It was two months into their school project when John had realized.
It had started off with just smiling. Turntech was funny! He made dumb metaphors, he rapped for long stretches at a time, he drew John comics. He was a good friend, and always cheered John up.
But then things became a little more serious. Turntech trusted him sooner than John would have thought he would, and John returned the favor with an actual amount of vigor. Turntech shared worries for his brother. Apparently he'd gotten hurt a few weeks back, and it had freaked him out more than a little. He told stories of growing up being raised by someone who's only eight years older than you. He shared worries that he wouldn't get a good job with his major. So John reciprocated. He told Turntech about being adopted, about how he was worried of making his Dad upset at any point because he would fail at anything he tried. He admitted that he was terrified of the future, which made Turntech laugh because 'dude that is so fucking common dont freak out over that shit everyone has to face it with you the future isnt just not gonna come'.
He'd thought he'd just made a close friend. A close friend who he wanted to meet really really badly.John didn't even realize what he was feeling until he nearly had a panic attack in public, catching himself daydreaming about finally meeting the mystery white haired boy and kissing him senseless.
It was interesting, that there was no big freak out over the fact that Turntech was a guy. John could only have a big freak out over the fact that he was fantasizing about kissing someone who wasn't his mate.
He didn't even know where it came from! One moment he'd been walking in the mall, planning on buying a new pair of pants, and suddenly his face was against some guys in his mind and oh dear lord what was he doing.
He didn't tell anyone. He was afraid that he would come off as either A: an insensitive jerk, B: ignorant or C: Someone who's chill with infidelity.
He tried to ignore it.
So far, he'd been doing a pretty good job. There weren't any more surprise daydreams to suddenly attack him as he was walking.
Part of him wondered if it was going to go away.
The dream that woke him up by making him feel distinctly uncomfortable and in need of a towel to mop up nervous sweat assured that it was, in fact, not leaving at all.
But hidden it remained, planning on never being brought to fruition nor to public knowledge.
Two and a half months into their school project is when Jade finally realized why John had been acting like an idiot.
She'd been talking Cuddlefish, having one of their late night talks when it was brought up. The girl was wrapped tightly in her bright green feather blanket, eating cake from a mug while tapping her toes to the beat of the music pouring from stereo across the room. Jade decorated the place to match her personality; it was erratic, colorful, and bright. White fairy lights hidden in lanterns were strung around the borders of her rooms, making the need for the light up on the ceiling completely useless as her walls were covered in random posters, drawings, and the occasional gun rack holding one of the prize guns that her father had taught her to use over the years. It was the complete opposite of Nepeta's room, which was across the hall and completely filled to the brim with plushies and rich red colorings, making it feel warm even in the winter. Nep had gone to bed hours ago, snoozing a room away. That night their cat had decided to bunk with Nep, leaving Jade to fill the space it left with a delicious mug full of baked cake batter and chocolate chips and a stuffed squiddle. Hearing another ping, she looked down at her laptop, not realizing that she'd spaced out momentarily.
CC: )(ave you noticed if -Ecto )(as been acting weird too?
Jade frowned, sitting back on her bed and setting her mugcake aside.
GG: why would he be acting weird? :?
CC: Because! Turntec)( )(as been acting differently! -Every time I see )(im in class )(e's on )(e's computer, and according to Twins )(e's always talking to -Ecto!!
GG: well why is that a bad thing? we talk all the time too!
It was true. Jade and Cuddlefish were practically attached at the hip. Well, as much as you could be with someone across the US that you'd never really met. They had made fast friends, just like John and Turntech apparently, but for the first time since they'd began talking Jade was lost with Cullers logic.
CC: T)(is is different. Turntec)( is one of t)(e coolest cats on t)(e block!!! )(e wouldn't be caug)(t dead smiling usually, but lately t)(at's all )(e seems to be doing. Plus during t)(e last two group meetings, )(e seems to be almost giddy. As giddy as a cool kid can be, but not t)(e point. Point is, is )(e's. . . )(appier t)(an before all t)(is.
GG: okay so hes different but why would ecto be acting differently too?
CC: Well, after talking wit)( Geneticist, we t)(ink t)(at maybe Turntec)( )(as a. . . . u)(. . .
GG: come ooooon
CC: It's mostly because of )(ow )(e talks about )(im, as well as )(ow )(e seems to be quite fond of learning about )(im from t)(e rest of us-
GG: cull spit it out!!!
