Hey, guys- it's been awhile. I spent kind of a long time on this annnnd honestly I do not care for it but I spent so much time on it that I figured, heck, let's post it! This is suppossed to be one of the many "timelines" Dave sees as he and Jade are going to Prospit (a la last chapter) and if I continue with this little story hee-yuh it will not only be a multi-parter of alove triangle betwixt Dave the boy, Dave the Sprite, and Jade the doggod, but it'll tie back into DreamDave and his sleepy, sleepy adventures on Prospit with DreamJade because, well, this is Homestuck and I'd like to write about layered realities and I actually do have a plot outline.
In fact, part of the problem I'm having with this chapter is that I'm explaining the subtle differences between this and the actual Homestuck canon events and it's tedious. So if you hate it, love it, or can see a way I can improve, tell me! I want to be able to write things with plot (and also gore *HINT*) but I'd like to keep some readers, y'know, interested as I do this because feedback is GOOD and helpful. Thank you in advance and don't forget to read and review!
EDITED FOR COHERENCY. Feel free to nitpick my typos!
Yes- Homeworld/The Ladder (Arguably the lyrics of every Yes song outlined part of Homestuck's plot. I kid you not!)
The white was the light against the black that she had a knack for- she slid her hand over her eyes to shield her face from the supernova reflecting off the ebony waters before it blinded her.
Rose Lalonde stood by her image mirrored in the glassy water and adjusted her eyes to the dawning intensity of the sudden sunrise. She knew very well that this particular day was significant- this was the very first dawn they'd found themselves in since the Scratch and if her role as a Seer of Light told her anything, it was that new beginnings (especially those involving her aspect) were something that needed to be monitored carefully. After all, they set the pace for whatever came after.
Beginnings were, quite literally, what determined the "luck of the draw" until the finale and free will, while important, was nothing more than the ability to choose which beginnings to pursue. After The Choice, fortune decided all.
And as a Seer knows there are many beginnings to infinitely many paths of fate along the road of life- one sunrise in any other context would not be such a monumental sight in the eyes of a reader of luck, beautiful as they are, but this beginning came from The End and that made it all the more unique.
She didn't know how, but she knew that this particular dawn- this particular moment- was going to reveal to her a glimpse of the fortunes of someone- of herself, her friends, or of the newest Bilious Slick, Rose did not know- close to her and she felt obligated to bear witness, analyze, and read the omens like tea leaves swimming in the vast, clouded sea of her mind's eye.
Still, the cool early morning winds chilled her bones and she didn't appreciate being awoken from her naps by visual cues from her sight beyond sight. She grumpily puzzled over what to do until the powers inside of her compelled her to once again dare to behold the white light on the black water.
Her own shadow loomed over onto the deep pool and she followed the straight black line her figure cast across the silvery expanse with her eyes until she reached the shore on the other side.
Indeed, this new universe replica was a strange place; Jade had been primarily responsible for the birth of the new froggod and so it made sense that the first place they would arrive looked like the island she was raised on, but the flora was huge and tropical while the fauna definitely was not.
A nondescript wolf sat on the other side of the water nonchalantly; it had either not yet noticed Rose or felt unthreatened by her as it didn't even give her a glance. It stoically kept its eyes glued to the sky above it.
From across the waters, Rose took in the strange creature with a sad smirk. The thing was so pale that it looked almost white beneath the penetrating sun- not even its facial features were outstanding. Anyone else would blame the phenomenon on Jade's lack of imagination, but Rose knew better.
Jade did not lack imagination ever. She simply missed Becquerel and this shade of an animal was a subconscious gesture to his memory.
Again, Rose braved the brightness but this time sent her eyes to the sky, following those of the Bec-wolf.
She needn't have, though, because no sooner had she angled her head did a single black bird descend to the pristine wolf-beast's feet.
How cliché, she thought to herself, that Dave would have a crow represent him. The only relation she could recall him having with a crow applied to his sprite, and that had just been coincidence. Jade's white wolf at least had true sentimental value.
