The day Terezi’s dream self wakes up is almost like any other. You are flying over Prospit’s moon, admiring the view, when you notice a crowd surrounding something on the street ahead. You quirk an eyebrow, curious, before dropping down to ground level.
Prospitians are interesting, always willing to do what you ask, even when you say nothing of what you want. When you walk forward, the crowd parts like cloth between your scissors and you see a troll in yellow collapsed on the ground. You run up, Vriska’s name halfway through your lips before you realize it’s actually Terezi.
It isn’t the first time your friends have sleepwalked or sleepflown their way out of their cocoons. You slip an arm under her knees and around her shoulders, heaving her up and flying away from the gossiping spectators in one smooth motion. You’ve almost reached her hive when you see her eyes fluttering open.
For a second, it’s what you expect: black on yellow eyes, still drowsy and drooping from a lifetime of sleep. But then the pupils shrink, disappearing into blank, vivid red, and her eyelids open fully. She takes a deep sniff in your direction as her eyes focus on nothing.
“Oooh, Kanaya, you smell really good! Like… like peppermint cream! This requires further investigation,” she declares, before burying her nose into your neck. Her breath tickles your skin and you giggle as her enthusiastic nose moves onto your hair.
“I prefer to imagine that if there was a desperate and illogical need for my blood to be compared to a food item, it would be the fabled meal of green cluckbeast ovums and oinkbeast flesh instead of peppermint cream,” you say. Terezi pulls back with a frown.
“That sounds like it tastes awful.”
“Troll Dr. Seuss says otherwise,” you reply and laugh when she sticks her tongue out in disgust.
You circle her tower once with her arms around your neck before you finally fly inside and set her down. While she continues smelling things like she’s pretending to be some kind of barkbeast, you go ahead and organize the law books and Scalemates littered across the floor into neat piles. Maybe now that Terezi is awake, they’ll stay that way.
“Don’t you need wings to fly?” she asks as you dust the dragon scales on the wall and the hanged Scalemates.
“Not really. However, you can create them if you desire.” With that said, thin, gossamer wings the same colour as your blood sprout from your back, your clothes automatically altering themselves to accommodate the new limbs. You know without looking that they are the same shape as a flutterbeast’s and absolutely gorgeous, if you say so yourself (you do). They flap idly as you grow an extra pair of arms as well. Double the dusters, double the fun, you think, smiling at your own ridiculousness.
“I want to be a dragon,” Terezi says behind you. By the time you’ve turned to look, the transformation is already complete.
The illusion of a silver dragon clings to her like the flimsiest costume. It’s transparent enough for you to see the girl in the centre of it, but wisps of smoke drift up from the dragon’s nostrils and it stares at you with burning eyes. The power restrained behind them makes you shiver, even when you know that Terezi’s new body is less real than yours. You swipe your hand through its snout to establish existentiality and don’t bother smothering your snort when the illusion sneezes.
“It is remarkably adorable,” you tell Terezi. The pout on her face tips you off that maybe, just maybe, she does not approve of your apt description.
“I am a great and powerful dragon! I’m faster and stronger and better than you at basically everything,” she says, arms sweeping out in a grand gesture. You land on the floor, leaving a trail of fairy dust behind.
“Oh really?” you say slowly, crossing your arms and flapping your wings hard enough for some wind to blow your hair and clothing around. The effect adds an aesthetic that you like. “Is that a challenge, Ms. Pyrope?”
Terezi gasps dramatically, her hand demurely covering her mouth.
“How could I, a poor, blind, helpless little girl, challenge you, Ms. Maryam?” she simpers. “I am shocked and appalled at the suggestion! I insist that you submit yourself to the authorities and plead guilty to the crime of child endangerment.”
“I am in the favour of the ruling party of this world, so I’m afraid no penal facility here can detain me and no court will convict on such a ludicrous charge.” You are the picture nonchalance as you ignore Terezi and examine the shape and colour of your claws. You think you’ll paint them teal later, in celebration of Terezi’s awakening.
