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The Kids Play a Game (but a non-lethal one this time)

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It’s been a week since the end of the game, and things are starting to calm down, like a long summer after a particularly strenuous school semester. (Okay, maybe not exactly like that. Though what you remember of middle school was pretty shitty, it can’t really be compared to everything that Sburb put you through. Has anyone ever died and come back to life in middle school?) And like all summers, it’s not long until someone inevitably gets bored out of their mind and invites everyone over to come “play some games.”

Which is why all twelve kids (plus the Mayor—he may not be a kid but he’s absolutely part of your group) are now sitting in a circle on the floor of Jane’s room, having finally come to the decision (after a good amount of arguing) to play a party game you’ve never heard of (probably because you’ve never actually been to a party, or actually any similar kind of social gathering) called Never Have I Ever.

“It’s a simple game,” Jane explains. She’s changed out of her god tier outfit into a plain shirt with a blue monster on it. You notice that the rest of your teenage guardians have done the same—guess they didn’t really get used to their godly pajamas in the same way you did. “First, you have to think of something you’ve never done, or that’s never happened to you—something that many other people playing will have done. Everyone holds up ten fingers at the start, and you put a finger down for each thing someone says that you have done.”

“And then the last person to lose all their fingers wins!” cries Roxy from the other side of the circle. Apparently she’s played it before as well.

“Correct.” Jane holds ten fingers in front of her. “I’ll start—”

“Hold up,” interrupts Karkat, who’s sitting next to her. “What about the Mayor? He’s only got eight fingers.”

“After he’s lost two fingers, he can put them back up again,” Jane decides. The Mayor smiles at her in thanks. “Got to be fair. Any questions?”

“So the fewer experiences you’ve had, the more likely you are to win?” asks Dirk.

“Yes, I suppose that’s right.”

“Interesting.”

“If there are no more questions,” Jane says, wiggling her fingers, “I’ll start! Never have I ever seen Star Wars.”

“What??” Jake yelps immediately. “Good lord, we’ve got to fix that, Jane!”

“Put a finger down,” hisses Dirk beside him, and he does. You notice every other human does too, as well as Karkat, who you’ve dutifully shown every single Star Wars movie (yes, even the prequels).

Jane looks pleased. “And that’s how it goes! Now, the person on my right or left goes next—”

“My turn,” announces Karkat, who’s on her right. He’s got a smug grin. “Never have I ever DIED.”

Everyone immediately begins to protest. Jane’s face goes from happy to horrified in under a second. You snicker. You don’t know how Jane expected the game to not go in this direction.

“Your dream self died!” yells Terezi.

“Didn’t you die in that alt timeline?”

“You died before I retconned it—”

“Shut UP!” Karkat shrieks. “FINE. Then never have I ever died not as a dreamself, in this timeline.”

There’s a general grumbling as every single person, except Karkat and Terezi, lowers a finger. You briefly wonder when Kanaya died, but then remember how she became a rainbow drinker. Right. And as for yourself—well, you’ve died more times than you can count.

“Dave, your turn,” Jane says, and you snap out of it.

“Right.” You grin at Karkat. “Never have I ever had my dream self killed.”

Rose gives you an unamused look. “Dave. We literally died on Derse together.”

“It doesn’t count if it was to go god tier.”

“It DEFINITELY does,” cries Karkat, indignant. “It counted in mine!”

“Well it doesn’t count in mine. So. Never have I ever died as a dream self in a way that wasn’t to go god tier.”

“Are you targeting me??”

“No, a bunch of other people lost their dream selves. Like Jade.” You gesture to the rest of the group. Jake and Calliope, as well as the rest of the trolls, have all put fingers down. Rose has very conspicuously left her finger up.

Jane raises a hand. “Does it count if your dream self was killed and then revived?”

“Sure.” You elbow the Mayor. “Your turn, buddy.”

“Never have I ever HAD a dream self,” the Mayor signs, and you burst out laughing.

“Okay, you got me there,” you say, and translate for everyone else. There’s a chorus of groans as every single person lowers a finger.

“I’ve got one,” says Dirk.

“It’s not your turn yet!” Jane cries. “You have to wait until the circle gets to you.”

“Okay then.” Dirk scoots over to sit between the Mayor and Terezi. “Now it’s my turn. Never have I ever been stabbed.”

Jane sighs loudly, but nevertheless puts a finger down. Rose peers at Dirk with vague interest, or at least more than you would’ve expected.

“Really! How have you died, then?”

“Two decapitations and the destruction of Derse’s moon,” replies Dirk with a strained smile.

“Holy shit, two??” yells Terezi.

“Yep.”

“One was on purpose,” adds Jake very quietly.

“I mean, the second one was kind of on purpose too, but that one I certainly wasn’t planning.”

“Have you really never been stabbed?” Roxy, too, sounds fascinated. “What about all the drones?”

