I originally wrote this AU as an offshoot of my Alternetica universe, which only exists in my mind and notebooks. It's basically just a completely alternate usage of the Homestuck universe with all different characters. Same world ideas and stuff but just with different characters. This story, however, evolved into its own little stand alone that I ended up turning into an AU that explores a little more into Dave's insecurities as being impotent and dependent. Jenn is the Jade equivalent in my AU and is the Seer of Hope in this story but the Seer of Time in Alternetica.
It's written from 3 different perspectives: Dave, Jenn, and Bro's. Due to color not being a thing unless I go document form, which I didn't want to do just in case, the dialogue and who was talking actually became a little difficult to follow, but I hope, for the most part, it's clear. I originally wrote Dave's dialogue the same way he types, so it stayed that way for the most part except that I had to add in periods when his dialogue went for more than one sentence, resulting in it sometimes making things look funny. Whenever it continued on a separate line, that's where I'd put a period or question mark. The lack of punctuation otherwise is a callback to actual Dave's "typing quirk," not me failing at grammar and punctuation. Sorry about that.
Cover Art: me. I drew this teenage Dave for an AMV I was going to make at one point, but I never finished it...yet the artwork remains. This is pre-Sburb though, so in-story-Dave is a lot younger. I haven't drawn a younger version Dave so...B|
Disclaimer: Dave and Bro are whatever Hussie wants them to be, but Jenn is an OC kind of I guess, not that I really care.
Hero of Time: Descend
The wind is whipping around you in a frenzy of furious confusion. The blue sky is rushing away as the roof of your apartment building hastens to catch you in its embrace of solid plaster and stone. You are Dave Strider, and you are falling.
For anyone else, this might be a time of panic and desperation, but for you, it's just another day of living with your brother. You grip the shitty katana in your right hand tighter as you adjust the ironically awesome pair of shades currently adorning your face with your left. You don't care what your brother says about them; your shades are way cooler than his…in a sort of ironic not-so-much kind of way.
That's right, your brother is here.
A flash of steel from above you snaps you back to your current situation and you instantly bring the katana to bear in front of you. Not a moment too soon as your brother crashes down against your blade. You can feel your arms giving way beneath you, but you were prepared for this.
Letting his own momentum carry him, you slip under his blade, flip yourself around, and launch yourself off his back, grabbing onto the satellite tower perched on top of the roof of the apartment. There's no time to waste. Bro probably won't even hit the…
Sure enough, Bro's rocket-board shoots seemingly out of nowhere and he's already coming back at you. You don't exactly have rocket-board mobility precariously hanging onto the bars of this satellite tower, but you'll have to make due or it's no pizza tonight. You haven't even lasted two minutes yet.
There's no point in waiting for him to get to you, so you balance yourself on one of the bars and jump. In your earlier days you probably would have tried to get to the ground or attempt to dodge, but that's not what bro has taught you over the years. It's head on or not at all.
As you speed straight towards Bro, he leaps off his board and raises his katana in mutual acknowledgement. There is a split second of complete silence as you feel the world slow almost to a halt around you. You take one last deep breath before gritting your teeth, and then it happens. Your swords clash with a resounding vibration that rocks the windows of the surrounding buildings.
You already know your shitty sword isn't going to last through a hit like this, so it's no surprise to you when the blade begins to buckle and shatters in half, the handle still quivering slightly in your struggling hand. It's over, or so most people would think, but you're not going to let it end this way, not today at least.
Time slows to a crawl as you reach out and grasp the shattered end of the blade in your free hand, flipping it downwards along with the rest of the sword still gripped in your other hand. You can feel the blade pressing into your palm and fingers, but you could care less. You've resolved that today is the day you will finally surpass your brother.
The rest of the world flies back into motion as you flip around in the air and slash backwards with both ends of your broken sword, and for once, he doesn't expect it. If it had been anyone else, they would have been finished in that one move, but this is your bro. Lil-Cal flashes before your eyes for less than a nanosecond, and he has already brought his sword up to block you. Blood trickles down your hand as the blade of your own sword jams itself deeper into your fingers from the impact, but you barely notice. It is the first time, the first time you've seen a hint of surprise break your brother's cool façade for even a millisecond. Something is happening and you're not sure you are going to like it. Was…was that a smile?
You have no time to breathe. Bro flings you away with a simple slash of his sword and you can feel the air duct wall rapidly catching up behind you. You do half an acrobatic pirouette and nail your landing on the vertical wall, letting the momentum stick you there for a brief moment. You feel the blast of wind catch up as it slams into the wall around you, kicking up a ring of dust which explodes outward like a meteor impact.
You glance upward just in time to see bro flying straight towards you. Without hesitation, you lift the broken bottom half of your katana up to block and throw the blade half with all your might towards Bro. He pulls a classic matrix maneuver on you and twists gracefully out of the way of the flying blade, continuing on and barreling straight into you. With only half a blade, you lock his sword with the guard to take pressure off what's left of the upper blade, but you can feel your feet getting shoved into the wall. Cracks begin to form beneath you and snake across the entire face of the wall as you struggle to hold Bro off.
