At first she burnt the money. She intended for it to be dramatic, though it wasn't as satisfying as she thought, watching the mix of plastic, cotton and paper melt and burn together into a stinking mound.
She next gave the money away; she slid it into the pockets of friends, anonymous or otherwise; she funded random escapades online and aided miscellaneous charities that she didn't care about.
But he always sent more.
There was a click as she denied his cheque once again.
Rose Lalonde began to receive anonymous gifts when she was about 13 from a sender named 'Doc Scratch'. Every so often she would have her bank account topped up, or hear her mother talk on the phone, puzzled as she found the bills already paid, or when the poor mailman had to haul another box full of miscellaneous shirts, stickers or other merchandise that Rose had silently found her self wanting online, but didn't want to give her mother the satisfaction and one-upmanship in buying her. At first Rose was confused, but happy at the gifts, silently treasuring them with no fear of her mothers smugness; she assumed that it was one of the many stalkers on the internet, or an uncomfortably avid fan of her fan-fiction, but then she found herself receiving gifts that she had offhandedly mentioned on her private pesterchum conversations, or in one instance, a conversation with Kanaya.
That's when she knew he had eyes and ears everywhere, but did little to present herself modestly, even walking around her house scantily clad to show that she could, not that she felt she had anything to hide or be ashamed of anyway. Rose had long passed the phase of looking or cameras and microphones, but instead had lengthy, yet one sided conversations with 'Doc Scratch', listing off queries, woes, interests and rants. Almost every time she received the next instalment of her favourite book series, or soft yarn, she found herself thanking this seemingly omniscient being, not even being sure if he could hear, but as Rose grew she began to think about the power 'Doc Scratch' had over her life, and that he was undoubtedly going to be expecting something in return from her, waiting for the day he would talk back with morbid anticipation. She was never left to let herself dwell on these thought for to long, lest she grow stressed over things she had no hand in.
There was suddenly a noise from her pesterchum immediately after she deleted the the request for her to receive the cheque, and looking over, she could see a faint difference in colour, from pesterchums light grey to pure white. Rose sighed and highlighted the text with her mouse.
'Hello, Rose. I have observed that you have once more denied one of my offers.' It read.
'Oh, it's you.' Rose typed, her brow furrowing. She was surprised, yet found that his messaging bothered her for some reason she couldn't quite place.
'Your reaction seems to show that you're...less than pleased.'
'I suppose, though I am more surprised that anything. Why message me now, I'm sure by whatever intel you have gathered you know that I have long since passed the somewhat childlike glee of having Saint Nickolas as my guardian angel, and have continued destroy, sell and decline your 'offerings'.'
'I have noticed that. I assumed that it would be an adequate time for me to finally contact you after three years since you have given up on communicating with me, and you have ceased any flair or extravagance with your destruction or spending.'
'So you got bored and wanted something more entertaining?'
'You could assume that, yes.' Rose took a deep breath, and began to type one of the questions that had been burning her.
'How have you carried out your surveillance of me? I have yet to find any cameras and microphones, and it is impossible for you to know everything from only computer monitoring. Perhaps I am just bad at finding cameras and you have added me to the ranks of your 'Truman Show'-esque cam-girl ranks. Cameras in the shower drain I assume?'
'If it gives you peace of mind, I have adopted some of your friends as my protégés, so some of the information I have gathered is from them.'
'Kanaya primarily, Terezi for instance. I attempted to talk with Vriska but I assume you are aware how that went.'
'And this leads to my primary question:'
'I feel I already know what you're going to ask, Miss Lalonde.'
'So then tell me, dear Scratch Doctor, why even do all of this? I'm sure you have not just forked over thousands of dollars to me with out expecting this to be an 'investment', am I wrong. I am well aware that child grooming is a very common occurrence.'
'I assure you the money was never an issue for me. Through the information I have retrieved, I have gathered that you are quite an interesting and intelligent girl, and well worth any expenses."
'I'm sure there are quite a few other girls who I presume you have seen nude that you find 'interesting'.'
'I would prefer it if you would refrain from making such jokes. I am simply saying that if not for your personality and intellect, as well as some other factors, I would have taken no interest in you. I originally heard about you from Kanaya, and I was curious, but now I see that you are indeed everything Kanaya said you were.'
'Other factors?' Rose typed hesitantly.
'Yes, well-I am aware of your situation, Miss Lalonde. I know of your lack of father, and your complicated relationship with your mother, and I would like to make you an offer.'
'What? What kind of offer.'
'I would like to 'take you under my wing' if you will. I have done a similar thing before, though it has been a while, and I haven't done this with Kanaya or your other friends. I feel like I could guarantee you a much better home-a much better life if you went with me. You would not have to compete with an inebriated parent, you would receive attention and be cared for, and have enough intellectually stimulating conversations and media that it would take several life times to fully consume.'
'I-' Rose began to think about the life she could have, trying to look past the rose tinted lens Doc Scratch dressed her in, attempting to think of the downsides despite it sounding so perfect. 'I...I politely decline. Everything sounds so wonderful but I just...can't.' Rose waited for a minute, Doc Scratch taking longer than usual to reply.
'I respect your choice, although I am curious to why you would not like to be taken under my wing and be raised in a more suitable home for a girl such as yourself.'
'For one, this is the first conversation I have ever had with you, despite your assumed surveillance over me for several years, as well as many extravagant purchases that make me pity the one who manages your spending habits. And for another reason: you are a stranger on the internet, for lack of better words, and although I have made a few good friends on the internet, I do not accept the honesty and pure intentions behind your generosity. Not one person in this world puts that kind of money into an impressionable young girl without expecting some kind of gratification, whether it be sexual, or for some social reason.'
'You misunderstand my kindness. I was not attempting to buy over your favour, as you assume, but merely trying to give you but a taste of the life and opportunities I could provide a girl like you." Rose sighed sadly and bit her bottom lip.
'Goodbye, Doc Scratch.' Rose turned off her laptop and turned her attention to her knitting, trying to find something to distract herself from her conflicting emotions.
The messages and gifts got more frequent, almost at all hours, begging her to reconsider, before they stopped altogether, like a dying animal kicking and thrashing before giving in to death. Kanaya and Terezi never changed their attitudes towards her, and she never asked about Doc Scratch, half not wanting to know, and half not occurring to her to ask. Her feeling of being watched never ended, nor the feeling that somehow, someway he would get to her again.