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Fred et Violaine

0 · 194 views · located in Seattle Public High School

a character in “How to Make Them Love”, originally authored by Iye Khara, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

Name: Her full name, if you really want to know, is Winifred Elise et Violaine. It's kind of a weird name, yes. Well, you know. French. What can ya do? Hell, she thinks havin' an 'et' in her name is pretty awesome, but a lot of people seem to think it's just weird, so when asked, she tends to kinda mumble the 'et', and therefore a lot of people think her last name is just Violaine. As for Winifred-- you can just call her Fred. Well, that is, if you want to, you can call her Winifred, she... really doesn't mind. Or at least, doesn't speak up enough to mention she does. Generally, she just goes by Fred, and you practically need to threaten her at gunpoint to get the 'Elise' outta her. Fred et Violaine. Don't flow worth a damn, but it works. Someone once called her Freddikins. That person was never heard from again.

Age: At eighteen years old, Fred's old enough, at long last, to legally smoke, which really makes no difference, because Fred's been illegally smoking for quite some time already. Er... illegally smoking a lot. Gotta deal with stress somehow, you know. Eighteen, kinda pretty much looks it, not a whole lot to say there otherwise.

Appearance:

(Note: I don't normally use pictures, but these ones are pretty similar to what I intended. Just... not quite so drop-dead gorgeous, definitely not so perfect-looking, and not nearly so skinny. :v)

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As someone who tends to be so withdrawn, so introverted and so frightened of standing out and meeting new people, Fred is by no means someone you notice in a crowd-- she comes in at about 5'11 in height, which strikes her as average, so she's quite comfortable to be neither especially tall nor freakishly short. With regards to body build, on the other hand, Fred is... well, surprisingly robust. Yeah, yeah, hell, the nerdy guys are always skinnier'n a pogo stick, to say nothin' of the nerdy women. But to Fred, it just makes sense-- it's simply the sensible thing to do, a mark of an intelligent person, to maintain one's body as best one can. So it's not like she spends every waking hour at the gym (actually, used to be she didn't spend any time at the gym. Too many big, sweaty people making her anxious. She just keeps her own equipment at home.), but she sets aside enough time every day for working out-- lifting weights, pull-ups, crunches, the like. She's no bodybuilder, you can be damn sure of that, but people have often enough discovered that the shy girl with her nose always in a book isn't exactly your average stick-thin helpless nerd, which you can tell if she's not wearing her jacket-- her biceps are built of lean, mean musculature, her abdomen a firm wall of six-pack, her entire body maintained at an impressive physical state, because to neglect her body would be just as unwise to neglect her mind. It's a fact that's been slow in the coming to her, at least until two or three years ago.

Also, y'know, when you're in a school full of jocks who eat nerds for breakfast, it's a good idea to not be the slim pickings.

Fred's skin is an olive sort of hue, devoid of tattoos and piercings but dotted across with a couple scars, some acne, and a few birthmarks as well. The more prominent scar is to be found on her forehead, beginning somewhere in the middle of it, running down through her left eyebrow, and terminating just beside her left eye. If asked, she just says she tripped and fell face-first into the concrete, which is... well, the truth. Not particularly impressive, I know. At least it beats out the other one, which runs in a jagged, diagonal manner up a portion of her lower back. This one too, she claims, she incurred as the consequence of an accident—the validity of that, however, is entirely up to one’s interpretation. The acne's... well, typical teenage fare. The unfortunate result of a deadly combination of a sweet tooth, heavy cigarette addiction, and a general lack of concern for hygiene-- she's often so caught up with reading, or with her physics work, or whatever else she's doing, that she often forgets to take care of hygiene. So you'll find some 'lil pimples, some blackheads-- not big enough for people to recoil in horror all 'sweet jesus what happened to that person's face', but enough for her to notice. She frets over it some, but she loves sweet things too much to fix her diet to get rid of the acne. And the birthmarks are mostly port-wine stains-- of a slightly darker tone than her natural skin, they're to be found in splotches on her arms, her back, a couple on her throat, like someone just took a paintbrush and splashed paint randomly across her body.

