Chapter 1: Cracking the Mortar
The human brain, much like the technology on a word processor, fills in and corrects ‘mistakes’ in the human memory. So when Jade Harley wakes up at the age of 18, the game over and done with, and remembers nothing? Her brain, with the help of latent coding from the game, fills in the cracks.
Suddenly it’s like five years of her life never happened. But she doesn’t know that.
She doesn’t wonder where her best friends are, because her brain tells her they drifted apart years ago, as friends sometimes do.
She doesn’t remember the three years on a ship with John. Or meeting Rose for the first time. And she certainly doesn’t remember Dave dying in her arms and desperately trying to kiss him back to life.
When she wakes up on the morning of April 13th, her first birthday since the game ended, though to her it’s just another birthday, the sun is shining brightly through the dome of her laboratory. A smile graces her face and she pads into the living room in her oversized shirt and pajama shorts, smiling out of the window at the bright day. She doesn’t really mind that she has no one to wish her a happy birthday. Instead, she heads for the kitchen and sets about making herself a treat. A cake, from scratch. For some reason, the reason being locked away in the part of her mind the game doesn’t want her to remember, she just can’t bring herself to use Betty Crocker mix.
While her cake is baking, she perches on the counter top, nose stuck in a book of poetry she ordered herself. She looks a bit like a perfectly composed photograph, sun filtering in the windows and shining off her dark, wavy hair, glasses sliding slightly down the bridge of her slim, freckled nose, legs hooked at the ankles, and one arm resting behind her comfortably, supporting her. Her phone, next to one tan, muscled thigh in the counter, buzzes. She picks it up and sees the airmail line calling her. She picks it up, tucking it between her ear and shoulder.
“Hello?” her voice is bright and cheerful, as always. “You have a package? But my scheduled grocery drop isn’t for a week! Huh, alrighty! I’ll be right out!” she slid off the counter and walked out into the island sun, shading her eyes with her hand. The roar of the copter grew as it neared the ground and dropped a parachuted package. She scooped it up and waved at the pilot, grinning broadly, and headed back inside, setting the box down and pulling the cake out of the oven. Whiel it cooled, she pulled the box over and cut the tape with a knife sitting on the counter. It was swaddled in bubble wrap, whatever it was. She unwound all the wrap and revealed the gift.
It was beautiful gilded frame, slight and ornate, with a pattern on vines wrapping around it. Inside the frame was a painting. A single red rose in bloom, a few delicate drops of dew sliding down its’ petals and a green stem with delicately spiked leaves snaking out from under it. It was beautifully detailed and painted. She looked for a card or a note, but found none. Only the letter ‘D’ written on the back of the frame in a red sharpied block letter. She pondered it for a moment, then simply shrugged, carried it up to her room, and hung it on her wall. She looked at it from time to time, trying to puzzle out who could have sent it, but usually brushed it off in favor of other thoughts, like what to cook for dinner that night, or what to watch on Netflix.
Months rolled by uneventfully, spring into summer and then summer into fall. There’s not much of a difference in seasons when you live on a tropical island, so she hardly notices the time passing. October rolls around, and October is the rainiest month of the year here. She spends most days curled up in the observatory, watching the rain pour over her island, nuzzled into a nest of blankets. On October 25th, along with her usual grocery order, she receives a large box, punched with air holes. She opens it carefully, only to find a bouquet of two dozen half bloomed roses, as red as the sky on a stormy morning, with leaves and stems greener than her eyes. They smell like heaven.
She asks the pilot who sent them, but he shrugs and tells her he’d tell her if he knew, but he hadn’t a clue. She puts them in a clear crystal vase on her breakfast table.
Her whole house smells of fresh roses for weeks.
When they start to wilt, she wraps them and hangs them upside down to dry, and hangs them underneath the oil painting she received for her birthday. It seems fitting. She dreams about frogs that night and it takes days for the inexplicable melancholia she wakes with to dissipate.
Some time after the new year, after completing her online PhD in microbiology, she decides to move to the mainland. Packing up her life is sad. As far as she knows, or fake remembers, she’s lived on this island her entire life. She finds a small apartment at a seaside town in Southern California, where it is warm enough to suit her tropical tastes. She develops a taste for the avocados from the organic grocer across the street, and she even befriends the owner, who tries repeatedly to set Jade up with her son. The apartment has a bay window looking out over the ocean, and above it she hangs the painting and the dried red roses.
