EB: happy valentine’s day, vriska!
EB: or whatever troll equivalent you have to it!
EB: …or maybe you don’t have a troll equivalent to it. i’m not sure! but happy valentine’s either way.
EB: listen, i’m really sorry for not being in contact lately.
EB: school’s been really tough this semester, so i’ve spent a lot of time focusing on that, haha.
EB: but i still feel really bad, so…
EB: if it’s okay, i’d like to make it up to you!
EB: can you meet me at my house tonight? we’ll have dinner and catch up!
EB: let me know what you think whenever you get this message.
Vriska found this message on Trollian about twenty minutes after it was sent. She stared at it like it was a cryptic puzzle, unsure of how to reply, even though she was completely sure of how she felt. There was no doubt in her mind that she liked John, even to the point of considering herself flushed for him, which is why it nearly broke her heart when he stopped replying to her chats, stopped inviting her to webcam conversations, and stopped calling her on the mobile device for nearly three months. Not that she was counting or anything. It was also why she was determined not to force herself into his life, despite all of her initial insticts, all of the voices screaming “Go get him! Make him yours!!!!!!!!” She promised herself after the game ended that she was done with manipulating the ones she loved. No more crazy theatrics just to get someone to notice her. If John wanted her, he would find her, and she was willing to wait as long as it takes for that moment to come. Apparently, she might not have to wait for much longer.
Incidentally, trolls do not have an equivalent to Valentine’s Day. If someone had tried to explain this holiday to Vriska before she’d met humans, she would have told them to stop watching sappy romcoms. She had a better understanding of it now, of course. It was supposed to be some glorified celebration of human romance. This was yet another point about John’s message that was giving her confusion. Was the fact that February 14th was the day he chose to start talking to her again merely a coincidence? John has proven to be pretty black and white in the past when it came to affairs such as this. At the same time, however, Vriska didn’t want to get her hopes up.
She decided she’d mulled it over long enough. Chewing her lip, she typed up a reply:
AG: I’ll 8e there. ::::)
If she was being honest with herself here, the fact of the matter was that she really missed John, and she would probably regret this forever if she passed up on this maybe-a-date with him. All signs pointed to “yes, accept the damn invitation.” John’s reply came quickly:
EB: great! i’ll see you tonight then!
EB: oh! and be sure to dress nice. :)
“Dress nice.” Oh shit. It might be time to bug Kanaya.
A few short hours later, Vriska was approaching the door of the Egbert household. As she got closer, she could make out a couple of voices—one of them was clearly John’s; the other was a little harder to tell…his father’s, maybe?
“I know, I know, but I just need eight. You can have the other four.”
“But you bought a dozen of them. Why would she be opposed to four more?”
“It sounds crazy, but just trust me Dad. I know what I’m doing.”
“…I’m so proud.”
Now seemed like a good time to interrupt. She knocked on the door sharply. There was a shuffling of feet while the voices dropped to less coherent mumbling. Within a few seconds, the door was flung open by a smiling and very dapper-looking John.
“Hi Vriska!” It’s funny how only two words could take any remaining bitterness she had over being ignored for this long and make it melt away.
“It’s good to see you, John,” she answered.
“Come on in!” He grabbed Vriska by the elbow and nearly dragged her inside, closing the door behind him. Once they were a few steps in, he turned to face her. “You look really nice.”
She absently smoothed the front of her dress, one that Kanaya told her was right “for the occasion,” whatever that meant. “Thank you.” She reached over and tugged on John’s green tie. “You’re looking very nice yourself.” He responded with a nervous giggle.
The two of them turn to the source of the throat-clearing, John’s dad. He motioned to the coffee table, where a bouquet of red roses lay. Four single ones were in his hand. He looked over to…wait, was that Rose’s mom?
“Oh! That’s right!” John scooped up the roses and handed them to Vriska. “These are for you.”
She looked at the roses blankly. This must be a human thing. She had no need for these, nor did she have a desire to care for them. It was probably meant to be a nice gesture, so she would play the grateful recipient for now and ask another human about it later. “They’re lovely,” she said simply.
“We’ll be in the kitchen, dad!” John said brightly, and strode off in that direction, not even waiting for his father’s silent nod. Vriska followed close behind, the roses cradled in her arms. In the middle of the kitchen was a modest setup: the table was set for two with the dinner plates already prepared. The centerpiece was a ridiculously large candle.
John walked over to one chair and pulled it out, motioning for Vriska to sit. “My dad’s going to be here in the house with us, but he won’t bother us. He, uh, just didn’t want me to be in here alone with a girl.” He looks off to the side and gives another nervous giggle.
Vriska’s not sure why, but it made her smile to hear that.
The beginning of dinner was mostly small talk. John apologized profusely about giving her the cold shoulder, and went on to talk about his human high school (which sounded a lot like incarceration, but she wouldn’t tell him that). Vriska told him about her more peaceful daily life, and how it was okay that nobody really messed with her anymore, but she really hated how most of the other trolls treated her like a cracked piece of pottery. Most of the trolls that died in-game got the same treatment, but she was sure that it bothered her the most. John sympathized, and silence settled between the two of them.
