It all started with one comment.
“How do you know you’re pretty if you’re blind? What if we are all lying to your face?”
Vriska and you had been partners on the single most popular online MMORPG and she was your most trusted friend. You both were eight at the time but you still hold on to that memory many years later. Also, it is fun to look back at how naïve you were for trusting the spider bitch. You know better now.
Five years later brings you to something considered a gate of passage that all students must go through at one point in their lives and brings a look of horror to anyone who remembers it.
The Middle School Dace.
The ultimate mix of feelings, sweat, punch bowls, puberty, and the epitome of awkwardness, all resulting in cheap imitations of sexualized high school dancing and the mad embarrassing rush to the drinks and snacks table during that one slow song. It’s basically full on humiliation and the student body was buzzing with excitement.
You and your friends were going with some needing more persuasion, (“Grumpy people dance, too!” “You can’t bring your computer to a dance!”) but all of you were on board. You couldn’t wait to have a great night surrounded by all your friends. You need a dress, though which you were going to go with Nepeta after school to find.
You’re waiting by her locker with overprotecting Equius. Most think it’s a tad bit creepy how close Equius is to the small girl, but you think his devotion to her is sweet. Oh and annoying as hell if you’re her friend.
“Meulin will be driving you home. You will do know when to meet her? Report to her at -“
“Six, I know Equius.” You tell him for the fourth time in the last as many minutes.
“You must protect her. She tends to run off at the most inconvenient times.”
“We are going to be just fine.” You hear a grunt and the smell of Nepeta, telling you she has appeared and is hugging him probably.
“We are going to be pawsitively great!” Practically hearing her smile, she takes you by the arm and walks off. Gladly, you walk away from the sweat monster.
The girl next to you bounces in her seat on the buss all the way to the better mall of your city (the other two being a bit run down after so many years).
“Kanaya said she is making her and Vriska’s dress.” You sigh and put your hand on your forehead.
“That just means we need to have better dresses.”
“We can’t do better than Kanaya!” As much as you want to show up Vriska, you know you can’t beat Kanaya at fashion. Her creations were always fabulous.
“What does she see in her?”
“Well,” Nepeta started, “she’s purtty, elegant, smart, eloquent, graceful, nice, graceful-”
“I meant what does Kanaya see in Vriska?” You stop the gushing girl. She pulls back a bit in embarrassment. “But if you want to keep praising Kanaya don’t let me stop you. I didn’t know you liked her so much.”
“She’s so purtty, why wouldn’t you want to be her?” She’s not looking at you.
“I don’t really care about looks.” You know she is staring at you now and she isn’t saying anything. After a few seconds and a spark of realization she is waving her hands back and forth.
“I’m sorry! I forgot!” You smile. That’s why you hung out with Nepeta. She didn’t coddle you, she flat out forgot. You are even more surprised that she forgot to use one of her favorite cat puns, so you let her off the hook very easily.
“Don’t worry about it.”
The two of you get off at the next stop and start to peruse the department stores. By that you mean, Nepeta tells you if the stores have what you need and if they are in your price range. It is prom season so there are a lot more formal dresses than you require but that doesn’t stop you from running your hands through the fabric.
Nepeta picks out dresses for herself and you. Kanaya had always said that Nepeta looked good in green, so she gravitated towards that section. For you she picks out a bunch of colors, all poufy enough for you to twirl in and all nice to the touch.
“Purple is not your color.” She says after the fourth purple dress you try on. Red goes with your glasses but there apparently isn’t anything that looks that good on you or doesn’t make you look like a slut. You’re disappointed, you wanted a red dress. She picks out a teal one which she says makes you look beautiful. For herself it’s a darker shade of green. The two of you leave the store happy and wanting to get some food.
“We have time, it’s only five.” You say. “Muscles made me repeat the fact that Meulin was picking us up at six.”
“That is so like him.” Nepeta sounds cheerful.
“Doesn’t that get annoying?” She makes a sound of agreement.
