Rosemary Swan had enjoyed her old life in the dim and drizzly town of Forks, and never would've pictured herself living anywhere that effortlessly boosted her vitamin D levels. Never, that was, until her mother had put down the Martini glass for long enough to get a ring on her finger, and decided that four people could reside under one roof without one or more of them turning against the others. Mr. Egbert was a nice man, Rose supposed, though his dependency on tobacco rivalled her mother's love affair with transparent spirits, and John Egbert, her new step-brother, was as charming as he was permanently bemused. While Rose had been friends with John for many, many years, and had inadvertently caused their parents to meet, they worked better as friends from a distance. Rose couldn't feign interest in idle gossip at all hours of the day as John remarkably could, and she was rarely impressed by how long he took in the shower.
And so for the sake of her friendship with John, the continued health of her lungs, and to avoid her passive-aggressive stand-offs with her mother becoming plain old aggressive bouts of butter knives being tossed across the table at dinner time, Rose had opted to move in with her father. He wasn't a father in much more than name, and this suited Rose well. She could give him a clinical, sterile sort of approach, and never worry too much about how frosty she was. Upon proposing the idea to him, Rose had promised to stay confined to her room at most hours of the day, expect for when trips to the kitchen and bathroom were necessary, and not to make too much noise. He'd agreed, somewhat reluctantly, but had a better feeling about the situation once she actually arrived. Rose suspected that he still pictured her as a two year-old in constant need to attention and adult supervision, but at seventeen, she was quite capable of making a recluse of herself.
Or it would've been, if not for the small matter of school. Being in her last year, there wasn't much in the way of mandatory education left to trundle through, though travelling to and from school under the bright Phoenix sun did threaten to make her patented pasty skin burn. There was no getting away from it. The school was a relatively modern looking building, all smooth surfaces and sudden angles, and the windows seemed to reach from the floor to the ceiling. Air conditioning was a life-saver. Even the library seemed to have some natural grudge against blinds.
Upon enrolling a handful of months ago and being unceremoniously shoved into the only free seat in all of her classes, she'd found herself next to a Kanaya Cullen in many of them. She was a troll, which would've proven interesting had Rose spent the last seventeen years living under a rock, and always insisted on sitting as close to the window as she possible could, letting the unrelenting cheerful sunlight wash over her. She hadn't liked Rose at first, and didn't have any qualms about letting her know as much. Or rather, she possessed no think pan-to-mouth filter, and always said the first thing that came into her head. Rose was very much of the opinion that most of what Kanaya said was never intended to leave the confines of her skull, and their increasingly mutual game of verbal snarky cat and mouse served as a source of entertainment for upwards of two months.
Kanaya didn't understand her sarcasm, which she pointedly labelled as human sarcasm, because trolls had their own version of it. Troll sarcasm, however, wasn't rooted in anything like subtlety, or even a pretence of scorn: in Kanaya's words, it was about being as much of a jerk as possible, and like most troll things, seemed to revolve around hate. Kanaya took her human sarcasm at face value. She said it was nothing more than an attempt to antagonise someone by saying the exact opposite thing to what was actually meant, and declared that it was a primitive and altogether shallow form of communication.
Until one day Rose realised that Kanaya had unintentionally picked up on the dreaded human sarcasm, and was beginning to wield it in ways that genuinely amused Rose. They eventually gave up on staring at the board like they were trying to burn off the smudges left by yesterday's notes with their narrowed gazes alone, so as to avoid talking to one another, and began comparing notes. They realised that they had a shared love of reading, and then Kanaya's constant, meddling remarks turned to those of genuine concern and Rose realised that her unsolicited fashion advice was actually well-meant, if not well-worded. And before Rose could properly align the pieces, it happened: they had fumbled through a veil of cagey sarcasm and waded waist-deep through thick, sludgy horseshit and fallen face-first into a friendship.
Now, as she sits in her final lesson of the day, waiting for the last twenty-three minutes to tick away, Rose slides her stool across the tiled floor with a horrible screeching sound as Kanaya tries to quietly make her way back from the bathroom. So much for not being noticed. The teacher, the only one who still insists on calling Rose Rosemary, and as such never gets so much as a word in response from Rose, looks up from the book she's been drawling monotonously from and raises her eyebrows. Kanaya mumbles an apology under her breath, and Rose raises her eyebrows as it to say I know. She really needs to learn to control her bladder. Not that Rose doubts for a moment that Kanaya actually left for any reason other than to reapply her make-up, something that she seems intent on doing at least once an hour and twice at lunch times.
Rose doesn't even want to imagine how much she must spend on stone-grey foundation and face powder on a weekly basis. Twirling the pen between her fingers, Rose gives up on pretending to take notes on whatever biological wonder the teacher's been unenthusiastically rambling on about. She's already read ahead, so the looming threat of a test on Friday doesn't do much to bother her. She leans to the side ever so slightly, casting her eyes down on Kanaya's exercise book. Predictably, she's sketching again. Rose doesn't know how she gets away with it, because at least when she writes odd paragraphs she'll later stitch together to make a whole chapter it actually looks like she's taking notes. There's no mistaking what Kanaya's doing, and the teacher must be able to hear the sounds of her pencil brushing across the cheap paper.
Kanaya's certainly good at it, though, and will most likely get further in life by practising what she truly holds a passion for, rather than writing out paragraphs upon paragraphs about digestive tracts and the evolution of invertebrates. Finally noticing that Rose is looking down at her work, Kanaya glances over at her, and then begins furiously writing something down next to the dress propped up on a headless mannequin she's been drawing. Glancing around curiously to see if the teacher's looking, she slides the book over to Rose.
Please Rose Allow Me To At Least Make This For You, it begins, If You Dont Like It You Dont Have To Wear It But You Wear Variations Of The Same Outfit Every Day And I Dont Know How Much More Of It I Can Stand. With a long suffering sigh, Rose picks up her own pen, and writes in return: I deeply apologise if my fashion choices, or lack thereof, are causing you to lose sleep of a night, but did it ever occur to you that I'm trying to make a point with my articles of choice? Variations on the same outfit, almost identical to one another, but each unique in their own way. This shirt, for instance, has had the tag torn out. Yesterday's had a crease on the sleeve where the iron refused to flatten it.
