When the game ends everything goes soft like taffy. One minute they're battling by sweat and breath and fire, blood on Dave's tongue and in his eyes and Caledscratch buzzing like a tuning fork in his hand. He jumps and he stabs and he runs because he feels death racing up right behind him and then it ends. It ends and swallows him like a swamp and suddenly he can't lift his feet. He can't see anything and he can't scream because spacetime is rending—ripping to shreds and he can feel it but for once he doesn't understand.
The taffy swallows him up like cold burning ink and it feels like everything is turning inside out, vibrating the very building blocks of the universe as some force bigger than all of creation kicks into action.
The demon. The demon, fuck, what's happening—?
He pops into existence. He's not and then he suddenly is; every molecule in his body shifting from hypothetical stored data back into actual physical reality and it's so bright it's blinding. Jade's there and Rose and John, all of them panting and John puking onto the pristine white marble beneath his feet, and for a second Dave thinks it's heaven. There's nothing but the slab of marble hovering in the middle of nothing and the light shining down all around them and the air is cold as ice.
But it's not heaven because he can still feel the universe reshaping itself. Time is ticking but it's not—they're somewhere outside time, hidden from time with the shattered gears still grinding but muffled through the solid cotton walls. He can feel it and everywhere outside this little bubble of nonreality, timespace is reeling back on itself in snarled magnetic cassette tape. He tries to talk, tries to ask what the hell is going on because he can see the question on each of his friends' faces but the words don't come out. He's breathing vacuum and pixels and that's not what his lungs are shaped for.
Did they win? Did they win and is this what this is?
But something changes. Time stops whirring and the absence kicks Dave in the chest like a train wreck. Jade flinches and falls to her knees, her hands pressed to her temples and a horrified grimace on her face as her eyes bleed. He tries to go to her but he can't move, can't take a step without his element to define him, and he can't imagine what it feels like to experience space bucking like time had been doing a second ago. (Second? What the hell is a second anyway?)
John is still puking, his entire body twisting with it as he searches for the air that isn't there, and Rose stands stock still staring dazed up into the light that's fading down all around them. Dave tries again and again to move, to scream, anything because if this is the fucking end there's no way he's not going down fighting.
The light changes, shifts, and Rose is still staring blind as something spawns from pixels and strings in the light rays and floats down. It's made of clouds and dreams and it's tinted pink and white and shapely. It floats down like dove's wings and Dave actually watches as the very motes of light condense into something that's a person as much as it can't be.
Her Mom floats down by inches and lands just in front of her, good as new despite everyone having seen her body strewn with red and eviscerated. It's utterly impossible and Rose is still staring blind with dead eyes.
John coughs and the lack of wind in his lungs pours out of him in brown smoke and tobacco, white foam darting over the marble like snakes. It rises up and coagulates and his Dad morphs out of the digital matter as silent as a spider.
Jade is still on her knees and bleeding, and the space around her warps and cracks, lighting jumping like broken particles and gunfire. Radon and iodine spill out of the very rips in space and twist into white polygon hair and ears and a dead-still tail as Bec stands before her as quiet as taxidermy.
I'm next, Dave thinks. I'm next—
Rose's mom touches her shoulder, static jumping between them and arching like roman columns to John and his dad, to Jade and her dog—
And he watches as each kid realizes what's happening, what's right in front of their eyes, what the game is giving back to them now that they've succeeded. Rose jumps first, throws her arms around her mother like she's eight years old, and the other two follow a second later, sobbing and happy and—
It all dissolves.
The marble and the light and the bubble fly apart like polygon butterflies scattering and Dave can't see anything, can't understand anything as he's shunted somewhere through icy grey smoke that rips the air out of his lungs with fishhooks.
He coughs and coughs and he can't see. His shades are on and he's crouched somewhere, his joints screaming like each one is at the bottom of a blast furnace. He coughs and there's still that fucking smoke in his veins—condensing or evaporating, he can't tell, but either way it's leaving slowly with each wracking cough of black sticky liquid.
He collapses on the floor and tries to catch his breath. He feels like a voodoo priest's ragdoll full of red hot pins, his stuffing pulled out and rotting. He swallows and presses his face into the dirty threadbare carpet and doesn't even try to open his eyes.
Where am I? he thinks, and he sits up slowly with his head echoing and when he finally looks he knows this place—
The apartment. His apartment. All the lights are off, the television dead and Bro's computer dead and the very clocks on the wall utterly silent. He takes the first breath he's ever taken and he gets to his feet on shaky legs, his entire body still trembling. He stands there in the middle of his cluttered living room not understanding and then his brain kicks into gear as he realizes—
His friends all got their Guardians back. He saw it with his own eyes.
Time's stopped, he thinks, but he pulls the blinds open and there are cars roaming the streets like bored cows. He puts his back to the window and stares at the room with wary eyes, his hand missing Caledscratch like a lost shadow. He's not even in the suit he was wearing, no blood on his tongue or in his eyes. He's dead exhausted and hyped up on adrenaline so high he can feel his body buzzing, but nothing is the same and this isn't right.
He tears into his room at full tilt, slamming into his computer chair and booting up his desktop instantly. The thing takes forever to come online. The wallpaper washes blue light over his face and his fingers fumble inarticulately at the keys as he opens pesterchum like his life depends on it.
Because this isn't right. What the hell is going on?
TG: jade tell me you remember that shit with the white marble and space bending
TG: you totally vomited smoke all over heaven right john
TG: is your mom an angel rose because i saw her condense out of fucking lightbeams or something
And twenty minutes later none of them have answered him yet.
He isn't sure how he fell asleep. He'd been exhausted and he wakes up slumped over in his computer chair with the screensaver scrolling comic sans on marquee. His eyes feel like they're full of sand and his mouth is dry and he heaves himself up and into the bathroom where he downs pint after pint of water. It's been forever since he drank anything and LOHAC had been all heat and thirst.
He stares at himself in the dirty mirror with his shades up in his hair, his eyes beyond bloodshot. Vessels have burst in his sclera and they're nearly as red as his irises. It reminds him of Terezi. He's never seen something so bizarre on his own face before. He leaves his shades on the grimy white porcelain sink and pads back to his computer like he's dreaming.
EB: yeah! it was pretty horrible!
EB: i'm not complaining at all though.
EB: my dad's here, dave.
EB: he was dead in the game and i guess it remade him?
EB: which was why i didn't respond before. i was downstairs with him.
EB: hey, are you there??
EB: haha, whatever dude, we won!
EB: we won!!
