Nox - I love Nepeta, and I wish there was more writing featuring her. Even if it makes me tear up.
Seraph - I love all your alternate kids, and Purple Dave is great fun to read. Red Jade kind of hopped back and forth between overconfident Strider-ness to typical Jade airheadedness, and you somehow made it work. Well played, sir.
lantadyme - Oh...oh my. That was brilliant. I feel like you captured Jadesprite and Davesprite perfectly. Please write more. Anything.
I almost feel bad contributing my own writing after all the recent distilled awesome. Still, no sense in refraining, so here goes.
By Breath and Blood
Your first indication something is wrong feels like a punch to the gut. The air rushes from your lungs
out with the old
and you struggle to draw breath. You can't seem to suck in any air, it's like you've forgotten how to breathe. Your throat is stuck shut, and refuses to work. You desperately attempt to remember what motions you go through to breathe, and to your mounting horror, find that you can't. It's been an unconscious action for as long as you can remember, and you have no idea how to consciously force it.
Spots swim in front of your eyes and you become aware of a pain in your abdomen that's been getting increasingly difficult to ignore. You finally manage to suck in a tiny gasp of air and the pain from your belly roars for your attention. You look down and see a spreading splotch of red on your golden pajamas and suddenly the pain flares. You double over and grab your belly, trying to...what? You don't know, you just want it to end, you want the pain to go away it's too much you didn't sign up for this it was supposed to be a game it was supposed to be fun
and in with the new
and it stops. You gulp down a blessedly pain-free lungful of air and let out a shuddering breath. And suddenly, all is silence and whiteness. There is nothing around you but endless white, and you look down at yourself to make sure you haven't gone blind. You haven't. You also realize that it isn't entirely silent—there is a faint breeze blowing around you. As you focus on it, you notice that the breeze is literally flowing around you in a curlicue motion. It rushes at you, encircles you, and blows away again in tiny gusts. It's almost like the wind is trying to encircle you, to fold itself around you, to protect you. This notion fills you with a quiet tranquility and you find yourself grinning like a loon. Quiet tranquility perhaps, but you've never been very good at subdued. It finally occurs to wonder what exactly is going on, but the wind wraps itself around you more tightly, and you get the impression that you don't need to worry. And then
rise up windy one
you're floating, flying, the wind is curling around you and feel something pull at your head. You reach back and find a hood shaped like a windsock attached to your shirt. The tail of the hood reaches your heels and the wind is whipping it back and forth. You look down and find your golden pajamas have been replaced with an outfit colored in hues of blue with a symbol on the front that you find vaguely familiar. In addition, you feel fantastic. Like you've just had the most perfect night's sleep followed by the world's best (confectionery-free, of course) breakfast. You look up at the clouds
there's work to do
and gasp. There you are, lying on your quest bed with a gaping hole right through your heart. You're surrounded by a pool of oozing red. Your hands leap to your chest where you remember feeling a wrenching pain in the recent past. They find nothing but whole and unharmed skin, but you cannot help but feel a twinge of phantom pain.
Floating over the battlefield, staring at your real self-turned-corpse, you feel betrayed, and worse, you feel stupid (stupid stupid dumb). You'd followed the advice of a troll once before, or so Davesprite had claimed. It led to your death. You have no memory of it happening because, due to Davesprite's interference, it hadn't. The idea still makes you shudder though.
Now here you are again. Another dead John added to the pile because you ignored your friends' advice and listened to a troll. Rose called you a leader, but what sort of leader gets himself killed twice in a row by the same thing? What sort of leader ignores his best friend's advice? And yet...you're floating above the battlefield, stronger than you've ever been. Had you not trusted Vriska and told her to put you to sleep, then you would've been awake and felt your death even more intimately...and painfully. Maybe she was doing you a kindness? Maybe she was just looking out for you! (but what if you could've defeated whatever it was that killed you?)
You shake your head and decide that you really aren't sure what to think about this right now. You could really do with some advice from somebody. Rose would probably have something to say on the matter. It looks like you don't have anything in your sylladex though. You guess you're going to have to get your hands on a computer somehow.
After that well...you're not really sure! You'll probably talk to Rose and see what she thinks about all this if she isn't too busy! For now, you're going to admire your slick new duds, and maybe play around with your new god-tier powers. Whatever those are. The game's not going to wait, and you've got some adventuring to do!
I am not so sure how I feel about second person. Or my John voice for that matter. I was originally going to make him angry at Vriska once he had regained his bearings but...it just didn't seem to fit. So you get uncertain-but-cheerful John instead.
OH MY JEEZ OH HOLY COW GOODNESS GRACIOUS DAVESPRITE AND JADESPRITE AND GODJOHN AAAAAAAA GREAT FICS
Have some more cheesy crossover bullshit I guess.
Homekrigg Geniusstuck: Part III
unfortunateGuardsman [UG] and wanderingOcularis [WO] generated joint transmission to ALT ??????? [??]
UG: please do not be alarmed sir
UG: this transmission is urgent and important to regard but its purpose will not be served by any sort of violent overreaction
??: Oh, is this father's new relay system?
??: And it transcribes my voice?
??: What business am I to attend to?
UG: actually this transmission isnt part of this castles systems
UG: its a pretty important warning about an impending disaster
UG: from a third party namely myself and jones
??: I see. And would this have anything to do with the disappearance of Castle Heterodyne?
??: My father is pretty enraged about the whole business.
??: Have you any word of Agatha?
UG: yes this is entirely about that and the matter we are here to warn you of is unspeakably urgent
WO: Before we Engage in any further Exposition regarding these Matters, I would Urge you to Walk to a Nearby window.
UG: yeah one of agathas little clockwork robots should be escorting a critical device by air
??: Ah! One of her angry little clanks.
UG: yes and additionally im pretty psyched that youre not being psychotically skeptical about this stuff like the rest of them
??: Skepticism is no friend to a man of SCIENCE.
UG: you should probably open the window for the little guy
On the advice of your conversants, you reach for the lever and throw open the glass pane. You should be able to simply seize the clank--
Oh dear. Air pressure once again foils intuition as the gust of pressurized air from the airship's cabin knocks the lightweight clank off-balance, knocking a decorated orb from the machine's precarious grip. It's a long way down.
You are exceptionally glad you kept your Barometric Diving Cloak handy for situations like this.
You leap from the window, spreading the billowing fabric of the cloak behind you. A frame adjusts itself and snaps into place.
UG: mother of god
UG: did he just
UG: what do we do
WO: We have Patience.
You fall, and the currents of the air whip your makeshift wings with biting ferocity. The clank has lost control far above, and struggles for altitude as you extend a hand toward the device. You reach, fumble, and an air current sends you whipping away from the falling cargo. You whip past the middle decks. Clearly, the time is now. You yank the supports from the left side of the cloak and bank sharply, snagging the device from the miserly claws of gravity.
You aim for an open window and glide headfirst into a dark, unused laboratory. You stick the landing magnificently.
UG: holy hell
UG: how how how did you just even do that
UG: that was amazing
??: Thank you.
??: Walking about the castle without a diving cloak when my father in such an unstable condition is an open invitation to be tossed overboard.
UG: wow ok irregardless this device is really important
WO: Regardless. Irregardless is not a Word.
UG: thanks jones
UG: i needed that
UG: obviously the experienced dragonslayer is the ignoramus here
??: While this is fascinating, is there anything you needed me to do?
UG: oh yeah
UG: open the vrort capsule and start the client
UG: your server player should be connecting shortly
This statement is punctuated with a series of thuds as three large devices are placed in the darkness of the laboratory.
UG: ok do exactly as i say if you want to save your ship
??: My ship? Is Castle Wulfenbach in danger?
UG: that would be the meteor storm from castle heterodyne
WO: There is no Hope of evading the Storm. This device is the Key to Evacuating this world.
UG: well explain later the storm is coming so get cracking
The heir to the Wulfenbach name, prepared. Obtuse instructions, followed.
A device is explained. Its significance, realized. A malicious server acts from afar. A dangerous insect, preserved from a disaster, is cast into a kernel.
Meteors streak through the sky. A castle, threatened. A cruxite scepter is smashed.
A Prince of Void enters his inheritance in the Land of Storms and Forest.
Two interlopers, agitated.
UG: this is a disaster
WO: We apologize. Your Server was most Untrustworthy.
UG: i mean a little robot ok
UG: and a cup of blasted coffee ok
UG: but that wasp thing
UG: thatll cause problems
??: I understand that granting our foes the power of the Other's wasps is a difficulty.
??: But why is this such a disaster?
??: Surely there are myriad ways to overcome this?
UG: yeah but itll slow you down
UG: if you dont want those meteors wiping out the rest of your world youll need to overcome this quickly
WO: Granted, many of those Chosen to play VRort have a head Start on their echeladders.
