To recap, my life is difficult, to say the least. In every movie you've ever seen, something happens in the beginning that shakes up the protagonist's world. Something happens to him or her that drastically alters the path of their life and more often than not, turns everything upside-down. That's just good screen writing, otherwise, you have no movie. There's no plot. No interest.
And in fact, you can apply this to any interesting thing that has ever happened to you. Any huge change made in your life, you can probably go back on your personal timeline and pinpoint exactly what the thing was that caused that change. For me, it would be meeting Dave Strider, the Bogeyman, obviously. Now I've met all kinds of, ahem, interesting people. I've had a couple relatives in the hospital. I'm probably next. A few near-death experiences, as I've mentioned before. And now, to top it all off, I'm failing school.
Maybe a lot of you are saying, "So what? I failed school." Fine. Try going to school most days with bruises and dark circles under your eyes and sleeping through all your classes. Yeah, it's definitely going to look like something is wrong, like something is going on at home. The problem is, nothing is going on at home, nothing that my parent actually knows about anyway. In fact, it's more about what's going on when I'm not at home. When I'm being targeted by Bogeymen and crazy science-psychics and vampires, and well, yeah, you get the point.
So when my guidance counselor pulls me into his office and asks me what's going on at home, what am I supposed to say? He's tapping his pen impatiently on his desk while he waits for an answer, an answer aside from "Nothing," and I'm just staring at this picture he has, a picture of him and a girl that I assume is his girlfriend or wife or something. She's grinning while he kisses her cheek.
"Look," he begins again, just tapping that stupid pen in that passive aggressive way, "you can tell me. I don't want to have to call CPS on this."
"Yeah, well, there's nothing going on at home, ok? Except for maybe when my cousin and me mess around..." I've run out of things to stare at besides him, so I just look at his name plaque and wonder how to pronounce it. Karkat Vantas. Totally weird. He's probably an alien.
"Then what's with the..." he gestures with his pen in a circular motion, one that I guess is supposed to reference my face, "sleeplessness?"
"I just have trouble falling asleep at night," I answer. "I like to stay up late."
He frowns angrily, scribbling something down on a notepad. Maybe if I act all fired up about this, he'll just think I'm some delinquent and send me to the YMCA for a year and half. But he just shakes his head at me. "Just... be here every Thursday. This time."
"Are you gonna call my Dad?" I ask, and he launches the pen in a frenzy of clicking it over and over. Talk about your nervous habits.
"Not unless I see fit. Now go away."
I grab my backpack and leave his office, closing the door behind me. I decided to go to school after all, since I couldn't sleep. It's been the longest day of my life, and it's only 3:15. But I guess I should count some of last night, or the fact that I've basically been up since the day technically began, at midnight. It's all really confusing.
What's even more confusing is the whereabouts of Jake, my cousin, and Dirk. Since the kidnapping ordeal last night, Jake has been missing from the hospital. Jane's declaring a state of emergency in our household and Dad is blowing it off like it's nothing and leaving for a five day business trip. But hey, this is my life now—complete fucking chaos. When I get home from school, Dad is already gone, and so is Jane, probably out with a search party.
I fish the key out of pocket only for the door to swing open, and I see Dave standing there, looking tousled and exhausted but nevertheless adorable. "What are you doing?" I demand, slamming the door behind him. "You can't open the door, Dave. You have to stay upstairs."
"But no one's home," he almost whines, and I can guess that he's bored. After all, he's used to being wherever he wants to be in the blink of an eye. I don't know how his ghost car privileges work now, but sitting at home with nothing to do can't be fun. "And I miss you."
"I was gone for seven hours," I say, walking into the kitchen to inspect the refrigerator. Usually Jane leaves a note, but it looks like it slipped her mind today.
Dave is standing there, staring at me expectantly. "What?"
"Um... I think I'm hungry."
"Yeah, well, I never really got hungry anymore. You know, superhuman and all that shit."
I open the freezer and grab some pizza rolls to throw in the microwave, since I'm not really that much of a cook, and Dave just gathers around, enthralled. I start pacing around the kitchen, my head throbbing as I consider all the possibilities of what could've happened to Dirk and Jake, and I flinch when I feel Dave grab me from behind. "Dude, stop worrying. I'm not even worried."
"But, you don't know what happened to them," I say, frowning as I turn myself around in his grip. "What if Dirk and Jake are already in love? What if Dirk can die now, or what if they got trapped, or if they're just lost somewhere? Can you even do any magic things anymore?"
"This," he responds, leaning forward and kissing me passionately. It's a cheesy line, but hey, cheesy lines work for Dave. What can I say? When he pulls away I can't say that I'm feeling much better, but he hugs me. "If I'm not worried, then you shouldn't be."
I wriggle out of his grip, slightly embarrassed, and walk back to the microwave. "Here," I say, handing him the plate. Instead of taking the whole plate, he grabs one and sticks it in his mouth, then immediately spits it back out.
"What?" I ask. "You don't like it?"
"It's hot," he responds, and I try to hold back a chuckle as I glance at the exploded pizza roll on the floor.
"Well, duh." I set the plate down on the table and go grab a napkin so I can clean his mess up. "Just wait a couple minutes."
"I'm hungry now."
"Eat your candy."