(Rose was a Seer and she could see things that are and might be, but she was blind to things that were or would have been. The luck that mattered glimmered before her like a yellow brick road unfurled at her feet with its many divulging paths, and yet it was still a one-way road; once a path was decided upon, there was no turning back.
She had achieved godtier by Jack Noir's hands after she had been so foolishly played by her dear Noble Horrorterrors- she had the choice to seek Noir out but instead chose to meditate atop her quest bed, wrathfully pondering the outcome of using her brother's ability to traverse through time and stop her from daring to convene with the lords of dark mythos. Her reality was one of many, she reasoned, and so wondered how different an existence created from another set of her choices could possibly be. For example, if she chose to face Jack now in her rage, would she miraculously be able to take him down within a shroud of grimdarkness or would she fail?
At the time, she had been unable to read her fortune and did not know that such a choice, a reaction of anger and folly, would have had the same terminal result as the one she had made in this present reality- Bec Noir, the damned demon, appeared and thrust his sword through her in a flash of murderous thunder. She had watched in a detached stupor as the fates revealed themselves to her and she ascended along with the odds of her party's success, leading her to forget any forks in the road she had passed until this moment; Rose was a god now and she believed that she had made the correct choices to reach a bright future. The alternatives from then didn't matter now.
That was what she had beheld in her mind's eye to be the true path and therefore she had not and still did not remember that, in a session gone differently- neither wrong nor right, as such labels are subjective- Dave became both a bird and a boy because he had seen, with eyes lost in blackness and bathed in green light all at once, his fate cast before him from the dark eyes of the same kind of carrion crow that she was criticizing for, ironically, the lack of artistic vision and deeper meaning.
The crow had been more than a simple coincidence.
Her dreams, his dreams, and memories of days before SBURB blurred together and left holes in her field of vision much like too much light washes out film; the overexposure removed key details from the big picture.
Rose, with all the luck she had the good fortune to foretell, was blind to the fact that Dave had, in the event of any reality resulting in the delivery of the Tumor, known about his demise at the hands of Bec Noir and his following suicide at the green sun. Instead she blamed his destiny on the poor cards the game had dealt him. Dave, who acted as his own harbinger of death in black feathers, could see more than she could and, for once, understand more than she could hope to learn.
Indeed, Rose Lalonde was blind to the fact that luck did not actually matter.)
She watched the crow hop around the paws of the wolf and release a coarse, piercing caw before taking off and resettling on the canine's head. The lupine playfully shook itself and sent the bird plummeting to the ground.
Squawking in tandem with Rose's laughter, the crow ruffled its feathers and flew away.
The white wolf waited for a little while after the ebony visitor departed. Nonchalantly, it traded a few messages with the bird hovering above it before it stood up and padded into the inland jungle.
Unfortunately, the sunrise did not hold the same allure to every Seer as it did to Rose.
Terezi Pyrope, for one, did not see the appeal of contingencies within beginnings. In fact, she did not hear, feel, taste, or smell the allure of Lady Luck whatsoever, either. No, it was the blind mistress of Justice that enchanted her and Terezi comforted herself in the self-gratifying belief that choices resulted from the independent desires of the wayward vagabond on the road of life. Yes, the illusion of that thing called luck scattered about could entice the foolish down certain roads, but the swift hand of Justice would ultimately guide them to their destination, be it one of penitent suffering or righteous reward.
In fact, the sunlight was intolerable.
Her slumber through the dawn was more than a Troll's escape from the day; it was a much-deserved respite from the sights of the many possibilities that plagued her blank eyes daily and she cuddled her stuffed dragons to block out the piercing light.
There was no doubt that Terezi had a variety of unorthodox quirks devoted to unsettling bystanders. She poked, prodded, licked, interrogated, and judged her way into the lives and hearts of others, whether as a poisonous thorn or a benevolent (if pushy) protector, but her most unusual attribute was her affinity for playtime. Specifically, playing judge.
