Title: We Used to be Friends
Characters/Pairings: Feferi Peixes, Eridan Ampora
Rating/Warnings: G, none
Written for: womenlovefest
Author's Note: This was meant to be yesterday's entry, but it got away from me a little.
You meet Eridan Ampora when you’re three sweeps old; he’s a little younger than you, a little stronger, and very bad at trying not to cry.
“I’m not lost!” he shouts when you ask him what’s wrong, all balled-up fists and pride-clenched jawline, but you reach out and he doesn’t shove your hand away.
You already have your habit of taking anything sad-looking home.
“I like your jewelry,” he says once you’ve calmed him down, tapping one finger against his wrist in echo of the bracelets that you never take off after that; it’s the first compliment you’ve ever gotten, and it makes you blush more than anything ever has.
When you look up, he’s staring, fingers sunk into his mouth as he inches away. It’s not until he sputters “Y-your blood,” brushing one hand to his cheek, that you realize you forgot to mention:
“You’re the glubbin’ princess!”
Oh dear. You wince, fiddle with the ties along your skirt, and decide you don’t like being called the princess. You definitely don’t like seeing people stumble as they try to bow, and you’re kicking your way across the room to catch him before you think. Mostly you’re annoyed that all that work soothing him has gone to waste, but he’s easier to calm this time.
“Can I see your lusus?” he asks after you’re done, fins fluttering nervously and hope settled in his voice. You nod.
“It’s kind of a long swim!” you have to warn, and watch his spine snap straight. The two of you chatter the whole way there, and you marvel at how much there is to talk about.
His eyes go wide as you come around the final turn, and he flinches back as one thick death-colored tentacle wraps around his shaking hand. Silently you beg your lusus don’t pull him in, please don’t pull, and you guess that day you’re lucky, that Golly knows that he’s a friend. A maybe-friend.
“What are the bones?” he asks, pointing, and he listens with that tentacle still winding close around his hand as you explain about keeping your lusus quiet, about the food.
“She doesn’t want to make any noise,” you feel you have to add as he glances nervously from you to tentacle to Golly. “She just can’t help it, that’s all. And she doesn’t really understand.”
“No, yeah, of course,” and how quick he is to nod is like slipping back into water after too long on land. “Yeah. Is it hard?”
You never thought to wonder. You guess it is.
The next day he knocks at your door with half a smile and a whale tugged along behind him. It’s the first present anybody’s ever given you.
In the time you would have spent hunting, he helps you embroider some green onto your skirt. Friendship isn’t a word you know yet, but you’ll learn it later, and it’s the best thing you’ve ever felt.
Moirallegiance is exhausting.
“Why do you even want to hurt the landdwellers?” you demand, stomping at him. Your head hurts, and you wrenched an arm on a flailing meal, and you barely kept Golly quiet today, and all you want is for him to give you a hug and joke about fish – not even about fish, you’ve told each other all the fish jokes you know, but you want him to actually bother trying to make you laugh. “You like them!”
“No, I don’t!” he huffs. “Name one.”
“Vriska!” You pause. “Well, you sort of do! And you like Kanaya, and –”
“They’re different!” he shouts back. “I don’t want to kill them!”
“They’re still lowbloods!” you snap, and you cover your eyes with your hands, not caring that you’ll smudge your goggles. This glubbing day. It’s not that you don’t think Kanaya and Vriska and everybody are special, not that you mean that they’re just lowbloods, but – they’re not any different from any of the other land-folk, not really. All the others must be just as nice, just as much fun to talk to. Killing them wouldn’t be any different – it would, they’re not the same person, but it wouldn’t be any less bad. Because it would be bad.
You think that’s what you mean.
You’re not even sure whether you’re arguing with Eridan or someone else anymore.
“Stop trying to kill them,” you say at last. “Please. Just don’t.” You peek through your fingers, and he’s still pouting, arms folded, and you don’t think he’s really going to try it, but – most people kill people, still.
“Please?” you say again, making a diamond with your hands. His fins, drawn tight to his skull, soften slowly out, and you sigh, closing your eyes. The water bubbles around you.
“It’s probably not even going to work anyway,” he grumbles. “This thing’s not even a bomb, it’s just a piece of shit.” He kicks the hunk of metal at his feet, and you cringe – what if he’s wrong? – but nothing happens, and he shrugs, stares up at you expectantly.
“Okay,” you sigh. It’s not. That’s not an answer. In a few days he’ll be trying the same thing over again, and you’ll be having the same argument, and you’re not even sure he wants to do this at all as much as he wants you to pacify him properly, but. That doesn’t really matter, in the end.
Your head still hurts, enough to blur your vision.
Eridan doesn’t notice, and he leaves without saying goodbye.