Mustering your strength, you shove Bro to the side, his sword smashing into the wall beside you. You instantly launch off and finally land, skidding across the roof of your apartment complex. You've never felt Bro attack you like that before. He was really trying to kill you. If not for your experience with Bro in the past, you probably wouldn't have even been able to move. The level of his bloodlust was almost overwhelming. You know he'll never say it to you directly, but you know this is his way of telling you he's starting to acknowledge your strength.
Here he comes again.
Your swords ring out across the otherwise barren landscape around you as the sea of apartment complexes that surround your home silently bear witness to the anomaly of action flitting across a single Texan apartment. Nothing else is stirring; it's as if the rest of the world is holding its breath, waiting for some kind of momentous conclusion. Everything just sits there silently baking in the sun.
It seems to always be hot here; the sun relentlessly blazes and heat waves constantly blur the landscape which ripples and dances in the blinding light. You'd think it would be insane to be able to fight in these conditions, but you're used to it by now. It's usually only after a fight that it finally occurs to you that a fever would probably be colder than how you feel at the moment.
The sun begins to set, bathing the whole area in a fiery glow. You've somehow been able to keep up with Bro for what seems like an entire day with only half a shitty sword, but the heat and the fatigue is finally starting to get to you. You can feel your muscles crying out and your bleeding hand hangs limply at your side. You're not sure how long you can keep this up.
Bro seems to be noticing, but he's not giving you even a second to breathe. You sometimes wonder what the point of all this fighting is, but you figure it's just a Bro thing and gave up trying to force logic on it long ago.
Bro launches himself at you again and you bring your katana up one last time when something suddenly catches your attention.
Someone is crying for help.
You can hear someone desperately calling for help somewhere nearby, and they're pleading, pleading for their life. Their voice is driving into your head and sounds so sad, like…like how you used to be. It's like they're alone in the dark.
Your head moves to look towards the voice, forcing you to look away from Bro, and Bro doesn't realize; he doesn't realize and he's coming straight for you. You flick your head back and hurriedly side-step, but it's too late. Bro's katana plunges straight through your side and the world is bright lights and screeching thunder.
You can't help it; a sharp gasp escapes your mouth and you fall to your knees. Pain is shooting up your side to every part of your body. The cuts in your hand suddenly feel caressing compared to this. It's ok though. It's ok because you are Dave Strider and your brother is…well, your brother.
He is standing over you. You don't look up, but you know he's not gloating. You don't look up, but you know he is standing there shaking and covering his mouth. You know because he kneels down in front of you, gently removes the sword, and hugs you close. You know because he is crying a little. His eyes might be hidden by his dumb anime shades, but you can tell.
You push him off slowly and give him one of your signature cool-kid amused smiles.
"i think ive definitely earned a pizza of my choice tonight" you tell him as you painfully stand back up. It looks like he wants to tell you something, but you don't have time to listen. That voice is still shouting, begging for someone to help them. You don't know how you can hear it while your bro can't, but you'll sweat the details later. It feels like they're drawing you to them, and you wouldn't be able to leave this alone anyways. You grab his rocket-board, shouting something at him about returning it later and not to worry about what just happened, and zoom off in the direction of the voice.
Another wave of pain washes over you and you desperately cling to the board with one hand as you put as much pressure as you can against the hole currently leaking blood in a steady stream from your side. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. You should probably finish this quickly.
Where are they? The heat from the waning afternoon is messing with your senses and the lack of blood is making you lightheaded. Don't panic. You close your eyes for second, letting the wind rush against your face. Calm down. You slowly steady yourself on your bro's board and gather your will together. Focus.
"i don't even know…how im talking to you…but where are you," you call into the recesses of your mind.
"I'm…I'm in an apartment…"
Great…an apartment…that was really descriptive. It doesn't seem like she can give a better description, but that's ok. You'll figure it out. You don't want to put her under any more stress than she already seems to be in.
You had been talking to her for a little now just trying to keep her calm. It was a young girl, probably almost half your age. She had been freaking out, rightfully so considering her current situation, and you could practically feel her fear driving into you. She told you her name is Jenn, and now she's telling you something else, but your mind is wandering in so many directions at once, you can barely listen.
You hover in the air for a little and take a quick look around. Jenn mentioned something about a fire when you first heard her. You see smoke rising in the distance and speed off in that direction. You hope to any deity that will listen out there that this is the right building caught on fire. When you get there, it's a wall of smoke and flames.
"Jenn?! Jenn where are you?!"
You can hear a young girl even younger than you calling from the ground below. She is looking for a Jenn. There can be no mistake. You fly down to the little girl, and she hurriedly backs away from you, her fear of your appearance overtaking any feeling of awe towards your bro's rocket-board.
"STAY AWAY FROM ME!" she yells at you. You reach out to try to comfort her and then realize how you must look. Your hand is completely drenched in blood, not to mention how the rest of you is presenting itself. You try to smile as best you can, but it only freaks her out more.