It was unsettling how she enjoyed sentencing her dear scalemates to their deaths.
She knew her games were odd, but she (smilingly) insisted that they must be enacted. Lemonsnout was a liar and coward, the green one was sinfully envious and the scarlet one, while a beautiful color, was known for crimes of wrathful passion. The mustard-brown one had conned many a scalemate with its duplicity and the chocolate one was too weak-willed to abstain from being an accomplice to unlawful behavior. The royal blue plush was known to ravish unwilling parties and the darker navy dragon was a thief. They were quite a motley crew and try as she might, Terezi could never tame them before the repercussions of their unjust actions caught up with them.
And so the games must begin.
It was a pity, really, that the only scalemate she could really believe in was the pristine Pyralsprite.
Because she was blind, Terezi did not judge based on appearances- they were, as the cliché says, deceiving. No, there was always an underlying motive, meaning, depth hidden beneath the surface that she, as a legislacerator, was obligated to uncover. Absolutely nothing was as simple as it looked and absolutely nobody was as good as they tried to be and that was the truth.
Except Pyralsprite. The little dragon was as unblemished as its soft white casing and the only breaks from its guiltless hide were its eyes- Pyralsprite had these perfect scarlet eyes that bore into a bystander and sought out the sin therein. To look into Pyralsprite's eyes was to have your whole soul reflected back at you in a burning vortex created as a reward for your terrible deeds and depraved heart.
And somehow, Terezi was able to see (although not really see, as, again, she was quite blind) through the fire and flames to see that Pyralsprite, like her lusus, held the power that Terezi wanted, had the wisdom Terezi wanted, and saw more than Terezi ever could even since before her eyes were fried by Surya's lurid glare.
(She'd never say this, but Terezi Pyrope, while attuned to just about every possibility of fate, was blind to the fact that Pyralsprite reflected all the things she valued in this world. Her lusus was her parent and Pyralsprite a strange amalgamation of a protector and partner and dear child rolled into one adorable plush toy. She projected onto it all the qualities she liked about herself and all the other scalemates be damned- she hanged green envy, yellow-bellied cowardice, and sin red because they were guilty of imperfection and always would be.
She enjoyed their "just" killings because it was good riddance!
Once, she had thought she felt that way because they were just bits of fluff, much like she thought other trolls were other worthless strangers for her manipulation and amusement. Now she knew, in her heart of hearts, that these lynching sprees sprang from a futile effort to eradicate her shortcomings through ritualistic means. And it wasn't just for her- she choked the life out of the imperfections of her friends through her cuddly companions, too.
After all, if she believed in her mind that representational death sentences could squelch out the evils of the spirit, then surely her ruthless playtime did just that.
This was how she justified her most difficult actions- she goaded herself into believing in a reality where the decisions to protect her friends, no matter how ambiguous those choices were in actuality, were always righteous.
Threatening to kill John as retribution for Tavros' death had not been wrong because it distracted Vriska from pursuing Jack Noir until The Mirthful Messiahs had made a grand entrance on the roof. It hadn't mattered that Terezi had been lying about doing the Heir harm or that such an act would have been unjust in and of itself- it was for the greater good. It was also was not wrong of Terezi to allow Gamzee to utterly defeat her spidery friend before allowing Karkat to intervene. She reasoned that had Vriska not been on the other end of Zillyhoo, she'd have never realized that her godtiered self could not even take care of a raging clown let alone the blackest jester. Vriska might've lost her arm again, but the grim alternatives Terezi had beheld in her mind's eye did not come to pass.
Everything was as it should be. She had convinced herself of this, therefore it was so.
Terezi did not believe in grey area. There was black and there was white and nothing more. Wrong and right were the only choices and they, like destiny, weren't defined by luck or chance but by one's own hand and deluding yourself into claiming neutral is cowardly and stupid. Legislacerators are meant to abhor and sniff out such lies.
Grey is a cheap casing over the body. It's an illusion created by the weak mind trying to justify itself, she'd say.