CC: We t)(ink )(e )(as a crus)( on )(im. And by t)(e way )(e's been acting, we're t)(inking t)(at -Ecto reciprocates t)(at feeling. Or, at least, leading Turntec)( on to t)(ink t)(at )(e does.
Jade paused, her interested smile dropping quickly to a blank face.
One might not understand, when looking at the situation from a different stand point.
Let this be explained. Crushes were something that little kids were allowed to have, and even that was pushing it. Maybe there was someone who you really wanted to be paired with, and in a few rare cases, you were, but usually. . . To everyone over 21, crushes were a total taboo. You already have someone out there waiting for you, someone literally crafted to be there for you at any turn, and yet you love another. It's a rather large insult, not to mention it goes against your own fate. Many people tried to avoid the subject completely, and children were taught at a young age that just because you liked someone, didn't mean you were meant for them. So hearing this, Jade nearly blanched.
GG: theres no way! he would have told me if
Jade paused, frowning. Her mind flicked back to before and after this whole thing, before and after John had started talking to this guy. He's always been happy, but after The Name he'd gotten down, and suddenly. . . . he wasn't. More smiles, more of his old self back, like how he'd been before The Name. Plus, over the past two meetings, he really had been gushing about Turntech. He seemed so invested in talking about him, and when Eridan prodded that they seemed to have discussed a rather large range of items, John had admitted that they talked a 'bit' more than probably needed for Ms. Paints standards. But he'd also been getting skittish and avoiding certain topics about Turntech, as if he were nervous or something-
GG: i gotta go!
-- gardenGnostic [GG] ceased pestering cuddlefishCuller [CC] at 01:12 --
John stumbled blindly to his door, blinking heavily and tiredly as his steps lilted to the left. Managing to scramble in the darkness and hit his hand across the doorhandle, he opened it up, praying that the ominous, incessant ringing of his apartment buzzer would stop. Yanking the door open, he let out a small groan at the brightness, a hand coming up to shield his eyes as a hand met the center of his chest, shoving him back into his apartment. The heavy door fell shut as John landed on his butt, looking up into the darkness and having to squint to get a silhouette.
"What are you doing?!" She snapped out, putting her hands on her hips as John's eyes fought to adjust to the darkness.
"Sleeping? Or I was until you came busting down my door! It's two in the morning, what are you even doing here?" Pushing himself to stand, John readjusted his worn tee shirt, his pyjama pants dragging on the floor due to their sheer bagginess as he walked over, flipping on his living room light and having to fight to see again.
There stood his cousin, an annoyed expression painted over her face, fuzzy slippers gracing her feet, her long hair pulled up into the messiest bun possible and her arms crossed over her chest. "With Turntech, John, don't play dumb with me, it doesn't work."
John paused, his pupils still fighting to adjust as he stopped completely. There was no way she could know, was there? "I don't know what you're talking about."
"When I told you he was hot I didn't mean for you to start flirting with him!"
"Excuse me?" He bit out, crossing his arms across his own chest.
The two of them stood, facing each other with matching expressions and stances of annoyance. Well, that was until Jade's morphed into worry and concern, her hands dropping to her sides, "You have your mate out there, what are you doing? Culler told me that you two have something going on, and it needs to stop. Now."
"How would your pen pal have any idea? He doesn't tell his group anything!" John defended, glaring at Jade's blurry shape the best he could with his unglassed eyes. "And we're not doing anything, we're just friends. I don't even known what you're talking about."
"Apparently he's not as secretive as he would like. How often are you guys talking?" She questioned, raising her eyebrows.
"Uh-" Swallowing, John gave a shrug, "Once a day, just like everyone else."
"For how long?"
"Why does it matter?! Why did you come over at two in the morning to find out my talking habits? Why do you even care?"
"Because, John! Because I'm trying to protect you! Because this isn't fair to your mate, and this isn't fair to you! Getting yourself emotionally attached to a stranger who is hundreds of miles away isn't good, nor healthy. Not to mention that even having a crush is so freaking insulting to both your and your partner."
"Well why should it matter?!" He snapped out loudly, causing Jade to pause.
