When Aradia is dead, she is invisible. Intangible. Inconsequential. She haunts her desolated hive for a little bit before deciding she simply doesn’t care, and she moves on.
Moves on to Sollux’s hive, the weapon in her murder. She knows it wasn’t his fault, but figures ghosts are supposed to haunt their murderers. She tries it for a day, but he just mopes and ignores her, and she decides it doesn’t feel right. She doesn’t care that he was the one to do the deed. She doesn’t care about anything. She decides to go to the troll that’s next.
Next, Vriska, the one truly responsible for her death. But Vriska has paid her dues, lost an eye and an arm, and when Aradia finds her, she is unconscious and on the brink of death. Aradia wonders what it would be like to see somebody die as a ghost, but determines she doesn’t care enough to find out. She never does. Vriska’s hive doesn’t feel right either, so her search for a haunt continues.
Continues to Terezi, who wouldn’t have been able to see her even if she were truly there. Aradia is surprised, though not shocked, to see that her former rival’s eyes have been burned out. It comes as almost a comfort, though of course nothing can truly comfort the dead. When Terezi stares through Aradia, the ghost can pretend that she would be seen if only for Terezi’s eyesight.
She doesn’t actually pretend. But she supposes it makes her feel slightly more real.
Aradia does not feel for her friend because she does not feel, but she helps. When Terezi struggles to find her recuperacoon, Aradia will be the gentle push to guide her in the right direction. Whenever Terezi comes dangerously close to falling out of the tree she calls home, Aradia is there to hold her back from the ledge. She whispers empty comfort, knowing it can’t be heard, but at least the thought is in the air.
Aradia stays here for a while. She loses track of the time, but helping Terezi, even if it goes unnoticed, gives her a purpose. And a purpose isn’t enough to make her feel whole again, but it’s a start.
Yet Aradia isn’t alone. When Terezi sleeps, she talks to something. At first, Aradia takes this as night terrors, and gently caresses Terezi’s dead eyes with her dead fingers, willing her to sleep well. But it soon becomes apparent that Terezi is learning to get by on her own. She smells and licks her way along her hive, and soon doesn’t need help from a ghost at all.
One day, she sniffs the air and proclaims, “Something smells weird. Is somebody there?”
This is the day that Aradia finally leaves.