"wait i dont mean any harm" you try to sound as calm as possible. "my name is dave i just want to help jenn shes trapped in there" You realize how suspicious you must sound and instantly try to comfort her some more on how you're not a bad guy and you just want to help, but she just keeps inching away from you. Pain shoots down your side again and you cringe against the burning sensations riddling your body as you clutch at your side. "please…" And you must have sounded pretty desperate because she suddenly stops moving away. You look up and she's now crying a little bit. You think it's because she is just that scared of you, but you don't know because you are not her. You don't know that she noticed your sad expression even behind your shades and felt so sorry for making you feel bad. You don't know that she could understand and that when she pointed to the 34th floor and you flew away that she called after you to be safe. You, however, were too focused elsewhere to notice.
You gaze into the inferno blazing on the 34th floor in front of you and take a deep breath. You don't know how much you are going to be able to do, but you're not going to let a little girl burn to death right in front of you. You take a quick glance down at the blood seeping out of your wounds, but quickly shake your head and speed forward, smashing straight through the nearest window. You can only hope it's nearby the room you need.
You cut the power and grab onto the board, tucking it against your chest as you roll across the floor of the room. When you finally stop, you get into a crouch and smoke instantly envelopes you. The words you were about to yell get jammed back down your throat and you gag and splutter as you struggle forward. The heat blast is worse than you could have imagined like some kind of trip into your favorite pizza parlor's oven, except smelling like burning char instead of delicious pizzas.
Through the smoke, you manage to call out a few times for Jenn, but there is no response. You fear for the worst. You groggily make your way through multiple rooms and then collapse against a wall in the floor hallway. The fire is all around you, burning as if in laughter to mock your powerlessness. At this rate, you won't even be able to save yourself let alone a little girl.
You pull your resolve together one more time and listen with all your might.
It's the room right next to you! You hurriedly force yourself back up and slice through the door with your broken katana. You shout as loud as you can and there's a response, this time clearer and closer.
"jenn where are you" you call around the room.
"I'm over here!"
"just keep talking to me youre going to be fine. dont give up ok jenn"
"Dave? You're here?!"
"im in the room but i cant find you. where are you"
"Closet! Something's blocking the door though! I can't get out!"
"wheres the closet"
"Back!...the uh…back of the bedroom!"
Sure enough, when you get to the bedroom closet, part of the roof has collapsed from above and is blocking the doors shut.
"im right here jenn im right outside the doors. just give me a sec and ill get you out of there. i promise just keep talking to me. lets uh…hey i have a rap for you. i just thought of one. this fire is hot and theres smoke in the air. but theres nothing bad here except the ash in my hair. my rhymes produce way more heat than any flame. cuz my sick beats be utterly impossible to tame. this ceiling wants to get in my way like a fruit peel. i mean come on just let me get to that succulent meal. oh man i could go for a god damn cheeseburger right about now…"
You continue blabbering some ridiculous biznasty nonsense as you work your way through the rubble. More than anything else, it's helping you keep your mind steady. You can hear every fiber of your body complaining, but you grit your teeth and force it to move how you want. Slowly but surely, you manage to wrench the rubble enough out of the way to where Jenn hurriedly reaches out and grabs onto your good hand. Bracing against the remaining rubble, you launch her out and catch her as best you can. The force knocks you off your feet and the world suddenly goes black.
You are Jenn and it's stuffy, dark, and hot. You can see the light of the fire through the cracks in the closet door, but you have no idea if it has reached you yet. For all you know, the flames could be licking at the door already. You know you can't stay here. The fire is not just going to put itself out.
You crawl towards the door of the closet and try to open the door, but it won't budge. The door won't move! You had come in here to avoid the flames and smoke, but now…panic on top of panic begins to fall on your mind and you scream. It's a scream so shrill and shaking that if feels like your voice will break. You didn't know you were physically capable of making a sound like that. You cry out, but no one answers. You bang on the door, but it refuses to even twitch a crack. You crouch in the corner and begin to sob, but no one comes to comfort you.
You want your mom. You want your friends. Why isn't anyone telling you it'll be ok? Where is everyone? Are you going to die?
A giant blast echoes down the hallway outside the room and you cringe in on yourself. The light from the crack in the door suddenly dims and through your wavering eyes, you see smoke silently drifting in.
It's here already?! No! NO! You don't want to die. Someone help! Someone respond! It's dark and hot! NO! The world begins to crumble around you, and you feel as if an abyss is opening beneath your feet as you drown in a puddle of your own fear. Your thoughts begin to run into a slurry of emptiness, but then, through the haze of panic, you hear a voice.
"is someone calling me"
It's some boy.
"Please!" You shout at the ceiling. "I'm trapped in this closet! There's a fire, and I can't get out! Please help me!"
"whats going on? who are you"
"Jenn! My name is Jenn! Please help me!"
You shout and shout, but no one answers. What seems like hours of silence goes by and your mind begins to shatter. He's gone. He's left you here! Was it all just a figment of your imagination? You're going to die trapped in this closet. You clutch your knees against your chest and whimper softly into your arms. You don't want to die. You're scared and alone and it's hot and you can't breathe.
It's that boy again! He didn't abandon you!
"Yes! Yes I'm still here! Help me please! I'm scared!"
"jenn…i don't even know…how im talking to you…but where are you"
He even got your name! He heard you! He's looking for you!
