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Brennyn "Ren" Lowell

"Trust me! ...Actually, on second thought, don't."

0 · 555 views · located in Los Angeles, California, USA

a character in “Our Love Is Blind”, as played by Feyblue

Description

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β•”β•—
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{
Even I take what I say with a grain of salt. I'd advise you to do the same.
}

DΙͺα΄€ΚŸα΄Ι’α΄œα΄‡ Cα΄ΚŸα΄Κ€ ✦ #4A42BD


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✦ Full Name ✦
  • Brennyn Avery Lowell
  • Origin and Meaning: Brennyn is an archaic spelling of Brennan. It is Celtic in origin, and means "Tear Drop." Avery and Lowell are both Norman/Anglo-Saxon in origin, and respectively mean "Fae Counsel" and "Little Wolf." Needless to say, he's quite proud of what he refers to as his "collection of badass names."
✦ Nickname ✦
  • Ren
  • Origin and Meaning: A single syllable, selected "at random" from his first name - or so he claims. The fact of the matter is that he chose to be called "Ren" based on the Japanese meaning of the name, which can either be read as "Romantic Love" or "Lotus Blossom." Given his tendencies towards secretive romanticism, this is no coincidence, as his choice was based on the somewhat superstitious assumption that his name would reflect his life - or, in short, that the nickname he chose would increase his chances of falling in love. Regardless, he seldom includes this particular meaning in his aforementioned collection.
✦ Gender ✦
  • Male
✦ Age ✦
  • 16
    ✦ Sexual Orientation ✦
    • Heterosexual
    ✦ Face Claim ✦
    • Masashi Toogaito, Hyouka
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✦ Height ✦
  • Six feet, two inches.
✦ Weight ✦
  • 172 lbs.
✦ Eye Color ✦
  • Ice blue.
✦ Hair Color ✦
  • Light chocolate brown.
✦ Physical Description ✦
  • Tall, lean, and ordinary. These are three words that describe Ren. His mid-length, roughly straight chocolate brown hair is generally ruffled up in an unkempt bird's nest of dark locks, running down to a point just below the base of his neck in the back, and generally dangling around in front of and just over his eyes - not quite enough to cover them, but enough to frame his face. His skin is somewhat pale, suggesting a life spent mostly indoors, and his build is generally rather scrawny, especially when compared to his rather large height of six feet and two inches. Most of this height is made up by his legs, as he possesses long limbs and broad shoulders, but not nearly so much muscle as you might expect from someone of his stature. Actually, despite his size, he's rather unassuming, simply because most people just see a kid in unremarkable dark clothing with ordinary brown hair and a bored expression usually adorning his face, and then their attention moves on.

    His only two really distinctive features are his youthful, smooth skin that seems to violently refuse to grow any more facial hair than the occasional tiny amount of stubble - which he usually shaves off anyway so as to keep unsightly hairs from growing in on their own - and his eyes, which are bright blue, and almost seem to shimmer in the light. From his black shoes to his black slacks to the black blazer of his school uniform - worn not just to comply with the school's dress code, but also to protect him from the sunlight that burns his skin so easily, as he's never bothered himself to tan - he seems very monochromatic, and generally, quite dull. What of him isn't colored in shades of black and grey is usually a pale cerulean blue, as aside from his blazer and the white button-up shirts he usually wears under it, he tends to favor simple garments in dull rather than sharp colors, like the blue t-shirt shown in the pictures.

    This isn't to say he's unattractive. At the very least, he isn't ugly, as despite his scrawny stature, he has a generally good, respectable, even friendly look about him, with an amicable half-smile maintained perpetually out of habit that shows he's not entirely averse to interaction despite his formidable height and dark wardrobe, and his eyes and the softness of his hair could certainly be called charm points. It's just he's definitely not the sort of dashing, manly prince that you would call "handsome." He's just a guy - a very, very normal guy.
✦ Distinguishing Features ✦
  • Long Hair: Ren's crowning glory, as it were. He pretends that he doesn't pay much attention to it, and the reason it's so long is because he's just too lazy to go get it cut, but if one looks closely, they can tell that he does get it cut enough to keep it even and in order, and yet never lets it get any shorter than his neck. If one presses him on it, he'd likely say that he hates "that generic male buzz cut look," and thus tends to overcompensate by letting his hair get just an inch or so longer than most guys his age. This doesn't really explain his tendency to use hair products with subtitles like "smooth and silky" or the like, though. Maybe he's trying to look the part of some kind of pretty boy...?
  • Blue Eyes: Although they crop up frequently in fiction, blue eyes are actually one of the rarest eye colors natural to Humans. As such, they're another feature than Ren prides himself on.
  • Literally Giant Wimp: Despite his somewhat halfhearted attempts at a workout regimen, the fact of the matter is that Ren is... really, really scrawny. Although you can occasionally see the faintest hint of muscles here and there, his height, when contrasted with the thinness of his build, makes him seem even more like a stick figure.
✦ Oddities ✦
  • Unhealthy Thinness: Contributing somewhat to his incapacity to be imposing, Ren also seems to lack fat almost entirely, such that you can easily feel his bones beneath his skin if you probe enough. He usually tries to pass this off like it's nothing, but the fact of the matter is that his current eating habits can't exactly be healthy.
  • Unusual Scent: A side effect of his somewhat questionable choice of aesthetic and hair products, Ren tends to have a a faint, oddly flowery odor. Fortunately, it's slight enough that most people don't notice, and if they do, he usually just says it's deodorant.
  • Shy or Not?: Ren's attitude towards social interaction is... odd, to say the least. He almost never approaches people of his own volition, preferring to stay in the background and avoid undue attention. However, if somebody approaches him, he doesn't really seem frightened of them, or hostile towards them, instead holding a friendly, if brief conversation, usually filled with plenty of bad jokes, and then distancing himself once again.
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✦ Personality ✦
  • Ren is a somewhat... "interesting" person. On the one hand, he seems polite, friendly, outgoing, and even witty, joking energetically with those who engage him in conversation. Most people would call him a well-adjusted, mature young man well on his way to adulthood, and everyone who talks to him, if you asked them, would probably say that he has a lot of friends - although if you asked them to name any, they'd probably have great difficulty producing even one name. He himself, however, feels anything but. Even if he interacts with others kindly when they speak to him, he shows almost no initiative when it comes to actually reaching out to others. Possessing a hyper-sensitive sense of self, he over-analyzes any potential course of action, always doubting how he's perceived and worrying that others will only find him strange for behaving the way he does, even in the way he feels is normal. Consequently, he usually remains completely silent in the presence of others, awaiting someone to give him a reason to speak before he does so. Feeling stifled by his lack of experience with other people, he finds himself crushed by a sense of dread that he'll be perceived as strange, or stupid, or a nuisance. Consequently, he feels obligated to meet up to the expectations of those around him, and to exceed them, so as to prove his misgivings false. Because of this, he finds himself spending most of his time just joking around, trying to amuse the people who actually bother talking to him, so that they won't notice that his outgoing facade is just that - a mask.

