"Ahhhh... They're so cute! Momma, can I try to get that one? Pleaseeee?" You pointed excitedly at the fluffy stuffed bird hanging along the side of the carnival game.
"I don't know, sweetie... That man has some creepy vibes coming off of him..."
"You an' your old vibes, Momma... But I really, REALLY want that plushie! Please?"
"Oh, fine. Quickly, though." You smiled and led your guardian towards the game. The man introduced himself as Jack and explained that it was a dart throwing game. If you managed a hit on the targets for every dart, you would get your choice of any of the prizes hanging up. You nodded and your mother exchanged some money with the man. You began to toss the darts that were given to you, landing every single one just outside of the targets. You were down to one dart and about to throw it when a boy behind you spoke. "You need to adjust your aim." You spun around towards him. He was a blond boy around a year older than you with sunglasses and a red record shirt.
"What do you mean?"
"Adjust your aim." He walked up to you and moved your arm slightly. "Try now." You did as he said, ending up hitting the target head on.
"Wow, thank you! Momma, can I try another round?"
"I'm sorry sweetie, but we can't. Let's try some of the other games."
"B-but.... The duck...." You said, frowning as your mom pulled you away. You waved a sad goodbye to the boy, who nodded and turned to the dart game, asking his own guardian for money to pay for a round.
Of course, that was six years ago. You are now twelve, and you seem to remember the boy later tracking you down and introducing himself as Dave. He then had handed you the exact plush you had been wanting, and you were about to hug him when a huge storm waterlogged the entire carnival. The two of you separated, and now you were pretty sure that that same boy was standing at the front of your classroom.
Have I mentioned that the only open seat in the class is next to yours? Because the only open seat in class is next to yours.
Oh look he's sitting next to you. Good luck, Author-chan is now going to help you by the power of author inserts!
"Pst, [name]!" Your best friend Gra whispered from your side. "You're acting like you know him or something! Do you?"
"Also, class, the lock-in is tonight! Permission slips will be taken up at the door. Dave, would you like a permission slip to go?" Your teacher, Aranea Serket asked.
"I'll ask my Bro if I can go. Sounds cool." The moment Dave opened his mouth to speak, your heart practically leapt out of your chest.
"Ohhhh, [name], I know that face... Someone's got a cru~ush!"
"Shut up, I do not!" You clamped a hand over Gra's mouth.
"Is there something you would like to share with the class, Gra, [name]?"
"Oh, n-n-n-n-no, Miss Serket! I was just asking Gra here to quiet down so I could study for today's test is all!"
~~~Later that night~~~
You showed up at the school with all the things you needed for the lock-in, including your most treasured possession: a still fluffy yellow duck with a piece of string tied around its neck.
"[name]! You actually brought that old duck?"
"Of course! How could I not? I love this thing, and it's my pillow!"
"What is even your attachment to that thing anyway? I've never understood it."
You smiled and pulled it off the top of your stuff. "Back when I was little, five or six maybe, my mom took me to a carnival. It was an overcast day and just as my mom was about to take us to get some food, then leave, I saw this little guy hanging at a dart game. I convinced my mom to let me try for it, but I was terrible at it. I was on my last try when this boy behind me told me to adjust my aim and moved my arm slightly. I tried it the way he showed me and hit one of the targets head on, but one hit wasn't enough to win anything. My mom pulled me away from the game, and later, when we were about to leave, the boy caught me and gave me the duck. He introduced himself as Dave, but then it began to rain really hard and my mom pulled me away from the carnival. I haven't really ever seen that boy again, but..."
"He was my first love. I even named the duck after him, and haven't forgotten a thing about him."
"Not one little thing?" Gra was extremely interested now.
"Not one thing. He called his guardian "Bro", he had light blond hair, a re-" You stopped and turned your head towards the new kid, who had just entered the school.
"What's wrong? I thought you remembered every little detail about him. Why're you stopping?"
"Because... Gra, that's him! That's even the same pair of sunglasses!"
"Are you sure? Let's go-"
"Ohhhhh nonononoNO! We are NOT going to talk to him!" You protested.
"Ugh, fine. But you're gonna have to talk to him SOMEtime."
"Nope. Nu-uh. Not a chance. No, no, NO!"
"He seems lost on where to go, maybe we should at least help him get to the auditorium?"
"Don't expect me to talk to him, and it's fine!"
"Geez, you're so stubborn! Hey, Dave!" She called out to the boy. He turned in your direction and just as earlier, your heart skipped a beat. "Do you need help getting to the lock-in area?"