"Why should it matter if I like him? Alright, why does it even matter? If my soulmate is out there, fine, but for right now they're not there and he is. We talk, we are close, and he's my friend. Who cares if I like him a little more than I should? I am allowed to do what I want, damn it, I'm an adult. My mate hasn't made any attempt to find me, or contact me, and he has. Plus, when this project is over he's probably not even going to want to talk with me again. Why should it matter to anyone? You don't need to be worried, I'm not going to hop on a plane down to Texas and meet up with Turntech, I'm not going to do anything rash or stupid. I'm breaking my own heart in this situation, thank you, and I do not need someone yelling at me at two in the morning for it!" Sighing, he covered his eyes, collapsing to sit on his couch, "So to answer your question as to what I'm doing, I haven't the slightest clue. I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm doing it, and it's my stupid mistake to make."
John had thought about this more and more often than he would have liked. It had only been half a month ago when he realized what he was feeling, and he even went as far as to avoid talking to Turntech for too long each day for nearly a week to wait and see if the feelings would recede. But they didn't. It was funny, in a way, that on his birthday he'd been freaking out that his mate was a boy, and here he was getting a crush on one. Funny, but horrible. But that was beside the point. The point was that after all this time, he couldn't help but like his penpal. It was dumb, and irresponsible, not to mention that it was painful. It was painful because Turntech wouldn't feel the same way, and that in three and a half months he was losing him when this entire project was over. He would never meet him, and it wouldn't really matter in the end. But he still couldn't help himself.
He knew what Jade was trying to do, and he was thankful that she was trying to snap some sense into him. He was ruining this friendship and he was ruining his own lovelife without a single care. Over some boy who wore sunglasses indoors and had some sort of addiction to applejuice.
Silence filled the room as Jade walked over, sitting next to her cousin on the sofa. There was a total of five minutes of silence before Jade lifted a hand, patting at her cousins back. "Is he worth this?" She questioned quietly, and it didn't come out malicious in the least. It came out curious, but also worried.
His head tipped up and down slowly. In an instant, John's shoulders were shaking slightly, his hands continuing to cover his face as his eyes began to well up. This was embarrassing. He'd been ignoring it, or trying to, but it just wasn't working. He hadn't even been the one to give this feeling light to the public, it had been Turntech himself. And now he was guilty. He was guilty because Jade was totally right. It was comparable to having an affair, but he didn't even know more than the name of the guy he was supposedly cheating on.
Frowning, she leaned her head on his shoulder, letting out a small sigh as John pulled in a shaky breath. "Tavros."
"What?" He asked, letting out a small sniffle as he peaked up to look at her.
"He was this guy I liked. Super nice, kinda awkward, had a mohawk. I always thought that I'd get his name on my wrist I really did. We'd been friends since I was little, and we always got along. And I told him that, and he thought that it would be the same way around. So I waited for it. I waited to be able to call him 'mine'," She smiled at the memory, letting out a small sigh, "And when I turned twenty one, I looked at my wrist and instead of seeing his name, I saw this beautiful purple. Tyrian purple is what it's called, after looking it up. But I was crushed. When I broke the news to him, so was he, but then again it's not like I could change it. So I had to let that crush die, and it hurt. Badly."
"But-" Wiping at his eyes, he looked at his cousin, "When you found your name out you seemed so happy."
"It was an act, John. I missed him for weeks. Not only was he my crush, but he was my best friend." Swallowing, she patted John's back again, "But I know how it feels. Yet that name on your wrist, you have a duty to them. And no matter how badly you want to break it, you can't. They were literally made for you, and just because you want something else, that doesn't mean they're what you need."
She was right. he knew that.
TG: alright ecto i know you have a weird sense of humor but this isnt fucking funny
TG: five days is long enough
TG: did i do something wrong?
TG: no of course i didnt i am a goddamned gentleman
Dave grunted in frustration as he kicked his living room wall, continuing to pace in front of his laptop as he bit at his fingernails. Things had been going well. Fuck, things had been going more than well, they'd been going fucking swimmingly, god damn perfect. That was until Biologist stopped logging onto Pesterchum and was refusing to answer any of his attempts to talk to him.
Maybe Ecto could tell. Dave had been flirting, sure, but it was harmless, and his penpal had been reciprocating for quite a while. It's not like his mate would ever find out about it, and hell, it's not like it would ever actually come into play. So he liked the kid, why did it matter? Maybe it mattered to Ecto, maybe that's why he suddenly up and fucking left leaving Dave to wring his hands like an idiot for five days while he typed out stupid bits of conversations between himself.
