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--

TG: lalonde
TG: imagine hitler
TG: just come back from tea with satan
TG: scones baked over the gas chambers
TG: tea of orphans tears
TG: and hes banging your mom
TG: imagine him looking up
TG: looking at what you just did
TG: and hes all
TG: dick move kid
TG: dick fucking move

TT: My, this is hyperbolic, even for you.
TT: I knew you would be sensitive about it, but this...

TG: sensitive you stole my fucking shades
TG: my eyes are whats sensitive here
TG: why the fuck would you steal my shades

TT: "fuck no im not looking", you said.
TT: "calsprite is unimaginable eldritch horrorterror enough for me", you said.
TT: "make me lalonde", you said.

TG: oh gog fucking dammit
TT: You must admit you left me little choice.
TG: so thats what this is about
TG: me listening to the songs of your unimaginable monstrosities

TT: I could have played nonstop Justin Bieber at you to give you a sense of perspective, but this seemed less cruel.
TG: also you cant hack into my shit
TT: Furthermore, I cannot hack into your shit.
TG: stop agreeing with me dont play reasonable here
TG: this shit is not reasonable
TG: not even fucking close

TT: What are you so afraid of seeing?
TG: what the fuck now youre getting freudian
TG: lalonde if you werent the last person on earth
TG: and i mean literally
TG: i would kick your ass into next thursday
TG: and then kick you back
TG: till you were bouncing all around next week as much as i am
TG: or was or will be
TG: fuck verbs

TT: English verb tenses have long been recognized as inadequate to describe your situation, yes.
TG: i want my shades back lalonde
TG: give them back and this ends here

TT: And if I don't?
TG: then i unleash the full force of my wrath right on your misshapen house lalonde
TG: sick fires of vengeance turning your life into an inferno
TG: make lolar look like lohac
TG: and lohac look like
TG: whatever it wouldve been called
TG: fires so terminally ill they drop dead in a nanosecond
TG: only to be replaced by more in a neverending holocaust
TG: in short lalonde
TG: i will wreck your shit
TG: can i have my fucking shades back now

TT: But you make it sound so entertaining.
TG: jegus fuck fine
TG: have it your way
TG: its fucking war

TT: I look forward to seeing your first move.
TT: Oh, wait.
TT: That was yesterday.
TT: I do apologize for my terribly rough means of hastening your departure.

--future turntechGodhead has entered the conversation--
TG: i fucking hate you
--future turntechGodhead has disconnected--
TT: I suppose I should take that as a refusal of my apology.
TG: oh gogdammit to hell
TG: way to go genius future me
TG: how could i do anything so stupid
TG: unless it was

TT: A distaction?
TG: a DISTACTION
TG: oh gog DAMN lalonde
TG: fuck it well see

--turntechGodhead has disconnected-

--

TT: The sky is so pretty tonight.
TT: I don't believe I have ever seen such a lovely sunset.

TG: oh come on
TT: Really! It shades all the way from red to indigo.
TT: It's quite marvellous.
TT: Thank you.

TG: i did not set your oceans on fire so you could have a pretty fucking sunset and you know it
TT: Quite clever of you to realize an oil slick on the surface would be flammable.
TT: However, it is still water underneath.
TT: Additionally, I am magic.

TG: fine
TG: i didnt want to do this
TG: but its time

TT: Oh, this should be good.
TG: once upon a time there was a nerd named joe zazzer pam
TT: What.
TG: he was the nerdiest fucking kid you ever laid eyes on
TG: zero chance of interaction with anyone with one X chromosome much less two
TG: maybe 3 or 4 but i doubt it

TT: Oh my god.
TG: oh no when will i ever find someone to like me he wailed
TG: for i have a pure heart and could be an awesome catch if only i combed my hair

TT: Stop this travesty.
TG: so one day he was going to school dreading the atomic wedgie that lay inevitably in his future
TT: I NOTICE THAT STYLISTIC FLOURISH STRIDER
TG: when across the way he saw the most glorious creature he had ever laid eyes on omg
TT: You're NOT.
TT: Also, redundancy, Strider!

TG: it was joe frigglish the star mathelete
TT: You have clearly not ever read even a word of the books.
TG: damn right i havent
TG: anyway this was clearly destiny since they were both named joe

TT: Have you ever even read a "slash" pastiche?
TG: i dont even know what the fuck that is
TG: nice try lalonde
TG: joes smoldering eyes met his and pam knew this was meant to be
TG: and then the jocks strung him up the flagpole by his boxer shorts cause he was named pam
TG: they had little hearts and wands on them
TG: the whole school pointed and laughed at this flagrant display of homosexuality and pure lame
TG: except for joe frigglish

TT: Oh, god.
TT: Have you been reading Twific, Strider?