"Yes," He said and walked towards you with his things.
"By the way, this is [name] and I'm Gra. We were sitting near you in homeroom this morning? Anyway, we need to get to the auditorium. Just follow [name], she knows this school like the back of her hand." You shook your head and started walking, keeping the Dave Duck clutched to your chest and your gaze straight forward. You soon ended up in the auditorium, feeling your feet grow heavier by the second. "...[name]?" Your head snapped up.
"Hm?" Oh, crap. You were looking straight at the boy you has been trying not to speak to the entire time. "We're... at the auditorium."
"Oh, rightrightright! Sorry, I was k-kinda thinking, then I sorta lost track of what was going on around me..."
"Su~ure you did!" Gra teased.
"Now then, time for the lock-in rules!" You were pulled into the room and into a seat before you could even try to speak.
"Girls, line up on the right side of the room. Boys, line up on the other side. You will be given a number, either one, two, or three. Ones will be in the sixth grade hall, twos in the seventh grade, and threes in the eighth grade. The sixth grade hall is only for boys, the seventh for girls, and the eighth is a combination. Remember your numbers."
After some shuffling, you were given your number(three) and which room you would be in. Both you and Gra had gotten lucky: you were going to be in the same classroom. Once again you were dragged to your destination.
Somehow you ended up surrounded by girls in your class, hounding you with questions about the duck. Of course the boys were on the other side of the room, normally one could at least distract a few girls off of you.
"Bluh bluh bluh, guys. So a guy gave it to me. That was six years ago, I doubt I'll ever see him again, and even if I do, I doubt he'd recognize me. Just drop it, for now at least."
"Hey, hey! Did you hear the rumor about the lock-ins? Apparently we're supposed to be a sort of guard of the rooms; they hold the lock-in on the exact same day every year with the same procedures. My older brother at the high school told me that he went to use the bathroom on the night of the lock-in, and saw a figure floating through the lockers! And then..." You stopped listening at this point. You hated scary stories, and clutched the duck tighter. Suddenly you stood up.
"I'm going to go see what the boys are talking about."
"Oh, while you're over there, ask Karkat about Nepeta!" The teacher escort, Meulin, asked you. You shot her an odd look and made the trek to the boys' side of the room.
~~~Meanwhile, on the boys' side of the room...~~~
"Dave, man, are you okay? You keep looking over towards the girls' side of the room... Is it [name], or one of the girls suffocating her area?"
"Nah, I'm just wondering about that duck that she has. I won one for a girl when I was little, and never saw her again. But it can't be the same girl, even if she has that duck..."
"What the hell are you even talking about? Don't worry about her, if you like her. She's either lesbian or has some serious issues. Every boy in the class likes her, but she never even looks at us unless she needs help. I overheard some chick saying that she's still looking for her first love, but that's just some sappy shit."
"What're you guys talking about? Oh, Karkat. The teacher escort wanted me to ask you about Nepeta, or something? Anyway, I was starting to feel a little claustrophobic around all those people so I decided to come over here." You more or less scared the hell out of the guy who had been talking.
"What are they even so excited about? Girls are weird, dude."
"Bluh, they just keep asking me about the duck because of all this first love shit, then they mentioned this rumor that the school is haunted only on this day, or something. It's really stupid, if you ask me. So what were you guys talking about?"
"Dave wanted to know something about you."
"Oh, i-is that all?" You attempted to suppress the blush creeping onto your cheeks. "I guess there really is nothing for anyone to talk about."
"[name], come here for a second!"
"Huh?" You turned and rushed over towards the girls.
"Can you ask the boys if any of them want to go look around the school? We're looking for ghosts!"
"I-I don't know... Shouldn't you ask them yourselves?"
"But you're the only one who can talk to them so freely! You're our only connection to the-"
"Fine, fine, I get it! I'll go talk to them! Geez, can't you guys have a little more advocacy on these sort of things?" And with that, you trudged back on over to the other side of the room.
"Okay, so, the girls minus me want to know if you guys want to go ghost hunting around the school. However, they are too hormone-induced to ask you themselves. Yes or no?"
About half of the guys mumbled a yes, while the other half stayed quiet.
"I'll go tell them." You sighed and turned to the girls to find Meulin standing behind you. You yelped and immediately fell over, something cushioning your fall.
