When you let yourself think about it, late in the day when the burning sun was at its highest and the warmth of its scorching rays made it safe enough to peek out of your window, you really did believe in that idea of having soulmates. Squinting at the bleached-out colors of your hivestem made it easy to think that when you found your other fated companions, you’d stop feeling like there was a hole in your chest where someone else was scooped out. The characters in the movies you watched, in the novels you read, even in the fiction you wrote (and you would never, ever show anyone) had it so easy. Narratively, they were fated to meet their counterparts the moment they stepped onto the screen or peered around a page, because they were chosen by the story for someone else.
You don’t live in a story, you tell yourself as your claws scrape the bottom of your bowl of grubcorn. There isn’t anyone waiting for you in a coffee shop, or at a beach resort, or at your estranged friend’s Perigee’s Eve party. You’re just you, nine and a half sweeps and nothing terribly remarkable to show for it.
Your body is as in-shape as you can keep it, working out in your basement with your sickles and some training dummies Equius sent you. It was some odd overture on his part, possibly an attempt to toughen you up as a black solicitation, possibly something he did begrudgingly on Nepeta’s encouragement. Or, he was just a decent guy underneath all the sweat and discomfiting horse pornography.
Unlikely, you snort to yourself as you click through Goreflix to the next romcom you have queued up: “In Which A Young Driven Olive Copy Editerrorist Starts A Hopeful Flush Relationship With A Cerulean Artorture Gallery Manager After A False Start Over Alcoholic Beverages. They Gradually Become More Comfortable With Each Other Through Shenanigans. They Preemptively End Their Relationship When The Ceruleanblood Expresses Her Wishes To Be Treated As The Oliveblood’s True Quadrantmate In The Public Sphere. After Some Heartwrenching Drama, They Make Up And Attend The Oliveblood’s Hatchmate’s Black Pairing Ceremony. In A Timeskip, The Pair Is Revealed To Be Undergoing Turmoil As The Oliveblood Has Flipped Pale While The Ceruleanblood Remains Red. Featuring No Less Than Three Quadrant Flips, Two Unsuccessful Black Solicitations, A Successful Ashen Coupling Which Results In A Very Hungover Morning, And At Least One Romantic And Comedic Twist At The Last Minute.” It’s a personal favorite of yours; even though nowadays it’s considered a little tropey, as having a female troll ultimately decide against a red relationship with another woman is in poor taste these days, you can’t help but root for the ceruleanblood to keep her flushcrush anyways.
Halfway through the movie, you give up and dig in your freezer for some vicecream. This stuff is chock full of the sweet chocolate chunks and viscera you need to get through the final act of this film while you sob into the carton. Your shame is absolutely nonexistent as you shuffle back to your couch. Your feet catch on the blanket you have draped over your shoulders and horns a little. Everything is peachy.
Before you can make it all the way back to the comfy, warm groove in your couch that your ass has been settling into for the last fourteen hours, your husktop chimes with a Trollian notification.
[twinArmageddons began trolling carcinoGeneticist at 03:48!]
TA: hey kk
TA: iit2 been hour2 2iince you were onliine are you aliive
TA: not a2kiing for 2iincere rea2on2 ju2t needed 2omeone two help me wiith my miinecraft 2erver
Ugh. You GUESS. You guess you can tear your eyes away from the tragedy about to unfold for Troll Heather Jurgensen on screen for this asshole.
CG: HEY NUMNUTS.
CG: YES, I’M ALIVE. I’D SAY “NO THANKS TO YOU,” BUT I’M NOT EVEN SURE HOW YOU’D BE RESPONSIBLE FOR HARM THAT HASN’T HAPPENED TO ME.
CG: YOU KNOW, BECAUSE I’M ALIVE AND WELL.
TA: not very conviinciing kk but ii’ll take iit
TA: what are you up two
You pause, claws poised over the keys. Do you want to get into the whole thing?
TA: ii heard from np that you and that guy from the ru2tpunk band were kaput
Subtle, even for him. You decide that you do need to get into the whole thing, but it won’t be too much of a big deal because you’re over it, you are.
CG: TANDEH AND I ARE “KAPUT,” AS YOU SO DELICATELY PUT IT, YES.
CG: THE HATE HAD BEEN FIZZLING OUT OF IT FOR A WHILE, BUT NEITHER OF US REALLY HAD THE GUTS TO ADMIT IT FOR HALF A PERIGEE.
CG: I’M KIND OF GLAD I DON’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH HOW MUCH THAT WAS WEIGHING ON ME ANYMORE, YOU KNOW?