"I'm…I'm in an apartment!"
You could care less how you are talking to this boy right now, but something is wrong. He seems a lot more out of breath than the last time he talked to you. He seems hurt. Did something happen to him? Is it your fault? You don't know. You don't know a lot of things, but he's coming for you.
You suddenly realize that you live in a place with lots of apartments. How is he ever going to find you? You don't know how to explain it better. You just don't know.
"I don't know! I don't know! I don't know!" You scream and clutch at your head. It's hot and you're scared and you just don't know.
its ok…just keep talking to me…my names dave…dave strider…
His voice cuts through the chaos in your head, and your shaking slowly fades away. It's ok? How is it going to be ok? You still don't know, but for some reason, you think he's not lying to you. Something is telling you he'll be there. You silently try to stop your crying and listen to his voice echoing gently in your head. He sounds tired and you thought he was hurt, but he's switched his tone. He is trying to sound happy and joking, and in the midst of your despair, you can't help but smile a little.
You talk. You talk about a stupid experience you once had with your mom. You don't even know if he's listening or not, or if he can even hear everything you say, but you say it anyways. It's still hot, but you're not as scared anymore.
He's not really responding very often, maybe just a "don't worry" thrown in now and again, but it's enough for you. Before you know it, you hear him almost as if he was right in the room with you.
And then there's the sound of a loud crash, and you hear someone calling out in the family room.
"I'm over here!" you shout enthusiastically. He came! He actually got here! You are so happy; you don't even care about the fire anymore. It's as if it's not even there.
He keeps comforting you and shouting not to worry, but you are already far from worrying now. You direct him to your closet and before you know it, he's pulling the rubble away. He's shouting some stuff at you and it sounds like some kind of song, but you can't really understand most of it. You can't understand it, but you can tell he's trying to make you feel better, so you let it.
He's still saying some sort of rhythmic word pattern when, all of a sudden, a gap appears in the closet door and light streams in. You can hear him struggling with one last piece of debris as a loud rumble and crash reverberates throughout the room. Then, he's shouting at you to grab his hand and you reach for it, light absorbing your body as you are pulled out of the darkness of the closet.
The heat blast burns your eyes and you can't help but let out a small yelp and burry your face in his chest. He's gripping you with all his might and shielding you as best he can, but he's not moving. You force your head up and through watering eyes, you can just make out a young boy, only about seven years older than you, with pale skin and hair, now darkened with ash and…is that blood?
You quickly wipe the tears from your eyes and get a better view. You glance down at your waist, and your heart stops for a moment. You are covered in blood. At first, you think you must've been hurt from earlier, but when your mind manages to breathe a little, you realize that nothing hurts and you can move just fine. It is this boy! The hand clutching you looks ok, but the other one is cut open, and it looks as though blood had been seeping out for quite some time. That isn't even the worst part though; his side looks like it has been stabbed clean through, but what could have done this…or who for that matter? What happened to him?! Did he get hurt rescuing you? Is he going to wake up?
A pair of sunglasses is blocking his eyes, so you gently remove them and a look of horror crosses your face. He's passed out, but the weariness under his eyes is obvious even to you. His eyebrows are knit together in worry and pain, and dark spots permeate under his eyelids. Whatever he was trying to hide before was all too apparent now when he's knocked out.
A burning piece of the ceiling suddenly crashes down next to you and you let out a short scream. You have to get out of here! You shake Dave's chest as gently but urgently as you can, but he isn't responding. You apologize in advance and then smack him across the face as hard as a 6 year old can. He lets out a small cry and jerks into a sitting position, still clutching you in his good arm.
His eyes flit around the room before settling back on you, and they're beautiful. You don't care that they blaze like the fire that trapped you. His crimson eyes reflect his weariness for only a second before he quickly wills his strength back and they flash back to life.
He sees you staring back at him, and he suddenly starts to look panicked. His bloody hand snaps to his face and notices the extreme lack of movie paraphernalia currently not adorning it. You glance down at the pair of shades still clutched in your fingers, and he instantly grabs them and shoves them over his eyes.
You cannot believe you let someone else see your mutant colored eyes. She probably thinks you're a freak already and is just too paralyzed with fear to say anything. She probably just wants to run away.
"Dave? Are you ok?"
Her tiny voice suddenly pulls you out of your thought bubble and snaps you back to the situation at hand. Wait a second, did she just ask if you were ok?
"Dave? Can you hear me?"
"…y…yeah…" you respond nervously pushing your glasses higher up on your nose. She's not scared of you?
"are…are you ok?"
"I'm fine thanks to you."
And she smiles at you. She smiles and clutches your shirt a little tighter.
"But Dave, you're hurt!"
A flash of pain suddenly shoots up your body and everything instantly returns to you.
"its ok…theres no time to explain. hold my hand ill get us out of here"
She doesn't question you any further and quickly stands up next to you as you force yourself up. You gently grip her hand and it's so small and helpless. You wonder if this is what it had been like for Bro when he was raising you.
