Vriska's been the new girl for almost two months now, and it seems like she's still stuck in the friendless purgatory she stumbled into. Kanaya understands how difficult it must be to come into a new school so late on, when they're all in their final year and everyone else has been friends for half a decade or longer, and she supposes that, in a way, she hasn't done much to help; certainly hasn't offered out the olive branch to Vriska, or so much as said hello to her. In her defence, nobody really says hello to her. Most of the conversations Kanaya has the pleasure of overhearing revolve around the less savoury characters in their shared classes saying Hey, Serket, what happened to your eye? and offering up several colourful suggestions and a few examples of what she could now do with said empty eye-socket. Kanaya wouldn't like to repeat them in good company, or any company at all. These exchanges earn a Fuck off, retard from Vriska and little else in the way of a response, and she seems completely apathetic to the whole situation.
Rumour has it that she was expelled from her last school, but rumour also has it that the expulsion was punishment for starting a fire, despite no reports of arson-related vandalism on the news. Kanaya, naturally, thinks that's all ridiculous, though Vriska might not have got off to the best of starts. She's given Eridan a black eye on two separate occasions and earnt Karkat's eternal, pulsing hatred, and while the former was most likely justified and the latter isn't a particularly impressive or uncommon feat, Kanaya can't say that Vriska's gone to any lengths to attempt to make friends. There's Terezi, who she seems to already know, but apart from brief nods in the corridor when she doesn't think anyone will see, Terezi doesn't make an effort to acknowledge her general existence.
Despite all that, Kanaya knows that she can't be all bad. A little rough around the edges, maybe, and late with her homework at least half of the time, but she's just having trouble setting in. It doesn't take long for Kanaya to realise that it's up to her to step in and intervene, which is in no way at all similar to meddling, and do something as brash as ask to eat lunch with her.
This charitable act of altruism would be a lot easier to accomplish if she actually knew where Vriska spent her lunch times. She looks in all the obvious places first, the cafeteria, the library, the field, and doesn't catch so much as a glimpse of her. She asks Karkat if he happens to know, to which he replies Why the fuck should I know? Has she been causing trouble for you, Kanaya? like he's really going to risk earning a black eye as a badge of honour in leaping to her defence. She attempts to approach it from a logical point of view, parsing together all she knows about Vriska to come to a brilliant deduction, but can't think of much more than 'spends most lessons scrawling in the margins of her exercise book' and 'enjoys starting scuffles for no reason.'
Three days after having decided to make lunch a more social event for Vriska, and having endured Karkat's nagging on the subject for just as long, Kanaya runs out of places to look, and ends up behind the art block. It's not the nicest place to spend time; it's rather narrow, almost right up against a fence, and horribly overgrown; but there Vriska is, sat on an upturned crate that probably once housed several large cans of paint.
Upon hearing Kanaya approach, she immediately snaps her head around, narrows her gaze out of her one good eye, and Kanaya hates how inexplicably curious she is about the whole thing. She's well aware that it would be incredibly rude to make it seem as if she's only come to pry, and she hopes that she's not staring too much at the eye-patch Vriska wears under glasses that are always slightly askew, and that it's equally unclear she's trying to avoid looking altogether. Vriska's probably used to people's interest immediately being drawn there, but Kanaya doesn't think that'll go any way to excuse her behaviour.
“What?” Vriska asks, suddenly all accusations. She has a cigarette held loosely between her first two fingers, so Kanaya doesn't even have to wonder what she's doing hiding out here.
“Oh, I hope I'm not interrupting anything of personal nature,” Kanaya says after a moment of socially maladjusted blinking, “But I wondered if you might enjoy a measure of company while you consume your lunch.”
Vriska's brow lifts, and she looks somewhere between pissed off and amused. Kanaya supposes it is a little ridiculous firstly that she's gone to great lengths to assume that Vriska must be lonely and in need of companionship, and secondly that she's tracked her down when Vriska's gone to great lengths to make herself scarce, but Kanaya's always been very, very intent on doing what she can to help.
“What the hell? So you're here to meddle?” Vriska has her arm rested against her knee, and Kanaya can see her hand swing to and fro ever so slightly, like she's anxious. Like Kanaya might go ahead and get her into trouble for smoking on school grounds, because she doesn't know her well enough to know otherwise. “Uh, thaaaaaaaanks for the pity, but I'm kind of busy here!”
Kanaya goes to point out that it isn't pity at all, and that she hopes she isn't coming across as patronising, but Vriska lifts her hand, both to silence her and drawn even more attention to the cigarette she's still holding.
“Hm. I hope you don't mind me pointing this out, but it doesn't appear as if that cigarette is lit.”
Looking thoroughly unimpressed, Vriska reaches into the back pocket of her scuffed-up jeans and pulls out a set of keys with a variety of key chains hanging off them. There's a little magic-eight ball, and with a few impatient clicks she presses down on the circle encasing the “8” until a small flame finally leaps out the other side of the ball. Placing the cigarette between her lips, she lights it, eyes on Kanaya the whole time. It's almost as if the whole thing is for show, except for the part where Vriska's made the effort to hide away. She doesn't look particularly comfortable smoking, though she doesn't embarrass herself by choking on a cough.
“Oh, yes. I can see how such an act must be very time-consuming,” Kanaya says with a sagely nod, and then wonders if her plan is to irritate Vriska into spending time with her.
“Jesus, are you here to purposely piss me off? I was having a niiiiiiiice lunch break before I have to drag myself into double-math with a teacher so ancient she was probably brought up with Roman numerals, and now I've got some fusspot to deal with. Greeeeeeeeat.”
Kanaya wishes she wouldn't stretch words out like that. It makes it much more difficult to take her annoyance at the situation seriously.
Glancing around, Kanaya briefly considers retreating, before she spots yet another discarded crate in the long grass, and comes to the conclusions that the school really needs to learn to dispose of rubbish in a more environmentally friendly way, and that it's now or never, so to speak. While she may be wearing one of her nicer outfits today, Kanaya supposes that she doesn't technically own any outfits that aren't nice; and while her skirt is likely to catch on the splintered frame of the crate, there'll be plenty of time to repair it. She very much doubts she'll get the opportunity to make another first impression on Vriska.
Momentarily throwing her unwavering respect for fashion by the wayside, Kanaya braves the rough surface of the crate and unceremoniously takes a seat. Vriska heaves out a great sigh, like she's put upon by Kanaya's mere presence, but much to Kanaya's delight, makes no suggestions whatsoever that revolve around fucking off. Kanaya gets the feeling that she's already doing better than most. For a few minutes, they sit in silence, Vriska smoking and exhaling heavily through her nose in irritation, while Kanaya carefully unfolds her lunch of a home-made chicken salad and eats it in small, neat bites. The smell of smoke is rather unappetising, but Kanaya puts it out of mind, for now. She'll have to do something about this habit of Vriska's in the near future if they are to become friends, but for now, she'll tolerate it in the name of actually getting to know her.
Vriska finishes the cigarette, flicks the butt to the floor and doesn't stamp it out, and Kanaya sincerely hopes that their immediate vicinity doesn't go up in flames.
“What's your name, anyway?” Vriska eventually asks without looking at her. Kanaya expects that Vriska does, in fact, already know her name, considering they share four classes, but she realises that she's actually making an effort to spark conversation. Just not particularly well.
“Kanaya Maryam. It's a pleasure to meet you.”
“Yeah, great. Vriska Serket,” she says, like introductions are really necessary. “So, Kanaya. What's the deal with you and that Vantas idiot? He's your boyfriend, riiiiiiiight?”
Kanaya frowns and would go to some effort to look affronted, if she wasn't well aware Vriska was actively trying to provoke her.
“Karkat is my closest friend, and that's all there is to say on the matter.”
“Uh huh, your friend. Sure, whatever. Not like it really matters to me. So did you come here to defend his honour or something? Because if he wants to get into another argument with me, he should really do it himself.”
“I am not here to defend anyone's honour. As I have already said, I simply wished to spend my lunch hour with you.” Kanaya pauses, briefly. “Aren't you going to eat? We now only have ten minutes until the bell sounds.”
“Huh? Oh, didn't bring any lunch.”
Vriska shrugs, but Kanaya isn't terribly surprised. She hates to make sweeping judgements based on appearance alone, but every day Vriska wears the same torn up jeans, a creased shirt that's too big for her scrawny frame, and never seems to have attended to her hair. Either she's chronically unable to take care of herself or doesn't come from the best of backgrounds; Kanaya says nothing on the matter, and simply offers her the chocolate bar she packed in the morning but isn't particularly hungry for now.
Vriska stares down at it like Kanaya's offering her a burning iron, snatches it without a word of thanks, and eats the whole thing with remarkable speed, like Kanaya's going to take it away from her at any moment. She can't help but laugh a little, amused by the whole process. Vriska only scowls at her once she's finished with the chocolate and then hops to her feet, swinging her bag over one shoulder.
“Later, Maryam,” she says with a wave, quickly making herself scarce.
Left with the distinct feeling that things could've gone a lot worse, Kanaya carefully packs the remainder of her lunch back into her bag, checks her skirt for surface damage, and by the time it comes to making her way out from behind the art block, there's a class queue up for a lesson outside, and each and every one of the students shoot her suspicious looks.
glowsAfterdark [GA] began pestering adventurersGambit [AG] at 17:04
glowsAfterdark [GA] ceased pestering adventurersGambit [AG] at 17:26
glowsAfterdark [GA] began pestering adventurersGambit [AG] at 19:52
GA: I Dont Mean To Intrude But I Would Like To Know Whether You Are There Or Not
GA: And Whether This Is A Useless Endeavour So To Speak
AG: Ok, whoever you are, don't just message me with hi.
