Why did I write this at two in the morning? Oh that's right, there isn't any Tav/Jade fic here, or at least none visible. So I thought I'd write this.
I'm an idiot. Also goddamn I cannot write Jade for the life of me. And look at all those long run on sentences!
Revamped for your pleasure. That means stupid typos and some clunky sentences have been sorted. Not everything is changed up, though.
The first time they met was after the humans had beaten their game. Or, at least, that was how he had understood it at first.
He didn't understand how they had come together, or why they had all ended up in front of a big white hive on a grassy plain (the human word was "house" he later learned, but she referred to it as a "mansion" and that made things even more confusing). Everyone was confused and he was the most confused of them all, because he'd been in his dream bubble playing Fiduspawn and he'd been enjoying himself, and then he was here…
And then the humans had appeared, just as confused, and he'd seen her first, or perhaps she was the only one he'd paid attention to. She'd whirled throughout the trolls, greeting them with hugs or clasping her hands over theirs earnestly (she didn't touch Vriska, he noticed, and Gamzee seemed to want to pull away for some reason), and he had giggled when Karkat had responded with "OH GODDAMN IT YOU'RE A FUCKING HUGGER!" And then she was standing in front of him, and he realised that he was actually a bit taller than her and her glasses were a bit lopsided on her face and her teeth stuck out a bit like troll fangs did and oh god he was pretty sure he was staring.
"Hi!" she chirped, and she really did chirp, almost like a small wingbeast. "Which one are you?"
"Oh, uh," he stammered, feeling awkward, "I'm Tavros."
"Oh, yeah, that's right! I'm Jade! We spoke over chat! Hi, Tavros!"
And then the hug came, and it was only when he stumbled that he realised he had his legs back.
The first time he hugged her back, properly, was a while later.
The humans hadn't won, apparently. Something had gone wrong, and they had all been put here by what Feferi referred to as "her best fronds" and what the human girl who acted like a highblood called "Horrorterrors," and he wasn't really sure he wanted to be in a place made by something with a name like that. Apparently they were putting things straight, and he trusted Aradia about that too.
The house seemed perfect for them. Everyone had a room all to themselves, and there was food for everyone and things to do. It was like a dream bubble, in a way. Karkat was angry, almost scared, saying it wasn't natural, but Aradia had told him that he was just going to have to live with it. That made Tavros wonder if he was alive or dead at the moment, a question no-one was able to answer. Rose didn't know. Aradia wouldn't say. Feferi changed the subject. He decided not to think about it.
He didn't understand much at all, come to think of it. He understood why Vriska ignored him whenever he was in the room, even if it was just him and her in there. It made him feel bad (Jade told him to stop that because Vriska had been awful to him, and she was right but she didn't understand), but he understood why. But he didn't understand why Equius and Nepeta wouldn't be in the same room as Gamzee, or why the purple-blooded clown, his best bro, wouldn't look him in the eye anymore. He didn't understand why Eridan would always shrink to a corner of a room whenever there was anyone else in there. He didn't understand, and he wasn't sure he wanted to.
People got angry too easily. Karkat would yell at Dave, about Terezi apparently, and apparently he'd been moirails with Gamzee but now he wasn't. Sollux would switch between shouting about things and backing down blubbering sorry, sorry, he didn't mean to. Once, Equius had punched Gamzee hard enough to fracture a cheekbone, and when Tavros had helped his best bro drink sopor to kill the pain and reassured him as Feferi carefully healed the injury, the clown hadn't said a word. Terezi and Vriska didn't say a word to each other, and that was worse because a BlackRom without fights or an auspistice was a blackrom that would end in someone dying.
Jade helped a lot. She was a whirlwind of happy, it seemed to Tavros, a fountain that never ran out. She would bustle around talking to people, sorting out fights (Karkat later said she was "like if Kanaya gave in to her primal urges to get her ash on at even a whiff of blackrom") and being nice. She was nice to him a lot. She told him he'd had too much sadness in his life, and she was going to help him get his balance back (gosh, aren't those horns heavy?) and be as happy as possible whilst they were stuck here. She hugged him a lot too. Hugs made everything better, she said. He'd blush and squeak when she did, but he never asked her to stop.
She smelt like growing things, slightly earthy and with a hint of flowers.
