humanstuck. currently working on some canonverse solara for 'risu.

part one.

riddle me, confound me

(he's a twisted portrait.)

She saw him every day, she had the way his slouch imprinted the carpet floor memorized, and his cherry red eyes were tattooed at the front of her brain. He always gave her the most indiscernible of glares, as if unsure how to react to the petite brunette always watching behind glass stair railings. Her burgundy gaze followed him across the hallway that led to the outside world, curious specks of gold would flutter and flicker across her irises, as he disappeared behind the giant, menacing oak doors. Seven year old Aradia Megido followed him everywhere, silent as a mouse, wary of making unnecessary noises. He didn't mind her company (at least, Aradia hoped he didn't mind it!), whenever he visited the Scratch household he looked kind of lonely. Her father never disclosed information concerning his patients, but after begging and pleading, and the sweetest 'Pleaseeee, father, tell me about the boy?' the man resigned, and gave the girl his most frequent patient's name.

The boy's name was Dave.

The girl giddily scooped the piece of information up, tucked it into her overall pocket, and skipped away from her father's office, humming and thinking about the wonderful things she could talk to him about. They could talk about archeology, and hats, and death, but boys like Dave don't like things like death, so Aradia decided she would stick to a conversation about Indiana Jones instead. Everyone loved him, right?

Of course they do, Aradia grinned as she scurried back to her room, closing the door behind her.

Weeks passed, and the brunette girl never lost sight of him. He walked in the shadows, skulked past the grand entrance, never made a sound. She wondered if he was mute, or deaf. He never spoke, his lips were always in a tight frown. He obviously didn't want to be around any other human being, so she just stood to the side, sitting on a stair step, elbows on her bony knees, pressed against her chest. An overall strap dangled from her shoulder, and he shuffled back and forth from her father's office, to the outside world, to her father's office, to the outside world.

The pattern seemed monotonous, but it brought her comfort. He was like clockwork, rhythmic and orderly. Once, or twice, he would stop mid-stride, and look back, raise an eyebrow in inquiry. These events were rare, but on the off-chance of their happening, Aradia would run back upstairs, sneak a peek when she was in the safety of her room with chubby hands glued to the window, and watch the boy leave. She would hold her breath until he disappeared behind the wrought-iron gates that led to the grimy streets that belonged Alternia's brightest city, Derse. She wiped her hands on ratty old shorts, and the cycle would resume the next day.

Days later, after hours of courage building and promises of sunshine and ice cream in the case of rejection, Aradia made her move. Before the boy's usual departure, nine year old Aradia Megido ran. She sprinted down the stair steps, skipping two three five steps - that could cause some problems - on her way to catch him. Her floral print dress was at her waist, bike shorts on scrawny thighs led her towards her goal. Before the boy opened the door, before Dave returned to the outside world, the brunette reached for his wrist, and with a splat, fell on her face.

Time stood still, she could hear the cacophony of minutes and seconds crashing into each other, as the blonde boy stared with mouth agape at the fallen girl. Aradia felt blood on her knees, dripping on her father's perfect, pristine pearl tile. Tears threatened to make a cameo appearance, but she blinked them back. No success there. Dave still stared, almost comatose in shock, before warily bending down, hooking his arms around the smaller girl's waist, and pulling her up. He placed her cautiously in a sitting position, and quietly examined the girl's forming scab. He assessed the situation with surgical calm, and Aradia couldn't believe a thing she was seeing. He scampered off, off to fetch her father, without a doubt. She brushed her fingertips against the injury, blood stained already red polished fingernails. As assumed, her father came rushing in, already chastising her foolhardiness with cold green eyes. He immediately cleaned the wound, and dressed it in bandage, done in two blinks.

Dave stood near the door, gaze never leaving the brunette's sitting body. Aradia felt her cheeks warm, and looked down at her lap, with the hope he hadn't seen.

He had.

Winter dances replaced the autumn leaves, and Aradia tried again. Without any further distraction, or knee-threatening events, she finally tapped the boy's shoulder. With a victor's smile, the thirteen year old began to converse. She babbled about archeology, and slipped in stealthy references to her favorite historical figure, the Grim Reaper, and he listened. The fourteen year old boy sat down at Aradia's coloring table, legs propped up on the mahogany furnish. She would talk, and talk, and he would listen attentively. When he injected a few of his own snarky comments, or thoughtful expositions, she wondered, and wondered. Why did she want until now, why did she not act sooner?

There was no real answer to that, it was decided when he invited her to the local park. The first step towards an actual friendship.

The tradition carried over to winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Aradia grew older, choppy brown locks bounced at her waist, slender fingers adorned angular hands. No longer the doughy girl from years past, she abandoned her fruitless waiting. Her friends came over, and she went out. Normalcy, at least as normal as a girl with a psychologist for a father, was regained. She still wondered about the boy, now a seventeen year old with sunglasses darker than black and freckles she swore he hid with the lightest of concealer. He still visited, twice a week at two in the afternoon exactly, but no longer was she tempted to throw things in his hair, or catch his attention.

She knew he was preoccupied with other things. They never talked about Indiana Jones, or scavenging, or anything like that. They sat down together, outside of her spacious estate, on the green non-synthetic grass. Their shoulders would brush as they looked up at the sky, in complete silence. His lemon-yellow hair would stick to dandelions, and she would laugh, and he would roll his eyes behind ebony lenses.

They wouldn't say a word, but they were at the point speech wasn't needed. They would gauge each others moods through their gazes, or twitches. In a sigh, she would recount her problems with her father, and with the slightest smirk, he would show a myriad of emotions. The days and nights under the summer sky were treasured, neither of them were good with making friends, or anything really. The tick tocks of Aradia's grandfather clock lulled them to sleep, and they would touch foreheads before succumbing to fatigue's clutches.

Dave Strider stopped coming when he turned nineteen. His footfalls would not echo again in the Scratch family living room. His crimson eyes would never scan the glass staircase again.

Aradia Megido watched as the broken, tattered boy of the boy she was in love with once upon a time, but forever attached to, sunk into the earth below.