- not stoked when they meet face to face. Maybe he feels trepidation. Dread.
No, not that second one. Dave Strider's pretty much on record about being too fucking distanced from petty bullshit like maybe feeling a little betrayed by something. He keeps a cool twenty metaphorical yards away from his emotions on all matters especially this one.
They pull through the Scratch mostly intact, which is not something that can be said for their alien hosts. There are less trolls than they expected and each of them looks a little rattled, a little haunted, a little less than they should have been. Terezi's the only one he recognizes, but the rest are easy to guess. She's leaning into Karkat and Dave is also on record about not caring about that.
When Karkat is finished halfheartedly snapping orders, she gravitates in his direction. Her grin is kind of thin like it's been worn out and she hesitates almost like she's awkward or ashamed or something.
"Hey coolkid," she says coyly, both hands over the top of her cane as she leans forwards, "Our fateful first meeting, face to face huh? Heh."
'Jesus Terezi I wasn't really that angry about the Dead Dave thing it's not like we know each other well enough to even have a fight stop being such a fucking girl about this.'
He shrugs, "Yeah, I guess."
She gets it.
"Because T-Z and I are such goddamn kind hearted helpers we've prepared a slideshow for this asshole's speech."
"It explains the whole plan. We worked really, really hard on it so don't make fun of us okay."
"Five whole minutes that could have been spent doing basically anything else. Sloppy inter-species make-outs mostly."
Even Kanaya chuckles as Karkat tries to roll his eyes right out of his head. Chalk it up as a victory for team Sweet Dave and Hella Rez.
Terezi called them that, okay. That was her stupid idea. Not his.
- 01:00 HOURS
He and Aradia are standing just outside the labs where some of her robot limbs are still floating in paradox space. It's more or less the creepiest backdrop possible- lovely little metaphor in there about the price of being the Time player and everything- but it's the best place to not be overheard. Trolls are basically the nosiest species to curse the universe with their presence like there's a desire for other people's businesses coded into their fucking multi-colour fruit-loop flavoured DNA.
They're talking about important shit when she busts out this killer line:
"No plans are absolute. It is important to say goodbye."
"Yeah. I got the mushy shit down, Aradia. Already said what needs to be said to them."
She arches an eyebrow elegantly, "... and Terezi?"
"Wow, okay," his hands fly up in a totally cool not-even-close-to-a-flail, "You're getting the wrong impression here. She was just my patron-troll-or-whatever. Y'know, the person who's creepy theatrics I had to suffer through because you wouldn't talk to me until after we had a dead road-trip complete with the soundtrack to Flashdance blaring that I can't remember because, oh right, I'm not actually dead."
"What?" Dave frowns, " 'Okay'. Just 'okay'? Don't you trolls love to take this relationship junk to the limit like you're all alone at the end of the evening and the bright lights have faded to blue?"
"I am guessing that if you're getting that defensive, you know what you have to do. You don't need me to tell you."
Dave pauses, his hands falling slack at his side as his head cranes back, eyes on the empty space above them, "... yeah, I gotta do what the Knight of Time does best."
"And that is?"
"... make the best of what I have, I guess."
- 01:45 HOURS
"You have... a dragon fursuit."
"You wear this to RP."
"I. There's some things we gotta talk about here, Terezi, because you have vastly misrepresented yourself here."
"Look, Karkat gives me enough grief about that. He's always on about how insipid and immature it is. Like everyone else DOESN'T like to pretend they're something besides what they are. Because they do!"
- 01:52 HOURS
"... but I was serious. We gotta talk."
Terezi brightens considerably and pushes off from her relaxed position, looping her arm through Dave's as she yanks him off the floor. Well, no more last minute cleaning duty. Karkat will be so mad.
"That's excellent!" her smile is just about as creepy as her emoticons. Jegus, "I have something I wanted to show you!"
- 02:01 HOURS
Dave marvels at the twin feelings of attraction and revulsion knocking around in his confused, per-pubescent totally-dealing-with-it-in-a-detached-and-ice-smooth-fashion-typical-of-the-earth-human-coolkid young boy body.