But be that as it may, Terezi couldn't-and can't- see into her own mind as clearly and objectively as she believes. Good and evil may be two sides of the same coin but the reality was- and is- that she couldn't tell which damn side is up or down and even if she could, it wouldn't matter because the whole coin is one solid metallic grey.
Her faith in her own justice- her belief that your reality was all in your head and that there is, infallibly, only right and wrong- could get her far, but at the end of the day Terezi's morality was just like her Pyralsprite- a sweet, little,
Still slumbering, she drew her most trusted dragon companion closer and gave him a good sniff. Lovely, as always- he smelled like fresh snow and sugar and clean laundry and… something else. As she put her nose closer to its eyes, a pinky-cotton-candy smell wafted and she dreamed, for a moment, of the pale flesh of a newborn human child. Had she been a more lucid dreamer, she'd have shaken him from her dreams, but the image stuck and Terezi puzzled as to why, when the infant in her mind turned around, the bright ruby eyes staring back at her seemed so familiar.
She'd beheld this child before through whatever sensory abilities she still had, but she couldn't quite place how he related to her Pyralsprite.
Or perhaps she did and just didn't want to acknowledge it.
Regardless, the sun's piercing rays popped her dreambubble and she scurried deeper into the little island cave she and her compatriots had settled in for the day. Nimbly, she stepped over John's splayed legs and cackled quietly to herself when she discovered that the Heir held one of Dave's legs captive like a teddy bear (or Pyralsprite) and the other was underneath his lower back while Dave's torso was contorted so that his head was neatly wedged in his windy friend's armpit (how they got into that position, she'd never know.)
His contorted placement looked incredibly uncomfortable and Terezi figured that was why Dave was awake and watching her through his shades. "Don't think that just because John's got me down I'm gonna let you take advantage of me and remove my dignity."
"Coolkid, I think Mr. Windypants has done that already. There's not much left for a poor blind girl like me to take."
Dave smiled a little, but it was barely noticeable. "Nah. He's my bro and this is what we do. In fact, this is actually how I gain my dignity. By being a body pillow. Literally," He grunted and flailed his free arm in the air as John smashed his face deeper in his armpit, "and ironically," he gasped out when he wiggled his face out of his friend.
"This human emotion called friendship sure is weird," Terezi muttered, slightly disappointed that Dave's glasses were still securely on his face.
"Why the hell do you trolls keep calling it an emotion? There are emotions involved and stuff but friendship is more like just a "thing" than an emotion in and of itself."
"Well, it's still just weird." She adjusted the plush in her arms and sniffed around. "But where's Rose?" She hadn't noticed the girl had gone until now.
"She left a few minutes ago, but I'm sure she's fine. It's some shit to do with the sunrise, like, Seer of Light business. I assume it's exclusive to the Seer because otherwise Spiderbitch," he spat the name out with a hiss, "would be out there too. And then I'd be out there making sure she didn't try anything funny."
Dave had actually not had contact with another human since his ascension to godhood and it was no real wonder that he was so suspicious of all the trolls' actions towards his friends, especially now that he really knew them. Sure, he was fine with Terezi, Kanaya, and (amazingly) Karkat, but Gamzee and Vriska were much trickier- Dave learned quickly that Gamzee, while normally mellow, had some "totally fucked up obsessive" feelings for Dave and Tavros' severed head (this had actually been a surprise to everyone, as far as Dave's inclusion went, and whatever transpired afterwards was one of the other mysterious key things that created the bridge over the impasse of mutual douchebaggery of Strider and Vantas.)
But the tension between Dave and Vriska wasn't just awkward- it was almost palpable.
Terezi was not entirely sure why. If she had to hazard a guess, it had something to do with everything, but most notably the very boy holding the Knight of Time captive at the moment. She'd gathered that Rose factored into it, too, but Dave was very secretive about anything surrounding his dislike of Vriska (besides the fact that Terezi had complained about her so much in the medium. Terezi could never live that one down.) But the skilled eyes of the Seer of Mind saw right through that excuse and Terezi had been a little hurt by his distrust of her.
