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Blue Skies

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You really do like that Dad treats you like a big kid, but sometimes it scares you a little too. You know he would never leave you in a dangerous place or anything! It's just the park, and there are lots of people and he makes sure to remind you to always stay near a group. You aren't really scared of getting kidnapped or anything! You're already 10-years-old and you are pretty sure you can handle yourself by now! And nothing bad has ever happened at the park before, you know! It's just....

Well, it's scary. A little. Just because there are so many people, and so many kids, and no one wants to hang out with you. They make fun of your glasses and your teeth and how you're a little chubbier than them and the way you can't look anyone in the eyes and you're always staring at your feet in hopes maybe they wont notice all the goofy things about your face.

Every time Dad trusts you and leaves you at the park on your own for a while when he goes off to meet someone or do something that's secret and probably about his job, you always tuck yourself under a tree and count clouds and hope no one tries to talk to you or do anything near you at all really, and it makes you feel a little like a dork. And every time when dad picks you up you act like you had a lot of fun with all the other kids and that you're super happy he trusts you to leave you there all on your own! You don't want him to worry about you or anything, and it's not like you don't have friends. You have Jade, at least, she just doesn't go to the park, and you have Kar, too, even if he yells a lot and says bad words and gets mad easy. You like him and you're pretty sure he likes you too! At least a little. He hangs out with you, which he doesn't do with most kids, so....

Today, like every other day, you wander your way to a tree to nestle under, leaning your back into it and staring at the sky around the green, green leaves and the little white puffy clouds. Sometimes you really like these moments. If you didn't feel the guilt of knowing you were supposed to be running around with other kids and having fun and stuff, you would actually really like visiting the park just for this! The sky was always at it's prettiest at the park. You wish you could have a picnic or something, but you guess that's pretty weird.

Instead you settle for watching the clouds drift by, even lazier than you, and the way the sky was just the right shade of blue and how it tinted just a little darker in the distance where you would see mountains.

You're calm is broken by a voice, which is the last thing you want.

"What're ya doin' here?" You jump a little and look up at the stranger. He looks like he's probably the same age as you, except he also somehow looks older. And he has a really weird accent that you've only ever heard on TV before and you didn't even think real people had.

"What?" You ask quickly, panicking a little. His mouth isn't moving at all, it's just this straight line, and he has these pointy shades on that you can't see his eyes past and he kind of scared you. A lot. He scares you a lot.

"What're ya lookin' at?" He raises an eyebrow at you and you didn't think real people could raise just one eyebrow either. Actually you are starting to think maybe he isn't real at all. He looks really cool, why is he stopping to talk to a dork like you? Is he gonna start making fun of you?

"Th-the sky," you answer and you can feel your eyes widening, you think because you can't see his and it unnerves you.

He carefully sits down next to you, but he doesn't slide down the tree or even plop down. He sort of folds into the pose, his legs wrapping into it as he lowers himself and it can't be real. "Somethin' special 'bout it?" He asks, tilting his head in a way that you think means that he's scrutinizing the sky now.

"It's just... well, pretty, I guess? It's it a nice colour? Blue's a nice colour, I think," you mumble back, fiddling your thumbs. He turns his, uh, shades back to you and you flinch away from him.

"What're ya doin' alone over here? Where're yer 'rents?"

You bite your lip a little before retracting the action, remembering that it makes your teeth look stupider. "I come here alone. Sometimes. I guess." He nods like that is what he thought. "What about you?"

"Lost," he answers point blank and you shift a little, hands suddenly fluttering and eye growing wide again.

"What? You're lost? Oh gosh, you should go to the-" you try, but he shakes his head.

"Nah, s'cool. I'll be found sooner or later. It's not a big deal. Why aren't ya with anyone else?"

"Uh, the other kids?"

"Yeah," he answers like you're a little stupid for having asked, and you are actually.

"I don't know," you fiddle with your thumbs again, "why are you talking to me?"

"Ya looked like a better choice," he tilts his head a little to look you in the eyes. You think. You can't really tell with the shades and all. His hair sways with the motion, a really nice white-blonde and it's the straightest hair you've ever seen and you imagine it's gotta be super, duper soft, not that you are going to test the theory. "Somethin' wrong? I can leave if ya want," he offers.

"No, uh, no, there's nothing wrong! You can stay! I don't mind at all!" You answer quickly, feeling your face redden, but he graces you with the slightest twitch of his lips, almost a smile.