WO: However, time Continues to be of the Essence.
UG: if you cant get things worked out with your server itll be a pain for all of us
UG: we need to get you a computer so you can contact the guy
UG: miss parley is having him deploy the punchcard designer thingamabob
WO: Punch Designix.
UG: yeah sure
??: And now?
UG: ok remember the cards from the device that disappeared
UG: you do this little magic trick where you think about one and it just appears outta nowhere
UG: yeah it bothers me too
UG: my advice is to not overthink it
WO: Withdraw one of the Captchalogue cards, and Place it into the Slot on the designix.
??: And now?
??: Excuse me?
UG: input that sequence of characters on the keypad
??: Using the marked buttons, I presume?
??: ...it punched a series of holes in the card.
UG: yeah thats the idea
UG: put that card on the alchemy pedestal like with the scepter thing
WO: The Alchemiter.
UG: really not important jones
WO: I would Apologize, but I feel no Remorse for administering a simple Correction.
UG: damn it jones
??: And what's this?
UG: communication device we used in our session
UG: type in an alias and a color using the keyboard interface and we can be done with these floaty screens
-- ALT ??????? [??] is now known as conqueringSavant [CS] --
CS: thisdeviceisinterestingbuthowdoiproperlyspacemywor dsandusepropersyntaxandgrammar
WO: The key Labeled "shift" converts letters to Their capital form when Held.
UG: unless its in caps lock jones
UG: how about that correction for you
WO: Thank you for Reminding me.
UG: its pretty useless trying to get a rise outta you
WO: That is quite Intentional.
UG: and to space you press the little blank bar
CS: Like this/
UG: shift changes the symbols in some spots too
UG: to make a question mark
CS: I see. ?????
UG: yeah okay now we have a lot of orchestration to do here and robojones and i need to look in on future you so type in /transmit [GA] to check in on your server
unfortunateGuardsman [UG] and wanderingOcularis [WO] ceased joint transmission to conqueringSavant [CS]
conqueringSavant [CS] is transmitting to gentlemanAdventurer [GA]
GA: FOUL SPAWN OF THE WRETCHED CHARLATAN OF A KING WHO SITS UPON A THRONE OF LIES!!!!!!
CS: Oh, bollocks.
According to generic online translator, the German word for suburb is vorort, and since the GG characters ostensibly speak German outside of translation convention, converting SBurb to VRort was a no-brainer.
Last edited by -Benedict; 01-12-2011 at 11:28 PM.
Originally Posted by XFactorInfinity
I really, really hate the way you type. That's an impossibly mean thing to be honest about, but it's true, and I wanted you to know it. It's nothing against you, and I'm sure you're a pretty okay person, I think?
But the way you string sentences together sounds like a mad libs from a buffy factory took all of the worst parts of the nineties and internet culture and condensed it into an impossibly unpleasant grammatical structure. It's like what an intern at Game Bro Magazine writes like, probably. Before editing. It has so much bullshit, why I gotta read -Benedict try to form a coherent sentence dude
Haha, thanks so much everyone! What a nice welcome. I have another thing I need to edit down, but once that gets finished I shall post it.
@raequiem: I'll be sure to dump my thanks on it if you get around to drawing something.
@lucidSeraph: I actually finished it somewhere around the 4th before I knew her full characterization, so it's been through the wringer for editing. Good to know I haven't totally wrecked it with that! XD
But more like Egbert fic with a side dish of Strider. And by Egbert, I mean senior, and by Strider I mean Bro.
Mr. Egbert has his routines on his business trips.
(I have this idea that things aren't always easy for Dad; he has to let steam off somewhere.)
It was just supposed to be a business trip. He went on several a month, it wasn't anything unusual or extraordinary. He always packed the same butter leather carry-on. He always brought three extra shirts and three pairs of slacks; three sets of briefs, three pairs of socks. He always saw to it that his trips never lasted for more than two days if he could help it, and those were the longest by far. Most of the time he had chewed a raw spot in his lower lip by nightfall of the second day. As he would pull into his driveway, passing houses with the soft glow of solar lights in hedges and the smell of dinner wafting from windows and fans, he always heaved a sigh of relief as the curtains in John's room parted, and he could see the touseled hair thrown into soft silohuette by the lights, as he came to the window to watch his dad come home.
He always carried the same picture of John in his briefcase, of his awkward smile at the photgrapher that the school contracted out so parents would shell out the seventeen dollars to catalogue their children's ever changing faces as they marched through grades. The photo changed each year, but it was the same photo of the same John he would say goodnight to every night.
He always cooked several meals ahead for these, leaving double portions in the refrigerator for John to find and hopefully consume. He always called and reminded John of the prepared dinner he could just pop into the microwave. The food was always gone when he came back, though whether through an organic food disposal system or a mechanical one he could never be sure. At least John looked content and well fed when he came home, so that always made him feel a little better.
He always called to say goodnight, I love you, sweet dreams champ. He knew John would stay up for a few hours even though he called right before his supposed bedtime. What boy wouldn't, after all? He was just thankful that he had a few years before the rebellion progressed into house parties or sneaking out. He doubted John would become that kind of boy, but he was always so desparate to be liked.
He had other routines, depending on where his trips took him. In Maine, he went out of his way to visit a small restaurant that served the same clam chowder he and Mary ate during their honeymoon. In DC, he took the same route in the same taxi line the first time he ever saw the capitol.
In Houston, he visited the same boy he had for a very long time. It wasn't fair to call him a boy, but he was little older than one. The boy always wore the same angular sunglasses and the same tight half smirk. They always went to the same bar the boy could afford, and he would always buy a round, before the older Egbert would take it from there.
The boy was the only living person to whom he could tell things that he barely could admit to himself. Things that coiled in his heart like some dark creature nestling in venom. Things that sometimes came to him, right before he went to sleep, things that kept his eyes open in the dark, sightlessly searching for something, anything, that would appease them.
Mr. Egbert was a large man, a kind man, a gentle man. Mr. Egbert had a son he loved very much.
Mr. Egbert was a widower, and buried his wife and his mother in the same funeral service. Mr. Egbert new exactly what the future would hold, and no amount of prodigous strength in his arms and massive hands could arrest the future from marching on, like the gradual and inevitable changes in the school photographs he always carried.
After too many rounds, after the bar closed, the boy would take Egbert's shoulders and stare him straight in the eye. The halogen lights from the parking lot and lining the streets would alternately glint from his glasses and shine through them, sometimes obscuring his eyes and sometimes revealing how couched in bags they were. He would always drink in Mr. Egbert's face for a few seconds.
Sometimes, he would give Egbert a hug. Sometimes a smile, or a pat on the shoulder. Sometimes he would give him a smart alec remark that always brought a grin to the older man's face.
Sometimes he would say, "Hit me."
In the times that Mr. Egbert could not forget the phantom weight of his wife in his bed at night, or the smell of baking cookies in the kitchen when he hadn't baked in days, or the roar of the comet, or the knowledge that someday, one day for certain, nothing he could ever do would be ever be enough, Mr. Egbert did.
The boy would stand there and let his massive fist come swinging out of the dark, and stagger with the first blow, the shock of the blood spraying from his mouth and hitting the asphalt stopping the big man dead. The boy would recoup, straighten up, testing his jaw, and say, "Again."
The second time the boy would disappear from the strike, just in enough time to miss, enough to flare up the frustration piling up like dark clouds from the sea behind Egbert's eyes. The third blow caught, but only barely, knocking the boy straight out of a quick step, and the boy usually scuffed backwards trying to catch his balance, but would usually land on his rear. Worn denim meeting greasy pavement, rubber sneakers squeaking in the warm dark. The third blow was usually enough to dispel the encroaching storm, because for all the boy's speed and determination, Egbert was older, bigger, stronger, and he was dangerously close to hurting him.
It was always enough to remind him in some visceral way, that nothing had never become so bad that he ever had to resort to a fourth, or God forbid, fifth strike. Yes, he had a dead wife and mother, and a son just becoming a teenager. Yes, because that was just what life was. And sometimes it took the stunned, bloodied face of a young man to jerk him back from staring too long into the dark. Everything that had been plauging him would disappear, because all Egbert could see was the swelling lip and the darkening line of the jaw, and blood shining wetly on the boy's teeth as he smiled up at his assailant.
"You still got it, Egbert," he would always say.
And Mr. Egbert would always bend, apologizing and pulling out one of his handkerchiefs to press against the boy's mouth, and solicitously check the extent of damage his fists had done. It was these moments he was unable to resist treating him like his own son, cupping a hand to the back of his wild hair, using the same tone he would when John would accrue some minor damage. The older boy would laugh, spitting his blood on the cooling ground, and would hold out a hand for Egbert to grab and give leverage for him to stand. He had thin hands with narrow knuckles, and they seemed too thin engulfed in his meaty ones.
