“Yo Easton. Easton! Tell me something about your brother.”

It took a while for this demand to register. Easton Arundel was working on a new mechanical homunculus, this one with translucent wings that were supposed to look almost invisible when in motion. He had explained before that if Shade wanted to talk to him, it should wait there in his peripheral, or say his name once, and then wait patiently for East to conclude his work and shift his attention. Instead, he was yanked completely from his train of thought and into an odd in-between of mental limbo where he tried to recall what Shade had said. 

“Uh…um-” He held up an irritated finger and muttered the question multiple times under his breath. “My…brother?” He met the pure white eyes of the shadowy figure looming behind him, zero thoughts behind his own amber ones.

My brother?” it mocked back. East was pretty sure he hadn’t sounded that stupid. “Has it been that damn long that you forgot your own bro?” Its spindly shadow-finger met his forehead, though Easton didn’t feel a thing. “Your beloved West to your East?”

“Please, never call him that again,” the young inventor grumbled, swatting the finger away. His hand just went through it like it was an illusion. “And no, I haven’t forgotten him. I was just…still processing it.”

“All that nerd crap shoved in your brain, you can’t answer a simple question?” it snickered, a wide shit-eating grin of white spread to his face.

East chose to ignore the question and turn back to his desk. “Why do you want to know about Westly all of a sudden?”

A pair of snarky eyes and a mouth appeared in the shadow of his shelf. “Eh. I was just bored and thinking about it. Since he was me after all. Feel like I should know more about this guy.” 

He frowned reluctantly. “Well, I-”

“Like I knowwww he was a super awesome guy. I mean like, look at me!” The face did a spin and then zoomed over to the dim space beside his lamp and sprung into a two-foot torso. It threw back its head, wispy shadow-hair billowing gently in an invisible breeze, and struck a pose reminiscent of a beauty magazine model. “Like I’m fucking fabulous~”

Easton cringed.

“But like I’m interested in the specifics. The uh…little moment-memory-things that you guys had together.”

“Anecdotes?” East offered.

“Don’t dictionary me. But yeah. That shit.” It sounded just like Westly, saying that.

“Well uh…I don’t really know,” Easton replied lamely, picking up a pencil and fiddling with it in his grasp.

“What do you mean you don’t know? You spend your whole damn childhood with him!”

“I just- you can’t just tell me to give you an anecdote and expect me to pull one out like that,” he huffed defensively.

Shade blinked, concentrating on a response. Then it pointed a finger gun and said simply, “Well, that’s a dumb fucking excuse, buddy.”

Easton’s squishy boy-face (19 and still hasn’t been cured) flushed pink. “I- wuh…I- I- uh- you can’t just- that doesn’t-” Leave it to Shade to give an argument dumb enough to break him.

“Cya-monnnn~” it egged, “60 seconds. Tell me an antidote and you can get back to whispering to your dumb little robots.”

“Anecdote,” was his only argument.

“Time starts now!” Then it disappeared inside the pocketwatch around Easton’s neck.

The inventor hissed a breath between his teeth, pushing down his frustration since the sooner he pleased his non-corporeal companion, the sooner he could work. “Fine. Okay uh, anecdote…anec-dote…” He pushed himself from his chair, and his footfalls found a steady pattern. He pondered best when he paced. His pencil was still in his fingers which he soon found himself chewing the end of.

He had to think of something Shade would want to hear. Something that shone Westly in a good light. But his brother had not been a saint. There was a reason he had died out there in the void. East’s head was filled first with unpleasant memories. The things he’d make that West would steal. The big arguments that would bring him to tears. As they started to pile, he threw them away with a, “No…no…no…well-…actually, no.”

Except, he was going about this all wrong, wasn’t he? He was thinking like Easton. If he twisted the story how his family and West saw it…

“Uh- he liked pranks,” he spoke up in the silence of his room, “Pranking…people.”

