AN: First Chapter. This is an eventual DaveKat fanfic, placed directly after takeoff to the new session. Hope you enjoy! –Zade
When they arrived, things were hectic. Hurried first time greetings, bodies that were lying in place seconds ago suddenly disappearing, a brief adjustment to being god-level tiers for both Dave and Rose, one troll gone vampire, another gone psycho-killer, a body dropped on them from the middle of nowhere, and then the unfortunate mishap with a bucket, caused by the wonderful Egbert himself. Dave was really proud of John for that. Ultimate shenanigans. A true prankster, even to the end of things.
And it made Karkat go over edge, which was hilarious. God, that guy was even more annoying than he thought, though admittedly they'd only had brief online interactions. His raspy voice constantly blurting out expletives and insults, the slight hunch he had when he stood, his massive leadership complex, his yellow-grey eyes glaring at everything around him, which currently focused on Dave himself. Dave returned his most unfazed stare back. If he was the master of cool, Karkat was definitely the master of the exact opposite, all rage and no chill.
Terezi caught his eye (or maybe it was more apt to say the glint of her glasses caught his own). She seemed embarrassed for all of them. He gave her a brief sympathetic nod, trusting she could smell it. Then, Karkat was striding out past them, disappearing into the depths of the meteor itself. He looked more-than-slightly unwound. Dave had a suspicion they wouldn't be seeing him for a while.
"W4NT TO T4K3 4 TOUR OF 1NTR1GU3 4ND MYST3RY COOLK1D?"
The carapace's apparently-not-dead body was carted away by Kanaya and Rose. He briefly wondered who would clean up the rainbow of blood stains, before turning to Terezi.
"Intrigue and mystery is my middle name."
"4 M1DDL3 N4M3?"
"It's another name parents give their kids in case they lose them, so they can have two chances at locating the right kid instead of just one, and also two names to yell at them when they fuck up so the kid knows, Oh shit, I'm in big trouble now. I just got my entire full fucking name yelled at me for doing some of the worst shit in my life. And then the parent proceeds to exact insane punishments on their ass."
"DO YOU H4V3 4 M1DDL3 N4M3?"
"No way. Bro was too cool for that. He knew he could find me in a crowd full of identical blond, sunglasses-wearing, smooth-rap-killing coolkids any day."
"YOU 4R3 PR3TTY ON3 OF 4 K1ND."
"Def. Looks like we'll have a bunch of these cross-cultural troll-human exchange battles during the time we're here, huh?"
Terezi grinned at that, sharper teeth than any human could ever hope to have. "1 C4N ONLY HOP3. TH1S W4Y."
He hadn't expected things to be so… alien. In hindsight he probably should have. From the moment he entered the game everything was suddenly strange and foreign, his own planet of LOHAC, the salamanders and carapaces, his manipulations of time, interacting with a bunch of grey-skinned murderous aliens who could see his entire timeline, and all the trouble caused by Jack Noir. But upon arriving on the meteor he'd been hoping that something even remotely resembling the last 13 years of his human experience would pop up. Apparently not. Everything was Trollian, at best. Fuck, he'd really have to live here for 3 years? It was already making his head pound, and not in a good way like with mad volcanic beats, just in the way that made him want to put a sword through something. As the only things around were Terezi and a shit-ton of rock, he didn't think that'd be a good idea.
"So what do you guys do in this place?"
"W3 MOSTLY W4TCH3D YOU."
"Well now that we're here. And John and Jade are off on some other unforeseen ship in the middle of who-knows-the-hell-where."
"…1 DUNNO. 1 GU3SS W3 W1LL H4V3 TO F1GUR3 SOM3TH1NG N3W OUT!"
"NOW H3R3S TH3 NUTR1T1ON4L BLOCK, WH3R3 W3 CONSUM3 OUR M34LS, OR JUST 4RGU3 4BOUT 3V3RYTH1NG 4ND US3 TH1S PL4C3 4S 4 B4CKDROP."
"You mean a kitchen?"
Terezi frowned. "1 GU3SS YOU COULD C4LL 1T TH4T."
It was teeny, almost as tiny as Bro and his kitchen back home, where they had a truckload of sudden strife sessions complete with a rain of puppet ass flying everywhere it happened to get caught up in the mess. Remembering that shot a pang through his chest. He adjusted his shades.
Terezi showed him through a number of rooms, most of which he barely remembered in the whirlwind of everything. One that did stand out was the main computer room, where a number of terminals sat around, along with a few explosion spots. Dave wondered what those were about. And then she whisked him up and down a number of stairs, hallways, hidden crannies and nooks only opened by moving statues and books and stuff, glass containers where huge beasts lived—holy shit, musclebeasts were actually a real thing?—and her own hidden lair. She pointed out a brown spot on the floor where she'd found the body of Tavros, a wheelchaired troll he somewhat remembered a while ago, spitting out rhymes at him. Too bad. He was a cool dude. Then she showed him inside her back rooms, the chalk drawings and smell-o-scope and the chest she uncovered her Dragonsuit cosplay outfit in.