No matter what the outcome, he would always hug the boy before he left. He always told him it was good to see him, and always said thank you. Sometimes he meant it for different things.
The boy would always smile.
Strider brothers fics (many thanks go to egregiousBass for compiling them):
Musical Interlude- Dave tries to ironically score in the ongoing fight to one-up his brother. By joining the school chorus.
I've mostly been lurking around here, but I thought I'd pop in and share.
Them's the Breaks
Being a sprite is different. Maybe the endless kick-snare-kick kick-snare-kick drumbeat of time has faded out of his mind, but now he sees numbers and shit. Like the goddamn Matrix code scrolling everywhere outside his shades. It's annoying as hell because it's so damn lame. He can see the game code. So original.
He tries not to focus on it. Yeah, it's coded into his very being now so it never really disappears entirely, but he doesn't look at the specifics. No, he doesn't want to know how close to the end they are. He doesn't care about Dave's exact to-the-decimal progress along his dumbass quest of victory. He's got his back, but Dave knows what he's doing and he doesn't need his sprite riding him every second along the way.
So Davesprite spends most of his time floating in the background, craving birdseed like a motherfucker and kind of hating himself for that, but what is a guy supposed to do when half of him is a dead crow?
To be perfectly honest, he's tired. He wouldn't admit it if anyone asked him, but no one does. Everyone is too busy with the game, up to their eyeballs in playing it because it's what's keeping them alive. He's alone in only giving the game half of his attention, but that's because he's the one it fucked over royally the first time through. Him and Rose, though she doesn't remember every detail. She doesn't remember knowing where John's body was but not being able to retrieve it, or reading Jade's last green words as the meteors rained down. She didn't live those months of nothing but killing imps and coasting on pent-up emotions, his fingertips twitching every time they brushed over rough vinyl grooves and itching to just spin back back back forever—
He's had enough of playing this damn game.
He's not sure if the numbers are worse than the breakbeat metronome in the back of his head, but if he squints hard enough he can still make sense out of the timestream. He's always had a gift for melody and this is just another flavor. He tries not to look too hard at the code but on occasion some shiny snatch of data just catches his eye and it takes actual effort to rip himself away.
That's what happens now.
A tidbit of information from the future slips in sideways behind his shades. It stings his eyes a little and he winces, feeling like he's been kicked in the gut by what he suddenly knows. He'd been floating around knocking imps into the lava out of sheer boredom, but this snaps him to a halt and leaves him hovering over the burning landscape, his orange ass cooking as the data sinks in.
He doesn't even hesitate for a second. Dave is off somewhere talking with his BFF Terezi, John's fucking murderer, and it doesn't take long for Davesprite to find him. He floats down from the phosphorus sky and gives his alternate-past-self a nod to get his attention.
"Lemme borrow your tables for a second."
He cocks an eyebrow but doesn't argue. They both know a second means a second when Daves are involved, no matter how long it'll take. The tables come out and Dave hands them over, and it surprises him a little that it's so damn calming to feel the vinyl under his hands again. But he doesn't pause; he spins, not back like Dave was probably expecting, but forward.
It's freezing when time stops spinning, a fucking slap-in-the-face contrast to LOHAC's neverending heat. Everything is white, even the ash, and it takes Davesprite a long moment to realize it's not ash; it's snow. Land of Frost and—something. He doesn't feel like staring at the world code long enough to learn the name. Better if he doesn't know everything that's happened since he spun those tables. He's here for one thing and one thing only, and he stretches his wings and sets off into the wind.
Jadesprite, brought back from the dead; though how she died he doesn't want to know. There's a lot of things he doesn't want to know, but what he does know is that she isn't thrilled to be stolen away from her daisy pushing. And who can blame her? This shit gets damn exhausting after so long.
He finds her on a snow covered hill somewhere, sitting curled into herself on a rock and frosted with the white stuff, and even from up in the sky he can tell she's crying. It's just the inward slump of her shoulders and the subtle way they shake. That and the laid back doggy ears. He swoops in from behind, flapping his feathers loudly so that she'll hear him and he won't startle her too badly.
"Hey." It comes out more softly than he'd intended.
She sniffs and doesn't even look up until he floats over to her rock seat.
But then she does look up and he sees the tears spilling down her green face, entirely unattractively, and the sheer soul-breaking grief in her eyes. She looks like she's been gutted, or that everyone she knows has been killed and she's been left behind in the sea of their fucking corpses. It makes him pause. It occurs to him that he's never even met Jade in real life before, and maybe she wants to be alone.
But it's also been so damn long since he's spoken to his Jade; so long since he'd screamed at her chat window after her countdown had ticked to zero, just clinging to hope that she'd come back and talk to him. That despite it all she'd be alive.
He doesn't even realize he's done it until he's sitting on that rock next to her, one wing curled around her protectively and both arms pulling her into the biggest goddamn hug of her life.
"Sorry this game is so shitty," he whispers into her hair, and he's too cool to cry but she's practically bawling into his shoulder. She just sobs for a while, her whole body shaking and Davesprite not going anywhere. A green-on-orange blur in the middle of a blizzard.
"Oh Dave, you're not supposed to be here," she says eventually, wiping at her eyes and her furry face and not looking any happier than when he got here.
"I jumped forward in time, don't worry."
"Oh, everything has gone wrong. This is terrible!" She shakes a little, his one wing still wrapped around her to cut down on the wind. "I can't stop remembering things, Dave. It just keeps coming! Why won't it stop?"
He guesses that maybe she's just entered spritehood and the game is still doing its massive data dump on her brain. He remembers how that felt. It felt like it was trying to take over and force him to do crap he had no desire to do. And he has no idea how long she's been dead, but learning about the things that went horribly wrong after that has got to be pretty emotionally crippling for a girl as sweet as she is.
"Calm down. It's okay."
"It's not okay!! How could it ever be okay? I'm stuck here and people keep telling me I have to help, and all I want is to go back. I can't fight him! I can't do it! Why is this happening?!" she sobs, and she sounds as close to panic as he's ever heard anyone before.
"Stop it." He grabs her shoulders again and shakes her to try to get her attention. "Jade, stop it."
"I can't do this! Oh, why?! It's all so horrible!"
Something snaps in him and all of a sudden he's talking:
"Yeah, it's fucking horrible. It's a motherfucking world-ending sky-rending tragedy, in the classical Shakespearean sense of the word where entire nations fall because of the colossal fuck-ups of one asshole who thought he was so flawless that nothing could touch him. Or, shit, I dunno. I only read half of Macbeth." God, what is he even saying? "Guess what, Jade? The game is that asshole and it's gonna ride us for every mile we've got and then some, because I've been through the Sahara Desert four fucking times by now and I can already feel the sand coming up on the horizon again. It's hot and it's in my goddamn eyes and it's not gonna stop until we're all dead and broken on the ground and then it's just gonna find some other world to fuck with afterward. Because that's what it does. That's what it—"
Jadesprite is just looking at him and somehow he manages to reel in the directionless stream of words. He's got thousands more flailing against the floodgates but he holds them fast and shuts his eyes, shaking his head and trying to push it away.
He's got so much shit inside his head and it's not like he's ever been a stranger to expression, but he's sure as hell not going to tell his crapass life story to Dave or John or someone. It's his own business. They've got a game to play and his now-pointless trauma of dead friends and cold abandonment has no place in that.
Doesn't stop it from building up and wearing on him, though. Feels like a goddamn hangman's noose half the time.
"You don't want to be here either," Jadesprite says, amazed and a little hurt that she'd forgotten her friends' feelings while so wrapped up in her panic; or maybe that's just what her face does now that she's dead. "And you've got things you don't want to think about, too. How do you do it?"
"How do you keep all the thoughts and all the scary things from overwhelming you?"
He shrugs. "I dunno. Don't think about it. Do something else to distract yourself. The scary crap you can't do anything about. You just gotta stand with the rest of us and trust we'll have your back."
She squeezes her eyes shut and for a long moment she doesn't say anything. "I'm just so scared, though."
"You think John and Rose aren't scared? We're all up against the same exact thing you are."
"Are you scared, Dave?"
His coolkid nature kicks in and he tries to say no, he's never scared, are you kidding? Only wusses get scared and he's no wuss. But the words stick in his throat because that's a boldface lie. Yeah, he's scared. He's damn near terrified of getting stuck in some doomed reality again with John and Jade dead and Rose asleep ninety percent of the time, fucking abandoned with that goddamn puppet laughing at his misfortune every step of the way.
Jadesprite looks down at her hands and he knows he doesn't need to voice it. She changes the subject instead.
"I see numbers everywhere, Dave. Any time I look at anything they fill me in on the terrible things that have been going on."