Frowning very deeply, Kanaya takes her book back and adds: No Rose Because Thats Stupid. Rose, mistress of quips as she is, undoubtedly has the perfect comeback for Kanaya, but unfortunately, the teacher catches on to what they're doing and abruptly puts an end to what could be a historically snarky passing of notes.
The clock finally crawls around to three PM, and unsuccessfully heralds the end of the day. Rose grimly remembers that it's three minutes slow, and counts down a seemingly unending hundred and eighty seconds until the bell sounds. Everyone's suddenly on their feet, books crammed into bags, and Rose gets the feeling that the teacher might say something about homework as they all try to push their way out at the same time.
The thing about Kanaya is that despite them living in opposite directions, she always insists on tagging along behind Rose and walking with her for as far as is reasonably possible. As far as she can get without actively walking in the wrong direction and coming off as something of a stalker. Rose never waits for her, but Kanaya's an athletic girl. She manages to catch up with Rose with no problem, and then falls in stride next to her.
Rose Did I Ever Mention That Your Dedication To This Friendship Is Remarkable
And to what do I owe this gold star of friendship to? My latent ability to bolt from both you and a classroom at the end of the day, or the way that I make no effort to return your obvious advances?
I'm not going to invite you back to my house, Kanaya. There isn't going to be a sleepover, and we aren't going to braid one another's hair. My father has enough trouble feeling comfortable in his own home with just me there.
Oh Of Course
Because Thats What Ive Been Aiming For All This Time Rose
An Invitation To Supposedly Bond With You Via The Application Of Generic Human Activities That Are Only Ever Employed By Females Between The Ages Of Five And Nineteen
It's difficult to keep your secrets hidden when you're constantly rambling.
Kanaya scowls, and for once, actually disengages from the conversation. Rose quirks a curious eyebrow, wondering what could've finally silenced Kanaya Cullen.
What are you thinking about?
You Dont Want To Know
If I didn't, I wouldn't have asked. Open up your little troll heart and share with me, Kanaya. I have my mental notepad and pen at the ready, and you've already confined yourself to my metaphorical couch of psychological scrutiny.
For Once Would You Remove That Smug Expression From Your Face And Listen To Me
I Have Already Stated That You Wouldnt Want To Know
That Has Not Changed In The Last Seven Seconds
You must realise you're only piquing my curiosity fur—
But before they can get into another of their upbeat bickering matches, there's a great screeching cutting across the car park, the stench of rubber immediately filling the air. The sound catches Rose off-guard, freezes her to the spot, because that ridiculously annoying thing's happened, whereby she tends to forget where she is whenever she starts becoming wrapped up in conversation with Kanaya. There's no time to react. Barely any time to take it all in.
A beat up old Ford grinds to a halt and then skids in a half-circle on its back wheels, and then Kanaya has her hand on Rose's shoulder, is pushing her to the ground. And God, Rose thinks, is she stupid, is she really holding out a hand like it's going to do anything to stop the car that's apparently flinging itself towards them in slow motion? There's a thud, the sound of what resembles metal coming into contact with bone, but Rose can't see who's come out the victor because she's got her eyes screwed together so tightly. She holds her breath, waiting for the sound of Kanaya hitting the tarmac, waiting for the skidding car to take her out second of all, but it never comes.
Kanaya's grip on her shoulder tightens, until Rose realises that she's shaking her. Very slowly, heart in her throat, she cracks an eye open, and sees a very distinct hand print against the back door of the car, and Kanaya's fingertips linger in the crater she's made. Rose wonders how the fuck that even obeys any of the laws of physics at all, because Kanaya doesn't even look as if she's flinched. Even if for some ungodly reason she could stop a car in its tracks, her fingers and wrist and arm and elbow should all be shattered by this point. Maybe even the joint at her shoulder, too.
Rose slowly rises to her feet, rubbing against her temple with the heel of her palm. The car can't have been going that fast. It was all a trick of the light, spurred on by her sudden panic. She read too much into it; there can't have been any way that it was actually going to hit them. Next to her, she vaguely hears Kanaya ask if she's alright, and Rose thinks she nods in response. Even if she doesn't, Kanaya turns from her, and begins lecturing the boy who's only just dared to surface from the driver's seat, voice steadily rising as he argues back, suggesting that the damage done to the side of his vehicle somehow compares to the damage that could've been done to Rose.
One of the receptionists comes out, and then a senior member of staff. Within five minuets the head teacher is out there with them, firing out all sorts of questions to Rose, Kanaya and the driver, telling all three of them that this is why students aren't supposed to park on school property, like Rose and Kanaya had been in the car with him. By the time they're done being lectured, most of the crowd that gathered has lost interest and wandered off home, and Rose thinks it's time to do the same.
What she needs is to sit down in her room with a nice cup of black coffee to clear her mind, and then she'll be able to piece this all together. It won't take much time to make sense of it all, and then she'll be mocking herself from the future for the ebbing sense of confusion gnawing away at the back of her mind. She'll stop looking at Kanaya so strangely, too. She's certain she must have noticed it by now.
When they reach the gate, Kanaya turns to her to begin saying her goodbyes, but Rose cuts her off quickly enough.
Please don't consider this an invitation to set foot into my hive, but would you care to walk me home, Kanaya? I cross several roads, and I'm certain there will be plenty of people on the roads today whose attention is diverted by means of sending text messages on the go.
First Of All Yes Rose I Would Very Much Like That
But Secondly Please Dont Joke About That
It Isnt Something I Feel Comfortable About Looking Back On And Laughing About Yet
You Couldve Been Hurt
Jade Black is an odd creature. She's constantly cheerful, always says what she means without being blunt or offending anyone, and never fails to smile. She's the exact sort of person that Rose should feel her blood run cold at the mere thought of mingling with, and yet she continuously manages to thaw her frosty exterior. They've been friends for years, online at least, and Jade's presence in the community was one of the reasons Rose went through with the move in the first place.
When Rose had fired up her laptop and told Jade about what had happened in the car park, she'd insisted on coming over, because her online reassurances that Rose was alright weren't enough for her. Rose's father was out at work, and so she'd relented; and within fifteen minutes of signing off, Rose could hear the low rumble of Jade's Harley from beyond the kitchen window.
