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Apple Path

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...Meat or candy, John. Meat or candy?

You release your breath when you realize you’ve been holding it. You’re being ridiculous. What’s the sense of fussing over lunch? In the end, it really doesn’t matter. Whatever you choose, it’ll all be flushed down the toilet tomorrow.

Just go with your gut. Don’t sweat the small stuff. There are much more important things out there to fuck yourself up over.

Your hand reaches for the slab of cold, hard meat. Tough to chew. Tougher to swallow.
Your eyes dart to the piles of candy. So sweet it could make you sick. Something that you will regret later.
You blink as the piece of meat - you can’t identify its source - drips blood as you hold it in your hand. A thought crosses your mind as you look into Roxy’s eyes.
You remember LoWaS. You had to pick a third option there, right?

JOHN: apple.
ROXY: what?

You clear your throat as you put the meat back.

JOHN: i think i would like to eat an apple. could you conjure some of those? with your void powers? please?

Roxy looks at you, her face twisted into an emotion between disappointment and befuddlement. Calliope, though, seems worried. More worried than you’d expect her to be.

ROXY: ok john

She raises her arms, and a bushel pops into existence between them. She looks upwards, trying to remember something-

JOHN: is everything okay?
ROXY: hold your horses for a second

Small apples start raining down the bushel like hailstones, quickly filling it. At one moment, you spot a dash of blue. Could it be…?
You reach into the bushel and grasp at what you think to be the blue object. It’s an apple.
The cruxite apple you bit into right as the meteor struck the place where your house used to be.

You asked Rose about its meaning at some point, and she told you about how the apple represented your innocence. Lack of knowledge about the world; something related to the writing on the walls and the lack of clowns in your father’s office. You don’t remember most of it.
You rotate the apple, slightly prodding the sky blue skin. It resembles a gusher, now that you think about it. Tasty, sweet, nutritious, bursting with juice. Your favourite snack.

If you bite into it, there’s no going back.

Why did you think that? It is just a fruit gusher that is shaped like an apple.
Calliope, done with one of the small apples, is looking at you.

CALLIOPE: i don’t think i like apples.
CALLIOPE: they are too soUr for my tastes.
CALLIOPE: bUt if yoU woUld like to share that candy-looking apple, i woUld gladly try a bite.

To hell with all this.
You bite into the gusher-tasting cruxite, once again, like you’ve done ten years ago.
The taste is overwhelming; you’re drowning in juice. Was there anything else other than this saccharine savour? Why wo-
Wait, no, it’s just a gusher. Everything under control, haha. Nothing to be concerned with.
You look at the juice stains at your hands. Did you swallow it in one bite?
Calliope, slightly disappointed with your actions, is looking at Roxy. She shrugs and pulls out a box of fruit gushers from the same bushel where apples used to be just a minute ago.

ROXY: john u spent a minute with a dumb expression on ur face
ROXY: thats dope even for u
ROXY: are u sure this apple didnt have any in it
ROXY: because im not
JOHN: i’m fine.
CALLIOPE: are yoU sUre?

You look at Calliope. She’s working through the gusher box, strawberry red juices trickling down her chin.

JOHN: yes, i am.

You reach for the normal, small apples within the bushel and bite into one of them. It’s sour, just like you’ve expected it to be, but at least it will help with the sickly taste in your mouth.

CALLIOPE: what are yoU going to do, john?
CALLIOPE: yoU were planning to fight my brother, right?
CALLIOPE: are yoU going to go throUgh with yoUr plan?
ROXY: on a second thought i think its a pretty dumb idea
ROXY: who cares about le and his tantrums
CALLIOPE: i care.
CALLIOPE: as yoU probably shoUld.
CALLIOPE: if we leave this particUlar loop Uncompleted oUr existence within this Universe will not be jUstified, and i cannot gUarantee that the conseqUences of this decision will be beneficial.

You look at the sky. Something must be done about Lord English.

“Bye, John.”

A memory stirs in your head. Something Dave told you: this is what Rose said before her decision to die back in the Sburb session.
Something she said to you this morning.
You will not meet again if you go there, will you?

JOHN: you are right, calliope.
JOHN: we must do some thing about your brother.
ROXY: wait what
JOHN: i said we must do some thing about calliope’s brother.
JOHN: i am not going to do it alone.
JOHN: you are coming with me, roxy.
JOHN: as everyone else is.
JOHN: dave, jade, jane, rose, jake and dirk.
JOHN: calliope, you should stay, though.
CALLIOPE: that’s fair.
CALLIOPE: i don’t think i’ll be a great asset in a fight!
JOHN: same for karkat and kanaya.
JOHN: it wouldn’t do for them to die in the process.
JOHN: at least we are some what immortal.
ROXY: if we bite it heroically we r not going to benefit from immortality
ROXY: please remember that
JOHN: i will.

You nod to Roxy, and stand up.

JOHN: it’s settled.
JOHN: let’s gather in the can town.
JOHN: see you soon!

Calliope waves to you as you leap into the air and fly off.

Who are you going to talk to next?