It's been two weeks since you and your bro moved into your new house.
You don't even really like to call it a house, let alone a home. It's really small. Downstairs there's a living room, a kitchen/dining room and a bathroom. The upstairs is composed of only one room- yours. Bro was kind enough to take the couch and give you what was probably meant to be the attic. You don't complain; it's your own room and it gets heat and there's a pleasant lack of spiders and other creepy crawlies.
But it's not your apartment back in Texas.
It's a suburb in Washington. A quiet neighborhood
It's exactly what your bro thinks your seven-year-old-self needs.
You've limited your interactions with him to three sentences a day.
That's really all the human contact you have nowadays; you're halfway through the summer and it doesn't seem worth your time to go out and make friends. You had perfectly good friends back in Houston. Of course, your bro has tried to coax you out to go and play baseball in the street with the neighborhood kids, but you were never one for sports or the snot-nosed brats who played them.
So you sit up in your room on your bed most days, either playing your gameboy or doodling in some notebooks. There are two windows up in your room- one overlooks the street and the other is pretty much useless; it's so close to the house next door the gable below your window almost touches the gable on the other home. You looked out that window once, when you were working on moving all your things into the room, but you made eye contact with someone in the other house and haven't spent much time on that side of the room since.
A few more days pass.
Bro tries to comfort you; "it'll be okay, lil man," "just wait for school to start, bro," "go outside and play with those other little shitheads!"
You slug him whenever he tries to console you. But his beefy arms are so much bigger than your scrawny limbs, he just kind of laughs off your attempts at agression. What an asshole.
He won't take you home, despite your giving him the silent treatment. He usually can't stand it when he gets the cold shoulder like this. Sometimes he gets angry and starts a fight and/or strife with you, and other times he'll go about messing with you in the smallest ways he knows you can't stand until you start talking to him again. But now he's just kind of dealing with it and it's pissing you off.
So even after two and a half weeks, your levels of human interaction are dangerously below average.
That's when you meet him.
He actually scares the shit out of you the first time you two come in contact.
You're laying on your bed reading an old school Avengers comic book when you hear a knock. The startle factor is enough to make you jump halfway to the ceiling, but the knock itself freaks you out. Not only does Bro go out of his way to avoid knocking, but the sound definitely didn't come from the door. No, it came from the window. There's no mistaking the sound of knuckles on glass.
You're on the second story and there was a knock at your motherfucking window.
Naturally, you get up to investigate. It's about 7:30, so you figure it can't be a demon or monster or something; those only come out when it's dark out, after all. So, head held high, you go and glance out the window.
Nothing. There's nothing but the street below and the open air and-
There's another knock. It's coming from the other window.
Immediately, you flatten yourself onto the floor- after all, who knows what's behind that window?- and army crawl over to the other side of the room, limbs moving spastically across the crumb-covered hardwood. Your fingers curl up across the edge of the windowsill, and you rise onto your knees, peeking out the glass pane.
Your eyes meet with bright blue ones, the owner of which has pressed himself up against your window.
He grins when he finally sees you. "Hi!" he cries happily, voice muffled slightly by the glass.
You stand, confused, and look past his shoulder, leaning slightly to do so. The window on the other house is open and the boy himself is sitting on your gable outside. You lean back so your weight is shifted equally onto both feet and press yourself against the other side of the glass, your hands up over his. "What do you want?" you ask, not unkindly.
"Can I come in?" His teeth are big and make his smile look a little goofy, but it's sincere and warm.
Instead of answering, you simply push up on the window. Your hands slip a little on the glass, but eventually it gives way and lifts- squeaking a little as it does so. You step out of his way and he crawls in, scooching forward on his butt until he's on the edge. His socked feet hit the ground with a soft thump under his weight.
He wastes no time with getting to know your room. He walks around, admiring your hurridly-hung posters and drawings, picking up a couple comic books off the floor.... After a few moments, he turns to you, as if suddenly remembering you're there. "My name's John!" he says happily. You notice he's missing a tooth on the bottom row.