By the time another birthday rolls around, she’s made a few friends in the lab she works for, doing research, and a few of them are over for a modest dinner party, mainly idle chatter and sweets. They’re several years older than her, but no one seems to notice or mind. The door bell rings and she rises to get it, seeing a small box sitting there. She cocks her head, her inky tendrils of hair shifting out of the loose bun, held together with pencils. She tears it open, suspecting somewhere in the back of her mind what it is.
Her suspicions are confirmed when she gets it open. Another gilded frame, all plant vines and leaves, with a painting in it. This time it’s a watercolor, a brilliant green orchid with a delicate dusting of red pollen. She looks at the back of the frame. Just like last time, a block letter D is written there in red Sharpie. She hangs it on the wall with the other painting and the bouquet. Her friends ask who sent them, inquiring about admirers, but Jade simply shrugs and tells the truth.
Time passes, as it is want to do, and Jade notices more, now having a job and living somewhere with seasons other than dry and wet. October rolls around and she decorates her apartment, placing a cheerful jack o lantern on her balcony. And, as she half expected, the doorbell rings on October 25th in the early hours of the evening. There waiting is a large bouquet of orchids, dyed as emerald green as she’s ever seen, and a delicate coat of red pollen and tied with filmy red ribbon. There is no note, no card, nothing. She puts them in the same crystal vase and they sit on her coffee table until they start to droop, and she dries and hangs them with the paintings, just like the roses.
Life goes on. She gets a promotion, dates a co-worker, gets her heart broken, and moves on. She spends a lot of time at the water, and is slowly but surely learning to surf, her already tan and toned arms and legs growing moreso. She gets published for the first time in a major science magazine, and throws a small party to celebrate.
Every once in awhile she dreams of frogs, or a lost golden moon, or a glowing ship, or, most hauntingly, a pair of soft red eyes. She doesn’t understand these dreams, but she awakes from them shaking and cold, and it usually takes at least two days for her to feel normal again. The last time she dreamt of the red eyes, she awoke to a heavy cold weight on her body, as if someone had been lying beside her and left suddenly.
Another April 13th rolls around, and just as she predicted, another package. It’s not a painting this time, but a drawing, done in oil pastel, all rich textures and strong lines. It’s of a bunch of lilac, delicate purple blossoms held together by a thick blue ribbon, fluttering in an imaginary breeze. She traces her finger over the now familiar D over and over again, trying to recall every person she’d ever met who had a name that begun with a D. She recalled a few people, but none of them made sense.
Two or three hours north, in a Hollywood bungalow, Dave Strider punches the wall in frustration, much to his sister’s dismay.
‘Strider, I know you hate that she doesn’t remember. But if you tell her she might go into shock. The best we can do is hope to jog her memory.” Dave snarls at her, and John shakes his head sympathetically, frowning. None of them like the situation they’ve been put in, living life with out their fourth best friend, but Rose has a point. They all managed to remember and find each other. Jade is still lost, or in denial.
So every year on her birthday he sends her a painting or drawing of a flower. And on the anniversary of the end of the game, he sends her a bouquet of whatever was in the painting, and hopes one day that bold red D will make her remember him. He takes a swig of scotch and throws himself onto the sofa.
Come October 25th, a bouquet of lilacs tied with blue ribbon appears on her doorstep, and as usual there is no note. But they smell delightful and when they dry they turn the most beautiful shade of purple.
One night in December she has a dream, more vivid than any she has had before. She can almost feel the mud of a marsh beneath her feet, hear the crack and smell the burn of gun powder, feel the weight of a person in her arms, and those eyes, those red eyes staring straight through her. She wakes up, her body wracked with sobs and guilt and grief for someone she can’t remember. But she realizes, after three years, that there is something she’s forgotten.
She reads all her old journals and checks old pesterlogs and looks in old sketch books, and it’s there, it nags at the very back of her mind, like a hangnail that just won’t rip away. She thinks she might be a little bit crazy, but she can’t shake this feeling that her own brain is hiding something from her.
At one point her frustration is so strong she punches her window. She gets 17 stitches and has to pay for an entire new window for her bathroom. She spends a lot of time tracing the letter D on the back of the frames, staring at the flowers and trying to put two and two together.
Her dreams get even worse, slowly turning into nightmares. She doesn’t sleep much anymore, and her work is suffering. She keeps it together enough to not get fired, but she’s so preoccupied that it’s April 13th before she has a chance to notice it’s not cold anymore. But instead of a buzz from the bell there’s a knock. When she opens the door, it’s not just a package but a person, and the minute she sees the sandy hair and the dark shades and the red sleeves, the wall between what the game does and doesn’t want her to remember starts to crumble.