He can't help but smile a little at that. "Yeah, it's really obnoxious isn't it?"
"I don't want to be here!!" she suddenly explodes. "I was happy where I was! Everyone was happy and I didn't have to know how wrong everything went!" She starts sobbing again, her fuzzy face buried in her hands and her shoulders shaking.
As down as he feels, Davesprite shakes his head. "I'm glad you were happy."
It comes out so quiet and soft and with a hint of a smile; totally foreign in his mouth, but he means it. It had really torn him up, back in his own timeline, knowing the exact moment when she died and then the gigantic void of her smiley green text afterward. Knowing his Jade was happy even then helps.
The soft tone catches her attention, and she keeps sniffling to herself but she does look up and meet his gaze. She looks a bit guilty for the explosion, but at the same time almost seems worried about him.
Shit, way to open up, dude. She's the one falling apart here. He's supposed to be comforting her. And, yeah, the spritecode wants him to tell her to man up and serve her purpose as a guide, but he's pretty good at ignoring its word-for-word advice at this point.
"Look, I know it sucks being yanked out of that clouds-and-angels bliss. I'm sorry about that. You don't deserve it. But the game's still playing and as much of a goddamn drag it is, maybe eventually we can pull a win. After that you'll probably dissolve back into wherever you were before this. But you gotta help. You do. I don't know where the hell I am at this point, but I can only do so much. I don't want this to last another four months of headache-inducing impossible timeloops and dead friends left and right."
He can't do that again.
"You gotta be strong, Jade. We need you to help us do this. I—" Say it man, say it. "I need it."
Her eyes are filling up with tears again, but at least she's looking at him this time. "Oh Dave," she says quietly as she throws her arms around him and holds on to him like he's going to fall apart. Which he totally isn't. He's totally chill here. As chill as the snow settling down all around them.
Okay, maybe he's not that chill.
"You won't have to do this alone again."
Ouch. Way to kick him in the heart, there.
All he says is, "Thanks," though, as composed as he ever is. Flustered or not, he's too cool to show it.
She smiles at him with those sad doggy ears and as freaky as it is that she's one of her beloved furries, she's adorable at it. He has no idea why whoever prototyped her sprite after she died would have chosen a dog to add to the mix, but he can't help but enjoy the irony of how fitting it is. She wipes at the tears on her face and takes the first deep breath in what's obviously been forever. "I'm so scared and sad. I don't want to do this. But I can try. I know all of you need me and I do remember being brave before I died. I can try to be brave again."
That sounds more like the Jade he knows.
"Chin up, Lassie."
Past-Jade would have giggled but it at least nets him a tiny smile. "Oh, I should probably go look for my house. Get back to doing my sprite job. Oh my." She gets up slowly, looking off into the distance and turning, getting her bearings in this endless white blizzard.
Davesprite shakes snow off his feathers and gets up too. He moves a bit closer to her and holds out a fist, because like hell he's just letting her wander off without a goodbye. "You ever want to talk again, send me a note through the game code. I'll pick it up eventually."
She looks back at him, at the proffered fist, and she doesn't move at first. There's something sad in her eyes, sadder than a second ago. She watches him and he has no idea what she's thinking until suddenly something clicks in his head and he just knows. For that long moment he struggles with the need to ask what's happened to him. Where is he? What has he missed that current-him isn't here now, and that he had to jump forward in time to make this meeting possible?
"Good luck, Dave," she says sadly, bumping her fist to his.
"Yeah, you too."
The silence hangs again, so many words left unsaid, and then Jadesprite turns into the whirling snow and starts on her way back home. Davesprite stretches his wings and takes out Dave's tables, his fingers hesitant on the vinyl and his eyes stuck on that slowly disappearing smudge of green in the distance.
His sprite pops back into reality a second later and Dave sees how crestfallen the guy suddenly is. He sees it, but he knows better than to ask questions.
Oh man, I've been keeping my distance, not wanting to get my feet wet, but this did it for me.
@Sionnan: This is subtle, but I'm glad you had it so that Dad could, in fact, hurt Bro. While Bro's probably packing the most physical heat in the Guardians, I like that they might be close to the same tier as one another in some regard or another.
Okay. I finished the, uh, the thing. Still not sure why I did this. As usual, though it's been a while since I said it, crit is welcome, especially considering that it can help me from wasting time on something no one cares to read.
The Dargon Arc
“I really don’t see why I have to be pinned down for this.”
“Don’t be silly, you know what you did. Feferi, can we borrow you for half an hour?”
Feferi looked up from her coding, still not even partially sure what her matesprit was trying to get her to accomplish. “I guess so, Sollux, can we break?”
“No problem, Fef, do your thing.”
Feferi headed over to the couch in the corner, where she found Jade and Nepeta sitting out in front of the pile of DVDs Karkat and John had arranged like a coffee table. Jade had a pile of them in her lap, but Feferi did not see the full of things until she had rounded the couch.
“Uh… do I have to sit on Karkat, too?”
“Hell no,” Karkat replied. He was not really being sat on so much as pinned against the back of the couch, both hands trying to push Jade away, but she was stubborn and surprisingly strong. Except for a laughing jolt when he accidentally tickled her (something he would never do willingly), she stayed perfectly still.
“He wouldn’t get up,” Jade said, matter-of-factly. “I figured if he wanted the couch so bad, he could keep it.”
Nepeta leaned forward with a grin. “Do you not want to sit on Karkat?”
Feferi eyed Karkat and noted that he looked half ready to bite Jade’s arm. “I’ll… sit over here,” she said, settling on the arm. “If that’s okay.”
“Oh, thank god one of you isn’t a bitch,” Karkat said, as Nepeta reached out to pat him on the arm. “Am I allowed to ask what was so important that you had to have the TV right away?”
“Well you weren’t interested before!” Jade said. “So maybe you don’t get to know now! I wanted to show something to Nepeta and I wanted Feferi’s opinion on something, that’s all.”
“Season 3?” Rose stepped up from behind and looked down over between Nepeta and Jade’s shoulders. Her hand was still caught in Kanaya’s, surreptitiously placed behind Nepeta where she would not think to look, and it brightened Jade’s eyes to see it. “I thought you hated Season 3.”
“I don’t hate Season 3,” Jade tried to explain, as Rose plucked the DVD case from her hands. “The Dargon Arc just scared me when I was little.” Nepeta, emotive as always, looked up sharply and began to tremble.
“Yeah, you do seem like the type,” Rose said, returning the case. She reached over and rubbed Nepeta’s shoulder. “She meant ‘scary for little kids,’ Nepeta. It’s not that bad,” she reassured. “Seriously, calm.”
“What’s a ‘Dargon Arc’?” Feferi asked.
“Dargon’s a character,” Jade said, looking forlornly at the box. “A villain. He’s not even in the episode I want to show you. The show wasn’t doing so well when they got to Season 3, so this one threw out a few ideas to see how they’d do with the viewers. It must have worked, because a few episodes later they started an arc about it to end the season.”
“A very Western, nineties move,” Rose said with a nod. “Gargoyles, Batman: The Animated Series. Weird, what with it being a turn-of-the-century Asian-produced product, I mean. Didn’t work so well.”
Jade piped up. “Yeah, because it was too scary for little kids! Nepeta, stop it, we’re just exaggerating!” Jade reached over to hold a hand down on Nepeta’s shoulder, but was not there long before Karkat kneed Nepeta with his still-free legs and stopped her quivering in exchange for a swat on his side from both her and Feferi.
“Not scary,” Rose said. “We were just invested in the plot! What episode are you showing them?”
“Uh… Ties that Bind.”
To Jade’s surprise and to her own embarrassment after the fact, Rose’s voice jumped a half octave. “Oh, that one’s cute!”
“Cute?” Nepeta looked upside-down for confirmation. “Oh, hi, Kanaya!”
Feferi looked over at the boxes a second time. “Well, I think I can do ‘cute’.”
But Jade just scoffed. “Only you, Rose.”
“What? How could you not find this one cute?”
Dave, who had been chatting with John and Aradia not far away, overheared their conversation and approached. “I think she’s saying you were a really old kid for your age, Lalonde. What the hell are you all talking about, anyways?” Jade held up the DVD case. “Oh, hell no.” And he left: not just from the corner but from the entire room. John and Aradia exchanged shrugs and followed him.
“I’m going to be the only guy here, aren’t I?” Karkat asked, and was immediately ignored.
“Well, there’ll be a few less girls, Karkat,” Rose said. “Kan and I have got a da… We have plans.”
Karkat nodded. “Uh-huh. ‘Plans.’” Rose sneered back at him.
“Rose, we can spare a half hour,” Kanaya said, looking over the DVDs. “We have all day, after all, and this is a part of your childhood, if I’m hearing you right. I’d like a chance to see a part of that.”
