A/N: Wrote this for the kmeme. I sort of ended up taking it too far. Way, way too far. Anyway, this is what my time has been spent doing. I take a lot of liberties with canon, too - I am aware that Dave can only time travel with the time tables (like Aradia with her time boxes), but for the purposes of this he can do whatever the hell he wants. For the most part.
Warning for Stridercest and explicit relations.
I own nothing.
This isn't the first time you've gone back so far – the time travel thing is so habitual now, even seven years after you beat the game, that you're not quite sure you could just keep yourself grounded linear– but it's the first time you've ever seen Bro.
And it fucking floors you, just drops the bottom right out of your guts, because this awkward-angry maybe-sixteen-year-old is not a thing like Bro. You creep closer, quiet and nonchalant and the epitome of normal, so that you can get a better look without somebody calling the cops on the twenty-year-old haunting the alley just near the bus stop. Your brother (and it's so weird to think of this punk as that, but you're sure) rounds the corner and you're not sure what you're more embarrassed of: the fact that he's wearing his hat backwards like a garden variety douchebag or the fact that he's not wearing any shades at all, just walking around existing in space with this dunkass scowl that narrows his eyes and has him baring his teeth when he talks.
It's wrong and makes the back of your hands itch, makes you want to beat the ever-loving snot out of his face because how are you supposed to grow up so surreally cool if this guy can't even get his shit together? He's got maybe two years before the state relinquishes wardship and he's kicked out of foster care, only to find tiny little useless you in a crater a few months later. You won't. It takes years to learn to be as pretentiously awesome as both you and Alpha-Bro are. There's no way this kid has time for that on his own and you'll end up obvious and open and too loud to be cool, too clumsy to save the universe.
All because of this kid, smug-faced with a straight nose.
You can't stand it, can't keep looking at this younger version of Bro who is decidedly not Bro. You leave before the angry heat boiling on your skin makes you sweat, time warping around you and snapping back into place just seconds after you originally left. There's a smuppet splayed wantonly on the floor by your bed and you drive your heel into it until the squeaker inside of it breaks with a gratifying crack.
Hot feelings in your throat tell you there is no way you can just not fix this. You can fix this, you can teach this sadsack iteration of your brother to be cool. Which in turn would make you responsible for your own insufferable coolness and so the most chill of them all – you can't teach The Man to be The Man without being Slightly Better Than The Man and just, fuck, this is the best plan. Absolutely. No flaws.
If you still partook in that sort of thing you'd be visibly giddy, flexing your fingers while you grinned like a jackass, but you (thankfully) don't. You're not John.
Your computer screen is blinking Pesterchum notifications at you and you slouch into the computer chair.
-– tentacleTherapist [TT] began pestering turntechGodhead [TG] -–
TT: Dave, I have a task I require your assistance with.
TG: not now rose
TG: im busy
TG: saving the world from the saddest fucking tragedy that is occurring
TG: has occurred
TG: shits complicated but its beyond heartwrenching
TG: like i can feel my fucking heart weeping rose
TG: thats how sad this is my heart is shedding tears like a knocked up prom date in the alley behind the gym
TT: And what, exactly, is the nature of this emergency?
TG: the world is going to develop without two really awesome dudes in it if i dont fix my bro
TG: and the world cant handle much more derp lalonde
TG: itll have to delete egbert to make sufficient room
TT: How far back did you go?
TT: It's possible you caught him mid-transition.
TG: you dont get it
TG: theres no transition into cool for a strider
TG: were born with it in our fucking blood like some kind of shitty instruction manual that don't need reviewing because you just live that shit
TG: instinct or something
TT: Are you sure?
TT: It seems to me you're over-reacting to a very minor thing.
TT: It could be that you were viewing an alternate timeline, as well, one in which neither you or your brother were destined to become as bodaciously rad as you presently are.
TG: okay first off
TG: thats not even a thing a you said
TG: like it literally cannot be a reality in any space or time continuum so were just going to ignore it as a possibility or a real statement that you made
TG: because if were going to recognize it as a thing im going to have to like
TG: stop acknowledging you as a real person because your thoughts are just so obviously wrong
TG: and second thanks
TT: You're welcome.
TT: I will concede that it does seem unlikely you or Bro would ever be anything other than cool – I might even go far as to suggest that it simply isn't possible, given the niche you fill in our little group.
TT: But I think it would be wise to seriously consider it before you decide to "fix" your brother.
TG: yeah thats not going to happen
TG: shits about to get fucking sick rose
TG: id say you best be prepared for some of the sickest fires youve ever seen but youre not really involved
TG: so no preparation is required on your part
TG: also obviously i cant help you with whatever you needed
TG: gotta save the world from derp
-– turntechGodhead [TG] ceased pestering tentacleTherapist [TT] -–
You kick against the wall and the chair rolls out. You've got a plan. It's a good plan and it goes into action now.