She'd stopped being happy at one point. She was sorting out a squabble between Sollux and Karkat in the food preparation block. They had sort-of fought even before the game, but Sollux's bipolar disorder seemed to be getting worse. He hadn't known what the arguing was about, just Karkat's raised voice, and then Jade raising her own, and then quiet.
He went into the foo- the kitchen, it was called a kitchen, and anyway he went in and Jade was standing at a worktop cutting some leeks with far more force than she needed. Her shoulders were hunched. Karkat and Sollux were nowhere to be seen. He sat on one of the stools and waited a bit.
"Uh, hey," he said, when she didn't turn around straight away.
She raised her head, and he could tell the smile wasn't real.
"Hi, Tavros," she said, and focused back on the leeks.
"Uh, are you, alright?"
"I'm fine," she muttered. "It's just those two idiots. Honestly, who even cares?"
The cutting became a bit more haphazard, more forceful.
"Oh, you know, Karkat being all protective of Terezi because he thinks she fan- no, that's not the word, is it? He thinks she's red for Dave or something, and Sollux was being rude and saying they were bad Matespirits anyway and the stupid fuckassess wouldn't shut up about their- ow!"
Tavros was on his feet instantly as she dropped the knife and recoiled. Red was oozing out of a cut in her finger.
"Are you okay?" He took her hand, looked at the wound. She didn't pull away. Her hands were soft.
"It stings," she said, and he pulled his mind back to the present.
Tavros got the band-aids from the cupboard whilst she ran cold water over the wound and dried it, and he stuck it on for her and then he noticed the way she seemed a little slumped, so before his brain had kicked into gear or Rufio could weigh in on the matter he'd wrapped his arms around her, and then she'd hugged back and she smelt of flowers and earth.
"Thanks, Tavros," she said from somewhere about shoulder level.
"You, uh, always said, um, hugs make things better," he stammered.
She laughed, and he instantly decided he wanted to hear that swooping, dancing sound again. Then he helped her finish making the meal (macaroni with bacon and leeks) and when they ate she sat next to him and he wasn't sure why Vriska was looking at him now but he didn't care.
The first time they had a, well, a date, was a lot later.
It seemed to be common knowledge that they were in the red for some time now. At least, that was how the trolls had put it, but he wasn't sure it was really a quadrant in any case. He wasn't any good at that. And whenever anyone brought it up, Jade would give them one of her many smiles, a bladed one that meant "stop talking" and it would work, even on Nepeta, who pretty much lived for ships at this point. Even the other humans seemed to treat it as a fact, and this made it awkward around Dave because then he'd be defending himself from the cool kid's elaborate metaphors and sick fires, and that was harder than just telling someone to stop talking about it.
He knew they were friends now, sort of, even despite that really awkward chat they'd had when he was in the Veil. They played games together – she'd introduced him to Pokémon and he'd been hooked instantly. Sometimes they'd go into the huge garden the mansion had to get away from people yelling at each other, or to goof around and annoy Kanaya, who had made the garden her pet project. She'd help him with the stairs if his balance messed up, and they'd talk about animals and things because there weren't any in the bubble, and she hugged him a lot, and he suspected that maybe they were in a quadrant after all.
He'd brought it up, in a conversation with Jade whilst they were in the kitchen, polishing off a batch of homemade cookies. She'd folded her arms and made her thinking face (he liked most of her expressions, except when she was sad or angry) and then looked at him carefully.
"Have you been in a quadrant before?" she'd asked him.
"Um, no, not really," he'd replied, and he could feel himself flushing. "I mean, I don't think I'd be, good, at being in quadrants, so, um, I'm not sure."
"I dunno either, Tav! It's kind of a yes or no thing, isn't it? Trolls are like that though, aren't they?" And she'd rambled on a bit and he was staring at her face and the way her nose turned up a little and the way her hair did whatever it wanted but mostly went down her back and he was thinking, perhaps it wouldn't be bad to be in a quadrant with Jade Harley, but he'd messed up so badly, he'd accidentally killed her grandpa and even though she'd forgiven him for that a while ago it still hurt and how could he ever –
He snapped back to the world. Jade was looking at him, and he didn't know what the expression on her face was.
