Dwindle, Dwindle
rating: +14+x


"You're a disaster," Tanaka stated.

oh yeah well what do you know music boy bet youre rich youabsolutefuck —

"Hiii what's-your-name!" Sunset exclaimed. Absolute brilliant responding on her part.

"How drunk is she?"

"Enough!" she responded. A very believable response.

"She also had a couple edibles. Sorry Tanaka, she'll be alright. I promise," Vin added. They looked at him with an expression attempting to assuage his worries, but he still seemed apprehensive. It wasn't like she'd be driving, so one had to wonder what he could have been worrying over.

"You didn't give her any alcohol or weed, right?" Tanaka prodded.

"Of course not."

"Okay then. Let's get going."

The three of them piled into Vin's car, with Sunset and Tanaka in the back seats. A guitar case sat in the front, preventing a non-awkward ride. Luckily, she was just tall enough to make sitting behind that seat uncomfortable, and he was just short enough to sit behind it fine enough. A win-win for both.


It was silent for the first few minutes of the ride. No one had anything to say to each other; was she that awkward? Worry crept up, threatening to strangle her one chance to not leave a bad impression. What was there to talk about, though? She couldn't ever share anything in common with men. Through the increasingly heavy haze of her indulgences, however, her brain was able to figure out a topic she could sail through with ease.

"Vinvin, where're wegoing? Whooo's thingy is that?"

"It's mine, and it's a bass guitar," Tanaka promptly stated. "We're going to my band's last concert. I'm done after this."

"You don't have to —" Vin was cut off by a sudden need to brake to avoid bumping into the car ahead, letting Tanaka interrupt.

"All of us are done. Me and Sugako for sure. No-Name's heavily considering it too."

"Even her? What are you all doing in Aussie after this?"

"Nothing, we're all leaving."


She fucked up. She definitely fucked up. Of course someone on the edges of Are We Cool Yet? wouldn't know any interdrama, but maybe she should have thought harder for a topic starter. Was there a side to take?

"Christ… I understand why, and I know I can't do anything about shit, but is there really not another option?"

"No. No disrespect to you, but fuck this shit group."

If Sunset didn't get a word in now, she never would. Besides, they were being too vague for her stoned ass, she might as well join in.

"Whyre you quittin aw - uh, ay, ay-cee, my dude?" In trying to lightly gesticulate her concern for him, Sunset nearly wacked him in the head with her elbow. She might have faced retaliation had she not immediately followed up by hitting the car door with her other elbow. "Nnnn…"

"…okay." Tanaka looked the other way, but even she could tell he was suppressing his laughter.


"A-Anyway. I'm quitting because I've had enough of it. I don't want to be part of something I think is bullshit, and this art clique's getting real close to bullshit for me."

"Then whatll you do after?"

"Don't know. There's this boy I'm dating and I want to move in with him. Don't tell him I said that Vin, I'm not ready to bring it —"

Sunset tugged Tanaka's sleeve and looked up at him in awe. Silence permeated the air as Sunset tried to get the right words out from her crossfaded brain haze to properly tell Tanaka what she was thinking. After nearly a minute, she finally figured out what to say, telling him in a clear, totally-coherent manner:

"Aaaah youresocool…"


"What! No fucking way did I say that!"

"It's true, you know. You can always ask them about it." Tanaka didn't grin, but with his tone he might as well have been. It was bad enough to be barrelling down Pennsylvania highways in the night with him, but to hear something as lame as that was just disgraceful.

Although Sunset didn't want to admit it, despite never traveling to the state herself, it felt relaxing to see these sights. Was it fair to America to call these numerous twisted highways, slightly surreal billboards, and worn-looking gas stations nested right by fast food restaurants capitalistic nightmares? Even if it was, it no longer felt like something new, and that was at least refreshing.

Maybe staying at someone else's place would be a good thing after all. She could get back on her feet, forget the past, and rebuild herself. Her parents lived on the other side of the country so that wouldn't be a worry. If worst really came to worst, her relatives back in England could always give her advice. Tanaka seemed to be less of a grouch than she remembered, so it could work out in the end.

"Whatever," she sighed. "I'd like to say hi to Vin but I doubt they still hang around New England. How long am I staying at your place anyway?"

"Two months, max. Thom's moving here by then, so I don't want anyone else —"

"Your boyfriend?"

"— around by that point, yes, he is."

"Hell yeah man. I'm sure the sex you'll have with total privacy will be awesome." Tanaka quickly shot her a glare before looking back at the road. "What? Isn't that true?"

"How much older am I than you? Seven years, eight?"

