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Putting the 'Idio(t)' in 'Idiosyncransies'

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            She pissed him off.

            Invariably, that was always the core of the issue, wasn't it? All of her habits had a tendency to irk him in one way or another. But simultaneously, that was what drew him in as easily as it pushed him away. For all of her irritating habits and her unpredictable predictability, she was completely unfathomable. He had no idea how her mind functioned, not a single clue as to the inner workings of the endless labyrinthine landscape within. It was a puzzle to him, a fascinating, confusing puzzle, and he wanted to see it clearly.

            So, of course, no matter how angry she made him, he'd never leave.

            Still, this doesn't change the fact that she pissed him the fuck off.

            All of her inane nonsensical little habits, the way she never made her bed, how she seemed to have no sleep schedule whatsoever, conking out any time of day or night she damn well pleased. And she never slept for the same period of time, either. One day she may only nap for two hours in the afternoon, and the following night she'd sleep for fourteen solid hours. Her tendency to smear paint or ink or pastels on any surface anywhere at any time. She was always damp, or sticky, or gooey, or coated with any number of unpleasant textures.

            This woman had no respect for schedules or orderliness or cleanliness or any of the other things that made life so pleasant and easy. She always chose to do things the most difficult way possible, and he was starting to believe she did it on purpose.

            What he was focusing on right at the moment, however, was her bathing habits.

            She couldn't just shower regularly, no, of course not. Sometimes she'd go for months on end without stepping foot into the bathroom; just to spite him, no doubt. At another point she would bathe two or three times in a day every day for four weeks. The thing that infuriated him beyond anything else, though, was how she'd cheat. She'd choose the moment right before he was about to strike to take her baths, because she knew he wouldn't attack her there because of how anal he was about cleanliness. He wouldn't risk her forgoing bath time for something like murder. Something that could wait, as much as it pained him to put off anything.

            Oh, and then when she did bathe, she would always take hours in there. Whether it was a shower or bath, she would use up all of the hot water, sometimes two or three times if she were in the tub. She would drain the water when it grew chilled and add more. She knew he knew, and she knew it drove him crazy. The temperature in the tiny room would raise to sweltering altitudes and the moisture would build up on the walls until the paint was positively dripping, until he could go in there and touch any surface and have his glove come back soaked. This would cause an outbreak of mould to grow on the walls and ceiling, entirely her fault, but of course she'd never offer to help clean it. And who do you think was the one who'd wind up scrubbing at the stains with bleach and water? Well, normally one of the three roommates, to be honest. But that wasn't the point.

            The point was, actually, that he was sick of this. He was sick and tired of how she'd waste water, and waste energy, and, most importantly, waste time. He was sick and tired of it and he was going to finally tell her exactly what he thought of it. Tell it to her insides as they were slipping down the drain.
This is how Tony's come to find himself striding purposefully down the hallway at 11:18 on a Sunday evening, face creased into a frown even as his clothing remained flawlessly ironed smooth.

            He stops as the water suddenly creaks off, the swoosh of the shower curtain sliding open. He begins his approach again, cautious now that he's lost the cover of white noise. He hears her in there, talking to herself. She always talks to herself, another strange habit he hates. She can't just sit quietly and focus on a single activity in comfortable silence, no. She always has to have some kind of background noise, always has to be surrounded by people, always has to talk, always has to be the center of attention. It's sickening.

            Abruptly, he decides he's tired of taking the cautious approach, and his movements gain confidence, shifting gears from a stalk to a stride, figuring that she won't be armed because she won't be expecting him to attack while she's bathing. Ordinarily, she'd be right, but he's reached the very end of his patience with her. He throws the door open and flicks the light on (yet another thing she does that he hates, showers in the dark. She claims that it “helps the creative process” or some shit like that; he's fairly sure that translates directly to “irritates the crap out of Tony,” but he's never said so aloud.) He doesn't have to wait for his eyes to adjust since he'd been out in the hallway, but she does, blinking rapidly and whining.

            His sword drawn, he's about to strike, but something gives him pause. Tony studies the scene before him carefully, eyes sweeping from the drawn shower curtain to the enamel of the tub behind it (ringed with black from the ink of her limbs, something else that drove him crazy) to the figure perched on the edge, clad in nothing but a towel, frozen, hands raised to the sides of her head in the midst of adjusting the pile of rainbow locks wrapped in cloth. Call it curiosity, call it a vague interest, call it whatever you like, but he's suddenly stricken with a burning question.

“... How do you do that?”

            She blinks wetly at him, a thin smile spreading across her face to hide her confusion and mild terror, eyes wide.

“P-pardon? Do what?”

            He brings his free hand up to the space above his head, one finger extended as he slowly makes a circular gesture with the digit.

“That, that snail thing.”

            She smiles again.

 


 

            Sometime later, the house's true owners return home, chattering quietly but animatedly amongst themselves. The bird unlocks the door, smiling to himself at the discussion the other two are having behind him. Big Hero 6 had been a huge hit with the French fry child. It's late, so the assumption is that the other two will have already gone to bed. The door opens and he allows his housemates to enter the house in first, locking the door behind them as he follows.

            He very nearly walks into them when he turns around because they've stopped, and he can't quite figure out why until he notices they're both staring at the same point. He follows their gaze slowly, dreading whatever it may be over there, but he's not quite prepared for the sight that greets him.

            The clock is resting against the right side of the couch, with the notepad curled up under his left arm, a single bowl of popcorn perched between their laps. He looks slightly annoyed at the intrusion, but not enough to get up and do anything about it, while the woman greets them with what she assumes to be an appeasing smile, raising one arm to wave. A horror movie plays silently on the television, muted at the approach of the three roommates. This picture in and of itself would only be slightly odd if it weren't for the fact that the two of them were both clad in nothing but terrycloth bathrobes, twin hair towels spiraled around the tops of their heads.

            Wordlessly, the three turn in tandem, unlocking the door and stepping back outside. Nobody says a thing until they're all safely locked back in the car.

“... Your cousin's finished repainting the guest bedroom, hasn't he?”

“Yeah, yesterday.”