“They scraped me up a lot but never full on stabbed me. Anyway, I maintain my original statement—never have I ever been stabbed.”

He looks pointedly around the room, and various people lower fingers. (Including you—you’ve been stabbed as a time clone, after all.) Jade, you notice, doesn’t—shaving cream explosions and falling moons are two ways to die that you’d never considered possible until both happened to Jade.

“Next time, can we do something that isn’t about dying?” says Jane, exasperated.

“Okay,” chirps Terezi. “Never have I ever been a human.”

“That’s not fair!” yells Jade.

“Yes it is. In fact…” Her face splits into the devilish grin that you’ve seen so many times before. “Never have I ever been a human OR wanted to fuck a human.”

A blush immediately spreads across Karkat’s cheeks. “Terezi!! That’s fucking gross!”

“I must agree with Jade, Terezi—that isn’t fair at all,” Kanaya says, but she’s got a small smile.

Terezi shrugs. “Then I rescind my second statement. But if I were to go through with it, I expect there would be no one who wouldn’t put a finger down for that one.” She somehow manages to make the >:] face exactly as she scans the room, making eye contact with all the embarrassed aliens. (Never mind that she can’t even see them, it’s just to make them uncomfortable.)

“Not the Mayor,” you protest. “The Mayor has never wanted to fuck a human.”

“Correct,” signs the Mayor.

“Your turn, Callie,” whispers Roxy.

Callie’s eyes widen. “I—oh! I haven’t thought of one!”

“Just do whatever pops into your head.”

“Never have I ever… um… tried licorice.”

“Callie!” cries Roxy as she puts down her index finger and drops her left hand. “I thought you loved candy! I am definitely gonna find you some ASAP.”

It’s the first time you’ve not lost a finger. You didn’t really get much candy as a kid, except for the occasional cheap chocolate on Halloween. Bro didn’t really care about stuff like that. Or, well, anything else.

“My turn!” Roxy grins. “Never have I ever fought Jack Noir, or any version of him.”

Shit, that’s good. You’ve got four fingers left now. The Mayor beside you, on the other hand (no pun intended), has only lost two.

“He stabbed me, but I didn’t really fight him,” Karkat is saying to no one in particular. He has six fingers. “Does that count?”

“Nah.”

“Great.”

Rose is looking at the Mayor and Terezi, a mischievous glint in her eye. They’re the two who have done the least so far. “Never have I ever eaten chalk.”

“Now THAT isn’t fair!” yells Terezi. “That’s targeting! You can’t do that!”

Jane smiles. “Technically you can. It’s just not very nice.”

The Mayor wordlessly puts down a finger. Terezi does too, after a second, with a sigh. You notice Dirk discreetly do so as well. What the fuck? Has he really eaten chalk? You’re about to question it when Kanaya speaks.

“In light of my conversation with Rose prior to this meeting, regarding lesbianism.” Her smile widens. “Never have I ever been attracted to men.”

“Wow, fuck you,” you say. “As a bisexual man, I feel attacked.”

“Never have I ever,” Jake begins as soon as Kanaya’s finished, leaning back with a smug grin, “been attracted to women!”

“Another attack against the bisexuals,” you mutter, lowering a finger.

“Thought you were bi?” John asks Jake quietly.

Jake goes red. “I… yes, I did think that, but I’ve been thinking about it some more, and…” He trails off, leaving the implications evident.

“Cool,” says John. He wiggles the two fingers he has left. “All right, since I’m down to two, I’m going to give you guys a mean one. Never have I ever killed anyone.”

For the first time since the game started, the room approaches something close to silence. Fingers start going down. There's Roxy, who looks proud. She killed the Condesce, after all—she should be. Jade, and a few others, look regretful. She glances at you as she slowly lowers a finger. Apparently it still counts if it was an accident—if an evil space dog guy relocated your bullets into your friend’s torso.

You put down a finger for the deaths of Dirk and two Jacks. You’ve got one left now—tied with Jade for last place. Karkat and the Mayor, to your left and right, have also lowered fingers. It surprises you until you remember that the Mayor led a revolution, and Karkat grew up on a horrifically violent planet.

“Jade,” John says after a second. “Your turn.”

“Right!” She clears her throat, and the energy in the room goes back to normal. She’s eying your one remaining finger. “Never have I ever time travelled.”

“What!” you yell. “That’s not fair!”

Jade shrugs. “It applies to more than one person.”

“Hey Dirk, does our stuff count as time travel?” asks Roxy.

“Sure,” Dirk responds.

“When we went to Jake’s house and entered the Medium.”

“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.”

“Didn’t you time travel when doing that frog breeding?” John asks Jade.

“Nope, that was all Dave.”

You drop your remaining hand and back out of the circle with an exaggerated sigh. “Fine! I’m out.”

“And we have our first out!” Jane laughs, and you’re surprised to realize that the noise really does sound like hoo hoo hoo. “I’ll do a normal one now. Never have I ever been to Disneyland.”