GG: it wasnt bending it was changing into something else entirely!!
GG: but we won dave!!!!!!!!! :D
GG: and bec is here and he wont even leave me alone
GG: its like hes glued himself to my hip :o
GG: hes so soft
GG: im so glad hes back! i dont know what i would have done without him!
GG: are you sleeping finally mister coolkid?? XD
GG: good night dave
TT: Strider, are you actually going so far as to hit on my mother the instant she comes back into existence?
TT: I've been giving you far too much credit. You truly are a detestable individual.
TT: And might I take advantage of your minutes' long silence to say that you constantly use the word irony incorrectly.
TT: It's rather sad, to be perfectly honest.
TT: Sleep well, Dave.
TT: We won and you certainly deserve it.
All of them are idle and Dave's glad for it. Glad because he really did see them all get their Guardians back, all of them transmuting out of the game's still-burning ashes. They're all back and Bro's not here and a deep black jealous rage leaps out of the pit of Dave's soul like Jack Noir on the devil's whirling-death steroids.
He's angry. He is spitting, table-breaking, bone-snapping mad and his hands clench on the desk in front of him until his knuckles turn white and pop and ache with the pressure. The Guardians are back. They're back. And either the game has fucked him over royally again and decided that the Knight didn't do a good enough fucking job to deserve his Guardian back or—
Or Bro really is back.
He's back and he's gone because Dave was thirteen worthless years bitten out of his life and it's long past time he blew that popsicle stand.
The game's over and what's the fucking point of keeping on training a goddamn Knight when he's served his purpose? It's over. Dave's chopped liver now and Bro's done with that. Gone. Flash-stepped into the black ninja shadows because who even gives a fuck about a kid when the world's new and ripe for the taking?
He shakes. He's so angry he can't even speak, so many black, hateful words bubbling up behind his red eyeballs, and he clenches his teeth together and clamps his hands down and when the tears trace hot down his cheeks he can't help but scream. He kicks and kicks and knocks a cinderblock out of his desk as the whole sheet of plywood comes crashing down to leave his monitor cradled still glowing against the wall.
He slaps a hand over his mouth and stands, walks stiffly into the living room again. And he doesn't even know what he's doing in here until he's got a crowbar in his hands and he's smashing the most expensive synthesizer his brother owns. Knobs and buttons and levers fly, wires sticking up and sparking from the shattered plastic casing, and Dave is screaming again.
"Fucking leave me?! Fucking leave me you asshole?! Sorry I ruined your piece-of-shit life by not even asking to come into goddamn existence! Sorry I brought you back to life just so you can fuck off and disappear and not even say goodbye! Sorry I thought you actually gave a damn about me beyond the game, that I made you soup when you were sick as a dog and that I gave a shit about your asshole music and put up with your fucking puppets!! Fucking goddamn puppets!! You fucking scarred me, asshole, and then you just leave?!!!"
The synthesizer is pulped electronics and the crowbar falls to Dave's feet as he sinks down next to it, resting his head against the broken thing and wrapping his arms around himself as he sobs.
There's no food in the apartment. There never was but since the game remade the world there actually is nothing in the fridge except swords. Dave sits down at his brother's computer and pulls his crap out of everywhere, finding two crumpled twenties eventually and cramming them down in his pocket. He walks to the store and buys bread and jam and soda and peanut butter and he brings it all back and shoves it in the fridge.
Cal's gone, and somehow that absence burns. In the bad hours Dave takes it as proof that Bro really is back and gone, because there's no way he'd leave without Cal. In the better hours he guesses that maybe Cal was so torn to shreds that there simply wasn't enough of him to put back together again, and there's no proof that Bro abandoned him in Cal being gone at all.
He sits on the futon and stares hollowly at the television for a long time, colors and lights flicking right before his eyes but entirely ignored. He's trying to convince himself that he's crazy, that Bro would never just leave him. There's thousands of dollars of DJing equipment and stop-motion puppet porn cameras here and why would Bro abandon that? His brother's clothes are all still in the laundry baskets stacked under the sink. There's boxes and boxes of records in the ceiling hatch. All his stuff is still here and he wouldn't just leave it all.
So what now? Even if Bro didn't up and abandon him, he's still down one Guardian; a thirteen year old boy alone in an apartment with no food or money, hundreds of miles from anyone he trusts.
Dave swallows and stands, boots up his brother's computer and punches in the password. He sits there and stares at the mess of stupid folders on the desktop and starts clicking at random. He knows what he's looking for but doesn't have a damn clue where the hell it's stashed. Puppet porn and furry porn and tentacle porn and every other flavor of sex pops up and Dave drags each folder to the recycle bin as it proves worthless.
Eventually he finds it. Legal documents; spreadsheets tracking Bro's websites' profits and his DJing income and the occasional odd jobs he picks up. It's significantly less money than Dave had ever imagined and he closes his eyes for a moment before opening another document: keep_your_goddamn_nose_out_of_my_finances_dave.txt
Score. It's a bunch of passwords and bank account numbers and Dave doesn't really know what they mean, but he knows they're important. He minimizes the window and opens his brother's retarded web browser, pulling up his Paypal tab and pasting the password he never would have guessed out of the text document.
"How the hell am I supposed to eat if you've got eight hundred fucking dollars in Paypal and no debit card to get that shit out, Bro?" he whispers, exhausted. Half an hour of clicking around the site gets him signing up for a reissue of the card he's seen in his brother's wallet a thousand times. The wallet that was on his brother's body when he died. It'll take a week to get here. A week to live on PB&J and figure out what the hell is going on.
GG: hey dave stop hiding already!
GG: its been two days since you went idle
GG: what are you and your brother doing over there in coolkid land that you cant talk to your friends??
GG: ooh! maybe you went on a road trip!!!
GG: is that it dave? :D
GG: did you just forget to sign out or something?
GG: are you going to visit john and rose?
GG: aw you guys get to have all the fun
GG: well i guess i will see you when you get back!!
GG: hope you have fun!
EB: man, where are you?
EB: you don't usually go silent for this long unless you're planning some crazy ironic stunt or something.
EB: are you guys having an awesome music party over there?
EB: and you just haven't come up for air yet?
EB: haha, i thought you didn't like rave dancefloor stink, dave.
EB: so much dancing.
EB: well, get back to me when you collapse from the amazing x-step exhaustion!
TT: Please don't take this the wrong way, as if I'm waiting on pins and needles here.
TT: But you've never been idle for this extended a stretch of time.