“Of course. He’s just worried.”
“Oh he is alwaaaaaaaays worried.” Oh no. Vriska’s voice is an unwanted noise and the shear shrill of it makes you want to grab Nepeta’s arm and run away. “Makes me think there is something between the two of you, of course he never tells me anything about it.”
“That’s because he knows you’re a blabber mouth.” You say.
“I am not!” There is an interruption to Vriska’s voice with Kanaya’s soothing one.
“Have you two been shopping for some formal garments?” Nepeta jumps up next to you.
“Yep! We just got through with shopping.” She’s holding up her back and pushing the one you are holding up as well.
“May I take a peak?”
“Only if you don’t show blueberry.” You laugh and you can just tell that Vriska is glaring at you. Taking the bags, Kanaya shuffles through the bags. She also shields them from a no doubt irritated Vriska.
“I didn’t want to see them anyways.”
“Oh this olive is perfect and so is this teal.” She hands the garments back. “I am sure they will look gorgeous.”
“Not as much as yours I am sure.”
“Oh, thank you, Terezi.” Kanaya starts to walk away from the two of you. “We should really be going. It was nice to see you two.”
You and Nepeta wave to her. As they pass, Vriska knocks into you with her shoulder with a force that sends you a bit back and your bag falls to the ground.
“You dropped your ugly dress.” She whispers before walking away, laughing.
“Bitch.” You hiss out. Your companion has picked up your bag and hands it to you as you reorient yourself.
“Equius tells me she does it for attention.” The cat girl says. “I think she is just very sad.”
The next week goes by slowly as you sit through classes that seem to drag on forever. Feferi tells everyone that she is going to look stunning, even more so than Eridan which gets a laugh from all of you around the lunch table. She is also trying to get Sollux to not wear jeans which is a futile argument. Sollux is one big wall of resistance and no amount of current is going to be able to make him change his mind.
You arrive Friday night in teal flats, your dress, and the make-up and hair that your mother did for you. She told you that you look great, but she is your mother and she is more or less obligated to tell you that. With no nerves, you walk into your school’s gym and it smells like sweat. A disgusting amount not even comparable to Equius. It’s disgusting. You find your friends quickly congregated near the back.
“These pants make me look ridiculous.” Sollux says, his lisp in full effect. He’s soothing out something that sounds very much not like jeans.
“You always look ridiculous, asshole.” Karkat sounds grumpier than usual which is an accomplishment you didn’t think could happen.
“I think he looks presentable.” Feferi’s voice is so cheerful, but she falters on the ‘presentable’, telling you he might actually looks ridiculous. Nepeta finds you to tell you look good and she hugs you. Near her is Equius and has chosen a bowtie instead of a tie. It has small horses on it, you are told by Sollux and looks stupid. Nepeta loves it and Tavros tells you that it is nice so you don’t really know what to make of the situation. It’s time like this you really wish you could just see and not really on others.
When Kanaya and Vriska walk through the door, the group is in awe. The dresses are amazing, although no one tells you about them except that they are the most gorgeous things in the whole entire universe. Kanaya did a good job, but Vriska apparently looks better than every girl in the dance put together (at least the nice looking ones).
You roll your eyes, as best as you can, and sigh dramatically before dragging Nepeta and Karkat (and consequently Sollux who was told “I need someone more miserable than me near me to even survive through the night without clawing my orifices out.”) onto the dance floor. You are having fun when the others join you.
Vriska corners you sooner rather than later. You were mentally preparing yourself, but who knows what the scheming girl has in store for you. She finds you near the drink table as you take a much needed drink of water. She leans against the table so she is pretty close to you.
“Every single person has told me today how beautiful I look.” She sounds so smug and you want to punch her in the face. “It’s a shame you can’t appreciate me.”
“Even if I could see you I would still laugh.” You’re keeping your breathing even. As long as you stay calm, cool, and collected you will win this mini fight against Vriska and she may even leave you alone.