She's been working on those bikes for years, she'd told her when they first met. Her apparent knack for mechanics is a bit at odds with the rest of her personality and cheerful demeanour, but she's certainly got the build for it. Oh, and a tattoo, which seems to be a prerequisite for working with bikes; when they're sat at her kitchen table, chatting over black coffee and fruit juice, Rose finds it increasingly difficult not to stare at the stylised dog's head on her right bicep. Jade, oblivious to her staring, sits with her knees bunched up against her chest, feet on the edge of the chair, as if nobody ever bothered to teach her manners. She rambles on and on in a way that's so different to Kanaya's incessant lecturing, holding much less weight. Her posture is terrible, but somehow succeeds in being somewhat endearing.
Jade grins when Rose offers her out a stray chocolate bar she's stumbled across, front teeth showing all the more, and she scrunches up her nose in delight, inadvertently pushing her chunky glasses back into place. It's like she was raised feral.
i know it sounds like kanaya saved you today but you need to be careful around her!
And why's that? Is she going to keep acting as an immovable force to the unstoppable objects flung my way and prevent a handful of broken bones from permitting me to skip out on P.E.?
haha nooo rose, stop making me laugh!
kanayas your friend so thats why i havent said anything before
but havent you ever noticed anything.............
about her before??
She's the first troll I've met who's saturated their brain with a relentless obsession with fashion, if that's what you mean.
that is pretty weird yeah! but its not what i am trying to get at
Try as I might, Jade, I can't delude myself to as what happened today. Kanaya really did stop a car from becoming intimately familiar with the soft grey matter beneath my skull.
ok forget about that for a minute. if something like that happens again i can protect you!
With the chocolate bar left dangling unaided between her teeth, Jade lifts her arms, flexing her muscles. Rose can't help but laugh, but supposes that yes, she's certainly a lot less weedier looking than Kanaya. If Kanaya can stop a car with one hand, then Jade could probably lift one up above her head and spin it around on her palms.
Thank you, Jade. I am both flattered and flustered.
im trying not to be too obvious about this but......
kanaya puts on a lot of makeup! have you ever noticed that??
I have. A necessary component of vanity, I suppose. Although having to leave every lesson without fail is really beginning to push it towards some manner of obsessive compulsive disorder.
right! so what do you think shes hiding under her foundation???
I'm no dermatologist, but I'm going to say a skin condition.
This was entertaining at first, Jade, but now the overwhelming mystery of it all is beginning to give me a migraine. Can't you just be straight with me?
Jade pauses to pop the last square of chocolate in her mouth, and then hums thoughtfully. Maybe that was a little brash of Rose, but she really is desperately curious about this whole situation with Kanaya. If she's honest with herself, she's been letting her thoughts linger over her a lot for these past few weeks, because there's so much about her that just doesn't add up. Perhaps the riddle of Kanaya Cullen is The Ultimate Riddle.
come on rose its obvious!
shes a rainbow drinker
her skin glows like a night light so thats why shes always putting makeup on to cover it up!! and those fangs arent just for show.
theyre for getting DINNER
Or perhaps Kanaya Cullen is simply a vampire. For some reason, Rose finds it difficult to doubt that Jade at least believes what she herself is saying; she looks positively bursting with excitment, having told her, about to fall out of her chair backwards.
For the sake of simplicity, let's say I believe you. Kanaya's a vampire. How do you know that?
Of course it is. It's just another one of those things you somehow know.
just promise me youll be careful ok?
Kanaya looks as if she's about to pass out when I refuse to wear colours other than black, white and pink. I hardly think I have anything to worry about, my throat being ripped to shreds being atop the list of Things That Aren't Likely To Happen. Well, second to my mother sending my a birthday gift on the correct day this year.
youre not listening to me
i need you to promise
... fine. I'll stay out of trouble that strictly pertains to the undead if it makes you stop attempting to scowl like that, Jade.
Rose thinks it's nothing short of remarkable how Jade manages to shrug the whole conversation off once Rose has promised that she'll be careful. Coming from anyone else, she would've found it patronising, but she's happy enough to save her eye-rolling for private moments if it keeps Jade happy. They stop talking about the walking dead quickly enough, but Rose's mind never quite manages to stray from the topic, no matter how she manages to join in with all that Jade has to tell her.
If Kanaya is a vampire, that would certainly make things more interesting. Not that Rose considers Kanaya to be boring by any stretch of the imagination, but everything that's been bothering her since they first met has slowly begun to settle and make sense in the back of her mind. No wonder she's so paranoid of not having her make-up within arm's reach. No wonder she always sits out in the blaring sunlight as much as she can. She's always having to hide herself while she's in plain sight.
Not that Rose necessarily believes all that she's been told. That would be foolish. Rainbow drinkers are so rare that the majority of trolls consider them to be fictitious, and so she mustn't get her hopes up. Kanaya Cullen might really just be that strange without a supernatural explanation.
When Rose's father is due home, she tells Jade with a faint smile that it's probably best for her to be on her way. Jade looks so apologetic for doing what she can only assume is overstaying her welcome that Rose can't help but reach out and ruffle her hair. She's never been an overly tactile, touchy-feely person by any stretch of the imagination, but with Jade it's easy enough to let down one or two of the walls in her gauntlet of thorny indifference. Rose sees her out, and Jade stands in the doorway, rocking on the balls of her feet, not intending to leave until Rose gives her a kiss on the cheek.
Kanaya's done a lot of stupid things in her life. She's tried to make Karkat Vantas more fashionable. She's tried to teach Terezi Pyrope to use lipstick, and had three tubes chewed through for her efforts. She's worn a denim jacket out in public and thought it looked good. But as of late, the most stupid thing she's done was entirely unavoidable. She couldn't have let Rose get hit by a car belonging to a student driver who'd just that day passed his test and mistaken the car park for a Grand Prix circuit, even if it meant revealing some of her powers to her.