As far as her face goes, most will agree that Fred does not have much in the way of soft or delicate features-- instead, her face is rather angular, as though it had been formed not of flesh and blood, but sculpted of marble and bronze, with sharp, defined features. Resting at the centre is a rather small nose, slightly pointed, with a significant crook at the dorsum to indicate that it's been broken in the past, probably from walking into a wall because she was too busy reading to watch where she was going. Not a very pleasant sight--in fact, if there's anything attractive about Fred's face, it's probably her mouth. Set between slight dimples, shielded on either side by vague but emergent laugh lines, her mouth is remarkably expressive-- when she smiles, her dimples come out, her face crinkles a bit, her eyes glow with the smile, and it's just a genuinely beautiful expression. Beneath a high, wide forehead are a pair of eyes afflicted with what is generally known as 'complete heterochromia': that term, however, is about ten syllables too long for most people’s taste, and they tend to look at her like she just started speakin' Swahili when she says it, so if anybody asks, she offers up the vastly simpler term 'mismatched'. Which is accurate, to be fair. Her left's an almost pleasant woody shade of green, the other a vastly less pleasant, kinda weird, mottled brown. Sometimes it freaks people out. She really hates that. Her hair is a dark, mahogany brown in colour, falling about as far as her collarbone-- though mostly because she forgets about taking care of it. Fred prefers to keep her hair fairly short, with the sides shaved down and the top left with barely more than an inch of hair. But like I said, hygiene... not really high on Fred's agenda. So she pretty much forgets all about cutting her hair until it's fallen in tangled brambles to her chest, whereupon she generally remembers to get it cut at last. Generally, she keeps it tied back in a very lazy ponytail-- heck, it's pretty impressive she even remembers to do that.

Clothing-wise, Fred keeps to subtle things, never one for flamboyant articles that would cause her to stand out in a crowd. A typical outfit for Fred would be a t-shirt (lately, she's started wearing band t-shirts, which is unusually bold for Fred), a pair of plain old jeans (perhaps with a tear or two, sometimes shabbily patched over because she can't afford to buy new ones), and a pair of ratty but reliable old sneakers. In colder weather, she'll throw on a denim jacket of hers, and that's about it. She does need glasses to see far away, but after somebody broke them while they were still on her face, she kinda stopped wearing them when she could afford to.

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Sexual Orientation: When you boil down to it, Fred's essentially asexual. She just... never got sex. Of course, she understands it just fine (she's still the super-nerd who's physically incapable of not learning everything about everything), but she can't imagine herself ever doing it, or anything like that. It's not a behavioural choice, either: at some point, Fred realised that she didn't experience sexual arousal, not for men and not for women, and after (as ever) delving into her books searching for answers, came to the beautifully succinct conclusion that she just wasn't into sex. Not that she can't fall in love. Hypothetically speaking. It's wholly possible. In the same way it's wholly possible that a stray gamma ray emission might wipe out the sun.

Likes: Fred's love of the written word is perhaps her greatest passion in life-- certainly the most immediately evident one, given how you can so often find her with her nose buried in a book. Yes, she's quite the voracious reader-- science-fiction, fantasy, modernism, realism, serious books, funny books, philosophical books, epics, prose, poetry, Tolkien, Wilde, Dostoyevsky, Poe, Sexton, Kerouac, Wells, Camus, Sartre, Kafka, Bukowski, Palahniuk, Marcuse, Nietzsche. The list goes on and on and on, and never stops growing. Honestly, Fred doesn't understand why everybody doesn't love reading-- to her, it's the only way she could possibly have stayed sane growing up more or less alone. In fact, it's pretty much her drug. Where some people might default on drugs to deal with loneliness and pain, Fred buries herself in her books and just doesn't come out. It's an escape mechanism-- all the joyous sensation of losing yourself that drugs give, without the whole 'spiralling into addiction and eventual death' bit. That kinda rains on the whole parade.

Fred's passion for music, on the other hand, almost equals that which she bears for literature. People like to say they listen to a bit of everything, and usually they're full of shit (how many people who 'listen to a bit of everything' are into goregrind, or postminimalism?), but when Fred says it, she damn well means it, 'cause she listens to damn near everything. Grindcore, death metal, hardcore punk, crust, goregrind, blues, modal jazz, gangsta rap, trance, black ambient, Tuvan throat singing, Celtic folk, alternative, indie rock, noise music, baroque, minimalism, postminimalism, totalism, new wave, 80s synthpop, drone, goth rock, disco, post-punk, shoegaze, Oi punk, ska, you name it, Fred probably listens to it. You don't name it, Fred probably still listens to it. It's kinda like reading-- she really can't describe what music does for her, or put it into words. It just kinda... fills a void. Makes her feel something that she otherwise couldn't have felt.

One thing you're bound to notice about Fred if you know her long enough (roughly five minutes is generally as long as it takes) is that she loves to know things-- loves to learn. About anything. Her primary area of interest, and the subject she hopes to make a career out of, is theoretical physics, but she pursues virtually all other subjects of knowledge with just as much vigour. The result, of course, is that Fred is quite the intelligent woman-- and not just in the realm of 'knowing things', but also in reasoning, solving puzzles, so on and so forth. But given the opportunity to learn, Fred will take it, no matter what it actually is (with very few exceptions, of course)-- doing mechanic work on a car, deriving Feynman laws, painting, solving chemical equations, whatever it is, Fred will very quickly become dedicated to mastering it. So she's good at a lot of things. Mostly things that don't involve talking to people except to herself. Or. You know. In any way communicating with people she doesn't know. Not very good at that. Other than that, though, she gives just about everything her all.