More of the ceiling begins to quake above you and you realize your time is running out and fast. This building is on a countdown and you're the giant New Year's ball. You had propped Bro's rocket-board against the wall as you were digging Jenn out, but as you turn to reach for it, the floor suddenly buckles and the boards crack beneath you.
You are Dave Strider, and you are falling.
For anyone else, this might be a time of panic and desperation, but for you, there is another life in your care. This is just one floor, you can take a fall like this; you have to. You lift Jenn up and pull her close to you, tucking her against your chest as tightly as you can. The moment you feel the ground make contact with the soles of your shoes, you let yourself fall backward, making sure to fully get your legs out from under you.
You can feel the air get knocked clean out of you and the world begins to zoom in and out of focus. Your side screams in protest as it skids unceremoniously across the floor. Your whole body is writhing in agony and your bones crack in response, but you stand back up. With the building giving way like that, even falling to a non-burning floor is unsafe. The floors above you could give way, and then you'd both be crushed beneath them.
"Dave?! Dave, are you ok?"
You are definitely not ok, but you don't tell her that. You glance at Jenn clinging to you for dear life and give her a forced smile. Heat begins pouring through the hole in the floor above you, and suddenly, she starts choking and clutching her chest as she falls to her knees.
"jenn whats wrong?" you hurriedly kneel in front of her.
"dont worry about it" you quickly interrupt. "you can ride on my back itll be fine"
You let her climb gingerly onto your back and slowly push yourself back into a standing position. Luckily for you, she feels almost as light as the katana you use when fighting Bro.
You gently adjust her position and start moving forward. Despite the heat rushing in from above, the air is a lot easier to breathe on this floor, but now you can't get to your Bro's rocket-board and escape. You'll have to just go the old fashioned way, down the stairs. Something tells you that you are going to have this deep seated grudge against stairs and that something will keep happening, but there is no one here to warn you about the stairs, so you make your way to the fire escape.
Thrusting open the screen door to the balcony, a blast of fresh air smacks you in the face and you splutter and cough as your lungs slowly let out the ash you inhaled earlier. You can feel Jenn heaving and coughing on your back and ask if she's ok between your own coughs. She replies that you don't need to worry about her, so you smile and begin to make your descent down 33 floors of stairs.
Dave's hand is sweaty and covered in dirt, but you gladly cling to it as he holds it out to you. The heat and smoke are blinding you and making it hard to breathe, but Dave begins to move forward.
Suddenly, there is a loud crack that seems to split the air around you and you are falling. You feel Dave instantly brace you with his good arm against his chest as you feel gravity come to meet you, but it isn't that bad. You can feel a little of the wind get knocked out of you, but it is only enough to force a little grunt out of you.
Dave, on the other hand, is trembling. Before you even have time to ask if he's ok, however, you feel his whole body tense and quake as he pushes himself back up into a standing position. You finally get to ask, but he doesn't answer. He merely glances at you, smiles, and grabs his side a little.
You are about to ask him again, but a wave of exhaustion and build-up from earlier overtakes you and you fall to your knees. You can't control it; your breaths come in spasms and your whole body is shaking. You hear Dave rush in front of you and ask you something but you can barely respond. Comfortingly, he turns and motions for you to climb on. Between gasps, you somehow manage to cling onto his back, and he gently moves you into a more comfortable position.
Dave's back might not be broad and strong like what you would assume from some megalithic hero, but it makes you feel safe and secure nonetheless. You can hear his heart pounding through his back and his muscles tensing as he makes his way towards the fire escape. It's all you can do to thank him.
It's been about 10 floors of stairs now, and you can feel how Dave has slowed. Every step seems to be an intense struggle for him and you can feel his ragged breathing shake through his body. Sweat is streaming down his blackened face and he's been clutching at the hole in his side. He suddenly collapses on the 23rd floor and you roll a little across the fire escape, but you don't care about that.
"Dave?! Dave?!" you call, but he doesn't answer. "Dave, please open your eyes! Please get up!"
But Dave isn't moving. You can see him breathing ever so slightly, but his heart beat is slow and irregular and you don't know what to do. You call for help and scream at him to wake up, but he still isn't responding and there seems to be no one around.
You can't do anything. Your legs won't move and you don't know how to help Dave. With nothing else coming to mind, you pull yourself to his side and once more, smack him in the face as hard as you can. With a heaving cough, Dave jerks awake again and slowly moves his head to look at you.
"thats the 2nd time now…that youve woken me up this way. cant a guy get any of his zs around here…"
You were trying to work in a little irony there, but Jenn is looking at you with a face so distraught, you don't think it's really going to reach her at this point. Is she worried about you this much, or is she just that scared? You painfully ease yourself into a sitting position and let the air gently brush against your face.
"Dave, I was so worried!" Jenn jumps at you making sure to avoid your side.
"you were…worried about me"
"Of course! You weren't moving Dave!"
"im sorry i worried you then. are you ok"
"That's what I should be asking! Did you get this badly hurt trying to save me Dave?"
"well thats…" A funny story actually…
Very little of the damage done to you was acquired from rescuing her except added fatigue. Small falls like that and a little smoke inhalation would normally be but a trifle. What are you supposed to tell her though? No, this is just from me and my brother sword fighting to the death on the roof of our apartment building…any normal person would just think you're crazy.