Bro is mercifully not home, probably out trouncing some chump in a rap battle or turning out some wicked tunes at a club somewhere, so there's no immediate danger to your bodily well-being as you enter Bro's room. You kick aside the blue smuppet by the door and yank open the desk drawers until you find what you need, stashed beneath printed spreadsheets of Plush Rump subscriptions (and wowis Bro organized with this trash). The shades you've stolen you fold very carefully and slip into your pocket, the expired drivers license you turn over and look over carefully – you've got to get all the details right if you're going to do this.
It occurs to you that Broderick is quite possibly just the worst name and you bet that jerkass you observed a half-hour ago still goes by it.
Jesus christ, that tiny version of your wicked sick Bro is going to be so fucking grateful when you show him the sublime low-light of irony. You pop your knuckles, smooth your fringe to the side. Time slides over your skin like honey and bends, spits you out back in the alley you were in earlier. It's dark but the lingering Texas heat pricks the skin on your, so you figure the time at about eight o'clock.
You walk out of the alley, your shoulders at a low angle and your hands stuffed into your pockets to keep the stolen shades from breaking against your thigh. Your step is slow and bored, a swinging kind of saunter that you've spent years working on to really look like you're full of don't give a fuck, but you're keenly aware of how empty the street is as you follow the nagging feeling in your gut onto a side street.
The houses on both sides of the road look nearly identical, perfect little surbuban white and blue with minivans in the driveway. Your mouth tastes a little like cold molasses and cream from how fucking quaint it all is. Still, you've got business to take care of, and as you rap your knuckles against the powder blue door you know belongs to your Bro's foster family (you're not sure how you know, but you do, you're completely confident in that) you put on your best helpful smile and straighten your posture.
The woman who answers the door is friendly looking enough, and she smiles as she askes what you need. The house smells like Italian spices and you can hear the baseball game on the television. Perfect fucking suburbia.
"I was wondering if Broderick Strider was home?" you ask, voice level and polite.
She peers carefully at you and you're thankful your shades can't betray your relation, "And who are you, if you don't mind me asking?"
You let your face fall, your mouth curling into the slightest of frowns, "He didn't tell you?"
"Tell me what?"
"I'm the tutor his biology teacher recommended. We're supposed to meet twice a week to get his grades up," you lie easily, knowing full well just how believable it is. Bro didn't exactly look like the studying type.
"Oh, dear, he didn't tell us," she sighs, opens the door wide and ushers you in, "He'll be upstairs in his room. It's the last door on the left."
It's a little too easy, but you take it. The house is clean, you notice, impeccably so, and there's black and white photographs decorating the wall leading up the stairs. These people are disgustingly nuclear and it makes your skin crawl. You stop just outside the door to Bro's room, rocking a moment on the balls of your feet. Through the door you can hear the quiet thump of music inside and beneath that swearing. There's no use being polite – he'll blow your cover for sure if you bother to knock – so you let yourself in, closing the door behind you.
You startle him and he jumps off his bed with a growl that's really more like a yelp, his mouth drawn into an unbecoming snarl and his hands balled into fists at his hips. He's about to start yelling, you can tell by the way his throat jumps, and raise your hands in surrender.
"Chill out little dude," you say, sweeping past him and leaning against the window.
"Who the hell are you?" he spits, glaring hard. Trying to unnerve you, you're sure, but it's not going to work when you're bigger than him.
You fish the shades out of your pocket, unfolding them carefully and holding them out as a peace offering. "Put these on," you say, "There's a lot we gotta get done."
He snatches them out of your hand and inspects them carefully. "These are stupid," he concludes, tossing them onto his desk.
"No, they're ironic. Put them on."
"Get out, or I'm telling Renee to call the cops."
You smirk, raise your eyebrows just so, "She's not going to do that."
"She thinks I'm your science tutor."
His nose wrinkles and he looks incredulous. "No, she doesn't. I'm not failing any of my classes," he says defiantly, but his voice shakes a bit and you can tell he's lying. It strikes you that there's a lot more you'll need to address than you previously thought, but it doesn't deter you.
"Don't lie, Bro, if you're not gonna do it right," you say, peering down at him over the top of your shades.
"Fuck off," he growls, his shoulders tightening.
You turn around and unlatch the window, sliding it open. Hooking one leg over the ledge, your hands braced on the frame, you give Bro one last look over your shoulder – he's still glaring, his mouth a thin angry line as he tries to steady his breathing. "You can come, too," you say calmly, moving out the window proper.
Your legs are long enough to reach the sturdier branches of the pecan tree growing in the yard and you shimmy over, climbing down easily to a reasonable height to drop from. There's no point in waiting for Bro to decide whether or not to follow you, so you dust yourself off and walk onto the street, hands back in your pockets. You don't walk very fast because you already know how this ends.
"Okay, okay!" he hisses as he catches up to you, "Where are we going?"
He looks flustered, maybe because you goaded him into doing what you wanted him to, and even though it's dark you can make out the pale flush climbing up his neck. You give a noncommittal shrug and it's the best fucking feeling in the world to have your Bro finally listening to you without a fist-and-sword based argument first - even if it is this lame-ass version. Whatever. You're in the process of fixing that.