“Well, if you’re up to it, Kan, but I wouldn’t wait to be too impressed.”
Nepeta made a gasping, squealing sound and shot the other girls conspiratorial looks, unawares that she had been completely lapped in the Kanaya/Rose department following their public moment just before her arrival. Karkat, on the other hand, began to make a series of retching noises that required both Jade and Feferi to silence.
“Jade, why don’t you put in the DVD before this carping jerk interrupts again?” Feferi suggested, shooting Karkat a glare that broke into a smile when he responded to Jade’s absence by simply making himself more comfortable. Everyone taking a seat, Rose and Kanaya by Jade’s feet together, Jade hit play.
The others had gotten well used to working around Karkat and John’s usual movie-watching in the past month or so as a matter of course, but nothing that had come before prepared them for this new DVD. Garish and loud, piercing and bright, it struck them to their cores with the raw force that dwelled at the opposite extreme from horror and insanity. It was too welcoming, too gleeful, too…
A dark-clouded night, shock bright with lightning, the camera low by an island tower set barely above the ravenous, storm-whipped seas that spanned as far as the eye could see in every direction. The tower formed a scene of bleak desolation, a shot of the tip of an iceberg: a lost civilization consumed by the waves. It was ominous, it was brooding. It was a shot completely overthrown by bright shaded animation and an obnoxious Casio piano tune being played in the background. In the dark, figures shuffled aboard a vessel anchored just off the flooded shore of the island, all dripping from head to toe. One struggled to find the switch for the deck lamps and found them inoperable, and each began bickering and blaming the others for every misfortune and stubbed toe. Two of them brought up the rear, still climbing aboad from the ladder. They hefted a bundle together, as though no one of the rabble trusted another enough to handle the task alone.
“I hope you realize none of you are going to get away with this,” said a female voice, muffled. “My friends will see I’m gone as soon as the sun comes up, and then…”
“Wha’s she talkin’ about, mate?” said one of the figures, helping the other up to the deck with a free hand.
“Beats me, guess no one bothered to tell her the plan,” said the other, giving a wheezing giggle that would accompany him in all his scenes. The characters on the boat all spoke with the sorts of accents children’s providers like to choose for their thug villains (though this show in particular did not seem to know or care how one accent ended and the other began, and simply glued them together at random). It was an ill-planned and offensive association at best, but a trope so prominent that any English-speaking child would have immediately understood their role even this were their first appearance. The camera cut across the animated deck and to the bundle: a round sack no larger than a helmet, which the second figure collected. Along with his companion, they made their way to the stern in shadow.
“Yeh,” said the first. “Step one, kidnap youse.”
“An’ step two,” said the second, holding up two oddly-shaped fingers. “Get you on th’ship. So it looks to me like we already got away wif it, y’see?”
Hitting the indoor lights, a garish sailor’s room came into view, highlighting a nautical décor. There was a bed complete with mounted ship’s wheel on the wall above, a great number of fishing photographs lined the wall and every piece of furniture was decorated with harpoon designs, sailing masts in miniature or mermaid figureheads. At one side of the room, just under the porthole, rested an armoire carved in a wave motif, carefully nailed carefully to the floor and wall. Atop the armoire was another carefully secured bit of furniture: an aquarium. It was stocked with all the necessities, from coloured rocks and carbon filter to a chest that opened to spill out bubbles and the tiny castle with mermaid figurines built straight into the model. Their shadows cutting only briefly into the shot, the two thugs up-ended their burden into the aquarium with the sound of pouring water and an angry, purple cartoon jellyfish landed inside, upside-down.
“You know, you don’t have to be so rough,” she said, shaking her body off and then crossing two of her tentacles in front. On a second inspection (and as she began to right herself through buoyancy), her angry look gradually became one of simple, routine displeasure. A yellow crest atop her bulbous head, zig-zagged almost like a crown affixed with a single teal spot for its jewel, creased with her accusatory expression, and the teal freckles about her face swelled in what could only be described as an animator’s quirk.
“’Ey, you know how this works,” said the first figure. The camera cut to a shot from the jellyfish’s perspective, showing the first figure to be a large, angry fish-man and the second to be some sort of fish-legged goat-man. The goat man prepared a tight mesh cover while the fish a screwdriver, which they used to seal the top of the aquarium. “We pick you up, you go in the box!”
“I’d prefer you not call it ‘picking me up,’ Pisce, and some of your crewmates have been much gentler with me in the past. Now what were you saying about this being the end of the plan? Please tell me you’re not just kidnapping me for the fun of it.”
“Not this time, sweetie,” said the second, holding up a finger to her and the camera for silence. Pisce withdrew, returning the tools to their home in a box under the large bed. “We’ve already tol’ you the whole plan and that’s all you’re gonna get.”
“Capri, ey!” said Pisce, leaning against the elaborately carved naval battle scene carved into the foot of the bed. “You don’t think the boss is holding out on us, do youse? I mean… so we don’t tell Prin—”
With a camera jump and a sting on the soundtrack, the door to the cabin slammed open and a crack of thunder and lightning revealed the silhouette of a tall Human man. He was decked in a heavy overcoat, captain’s hat and held a corncob pipe in hand. He tossed aside a towel to another member of his crew on the deck, who caught it in one of several tentacles. “No,” growled the captain. “No, that be the whole plan, Princess. T’ain’t no one skipping any details this time.”
The jellyfish did not seem at all bothered by the new arrival, though his goons, forced grins on their faces, clutched tight to the nearest pieces of furniture. The reason for their allegiance clear. “Then what,” asked the jellyfish, “am I even doing here?”
The man, now visible and visibly aged, smiled to her as he lit his pipe, casting a flash of red over sunken, grey eyes (“Japanese footage,” Jade explained. “More permissive. Mixed with the American dubbing for the DVD release”). “Maybe I’m just taken by ye, Princess, and’ve decided to take ye in as a pet of me very own?”
“Not likely,” she replied in a huff.
The captain stepped forward, tapping his pipe in one hand. “Yes, well, i’s too bad, I suppose, since tha’d be much more polite to yer friends and… ur, gents?” He turned to face his sailors on both sides as the music began a comic tone to spell out the situation to its younger viewers so they would laugh along without understanding the joke. “As it stands, I’m a sixty-five year old man with a teenaged Squiddle locked up in his chambers. Now that be part of the plan, seeing as how the last time we tried to lock up a Squiddle in the hold with the food… Crewman Sagit decided to get a mite peckish and ’e got loose. But I think we might be a bit better off here if everything creepy that isn’t part of the plan get back on the deck immediately.”
Capri and Pisce met one another’s eyes. “Um… Skip?”
“That means the both of ye,” supplied the Skipper, lowering the tone of his voice. With a bumbling trill of the old Casio, the crewmen bolted from the room with a “Yes sir, Skipper Plumbthroat, sir!”
Plumbthroat took Pisce’s place, leaning against the foot of his bed. “…Can’t get good help these days, Princess.”
The Princess was not amused. “What’s this about, Eustace?”
The Skipper winced and winced hard, throwing into a pantomime of disgusted gestures and sounds. “Princess, how many times do I have to tell ye not teh use me given name!”
The Princess began a mimic of his own gestures. “Well, how many times do I have to tell you to call me Berryboo?”
“Well!” said the Skipper, and carried on in a high-pitched voice that did not at all match his menacing entrance. “Excuuuuuuuse me, Princess Berryboo, if I stand up for me own point of view in me actions!”
“Well I guess we’ve reached an impasse!” replied Berryboo, in as regal a fit as she could manage.
They both rounded and faced the walls, Plumbthroat stepping forward to slam open the opposite porthole. From her position inside the aquarium, Berryboo could see just over the bottom edge of her own porthole but could make out nothing but gale and wave in every direction. Slowly, she turned back toward the room and found the Skipper still looking out his own window, drinking in the sea air.
“You’re waiting for them, aren’t you?” No reply. “You’ve set another trap.”
Pulling his head back into the room, the Skipper faced her and his lips slowly curled into a menacing half-smile. “…Aye.” The lightning crashed again and put every detail of his aged and cruel face into sharp relief. “But I didn’t lie to ye, Princess. My plan’s already finished. By the time the other Squiddles come to save ye in the morning, there won’t be anything they ken do.”
The lightning flashed again, and this time Plumbthroat caught notice of it and an odd look crept across his face. “…that’s remarkable, does it do that for every dramatic moment?” He walked away and stuck his head out the porthole. “…‘And with this Viking Gold I’ll be able to rule the world!’” Another strike. He shook a fist triumphantly. “‘And as soon as I’m done bulldozing this orphanage—!’” Krack-kaboom! “Ye know, I think I might consider settling down here when all is said and done,” he said.