AG: I thought you were a spam8ot, haha!
GA: Hmm Yes I Can See Why It Would Appear That Way In Retrospect
GA: I Apologise It Wont Happen Again
AG: Uh o8viously, 8ecause I already know you're not a spam8ot!!!!!!!!
AG: 8ut who is this anyway?
AG: What the hell.
AG: How did you get my username????????
GA: I Simply Inquired Into Whether Terezi Was In Possession Of Such Knowledge
AG: Jesus, what a traitor.
AG: Anyway, what do you waaaaaaaant, Fussyfangs? I don't have time for you 8eing a meddley meddley meddler, ok! I have a serious num8er of irons in my fire tonight.
GA: That Was A Question By The Way
AG: Your screenname is a reference to those dum8 vampire novels, riiiiiiiight? :::;)
GA: How Did You Know That
AG: Never mind that, it's really not important right now.
AG: What do you want????????
GA: I Assure You I Have No Intentions Beyond Just Talking
AG: Uh ok.
AG: I've got to ask.
AG: What's your deal, anyway? First you're stalking me at lunchtimes.
AG: I mean, you don't just accidentally stum8le across people who have made the remarka8le effort to hide out 8ehind the art 8lock.
AG: And now you're stalking me online.
AG: I know I must be incredi8ly interesting to you and eeeeeeeeveryone as the mysterious new girl, 8ut I wasn't actually in the market for a stalky stalky stalker.
AG: 8ut thanks. I guess I'm kind of flattered.
GA: If I Was Stalking You Which I Most Certainly Am Not I Believe I Would Be A Lot More Subtle About It
GA: For Instance I Wouldnt Have Allowed You To Become Aware Of My Presence During Our Numerous Lunch Time Rendezvous
GA: Secondly I Expect I Would Have Contacted You Over Pesterchum Under A Different Screen Name Using An Alias It Is Not Difficult To Change Your Identity Online
GA: Lastly I Do Not Believe Stalking To Be A Very Conductive Method For Embarking On New Friendships
AG: 8luh 8luh protests too much.
AG: You want to 8e friends????????
GA: Yes I Thought That Much Was Evident Enough
GA: While Your Mouth May Be Correct To Be Slanted At My Proposition I Do Not Believe It Calls For Your Eyes To Multiply Fourfold
AG: My faces always have 8 eyes, don't act like you've done something special to deserve my 8udding vision!
AG: Why do you thiiiiiiiink?
GA: Generally Speaking I Wouldnt Like To Say
GA: But Since I Get The Distinct Feeling You Wont Tell Me Otherwise I Will Venture A Guess
GA: And Put Forward The Notion That Spiders Are The First Non-Fictional Creature I Can Think Of In Possession Of That Many Visual Receptacles
AG: Woooooooow you talk a lot.
AG: 8ut yeah spiders are pretty cool!
GA: I Have Never Paused To Consider Spiders In Such A Context
GA: But I Suppose Certain Parts Of Their Mechanisms Are Indeed Fascinating Such As The Spinneret Organ
AG: Well anyway, I have a pet tarantula.
AG: So that clears up that!!!!!!!!
GA: Oh Really I Dont Have Any Pets Of My Own
GA: What Is She Or He Named
AG: He's a 8oy.
AG: Long John Silver.
AG: Or John for short, haha.
GA: Hmm I See A Pirate Spider In That Case
GA: Goodness That Is Quite A Horrorterror To Imagine
GA: Though I Am Certain That Your Seafaring Spider Is In Actuality Rather Pleasant
AG: Pfff yeah, he's quite charming.
GA: I Am Picturing Your Tarantula In A Full Pirate Costume
GA: But Also A Monocle
GA: It Is A Most Bizarre Mental Image But I Am Having A Private Moment Of Enjoyment
AG: Hahahahahahahaha, you're so weird.
AG: May8e you're not so 8ad after all.
GA: Thank You
GA: I Think
AG: Ok look.
AG: My mom's home so I've got to go.
AG: I'll see you tomorrow.
GA: Alright I Expect I Will See You At Lunch Time In Order For My Stalking Duties To Continue
adventurersGambit [AG] signed off at 20:27
After a few more lunch time meetings, several sessions on Pesterchum, and a couple of brief conversations at lockers in between lessons, Kanaya believes that they have some sort of basis on which to build a friendship. Or, put another way, Vriska no longer rolls her eye when she sees her approaching.
Of course, Kanaya can't attend their little meetings behind the art block every day. Karkat would get far too grumpy if she disappeared on him entirely, and thus make life unbearable for the rest of the group, and so there she is, sat in the cafeteria during a Thursday lunchtime, listening to Terezi tell another joke with a punchline she can't say she understands. Terezi, however, seems to find it hilarious, and after a few moments Gamzee joins in with some subdued laughter of his own. Karkat's ranting to no one in particular about the latest English assignment, and Aradia nods sympathetically every so often, more interested in her cherry yoghurt than in actually forming a verbal response.
Kanaya's not intentionally looking out for her, but she spots Vriska from across the cafeteria, sees her slam down a tray in front of the fine array of lunchtime delicacies that the school has on offer, and actually pick out something of substance for once. Kanaya was starting to believe that she lived off of chocolate bars and mints. She sits impatiently as Vriska digs around the pockets of her jeans and then her jacket for money, eventually paying entirely in coins, much to the lunch lady's dismay. Kanaya tries to catch her attention without having to resort to calling her name out across the crowded cafeteria.
As luck would have it, Vriska turns, scans around for a free table, and then catches Kanaya's eye. Kanaya smiles, and Vriska pretends that she doesn't realise she's gesturing for her to come join them at their table, until Kanaya's forced to take things a step further, get to her feet and wave her over. By then she's drawn so much attention to Vriska's standing there that she can't very well back out and leave, and with a resigned slouch of her shoulders, Vriska drags her feet across the cafeteria, grumbling under her breath as she sits next to Kanaya, at the furthest possible part of the bench from the others.
“Oh, great. This is fucking fantastic, really,” Karkat says in that booming voice of his, “It's not like I actually had an appetite or anything. I mean, when I paid good money for my lunch and sat down here, I thought 'Shit, I hope some fuckass comes and turns my stomach, this is just too much nutrition for me!'”
Vriska frowns, poking the end of her fork into her spaghetti. Kanaya's very much tempted to bury her face in her hands.
“Can it, Vantas,” Vriska says, and then gives Terezi a slight nod of greeting from across the table.
“Who even invited you to our table, Serket?”
“I believe that was me,” Kanaya says, finally chiming in, hoping to intervene before it ends up as a full-scale food fight.
“I appreciate your honesty, Kanaya, but this is between me and her,” Karkat says, pointing the end of his fork in Vriska's direction. A few specks of ketchup are thrown down onto Kanaya's sandwich.
“Actually, I believe this conversation is one that is currently happening over the top of my head, and therefore very much involves me. I would be grateful if the two of you could refrain from attacking one another, either verbally or with any sort of cutlery, so that I might finish my sandwich in peace.”
Aradia, now finding herself with an empty yoghurt pot, manages to put things back on track somewhat by engaging Karkat in a conversation about the aforementioned English assignment, and Kanaya manages to stop Vriska from grumbling under her breath too much. All in all, it isn't a complete disaster; Aradia seems to be okay with Vriska's presence and Gamzee is okay with most things, and though she can't work out how Terezi feels about the whole situation, Karkat's the only one who raises a real objection. It can almost be considered a success. Kanaya's hardly about to invite Vriska out on any group trips with them on the weekends, but it's nice to just have her there, sitting at the table as part of an actual group, rather than spending her lunchtimes hidden out behind the art block.
cryptographGrifter [CG] began pestering glowsAfterdark [GA] at 16:34
CG: HEY, KANANYA.
GA: Good Afternoon Karkat
GA: I Am Surprised To See You Online
CG: YEAH? WHY'S THAT?
GA: The Last I Heard You Were Working On Another One Of Your Viruses
GA: And I Am Dutifully Aware Of How You Like To Test Their Efficiency For Yourself
CG: OH, THAT.
CG: THAT WAS A COMPLETE AND UTTER WASTE OF TIME. IF ANYTHING, IT ONLY IMPROVED MY CPU PERFORMANCE.
CG: DON'T EVEN ASK ME HOW THE FUCK THAT HAPPENED. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO COVER THE DESKTOP WITH POORLY ANIMATED SPRITES THAT MULTIPLIED IN NUMBER EVERY TIME YOU TRIED TO GET RID OF THEM.
CG: SURE IT DOESN'T SOUND VERY DAMAGING TO THE SYSTEM, BUT I'M TRYING TO PUT A NEW SPIN ON VIRUSES. WHY CAN'T THEY BE REALLY, REALLY FUCKING ANNOYING WITHOUT DOING TOO MUCH HARM TO THE SYSTEM?
GA: I Am Afraid I Genuinely Cant Say
GA: It Is Truly A Mystery That Only A Code Cracker And Creator Like Yourself Could Hope To Solve
CG: YEAH, EXACTLY.
CG: BUT ANYWAY, THAT'S NOT WHAT I WANTED TO TALK ABOUT.
GA: Somehow I Didnt Think So
CG: OKAY, GREAT. YOU'RE AS PERCEPTIVE AS EVER.
CG: SO WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH YOU AND SERKET?
GA: I Wasnt Aware That Any Sort Of Bargain Had Been Made Between Us
CG: CAREFUL KANAYA, YOU MIGHT HURT YOURSELF ON YOUR WIT.
