Rating:K+ for sensitive themes and copious amounts of drawing-related angst.
Summary: There's something incredibly satisfying- and almost theraputic- about how he can control the strokes of his pencils on the creamy paper; looping them, arcing them, making them twist and turn any way he wants on the page. Ridiculously angsty Clyde/Rani
Spoilers/Timeframe: Extremely slight for Mark Of The Berserker. Could be set anywhere after that, I suppose.
Pairings/Characters: Clyde Langer, Rani Chandra, Clyde/Rani
Author's Note: idek what this is. Something I knocked up in a couple of hours. You try listening to Ravel's Bolero on repeat for hours and not come up with something angsty. Beacuse I haven't had a chance to say it yet, this is also dedicated to the wonderful Elisabeth Sladen, who will be sorely missed by everyone in the SJA and DW fandoms.
Clyde likes drawing.
He always has. Ever since he can remember, he was drawing something; whether that was stick people on the walls of his bedroom when he was younger (his mum was not happy), unflattering doodles of his hated teachers in the back of his school books, or a still life of his coke glass on a napkin when he was bored at a restaurant. He has always drawn something.
There's something incredibly satisfying -and almost theraputic- about how he can control the strokes of his pencils on the creamy paper; looping them, arcing them, making them twist and turn any way he wants on the page.
He remembers sitting in his room as a child, listening to his mum cry through the paper-thin walls in the weeks after his dad left them. She always tried to keep quiet for his sake, but nevertheless... he still heard. The nights he couldn't sleep, the nights his brain went a million miles an hour trying to think of someway to bring his dad home, the nights he blamed himself, the nights he blamed his mum, the nights he ran out of people to blame.
Something must have happened or someone must have done something to make his dad leave. It was on those nights that he tried to figure it out in his ten year old mind. And it so happened that for Clyde, there was no other way to do that than drawing. He tried asking his mum once, but it made her sad again and ten year old Clyde didn't want his mum to be sad.
So instead he created his two separate worlds.
The first world he created a world he wished he could live in. He drew pictures of his parents; together, happy. Where he was with them, happy, and he had a brand new red bike. Where they all lived in the perfect blue sky and constant crayon yellow sun that shone constantly in the corner of this happy paper world.
His second world he created was when he was blaming someone or something; and he scribbled harsh, grey, barren landscapes with sad people and clouds and rain. In this world, he drew himself into the picture, but this time he wasn't with his parents. He was lonely, small and nobody else in the picture took any notice of him.
But time dragged on; he and his mum moved on, and he got old enough to understand that no one was really to blame. He hid his worlds at the back of the wardrobe; he didn't want his mum to come across them because it would make her think that she wasn't there for him enough, and that was the last thing he wanted. And anyway, it wasn't like Clyde enjoyed revisiting those places. The first of his worlds was make-believe, the second was a world where he was totally alone.
So he forgot about them for while. Besides, he was catching glimpses of worlds even beyond his imagination. Of people even more amazing and stranger than he could ever dream up. Of course, he drew them as well, he filled sketchbooks with images of the creatures they encountered. He tries not to think about it too much, even when his dad reappears in his life. Even when he does think about those nights alone in his room, he kept them on the horizon, keeping them as fleeting memories rather than allowing them take over his mind again.
Typically, it's Rani and her inquisitive nature that brings it to the front of his mind again.
They're revising for a test in Clyde's room when Rani tells him she's borrowing one of his hoodies because she's cold. He smiles because she tells him rather than asking him, which is so incredibly Rani. She pulls one out, but it snags on something so she pulls harder and his papers tumble out. He catches a glimpse of what they are and his blood runs cold. He really doesn't want to explain them to her right now.
Clyde jumps up to grab them but it's too late. She's seen them. He snatches them up anyway, and she looks at him, looking more surprised at his defensive reaction than anything else. He immediately knows he should have just laughed them off, instead of making her suspicious.
He looks down at the papers in his hands, at his younger self's drawings because he hasn't seen them in years. They're not exactly Monets, but that's only to be expected from an overly emotional ten year old.
Rani calls his name, softly. He looks up, not knowing what kind of emotions he's displaying on his face. Revison books pushed aside, she's moving towards him, and he's a little gratified to see there's no look of pity in her eyes. If there's one thing he can't stand, it's pity.
"Can I see?" she asks, quietly. He pauses, Clyde's never shown anyone before and Rani's bound to ask a lot of questions he's not keen on answering; it's something he loves and hates about her.
With a deep breath, Clyde slides off the bed and sits next to her, spreading the yellowing sheets across his floor. Then he starts to talk -ramble really- about the time after his dad left, about how his mum was sad all the time and he felt lonely. He points out little details that ten year old Clyde put in; like the red bike in the drawings with his parents and the grey vultures that circled above his head in the sadder pictures.
He's a little bit shocked at how objectively he can talk about whatwas undoubtedly the most emotional time of his life. But he keeps talking, because... well, he's pretty sure if he stops talking then he'll start doing something intolerably girly, like actually crying, which is definately something he is so not going to do in front of Rani.
Clyde's also surprised by Rani. She doesn't ask a single question, not one. She just lets him explain every little thing to her, like she knows how much all this once meant to him.
When he finally finishes, they sit in silence for a long while. Clyde is on the verge of regretting telling her all this. It's not like she's going laugh at him or say it's stupid, but he's never felt more exposed in his life. But he can't deny, it is a relief to not have it weighing on him anymore, at least someone knows.
Rani wordlessly pulls him into a hug, and kisses the top of his head tenderly.
Clyde finds it odd that neither of them feel the need to say anything else about it.
E/N: If you can actually see past the reams of unnecessary angst to the review button it'd be much appreciated.