    Highly intelligent, he's the sort of person who sits in the back of a class, raising his hand every time the teacher asks a question he's confident he can answer, rattling off his response, and then lapsing back into silence as he ponders the world outside the window to his right. If you asked him, he'd probably say that he's not smart, persay - just good at memorizing things. He'd also likely joke that, when described like that, he sounds like the main character of some cliche school story, and then shut his mouth again as he realized he'd just hinted at his fondness of anime, something most of his peers would look upon with scorn. Indeed, beneath his semi-studious, socially awkward exterior lies an unparalleled love of fiction - largely video games, movies, and the occasional anime. But, like so much else about himself, he hides these facts, too afraid of how people would view him to stand up and state his hobbies plainly.

    Suffering from a relatively minor case of chronic depression, he's well aware of how pathetic the way he lives his life is, and of the fact that not a single person he regularly interacts with really knows, or particularly cares, what he's actually thinking. Even so, he's reluctant to step out of the mold he's made for himself, conditioned by years of avoiding others into maintaining his aloof, shy mindset. Even if called directly on any one of what he feels are his flaws, he'll always just pass it off with a joke and a smile, making it seem for all the world like there's nothing wrong. Because of this, he's something of a compulsive liar, refusing to tell the truth about anything he feels strongly on out of fear of how those around him might react. Over time, this habit of lying only spread, such that he thinks very little of speaking falsehoods so long as they make things easier on him. His lies are seldom malicious or manipulative - they're usually just meant to keep people from realizing that he's not nearly as competent, calm, and collected as he seems. And, despite his lack of motivation, he'll usually help people if they ask for it, as he loves nothing more than being useful to others - not to mention that he finds it very difficult to say "no." But, at the same time, he doesn't go out of his way to meet and hang out with his peers, or to offer his assistance to them, since he seldom does anything unsolicited, and if they didn't ask, then whatever it is, it's none of his business. It is perhaps for these reasons that he hasn't actually had any notable female friends at any point in his life, let alone a girlfriend - another embarrassing secret he hides from the public. Another important thing he lacks is a goal for the future, as, aside from going to college when he graduates to please his parents, he doesn't really have any dreams or goals set for himself - a fact which worries him, as the youth he so cherishes is almost over. He knows he'll have to face reality sooner or later - he's just not sure how he'll manage it...
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✦ Likes ✦
  • Sweets: Like most people his age, Ren is rather fond of pretty much anything with a sufficiently high sugar content. Donuts, cinnamon rolls, candy, ice cream... it doesn't really matter. If it's sweet, he probably likes it. Given this, though, it's a wonder he's so thin. Just how little normal food does he eat...?
  • Video Games: Even leaving aside the fact that it's fun to get immersed in a fast-paced action game, it's just a nice way to spend time without, as he sees it, "bothering other people" - not to mention being a good distraction from day-to-day stress.
  • Anime: Another nerdy interest of his. Although he ended up getting into watching anime through his love of giant robots, as well as his enjoyment of RPG Games, Ren swiftly ended up getting bored of the trite plots and cliches in shounen shows, and ended up shifting his focus... to something that's arguably even more of a cliche: Shoujo. Given his soreness over his own lack of luck with women, he's ended up becoming something of a closet romantic, with a soft spot for oftentimes cheesy, fairy tale romances through which he can live vicariously. This, like so many other things, is one of his most closely guarded secrets, however.
  • Singing: A somewhat more normal hobby. His tastes in music are eclectic, but when it comes to vocals, he has rather high standards for good singing, and usually judges a song by the quality of the singer's voice. He's actually quite the singer himself, with a remarkably wide range that allows him to hit both fairly high and fairly low notes. However, he feels kind of awkward about singing in public, so usually keeps this a secret also.
✦ Dislikes ✦
  • Eye Contact: He always feels a bit guilty when somebody notices him looking at them, as though just by observing them, he's somehow intruded on their personal space. Thus, his eyes usually tend to wander away from the person he's speaking to, making him feel a bit awkward when somebody confronts him directly on something.
  • The Heat: Part of the reason he seldom goes outside. He tends to sunburn easily, and aside from that, isn't particularly comfortable at even remotely hot temperatures.
  • Physical Contact: Another thing that simply makes him uncomfortable. He's not one to recoil and scream at the slightest poke, but at the same time, he tends to be a little uneasy about moving into anybody's personal space, and can be somewhat jumpy if touched when he doesn't see it coming or expect it.
  • Losing: Due to the high standards to which he holds himself, he tends to judge how highly he should hold himself in esteem based on his performance record. As such, he strongly dislikes being beaten, being unable to do something he feels he has has to do, or otherwise failing to live up to his own expectations, as in this sense, he feels as though he's inadequate.
✦ Motto ✦
  • "For perhaps there is some element of the good even in the simple act of living, so long as the evils of existence do not preponderate too heavily." - Aristotle, The Politics
✦ Motivation ✦
  • Desperately Searching for a Purpose in Life: Ren tends to feel a sense of listlessness and existential uncertainty, as he lives his life constantly looking towards the future, blindly hoping that somehow, the passage of time will just magically allow him to overcome all the difficulties he faces in living up to his own standards. His secret romantic streak is perhaps the most prominent manifestation of this, as, above all else, he wants to feel as though his mere presence is beneficial to someone - reasoning that this would thus validate his own existence. Because of this, he's grown to idolize the idea of being in love with someone, viewing it as a sort of be all, end all that will just instantly solve all of his life's problems - even if, deep down, he knows that that assumption is merely baseless naivete...
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✦ History ✦
  • Although his solitary demeanor and social awkwardness might lead one to believe that Ren was an only child, this is actually an incorrect assumption. Born as one of a set of twins, Ren was almost inseparable from his brother Richard during their youth. The two of them might have fought occasionally, but at the same time, they also shared almost all the same interests - mostly video games, old sci-fi movies, and other such "nerdy" hobbies that weren't always shared by their peers. Because of this, they tended to understand each other better than any of their friends did, which inspired a certain level of companionship between them that remained even through their worst quarrels. This bond was only strengthened by the fact that they went to the same school and took the same classes, which meant they ended up hanging out with one another essentially all day every day.

    However, both of them being kids, they didn't exactly enjoy their schoolwork. And, since neither wanted to do any more than they had to, they ended up deciding to come up with some less-than-legal shortcuts. Richard approached Ren frequently, asking if he could copy his homework. Ren, deciding that he wouldn't work for free, instead moved to strike a deal. Both of them would do half of their assignments, and then copy the other's work, with a few small changes to obfuscate their collaboration. However, try though they might, they couldn't completely hide the similarities in their returned assignment, and so after a few months of comparative ease, their teachers started to catch on. Ren, realizing that they couldn't keep their routine going, was too afraid of getting into trouble to confess his cheating. Realizing that he'd probably be expelled from school, he decided to take desperate measures to avoid being caught. Happening to "find" some of his homework in his brother's room, he told his parents that Richard had been copying from him without his knowledge. Richard managed to cover his actual cheating well enough that he wasn't conclusively caught, but he was suspended for a year, putting an end to their cheating... as well as to both his teachers' and his parents' trust of Richard.