"YOULL PROB4BLY F1ND ROOMS OF YOUR OWN TO R3TR34T 1N TOO."
And then she whisked him back out, to the area where the respite blocks were. Or bedrooms. They were gonna have him talking in troll slang soon. First thing he noticed was—
"Where's the bed?"
"YOU M34N THOS3 FL4T M3T4L TH1NGS HUM4NS R3CL1N3 ON DUR1NG TH31R R3ST1NG P3R1ODS?"
"H4V3NT S33N ON3."
"Really? Then where the hell do you guys sleep?"
"W3 DONT SL33P 1N B3DS D4V3."
"Oh right, your slime things-"
"1 H4V3NT S33N ON3 OF THOS3 31TH3R, S1NC3 COM1NG H3R3."
"Then how do you sleep? On the floor?"
"NO S1LLY! W3 H4V3 P1L3S!"
"Piles of what."
"4NYTH1NG! 1 L1K3 MY PYR4LSPR1T3 P1L3S 4ND G4MZ33 US3D TO H4V3 4 BUNCH OF HORNS L41D OUT FOR R3CL1N1NG 1N TH3 COMPUT3R ROOM."
"Like troll horns?" Dave gestured to his head.
"NO! DONT B3 B4RB4R1C. CLOWN HORNS S1LLY!"
"Oh… Guess that makes sense for him." Dave let this sink in. "What does Karkat sleep on?" Dave couldn't imagine what the troll leader would sleep on. Probably something stupid or embarrassing, like a bunch of sickles just to prove how much badass he could take, even in his sleep. Or imagine, a shit ton of stuffed bunnies or something. That'd suit his angry exterior, to just have a bunch of soft things cuddled around him every time he slept. The image made Dave inwardly smirk.
"K4RK4T DO3SNT SL33P."
"1V3 ONLY S33N H1M SL33P ONC3 S1NC3 W3V3 B33N H3R3 4ND H3 N3V3R W3NT B4CK S1NC3."
"No sleep? How the hell does he survive? No wonder he's so cranky."
"Is the tour over?"
"TH1S 1S TH3 3ND."
"Alright, let's go meet up with the others. See what they've gotten themselves into."
When they made their way back, Kanaya and Rose were sitting in a common room around a fire, making s'mores.
Dave stopped. He didn't even have to voice the question.
Rose looked up. "I thought it was the perfect setting to engage in some traditional means for bonding and conversation among our new companions."
Kanaya added, "Rose Was Explaining To Me Several Of Your Customs For Relationship Building. I Agreed It Would Be Intriguing To Try Something Like That Here."
"1T SM3LLS L1K3 4 GOOD 1D34 TO M3. L3TS 1NDULG3."
Terezi took a seat beside the fire and grabbed a stick. Dave looked around. "Where's Karkat and Gamzee?"
"I haven't seen them since they disappeared much earlier. I would presume that Gamzee found Karkat by now. They are moirails after all."
Dave frowned. "Moirails?"
"1T 1S WH3N TWO P3OPL3 COM3 TO C4R3 FOR 34CH OTH3R 1N 4 W4Y TH4T M4K3S TH3M W4NT TO PROT3CT 4ND COMFORT TH3 OTH3R."
"Oh that one. Wait, since when?"
"Since A Few Hours Ago, Right Before You and Rose Appeared."
"I don't know whether I should congratulate them for finding someone who can put up with their shit or feel sorry as fuck that they have to deal with each other."
The three girls failed at trying to not look amused. Rose held out a marshmallow to him. "Want to roast?"
Dave finally sat down, taking the marshmallow in hand and lowering it to the flame. To his side, Terezi suddenly made "ooh ooh ooh ooh" noises as she burnt her tongue. Dave snickered. "You should wait for it to cool off first, smart kid."
"NOT 3V3RYON3 C4N B3 4S 3XP3R13NC3D 4S YOU."
"But some of us could try not to showcase it."
"HMPF. WH4T 1F 1 WONT B3 4BL3 TO T4ST3 4NYMOR3? 1 WONT B3 4BL3 TO T4ST3 TH3 COLOR R3D, STR1D3R. TH1S 1S UN4CC3PT4BL3."
"You should've thought of that before you danced a sticky hot poker over the insides of your mouth like you were competing for the fire-stoker clogging Olympics. Here."
Dave gave her his roasted marshmallow, blowing it to cool, before holding it up to her mouth. A strange expression crossed her face for a second, then it disappeared as she wrapped her tongue around his fingers and pulled the marshmallow into her mouth. She sucked.