“Then I suppose I must take the law into my own hands and become a vigilante for true justice to be served!” she announces. You start and look up. Terezi’s dragon illusion is now black with large ivory horns, smoke and the tiniest licks of flame pouring from its mouth. Terezi herself is smiling broadly, her grin matching her dragon’s toothy maw, and she stalks you across her respiteblock.
“I think you have been enjoying Nepeta’s company for an alarmingly excessive amount of time,” you say, edging towards the window. “Also, you will find that it is impossible for you to capture me while I still breathe, legislactater.” With the derogatory back talk out of the way, you haul yourself over the sill and fly as fast as you can to Prospit proper.
You can hear Terezi chasing after you, as well as her stumbling into the occasional building. You get rid of your second pair of arms to gain more speed and grow a set of feelers for extrasensory input. It isn’t until the wind blows fairy dust into your face that you remember that your wings provide an easy-to-follow trail. By then, it’s already too late. You’re both over one of the business districts of Prospit and Terezi quickly catches up and tackles you into a shop.
Construction materials on your persons trap you both until a helpful shopkeeper digs you out. You glance around the shop, at the recently dirtied racks of clothing and accessories for sale, and think Karkat would look very fetching in that little black dress. Especially if you style his hair with sopor slime like you normally do.
“Are you alright, your highnesses?” asks the shopkeeper. He helps you both to your feet and dusts your clothes off. Terezi drops her illusion and sniffs around excitedly, right before she tries licking the jaunty hat your rescuer’s wearing.
“This is red?! It’s so delicious! My taste buds are drowning in ecstasy!” The shopkeeper is beginning to look uncomfortable and you don’t want the Prospitians to stop wearing colourful things because Terezi apparently wants to taste them. You only just convinced them that fashion does not mean monochrome grey clothes worn every hour of the night. You refuse to let the work of your sweeps-long campaign be wasted.
You look around for something to distract Terezi with and spot a reasonable prospect on an eyewear stand. Grabbing them, you quickly pry Terezi off the unlucky shopkeeper and shove a pair of red shades into her hands.
“I think these would look quite stunning on you,” you hint. She begins licking them immediately.
“They’re so shiny and smooth,” she says and tries them on, teal-tinted saliva dripping off the edges. “What do you think, Kanaya? Do I look cool?”
“Exceedingly so,” you deadpan. You both turn to the shopkeeper and stare until he is nervous enough to give his opinion.
“Uh… you look wonderful, Princess!” he insists. He moves his hands a lot when he lies. “In fact, you remind me of The One Who Wields The Red Miles And The Green Joules.”
“Who’s that?” Terezi asks, pushing the shades up behind her horns.
“An apocalyptic figure. Prospitian literature tends to have an abundance of them,” you explain.
Terezi seems to drift off after your answer, eyes closing and her whole body swaying.
“Is it time for you to awaken?” you ask.
“Yeah!” she says. You’ve never seen her smile as widely as she does now. Then again, you’ve never seen her before today. “Pyralspite wants to schoolfeed me on how to see with my sense of smell and taste.”
“My dragonmom! She told me her name before I woke up here. Now she’s going to show me what lies smell like!” She is practically bouncing across the ruined shop and the expression on the shopkeeper’s face is becoming pained. You think it’s time to take this outside.
“It sounds like a very useful skill,” you say diplomatically, gently steering her out the hole in the wall. You hesitate before you speak your next words because Terezi is already halfway asleep and she looks very pretty and pleased underneath the soft light of Skaia, but you don’t want to be the only one of your friends awake anymore and - “Will you be here tomorrow?”
“Of course I will, Ms. Persnickety Pickle! I had fun today but you have tell me all about this place later.” She paps your face and, before your blush becomes apparent, she slides her shades into place, falling over into a dead sleep.
It isn’t until you wake up a few hours later that you realize something was wrong. Why did Terezi blind herself? What made her dream self wake up? You need to talk to her as soon as you can.
You hear the ping of a Trollian message and crawl out of your cocoon to answer it. The words you read make you want to crawl back.
AG: Hey fussyf8ngs! You kn8w how to sew up a fl8sh wound, right????????
AG: I need a 8it of your meddling ton8ght.
You don’t notice the sopor slime oozing onto your keyboard as you hurriedly type out a reply.