Pairing/Characters: Rachel+Dill+Carnival [claim → main party]
Spoilers/Warnings: AU. Profanity (see: Carnival).
Summary: before I see things the right way up.
When Rachel got to the library, Dill was already sitting at one of the tables, with papers in piles around him. He had a gloomy look on his face, and his eyes were dull gray-green.
“No Mina?” Rachel asked, glancing around as she pulled her chair up. Their friend didn’t seem to be around, nor did any of her things. Carnival was sprawled back in the La-Z-Boy chair in the corner with her wings splayed over the armrests, stretched out with a paperback book—Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Rachel noted as she squinted—over her face. She seemed to be asleep, and obviously wasn’t doing any tutoring.
“She went home a while ago,” Dill told her, resting his arms on the table and his chin on them. Actually making, Rachel noticed with amusement, puppy eyes at her. “She’s great at math, but this kind of thing…”
“I may not be of much help,” Rachel warned him as she pulled up a chair. “I’m much better with history, really.”
“Help is help.”
“Suit yourself,” she said, smiling.
…The smile, and Rachel’s amusement, didn’t last all that long.
“What does this even mean?”
Dill groaned. “…I don’t get it either, that’s why I wanted help. Are you sure that—?”
“I understood what was going on perfectly until they started pulling up stakes and talking about burning people… or at least I thought so, because I must have missed something if none of this makes sense to me now.”
When she turned to him in frustration, Dill was flopped onto the table with his cheek to the fake wood, his eyes getting duller and murkier by the second. “…but Rachel, didn’t you ever read this book before?”
Rachel scratched her head and tossed her braid over her shoulder. “We were supposed to cover it in freshman English at the college I went to, but… we didn’t have enough time, and the prof decided we should read The Great Gatsby instead.”
Dill groaned again.
“What are you guys, fucking stupid? It’s obvious, isn’t it?”
Rachel actually jumped in her seat, and whirled around to Carnival, who was standing behind them and leaning over like a vulture to examine the contentious book.
“Yes, we’d love heart attacks, why don’t you try even harder to give us some next time?”
“Shut up, Rachel. It’s a religious allegory, can’t you tell? This is a parallel to Ayen’s prophets, and the narrative is a symbol of the Maze. The author was an acolyte for most of his life before he decided to write books, it should say so on the back flap.”
Dill sat up and examined the flap in question. “…You’re right. Hey, Carnival, how do you know all this anyway?”
Carnival crossed her arms and scowled, the face she made stretching her scars. They shone under the fluorescent lights like a cluttered road map.
“’Cause I actually paid attention in my lit analysis classes, that’s why. Crap, this is why I didn’t wanna help. At least do your research, don’t sleep in class, and check Spark Notes before you start whining about how you don’t get it.”
Carnival facepalmed. “Just shut up. I’ll explain things this once, so shut up or I’ll change my mind. And I expect groveling when you get an A on this paper.”
Rachel had to look away to hide her grin.