Blue eyes were opened—there was numbness where pain had once been. The Heir looked down at his quest bed, former self lying in a pool of his own genetic materials. He felt strength pulse through him, a smile coming to his lips. This would be easy from here on out, wouldn’t it?
With a grin, he pushed away from the ground, letting the Wind lift him. He had people to find, didn’t he? Jade and Rose and Dave.
He lit up, heading toward his gate—he was almost positive that LOHAC was just past it. And even if it wasn’t, well… He’d get to him eventually! A bit more sedate, John continued forward. Unbeknownst to him, his audience smirked. Hah, what he’d been told was a lie, but considering humans had only a single quadrant, Karkat could understand.
‘Kicked back’ in her chair, as her brother would say, Rose was content with the novel in her hand. It was a perfect specimen—certainly one to bribe Kanaya into reading. Though she was very tired all the sudden—maybe a catnap was in order—
The horrorterrors were all around her, all fanged grins and pointed claws. For a moment, she was panicked, but a hand flashed to her pockets for her needles, and the blonde smirked as she wielded them. There would be no spilling of blood—none of hers, at least. She wasn’t quite sure if horrorterrors bled.
A whiplike appendage was snapped toward her and sent away with a blast of darkness, orchid eyes scoping the other beings to see which would be the next to attack.
He never could quite get over the feeling of being thrust into the Timestream. He always felt on edge—like he had to be careful, even within his own element. However, it was accompanied by a rush of excitement, of usefulness.
When he’d saved John the first time, he’d felt like doing what was the Heir’s right—flying. Nothing could top being needed. He thought it would be the same each time—each Time, if one wanted to put it that way—but it wasn’t. It was very different saving Jade, more of a warm rumble in his chest, like
Jade hummed as she carried her box of squiddles into the new house, head bobbing with the jazz on her iPod—Dave and Dirk had been generous with their gifts the past year, though everything they gave was music-related.
Shrugging at the fact, she just kept carting things to and fro from the moving van and into the house, up to the spacious attic, which she’d called dibs on. To no one’s surprise, Nepeta had elected to room with her because of the height (or so she said), and so each time she went up or down the stairs, she met the oliveblood with a smile. Why not be nice? They’d be stuck together quite a while—until the situation with the trolls’ hives was worked out, at least!
The time came, of course, that they had to decide who was sleeping where and whose side of the room was which. Preferring to be in the sun when she woke, Jade was given the eastern wall, and each day she laughed at the sight of the feline on the other side of the room curling up for a nap in the lazy evening sun.
Jane let out a sigh of frustration, brows furrowing as she mixed. “John, dear, come help!” “Jaaane, I’m busy!” She rolled her eyes at her ectograndson/grandfather and continued stirring as she walked to the doorway. “I think you should help. It is a cake being made for your friend’s birthday as well as mine, you know. And I’m making it from scratch—“
That got him to jump up, controller discarded in his now-empty seat.
“Why didn’t you just say that?”
She didn’t think it was the ‘from scratch’ that had gotten him—she’d seen the glances toward the Strider from his universe and knew the signs and symptoms. She had, after all, felt that way about a certain Mr. English.
Roxy’s eyes were full of wonder as she listened to Rose read to her, the beta child’s lips upturned as she discovered the beautiful things she’d written in another life.
“Calmasis is my favorite,” she murmured dreamily, and the more dark-minded of the two gave her a sincere smile. “I do believe I favor him as well,” she replied, turning yet another page and watching the storyline further expand.
Hours later, they finished and immerged from Roxy’s room wearing identical smiles—up until that point, they had argued, but now, they fell into comfort around each other: it was remarkable how words could so bind two familial beings.
Heavy bass pounds through the speakers as Dirk works, concentrating on the robot beneath his hands. He holds out a hand and a wrench is passed to him, but the source shocks him by asking, “Hey, Bro. What are you building?”
Until Dave has held out no olive branch, and they’ve only kept up the contests
Jake grinned as he spun his only family member around the living room to the old fashioned music playing on the sound system Dave and Dirk had set them up with, the two brunets moving in sync as though they were twins and not separated by a generation.
“Jade, what say you we go do a little target practice, eh?” he asks as the music dies, and receives a smile in return. “I could teach you to use a rifle!” she gushes in response, pulling him after her and requesting to be taught
Jade giggled as she sat before the television screen, head bobbing along with the song playing through the speakers. Nepeta beamed, proud that she’d pushed so hard for both of their programs to be played, though Equius and John both stared in horror, mouthing parts of the theme song in terror—it said /what/ about Skipper Plumbthroat??
Pale hands danced across the sound equipment before their owner, in awe of the vast electronic collection. “Please tell me you have old-school vinyl,” Dave murmured, and Dirk nodded. “Give me just a second and I’ll get them.”
Considering the way the Strider brothers had been reacting to each other before, the respective JE’s were a bit concerned when they’d been in Dirk’s room for hours, making not a sound. The two bespectacled lads went to investigate only to open the door to a room full of heavy bass and grinding beats, the two blonds
John floated along on the Wind, thankful for his Gift as it changed warmth and height depending on the song he was listening to—that /they/ were listening to, his element and he. It was a short EP that Dave had made for him ages ago, simple but affectionate-sounding, and since he’d first heard it, he’d hoped it was aimed to him.