She sits in maths class, head in her hands, not even bothering to make it look like she's paying the faintest amount of attention. She doesn't even bother to doodle sketches in the margin of her exercise book. Rose isn't in this lesson with her, which makes things somewhat easier. It gives her time to work out what she's going to do, and she has to do something, because Rose won't overlook what happened yesterday. Rose isn't stupid, and even if she were, Kanaya doesn't think her hand-print in the side of a steel door would be something that went over her head. She's going to get to the bottom of this, is going to put all the pieces together like Kanaya's life is some sort of jigsaw puzzle, and then her secret's going to be out in the open, all because of Rose Swan.
She's insufferable. Entirely insufferable, and Kanaya doesn't know how they ever managed to become friends. Rose is sarcastic and insincere at the most inappropriate times, cagey and impossible to get through to, and Kanaya wishes that they'd never been sat together; that she'd never moved to Phoenix in the first place.
Expect for the part where that's all a lie, because Rose fills ever corner of her mind and even creeps her way into her dreams, and Kanaya only wishes that she could stop thinking about her for so much as a single moment and figure this all out. She needs to calm herself, to stop acting like this is the end of the world. More than that, she needs to shut the nagging voice in the back of her head up that tells her that Rose is utterly obsessed with the grim and the macabre, so maybe her rainbow drinker nature will only enthral her. Maybe this is what it'll take to finally make Rose understand why she looks at her the way she does. Why her eyes always seem to flicker over to the soft features of her face, her pale white skin, paler still at her throat, where sometimes she swears she can hear her pulse, bright red human blood rushing underneath and—
No, no. She absolutely has to stop thinking about that. Kanaya has to stop thinking about how pretty Rose would taste, because even if Rose enjoys novels about tentacle monsters from the deep, dark depths of space, such a confession would be too much for even her.
Kanaya groans in preemptive defeat, not realising that she's made the noise out loud until the teacher asks her if something's wrong. She immediately straightens in her seat, looks up at him, and when she sees the unimpressed expression etched across his face and his arms folded in front of his chest, Kanaya apologises profusely, and says that she doesn't feel well. Which is true, in a sense, even though she hasn't actually been able to become ill since she died, but her mathematics teacher doesn't know as much. He sighs, tells her to make sure that she catches up on the work in her free time, and dismisses her from the classroom to get some fresh air. It's only ten minutes until the bell for lunch is scheduled to sound, anyway.
Kanaya successfully spends the whole lunchtime avoiding Rose, and actually focuses on the work for the one lesson they have together in the afternoon. At the end of the day that's gone by far too quickly, Kanaya decides that there's nothing more to it but to face what's coming head on.
I Think It Would Be A Wise Course Of Action If The Two Of Us Were To Discuss Certain Matters
Oh, so you've finally broken after an entire day spent ignoring me. Honestly, I would've thought you'd lasted at least three days, if not an whole school week. Considering the situation.
I Wasnt Ignoring You Rose I Was
Gathering And Reorganising My Many And Varied Cluttered Thoughts So I Knew How To Approach You
Considering The Situation
Indeed. So, where are you taking me?
They decide to go to the Glades, a small park in the heart of the town that's home to a scarce littering of trees that passes for a woodland reserve and half of the stoners that attend their school. Kanaya assures Rose that they'll be able to place themselves out of their earshot easily enough, and politely informs her that she doesn't think there's any need to stock up on a selection of cookies and sandwiches from the local supermarket they pass, in order to pelt at any stoners that stumble their way. Kanaya sighs when she's persistent on the matter, and informs her that they're just people doing silly things, as opposed to any of the hulking Eldritch horrors from her novels.
As soon as the words leave her lips Kanaya realises what she's saying, and then she blushes a rather bright shade of jade green as Rose smirks next to her. The two of them make their way through the park in a silence that has a prickle of discomfort about it, until Rose decides to regale her with a hefty synopsis of the last book she read. She is so intolerably smug and equally as beautiful when she talks about literature that Kanaya wants nothing more than to pin her against one of the trees they pass and really kiss her, but knows that she just doesn't have the guts to do it. Literally. She's had that thought at least twice a day since she's known Rose, and she's never been able to act on it, despite always telling herself that tomorrow will be the day she goes ahead and gets all of her numerous feelings of frustration and adoration out in the open. Predictably, tomorrow is always one day ahead of them, and Kanaya's unbeating heart remains intact.
When they're as deep into the woods as they're ever going to be, Kanaya abruptly stops walking. This is ridiculous. Rose has been attending her school for the better part of four months now, and she hasn't been able to really say what she's wanted to once. It's like Rose knows where the conversation will inevitably lead them, and so manages to steer the topic in a new direction every time the threat of feelings being discussed lingers in the air. Rose is a girl who likes to pretend that the only feelings she falls prey to consist of boredom, annoyance and irritation, but Kanaya knows better than that. There's more to Rose than she's letting on, even if she doesn't have a supernatural secret.
Rose stops a few feet ahead of her, though she doesn't turn and glance Kanaya's way. The atmosphere suddenly feels horribly tense, and she sees the way Rose's shoulders are hunched up to her ears. She knows where this is going. She's always been a step ahead of even what Kanaya's given her credit for.
Kanaya takes a single step forward and a twig breaks underfoot. The sound cuts right through her.
I know what you are.
Rose speaks quietly. Quieter than Kanaya's ever heard her do so before, and that includes the times she's whispered something her way in the middle of class. Determined not to be the one to back down, Kanaya takes another step forward, careful not to snap anything, this time.
Say It Out Loud
Kanaya's somehow managed to drift over so that she's stood directly behind Rose. If Rose moved a fraction of an inch backwards, she'd be resting against her. Kanaya could lean forward, could brush her lips to her cheek, her throat, and they're so close that she can smell the scent of her hair. It's like orchids and washing-up liquid. She thinks she should probably invest in a different brand of shampoo.
I've been watching you for a long time, Kanaya. Long before anything as trivial as cars flying my way unravelled before us. I didn't need that to realise the truth of the matter. I've made notes. Mental and physical ones. I've taken all of your behaviour into account, the habit you have of disappearing, the way you see fit to impose your services on others when they're going through problems of their own. It's obvious, Kanaya. The signs have been there since the beginning. I know what you are. You're a busybody.