"Uh, sorry," he stammered, and good god he wondered if he was going to go any more brown. "I, uh, zoned out."
The corner of Jade's mouth went up.
"You were staring," she said, sounding as if something was funny.
He paused, took a breath, and it came out, "I'm flushed for you," before he could stop it himself, and oh god why why why why he'd messed it up, he stared at the floor, he'd done it WRONG, it was going to be all wrong again and he could feel Vriska laughing at him, telling him he was a pathetic little wriggler, he was just awful at everything, maybe he should –
Jade was a few inches from him.
"Uhh," he managed.
"Okay, Tavros," she said, gently. "I'm not going to say I don't feel anything for you, because maybe I do, but, and I want to make this clear, no quadrants, okay? It's too soon and it feels weird for me! So we're gonna do this the human way, and that means you have to work at it. That means paying attention to me and doing things you might not want to do and thinking about me and, most importantly, you have to convince me you mean it. Can you do that?"
He nodded, dumbly, and then blurted out a "yes."
She smiled that smile he liked.
"Awesome! I'm looking forward to it!"
And then there was the hug, and something else, and then she left in a whirl of earth and hair and he was left with a hand raised to his cheek like a character from one of Karkat's awful movies.
And then he'd gone and knocked on John's door because John seemed to be the sort of person who knew what to do, and he'd explained what he wanted, and a week later he was wearing one of Dave's suits from the game ("don't crease it, bro, these things take fucking ages to get clean") and he had a fist full of bouquet and the dining room table was candlelit and she looked wonderful.
Whilst Terezi and Kanaya prowled the rest of the mansion, making sure everyone was on their most tactful behaviour, they'd sat at the table and ate an Italian meal (Gamzee had helped him with it, laughing and teasing his best bro about it all the time). She talked about her life before the game. He talked about his, trying to leave out the things about the drones and the culling because you didn't talk about that at a romantic dinner. They talked about their planets. She seemed confused by the idea that all the troll adults were in space fighting, and he couldn't grasp how six billion people lived on one planet. She brought up the constellations, and he blushed, and they laughed about it.
They avoided talking about whether or not they were going to get out of the bubble they lived in.
They watched a movie together, a rom-com recovered from Rose's library of guilty pleasures, and about a third of the way in he realised they were sitting right next to each other. He could feel strands of her hair tickling his cheek and the bottom of his horn, and when he reached out and took her hand, she gave it a squeeze.
They went upstairs afterwards, and he said, "I, uh, hope you enjoyed that."
She giggled and said "It was sweet of you, Tavros. I enjoyed it a lot."
He smiled. "I, uh, guess another one might be, in order, in the future."
She raised an eyebrow. "Maybe I'll take you on a date next time! Shake things up a bit!"
"I, uh, would like that, very much, and, um –"
She raised herself on tiptoe a little and pressed her lips against his, and if Sollux were there he'd have said that Tavros seemed to crash like one of Karkat's shitty attempts at coding. When they parted, he stared at her and he was pretty sure he had the goofiest grin in the history of trollkind on his face because Jade was giggling again.
And then she was gone.
Tavros returned to his room and had to undress, wash and get into his recupracoon without flying away in pure joy.
Their first sloppy makeout session, as Terezi insisted on calling it, kind of happened in full view of everyone.
They were now a… thing. John said they were an item. Karkat said they were a disgrace to their respective races, but according to Jade that made Karkat a fuckass, so that wasn't important. Nepeta and Feferi believed they were the cutest thing to exist since baby wingbeasts, and Gamzee seemed inclined to agree. The purple-blood seemed happier now that he was on measured doses of diluted sopor, and after a particularly successful date, Tavros had been dragged to a pile and made to tell all, and then they were moirails and that was all there was to it. Tavros had been worried about that at first – was having a moirail and a girlfriend by the human system okay? But Jade assured him it was, and anyway Gamzee was an awesome moirail so it didn't matter.
Things were getting better. People seemed resigned to the fact that they were going to stay here for a long time – no-one who was in contact with the horrorterrors could tell them anything definitive. So they were, for lack of a better word, settling down. Karkat was less "actually angry" and more "normal angry." Equius and Nepeta made up with Gamzee, although it was a while before they could have a conversation that wasn't really awkward. And when Eridan walked up in the middle of Terezi and Vriska's sudden loud argument and told them to sit in their piles right the fuck now, Tavros began to hope that maybe things would be okay again and no-one would hurt.