Dave Strider nods at her and hands her a box wrapped in black paper, silver and green galaxies swirling on it.
“Can I come in?”
Chapter 2: A Leaky Dam
“Can I come in?”
Jade blinked at him, staring, unsure what to do or say.
‘I-I know you…’ she stammered out, her voice quiet and hesitant “I don’t remember where from but I think I dream about you sometimes?”
“So uh, is it okay if I come in? Just for a minute?” she can’t see past his shades, but his eyes are terrified, terrified she’ll kick him out, frustrated that she doesn’t know him when he knows her so well, or did once upon a time, and seeing her is hard. Holy fuck, is it hard. He hasn’t seen her in years, and here she is, a few feet away, looking all the world just like she should, close enough to touch, to wrap in his arms and welcome her home, but he can’t. He can’t brush her cheek with his thumb and wrap her in his arms because she has no clue who he is. And the last thing he wants to do is frighten her. So he keeps a respectable distance, sitting at the edge of her sofa, setting the gift on the table and looking up with her, his mouth set in a straight line.
Rose had told him this was a bad idea, that he shouldn’t go see her, but it had been almost four years. He couldn’t take it, knowing she was so close. So he went out on a limb.
Jade sits heavily in the arm chair, visibly shaken, as she wracks her mind, trying to figure out who this boy is. And of course she remembers Dave Strider, her childhood friend, but she doesn’t remember meeting him, doesn’t remember ever seeing his face, so her brain can’t put together the boy who died in her arms to the boy she used to make music with to the man sitting in her living room.
“Who are you?” she asks finally, after several minutes of strained silence. He knew she was going to ask, but the question hits him like a punch anyway. Knowing someone forgot you in theory and having them acknowledge that fact right in front of you are two very different things and it hurts more than he thought it would.
“I’m Dave. Dave Strider.” She looks at him perplexed for a minute before speaking.
“But… But we haven’t spoken since I was 12 or 13! Why would you hunt me down almost 10 years later?”
“Because Jade,” he says, fighting to keep his voice clear and level “Because it hasn’t been that long. It’s only been four years.”
“…What?” she’s pushing herself further back into her chair now, narrowing her eyes. She looks confused and frightened. Dave just looks away, and glances at the walls, the flowers and the paintings catching his eye. He smiles slightly, one corner of his mouth quirking up just barely.
“You kept them.” He says quietly. “You didn’t know who they were from, or why you got them, but you kept them. “ he looks down at his worn sneakers. “I knew you would.” He pushes the new box towards her and nods at her to open it. She nods, her hands shaking, and gently peels the tape off, not wanting to rip the beautiful paper. Sliding the frame out of the box, she’s taken aback. It’s an oil painting, like the first one was. But it’s not just one kind of flower, like all these others. The canvas is crossed with brilliantly green vines, with fox gloves done in shining sapphire, the delicate purple lilacs woven in with the foxgloves on the same vine. Sprouting up from the bottom of the canvas were orchids and roses, emerald green and ruby red, the stems and leaves of the two plants weaving and twisting and braiding together, then twisting into the vines of the foxgloves and lilacs. The petals and leaves were all wet, as if in the strange fantasy world of this painting a spring rain has just fallen.
“It’s.. it’s beautiful. I mean, they’re all beautiful but this one is just… wow.” Dave shrugged, fighting a smile.
“Thanks. Painting’s a… it’s a good way to get rid of all the bullshit from the game. Lose myself for awhile… Shit. Shit I wasn’t supposed to say that. Gog fucking damnit.”
“Game… game? What game?” she knitted her brows together, frowning at him. He sighed. It was a heavy sound, a sad sound, a tired sound.
“Do you ever feel, Jade, like you’ve forgotten something? Or a lot of somethings I guess. But you just… you don’t remember forgetting anything important?” she tilts her head at him, nodding, biting her lower lip with her still too big teeth. He sighed again, hand twitchy against his knee. He hadn’t wanted to do this but.. it just might work. “Well… I think, I think I can jog your memory just a little.” He turns slightly in his seat to face her, hands reaching up and reluctantly sliding his shades off of his face.
And there they are. Those eyes. The soft red eyes that haunt her dreams and nightmares, the blood red eyes of the boy who dies in her arms every night, the warm but distant red eyes she didn’t remember seeing until just now, and suddenly it’s like she’s been shot. She breathes in sharply, like a wounded animal. Her voice is tight when she speaks.