TT: John and Jade are rather worried and it would be considerate of you to at least speak to them.
TT: Or me.
TT: I can tell them for you if you find yourself emotionally unable at the moment.
TT: Dave, where are you?
The bread runs out on the second day. Dave's spent his time cleaning up the mess of the slaughtered synthesizer and trawling through his brother's computer for files that look useful. He pulls all of Bro's laundry out from under the sink and searches the pockets of every single pair of beat-up jeans, and in the end he only comes up with twenty more dollars. Shit. He didn't spend everything on his first trip to the store, but he remembers years back when they'd gone without a lot of food to make up the gaps in the rent payments, and it leaves him feeling cold. Helpless. He shoves the clothes back into the kitchenette cabinets and leans against the doors.
He goes to the store again and buys the same exact thing. Extra bread, jam, peanut butter. No soda because it saves cash and he can drink water if he has to. And he is so fucking sick of PB&J even after only two days, but he doesn't complain.
The files on Bro's computer scare him. He's faced down demons and seen his own dead body over and over, but this is a different sort of fear. This is knowing that even if he's strong, even if he's brave and valiant and powerful, the world is still more than able to steamroll right over him.
There are no Knights in the real world, only scared kids.
He finds spreadsheets tracking rent and utilities and groceries and webhost payments and everything else. The cash involved is goddamn staggering and the due dates tacked onto the side are so close to the end of the little crossed out boxes on the calendar propped against the wall by Bro's computer. Cross off each day and he gets closer and closer, and that eight hundred sitting in his brother's Paypal account isn't enough to cover everything right now.
God, what was the name of that place Bro did his banking? It sits on the tip of his tongue for an entire day before he remembers it. He shouts it into the silent room, lights off to conserve electricity. (If he uses less, it costs less, right?) The website is bright and cheery and Dave copies and pastes account numbers to see if he's right and this really is the same bank. It goes through and gives him access, and wow that is a lot of money. But it's not. It's enough for a couple months of all the shit they need to pay for and Dave sits there and stares at the black numbers for a long ten minutes.
He can transfer it into Paypal when he needs to use it. For now he logs out and lets it roll up the interest.
He lives on water and air for an excruciatingly long day before the debit card comes in the mail. He creeps down the stairs to the front door of the apartment complex and stands on his toes to check the mail, and there it is nestled between three white-enveloped bills.
He activates it and goes to the grocery store three blocks away instead of the shitty corner store nearby. He buys deli meat this time and sliced cheese and other stuff for sandwiches that have nothing to do with peanut butter. It costs extra but he gets back to the apartment and eats, and after a whole day of being empty, he can't feel guilty about it.
EB: come on, dave, where are you?
EB: this isn't funny, man.
EB: jade's getting scared and i am too.
EB: just contact one of us.
TT: I understand perfectly well that you may need a stretch of time to yourself, Dave, but we are all quite worried at the moment.
TT: Jade has become obsessed with convincing her dog to teleport her to your apartment.
TT: Honestly, I hope she succeeds.
TT: None of us requires a conversation with you, just simple knowledge of your prolonged existence.
TT: Contact someone.
GG: im sorry if i made you angry dave
GG: i miss you
Fuck, those hurt to read. He sits at his computer and Jade's frowny face is tearing him up inside more than goofy unironic emoticons should ever have the ability to do. And he knows he has to contact one of them, let them know he's alive and not dissolved into the aether, but how the hell does he talk about this? How does he say that his Guardian didn't come back and he's fucking alone and kind of terrified and not keeping his cool very well at all?
Pick at random, Strider. Not Jade. Fuck, not Jade, he'll just end up bawling. Rose is all guilt trips and he doesn't think he can take more of that right now. So he stays idle and he clicks John's window and starts typing.
TG: you guys need to stop freaking out at me
TG: that shit isnt helping
TG: its like
TG: im sitting here reading this stuff and just
TG: screw it
TG: i cant metaphor right now
TG: please be there john i sort of need to talk to you
TG: just fuck
TG: tell me this is a dream man
TG: a long ass dream i cant wake up from
His chest is tight and his eyes watery and he turns the volume on his speakers all the way up and crawls into bed, curling up under his blankets and pressing his face into his pillow until he's sure the waterworks are still dammed up.
The chat ping startles him out of burning oily dreams and Dave trips all over himself getting to the computer chair.
EB: oh my god, are you still there????
EB: dave, come back!!!
EB: why did i go downstairs to watch that movie? i am so stupid!!
TG: chill im here
EB: oh my god.
TG: im here john
TG: quit calling yourself stupid
TG: youre like the luckiest goddamn kid in the universe right now
EB: dave, are you okay??
TG: youve got your fucking dad there with you why wouldnt you be happy
TG: why wouldnt you want to watch shitty movies with him
TG: spend all your time with him
TG: both of you sitting on the couch together curled up under a blanket sharing a bowl of popcorn
EB: stop it! you disappeared for a week, man!
EB: what happened?
TG: im so goddamn jealous right now
TG: im so
EB: oh god, are you still there?
EB: stop going silent, it's scaring me.
TG: yeah im still here
EB: WHAT HAPPENED?
TG: nothing happened
EB: that's bullshit. you are freaking out and you never do that!
EB: what's wrong???
TG: thats just it dude
TG: nothing happened
EB: what does that mean?
TG: do you remember heaven
TG: with all the white marble and shit
TG: and spacetime reworking itself
EB: yeah, i remember.
TG: do you remember what happened
EB: i couldn't breathe and it hurt. it hurt a lot and it was all wrong.
EB: but then my dad was there and after that...
EB: i don't know, we were back home.
EB: did it not drop you at home? were you somewhere else?
EB: was that why you dropped off the face of the earth?
TG: nah i was here
TG: my bros not here
TG: hes not here
TG: and i dont know if the game just didnt think i was good enough
TG: didnt think i deserved that reward
TG: or just
TG: that he left
EB: why would he leave?
TG: because he was sixteen when he started raising me and now
TG: i mean the games over so
TG: whats the point anymore you know
TG: why stay
EB: holy shit, dave.
EB: he wouldn't just leave you!
EB: why would you ever think that?
EB: i know you guys had kind of a weird and sort of fucked up relationship but he didn't hate you!
EB: he made you music and birthday art and stuff, man.
EB: he loved you as much as my dad loves me.
TG: so where is he
EB: i don't know.
TG: and like
TG: even if he didnt ditch me im still alone here
TG: been a week dude and no sign of him
TG: so then im back to thinking the game didnt give him back to me
TG: and neither answer is in any way helpful
EB: oh god, dave.
