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Beginnings and Ends; Summoning Daedric Princess of Ancient Darkness
Topic Started: May 6 2015, 05:14 PM (774 Views)
Espi
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
It was hot out that day; summer vacation was approaching, most classes were spent making up work or hanging around, and 13-year old Alice Baker was in one such class failing at writing song lyrics.

She wasn’t sure how to make the rhyme scheme work, or even if she should rhyme at all, and the words seemed too contrived and awkward instead of flowing. She was better at composing, honestly. The notes were easier to organize, since there were only so many of them, and it wasn’t as hard to tell what sounded good and what didn’t.

With a sigh, Alice scribbled out yet another failed attempts. Tearing another sheet of scrap paper out of her notebook, Alice gazed around the classroom. It sucked, but lately she’d been doing a lot of writing practice. She felt like drawing, of course, but she was also feeling kind of exhausted. She usually just doodled and then threw out the results, good or bad. Why even bother, then? Maybe she could draw for other people, like a commission or something.

Hmm, a possibility. But kind of frightening. Alice wasn’t sure she wanted to be approached for her art. She should do a test, try and see if she could talk to someone about her art without seizing up. Looking around the room, though, most of the kids were fairly intimidating or unpleasant. They’d say no. They might laugh at her.

Alice noticed Vinny almost by accident. The other student was at the other side of the classroom, where most of the people were milling, and she caught site of his spiky black hair, which drew her eyes. Alice was pretty sure they shared a music class, and he was decent at playing. She didn’t know him very well, but he seemed nice enough. He was also an unusual dresser, she had noticed. Alice took note of people’s clothes for some reason, and Vinny often wore sweater dresses in cold weather, and when it was warm out sometimes seemed to wear sundresses. It struck Alice as odd, but curious though she was she imagined it might be rude to ask.

Still. He might be a good candidate for her experiment. He certainly worked from a visual perspective.

She wasn’t sure she ought to bring up his fashion sense, but at least he wasn’t likely to get offended by her request. So she stood up, carefully made her way through the maze of other students, and approached his desk. Looking up at him, she asked quietly with hands clasped at her chest, “Hi. I have a question. Er, a couple questions, sort of. Well, just one for now.”

Mentally wincing at her own awkwardness, Alice looked at him hopefully. “Do you mind if I draw you?”
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School had, in the past six months or so, become more exciting and more difficult all at once.

Vinny's parents seemed to be getting it for the first time, which was great, because Vinny had never really quite been certain exactly what 'it' was to begin with. They - and it felt surprisingly good to think of themselves without either a 'he' or a 'she' tag - had been over it a bunch of times over the year, both with their parents and with the doctor. Enzo liked their doctor, a steely-eyed man of Indian descent whose name Enzo always mispronounced, though he didn't seem to mind.

In any case, the doctor was more understanding than a lot of schoolfriends, who also hadn't really 'got it', and it was sometimes beyond Vincenzo's capabilities to explain. 'I just don't feel like a boy or a girl' never seemed to satisfy anyone, and Vinny struggled to come up with further detail than that. It was how they felt, what else could they say? For everyone else, it just seemed to be taken for granted that you were a boy, and liked cars and action figures, or a girl, and liked dresses and dolls. Why did that even matter?

Enzo was pretty distracted anyway. There wasn't much going on in this class, and the teacher had more or less checked out mentally, allowing the kids to openly talk while they went about writing songs. Well 'writing songs'. Enzo had never liked any kind of written English, and attempting to make something that actually flowed and worked and- forget about it. With thinly disguised disgust, they looked down at the page and then turned it over, starting again for the- oh, they'd already written on this side of the page. Ugh.

Distractedly, Vinny ran a hand through their hair. They kind of wanted to grow it longer, but...

Somebody popped up in front of them. Sort of popped up. They stopped not so very high.

Kinda short.

Enzo tilted their head to the side, frowning slightly. "Draw me? Oh, um... sure, I guess?"
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As soon as Alice spoke, she felt her face burn red with embarrassment. Oh, this was silly, why did she need to go and ask someone about this sort of thing? Vinny was just sitting here working, and here comes that Alice to ask a random question. Honestly, she expected him to say no. Who wouldn't? Weird girl asks to draw you, why agree?