CG: IT'S JUST SO RAZOR SHARP, I DON'T KNOW HOW YOUR COMPUTER ISN'T IN SHREDS.
GA: Most Likely Because I Do Not Accept Non Txt File Transfers From You
CG: LOW BLOW.
CG: BUT ANYWAY, ENOUGH WITH THE SUBJECT CHANGING. WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO GET THAT PSYCHOTIC BITCH INTO OUR SOCIAL CIRCLE? DID YOU START LOOKING FOR A NEW BEST FRIEND WHILE I WAS BUSY BLINKING?
GA: Karkat Surely The Situation Is Not Yet So Very Desperate That You Have To Employ Tactical Jealousy
GA: You Are Well Aware That We Have Always Been Fated To Forever Remain Best Friends Since The Moment I Agreed To Regularly And Platonically Accompany You To The Cinema Every Saturday And Partake In Romantic Comedies
GA: The Unwavering Stability and Longevity Of Our Friendship Is Written In The Stars That Inevitably Blanket The Landscape During A Particularly Dramatic Scene In Each And Every Of The Aforementioned Movies
CG: KANAYA WHAT THE FUCK.
CG: NO DON'T ANSWER, I DON'T WANT AN ELABORATE BREAK DOWN OF WHATEVER THE HELL THAT JUST WAS.
CG: I'D LIKE TO THINK WE'VE KNOWN EACH OTHER FOR LONG ENOUGH FOR YOU TO REALISE WHEN I'M TRYING TO LOOK OUT FOR YOU. BUT APPARENTLY I WAS WRONG ABOUT THAT ALL ALONG.
GA: Looking Out For Me
GA: Why Do You Think Vriskas Dangerous
CG: DID SHE EVER TELL YOU WHY SHE WAS EXPELLED FROM HER LAST SCHOOL?
GA: No But I Expect That You Are Going To Inform Me Of What Happened Now From An Entirely Unbiased Perspective
CG: SO SHUT UP AND LISTEN UP. GAMZEE TOLD ME WHAT HAPPENED.
CG: “HOW DOES GAMZEE KNOW?” I KNOW YOU'RE BEGGING TO ASK. WELL, KANAYA, IT TURNS OUT THAT GAMZEE HAS A FRIEND CALLED TAVROS.
CG: AN ACTUAL FRIEND, NOT SOMEONE HE HALLUCINATED UP DURING ONE OF HIS SMOKE-OUTS. I MET THE GUY AT HIS FIFTEENTH FUCKING BIRTHDAY PARTY OR SOMETHING.
CG: LONG STORY SHORT, AND TO SAVE YOU FROM ANY NEEDLESS DRAMA, TAVROS GOES TO VRISKA'S OLD SCHOOL.
CG: AND VRISKA PUSHED HIM DOWN THE STAIRS. ENTIRELY UNPROVOKED.
CG: YEAH OH, THAT SEEMS LIKE A RESPONSE THAT'S EVENLY PROPORTIONED TO THE BIT OF EARTH-SHATTERING NEWS I CEREMONIOUSLY JUST DROPPED ON YOU.
GA: Well That Is
GA: If That Is True Then I Cant Say That It Sounds Terribly Out Of Character
CG: SERIOUSLY, KANAYA, HE ENDED UP WITH TWO BROKEN LEGS.
CG: IT'S NOT LIKE HE GOT AWAY WITH A FEW SCRAPES AND BRUISES.
GA: This Is Probably Something I Should Discuss With Vriska Herself Before Leaping To Any Overreactions On My Part
CG: YOU DO THAT.
cryptographGrifter [CG] ceased pestering glowsAfterdark [GA] at 16:58
glowsAfterdark [GA] began pestering adventurersGambit [AG] at 17:01
GA: Hello Vriska
AG: Kanayaaaaaaaa. I was wondering when you were going to start 8othering me, haha.
GA: Oh You Know Me It Seems I Am Physically Incapable Of Keeping My Nose Out Of Business That Pertains Strictly To You
AG: What's up?
GA: Unfortunately I Cannot Say That Something Pleasant Is Currently Residing Above Our Collective Head
GA: I Have Been Discussing Certain Matters With Karkat And I Think I Would Like To Hear Your Side Of The Story
AG: Ok, whatever he's 8een saying a8out me isn't true!! You know, I think he's just jealous that we're such good friends now.
GA: People Often Mistake Karkats Anger For A Great Number Of Repressed Emotions
GA: However Sometimes Anger Is Just Anger
GA: This Is About Tavros
AG: Wh8t, how do you know a8out that cripple????????
GA: I Dont Think You Should Speak About Him Like That Vriska
AG: Wow, why do you give a sh8t, Fussyfangs?
GA: It Is Difficult Not To Care When Somebody Has Apparently Been Pushed Down The Stairs For No Evident Reason And Left Severely Wounded
GA: I Do Not Mean To Make You Defensive Vriska I Would Just Like To Know What Happened
AG: Uh, it sounds like you already have a good idea of th8t!!!!!!!!
GA: Then You Pushed Him Down The Stairs
GA: For No Good Reason
AG: I was 8ored and he was annoying, Jegus Kanaya what's with the third degree????????
AG: Ugh, Jesus. Too pissed off to type pr8perly and I am quite sure it's Y8UR meddl8ng fault!
AG: Fuck you, Kanaya. Don't just hmmm at me and then say nothing.
AG: It's not like I W8NTED to 8r8k his stupid legs ok! We were messing around and I tripped him up and there was a perfectly good 8anister right there TH8T HE CHOSE NOT TO GRA8 AT!
GA: Right Sure
GA: That Sounds Like Something That Is Entirely His Fault
GA: I Should Probably End The Conversation Here
AG: Wh8t? I don't fucking think so F8ssyfangs.
AG: How a8out you listen to me and
AG: Fuuuuuuuu8k I d8n't know!!!!!!!!
AG: Are you st8ll there?
AG: H8LLO K8NAY8
AG: ........ x8
AG: UGH WH8T8V8R TH8RE 8RE F8R M8RE IMP8RT8NT F8RES IN MY 8RONS ANYWAY
AG: I MEAN
AG: 8RONS IN MY F8RES
After that conversation abruptly comes to a close, Kanaya doesn't talk to Vriska for two weeks. She barely even sees her, and it's not as difficult to avoid her as she thought it might've been. They sit together in none of the classes they share, and when Kanaya brings their little rendezvous behind the art block to a close, there's really not many opportunities for them to wander into one another. It's easy enough to keep her head down, anyway. During the first few days of the Great Two-Week Silence, Vriska gets herself into yet another fight and is excluded for four whole days; there's a great deal of fuss made, her mother is called in, and Kanaya feels strangely guilty, like it's somehow her fault for not mediating Vriska's behaviour. Karkat just tells her not to be stupid, because crazy is as crazy does.
Still, Kanaya can't quite work out why she's talking this all so personally. It's evidently a terrible thing that Vriska's done, but Kanaya's really taking it all to heart, like it all happened recently, to someone she knows and cares for, and she truly is caught up in the middle of it all. Maybe she just hates the fact that it only goes to show that Karkat was right about her all along. She honestly did want him to be wrong about Vriska, wanted her to just be troubled by the changing of schools and about to settle down at any moment, with a nudge in the right direction. It's ridiculous and she knows it, but Kanaya already misses talking to her, despite having only been classed as her friend for a few short weeks.
Kanaya sticks to her figurative guns, and two Fridays after the truth fumbled its way to freedom, Vriska strolls into the library like she owns the place and slumps down in an empty chair opposite Kanaya. She doesn't say anything, and Kanaya's certainly not going to be the first to speak up; it's just a little difficult to cling to her resolve when she insists on staring at her like that. Like nothing's happened, like there was no argument, no boy with two broken legs because of her. Kanaya exhales heavily through her nose, irritated, and looks around, in the hope that someone familiar is nearby to rescue her. No such luck. There are only the younger students, and none of them look particularly keen on the prospect of going head-to-head with Vriska.
Keeping her focus fixed on her work, Kanaya rests her forehead against the heel of her palm, continues to scrawl across the page, and then Vriska has to go ahead and reach out for her wrists, apparently knowing of no other way to get her attention. Kanaya scowls up at her, wrangles free from her grasp, and, realising that she isn't going to get any work done, folds her arms across her chest and stares right on back.
“What?” Vriska snaps, like she's the one who's been rudely interrupted.
“What do you want, Vriska?” Kanaya asks, sighing. She's in no mood whatsoever to entertain her dramatics. “I have a lot of work to get done and would appreciate the opportunity to do so without further distraction.”
Vriska just shrugs. It's a very defensive motion, accidental in how over the top it is, and her shoulders rise all the way up, reaching her ears. Oh, she most definitely knows what she's come here for, but now that she's been placed under the spotlight, she has no idea how to begin formulating the words. Kanaya isn't impressed. She slowly reaches out for the pen she dropped during the fray, and Vriska leans across the desk, swatting her hand away from it.
“Just listen to me, okay?” she says, and then follows up with absolutely nothing else. Exhaling heavily, she brushes the ever-present tangle she passes off as hair out of her face and goodness, Kanaya wishes that Vriska would let her drag a brush through it just once. Of course, Kanaya's not thinking about that now. She's only thinking about how angry she is.
“I am listening. I have been listening for the twenty seconds during which only silence has persisted.”
Vriska rolls her eye, sinking so far down into her chair that the top of the backrest digs into the back of her head.