Jade agreed with him. She said it was much better now that people were getting along because she didn't have to shout so much, because she didn't like being angry! She preferred being happy, and on that note, get ready for next Tuesday because it was going to be a Fifties-themed party (whatever that was), and she expected a few dances with him, hee hee! So he went and danced and it was fun, and Dave said something about rugs that made Jade go red and hit him, and he didn't understand but Dave was cool so it probably wasn't an insult. He liked rapping with Dave, who knew a bit more about it than he did and often helped him and Gamzee perfect their rhymes over Pesterchum. He liked all the humans!
It was the humans who had suggested a movie night, and for some reason, they'd let Karkat pick a movie, because the trolls had the majority vote and nobody except John and Vriska wanted to watch Con Air again. But Tavros didn't think the movie that they did end up watching was very good, and so he was sitting on the couch with Jade next to him and when he turned to her and mouthed "this is boring," she nodded and stifled a giggle. He supposed she didn't understand what was happening anyway, because troll movies were long and complicated and were in black and white a lot, and wow she was very close to him all of a sudden.
The first attempt was clumsy – their noses bumped and her teeth scraped against his fangs a little, but that was okay, it was beyond okay, it had left okay behind with a jaunty wave and had gone and made friends with awesome. They pulled apart, and she was grinning just as much as he was, and then they had another go, ignoring Terezi's cackles and Karkat's demands to GET A FUCKING ROOM YOU WRIGGLERS JESUS FUCK and Equius muttering and reaching for a towel. The next one was much better, and she tasted of fruit and smelt like wildflowers. When they were done, he put an arm around her and watched as Terezi asked Karkat how come they didn't make out anymore, and he couldn't decide what was better – the kiss, Jade's laugh or Karkat's splutters of protest as the teal-blood began to lick his face.
He tried for a third time later, when no-one was watching, and eventually she had to pull away, telling him to go to bed, silly! So he did, and dreamt of flying.
Their first falling-out hurt.
It wasn't as if he was entirely to blame, though. The humans didn't know that trolls didn't have alcohol on Alternia. So they didn't expect the party they threw to get so loud, and he didn't expect to wake half-in, half-out of his recupracoon with a thumping headache, and he didn't expect Gamzee to knock gently and then come in with a look on his face and tell him that Vriska had been all over him last night and that Jade was angry and upset.
He hadn't felt this bad since his accident, maybe.
When Vriska turned to him in the kitchen and smirked and said "Heeeeeeeey, Tavrooooooos," he'd snarled and told her to go away, and if it hadn't been Kanaya stepping in there would have been a fight, and although Vriska had been her usual self, he could tell she wasn't sure of herself anymore, that her confidence was even flimsier than before. And he was suddenly very aware that she wasn't God Tier anymore and this was a confined space and if it came down to it, he would win. She seemed aware of it too.
But he didn't fight her. He just left her there, and went upstairs and knocked once, twice, on Jade's door. He was about to knock again when it opened, and she looked like she'd been crying maybe? And then, stammering, uh-ing and um-ing, he apologised, he didn't mean to hurt her, and he would be more careful next time, and, he hoped (oh god he prayed he didn't even know what trolls prayed to but he prayed) that they were still together or at least in a state where they could try again, and –
Her smile, weak as it was, was like a sunbeam.
"It's okay, Tavros," she said. "I forgive you."
And then she invited him in and they watched old episodes of Star Trek together, and when James Kirk said that the three most beautiful words in the universe were "please help me," he couldn't have agreed more, even if it wasn't quite appropriate at the moment.
The first time they told each other they loved each other was a little while after that, although he kind of knew already and she said she knew too, gosh, don't be silly Tav! And then they went outside and watched Equius try to prune a hedge without breaking everything, and she looked even prettier in the sunlight.
They left, later, when things were solved and the game was won. And they made their new universe and it was him who suggested that they move in together.
And Jade had giggled and said, "Tavros, we're kind of gods now! Or at least, I guess we are! How are we gonna live together?"
And he'd smiled and said, "Well, there's a first time for everything."