You're still a little shocked by his sudden appearance so all you can manage out is, "...Dave."
"That's a cool name!" he decides. "Your mom won't mind if I'm here, right?"
You shift a little bit. "I don't really have a mom."
"Oh that's okay! I don't either." His eyes start to wander around your room as he continues talking. "What about your dad?"
"It's just me and my bro."
His attention is back on you for a split second. "Wow I wish I had a brother!"
This kid is nuts.
"Why are you wearing sunglasses inside?"
"The light hurts my eyes."
"That's really weird," he says, wrinkling his nose a bit. Then his face brightens up, eyes widening behind his glasses as though he just had the best idea of his young life. "Hey! Wanna make a blanket fort with me?!"
And that was how John Egbert wormed his way into your life and became your very best friend. He never questioned anything that other kids always considered odd- "why do you live with your brother?" "what happened to your parents?" "I bet your eyes are just weird and that's why you never take those glasses off!"- and he seemed genuinely interested in you and your life back in Texas.
He crawled over into your room almost every day. The two of you would make forts and messes, and eat, and watch movies. Once or twice he came over during the night and you told him horror stories. He shared the tale of the haunted house over on the next block and you vowed to be that one kid to go knock on the door that coming Halloween. He looked terrified when you told him he was coming with, naturally.
You never told Bro about him, but there was no way your brother didn't know. For one thing, John was always loud as hell and the small house didn't offer much room for any sound expulsion. For another thing, you started talking to him again. That meant that he felt it appropriate to go back to his old antics; puppets, video cameras, awful cooking experiments....
Everything was normal in the Strider household.
You met John's dad for the first time in mid-August. It was also the first time you had ever been over to John's house. For some reason or another, he never felt the need to invite you over and you never felt the need to leave your house. It probably wasn't healthy.
The two of you had been sprawled out on the floor drawing some comics when John announced he was hungry. His new tooth was just starting to poke out of his gum by that point in the summer. "Wanna come over to my house for lunch?" he suggested happily. "My dad makes really good chicken nuggets!"
"Yeah, man," you agree, hiding your excitement. As previously mentioned, Bro had gone back to his normal habits. And that included chocolate-covered salami on wheat. And pickles with peanut butter on rye. Though you had to admit that doritos didn't taste too bad with grape jelly.
But man, oh man, did John's dad make good chicken nuggets. And cookies. And cake.
Yeah you were pretty much in love with John's dad after an hour. All that sugar? It was like a seven year old's dream.
He liked you, too, for the most part. There was one time where you swore in front of him. That earned you a twenty minute lecture. You laughed about it afterwords with John, and made it a point to not do that anymore around Mr. Egbert.
John's dad became sort of like a second father figure. You wouldn't trade Bro for anything, but it was nice to have an adult figure who didn't threaten you when you refused to eat your carrots at dinner.
Suddenly, Washington wasn't so bad.
School started and you and John stayed close througout class and lunch time. You did end up trying to approach that house on Halloween. And you make it a point to tell the other kids that when they ask. But you never mention how you chickened out. John doesn't say anything, either; but that's because he ran away just as quickly as you did and screamed twice as loud.
When the two of you are nine, you're each other's first kiss. It's more of a quick peck than anything and you both spit and sputter childishly after it's all said and done, but you laugh about it for the rest of your lives.
You laugh together when you reach middle school.
And then freshman year in high school.
And you laugh about it when you two sneak off behind the bleachers in PE sophomore year.
"Hey remember that one time when we were ten?"
"Dude, we were, like nine."
"Yeah, I remember. And then you sneezed on me."
"I did not!"
"Did too. It was fucking disgusting."
"I did not! You're so full of shit, Dave!"
"Mmh." Kiss. "Don't pretend like you don't love me for it."
Washington didn't end up being as bad as you expected it to be.
"You wish. Now come here and kiss me for real before the teacher comes looking for us again."
You smirk a bit. "Yes, sir."