Kanaya's jaw just about hits the dry dirt under her feet. Her hands clench into fists, and she thinks that Rose certainly has won this round. Just as she's about to say something in response, just before she's about to implore Rose to take the situation seriously and keep her human trickery out of it, Rose turns around. It's not until then that Rose realises how close they are, because she looks up at Kanaya and blinks, caught off-guard by the lack of space between them. Kanaya promptly shuts her mouth, because it's not often that Rose looks at her like that, and there's something more to her expression. A flash of something in her eyes that's gone as soon as Kanaya spots it, but it's enough to convince her that it's alright to carefully place her hands against Rose's sides.
Rose doesn't resist, in spite of the cold hands against her. As if in a trance, she wraps her arms around Kanaya's shoulders. It's an awkward, stilted motion, but Kanaya supposes she'll become better at it in time.
You Are Endlessly Frustrating Even At The Best Of Times
Nothing That Escapes The Confines Of Your Lips Ever Fails To Make Me Feel As If All My Efforts Are Wasted
That My Attempts At Conveying How I Really Feel Are Futile
Most Of The Time I Suspect That I Would Be Better Off Asking Our Shared Teachers To Reassign Our Seating As It Would Certainly Save Me From Developing A Great Many Headaches
In Spite Of That All I Remain Irreparably Flushed For You
At that, Rose gives a light, barely-there laugh, but Kanaya can't find it within herself to be offended. Rose's laughter is one of the many scathing tools she keeps locked up in her arsenal, but this is a different sound entirely, one she doubts that anyone else has ever had the honour of hearing. Rose makes no verbal reply and Kanaya's glad of that much, but then feels herself become steadily flustered as Rose pushes herself up on tip-toes and their lips end up pressed together. Kanaya's hands slip from Rose's hips and wind tightly around her waist, and one of Rose's hands presses to Kanaya's cheek.
It takes her a moment to realise that Rose is brushing her thumb back and forth across her cheek in order to wipe her make-up away, but by that point, Kanaya can't bring herself to care. She holds the kiss for as long as feels appropriate, and then lets it play out for another second or two, and then stares down at a rather red-faced Rose who's doing her best to distract herself by staring with great fascination at the light that spills out from beneath Kanaya's smeared foundation.
I hope you realise this still doesn't mean I'm going to let you bite me, Kanaya.
It's three in the morning and Jade shouldn't even be thinking about bothering Rose, but there's blood pouring out of a gash in her leg and she doesn't know where else to go.
It's not fatal. She can tell that much. That doesn't mean to say that it doesn't hurt like hell, though, and Jade's getting all kinds of light-headed from it. All she needs is somewhere to crash for a few hours, a few old rags to wrap around the wound and maybe some meat still on the bone to chew on and she'll be fine. Rose's company wouldn't go amiss, either. She drags herself into Rose's garden, bends her knees, and with a great leap manages to cling onto the tree branch that conveniently scrapes against Rose's window when the wind picks up. With any luck, Rose will be too tired to ask any questions pertaining to how she got up into the tree, and Jade reaches out a hand, tapping on the window.
Naturally, this is all Kanaya's fault. Gosh, she hates her so much. Well, not really, because Kanaya's always been happy to fix up her clothing for her and even made Bec a lovely great cushion to sleep on for his last birthday, and sometimes they hang out for no reason; or they did, until Rose had arrived on the scene and made everything into a confusing array of teenage hormones and supernatural base instincts. But the point still stands: this is all Kanaya's fault. She'd gone to visit her, doing her duties of keeping Rose safe and full to the brim with blood, and told Kanaya to stay away from her. As much as she could, at any rate, because Jade understands that Kanaya can't be expected to skip school and waste her education in such a thoughless way. They'd talked in circles as they always did, Kanaya ensuring Jade that she really wasn't a threat to Rose, and Jade telling Kanaya to prove it by staying away, until eventually Kanaya let it slip that she'd kissed Rose.
Jade remembers shouting a great deal at her, remembers when the shouting suddenly slipped away and she was barking into the night. Before she knew what was what, she was charging around the lawn ring outside Kanaya's hive on all fours, being chased by a chainsaw-wielding rainbow drinker. At no point had Jade honestly thought that Kanaya was going to cut her up and use her pelt as a rug, but in her desperate dash to get to safety, she'd cut through the woods, caught her back paws on a tree root and stumbled muzzle-first into the dirt, cutting her thigh open on a jagged rock.
In retrospect, Jade realises that she could've just crawled back to Kanaya with her tail between her legs and let her fix her back up, but when Rose draws the curtains in a nightgown, looking far too sleepy to be snarky, Jade thinks that this is a much, much better option. Rose spends a few minutes blinking heavily, and then furrows her brow. For a moment, Jade's worried that Rose isn't going to let her in, but then something flashes across her expression, something that says this isn't much stranger than the past few days she's been put through, and she unlatches the window.
Jade practically leaps in, and considers pouncing on Rose until she remembers her bloody thigh.
Jesus Christ, Jade. What happened?
i fell off my bike!
I'm sorry, it seems that I didn't word myself properly. It's three in the morning, you've just woken me up and you're dripping blood all over my white carpet, so would you not beat around the bush and tell me what really happened?
wow rose you always see through everything!
ill tell you because i dont like lying to you but dont get angry
That all depends on what you've been doing.
i was just making sure kanaya wasnt causing any trouble for you ok?
Kanaya? Kanaya did this to you?
no dont get mad rose! we got into an argument and i tripped over and cut myself on a dumb rock
so if youre going to be mad at someone be mad at me
or possibly the rock hehe
Rose heaves a sigh, and places both hands on Jade's shoulders, leading her over to the edge of her bed. Jade doesn't do a single thing to resist being moved, and just stares up at Rose with wide, adoring eyes as she towers above her, hands on her hips. Rose is the only person who Jade could happily let lecture her all day. Unlike Kanaya, she actually manages to get around to the point she's trying to make.
I find the fact that you went after a rainbow drinker you've repeatedly warned me about to be a little suspicious, Jade.
You say she's dangerous, and as reluctant as I'm willing to believe that, I know that you do. You wouldn't just go after her unarmed, or without an advantage of your own.
You're like her, aren't you?
i mean not that theres anything wrong with being like that
but i am not a vampire
oh my fucking god rose what
how do you know that??