Times like this helped him forget the Game for a while. They didn’t make him feel normal—can a normal teen /fly/? But they did help him in ways he couldn’t explain.
Speaking of being helpful in word-defiant ways, he heard a shout of, “Hey, Egderp. It’s time to eat, get down here.” Smiling at the interruption, John thanked the Wind quietly and touched down next to his friend, lips tilting up as he and the blo
Do the Windy Thing
He still had nightmares about it, sometimes—not knowing what to do, a wall of fire heading toward him on the sea of oil. He loved LOWAS, but it had scared him horribly not knowing what to do his first time there, especially at night, floating on the liquid with only a mattress—highly flammable—to protect him from the effect of the fire.
He still wondered who’d told him to do the Windy Thing. He wanted to thank them, wanted to hug them or something, be they good or bad. He remembered the rush that followed
Jade winced as she fought to land the ship on the meteor, testing the control of her Void abilities as she did so. There were so many things riding on this--/everything/ was riding on this. It was unbelievably important that she not mess up, and it scared her to think that she could. The hull touched down and she eased the rest onto the giant rock, letting out a breath she hadn’t known she was holding as she let go of the wheel.
John barely beat her on the way down the hatch, which had unfolded the instant they were stopped, and
The white creature scampered along the branch of the tree outside Jane’s window and peered in to find the girl sleeping. Good, all was as planned. She knew that the others were fine—had gone to see Jake only a few hours before. The blondes were in the future and as such were a little more difficult to check in on, but they had been just fine the week before, and if the pink icon flashing on Jane’s computer through the window and the orange one that had been flashing on Jake’s were any indications, they still were.
Jade frowned at the bowl of goop and asked, “Um. Not that I doubt you at all, Jane, but…this isn’t a cupca—” “I know that! Silly girl, you have to bake it first.” The other bespectacled girl grinned and pushed past to the oven,
In another universe—a perfect universe, as far as Jade could see—she and Rose played as children, pattycake on the grass floor of the park. Dave skidded past laughing quietly, John following after with a playweapon of some sort as he yelled about the villainous Commander Strider not being able to escape him this time. The boys stopped and looked at the girls funny, asking what the prisoners were doing, and Rose quietly replied that they had no needle and cloth, so they were passing the time with a sacred ritual.
For a moment the boys are quiet, but they start playing again soon. Five minutes later, John is allowed to pounce on Dave and ‘stop’ him,
Dave’s a little nervous.
Bro, he’s fought.
Dirk, he’s fought.
He doesn’t know how to fight a robot.
Dirk urges him on, tells him that Jake has beaten the thing several times on this setting, and Dave shoots back that yeah, sure he has, but Jake is Jake, and Dave’s not some grizzly wildboy.
Dirk quickly silences the retort that comes to his lips at that.
Dave slides into fighting form, sword held tightly in his hands but loosely enough to move with him.
Five minutes later, the Brobot is in need of serious repair.
Jade lays there, wrapped in peaceful sleep, vulnerable and soft, but he just can’t bring himself to.
He might be all bark and no bite, he’s afraid.
But he can’t shake the knowledge that this is the child who spoiled him rotten with dog treats, who let him curl up with her, who scratched behind his ears.
She’d always said he was the best dog a kid could have, and here he was, trying to kill her in a different form.
He lifted his arm, holding up the sword, and couldn’t bring it down.
No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t.
He absconded with suspiciously wet eyes.
The Vast Glub
The Condesce screamed as the first waves of her lusus’ deadly voice came filtering to them. All around her, the highbloods fell first, and she felt extreme pain, though she stayed alive.
She needed to get to the Helmsman.
He was already making them fly faster by the time she got to him, and she yelled at him to drive them more quickly, to push himself to his limits, and he did. He no longer had feelings, no longer had any control over himself.
There was yellow raining from his eyes, his ears, his nose, and before the ship stopped, he grinned broadly, murmuring something that sounded like, “Carmine…,” with his last breaths.
The Psiioniic looked around in shock, a smile coming to his lips as his friend, mother, and lover all greeted him in turn—the Disciple the first to meet him, running as fast as she could and slinging her arms around him. Then the Dolorosa, and finally, the Signless was in his arms, the two holding each other as tight as they could.
Who said their death was so bad?
WV: Become the Mayor of Cans
He stacked the tiny metal cans with precision, glaring at anything that dare move. He was not going to bother with this stuff.
He labored for hours, a smile on his face once he’d finished. He needed something—more. This wasn’t right, it wasn’t—his eyes landed on his chalk, and soon, there were clouds all over the walls, sky surrounding them. Checkers laid out the plot for agricultural districts and homes, and he added a R to his sash.
He was complete.
The Mayor of Can Town.
He helped move his town into the center of the meteor, smiling up at Dave broadly—this strange, red eyed human. As they constructed more, he decided they were friends, and by the smirks
March of the Batterwitch
Jane is slaving hard over a batch of brownies when it happens.
