this is a oneshot angsty drabble thing

magical starsign and the derivatives belong to Brownie Brown


My race is far more advanced than hers. Despite my age (which I seem to have lost track of since Erd's last full orbit around the sun) there are many things I can do which the simple human being cannot.

But there's one of them who I can never get my head around.

Her name is Cocoa. She, too, goes to Will O'Wisp, and she, too, is in Class B. She sits on the row behind me. She doesn't talk a lot- barely ever, actually. A stark contrast to the other humans in my class. Her silence is often very comforting compared to Pico's yelling and Sorbet's constant nagging. She walks around with me and Lassi, usually joined by Pico, Sorbet and Chai; tolerant to the end of all the stupid things we do. We don't hear her voice very often, but every instance of it has been etched into my memory bank for safekeeping.

I've noticed, sometimes, she buckles under the pressure of being in a group. While I usually try my best to make sure nobody lays a finger on her, sometimes there'll be days when she seems very uncomfortable, and she won't walk around with us, and she'll sit on her own in the library. It's clear on those days she doesn't want to be disturbed, but there is a particular part of my systems that forces me to accompany her there anyway, and sit with her. No conversation takes place. But somehow I'm obligated to relax knowing nobody's going to give her a hard time.

Sometimes my thought cycle takes tangents, and I end up thinking of her even when she's not relevant to the situation at hand. She has that strange influence. Everyone else does it all the time- gets distracted, daydreams, changes the subject. It's a very human thing to do. I'm not programmed to do things like that- I'm programmed to stay on the same task, for the sake of efficiency. I think Cocoa might be causing me to malfunction.

Somehow, though, the process of her thoughts is one I'm more easily able to track than that of the other humans and organic beings. I think it's because I understand her somewhat. Naturally, I'm designed to be logical and straightforward, which clashes with the nature of my companions, and she's quiet and sweet and gentle, so different from some of the brash personalities I've encountered. So we both tend to seem a little out-of-place. As a result, her introversion is something I can sympathise with.

As with any thought process, though, there are moments where I genuinely cannot sense her emotions, blind spots of sorts. Those are the times when she's even more quiet than usual, when she doesn't make an effort to recognise her surroundings. Fear is something my artificial persona doesn't usually find problems with, but I can't help feeling more protective of her than usual whenever I can't read her expression. She's human, just like the others. And the emotion they amass can be spontaneous. Every time her expression doesn't register, I'm overcome with worry that she's suddenly going to spill the human emotion she's pent up after all that time, the human emotion she hasn't really expressed all that much. After close research on the behavioural patterns of humans, I concluded that whenever such an occasion happens, it can be potentially damaging, as well as disastrous. I can't help but worry for her. It's like watching a bomb.

Often, I wish that I could talk to her about these things. But I know I probably wouldn't understand. Hers is a mind so complex, and mine, loathe as I am to admit it, is only complex in terms of matters like intelligence and handling tasks- nothing as delicate as emotional issues. More than anything, I don't want to accidentally hurt her with my words. I know that I can be unnecessarily blunt sometimes, and if there does happen to be something troubling her, mine isn't the kind of guidance she needs.

Which is why it troubles me greatly, on nights when my charging cycle is disturbed, to hear the muffled sounds of crying from her dormitory next door to mine.

I don't know if anyone else hears. And I don't know if anyone else comforts her. Secretly, I know it's down to me, as her self-appointed guardian, to help her, but I'm not sure what I'd be able to do to impede her troubles. Were it something requiring physical work, I could do that. A failed test paper, maybe, or a particularly difficult task that needed doing, or an injury, I'd be able to deal with. But I know I'm useless when it comes to matters of the psychological.

Because the human race isn't actually something I can grasp at all.

I wonder, sometimes, if it would be easier to face her were I human. I know however much I study their way of life that I cannot become one, or grasp fully what it means to be human and not a robot. To emote freely instead of a pre-coordinated chain of reactions planned out for me since creation.

And I know I'll never be able to express my love for her properly.