“I know Vantas has probably convinced you that I'm some soulless, spidery bitch, but that's barely even half true. I didn't do what I did for fun, or because I actually wanted to hurt Tavros. I mean, after it happened, I felt shitty about it! It's weird, because I reeeeeeeeally didn't expect to, because like I said, him falling down the stairs and breaking his legs was a complete accident. So I figured that I shouldn't blame myself, and—” Vriska groans, gaze flickering away. Kanaya knows that she should appreciate how difficult this is for her, but thus far has been rendered entirely unmoved by the whole sordid account. “Whaaaaaaaatever, the point is, I did feel bad. Still kind of do, if I'm being completely honest. And not just because I had to move to this dumb school and ended up grounded for moooooooonths. I even went to visit Tavros in the hospital! God, it was so lame. He made me watch Peter Pan with him.”
When it seems as if Vriska's tale has drawn to a close, Kanaya opts not to speak up. The longer she goes without saying anything the more Vriska seems to be on edge, which is how it should be, Kanaya decides, because she's done a lot to frustrate her over the past few weeks.
“I see. That is all very interesting, but why are you sharing this information with me?”
Vriska gives her a look that says Are you completely stupid? and makes it seem as if she's going to lean across the table and take hold of her by the collar of her blouse at any given moment. Upon realising that she's supposed to be swaying Kanaya onto her side, her expression neutrals and she quickly glances around, as if ensuring that there's nobody around to overhear.
“Because you're the only lousy goddamn friend I have in this whole stupid place, and you being so pissed off is staaaaaaaarting to get to me.”
With a final huff, Vriska folds her arms across her chest. Kanaya remains silent still, considers all of her words carefully, and comes to the conclusion that Vriska might be genuine in her remorse all along. It's certainly more than she's ever admitted to in the past, and Kanaya wonders if she's too easily won over by the confirmation of being her friend, even if she's long since suspected as much. In all honesty, she's missed having Vriska around, no matter how angry their blossoming friendship has succeeded in making Karkat.
“I am not angry at you, Vriska. I only ever wanted to know that you were undoubtedly sorry for what you'd done.”
Hearing that is apparently victory enough for Vriska, and she's grinning again, like everything's forgiven and forgotten. Kanaya aims to roll her eyes at her, and only succeeds in offering up a long-suffering smile. Vriska immediately dives into a whole new topic of conversation, which she labels as catching up, though she spends a great deal of time talking about herself, about how completely utterly bored she's been for the past few weeks, and how that's actually surprised her. Kanaya listens to her rambling intently, not as bothered as she thought she'd be by being distracted from the homework she's supposed to be working on. When the bell sounds, Vriska's quick on her feet, like she's going to be on time for a lesson for once in her life.
They say their goodbyes, Vriska darts off as Kanaya packs her bag, but then Kanaya finds herself face-to-face with her when she tries leaving the library. Vriska's stood in the doorway, looking restless, preventing a couple of younger students from leaving.
“Uh, one more thing,” she says, trying to put across an air of nonchalance. Her words just come out sounding stilted. “Do you want to come to my house after school? Or not. Doesn't matter.”
She's trying to make it sound as if it's a thought that's just that moment come into her mind, but Kanaya can tell that she's been building up to say it all along. It's almost sweet, really, though Vriska would never forgive her for saying as much.
“I would very much like that, Vriska.”
Vriska seems to let out a breath she's been holding, flashes Kanaya a grin, and then she's running off down the corridor, knocking Eridan with her shoulder as she runs past him.
Kanaya doesn't live far from school. Less than two miles, and so she usually opts to walk home, unless the weather is particularly insistent on being set against her. Vriska says she lives a little further afield, but she walks too, because she can't stand dealing with the idiots on the bus. They meet outside the gates at half three, and Kanaya's inexplicably excited about seeing where Vriska lives. She hates to make assumptions, but Vriska's general demeanour has given Kanaya a rather vivid mental image of what her abode will be like; she won't commit to saying anything beyond messy, but it doesn't make any difference to her in the least. Vriska is her friend no matter what, in spite of the potential squalor she may or may not live in.
They head off in the opposite direction to Kanaya's house, Kanaya texting her mother to inform her of her whereabouts as they go, and for the first ten minutes it's quite a pleasant sort of walk. Until Vriska hoists herself up onto a fence, that is, and hops over into the woodland behind. Kanaya hesitates. It was raining the previous night and she's wearing one of her favourite pairs of shoes, not to mention the fact that she's currently in a skirt. Vriska just laughs at her, explains that it's the quickest way for them to head, and then offers out her hand for support.
Kanaya supposes that she can always clean her shoes.
Vriska leads the way, but Kanaya can't help but be a little weary. There are trees arching all above them, shrubs growing thick around their feet, and Kanaya does her best to keep up with Vriska, because there's no way that she'd ever find her way out of there on her own. She asks Vriska if she doesn't ever feel uncomfortable being in the middle of nowhere on her own, especially in the winter when it must be close to pitch-black by this time of the day, but Vriska just shrugs, and then scrambles up a lopsided tree for no real reason. Kanaya doesn't follow her.
After the better part of a mile, Kanaya finally relaxes, and really, it's actually quite nice. All she has to do is make sure there aren't any protruding tree roots ready to trip her up and leave the rest to Vriska. Vriska who decides it's a perfect time to tease her; upon reaching a slow-flowing but nevertheless wide river, she takes a run-up, leaps, lands on the opposite bank, and then informs Kanaya that it's the only way to cross. Kanaya frets, grips at her sleeve, but then Vriska takes pity on her and tells her not to worry, there's a bridge about a quarter of a mile downstream.
Kanaya wanders down her side of the bank, eyes never leaving Vriska, and finds it difficult to conjure up anything like embarrassment around her. The walk takes forty-five minutes in all, and in that time they pass through two open fields, containing horses and sheep respectively, across one river and two streams, and down more steep slopes than Kanaya cares to count. She follows in Vriska's example, because it seems that the only way to safely scale down them is to carefully position her feet against jutting out roots and then grab an overhanging branch as she goes. On the way down, however, Kanaya has difficulty in finding her footing, travels far too quickly, and is only stopped by the barrage of Vriska's body, arms stretched out.
Vriska laughs as Kanaya bumps into her, barely having avoided tripping over, and then Kanaya pulls away from her, heart racing, and for some reason blurts out that the meadow just ahead of them would be a perfect spot for a picnic.
Once they're back on the road, Kanaya takes a moment to assess the damage. Her shoes are scuffed at the toes and sides, and the bottom of her skirt is splattered with a serving of dirt, no matter how careful she tried to be. She's still staring down mournfully at her clothing when Vriska announces that they've arrived, and when she looks up, she's forced to do a double-take. Surely Vriska's just having her on.
Vriska's stood at a set of impossibly tall wrought iron gates, punching in a code into the security pad. She stands back as she waits for the gates to swing open, hooks her thumbs around her jean pockets, and Kanaya thinks she might faint when she gets a look at the drive. She thinks there's a Rolls Royce parked there, but she can't be certain from where she's stood; the driveway's just that long. That's not even saying anything of the house. Kanaya might not know anything about architecture, but she can tell the building's been stood there for a long, long time, and she doesn't even want to guess how many rooms it's made up of.
“Vriska,” she asks, after a moment spent gaping. “What do your parents do?”
It seemed like an appropriate thing to ask at the time. Kanaya winces. Vriska heads up the drive, grin spread across her face, walking backwards to keep the flow of conversation going.
“Oh, my mom's an author. Her books are pretty popular!” Vriska says, looking a little proud of that fact. “You can probably meet her for yourself. She's usually in when I get home.”
Kanaya nods to herself as they make their way to the front door, and oh, yes, that's definitely a Rolls Royce. She can't stop staring around as she goes, overwhelmed by the enormity of it all and ashamed of her own assumptions. Everything is perfectly presented, from the garden that's obviously professionally cared for to the windows that Kanaya swears are gleaming in the afternoon light. Vriska unlocks the door, leads Kanaya into a hallway the size of her own house, and then unceremoniously kicks her shoes off, letting them fly in two separate directions.
“Moooooooom! I'm baaaaaaaack!”
Kneeling down, Kanaya unlaces her own shoes, and then carefully places them against the wall, out of the way. It's difficult to overcome the temptation to gather up and arrange Vriska's, too.
Within a few moments of Vriska's echoing announcement, a rather striking looking woman makes her way down the staircase in the centre of all hall; Kanaya's first thought is to be horribly intimidated, and then there's this sinking feeling in the bottom of her stomach when she realises that she recognises her. Oh, god. Oh, god, this woman wrote the novels she obsesses over. This woman wrote the novels she obsesses over so much that her screen name is a direct reference to them, a reference that Vriska didn't overlook, and this woman is Vriska's mother. All at once, Kanaya realises that yes, it is, in fact, quite possible to become embarrassed around Vriska.
“Good afternoon, dear. You're home in a timely manner,” the woman says. Spinneret Mindfang. That's her name, or at least the one she writes under. She smiles at Vriska, causing some of stubbornly rough edges of Vriska's usual expression to fade away, and then belatedly notices Kanaya at her side. “And you've brought company with you.”
Mindfang's tone is neutral, and doesn't give anything away. Kanaya can't tell whether she's being welcomed into the house or about to be kicked out.
“This is Kanaya. Kanaya, this is my mom.”
“Oh, hello, ma'am,” Kanaya says, certain that fumbling with her words is better than standing there in silence. “It's nice to meet you. Thank you for having me in your home.”
“Hmm,” is all that Mindfang says in response, continuing her descent of the stairs. Upon reaching their level, she places one hand against Vriska's shoulder. “About time you brought her over. I've heard much about you, Kanaya, and I'm glad to see you truly do exist.”