"Seven, what does that matter?"

"I personally feel weird about talking about sex stuff with someone that much younger than me."

Okay, geezer.

Was he always that stiff? Whatever, she still had to respect that boundary, even if she found it odd.

"Hey, do you have weed at your place?"

"Sure, but keep a lookout on the right for our next exit, okay? It'll be coming up in a bit and I need help knowing when to turn."


Lightning struck in her head. A familiar hum spread throughout, flowing to the eyes and then every other part of the body. Intensified colors, mixing up languages for flowers and vice versa, and drifting through the world as if a dream herself; how could she forget this feeling?

"Ah shit, that's real good! I'm gonna explode, do you know how long it's been since I last got high? A month maybe," Sunset proclaimed. Her voice was fine, but her words felt as if they were shaking. The porch lights were tricking her into thinking she saw an idle thought of hers in the seat across. If it was this good now, how would she even process it in ten minutes? "Here." She started to pass the joint to Tanaka.

"Just finish your half first. I'll have the other then. I'm waiting on a call anyway." Her eyes went big (as big as they could be anwyay) at his amazing generosity.

"Oh man… thank you. I'll repay this debt somehow…" She giggled, not even trying to hide her tears as she took another hit.

This dude's BF is lucky as heck.

As the haze implanted itself in her brain, so did the euphoria.1 Of course, logically, it was the weed doing its job, especially being amplified by the month-long tolerance break. But she was still getting along with him fine enough, so she had to take the victories where she could. As she turned to look at Tanaka fiddling on his phone, she saw that he was already laughing to himself.

"H-heyyy, what's the big idea?"

"Nothing, nothing. I was warned by my friend that you were cold and hostile, but you still laugh and cry when you smoke weed like anyone else. I had my doubts when I met you a couple years ago but you seem fine. I'm guessing the HRT helped." He went back to paying attention to his phone. "If you need me to help get you any I can try my best."

"No no no no, I'm… I'm still a bitch! I just, you know. Weed. That's what weed does. What kind of friend says that sort of thing anyway, you corny loser you. Did your gayfriend make you softer?"

"Only to an extent." The phone started to buzz, and Tanaka got up from his seat. "I'll be right back, don't smoke all of it though." Tanaka went inside the house to take the call, which left Sunset to pleasantly twirl through her high.

She soaked in every last bit she could, the warm summer air feeling like a toasty blanket. It was an odd moment, almost cinema-esque in nature; away from the "comfort" of her old home, yet finally feeling freer than she had before. In fact, it was electrifying to think of her position in life at the moment as walking on that balance of fiction and reality. If she could fall asleep like this it'd be even perfect, but she'd have to wait for that another day.

Maybe I should tweet a thing.

Sunset dug out her phone while taking another hit, fumbling around with getting to the right app. Thankfully, she had auto-correct and capitalization on, or else it would have taken whole minutes to type out something extraordinarily simple.

btstu @haibanemistake

When you finally smoke after a whole month and shit 😳🐍🌳

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12:17AM - 06 August 2018

"Hey, sorry, I'm back."

"Hiiii. Who was it?"


Sunset had no idea how to respond. Truthfully, she wasn't sure if she should; it's not like this still had to be awkward for her, but she couldn't help but make it awkward. If anything, she just didn't have the authority to say anything good or bad about Lain. She still felt guilty about the relationship, and she didn't want to make Lain's feelings any worse, even if she wasn't around.

"She still goes by that name? Wild."

Please just. Learn when to shut your mouth.

"You still go by Sunset? Anyway, these plans weren't finalized until right now, but Lain has to stay with me for some time. Similar situation to you. I don't know how long she'll stay. I heard from her that you two used to be in a relationship, so I hope it's fine."



Tanaka sighed, taking the joint from Sunset. "Life doesn't work out the way you want it to, even in the best of times. Get used to adulthood."

The words stung, but not as much as the thought of seeing Lain again. Did she still hate Sunset? Did Sunset still hate her? How were they going to live in the same building? It'd be fine, they were both adults. He was right, stuff doesn't always go exactly how you think it does.

"Am I gonna be okay?" She looked up at Tanaka, who finished his first hit.

"I don't know, will you? Your reputation precedes you, so I'm sure you'll be fine. If either of you feel troubled by each other, just talk it out. Or if it gets bad, uh, tell me I guess."

Sunset closed her eyes. The patterns she saw swam around in the redness of the light, seemingly hopeful in nature. Even if not, as long as she could tell herself it'd be fine, it'd have to be fine. No one knew better about that than her.

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