EB: if i still had my wind powers i would fly down there right now and get you.
TG: apparently harley is hatching that same harebrained plan with her dog
EB: it's not really working. she's been trying for days.
TG: damn i was sort of hoping she would show up
EB: i'll talk to my dad.
EB: we'll drive down and get you, bro.
TG: that aint gonna work
TG: theres a lot of bills i have to pay
EB: who cares, dave? you can't live there alone!
TG: this is my home john
TG: shit this is the most at home ive ever felt in an apartment and we lived in assloads of them
TG: and my bro is gone
TG: and like hell im losing this too
EB: but how will you even pay them??
TG: ive got money in his bank account
EB: oh my god!
EB: this is so stupid!
EB: we are coming down there to get you.
TG: fuck that i wont let you in the door
EB: you can't live there alone!
TG: i have to go
TG: talk to you later john
TG: i promise
He's shaking a little as he stands and leaves his computer behind. He goes into the living room and sits at his brother's instead, the three bills that came in the mail out in front of him plus the two he found buried inside a mountain of stray records and puppet-themed flyers. He opens them one at a time and sets them on the keyboard and then he just stares at them, trying to figure out what exactly he owes and which ones he pays first. Electricity and web provisions and hosting. Need that. Definitely need that. If the puppet porn website goes down he loses over half his brother's income, and the thought of that kind of terrifies him. Other things like the credit card bills are more confusing and Dave has no idea what he's doing. He stares at the numbers on the paper and at the numbers in Bro's bank account, and he's never paid much attention in math class but he understands that making the numbers match here has to be some kind of intense juggling match he'd never even thought about before.
He'd spent a long time in the game running timeloops, backtracking and cheating the stock exchange. Boonbucks had been his life for a few long days of goofing around and joking with Terezi. He hadn't even needed the cash he was raking in and he hadn't really cared. It had been easy; troll girl map to polygon riches.
He had been so filthy stinking rich and now he's back to being exactly the opposite. Now he's got these numbers in front of his face that he'll never be able to make match exactly, and Dave hates that now that he actually needs money, he only knows how to make it through cheating. He only knows how to do it with the time powers he doesn't have anymore and a perfect guiding map from the future.
He spent so much time in the damn game. Time was his element and that was a funny little cruel joke because it felt like it was controlling him instead of the other way around. And the Knight quest is still buzzing around in the back of his head. He's been catching himself doing things, thinking about things like he still has to prove to the game that he's capable of standing on his own two feet and that he doesn't need someone to lean on. That he's the one who supports other people, the fall back and the scapegoat if need be. And yeah, he gets that he's not in the game anymore. It's over and they won. But the whole situation has flipped itself turnways and now he's back to having no one to lean on and desperately needing it, and the only thing he can think to do is lean on the game itself.
He's fucking thirteen, he can't live alone. He can't support himself. And maybe he's crazy, maybe he's just blaming himself for Bro's death and the possibility that him not finishing the quest is what made the game leave his brother six feet under, but somehow it feels like it's still playing. That it's still watching him and still tracking his progress. That this is all a big test. This is the big thing he has to prove.
Prove you can stand on your own, Dave.
His hands shake as he pays the bills online, draining more cash out of his brother's bank account than he feels comfortable doing. And then he sits in the dark and tries not to think about it as he makes himself watch TV.
EB: dave, i talked to my dad and he doesn't get it either.
EB: he doesn't know why the game didn't drop your bro off with you in the apartment.
EB: also, i told jade and rose.
EB: you probably didn't want me to but they deserve to know.
EB: are you there?
EB: damn it, man.
EB: i'm going to make these wind powers work again and i'm going to come get you.
EB: you can't stay there! it's driving you nuts and you know it!
GG: dave :(
GG: im going to keep talking to bec
GG: i will make him understand!
GG: i wish you would talk to me
TT: John gave me a brief summary of his conversation with you.
TT: I imagine he exaggerated some of the details a bit, but it doesn't change that you cannot stay there.
TT: It would violate a number of Texan laws.
TT: Perhaps he'll turn up?
TT: I don't understand why the game would reward all of us and withhold it from you.
TT: You worked harder than we did in some ways.
TT: Dave, I'm flattering your ego.
TT: The laws of the universe require that you respond to roll in said flattery.
TT: Damn, that didn't work.
He updates his comic. He doesn't even put effort into making it terrible, and it shows. It's not as funny for it, the art is better than it usually is, and the dialogue is misspelled so much as to make it unreadable. He posts the thing up anyway with a brand new Paypal donation button on the bottom of the page. He figures he makes more off the ads but why not?
The first donation is from one Rose Lalonde and Dave frowns. Forty bucks. That's a lot of goddamn yarn she could have bought and he doesn't really know how to feel about it.
He sleeps on the futon most nights, closest to the door in the unlikely event that Bro wanders in. He'll hear him. He'll hear him come in and he can catch the asshole sneaking around and—do something. He doesn't know what. He dreams that it actually happens more than once, that his brother lurks in through the door with a sword through his chest and burning green wings and his unhinged jaw is full of cruel smiling fangs. He dreams of Bro bleeding to death over and over in the streets because the game keeps remaking him but forgetting that humans need their blood on the inside to survive. He dreams of his brother coming home and wrapping his arms around Dave like when he was seven and he got lost on his way home from school—
"Where are you?" he whispers into the dark, curled up with blankets over his shoulders and a game controller in his hands. Because he has to kill time somehow. Because this is his brother's favorite game and playing it is something like torture, but it makes him feel a little bit closer to Bro even when he's gone.
TG: thanks for the cash
TG: you didnt have to do that
TT: I know.
TT: It's rather strange to find myself worrying about you.
TT: Usually it was the other two who inspired that.
TT: John didn't tell me everything about your conversation at first, but over the past few days he's divulged a few more things.
TT: Dave, do you honestly think he abandoned you?
TG: fuck egbert way to run your mouth
TG: run it off to the one chick in the universe whos kink bingo includes psychoanalyzing me
TG: im not talking to you about this
TG: im just not fucking up to it okay
TG: do you see any goddamn metaphors here im not firing on all cylinders right now
TT: That could technically be called one if you enjoy specificity.
TG: right well sorry for screwing up the english language
TT: Dave, wait.
TT: I apologize, I shouldn't be antagonizing you now.
TG: oh yeah because i want your pity rose
TG: fuck off
TG: i should have known you only sent that money as a sarcastic jab
TT: That wasn't my intention at all. I intended that you use it to catch a bus in either John's direction or my own.