He's noticing stupid details about her now that they're this close and she's more or less resting her cheek against his shoulder as she guides him through the arbitrary and labyrinthine hallways filled with superfluous chests. Like how sharp her teeth actually are and how shockingly soft her hair is. He was expecting it to be something like a brillo pad, but it's just hair and in this light she's actually kind of
well not kind of
not the prettiest girl he's ever seen, but she is the one that has appealed to him most. Viscerally. Like, deep down somewhere he can't understand it
'Bro did this to me,' he thinks helplessly, 'I'm a furry xenophile. Wouldn't he be so fucking proud.'
- 02:29 HOURS
"And you wanted me to see this giant mural of us you drew. This is pretty terrible. I'm pretty much the opposite of impressed and definitely the same thing as creeped out. Good show, Rez. Best show, actually."
"Dave, there's no reason for you to be that much of an asshole just because you're nervous about your first time in a girl's bedroom. I know you love it so don't try so hard."
She was right. He did love it- there was a subtle artistry to Terezi's work. He had to really try for that SBHJ charm. He would have to break all the bones in his hand and reassemble them at incorrect and awkward angles to even imagine reaching the level of pure abstract beauty attained so naively and immaculately by Terezi Pyrope. The exquisite and ambiguous expression was evocative as well- were they dancing? Were they just hanging out? Were they having a Pokemon battle? What was the troll version of the Mudkip meme? These were some of the deep philosophical issues the mural brought to the table.
"I'm not trying. This is 100% natural, come on."
"Whatever. That's not what I bought you here to see anyway."
She takes his hand and pulls him through the last doorway out into the open Veil. Out into the creepy, starless night where she's got a nice viewing balcony and a telescope he really hopes-doesn't-but-knows-does work by scent. He hasn't quite caught up to this whole hand holding business when she cuts him loose and spreads her arms like all the empty space is meant to be impressive.
"Here." she says firmly, "This is what I wanted to show you."
"Yeah, I've seen the Veil before. Practically all I see right now, actually."
"Smart. Assiest. Alien." she pouts and then sways close again, knocking their shoulders together. She sniffs loudly- which is not endearing at all- and points, "That's where Prospit was. I was here when it exploded."
"What did that smell like?"
"Green Apple, actually."
"Huh. Would have imagined all that death would have tasted more like corpse-rot or three week old General Tao chicken you found in the back of the fridge."
"Colours don't work that way, Dave. They're not really situational, you know." she stops her anxious shifting and just stares. Dave's more distracted by her profile in the uneven dark.
"... why are you showing me this?"
She shrugs, "I... don't know. I was really upset about it but no one else seemed to care very much... I mean, except Tavros. But that was a little different, I think. I guess I just was hoping that someone would understand."
"And you think that's me. That I understand you?"
"Geeze, well when you put it that way." Terezi cackles, rolling her shoulders back, "All I really did was play mind games with you."
"Played me like whatever classical instrument is most poetic for the purposes of this conversation."
"A Gizzagraph. The strings are made from the leg tendons of culled youth."
"Come on. You made that one up."
"Not even. Except instead, I played your heart strings." and she makes this horrible smile that's half her face. Her tone is intentionally melodramatic, but there's a twinge of sincerity that stings. Dave bristles and hopes she doesn't see. She makes it worse by adding, "... and I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that."
Dave shrugs and mentally takes about two hundred steps back from the conversation before it gets any more intense, "Whatever. Dead Daves happen. Living Daves staring at dead dream moons and evasive Terezis refusing to explain their motivations are a more pressing matter at the moment."
"Prospit was the last place where the future seemed alive. Maybe it was all just stupid dreams, but they felt real to us. I don't think I realized that Alternia was really gone until Prospit was."