When she had confronted him, his reasoning for skimming the issue had been very solid and even she couldn't justify an argument against it: "Even though you bitch about her all the time," he'd told her, "it's pretty damn obvious that you are still her friend or kismesister (she would interrupt and protest at that) or whatever the hell you call it and you might be inclined to let something slip and I can't risk that."
He'd had a similar talk with Kanaya and Karkat, apparently (which had pissed Karkat "the hell off, where does that asshole find the nerve to shut us out? Is he being all racist because we are trolls? Is that why he won't fucking talk to us? What a fucking poser douchebag hypocrite! We should kick him off this spaceship-meteor-disk thing for being a prick" until around the time Karkat's eyes began to change color- then both of them disappeared for a long time and when they came back, Karkat was unusually polite to Dave) but eventually most of their aggressive talk was just that- talk. The dynamic reminded Terezi a little of how Sollux and Karkat used to act and as glad as she was for that, she couldn't help but feel a little left-out sometimes.
Actually, now that Terezi really thought about it, Dave was borderline reclusive for the whole trip and he spent more time with Karkat than with the rest of them. He rarely had to be around any of them, though, as he was the Knight of Time and could manipulate the years to go either faster or slower depending on what he wanted.
In fact, if Dave didn't want to, he'd never have to interact with anyone ever again.
However, the solitary snarker hadn't shut himself in his own timeloop yet and he pulled Terezi from her reverie. "But I wouldn't worry about it. She'll be fine and you still look sleepy."
"Whatever you say, coolkid, you and all your weird friendship stuff." With a playful pout, Terezi adjusted the red glasses on her head and turned to get a clearer "look" at the human pile at her feet. "Do all human friends sleep together?"
"Nah. Not always. But the best of bros and, like, couples and stuff do. Basically, if you, like," he shrugged from beneath John, "love each other."
"So you are going to be John's matesprite? What about all that "ho-mo-sexual" issue?"
Dave snickered. "Bromos before homos, Terezi, but we're still totally getting married. Assuming I get out of this weird position alive. This right here might be a dealbreaker."
"I still don't understand most of this strange human conversation, but okay. I'll take it that you are some equivalent of palemates or something. And so," she tilted her head to Jade and Davesprite, "I assume Mister Orange Creamsicles and Jade are also "bromos before homos"?"
Instantly, she felt the air adopt a chill and the hair on the back of her neck suddenly stood on end.
Jade, who was more or less maintaining the island they were all standing on through mysterious means, arrived mentally exhausted and had become unresponsive shortly before the two groups of friends had their rendezvous- John had carried her into the cave and propped her against the wall before going back outside to excitedly greet his troll friends. When they had all settled down to sleep, Jade had been curled up in a ball by herself, but she wasn't in that lonesome position anymore- at some point during the night, Davesprite had snuck in and leaned her against him and he now had his good wing wrapped around her like a blanket.
And as luck would have it, the sprite was also awake for this conversation now, but he refrained from saying anything to give himself away. Both Daves knew it, though, as an orange gaze burned through Terezi and across the cave to the back of the Knight of Time's head. The knight's red irises weren't giving off friendly vibes, either.
Terezi regretted saying anything and gripped Pyralsprite tighter.
Finally, Dave (the human one) broke the silence. "I think we should all go back to sleep instead of trying to climb the shitheap Everest that is understanding relationships." Terezi normally would have probed more, but he said it with an unusual amount of finality that the words died in her throat. She nodded and scurried deeper into the cave and hid behind Karkat's snoring form.
Outside, Rose continued to watch the birds in the sky.
Two of the crows had broken from the murder and were slowly circling one another. It would only be a matter of time before one of them made a move- it was nature's dance for dominance and the outcome would not be pretty.
She drew her full lips into a thin line and pondered upon what she had just seen in this beginning.