TT: Or failing that, that you would use it to feed yourself.
TT: Despite our preferred bickering, you are still my brother, and I can tell you're not in a healthy mental place at the moment.
TG: see there goes the psychobabble
TT: Strider, listen to me.
TT: He would not simply abandon you.
TT: He wouldn't leave you behind out of some imagined sense of spite he held for you.
TT: It took me quite a while to understand that the antagonizing relationship I held with my mother was in part only in my own mind.
TT: This is also in your own mind.
TT: He loved you.
TT: He did.
TG: im not you rose
TT: I know that, Dave. It changes nothing.
TG: you didnt even know him
TT: It still changes nothing.
TG: then where is he
TG: i mean
TG: was it my fault it didnt remake him
TG: what did i do wrong that it didnt bring him back
TG: what did i fuck up
TT: I don't know. It likely isn't your fault at all.
TG: and john wants me to go live with him and shit and
TG: my quest was learning to rely on myself
TG: and i cant shake the feeling that i have to stick this out and maybe itll realize im worth it
TG: that i can do this
TG: i guess
TG: and then maybe itll spit him up out of the woodwork or something
TG: fuck why am i telling you this
TT: The game is over, though.
TG: i know but what the fuck am i supposed to do
TT: Get on a bus. If you're not up to cohabitating with John, I will dress my mother's guest room myself.
TG: im not going up there yet rose
TG: stop asking
TG: and dont tell john and jade all the crap i told you
TG: they dont need to worry any more than they are
TG: two big balls of worry just rolling more and more of it up like its iron filings and theyre two round magnets
TT: I appreciate the effort you put into that metaphor.
TG: yeah that was just for you
TT: Very well, I won't press you to come up here, and I will hold my tongue concerning the emotional waverings of one Dave Strider.
TT: What are you off to do now? More SBaHJ updates?
TG: i dont know ill think of something
TG: say hi to jade for me
TG: tell her im not pissed at her
TT: You should tell her yourself.
TG: yeah i know
He lives on nothing but ramen and popcorn for a week and by the end he sincerely doubts the roof of his mouth will ever stop being coated in preservatives. He'd just order food in but it's more expensive than cheap-ass college student food. That and he's paranoid of answering the door one too many times for the same delivery guy, and the guy eventually realizing the thirteen year old kid is the only one home.
Bro has websites that aren't puppet related. One of them offers previews and sales of the music he puts together sometimes. It's full of old DJ mixes and YouTube videos of bad cellphone grain filming some of his sets. Dave turns the volume up and plays a mix from three years back, one he'd been there to witness in person as Bro mixed it. Flash-stepping had been in everything his brother did, but especially his DJing. He moved faster than the human eye, switching records and cutting samples and fading harmonies in and out. It had been something to watch. Dave isn't that fast. Maybe some day he will be, but not without loads of practice. He sits on the futon and listens to that mix, and the scratches in the background make him smile, a secret coded signature that no one but Dave and Bro will ever recognize.
EB: come on, it's been a week. stop ignoring me!
EB: i get that you need your space, dave, but this is stupid.
EB: i don't understand why you're hiding away like this.
EB: and to be honest it's kind of starting to piss me off.
TT: I delivered your message to Jade. She was happy to hear that you're not disgusted with her.
TT: Also, John's angry with you.
TT: I know I'm not your first choice on these matters, but if you want to talk, I'll listen.
GG: dave ive been trying for so long
GG: i dont think bec teleporting over there is going to work :(
GG: he understands but he just cant do it anymore
GG: he keeps trying and he cant teleport anything other than himself
GG: not even me
GG: when he tries it just hurts so much and i have to let go
GG: it wont work
GG: im sorry
TG: hey quit beating yourself up over it
GG: oh my gosh!!
GG: i didnt actually think youd respond!
TG: sorry about that
TG: hasnt been a good couple of weeks
GG: oh dave :(
TG: do me a favor and lay off the faces okay
TG: theyre sort of kicking me in the heart here
GG: oh i mean!
GG: im sorry ill do less of them
TG: its okay jade i just feel kind of shitty right now and
TG: i was really hoping youd be able to talk some sense into the dog
TG: get him to open up a wormhole or something so you could slide on over here on a breakneck waterslide
TG: shit that was pretty terrible i should stop trying
GG: it wasnt bad!
GG: and if you stopped doing the metaphors you wouldnt be dave! :)
GG: are you doing okay?
TG: i guess
TG: doing as well as i can
TG: honestly i thought youd be kind of ticked at me for ignoring you for so long
TG: i wouldnt blame you it was a pretty crappy thing for me to do
TG: i actually talked to john and hes more mad at me than you are
GG: hes really worried
GG: all of us are but john...
GG: well when he cant fix something for his friends it really hangs on him!
GG: hes been spending a lot of time trying to get his windy powers working again
GG: i dont think its going to work though
GG: bec cant teleport and rose cant warp the light anymore
GG: can you do anything with time?
TG: i sort of just know what time it is but otherwise nothing
GG: yeah thats what i figured :(
TG: its fine jade
GG: hehe :)
GG: its good to talk to you again
GG: even if youre mostly sad and mopey
TG: damn it im not mopey
GG: then why wont you go live with john or rose!!??
TG: oh god now they got you doing it too
GG: i dont understand!
GG: how long are you going to stay there waiting for him to come back?
GG: what if he just isnt coming back?
GG: i know thats not what you want to hear but you have to think about it!!
TG: i have been thinking about it harley
TG: fuck what makes you think i havent
TG: its been on my goddamn mind every single fucking second since the game dumped me back here
TG: what if hes not coming back
TG: what if hes still dead and hes never coming back
TG: what if hes alive and he just up and left and didnt want to stay with me anymore
TG: i think about this shit okay
TG: i know im so chill you guys think i dont consider the heavy crap but i do
TG: im not an idiot
GG: dave i didnt mean it that way! :(
TG: i know i just
TG: im scared okay
TG: and i hate being alone here
TG: i wish hed just come back
TG: but i cant stop thinking about the game and shit and how it wanted me to stand on my own
TG: it was a few days to you guys but it was longer to me
TG: maybe it lasts longer afterward too
GG: i dont know about that
TG: yeah its a pretty shitty theory
TG: but i need to do this for a while
TG: i need to prove to it that im worth him being alive
TG: i owe him that much
GG: ah! i dont know what to say but you said no faces!