TG: manfully joe leapt up and bit the flagpole rope in half with his perfect pearly whites
TG: and caught pam just before he hit the ground

TT: Oh my God, you're not denying it.
TG: pam looked up at his savior breathless
TG: at his perfect lips and sparkly violet eyes

TT: Ah HA!
TG: oh my hero you have saved me said pam
TG: we can go out if you are less lame said joe
TG: now go away im brooding
TG: pam stared after him and knew he must heal the pain in joes wounded heart

TT: Seriously, Strider. What in the name of all that is unholy have you been reading?
TG: i want my shades back
TT: An admirable effort, Strider.
TT: However, you made four miscalculations.
TT: One: You presumed that I had not built up an immunity to badfic over time.
TT: We have a name for it, Strider.
TT: It is much like building an immunity to iocaine powder.

TG: oh shut up that was complete horseshit
TG: undiluted crap with a side order of pain

TT: Two: You forgot that nearly every sin is forgivable if if it committed in the name of irony.
TT: And the day that Dave Strider ceases to be ironic is...
TT: I was going to say that it was the day he was dead, but that seemed both needlessly morbid and likely to be untrue.
TT: You will definitely die ironically.

TG: probably multiple times too
TT: Three: You have finally revealed to me that you have read my private journals.
TT: Thus earning my genuine wrath.

TG: your genuine wrath
TG: man im a fucking katrina of hate here
TG: hurricane of fury the size of the great red spot
TG: engulfing fucking planets

TT: Four: I know forbidden secrets that could rip your mind apart.
TT: Don't make me unleash them.

TG: great more horrorterrors fucking fantastic
TG: bring it on

TT: Don't say I didn't warn you.
TT: http://outerarchiveofourown.eth/archives/314326127314/www.puppet-pals.com/works/fists_of_love.htm

TG: what the hell youve got internet archives
TT: Don't read it, Strider.
TT: I genuinely fear for your sanity should the existence of this work make itself known to you.

TG: oh come on whats the worst it could
TT: Strider?
TT: Strider, I warned you.
TT: Strider...

TG: what
TG: the
TG: fuck
TG: HOW DID THEY KNOW ABOUT CAL
TG: STOP LAUGHING YOU BRAINLESS FEATHERY MONSTROSITY
TG: HOW THE FUCK DID THEY KNOW

TT: You're not saying... it's true?
TG: GOD DAMN IT NO I AM NOT IT IS NOT IN ANY WAY TRUE
TG: what the fuck does he haunt the nightmares of freaks the world over or something
TG: oh my god he does doesnt he

TT: I would imagine your brother brought him to a convention at some point, whereupon pictures were taken of the two of them.
TT: And your brother is... quite a figure in his industry.

TG: oh my god
TG: someone wrote
TG: that he and
TG: its not even a real fake tooth hes a fucking puppet i
TG: NO NO NOT A FUCKING PUPPET I
TG: i
TG: im gonna go kill some things
TG: a lot of things
TG: and then we will never speak of this again

TT: Two days' truce?
TG: sounds about right
--turntechGodhead has disconnected--

--

TG: ok i am still shadeless
TG: despite the number of brainbreakingly horrible things i have been subjected to over the past week
TG: after what was already a pretty shitty month may i remind you
TG: i mean not totally rainbows and unicorns
TG: world ended once or twice but hey thats neither here nor there

TT: Correct usage of "nor". You are quite the charmer.
TG: shut up
TG: anyway you have brought me to this lalonde
TG: you have brought me to this and you should be ashamed

TT: I eagerly await your no doubt staggering depravity.
--turntechGodhead has sent tentacleTherapist the file hostage.jpg--
TT: ...
TT: You didn't.
TT: You couldn't have.
TT: He's sitting right here.

TG: she says to the knight of time
TT: You wouldn't!
TG: oh yeah you go on and tell me what i would and wouldnt do you know so much
TG: you go on and tell me im not capable
TG: ive been killing a whole lot of things lately
TG: seen a whole lot of things im way more attached to die
TG: tell me i wont do it

TT: You won't do it.
TG: goddammit lalonde yes i will
TG: cant go anywhere without getting blinded
TG: and you know those are special
TG: you fucking know
TG: so if youre gonna go all psycho bitch on me and not give them back
TG: maybe im gonna go all psycho too

TT: Meow you wouldnt :(
TG: LALONDE
TG: NOT COOL LALONDE

TT: Shes only trying to help you really!
TG: how
TG: is
TG: this
TG: helping

TT: She worries about you and i do too!
TT: I havent known you very long but i like you a whole lot!
TT: And i know mutie does too :3
TT: I bet he is purring and playing with that thing you people put on the string near all the boxes!

TG: cat stop playing with my fucking mouse
TG: stop it
TG: oh god damn stop licking me you smell like tuna

TT: He really likes you and your place is so exciting and different!
TT: It is a fun adventure and he isnt scared at all because he knows you wont hurt him.
TT: Youll keep him safe even. Just like youd keep any of us safe! :3
TT: Except maybe that orange thing he is scary.

TG: fuck
TG: fuck
TG: this is cheating

TT: Yes, Strider, that's kind of my "thing" now.
TT: Hadn't you noticed?