    However, Richard also never found out that it had been Ren who had scapegoated him, and as such, he remained just as trusting of his brother as he always had. More than any bitterness would have, this filled Ren with shame, since despite the fact that he'd betrayed his brother and only friend, Richard was the only one who had to suffer the reputation of being a chronic liar and cheat... and he never ever once blamed or suspected Ren. Overwhelmed by his guilt, he tried to make it up to Richard, but couldn't bring himself to confess what he'd done, as he was too afraid. Because of this, he slowly drifted apart not only from his brother, but also from the rest of his family. With his guilt growing daily, he finally could take no more, and so when the time came to choose a new high school, he chose one far out in the suburbs of Los Angeles, convincing his parents to let him rent an upstairs apartment in a family-owned hobby shop close to the school, where he worked part time for the owners to save up money for college and pay for his room. Thus, at the rather tender age of 15, Ren began to live on his own. Richard, being one grade behind him due to his previous academic suspension, wouldn't be attending high school for another year anyway, and although he tried to join his brother, he ended up not making the cut, in no small part due to the permanent stain Ren had left on his record. Consequently, he ended up instead attending a local high school in his hometown and dropping out of contact with Ren, who, without any real experience interacting with people who didn't share his own bizarre interests, and still beating himself up over the mistakes of his youth, ended up adopting his current solitary lifestyle.

    ...That is, until one day, in the start of his second year, a transfer student to the same school as him moved into the house across the street. As it turned out, although he didn't even notice her at first, this new student ended up being assigned, in a sense, to his care, due to her blindness. Although ostensibly Ren was supposed to be the one to lead her where she couldn't find her own way, perhaps she would be the one in turn to lead him out of his perpetual gloom, and into a new, happier future.

    The fairy tale that the lonely boy always dreamed of living begins today. Will he find his happily ever after?
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So begins...

Brennyn "Ren" Lowell's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brennyn "Ren" Lowell Character Portrait: Espen Verdier
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Espen stood up and excused herself formally, carefully walking out of the noisy office. She was interested in every sound, every phone call, every word the secretaries said. It was incredible to imagine what it looked like to those that could see. The girl spun around to where she assumed her caretaker was. Clearing her throat, she asked, "I'm sorry. Could you show me where my class is? Ms. Wenz said that we have the same schedule." It felt horrible, being such a pathetic creature. She shifted her weight nervously, waiting for a reply.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brennyn "Ren" Lowell Character Portrait: Espen Verdier
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#, as written by Feyblue
Looking back, that day started just like any other.

I'd awakened to the sound of boxes and shelves shifting downstairs. This wasn't really surprising. Mr. Rochester - or "Gramps" as I more commonly called him - tended to open the store fairly early. I glanced up at the clock beside my bed with a groan, my eyes taking a moment to decipher the glowing red numbers that told me that I still had eight minutes left before my alarm was supposed to have woken me up. Breathing a heavy sigh, I resisted the temptation to spend those eight minutes simply contemplating the ceiling plaster, and decided that if I was going to get up, I might as well do so now. So, hauling myself out from amidst my warm nest of pillows and blankets atop the old, slightly ragged plush mattress in the corner of the one-room apartment - although I preferred to call it my "Atelier," because it sounded fancier that way - I tossed off my pajamas and wandered into the bathroom. Well, of course, it wasn't really a "room," persay - as I said before, there was only one real "room" in the apartment. It was more like a glorified closet. But, hey. It had a sink, a toilet, and a shower - albeit an annoyingly narrow one. So long as all of those were accounted for, I had no complaints.

So began my morning routine. Things proceeded normally from that point onward. I showered, brushed my teeth, washed my face, got dressed, grabbed my backpack, and then headed down the stairs into the back room of the Rochester Hobby Shop. I could hear Gramps still moving things around out front, so I made my usual exit out the back door and into the empty overgrown lot behind the store. There had formerly been some kind of restaurant there, but it had closed a long time ago. Somebody bought the property and tore it down, but never actually got around to building anything there in its place.

It might have been a bit rude to just leave without saying anything, but I really didn't want to run into Gramps this early in the morning. More often than not, he always tried to send me off to school with some snack or another, as though he thought I was going to starve. The cafeteria food was good enough for me, though, and I didn't particularly like being pitied, so I usually just tried to leave without being noticed.

Circling around another small shop next to my own home and place of employment, I headed down the driveway of the lot and onto the sidewalk, then turned to follow the street. Normally, it was fairly busy, since it cut right between a large residential neighborhood and a mid-sized shopping mall - on the edge of which the Rochester Shop was located - and today was no exception. Traffic was backed up almost a block from the lights as people rushed to get to work. This was why I always walked to school, instead of taking the bus. It was only about a twenty minute stroll on foot, and the bus would end up stopped for five minutes at every single intersection.

Glancing over my shoulder, I eyed the shop, noticing a few small figures entering the front door. The neighborhood kids were regulars of a sort, and so tended to arrive in search of toys, trading cards, and whatever else they might have been looking for while on their own way to school, or back from it in the afternoon. That was why Gramps made a point of opening so early, and why I'd agreed to work at the store without any hesitation despite my laziness. Aside from the kids, the store didn't really have many customers, meaning the job mostly just consisted of sitting at a desk and making myself look busy.

While waiting for the lights to change, something else caught my eye. A small white house on the edge of the neighborhood, just across the street from the shop, had been surrounded by large trucks for the past few days. I hadn't really been paying much attention to who'd been moving in, but whoever they were, it looked like they were finished. Idly, I wondered if it was another kid. If so, I might end up having a new customer to deal with. But, my thoughts were disrupted by the light on the crosswalk changing, and I didn't really think much more of it as I strolled briskly off along the road, up the slight hill atop which sat my school. It was a private institution - in case the fact that I was mandated by regulations to wear a uniform didn't tip you off - and fairly exclusive, but not exactly particularly large, either. It mostly consisted of a single large building with a few additional wings built on to house facilities like the gymnasium and such.

I'd just gotten through the front door of the main building and started heading to class when I heard the intercom buzzing. At first, I ignored it, and kept walking, right up until I heard my own name. What the hell? I'd only just gotten here. Why were they calling me to the office? Whatever was wrong, or whatever she wanted, it wasn't me. Probably.

Still, I couldn't exactly ignore it, or I'd just get a lecture from my teacher when I got to class and be sent right back anyway. So, reluctantly, I turned aside, taking a brief detour into the principal's office. Slipping my right hand into my pocket as I feigned nonchalance, I decided I'd just play this one by ear. I knocked twice on the slightly ajar door, the second time with just enough force to push it slowly open in front of me, swinging back with a loud, groaning creak. Cocking my head curiously to the side, I took one step inside, opening my mouth to speak.


"Ms. Wenz?" I asked, letting a little bit of my confusion at being called here so suddenly slip into my voice. "You called? Is there something I can..." I suddenly found my words catching in my throat mid sentence as my second step through the doorway was unexpectedly cut off by a head of blonde hair suddenly emerging from behind the door. I had been looking towards the desk in the corner where I knew from experience the Principal would be sitting, and so hadn't really been paying attention to what was directly in front of me. Thus, it almost looked to me as if this girl, whoever she was, had literally just appeared out of thin air. Instinctively taking a step back and to the side, I scratched my cheek nervously, uttering a quick apology as the girl turned to face me. Her movement as she pivoted seemed strangely measured and methodical, her eyes especially moving with a strange sluggishness, as though I'd been completely invisible until I'd started speaking, and she was only just now noticing. "Oh, uh, sorry, I didn't see ya there..." Once again, I found myself trailing off into silence as her eyes at last settled on one spot, somewhere around the center of my face. They were a shocking shade of blue, even moreso than my own. But what struck me most was that even though she was clearly aware of me, and had so deliberately turned to look at me, her eyes just seemed sort of... blank, like I was just a part of the wall - like she wasn't staring at me so much as through me.