Also, no two ways about it, Fred likes food. She's a goddamn bottomless pit. By all rights, she should be morbidly obese by now, even with the amount of exercise she does as it is-- but alas, the universe is not fair, and some few, some chosen, fortunate few, are capable of eating through a goddamn buffet line, leaving nothing their wake, and emerging from the whole thing with room for dessert.

Which, speaking of it, is another thing Fred likes, a lot. Sweet stuff. Damn has the lady got a sweet tooth. Come by her house any time, and amidst the piles of CDs, books, loose sheets of paper covered in equations and formulas, you'll find empty box after empty box that once contained rows of succulent, irresistible chocolate chip cookies. Yep, she has virtually no excuse for eating the way she does, but heck, who can possibly resist a soft, tender cookie? I ask the most strong-willed of you mere mortals!

Dislikes: Fred is not one who hates easily-- but nobody is free of things they don't like. Heck, anybody who has nothing they don't like in life is probably even weirder than Fred is. Which is probably saying something.

While indeed ‘dislike’ may be too strong a term in this particular situation, Fred is certainly... quite uncomfortable in the presence of other people. Hell, it’s not even necessarily strangers, though she certainly tends to regard virtually everyone she doesn’t know with a degree of shy suspicion. Even with people she knows, Fred isn’t completely comfortable. Mostly, this is because she’s still unaccustomed to being around other people—so used to being on her own that the presence of other living things is still awkward in and of itself to her. She does also tend to fear she’s gonna make a complete fool of herself somehow—start talkin’ to herself outta nowhere, go off runnin’ her mouth, say some word that nobody says anymore and thusly incurring laughter and mockery and other unpleasant things that Fred generally is not fond of having directed her way. But really, when you get down to it, people make Fred uncomfortable primarily because she’s so used to being alone that she’s not used to the presence of others.

She also rather hates her cigarette addiction. To her, the addiction is one big glaring mistake, an endless lapse in judgement, a mark of shame and stupidity that she is reminded of every time she feels that craving returning. It disgusts her, to think she turned to cigarettes, to think that books and music were not enough for her-- to think that she could willingly encourage the slow, debilitating destruction of her own body. But she can't help it: even if the root cause of the addiction, that which drove her to initiate in the first place, has abated, the addiction has become its own force, one that is seeking to dismantle the independence by which Fred hopes to live, and she fears kicking the habit might take a toll of its own.

On the other hand, you'll sure as hell never see her touchin' alcohol, 'cause she's downright afraid of that shit. Sure, you see all those pictures of lungs that've gone black like someone pumped them full of ash, warning labels on packs of cigarettes and all, but she's seen first hand what alcohol makes people do, and she doesn't intend to ever end up like that. So she absolutely refuses to drink. Not socially, not as an escape, not for any reason, and she'll refuse to have anything to do with somebody who happens to be drinking at the moment.

Nobody's generally a fan of bullies (except, y'know, other bullies), but it's worth pointing them out because domineering people freak the shit outta Fred. She's promised herself that she'll stand up to them and act confident, but that doesn't mean she won't be shakin' in her proverbial boots the whole time. After all, dealing with people in and of itself is stressful already. Dealing with people who are used to getting their way by pushing and shoving?

Also, vegetables are practically the bane of Fred's existence. She loves sweet things, she loves hearty, filling food rich in proteins and carbohydrates, burgers, steak, sloppy joes, burritos, barbecue, roast, ribs, eggs, even some fruits, all that stuff. But vegetables? Why, she'd sooner live off moldy bread than that stuff. They're not filling, they taste gross, and... man, she just doesn't get why anybody actually enjoy eating 'em. She avoids it as much as she can-- gotta have one every now and then, of course, 'cause ya gotta have your daily nutrients and whatnot, but that don't mean she gotta enjoy it.

Personality: Fred would seem at first glance to be a woman of contradictions-- easygoing but neurotic, timid but not without confidence, sweet and shy but absolutely unwilling to be walked over. Generally, however, you will find Fred to be a genuinely nice person, when she isn't absorbed with whatever she happens to be doing-- reading, studying, working out mind-numbingly complex physics equations, so on. Which tends to be a problem-- Fred gets very easily caught up in her thoughts and in whatever she's doing. It can be a good thing, as it helps her easily solve puzzles and problems. It's also a bad thing, as she is very easily reminded of her own personal demons-- her fears, her suspicions, her most debilitating inner anxieties, all just waiting to seize on the opportunity to undo all the progress she's made these past few years.