TG: no sad faces you can do happy ones
GG: oh okay! even though thats not what im really feeling right now
GG: if it will cheer you up!
GG: :D :D :D
TG: damn i miss hanging out with you jade
GG: me too!
TG: after this all turns out one way or another you gotta come to the states
GG: i know! i miss you guys
GG: itll turn out for the better dave
GG: it might not seem like it at first but itll get better
TG: i hope so
It's been a month. A solid month and no sign of Bro. Dave sleeps in fits and starts and his dreams are always full of fire and swords and blood. He watches himself die over and over by his brother's hand, Jack Noir's fangy jackolantern grin on his face, burning green inside. And sometimes it's the other way around. Sometimes it's Dave who's insane and raging, his sword hot and all wrong as he plunges it into Bro's chest until all that's left is wild cherry blood and shattered ribcage.
Maybe the game is playing him. Maybe it's still watching him, seeing if he caves to the pressure and grabs a bus north. Or maybe it's not watching and he's alone because he failed, plain and simple, and staying here is as stupid as John keeps telling him. (Or maybe it's neither and Bro just left and didn't care anymore.) He's never sure what he believes these days. Sometimes he wakes up and it all feels so pointless, but he knows he can't give up after one month. Three maybe, but not one. That's just starting into the test.
Plush Rump stops getting as much web traffic. It's been two months since Bro's last upload and people are tired of watching the same old porn over and over again. Dave doesn't get that, but this is his livelihood now and he actually reads the complaints Bro's sleazy customers post. The page hits die down and the ads stop dumping as much cash into his bank account, and after watching the money slow to a trickle for a week Dave knows he has to do something.
TG: look john
TG: i know youre idle right now so ill actually get to say this without you yelling at me
TG: let me do this
TG: this is something i need to do
TG: youd do anything if you thought you had a chance of bringing your dad back
TG: and i know this is probably stupid and hes probably not coming back
TG: but just let me make the shitty decision for once okay
TG: stop beating yourself up over me
TG: who would have thought the guilt trip would come from you and not rose
TG: i love you man but give me a little space
TG: and sorry im such a crappy friend right now
He cleans the apartment and collects all the smuppets. He puts them all in a pile in the middle of the living room and he stares at them for a long time. He pulled out all the webcams weeks ago and shoved those underneath Bro's clothes under the sink. There are more smuppets he wedged up in the ceiling hatch so he didn't have to look at them, and he pulls those down as well and adds them to the pile.
TT: This is preposterous.
TT: How long do you plan to drag out this ordeal?
TT: Eventually you will have to recognize the fact that staying there and disciplining yourself is entirely pointless.
TT: The game is over, Dave.
TT: You don't have to prove yourself to it anymore.
GG: hi dave!!
GG: i know you dont want me to say this but i think you should go live with rose or john!
GG: please think about it some more
GG: and i hope today is better than yesterday!
GG: i will say this every day even if you dont respond!
GG: oh and happy faces!
GG: :D :D :D :D
GG: cheer up dave
EB: i hate feeling useless though, dave.
EB: and i miss you.
EB: you're my best friend and it hurts that you don't feel up to talking to me.
EB: and maybe that's a little selfish because rose and jade feel the same way!
EB: but i don't know.
EB: i hope you're doing okay, man.
He makes puppet porn. It's a whole stupid ordeal and Dave hates himself for it. He watches the videos already on the site and takes notes and he plans the whole thing out ahead of time. Bro's cameras are stop-motion and he has them set up to shoot a frame once every second. It's cake to shoot that fast when you can flash-step and Dave clears the smuppet pile out of the way and sets the scene up in the middle of the living room.
He cuts it together afterward and it's so shitty. Well, of course it's shitty, it's fucking puppet porn and it's the stupidest thing he's ever done unironically (god, he feels dirty about that). The dolls bump and grind and his cinematography is crap. All those photography books he's read and it still looks like the video was shot by an amateur. He wants to delete the entire thing and give up on everything ever, close up the apartment and just head toward John. Anything has to be better than this. But he doesn't. He cuts the video together and throws on a fuzzy lens and stupid music, and then he uploads it directly to his brother's site.
New fucking video, perverts. Are you happy now?
Overnight, fifteen hundred dollars drops into Bro's Paypal account and Dave can't look at those numbers without feeling sick to his stomach.
TT: I can't even imagine the number of laws you've broken.
TT: This is highly illegal.
TG: like i dont fucking know that
TG: shut up rose
TT: You are a minor and you've made and are selling pornography. To adults.
TT: You do realize that every single buyer could go to jail if the truth behind the director of this video comes out?
TG: it wont
TT: Not to mention it's really not up to the average standards of the site.
TT: My god, the camera angle on this opening is terrible, Dave.
TG: youre watching it
TG: oh my god
TG: just kill me now
TT: I would have suggested you at least watch some live porn before attempting a mockery of it.
TT: It's generally in your best interest to do your research.
TG: ive watched porn before rose god
TG: its fucking puppet porn who even gives a shit if it mirrors the real thing
TG: its the fantasy that they want
TT: Oh, is that what it is?
TG: i dont know why dont you tell me
TG: if youre suddenly such a porn expert whats the thing about your wizard smut that gets you off the best
TG: oh god
TG: please dont actually answer that
TG: please i really dont want to know
TT: I haven't laughed this hard in a while.
TT: I can just picture how horrified your face must look at the moment.
TG: shut up okay
TG: i was embarrassed enough without you rubbing my nose in it
TT: My sincere apologies.
TT: I wouldn't think you would complain. Me viewing this video only gives you more profit.
TG: i think youre watching it more to pick apart my shit cinematography
TT: That is definitely an added bonus.
TT: That and watching you squirm once you realized I was watching it.
TG: you know youre breaking laws too by viewing that thing
TG: minors downloading porn
TG: your mom aint gonna be happy rose
TT: Made by minors for minors?
TG: shut up
Dave spreads the menu out on the kitchenette counter and orders Chinese over the phone. He orders hoards of the stuff, probably enough for two days, and he doesn't even care. He made goddamn puppet porn and he definitely needs something to counteract the shame of that hideous fiasco. He turns up music and the television and shouts that he'll get the door when the bell rings—makes a big ordeal out of being the grown up responsible kid taking care of his brother's shit for him—and after he pays the guy he closes the door and locks it up tight.
God, it tastes like heaven. He is so fucking sick of peanut butter and ham sandwiches and ramen and popcorn and mac and cheese. He gorges himself on fried rice and noodles and orange chicken and kung pao beef and everything else, and when he can't possibly eat another bite without puking, he shoves the rest of the food into the back of the fridge, behind the shitty swords, and then he lays on the futon and lets his stomach ache with the beautiful fullness.
