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Silent Music

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Your name is Dave Strider, and today is your first day at that fancy-ass new boarding school Bro is so intent on sending you to. The only reason you agreed is because your long-time internet pal, John, was also attending, and he agreed to let you stay with him. Of course, now that you’re standing in front of his dormitory room door, you’re starting to regret that decision.

What if he doesn’t like you? What if you don’t like him? And, more importantly, how would he react to you…?

No time to dwell on such things now… Striders don’t worry about things. Things worry about Striders… Or, at least, that’s what Bro said to you once (although he was a bit tipsy when he said it). You raise a nervous hand to the door and knock, waiting for it to open. As soon as it does, you’re greeted by a pale kid with shocking white hair. He glares at you for several seconds before slamming the door shut in your face.

Seconds later, however, you hear a commotion stirring up behind the wooden portal.

“Goddammit, Karkat. I told you not to answer the door…”

“NO. FUCK YOU. I’M NOT LETTING SOME BLONDE-HAIRED ASSHOLE LIVE IN THIS GODDAMNED DORM. IT’S ALREADY TOO FUCKING CROWDED.”

“I don’t remember asking you for your opinions, Karkat. Now shut up while I…”

The door swings open again, and you find yourself staring at a familiar face. His shocking blue eyes study you from behind a pair of laughably thick-lensed rectangular glasses, and his messy black hair seems to move at the slightest of breezes. From his naturally tan complexion and build, you’re pretty sure he’s at least partially Asian.

“You’re Dave Strider, right?” he asks with a toothy, but innocent, grin. “You’re ten minutes late. I was about to send out a search party to find you. I apologise for Karkat answering the door. He WASN’T SUPPOSED TO.”

“FUCK OFF, ASSHOLE,” the loud voice, which you had heard only moments prior, replies before a door slams shut.

“He means well most of the time…” John shrugs. “Come on in. Your room is the one over there…” he motions towards an unadorned door on the right-hand side of the commons area.

You nod and toss him a nervous grin before stepping over the oak threshold and into a warm, brightly-lit living space. The smell of the wood fireplace on the southern wall hits you like an aromatic brick to the face (which is a really bad metaphor, but let’s just go with it), and the constant hum of the neatly polished ceiling fans echoes in your ears.

“You’re a lot quieter in person, you know…”

The sound of John’s voice shocks you back to reality, and you whirl around to face him. You dig through your duffel bag, eventually prying your phone from its evil clutches. You take note of John’s incredulous stare, and duck your head as you type out a message.

Seconds later, the sound of Nic Cage proposing to steal the Declaration of Independence blares from John’s pocket. (The somewhat-expected but still slightly surprising ringtone manages to force a fit of wheezing laughter from you.) You barely notice him replying to the message until your phone beeps.

So… Should I be texting you instead of talking?

Even after you’ve read it, it takes you a few minutes to stop laughing to the point that you can write a semi-coherent reply…

no i hear fine
just cant talk
but turn that ringtone off
i might die of laughter if i hear it again

Instead of sending it, you simply show him the phone. You’ve already had your daily fill of laughter for the day (and in one sitting, dammit), and you don’t care to have another fit of giggles.

“What’s wrong with the ringtone? It’s Nic fucking Cage!” John snorts as he changes the ringtone to the standard beep. “Besides, then we all know whose phone it is.”

whats wrong with it?
lets say fucking everything
its so adorably dorky

You notice edges of his mouth twitching into a grin at the sight of your text, and you can’t help but do a mental fistpump (actual fistpumps are uncool). Now that you’re seeing him in person instead of as a picture on PesterChum, you also have to admit that he’s pretty damn attractive…

“Fine. I’ll keep it that way. But the minute you leave, it’s back to Nic Cage.” He folds his arms, a triumphant smirk spreading across his face.

As you prepare yourself to reply, you hear the door to Karkat’s room swing open.

“Goddamn, Egbert. Give his ears a fucking break. He’s come all the way from Texas. The last thing he probably wants to hear is your incessant prattle.” Bam! The door swings shut again, and Karkat disappears behind it.

John, meanwhile, has a look of horrified revelation on his face. “Oh god. I’m sorry. I almost forgot about all of that. Shit. I’ve probably been annoying you this whole time… I mean… I can’t tell with you… Do you want me to leave you alone? I’ll leave you al—”

You put your hand over his mouth and let forth a small sigh of annoyance.

no dude really
its fine
i dont care
jut dont do that
like
what you just did
dont do it
its really rather annoying

You hold the glowing screen to his eye level, and slowly move your hand away from his mouth. All the while, you glance nervously at him in what you hope equates to a “oh fuck, please not again” look.

“Oh… Sorry…” he mumbles. You can see his cheeks turning a bright pink, and you force back the affectionate smile trying to make its way onto your face.

okay its fucking official
youre the most easily embarassed person ive ever known
like
ever

A sheepish grin crosses his face, and he shrugs his shoulders. His long fingers run thoughtfully through his wild black hair, and he glances from the phone screen to you a few times before replying. “Yeah. I guess I can get embarassed a lot…”

You nod and shove your hands and, subsequently, your phone back into your sweatshirt pocket.

“Does that mean you want me to shut up now?” John mutters, raising a brow.

You shake your head and motion towards your bedroom door before nodding at the few things you’ve brought.

He seems to get the message, and he enthusiastically grabs your duffel bag. As he reaches for your turntables, however, you stop him with a rapid text.

touch the turntables
and i fucking kill you
im not joking dude

As he reads the text, you level him with your most malicious glare. When he turns to look at you, said glare greets him (and you swear he shat fifteen bricks), prompting him to throw hands into the air and slowly edge away from your precious babies. Once he was a decent distance from them, you lean over and pick them up yourself, carefully carrying them to their new residence.

Together, you begin to set up your room. Only five minutes, you both say. Five minutes…

Minutes pass, turning rapidly into hours. Eventually, you both stop and realise that the sun has long since set, and that you’ve been setting up the room for umpteen hours (probably more like five).

“Looks good to me,” John comments off-handedly.

A smile tugs at your lips, but you fight it back as you reply.

dude its my place
of course it looks good

He lets forth a snort of laughter, and another adorable grin spreads across his face. “Of course it does, Dave. Anything else you need?”

You stop and think for a moment. As far as the room was concerned, you and him had completely conquered the task of getting it set up. The only other thing you could think of was maybe…

no i think were done here
thanks for the help bro

You have the text typed and ready before you could even finish the thought, and it’s sent before you even realise what you’re doing.

“Any time,” he grins and wanders out of the room, closing the door behind himself.

With him gone, the room falls into silence. With him gone, you feel lonely… No… Striders don’t feel lonely. Striders don’t feel anything bad, right? That’s what Bro always said… You quickly start up your turntables and begin working, drowning your feelings in art. That’s what you normally do, isn’t it…?