A loud explosion from above sends part of the building crashing down. The wall connected to the upper fire escape begins falling away and the upper levels begin their descent along with it. You grab Jenn and toss her out of the way, but a few pieces of debris trap your legs and you can't move. By some extreme miracle, nothing is broken or crushed, but you can't move.
"JENN RUN! you can make it from here. ill be ok"
You yell at her to run, but she comes back for you. She's pulling at the stones with her little hands and screaming for them to get off you, but it's no use. You try to tell her to leave you again, but she won't listen. The world begins to fade into white as the pain washes over you once again. The stress has reopened what little of your wounds had closed up during your escape and blood is beginning to pool beneath you.
A 2nd explosion rattles the building and the rest of the wall begins to give way. You reach out for Jenn's hand, but the fire escape is rocking and shifting with its own weight and she can barely stand. She reaches out for your hand too, but the fire escape suddenly dislodges and you fade out of consciousness.
A cool wind blows across your face and you feel a pair of strong arms cradling you in their tight grip. Pain racks your body and you can barely open your eyes, but you know who it is. He's pressing you against his chest and you can feel his heart giving away his fear for you. He's looking straight ahead with his typical cool-guy poker face, but his heart is beating with a slow, rhythmic deep pound that resounds within his chest the way it gets when he's nervous but concentrating. You are about to let sleep overtake you again when you suddenly remember. Jenn! You try to lift your arm and your brother notices.
"She's safe little man. You…I…"
You don't hear the rest. So she's safe huh? Looks like you couldn't save anyone again. In the end, you always rely on your big bro. In the end, you are never strong enough. He's always better than you and probably always will be. A tear you didn't want anyone to see gently rolls down your cheek as you fade back into unconsciousness. Your brother gently wipes the tear away and grips you tighter.
-extra: Jenn's afterthoughts-
The rocks won't move! Dave is trapped and you can't do anything to help him again. Even though he saved you AGAIN, you can't do anything for him. You scream and wrench at the rubble, but it won't budge.
Suddenly, the fire escape begins to break away from the wall and the whole building is rearing to collapse. You don't want to die. This is scary! Everything is loud! You just want to get away!
Then you look up, and he's reaching for you. Even though he's still trapped, Dave is reaching out across the rubble to try to save you. What are you thinking?! If Dave hasn't given up, neither will you. You reach out for him, but the fire escape buckles and begins to fall. Even amidst all this, you manage to grab Dave's hand. He isn't grabbing back and no matter how you shout at him, he's not opening his eyes, but you're not scared about dying anymore. All you want is for someone to save Dave. If someone would do that, you wouldn't mind giving up your life. After all, without him, you wouldn't be alive right now anyways.
As if in reply, you hear a loud roar like a rocket and the flash of a sword as the rubble is blasted away in a single swipe. A tall man in pointy shades grabs you and Dave and zooms into the sky just in the nick of time as the whole building collapses in a sea of dust and debris. You look up and he smiles at you. He's cradling Dave as gently as he can in his arms as he carefully props you up with his legs.
Dutifully, he flies down and sets you on the ground to the relief and delight of your mom, who had just returned from grocery shopping, and Rynn, your best friend who had told Dave where to find you. Your mom thanks the pointy-shades man for all his help, but he shakes his head and beckons towards Dave lying lifeless in his arms. Your mom looks horrified and asks if he's dead to which the man gives a look of utter disgust and anger and hurriedly flies away. He mutters something about being sorry, but you know your mom already feels bad. She was only concerned.
She turns to you and holds you close again, silently thanking Dave and the other man again. You know who your hero is. It's not the pointy-shades dude that just happened to save you at the last moment. You know Dave will be alright, and you hope you'll get the chance to see him again, but something tells you, his destiny is a part of a far different story than yours, Seer of Hope.
-extra: episode of Dirk-
You are Dirk Strider, but most people just call you Bro. It's just another day of training your little brother in the art of badassery. He'll understand one day. Woops.
Both of you are clashing in mid-air as any good over-the-top action sequence should, but, as usual, you're on the offensive. Dave slips out from under you and launches off your back, catching hold of the antenna tower. He's getting good. One day, you might have to actually watch what you're doing, but he's still naïve. You adjust your signature anime shades and get ready to fly.
The timer on your rocket-board goes off and it shoots out of the stairwell. Without skipping a beat, cuz you'd never mess up a good rhythm, you flip in the air and land square on your board. Dave better know what he's doing.
You make a quick loop in the sky before coming back around to attack while he's still on the tower. He is already watching you coming straight for him and is getting a better foothold. Heh, looks like he knows you too well already, but he can't stay there, not even if you only use a quarter of your strength.
Dave braces himself and launches into the air directly at you, and you almost smile. Good boy. You bring your katana back and swing.
A loud crack echoes out over the rooftops and you can feel your brother's sword giving way at the force of your own. He did okay for today, but it looks like you two are going to have to turn it in early. He's earned his pizza.
