Hello! I really didn't plan the piece, I simply sat down at my laptop and allowed the words to take me where they would, and had a wonderful time. If you enjoy, please, please comment below! Reviews ALWAYS matter. And by the way, I sorry for so sadly neglecting the MBS archive. I'm glad to be back, even if this is a one-shot.
Read your hearts out!
Reynie's eyes flew open.
He lay there in the blissful warmth of his bed, experiencing the odd sensation of knowing something had woken him up, yet unable to pinpoint what it was. He desperately hoped it wasn't Constance, hiding in the depths of a corner, ready to scare the pants off him. And even if it had been, the surrounding darkness made it plainly impossible to see anything. He lay still for moments more, fighting the desire to slip back into sleep and forget all about it.
No. Fumbling for several tense minutes, Reynie felt the metallic hardness of the bedside lamp beneath his fingers, and clicked the switch, throwing the room into a painful brightness. Everything was blandly in order; shoes lined against the wall, carefully arranged stacks of paper on the desk, and books put neatly on the shelf. A place for everything, and everything in its place. Ignoring all this, he struggled reluctantly from his bed, sleepily pulled on a bath-robe (back-to-front due to his lack of forethought) and tugged gently at his door, stepping into the hall.
Now, he heard it. Conversation. Well—not exactly. As conversation was normally held between at least two people, it could hardly be called conversation when it was clear that only one person was speaking. Mildly concerned, Reynie spun about and started up the stairs, taking them two at a time. Bursting into the muted darkness of the third floor landing, he paused before Constance's door, then knocked.
"You can just walk yourself back downstairs, Reynie. I'm not in the mood."
"Constance." Reynie was gentle, but firm all the same, and refused to turn away. "May I come in?"
No answer. Testing the doorknob and discovering it unlocked, Reynie pushed it open and peered inside. The room was messy, kindly put. It seemed that Constance had gladly scattered the contents of her bureau and desk about the room, resulting in a muddle of mistreated objects.
"If you don't mind my asking," Reynie began, unable to pull his gaze from the mess, "what exactly compelled you to do this?"
"It's all wrong," said Constance. She was curled in the center of her unmade bed, wearing a decidedly piteous expression.
In one swift glance, Reynie saw; the crumpled paper, ink-stained nose, a trace of despair around those blue eyes. "What can I do to help?"
"Nothing." Constance rolled onto her back and tossed her remaining supply of paper into the air. "Sometimes the words just come, and other times they get stuck on the way out. And all I want is to write our story. That's all!"
Reynie stepped over a pile of underwear—clean, he hoped—and took the liberty of sitting beside Constance. "There's no pressure, you know."
Constance rolled her eyes.
"I mean it. No one's looking over shoulder or breathing down you neck. Whether that novel-in-verse is epic or fails magnificently, we'll like it all the same."
"That's absurd!" Constance cried.
"It's not," said Reynie, carefully choosing his words. "Because all of it, amazing or stupid, comes from exactly the same place."
"Yes," snipped Constance, placing a small hand on her temple, "Here. My crazy, messed up mind."
"No," said Reynie, softly taking her hand and laying his own atop it. "Here."
She squinted. "Come again?"
"Friendship." Reynie grinned and reached for an un-crumpled sheet of paper. "Alright—maybe listing all the reasons you chose us as your friends will help you break through that nasty case of writer's block."
"More like poet's block. And I didn't choose you dimwits—we all got stuck together, remember?"
"You were given the choice to leave," Reynie pointed out.
"Yes, well…" Constance looked away, the hardness in her eyes fading, like it or not.
Reynie moved the jumble of sweaters, pencils and other miscellanea to the foot of the bed, then lay down on his back beside Constance, utterly calm.
"What are you doing?" Irritated, Constance gazed at Reynie, eyes narrow.
"For crying out loud, would you mind doing it more quietly?" She turned away from Reynie, and hunched over her paper.
Silence. Then: "Reynie?"
"How did you know I was having a bad night?"
"You woke me up with your frustrated muttering." He rolled onto his side and looked up at her. "I'm not mad, though. Sleeping's over-rated, anyhow."
Constance put down her work, and faced him. "Do you ever wonder?"
"Everything," said Constance, with a sad, wry smile.
"You're unusually thoughtful."
"And you're unusually…" Here, Constance faded, unable to think of an apt insult. She simply felt too connected, too close to her friend to flush the rare moment down the toilet. She, too, flopped onto her back next to Reynie and studied the ceiling.
They stayed there like that for a while. An indeterminable length of time crept by, and the children's lids grew heavier and heavier.
Reynie glanced at the door, and saw Sticky framed in the doorway, spectacles endearingly lopsided.
"Hello there," he said awkwardly.
Reynie patted the bed without asking what on earth Sticky was doing out of bed, or why he'd taken the trouble to check on them. "Come over."
Sticky plotted a course through the room's impressive clutter and joined Reynie and Constance on the bed. "I suppose I can wait to ask why we're doing this until tomorrow," he mused, then stretched out, smiling slightly.
"You two should scoot over; Kate's on her way up," Constance remarked. Indeed, in half a minute's time, Kate appeared, hair sleep-rumpled.
"Oh, she had to bring her bucket," Constance moaned, and glared when the boys laughed.
They couldn't contain themselves. All at once it was terribly funny, and the more they tried to check their giggles, the more it became impossible to stop. Eventually Constance gave up on being serious altogether, and grinned. "Shut up, everyone."
Kate scampered onto Constance's crowded bed, tickling people's feet and generally being a lovable pest.
Then they were quiet. Suspended in an exquisite slowing of time, aware that it would be over before it began, and that moments that this were hard to come by and few and far in between. If Sticky longed to polish his spectacles, he refrained, if Kate's bucket poked her arm, she soon forgot about it. They fell asleep that way, tangled in a heap of arms and legs and buckets and bits of paper.
And quite honestly, it was lovely.
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