Series: The Best Moves
Disclaimer: Wholly original work.
Characters/Pairings: Charlie, Timothy
Summary: Charlie's night-time rituals.
Notes: Origfic Bingo - 'Bedtime Rituals'. Contains ruminations on mental illnesses by a neurotypical character.
Once upon a time, Charlie had tried to diagnose herself, as all psychology students try to. At first, it was the traditional mental illness of the week, but then it progressed to other things and finally, right around when she'd switched her major, she realized it was okay to be herself and be a little quirky.
At night, she had a pattern she followed. But it could be interrupted and nothing bad would happen and she could do things out of order and didn't wake up panicked if she missed a step. Voices weren't telling her to do it. There was no desperation to the act. Not that she would have minded if she weren't perfectly normal - once fellow students had outed themselves as having some of the conditions she was reading about, they were no longer strange and unwanted horrible illnesses, but just things that people had.
She brushed her hair a hundred times or so, no point in keeping track, before putting it up or braiding it. She made sure her phone either had a couple bars on the battery or was plugged in to charge. She made sure her bookbag or purse was packed for the next day, because she knew she was never good at remembering things when rushed.
Charlie turned, mid-brush, to look at her younger brother Timothy.
"Are you going to bed already?" he asked as he ambled in to sit on her bed. She wasn't sure what he'd do once she moved out, which was her goal once she finally finished college. As much as she tried to do things on her own, she was still reliant on their parents for a place to live.
And Timothy coasted more than she did, though she was trying to get him working again, and back to school. He just had issues with heartbreak.
She didn't want to try to diagnose him. She hated thinking that way about people she knew and cared about, once she realized she was actually doing it all the time. Herself and everyone around her - each quirk or random action suddenly had a deeper meaning.
Did Tracey just randomly want orange soda instead of his beloved Coke? Was it a symptom of something deeper? Had he started associating Coke with something unpleasant? Why didn't he like Pepsi to begin with, anyway? Was it really just because it was too sweet? Orange soda is just as sweet, so why would he order that?
And did Tracey just want to see a movie? Was it a date but she didn't realize it? Why wouldn't he ask Timothy with him? Why not his roommates? Was it really because it was a series they were both interested in that the others didn't care for?
"Yeah," Charlie replied.
"Why?" Timothy asked.
"Because I'm tired," Charlie said with a little smile. She wasn't going to bother with the other whatever-dozen missed strokes that her hair didn't really need. "I'm going to read a little too, but mostly just sleep."
"Oh..." Timothy turned to go. "Well, have good dreams, okay?"
"Okay," she said.
The night before she'd dreamed she was chasing a herd of wild rhinos through the middle of the city aided only by three zombies and a homeless man dressed as a clown.
Instead of dwelling on it herself, she'd just told a few of her former classmates and asked them to figure it out.
She was going to be a librarian instead.
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