“You need to go.”
“Wh- No, Jade, please, I can-“
“You need. To go.” Her fingers are digging into the arms of her chair so hard it looks like she might tear the fabric. She gets up finally, practically pushing him out the door and shutting it behind him. She slides down the door, landing in a sitting position, and balls her fists tightly, letting out a scream of frustration that borders on a sob. Dave hears her, through the door, and it takes every ounce of his considerable self control to not bust in the door and tell her everything and try to fix it, try to help her, because, damn it, he may be out of the game but he’s still the knight and knights don’t just let their best friends sob on the floor alone.
But he resigns himself to leaving. This is not Sburb, and it’s certainly no fairytale he wants to be part of. He is not a knight in shining armor. He’s a broken man who still feels like a boy, hiding behind a pair of old aviators. And Jade is not a damsel in distress, not by a long shot. She’s just a young woman who forgot where she came from and who isn’t prepared for the realities of remembering. He opens the door to his vintage Ford convertible, red of course, and burns rubber back to his place.
Slumped against the door, Jade bangs her head back against it once, hard, letting out another scream. She didn’t know what to think. How could her brain be just…hiding information from her? That didn’t make sense!
At heart, Jade Harley was a scientist. So she knew what Dave had said was entirely possible. But she didn’t want to think about the implications of having forgotten ten years of her life. How much of what she knew was a lie? She laced her fingers into her hair, squeezing, a sob escaping her throat. She took a deep breath, trying to pull herself together. Slowly she stood, not moving from the doorway, staring at the wall. For lack of any more logical ideas, she slammed her fist into the door. She yelped, jumping back and rubbing her knuckles, looking at the raw skin there now, and the swiftly forming bruise. She had no idea what else to do, so she threw herself into bed and went to sleep.
She did not sleep soundly. The dam built up to keep memories of the game out was crumbling, bits and pieces leaking out into her dreams. They were more vivid now, but choppy There were no smooth movie scene transitions. She saw bullets from her own gun rip through Dave’s chest, she felt his still warm, bleeding lips under hers as she sobbed, desperate and alone, trying to bring him back. She saw herself, poised on the bow of a gold ship speeding through space, a boy in blue behind her. She saw her own death. She saw a blonde girl, draped in orange robes, running towards her and hugging her warmly. And those eyes, those damn red eyes, soft and warm, staring at her from a distance and she dreamt remembered the way her heart had thrummed in her chest that he was alive he was real he was right there.
There were more flashes, violent battles full of flares of red and blue and green and the smell of burning, and the clank of metal on metal, and the sick wet sound of metal in flesh, and the sound of sobbing and the rustling of clothes as arms wrap around her, lifting her off the ground.
She woke suddenly, sobbing loudly, her body shaking and drenched in a cold sweat. She didn’t check the time. All she did was bolt out of bed, run a quick but thorough internet search and ducks into her lime green Beetle, tearing off into the night.
The hours on the road, scenery streaming by, do not clear her head. If anything, it clouds it worse. It gives her time to speculate as she white knuckles the wheel all the way to Hollywood and parks in front of the address the internet said was Dave Strider’s. She knocks, without regard to the late hour. He answers the door, rubbing his eyes sleepily and gapes at her, speechless and confused.
“Dave Strider, you tell me everything. And you tell me now.”
Chapter 3: The Flood
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“Dave Strider, you tell me everything. And you tell me now.”
Dave blinks at the clearly upset Jade Harley standing on his door step. He pulls his phone out of his pocket and checks the time. 4:13 am. Of fucking course, he thinks.
“Come in.” he says, yawning. She wanders through the door, glancing around his small Hollywood bungalow. Dave vanished into the kitchen and a few seconds later, the buzz and trickle of a coffee maker could be heard. He came back out from the kitchen, carrying a package of Little Debbie snacks and tossed them onto the table.
“Coffee will be done in a minute. And once I have my coffee, we’ll talk.” She nodded at him, standing awkwardly in the corner, one arm crossed over her torso, gripping her opposite elbow, her eyes red and swollen from crying. He frowns slightly, noting her bruised knuckles, and vanishes again, reappearing a moment later with a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a green dishtowel. He hands it to her without a word and she looks at him gratefully, pressing the cold vegetable bag onto her sore hand, wincing at the pressure. After another few minutes of awkward silence, Dave leaves and returns with two cups of coffee, a carton of half and half, and a jar of sugar, setting everything down on the end table in his living room.
