When Linhardt looks up, he knows he’s in some kind of trouble. Flayn, his wonderful, graceful big sister stands in the doorway to his bedroom, arms crossed and glaring at him with all the power of a stuffed animal.
“Linhardt,” she says, and oh, she even sounds upset for once. What on Earth could he have done this time?
“Flayn.” He pulls his phone a little closer to his body out of habit. She’s awfully nosy for someone who insists on being some prim, perfect creature at all times.
Flayn narrows her eyes and stomps up to Linhardt’s bed. He's really in it now. “Linhardt. You changed the desktop background again, did you not?”
Oh. Is that what this is about? Linhardt bites back a laugh. “Yes, what about it? Do you want to change it back?”
“Yes!” Flayn sounds exasperated. “Every time I try to play Minecraft, I am met with the horrible edit you made of Father’s classroom photos! I have never hated a picture as much as I hate that photo, Linhardt. What in the world brought you to make it in the first place? I’m quite sure my eyes would burn up before I even finished!”
He can’t hold back his laughter this time. Linhardt turns to hide his face in one of his pillows as he laughs into it. The background in question is simply another one of Linhardt’s masterpieces. It consists of a photo of their father in terrible, horrible neon workout clothing from a decade or three ago– neon yellow-green crop top and matching tights, paired nicely (horribly) with starch white short-shorts, pasted over and over and over against a white background until it filled the screen. Some of them are recolored, some of them horribly distorted.
Truthfully, Linhardt is fairly sure he peaked while making that. Nothing he has ever edited has been as funny as that, and nothing he concocts in the future will ever live up to that standard. Linhardt had the time of his life while making it.
(Looking back on it, it really wasn’t that funny. But to a sleep deprived, melatonin-dazed Linhardt at four in the morning? Easily the funniest shit he’d ever seen. And infinitely more interesting than his homework.)
At least Flayn seems to be getting a kick out of it. “Do you know how to change it back?”
“No!” Flayn stomps her foot like the mature older sibling she is. “And while I’m at it, change back the username of the computer! I am sick of looking at it every time I turn it on!”
He snorts. “What, afraid of seeing Loog’s Dick Smasher every time you-”
“ Yes! ” Flayn begins tugging at his arm. While Flayn isn’t very strong, Linhardt is pathetically light for someone of his stature. This is why he goes up without much effort at all, despite being practically twice Flayn’s size. “Come, Linhardt. You will fix this now!”
Linhardt knows he has no choice in the matter, because if he doesn’t do it now, he risks letting Flayn loose on their shared computer until she figures it out. And she will, inevitably, because Flayn isn’t nearly as technologically inept as she seems. The problem with that is that gives her the chance to wade through his internet history, because Flayn is a vengeful, shameless creature much like their father. That isn’t something Linhardt can risk, even if he has nothing to hide. Probably.
(His internet history is mostly him looking up books to buy Ashe online. In theory it’s nothing to be ashamed of, but Linhardt is known for only putting in the bare minimum. He has a reputation to keep.)
They wander into the spare bedroom, where their shared computer sits among other forgotten furniture. Linhardt gives an exaggerated, forlorn sigh as he switches the desktop background to some Minecraft screenshot one of them had taken accidentally. Now whenever they get on, they’ll be greeted with someone’s failed attempt at fighting a creeper, and-
“I hate this one. Move over, let me change it.” Flayn pushes at his shoulder gently. Linhardt grumbles, but relents and gets up anyways.
Flayn begins clicking through the image gallery. She begins to frown in disapproval as another Minecraft screenshot comes up. This one is a tiny villager hut with the door open to reveal two sleeping villagers, with their beds pushed to create one large one. Above the door of the hut is a sign reading two gay villagers .
“Why must you bully the villagers?” Flayn sounds vaguely anguished. “All they are trying to do is live their lives out, Linhardt!”
Linhardt snatches the mouse from her. “What I do in my Minecraft worlds is completely irrelevant to the situation at hand.” He stares at the image gallery, scanning the tons of tiny thumbnails to try and pick out something suitable. A saved drawing captures his attention. “Here. How about this one?”
Flayn frowns. “That’s a paint drawing….. Is that a fish?”
He shoots her a look. “I don’t know, Flayn, is it?” It’s not like he was the one who drew it. And it’s not like it’s a very bad drawing, either. Just a crudely drawn yellow fish in front of some seaweed on a deep blue background. There’s sand on the floor, like most oceans have, and the fish is even labeled FISH in bright pink letters.
“I think so,” she concludes, having inspected it thoroughly. Which makes no sense, because, again, the fish is labeled . She gives him a knowing smile. “It looks like something you would draw, Linhardt.”
“It is not,” responds Linhardt, who definitely did not draw the terrible fish drawing.
“I think this one will make a lovely wallpaper,” Flayn announces. She tugs the mouse out of Linhardt’s hand with ease and sets it as their desktop background. Closing out all the existing windows reveals to them the shitty, pixelated drawing, stretched out to fit to their monitor perfectly.
He watches in silent disbelief as Flayn begins arranging the shortcut icons around the seaweed and fish so that neither are hidden behind loads of files or games. The fish and its plants are soon cleared of anything obstructing them from view, and now Linhardt and Flayn (and Father, if he were to ever try to use their computer) have a full view of the background.
The fish is looking upwards. It is smiling, and though the smile was probably drawn on with the intention of making it look peaceful, it comes off as smug. Linhardt is not smiling. He thinks he wants to close his eyes and forget this ever happened.
Flayn turns to him with a smile of her own. “There,” she says, like she hadn’t just put the ugliest photo possible as a background. “Now we can appreciate your art in its full glory, can we not?”
Turning around, Linhardt decides to retreat. “I’d rather not,” he says, pushing the door open. “I think I’ve had enough of you for today.”
In response, Flayn coos at him, like they’re children again. “Aww,” goes Flayn, who does nothing but sit and watch Linhardt march back to his bedroom. “You know, I do think it’s rather lovely artwork. You have nothing-”
Linhardt shuts his door, effectively tuning her out. He flops onto his bed face down and squeezes his eyes shut. He's in desperate need of a nap.