Trying to meet her unmoving gaze made me more than a little uneasy, so I decided I'd direct my attentions elsewhere instead. I turned to face Ms. Wenz, cocking my head slightly to the side as though to silently ask what exactly was going on here. The principal gave a calm, businesslike smile, unfolding her hands and gesturing to the girl I'd nearly walked right into.
"I see you've noticed our newest student," She said sardonically, seeming more than a little amused by my near-collision. I gave a slight grimace, trying to hide my embarrassment. My eyes instinctively followed her gesture and returned to the girl once again.

Looking back, it's hard to really put into words what I was thinking at that moment. I was confused beyond belief, since I'd been so suddenly called out, only to find myself face to face with such a strange person. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pretty stressed by everything that had happened so suddenly, or if I claimed that my brain wasn't still running more than a few steps behind as it tried to make sense of all the strange things happening on that otherwise ordinary morning. As such, I can't really remember what I was thinking, or why. But, even so, if I were to summarize all the thoughts running through my head, I'd probably say that I was mesmerized by the person standing in front of me.

I couldn't look her in the eye. Her gaze was too direct, too brilliant. If I tried to meet her eyes, I felt as though they'd pierce clean through me. And yet, at the same time, I couldn't look away from her. Her skin was a pale pinkish white, brightening into shades of rosy red in her cheeks and lips. Her hair was long - really long - running almost to her waist, so straight and smooth that you might have thought it was silk. But what struck me most about her was that she was so bright. Everything about her, from her hair to her eyes to her face, seemed to exude so much color that it was almost as if she was glowing. And I, like a moth toward a flame, couldn't help but find my eyes drawn to that light.

The principal audibly cleared her throat, snapping me out of my momentary reverie. I colored slightly, swiftly turning back to Ms. Wenz and trying my hardest to hide my embarrassment. I must have looked like a total idiot, gawking like that. Nevertheless, if she'd noticed my astonishment, she didn't comment on it, instead getting to what was apparently the reason she'd called me here.


"We'd like you to accompany Ms. Espen Verdier home and to her classes, after all, you are neighbors," She explained matter-of-factly. I cocked my head to the side, once again scratching my cheek uneasily. I guess I had my answer as to who had moved in across the street. And, if that was the case, I suppose it made sense that they wanted me to be the one to show her around the school so she could familiarize herself with the layout. But why would they need me to show her the way back home again? She'd found her way here, hadn't she? Crime rates weren't terribly high, and it wasn't like it was a particularly long walk.

"Alright, I guess that answers why you wanted me here... And it's not like I mind showing her around, since she's new, but why do you need me to walk her home? I mean, she's probably gonna be sick of me just having to deal with me here at school. Isn't walking her home too a bit... er... much?" I tried to pass it off as a joke, but I was legitimately confused. As far as I was aware, this wasn't really normal in any sense. What was going on here? Ms. Wenz stood up and leaned over her desk, causing me to recoil instinctively. And yet, despite the strange way she was whispering conspiratorially in my ear, the girl, Espen, didn't seem to even be paying attention to her, instead staring at a point somewhere approximately between the two of us... All of a sudden, everything made sense, but before I could speak, Ms. Wenz gave me the answer to my question.

"Sir. This student is blind."

"...Oh." What else was I supposed to say? It was all I could do not to slap myself in the face for not noticing sooner. In retrospect, it was sort of... obvious. Regardless, it seemed that with that, all debate had gone out the window. If she couldn't see where she was going, she'd need somebody to make sure she got home okay, and since I lived right across the street... yep, it looked like I had no choice in the matter. Reasoning thus, I quickly agreed, and with that, the surprise meeting concluded, and I found myself bowing out of the office and back into the hallway, now accompanied by the girl who was apparently now my responsibility.

...When I woke up that morning, I don't know what I was expecting, but it sure as hell wasn't this.

Turning to face my new charge, I tried to strike a balance between facing the person I was interacting with without getting unnerved by her eyes and looking at her without staring. So... what was I supposed to say? She hadn't even spoken since I'd entered the room, and I had no idea how to go about my new duty of showing her around. I tried to think of some way I might be able to familiarize her with the school's layout without "showing" it to her, but drew a complete blank. Did that mean I'd have to guide her everywhere? I'd meant my comment about her getting sick of having to deal with me as a joke, but now I couldn't help but worry about such a thing actually happening. This was already so awkward! How was I supposed to break the ice?

Fortunately for me, it seemed that she was also getting tired of the uncomfortable silence between us, and so spoke, prompting me to remember what exactly I was supposed to be doing.
"I'm sorry," She began quietly - although what she was apologizing for, exactly, I wasn't sure. "Could you show me where my class is? Ms. Wenz said that we have the same schedule." Right. I suppose that made sense, although it seemed a bit oddly convenient that not only did I just so happen to be her neighbor, but we also had all the same classes. What kinds of strings had they been pulling to ensure they'd have a guide for this girl? I had to respect their effort - I just wasn't sure if I was the best possible choice. Nevertheless, backing out wasn't an option, so...

"Oh. I see. Well, I guess that makes things simple. In that case, follow me!" I declared this perhaps a touch more bombastically than was necessary, trying to hide the fact that I was just as lost and confused as she must have been with a facade of raw, blind confidence. But, no sooner had the words left my mouth than I realized that even guiding her would probably be somewhat difficult, since she didn't seem to have one of those pokey-thingies that I usually saw blind people using to get around. If I wasn't careful about where and how I led her, I might inadvertently run her into a wall. Or, worse, I might lose her completely, considering that this was the time when everybody would be moving between classes. If she was just trying to follow my footsteps, she might get lost. At the same time, though, I didn't really want to intrude on her personal space, or get too close to her... How was I supposed to do this in a way that both of us would be comfortable with, exactly?

I had no idea. So, as I always did whenever I felt too awkward about something, I tried to make a stupid joke out of it.


"So, uh... How would you prefer I lead you? You could just follow the sound of my annoying voice. Although, I'm not sure even I could keep up a self-indulgent monologue for that long..." This seemed like a logical enough thing to suggest, but even I realized the obvious flaws with it - like me not having enough to say and only increasing the level of awkwardness between us, or her losing track of where I was and crashing into something and/or someone. But, at the same time, there was really only one alternative I could think of, and I wasn't going to be the one to suggest holding hands and walking in step with a girl I'd only just met. She'd think I was some kind of creep! ...Although, to be fair, maybe I was a bit of a creep. I began to feel even more guilty about staring at her now that I realized that she couldn't have even noticed my gawking. It seemed somehow like taking advantage of her disability. And, if just looking at her made me feel so ashamed, how bad would holding hands be? Gah. I didn't even want to think about it...

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Character Portrait: Brennyn "Ren" Lowell Character Portrait: Espen Verdier
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I heard a male's voice to my left. It wasn't directed at me but I still struggled to look at him. At times I like to compare voices to food or objects. It almost comes naturally now. His voice was perhaps like the heater on Christmas Eve. Nice and warm, but if you listen closely music can be heard... somewhere. "Ms. Wenz? You called? Is there something I can..." I figured he saw me and in response I gave a slight smile that was gone instantly. He said something that was certainly directed at me, but I couldn't hear it. At this time I fell back into my void of nothing. I couldn't see, I couldn't hear, I couldn't feel. My doctor said this was a response to stress, so I'd gotten used to it already. Something brought me out of it. "Sir. This student is blind." The words stung, harsh. Her voice sounded like a knife. Clean and swift, quick to the point. Biting my lip, what he said made it even worse. "...Oh." Oh is what you say when you find out your co-worker's mother died. At this time I asked if he could show me to my next class. He was, of course, a bit awkward. This was be expected.

