Soulmate AU: You Can See Color Once You Meet Your Soulmate II
@kurtwxgners I’m gonna do something Frank in the future for you but until then, Soft Boy Trio ™ Member Jonathan!
You had been blessed with artistic abilities, specifically when it came to drawing and painting. Starting in your youth, when you could hold a pencil or crayon just right enough to make a coherent image, people had praised you on your skills. And, when you got old enough, you began to pat yourself on the back as well: The shadows were placed just right, you knew your way about light reflection for the most part, and even your least realistic pieces had some charm to them that you couldn’t help but find yourself impressed by.
Now all you needed was for your soulmate to come along, give you the ability to see color, and you’d be all set.
You didn’t want your friends and family to take it the wrong way – you wanted to meet your soulmate for more than just the fact that their presence in your life would open up a whole new level of sight for you. The idea that life would supposedly become livelier by meeting the one you were destined to be with just tickled the romantic inside you, and you couldn’t wait to experience something only one person could give you.
However, you also needed to take it from a practical standpoint: You, as an artist, craved to see exactly what you were creating. Selfish as it may be, it also seemed reasonable that it wouldn’t do just to match shades of gray with shades of gray and hope you’d selected the right color or not see what some teachers, parents, and even a few scattered classmates were seeing. You weren’t trying to be dramatic when you insisted that there was a certain emptiness in being the creator and not being able to see exactly what everyone else saw in your work.
You just wanted to see it, too.
And if that dang soulmate of yours would hurry up already, you’d be able to see it together. Share a first that meant so much to you both on a loving level and a level regarding your pride as a creative mind.
But alas, when your family moved to the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, you felt that hope plummet. By the end of the week, everyone knew of you. You’d been hoping to mirror such knowledge but alas, that would be stretching it. Even though Hawkins was the picturesque small town spoken of in romance novels and lists in magazines, there was no way you could know and meet everyone.
“Just take it one step at a time,” your mother offered when she saw you pouting in your chair at the dinner table. When she didn’t see a lift in your demeanor, she likened it another way: “You can’t rush good art, right? Paint by numbers and you’ll get the image you want eventually.” You huffed quietly in your seat and slumped even lower. You appreciated her attempt to help but at this point, the pessimism was beginning to loom over you like the grey clouds that loomed over Hawkins on any given day.
“But painting by numbers is so boring!” you whined. You dipped your head back dramatically. “And basic!” you added.
At this point, your father saw fit to offer his own insight. “Yeah, it’s basic, but, hey, good things need to start off little first. You didn’t just get good at art, remember? I mean, yeah, you were ‘destined’ to be great at it, but it still took some time. Likewise,” he took your mothers hand into his, “love takes time – even with a soulmate involved. So you have to paint it bit by bit, starting with the patience it’s gonna take for you to meet them. Alright?”
Your response was another quiet exhale, though you did prod thoughtfully at the food you’d left mostly untouched on your plate.
Nearly two weeks later, you were still mulling over those words: “Paint by numbers, great things take time.” It had become a mantra, not only for waiting but for anything you did, including artwork. You’d since joined your school’s art club, made a couple of friends. You hadn’t quite established yourself in Hawkins just yet, but these distractions were just enough for you to bide your time with.
Unfortunately, distractions do not always come with a guarantee of never again experiencing artist’s block: That was always going to happen, no matter what. And considering how quiet the town was compared to your previous home, it was happening a lot more often than it had ever before. It was frustrating! Once you saw some places the first two times, you’d need some time to pass before it felt new and refreshing to go there again – there was so little to draw inspiration from, you felt.
It therefore had become commonplace for you to approach the art club’s instructor and ask for some time by yourself to gather your thoughts and stroke your usually decent imagination.
You hadn’t meant to wander far this time. But that temptation to balance along the nearby train tracks was all too strong. Most temptations are when you’re unable to occupy your mind with better habits.