"Oh, sorry [name]! I wasn't trying to scare you, Gra just wanted me to-"
"No- no, it's fine." You said, standing and looking at who you fell on. Because this is a reader insert, obviously it has to be your love interest. You scrambled immediately towards the other side of the room, feeling your face heat up by the second. "I-I need to get something from my locker!" You managed and burst out of the room.
"Wait, [name], you aren't supposed to leave your assigned room without a group!" Meulin called after you. You werent listening: it was either get the fuck out of there or die of exploding face. You chose to GTFO.
Before you knew it, you ended up at your locker, dazed and still calming down. You hadn't even been paying attention to where you were going, so it was a surprise to actually end up where you said you'd be. You decided to actually open your locker, since you were already there.
Oh, I forgot about this.
At the bottom of your locker was a worn-out picture of a younger you, holding the duck that Dave had won for you. Next to you was the young boy, wearing a poker face.
How did this get here?
Suddenly a chill blew through what felt like your entire body; you turned your head and saw a blurred figure pass through the locker next to yours. You thought you heard a creaking sound, but dismissed it.
"Was that you, that put that here?" You asked quietly. You weren't expecting a reply, but to your surprise a note landed in the bottom of your locker.
~Yes, that was me. I'm surprised y0u n0ticed me, and haven't run screaming yet. Earlier when y0ur friends were talking ab0ut me, y0u left s0 quickly.~
"Yes, but that was just because I figured it would be a murder story. I don't do very well with that sort of thing, I'm afraid. So you aren't going to hurt me?"
~N0, I w0uldn't hurt any0ne that didn't deserve it. Y0u're a very nice s0rt. I h0pe y0u d0n't mind that I went thr0ugh your 0ld things t0 find that picture, I th0ught that y0u might have been f0rgetting s0mething.~
"No, I don't mind. I did forget about this old picture... I wonder if it really is him."
"[name]? Are you in there? Why are the gates to this area shut?"
"It looks like I have to go. Can we talk like this again, sometime?"
~That w0uld be nice. My name is Aradia, if y0u were w0ndering.~
"Okay, bye Aradia. Thanks for finding my picture." You smiled at the blur, and shut your locker. A loud slam signified the gates slamming themselves open.
Oh, Aradia. You can't scare me.
"[name]! Are you okay, I was starting to get really worried about mew! Why were the gates shut?"
"Just a friend playing tricks on us."
~~~Back in the classroom~~~
"What do you mean a friend playing tricks on us that you were talking with? No one followed you other than Meulin!"
"So then you don't remember Aradia? She loves helping out the younger years-"
"You knew Aradia?!" A boy in 3-D glasses jumped up and looked at you. The chill from earlier blew through your body.
"Is it.... cold in here all of a sudden?" Gra asked.
"It is..." A kid mumbled. A note fell in your lap.
~[name], c0uld y0u please give a n0te t0 the b0y wh0 asked ab0ut me just n0w?~
"Sure, Aradia..." You said, reading the note.
"Who are you talking to?"
A note fell in your lap, reading "t0 S0llux".
"Sollux, Aradia wants to speak to you." You said and handed the boy the note. Another landed in your lap.
~Als0, f0rgive me f0r prying, but maybe y0u sh0uld ask that b0y ab0ut the picture. It isn't very g00d f0r s0me0ne t0 h0ld in y0ur feelings like that, especially if he really is y0ur first l0ve.~
"N-no. It's fine. I think I will talk to him. But... I don't know what to say."
~H0w ab0ut this?~
You lifted the note to see another underneath it.
"Pretty straightforward, huh?" You asked, reading it.
~That is what it's supp0sed t0 be like, yes.~
"Well, I guess that's what I'm going for. So do I just give it to him?"
~That's the plan. Need any enc0uragement?~
"No, I think I'm fine, but thanks."
"...[name]! You're starting to scare the younger children! Who are you talking to?"
"Aradia, of course. Dave, Aradia wanted me to give you this." You said, handing him the note.
"[name], right?" The "Sollux" boy asked you. It sounded like he was about to cry. "Thanks for talking with Aradia like you did, and giving me the note. I missed her a lot."
~~~Later(again), as everyone was falling asleep~~~
Your head quietly hit the duck you were using as a pillow, your eyes almost immediately shutting and your brain blanking. Dave lifted his head as yours dropped; he quietly walked over and kissed your forehead. "I missed you, [name]," he whispered. What he didn't know was that you were still half awake, and would most certainly be pestering him about it in the morning. In the meantime, you snuck a small smile in your 'sleep'. This lock-in was a success.