Darkness was the lone solitude in which an individual could feel truly alone, no amount of searching would reveal the secrets contained within. Many feared the lack of light for that very reason, unable to exist without the constant reassurance of another’s visibility. Others embraced the isolation, thriving without seeing themselves or the world existing around them. Edgar Allan Poe didn’t believe himself to fit into either category, traversing the thin space between the two, never being identifiable as one over the other.
In the sunlight of a casual afternoon, Poe’s hands shook within the confines of his pockets. The darkness provided by his overgrown bangs only contributed so much, the movements of people along streets terribly overwhelming. Poe’s beloved pet had remained in his home for the duration of his excursion, as unusual and unexpected as the author leaving the house at all. His reason for the peculiar behavior could not be easily explained by a simple glance, his harried appearance indistinguishable from any other sighting of the man in question. An outdated device rested against his palm within the pocket of his jacket, the brown-haired male visibly startling at a vibration from the aged cellular device. The shaking of his fingers became more visible as his grip on the object tightened, the man hunching over slightly, an image of secrecy though discretion was not required.
Edgar Allan Poe was an unusual man, with unusual behaviors and mannerisms to match. His eyes strayed -though there would be no way for one to tell- from the device, instead locating a shop near the street’s corner. His darkened attire and even darker presence permeated the bright, carefree atmosphere of the store itself. His hurried, fidgeting movements only increased the notability of his visit, passerbys turning their heads in order to stare at the unusual man in such a usual place. Their judging gazes like pinpricks, the author curled further into his oversized clothing, the dark wardrobe serving little purpose in concealing the man.
Poe exited the cheerful store, his steps hurried. There were multitudes of reasons for such worry from the author. The sharp gazes followed him down the street, people wondering about the man as he passed. Their unsaid whispers remained in the front of his mind: Weird, strange, different, wrong. Ignoring the urge to cease moving, cease persisting, Poe continued walking with large strides due to his height. The pressure of the air increased, settling heavily in the author’s chest, making his subsequent breaths more difficult, the pressure crushing his chest…
Edgar Allan Poe climbed the stairs, the dimness of the hallway’s lighting serving to provide cover, the stares -long since gone- continuing to quicken the author’s pulse and footsteps. Reaching the peak of the stairway, Poe halted before a frosted-glass door. His hands trembled, threatening to allow the object within his hold to fall to the dirtied tile flooring. Poe shut his eyes, the action hidden further by the shadows of his bangs. Breathing for a moment, the author jolted as the door before him opened wide, much like the man’s eyes. The individual that had exited the room blinked at the presence of the unusual man, before smiling brightly, a gesture Poe did not return. A casual greeting passed between the two, the younger cheerful despite the author’s lack of enthusiasm, before the new male stepped past Poe and descended the stairs. Left before an open door, Poe was exposed, neither the lighting nor his hair able to conceal him.
Without being given another moment to prepare himself, another male had already noticed his sudden appearance. The detective had immediately jumped up from his desk in order to meet the other, pausing only a few steps away, bright green eyes slowly opening to stare at the other. The author felt the gaze, the fine hairs along his arms raising as he averted his own eyes.
Edogawa Ranpo was an unusual man, with unusual habits and words that contrasted the extreme intelligence he possessed. His intellect was of no assistance in such a situation, his widened eyes fixed on the bundle within Poe’s shaky hands. What did such a thing mean? Surely it was unusual, as Ranpo had never seen the author with flowers before. Did Poe mean to give them to someone at the Agency? The detective asked as plainly as he had considered it, anticipating the other’s reaction. A slight half-step backwards, a motion Poe made often when surprised, oftentimes by something Ranpo himself had said. A rosy hue overtaking the pallor of his skin, travelling from his high cheekbones downwards, reaching his collarbone when Ranpo said something particularly appalling to the other’s sense of propriety. And a small noise from Poe’s throat, a testament to his state of shock, though Ranpo was equally as shocked from the noise alone. Ranpo shook his head at his sudden thoughts, an action entirely typical for the eccentric detective, before focusing once again on Poe’s embarrassed stuttering,
Luckily, the Agency’s office was quiet, only a few members present including Ranpo himself. The detective, while enjoying every opportunity to fluster the author, was never terribly keen on the idea of others witnessing the sight as well. Perhaps it stemmed from the inherent discomfort Poe felt around people, particularly larger groups. Once, Poe had expressed such a sentiment offhandedly, not anticipating Ranpo’s reaction: glaring at any individual that stared for too long. Ranpo shook his head again, attempting to forget the nickname he had received as a result.
White, delicate petals, able to fall apart at the slightest misstep. It seemed fitting for the author to give such a delicate bouquet to Ranpo, having trusted the detective with things much more fragile and complex than a simple flower. The shorter of the pair plucked them from Poe’s hands, petting the petals gently, never disturbing the composure of the flower. The author watched, eyes soft beneath the curtain of his curls, as the detective delicately held the flowers, startling as the other suddenly addressed him again.
“These are soft. But I think I would like this better.”
When Poe walked past the store again, this time another’s hand within his own, he decided that he himself much preferred this as well.