Not for the first time tonight, you question your decision to accompany Rose to a dance club. Or rave. Or whatever this kind of place is called, you're not sure at all. One thing's for sure, the loud music is pounding through your ear drums. Admittedly it's quite the toe tapper as Jake would say, but you didn't come here to dance.
Your name is John Egbert, and right now you wish with all your might that you didn't choose tonight's activity by randomly picking a spot on the map. But you reap what you sow, so here you are, uncomfortable as all hell standing near a bar while your companion is lost somewhere amongst the sea of dancers. To top it off, the Carapacian bartender is giving you the evil eye.
You sigh. "Fiiiiiiiine, give me a glass. What do you recommend?" The bartender stopped for a moment, before bending down and disappearing from view. You hear sounds of movement, and soon she resurfaced with a bottle of… of… what is that? You barely register what looked like Roxy's Void Aspect on the bottle when faster than you can believe, the bartender whipped out other bottles and began mixing them in a shaker, and soon poured it out to a glass which she then served you.
"The Hollower." She said simply. "Just the thing to loosen you up for a night of fun sir." With that, she moved on to another customer. You eye the concoction, the dark blue liquid doesn't look inviting at all. Oh well, when in Rome, as the saying goes. Or how you think the saying goes. You give it a careful sip. Ooh, fruity. You can get used to this.
A shaking in your pocket nearly made you jump, but then you realized it was just your phone. You pull it out and check, and sure enough, there was a message. From Jake, asking how things are going. You text him back saying things are ok, though you dislike the party scene. Then he texted back saying he's glad Rose is holding strong.
Your mood soured as you think back on the whole reason you accompanied Rose. Ever since what happened, you and your friends made sure to never leave Rose alone. Most of the time it involved taking turns spending time with her in her apartment, since she never left it. In fact, tonight is the first time she has gone outside. Your friends are all worried, and have been texting you every so often to check up on you and Rose.
Admittedly, you should have been more patient and waited for her to heal and come out on her own instead of pulling out a map and forcing the both of you to go out, but you were just so frustrated with the lack of progress. Not that you didn't have that problem back during your… hermit years, as Dave used to say.
You sigh, as you think about Dave. What happened to Karkat was sad, but you wonder if he and Jade did the right thing by leaving everything behind to go travel the universe. Admittedly that does sound tempting since Earth C has never been your kind of scene, but you can't just leave Rose in a lurch.
Speaking of Rose, you crane your neck back towards the dancing horde, trying to see if you can spot her. You wonder why she finally decided to go out with you today. Her words of 'it's your funeral John.' as she smiled at where you pointed made you wonder if she knew that you would hate this place. Considering her Seer powers, she probably did.
Then, you saw her. You've never known that the orange, yellow, black, and purple of her current attire could look so alluring until you see her dancing in it, but now you can't take your eyes off her as she moves in time to the music. What was a cacophony before now was perfect accompanying music to such a spectacle. You eye her sashaying and grooving to the beat for a few moments more before you realize what you were doing and stop.
You groan as you tilt your head back. You don't know when it happened. Sometime during your stint of watching over her, you stopped seeing her as just one of the guys and seeing her as something more. Well. That's not true. She's Rose Lalonde. She's never been just one of the guys, she's been your best friend since… well, ever.
You try to rationalize your newfound feelings for Rose. You're probably just having Dave and Jade withdrawal, yeah, that's it. Or it could just be your paternal instincts suddenly coming into existence making you want to protect her from this cruel cruel world. That doesn't explain your desire to hug her and kiss her though.
You turn away from the dance scene to lean on the bar counter for support. You're a monster. There's no two ways about it. Here you are with a friend who needs your support and you're thinking rather base thoughts about her.
Your thoughts are interrupted as you feel a tapping on your shoulder. "Feeling like turning in for the night John?" You hear her say over the din of the music.
"Yeah sorry, I don't think this is my kind if thing Rose."
"Understandable." She says, leaning back towards the bar. "It's partly why I decided to agree you know. I knew you'd find this place disagreeable ." You knew it! Straight out of the mouth of the villainess! She turned away from you to look out at the crowd, as the DJ announced something you couldn't make out that got the crowd going even louder, if that's even possible. You managed to catch what she has to say though. "I'm sorry for venting my frustration at you John. It's just… I know all of you mean well, and you all are looking out for my well-being. But it is suffocating to be under martial law, even from your friends. Do you understand where I'm coming from?"
