Screams echoed through the Mansion. Screams of terror, sadness, joy, general weebery, and various combinations of the four. But also, somewhere in one of the rooms, something unusual was happening.
People were having a conversation.
“I’m just saying, I think we need to punch it up a bit”, Yuuki, the actual author, was saying. “It’s like, our daily conversations aren’t enough to make a story. We need something more going on if this is going to be interesting.”
“I get that”, said Joey. “I see where you’re coming from, but we have plenty of adventures worth writing about.”
“AAAAAAA.” said Qwan.
“Right, exactly! Like the time Qwan angered some kind of demon and ended up with only the ability to scream eternally. That was a good one.”
The three were sitting in one of the largest rooms in the mansion, and also the most cluttered. UwU’s were scattered across the floor, and the walls were all but entirely obscured by crookedly-hung pictures of Bob Ross painting Bob Ross painting Bob Ross painting Bob Ross painting a screaming cat. In the corner, a monitor displayed a looping video of a girl saying “desu” over and over again. A sign, scribbled directly onto the door in permanent marker, helpfully marked the room as “Spam”.
“Yeah, sure, but that was just one event”, Yuuki said, remaining unconvinced even in the face of that monotonous screaming. “I don’t even know how we’d translate that to paper.”
“Well Qwan tells it best. He was the center of it, right? Let him dictate and we’ll write it down.”
“AAAAAAA.” said Qwan.
“Hah, it never gets old”, Joey chuckled quietly, reminiscing about the iconic and incredibly interesting event.
“Okay, well, how about we start small?” Yuuki suggested. “We could just, I don’t know, write down what we feel to be our most notable personality traits. It’s not a story in itself, but it’s a starting point.”
“:ok_hand::skin_tone_1:”, responded Joey, as if that was a real thing that real humans say in conversation. “Maybe it could serve as a sort of character sheet, for later? A general interpretation of how we’ll present ourselves in our writing as we go?”
“Very on the nose. I like it”, Yuuki responded.
Yuuki dug through a pile of randomly-generated dog pictures, searching for some blank paper. There didn’t seem to be any available - the backs of some old Hyouka screenshots would have to do.
“Alright, so, what would you say my most notable traits are, Joey?”
“Well, I know you like strawberries. It says it right there on your name tag.”
Indeed, each resident of the Mansion wore their own personalized name tag to differentiate themselves from other inhabitants. Seeing as most tended to change their entire appearance somewhat frequently (Joey in particular seemed to be on a bit of a low-resolution-purple-haired-anime-girl kick), the tags served a critical purpose.
Of course, inhabitants also frequently scribbled out their name tags, replacing them with whatever trend was currently sweeping the Mansion with little regard for continuity with their own names. So.
“Speaking of which”, interjected Yuuki, “is the fruit thing over? I’m like, the only person still doing the fruit thing.”
“Damn, really? I’m that far behind the curve? I really need to keep better track of these trends, huh.”
“Okay, we’re drifting again. Let’s try and pull this back on track”, Joey, ever the voice of reason except when he wasn’t, gently guided the three back to their original goal.
“Right. Well. I, enjoy writing!” Yuuki declared with a spark of sudden inspiration. “Yeah! And I make music, and sometimes when I get excited I really streeeeeeeetch out my vowel sounds!”
“I fucking love Hyouka”, Joey said. “Fucking. Love it.”
“Cool so, that’s our characters, right? They seem pretty well-rounded. Believable, deep and fleshed out!”
They were not.
“For sure. They definitely are”, agreed Joey.
They, still, were not.
“And Qwan, well. Screams, doesn’t he.”
Yuuki nodded in agreement. “Well, now that we’ve got that sorted out. What should be our first adventure? Joey, Qwan, any suggestions?”
Qwan screamed again. You get the idea. Joey, meanwhile, had a brilliantly meta (and to be frank, fairly cliched) idea.
“How about we write about us writing? We can make it like an introduction to the world of our story! It’s low-stakes, it’s familiar… and it’s happening right now so we don’t need to worry about anything dumb and boring like inspiration or an interesting plot.”
Yuuki considered this carefully. As a real actual author, it went against their nature to write a story about writers writing a story. But in the end, apathy won out.
“Yep, sure, sounds good”, they declared.
“And, hey, look! Qwan’s already got something written!” Joey was right - for the past few minutes Qwan had been dutifully scrawling away.
Qwan wasn’t much of a talker (at least, not anymore thanks to that one time with the demon), but he was observant. And creative. He took in everything around him, always thinking, always finding ways to transform his surroundings into metaphorical poetry. Sometimes literal poetry also, though he tended to struggle with the rhyming, so most of his poetry remained firmly in the “metaphorical” camp.
As the other two looked over, Qwan finished writing with a decisive tap of the crayon. He was done. His work was complete. Time to share it with his friends, and with the world.
Yuuki and Joey leaned across, and picked up the page. Their first story was complete. It read:
“Perfect...” whispered Yuuki breathlessly.
“It’s exactly what I’d always hoped we could create together”, mumbled Joey. “But I never thought I’d see it come together like this.”
Qwan grinned happily.
The first chapter was written. Many more were yet to come. Some of them written badly, some worse. Maybe one or two even good, by accident. But one thing would be for certain. Together, the three comrades, and their yet-to-be-introduced friends, would find the joy in the Mansion. And they would share it with the world.