CG: IT’S JUST KIND OF
You can’t bring yourself to tell him it’s a relief, because it’s really not. There’s a part of your vascular pump that aches not just because there isn’t a name, isn’t a relationship to fill it, but because you really did think that this relationship was going to last a bit longer than three quarters of a sweep. The two of you had drunkenly sniped over board games at a kitschy themed bar, he took you back to his hive and you saw spades. A lot of them, for a while. When did it go sour? When did the deepness of that pitch start to bleed out, leaving only disappointing ashen sniping and a quiet block? Or was it ever there?
TA: iit2 ju2t kiind of what
Oh, fuck. You’re in the middle of a conversation and can’t get lost in a pining reverie.
CG: IT’S JUST KIND OF DEPRESSING THAT I’M NINE AND A HALF AND,
CG: I DUNNO.
CG: SHOULDN’T I HAVE DONE MORE WITH MY LIFE BY NOW?
TA: ii dont know how two tell you thi2
TA: but why the fuck doe2 iit matter what you’ve done wiith your liife by the tiime youre niine sweeps and change
CG: WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN “why the fuck doe2 iit matter” IT MATTERS BECAUSE I WANT TO MATTER!
CG: TO SOMEONE, AT LEAST, EVEN IF I’M STUCK HERE ON ALTERNIA.
TA: do you want two play miinecraft or not
TA: ii wiill ab2olutely help you wiith your exii2tentiial crii2ii2, but only iif you get in my troll chrii2tiian miinecraft 2erver riight the fuck now
You lightly drag your claws over your face, then boot up Minecraft without responding. Sollux wants Minecraft, Sollux gets Minecraft. Sometimes, you wish you weren’t such a pushover. While the game loads, you go back to the table, grab your grubcorn, and tuck your crab-patterned blanket around your toe claws. The loading screen displays, and you select “MULTIPLAYER.” The server Sollux hosts is online (it only goes down if enough bees hibernate during the winter months), and you select it.
It’s been a couple of months since you were active on this server. Your avatar has a yellow-and-black striped skin, probably because the last time you logged on was for the bee update at Sollux’s urging. Minecraft is kind of your thing together.
You’re at the bottom of a chasm, inventory half-full of iron and gold ore. With a little exploring, you come across a functional minecart track and ride it to the surface. There’s a series of signs in Sollux’s quirk at the mine entrance, and along with urging from his messages, you head up a long ladder to a huge complex, down a red-carpeted hall, to a large workshop. You find Sollux’s avatar here, making redstone components and undoubtedly muttering to himself at the other end of the internet connection.
You start throwing potions at him to get his attention.
CG: HEY ASSHOLE
CG: I’M IN THE GAME AND I’M HERE, NOW WHAT
TA: now we go buiild the be2t rollercoa2ter we’ve ever attempted from here two that ii2land acro22 the way.
CG: OH ***FUCK*** YES
You proceeded to do exactly that. The island Sollux pointed out was almost to the edge of the area your computer could load up to, so you started out by building a long, steady slope up. The ride then descended into a few whorls and loop-de-loops, before going under the water in a glass tunnel. It took you a few hours, but you constructed a huge wooden block under the water, hollowed it out, made the glass tunnel, and cut out all the wood so that the cart could descend into the tunnel and below the water without actually touching it. Sollux lit up the inside with lanterns and dug some weird and complicated pits you didn’t understand underneath the track to do some fancy redstone shit. Then, you both laid down powered track where he asked, and continued on.
The final stretch of the rollercoaster had the track shoot up from under the water, up over and past the final landing island, before a huge drop that passed through a series of colored rings. The cart slammed to a stop in the center of the small island. You then saw what Sollux had been doing while you worked on the tunnel. Another, smaller tunnel ran from the center of the island back to what you presumed was the start of your track. Sollux pulled a couple of minecarts out of his inventory, threw one to you, and hopped on the other, travelling back to the start. You followed suit.
TA: 2o, do you want two try out the track fiir2t?
You rested your claws on the keyboard and smiled. It felt a little silly now, but you had somehow forgotten in your misery that there were more than two kinds of love to be trying for, more than just what your favorite romcoms tended to focus on. Sollux had your diamond in his sharp, painted claws, and you had his in yours. Or more accurately , you thought as you reached under your shirt to pull out an ochre diamond pendant on a chain around your neck, his was over your heart. You’ve been awake for almost a night and a day solid, your eyes are crusting over and you think you might nosedive into your keyboard, but for the last few hours you’ve been happy. Sleepily, you smile and type out a message with three claws before aiming your character at the start of the track.
CG: YOU FUCKING BET I DO. <>