After a beat, shadow slid out from his watch until East was face to face with Shade. “Pranks huh? Mad respect. What kind?”

Easton’s shoulders slumped a bit. He had been stupid to think that a handful of vague words would satisfy its curiosity. “Like…I mean, any kind really.”

Shade’s eyes narrowed, unimpressed. “Didn’t I say specifics, East?” 

The inventor averted its gaze, racking his brain for a better response. “Well, he got up to lots of trouble. It’s hard to pick one. Um…Oh uh- he liked racing?”

Shade’s white eye sockets did an equivalent of an eyebrow raise. “Oh??”

“Yeah yeah.” Now that he had some groundwork, it was easy to build up from it. “He’d race spaceships with his friends around the station.” 

East wasn’t sure if he was imagining it or if its shadowy hair was billowing a little faster. “Woah what?! Would he win?” 

“Yeah usually. He got really really good at it.” The corner of Easton’s mouth twitched in amusement. “Earned as much scorn as he did adoration.” He remembered constantly fixing up his spaceships so they’d go faster than allowed. If only East hadn’t been so careless about it…

Shade’s volume snapped him right back to the conversation. “Hell yeah, he did!” it laughed, eyes glowing bright with excitement, “What else?!”

He almost dismissed the shadow; he had promised only a singular anecdote after all. However, Easton found he didn’t mind sharing another. “Well…he loved spicy foods…”

“Oh!” It rose a little higher off the ground, its shadow hands gesturing animatedly. “The food you eat that makes your mouth hurt a fuck ton right? Haha! Metal!!”

“Yeah, that stuff,” Easton chuckled, strolling back to his chair. He plopped down, tapped his pencil twice to his lips, and then pointed it at his companion. “I had a stronger tolerance for it though.”

Shade’s grin twisted in challenge. “Tch! Bullshit!” It flew around the room until it was right in front of Easton. Its body was hauntingly reminiscent of the Abyss where East had found it. “Bet you’re lying straight to my fucking face ‘cause he’s not here to argue.”

East leaned back in his chair at the sudden closeness. But he didn’t lose his cool. “Heh.” Instead, a slight smirk cracked onto his face. “That’s a dumb fucking excuse.”

The light of Shade’s eyes flickered blankly, stunned for a moment. Slowly, it leaned back and scoffed with amusement. “Oh screw you.”

The two of them laughed and eventually fell into a beat of comfortable silence. Easton hunched back over his work, rolling his pencil back onto his desk. His old train of thought from minutes prior drifted back to him in vague snippets, though part of him still remained in the finished conversation. It made him remember just how complex Westley was, even as a mere memory… 

“You miss him?” Shade’s voice asked over his shoulder. The inventor glanced up, surprised to find the slightest bit of softness in his aloof expression. He wasn’t used to any sort of vulnerability; even this half-attempt managed to bring discomfort. But it was an honest query.

Easton’s eyes fell, then drifted to his pocket watch. He first wanted to say No, not one bit. Yet, as his thumb grazed over its intricate metal decal, he found himself hesitating. “…I mean…sometimes?” West had been an important person in his life after all, despite all the bitterness of his memory.

Silence fell between them once again. Easton knew why. Shade wasn’t used to a topic so honest either. And that was okay. That was their relationship. Their pseudo-friendship of push and shove. Nevertheless, if they were stuck together, they might as well get comfortable.

“Cool,” it eventually said. Then it disappeared into its pocket watch, and Easton returned to his work.

Even though he didn’t see its face, he could tell Shade was happy its past self was still in his heart.

[5 pages]

(Woah, there’s cursing in this one! It’s for character, I swear! But anyway, this is for a rp group I’m in to familiarize myself with my silly duo. The world of Sildrige and its races belongs to the admin of that group, Nixie, however the characters are solely mine. But I wrote this to be understood by people with and without its full context, so hopefully it worked…)


The amazing owner of WRandR!

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