... actually, I didn't. I just made a guess, to see whether you'd confirm or deny it. I have at least eight novels on my shelf dedicated to the rivalry between vampires and werewolves.
oh wow thats soooooo smart
but you know that i was just kidding right??
Oh, I'm sure. Would you like a pork chop?
haha very funny
...... and kinda yeah
I'll see what I can do.
Rose makes her departure from the room, and Jade's left sitting swinging her feet as she does her best not to bleed all over Rose's bed sheets. When Rose has been gone for ten whole minutes and the fear that her father's going to spontaneously burst into the room refuses to leave her, Jade begins to wonder what on Earth she's up to, and if she's going to go ahead and call animal control on her.
Eventually, the door creaks back open, making Jade jump. Her startled expression doesn't simmer back down into a smile until she sees Rose stood in front of her, a bowl of warm water between her hands, a towel flung over her shoulder, and a cluster of silver foil pinned under one arm. Jade can smell the meat even through the foil, and gosh, Rose really wasn't making fun of her with the pork chop comment. She must have had some leftovers from dinner. All of a sudden, with Rose looking so pretty and caring in front of her, armed with a pork chop, Jade doesn't feel so bad about spectacularly managing to injure herself.
What she's wearing doesn't really consist a proper pair of shorts, but they're big and baggy and don't sustain too much damage when she's in wolf-form. She's never had a problem with showing too much skin, because it's just the way she's been raised, but the same isn't necessarily true of Rose. Hesitating before she kneels down next to her, Rose places the bowl on the edge of the bed, carefully dipping the towel into it. Jade can tell that she has absolutely no idea of what she's doing and has probably got this far by relying solely on what she's learnt from her silly, complicated novels, but Jade grins regardless, teeth latching into a pork chop. Rose really is endearing when she isn't worried about keeping her snark levels up.
She hums happily under her breath as Rose wipes the blood away, and even though it stings a little, she doesn't murmur a word of complaint as she cleans the wound up. It's not even as deep as she first imagined, and it'll heal up quickly enough; the main problem was the dirt and grit caught under split skin that was stopping the whole regenerating process in the first place.
When she thinks she's done as much as she can, Rose takes the bloodied towel and bowl of water, returning a few moments later with a fresh towel and washed hands. By that point Jade is licking her fingers, barely having realised that she's already devoured her three-hour late midnight snack, and she reaches out her arms, deciding that she can blame any bold movements on her unsubstantial blood loss.
Rose, either humouring her or setting her up for disappointment, gives her a crooked smile and steps forward, so that she's stood between her legs, looking down at her. Towel in hand, Rose reaches down, dabs at Jade's leg to dry it, and then wraps the barely-used towel around her shoulders, still holding onto the edges.
Honestly. Are you two going to keep on causing so many problems for me? Is this the start of things to come?
i wasnt trying to cause a problem for you
i was just being......
You should be careful, Jade. I've heard that rainbow drinkers are incredibly dangerous.
hehehe have you really
who told you that rose??
From what I've been able to discern of her character, a werewolf who can't even manage to abscond without tripping over her own paws.
thats not fair
Jade means to protest more, she really does, but before she can say anything else, it suddenly occurs to her that Rose is still holding on to the edges of her towel, is still keeping herself close. Pressing her palms flat against the bed, she pushes herself up a few more inches, and with a sheepish grin, presses a kiss to Rose's mouth. She expects Rose to push her away, or to at least back off, but to her surprise, it lingers for a few long moments.
Charming. You taste of leftovers.
Kanaya takes Rose out on a picnic. She doesn't know why she thought it was a good idea, considering that it's Rose, but she supposes that Jade's constant attempts at convincing her that she poses a danger to Rose are getting to her. Kanaya's determined to prove that she isn't going to inadvertently or purposely hurt her, and perhaps lets that determination get in the way of actually having a good time with Rose. Then again, that could partly be Rose's fault, because she insists on reaching over and using her napkin to rub at Kanaya's cheeks and arms, trying to get the make-up off. Kanaya sighs, taking hold of Rose's wrists, and assures her that she can see her glow once they're in somewhere much more confined. Kanaya's hive, for instance.
Rose rolls her eyes, refusing to accept the invitation. They don't kiss, either, and despite the fact that it's happened before, Kanaya didn't really expect it to happen. She's very much aware of the fact that Jade is hiding out somewhere in the distance, not quite as stealthy as she believes herself to be, and her attention wanders, trying to catch a glimpse of her out of the corner of her eye. Rose goes back to being her usual cut-off self, and in spite of all that, Kanaya enjoys the afternoon as much as she possibly could, knowing that she was being watched.
She decides that the only thing to do is speak to Jade directly about it. It shouldn't be particularly difficult, because if Jade isn't lurking around in her shadows, then she's probably at the garage she works in, twirling a wrench between her fingers and wiping grease from the bridge of her nose, wearing far too few clothes. She'd be fired in half a heartbeat in any other work environment.
And so when school comes to a close on a Thursday afternoon and Rose has spent the better part of twenty minutes quizzing Kanaya about the various blood donors she depends on, Kanaya excuses herself, and heads into the centre of town.
She keeps her expression blank, her gaze steady, and curls her hands into fists at her sides. Oh, she means business, and she wants Jade to know it. Even if Jade does blow her greeting off in favour of remaining on her back under the bike she's working on, telling her to wait just a minute! Kanaya folds her arms across her chest, tries not to stare down at her exposed stomach, and when Jade finally stands, wiping her hands off on an already dirtied rag, she gets straight to the point.
Jade I Am Here To Inform You Of A Fact That Should Be More Than Obvious To The Both Of Us
And That Point Is That Youre Not The Only One With Enhanced Senses
When You Stalk Rose And I On Our Dates I Can Smell You Even From Such A Distance
You Are Not The Master Of Stealth Jade You Arent Even An Apprentice In The Ninja Arts
Yes An Extended Er Noise Is Right
Dont You Have Anything More To Say
oh its just that um
are you sure you and rose are dating??
Of Course I Am Get That Sour Expression Off Your Face
We Kissed Like I Told You Before So Please Dont Transform Into A Metamorphic Howlbeast Again
And We Also Went On A Date
Which You Watched From The Trees
god kanaya i know that much!!
but did you ask rose if youre dating??
