Ciara Preston is a character in the spinoff RP, Soul Ascendancy.
It is a clear, sunny day. A teenage girl, sixteen or seventeen, leans against the wall of a schoolyard. She is fit - not particularly muscular, but more lean than skinny. Her hair is a very dark brown - almost black, really - and pulled back into a ponytail. Long bangs fall to either side of light brown eyes, not blocking her vision. She wears no makeup, and her clothes are casual and worn; a tank-top, a light hoodie, and cargo pants. Milling around the yard are people, all of them in groups of two or more, chatting and eating happily. She draws in a sketchbook with a cheap mechanical pencil, an image of one of the pairs in the yard beginning to take shape.
It is a cloudy night, illuminated only by street lamps and what building lights spill out of their windows. A teenage girl, sixteen or seventeen, perches on the edge of a rooftop, looking out along a street. The street is relatively empty, but a handful of cars and a dozen or so pedestrians are visible nonetheless, all about their nightly activities.
The girl wears a long hooded cloak, dark gray on the outside and black within, held in place below the notch in her collarbone by a dark gray gem. Her almost-black hair is pulled back into what must be a full ponytail, though it is not visible within her hood. A section of cloth is pulled up over her face, covering everything lower than her light brown eyes. A long-sleeved and form-fitting gray-and-black top is visible through the gap in her cloak, loosening toward the bottom to fall loosely over her belt and the top of her pants. Her pants are tight and dark gray. Her boots are leather-like, black and unadorned.
It would be tempting to write Ciara off as the kind that dislikes other people. She certainly fits most of the patterns - she sits in the back of the class, and never raises her hand. She spends her lunches sitting on her own with a sketchbook or talking with her sister, rather than socializing with the school at large. She doesn't seem to have any friends, and never seems interested in small talk.
But then the little things make matters confusing. The way she doesn't make anyone's life harder if she doesn't have to. The way she's almost always willing to help her classmates out, provided it's during school hours. The compassion, protectiveness, and comfort she shows around her sister. The rare flicker of loneliness across her face, when she thinks no one is watching.
The truth of the matter is, Ciara doesn't dislike other people. She had friends, once - not a large number of them, for she was never a social butterfly, but some nonetheless. As she grew more focused on helping her family, however, she made less and less time for them; it wasn't long before they only saw or spoke to her at school... and when they went their separate ways after middle school, neither they nor Ciara put in the effort needed to keep a friendship going. And so, upon entering high school, Ciara had no friends, and the few that made advances were quickly rebuffed by her uncaring exterior. She had friends, and acquaintances, once, but somewhere along the way, she forgot how to make more. The closest she has these days are her acquaintances and occasional partners in crime.
She doesn't need them, after all. She has her family, and time for little more than taking care of them. All friends would do is take up her time; all she would be is another thing for them to take care of, and they would be something else she needs to take care of.
Most of the time, when she tells herself that, she even believes it.
Nonetheless, her lack of friends doesn't mean she dislikes people. Indeed, she understands that everyone has their hardships and struggles; she of all people does not want to add to them. So, when she can, she gives people a hand, and refrains from doing things that will hurt them. After all, it's not like she spends her time in school doing anything that matters to her (except her art - it took only a few icy glares to stop people from interrupting her during art class). Her family comes first, of course. And if she needs to make someone else's life harder to help them... well, it's a hard world, but that's just the way it is. She might wish it weren't that way, might dream of a better place, but she has to live in this one.