He turned back to her, and his smile began to simmer to one of dominance. The music, as well as the lighting, began to dim almost imperceptibly in a rare moment of competent subtlety. The Skipper’s voice actor followed suit, his growl clearing up enough to speak at a dark whisper. “Tell me, Princess. Do you know where we are?”
Berryboo shook her head, her tentacles trailing after her like a dress. Plumbthroat smiled again. “Too bad,” he said. “I know yer pappy does. He’ll have yer friends here right on time, I promise.” Another bolt of lightning touched down, this one much closer by far, striking a lightning rod stuck fixed to the top of the nearby, otherwise ancient stone tower. Plumbthroat followed her eyes, smiled and nodded. “Do ye truly not recognize that island, Princess? Have ye spent so much time under the sea that yer head is full of salt?” Berryboo was not about to dignify that with a response, so he continued. “That be the Island of Dread and Hate!”
Berryboo looked back at Plumbthroat with a pleading expression. “Eustace, it doesn’t matter! You won’t get away with this, my friends will rescue me! Please, won’t you listen? We can still cooperate, I’ve said it a hundred—”
Plumbthroat knocked a hand against his footboard to interrupt her. “Yea, and each time less and less in my favour! I take it ye don’t recognize the island of Dread and Hate, then, Princess? Not exactly a part of yer territory, I imagine.”
Berryboo sniffed and shook her head. “No, we can’t live there, it’s too close to the Leviatha—” She shot back to attention in a panic and fluttered to the corner of the aquarium. “Eustace, no! M-my friends…”
“Ah… so ye do know about the Leviathan.” The music then began to lower in tone dramatically, to remind the viewer that this was the real frightening moment. “Doesn’t eat Squiddles, though, does he? But I think yer father would have told ye just how territorial he can get. I think ye see what I was saying about me plan, don’t ye, Princess? I kidnap you, I bring ye to the ship… and by morning the seas will be so full of Squiddle ink I could scoop it up with me bare hands!” And he began to laugh, the lightning again casting contrasting shadows across his face.
Another electrical sound interrupted him, this time form the deck. “Bah!” he shouted. “‘How many fisherman does it take to screw in a light bulb?’” he asked rhetorically, putting his pipe back in his mouth. “More than these!” he said as he punched his way out of the room.
“But… Eustace, my friends! M-my…” But he flicked off the lights as he went and the princess was left in darkness.
Jade clutched at her hair, ignoring the others as they reached past her to grab at the popcorn on her lap. “I hate this season!” she reiterated as the Squiddles theme song began to play as though nothing that had preceded it had even occurred. "So much!"
Whyyyyy does everything I write turn into a multi-page monstrosity? This was supposed to be short. Brain, you lied to me. No, I'm not going to talk to you any more. No, you shut up!
Last edited by SkaianRedeemer; 01-13-2011 at 12:45 AM.
@SkaianRedeemer: The reason everything you write is so long is because the awesome within your stories takes over your mind and forces you to write them longer. Then more awesome comes out and controls you more until eventually you've written something the length of a college thesis about some kids and aliens watching Squiddles.
In the long run, though, your sleepless hours provide us with stuff like this, so it all works out.
And "no one cares to read?"
Originally Posted by HarMegidon
I just am asking why she is selling sausages at a funeral.
Originally Posted by inexpediency
Everyone is a hedgehog...on the inside.
Originally Posted by Tesseract
On a deadness scale of normal to doorknob I would rate her as double doorknob
Originally Posted by Jitka
fuck yeah sodium hexametaphosphate
that is my favorite hexametaphosphate
Malakin:because its actually the truman show just with ponys
crash826:far too much sense
Malakin:think about it
Malakin:it all makes sense
Originally Posted by Catbread
Those sound like some pretty badass park rangers.
Originally Posted by ranasan
Wow... it's like if someone managed to manifest Missingno. from Pokemon Red and Blue into the real world, grind it up into a fine powder and then snort it.
18:21 Girard so I learned something at the barber:
18:22 Daniel ?
18:22 Girard The entirety of England, London in particular, is actually a stage for the biggest production of the musical Oliver ever made.
18:22 Girard England is a giant musical.
18:22 Girard This explains the small children with cockney accents and giant hats who dance in the streets.
18:23 Daniel ...DAMN YOU MARY POPPINS!
18:23 Daniel DAMN YOU TO HELL!
Yeah... I kind of was... bored at work, and seeing as I haven't written anything in a long while (And now MSPA Fanfic EVER) I thought I'd see if I could squeeze something out... uh...
Here we go?
Karkat let out a disgruntled sigh as he shifted in his seat. He’d been sitting in front of the computer for hours now, and frankly his conversations with the human boy called John were starting to get on his nerves, especially since he’d decided early on to stick with his idiotic scheme of going backwards in time. It had made perfect sense back then, of course; he would’ve just tried to convince the John closest to the Scratch to stop whatever it was that they were doing, and if the boy didn’t listen, Karkat would have just gone further back in time and try again. Over the time, he would learn more about these strange creatures, what made them tick, and make himself seem even more of a god.
Well, that had been the plan anyway, but Karkat was growing increasingly frustrated with his past self. What kind of an idiot had thought that he’d have more success further back in time? If he didn’t succeed in convincing John the last, chronologically speaking, conversation they would have before the huge clusterfuck, he obviously wouldn’t have a lick of chance the further back he went. But he had to do it anyway, because if he hadn’t gone further back in time to talk to him, John wouldn’t have known who he was, and that would’ve just been the glorious paradox icing on the Fuck You-Cake they were all making together.
Rubbing his eyes in frustration, the glorious leaders of the 12 trolls that had soundly beaten the game mere hours earlier made his way over to where Terezi was sitting.
He didn’t know why he did it. In fact, the more he thought about it later, the more he regretted what he had done. But at the time it was as if his body had been running on autopilot, and he’d been observing from a distance everything that happened. Obviously, Terezi would have never bought that for a second, which is why he didn’t tell her. Yeah, he was pretty sure it had all been some weird… effect on him, or maybe he had been mind controlled, or…
Terezi was tick-tack-typing away at her keyboard, the familiar, wicked grin on her face a familiar and welcome sight. They’d all been flipping their shit for the last couple of hours and it felt good to see that at least some things remained like they used to.
Even if he’d never tell her that.
On her monitor he saw one of those humans that they had been trolling, Dave (the most ridiculously fucked up Cool Guy he’d ever seen, but at least he wasn’t a big fake like some trolls in their group). They were having a conversation or another; she was probably playing him around and teasing him, like she’d used to do with Karkat back on Alternia. He couldn’t care less about what she was doing, with whoever in whatever room with who cases what kind of object of frustrated and murderous rage made manifest into a tool of angry grub-fuck hate. No, what burned his ass was the fact that she seemed to actually want to help these jackasses; the same people who made the Scratch and ensured the 12 heroes of Alternia had to spend the rest of their miserable existences hiding on a fucking asteroid while waiting for the demon to get them.
“Terezi,” he muttered, leaning over her slightly to look at what she was typing. “Hey, Terezi, what the fuck are you doi…” then he caught sight of what she’d written to that miserable, pink little shit and, without thinking, he suddenly spun her chair around. A surprised look replaced her sharp-toothed grin and she raised her eyebrows behind her ruby-red sunglasses, giving him a look.
“Karkat? What are you…” then she frowned, folding her arms, “Look, I told you, you do whatever you want with that John-human and…”
She didn’t get much further, because Karkat had just leaned in and kissed her, his eyes closed and a nervous hand trailing in behind her head, running through the hair at her neck as if looking for something to grab onto.
The moment seemed to last forever, neither of them moving, a few surprised looks from some of the others in the room, and finally a small, indistinguishable sound from Terezi.
“Tastes like chalk…” was the thought that ran through Karkat’s head as the whole world slowly, slowly began moving again, as if a complex and old clockwork was being wound up once more.
Color returned to the world as Terezi stood up forcibly, shoving Karkat away from her and a strangely nonplussed expression on her face. “W…why did you do that?” She asked, hands behind her, leaning on the seat, her cheeks flushed just slightly in that shade of teal that made his blood boil.
Karkat glared at her, clarity suddenly returned to him and a horrible, growing sense of embarrassment and fear welling up inside him. Why the fuck had he done that? Right in front of the others! What was going through Terezi’s mind right now? They’d kind of confessed before; they did like each other… but that… that had been before the Scratch, before the demon. Had he been too rash? Should he have asked her to come with him? Did she even feel anything for him anymore? What about that Dave guy? He was so much cooler than Karkat; much more relaxed, awesome. Terezi liked him… did she like cool guys? Shit, he had issues, but he thought she liked him despite that. Fuck, why wasn’t he saying anything? Everyone was just looking at him, the entire group was silent and watching, fuckers probably chortling in ill-hid glee that their Beloved Leader was making a bone-bulge out of himself and losing any sense of credibility and respect that he’d worked so hard to earn.