"Ya don't seem like ya talk to lots o' people, huh?"

You think maybe that smile was a smirk and you shrink into yourself. "I don't know. My best friend kind of lives far away, and my other best friend is, um, kind of a jerk. I guess maybe I don't."

"Why not? Ya seem like a good kid. Why doesn't anyone ever..." his question trails off and you can see his eyebrows skew a little into something a little scary. "Fuck," he mumbles, which is one of Kar's favourite words too, which is also a very bad word, you know, "people're assholes," you think that's a bad word too. "What, is it 'cause o' yer teeth?" He almost mutters and you shift away from him a little, which seems to make him madder.

He scoots closer to you again so your shoulders are touching this time. "Look, don't listen to any o' them, alright? They don't know shit. You can't let people all get to ya like that."

"What?" You blink at him, all wide-eyes again.

"Bullies and shit, or whatever. Ya can't let people talk ya down like that. Yer probably at least ten times the man any o' them are. I assure ya. And ya know what, next time anyone dares to fuck with ya, tell 'em that if they keep it up you'll get Dave Motherfucking Strider to kick their fuckin' asses. And I will," he's openly scowling now, which you feel oddly privileged to see.


"Yeah. Seriously."

"Uh, John... Egbert," you mumble, thinking maybe that was all actually his introduction, but he gives you a weird look. "My n-name! I mean, I'm John. Um, Dave?" You smile a little, not even thinking about how goofy your teeth look. He gives you a little smile back, and it's definitely a smile and not a smirk and you're glad you got it.

"Alright, Egbert," he nods, and you wonder if he always uses last names like that. "Good ta meet ya."

"Yeah. You too!" You smile a little bigger and he let's out the tiniest chuckle.

"D'ya hang around here often?"

You take a moment to admire the way he talks again. You are starting to increasingly think it's really cool, both his accent and his speech patters. "Uh, yeah, sometimes I guess. Sometimes Dad drops me off when he has stuff to do. And stuff." You almost ask if he does before remembering that he is lost. "Are you new? To town?

"Ah, we moved in a week ago. A few towns over. Bro had t'visit some chick 'round here 'nd he left me in the car like "stay here until I come back," and like hell I was gonna stay in that shitty ol' car until he was done fuckin' foolin' around," he mutters absently like this is the most normal thing ever, even as you blush a bright red. You don't know all that much about adults and adult things, but you know what all that meant.

"Uh, do you just live with your brother?" You ask for the sake of not mentioning anything else he said.

"Mmm," he hums in agreement and you start fiddling your thumbs again. You think Dad will probably come back pretty soon. You think he only had to hand in some papers today or something like that. Whatever businessmen do!

"Uh, will I... see you again?" You ask carefully, feeling weird about it. You imagine normal people make friends like this easy, but not you.

"Yeah," he answers without even thinking about it, "definitely."

All of the sudden he's being lifted off the grass by the collar of his shirt and shaken a little by a tall, definitely scary looking man who bears a resemblance to him. He wore the same shades, and his hair was shorter but it was the same hair, for sure, but the older man didn't have Dave's scattered freckles.

"Ya little shit, I told ya t'wait in the goddamn car," the man - Dave's brother, you feel safe assuming - bites at him and Dave just crosses his arms like he's having none of it.

"Ya took forever!"

The man sets him back down on his feet and gives you a weird look, shifting his shades down and scrutinizing you with the most shockingly red eyes ever, and you wonder if Dave inherited the trait. "Made a friend?" A big smirk finds the man's face much easier than any feelings met Dave's, you think.

"Shut the fuck up," Dave bites back, which just makes his brother's smirk grow a little.

"Alright, alright. Say yer fold farewells and shit, we gotta bounce. Maybe even kick it up a notch and dare to ask for his number!" The man cackles, already walking away towards the street and an old, junkie car you guess is theirs.

Dave scowls before straightening out his expression again to give you a curt little wave. "I'll see ya 'round. Promise."

You smile back. "You better!"

He shifts a little, glancing back in his brothers direction before quickly leaning down and laying what you think might have been a kiss on the top of your head. Or he just, like, put his face in your hair. Regardless, you turn bright red when he mumbles "promise" into your hair again.

"Y-you better," you repeat and you realize that your statement shouldn't have actually been repeated like his was, but now it's too late. He gives you a secret little smile that looks like what a whisper sounds like before he turns on heel and walks after his brother, his steps too easy and graceful for his young age.

You're pretty sure he can't be real.