Why Is There Something You Know
You Know Something Dont You
There has to be something that Jade knows, because she's standing there trying not to break out into nervous laughter, biting down on her lower-lip. She clasps her hands behind her back, shuffling her feet awkwardly on the spot, and Kanaya takes a deep breath that her lungs don't necessarily need, steeling herself for the revelation that's about to hit her. God, she's starting to hate Jade. This rivalry will be the end of them, even if she is oddly tempted to reach out and straighten out the hem of Jade's offensively short shirt and wipe the dirt from the side of her neck.
Possibly without the use of her hands.
remember that fight we got into the other night??
It Wasnt A Fight So Much As
An Unexpected Bout Of Physical Activity That Helped Us Both Calm Down
you were chasing me with a chainsaw!!
I Happened To Be Gardening At The Time
at two in the morning??
i dont think so!
I Think Its Better For Us Just To Move On From This Point
Before We Begin Arguing Even More Loudly And Draw The Attention Of your Co Workers
What Happened After We Had Our Non Fight
well i might have tripped over and cut my leg
so i went to get help..............
and rose happened to be close by
just shhhhhh for a moment! stop interrupting me! im trying to be honest with you now even though i dont know why i should have to bother
Okay I Am Effectively Hushed From This Moment On
so long story short me and rose might have kissed
or i might have kissed rose
its kind of blurry now!
ok kanaya you can talk now
please stop staring at me like that
Kanaya doesn't think that she's staring. She doesn't think that she could bring herself to say anything, even with express permission from Jade. Her eyes bore right through her, and she's seeing nothing more than a red, angry blur. Jade doesn't come into the picture, but somehow, she manages to reach out and take hold of the collar of her shirt. Teeth grit, fangs on display, she pulls Jade closer towards her.
I Apologise Jade It Sounds As If You Just Told Me
That You Dont Value Your Own Life
Please Tell Me Im Mistaken
let go of me
Tell Me You Are Purposely Attempting To Infuriate Me
i said let go of me you fuckass
With Every Word That Comes From Your Foul Mouth I Find Myself Detesting You More And More
FUCKASS FUCKASS FUCKASS!!
Deciding that there's no appropriate comeback to a string of fuckasses, Kanaya only tightens her hold on Jade, pulling her closer. She could say that she doesn't intend for what happens next to unfold, but that would be a fairly substantial lie. In retaliation to being pulled closer, Jade wraps her arms around her like she's going to squeeze her in two, and then Kanaya's got her mouth smashed against Jade's, and it might be a kiss if it wasn't so heated. And not in the way that she wishes Rose would kiss her, but in an angry, biting sort of way, and Kanaya would worry about ripping Jade's lips over if she wasn't a feral beast in the shell of a disgustingly pretty girl.
She absolutely hates the way she feels Jade's glasses knocked askew when Jade leans into the kiss, trying to push her tongue between Kanaya's lips like she started the damn kiss off. She hates how she can only cling tighter to her shirt, desperate not to allow her to back out of this, and more than anything, she hates how much she wants to apologise.
The kiss ends, eventually, but only when it occurs to Kanaya that someone could walk in at any moment. Jade keeps her arms possessively around her, and Kanaya leaves in, leaving biting little kisses against the corner of her mouth. It should've been blindingly obvious to her to begin with. She should've known a kismesissitude would've come of all this.
I Apologise If I Said Something To Hurt You
My Words Were Brash Really I Should Learn To Calm Myself In These Situations
That Killed The Mood Didnt It
It Wasnt The Appropriate Thing To Say
exactly!! let me have it kanaya
There Is Always Room For Me To Improve Isnt There
come on tell me how much you hate me again
Rose's life is hard.
She's a teenage girl growing up in a new town, with a werewolf and a vampire battling for her affections, and nobody understands.
Or rather, nobody outside of her own head understands. Rose knows exactly what she's going to do. She's spent the last handful of nights sat down with a notepad and pen, furiously scrawling out Venn diagrams and pie charts to no avail, creating lists of pros and cons, and not got very far for approaching it all rationally, scientifically. While the thought of being with a vampire does have a more traditionally romantic appeal when compared to dating a werewolf, Jade is a lot more interesting to her in that she actually goes through a full metamorphosis. Then again, Kanaya naturally lights up like a Christmas tree, which is breathtaking in its simplicity, but could prove troublesome when it comes to falling asleep, if she wanted to sleep around her, and—
No, no, she can't think that far ahead yet. With a sigh, she bites on the end of her cheap biro, snapping the plastic between her teeth. Eventually, she gives up on weighing out her options, and decides that she'll allow Kanaya and Jade to make the choice for her. She never states this much out loud, of course, but they know they've been challenged. They know they have something to prove. Rose isn't quite certain why they're fighting over her glacial heart, but the longer they duke it out between themselves the longer she has to get these pesky feelings of hers under control.
She can tell that Kanaya's trying to play it safe. That she's limiting herself and what she does with Rose because Jade's unintentionally played mind games with her and convinced her that she's going to do something to physically harm her. This could be, Rose notes with some disappointment, why Kanaya avoids kissing her neck at the back of the movie theatre when she takes her to the cinema, and why their impromptu non-dates consist of walking around cosy wooded areas and visiting restaurants in the good part of town. Kanaya doesn't buy her gifts, and instead makes them with her own two hands; Rose ends up with more dresses and skirts, scarves and shawls, blouses and shirts than she could ever know what to do with. Reluctant though she is to admit it, they are very nice, ridiculously comfortable, and she finally relents and wears something different for a change.
At one point, Kanaya makes a jacket and gives it to Jade. When questioned, she says that she feels bad, though Rose doesn't know why, at first. She suspects that Kanaya's preemptively counting herself the victor, but then retracts that thought, because it doesn't seem like her at all. It's not until she's on her fourth non-date with Jade, out on the back of her Harley, that Jade informs her with a giggle that's too light to resemble any blackened feelings that Kanaya is her kismesis.