"Oh. I see. Well, I guess that makes things simple. In that case, follow me!" He exclaimed. There was a pause of silence before he added, "So, uh... How would you prefer I lead you? You could just follow the sound of my annoying voice. Although, I'm not sure even I could keep up a self-indulgent monologue for that long..."

I loved his voice, so it was hard to reply to that. The simple sound of our feet shuffling on the ground was nice, constant background noise. There was lots of tension at this point so I tried to go along with his joking manner. "Yeah, but ah..." I paused before moving my hand towards where his waist might be, but on second thought I simply held it out a bit, as if asking for a 'down-low.' "We usually just do this. Or, if you'd like, I could hold the end of a barge pole and you can hold the other end. Y'know. Since girls have cooties." A smile appeared on my face. I didn't feel ancient like usual. This awkwardness reminded me of seventh grade geography class when I had to do a report but hadn't studied, since I couldn't see maps or text books or notes, so I just mumbled a few sentences about the French Revolution. Like how Marie Antoinette died but apologized for stepping on the executioner's foot, a fact my friend told me. That was an interesting blast to the past.

Back in reality I wondered what our next class, art, would be like. I carefully moved around other students going to the office, keeping close to the person I'd been assigned to. When this came to mind, I said with a small smile, "Hold up. Excuse m-e-e. Let me introduce myself. Espen Verdier. Blind person and neighbor. Resident of LA. Almost-sixteen year old lady. And you are...?" I stopped completely and turned to the right so I could face him.

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Character Portrait: Brennyn "Ren" Lowell Character Portrait: Espen Verdier
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#, as written by Feyblue
The girl's mood suddenly seemed to shift in an instant, catching me off guard as, while she'd previously seemed somewhat quiet and demure, out of the blue she matched my own sarcastic humor with a little jab of her own. I found myself breathing the faintest of sighs as relief flooded through me. I'd had no idea how to interact with her before... but if she wanted sarcasm and stupid jokes, then that much I could definitely do.

"Hmm," I said, scratching my chin in a facsimile of deep contemplation as I pretended not to realize she'd been joking. I suppose that actually acting out the whole "thinking" routine was probably pretty pointless, since she couldn't even see it, but I was someone who communicated largely through gesticulation. The mere action of moving in a manner that reflected my thoughts helped me actually vocalize what I was thinking. Even if she couldn't see it, it still helped me communicate. "That might work... but where would we find a barge pole? I guess they might have something similar in the gymnasium, if some P.E. teacher happens to be a pole-vaulting enthusiast... No, I suppose that doesn't seem particularly likely, does it? Guess I'll just have to chance it with the cooties." I chuckled to myself, reaching out to accept the hand she'd offered. I hadn't wanted to force her into it, true, but if she wasn't bothered by relying on me in such a manner, and would only be further inconvenienced if I refused to do my job adequately, then I'd only be causing her problems if I got all shy about everything.

Just then, however, she realized something I probably should have noticed sooner. Namely, that neither of us had actually introduced ourselves to one another. She promptly rectified this error, giving me a few standard tidbits of information about herself - although, the only thing I hadn't already either figured out or guessed at was her age. She was actually a bit younger than me, it seemed - although not by much. Regardless, it wasn't like keeping my identity a mystery would make this any less awkward, so, shrugging, I responded in kind.


"I'm Lowell - Brennyn Lowell," I said seriously, in a manner that was totally not cribbing off of a certain fictitious British spy or anything. "Although, I usually just go by 'Ren.' And... let's see... I live in the upstairs apartment of the hobby shop across the street from you, I'm sixteen, and... uh..." I tried to come up with some snarky quip to end my sentence on, but nothing really came to mind. "...and apparently not an interesting enough person to be able to come up with a unique introduction on the spot," I finished lamely. "Anyway, it's nice to meet you - 'He said in the most generic manner conceivable.'" I shook the hand she'd offered, before delivering a bit of sarcastic self-narration with a grin. That was the great thing about being a master of self-deprecatory humor - I never had any shortage of material for mockery.

I tried not to let my nervousness show as I let my arm go slack, but didn't release her hand. She had asked for this after all, so clearly she didn't have any problem with the whole arrangement of going everywhere joined at the hand. In that case, I wasn't about to be the one to make it awkward... which it most certainly was going to be if we just kept standing around holding hands while I tried and failed to be witty. I figured I'd give her a little heads-up before I started moving, but I didn't want to come off as condescending or patronizing, so I decided I'd take a moment thinking out loud to myself about where we were going, even though I already knew exactly where the art classroom was.


"Let's see... If I recall correctly, our first class was over in room 233, which is upstairs and in the west wing, so... Basically, the complete other side of the school. Great." Giving a slight shrug, I turned back to face Espen. "Shall we be off, then?" I asked, just wanting to be doubly sure that she knew I was about to start walking so I didn't end up dragging her around.

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Character Portrait: Brennyn "Ren" Lowell Character Portrait: Espen Verdier
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I smiled as he talked. Ren was an interesting name. Names are as important as the people that own them. It's mostly a forever thing and it's just like someone's eyes or ears or hair. All of it comes together to make someone. I inhaled sharply and nodded. "We shall." I took a few steps forward. It should have been easy to walk. Normal people do it all the time. But I'm not exactly normal.
It took much longer than expected to get there. Turning corner was more than a bit difficult, but he was slow and careful, thank god. For small periods of time I returned to my own little dark void, going silent. I finally took a deep breath and focused on walking. It was a pet peeve of mine when people treated me like a child, but this was just right. I heard someone talking about clay and gave Ren a gentle squeeze. With careful steps I walked inside the room, slowly letting go of his hand. It smelled like paint and clay, of course. The floor was either tile or cement, from the noise. It was a rather large room compared to most others, judging off the way the sound bounced off the high walls.

The teacher, I forgot her name, stopped talking and probably checked her watch or took a second looking at us before saying, "Erm... you're late. Did you get lost?" I found it impossible to speak so I tapped Brennyn's waist with the side of my arm, depending on him to speak in my place. The student's quckly quieted down and the scraping noise I heard from the back of the room stopped. felt like a bug under a microscope. If I hadn't been so uncomfortable, maybe I would have shouted, "Oh just take a picture!" like someone more courageous than myself.