It was John who broke the uneasy silence first. “So Vriska, I wanted to ask you about something.”
“Hmm?” Vriska looked at him over the top of her glass.
“Yeah, so…” John poked at remnants of food with his fork. “Back when you’d first started trolling me in the game, Karkat told me that when we met, you were going to try and make out with me.”
Vriska nearly choked on her drink. Coughing and sputtering, she grabbed a napkin and covered her mouth, hoping to play it off as an unrelated incident and not a reaction. “Did he now?” she rasped.
John nodded, looking directly at her now. “So was it true?”
Vriska studied John’s face for a moment. It betrayed no dominant emotion. He seemed more curious than anything. She put her napkin down and shrugged nonchalantly. “I could have been inclined to do something like that, yes.”
“So why didn’t you do it, then?”
That was an excellent question, with a few answers to it. For one, when John and Vriska finally did meet in person, there was still a game to win, so she could say business before pleasure. And even after the game was over and they had that one movie date she’d asked him to, the pretense was more “I’m just happy to be alive” rather than “I’m just happy to be with you.” The main answer, though, was simple.
“I didn’t want to scare you off!” Vriska admitted.
“Oh.” John looked very surprised to hear that. He fidgeted a little in his seat. “So let’s say, uh, that you knew for sure that whatever you wanted to do wasn’t going to scare me off.” She could see the beginnings of a blush creep up. “What would you have done then?”
Vriska didn’t answer right away, but simply watched him with a sly smile, as if she’d just learned the answer to an amazing riddle. She leaned forward across the table as far as she could go and whispered to him, “Eeeeeeeeverything.” She had to stop herself from laughing as his entire face turned that lovely shade of red.
“I-I see,” John said, loosening his tie. Vriska had to hand it to him; besides the blushing, he was keeping his composure fairly well. “And what about…at this point in time?”
“Do you think you’d, well, be inclined to do something like that…now?”
“John!” Vriska said in a faux-accusatory tone, “Are you trying to propose I do something here?”
“Of course not!” John said immediately, waving his hands frantically in front of him, “Not if you didn’t want! But…well…” He looked around at the simple but intimate setting, as well as the roses on the counter. “I did kind of go out on a limb here, heheh.”
Vriska nodded solemnly. “Yes you did.” She held her hand out to John over the table. “And I’d like to do the same for you.”
John stared at her hand in confusion. “What do you mean?”
“Just take my hand and you’ll find out.”
“Okay, Vriska.” He clasped her hand tightly in his. Vriska squeezed it in return.
“Don’t let go,” she instructed. John still looked a little confused, but nodded anyway. She closed her eyes and concentrated—she used to travel short distances like this in the game very easily, but the teleportation powers were considerably weaker now—and the two of them disappeared from the kitchen in a cloud of fairy dust.
She placed the both of them outside in the backyard, sitting side by side (and still hand in hand) on one of the lower, thicker branches of an old tree. John shook his head in surprise, then beamed at Vriska.
“I didn’t know you could still teleport!” he gushed, “That’s so cool!”
“Sure can!” she affirmed. “And what about you?”
“Can you still do the windy thing?” she pressed.
“Well, yeah,” he replied.
“Good, because you’re going to need to in a few seconds.”
“But why--” his question was cut off by Vriska catching him up in her arms and pulling him in for a kiss. She tipped the both of them backwards, sending them teetering out of the tree branch and falling fast to the cold hard ground. She held onto him as the ground came closer and closer until…as she anticipated, they were caught up in a giant cushion of wind, breaking their fall completely. As their descent continued at the safer, slower pace, the kiss continued up until the point of their touching the ground. John pulled away and stared at Vriska wide-eyed, beads of sweat forming at his brow.
“Holy shit, Vriska,” he breathed.
“That’s the way,” she said encouragingly, reaching over to brush her fingers across his cheek.
Standing at the back screen door was none other than John’s dad, looking more amused than upset surprisingly. The two of them sat up and tried to look a little less compromising.
“Looks like the jig is up,” Vriska whispered to John, “I’d better get out of here.”
John’s face broke. “What? Already?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be around.” She leaned in so that her lips were just barely touching his ear. “But make sure you keep in contact, or face the consequences!”
John gave a lighthearted chuckle. “I’ll try not to invoke your wrath, Vriska.”
“Good.” She stood up and brushed herself off. She gave John’s dad an apologetic smile before walking away from the house.
John got up and approached his dad, his head lowered in the shame of getting caught. “S-some Valentine’s Day, huh Dad?” he mumbled. Before his dad could give an answer, Rose’s mom came stumbling into view, a rose held between her teeth. She staggered over and leaned on John’s dad’s shoulder, then gave John a knowing, drunken smile.
“’S quite a valentine you got there, Johnny boy,” she slurred, “So how far’d y’get? You can tell meeee…” She starts to fall over before Dad catches her by the shoulders.
“Let’s go in,” Dad said simply. John smiled weakly and headed inside. So went John and Vriska’s first Valentine’s Day together.