You never thought about how silly you might’ve looked, clumsily waving your arms and bending at awkward angles at sudden intervals. You only stared down at your feet as you place one in front of the other on the makeshift beam.
One step at a time, paint by numbers
If you rush, it won’t go according to plan
One foot –
One step –
In front of the other –
Great things takes time –
You sputtered as your foot slipped off the rail, your body flopping sporadically. You were more of a painter, but you definitely knew that sound. It was the sound that would always accompany school art shows, the sound you’d always hear after your parents demanded that you stand next to a work you’d had hung up and smile awkward for: A camera.
As soon as you could regain your composure, you whipped your head around. Even in the quick motion, your eyes were able to train themselves on the then blurry figure that was standing yards away from you. What they weren’t able to do, however, were properly adjust as a sudden world of color violently engulfed your vision.
Your mouth, unfortunately, was already too full of accusations to be stopped in time.
“Hey, what’re youdowugh –”
That was all you managed to say and slur before your vision, once again, became engulfed in color. However, it was the color black, a color you already knew, and it swallowed up everything.
You could hear the old cot beneath you creak as you moved. If that wasn’t enough to wake you up, the scratchy, old blanket on top of you definitely was. A lowly groan escaped your lips as you came to, rubbing your eyes free of whatever dragged you under. Before the fuzzies had cleared, however, you could hear the school nurse chirping from nearby.
“Glad you’ve joined us here, darlin’!”
You grunted in response before resting your hands on your blanketed legs. It was only when you groggily blinked that your vision confirmed a silent thought that you had woken up wondering.
“There’s …” you breathed. You were unable to finish that sentence. Luckily, the nurse seemed to already know what you were talking about.
“Color? You fainted due to overstimulation. Don’t feel bad about it, though, honey: lots of people experience this when they finally meet their soulmate. Especially younger folks. I couldn’t tell you how many students have come through my office after fainting from spotting their loved one – ”
At this point, you’d tuned out. Actually, you’d tuned out when she said that word: Soulmate. Despite it being a thought that had haunted your mind for what felt like eons, it all just seemed foreign to you. Almost unnatural.
“ – in fact, he should be back in a moment; he just walked out for a moment.”
“Wait, what?” you blurted out without thinking. The nurse, however, continued to be unfazed.
“Still a bit foggy in the head, are we? Your soulmate: he just stepped out for a sec and should be right back here in a jiffy. I suppose he needed some air; I can’t blame him: The poor dear looked so worried when he came in here, holding you like a princess. Couldn’t tell you how he managed to speak so fast when he was explaining what happened.” She smiled. “He was really worried about you, hun.”
As if on cue, a knock sounded at the door, followed by the clicking of it being opened. You noted that the knock was very soft. Almost as though the person doing it were afraid of hurting the inanimate slab of wood. But other than that, you weren’t able to bring yourself to actually look at the person entering to learn anything else of them. Your head, your heart, your soul were all screaming in unison: It’s him, it’s him!
When you didn’t look up, instead compelling your eyes to remain focused on your fingers, plucking at the scratchy blanket, the trio tried other methods of enforcing their demands: Your heart threw itself against your ribcage, your mind whirled so badly that you swore you could feel your brain dancing, and your soul seemed to be blitzing inside of you into every nook and cranny. It was all too much, so much so that you couldn’t hear the quiet footstep nearing you.
It wasn’t until your body allowed for you enough quiet to feel a new presence by your side. It was in this acknowledgement that you were able to hear his voice: “H-hello …”
In this moment, it hadn’t occurred to you that your soulmate would be equally as nervous as you. Inhaling deeply, you spared no slowness in your final attempt to look upon your destined loved one. You hadn’t learned anything from whipping your head earlier; why start now?