“Well, take a seat. Trust me when I say you won’t want to be standing when you hear what I have to recount.” She nods, making up a cup of coffee, with too much cream and too much sugar, she needs something to get the bitter taste of forgetfulness out of the back of her throat. Settling into the arm chair, she look over at him, all lanky limbs and unbrushed hair and barely there, blonde five o’clock shadow.
“So we played a game together.”
“If you want to call it that. We started playing on John’s birthday. Well. Now, after the reset the game seems to have done to your brain, it’s your birthday too. Technically it’s all of our birthdays. We just got sent to earth later, you, me and my… sort of sister Rose. The game was called SBurb.” He stops for a second, glancing up at her. “Anything ringing any bells yet?” she shook her head.
“Well we all played SBurb. Or maybe it played us. I’m not sure yet. Essentially we destroyed the world, and then we had to fix it. It took us five years. Three of which we spent split in two. You and John, your sort of brother, zooming through space on a giant golden battleship” her eyes changed for a second, and he stopped. “Remembering something?”
“The-the boat. I dream about that boat. I started having weird dreams not too long after you started sending the flowers and the flower paintings. I dream about the boat, and a boy in blue… John?” Dave nods “And a blonde girl.. Rose?” he nods again. “And I… I dream about you but it’s never um… happy.” She shifts awkwardly, and Dave winces.
“That would be the one thing you remember. God fuck that game. “ he pauses “Maybe this isn’t right. Maybe I’m the one who fucked up. You were living your life, happily, not suffering all the bullshit the other three of us are, you got to be normal. And I ruined that for you. Shit, I’m a fucking asshole.” He rested his hands on his knees, running his hands into his hair in frustration.
“I don’t think so. I mean… I don’t know you, not anymore, but from the looks of it… once upon a time we were really close and looking at what you’ve done? Keeping your distance for years when you knew how to find me, when I’m somebody you care about and want to see again, settling for sending me beautiful paintings of my favorite thing, flowers, and just sort of sat back and watched my life move on while you remembered our friendship and I didn’t.”
Dave smiles at her slightly. She may not remember everything but she’s still Jade, just as she always was. Even when she doesn’t know him she can’t fault him for anything. She never could. So her pours himself another cup of coffee and sits back, telling her the whole sordid tale of SBurb. Every detail.
He tells her about all the times everyone died, about god tier, about the asteroid, he tells her things he never got to tell her before, like about Terezi hanging all over him on the asteroid and about the Mayor, and about the whole ordeal with Karkat and the dick Ouija. And every once in awhile he’d see those green eyes flash with recognition, and know that something had come back to her. She listened with interest, and neither of them noticed the sun come up a little after six am, nor did the notice the hours passing after that. Their reverie was broken only by a buzz at Dave’s door. He looked startled, as if he’d been awoken suddenly from a nap. A lightbulb goes off.
“Oh. Rose and John. I forgot they were coming over… You can leave if you want. But I’d like it if you stayed, and I think they would too.” Jade nods, yawning and reaching for the coffee, pouring more, still with too much cream and too much sugar. He smiles at her, and pulls on a t-shirt from the clean clothes hamper before opening the door.
“Hey guys. Come on in, but be warned, I’ve got some unexpected company.”
“What do you m-“ Rose started to speak but stopped when she saw Jade sitting in the arm chair, clutching one of Dave’s ‘ironic’ Aperture Science coffee mugs. “Dave Strider what the fuck did you do?” she whisper shouts at him.
“Um… I came here actually?” Jade offers from her seat. “He came to see me yesterday, I mean, but he didn’t tell me anything and he left when I asked him too, but I uh, I remembered some stuff while I was sleeping and sort of bolted over here in crazed panic and made him tell me everything.”
“Well, Strider, I can’t say I approve but… I guess I’m glad our Jade is back.” She smiles down at her softly. John nods in the background, seemingly struck quiet. Rose sits down next to Dave on the sofa, and questions Jade briefly for a few minutes, her therapist’s interests piqued, but soon their talking dissolves into idle chatter of four friends catching up on their lives and munching, slowly but surely, through all of Dave’s junk food.
The next couple of months are not easy for Jade. The nightmares still happen, so bad that at one point she sleeps on Dave’s sofa for a week. Whenever she wakes up, terrified and shaking, even if she hasn’t made a sound, he’s always right there, leaning against the sofa, waiting for her eyes to open. She’s not sure how he does it, but she’s grateful.
