When these mountains were the seashore
When this desert was the ocean floor
We would swim beneath the star-filled sky
We were lovely fish alone with the night…
You are Eridan Ampora, seadweller, troll royalty, descendant of Orphaner Dualscar himself, and you’ve just lost your moirail. The moirail who you would do anything for, who you would kill for and, perhaps even more significantly, wouldn’t kill for, because she’d always been fond of the landdwellers. Life blows, and it’s hard, and no one understands. Maybe no one understands because no one will even listen to you, and now you don’t even have the empress of your fucking heart let alone of Alternia to comfort you. It’s all too easy to be bitter.
Sweeps ago, the two of you would go to the beach together all the time and spend hours there, building sandcastles, talking, swimming, whatever. Just being in each other’s company was perfect; all you needed was to just see her, see her being happy, and nothing would hurt. She was your moirail and she was the only person who had ever mattered to you. If the universe went to shit and it was just the two of you left, you would have been okay with this.
Feferi was different; for one thing she had real friends who weren’t just you. You were two very different people, but you were still made for each other. She didn’t always see things your way and wasn’t anywhere near as dependent, but she still looked after you and loved you. Good moirail, best friend, and so of course it broke your heart in every way and then some when she ended it. Of course she said you’d be regular friends, but you knew she didn’t mean it because nobody leaves the pale quadrant to be regular friends; that’s stupid. No one is ever ‘just friends’, you’d wanted to yell at her, not after something like this. But you didn’t, and it wouldn’t have done any good anyways. She was gone, the one thing that mattered to you, the girl you loved and who would never see you pale again, let alone flushed.
But maybe she didn’t dislike you quite that much, because here you were with her, on the beach outside your hive, just like in the past except the tone was so different now. You knew she was here because she felt sorry for you and wanted to prove her point about being “regular friends”, but still she was with you and everyone thought you were kind of stupid and desperate anyways so you might as well give them something to talk about, because God knows nothing really mattered anymore, least of all what they thought.
“Let’s go to the beach,” she’d said, after you had finally opened the door to her relentless pounding. “I think we should talk.” You’d followed her down to the beach, the sand sparkling in the eerie starlight that was the sky of your home. She sat down just before the water’s edge and started out to sea for a long time, and even though she was smiling she looked incredibly sad. You realized then that she may be optimistic and full of life and the future empress, but really, she was just like the rest of you: a kid, scared, lost, and caught up in something the likes of which no one had ever seen before.
“You don’t have to carry it all, you know,” you say softly, sitting down beside her and reading the nature of her worries in her face, in the way her fins twitched and her eyes looked out, even beyond the sea.
“But I’m going to be the empress! I have to take care of them, and look at what’s happened! Look what’s happening, Eridan!”
“None of this is your fault.” You know this isn’t what she wanted to talk to you about, but maybe right now there are more important things than your (failed) romantic problems, and even if you’re not moirails anymore, maybe she could just use a friend right now.
And maybe you could still be that friend.
Maybe if you’d thought about this earlier, things would have worked out better for both of you. Because a sweep ago, you wouldn’t have put her problems in front of yours this way. Too late now.
She rests her head on your shoulder. “It’s hard, Eridan, all of this.” She sighs heavily. “I’m sorry about before; I hope you’re doing all right.”
“I’m okay,” you reply quietly; any louder and your voice would probably wobble, which would both betray how choked up you were and sound really stupid.
She’s adorable; have you told yourself that yet today? But it’s so unfamiliar to hear her so… serious, almost somber.
You reach your hand over and cup her cheek, wiping off a few stray grains of sand which drift down onto her shirt like falling stars or some other metaphor that, while florid, gets the point across.
“Feferi,” you whisper, not in any sense of romance or atmosphere but because you’re awkward and nervous and embarrassed now and can’t risk your voice catching. You consider asking why it has to be this way, or pointing out that you were made for each other, but eventually settle for “I miss you,” which you at least hope is more tactful.
It ends up just sounding stupid and desperate but you are stupid and desperate and she knows it, everyone knows it, and finally you do too. You’re pretty sure now that if you hadn’t been like that, if you’d been better at keeping check of your emotions and weren’t such a genocidal drama queen, she would still be your moirail, and would have maybe even considered changing quadrants. But you were like that, and she was done with it. You have no one to blame but yourself, and sure you could get angry at Sollux, but in the end it was your fault and yours alone.
She smiles sadly at you. You'd almost say she pities you right now but... but you know that's not how it is. Not that way. “I'm sorry, Eridan,” she says. “I still really like you, you know.”
You run your thumb across her chin, tracing her jawline so gently, as though she's made of glass like her giant fishbowl in the Land of Dew and Glass, even though you know that's about as far from the truth as you could get: Feferi Peixes could beat you in a fight in an instant and you both know it. But she is royalty, she is lovely, and so you treat her fittingly. She never found it patronizing before.
It’s the least you can do.
Gradually you move your thumb up so you’re brushing the edge of her bottom lip, and you’re ready to retract your hand entirely if she gives even the slightest indication, but she isn’t, so you don’t. It’s incredibly intimate, but innocent, and you’d be embarrassed if it wasn’t so lovely. This is the most intimate you’ve ever been and it takes you a second to realize that you’ve definitely been hinting at something with these actions, whether you meant to or not. You hope she’s not offended but you also really, really want her to reciprocate at least this one time.
She’s not stupid. She smiles at you – sadly, but it’s still a smile – and reaches out a hand to push your glasses up on your forehead before leaning in and kissing you. It’s hardly the throws of passion you’d thought about but it’s still your first kiss and you’re so glad it was her. You know it’s a farewell if nothing else, a “so long, and thanks for all the fish” at best. She cares about you but she doesn’t love you, and that’s final.
Then she pulls away from you, smiles one last time and you absolutely cannot possibly reciprocate that smile, emotion welling in the form of tears in the corners of your eyes, and she walks down the beach and dives into the sea, leaving you for what might as well be forever.
You are Eridan Ampora, fishy hipster douchebag, you are alone, and you are really not okay. Feelings are stupid and they just hurt, and you want to destroy things and yell and swear and cry until you can’t cry anymore, but you just sit there on the beach, alone with your feelings, for what feels like hours. Feferi was your everything, and it was about so much more than pity and filling pails and quadrants. It was about being okay with being a lonely asshole because you had her, being able to trust someone with yourself, having her make you so happy even when you felt like shit. Wanting to see her happy no matter what it cost, even if you weren’t so great at showing it. And now that cost had been revealed, and it was your moirallegiance. “Feferi,” you say quietly to nothing in particular; the sea, the skies, the memory of her, everything that’s played witness to the recent happenings. But the sea doesn’t respond. Neither does the sky, nor do the memories. It’s quiet, apart from the gentle lapping of the waves. It’s quiet and you’re alone.
Before clocks kept track of the time
Before the poems began to rhyme
Before two simple fish even learned to cry
Got suspicious of their love and asked each other why...