Kanaya laughs. It's a nervous laugh, but she manages to force it out of her throat. Mindfang smiles at her for a second time, doesn't seem as cutting in the process, and then Vriska shrugs her hand off her shoulder. She makes a grab for Kanaya's wrist, tugs her towards the stairs, and Kanaya has no choice but to follow her.
“Dinner will be at seven,” Mindfang nonchalantly calls after them, “Do let me know if you need anything in the meantime.”
Kanaya thinks she mumbles her thanks in return, but can't really be sure, what with the speed that Vriska drags her off at. She doesn't really mind, because it's always difficult to know how to speak to people's parents; either that, or dealing with Karkat's perpetually grumpy father has scarred her for life. There are dozens upon dozens of photos neatly framed on the walls, and Kanaya gets a look at as many as she can, inwardly delighted by the wide array of tiny Vriskas on display before her. Curiously, she can't pick out a Vriska who looks much younger than ten or eleven, but before she can comment on as much, they've finally reached Vriska's bedroom.
A bedroom that's a lot more in-line with Kanaya's initial impression of her. It's a huge room, there's no mistaking that, and amongst the king-sized bed, the sofa, the computer desk and widescreen TV plastered against the wall, there's plenty of room for mountains of mess. There are piles of clothing scattered all around the place, loose eight-sided dice, empty soda cans, various console controllers and game boxes, and although Kanaya's never diagnosed herself with arachnophobia, she sincerely hopes that John isn't allowed to roam free. She isn't certain if she's more worried about finding him crawling across her foot, or accidentally squashing him under a stray pair of jeans.
Much to her relief, Vriska introduces her to Long John Silver in due time, who turns out to have a rather spacious tank in one corner of the room. Vriska implies that Kanaya should make herself at home, or that's what Kanaya supposes she's doing when she flops down on the bed and just starts rambling, anyway. She removes a single shoe from one side of the sofa, sits down, and the two of them do absolutely nothing extraordinary for the entire evening.
They sit and they talk, and Kanaya doesn't realise how much time has passed until it's growing dim outside of the window and Mindfang calls them down for dinner. They eat at a massively oversized table, and Kanaya does her best not to appear horribly flustered or starstruck around Vriska's mother, and after the meal Vriska drags her back upstairs so that they can watch Pirates of the Caribbean together. By this point, Vriska's migrated over to the sofa, and she begins the film slouched against Kanaya, and ends it with her head in her lap, cheering and punching the air when this and that happens, like she hasn't already seen it a hundred times before; Kanaya can't help but notice that Vriska's the first teenage girl she's come across who would rather be Jack Sparrow than make out with him. A good thing, really, considering all the diseases he must be carrying. Kanaya spends a worrying about of the film looking down at Vriska, wishing hopelessly that she'd just let her brush her damn hair for once.
When it's far too late to be out on a school night and Kanaya's about to leave, she thanks Vriska for such a wonderful evening, and Vriska just raises an eyebrow, and says that they haven't done anything special, only hung out. Kanaya supposes that's true, but says that she's had a lovely time regardless. Vriska just shrugs, and then Mindfang gives her a lift home. Kanaya quietly admires the interior of the car all the while.
Once she's finally home, she thinks turn go straight online, but then spends the better part of an hour talking endlessly at her mother, never finding herself short of things to say about Vriska's house, about Vriska herself.
adventurersGambit [AG] began pestering glowsAfterdark [GA] at 23:07
AG: Theeeeeeeere you are.
AG: A8out time. I was starting to worry that you'd got lost 8etween the car and your front door, haha!
GA: Hello Vriska Sorry I Was Busy Engaging In Conversation With My Mother
GA: I Believe I Have Filled My Monthly Quota Of Mother Daughter Bonding So It Wont Happen Again For Another Four Weeks
GA: Make Sure To Thank Your Mother For The Lift Once Again
GA: And For Dinner Too As Well As Generally Tolerating My Presence Without Prior Warning
AG: We just hung out at my place, Fussyfangs! Stop making such a huge deal of it, no matter how gr8 my company might be.
GA: Hmm I Get The Distinct Feeling That You Are Only Referring To Me By That Nickname Tonight To Make Me Uncomfortable
GA: Really I Had No Idea Who Your Mother Was
AG: Haha, it was a surprise! For you!
AG: I'm such an amazing friend.
GA: Well Sure I Was Certainly Surprised But Some Warning Wouldve Been Nice
GA: Oh Also I Remember There Was Something I Wanted To Ask You Vriska
GA: Yes A Question Mark Shaped Mouth That Is A Viable Expression That Humans Can Make
GA: Anyway I Noticed There Were Several Photos Of You With Terezi In Which You Both Appear To Be Younger
GA: So It Looks Like My Question Is How Long Have You Known Her For
AG: Ugh, 8lech. That. I don't know, a8out six years????????
AG: Our moms are 8asically married.
GA: I See
AG: Oh man, it's so lame. I am quite glad my mom's 8edroom is on the other side of the house, haha!
GA: Vriska Is This Really Something You Should Be Discussing With Me
AG: Whyyyyyyyy, does it make you uncomforta8le? Do you have a proooooooo8lem with it, Maryam?
AG: Haha, I'm kiiiiiiiidding! I know you don't have a pro8lem with that sort of thing.
GA: You Know
GA: Really How Is That Vriska
AG: 8ecause you're 8est friends with Karkat, and that guy is soooooooo gay. In fact, I think that he has all the gay!
AG: All of it!
GA: I Dont Really Think The Gay Is Something You Can Possess Vriska Certainly Not In Any Countable Quantities At Any Rate
GA: But I Will Simply Take Your Word For It And Not Wonder Why You Seem To Think Such Things About Karkat Really Its Probably Better If I Dont Know What Goes Through Your Head
AG: So that's 8asically my family history. What about yoooooooours?
GA: How Do You Mean
AG: I mean that you met my family, came to my house, and I told you all that em8arrassing crap a8out my mom, so now you should tell me a8out yours!
GA: Hmm Okay Although Its Not All That Interesting
GA: I Live With My Mother And Dont Have Much Extended Family To Speak Of
GA: My Grandparents On My Mothers Side Moved Here From Lebanon When She Was Only Two Or Three Years Old She Isnt Certain
AG: Oh cool! I was wondering a8out that 8ut thought it might be inappropri8 or whatever to 8e like why aren't you white, haha.
GA: Yes Putting It That Way Does Sound Somewhat Untoward But Luckily I Understand The Point You Are Trying To Make
AG: That's why we're such gr8 friends.
AG: So what a8out your dad????????
GA: Oh I Never Actually Knew Him
GA: Only Of Him Really But From What I Hear He Was A Very Nice Man But Unfortunately He Was Already Ill Before I Was Born
AG: Oh man, that sucks. I'm sorry.
GA: Yes It Does Indeed Suck I Am Told My Mother Was Very Fond Of Him She Was Introduced To Him Through My Grandparents Who Were Friends With His Parents
GA: Okay But Moving On Before This Gets Depressing
GA: What About Your Father Vriska
AG: I guess he's off with my mom somewhere????????
GA: I Am Admittedly Confused
AG: Oh, it's no 8ig deal. My parents were too 8usy drinking when I was 8orn to look after me, so I spent yeeeeeeeears in shitty foster care.
AG: Not that it really matters! I mean, I'm fiiiiiiiine now. Worked out alright for me.
GA: Oh That Makes Sense Now
GA: Then Mindfang Adopted You
AG: Yeah! She's so awesome. ::::)
AG: I spent like three months causing constant trou8le for her, 8ut she still didn't send me 8ack!
AG: She definitely passed my test, haha.
GA: I Am Very Happy For You In That Case
AG: Ok, as heart warming as this is, I'm gonna need a 8arf8ag in a minute.
AG: And oops looks like it's kind of l8.
AG: See you tomorrow, ok?
GA: Yes I Believe Sleep Would Be A Good Idea For The Both Of Us
GA: Goodnight Vriska I Enjoyed Having The Opportunity To Speak With You
GA: Sleep Well
adventurersGambit [AG] ceased pestering glowsAfterdark [GA] at 23:46
“Your psychotic girlcrush keeps pestering me, Kanaya.”
It's a lazy Saturday afternoon and she's sat in Karkat's room, watching Love Actually with him. Both of them know the script by this stage in the game. Kanaya glances at him out of the corner of her eye, sees the way his face is twisted into a scowl, and then looks straight back ahead at the screen. She'd very much like to pretend that she doesn't know what he's talking about, but fails spectacularly in that regard. Still, she can feign ignorance, even as she uncomfortably wrings her hands together.
“You know what I'm talking about. That awkward silence lasted far too fucking long for you to be clueless. Vriska.” He's still in the habit of practically spitting her name out. “If you want to get all gooey over her, be my guest, but keep in mind that I'm the expert when it comes to these things. She'll break your heart into a thousand tiny pieces that even you won't be able to stitch back together, and then probably laugh about it. Seriously, Kanaya. I'm looking out for you here.”
Kanaya furrows her brow. She wants very much to conjure up a spectacular comeback that will leave Karkat speechless, but unfortunately for her, all the colour is rushing to her face and she can hear the blood pumping in her ears, almost deafeningly so.
“I—” she pauses, actively looking away, now. She barely even entertains these sort of thoughts when she's alone, much less voices them. Kanaya's angry at Karkat, angry at his intrusion into personal matters, mind too clouded to see that he really is only worried about her. “I assure you, there is nothing of that sort happening between me and Vriska. Vriska is—”
Kanaya pauses once again, wondering why it should matter what Vriska is or isn't. This is about her, about her feelings, which certainly aren't lingering in mid-air because she's not sure of how Vriska will receive them, if at all.
