Vriska slides off the end of your sword in a discarded heap of blueberry and creamsicle, not breathing even a bit. She crumples. There isn't very much of her and most of what there is is dusty-flaking wings and pointy elbows.
Now that she's quiet you can hear how fast the air is rushing in and out of your chest. Everything is blurry with cerulean and the aftertaste of your own fear-stink, and there's a receding scrim of might-have-beens all over your tongue and dripping down your sword next to the strings and droplets of Vriska.
Oh, you think, this is not what you wanted at all!
You are lying.
You crumple a little yourself, your knees knocking together under the scarlet hang of your tabard. You lean on your sword, and your leaning splotches more sopping blue all smeary on your leggings. Your Redglare costume is never going to be the same again, you think, there isn't a dry ablution facility anywhere on this meteor. You will be splotchy and lack every sort of pristine shine, forever.
You have committed a just act! Some splotchiness is a fair price to pay for a righteous execution of the law. Vriska has very narrow shoulders and hips almost as skinny as yours, and underneath the flutter-sprawl of her wings she is still wiggler-soft in places. She will never get any older, you note to yourself. You are getting older by the second. That is how time works.
You shut your eyes, which doesn't stop all of the smells and tastes in the air from showing you where you are, but does make you feel a little less like you are going to fall down.
Gr8t work!!!!!!!! says Vriska. Now you're never going to see how I would have 8eaten Jack. Oops! I mean smell.
"YOU 4R3N'T V3RY GOOD 4T T4CT1CS, M4RQ1S3," you say, right out loud, which is silly because she can't hear you. No one else can hear you either. You are all alone up on the roof. So you keep going. "TH4T W4S MY JOB. YOURS 1S LUCK AND PLOTT1NG!" you tell her. It is sort of pleasant that she doesn't argue with you. It feels a little bit like victory. "Y34H, YOU W3R3 PROB4BLY GO1NG TO W1N."
After you say that all of the victory-feelings drip right out of your chest.
You are a Seer of Mind, which does not mean that you can see the future; it means instead that plausibility unfurls on your tongue in green-pale flashes. Consequences are your stock in trade, consequences and the charting of fortunes! You are prey to fits of understanding. This one is particularly bad. You clutch harder to the hilt of your sword-cane, dragonshape pressing into your palm hard enough to call up the smidges of teal bruises under all that's grey about you, and chase down each fading scrap of blueberry that ghosts across your nostrils.
You are the living body of the Law, each tendon and sinew of you composed of it; you have been such since you were given the title of Neophyte and inducted into the Cruellest Bar. You have in this capacity brought the Marquise Spinneret Mindfang, a notorious gamblingant and pirate, sometime privateer and all-the-time transgressor, to a trial which she roundly deserves! All of this, while true, does not keep you free: each tendon and sinew of you, each taut law-string that makes you up, belongs to the swarming dark and a thousand delirious hands.
They tear you open! You do not expect it! The world is a seething mass, and on the other side of it your prisoner is laughing at you. Every fingerscrape and toothgnaw and gush of your blood into the maw of the crowd is tinted cerulean: you feel her press at the edges of your mind, battering at you like she's battered open your audience. They were meant to be yours, and she has wrested them away. There are parts of you that are no longer yourself, but instead are being consumed. They remain the law. You are diminished and diminishing!
You despise her, you think, quite suddenly; there is an onrushing noise that means nothing rattling your bones and your thinkpan, a scrabbling of claws that puncture each of your eyeballs, and through the splush of them you fall into a blackening hollowness. It hurts, to have underestimated her so fundamentally.
The dark swallows you and you regret every inch of you it steals. You are not finished here.
Your name is Terezi Pyrope and your ribcage has never been fingerfood for lowbloods! This is a Seer-dream you have had, and a bad one, and that is all it is. You are standing with your swordcane in your hand and the cerulean fog in your nostrils is what remains of your sister-in-arms. It has nothing to do with the clawing acquisition of everything you once hoped to become. It is only that you are wearing your FLARPing costume, and also thinking of Vriska. These things simultaneously are bait for memories, even memories which are older than you.
Once, when you were almost five whole sweeps, you thought you'd made a proper friend, the sort that prickled at you when she was there and slightly worse when she wasn't. You were barely even the Scourge Sisters then, sisterhood being a shreddy violent thing that you two were thinking up while pestering on Trollian at almost-dawnrise. She sent you all of some ratty old journals she'd found, typed into a huge text file with every b replaced by an 8, and claimed they were her ancestor's.
You had found this unbearable, and also twee (Mindfang is a pirate and not even a little bit as cool as Neophyte Redglare!) and saved up both of these feelings to use against her later.
You had expected to have an opportunity.
Wanna know a secret? Vriska says, on the rooftop at your feet. Because her mouth doesn't move, it also doesn't ooze any more blue than it's already doing, even though you think that it probably should.