As a result, she's quite neurotic-- talks to herself a lot, mostly because she's still not very used to talking to other people, so she just talks to herself. About anything. Even when other people are around-- she's trying to change that, but it's as much a habit as biting her lip or tapping her foot. She also tends to be incredibly distrustful of others-- though not in an aloof, cold manner so much as a quiet, almost sheepish fashion. Indeed, her greatest obstacle in life has been this conviction that people will inevitably find a way to hurt her-- but only if she lets them do it. These days, she's managed to free herself of this conviction-- not enough to suffer being walked over by people, certainly, but enough that she's begun making friends for the first time in her life. But the problem with that kind of progress is that it's fragile, and all too easily undone.

And if fear of people and talking to herself was her only mental... oddity, shall we say, then she just wouldn't be Fred. Because Fred is also host to innumerable other little quirks-- some harmless and even, perhaps, a bit amusing (her eye twitches sometimes when she starts thinking too deeply), but others aren't so innocuous. Sometimes, she's positive she hears people talking, to her or amongst themselves, even when she's completely alone, and sometimes those people, the ones nobody else can seem to hear, talk to her, ask her who she thinks she's fooling, acting like someone she isn't, putting herself in danger and making herself vulnerable before others. Also, Fred all too easily feels threatened, or pushed into a corner by others, and her fear of being humiliated and bullied has led her to believe the only responce to any such perceived attempts at bullying is to retaliate as hard as is needed to make the problem go away and leave her alone. She's still not used to interacting with people, and extensive interaction with others, friends or otherwise, is quite draining on her, such that she seeks to get away and be alone again when she starts to feel that antsy wrenching in her gut. She avoids physical contact, because she associates it with vulnerability, just as she does with the sharing of personal details. All in all, a hot mess of insecurities, suspicions, fears, and neuroses, all balled up together into one insecure, suspicious, fearful, and neurotic woman.

But calling her all that disregards the fact that beneath-- or perhaps, above-- it all, Fred is a generally sweet person. Practically incapable of being cruel to another human being, at least with any sort of genuine malice, Fred's the kind of person who goes outta her way to return the shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot to where it belongs, the kinda person who'll hand-write a letter to a friend just to tell 'em she was thinkin' about how much they mean to her, plants new trees out in the park, give her bus seat to the frail old lady standin' there lookin' like she's about t'fall apart then 'n there, keeps a bird feeder out on her balcony. That is, as the saying goes, 'just how she rolls'.

History: Everybody’s got a story to tell: Fred generally prefers not to tell hers. She’s not exactly the best at sharing things to begin with, and call it paranoia, but the idea of sharing personal details makes her oddly uncomfortable—almost like it makes her feel vulnerable, in a way. So when faced with any such question, Fred’s most likely to give an awkward chuckle, say something to the tune of “Oh, you don’t wanna hear about ‘lil ol’ me. What’s there to say?” But like I said, everybody’s got a story to tell, whether they tell it or not.

And it’s not like she had some sort of incredibly dark and horrible childhood with constant abuse and endless anguish. The abuse was only infrequent, and immediately regretted, and as for the endless anguish... most of it came from Fred’s own head. It wasn’t her own fault, not entirely—a combination of her environment, and the way she learnt to live from that environment. The problem was that those ways were all the wrong ones.

For one thing, Fred was almost always alone in her childhood. Her mother died of complications from childbirth very soon after her daughter was born, and Fred always got the vague but uneasy feeling that her father blamed her for her mother’s death. Suspected, later in life, that he hated her for it—began even to think maybe she could see why he would hate her for it, began to think maybe he wasn’t wrong for placing the blame on her shoulders. He was to begin with a very aloof man, with the social skills of a mossy boulder and all the sensitivity and tact of one, too, and the death of the only person he’d ever loved utterly destroyed him, leaving him alone to raise this newborn leech on his own. The father-daughter family spiralled very quickly into abject poverty, having known little financial affluence to begin with, and he was forced to work, two, three minimum wage jobs, slaving away every day just to keep himself and this parasite of a baby alive, clothed—hell, sometimes, if they were lucky, even fed.

Consequently, her father was almost always at work, and hardly ever was he at home. Nobody was. Only Fred. So, with nobody else there to turn to, she turned to the only person there at all: herself. For lack of anybody else to talk to, to share her thoughts with, she talked to herself. Had deep discussions with herself, argued fervently against herself, shared her joys and her woes with herself, laughed weakly at her own jokes, cried to herself, consoled herself. Fred became, in effect, her only friend—and she couldn’t see anything wrong with that. If anything, it was simply natural to her—comforting, to have somebody there for her, at least, even if it was herself. It really wasn’t so bad. Not until her father started drinking.