Relish it, Strider. It's not happening again for a long ass time.
The bills keep rolling in and Dave is tired of paying them and watching Bro's money get smaller, but he does it. He leaves the lights off and takes cold showers and sleeps with the AC turned all the way down. And sometimes when sleeping is damn impossible no matter how tired he is, he sits at his brother's computer with his comforter over his shoulders and he draws things in Paint that he can never make himself save.
Jack Noir. Even seeing neon green makes him feel sick inside, but he smears it all over the screen anyway, black skeletal dog monster popping in and out of the ragged flames with red all over his sword.
EB: do you honestly think he's coming back, dave?
TG: i dont know man
TG: i just dont know
TG: sometimes i do
TG: but even then im hitting the denial pretty hard
TG: knocking it back like cheap whiskey
TG: none of this on the rocks bullshit just pour it for me straight bartender
EB: haha, it's good to see you do that again.
TG: feels kinda good
EB: so how long are you going to stay there?
EB: until his money runs out?
EB: i don't really even know how much money it takes to live in an apartment.
TG: goddamn its a lot
TG: cant be as much as a fucking mortgage or whatever but damn
TG: if i see another bill in the mail tomorrow im gonna
TG: pay it but you know
EB: not be happy about it. yeah.
EB: just come live with me!
EB: i mean, maybe he does show up eventually?
EB: do you think he'd be happy that you stayed there by yourself?
EB: punishing yourself for letting him die??
EB: that's not really the kind of thing striders do, is it?
EB: you're supposed to do ironic things.
EB: like ironically flipping the game off and getting on a bus to washington!
EB: i mean, yes! you should do that!
EB: it just wasn't really what i expected you to say.
TG: im really tired of this john
TG: i cant yet
TG: much as i wish i could crash on your floor pretty much every night
EB: geez. is it really that often?
TG: i have dreams like you wouldnt imagine bro
TG: or maybe you would you played the damn game too
TG: can we not talk about that though i get enough of it when i close my eyes
EB: yeah, me too.
EB: the nightmares are really bad.
EB: it would probably be a lot easier to sleep with you on my floor, honestly.
TG: next month john i promise
TG: itll be a nonstop solid block of sleepovers
TG: we can sit up and watch shitty movies and braid each others hair
TG: paint our nails
TG: keep jack out of our collective headspace
TG: itll be awesome
EB: i am holding you to that promise, dave!
EB: not the braiding part, though. i don't actually know how to do that!
TG: haha me neither man
TG: that crap is for girls
The laundry mat stinks of fabric softener and Dave dumps two loads of his clothes into as many washers and sits on top of one of them, headphones clamped over his ears and blasting rap. He's done this by himself a few times when Bro was sick and it's not really a big thing, but the lady by the door watches him anyway, supposed delinquent kid that he is. He ignores her and goes back to watching someone else's laundry spin around in the dryer.
Nearly two months. It's a long time to spend kicking around your apartment doing nothing but worrying and cranking out shitty comics. And with his shades on and the music up loud it looks like he's completely ensconced in cool, but really he can't stop thinking that it's high time he admitted to himself that he fucked up somewhere along the line, Bro isn't coming back, and that he should just give in and buy a bus ticket north.
It's got to be better than making more puppet porn.
Instead he pulls out a beat-up movie making book he found wedged under one of his brother's subwoofers and flips it open, taking out the half of a shattered CD that's been serving for a bookmark. Dave buries his nose in it with the music loud and obnoxious, and when an hour crawls by he transfers his laundry to the dryers and goes back to reading.
Research, Rose had said.
When his clothes are dry he folds them and stacks them in the laundry bag and then lugs the thing two blocks back to the apartment, and then up all those flights of stairs. He tucks the clean clothes away into his closet and stands there feeling legitimately productive for a while.
Jack is huge, like twenty feet tall and burning with green fire, his entire body made of flaming dripping oil and it spills everywhere, splotches of it burning the ground black and snapping at Dave's ankles with dog's teeth as he runs past with his sword in hand. It hurts, the fire eating into his legs and scalding his skin and he can barely make himself keep running, but those black deadly teeth are right behind him and the second he stops—
No no no nonononono—!
He jolts out of bed, straight onto the floor next to the futon, and he can't stop shaking. The apartment is so damn dark, as dark as the dreams, and he drags the covers over his head and hides under them like a scared little kid afraid of monsters in his closet out to get him. Except the monsters had been completely real and this time, no matter how loud he calls, Bro isn't going to materialize out of the shadows and wrap his arms around Dave until he stops sobbing.
He makes himself breathe. He sits there under the blankets and shakes, and after a long half hour he finally peeks out again into the dark.
God, he's sick of these dreams. Morning can't come fast enough.
It's quarter to noon when it happens. He's choking down ramen for the hundredth time, sitting at Bro's computer with one of his DJ mixes playing quietly, and for a long time he stares at the monitor and can't believe his eyes.
-- puppetFetishist [PF] began pestering turntechGodhead [TG] --
PF: you better be there.
PF: tell me im nuts and it hasnt been two months since i last looked at a calendar.
TG: oh my god
TG: OH MY GOD
TG: FUCK YOU
TG: you asshole what the fuck
TG: oh my god i cannot
TG: i cant even
TG: fucking articulate how pissed off at you i am
TG: where in satans goddamn asscrack have you been
PF: hell if i know.
PF: feels like i just got coughed up out of some fucking space whales belly.
PF: sorta sitting here with my blood feeling like its made of goddamn pixels and fairy sneezes.
TG: fuck that
TG: you dont get to use that goddamn excuse
TG: sorry dave i just wasnt for a while
TG: that is such bullshit
PF: what the hell do you want me to say?
PF: god my head feels all wrong.
PF: coming back to life has some pretty shitty side effects lemme tell you.
TG: shut up shut up
TG: oh my god did you just come back
TG: like just now
PF: guess so.
PF: i dont even know where the hell i am.
PF: just that i have egberts stupid pda and all its got on it is pesterchum and some lame twitter rip off.
PF: and a fucking timewarp of a date at the bottom of the screen.
TG: its the right date
TG: world ended april 13
TG: got remade the same fucking day like magical clockwork or something
PF: and it dropped you off right after the remake didnt it?
PF: where are you? tell me youre not home.
TG: im home
PF: shit dave youve been hanging out there for two fucking months?