“Welp, I’m out,” says John, scooting away from the circle.

There’s a short, slightly awkward pause as Jane realizes that John was the only one to put down a finger at her statement.

“What’s Disneyland,” Karkat says after a second.

“Right! Right.” Jane giggles nervously. “Aliens… right.”

“And a bunch of us grew up alone,” adds Dirk.

John laughs. “Guess ‘normal’ ones aren’t really going to work, Jane!”

“Here’s a non-normal one.” It’s Karkat’s turn, and he shifts his position to sit on his knees, making him appear slightly taller. “Never have I ever been kissed back to life.”

“I’m out,” says Dirk, finger-gunning Jake, who blushes. Roxy and Jade echo the statement, and the remaining people scoot in to form a tighter circle.

Karkat grins. “Three people out in one turn!”

“We’ve just done too much stuff,” you whisper to Dirk.

“I think we’ve been using statements that are too specific to the human sessions,” he replies. “See the trolls? They’re doing a lot better than the rest of us.”

“Never have I ever,” signs the Mayor, “kissed anyone!”

You translate. Rose sighs and drops her last finger. “Out.”

“Does being kissed back to life count in this one?” Jane asks, somewhat desperately. She’s only got one finger left as well.

The Mayor considers this. “No.”

Pretty much everyone puts down a finger. Except for Callie, you notice. She still has a full hand. Too many Sburb-centric statements, you figure. And Callie’s life has been pretty different from the rest of yours.

It’s Terezi’s turn. “Can’t do something targeting humans,” you tell her. “There are only two humans left.”

Terezi considers this. “Okay. Never have I ever had red blood.”

Jane exhales. “That’s it for me.” At this point, there are more people out than in.

“Thanks for exploiting my mutation,” mutters Karkat, pointing his last finger at her (his middle finger, of course).

“No problem!” cries Terezi.

This time, Callie’s ready. “I apologize for playing dirty, but… never have I ever been a troll. Unfortunately.”

“Atta girl,” whispers Roxy as Karkat yells “FUCK!” and jumps up to sit by you on the bed.

Kanaya’s eyes narrow, though not in a mean way. “From now on, I propose we target Callie, as she has lost the fewest fingers of us all. Never have I ever been a cherub.”

“Uncreative!” cries Jake as Callie obediently lowers a finger. He’s the last human, and is looking a little shocked to still be in the game. “Never have I ever been a space player!”

“Good one,” Terezi says, grinning.

Kanaya puts a finger down. “I must agree. Mayor?”

The Mayor has been watching Terezi’s single finger. “May I use a spin-off of a statement that has already been said?”

“Sure,” says Karkat. “I mean, all the ones about dying were just rip-offs of mine…”

“All right. Never have I ever eaten red chalk.”

Terezi needs no translation; she’s known the Mayor long enough to understand his Carapacian Sign Language. “Hey!”

He shrugs. “It’s true. I prefer the green chalk.”

Terezi joins you on the bed. You watch the Mayor, Kanaya, and Jake all look expectantly at Callie.

“Can—can I get suggestions from players who are out?” she asks nervously.

Jane sighs again. “I suppose.”

The Mayor, Kanaya, and Jake. You suddenly get an idea, and run up to Callie, whispering in her ear. Her eyes widen, as does her smile.

“Never have I ever typed in green text,” she says.

“Holy smokes,” says Jake.

Kanaya moves away from the circle. She’s out. “Does the Mayor use green text?”

“Yeah, he made a pesterchum a week or so ago.”

“Green is my favorite color,” the Mayor agrees. He’s smiling as well.

“Never have I…” Jake falters, looking between his two remaining competitors. “I’m afraid I might need a suggestion as well.”

“I’ve got you.” Karkat jumps down and whispers something in his ear.

“Okay.” Jake looks at the Mayor. “Never have I ever made a town out of cans. Is that how you got your title, Mayor?”

The Mayor nods and puts a finger down. He’s got two left, Callie has three, and Jake has one.

“Suggestions?” he asks. You translate it as, “Anyone got dirt on Jake or Callie?”

“I’ve got one,” says Dirk, and leans over to tell the Mayor. Jake squeezes his eyes shut, likely anticipating something incredibly embarrassing.

It isn’t, actually. “Never have I ever spoken with Caliborn,” the Mayor says. You translate, and both Jake and Callie freeze.

“That’s good,” murmurs Jake, folding his hands together and scooting backwards.

Callie looks at the Mayor. Both of them are holding up two fingers. “I have to say, I don’t know much about you, Mayor! Shall we declare a tie?”

He smiles and nods. “Likewise. That sounds good to me.”

You and Karkat loudly congratulate the Mayor while Roxy and Jane do the same for Callie. Everyone else claps along, not looking too sad to have lost.

“Looks like the game worked out!” you hear John saying to Jane.

She beams. “It did. I’m glad.”