Don’t get the wrong impression—I’m not sayin’ he picked up the bottle and that was it, he straight-away became an abusive monster. Wasn’t like he took a knife to his daughter, or beat her senseless, or anything like that. It was just... loss of control. The abuse, the drinking, all of it. The world was getting to him. Each and every passing day of drudgery and work seemed bleaker than the one that had come before, until they blurred into one long dull, aching hallucination, and he felt and was just as alone in the world as his daughter felt and was. Their mutual misery fuelled a cycle of loneliness and suffering—he, having lost the only person who had ever loved him, and she, having never known what it felt like to be loved in the first place. And consciously or unconsciously, he blamed Winifred for all his pain and his desolation. When it was exacerbated by the alcohol habit he quickly lost control of, blame turned into very real hatred, and hatred became loss of control, and loss of control led to brief, sudden flashes of violence. He’d strike her, he’d yell at her, he’d shove her furiously—it was never any kind of prolonged, malicious abuse. Just... loss of control. And he hated himself for it every time. Because even if he’d never loved this girl, she was supposed to be his daughter. Even though she was the very reason that his reason for living was now gone... maybe, just maybe, she was the only thing he really had left of her.

If all had been right in the world, then one day, after he’d lost control and hurt her for the last time, the elder et Violaine would have taken his daughter aside, to apologise for all he’d done, to listen to what she had to say for the first time—to make peace with her, learn to love her, and forge a better future for one another whilst fixing the scars of the past. But you see, all is rarely ever right in this world, and much of the blame for that lies in the fact that humans are, as a rule, incredibly flawed creatures, and et Violaine was no exception. He could never bring himself to apologise. He could never bring himself to talk to his daughter about anything—it was all he could do to force himself to ever even look at her. They never spoke. They never reconciled. They never learnt to love one another.

As for Fred herself, well, all this only reinforced her understanding that she was alone and meant to be thus. The blows her father delivered whenever he lost his temper hardly hurt her, even when one particularly violent eruption left Fred in the hospital with stitches and her father in a state of remorse and anguish. No, if anything truly stung, then it was the fact that from that point on she came to fear that kind of pain from virtually everybody else in the world. After all, if her own father could inflict such harm upon her, who was to say other people couldn’t do the same?

So when it came time for the little girl to attend school, she avoided the other children—certainly, she avoided befriending them, for fear of what she perceived to be an inevitable and painful betrayal. The teachers made their attempts to get something, anything, out of Fred, but she preferred the company of herself to the company of anybody else. School wasn’t any different from home, except that at school, she couldn’t lock herself away in her room. Instead, however, at school, she found a new, much better method of dealing with all of it—a new escape, one that was more than the physical locks on her doors.

The first book she remembers ever picking up and truly reading was a teacher’s copy of Dostoyevsky’s Notes From Underground. Not exactly first grade level reading materiel, hell no—not even for a child like Fred, who had learnt to pick up on the school materiel exceptionally quickly. But she hardly cared: the very first sentence intrigued her enough that she took it home with her and spent every waking moment dissecting the text. Every other word was a word she didn’t know, but to her, the book was like a puzzle—she just had to find out what those words meant, fit them in properly, until each new sentence fit together beautifully, like a freshly painted picture, and then she’d repeat the process for the next sentence. Until at last, the whole book made sense, and the puzzle was complete, its secrets revealed to her, its characters brought truly to life, and its world at last a haven for Fred to escape into.

Two things were revealed to Fred in that moment of triumph. The first was that there was no greater joy in life than understanding something—whether it was a word, a book, a motor engine, a complex physics equation, truly knowing something she hadn’t known before was a feeling unlike any in the world. Learning gave her something to occupy her mind with, something to think about, something to do, and that was something she direly needed in those early years. It became more than just an escape mechanism, more than something to do—eventually, it became a habit. To Fred, gathering new knowledge was like blinking: she just did it. She’d find books about virtually every subject—mathematics, biology, human anatomy, tarot cards, Buddhism, economics, nihilist philosophy, psychology—she read it all cover to cover and committed it to memory. Nothing was irrelevant. Nothing was not worth learning.