“No one is laughing, except at you.” She lets out a ‘hah’. “I don’t know who told you that dress looked good on you but they might want to get their eyes check. I’ll tell Nepeta that when I see her.”
“Nepeta picked a nice dress out for me.” You grit your teeth and the palm of your hand is going red from the pressure of your nails digging into your skin.
“Is that so? I love how much they lie to you. It’s really funny, actually. I mean they let Nepeta pick out clothes for you. She can’t tell fashion from between Prada and a sack!” She laughs and you can’t tell if it is fake or real. “Can’t you see they are just humoring you? You look like a hot mess all the time and they are just taking advantage of the poooooooor little blind girl.”
You start to walk away, not wanting to hear any more of this.
“Fine walk away!” She says a bit louder. “I’m just trying to be nice and telling you the truth. All the others are just being pussies by not telling you.”
She’s wrong, you know she is. She is telling you lies, weaving a fucking web of them. They are not real. Vriska is trying to get under your skin, just like she does with everyone by being horrible and blunt.
What if she is telling the truth? You don’t know what you look like, you could be the ugliest girl in the whole world and not know it. What if you’re ugly? What if your dress is horrible? What if you have been walking around all this time with this ugly face and….
“Terezi?” Nepeta has appeared out of nowhere and seems to be close to you. She seems to be worried. “Are you crying?”
Oh, this is not happening. You find your way around her quickly and retreat outside where a small pack of students are near the basketball courts. You rush past them and sit on the far end of one of the courts to catch your breath. You do not cry. Your name is Terezi Pyrope and you do not cry, especially over something stupid like looks.
You’ve already collected yourself by the time that Karkat, Sollux, Equius, and Kanaya approach you. They stop in front of you and you wonder vaguely if this is kind of what an intervention looks like.
“I heard what Vriska said to you.” Kanaya speaks first. “They were not kind words.”
“No shit, they were fucking horrible.” Karkat is angry on top of being overly grumpy, great.
“Understatement of the night.” At least Sollux is still trying to find some humor in this heap of shit. “She’s lying, you know that right?”
“Oh course I do.”
“If you truly did than this… outburst… may not have happened. You would have shrugged it off as usual,” says Kanaya.
“Do you really think we would humor you? We are not that nice.” Sollux laughs. “Aren’t you the one who says you can sniff out lies?”
They question makes you laugh. You’re not really sure how you do it, but you really can tell when most people are lying. It’s Vriska that you have a problem reading. The others take your laugh as a sign that you are doing better as you stand up to walk back to the gym.
“Any reason that you followed us out here other than to cast a shadow?” Karkat asks Equius.
“Believe it or not Terezi is my friend and Nepeta’s friend so I do care about her wellbeing.” There is a pause, as you wait for the catch of the guy actually saying something positive about you. “Also, you have made Nepeta upset and you will apologize to her.”
“I’ll get right on that.”
“You know that Vriska is just being a jealous fucking bitch, right?” Karkat says to you as you walk back. You nod. “Good.”
You keep your word and seek the cat girl out immediately, apologizing for your lapse in good judgement. She doesn’t blame you and has been searching for Vriska since she heard what she had said to you.
“I wish she would just stop purtending she looks so purrfect.” Nepeta says to her.
Some of your friends follow you as you find her near the snacks with Tavros, probably humiliating the boy in some way.
“Kanaya overheard what you said to me.” You tell her right off the bat. She quickly turns towards you and shrugs.
“I don’t have any idea what you are talking about.” She stands near you with a cup of what you assume is punch sloshing around. “Tavros was just complimenting me on my dress.”
The next second you hear liquid hitting something and you know it is Vriska as a few drops get on you.
“Well now, I guess you have some pink to go on your white dress.” Nepeta says.
“What the fuuuuuuuuck!” The girl exclaims and you are smiling so wide and laughing.
You don’t say anything as you high five Nepeta and the two of you proudly walk away.