Meteors are crashing—boom, boom, boom—and all she can do is watch, eyes wide as she begins to whimper. Roxy’s pestering her, and she flicks her window up. ‘It’s time,’ her message reads, and Jane is nodding, replying, ‘I’ll be at the roof as soon as possible.’
Roxy has explained that she’ll have to build a staircase for Jane to climb to her first Gate, and so Jane is up the stairs hurriedly, withdrawing her fork.
John is never shocked by anything Dave does. Dramatically swooning and calling out ‘Oh, Mister Egbert, oh,” whenever John is particularly slick without realizing it? Nope, he’s used to it. Making jokes about the two of them? Nuh-uh.
This is genuine, though. Dave made this for him unironically, and it almost scares him.
The music is based mostly around some melodies John played on a demo tape for him years ago, and they’ve been blended with other songs, with sound effects, to make an absolutely mindblowing track, all whirrs and heavy bass blended beautifully.
John’s never liked dubstep much, but he loves this. Especially when everything but the beat drops and it flows back to his piano, only a few things added for emphasis.
When the song is over, he’s grinning like an idiot, and Dave smiles at him.
He’s still not used to it, being able to hear a steady ‘tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock’ when he’s quiet. It carries over to his music, the beats landing a second apart, or half a second, a fourth, a sixteenth.
At first, Dirk doesn’t notice. But after the first few mixes, he’s tilting his head to the side, looking at his brother. “You can’t turn off your element, can you?” “No. Can you?”
He just chuckles and replies that if he could, he’d be more suave around Jake.
Once Dave realizes Dirk has dominion over Heart, he smirks.
He’s not the only one affected, so he discovers.
He watches Jade when she walks out away from people, watches green eyes shut to the world as she reaches out into another daydream and brings back a flower to tuck in Nepeta’s hair, as olive green as her eyes.
He sees the way that Rose can never catch any color, though she walks with Kanaya when the other just absolutely has to have sun.
Most of all, he notices John.
John wouldn’t function without the Wind, and Dave wonders how he ever did before. He uses it to talk to people from a distance, he rides on it, he uses it to pull Dave’s hair to get his attention.
The first time Jake spars with John is legendary.
As much affection as he has for the other, no one is quite sure he can throw the first punch.
Their guns and hammer have been thrown to the side, and the two are rolling around on the sparring room floor, hair getting mussed and bruises being formed and both of them laughing. Every once in a while, they’ll catch a glimpse of someone passing coins or dollars back and forth, and they laugh harder, though the fight goes on.
By the time it’s over, one of them has a bloody nose, and it’s the best fight they’ve ever had.
Jack sniggered as he reclined in the throne, watching the children fighting. They’d never pass his guards, would they? He took another drink from his goblet and hummed, closing his eyes a moment.
He opened them to pain.
A hammer slammed down on one leg, cracking the shell of his exoskeleton. Bright blue eyes stared down at him with determination, and soon, it was over.
One boss down, one to go.
They were waiting, were fighting and training and leveling up to beat Lord English.
Roxy didn’t care that they’d moved into the new house—she was keeping her stupid cats.
She curled up with them, watching the youngest bat at the yarn her ectosibling—what the two generations had decided to call each other--was knitting. She smiled at the sight and moved over to nuzzle into Rose’s leg, looking up to watch her needles click against each other almost silently.
“Teach me how—how to do that sometime.”
The darker of the two had to smile.
“Sober up, and I will.”
Roxy frowned as she stumbled over her own feet, and Dirk sighed. “No, like this.”
Not that he considered himself any kind of an expert on dancing, but he knew enough from watching videos of the old world that he could be a passable dancer, be he leading or the lead.
Across the room, two green-eyed gunsmen swayed, the girl laughing as her ectosibling dipped her low.
Rose smiled a bit at the things she saw through her crystal ball, newly acquired.
She saw the alpha session, saw her mother, Dave’s brother, John’s grandma, Jade’s grandfather.
She saw how Dirk pined, how Jake considered.
She saw Jane’s sadness at her own mistakes, and Roxy’s attempts at help.
But her favorite thing about this session was that if she peered forward enough, she could see their group interacting with the alphas.
She saw that she and Roxy didn’t keep away from each other.
She saw that Dave and Dirk only served to help each other tell their friends what needed to be said.
Jane and Jade had much needed girl bonding with each other.
Jake taught John how to open his eyes.
It had intimidated him at first, the old organ. When he played his familiar melodies, they didn’t sound right. They sounded huge—loud—sacred.
They scared him, honestly.
But at the same time, he sounded alone as he plunked his fingers along the keys, sounded like he was exactly what he was—a scrawny sixteen year old playing an instrument much too big for him.
He remembered his gloves and smiled.
An hour or two later, he’d discovered the way to play different notes using his gloves than the ones he was playing with his hands, and it sounded beautiful.
Sometimes, Dave sneaks in to listen, hands sometimes trying to mimic John’s with quiet coaxing.