Y3S, you say, and additionally S3CR3TS 4R3 TH3 B3ST W4Y TO SURPR1S3 YOUR 3N3M13S!, which is what you said on Trollian back then, except inside your head instead of typing.
Not that kind of secret!!!!!!!! You're so dum8, Terezi. A Serket secret!
R3DGL4R3, you correct her, because this isn't even a little bit real.
Okaaaaaaaay, you're so dum8 Redglare. Guess what????????
"WH4T." You have said this out loud, again! You are slipping.
There 8n't no ch8nging your ways for good, she says.
You don't wish you could t8ke it 8ack, even if you could. You have done something terrible and it was just. This is why you are right and Vriska is wrong!
It is also why Vriska is dead even if she is a god.
You swab at your lips with your tongue, and come up with bitten teal and backsplatter blue. You swallow them both against another electric-crackle burst and wish you weren't quite so willing to be anywhen but here.
Your name is Legislascerator Pyrope, and it is almost moonrise on your twelfth wriggling day. You have just spent the most recent of the two days since last you slept hidden in the shadows of an alleyway. You are on a stakeout. It is almost but not quite your favorite part of being what you are!
Your favorite part is what happens next.
Next, a criminal, a transgressor against the law, a smuggler of artifices intended for the Imperial Fleet, will come out of the building, and you will point your dragon-headed staff at him, and tell him all the ways in which he has committed crimes, and he will dissolve under the force of your wordkind strife. After that there will be a trial and an execution, and you will do each step!
This criminal does not come out of the building alone.
Instead, he walks all puppet-stringed, with empty hands and rolling-back eyes and someone else's familiar smile all over his face. Beside him is something worse than a smuggler! She has the same smile as the one he wears, your Vriska Serket does. It has been almost two perigees since you saw her last and she has not improved. She is all a tangle of metal arm and smirky fangs, her fingers clutched around one of the artifices you are meant to retrieve!
"Terezi!" she says. "I 8rought you a present."
Then she swings her cutlass and executes your criminal. His head bounces twice, a spatter of lime that gets on your boots and all over her hair. She has made all your patience and your waiting and your care matter not at all.
Everything about Miss Spidersilk Deceit hurts you in places you didn't know you had, an awful ache in the muscles around the chordstrings in your throat. She lies and bends and there is nothing to her but advantages and leveraged luck. You are an excellent team!
You kick the head at her with the toe of your boot. It hits her square in her middle, horns first, and she grunts.
"YOU C4N'T G1V3 M3 PR3S3NTS TH4T W3R3 4LR34DY GO1NG TO B3 M1N3," you say. "TH4T'S CH34T1NG."
"You don't knoooooooow if you'd have gotten him!" she tells you, and also "You could have 8een very very very unlucky!" She smirks and you hate it. It makes you feel unsettled, like there is an entire other way of being you that is entirely wrong.
You approach her, slide forward on slippery feet and shove the edge of your sword up against her throat. You can smell how the cerulean in her veins pulses up against the silvery edge. It makes your bloodpusher thunk against your lowest ribs, ring all the way through you.
"WH4T D1D 1 T3LL YOU 4BOUT LUCK, S3RK3T," you say, very soft!
There is a blooming blue pressure at the base of your brain, where she is trying to sneak in. She shakes her head, just enough that your sword scores her pretty grey throat, makes her drip blueberry sunburst colors right under your nose. "I got here first," she says. "Luck matters most of all," she says.
You kiss her, or she kisses you. It is not exactly clear! Also there is the head of a criminal pressed between your bellies, which is kind of perverse. You don't care as much as you should, which is another reason for how everything in you chars black when you touch her, turns you into smoke and coals. She tastes of you, and of lime blood, and of a drowning sort of blue, a whirlpool of nonsense and arbitrary vengeance that she wraps up in ribbons, like she could win free of you by means of gifts.
Someday you will wait for her in an alleyway, with all the force of the law that you are behind you, and only then will you be finished --
Your cheeks are flushed so bright a teal that you can smell yourself.
Every breath you pull past your lips shakes you, rattling little presses of air. The bits of Vriska at your feet darken and crack, drying. In your nose they are not quite her colors any longer.
You have seen a might-have-been, a distant one. You would have to go back a very long time to find your way into it. You ache all the way through yourself, in your chest and in your throat and deep inside the bones of your pelvis, a pulsing empty feeling. That last hurt dissolves along with the greenstick scent of Seerhood, and leaves you with only the sensation that you are about to cry.
You don't say, VR1SK4. You do not want her to answer you and not be real at once.
You are very tired, and you are also the beginnings of angry. What you are not is Legislascerator Pyrope. There is no hiveship city under your boots and your tabard is made out of stretchcloth and is maybe a little too small in the shoulders this sweep.
You have conducted a trial, and made an execution.
This is as close as you're going to get.