PF: tell me youre eating at least.
TG: im not fucking helpless
TG: goddamn it that was my quest you know
TG: standing on my own
TG: i dont need you to do everything for me you jackass
PF: i know that.
PF: shut up for a second.
PF: god my head hurts.
TG: where are you
PF: dont know.
TG: is it even texas
TG: ill come get you
PF: naw sit tight.
PF: i look like a fucking murder victim all covered in my own blood like this but otherwise im good.
PF: guess i am a murder victim actually.
TG: dont say that
TG: fucking promise me
PF: yeah thats probably for the best.
PF: look just.
PF: sit tight okay?
PF: sit tight dave.
PF: lemme get my bearings.
PF: ill get back to you as soon as i can.
-- puppetFetishist [PF] ceased pestering turntechGodhead [TG] --
"No!" he whispers, his hands still shaking on the keys as Bro goes offline again. His eyes are all watery as he fights the shock and emotional exhaustion, his shades gone and sitting on the bathroom sink where he's been leaving them lately. He swallows the tears down and sits back, wrapping his arms around himself, and he honestly has no idea what to feel. Fear? Confusion? Deep burning rage? He doesn't even know what to be angry with because the game has finally coughed up what he's been wanting for two straight months, and now that he has it all he's left with is questions and no answers.
Did living here and sticking it out prove that he was good enough to get his Guardian back? Was it just a glitch in the system, a hiccup in the code? Is Bro just fucking lying and this whole thing was a ninja sociopath's idea to screw with Dave's head?
No. No, he doesn't believe that.
It had really seemed like Bro was spun around confused, not sure what was happening. And for once, it feels good to have someone in his life even more out of the loop than Dave is. He wipes at his face and gets up, walking off to pace the apartment for a long, long hour as he waits for his brother to get back to him.
PF: im on a bus. i should be there in twenty minutes.
He doesn't even unlock the door and come in. Instead he knocks, the noise echoing around in the silence. Dave stands there in the middle of the living room and he stares at the door. He stares for two solid minutes and then he hears Bro sigh, lean against the door, and knock again.
"C'mon, Dave," he says quietly through the wood, and he sounds so worried and guilty and tired and none of that is right in Bro's voice. "Damn game ate my keys."
He's moving, fingers turning the deadbolt and fumbling with the chain. "Hold up."
The door opens and Bro looks like so much shit. He leans there against the wall in the hallway and his shades are gone, his hat pulled down so Dave can barely see his eyes. He's got a college sweatshirt on over his shirt, probably stolen, but there's dried blood all over his jeans, rust red and brown and disgusting. He looks like he's about to collapse and Dave remembers how awful he felt when the game remade everything. He steps aside, pushing the door open enough so Bro can come inside.
He locks it up again and they still haven't looked at each other, exchanged anything other than superficial words. It's what they do. They do this stupid shit where they don't talk about things. And Dave is so angry even looking at him, looking at Bro covered in blood like a slaughtered lamb as he leans against the back of the futon like he's about to keel over.
"You left me!" he bites, and it isn't until he hears the words that he realizes he said it. He's moving too, balling his hand in that stolen sweatshirt and dragging Bro down to eye level. Bro's knees buckle and he ends up on his ass on the floor, and Dave's lips are pulled back in a vicious snarl as his arm tenses up with all his black rage and he throws the first punch.
He socks him five or six times in the face before his knuckles split and he stops, Bro's nose bleeding and his eye squinting shut, and only when Dave's standing there over him panting does Bro meet his eyes.
"Sorry," his brother says with all the sad honesty in the world, and even with his face all beaten up like that, a smile still works its way into his eyes, proud and relieved to see so much intense feeling still in this kid he'd raised for so long.
Dave swallows. He's not used to seeing Bro's eyes, seeing all the transparent emotion hidden behind his shades, and Dave's knees give out too. "Yeah," he says, a little spooked that he had that violence inside him; guilty too because he's been mad for so long, so damn long, and it wasn't Bro's fault but he took it out on him anyway. "You okay?"
"Better now that you beat my face in. Kinda felt like I deserved it." He laughs and eyes Dave's hand. "How's that?"
"I'll live," he says, and he launches himself forward to wrap his arms around his brother's chest, not even caring about how uncool it is to hug people when you're thirteen years old.
GG: so why did it take so long for him to come back?
TG: he doesnt know
TG: i dont think well ever know
GG: thats so dumb!
GG: sooooo dumb!!!
TG: tell me about it
GG: not knowing is almost as bad as if he never came back!
TG: hell no it isnt
TG: its just moderately obnoxious
TG: gonna have this little question buzzing around my head for the rest of my life like a goddamn mosquito
TG: twenty thousand bug zappers in here and this bitch wont die
GG: hehe :)
GG: and living with john would be soooo horrible?
TG: shit jade you know the kids taste in movies
TG: i would probably die of irony deprivation
TG: living with egbert would be like living in the sahara with no water
TG: really hot and really miserable and no matter how many cactuses i cut open i can never get that goddamn fix
TG: fucking cactus murder spree
TG: washington cops have to put out a bulletin on me
TG: red alert on one dave strider
TG: armed and dangerous approach with extreme caution
GG: multiple cactus homicide!
GG: they would paste your photo over the entire first page of the newspaper!!
GG: how would you ever stay in hiding? :O
TG: damn i have no idea
TG: good thing my bro is back
TG: saved me having to go on a cactus genocide
GG: oh dave its so good to see you happy again! :D
TG: good to be happy
TG: this is entirely ironic okay
GG: hehehehe!!!!!!!! XD
GG: do it again!!!!
TG: nah all my irony used up
TG: gotta let the power meter recharge
TG: but seriously
TG: i think maybe
TG: you guys dont remember anything other than your own guardians coming back when we were in that holding area
TG: no idea why i was awake enough to see all three of them
GG: probably because youre so amazing right??
TG: hell yes
TG: but i remember watching it all and now that i think about it
TG: roses mom materialized out of the light and johns dad came right out of the air in his lungs
TG: and bec fell together from some weird spatial tears
GG: so you think your brother formed out of time? :o
TG: something like that
TG: he was just way off the initial timeline
TG: should have fucking guessed it
TG: not everyone is as chill with the time travel shit as i am
GG: shame on him!!
TG: im the only one who can do anything right around here
TG: fucking pathetic
GG: hehe :)
TG: were going out for chinese soon as he gets outta the shower though
TG: so ill talk to you later
GG: have fun dave!!!
TG: you too