The second thing, of course, was that reading was really, really fucking fun. Not just as an escape, just in general. With so many books, so many worlds out there to explore, so many unique characters to meet and familiarise herself with.... hell, Fred had trouble seein’ why everybody wasn’t constantly readin’ books like she was. She’d get ‘em everywhere and every time she could—from the public library, from the bookstore, yard sales—and if she could, she’d keep ‘em, up in her room, where she began to amass quite the library for herself. By the time middle school rolled around, she all but lived there—stored food and water there so she wouldn’t have to leave to get them, until she only ever left to go to school, and she almost never saw her father anymore. Hardly ever saw anybody, for that matter. And this served her just fine. Fred went on as she had always been—locked up in her room, reading, learning, talking to herself, fearing her father, fearing everyone else.

But the later years of middle school, and the beginnings of high school, were the first steps out of the comfortable bubble Fred had built for herself—her first steps out of her room, really, and into the ‘real world’. It was around that time that, seeking a greater degree of self-sufficiency, of independence, financial and otherwise, from her father, Fred got her first job, and the man she’d once known as her father became more and more distant until he was just a speck in this vast new world. A wider world, with more people, with new and varied personalities, much more different, much more developed, much more relatable than any of the children Fred had seen playing their crude games out on the playground whilst she watched from afar. Eighth grade was the first time that Fred could remember that anybody approached her of their own volition and seemed to actually want to know her and befriend her. The first time Fred encountered that all-too-rare breed of human called ‘friendly people’.

But Fred was too used to seeing people not as potential friends, not as people who might have shared her interests or her passions, not even as perhaps kind and friendly, but as potential abusers, as threats, as big, walking danger signs. She was afraid of being betrayed again, to be hurt, and so she reasoned that she couldn't be betrayed if she didn't let anybody get close enough to her. And to that end, Fred simply ran away. Every time somebody approached her, she shoved past them with her head bowed and scurried off. Everybody was her father, lying in wait for her to let down her guard so that he could show her once again that she was not loved and never would be—that she would only ever be hurt by other people. But not if she didn't let that happen.

The problem is, people are naturally social creatures. It's why this bothersome little thing called loneliness exists-- because when people try to make themselves alone, when they try to cut themselves off from all human interaction, they're not happy. And Fred became lonely-- for the first time, she wasn't content with locking herself up in her room and reading, with working to provide her own subsistence, with being alone with herself. For the first time, she wanted other people—needed other people.

Unfortunately, rather than deal with it by, y’know, goin’ out and finding people, Fred turned, in perhaps her greatest moment of weakness, to something new to deal with the loneliness. A little thing called nicotine, which isn’t very well known for working out well for people in the end. But she was confused, she was anxious, she was even a little scared, and she just dove headfirst into smoking as a way to deal with it, and became viciously addicted almost on the spot. Her worst lapse of judgement, as she would regret it for years to come—and the worst part of it all was that it didn’t help at all. It only made her even lonelier than ever. Until at last, the despair drove her to tentatively take her first step into the all-too-complicated, ever-perplexing art of communicating with other living things.

Which is where folks like Kang Sungjae came into the picture. Fred never ran with the popular crowd (not that she coulda if she’d wanted to)—they were too numerous, too ingrained into the very fabric of the school, too immersed within dramas and whimsies of their own making. Instead, consciously or otherwise, Fred gravitated towards the weirdos. The ‘pariahs’, were one to venture so cliché a term. The nerds, the geeks, the loners—pretty much, the people who were just like Fred was. Sungjae, however, was the first. Hell knows why—the only thing they had in common was that both of them were about as chatty as a corpse. But he was genuinely nice—perhaps the first person Fred recognised to be genuinely nice, even though for months she remained guarded and cautious in his presence, just in case it turned out to be a ruse just like she knew it so easily could be. After that, she found herself slowly coming to trust and appreciate Jae, as a friend. And from him, she learnt to do the same for others—until, whaddaya know, Winifred Elise et Violaine had friends.

Which was all well and fine, except that this meant that Fred began attracting even more attention from the less than friendly folk who attended this fine institute of education. In other words, the bullies. She’d never had much trouble with them before now, before she’d begun to ‘come out of her shell’ so to speak. That first time, all they did was break her glasses. While they were still on her face. But then, the second time... well, there was no second time. And there wasn’t gonna be a second time, she decided. Made up her mind on that as she knelt down on her knees picking up the fragments of her glasses, lying forlorn and dejected along the sidewalk. Her fears of being hurt by others for opening up to them had returned, but instead of forcing her back into her shell, they incited a strong sense of dignity. A sense of dignity which, in combination with her burgeoning relations to others and her reluctant steps into the wider world, stimulated further changes in Fred.

