Tavros Nitram was sixteen years old and hopelessly captivated by a girl named Feferi Peixes.
She was one year his junior and yet somehow she’d managed to steal the spot of the most gorgeous person he’d ever laid eyes on. She was a small, petite girl who stood at the very most a good foot shorter than him and would have little to no problem passing as someone in junior high. Her wardrobe seemed to consist of an abundant amount of mid-length skirts and thin spaghetti straps that exposed her sun-kissed skin as well as a few freckled beauty marks on her arms and shoulders. She had hair that was long and brown, and was either rolled down her back or held up in a lazily styled bun.
Tavros did he best to avoid catching on to these small details about her, but found himself failing time and time again.
To sum it all up, their relationship was more or less the textbook version of a typical girl-next-door scenario. Not only was the boy head over heals for the girl who seemed to pay little heed to him, but their lockers just happened to be directly next to one another. Locker numbers 731 and 732. Lab building, first floor, and unfortunately for her, top locker row. Luckily enough, there was a small step just before the lockers that provided just enough height for her to use in reaching her locker. She still had to stand on the tips of her toes, but for the most part, she had learned to manage. Tavros had awkwardly offered to help her out once, to which she gave a small giggle and told him that everything was fine.
He had turned a curious shade of red and gave a small mumble of “okay”.
The other times the two had spoken to one another was usually when Tavros and her were in the middle of gathering school supplies and she was without her usually circle of friends hovering around her.
She seemed to speak only kind words to him and the occasional light joke or two, sometimes followed by her girlish giggle.
“Oh, hey Tavros! It’s very nice tosea you today.”
He, in turn, would usually give his own “hey” as well as a slight nod of his head in acknowledgment.
Once he had been so bold as to ask her how her day had been going. He didn’t have to look at her to know she was pleasantly surprised.
“Oh, it’s been going reel well actually. I just had a test in Biology and I’m so shore I aced it! What about yourself?”
Tavros couldn’t recall what his response had been, but he was sure it was pretty lame.
Unfortunately, today would be no different from all the other days. Well, except for one minor detail. The day before Tavros had been, surprisingly enough, absent from school. Having the over-protective dad that he did, had one little cough slipped passed Tavros's lips, he'd pretty much be in for the whole day. No amount of reasoning or begging would make his dad act otherwise.
Luckily, he knew a few people who'd let him sneak a few glances at their notes.
Occasionally he'd see Feferi in the halls a few times, smiling and laughing with her friends. Sometimes he's catch her across the quad, sitting under an umbrellaed table eating the lunch she had packed the night before.
And sometimes Vriska would catch him as he glanced over in Feferi’s direction, then make him regret being born with 20/20 vision.
Alright so maybe she wasn’t all that bad about it.
She had her fair share of teasing him, sure. But contrary to popular belief, she really wasn’t as cruel and malicious as she wanted everyone to believe she was.
Aradia would ask why he chose to spend so much time with someone who ridiculed him so often, but he’d simply shrug in response and say that she was sorta nice sometimes. He knew Aradia wouldn’t believe him, but at least he knew that he was telling the truth.
Vriska may have ridiculed him constantly, but if anyone else did, she went out of her way to make sure there was hell to be paid. And Tavros was more than slightly grateful for that. Sometimes she’d tell him that it was either her who made fun of him, or everyone else in the school. Tavros had little to no problem with the previous, mostly because he knew that Vriska’s small snide comments and jabs were, for the most part, just talk.
But as much as Tavros insisted that he was perfectly comfortable spending most of his time around Vriska, Aradia would offer to have him eat lunch with her and her friends instead.
Tavros would polite decline and head over the usual spot where his friend would be waiting, two trays of food in her hands.
And as mentioned previously, today would be no different from all the other days.
Tavros slung the bag off from his shoulders and tossed it down onto the table, before a tray of cafeteria food was jabbed into his chest.
“What you want me to get your food and set it down for you? Please.”
Tavros gave a mumbled apology before taking the tray in his hands and sitting down with it. Vriska rolled her eyes at that.
“Don’t apologize. What'd I tell you about apologizing, Nitram? And don’t you dare apologize for apologizing,” she snorted. It wasn’t even much of a response anymore as it was just second nature for the guy. It was pathetic, and definitely something they needed to work on a hell of a lot more.
“If you should be apologizing for anything here, it’s for not taking that cheat sheet I went out of my way to get you. And what did you say? ‘Uhhh, Vriska, I don’t know. What if I get caught? You knoooooooow I can’t handle myself out here in the real world.’ ”
“I’m pretty sure that was nowhere near my actual response.” He paused for a slight second, staring up as in thought. “Probably.”
“It totally was, Tavros. Don’t even pretend like it wasn’t.” She sat down across from him, carelessly dropping her tray onto the table before picking at what looked like some sort of meat.
“How was the test anyways? Five bucks says you failed.”
“Hey, I think I did pretty okay. A few of the questions only needed common sense; you’d have to be pretty dumb not to choose the right answer.” He gave a small shrug before taking a forkful of the questionable looking salad and placing it in his mouth.
"Whatever you say, Tavros. Whatever you say."
She received a half-hearted eye roll in response as the other took in another forkful of salad.
"Oh, by the way. Yesterday. Health. Partners." She tossed the meat to the side before unwrapping what looked like a sandwich. She sneered at the food in her hands as though it had insulted her. "None of this crap looks eatable today. This school can afford to paint a few lame classrooms, but not get some decent food for us? If you ask me these budget cuts have made this school even stupider, and I didn't think that was even possible?"
She dropped the food in her hands in disgust before pushing the tray torwards him. "Have what you want. I'm not touching it."
Tavros opened his mouth to tell her there was a good chance he didn't want her leftovers either, but thought better of it. Instead he went back to eating the remains of his salad, but not before giving a small huff. That'd show her.
Vriska rolled her eyes, propping up her elbows on the table and resting her chin on her folded hands. Tavros looked up, wearily noticing the mischievous smirk planted on her lips.
"You seem pretty at ease about the whole partner thing. I bet you think we're paired together again, don't you?"
He gave her a look of obvious confusion, the utensil in his hand lowering. "We aren't..?"
She laughed, leaning back in her seat with a small shake of her head. "Oh poor, poor naive Tavros. Of course we aren't. I've babied you for too damn long! I chose Pyrope as a partner this time. "
He shifted. "Oh. Uh, okay. So then who have I been paired up with?"
"The only other person who was absent that day."
"Which was..?" he murmured before taking in his last bite, waiting for the news to be laid out in front of him.
She gave an exaggerated sigh, as though she'd been annoyed by the fact that he was too busy being absent to know who else hadn't been there that day.
Vriska was silent for a few moments, reveling in the fact that she knew something he didn't. She shifted to lean against the side of the table, casually examining her finger nails.
"No one really. Just..." Her lips twitched as she made an obvious attempt to hold back another smirk. "Feferi Peixes."
Tavros choked on his food.