“Why do you care? We’re matesprits, aren’t we?”
Fuck. FUCK! Why the fucking FUCK had he said that? And that tone… He’d meant it to come out like a joke, you know. Haha, funny, whoops, kissed you, sorry! But that wasn’t how he’d sounded, no. He’d sounded like the kind of guy who took what he wanted and didn’t… shit shit shit, why was he thinking about this what about…
He caught site of Terezi just as the Transportalizer sent her away, and he raised a hand a few inches in panic before he let it fall to his side.
For a long while things remained deathly silent, then the tic-tac of keyboards being used filled the air again. Looking around, he saw that everyone had returned to their computers, or were lying around pretending to be asleep. But he could tell from the way they sat, the way they glanced over their shoulders at him. They were laughing, smiling like fucking clowns at the idiot leader and his miserable love life. For a few seconds he considered beating someone up, to prove that he was just as fucking deadly as he’d been when they’d taken down the Denizen of the Land of Caves and Silence, or when he’d single-handedly held off the Black King for a few precious seconds while Aradia had been preparing her time-clone army.
But then he just slumped a bit and stepped out of the room, choosing to walk rather than to transportalize.
His mind raced with worry as he made his way down the steps, then up another pair, then down again, up and down, up and down. What was she doing now? Was she talking to someone else? Maybe she was talking with Nepeta about it, now that he’d left the main room… and the horrible green-blooded cat-woman was editing her shipping wall already.
He closed his eyes, rubbing the bridge of his nose again; even though the horrid, blood-drawn thing wasn’t anything more than a freakish hobby, he found the thought of him and Terezi crossed out almost unbearable. People would see, they would talk, and the longer time went on, the less chance he could make it up and actually…
“Get her to understand…” he mumbled to himself as he came to rest against the wall, his sickle in one hand. He slowly slid down the cold steel until he was almost sitting down on the floor, resting on the heels of his feet. He looked out at the strange facility they’d hid away in. He hated it so much, the sterile, life-less, anonymous laboratory that had seen the birth of them all as grubs in what seemed like a life-time ago. Now you could find caches here and there, drawings on the walls, alchemized posters, garbage everywhere. It seemed people had just emptied out their captchalogues of all the crap they’d been carrying as soon as it became apparent that the demon wasn’t going to find them here.
Some people had even started to make furniture… giving up. Giving up wasn’t in his vocabulary. What sort of self-respecting troll would give up this close to the end without a fight? Wasn’t that why they’d gotten into contact with those four to begin with?
He slammed his sickle into the wall, nailing it a good four inches in before he let go of the handle. He wasn’t going to give up now. He wasn’t going to just drop the subject and hope that things would distract him enough from the emotions he was feeling. He wasn’t going to wallow in self-pity and some fucking horn pile because his love was unrequited.
Standing up again he stepped up to one of the liquid-filled tubes that littered the place. This one contained a hulking musclebeast monstrosity, still flexing its horridly swollen and grotesque arms. It was a small fry, even Gamzee could kill these underlings now. It would probably never wake up though, the battlefield of Skaia was deserted, and the Denizens had all been killed. It would float around in this tube for the rest of its existence… he didn’t even know if it was alive or not, if it could die and rot away… they certainly didn’t do that when you killed them, they just left some useless grist behind and disappeared.
Tracing his fingers on the tank for a few moments, he nodded and turned around, looking at the Transportalization-platform at the corner of the room. For a few moments doubt crossed his mind, but then he merely shook his head and stepped up on it. In the few hours since they arrived, Sollux had already figured out how to reprogram them, and with his teeth clenched he muttered “Terezi’s room”.
The flash of light enveloped him and the disorientation struck just a second later. At first, it had been debilitating, like as if you’d looked straight into the flash of a Picto-catcher, but now it was a mere nuisance, he’d regained his composure in no time.
But he sort of wished he hadn’t. Maybe him stumbling around like some grub-fuck fool would’ve earned him some sympathy points from Terezi, but instead he came storming out of the Transportalizer like some Thresher on a mission… only to find Terezi sitting in a corner, awkwardly flipping her coin and resting her head against the wall.
It struck him right there and then that he hadn’t even considered what to say to her. He’d been so busy wallowing in his self-loathing that he hadn’t made a single plan. Not even a contingency one!
“What do you want?”
Her voice was honestly upset, and Karkat was torn from his mind into the here and now in an instance.
“What do I want? Why do you think I’m here you cackling witch?”
“He…” she gave the saddest attempt at a laugh he’d ever heard. “You know you’re doing a shitty job at being the tough and decisive leader, don’t you?” Her tone was just a little derisive, aimed more to poke fun at him than to be actually mean. He saw through her ruse in a second.
“You said that the title was meaningless…”
“Yeah, I guess I did.” She stopped flipping the coin, catching it in her hand and closing it into a tight fist. “You’re doing a shitty job at a completely useless role in a session that we’re not even playing anymore.”
“Fuck you. We wouldn’t even have managed to get everyone through the Medium without me, and you know that. “ His anger was rising like bile in his throat. He’d come here to apologize and he was getting this?
“No, fuck you, Karkat.” She got up suddenly, an angry expression on her face. Even though he knew she couldn’t see him, the fact that her eyes were hidden behind those shades always made him uncomfortable… and now she was acting genuinely pissed? He took an involuntary step backwards.
It didn’t help, in seconds she’d walked up to him, cane in one hand, strap around her wrist, and her left hand still closed around the coin. “You know, I used to think it was cute, the way you proclaimed yourself leader of the Red team.” She was just a few feet from him, and he cursed inwardly as he took another step back. “Even when we realized we were just one big team, you took command, and we were fine with that. I even supported you, because even though you always try to prove that you’re not, you are a good leader.” She wasn’t touching him, which made it all worse. She was just standing there, uncomfortably close, chewing him out.
“Proving I’m not?” He grasped for anything, “I’ve put my life on the line again and again for all of us, even those fucked-up losers that our entire species would’ve been better off without. If you’ve got a problem with the way I run things…”
“I don’t! But it sure smells like you do!” She was raising her voice, which made him instinctively want to curl up against the wall, he’d never seen her this angry before.
“Smells!? I never trusted your fucking nose to begin with, and now you’re telling me you can “smell” me being a bad leader!?”
“I never said you were a bad leader!”
“Then why don’t you let me do my job!?”
“WHY DON’T YOU!?”
Silence. That horrible, painful silence that came after the first person began to shout. He hated it so much.
“I’M TRYING BUT YOU’RE NOT MAKING MY JOB ANY EASIER, BEING IN CAHOOTS WITH THAT STRIDER FUCK-UP!” He breathed in deeply, his eyes staring against Terezi’s blind ones.
“OH! SO YOU’RE JEALOUS AT DAVE, ARE YOU!?” She quipped back, slamming her cane into the floor, “BECAUSE HE GETS THINGS DONE WHILE YOUR JOHN IS JUST RUNNING AROUND PUTTING OUT FIRES!” She bit off the last word with a hiss and another drubbing against the floor.
Karkat found himself speechless. Jealous? Why the fuck did she think he was jealous? He’d kissed her, hadn’t he? Told her she was his matesprit, HADN’T HE!?
“Why would I be jealous of that scum-sucking poser?” He growled back, lowering his voice and raising his arms in objection.
“Because he can hold a decent conversation without falling into an egomaniacal rant every second…” she hissed back, showing her fangs.
For a few moments they just stood there, eye-to-blind-eye, Karkat finding himself lost for words, for once, and Terezi being as hard to read as always. Then slowly a grin spread on her face.
“You came here to apologize, didn’t you?” She said with an almost unbearably snarky tone in her voice. Karkat felt an excuse rise up from his throat, but he suppressed it for now. He didn’t even know why he did it.
“Didn’t you? I know you, Karkat Vantas.” She said with the same smirk on her face, taking a step towards him. “Once your tasty, crimson blood cools down, you’re the first to think rationally…”
He didn’t know what to make of that… poorly-hidden compliment, but he was more focused on the fact that she’d gotten even closer.
“M…may…” he began, his voice failing him slightly as he feebly raised a hand to defend himself.
“Maybe? What if I told you I don’t want your apology…?” she took his hand in hers, sniffing it slightly. At her remark, he cringed, his walled-up anger and embarrassment breaking through. He opened his mouth to say something, but she laughed softly.
“Hmm… you’re so easy to push around, you know…” she smiled wryly as she bit down on one of his fingers, drawing blood. “And now you’re all hot and bothered again… I can tell.” A small droplet of candy red was forming at the tip of his finger, and although he tried to pull away it was as if she held him in a vice.