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Character Portrait: Brennyn "Ren" Lowell Character Portrait: Espen Verdier
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#, as written by Feyblue
Espen raised no objections, and so we set out. I waited for her to take the first step, wanting to try to get a feel for her pace to avoid getting too far ahead or too far behind, and did my best to match it. Unfortunately, she was a great deal shorter than me, and - although I could hardly blame her, since she was probably afraid from experience of running into someone or something - seemed to walk much more slowly than I was used to. I awkwardly shuffled along beside her, trying to measure my own steps so as never to get more than a single step ahead of her - I was supposed to be leading her, after all - but ended up focusing so much on the mere action of not screwing this up that I hardly had time to think of saying anything. And, she didn't seem to be feeling particularly talkative all of a sudden, either, which disappointed me. Maybe she'd just thought all of my attempts at humor were lame and weird? I guess I should have known better than to expect somebody I'd just met to laugh at jokes at my own expense... But she had been smiling then, right? So... what did she think of me? I couldn't even venture a guess at what she was thinking... which wasn't all that unusual, now that I thought about it. I couldn't even identify what I myself was feeling most of the time, let alone reading other people. I breathed a dejected sigh without thinking about it, then remembered that there was somebody listening intently to everything that came out of my mouth, and so quickly pretended to be clearing my throat. Frantically, I tried to think of something to say, but all that came to mind was "So, nice weather we're having, huh?" Fortunately, I wasn't quite so much of an idiot that I'd actually say something like that to somebody who was... you know... blind, but the mere fact that I'd even considered something so pants-on-head retarded was more than enough to shame me back into silence.

So continued our awkward wordless journey as we moved slowly through the corridors. I made sure to move us close to the side of the hallways we passed through, so as to keep Espen out of the way of the slow, sporadic stream of people moving down the center. We got a few odd looks, especially when climbing the stairs up to the second floor, as she took quite some time carefully measuring her steps, so as not to trip. I guess that much was to be expected. Guys and girls holding hands in public wasn't exactly weird, but I was a student who'd never been seen even talking to a girl throughout my whole first year here - let alone leading one along by the hand. And, as for Espen, well, she would have stood out even without taking her methodical, steady bearing or her blindness into consideration. The two of us must have been a pretty bizarre sight, now that I thought about it. There was me, tall, dark, and gloomy, standing side by side with somebody so dazzlingly bright. Talk about a natural contrast of "beauty" and "beast."


"Heh. I'm like the world's least cute and fluffy seeing eye dog," I chuckled under my breath. "Woof."

Come to think of it, though, maybe that wasn't such a strange comparison. This whole setup did seem kind of... surreal. I mean, I woke up, had an ordinary day, got to school, and then suddenly, before I knew it, here I was with a beautiful blind girl hanging off of my arm, relying on me to guide her around. I was approximately 93% certain that I could storyboard a bestselling shoujo manga with that premise alone. Or maybe a dating sim... Nah, I was pretty sure that some people on the internet had already written a visual novel about disabled girls. (SUBTLE KATAWA SHOUJO JOKE IS NOT SUBTLE AT ALL.)
But seriously! What kind of flags was I setting here?! This situation really, really wasn't normal, no matter how I looked at it. I would have pinched myself, but at this point, I had been awake long enough to be reasonably sure that I wasn't dreaming. Besides, I doubted I could have come up with a name like "Espen Verdier" at my most conscious, let alone while asleep. So then... what? This was reality, even if it seemed like something out of my dreams. In that case, that changed nothing. I shouldn't have let myself get distracted by pointless comparisons to manga. In the real world, people didn't have whirlwind romances based on blind attraction and- Oh, wow, that pun was terrible and I really didn't mean it like that. Really, brain? You're really going there? You're going to hell for that, you know.

Regardless, now it just seemed kind of awkward. Fortunately, I realized around that time that we'd finally reached our destination, which should have allowed me to knock the metaphorical rose-colored glasses out of the way and see things how they really were for a change. Unfortunately, Espen seemed to have noticed as well, and also had evidently realized just how distracted I was, since she decided to convey this to me by giving my hand a sudden squeeze. To my credit, I managed not to jump, but my face must have been red as a beet, considering what I'd just been thinking about in relation to her. It seemed cruel to be glad that she was blind, but at that moment, I was thankful for nothing quite so much as the fact that she couldn't see how embarrassed I was.

We entered the room, and - big surprise (not) - everybody was already there, and the lesson was already starting. The teacher almost immediately called us out for being late, but immediately changed her tune when she realized who exactly she was speaking to. I guess being the guide to a blind girl gave me a pretty solid alibi. Still, it seemed like the blame for our collective lateness was being placed solely on her, which didn't really sit right with me. Sure, she'd been going pretty slowly, but I could easily understand why. We should have just left sooner to compensate for that, rather than accusing her of being too slow. I glanced over to her, wondering how she'd respond, but she didn't seem to be saying anything. Actually, she seemed more than a bit nervous, shifting slightly on her feet and giving me a slight nudge. I gave a wry grin. She'd probably been right to leave it to me. When it came to making excuses, I was second to none.


"Sorry about that, teach," I said, finding my left index finger unconsciously beginning to lightly scratch my cheek, giving me something to focus on other than the fact that more than a few of the students in the back were familiar to me, and I to them, meaning they were probably wondering why I'd entered the room in such unexpected company. "We had a meeting with the principal that ran a little long." It would have been a bit more upstanding to take on the blame myself, but the teacher was more likely to believe something she was no doubt already familiar with - namely, that Espen had only just gotten out of an introductory meeting, and that I'd been called to the same to be assigned as her guide and helper. Besides, it was technically true that we'd run late because of that meeting - because I'd kept asking stupid questions and putting my foot in my mouth instead of realizing to begin with why I'd been called there. There shouldn't have been any problems with my little half-truth, and this way, Espen wouldn't feel guilty about being late.

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Character Portrait: Brennyn "Ren" Lowell Character Portrait: Espen Verdier
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I heard the teacher mumble something before the class got back to its usual, noisy self. It was a great relief but she didn't give me any more information. In fact, she stopped talking entirely. C'mon. You can do this. I felt like one of those geeky girls off of a tweenage cartoon trying to convince herself to stand up against a popular kid. Apparently I got a bit too confident. Sighing, I quickly walked forward to where most of the voices came from. Very, very suddenly something hit my abdomen with great force.

I took a few steps back, clutching my stomach in pain. After a moment of silent cursing, I carefully held my hand out to feel what hit me. It onl took a few seconds to realize that it was a wooden table with smooth wood and flecks of dried clay. I nervously laughed, not payng attention to anything else until that moment. When I felt around the table I poked someone's ribcage, Oops, before finding a metal chair. It screeched when I pulled it back, sounding something like a large machine destroying something bad before jamming. Or, you know. Just a metal chair squeaking. I swiftly sat down, all the blood cells in my body deciding to migrate to my face. A student tapped my shoulder, not asking about my eyes, which was good. She moved away for a second before returning with something heavy and dropping it onto the table by me. I reached toward it and my fingers brushed a black of smooth, soft clay.

My sense of touch has to be my favorite behind hearing. I love silk, fur, sand, skin, wood, everything. I love it.

Since the girl didn't respond after that, I mumbled a thank you, not sure where to look.

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Character Portrait: Brennyn "Ren" Lowell Character Portrait: Espen Verdier
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#, as written by Feyblue
It seemed the teacher wasn't going to question my excuse, since she simply nodded and carried on with... whatever it was she was doing. It didn't seem like she was giving a lecture, which was rather odd, now that I thought about it, considering we hadn't even really covered much of anything so far. Judging by the fact that every other student seemed to be fiddling around with clay, I supposed that this was probably some kind of workshop session. But if that was the case, then what were we even supposed to be making?

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a muffled bang from the back of the room. Jumping slightly, I spun around just in time to see the girl I'd been assigned to lead around stumbling around, clutching her stomach while poking a table. It didn't take a genius to realize what had just happened. I facepalmed, realizing only too late that I should have led her to her seat before I tried to figure out what we were doing.

