“WV,” a soft voice called, rousing the dersite. “WV, wake up. It’s morning already and you have to help out with breakfast. Come on, sleepyhead.”
He felt PM’s fingers entangle themselves with his and his eyes fluttered open, already prepared to beg her for five more minutes of sleep.
Except it wasn’t her.
Terezi smiled at him but it wasn’t the smile he was so used to—it was broken. Her eyes were no longer masked by her glasses and, for the first time ever,he saw them dripping with tears. WV wanted to ask why she was crying, but noticed her torn shirt and remembered why.
“This is it. Come on, you two, let’s go wreck Lord what’s-his-face’s shit before he wrecks ours.”
He looked around and realized he was lying in the middle of Can Town, a makeshift bed of clothes beneath him. How did he get here? He tried to remember but his head hurt too much to let him think properly.
“Well, shit. All my plans of being the king of Can Town can go to hell now that democracy has returned.”
WV turned around and was happy to see a relatively-unscathed Dave leaning against the frame of the door, smiling at the carapace. The boy made his way to WV and knelt down next to him to softly bump his fist against WV’s shoulder.
“Nice to see you awake, man.”
WV looked back and forth between the two. “Are you both all right?”
“Yeah. TZ has some scratches and my head feels like a fucking construction site but beside that, we’re pretty okay.”
WV smiled at both of them, relieved.
Squeezing Terezi’s hand, he asked, “What about PM?”
And then everything went silent.
Oh wait, thought WV, they don’t know her as PM. How silly of him!
“My ‘mail lady’ friend, I mean,” he cleared up, hoping to hear an understanding “ohh!” and that PM was fine.
But silence answered him again.
Dave cleared his throat. “Well, Mayor, your friend… She… Well, she’s…” Dave’s voice started to crack and he closed his mouth, looking down at the floor.
WV turned to Terezi, holding onto her handfordear life, his terrified eyes staring into her sadones. “M-Miss Pyrope?”
“I’m sorry, Mister Mayor. I’m so, so sorry.”
And then the whole room started to spin.
A few more trees, thought WV, and Can town would be the greenest fictional town he had ever seen. Or it would be the greenest if he hadn’t run out of green chalk and resorted to drawing red trees. He felt his stomach growl and wondered when lunch would be ready. Perhaps this time he could be the one to sit next to PM seeing as AR had already nabbed that spot for at least three days in a row. Speaking of PM, wasn’t that her calling him to lunch?
WV quickly got up, dropping the red chalk on the floor. He ran out of the room and started climbing up the stairs, already tasting the food in his mouth. Just as he was about to reach the top, he found PM towering over him and blocking his way.
“Hello,” she greeted, smiling down at him.
“Hello…” WV said, smiling. He expected PM to scoot over so he could climb up but, after a minute of just looking at each other, he awkwardly cleared his throat, hoping she would snap out of whatever trance she was in.
“How are you?” she asked instead, clearly not intending to move.
“Hungry?” he replied, wondering what this was all about.
“You’re always hungry, WV,” she laughed.
WV blushed slightly. “Yes, well… In that case, perhaps you should consider moving so we can join the others and have a nice lunch?”
“Of course,” she said before adding, “What’s the password?”
“If you want to come to lunch, you need to provide yours truly with a password.” She crossed her arms behind her back and leaned down a little. “So, then, Mister Mayor, what’s the password?”
“Well, Miss Maillady, I am afraid we have reached an impasse because I do not know of any password,” he said, smiling at her. “What do I do in this case?”
PM crouched down next to him until their faces were only inches apart. “Be creative, then.”
WV felt himself go red but he’d be damned if he let her win. “Does the password have to do with anyone I am acquainted with?”
“Does this acquaintance happen to be a quite wonderful prospitian?” he continued, grinning when he saw her cheeks become a very pale shade of red.
“Perhaps,” she replied, leaning slightly more towards him. “Care to take a guess?”
“Yes,” he said. “The password is—-”
“Will you two hurry up?” AR’s voice called from below. “Don’t make me go up there!”
PM lingered in her spot for a few seconds before finally getting up and moving out of the way. “It seems your time has run out.”
WV climbed up and looked at her, grinning. “Maybe later you could continue assisting me, then.”
He walked out of the room, Dave and Terezi close behind. He gingerly rubbed his head, the headache increasing with every step he took. He could hear his two companions talking behind him but he wasn’t listening. He didn’t want to listen. He didn’t want to listen to anything anymore unless it was her.