"TH1S 1S B3TT3R."
"Told you. Next time you don't have to swallow my fingers along with the marshmallow though."
"YOU KNOW YOU L1K3 M3 SW4LLOW1NG YOU D4V3."
Dave felt himself turn red at the words. He turned away to disguise his embarrassment, but of course Terezi had already smelled it on him. She turned a slight shade of teal herself. "1 D1DNT M34N L1K3 WH4T3V3R YOUR3 TH1NK1NG OF."
"That's it. No more eating marshmallows ever again, before my trauma over gyrating puppet ass and shitty swords becomes replaced by charred marshmallows and badly innuendoed social situations. I hope the inner therapist in you is happy, Rose, you'll have a shitload to work on me then."
"I'm flattered and very pleased, Dave. I always am."
Rose and Dave went back to their quarters/rooms/respite blocks/whatever together. It was a long, silent walk, sort of unusual for both of them but not entirely uncomfortable. Their rooms were close to each other—practically across from each other actually—and Dave was sort of glad for it. It was nice having an old human friend close to him in this land of oddities and horrors. Terezi was the troll he felt closest to, but sometimes he could still feel the alien off of her, especially when she licked or sniffed him as she did several times today just so she could "see". It was kind of crazy. So it was nice to have a slight change from that, especially since he and Rose had been through a lot together. She knew his dark sides just as he knew hers. Or most of hers anyway. Always a chance she could be hiding something in all those psycho-babble notebooks of hers.
"So how are you adjusting?" she eventually broke the silence.
"'S fine. I'm like a total pro at adapting to new situations and going with the flow. I'll be king of this rock in pretty much a day, just you watch, Rose."
"Is that so? I could've sworn I spotted a bit of discomfort from you, but that could've been my imagination."
"Totally your imagination. It goes wild sometimes like a mustang running out there buck naked in the prairie, waiting to score with some hot lady 'stangs."
"You can talk if you need to, you know."
"Since when have I ever not talked to you? You can believe that I'll come to you if I have some issue and I give you permission now to poke and prod my head with as many metal tools and objects and weird colossal words as you need to, alright?"
Dave glanced at her, and figured that particular part of the conversation was really over since Rose wasn't giving him an X-ray viewing eye. He asked her in return. "So how are you adjusting then?"
"Do I seem like I'm doing that badly?"
"Well I figured if you can shoot out the question I can send it right back."
"Very well. I suppose it's not like what I imagined, the trolls and their base. It's not necessarily a bad thing. It's simply a thing."
"Kanaya is helping. She's trying her best to show me around, make me acclimated. We started treating the carapace. He's no longer near death and she thinks that she can eventually bring him to full recovery, which is good news. He's currently sleeping."
"So she has total mad healing skills?"
"She picked up a few things over the years. Or sweeps, according to the trolls. She is a jade blood. Apparently in their class they used to grow up and care for the mother grub, so she has some knowledge of overall health and caretaking and she enjoys it."
"Interesting. So…. are you and her, like, a thing?"
"I really don't know what "thing" you're speaking of, Dave. There could be a lot of things."
"You just went evasive on me. Is that a yes?"
"You've staunchly chosen to see only want you want to see."
"So that's a yes to my yes."
"Even if I offer you contrary evidence you're going to view it with your purely red-colored lenses. I don't see why I should waste time denying."
"The more you say no, the more I'm seeing yes."
"I'm going to sleep now. Goodnight, Dave."
She disappeared into her quarters before he could say another word. He smirked. Yep, total yes.
He walked the few feet further it was to his room, and stopped when he saw a shadow around the corner. He crept towards it, peeking around the edge.
It came from a small nook which would have been conveniently tucked out of sight if the hallway were just a bit dimmer, big enough for two or three people. Or trolls, in this instance. Entangled in each other's arms were a sleeping Karkat and Gamzee, and damn, Terezi wasn't lying when she said Gamzee made up piles of horns. It didn't look comfortable at all, but apparently they were fast asleep on it, so it must have been comfortable enough. As Dave took a step back, Gamzee's eyes popped open. He stared at him and stared through him, a slow smile creeping across his painted face. Dave frowned at the guy, suppressing a shudder.
He quickly absconded out to his rooms, closing the door behind him. Yeah, that was their private moment, no need to interrupt.
As he surveyed his room, looking over the wide empty space in the middle of the floor, he sighed to himself. Great, now to find something to pile up so he could get his sleep on as well. Taking a mental inventory of his sylladex, he scowled. He'd really hoped to never have to see these things again, except maybe in ironic memory of old times.
Dave dumped a bunch of smuppets on the floor, glaring at them as they bounced. He kicked them into a hasty, shitty pile, and threw himself back on it, trying to sleep. Welcome to the start of the next three years of his new life.