Sollux! Hi! I sigh again for the third time today. I share a look with Karkat as the source of the greeting bounds towards me.
Here we go agaiin, I mutter to myself, setting down my fork and turning down the volume on my iPod.
Aradia reaches our lunch table, her tray full of rice and meat, with a Snapple on the side. She has a wide grin on, her yellow eyes lit up. Can I sit with yall? she asks. Karkat and I look around our basically empty table, unable to reject her. I nod and she happily sits down next to me, too close for comfort. I inch away, already at the edge, but Id do anything to get some space from her.
H-how2 iit goiin? I ask tentatively.
Oh you know, exploring the ruins again! I found this cool rock in there today! She pulls out a rock that fits in the palm of her hand. Its yellow, flecked with a little red, seeming to shine brightly with several colors in the light. Awesome right? Aradia looks into my eyes, hoping for some sort of acceptance.
Uh yeah, I answer, wondering why shes even trying so hard. I dont really like ruins and artifacts; Im more for computers and hacking.
Aradia beams at me, the acceptance obtained. She opens her mouth to say something, but then Terezi saunters to the table, casually sitting next to Karkat. H3Y TH3R3 K4RKL3S, she greets, kissing him. Karkat blushes and mutters a hello, continuing to eat his pizza. OH, SUP M3G1DO.
Hey there! The ram-horned troll grins at Terezi, then slides closer to me. Again, I move away, halfway off the bench. I start eating my taco, awkward silence filling the table. I turn up the music again, distracting me from the voices starting to creep back into my ears. Karkat starts nodding to nothing in particular, Terezis nuzzling up to him, and Aradias stuffing the rice into her mouth. I furrow my eyebrows. II2 2he gonna choke ?
Yo Aradiia, calm down wiith that I say. She looks up at me in mid-chew. She miraculously swallows the huge chunk of beef and smiles.
Its okay Sollux, I can handle it!
Well okay I turn away from her and resume eating my taco.
Hey Sollux? Aradia asks.
Yeah? I begrudgingly turn to her again. Shes nervously rubbing her arm and biting her lip, her gaze towards the floor.
Would you like to ? Ugh damn I cant say it
JUST SP1LL 1T M3G1DO, Terezi bursts out.
SHUT UP, TEREZI, Karkat half-whispers. Though really, the guy cant whisper. I shoot them a look and they shrug at me.
Aradia gives a small laugh. Well I was wondering if youd like to hang out with me? The second she finishes her sentence, time stops for me. Or goes in slow motion, I dont know. All I know is that basically crazy girl just asked me out. I glance at Karkat, asking with my eyes, What the hell do II 2ay?! Karkat stares back with wide eyes, unable to come up with an answer.
I look back at the ram-horned troll. U-uh where would we hang out?
Oh, the ruins! I-if you dont mind, they make me feel comfortable. She smiles sheepishly.
I suppress a groan. IIt2 alway2 the fuckiing ruiin2...cant we go 2omewhere normal? Aradiia-- I begin to say, but she cuts me off.
Y-you dont have to answer now or anything! Just think about it okay? She gets up from the bench, her tray practically empty. Damn 2he eat2 fa2t Ill be waiting! She giggles and walks away, a spring in her step. Terezi, Karkat, and I watch her dump her trash in the garbage and leave the cafeteria. Once she disappears from sight, Terezi starts laughing loudly.
What the hell Terezii?! I ask.
SH3 L1K3S YOU, she guffaws.
N-no 2he doe2nt! I protest.
R11GHT, SO SH3 D1DNT JUST 4SK YOU OUT?
Ugh iit2 ju2t the ruiin2... I sigh.
WH3R3 SH3 C4N S3DUC3 YOU. The teal blood keeps on laughing.
I THINK TEREZIS RIGHT, SOLLUX, Karkat points out. SHE DOESNT ASK JUST ANYONE TO THE RUINS.
Guy2 2hut up! I feel my cheeks heating up with embarrassment. Even iif 2he doe2 liike me, iit2 not liike IIm gonna 2ay ye2.
4W, YOUR3 GONN4 BR34K H3R H34RT Terezi pouts.
