It was the beginning of May Dave had found nothing. Facebook? Nope. Personals? Nope. Websites specifically for finding that 'special' person? Nope nope nopenopenope. Dave had come to a few conclusions as he tapped away at his laptop in a bored manner, not even listening to his professor as the man rambled on about social experiments while he sat in the very back of his Psychology class. First off: Whoever he was looking for had to be in hiding. There’s just no way that he could have slipped Dave’s grasp, positively none. Every 'John' he'd looked through just didn't. . . fit. He knew he'd be able to tell when he saw the guy, but so far nothing clicked. Secondly, Dave had come to a unanimous decision; Every John in the history of ever was an asshole. It was official. Every profile picture was of douche-bags in tight shirts with backwards flat billed hats that had horrible bios and typing errors galore. They weren't even ironic, they were just idiotic.
"Mr. Strider?" Blinking out of his reverie, Dave raised his eyebrows, looking down as his teacher adjusted his tie. "Yes or no?"
Shit, he'd completely blanked as Mr. Spade had explained. . . Whatever the hell he'd been talking about. Without a second thought, the blonde boy nodded, closing his laptop. "Yeah, yeah, sign me up."
"Fantastic, that makes you the final student in our next experiment. Stay behind after class for further instructions." The smile he gave Dave was less than happy as Dave himself just blinked. That was supposed to be a figure of speech, Dave didn't actually want to be signed up for shit. He didn't even know what the hell he just agreed to. He wanted to raise his hand and ask what the fuck he missed, but it was kind of too late now and with a groan he slid down in his seat, pushing his shades further up the bridge of his nose by the outer rim of the frame.
So far, 2014 was the most annoying year of his life.
"I have to get a pen pal?" Dave questioned incredulously, looking at the three other students next to him. They all looked completely unsurprised, but then again Dave probably wouldn't have been if he'd given two shits and actually paid attention to what his professor had been saying.
"Yes," Mr. Spade said, rolling his eyes slightly. He was sitting at his computer, and once a particular page finally loaded he took out a small pad of sticky notes, beginning to scrawl down what looked like names in a sporadic, black font. "For anyone who didn't listen, Dave, you will be doing a pen pal experiment online, studying the emotional connection to a complete stranger and the way it can effect us. The site name is up at the top, and the person you're being paired with is at a school in Washington. Their screen name is directly below it, and sign up instructions are on the back. Your logs will be recorded, and at the end of a six month time it will be your job to review them and point out the changes in speech, comfort levels, and compatibility. You will pull examples from your talks, but you have a few rules. First off, try and minimize the swearing, this is a school project. Second off, do not tell or use distinctions of your own names, or any personal information. This study is purely off of small bits of information provided through every day conversation, don't give them your name, age, or even the name of your school. All they will know is that you live in Texas, and that's how it should be. And, finally, you will be getting an increase by one letter grade by the end of this, so it's not a complete waste of your time," Turning his chair, Mr. Spade began handing each student one of the sticky notes, "Your own screen names are at the far bottom, your chatting partners are in the middle. You're dismissed."
"But wait," The one girl of the group asked, her pink rimmed glasses sitting comfortably on the bridge of her nose as she fiddled with her waist length black hair, "How often are we supposed to talk to them?"
"Once a day. You'll be setting that up with them, and I would suggest that the four of you talk about once a month, to see how progress is going with everyone else. It's good research." Placing a hat over his slicked back hair, Mr. Spade stood up, sliding his coat on one arm, "Now if you'll excuse me, I must be going."
All four students watched him leave, the door echoing heavily in the empty lecture hall as it slammed shut.
"So," The girl stated, turning to look at the other three students, "Since we're gonna have to be talking, we should probably get to know each other!" She seemed oddly enthusiastic and bubbly to Dave, which was oddly conflicting with the overwhelming silence of the group.
"Or," One of the boys stated, crossing his arms over his chest, "We could shoot ourselves instead."
"Karkat, thop being an athhole," Another boy muttered, a heavy lisp taking over his speech. Looking at all of them, he raised a hand in a silent hello. "I'm Thollux Captor, and thith ith Karkat. Don't worry too muth, he'th alwayth a jerk."
"And in case you can't speak swollen tongue, his name is Sollux," Karkat butted in, rolling his brown eyes and yelping as Sollux shoved a pale hand against his face in retaliation. Shoving back, Karkat stood a little taller, and Dave realized that he was about four inches shorter than the rest of the group. Huh. "I'm Karkat Vantas. I didn't even want to do this, but fuckwad over here volunteered me, so. . . " Giving an almost defeated shrug, he sighed.
"It's good to meet you guys," The girl chuckled, smiling at them, "And I'm Feferi Pexies, but everyone calls me Fef."
"Dave Strider," He introduced himself tersely, looking down at his little slip, "And since you guys are apparently my new go-to buddies, what the fuck is a 'PesterChum'?"
"Beatth me, but it thoundth horrible," Sollux said, looking at his own slip of paper. "What in the ever loving fuck kind of name ith caligulath aquarium?"
"It's the kind that you're pronouncing wrong," Karkat answered, reading over his shoulder, "It's caligulasAquarium, there is no 'thhh'." Sollux smiled as he elbowed his friend, who grumbled and looked at his own, "That sounds fine compared to mine, I'm stuck with gallowsCalibrator. What in fucks name does that even mean? Gallows like what you hang people by?"
"I think mine is a botany student. Theirs is gardenGnostic," Fef smiled, "I think this is going to be really fun!"
Looking at the own name in the middle of his post-it, Dave snorted, "Wow, ectoBiologist. Elegant." What a fucking dork. It was then that he looked at the name below it. "Hell yeah, mine is turntechGodhead. That sounds cool as piss, I'm ready for this."
"Oh yeah, I forgot we get our own nameth," Sollux looked at his, his eyes narrowing. "twinArmageddonth?"
"It must be a random name generator or something, mine makes no fucking sense. carcinoGeneticist?" Karkat didn't even look sure that he was pronouncing it right before raising an eyebrow at Fef. "Is yours just as fucking dumb?"
"Nooo, it's actually kinda cute. I'm cuttlefishCuller," She smiled brightly, "Well, I do like marine biology, so I guess this name generator thing wasn't too far off."
"Yeah, how did it now that I had a God complex while flipping tunes?" Dave questioned with a deadpan expression, slipping the piece of paper into his back pocket. Grabbing his bag from the floor and sliding it over one shoulder, he began to walk towards the door, the other three kids grabbing their bags and following suit. The last thing he needed was a chatting buddy, but if it was going to get his grade up he may as well participate. Sighing, he began the walk home, slipping on his headphones and letting his mind be brought away from whoever ectoBiologist was, and whoever John could be.