disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: Emily.
notes: sometimes I write things.

title: a white and crumbling princess
summary: It was a lot like drowning, that melancholy moment. — Humanstuck AU; Sollux/Feferi/Eridan.

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She looked at the ceiling in her bedroom, wiping away stains of mascara and eyeliner from underneath a tired violet gaze. It was a Sunday, two hours after swim practise, and still Feferi was wiping away yesterday's makeup.

She was always wiping away yesterday's makeup.

(They weren't tear-stains, in case you were wondering.

They weren't.)

The pool was near-empty. Feferi rested her face against crossed arms as she clung to the edge of the pool's deep-end, and she blinked away a thickness in the corner of her eyes. It was like a film, dense and goopy, and she had to blink again and again to make it go away.

But it didn't. Not really, anyway.

She thought of them, right in that second.

Prince and knight-in-shining-armour; they were two sides to the same coin, her boys. The funny thing, though, was that they weren't really hers at all.

(They owned each other.)

Feferi winced.

That thought hurt.

She took a deep breath of air into her lungs and dove down and down and down. The water was cool against her cheeks, dark blue and simple. Water was simple. Water didn't hurt. Feferi sank to the bottom of the pool, pulled her knees to her chest, and forced herself to let the air out slow.

She watched the bubbles rise, and so did the thoughts.

It was a lot like drowning, that melancholy moment.

Eridan came first with her earliest memories. Grinning widely at each other on the beach, frilly pink swimsuit itchy with sand; building castles as the sun went down and playing pretend—I'll be the princess, 'Ridan! You can be my prince! Then later, autumn, toeing her shoes off and running through his mother's penthouse, screaming with laughter. Later still, glaring furiously at an older boy who'd made fun of her best friend's scarf.

The little princess, always.

The bubbles pop-pop-popped.

And then older and suddenly Sollux.

Crashing into her seventh-grade class, out of place and out of mind, and she'd offered him a hand and a smile because that was what princesses did; they helped. Then older, fifteen maybe, elbow-deep in a frog dissection that no one else wanted to try and though Feferi was disgusted, it sort of went like this: Printhess, don't be thad, I'm right here. And she'd smiled and there had been this thing in her stomach like falling and waterfalls and rainbows and it—it had been so nice. Older still, seventeen and sweet, and a near kiss under the bleachers.

But then Eridan, and his shock and his hurt and his need.

Because he did so need.

She had seen them together, her knight and her prince.

It never ended well.

(Because the hatred surged and once she'd found them pressed against each other, hissing and hating and Feferi had said nothing because she knew that they needed it.)

But the world rewound and the guilt returned, twisting in her stomach like a knife. The little princess with her peasant and her prince, one in each hand. She loved them both.

Oh, how she loved them both.

She would make this work, she swore.

As the princess. The little princess.

Feferi realized she'd run out of air, and her heart was pounding. She shot off from the bottom of the pool, lungs screaming. The world got lighter and lighters as she rose toward the sky. And her resolve crumbled around her.

She reached the surface, only to wipe the makeup stains away.

fin.