For one, she became bolder. Not that she wasn’t still the shy, constantly anxious woman she’d always been before—that was a persona perhaps too deeply ingrained to be changed now. But she decided if anybody ever tried to bully her again, she wouldn’t let them walk all over her—this, she decided, was her, takin’ charge for the first time, sayin’ that this shit didn’t fly and she wasn’t gonna let it happen. To be pushed around and walked all over... she’d never before realised just how reprehensible she found the very notion of it to be, not until she was forced to sit there like a fool, helplessly picking up the shattered pieces of her glasses while the bullies just sorta stood by, pointed, laughed, got bored and left. She resolved that it would never happen again, this kind of indignity. She’d stand up for herself.

...which, she was all too aware, was probably gonna lead to her gettin’ her ass kicked, so around that time, Fred started working out. Prior to this, her body had been of very little importance to her; she was concerned solely with the continued development of her mind. The incident awoke her, however, to the importance of balancing mind with body: after all, her mind wouldn’t be much use if some bully grabbed her and shoved her into a locker. Unless said bully, I dunno, demanded to know the electric charge and parity of a photon, which was probably not gonna happen unless the bullies around here turned out to be a hell of a lot nerdier than Fred had figured them for. So, in part to keep herself safe and in part to maintain that balance she’d been neglecting until now, Fred started exercising. At first, she was limited to anything she could do herself, push ups, crunches, squats, the like. Later, as she began working herself and some money, however slight, began to come in, she bought weights, and then a pull up bar, and then a bench press over the years, and dedicated hours of the day to relentless, punishing work outs. And before ya knew it, here came quite possibly the world’s first physically fit nerdy chick. In retrospect, she probably shoulda put a call in to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, but alas. We all have things we regret not doing.

Spurred by this growing confidence, when she turned eighteen and had made a good bit of money for herself, Fred turned to the man who had almost vanished from her life altogether: her father. By this point, though they ‘lived’ in the same house, Fred and her father lived two completely different lives; neither saw much of the other, and neither particularly wanted to see much of the other. It had been some years now since her father had laid a hand on her, but the man still frightened Fred to this day—not just because he had hurt her, but because of the apathy and utter indifference he exhibited. By eighteen years old, the gulf between Fred and her father had grown wider than it had ever been before—too wide to ever be repaired again, and they both knew the time for them to finally leave one another’s lives for good was quick in the coming. Neither fought it. When Fred, feeling she owed at least that much to him, told her father she was moving out into her own apartment, he hardly said a thing. He simply looked at her for a few seconds, a few arduously long seconds, and said “Okay”. No goodbyes, no ‘don’t be a stranger’s, no unnecessary words. They had an unspoken understanding that there was no need for them. It was understood between them that it would have simply been better if they never had anything to do with each other again.

So Fred moved out. Found her own little apartment in a quiet section of town. A place where she could do as she liked—stack her books up to the ceiling on the floor, cluttered around with her CDs and empty packages of cookies and brownies. For the first time, she was more or less completely independent, completely on her own. And the thing was, life didn’t change for her at all. She had her friends. Her books. Her music. Her aspirations for the future. Maybe that was all she needed.

Other: Fred is fluent in French, Spanish, and Russian, with some proficiency in Mandarin Chinese and German. Also knows some bits and pieces of Korean, because of course, it wasn't like she was gonna let Sungjae not teach her a bit of his language when she could. Obviously, fluent in English, which she speaks with a distinctive Gulf Southern accent. Whether or not the accent is real, or perhaps simply retained, that can't be said. Has been regularly attending a boxing gym for the past two years or so, keeps a punching bag in her apartment, learnt to have a killer left hook and one hell of an uppercut.

Theme song, no clue. With Fred, her choice of song could be anything from Aborted to Coltrane. But for a theme song, I'm gonna go with Dark Angel's The Death of Innocence. No clue if the lyrics fit the character, but I like the tune (so too, I suppose, would Fred), and the title seems apt. Or maybe Converge's Orphaned. That also works.

Face Claim: No clue what this means. I claim your face?

So begins...

Fred et Violaine's Story

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Character Portrait: Kang Sungjae Character Portrait: Arrow James Character Portrait: Fred et Violaine Character Portrait: Julio Fernando Ramirez
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"Arrow, teachers like you if you actually participate in class and do the work they assign without a fight," he said with a light laugh. "I have History too, maybe we have the same one?" he said, his head tilting slightly. He let out a surprised yelp of pain as he felt someone run into him and headbutt his head. He turned and laughed lightly as he saw his other friend, Fred. "Its alright Fred. I forgive you. Still tripping over those pesky oxygen particles?" he asked teasing her lightly.

"I know that you say that you won't let them Arrow, but sometimes they find a way passed both of our defenses and they still manage to attack me," he said with a small frown. "I don't even want to know what kind of cruel tormenting they have planned for me this year," he said, sighing. He shook his head lightly and gave them both bright smiles. "How was your guys' vacations? Did you do anything fun while I was in Seoul?" he asked. He and his family had gone to visit his grandparents and other family over the summer holiday as they did every summer.