2o? 2he ha2 plenty of other choiice2. I shrug and continue to eat my taco; its getting cold and Im not gonna keep on wasting my breath talking about if Aradia really likes me or not. I put the volume on my iPod close to max, drowning out whatever Karkat and Terezi might be saying and the ever-present voices. II wii2h II diidnt have two lii2ten two them all the tiime
I feel Karkat nudging me after a while, pulling me out of my music-filled bubble. I take off an earphone and look up at him. LUNCH IS OVER, he says simply. I look around to find most of the cafeteria empty. Damn, IIve been out of iit for a long-a22 whiile
Oh 2hiit! Thank2 bro, II wa2 about two mii22 Computer 2ciience. Karkat shrugs nonchalantly. Bro you okay?
YEAH, IM FINE. IM JUST WORRIED ABOUT YOU. He doesnt look at me.
I DONT KNOW MAN, BUT LATELY YOURE MORE INTO YOUR IPOD THAN ANYTHING ELSE.
Dude you know why II do that
I-I KNOW, BUT NOWADAYS IM THE ONLY PERSON YOU HANG OUT WITH.
Well youre my be2t friiend, nothiing wrong wiith that
Karkat looks flustered, wringing his hands and staring at the floor. JUST SPEND SOME TIME WITH ARADIA, OKAY?
WHAT?! I shriek. Me?! Wiith her?! Oh HELL no!!
SHES NOT SO BAD REALLY.
2he2 crazy! Who chiill2 at the ruiin2 for fun?! No. II wont hang out wiith her. II refu2e two. I cross my arms.
WHY DO YOU DISLIKE HER SO MUCH? he asks me, finally meeting my eyes.
2he2 weiird bro! 2he LIIKE2 funeral2! 2he can 2ee the dead man, dont tell me that2 not weiird.
YOU CAN HEAR THEM, AND YOURE ALL ABOUT DOOMSDAY DEVICES.
That2 liike half--!!
Karkat puts his hands up. In surrender or to calm me down, Im not really sure, but I dont care right now. All that matters is that my best fucking friend is trying to hook me up with Aradia of all people! LOOK, SOLLUX, I JUST THINK SPENDING TIME WITH HER WOULD BE GOOD FOR YOU, he insists.
I aggressively get up from the table, stuffing my iPod in my pocket. Nah bro II get iit. Youre ju2t gettiing tiired of me.
I brush past him brusquely. Whatever man. IIm out. I briskly walk out of the cafeteria just as the late bell rings.
Im walking out of the building, earphones in, music blasting, hands in my pockets, when suddenly someone shouts, Peek-a-boo! at my face. I let out a half-yell and put up my hands defensively. The person puts my hands down gently, and I realize its only Aradia. I see her mouth moving, but I cant hear her over the music. What? I ask, albeit a little loudly.
She takes an ear bud out. I flinch; I dont like it when people take out my earphones without my consent, but for some reason, I just let her do it. Sorry for scaring you! she says.
IIt2 uh cool. I take the ear bud away from her and turn down the volume slightly, still keeping the voices at bay. What2 up?
O-oh, I was wondering if youve thought about what I asked you Her face flushes a little. I remember what Karkat and Terezi said about her liking me; I cant see it being true.
Um what exactly would we be doiing? I turn down the volume more.
Anything you want really! I just want to be at the ruins. She smiles sheepishly, her yellow eyes bright with hope.
I hear the voices starting to creep back in my head, Karkats among them; its his urging words to say yes repeating over and over again. Anythiing? I ask
Yes! Will you come?
I sigh. Ye2, IIll go. The second those words leave my mouth, I see Aradia lighting up, her smile widening; she looks like she just saw Santa or something.
Im so glad! She takes a step towards me, an arm outstretched, but she stops herself and smoothes her wild hair instead.
2o when are we gonna ?
Oh, now if you dont mind!
Come! She grabs my hand and leads me away from school. Her hand feel2 2urprii2ingly warm and 2oft, I muse inwardly. Youre not busy now right? She looks back at me expectantly.
Great! Aradia continues to pull on my hand, guiding me to the ruins. I let out a small breath. Miight a2 well, iit2 ju2t one day.