Then he said yes. That was...good and bad. She'd worked herself up for disappointment and now she wasn't sure what to say when she got approval. "Oh, really? Uh, well, thanks." Smiling a little, Alice sat down at her new work station next to Vinny. She gazed at his face for a moment, trying to decide where to begin, and then started to draw.

Tracing an outline of the face was Alice's first step, and took about a minute to get the head shape where she wanted it. After that, Alice looked up at Vinny, suddenly feeling awkward about herself yet again. "Sorry, I got distracted." She paused. "I just...I wanted to try drawing someone, and you're pretty nice, so..." She trailed off, unable to shake the sense she was digging a hole and crawling into it.
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Vinny glanced down to their page, and then back up to the girl again. Truthfully, now they weren't certain what they were supposed to do. Should they just stay as perfectly still as they could? Actually, how long would this take? Darn. Maybe they should have asked for a few more details on what the artist wanted.

Her name was right on the tip of Enzo's tongue. They shared classes with her, after all; Vinny was certain that they'd heard the name when roll was being called. It was... hm... Oh! Alice, right, right.

Thankful for their brain coming through at last, Vinny fiddled awkwardly with a pencil, scribbling out a few more haphazard lines of what definitely didn't qualify as a song.

They looked back to Alice. Her eyes were watching them. Vincenzo smiled, a shade awkwardly.

"It's okay. You like drawing?"
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So far, so good. Alice was pretty happy with what she had up until now, which consisted of the outline of the head and some rough facial features. It was a nice sketch, far from complete but on it's way. Alice smiled slightly. This was definitely helping her inspiration-wise.

Unfortunately, it still required social interaction, which was less Alice's forte and more her foe. She nodded, a little too vigorously, in response to Vinny's question. Then she realized how silly it looked, how childish, and winced. She hated appearing childish. She was 13, almost an adult.

"Uh, yeah. Kinda weird, I guess, but I like it." Way to be down on yourself, Alice. She held back a sigh and added, "But yeah, I do art and stuff. What about you, you draw?"
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Vinny responded with a subdued shrug. Nothing strange about liking drawing. Lots of people drew, or doodled. They'd been known to scribble now and then, although they wouldn't go so far as to call it art. Enzo didn't really have the patience to sit down and attempt to put together a proper piece; they just got bored and inevitably distracted by something else.

"Me?" Vincenza's eyebrows rose for a moment. Hey, mind reader over here. Well, not really, but it was mildly entertaining to think of Alice in that way. Like some kind of superpower. Miiiind pooowers.

Anyway.

Vinny shook their head. "Not really. I play video games a lot, Mario and Pokémon and such. Oh!" Enzo stopped abruptly, smiling. "But I started teaching myself guitar a little while ago," their grin widened. "I'm uh, not really very good, but it's fun."
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So Vinny was a gamer. Funny, Alice wouldn't really have guessed from the look of him. Still, he seemed pretty nice as far as-did h say guitar?

"Oh, you play guitar?" Alice brightened up almost immediately, excited at the prospect of music talk. "That's cool! I play violin, I've been playing for a long time though so I've got a lot of practice. It's cool you're picking it up though! Acoustic or electric?" Alice's sudden burst of energy was not out of the ordinary; music was one of the things that got Alice much more talkative, that and books really.

Catching herself, though, Alice suddenly became very self-conscious. "Oh, uh, yeah, that's cool though." She gave a sheepish smile and went back to her drawing. The outline was mostly done, so a little more detail work and she'd be finished. It looked pretty nice, but Alice was more satisfied with how well it matched Vinny's looks. It was a pretty accurate sketch.

A thought appeared in Alice's head, a reminder of the question she'd meant to ask. "Hey uh..." Alice froze up. She wanted to ask, ask why Vinny dressed oddly sometimes. But she didn't want to be rude, didn't want to bring up the potential awkwardness. "Nevermind." She looked back down at the paper and got back to work.
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Enzo's mouth quirked into a lopsided smile at Alice's sudden outburst. See, this was half the reason they'd wanted to give the instrument a try. Playing guitar was just cool. It was something that everyone understood, didn't need Vinny to stand around explaining, having to check and double check that they'd been understood. Tell someone you were a guitarist, and they got it straight away. Plus, y'know, making songs was fun, even if Vinny wasn't really very good. That was fine, though! It was just a hobby, Vincenza didn't want to become a rock star or anything, though the idea of being on stage, strutting their stuff... kinda neat!

