Terezi is awake when Jack reaches Prospit, and her dreaming body burns without ever getting a whiff of the smokeless flame.
Her dreaming body preferred red to green just as much as her waking self probably still does, thank you very much. Still: she will always regret missing that golden (H3H.) opportunity; that single moment in which she could have met her first death with mouth wide open.
She spends her first meaningless while dead trying. She slows the rush of fire up her tower walls, thought by measured thought, until she can smell the movement of separate threads of light, trapped tangling in their clear green mass. She stills the collapse of pillars, and takes bitter delight in the rich flavor of mousse that wells wherever gilt is just beginning to be blacked. She wakes and sleeps and wakes and burns.
It's a pretty good afterlife. For a while.
When she accidentally cycles back to a time of sight, in the heat (H3H3H3H3H3H) of her reckless chase, though. Then she knows she needs to stop. She sits there with her working eyes blinded by tears, while her remembered body crumbles into soot around the bones.
Terezi lets the moment go. The room reverts in silence to its cool pristine aspect, the air- as it is everywhere on Prospit, even a facsimile of Prospit made by its dread enemies- sweetened with a hint of honey. The vision is gone as quick as it came, but the afterimages hang in her mind like Alternia's lost moons, their gravity disturbing the careful arrangement of gaudy nonsense there, creating tides in what had been a deep and bright and wholly unscheduled ocean.
Terezi suppresses each wave mercilessly, one at a time and then all in a go. She does it in this way: she reaches up and plucks out her right eye and puts it on her tongue.
The eye regrows in a singularly painful heartbeat. The burst of flavor is not so easily undone.
And red washes over any adorable ideas her stubborn underbrain might have had of currents.
She stares at the window after that for she doesn't know how long, objectively, subjectively, et fucking ceteratively. But. The night is sweet. That has always been true. It braids under her nostrils like licorice, and encircles her head in cool flexible loops.
Terezi raises a hand to the side of her face. She decides to go for a walk.
Outside, she hears flickering screams, and terror laces the occasional shadow that's silly enough to get in her way. The places where her realm intersects with other bubbles, she would guess.
She seals them creatively; with stone and fallen branches borrowed from her wrigglerhood, and with, in one memorable case, a kiss. The only one where she gets anything back for her pains, and it's invective, hoarse and faceted like smashed flint. She almost doesn't finish the job there. But sometimes a girl has to be alone, and eventually she leaves him, on the other side of a wall with toothmarks in it.
It's not that she doesn't want to talk to them. Eventually. Just not right now in this limitless present.
Being a good friend was a lifestyle, and Terezi is very dead.
Besides. She's only the dreamself.
She comes across a door in the smooth skin of the bubble she can't lock when she's gone around the city once already, and is beginning to pass buildings she already walked through. The door is a black of a different kind from the night in the city and the foul waters of the Ring, outside; it is a velvet black, and Terezi thinks briefly of Kanaya when she runs her hand along its edge.
"Don't touch that," says a voice. The voice is not speaking a language Terezi has a name for, but the meaning is perfectly clear to one whose auricular sponge clots are hosted by the grace of terrors most horrendously noble.
"Okay," she says, and sniffs for the speaker.
The speaker steps through.
"Jack came here," she says, apparently by way of introduction.
She's not a troll, as it turns out, though gray-skinned and right-limbed. She's not anything Terezi knows. White as a lusus under the black velvet glaze and defenseless as a wriggler in the pure facts of flesh; her scalp's soft curve unbroken, her fingernails thin and translucent and bendable. Her tasty-tipped purple boomsticks alive with power.
"Let go of my hand," she says, and it's only then Terezi realizes that she's seized it. How quickly she's fallen out of practice with people.
She laughs and lets go, late.
"Jack?" she says. "I know a Jack. A most treacherous and deceitful archagent, who stinks most awfully of licorice and lies!"
She pauses to let the unspeakable beauty of her alliteration sink in.