TG: you know what fine
TG: i dont know what the everliving fuck i did wrong but five days of silence is damn near barbaric
TG: message me when you feel like it i guess
Dave was literally in the middle of closing his laptop when that annoying ass ping ran through the room, making him nearly rip the screen off its hinges as he pulled it back up to look at the message.
TG: would you look at that he actually gives a shit
TG: what the hell is wrong with you did you think this was funny?
TG: jesus dude i didnt think you were an asshole until this what the fuck was that?
EB: whoa calm down turntech, you're losing your cool.
TG: no shit sherlock
TG: do i seem like i give a flying fuck? im mad ecto explain what i did so i can turn that anger away from you and onto myself
Dave was fuming. Five days of silence and the first thing said is that he was losing his cool? Wow, how amazing of an observation.
TG: we were good man we were doing fine what did i do wrong
EB: nothing! this was all me, i swear.
TG: so i should be pissed at you then?
TG: good to know because im not fucking kidding im as pissed as a god damn hospitals supply of urine samples
TG: each bit of anger is labeled and jarred just for my convince
EB: look i'm sorry!
TG: ah yes sorry thats just the blanket statement i need
TG: kind of ironic as fuck that literally the last thing i want to hear is the only thing that seems to make sense to say
EB: ah, yes, the infamous irony makes a guest appearance.
TG: bash irony all you want its not going to change the fact that what you did was flat out fucked up
EB: i don't get it, how can you base your entire life on irony?
TG: to be honest im not sure
TG: but i did it anyway
TG: now stop changing the subject
EB: i was thinking through some stuff. unfortunately it was stuff that i couldn't talk to you about because, well, it involved you.
TG: so i just dont get to know after five days of silence
TG: even thought it was partially about me
EB: not today, nope.
EB: probably not ever.
Dave was just glaring at the computer, not even sure what to say. he wanted to be angry, but he could almost understand where Ecto was coming from. Still, some sort of warning would have been fucking nice. Another ping made him look up, watching as blue words flitted across the screen.
EB: that's actually pretty impressive.
EB: living your entire life based on irony, i mean.
EB: so you've lived your entire life by it, but would you ever think about changing it?
Damn it, he knew Dave too well. He knew how to suck him back into a conversation. Fucking irony in its finest form presents itself to you on a silver platter, and Dave just can't say no. Someone you're desperate to ignore talking about the one thing you can't ignore ever. And he really was trying to strike up a conversation. . . "Damn it Ecto," He muttered, his hands falling back to his keyboard.
TG: i dunno
EB: well, do you want to?
TG: its too late to try now
TG: im balls deep in an ironic life
EB: well you could change it. who knows, someday you may have to.
TG: and if i tried to get rid of it nobody would like who i was
EB: i highly doubt that. i talk to you all the time, even when you forget to use your metaphors. you're actually pretty great.
TG: i just called you an asshole and yelled at you
TG: how fucking stand up of me right?
TG: just goes to show how great i am
TG: you were probably going through some heavy shit and i was an ass about it
"Son of a bitch," Dave groaned, slipping his glasses off to rub at the bridge of his nose. No. There was no way he was going to feel guilty about this. Ecto was the one to ignore him, he didn't give any warning. He was in he wrong here.
TG: truth be told ecto biologist
TG: i am actually a total loser
TG: or at least i must be because i cant even stand being mad at someone ive never fucking met
TG: i cant believe you havent stopped talking to me right now seriously
TG: im a dick usually but ive been worse tonight than i should have been
Dave was slamming his fist against the counter top as his forehead fell to his laptop. Stupid, stupid, stup-
EB: . . . i don't really believe that.
EB: you're a dork, sure, but you're not a loser.
EB: and at first it was kind of stipulation because i promised ms. paint, but
EB: i like to think that we're actually good friends now.
EB: so even if you were kind of a dick tonight i think i can forgive that.
TG: id like to think that too
TG: thanks for that
TG: god damn it dude im supposed to be pissed at you for your total lack of shits about ditching me
EG: hehe! what can i say, i'm a charmer! :)
From the other end, John was sighing, running a hand through his hair. Separation? Didn't work. He'd have to try something else. But he could do it later, because right now he had a friend that he'd been a jerk to and a lot of time to kill. With a small smile, he cracked his knuckles, fingers flying against the keys once more. Surely a five hour talk could make up for the five day absence. Right?