They reached the main hall and more voices that he didn’t want to hear forced themselves in his head. He took in his surroundings. It was a mess. Books, computers, and bloodied clothes lay scattered all around the room. The couches and chairs were occupied by kids and trolls, all busy in their own little worlds that WV didn’t want to hear about.
He looked at all of them and saw that no human or troll was missing or dead. But then…why wasn’t he happy about it? Why did it hurt to see some of them talking so happily when he knew they had every reason to, now that they had killed Lord English? Why did he feel almost angry at seeing some of them sleeping so peacefully?
“Let’s go,” Dave said, putting his hand on WV’s shoulder.
WV started following him out of the room until a voice called out for them to wait. It was a human girl—the one with dog ears that had come with John.
“Can I come too?” she asked, looking at WV, and smiled when he nodded.
I don’t care, he wanted to say as they kept walking. I don’t care anymore.
WV tended to get little sleep—too many nightmares. As such, whenever he woke up in the middle of the night, he would usually leave camp, climb up to his base, sit on the edge and watch the horizon until morning. One such time, a few hours before sunrise, he got an unexpected visit.
“Can’t sleep again?”
WV looked over his shoulder and saw PM standing a few feet away. He watched as she settled herself besides him before returning his gaze to the vast desert they called home.
“Nightmares?” he asked.
They remained in silence for a while, simply enjoying eachother’s company.
“Do you think that exploding our bases will really keep the Sovereign Slayer away from us?” WV finally said, glancing at PM.
“It should,” she answered. “He won’t have a way to come here and then we will be free of him forever. Free to do whatever we please.”
WV grinned, excited at the prospect of never again having to worry about Jack Noir. “Maybe we could move somewhere else and try to find a place where we can live in better conditions than here,” he suggested. “I could grow food and perhaps we could build a town.”
PM laughed. “A town not made out of cans, I hope.”
“Very funny,” he said, rolling his eyes playfully.
“Then again,” she continued, “isn’t a town required to have more than four citizens?”
WV scratched his head. “I had not thought of that.”
“I don’t think it matters, really. To be honest, I don’t think spending the rest of your life with me is such a terrible thing,” she mused.
“The rest of my life with you,” he whispered, unable to stop himself from grinning .
That would be anything but terrible.
On the way to where PM was, Jade suddenly stopped in front of one of the many rooms inside the meteor. WV stopped as well and stifled a gasp upon seeing Jack Noir, still prototyped, lying dead in the middle of the room. Memories started to resurface.
Lord English had been the one to do it. A single white gun with a single shot, headed straight for Jade. It would have killed her…if the Sovereign Slayer hadn’t gotten in the way. WV felt sick to his stomach just remembering it.
For how long had WV dreamed of seeing Jack Noir dead? Yet, he didn’t feel happy about it. He didn’t even feel sad about it. He didn’t feel anything at all.
He left the room, not wanting to look at Jack anymore. Dave glanced at Jade and, understanding that she needed some time to think, lead WV away.
Finally, the young boy stopped in front of closed room. He looked at the Dersite. “We’re here…” Dave said. “Do you…I mean, I…I know it might be too soon but do you want to talk about it or do you want to know how she…left?”
WV shook his head. No, he didn’t want to know, not now or maybe even not ever. He tried to smile reassuringly at Dave and asked him if he could be alone. Dave nodded and left, telling WV that he’d be waiting in the main hall with the others.
WV took a deep breath and opened the door.
Everything was chaos. He could hear blasts and screams outside and it was driving him insane. He was sick of being inside while everyone was outside trying to fight against Lord English. Even ghosts were out there fighting!
He was sick with worry. It teared him up from inside until he couldn’t take it anymore. He ran out of the room, ignoring the calls for him to return. Once outside the meteor, he saw Lord English in the distance, aiming a gun at the girl with dog ears. He heard a gunshot and assumed the girl dead.
Oh god, isn’t that Jack?… More screams and WV forced himself to look away. He glanced up and saw the huge golden boat floating up in the sky, terrified carapaces and consorts looking at the bloodshed below. At least they were safe for now.
He spun around and saw PM, floating a few yards above him. His eyes instantly started looking for wounds and was thankful to see she wasn’t hurt except for a few cuts and bruises.
She went down to him and, just as he had done, scanned him for injuries before snapping, “What are you doing here?!”
