Sollux Captor was nearing the end of his time at college. He had chosen a course in coding and programming as this was, in his opinion, the best way to attain the anti-social future that he had always dreamed of, and also as far as he figured it was the only thing he was really any good at. He had loved this course in the past, but had now grown frustrated with the work.
When he stretched himself out on the beanbag he had fallen asleep on, his back popped and cracked in response. He let out an exasperated noise, and pulled himself up to look at his reflection in the full length mirror on the wall next to him.
Sollux was tall and slender, like a nerdy lamppost, but with none of the charisma.
Much unlike a lamppost though, Sollux had dark brown hair that somehow found a way to stick out awkwardly at the back and sides no matter what he did to it. If he had to choose one word for himself, it would be crooked, because that was all he saw when he looked at himself, right down to his smile. Not that Sollux cared much about how he looked, he left that to people with a little more self-respect.
He avoided his own gaze while he ran his fingers through his choppy hair. His eyes were the weirdest thing about him though; the right was a warm brown and the left was a cold blue. Sollux reached for the sunglasses he wore to hide them, and slipped them on before turning his back on his reflection to start looking around for his laptop.
After checking his desk and computer chair, he finally saw the corner of it poking out from under his bed; Sollux's stomach sank when he pulled it and saw what was sat on top.
It was a book all about bacteria and decomposition.
Sollux hadn't seen that book for a few months now.
Aradia sat on Sollux's bed, her wild and curly hair splayed all around her, her knees brought up to her chest. She had a thick book resting against them, and her full attention was on it.
Sollux watched her read; he loved the way Aradia's nose crinkled and her eyebrows furrowed when she concentrated like this.
She glanced up and met his gaze, her red lips curling upwards in a playful smile. "Sollux dear, I cannot study for my exams if you keep distracting me. How am I supposed to read when you're watching me with that puppy-eyed look plastered across your face?"
"You're cute when you read." Was his only response, and he turned away with a smile ghosting his own lips.
Aradia laughed and pushed the book under the bed, she leant over and placed a gentle kiss on Sollux's cheek, "well, you're always cute." She said softly.
They had gone out to dinner together that night, and the book lay forgotten under the bed. That's where it stayed, even after they had broken up two nights later.
Sollux had completely forgotten its existence.
His fingers traced the letters on the book's cover, and on a whim he opened it to the first page where he saw the previous days date. He hadn't realised that it was a library book, that must have been why Aradia had forgotten about it too. Sollux's head buzzed with the hope that if he texted her casually about the book being late, it could start a conversation, maybe he could ask her out for coffee? What if he took the book back to the library himself? He could let her know that he saved her from the late fees, and she'd be thankful, right?
He bit his lip quickly, there was no way he'd take her back, thinking like that was a slippery slope, and not one he wanted to try out.
But still, the book was here, and it needed to not be here. Sollux knew that he just took it back himself then Aradia couldn't come over to collect it if she remembered it, and there could be no reconciliation of any kind. Then again, maybe he should keep it for that reason alone.
Sollux shook his head as though to evacuate the intruding thoughts, he knew he had to get it done before he talked himself out of it. Damn motivation. He reluctantly threw on some clothes that smelled relatively clean, and a pair of scruffy converse, then picked up the large book and forced himself to leave his apartment.
The library was only about twenty minutes away, but Sollux hated leaving his apartment for anything other than food. He took a moment to breathe and get himself psyched up, then started walking towards his destination.
Sollux approached the large quiet building about half an hour later, and reached out his hand towards the thick brassy handles on the doors, but hesitated. He stared at the wood as anxiety bubbled up from the depths of his stomach, leaving a bitter taste at the back of his throat. After a minute frozen in this position, he regained a small amount of confidence and pushed the heavy doors open.
The subtle smell of old books hung in the air, but Sollux could hardly notice it over the suffocating silence. He stepped inside and allowed the doors to close behind him.
Sollux scanned the room for the reception desk, and as he did, he noted that the library was almost deserted. There was a large wooden counter nearby, with a desk that had a young lady sat at it, she looked official enough that Sollux decided that she was probably the person to speak to, so he made his way over.
Sollux was very conscious of how loud his footsteps sounded.
His heart hammered as he approached the desk, and the woman looked up and smiled. She had above shoulder-length black hair, and her lips and eyelashes were the same shade of blue as her eyes. There was a badge on the front of her dress that said 'Aranea'.
Sollux awkwardly thrust the book towards her, "it might be late," he managed to force out.
"It might be?" Aranea took the book, and scanned it, "well it looks like you might be right, but it says here that a Miss Aradia withdrew this book, did she send you to pay her bill for her?" She asked playfully.
This was already way more conversation than Sollux had expected, "a friend left it in my room a while ago, but I only found it today."
"Maybe you should check your room and see if anyone else dumped their books there," the woman made a hmm sound, and shrugged, "well, seeing as you're doing a good deed, and because it's only one day overdue, I suppose I'll let you off with a warning this time." She flashed a smile.
"Yeah, maybe I should." Sollux bit his bottom lip, and after a moment's hesitation he said, "well, then I'll put the book back for you, for waving the bill and all." He picked up the book, and looked around stupidly. The gesture was real, but he had literally no way of knowing where the hell it was supposed to go, and he doubted that he'd be doing the librarian any favours by sneakily shoving the book onto any old bookshelf.
Aranea shrugged, "Well, I guess I can't refuse an offer like that! That book should go in the blue section, over by that young man. The shelf's alphabetical according to the author's last name, thanks." She leaned forwards and flashed another wide smile.
Sollux nodded, and started walking in the direction she had directed him to. In an attempt to convince himself, and the only other people in the building with him, that he wasn't scared of the possibility of human interaction, he whistled a quiet tune to himself. It wasn't long before he started checking the guy out; he had short, dark brown hair, and a slim build. His trousers were tight fitting. Very tight fitting. The view from behind was quite enjoyable, and Sollux smiled to himself. But there was something that irked him; the man was wearing a scarf. Inside. In summer.
What an arrogant twat.
Without warning the man spun around looking extremely frustrated, and met Sollux's gaze. Sollux quickly looked down at his book, pretending as if he hadn't noticed him.
After standing there pretending to be absolutely engrossed in a paragraph on mold, Sollux finally glanced up. The first thing he noticed was that the vivid chunk of violet hair matched the violet eyes currently glaring at him.
'Oh fuck. Not this asshole.' Was all that crossed Sollux's mind as he recognised the man stood in front of him.