Vinny tipped their head to the side. "Acoustic. It's pretty old, got it second hand. Was missing like three strings. But new ones are like, whoa expensive, you know? It's a bit beat up, but it still makes noises and all."

Vincenzo couldn't resist craning their neck a little to take a peek at what Alice was drawing. That didn't look bad at all, even upside down. There was definitely a resemblance; Alice was pretty good.

When Enzo glanced back up, Alice was studying them. Enzo's eyebrows went up, then back down again, as Alice stammered through what wasn't quite an explanation.

"Nah, you can say whatever, I probably won't care. What's up?"
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Okay, so Vinny didn't seem to take offense to Alice's weirdness, thank god. If he'd gotten weirded out it would be super-awkward for either of them to have this drawing. And that'd be a shame, 'cause for once Alice was pretty proud. It wasn't exactly museum material or anything, obviously, but it was decent.

Vinny also gave permission for Alice to ask her question. That was less relieving. Alice was nervous, more nervous than she really had to be. A drawn-out pause weighed on her as she thought how best to word it, then how she should use her tone to indicate the inquisitive nature of her question and not sound obtrusive or mocking, then she needed a moment to work up the courage to blurt out the question and all the while she felt her face flushing and she looked at Vinny and oh god-

"I don't mean to pry, or anything, but I've been wondering, how come sometimes you dress like a girl?" There. Did it. Crap, that wasn't how she meant to say it at all. Crap, crap, crap, backpedal, backpedal!

"I mean, not in a bad way! It's just, sometimes you wear girl clothing, and I was wondering..." There was a term, Alice had heard it before, for a guy who dressed like a girl. After checking that nobody was around, Alice asked quietly, "Are you a drag queen?"

Well then. Hopefully she didn't make Vinny freak out.
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Oh. Jeez. The question.

Vinny had got used to hearing it over the past few months. Very, very used to it. Like okay, they got it, sometimes they dressed different. But why did it really matter? Come on, they were just clothes, who even cared? Well... everyone. A lot. Ugh.

Stupid boy/girl nonsense...

Enzo shifted awkwardly in their seat, reminded themselves of the line they'd been giving everyone.

"Because I'm not-"

Drag... queen?

What, um... oh. Those were... um.

Someone had yelled that at their parents, when they'd gone out in a sweater dress for the first time. They'd asked it explained, and... ugh.

Enzo rubbed the back of their head.

"Um... no," they said, quietly. "It's just, like. I'm just. You have boys," Vinny held one hand out to the side. "And girls," spread the other hand. "And I'm kinda..." Vinny moved their hands together, and then apart. "Just, different things at different times, you know?"
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Alice knew she'd gone about this the wrong way as soon as she spoke. Vinny's expression, plus the sudden realization that, no, calling someone a drag queen was not an appropriate question, made Alice's face turn the bright red of shame as she suddenly lost the ability to look Vinny in the face.

God, she was awful at this.

At least Vinny didn't seem immediately offended. The lack of anger was a good sign, though even Alice could tell Vinny was not comfortable with that line of inquiry. Okay, okay, time for damage control. The drawing was all but forgotten at this point, the pencil gripped tightly in Alice's hand like she was about to stab someone.

"So, uh, so like..." Alice paused, trying to collect her thoughts and figure out how to ask this without hurting Vinny's feelings. Again. 'Cause it worked so well last time. Anyway, she had to tread carefully to avoid any further social blunders in this situation. Oh, why did she have to ask?

"So you sort of...fluctuate? Like. you're not one or the other, I guess, but I guess you sort of swap? Is that what you mean?" The nerves were making Alice blabber, but at least this time she didn't call him a drag queen. This whole gender identity thing was something Alice had seen discussed before, but she was pretty unfamiliar with it other than 'guys feel like girls and visa versa'. Hard to understand, but to each their own Alice guessed.

