==> You are Dave Strider.
“I just don’t sea why you humans take all the liberty of eating all kinds of fishes but you take such bad care of the water system,” Feferi says, reclining back on her hands that brace her on the dock. Sometimes, she reminded you of one of those activists you see on TV, most often being made fun of by the various ironic/pseudo-ironic shows that had taken over most stations in a desperate attempt to hold the ever-declining interest in video media.
Of course, there was something different about the way Feferi talks about it. In some way, it’s like she is the ocean, even if she doesn’t have a monstrous caretaker living down there any more.
“Or, took, anyways,” she murmurs, kicking her feet and trailing the water.
“You’re right, that’s a very important thing, that thing you were just talking about,” you tell her with a perfect poker face. “You should start a petition about things that happened in an alternate universe that’s a copy of ours in paradox space that no one knows about.”
She makes a face at you; purses her black, full lips. “I get the eeling you’re not being very sea-ncere.” Oh, come on! That fish pun didn’t even work. They were endearing as ‘shell’, though.
“What tipped you off, Merbabe?”
She gives you a wet-fisted, forceless punch in the cheek and you grin, touching one of her submerged feet with the side of your own. It was weird, unexpected, the fact that you two had been spending so much time together. You’d remembered John’s reaction being basically, ‘what, you mean the fish one?’
But for being ‘the fish one’, she was fascinating in a lot of ways that you hadn’t expected. She had this sort of enthusiasm for life that leaked into everyone who spent more than an hour with her. Maybe that was what her title had done, after all – give you a zest for life. But then she had a wild side, an unbridled courage, and sometimes a lack of foresight or acknowledgement of consequences that had you doing damage control like a fucking one-man disaster team. She lived like she was dying.
And you couldn’t help but be charmed at the way she was curious about even the tiniest things – how turntables worked and why you liked them, and all the sea creatures on your shelf of dead shit.
It was cliché, but everything about her screamed summer – she screamed beaches and Indie music and short skirts and stargazing. In that way, it was sort of inevitable that you wanted to be around her all the time. It was inevitable that you liked a girl who was the embodiment of every good thing in life. She was quickly taking a coveted spot in your personal photo gallery.
You’d spent the whole summer glued to her side, now, or at least what constituted as ‘glued’ for Dave no-commitment Strider. Whenever she could spare a moment, anyway. None of you were kids any more, after the game – literally and metaphorically; you’d come out of it age 17, squeezing as much good out of your new life as possible. Feferi was involved in literally every-fucking-thing: volunteering at one summer camp and attending another, and she couldn’t refuse any invitations from her leagues of friends.
Your summer, rather, had mostly consisted of hanging out with some of the others, and spending time at John’s and Karkat’s houses, respectively (though the latter normally was also spent with either John or Terezi present to keep you from killing each other). Your first time deejaying officially had been another thing that had happened – Feferi and Jade had both come to see you, then. Being in the booth had been exhilirating and something you knew you definitely wouldn’t be doing just once.
But you’d spent a lot of time with Feferi, and she loved it just as much as you (her ex-moirail, however, liked it considerably less than either of you). At first it had been a little uncomfortable, too – asking her to hang out was as hard for you as summoning up the courage to ask someone on a date. Of course, it had become considerably easier as the summer progressed and now you’d gone on a whopping three dates, and several patented ‘Strider dates’, which were what you generally thought most of your hanging out sessions were.
Those times were the best, anyway. You weren’t partial as much to taking her to the movies to sit uncomfortably and reach for her hand in the popcorn, or to going out for a fast food dinner. The ‘Strider dates’ were just like now: when you hung out on the beach, sun beating down on either of you, until the hot sun softened into a red-tinted twilight, and you two laid in the sand and traced each others’ respective freckles and made jokes and laughed and knocked down sandcastles like twin godzillas without the scales or the tiny screaming Japanese people.
She hops into the water abruptly, the splash sending cooling water flying all over your crisping white chest (you were going to be a lobster after this particular not-date). You manage to shield yourself with one arm as she starts slinging salty water at you.
“Come on, let’s go on a little adventure! I found a reely cool place not too far from here that you’re gonna glub!” Her voice practically drips with nautical puns.
“Mm, no, I’m gonna sit right here and bake for a little while longer. I’m not done yet.”
She makes a face at you, then puts her hands on her hips. Underwater. A pointless gesture, but one she makes all the same. “Dave Strider,” she says, facial fins flaring upward and sparkling with the gold sunlight, “if you don’t get in the water right now I’m gonna make you get in the hard way!”
She wraps two smooth hands around your ankles and before she gives you a chance to respond, you’re underwater, oh God you’re drowning, no wait you’re surfacing, sputtering and getting the salty water out of your face.