He hadn't taken Karkat's dire warning of sloppy inter-species make-outs seriously so there had been no plan about what to do when he made second-base. Second-base would have been a lot easier, though, than weird alien girl revealing her depressing, German existentialism-esque locked diary thoughts with him, "So what? Alternia seemed like a shitty place."
"Wow. Thanks for the stunning display of cultural sensitivity, Dave! Let me guess- this sort of attitude is what lands so many alien girls life sentences in your grill!"
"Regular Captain Kirk right here."
"Dave..." her posture shrinks, her squared shoulder stance sloping with sudden vulnerability, which is how he knows he hurt her. Dave Strider is a total winner, though, so he keeps going.
"What I'm trying to say here, T-Z- what I'm trying to communicate across this cultural barrier- is that I'm trying and failing to find a good reason to give a damn." he pauses, "About your stupid dream moon I mean."
Terezi's reaction is not instantaneous. The teal flush blossoms across her cheekbones like one of those stupid shirts that was popular in about 2004- the ones where you had to wear it out in the sun for a few minutes before the stupid Chinese dragon or whatever revealed itself. Her toothy mouth folds in on itself marking a severe line of anger as she raises a hand to wipe at her eyes.
"You. Are." she bites down on every word, "Just. Like. Him." And then she elbows him as hard as she possibly can right where his ribs end before she runs off. Dave doesn't know why he whirls around unsteadily (desperately) (clutching his gut goddamn) to call after her, but she's already looking at him again, tears streaming down her face.
"And I know you don't even mean it! He never did either! Why can't you just fucking say what you mean!? Why do I always have to deal with boys who don't know their own stupid minds!?"
"Being an asshole isn't what makes you cool, Dave. It's not nearly as endearing as you think it is."
Dave bites his lip and straightens awkwardly. He has too many limbs and they have no suitably disaffected-youth places to go, "Come on. Sure it is."
She shakes her head, "Not even close. Augh. Stupid Dave. Stupid Daves." she wipes her eyes with the heels of her palms, "Making me waste my stupid tears.”
"H-hey." Dave inhales sharply and takes a first hesitant step, like he's approaching a wild rabbit or something. He also resists the temptation to ask whether or not trolls have a limited number of tears and they gotta ration them out between heinous acts. She gives him and his hesitation the most withering look possible so he closes the distance between them quickly, hands on her shoulders in the most un-disaffected-youth way possible. She snorts back her tears sloppily.
"I uh. Didn't think that you'd cry."
"Alien girls are still girls, Dave! What did you think I'd do? This-" and she reels back with her cane to jab him in the knee spitefully.
"Fuck!" and she whaps him over the shoulders when he bends down to cradle his injured knee, "Dammnit, Terezi! Stop!"
She manages to titter creepily through her sobs, "I was just evening out the pain- an earth coolkid like Dave Strider could surely handle worse!"
"Shit, just-" he reaches out to grab her again but this time he pulls her close, one arm locked behind her shoulders, another at her waist. She's nearly as tall as he is so he can't do something all manly and comforting like tuck her under his chin or wipe away her tears and be all: 'baby it's gonna be okay just look into my eyes' but that would be stupid anyways. He has no idea why he was even thinking of something lame like
that. He rests his cheek against hers instead and just breathes, waiting for her to be done crying.
After a moment, she asks, "Dave. What are you doing?"
He answers: "I have no fucking clue."
"Oh." her cane clatters to the ground and she hugs him back, "On Earth, what did you want to do? What was the Earth-Thing-You-Wanted-To-Do?"
"Like, I wanted to be a Legislacerator."
"Weird cannibal lawyer, right."
"Yeah. What did you want to do?"
"Why the hell are you asking me that right now?"
"Because I want to know. What. Did you want to do?"
Dave takes a deep breath and...
- answers truthfully: "I have no fucking clue."
"Really?" Terezi tries to push out of the embrace, but he's got her in a vice grip because he's too horrifically embarrassed at his own actions to move.