"I already did..."
"All of it?"
"...I haven't been hungry for like, 200 years, dude."
I wonder which it is, a thousand or two hundred, when Dave sits down at the table and starts to cautiously eat the food. I set down next to him and pop one in my mouth, causing him to tear the plate away and hide it behind his arm. "It's mine, fatass."
"Fine!" I respond, rolling my eyes. Who knew anyone could get so protective of pizza rolls. "Dave, can I ask you something?"
"Shoot," he says, his sunglasses focused on the table.
"How old were you when you got cursed?"
"Sixteen," he answers immediately, and I'm surprised he hasn't forgotten. But then again, how do you forget something like that?
"So is that how old you are now that you're human again?"
"It would appear so," he responds with a hint of a chuckle. "Come to think of it, I don't even remember feeling any older. Or looking any older."
"Makes sense," I agree. "Did you know how to break the curse?"
"Yeah. But I couldn't tell you. That's part of the rules."
"So is that what you were planning all along? To just find someone to fall in love with?"
"No, no, John... It's not like that. I needed somewhere to hide, from Dirk. You know, he was pissed at me. And then I met you... You were so different from anyone. I mean, anyone I've ever met. And I have met other humans before, even when I was like this. Lots of them. They were all scared of me. Dirk knew I loved you. That's why he wanted to kill you. To punish me."
"I still don't get it," I respond. "You keep saying Dirk wanted to punish you, but why? And why did he just stop trying to kill me?"
He takes a deep breath. "I killed our sister. The girl who cursed us—she's a witch. And I guess he stopped because she's alive now, and probably a lot of it had to do with your cousin."
"What do you mean, she's alive now?"
"Reborn, my friend. Witches can do that. You know that psychic girl you've been talkin' to? I'll clue you in, she's not really psychic. There's a reason she knows so much."
"She's your sister."
"Bingo. Congrats, Johnny boy. You solved the big mystery."
"But why didn't you just tell me all that in the first place?"
For once, Dave has nothing to say to this. He just turns his head, obviously averting his gaze from me, and shrugs ever so slightly. I can see his hand shaking, which he tries to cover up by tapping his fingers on the table. I reach out and grab his hand, but it's still cold as ice. That gets his attention, and he finally just blurts out, "I didn't want to fuck things up with you. I didn't want you to hate me."
"Dave, no matter what you do, I'll never hate you. You should know that by now."
He seems surprised by that answer. Then I hear the door open. For some reason, I expect it to be Jake and get up, but to my horror, I just see Jane standing there, looking angry. "He's going to have to be in the hospital for another two weeks now!"
"Y-you found him?" I ask in surprise, stumbling backwards into the kitchen to see Dave, crouching under the table, shaking his head slightly and shrugging. I suppress my laughter and tug him out.
"He was with some guy he says is friends with you... John? Where'd you go?"
"I'm in the kitchen!" I respond, while Dave struggles with me. "It's ok," I whisper to him reassuringly, and he finally comes out, nearly bumping his head on the table.
"Oh..." She comes in and looks surprised when she sees Dave standing there. "Um, hi. John, who's this?"
"Dave. My friend from school. He's gonna spend the night, ok?"
"Sup." Dave looks calm and collected, even though he's not even wearing shoes, and meanwhile I'm getting sweaty over the prospect of Jane finding out he's been living in my closet, or worse, that he's my boyfriend.
"It's... Jane. How do you do?" She reaches her hand out to shake Dave's, and he high fives her instead. I try not to laugh. "...Well, I'll be making dinner, so you should probably go find something else to do."
Dave is already heading out, but I wait. "Hey, Jane. Do you know where the guy Jake was with went?"
"He just said he was going home," she responds, opening the refrigerator.
I just nod and wonder where that could be, because Dirk doesn't have a home.
"Yeah, he does actually."
"Some place in France. Haunted house, you know the drill. Someone moves in, play nasty tricks on them 'til they leave. Break dishes, kill a dog... Just fuck shit up, you know?"
Dave plucks several bags of candy from the shelf, since it's all on sale after Halloween. We decided to walk to the drugstore a little way from my house, because he was out of candy. " 'Course, I don't think he'll be able to get back to France too easily, so who knows... You know, this stuff's harder to eat when you have an actual appetite."
"So if he can't go back to France then where do you think he is?"
"Camped out at the hospital would be my guess. Probably hiding under Jake's bed, just creepin'."
"Are you ok with it? You know, being human again and everything."
"I have you. Why wouldn't I be?"
I smile up at him as he links our arms. I know not everything in life can be perfect. School sucks, I hate where I live now, and I have basically no friends. I know my life is far from perfect—I'm a teenager with a previously cursed boyfriend, not a five year old who believes in fairytales. But even if you're unlucky enough to hate your life, hopefully you'll find something to help you fill in the gaps. For me, that thing is Dave.
a/n: that's it. admittedly, i'm actually glad to be done writing this. because of all the good feedback i've gotten from this fic, i'm considering writing a dirkjake-centric sequel in the future, so let me know what you guys think of that idea. also i plan on releasing another davejohn fic sometime very soon. make sure you subscribe! before i go i want to tell you guys i love hearing all your encouraging words. thank you, you're all lovely.