Vanderwood is amazing and I absolutely love your interpretation of their character! I saw you were doing Vanderwood for now! -If you're uncomfortable with this I understand!- Vanderwoods reaction to an MC who has self harm scars on her thighs from when she was depressed and she's insecure? Like not being able to handle them even touching them and them seeing the scars makes her panic? -I'm kinda talking about myself at this point. I just really love your writing and it makes me feel better.-
✿ Obvious TW for cutting, self-harm, depression… everything that this ask implies.
- The first time they see them is an accident, and is, more particularly, their fault.
- Vanderwood is, characteristically, a fairly coordinated person. Good reflexes, well-balanced, doesn’t often fall-prey to the condition known as ‘butterfingers’…
- They aren’t particularly used to making a mess, so it is with a good amount of shame that they spill the spaghetti sauce they’re making all over your arms.
- They flip. Their immediate concern is your safety - i.e. confirming that you aren’t burned - and their protective instinct completely overwhelms their ability to hear your protests as they practically pick you up and bring you over to the sink. They pull your sleeves up, turn on the cold water, and -
- Pause, as rivulets of water spill over the faded scars sliced across your forearms.
- You’re shaking, and you shove them away, breath short and expression pinched in panic. How can you deal with the obvious, soon to follow questions? How can you deal with the certainty of judgement, the knowledge that they’ll be aware of your dark history?
- Your embarrassing weakness?
- (broken goods. they’ll see you as broken goods and want nothing to deal with you and how can you deal with that - )
- “Uh,” they say. “Okay, let me go… get you a new shirt. And some aloe. And I’ll let you - take care of that.”
- The suddenness with which they flee the situation sends your head whirling.
- Vanderwood, to your shock, asks no questions. They don’t even seem to want to acknowledge what they saw, simply bringing you something to cover up with and then leaving with startling abruptness.
- “Call me when you’re done,” they say. “Take what time you need.”
- It’s a nerve-wracking experience, being left alone to your thoughts, but it also gives you a chance to compose yourself and catch your breath.
- When they come back, they immediately set to remaking the tomato sauce, both apologizing for what they did and explaining the ways that they’ll make it even better than before.
- It occurs to you that they’re babbling. Just… aimlessly filling up space with the sound of their voice.
- Wow. wow. You have never seen them this awkward before, and it definitely does not feel great that your… past is being treated like a conversational redheaded stepchild. It gets you feeling gloomy, and you remain by the counter, staring at your hands as they babble.
- After awhile, they seem to notice your mood, and they… stop. Take a breath. Then slowly, they put their hand on your shoulder and pull you towards them.
- “Hey, uh…” they clear their throat. “I’m sorry I’m a dick, and I’m sorry I saw something that you obviously want to keep private, so - I’m not gonna ask, and you can tell me about it when and if you feel like it… okay?”
- They give you a slight pat on your shoulder as you nod, and they idly stir the sauce as you lean against them.
- They make good on their word. Never again do they bring it up, and they’re incredibly sensitive to you wanting to avoid showing your skin. They help you successfully navigate out of going to the beach with the RFA, and they smoothly help you deflect questions about why you wear long-sleeved shirts in summer.
- “Whenever you’re ready” is practically their mantra in the rare occasions when it comes up. They never touch your scars, and they never bring it up unless you do.
- Curiously, though, you do notice them saying certain things in your earshot. Like when Zen who - (and bless his heart but this man has some Bad Opinions) - one day goes on about how tragic he finds women with scars to be, and how he personally couldn’t deal with ‘anything marring his body’. Vanderwood says he’s a fucking idiot, he doesn’t know a goddamn thing, and that what people find beautiful is all about perspective.
- “After all,” they say, “Scars are just proof that someone survived something that hurt them very, very badly.”
- Zen shuts up after that.
- Whether you tell them or not doesn’t seem to matter to them. They’ll accept it if you do, they’ll accept it if you don’t, but they do seem to put more priority from then on about letting you know how happy they are that you’re around.