"Yeah, I guess we've been a little overly careful." For good reason, you don't say.
"But surprisingly, even though my main objective was to make you furious, I actually had a good time here. Who knew gyrating one's body in time to the beat could be this exhilarating?"
"Well, as long as you're happy." You say. Nevermind the fact that you got satisfaction from watching her dance. Speaking of watching, she's eyeing you in that way only Rose Lalonde can when she's up to shenanigans.
"I'm glad you think so John, which is why I've decided that we can go home."
"Really?" You ask, happy that you can leave.
"After, of course, a dance with you." She said, and offered her hand towards you. Ahh. There's the catch. You frown. On the one hand, accepting the invitation (order?) will probably blur the line between your friendship. But on the other hand, when will you get another chance to dance with Rose.
A movement to your side made you look. The bartender is giving you a thumbs up with one hand and a go away motion with the other. Well, if even the bartender tells you to do it… "I'd love to." You say, taking Rose's hand as you make your way towards the crowd.
Maybe it's the Hollower making you lose your inhibitions. Maybe it's the hypnotic music and lights making you join the others. Maybe it's the crowd's peer pressure making you march to the beat of the DJ. Or maybe it's the fact that you're dancing with Rose. Whatever it is, you danced your heart out with Rose, sometimes holding her close, sometimes separated, but always together. You tried your damnedest to remember all the dance moves your movies ever showed you. By the time that you ran out of dance moves, Rose mercifully led you out of the club.
"My Mr Egbert, wherever did you ever learn those dance moves? Have you been holding out on me?" She said, panting, as you both leisurely walk back towards her apartment, the cool night air doing wonders after the heat of that place.
"Nah, just something I saw on the TV." You say dismissively. "So, want me to zap us back home?" You offered. That seemed to be the wrong thing to say, as she frowned at you. "Or we could walk home and enjoy the city at night."
"I'd love to John." She says. You smile. She's been in a great mood tonight. As you two chat whatever comes to mind, you're glad you finally got her mind off of-
You turn the corner and you wish to god you didn't. It's too late to do anything about it though, she's seen it the same time you did. There, to your side, is a statue of Kanaya. She looked as beautiful as she was in life, the statue depicting her carrying a grub in her arms and staring lovingly at them. Below the statue was a plaque, saying 'In Loving Memory of Kanaya Maryam, Beloved Creator and Tragic Victim of the Troll Kingdom Reactor Accident."
Shit shit shit, how could you be so stupid John? The entire fucking reason all of you were on suicide watch over Rose was because of what happened. It took all of you a long time to finally got her to talk to any of you, and then tonight you had to remind her of the reason she became a hermit in the first place.
Silently, Rose flew towards the statue, cupping the statue's face. "John…" here comes her rant. You take a deep breath to prepare. "Please zap me a flower. Any kind will do."
Confused, you obediently zap to a nearby park, pick a random flower, then return to Rose, handing it over without a word. You eye her as she sniffs the flower, before setting it down in front of the statue. "Please zap us home John."
You do so. Rose takes a moment to note where you two are, currently in the living room of her apartment. She sits down, and pats the seat next to her. You quickly do so as well.
"First of all John, relax, you're hyperventilating." You take deep breaths and try to calm yourself. "Second, while your choice of routes for our homeward bound journey was… ill-advised at best..."
"Sorry." You say, twiddling your thumbs and not looking at her.
"Let me finish. For what its worth John, I managed to get some semblance of closure. Not that I'm saying that all of my problems have been miraculously solved, but it's a start. So, thank you for this kind of awful date John."
"Well, you're welcome and sorry Rose." You stop and procees what Rose just said. "Wait when did we go out on a date?"
"Well, what else would you call what we did, where a perfect gentleman took a lovely lady out for an evening of dancing?" She said, as she heads to her bedroom door. She opens it, enters, and turns to you. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"But it's not my turn tomorrow." You say dumbly.
She smirked, and the last thing you hear before she closed her bedroom door was "You figure it out John."
You pause for a moment, mulling over what she said. Then you frantically text Dirk to switch shifts with you as you walk to the guest room. Sure, Earth C wasn't the happily ever after you thought it'd be, and you will probably leave it to join up with Dave and Jade some day… but for now, you're going to wring every enjoyment you can from it together with Rose.