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see you looking through me (like you unzipped the zipper)

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Your relationships on the meteor, simplified:

Dave Strider is your brother, and the only other human on the meteor. As such, the two of you are closer than you would ever have expected, back when he some asshole with a blog attempting to rap with and/or at you. You love him, and you'll tease him about his budding relationship with Karkat for the rest of your natural life.

Karkat Vantas is odd. Part of you likes the way that you always know what he's feeling, but it puts you a little on edge, too. You don't know him well enough to call him a friend, but calling him an acquaintance feels a bit rude, given that he's one of six people you will be able to interact with for the next one-and-a-half years (roughly).

Gamzee Makara is repulsive. You're lucky enough to not have to actually deal with him; he avoids the whole lot of you, ever since Vriska...threatened him? Intimidated him? Rose wasn't there. You're grateful to her, either way.

Vriska Serket, despite your gratitude, is someone you are convinced you will duel to the death one day. She's loud and obnoxious and Kanaya used to have a crush on her, which would be ground enough for at least sparring, but sometimes you looks at Vriska and sees yourself, cheesy as it sounds. You aren't sure if you're the hero who has to hear the cliche speech or if you're going to eventually ascend into the eldritch abomination you dabbled with and fall prey to every trope known to mankind. Trollkind.

Kanaya Maryam is lovely. You've kissed and held hands and cuddled, and you're getting used to waking up to Kanaya's gentle glow. You don't know if you're actually girlfriends are not because you're too afraid to bring it up, and hate yourself for it, a little bit.

Then there's Terezi.

Terezi is...well.

You're not sure if you hate her or want to be her friend or what. You genuinely have no idea. At one point, you were desperate enough to entertain the idea of going to Karkat and asking about quadrants, but Kanaya intervened, and Vriska later interrupted to make fun of you both. Sometimes you wonders if Vriska's jealous and get caught up in some fear over Vriska being more open (a joke in and of itself) and Kanaya leaving you, but then they're back at the what are we conversation you're too much of a closet case to have, no matter whether you're technically out.

But back to Terezi. You find you're thinking a lot more about Terezi, now, but you're not sure why. The uncertainty bugs you more than the thought itself.

You know Terezi wasn't always blind. You don't know the whole story, because Kanaya was reluctant to share and you were smart enough not to pry, but. You feel your metaphorical hackles rising every time Terezi moves as if to actually look at something, even though it never bugged you Before.

That's another thing. Before. As in capital-B Before, and you're annoyed with Sburb for making you resort to such cheap tricks to establish importance.

You can feel an entire other timeline. Or not timeline, exactly, that's Dave's thing, but something. An entire other fate. There are moments when you turn to look at Kanaya, illuminated in the overhead light, and stumbles forward as if you've just seen her be killed. Sometimes you looks at Vriska and just thinks that you shouldn't be here, and one of your casual, hidden insults cuts a little too deep to try and cover that and you end up having to apologize. You wake up and feel alcohol burning at the back of your throat even though you haven't had any for over six months, and you're proud of that.

(You won't admit it to anyone, even Dave, but you tried alchemizing a chip for almost three hours before giving up. You miss Earth, obviously, but you never thought you'd be so nostalgic over tangible reminders of accomplishment.)

And sometimes you think about Terezi acting as if she still has her sight, and even though you know that there's no reason it should bother you, it does because could she actually see again Before, it makes you want to take her apart piece by piece until you figure out what's going on.

(Mentally. Despite your casual attitude towards morbidity, you've never been a fan of that kind of gore. Your needles are better for stabbing than such exact work, anyway.)

You're busy replacing Dave's Lucky Charms with store brand cereal just to see if he'll notice when Terezi walks in and says, "I forgot you were a seer."

Her voice is quiet and serious in a way that you don't think she's seen in Terezi, and it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. You put down the box of cereal and say, "And?"

It's a blunder, far too confrontational, and you curse yourself for it, but Terezi doesn't react.

"Seer," Terezi says, as an address.