TG: why the fuck are you doing this
TG: why cant i have my shades back

TT: You can.
TG: what how
TT: You know what you need to do.
TG: what no i fucking dont
TG: if i knew what i needed to do id have fucking done it already jesus

TT: You need to come over here, and you need to ask for them nicely.
TG: what
TG: what the fuck
TG: thats it

TT: Did you ever ask?
TG: yes i fucking did
TG: i asked very nicely goddammit

TT: But not in person.
TG: you know i dont give a shit anymore
TG: fine
TG: fine
TG: you win
TG: ill play along with whatever the fuck sick twisted scheme this is
TG: there in a few

--turntechGodhead has disconnected--
TT: Thank you.

--

"All right, what the fuck will it be," said Strider, glaring at her with those terribly curious red eyes. Not just the irises; his eyes were bloodshot, the skin around them flushed and raw. "Am I gonna have to grovel? Beg and plead? Kiss your fucking feet?"

"It's impolite to bring a drawn sword into a lady's house," she pointed out.

Strider visibly stifled a scream, returning the sword to his sylladex with considerable force. "Happy? So what else am I gonna have to do?"

"Nothing," said Rose.

"What?"

"Just stand there, and do nothing."

Strider shook his head, foot tapping impatiently, jittery. "What the fuck, how does that even--"

"Shh. Stand there, and do nothing."

He opened his mouth again, and closed it at her glare. "Fine," he muttered, and folded his arms.

Rose counted the seconds, on an internal wager with herself. Ten seconds. Twenty. At thirty, his arms started to unfold, just a little.

"Look--"

"Shh," she insisted, and he closed his mouth again, glaring murder at her.

At sixty, his face started to twitch, just a little, away from its mask. He almost spoke up again, but she had him in a competition, now, and he wasn't going to let himself lose.

At eighty, he started to pace; "I said nothing," she reminded him, and he subsided with an audible hiss.

"I don't have time for--"

"Shh!"

He closed his eyes, foot tapping, which she was tempted to disallow but let him have, even though it might drag this out yet further. Ninety seconds; one hundred, and the foot-tapping started to slow, his eyes squeezing shut tighter.

At one hundred and thirty, he fell to his knees, which appeared to catch him completely by surprise.

She shook her head; silly, idiot boy. "You can't run away from it forever," she said. "You can't run forever. I know we've got a lot to do. So very much to do. But you've got to rest."

"You're fucking shitting me," said Dave, voice more than a little strangled. "That's what this was about? This whole goddamn thing?!"

"Would anything less drastic have succeeded? You are amazingly determined." Rose knelt down, pulling the glasses from her pocket, safe and sound. "I know it hurts. I know it's easier not to deal with it. Perhaps we can't deal with it; we may not be afforded that chance. But you can't keep going at this pace. You can't. Don't think I don't know what you've been doing."

Dave stared at her; Rose slipped the glasses onto his face, pushing his hair back behind his ears.

"Dave," she said. "I can't make it through this without you. So rest."

"...I'm fine," he said, voice already starting to blur with sleepiness.

"Dave, don't make me tuck you in."

"...Fuck it, whatever, have it your way," Dave muttered, and curled up into a ball.

Rose rolled her eyes. "We have perfectly servicable furniture, you know."

"Nmph."

Rose sighed, getting up to find a blanket. There was an analysis in this, of why precisely he would choose the floor right now when multiple more comfortable alternatives were close enough at hand, but-- she was getting exhausted herself.

It wouldn't go on much longer. That ought to be comforting, if double-edged, on the whole.

And yet-- utterly irredeemable as this timeline was, there were things she could swear she was going to miss.

--

When she woke up, he was gone; but so was the breakfast she'd captchalogued for him, which indicated that this was the first unalloyed victory she had attained in quite some time. She checked for messages, as she did reflexively by now, every time she awoke; she feared waking up to find herself alone. He had been, for a day or two, while she was still trying to wake up, and she still shuddered remorsefully at the thought of it.

TG: so i still dont know what the fuck that was
TG: or why you did that
TG: or why it took so goddamn long
TG: or why you couldnt have just said something like a normal person
TG: except youre not a normal person duh thats one of the dumbest things ive said this week
TG: but
TG: thanks
TG: even if it was stupid and i didnt need to waste any more time and this is all not gonna have happened in a couple weeks
TG: thanks
TG: anyway were gonna clear out another half a level or so of lohac
TG: ill bring him back soon

Rose looked around in alarm, and realized, for the first time, that Mutie was still missing. Damn it, Strider knew she didn't like him going somewhere so dangerous...! Was he really serious?

TG: couple days
TG: maybe a week but lets be nice itll be a week my time
TG: im magnanimous and shit
TG: fucking courtly up in here
TG: anyway you guys have fun
TG: see you in a few

"You guys?" Rose murmured, with a sinking feeling.

"Hee hee hee..."

Rose's head whipped upward. Calsprite was floating around the ceiling, staring down at her, teeth chattering in his mindless laughter.

TT: STRIIIIIIIIIIIDEEEEERRR!!!!

Elsewhere, Dave grinned, scratching Mutie between the ears. Maybe everything came back to a balance after all.

--