The first thing you noticed were his eyes. That was probably the first thing most people noticed when they saw Jonathan Byers: they were so unusually tired for someone his age, even more so nervous and even almost saddened. If it wasn’t his eyes, then most people would firstly note that his demeanor flowed with an overwhelming sense of shyness, effecting his posture to the point of appearing smaller and more fragile than most boys his age. This is what you took note of second. The third thing, which would’ve been the first thing if not for the fact that he could occasionally go without it, was the clunky camera he was holding in his hands; almost like how a child holds their safety blanket.
But what many and most who did not know Jonathan Byers would not have seen would be the small, wary smile that graced his features.
That was reserved for those he felt the closest to.
You weren’t certain what to say. Sure, you, like many others at some point in their lives, had made a plan about what you would probably say upon first meeting your intended. You practiced a speech here or there, thought up possible scenarios within which you could throw a cool, flirty joke. It never occurred to you that you’d faint upon first meeting, however. So you were at a loss for proper words.
“You … take pictures?” Smooth, (Y/N). Surprisingly, though, your soulmate didn’t seem bothered by the clumsy first sentence. In fact, he seemed more bothered by the fact that it was his picture-taking that had caused your first meeting to go so bizarrely.
“I … I’m sorry. I was taking pictures and …” he seemed to struggle to find the right words that wouldn’t come off too terribly. “You just looked really – r-really natural and I really wanted to .. . . to …” He gave up altogether, instead directing his attention to the floor where he fell into an awkward foot-to-foot shuffle. You didn’t mind. In fact, you were finding yourself rather flattered.
You folded your legs up to your chest and rested a blushing cheek on them as you smiled back up at him. “It’s okay,” you offered. “I’m (Y/N) (L/N), by the way.” You watched him nod slightly.
“I’m Jonathan. Jonathan Byers,” he offered. You could tell he was trying and failing miserably not to blush right back at you.
“Well, Jonathan,” you began, “I can’t begin to express what a pleasure it is to meet you. And if you don’t mind, I’d really love to see that photo you took of me when you get it developed.” You bit your lip. “And all your other pieces, if you don’t mind … In fact, I can show you my pain –”
Wait … Weren’t you in art club before all this!?
Jonathan, in his nervous nature, couldn’t help but jump slightly as you hollered, “Oh, crap!”, watching in confusion as you fervently detangled yourself from the scratchy blanket.
You weren’t thinking when your grabbed his hand and began sprinting down the hallway back to the art room. It didn’t even occur to you that you didn’t really know Jonathan, other than the fact that he was your soulmate and a photographer. You were just doing what suddenly came naturally: Wanting your soulmate to be around you. Besides, great things take time; you had to start somewhere. Even if “somewhere” meant dragging your confused, startled, and yet somewhat love-struck soulmate down the hallway.
Jonathan stood nervously behind you, just watching you. He felt bad, guilty if he had to give it a name. He didn’t need to worry about colors in his photos – they were going to happen without his influence. Painting, on the other hand? That required some acknowledgement of which colors the creator of the piece was using.
He gulped quietly as he watched you continue to stare at the painting you’d been working on earlier that day. It had been five minutes. You hadn’t said a work. You just … stared at it, arms to your side, staring straightforward, no head-cocking or anything.
Jonathan hadn’t been seeing color for too long, not even two hours. But considering that he’d been seeing it longer than you had, as your fainting spell took some time out of you, he had an idea of what colors certain things were supposed to be.
The sky wasn’t usually yellow, from what he could tell, and the clouds he saw weren’t lilac and indigo. The sun, from what he could squint at, didn’t appear to be blue, and the trees he’d seen while running back to the school with you in his arms didn’t appear to vary in any colors beyond brown and green, so he couldn’t exactly say that trees were actually blood red with white and purple leaves.
Jonathan also hadn’t known you for long, not even twenty minutes. So he couldn’t tell how much of a stickler and perfectionist you might’ve been. But considering you expressed such a high passion for art as he did with his photography, he worried he may have ruined all your hard work with his lack of presence.
It was therefore a surprise to the young man when you turned to face him, a big smile plastered on your face as you squealed, “I love it!”