggie was injured and when they walked into Charleston together. Also, I sought out Hal's face when everyone discovered Jamil was dead, and though he was half covered by Maggie, he was definitely looking her way. I want a scene with these two again so desperately. Anyway, this story was just a bit of fun, which was my intention with a lot of the stuff I'll post - short little oneshot AU's. I hope soon Hal and Lourdes have more appreciation, because they really deserve it. I'll stop now, and go back to hoping for Hal/Lourdes scenes in season 3 and an end to this Hal/Maggie madness! :)