Dave ==> Wake up
The alarm clock blares persistently, yelling at you to get up.
You reach out toward it blindly, feeling around for the snooze button. But before you reach it, your hand finds something better: your timetables. One of them anyway. You scratch it, manipulate time, and the alarm stops. Another hour or two of sleep. Then you'd get up.
Or restart time again and grab a few more Z's. Whatever.
What the hell?
Suddenly, you shoot up out of bed as if the sheets were catching fire. You whirl around and look at the clock. The numbers 4:14 stare at you blankly, casting a slight, eerie, red glow in the dark of your room. You stare at them for a few more moments, and that’s when the memories come back. One by one.
The sky set alight with meteors, the crow, the egg, entering the medium, connecting to Rose's server, John dying, John living. You remember prototyping yourself, the orange, feathery asshole you turned into. The trolls, the imps, the swords, Bro dead, John dead again, Rose dead. And then you. You remember dying, bathed in blood, so many times.
You double over in pain as if you can feel every bullet in your chest, every knife wound, every single death you have ever experienced. The memories keep coming, playing inside your head like one of Egbert's stupid movies. The nakodiles, the frogs, Jack Noir, Bec Noir, Jade, her face as you died again. And then there was Derse, the moon, the tumor, Rose and her stupid ball of yarn, the explosion, another dead Dave. And then...god tier.
You crumble onto the floor into a ball, clawing at your face. "Make it stop!" You think you say. "Make it stop, make it stop, make it fucking STOP!" But the pain, the memories, they persist and you are powerless to stop them. Images flash in your mind. The scratch, the reset, another session, new but old. Meeting the trolls, riding on the meteor, manipulating time, dying, dying, dying. Confronting Noir. Killing him. Winning.
Winning...did you really win? Did you really beat the unbeatable game?
Everything stops as suddenly as it had started. The pain vanishes and the memories relent. You are able to catch your breath as you catch up with the world, extremely nauseous and shaken, but otherwise intact. You open your eyes without realizing you had closed them. A far away voice is shouting, calling your name, but you can barely make it out. You only stare in shock, gaze drifting to somewhere on the old stained carpet. You won. You won the game. It was over now. It was fucking over.
Rough hands grab your shoulders and shake you hard. Your head bangs on the floor, and the hands drop you immediately. You close your eyes again, shake your head to clear your thoughts, then open them once more. Your vision is blurry, but everything comes into focus in a moment, and you can see orange eyes staring at you with concern.
Alarm floods your system. Bro never looks at you like that, never looks at anyone like that, and the fact that he's looking at you nearly sets you on the verge of hysteria. But your name is Dave Strider, and you know of no such thing. So instead, you compose yourself - or at the very least, you try. You sit up, leaning on your elbows, with what is probably the classic 'deer in the headlights' expression, unnaturally forced upon your face. And as your eyes dart around the room, you try to bring your defenses back up, but as you look back at your brother you know that won't be happening anytime soon. You can feel your heart beating against your chest, seeking liberation from it's cage, as you ask, "What's wrong?" You know it's a stupid question given your current situation, but stupidity isn't easily stopped at four in the morning.
Your brother seems calmer now that you're awake. He backs up a bit and sits down on the floor. "What’s wrong?" he says, bewildered, concerned. "You're lying on the floor in fuckin' fetal position and you're asking me what's wrong? Scared me half to death, kid."
You look around the room again, as if only now realizing exactly what had happened. You look back at Bro again. He keeps staring at you, and you notice how unnerving it is, looking at him without your shades. You can't remember the last time you'd seen him without them.
Except...you can. He was dead then. Cold, and lifeless, bleeding out onto the hard dirt floor.
For a second you think your eyes are deceiving you. Because he looks as alive as ever now, looking at you intently, trying to understand what the hell is wrong with you because you are seeing dead people at the ungodly hour of three in the morning. You are Dave Strider, and you are loosing it.
Except he isn't dead and you aren't on LOHAC or LOFAF or Derse or Prospit or anywhere else. You are in your fucking room. At fucking four in the morning.
And he is fucking alive.
"The hell, Dave?" he prompts after several seconds pass by. You can see that you're scaring him a bit, or would, if he wasn't a Strider. "What the fuck is going on?"
"I...Bro...what the hell?" is your incredible response.
"I don't fucking know. Why don't you fucking clue me in?" He is sarcastic, rolling his eyes, but there is a bit of an edge to his voice.
Slowly, still holding his gaze, you stand carefully, as if at any moment the floor will break apart and melt into the hot lava that you have grown so used to. "Dude…you're alive…"
Bro stands as well, unsure what to make of what you've just said. "Really," he tells you, increasing his sarcasm. "Fucking really? I had no idea, Dave. Thanks for waking me up to tell me that."
You're tone is somewhat accusatory when you tell him, "You we're dead! Noir killed you!" And there is a part of you that wants to tackle-hug your brother and another part of you that's wondering why he isn't tackle-hugging you. Because after all that's happened, after all this time, when you imagined finally seeing him again, you kinda thought maybe that would be how shit went down. And then you'd order pizza and he would beat you at some video games and everything would be normal again. Or at least as close to normal as things ever got around here. But there are no tackle-hugs. And there is no pizza, or video games, or even a whisper of normalcy. There is only you and your brother, staring at each other through the darkness.
And as the moments tick by, you count every second until he finally says something.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?"
"You...you were dead. Noir killed you."
"Who the hell is Noir?"
And that is when it hits you. This is when your world officially crumbles into nothingness, long past the point of no return. Your brother honestly doesn't know what you're talking about when you say that he has been dead for the last three fucking years. And even though you know, you need to hear him say it. So you ask. You say to him, "You don't remember." And he looks at you blankly before rubbing his temples in a rare display of frustration.
"Look kid. You just had a bad dream or something. Go back to bed." He orders. And then he walks out the door, unnaturally quiet, unnaturally calm.
The door closes, and you are left feeling more alone then ever before. Because Bro doesn't remember. The whole time you had been playing the game, the weight of his death was heavy on your shoulders. And yeah, after you found his body, you were a little reckless, a little stupid. But when you finally started playing the game, playing for real, you played hard. You played by your own rules. You played to win. And all you could think about during all that time was what you wouldn't give to tell him that you were sorry for screwing up, sorry that he might have died because you weren't man enough to face reality. You couldn't tell him that through some twisted logic, through some twisted time loops, that his death might have been your fault. And now you could.
But it wouldn't mean anything.
Because he doesn't remember any of it.
And if he doesn't remember, what about John, and Jade, and Rose? What about their guardians? The Trolls? Did they remember?
Did they even exist?
Were you going insane?
Because you refuse to think for even a second that everything you all had been through was nothing more than a dream.
You frantically look around for something, anything, that can tell you that you are right, that you aren't going mad. Your eyes land on the one time table by the alarm clock. You give yourself half of a second to wonder where the other one is before you lunge for it, desperate to hold it in your hands. And soon it is in your possession, the cold vinyl a comfort to you. You hold it tightly, looking at it for a long time. You scratch the record repeatedly, wanting to hear the ticking of reality as time flies backwards. You want to feel the fabric of time as you tear it apart and put it back together again in a completely different way. But something is wrong. Nothing happens, no matter how viciously you scratch at it's surface.
It's just an ordinary record.