Bit by bit, she remembers more and more of her past life, all the bits that got replaced, the ones that were erased completely. It’s not always easy or fun, remembering finding your grandfather dead, or that your childhood pet became a murderous hellbeast. But her friends are there, and one of them is always willing to fill her in on something, or just hold her until the shaking stops.
October rolls around, and even though she sort of remembers now, the flowers come anyway, the biggest bouquet yet, and Dave is holding them, waiting for her to answer the door, and then he takes the four of them out to a nice dinner, and she rides shot gun in his red convertible, giggling as the wind whips her crazy hair around.
And she thinks that maybe she could get used to this. Yes, she has a lot more painful memories now than she did before, and she doesn’t know if her memories will ever be perfect, but she’s gained three best friends back. The night mares still come some nights, but Dave is always willing to talk her through it on the phone, or drive up there and lay down next to her until she calms enough to sleep again.
Eventually she moves out of her apartment and stays with Dave while she looks for a place to live nearer to him and John and Rose. By the time a year has rolled by, she more or less remembers everything, but something is nagging at her, so one day at lunch with Rose, she brings it up.
“Were Dave and I… together? At any point during the game?” Rose sighs, biting her lip and contemplating how best to answer a somewhat delicate question.
“No. Not together. Does Dave have feelings for you? Yes. He wants to be your knight in shining armor, but A. He doesn’t believe himself knightly enough and B. He doesn’t see you as a damsel in distress type. He will not, however, do anything untoward to you without your consent. He respects you, that I’ve never doubted a day in my life.”
“Okay. I wanted to check, because I wasn’t sure if my unresolved emotions were really just that, or if I had forgotten we were together.” Rose smirks slightly, nodding.
“I always knew you had feelings for that idiot.” Her smirk turns to a warm smile. “You suit each other well. I should get going, I have an appointment in less than an hour.” The girls rose to their feet, hugging briefly, and headed their separate ways. Jade flopped down onto the sofa back at Dave’s place and thought, staring up at his ceiling, with the mural of the night sky painted on it.
She was in love with him. She didn’t doubt that. Some of it remembered, some of it new, but regardless, it didn’t matter She wasn’t sure how to tell him or if she should or when or anything. People were not Jade Harley’s strong suit, that was science. People made less sense than science. About an hour later, the door swung open and Dave walked through, smiling at her and moving her feet to sit down in the sofa.
“Dave?” she pipes up suddenly.
“Hm?” he looks over at her, raising an eyebrow beneath his shades.
“I need to talk to you… but I want you to take your shades off first.” He looks at her, skeptical, but sees the serious set of her jaw and the worried squint in her green eyes and he nods, pushing them up and into his hair, skewing his artfully disheveled coif.
“What’s up, Miss Harley?”
“I didn’t forget, you know.” She whispers, reaching a hand out to rest on his face. “That’s why it was always your eyes I was dreaming about. Some part of me remembered it.”
“Remembered what, my eyes?”
“No. Some part of me remembered that I loved you.” She says it quietly, the confession without grandeur, and then she leans in to him, kissing him softly and slowly but soundly, and he leans into her, stroking her hair with one hand. “Just because I’m not some damsel in distress, doesn’t mean I don’t need a knight. Especially when said knight is my best friend.”
Dave says nothing and just smiles, because even a Strider knows that not all times are times for sarcasm and extended metaphors. Instead he laces his fingers into hers and wraps his other arm around her, leaning in to kiss her again.
Jade Harley had been lost for five years, wandering aimlessly through life because she didn’t see that she’d forgotten the people she used to live for.
It has taken her five years to get there, but when Dave wraps his arms around her, she is finally home again.
They plant a garden in the yard of his bungalow, and get a swing set and a grill, and she helps him with his murals sometimes. They even paint the door, black, with swirls of green galaxies and glowing white and green stars, weaving in and out of red gears. They both end up covered in paint and giggling, collapsed in the grass in a tangle of limbs. And in the garden they grow lilac, and red roses, and specially bred green orchids, and foxgloves, and even forget-me-nots.
There are now three days a year Dave gives her gifts. On her birthday she gets a new painting, on the anniversary of the game she gets a bouquet, and addition to whatever book or trinket he’s bought her, on their anniversary he gives her a packet of seeds to the latest breed of flower.
They fight on occasion, like any couple does, when Jade blames herself too much or Dave won’t express himself. But at the end of the day, they love each other.
And neither will ever forget that that is enough.
Well, here it is! The end of my silly little Post SBurb semi-AU fic! I hope you all enjoyed it and pleas,e tell me what you think! <3