They certainly have as good a foundation as any for a hatemance, Rose will give them that, but she has a hard time imagining either of them swinging their metaphorical spades at one another. But the difficulties of the quadrants aside, it raises a very good question: namely, why is she making the effort to decide whether or not to feel guilty over engaging in sloppy makeouts with two parties who are very much aware of each other's presence when they in turn are sloppily making out with each other? Rose decides that all of her charts and graphs and this whole dating business is bullshit, and that there isn't a single good reason under the sun why she should have to make a choice.
Of the numerous issues brought up engaging in a relationship with a rainbow drinker and a werewolf, Rose thinks that polygamy is pretty damn far down on the list. By this point, Jade and Kanaya's kismesissitude must stand as a towering monument to hate, only the sculptures of the blackened tribute couldn't afford to cast it in iron, and so Styrofoam was used in its place.
Rose brings her plan to the boil, allowing it to simmer for a few days. During these days, Kanaya spends all of her lessons unapologetically staring at Rose and sketching her face across her exercise books, rather than more outfit designs, and Rose hears the hum of Jade's bike from her bedroom window on a dozen occasions. She always ends up driving off before Rose can so much as glance down into the street below, though, presumably not wanting to bother her.
After a week of dodging their hopeful glances and learning that, unsurprisingly, Jade is so much better at the whole wide-eyed puppy look, Rose decides to go for a little walk. A walk to Jade's work, no less, though she doesn't expect to go unnoticed for long. Not when both Jade and Kanaya apparently have absurdly keen sense of smells, and yes, she expects Kanaya to be there. Or hopes that she's there at any rate, and will be sorely disappointed if she arrives and finds Jade doing something as dreadfully dreary as fixing up a motorcycle. She can't even pretend to feign interest in that.
But surely enough, she manages to get close. Close enough to stand at the door of the garage and peek in for a good six seconds before it suddenly hits Jade and Kanaya that they're being watched. In those six seconds that unfortunately just don't stretch on for long enough, Rose is treated to a wonderfully uninterrupted view of Kanaya and Jade making interesting use of one of the motorcycle's seats, and she pauses to consider how this makes her feel. Certainly not jealous, or anything close to it.
Time to proceed with the plan. Jade and Kanaya leap away from each other like the bike's set to explode, and there's a great clatter of metal against concrete as they try to compose themselves.
I Assure You Rose This Isnt What It Looks Like
ummm.... yeah listen to kanaya
I'm certain it isn't. The reasonable explanation here is that Jade misplaced a loose screw down the back of her throat, and Kanaya was using an unorthodox but apparently satisfying method to retrieve it.
its all kanayas fault!
she made me think it was a good idea
Why Are You Blaming Me It Was You Who Suggested That The Bike Would
Well Never Mind That Not In Front Of Rose
Sooner Or Later Youre Going To Have To Find Another Way To Keep The Flames Of Hate Burning Bright You Realise
Far be it from me, the object of your red advances, to comment on what is undoubtedly a union so purely black that it threatens to tear the universe itself apart at the seams.
Oh Yes Exactly That
You Are As Observant As Ever Rose
yup i cant staaand kanaya grrrrr!
what do you see in her??
A lot more than she sees in a mirror, I assure you.
Actually Rose That Is A Common Mistake With Regards To My Nature As A Rainbow Drinker
We Do Not Share All The Traits That Your Vampires Do But
That Isnt The Point Is It
Thank you, Jade. If I have to shush her one more time lmy ungs will fall flat like a boy scout trying to put up a tent in a storm for the first time.
Oh, for fuck's sake. I avoided saying “erect a tent” to stop you from giggling like a pup, but apparently, that didn't get me very far.
Boundless Immaturity Aside
Why Are You Here Rose
are you going to tell us your choice??
I'm building suspense, Jade. I'm fairly certain that if the two of you lean forward in anticipation any more you'll be flat on your faces.
As Ever Rose Swan You Are Cruel And Unusual
sheesh im agreeing with kanaya on this one!
Alright, alright. I've delighted in my sadistic pleasure for long enough. The answer was simple, when I finally thought about it logically. I'm not going to make a choice.
This Doesnt Seem Like A Particularly Effective Conclusion To Reach
youre ditching us both rose?
On the contrary, it's quite the opposite.
It's a wonderful moment when the gears in Jade and Kanaya's heads click at the exact same moment, and realisation slowly spreads across their faces. They glance at each other briefly, as if contemplating between this being is an absolute disaster and far too good to be true, and simultaneously come to the unspoken agreement that it's both. Rose doesn't spare so much as a thought for the sorry state of Jade and Kanaya's kismesissitude now that the main bulk of their rivalry's being obliterated, because she's certain they'll find plenty of other things to quarrel over in the future; plenty of other ways to attempt outdoing one another.
With her hands clasped behind her back, Rose takes slow steps forward, closing the distance between the three of them, until she just so happens to find herself in the middle. Both Kanaya and Jade momentarily glance over her head, as if trying to work out whether or not this is some sort of trap, and then Kanaya very cautiously reaches out and places a hand against her side. The corner of Rose's mouth quirks into a smile, and she lets her eyes flutter to a close. Despite her glow, and despite the barrier of cloth between them, the chill of Kanaya's body seeps through, causing Rose to part her lips just a little, inhaling heavily.
It all slots together neatly enough after the first little motion. Jade presses against her back, arms wrapping loosely around her waist, so overwhelmingly warm that there's nothing for it but to pull Kanaya closer by the collar, falling into a kiss that they both initiate in the same moment. Rose gasps into Kanaya's mouth when Jade begins leaving a path of kisses down the side of her neck, and oh, this is so much better than spending her time with just Jade or Kanaya and wondering what the other was up to, what they could be doing together.
Kanaya gently eases her back, and she's dimly aware of the way that Jade's body bumps against the motorcycle she was previously perched on with Kanaya. Unsurprisingly, Kanaya's hands are all the colder when they slide under her shirt, and Jade's burning hands meticulously making their way down her thighs makes her head spin. The constantly contrasting temperatures causes some of the resolve she was determined to cling to flutter away, and then she's got her head tilted back, Jade's mouth against her shoulder, Kanaya's finally making its way to her throat. With a satisfied hum, she tilts her head back, murmuring under her breath as her eyes flutter to a close.
And after this, I'll treat you both to ice cream.