But then you sense something behind you. You take a quick glance back and Dave hasn't stopped. He's grabbed his broken sword in his bare hand and is bearing down on you with full intent. He's attacking you? He's attacking you…with his broken sword? You can't help but smile. This is what you've been waiting for. He's always had more heart than you, but he's never had the strength to keep up with it.
You have to act fast. You toss Lil-Cal, your signature ventriloquist doll, into the air and instantly bring your katana up to bear. Your swords flash in the setting sun as you collide. Dave doesn't seem too surprised that you could block it, but he doesn't seem fazed, even as his hand starts bleeding from the impact against his own blade. He may have gotten the jump on you, but it's not like you're going to let him win because of it. If anything, you can finally go all out.
You shove him away, and he lands typical badass style on the side of the air-conditioning unit for the building. That's your brother. He's learned from the best.
Your battle continues to rage on for the rest of the afternoon. He's been on the defensive since that last attack, but, if your positions were reversed and you were the one with the broken sword, you would be too, especially if it was against you. He's been holding his own actually quite well this whole time and it's not like you've been holding back. Rather, you've been pressing him harder to see how he'd react under such a handicap.
You slash at him again, and you can tell he's starting to get tired. His reactions have been dimming in the last couple of confrontations and when you clash, he's been struggling more and more to brace against your strength. You'll finish this soon and knock him off his feet, and it'll be over. You charge one last time, and you…you didn't mean to.
Dave suddenly lets out a sharp gasp and falls to his knees, your katana still pinned, lodged straight through his side. He falls to the floor, and you have no idea what just happened. You never meant to…you would never actually…what…
He's bent over in pain, clutching his side with his good hand. You fall to your knees in front of him and try to reach out, but you can't do it. Your hand is shaking and you can't keep up your cool-kid nonchalant expression anymore.
You can't just leave him like this; you've got to help your brother. Luckily, he managed to dodge a fatal blow, and the sword just stabbed through the empty space in his side, but it's not like he's not going to feel that. It shouldn't bleed out if you are careful and can slow the bleeding, so you gently remove the sword as quickly and painlessly as you can. He never screams, but you can feel him gritting his teeth while trying to relax his body so you can yank it out smoother…only your brother.
When it's out, you glance down at the blade soaked with your own brother's blood and toss it aside. Getting hurt is all a part of this training, but it's too soon. You shouldn't be stabbing 13 year-olds, especially your own brother…well maybe he's not your actual brother by blood, but you'll be damned if that makes any kind of difference.
You hug him close, and he lets you do it. Normally, he'd probably just shove you off and complain, but he's too busy dealing with his current situation to care much. He gently nudges you a little though: a hint at the 10 second rule. He gives you an ironic smile, one he's seen you do all too often and says that he'll have to beat you another day. You can tell that it's, truly, an ironic smile this time. He may be trying to hide it, but he's hurting and also sounds sad…like he's letting you down.
That's not it! That's not it at all. But you can't seem to be able to spill the words out of your mouth. You've never really known how to deal with this kind of stuff.
Dave always felt that he will never be stronger than you…not as talented, not as cool, not as good at rapping, not as popular. But you've always felt that, even if some of those things were true to the general public, who cares about them? You wish he could see it himself. He is good enough. If anything, you believe more so. Who else could keep up with you?
You are broken out of your thoughts as you hear Dave suddenly grab your rocket-board.
"ill bring this back later thank you"
Where in all fuckery does he think he's going…and in his state? Whatever it is, you are sure you could do it for him. You are about to say something when he turns and cuts you off as if in a quick after-thought.
"let me do the saving for once ok"
With that, he flips the board under his feet and zooms off before you can even react. Where IS he going?! He seemed like he was in some kind of rush. Is THIS what had distracted him?
You watch him rapidly fading into the distance and can't help but smile a little bit. Save someone huh? Doesn't he know he does that every day? You walk over to your blood-stained sword and gently pick it up, turning it over in your hand. The sun glints off part of the blade that's still clean and you catch your reflection.
"bro youre not serious your katana is so unbelievably unshitty central park cleanup crew would see that lying in the middle of the sidewalk and erect a monument in its memory. tom cruise would be gently caressing that shit while uma thurman uses it to chop like 10 fucking guys heads off at once. the plaque would just have like this slash through it like the sculptor thought about writing some godawfully sappy elegy. but was all like fuck it this legendary icon for badassery doesnt have time for this shit. and just sliced that motherfucker right in half and then proceeded to kick back in a fullsize recliner drinking some glorified AJ whilst angels sang down hallelujah"
Dave's voice continues to echo out from your memories.