"Really." he replies. Why can't he hold all these truths inside his mouth? It keeps happening, "Coolkids don't really have goals and considering that my Bro was preparing me for this my entire fucking life I guess SBURB is what I was always supposed to do. Good thing I didn't have any plans or goals of my own or anything, huh Bro?"
Terezi finally manages to wiggle herself free. She leans back and studies him intently, sniffing loudly and running a thumb absently over his cheek. "That is," she says with some gravity, "The most pathetic thing I have ever heard in my life." her voice is full of condescending wonderment.
"Yeah, thanks Rez. Nice double standard there. Real cute."
"N-no," she shakes her head lightly, "You idiot. I meant-" and she kisses him. He's too stunned at first to do anything but kiss back and oh god, there are teeth everywhere. He pulls away, the hand at his mouth coming away bloody.
"Damn," he says, half shocked, half appraising, "I was right. This whole Troll-Human thing isn't gonna work."
She crosses her arms and tips her head to one side, blinking her long lashes over those dead eyes of hers. He notices that his blood is on her lips and that's... that's something. Something he can't really conjure up an explanation for what it means or how it makes him feel. He kisses her this time, inexpertly and long and oh so careful of her teeth. The kiss is tinted metallic and their hands are everywhere in gawky, abhorrently clumsy thirteen-year-old exploration. Dave can't tell if she trips him maliciously or by accident, but he's stunned when his back hits the stone and she takes the opportunity to pin his arms under her knees.
"Show me," she whispers, bending low, nose to nose. Dave is still with his heart doing impressive fourth-grade gymnastic flip flops inside his chest as she licks a line from his chin to cheekbone, nimbly lifting his sunglasses and setting them aside with the greatest of care. He goes to protest, but she covers his mouth with her hand, "Shh, only kisses now, Strider. Show me your delicious eyes. Show me your pathetic, delicious eyes." she presses light kisses along the ridge of his eyebrow, then the curve of his eye. He weighs the likelihood that she is actually going to suck his eye out against the likelihood that this is just some weird fetishey troll trust game and keeps his eyes open as she eases a tender, open-mouthed kiss over his irises, cilary muscle twitching uncomfortably at the sensation. She draws back, smiling, and uncovers his mouth.
"You are so fucked up," he breathes, but he's already pulling her down again. Only kisses now- they're getting better and better at this after each round. He rolls them over and braces himself on his elbows, staring at Terezi in the strange deadlight of the Veil. Thirteen year old boob cred aside (and he most definitely has the angle for boob cred), all he wants to do is touch her face. The odd planes and angles, even her gooey troll tears (which are, unpleasantly enough, the same shade as her blood). Her features could cut glass and his fingers ghost across the places where her bones are near the skin.
"Jegus," he says ironically and slumps down on top of her, hiding his face in her shoulder, "I can't."
"The human coolkid can do anything." Terezi teases brightly, but he just hunches his shoulders. Dave Strider is not made for unrestrained and unbarred displays of emotion. There is no fucking punchline here- he is so into this girl. And the world is so over. And they'll probably all die tomorrow. Jesus wept, how did he not register how fucked up this was until now.
"Sure," he whispers, "The Dave Strider miracle express coming through, alien babes and fainting Egberts hanging out all the windows waving handkerchiefs." Terezi frowns, but it's in naked concern. She sits up- morose Strider flopped over her with all his cool evacuated after he made a conscious decision not to go for the boob-grope- and carefully lays him down beside her. They watch the dark sky together, shoulder to shoulder, knuckles lightly touching.
- 03:12 HOURS
"It's a Seer's job to see beyond, but there's nothing left. No more layers. Just the darkness. I've never really felt blind until now. That's... that's what I wanted to say."
Dave nods numbly: "But you see, Rez, when a time player looks at a goddamn unsightly empty space like that, all we see are opportunities." it's not quite true, but wow did it ever feel like the thing to say. Terezi snickers at him.
"Really? Come on, Dave, say something even more desperately uncool than that. I dare you."
He surreptitiously entangles their fingers and grips her hand tightly. And then he does just what she asks.