Still, she'd never heard of someone 'in between'. She supposed it couldn't be that unique, though.
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Alice blushed.

That, actually, wasn't the worst thing that could have happened. There had definitely been worse reactions. Well, so long as it really was a blush and not Alice getting all... wound up and puffy ready to start yelling at Vinny. She didn't seem like she was going to start yelling, but you never knew. Some folks just exploded out of nowhere.

Enzo had, unfortunately, experienced that. Why get so mad about what somebody wore? Didn't they have anything better to do then get wound up about silly stuff? Skirts were nice. So were shirts, and pants, and sweaters and... for all the reason you could have not to like wearing something, someone calling you a boy or a girl seemed the dumbest. Even worse not liking what somebody else was wearing. Vinny wasn't making anyone else wear the things that they wore.

Vincenzo scratched their nose, smiled awkwardly as Alice attempted to puzzle her way through things. She sort of seemed to get it, anyway, and hadn't asked if Enzo wanted to be a girl, which was completely missing the point, so far as they were concerned. Like, duh, obviously they didn't want to be a girl.

"Yeah, you kinda got it. Sometimes I feel like a guy and sometimes I don't, and that's okay. Plus, mom and dad let me pick all kinds of different things to wear. It's nice."
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Alice was starting to feel a little better about this. Vinny didn't seem offended that much, so Alice figured that he was probably either used to getting probed or not used to someone not being nasty about it. Alice didn't get people getting nasty about lifestyle choices. Yeah, someone was gay or whatever, why do you have to be a jerk about it?

Anyway. At least this wasn't as bad as she'd expected.

"Oh, okay. I think I get it. It's good they're okay with that I guess. Your parents, I mean." Alice said. Parents could be tough, too. Alice's were okay, but she couldn't imagine a parent being so horrible to their kid. It just seemed crass to not accept your child intrinsically. Ugh, regardless.

"Oh!" Alice exclaimed suddenly as an unfortunate thought crossed her mind. She'd been thinking of Vinny as a he, but if he...she...he/she wasn't a 'guy' in the typical sense, was Alice being rude? "So you switch between, right? So should I call you...guy or girl? Or uh, both? Sorry!"

Hopefully that was okay.
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Vinny wound their hands together, placing them one on top of the other, and then the same again, then gave another shrug.

"Mom and dad thought it was kind of... well, it's hard to explain, you know? I went to a couple of doctors. Like, head doctors to see if they could help me feel better about, um, me. I just knew that I didn't really... I didn't really like it when everyone was saying I was a boy. And they thought it was kind of weird but then they were like... they wanted me to feel okay, and not weird, so they said it was fine, and just to say when I felt like a girl and when a boy and when neither."

Enzo rubbed the back of their head. They were used to giving this explanation, but it never got any easier, no matter how often they coached themselves through it, and talked it over with their parents - who were always conscious about Vinny not saying the wrong thing to the wrong person. Their parents wanted to make sure that nobody reacted badly, they supposed... and they'd unfortunately already had experience of that. Bleh. People could just be so lame.

"Um, well..." Vincenzo returned their attention to Alice. "Well like, usually I just say if it's a boy day or a girl day, but like... if you don't know, or it's both, or whatever, um... people usually say like 'that's Vinny, they're neither', or... right, um. You... getting this?"
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"Well, I'm glad they're cool with it." Alice smiled gently. She felt guilty, now, dragging up this conversation point. Vinny was clearly uncomfortable with the topic, and Alice didn't want to make them uncomfortable. She had sated her curiosity, sure, but was it worth it to upset the person in question?

Not really. So she needed to brighten the mood.

"Yeah, I got it!" Her enthusiasm was slightly forced, but genuine; she understood, and that would hopefully improve Vinny's mood. "When in doubt, they or them?" Alice smiled, trying to look excited. Excitement might help. Might being the key word, but better than nothing!

"Oh, I finished your drawing." Alice realized suddenly, looking down at the desk with the picture on it. It was lightly sketched, with thin lines and expressive eyes. What Alice realized, though, was that Vinny in the picture, though they looked like real Vinny, was smiling. Real Vinny wasn't so much.

"Did you want to keep it? Like, as a gift, if you want. You taught me something today, so...thanks."
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