"BRO! get the hell out of my locker and remind yourself not to bring goddamn samurai swords onto campus. howd you even get that thing in here? you know what dont answer that"
"oh my god bro. seriously...who brings a katana to a pillow fight"
"bro it was just a group of idiots being idiots. lets stop degenerating to half frozen popsicles over here alright and just put away the wmds (weapons of mass destruction). we are gonna be so cool over here their motherfucking tongues will all have to be chiseled off our icy frozen asses as our cold sublimation slowly lowers the temperature to absolute zero. bro what the fuck that means i got this ok"
"bro what the hell are you doing? don't ever replace that annoyingly priceless piece of japanese badassery. whenever i see it…fuck. how can i say this? it…goddamn it it reminds me of you"
You gently run your finger down the blade of your katana, Dave's blood pooling around your fingertip. This katana contains all your memories, both of yours, both the good and the bad. You extend the blade out in front of you and then gracefully flick the blood off to the side. You strike up a fitting beat in your head and begin rapping silently to yourself. In one smooth motion, you flip the blade backwards as the sheath appears in your other hand from your Sylladex. You hear the familiar click as it falls into place and swing it calmly onto your back. As you conclude spinning lyrical magic, your real personal rocket board gets shot out of your Sylladex and you run towards the edge of the roof. In a rush of wind and roaring engines, you jump on your board and fly off after Dave.
There is a tracking system on your rocket-boards, a task that was elementary for you to set up. You link up the signal to your shades and lock on to your board somewhere in the next district. Leaning forward slightly, you accelerate towards the blinking red dot indicating the location of your brother. If he's in trouble, by the plush rump of a smuppet you will find him and bring him home safely.
Smoke appears on the horizon, and you suddenly grow solemn. If your tracking system is correct, which it always is, Dave can't be safe. You are wondering what could have called him out this far and so urgently, but as far as you are concerned, his life is in danger, so the reason can wait.
When the details of the building finally start to come into focus, a strange sensation begins to overtake your body. Something doesn't feel right…like this building shouldn't even be here. You have been patrolling this city for ages and you are almost positive this used to be an old empty lot that gang members used to use as a sort of hangout.
Your heart suddenly gives a jolt and the entire neighborhood seems to shift and distort around you. You jerk your board to a halt and silently observe your new surroundings. It's similar to the Houston you know, but…dirtier. Many of the buildings are worn down and crumbling and too many of them are empty, structures abandoned long ago to slowly be eaten by the wind.
The apartment building before you still splutters and cracks flame and smoke, but everything else has changed. A sudden loud crash snaps you back to your original goal and you decide you'll worry about the finer details later. You have to rescue Dave. Whatever he's doing, especially after what just happened, you are going to stop him and take him home…somehow.
Suddenly, several explosions burst out from the windows of the building as cracks slowly rip through the walls making it look more like a giant 3D jigsaw puzzle than an actual manmade structure. You can hear the whole apartment shudder in response and the supports around the 34th floor give way. Dave!
You panic. If Dave is still in there, he's going to be crushed. You have to find him!
"Dave! Dave where are you?! Answer me little bro!"
Who was that?
Without stopping to think twice, you speed after the sound of the voice around the side of the building just as another explosion rocks the foundations.
You follow the voice with your eyes and you see them. Your little brother is lodged under some rocks and isn't moving while a little girl is desperately trying to get to him. She looks terrified but, for some reason, very determined even as the fire escape suddenly dislodges from the main building and begins crashing to the ground, but you are already gone.
Your blade flashes in the burning sunlight as you carve righteous retribution into the rubble trying to crush your brother into oblivion. Bursting through the center, you swoop down and snatch your brother and the little girl out from the collapsing building like a magician pulling the tablecloth from under glassware. The girl clings to your leg desperately, but she is more focused on Dave cradled protectively in your arms.
Dave is barely breathing and he's covered in blood from the waist down. This is beyond you now; you have to get him to a hospital. Hurriedly you fly to the base of the now dust cloud which was the building and drop the little girl off with who is obviously her mother in hysterics over the thought of her child still being in there. Grocery bags lie spewed around her as they slowly empty their contents onto the pavement. The situation isn't hard to understand.
You don't know how he found out, but Dave had rescued this little girl from her room or whatever who had been left up there since her mom was out grocery shopping without, of course, knowing that a fire would erupt in the building. Dave had protected this little girl. Hell, he had saved her life.
The mother is thanking you with all her heart and crying rivers of joy, but you let it bounce off you like a ricocheting bullet. You didn't do anything; it was Dave that had saved her daughter. You are about to tell her that but then she notices Dave dripping blood down your arms and it shuts her up. You don't mean to be rude, but when she asks if he's dead, you lose it. You refuse to believe that that's even an option…that she'd even mention such a thing. Not on your watch.
With the anger and frustration clearly lining your face even behind your pointy anime shades, you rev your rocket-board into overdrive and speed off towards the nearest hospital. It barely registers that the world around you has reverted back to the Houston you and Dave know and pretend to love. You don't even notice that as you fly away, the destroyed apartment building is already back to being an empty lot.
Suddenly, you feel Dave twitch a little in your arms and your heart leaps in your chest. Behind his new pair of Stiller shades, he painfully opens his eyes and looks up at you. You smile down at him and he manages to crack a smile back, but he is losing consciousness again and his eyes are slowly drooping closed. You try to tell him he can relax, but he seems to be trying to raise his arm. He doesn't know that she's safe.
"She's safe little man. You really did it. I don't know how you managed to find her, but you did it. You saved her."
But Dave has already faded back into unconsciousness and didn't hear you. You don't understand why, but a tear gently falls down Dave's cheek, so you quickly wipe it away and hug him closer.
"I'm so proud of you…"