"He'd never come here, though. Even he wouldn't dare. Ancient proverb: the mirage of my enemy is still my enemy, especially if it is carrying real nunchucks."
"Why would trolls have nunchucks?" says the girl, and then, to Terezi's deep and abiding disappointment: "Don't answer that."
They regard each other for exactly as long as it takes for fire to fully encircle the foundation of a single yellow turret.
"He's not the Jack you know," the girl says, eventually. "He comes from another session, and he dares everything. He destroyed your moon. He destroyed you."
"Right. I see." (H3H.) "What do you want?" says Terezi, who is growing bored.
Because, of course, it's nice to know who did it, but-
She is past caring about the mechanics of the game that killed her, when she will never again stick a finger in their delicately calibrated (H3H3H3H3H3) workings. She never did understand it as well as she could have. She was, after all, only the stuff of dreams.
And now less even than that.
All it would take is a push, she thinks, and this girl would be in the beak of something with a very stupid number of apostrophes in its name.
But the girl appears to be listening to something.
"Justice," she answers, eventually, and this time she is speaking a language Terezi recognizes.
"Oh," says Terezi. She smiles. "Why didn't you say so at the start?"
"I was forgetting," says the girl, "who you are."
"Do you know who I am?" says Terezi, approvingly.
"A Seer," says the girl.
"You're not seeing retribution for my city's toppling, are you?" she asks.
"No," says the other Seer. "Jack killed my mother."
And she turns her eerie white-sclera'd gaze on the suggestion of knotting limbs that lies just beyond the doorway she made, looking, Terezi presumes, for the blank place where a Jackslain monster used to writhe.
"You smell like underwater truths," says Terezi. "Mm. Salt in a wound."
"Come with me, then," the Seer says, "and you will never want for pickling."
"Oh my," says Terezi. "A bold offer, indeed. But can I leave?"
"With me," the Seer says, speaking in echoes now.
For sweet, sweet justice.
Terezi watches as she takes a step back onto the doorstep, and balances there, her hands resting lightly on an imagined frame. Terezi steps after her, until they are front to front, and she can feel the Seer's vascular pump thud at the breakneck pace of maybe once a nonexistent minute. She is cold and rubbery and sleek. Around her small, delicate head, Terezi can smell the Ring, a space where all once and future and perhapsing stars, the hopeful gaze of every flowering universe, have been blotted out by squidly tongues.
She thinks of something she could do.
This will work better than it did for Karkat. Karkat might get through, eventually. Not this girl, though. If she does it.
She kisses her like she would an adequately mutated frog: with interest and a taste bud kept out for the hint of future constellations and a lurking fear of what might burst out of that unprepossessing skin. She slips her tongue between strange teeth and drinks the chilly breath out of strange lungs. By the nearness of the girl's mind and the thinness of this reality she wrangles a name- Rose, she thinks, and thinks no further of it- and a phrase she must have said, in her other life.
(B3ST H4T3FR13NDS. H3H.)
She releases Rose's mouth for long enough to lap at the pulse point on her slim neck, because she is Terezi motherfucking Pyrope and her curiosity will be satisfied.
She is in no way expecting what she tastes there.
It decides her. All her insight and conflicting desire, replaced by the purity of red.
To do this, she thinks. To get what she wants in this way, and at this cost.
Well. It would be cheating.
"Right," she says again, and she kisses Rose's ink-touched forehead, and knocks her knees out from under with her cane.
And Rose- Rose bleeds away like ink, her flesh diffused. Leaving only this hole and nothing more.
It can be plastered up entirely with regret, she thinks. Yes. Like eyes, she thinks, if removed, why! It will grow back.
 The troll version of the Princess and the Frog does not bear repeating to human ears, but suffice to say that it involves a completely inappropriate- and much lauded by historians- use of a lusus' skin, and one of the most successful black romances ever recorded in the long, long memory of Alternian society.