It’s her fault. She promised she’d protect him. She should have known something bad would happen, leaving him along with Vriska, and yet she’d let herself get distracted at a critical moment.
She failed him.
Now Aradia sits with Tavros in his hive, trying to help him walk even when they both know it’s a waste of time. But she has to try. She has to push him. Trolls with disabilities don’t live long on Alternia, and letting him down is already too much for her - Aradia doesn’t want to be responsible for the death of her partner.
“It’s, uh, really alright. You don’t… need to be helping me, really.”
“But I want to help.” Aradia strains against his weight as she speaks. “We just need to get you on your feet again. That’s all.” She’s holding him up as best she can, but Tavros is bigger than she is, and his horns have a tendency to get in the way. Predictably, her strength soon gives out, and they both fall to the ground unceremoniously.
This is all it takes. Aradia can already feel her ugly maroon tears starting to build up, and she presses her palms to her eyes to try and stop them from falling. She can hear Tavros shifting beside her, but she can’t bring herself to look at him.
“Uh, Aradia?” he asks, his voice shaking, and she feels his hand reaching out for hers. She grabs it more tightly than she should, leaving only one hand to cover her face. “Are you, er, alright?” How can she possibly say no when he’s the one who will never walk again? She sits for a moment, not answering, simply holding onto his hand as though it’s her lifeline.
“I’m okay,” she says finally, willing herself to accept it. Her plot for revenge begins to spin in her mind with the voices of the dead. “I’m okay.”