“Vriska's my best friend, and that's all,” she concludes.
“Oh, so now she's your best friend? Thanks a whole fucking lot, Kanaya. After all the years I've stood by your side, some shit-grinned new girl turns up and you're latching onto her like a rabid koala hallucinating eucalyptus leaves.”
Glad of the subject change, even if that subject change is only the topic of Karkat's wounded pride, Kanaya sighs softly, elbowing him in the side.
“You're still my best friend, Karkat, but I think it's only fair that I'm allowed to claim a second for my own. After all, you have Gamzee as well, do you not?”
Karkat grumbles that he supposes she's right, and that she'd better not stop coming over, even if Vriska's house is infinitely more impressive that his. He says that Vriska had better stop pestering him, too, because he doesn't even know how she got hold of his handle; he knows that Kanaya would've never given it out, though. Their attention supposedly returns to the movie, but Kanaya can't focus on it. All she can do is think about what Karkat's said, and curse the fact that he really does know her too well.
The next time she goes to Vriska's house, Kanaya's prepared for the trip there. She wears jeans and trainers that day to school, moves with a lot more ease through the woodland, but still doesn't have the guts to leap across the river. Kanaya isn't as completely free of nerves as she'd hoped to be around Mindfang, even less so when the woman she assumes to be Terezi's mother turns up, but she thinks her arrival is a lot smoother than the last time she visited. If nothing else, she seems welcome in the house, free to come and go as she pleases.
Vriska shows her to the games room, where they play pool and drink tropical fruit juice form an island Kanaya's never heard of for the better part of two hours. When she takes off her jacket, Kanaya notices a thick scar running up the length of Vriska's inner arm, and when she looks more carefully as Vriska leans over the table to take her shot, she sees unnatural looking lumps around her wrist. Vriska catches her staring, and as she chalks the end of her cue, explains that she had an accident a good seven years back, in which she fell from a knackered old bike, ended up with the bones in her arm shattered in four places and a spoke that snapped off one of the wheels impaled in the left side of her face. A few millimetres to the side and she would've done some serious damage to her brain; she's lucky she only lost the eye and has to put up with a few screws in her bones.
Kanaya listens in stunned silence, and a few minutes later, as Vriska pots the black, she asks her not to tell anyone about it. When Vriska's certain her secret's safe, they traipse back up to her room. Vriska introduces her to John properly, takes him from his tank and places him in Kanaya's cupped hands. Kanaya is rightly terrified the whole time, but Vriska just reassures her that it's alright, because John's eaten recently and isn't prone to biting people, anyway. Kanaya feels no better for having listened to what she has to say, but relaxes after a few moments, laughing shakily under her breath when John stretches out his legs and tickles the sides of her hands.
They retire to the bed, after that. Not the sofa, because it's currently occupied by a large cardboard box, a pair of boots and an unplugged X-Box. Kanaya falls back, staring at the high ceiling, and Vriska lies with the side of her head pressed against the top of Kanaya's. They talk idly for a while, mostly around the subject of what to get for dinner, considering that Vriska's mother's taken her other half out and won't be back until late, and Kanaya finds that she likes just being there, likes not having to worry about what she's saying or thinking. What Karkat said at the weekend doesn't bother her anymore, because no matter how awkward she thinks it might be around Vriska, as soon as she sees her any sort of anticipation flutters away, because Vriska's completely upfront about who she is and holds no bars. It's easy for Kanaya to be herself around her, despite any lingering feelings she may or may not have.
Kanaya's long since learnt that it's best to ignore those. It's hardly as if they're going to lead her anywhere, so it's easier for her to categorise them and file them away, and continue her life in an orderly fashion. Easier, that is, until Vriska props herself up on one elbow and stares down at her with such an utterly unreadable expression that Kanaya's certain Vriska can read her mind. Her face immediately reddens, she tells herself that she's leaping to conclusions, and then continues to convince herself that she's jumping to conclusions when Vriska leans down and presses her lips against hers.
It isn't the neatest or most gentle kiss, though it is the first she's experienced. It takes Kanaya's mind several seconds to catch up with her body, which in turn takes several seconds to catch up with Vriska's; after a long moment spent frozen, she does something that she supposes resembles kissing back, but she can't keep up with what's going on around her. Sustaining the kiss is difficult enough, but then Vriska goes ahead and shifts so that she's at a more appropriate angle, hovering over her, and for some reason, Kanaya can't even work out how to get her arms to move and wrap around her. Vriska's hair tumbles in waves against her face, the sides of her neck, pooling around her, and Kanaya's almost at the point where she can begin considering what parts of Vriska's back are suitable to rest a hand against when she feels Vriska's fingers at her belt buckle.
She may well have been in a state of kiss-induced paralysis before, but now Kanaya moves like a shot. She successfully manages to dart out from between Vriska and the mattress and sits up, heart thumping against her chest, eyes wide.
“What?” Vriska asks, and for a moment, Kanaya's speechless. She can't believe she isn't getting it. Or rather, she can believe Vriska doesn't see what's wrong with this picture, and that's the worst part of all.
“Vriska. Excuse my language, but—” she takes a deep breath, pressing one hand to her forehead. “What the living fuck do you think you're doing?”
Vriska blinks, furrows her brow, and then looks around the room, like there's possibly another person there that the question could've been aimed at.
“What kind of dumb question is that? I'm obviously trying to have fun and relax, Kanaya!”
“Have fun and relax.” Kanaya repeats the words slowly; they don't sound any better coming from her own lips. Vriska not returning her affections is one thing she was quite prepared to deal with, but Vriska ignoring them altogether and using her as a source of entertainment is something else entirely.
“Uh, yeah. What's the problem here? Me and Terezi used to do this all the time!”
Vriska isn't making a very convincing argument for herself. Very slowly, and without having to order her body to do so, Kanaya gets to her feet, reaches for her bag, and makes her way out of the room. She doesn't want to deal with Vriska right now. She doesn't want to have to look at her, to have to listen to anything she says and find the energy to respond, because she is utterly humiliated, though she knows Vriska won't realise why. In the back of her mind, Kanaya realises that some part of her was hopeful all along, that she'd confess to Vriska and Vriska would at least be open minded, what with her mother; but now she sees that any physical affections on Vriska's part are just a way of her killing time.
Kanaya bites her lower lip, ignoring Vriska as she follows her through the house. She can't believe that was her first kiss.
As she puts her trainers back on, Vriska asks her where she's going, and how she expects to get home at this time of night. Kanaya thinks she might mumble something about getting her mother to come pick her up, but isn't certain whether she graces her with answer or not.
Frustrated by her sudden desire to flee, Vriska shouts at her down the driveway, tells her not to be so fucking stuck-up all the time, and then slams the door behind her.
In the car, when her mother turns up twenty minutes later, Kanaya sits in complete silence, answering any questions with a series of nods and shakes of her head. When they get home after what feels like a lifetime, journey not helped by the traffic, Kanaya drags herself straight up to her room, mumbling something about not feeling well. When she turns on her computer and sees that Karkat isn't online, she wants to cry then more than ever.
She blocks Vriska, stares at her phone for the longest time, and then forgoes texting Karkat. He'd only say I told you fucking so anyway. Dragging herself into bed, Kanaya wakes up at half-nine the next morning; she initially panics over how much trouble she's going to be in for being so late for school, and then belatedly realises that her mother's given her the day off, believing that something really is wrong with her.
Well. That much isn't a complete lie.
cryptographGrifter [CG] began pestering glowsAfterdark [GA] at 17:01
CG: WE'VE GOT A LOT TO DISCUSS THIS EVENING, KANAYA.
CG: SO BUCKLE DOWN OR AT LEAST FIND SOME OTHER WAY OF STRAPPING YOURSELF INTO YOUR CHAIR, BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT GETTING AWAY FROM ME THIS TIME. YOU'RE NOT GOING TO ELOQUENTLY SQUIRM YOURSELF OUT OF THIS ONE, EVEN IF YOU HAVE MASTERED THE ART OF CAFETERIA ESCAPOLOGY.
CG: THIS WHOLE STOIC, STONY-FACED ACT OF YOURS DOESN'T SUIT YOU. FRANKLY, I'M EMBARRASSED TO CALL YOU MY BEST FRIEND. AND YOU KNOW GAMZEE, SO YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE AN INCREDIBLY HIGH EMBARRASSMENT TOLERANCE, BUT YOU'RE REALLY STARTING TO PUSH IT.
CG: FIRST OF ALL: DEAL WITH IT. GET OVER IT. YEAH, SHE'S BROKEN YOUR HEART IN THE PROCESS OF TRYING TO GET INTO YOUR PANTS, BUT YOU CAN'T SAY WE DIDN'T SEE IT COMING.
CG: AND HOW DO I KNOW ALL OF THIS? BECAUSE SHE'S TOLD ME. IN GREAT DETAIL. REMEMBER HOW I TOLD YOU THAT SHE GOT MY HANDLE AND STARTED PESTERING ME? YEAH, THAT'S NOT A THING THAT'S CHANGED. I'LL SEND YOU THE CHATLOGS LATER.
CG: I SUPPOSE THIS IS THE PART WHERE I TELL YOU THAT YOU CAN DO BETTER. HELL, I THINK ERIDAN COULD DO BETTER THAN HER, AND THE BEST HE CAN HOPE FOR IN HIS MISERABLE, PERPETUALLY HORNY LIFE IS THAT THE PERSON HE “ACCIDENTALLY” BRUSHES SHOULDERS WITH IN THE CORRIDOR DOESN'T SCREAM. SERIOUSLY, KANAYA, WHAT WERE YOU EVEN THINKING?