Nevertheless, after a few more moments of evident confusion, she found her way to her seat, which meant that I didn't really have much else to do aside from the same. Shrugging, I looked for the nearest seat I could to Espen, so that if she needed something, I could hopefully help her out with it. I found one a row in front of her, and so quickly took it, setting down my backpack beside me and grabbing a lump of clay that it didn't look like anybody was using. But... uh... I still had no idea what we were supposed to be doing with said clay. Glancing over at a student beside me, I tried to figure out what we were doing, but whatever it was that he was making, it didn't look much like... anything, really. I sighed heavily. It seemed I'd just have to make a further nuisance of myself. Raising my hand, I tried to get the teacher's attention. When it looked like she had seen me, I spoke.


"So, uh, stupid question here, but what are we doing today, exactly?"

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Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Brennyn "Ren" Lowell Character Portrait: Espen Verdier
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The teacher looked at him like he was some sort of idiot and said harshly, "You. Are. Ma-king. Some-thing. That. Is. Im-por-tant. To You." She gave him a tight, strained smile and jabbed a manicured finger into his clay almost violently. Through her clenched teeth she asked, "Any. More. Questions, Mr. Lowell?" As if he were supposed to know everything.

I gently played with the clay, carefully shaping the lob of grey into a triangular shape, rounding the edges. Cringing at Ms. Joon-that's her name!- Ms. Joon's outburst, paused for a moment. He wasn't too far away, then.
"What're you making?" The girl asked, her shoulder touching mine. I shrugged and replied, "Oh... you'll see." My voice sounded weak and soft so I cleared it, adding, "What're you making?"
She paused as if trying to think of something to say. "... I'm just-just making a thingie." I smiled at this as she continued, "I'm making a cell phone. Because I like phones. Y'know." Her voice was uncertain and awkward suddenly. A minute passed and we got back to work. I broke the silence with, "My name is Espen Verdier. And you a-"
My newest friend cut me off, whic was fine considering what I was going to ask. "I'm Beatrice! But don't call me that or I'll feel old. I prefer Bea, or Tris. Just don't put them together." She sounded cheerful, like a cockatiel chirping away. I nodded happily and shaped my clay a bit more bofore making ragged edges.

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#, as written by Feyblue
I winced slightly, giving a nervous grin. "Ooookay..." I muttered, glancing back down to the clay in front of me. I didn't really have any "precious possessions" to model an artwork on - although I supposed in a pinch I could just create a little ring out of clay and spend the rest of the period writing the words "Ash nazg durbatulΓ»k, ash nazg gimbatul, Ash nazg thrakatulΓ»k agh burzum-ishi krimpatul" onto the sides of it. Somehow, I doubted the teacher would appreciate the joke, though, and since she already seemed to be kind of pissed at me, maybe channeling my inner Dark Lord in the classroom wasn't a very good idea.

...But, I wasn't really one for good ideas anyway, so I decided to do something that was only marginally less stupid than what I'd first intended. Rolling my clay into a roughly cylindrical shape - well, more like a croissant, really - I began to pull out four protruding limbs from this central trunk, shaping them into large, hooflike feet. Bit by bit, I also drew out the front of my creation's "torso," forming a small head atop a long, craning neck - with two little spheres of a differently colored clay somebody next to me had left lying around pasted on to serve as eyes, and a big dopey grin scratched into the thing's face with my thumbnail.
"Why so serious?" I muttered, grinning to myself at the sight of my fantastically dorky creation. But it wasn't done yet. It still needed a few finishing touches. So, next I began to flatten out the torso just a little bit, at the same time pulling up large triangular protrusions all along my model's back, completing the process by adding a spiked tail, just for good measure. Kicking back in my chair, I smirked, folding my arms over my head and crossing my legs under my desk as both me and the creature I'd constructed grinned at the teacher across the room.

...Somehow, I don't think that when she said "something important to you," she meant "a blue stegosaurus." But really, wasn't self-expression the spirit of art? Maybe I just really liked dinosaurs. Or maybe, I didn't have a clue what I was even doing here and so just decided to do something stupid. But that stupid was my personal brand of stupid, and that made it okay, right?

...Actually, wrong, but it was probably going to be hilarious when people started asking me why the heck I'd made a stegosaurus, and hopefully that would make this whole thing worth it. I was gambling on that much, anyhow.

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Beatrice was silent for a moment before slowly saying, "It looks like a leaf. Is it a leaf?"
I nodded. She made a noise in her throat like Hmmmmm. "Why a leaf?" Tris asked quietly, as if about to tell a secret. I thought about it for a moment. I guess it made sense in my head, but it was hard to put into words. "Leaves are on trees. Trees stand tall and proud. This leaf symbolizes life to me, and I have to live strong and proud. Because I'm part of something bigger than myself." I motioned to the leaf.
She giggled, "Continue, young Espen Allan Poe." I laughed and finished the leaf. Beatrice helped me put away my supplies, never mentioning my blindness.
"Have any plans tonight?" Tris asked happily. She sat back down beside me.
"Not really." I responded, taking out my water bottle. She asked, "So yeah, could you come over tomorrow for a party? I'm sure you could meet someone there. There are tons of hot guys at this school. It's.... I guess that doesn't matter to you, huh? Sorry Espen."

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#, as written by Feyblue
It seemed like I wasn't the only one who was finishing up - unsurprising, since I'd probably started last, even if I had picked something relatively simple to work on. All around me, a bunch of the other students were chatting amongst themselves about various different things, while the teacher continued doing whatever it was she'd been doing while waiting us to finish. I didn't really mind that sort of laissez-faire approach to teaching, though - it meant there'd be less time left in the period for her to yell at me for making a stegosaurus.

Hearing a familiar voice behind me, I noticed that Espen, at least, seemed to be enjoying herself, evidently having hit it off with some other girl in the class. I couldn't really tell what they were talking about, nor was I particularly keen on spying - but, judging by the ratio of chipper giggles to words being spoken, they had evidently already reached that mysterious stage in the cycle of female bonding where everything was hilarious - a state of friendship I had evidently failed to reach myself. Idly, I wondered just what was it that was so funny? I'd been in pretty good form earlier that morning, but all I'd gotten was the occasional grin - not a laugh to be heard. Was that girl really that much funnier than me? I folded my arms, breathing a heavy sigh. "Beaten out in less than twenty minutes, huh? And you thought humor was your strong suit," I muttered to myself under my breath. Of course, if anybody heard me talking to myself, they'd probably think I was crazy. But, I supposed, I probably was crazy, so that was fine.

In any case, there didn't seem to be too much more to do here, so I returned to my usual routine of staring blankly at the ceiling and relocating my consciousness to somewhere in the vicinity of the upper stratosphere - or, in layman's terms, I spaced out big time.

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(Aaagh! It's been so long T-T)
I smiled a bit, obviously fake, but at that moment I didn't really care. After taking a drink I put the bottle back. Beatrice waited with me until the bell sounded for the end of class and I grabbed her hand, with her leading me towards Brennyn. She left me there, promising to see me later and that if she didn't see me at the party she was going to spread rumors about me, saying I was a great kisser. This made me laugh so hard I snorted a bit, embarrassed. But that also kind of scared me. She'd better not.
I've guess always hit it off more with girls than boys. Boys scare me a bit for a few obvious reasons I won't mention in case you're too innocent. I felt around for Brennyn's hand, finding it after what seemed like ages but was actually just a few seconds.
"Next to Chemistry, I think. That one we don't have together, actually, but I'm sure you'll be excused if you're late." Espen began walking, carefully holding her free hand out in case she hit something.