Throughout their conversation, he couldn't shake the feeling that someone was looking at him and he turned his head to see if anyone was looking in their direction and his eyes widened in fear when he saw Julio. He quickly looked away and pulled his two friends into the building faster, sighing in slight relief when they were down a few hallways from the entrance.

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Character Portrait: Kang Sungjae Character Portrait: Arrow James Character Portrait: Fred et Violaine Character Portrait: Kailen Matthews
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"Wake up," Called Kailen's father, his voice just as harsh as his icey glare. Kailen cussed under his breath and clambered out of bed, his eyes cloudy and his voice a tiny bit groggy. Despite his usually happy attitude, mornings weren't his thing. His father called up again and Kailen replied by shouting "I'm up!". He pulled open the doors to his wardroke and examined his clothing choice. After a while he chose the 'back to school' outfit he'd bought a few days back.

He wasted no time with goodbyes this morning, he just zoomed out the door, grabbing an apple from the fruit basket in the kitchen on the way. He raced towards his car and got in. "Off to school we go," He whispered, starting off his journey with a "Woo-hoo".

Kailen exited his car and breathed in the toxic air of his highschool car park. "Refreshing!" He said cheerily to himself. He scanned the area with his usually bright eyes, a smile tugging on the corners of his lips. He figured school must be starting some time soon, as a few people were heading inside. There were three that he recognised quite easily. Sungjae, Arrow and Fred. He picked up his pace so that he could walk beside them. "Greetings, friends" He said, soon followed by a small chuckle. "Miss me?".

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Character Portrait: Kang Sungjae Character Portrait: Arrow James Character Portrait: Fred et Violaine Character Portrait: Kailen Matthews
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Sungjae turned and waved to Kailen, the only sort of kind of popular that he could stand - since he was technically a nerd too. "How are you? I missed everyone, Seoul was boring without having friends there. I mean I have some friends there, but they all focus on looks and the like," he mumbled.

His eyes widened as he remembered his discovery that he had made over the summer. "Guys, you will never believe this. There's a whole website dedicated to me. My friends showed it to me while I was over there," he said as he pulled his phone out of his pocket and went to the internet, pulling up the page that he was talking about. He held it up so they could all see.

The website was filled with pictures upon pictures of him while he was wandering around Seoul in the summer. There were comments in every language asking who he was and why there were only pictures of him in the summer and not year round like there were for most people. Sungjae's friends had left a comment explaining that he lived in America and only visited Seoul in the summer - hence only summer pictures.

"Is this just weird or what? I mean its kind of cool, but I don't know why they would take pictures of me and put them on the internet," he said.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kang Sungjae Character Portrait: Arrow James Character Portrait: Fred et Violaine Character Portrait: Kailen Matthews
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Arrow sighed, feeling like she wanted to scream. And she probably would have, had it not been for the fact Sungie probably would have yelled at her for bringing so much attention to them. "What fun is doing work without a fight? At least I get the stuff done." A few seconds passed. "Okay, most of the stuff done. You still need to help me with math though. Numbers and letters? Hasn't made sense to me since seventh grade." The next thing she knew someone was running into Sungie, and she turned to snap at them before seeing one of his other friends. Sometimes she was actually jealous of Sungie, the only friend she had was him, and then he had all these other people. But as soon as she realized that she was actually jealous, she quickly dismissed the feeling. Sungie wouldn't ever ditch her on purpose, 'least she hoped not.

Though she still didn't know how to reply to Fred's question. Actually, she never knew how to reply to anyone saying how's it hanging. Were you supposed to say fine, even if you weren't? Or would it be more appropriate to say good? "Er, it's hanging fine Fred." Well now she just sounded mentally impaired. Was she supposed to ask her the same? "How is it hanging for you?" Yeah, definitely sounded stupid. Good job Arrow, you've succeeded in making a fool of yourself yet another time today.

"They aren't going to get to you Sungie, not this year. I'll be like your personal bodyguard." She stuck her tongue out at him as she pretended to flex nonexistent muscles. As if on cue Kailen stepped up beside their group and a grin lit up her face. "Kailen! Of course we missed you." Arrow jumped around the back of the group and wrapped her arms around the other boy. "See Sungie? You have me, and Kailen to protect you." Her blue eyes found Kailen's. "Well, at least I assume he wouldn't let anyone beat you up." She gave her best puppy dog face, though ended up laughing.

Sungie then began talking about a website all about him and Arrow smiled. "That's awesome. You're like, world-famous." Arrow laughed, batting her eyelashes and pretending to swoon in sight of the 'star'.