“Way to give a guy no options!” You spout, and she just laughs in that crazy, happy way you’ve become used to.
“C’mon,” she says, “let’s go!”
You figure you’ve got no other option, so you swim alongside her. She’s ten times faster than you normally, but she holds onto your forearm and it slows her down, but it still speeds up your journey to get wherever it is she’s going. The two of you pass under great stones eroded into different shapes by the trial of years of waves eroding at them, one in a perfect arc that seems to welcome you onto a little white-sand beach, where Feferi pulls herself to a standing position and you follow suit. There aren’t a lot of fish around here so the prettiest thing gliding through the water is her, and you feel no qualms at having left your goggles back on the dock.
She wrings out her hair with her hands like it’s little more than a large cloth towel and gives you a sharp-toothed smile, motioning for you to follow her as she begins to ascend a rocky, dirty, and nearly vertical slope.
“Hey Fef, I’m really starting to doubt your sanity – you don’t intend to murder me up here, do you?” You ask her teasingly from a little behind her before either of you vault onto a grassy, sloping expanse. Covered in the tiny white flowers indicative of the season, the hilly thing still isn’t the best view at this point. Covered in dirt from climbing up this high, you realize exactly why she wanted to get you up here.
“Have you ever cliff-dived?” She asks you with the brightest grin imaginable. It fits well on her face, despite how if it were just the slightest bit wider it would be enough to get her into a ward. No – it fit perfectly for her, with the way her black, wet hair still framed her heart-shaped face, the way her grin set perfectly under her little nose.
“Never too late to try new things,” you answer, with a glance downward at the sea below. You’d never let on how a height like that, combined with your experience in bodyslamming, made your stomach do a little flip.
“I thought it would be fun, and I used to do it when I was a wriggler – but the cliffs were never this high,” she admits, looking over as well. The look on her face, though, is more one of unrestrained eagerness.
She pulls herself to her feet, dusting off her soaked skirt, which the dirt relentlessly clings to despite her best efforts. You stand up as well, and turn to her, taking a steadying breath as either of you walk to the edge. You wiggle your toes.
“So, we’re really doing this?”
“We’re making it happen,” she answers without missing a beat. Oh yeah. She’s the one for you.
She gives you a grin and takes your hand, and you pause for just a moment. “If we die after this,” you start, only half-teasingly, “I want you to know beforehand that I want you to be my girlfriend.”
You said it. It hangs there in the air, in all its thereness, without a breeze or anything to blow it away. It is undeniably, mockingly there.
Her fuchsia eyes stare up at you, wide and smiling regardless of what the expression on her face is (surprise, for the record). She leans up on her toes and presses her soft, wet lips against yours, and it’s a shockingly pleasant experience. Your free hand goes to her hip, before she pulls slowly away.
“Is that a yes?” You ask her.
She’s grinning again.
And then she’s jumping – and then you’re jumping too, and you’re falling, your hands clasped together, gasping and screaming and cheering like your brain is manning the reaction for every emotion you could possibly have at a given moment.
It hurts when you hit the water. Your hand loses hers in the surf, and you’re underwater, and you forgot to take a breath. The water squeezes the air greedily out of your lungs and goes up your nose where it is certainly not invited.
But after a long time, you surface. And judging by the crashing nearby (you haven’t exactly opened your eyes yet), Feferi has surfaced too. “Yes,” she yells over the sound of the waves hitting your flesh, and she laughs openly, the sound lost in the wind and water. “It was a yes!”
Kissing Feferi Peixes was actually the best experience in the world, and you did it over and over after you two pulled yourselves onto the shore, breathless. After you dried off with discarded towels and reunited thankfully with the dry clothes you’d left for yourselves. You press a kiss on her temples and her forehead and you smile, letting crazy, stupid summery feelings take you over, forgetting that irony and anything exist except wet, big-lipped kisses. Like kissing a goldfish.
Laying on towels and staring up at the soft July twilight, now dry and listening to music from your car (with its tricked-out speakers), her shoulder touches yours. A gentle touch, simple. An expressive one nonetheless.
“I like you,” she says after a moment, looking up at the single star that has appeared in the sky.
“Oh, now you tell me,” you retort with a slight smile.
“No, I mean – I don’t pity you. I liiiike you!” She giggles.
“Well now, ain’t that an improvement?”
“Maybe there’s hope for me yet!”
“Maybe there is,” you answer with a chuckle. “Crazy broad.”
She just laughs. And there’s a lot you don’t know about her and a lot she doesn’t know about you. But you’ve got all summer to figure that out, and all you want to do right now is lay there and laugh with her.