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#, as written by Feyblue
Well, as luck would have it, Ms. Joon pretty much just collected everyone's creations without any further ado - although I could have sworn she stopped a moment upon getting to my blue stegosaurus and gave me some serious stink eye. I merely grinned cheerfully to myself, pointedly avoiding her gaze as I finished gathering up my things, and set about looking for a certain person. I turned slowly, panning my gaze across the room, and found my attention drawn almost immediately to a small shape standing - to my surprise - right behind me.

"Oh, there you are," I managed, trying to hide the start in my voice. Truth be told, I'd nearly jumped upon turning and finding those bright blue eyes of hers just staring right through me. Once again, I mentally slapped myself, trying to remind myself that it was probably an objective moral evil to be creeped out by the blind girl and that I should be ashamed of myself. That didn't make looking at her any less of a strange experience, though.

Not wanting to let an awkward pause go unfilled, I stumbled over my words, trying to address her directly, thinking that she'd probably want to be sure who I was talking to, since she couldn't see me looking at her. However, there was a problem with that, too - I was terrible with names, especially big complicated ones. I was sure it had started with E... Right, and I'd been thinking of something about psychics...? ESPer? That was close, but it was... Oh, right!


"Er, Espen," I added hastily, by way of clarification, slightly proud of myself for being able to remember somebody's name for once. "Let's see..." Think of something to say, you dumbass! "Oh, right. Um, what class do you have next?"

Apparently, it was Chemistry - a class I didn't have, since I'd opted to take Biology for my science requirement this year. However, all the science classes were generally in the same area, so it probably wasn't going to be too difficult to figure out which class she was in.

"Alright. I've got a pretty good idea of where that probably is, so we should be able to get there with time to spare. 'Sides, even if I am late, I can always come up with something, so it's no big deal." I took her hand uneasily, doing my best to guide her between the various rows of desks and students on their way out. I noticed that we were getting a few more odd looks, but this time the ones looking seemed a bit less confused and a bit more hostile towards me. Most of them were also, predictably enough, other guys. Huh, I wondered. Were they looking down on me for "taking advantage of a blind girl" - which I guess the whole leading her everywhere by the hand thing must have looked like - or were they jealous?

We got out into the hall, and I set about guiding us through the packed hallways down towards the lower level. The science wing was down there, so I was pretty sure we'd probably find what we were looking for in that direction.

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I followed after him like a lost pet.

I havent actually described what it looks like through my eyes. It's hard to say. I could see only a wall of blue, for example, but I can't describe it. There's no use describing a color. It's useless. And how do I dream? Like everyone else. But I dream with noise. Perhaps one moment I'm at my eighth birthday party. A balloon popped, scaring me. My mother's voice laughing at something. My friend asking me why I looked so sad. Next I'm at a ballgame. Screaming fans. It goes like that, y'know?

It was easier going down the steps this time. I trusted him a bit more. Well, I mean, I trusted him to begin with, but now I could actually tell he wasn't going to shove me down the flight of stairs for having to drag me around.

Finally I spoke up. "Brennyn, do you have any friends? A girlfriend? Things like that?"

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#, as written by Feyblue
I was just settling back into my role as seeing eye idiot when, after a long, rather awkward silence, Espen suddenly spoke. When the meaning of her words hit me, I'll admit, I practically froze, simply gawking as I wondered how exactly to respond.

"Brennyn, do you have any friends? A girlfriend? Things like that?"

It wasn't that it was a hard question to answer - just the opposite, in fact. Really, I could have just passed it off with a simple "Nope," and been telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth - a rare opportunity for a chronic liar like me. But telling the truth, in this case, was a problem in and of itself. Normally, I wouldn't have cared if somebody thought I was pathetic, and laughed at me for my social shortcomings. But, then again, normally I didn't have to stay near-constantly in somebody's presence for the good part of every weekday for at least the next year. As I realized this, it hit me just how much I was going to be interacting with my new charge, and I came immediately to the conclusion that simply flat out telling the truth wasn't going to cut it.

It was alright, though. She was blind, so it wasn't like she'd be able to see me always by my lonesome and call my bluff. As similar as our schedules were, there were plenty of times where I'd be in a class she wasn't in. I could just tell her that I had friends I hung out with in those classes, and she'd be none the wiser. Hell, I might even be able to fool her into thinking I had a girlfriend before my ruse became obvious. The more I thought about it, the simpler it seemed. And yet, when it came down to it, I just couldn't go through with it. Banking a lie on the simple fact of her disability... it just didn't sit right with me. It felt like taking advantage of her, and that was something that I wasn't willing to do, no matter how much of a scumbag I might be.


"Ouch. Savage," I joked, trying to pass off my genuine shame at my social incapacity as just another bit of tomfoolery. "I guess when you phrase it like that, not really. Ain't got a girlfriend, and I'm too busy with work most of the time to hang out with any of the guys from here." I shrugged slightly, trying in so doing to find a way to convey a casual sort of pose to somebody who couldn't actually see the way I was carrying myself.

Well, technically, I wasn't lying - just phrasing the facts in a way that sounded more flattering than, "Nope, I'm a total freaky loner who just plays video games all day and pretty much has no redeeming qualities whatsoever to motivate people to interact with him. You're stuck with me, though, so tough luck."


"So... Uh... if you don't mind my asking, what exactly brought that on?" I couldn't help but ask this question defensively, wondering why she'd just suddenly felt the need to ask about my social life. Maybe she'd thought it was weird that even though I'd been sitting right in front of her, she hadn't been able to hear me talking to or otherwise interacting with anybody for the last class period?

...No, in retrospect, that was a pretty stupid thing to assume. There was no way somebody who just met somebody else would be that concerned about their social life - especially considering that the second somebody in that equation was me. More likely than not, she was probably just hoping I knew people around the school that I could introduce her to, so she'd be able to avoid spending so much awkward time with just me, while also avoiding some of the inconveniences of moving into a new school. Should that have been obvious to me sooner, though? Had I made it weird by asking? I really hoped not...

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My face grew hot and I put a hand to the side of my cheek as if it might cool it down. I probably looked like a fool.
I couldn't just say that. It would completely and entirely creep him out. I might as well have phrased it as, "Are you single?" If I wanted him to know what was going through my little blonde mind. I hoped my face wasn't as red as I thought it was. Oh god oh god oh god. Trying to calm down, I looked up in his general direction and shrugged, a small smile appearing on my face.

"Well, I was thinking we could all hang out, no such luck, then," I lied, letting out a sigh of relief. A thought came to me that I'm certain made me resemble a tomato.
"I have a request. I just wanted to see what you looked like, that's all." It took me several seconds to realize he probably wouldn't understand the meaning of my words. In fact, I was almost certain of it. How could a blind girl see?

"Brennyn, I wanted to know if I could touch you," I shifted my weight uncomfortably. "Not anything weird. I just wanted to feel the length of your hair and the shape of your face and the width of your shoulders to get a picture of what you look like." I couldn't face him anymore, staring off into space, just about anywhere but at his area. "I won't hurt you."