CG: OH, WAIT. I'M IN COMFORTING MODE. WOW, THAT'S A DIFFICULT ZONE TO GET INTO.
CG: DO YOU REMEMBER THAT ONE MOVIE WHERE THE POLITE, WELL-LIKED GIRL FELL HEAD OVER HEELS FOR A GIGANTIC, UNIVERSALLY-HATED BITCH, BUT ULTIMATELY MOVED ON AND FOUND ANOTHER POLITE, WELL-LIKED GIRL TO CALL HER OWN? BECAUSE THAT'S TOTALLY A REAL MOVIE, AND NOT SOMETHING I'VE MADE UP ON THE SPOT. AND IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU, KANAYA. OH, THEY WERE BOTH PRETTY AS WELL.
CG: ALSO, HI.
CG: OKAY, I'VE SPENT THREE MINUTES STARING AT THE SCREEN AND IT DOESN'T LOOK LIKE YOU'RE GOING TO GRACE ME WITH ANYTHING MORE THAT A HELLO. BUT AT LEAST I KNOW YOU'RE HERE NOW.
CG: ARE YOU AT LEAST GOING TO TELL ME IF YOU'RE OKAY?
GA: Mmm I Am Fine Karkat Dont Act Like This Is The End Of The World As We Know It
CG: YOU KNOW WHAT.
CG: I THINK I HAVE THE FUCKING RIGHT TO ACT LIKE THE APOCALYPSE IS DRAWING EVER CLOSER WHEN SPIDERBITCH KEEPS TRYING TO TALK TO ME ABOUT YOU.
GA: Karkat Dont Call Her That It Isnt Pleasant I Dont Even Know Why You Do It
CG: BECAUSE SHE'S OBSESSED WITH SPIDERS.
CG: AND SHE'S A HUGE BITCH.
CG: DON'T TELL ME YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED.
GA: Of Course I Have I Even Met Her Pet Spider
CG: WOW, THAT'S FUCKING CREEPY. BUT NOT IN THE LEAST SURPRISING. ANYWAY.
CG: BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO SKULK OFF, HERE'S THE CHATLOG. BECAUSE, UH, I GUESS YOU SHOULD SEE THIS.
CG: I MEAN, I KIND OF WANT TO DELETE IT FOREVER BUT THEN SOME PART OF ME WOULD FEEL GUILTY, AND I'M NOT REALLY UP FOR PROCESSING SOMETHING LIKE THAT AT THIS STAGE OF MY LIFE.
cryptographGrifter [CG] transferred CONVERSATIONWITHTHESPIDERIESTBITCHTHEREISFUCK.TXT to glowsAfterdark [GA]
glowsAfterdark [GA] opened the file CONVERSATIONWITHTHESPIDERIESTBITCHTHEREISFUCK.TXT
adventurersGambit [AG] began pestering glowscryptographGrifter [CG] at 22:09
CG: I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU AREN'T UNDERSTANDING ABOUT MY REQUEST. IT'S SO SIMPLE EVEN THAT ONE KID NO ONE TALKS TO WHO'S REPEATED THE NINTH GRADE FOUR TIMES COULD GRASP IT.
CG: BUT LET ME TRY IT AGAIN.
CG: I KNOW, MAYBE I NEED BE A COMPLETE DOUCHEBAG AND USE EIGHT EXCLAMATION MARKS FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND.
CG: LET'S TRY IT.
CG: FUCK OFF!!!!!!!!
AG: Oh my god, this is soooooooo immature.
AG: Can you stop seething over your key8oard for a minute and talk to me seriously?
CG: NO. FUCK NO.
CG: YOU LOST YOUR CHANCE TO TALK TO ME ABOUT KANAYA AFTER TELLING ME IN GREAT DETAIL HOW YOUR HAND ATTEMPTED TO INFILTRATE THE FORTRESS OF HER PANTS. THANKS FOR THAT, BY THE WAY. IT'S NOT LIKE I DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH TROUBLE SLEEPING TO BEGIN WITH.
CG: OKAY, TECHNICALLY, I GUESS YOU LOST YOUR CHANCE WHEN YOU SCREWED HER OVER. GO TALK TO HER YOURSELF.
AG: 8luh, I can't do that! She 8locked me and keeps ignoring me at school.
CG: MY HEART BLEEDS FOR YOU.
CG: SERIOUSLY, WHAT MORE IS THERE LEFT TO SAY?
AG: 8asically, I want to know why this is such a 8ig deal to her. Ok, so she doesn't want to make out with me. Whatever! I'll get over it, I've got thick skin.
CG: GIVE ME A MOMENT, I JUST NEED TO
CG: OKAY, I THINK THAT'S OUT OF MY SYSTEM.
CG: YOU REALLY THINK THAT KANAYA
CG: I CAN'T EVEN FINISH THAT SENTENCE.
AG: What are you trying to say????????
CG: OH, I DON'T KNOW. MAYBE THAT KANAYA DOES WANT TO MAKE OUT WITH YOU, OR RATHER, ENGAGE IN GENTLE SAPPHIC EMBRACES AND WHISPER LOST STANZAS OF POETRY INTO YOUR EAR, BUT WHATEVER.
AG: Haha, v8ry f8nny! That's a gr8 joke, Kark8t! My sides ar8 a8solutely spl8tting with laught8r!!!!!!!!
CG: BELIEVE IT OR NOT, I DON'T ACTUALLY TAKE ANY PLEASURE FROM MAKING JOKES WITH YOU. I'M SERIOUS.
CG: YOU'VE FUCKING BROKEN HER VERY FASHIONABLE HEART.
CG: YOU MIGHT WANT TO LOOK UP WHAT ONE OF THOSE IS.
CG: A HEART, I MEAN.
CG: SEEING AS YOU'RE OBVIOUSLY GENETICALLY DEFORMED AND THEREFORE CARDIACALLY DEFICIENT.
AG: … um ok. Let's pretend for a minute that I 8elieve you. Which I don't! 8ut hypothetically.
AG: Even though this is 8ullshit.
AG: Why the fuck would Kanaya liiiiiiiike-like ME????????
CG: I REALLY DON'T KNOW.
CG: I ASK MYSELF THAT VERY QUESTION EVERY DAY.
CG: WHAT NOW.
AG: I don't know.
AG: I just assumed that........
AG: I don't know!
CG: DON'T TELL ME THAT THIS IS YOUR WAY OF SHOWING JUST HOW EMOTIONALLY RETARDED YOU ARE.
CG: DON'T FUCKING TELL ME YOU LIKE HER TOO.
AG: Stop jumping to conclusions. That's not what I'm saying!
CG: IT'S NOT?
AG: May8e a little 8it. I don't know, ok???????? Jesus.
CG: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY THAT I'M EXPLORING YOUR REPRESSED FEELINGS WITH YOU AND DISCUSSING ANYTHING REMOTELY CLOSE TO YOUR LOVELIFE OR LACK THEREOF. GO TALK TO KANAYA ABOUT IT.
AG: Um, duh! I already told you she 8locked me.
CG: AND GUESS WHAT? NOW I'M DOING THE SAME!
cryptographGrifter [CG] blocked adventurersGambit [AG]
glowsAfterdark [GA] closed the file CONVERSATIONWITHTHESPIDERIESTBITCHTHEREISFUCK.TXT
glowsAfterdark [GA] deleted the file CONVERSATIONWITHTHESPIDERIESTBITCHTHEREISFUCK.TXT
CG: READ IT YET? WHAT DO YOU THINK?
GA: Yes I Read It
CG: PLEASE DON'T TELL ME YOU'RE GOING TO UNBLOCK HER.
GA: Honestly Im Not Entirely Certain Of What Ill Do Perhaps Ill Simply Sleep
CG: YEAH, SURE. THAT SOUNDS COMPLETELY CONCEIVABLE. I'LL JUST LEAVE YOU TO “SLEEP.”
CG: AND MAKE SURE I BRING IN A PACK OF TISSUES TOMORROW.
CG: “GOODNIGHT” KANAYA.
GA: Goodnight Karkat
cryptographGrifter [CG] ceased pestering glowsAfterdark [GA] at 18:12
glowsAfterdark [GA] unblocked adventurersGambit [AG]
adventurersGambit [AG] began pestering glowsAfterdark [GA] at 18:27
glowsAfterdark [GA] blocked adventurersGambit [AG]
glowsAfterdark [GA] unblocked adventurersGambit [AG]
adventurersGambit [AG] began pestering glowsAfterdark [GA] at 19:51
AG: Guess not. Well, I just wanted to say........
AG: Forget it. I'm not leaving any em8arrassing stuff on your screen.
AG: Let me know when you're actually there.
AG: Or when you feel like talking to me.
GA: Well I Can Comply To The First Part
GA: But Im Not Certain About The Latter
AG: So you un8locked me, huh.
GA: It Seems That Way
GA: I Suppose I Was Inspired By The Chatlog Karkat Sent Me
AG: Haha, wh8t? Man, that Karkat, always making shit up!
GA: No Vriska I Am Quite Certain He Transferred Your Exact Words To Me
GA: Yes Or No Vriska Did You Mean What You Said
AG: Yes! Enough with the cross-examination already! It's not like I shot someone.
AG: Or pushed YOU down a flight of stairs.
GA: Oh Yes Making That Comparison Is An Excellent Way To Ensure I Dont Find More Reasons To Prematurely End This Conversation
AG: Ok, ok! Maaaaaaaan.