“I came looking for you,” he explained, startled by her aggressive tone of voice. “I want to help and—”
“No, WV,” she interrupted. “It isn’t safe here, you have to go back inside, please. Let me handle th—”
“NO,” he barked, curling his hands into fists. “I should be the one fighting, not you! I am not standing aside while others are fighting!”
“Please, WV, just go inside,” she pleaded
“No,” he repeated, just as forceful as before. “I’m going to stay he—”
“I don’t want to lose you!” she suddenly yelled, her voice betraying just how scared she really was “I don’t want you to die. Please…”
He looked back at her despairingly. “But you…”
“Don’t worry,” she soothed, gently placing her hand on his cheek. “I promise, I’ll be fine. I won’t die on you. Just wait for me inside, okay? I’ll be fine and soon we’ll be together, just the two of us. Trust me.”
He took her hand and reluctantly started backing away towards the meteor. He felt her fingers slip away from his and kept looking back at her over his shoulder until he disappeared inside the meteor.
He made it back into the main hall and sat down on a chair next to a bookshelf. She said she’d be fine, he told himself over and over again.
Suddenly, he heard another loud explosion and the entire room shook violently. Before he could even get up, stacks of books fell on his head and drowned the name he was about to call.
She was lying down in the middle of the room. Just like Jack, she was still in her prototyped form. She was covered with blood, particularly her arm and one of her cheeks. Her eyes were closed and she looked so peaceful—it was almost as if she was sleeping. He vaguely wondered if the reason they hadn’t taken off her ring was because they thought he should be the one to do it… but that was silly.
How could he take it off when she wasn’t dead?
He approached her and kneeled down besides her. She wasn’t dead, no, she couldn’t be dead, she was just sleeping. She couldn’t be dead when she had promised that she would come back. She had promised him she would be just fine, just fine. She was just resting, that’s all, because they had so much in store. They had a whole life to live together, just the two of them. She couldn’t be gone when they were finally together and when he had been brought back to life just for her, just for her.
“PM,” he called, smiling down at her. “Wake up. This is not funny.”
She was just trying to get out of waking up and having to meet the kids and trolls. Silly PM. She was just sleeping because she couldn’t be gone when she had touched his face just hours before, and when she still smelled nice and when she was finally with him and…
He grabbed her hand and oh god, it was so cold, no, no, no, no, it couldn’t be cold because she was still alive, no please no, she was still alive. It was just because she was protoyped, that’s it. Once he’d taken off the ring, she’d be back to normal and she’d be warm again, just like always.
With trembling hands, WV slipped the ring off her finger and watched her transform back into the prospitian he always knew and loved. Except her hand was still ice cold…
He gingerly took her in his arms and buried his face in the crook of her neck. “I do not want to be alone,” he told her, his voice starting to crack.
And he could almost hear her. Almost hear her telling him that he wasn’t alone, that he had so many new friends who loved him, so many nice children and that he was anything but alone. But, without AR and now her, he was alone. It didn’t matter if he was surrounded by an ocean of people…without them he was alone, alone, alone.
He lifted his head and pressed his forehead against hers, closing his eyes in an attempt to stop himself from crying.
“I…I am not strong enough for this,” he whispered, tears starting to stream from his eyes and dripping onto her blood-stained face. How could she have left him when he had waited so long for her, so damn long?
He lowered his face and gently kissed her. How could she be dead when her lips were so soft? How could she be dead when she had promised she’d be come back to him?
How could she have died and not taken him with her?
A new world had been created and a rather large town in Earth 3.0 had been founded for all the surviving carapaces. In the middle of this town was a a quite modest City Council where an equally modest mayor lived.
There was a knock at the door and WV looked up from the clutter of papers on his desk. A young white carapace came in, wearing a traditional postoffice uniform. He felt a pang in his heart.
“Oh! Mayor!” she greeted, slightly bowing her head. “May I come in?”
“Yes, of course. How may I assist you?”
She quickly made her way to him and reached inside her satchel. “I have a few letters for you,” she informed, taking out and handing him several letters.
He thumbed through them. A letter from Dave, one from Miss Pyrope and Mister Shout—Vantas, one from the Chief Officer and one from John.
“Oh! What’s this?”
WV looked up and saw the young girl looking at a golden ring lying on his desk. She carefully picked it up and looked at it in more detail. “It’s very pretty!”
“Yes. It belongs to a friend.”
“Did she give it to you?” she asked, placing the ring back on the desk.
WV took it in his hand and admired the four white crystal balls surrounding it. “No. I am just keeping it safe.”
Safe until the day he could give it back to her.