"Rose," you snap.

This is a disaster. You're giving far too much away.

"Am I Seer if I didn't die on a quest bed?" Terezi says, and the seriousness is gone an instant after. Her grin is wide, teeth like a shark's. "Who knows? Why does it boooooooother you?" A cackle.

You hate that you can tell that Terezi drew it out for eight beats. Still, it's a little comforting to know you're not the only emotionally constipated person on the meteor trying to court someone else all while dealing with debilitating anxiety. (Well, there's also Dave.)

"No, but it's curious you bring it up," you say, trying to regain control of the situation. "It suggests an inferiority complex over the entire issue. Is that why you resent me? Do you see me as fulfilling the potential you have not?"

You're not sure what the hell you're saying, but it sounds mean and psychological enough to work.

"You're the one who resents me, Miss Lalonde!" Terezi says, grin not fading a bit. "And I thank you not to try your therapist act on me. Do you really think you can out-talk a lawyer?"

No, but damn, she'll try. Also, Terezi's not a lawyer, she's a teenager with a complex.

(Pot, meet kettle.)

"I'm curious as to why you think I think about you enough to resent you," you say, and it sort of feels like you should be saying this weapons drawn, circling each other, not while you're leaning against the counter of the kitchen next to a box of partially-store-brand Lucky Charms.

"Well," Terezi says. "Perhaps the fact that you've been staring me down any time we happen to be in the same room together? It's very suspicious of you to engage in such confrontation with me! After all, I cannot defend myself."

"Terezi, I find it difficult to imagine you defenseless," you say, and even as you say it there's the vaguest image of Terezi and a murderclown and lava and self-stabbing, and you're sure your face drops. What's really suspicious is that Terezi doesn't take advantage of the momentary weakness. Some lawyer.

"I knew it," Terezi crows. "Seer."

You don't draw your wands, but it's close. "Stop calling me that."

"But you remember," Terezi says. "I can. I knew it!"

Terezi laughs loudly, and you grew up in a house almost entirely silent, except for vacuuming and occasionally something being knocked over. You cross your arms, despite the obvious defensiveness inherent in doing so, and hiss, "What exactly do you remember."

"Almost all of it," Terezi says, and her shark-smile drops. "I killed Vriska, you know."

"I didn't," you say.

"Does it scare you?" Terezi asks, mockingly.

"I'm terrified," you say, voice monotone. If anything, it makes you feel better, knowing more. Or, to be more accurate, you are terrified, but it's an existential terror, and knowing that the girl across from you killed someone doesn't add to that in any meaningful way. "Anything else?"

"Why, Lalonde, do you want my help?" Terezi asks.

"No," you say instinctively, too quickly. You take a moment, then say, "Why is it you assume I want to remember another timeline? There are plenty. Ask Dave."

"This is different," Terezi says. "This is the same time, It's not time that's the problem."

"What is, then?" you ask, because you are so desperate to understand what's happening, because not knowing why the world works the way it does makes you want to scratch at the walls more than the stir-craziness already does.

"Outcome," Terezi says. "Probability."

"That's Light," you say.

"Decisions!" Terezi says. "That's Mind. That's me. And this isn't a timeline change, what John did was different--"

"So?" you say. "What does that mean?"

"It means we're the only connection to what happened Before." (Fuck the capital-B.) "Aren't you curious?"

There's a moment where you hesitate. You have to think it through, close your eyes and let the Light tell you what comes next. It doesn't, of course. Such powers can only do so much in the void. Still, when you open your eyes to meet Terezi's blank stare, you've made up your mind.

"Fine," you say. "Can you manage to be less insufferable while we work?"

Terezi tilts her head. "This is the most blatant calignous flirting I've ever encountered."

You falter, because you're still not sure you understand the quadrants and kind of think they're stupid and also, there's Kanaya. But Terezi's all pointy smiles and matching you barb for barb, and even if it's not serious, you may as well dabble.

"Well," you say, "I'll have to work on my subtlety."