AG: I'm sorry I tried to get into your pants.
GA: Thats Not The Part Im Upset About
GA: I Am Upset That You Tried To Get Into My Pants Within Thirty Seconds Of First Kissing Me
GA: My First Kiss For The Record
GA: But Mostly I Am Upset Because You Then Made The Getting Into My Pants Attempt And The Kiss That Preceded It Seem Like No Big Deal
AG: Looking 8ack on it, yeah, I guess that was pro8a8ly a shitty thing to do.
AG: You know a8out my mom and Terezi's mom already, 8lah 8lah 8lah.
AG: So me and Terezi spent a lot of time together when we were younger. And then as we got older that time spend together 8ecame........
AG: Uh, I'm sure you get the picture. You're smart! 8ut anyway, it was never a 8ig deal with her, you know? And then she got 8ored of hanging out with me a8out six months ago, whatever, doesn't really matter. It was kind of inevita8le.
AG: Most people get sick of me like that.
AG: 8ut I figured I should just handle it the same was as I did with her.
AG: Even if I never actually liiiiiiiiked Terezi.
GA: Are You Attempting To Say In A Very Roundabout And Potentially Offensive Way That You
GA: And Do Not Allow Me To Get My Hopes Up
GA: Like Me
AG: Ok? I pour the heart I apparently don't h8ve out to you and all you can say is ok?
GA: Oh Trust Me I Am Currently Thinking A Lot More Than Okay Unfortunately I Cannot Seem To Put Those Thoughts And The Feelings Evoked By Them Into Coherent Sentences
GA: Mostly I Am Really Angry At You Still
AG: Alright, may8e that was an overreaction on my part. It's kind of expected, haha!
AG: 8ut I promise I'll make it up to you.
AG: I'll definitely come up with a way!
AG: 8ecause I don't want you being mad anymore. ::::(
GA: You Dont Want Me Being Mad Or You Dont Want Me Being Mad At You
GA: Well Fair Enough I Guess
GA: There Is A Lot I Could Say About You Right Now Vriska But I Can Always Tell When Youre Being Genuine
GA: So I Will Give You One More Chance
GA: Just The One Mind You
AG: Yes! You're the 8est.
GA: And Now I Will End This Conversation Before You Give Me A Reason To Change My Mind
glowsAfterdark [GA] ceased pestering adventurersGambit [AG] at 20:54
adventurersGambit [AG] began pestering glowsAfterdark [GA] at 20:54
GA: What Is It
AG: Nothing, really.
AG: Just that getting the last word in and signing off quickly is kind of my thing.
GA: Okay I Will Permit You A Last Word If It Makes You Happy Please Go Ahead
AG: Ok. Then.
adventurersGambit [AG] ceased pestering glowsAfterdark [GA] at 20:55
One thing's for certain: Kanaya feels like she has a lot more breathing room when she doesn't actively have to avoid Vriska at school.
It's so much easier to be able to walk down the corridor looking straight ahead, not having to cast her eyes down and to the left, trying to make that look natural, as if she hasn't noticed Vriska at all in the first place. When she does exchange glances in the corridor with Vriska, she has this sort of kicked-puppy look about her, and Kanaya wants to succumb, to give up on being angry at her, even though she's yet to make it up to her in any way. But then she promptly remembers that the only reason the hypothetical puppy was kicked in the first place was because it attempted to take a bite out of a baby in a pushchair, and Kanaya doesn't feel so bad about merely nodding in her direction after that.
Kanaya confides in Aradia, tells her about this mysterious gesture Vriska's going to make, and Aradia says that maybe she's going to convince her mother to write a whole new novel just for Kanaya. Aradia's never been one for stories of vampires or pirates, but there were a few volumes in a series that dealt with a series of lost ruins and well, she couldn't say no to those. Especially not with Kanaya's insistence on the matter.
She can't even begin to imagine what it is, and she hates to admit it, but she finds it difficult to picture Vriska doing anything overly nice for her. The day unfolds, and though she at no point actively seeks Vriska out, she can't stand how normal it all feels, as if Vriska's somehow off the hook, as if she expects her to buckle and break after a simple conversation and an emoticon heart.
(Kanaya did like the heart, though, even if she doesn't know what to do with it.)
Her frustration builds, and by the time the bell's signalling the end of the school day, Kanaya comes to the conclusion that she might be a little more annoyed with Vriska than Vriska actually deserves, which is quite a feat. She packs her bag slowly, like Vriska's going to know that she had geography last thing and burst into the classroom, and with a sigh, begins making her way home.
She's barely thirty seconds out of the gate when Vriska catches up with her. She hears the pounding of footsteps behind her, turns her head curiously, and then Vriska's grabbing at her elbow in an effort to slow herself down. She grins at Kanaya, but then her expression immediately falls when Kanaya makes no move to mirror it, and really, Kanaya's never wanted her to look that disheartened because of all this. When Vriska asks her to follow her, Kanaya does just that, and by the time they're climbing the fence to get into the words, Kanaya says, “Oh, so we're going to your house,” sounding rather unimpressed.
Vriska only shakes her head in response, and then her face lights up again. She's just happy to know something Kanaya doesn't, and if Kanaya's being honest with herself, she doesn't like how irritated it makes her. She follows Vriska in silence, and Vriska is smart enough to keep her mouth shut, hands dug into her pockets, until they reach what Kanaya supposes is the centre of the woods.
“Okay! Here it is!” Vriska says, lifting her arms out, high above her head.
With a furrowed brow, Kanaya looks around the clearing, and doesn't see what it is Vriska apparently has prepared. She gives her a questioning look, Vriska rolls her eye as if to say hold on a minute!, and then darts off to the trunk of a tree that must've been cut down at least a decade ago. It's entirely hollow, and Vriska crouches down, pulling this and that from inside it. Kanaya pushes herself up on tiptoes, strains to see, but Vriska holds the mystery items behind her back as she moves into what she apparently deems to be a suitable part of the clearing.
Kanaya decides that her patience can stretch out for a few more minutes, and is then rewarded when Vriska puts down what appears to be a cool box and then shakes out a blanket between her hands, carefully spreading it out in the long grass. Kanaya's absolutely incredulous by this point, not certain she believes what she's seeing, sure she must be misinterpreting it all, but then Vriska opens up the cool box and takes out a selection of sandwiches and fairy cakes and a bottle of coke. Laughing lightly under her breath, Kanaya brings a hand up to her mouth, and just tries to take in how absolutely ridiculous and wonderful it all is.
“A picnic,” she says the words slowly, as if they're a foreign language, “You remembered what I said about this place's suitability for a picnic.”
Vriska scratches the back of her head, looking very much like she'd rather talk about absolutely anything else in that moment.
“Haha, yeah. I remember it because at the time I thought 'Woooooooow, this girl is weird. Why do I have such a huge crush on her!'”
Kanaya decides that she's better off taking the part of that sentence that actually resembles a compliment in some way, and then sits herself down on the blanket at Vriska's behest. There's a Thermos flask of tea, and Vriska pours it out into little plastic cups, and it's so painfully evident to Kanaya how difficult this all is for her, how hard she's trying. Which, of course, isn't to say that it's reason enough to go easy on Vriska; she enjoys every last drop of the tea and the picnic, drains it for all it's worth, and allows Vriska to serve her up neatly cut sandwiches and cakes with minty green icing, and after a while, Vriska manages to relax into the role.
“This was a good thing of you to do, Vriska,” Kanaya says, almost to herself. They've both eaten their fill, and now she's lying back on the blanket, hands behind her head, staring up at a sky that's slowly turning a warm shade of purple around the edges.
“It's not like I had much choice! You seemed reeeeeeeeally upset, so I knew we couldn't just kiss and make up.”
An interesting choice of wording. Kanaya's gaze flickers from the clouds to Vriska, who's similarly staring skyward, and for a moment, she says nothing. She simply looks at the line of her jaw, at the actual look of deep concentration she doesn't usually see there, and then props herself up on one elbow.
Well, she's always known that she was no good at holding grudges.
“No, I very much doubt that it would've been enough. However, there is no rule that states you can't make it up to me in more ways than one.”
Vriska very slowly turns her head to look at her, and for a brief second, Kanaya feels bolder than she's ever felt before. There's a slight pause, whereby Vriska seems to be contemplating whether or not she's interpreted Kanaya's words correctly, and for half a second, Kanaya almost convinces herself that Vriska looks hesitant. She can't think on it too hard, however, because in the next moment Vriska's bowed her head to press their lips together, and Kanaya feels her breath hitch in her throat, because this is right, this is how it's supposed to be. There's no clouded confusion on her part, no trying to grasp desperately at the truth behind Vriska's feelings, and on Vriska's part, she manages to keep things slow and measured, lips surprisingly soft when she isn't trying to shape the situation into something it isn't.
The kiss comes to a natural close, and neither of them say anything about it. Kanaya lies back down, head rested against Vriska's knees, and Vriska sits there, idly picking at the remains of a sandwich crust. It's oddly peaceful, startlingly so, and Kanaya knows that it won't last long around Vriska, but maybe that's alright. Maybe it's alright if Vriska is loud and boisterous and always getting into trouble, because some part of Kanaya knows that she really is going to learn from this.
They stay there until the sun goes down, and then Vriska rather chivalrously packs away the leftover food and loose wrappers back into the cool box, and slings it over one shoulder, heading in the direction of her house. She explains that her mom will give Kanaya a lift home, she's already made certain of that, and as they make their way through the long grass and across muddy paths, Kanaya introduces Vriska to the lost art of hand-holding.