Why do you always have your music blasting in your ears Sollux? Aradia asks me innocently. Shes currently trying to balance herself on one foot while hopping on large rocks. I feel this tug in my chest to protect her in case she harms herself. Waiit that2 2tupiid II dont even liike her I shake my head from the feeling.
Dont you already know? II hear the voiice2 of the dead and loud mu2iic keep2 them away.
Yeah I know. I just thought that there was more to it haha! Her laugh echoes through the ruins. After hearing it so much this past week, Ive grown to like her laugh, the way it sounds so genuine and happy. II wii2h II wa2 happy liike that
2o what2 wiith you and these ruiin2? I call up to her. She looks like shes about to fall, and again I feel the urge to go catch her or something.
They help clear my head! And they help me practice my archeology skills haha! Just then, she restores her footing and keeps on hopping along.
That2 why you have the whiip and the hat?
Yup! Helps me get in the zone! She then sits down on a rock and looks down at me. Come up here silly! Youre too far away! Even from here, I can see her pouting and patting a place next to her.
Whoa IIm not about that liife AA.
Come on Sol! I blush a little at that; I know that most people call me Sol, but when it comes from her, it has a nice ring to it. If I wasnt so concerned about my safety, Id totally would go up there in a heartbeat. But 2tiill
Um II dont really liike heiight2...
Aw thats no fun! Aradia crosses her arms, pouting more. Damn II wanna kii22 tho2e liip2...waiit what the fuck? Try?
I start to feel sweat forming on my neck. I shake my head. II dont IIm 2orry. Quickly, I pick up my book bag from the ground and I start to hurry away, when:
Sollux wait! I immediately stop and turn, just in time to watch her gracefully hop her way towards me. At the last rock, she says, Dont go.
And just like that, I set down my bag again, feeling this magnetic pull towards her. Okay, I say quietly.
The ram-horned troll lends a hand out to me. I step towards her and take it. She pulls me to the first rock and we both sit down on it, not saying anything. Yet it doesnt feel awkward; its as if were connected in this weird way, where words arent really necessary. You know I see the dead right Sol? Aradia asks suddenly. I notice that she hasnt let go of my hand and I dont want her to.
What? Y-yeah II know.
I understand that you like making computer viruses for impending doom to go with your visions.
I laugh awkwardly. You make iit 2ound liike IIm crazy
I dont think youre crazy though. I dont have visions, but I do wait around for an apocalypse like you. And I have the dead haunting me as well. She shrugs a little, as if its just a typical thing for people. I want to ask her if she feels overwhelmed by it all too, but I dont think its relevant to ask her now. Wiith her, words are unece22ary She meets her eyes with mine, and I get that it does get to be too much for her, which is why she spends so much time here at the ruins. We look towards the oncoming sunset, the sky changing to varying shades of red and yellow. Right here, I can pretend that the worlds about to end and were witnessing it all. I dont know how, but we both seem to understand that were both black sheep among the trolls; we kinda want the apocalypse to happen, and our whole lives have been filled with death, seen or heard. And you know what? Thats okay with us.
After a long moment, Aradia rests her head on my shoulder. I instinctively let go of her hand and put my arm around her shoulders instead, petting her hair. II liike you, I suddenly whisper, mentally kicking myself. Dumb-a22!
But without missing a beat, she answers, I like you too. Im glad I asked you out. I hear the smile in her voice.
II feel liike II came cra2hiing iinto your world
But now that youre here She glances at me meaningfully, licking her lips. Just that alone tells me everything. Slowly, oh so slowly, I lean in to kiss her. God, her lips taste just as good as Id imagined: like strawberries and chocolate. She wraps her arms around my neck as I tangle my fingers in her hair, not wanting to let go.
Finally, we stop to take a breath. Aradia pulls away a little, smoothing her hair, while I recollect my thoughts when I realize: I dont hear anything.
I actually hear silence.
Excited, I nudge her. Yeah Sol--?
II dont hear anythiing. At that, she furrows her brow.
Dont you get iit AA? II dont hear anythiing. No voiice2, nothiing. Ju2t 2weet 2ilence.
Aradia widens her eyes, lighting up again. I open my mouth again to shout in joy, but she puts a finger on my lips. Shh, she whispers. Just enjoy the silence, my black sheep. Then she kisses me again, and I let myself fall into her.