She leaned down and lapped up the small bit of blood, Karkat staring at her in a jumbled mix of emotions. Was she forgiving him? Was she trying to seduce him? What the hell was going on?
She looked up at him then, her lips colored red with his blood and smiled slightly, leaning towards him, before stopping, face to face. “Maybe I should return the favor from before?” she mused, inching closer, and Karkat found himself blushing furiously.
“W…wh…what do you mean?” he mumbled, making no effort of pulling away this time.
“A kiss for a kiss…?” she said innocently, and Karkat swallowed hard, closing his eyes. He… guessed this was okay, you know? If she wanted that, he wouldn’t object…
She released the grip of his hand, and he waited for the kiss to come.
Until finally he opened his eyes just a little, only to see her walking towards the Transportalizer, her back to him.
“H-Hey!” He let out, sounding to his surprise more hurt than anything else. “Where are you going?”
She smiled over her shoulder at him and stepped up on the platform, opening her mouth to tell it where to send her. But before she could even utter a syllable, she was interrupted by Karkat grabbing her hand, pulling her away from it.
“Let go, you idiot!” She yelled at him, drubbing him with her cane. He didn’t release her, instead he took her cane-waving hand in his too, looking into her face.
“…I’m sorry…” he whispered, blushing beet red as had to break eye-contact, looking away even though he knew she couldn’t see him. For a few seconds she didn’t say anything, but the she squeezed his hands lightly, almost shyly, and nodded.
“I’m sorry too…” And then, without warning, she returned the kiss. Karkat’s eyes widened before he returned it in fashion, closing his eyes and squeezing her hands in return.
“…Still tastes like chalk…” he thought to himself, for the first time in long relaxing just slightly. Even though his heart was beating madly in his chest, he relaxed. At least he’d done something right.
Hope you guys like it! I'mma read everything posted after this, but I don't think I could wade through the hip-level of awesome that is this thread... :|
@Skaian- I love the idea behind this. I was about the kids' age during the latest 90s, and I vividly remember there being shows for kids that creeped me the fuck out. Ah, fond childhood memories. And poor Jade, her reaction makes me want to hug her. :<
Strider brothers fics (many thanks go to egregiousBass for compiling them):
Musical Interlude- Dave tries to ironically score in the ongoing fight to one-up his brother. By joining the school chorus.
Did imps know fear? Probably. Otherwise they wouldn't have been cowering in the shadow of the nearby building, watching in every direction for the hero they knew would be coming.
Every direction but up, that is.
In the BLU organization, Johnny was what was known as a "scout" - fast, but lightly armed and armored. In theory, a good Scout could run up to enemy lines, see their numbers and loadouts, and run back. In practice, they generally used their speed to quickly claim objectives, or to surprise enemies at point-blank with what weapons they had.
No objectives? Then death from above.
Johnny had spotted the imps from a distance. Luckily, the Land of Bridges and Darkness meant plenty of access routes and plenty of hiding spots. No bridges led directly to the building, but they didn't need to. A close pass was enough.
He took a few steps back for a running start, and then jumped as far as he could. At the peak of his jump, he kicked his legs as hard as he could - a technique he picked up when he was younger that shifted his momentum for an extra bit of distance. All things considered, he could long jump about 25 feet. He landed softly on the roof of the building, looked down on the imps, and began his attack as subtly as he knew how.
He took out his baseball bat and called out to them. "Yo, wassup?"
Then he jumped down, bat held high.
All told, there were about 5 imps huddled together. They all existed in various states of fishyness, thanks to the Scout's earlier prototyping. Upon hearing the battlecry, two of them immediately fell over and began flopping in terror; two of them screamed (glubbed?) and began running as fast as their little foot-flippers could carry them.
The last one kept his head straight, brought his arms up in a combat stance, and would maybe have put up a fight if Johnny hadn't landed directly on his head.
"BOINK!" Johnny shouted. He pushed off of the imp just before it exploded into grist. This push carried him directly into the path of one of the absconding imps, which naturally led to the imp being directly in the path of the baseball bat. "BONK!"
Johnny LOVED sound effects.
With well-practiced ease, he stowed his bat and pulled out his pistol. He fired three shots, which were sufficient to catch the other fleeing imp. Three down, two to go. And of course the two remaining imps were still flopping uselessly.
He threw his arms out, exasperated. "Are any of you guys even payin' attention to me? What is your guys' PROBLEM?!" He took his bat out again; no need to waste ammo on these knuckleheads.
As he walked forward, though, something didn't feel quite right.
That something was the ground. Ground isn't supposed to shake like that.
He looked around again, and noticed the massive, scaly ogre coming around the side of the building he had just jumped off of. How the hell'd he miss that?
He didn't spend any time wondering, though. He was too busy being frozen in fear. And then screaming loudly. And then he did his best to avoid peeing his pants.
On another plane of existence, Dell Conagher was very much enjoying the safety of Dustbowl base. Like Johnny, he was alone here, but at least he could amuse himself with the computers that one could find at any given BLU base. Earlier, he had been using it to help Johnny on the homefront. Now, he was using it to play Texas Hold'em with Ivan the Heavy Weapons Guy.
baconEnthusiast began pestering bulletHappy at ?? : ??
bE: Aww, come on, I thought you were an expert at this or somethin'!
bH: NO, YOU ARE THINKING OF WEAK RED HEAVY! REAL MEN PLAY REAL MAN GAMES. LIKE THE HANGEDMANS. AND SOMETIMES TENNIS. NOT STUPID BABY CARDS.
bE: Yer just sad 'cause I'm kickin' yer keester.
bH: ENGINEER IS CHEATING! HEAVY MUST BE USING ENGINEER'S TINY ROBOT TOYS. BUT THEY ARE FIRING POOR CARDS AT ME INSTEAD OF BULLET.
bE: It's a computer game. It's on the screen.
bH: POOR COMPUTER CARDS INSTEAD OF COMPUTER BULLET. DO NOT THINK YOU CAN TRICK ME WITH YOUR FANCY COMPUTER WORDS, ENGINEER!
bE: If you want, we could go back to... what'd ya call it? The Hangedmans?
bH: HEAVY WILL NOT PLAY THE HANGEDMANS WITH ENGINEER. ENGINEER CHEATS AT THE HANGEDMANS TOO.
bE: Oscilloscope is a word, Ivan, I even opened up the dictionary.
bH: ENGINEER MUST HAVE BUILT CHEATING DICTIONARY! ENTIRE GAME IS STUPID!
bE: Whoa, calm down there. 'S just a game.
bE: And, umm, don't damage that there computer. I need that.
bH: STUPID! STUPID! STUPID!
bE: D'you say something?
bulletHappy has lost connection to TexasHoldEm.exe.
bH: CHEATING BABY COMPUTER SAID SOMETHING.
bE: ...Yer gonna have to fix that. And find a new computer, pronto.
bE: I ain't gonna screw up this mission 'cause y'all done lost yer temper.
bH: IS COMPUTER'S FAULT. WEAK METAL CANNOT SUPPORT STRONG BLU TEAM.
bH: NEEDS STEEL, LIKE HEAVY'S FISTS!
So who else was available? The mission was to activate the game-thing. Sblurb? Someburb? Something. Dell's computer had it running, and it had somehow kicked Johnny the Scout into another dimension. It hurt the Engie's head trying to figure out how Johnny's radio could still connect to the BLU comm network, and that really said something.
But now Dell needed to get in. Doublecross Station was gone - transported wholly into the game - but a meteor had struck its former location almost immediately after. It wasn't the first meteor to hit Earth that day. It wouldn't be the last either. More objects were on the way.
BLU High Command wasn't sure yet where they were going to land, but Dell felt like the meteor at Doublecross had been too convenient. And he didn't want to stick around long enough to find out if his suspicions were correct. And that meant he couldn't wait around for Ivan to fix his damn computer.
He looked at his sheet of radio frequencies and began to cycle through them. Dell wasn't the type to lose his composure, but he was closer to flying off the handle than he had ever been.
Criticism or angry death threats are still totally welcome.
I really want to color-code everything in the chatlogs but the difficulty there is that I've potentially got 18 characters that all need unique and thematically-appropriate text colors. I've considered using cool colors for BLU and warm colors for RED, but again, it's gonna be kind of hard finding 9 easily distinguishable shades each of blue/green/black and red/yellow/orange. If I figure something out that makes sense I'll retroactively do it to all the older chatlogs.
I'll try to figure it out ASAP because until I do, I can't think of a way to let Scout talk with Soldier, Sniper or Spy (all of them will be bS of some variety) without making it stupidly confusing.
And please tell me if my action scenes make any sense! This one kind of sucked because imps are just imps, and the Scout is kind of a big deal. Next chapter should be more balanced in that regard.
Last edited by Kerensky287; 01-25-2011 at 09:43 AM.