sour_idealist: (HS | laughs like steel unsheathing)
[personal profile] sour_idealist
Title: outwaiting fate
Fandom: Homestuck
Characters/Pairings: Rose Lalonde/Kanaya Maryam [Dave Strider, Jade Harley, John Egbert]
Ratings/Warnings: PG-13, general fucked-up-ness?
Written for: an attempt at song bingo for [livejournal.com profile] ficcinintherain. That did not pan out. (The song was "Baobabs," by Regina Spektor.)
Wordcount: 950
A/N: Finally, my OTP. This is from a few days back, and isn't quite what I meant to accomplish, but it's something.

They hide in the veil and balance on the edge of reality and unreality, the border between then and now, and watch time come undone and wind back. It’s hard to see anything but the world turning and turning and turning again, and Dave has gone as pale as crumbling bone, like he’s had his limbs popped out and hurled away like Rose used to do to her dolls when she was angry with her mother. Jade’s beside him, the two of them shaking against each other, and so Rose gives in and stares at the computer screens, watches their world be torn into pieces again and wonders if she herself, below, is doing what she did before.

Kanaya’s hand is around the base of hers, talons scraping into the skin of her wrist, skin thin and soft and so strange-feeling as a part of her, and she should be more frightened by how fast the slate-gray lizard skin began to feel like hers. She should be more frightened by dying and by almost dying and by watching the world tear itself to pieces and by personally doing the same to a key element of the universe; she should be frightened by everything that already seems as if it has always been her life.

Instead she is frightened of the cool rough hand around her own.

“Rose,” Kanaya says, gentle in her ear. Her accent ought to be impossible to place, but she sounds upper-class British, or rather like a skilled but inexperienced actress’s attempt at a BBC tone. Rose knows she should respond, but she doesn’t know how. It was Sburb she wanted to shake until it broke, not her home. And yet.

“It is a shame,” Kanaya says as the moments stretch out between them and the asteroids keep on shooting past. Rose breathes in and out, tasting stale air and musty sulfur, and wonders.

“Perhaps not,” she says. “We were some of the luckier and more innocuous people there, I would say. And look what we’ve done.”

“I think that would fuel my point, more than yours,” Kanaya says. One of her claws slips through Rose’s skin like a syringe; Rose doesn’t pull away. “None of you sliced any of your friends through with a chainsaw.”

“None of you tried to tear the game apart.” She bites her tongue; stupid, stupid, what a thing to say. The blood tastes unfamiliar; she isn’t sure what’s changed.

“Perhaps we should have done,” Kanaya says, shifting her hand so she’s clutching Rose’s fingers. Rose wonders if this is the typical troll’s way of holding hands, or if she should try to slip her fingers into the spaces between Kanaya’s. She doesn’t.

The asteroids keep falling.

“I suppose that we should start looking for your new universe in a moment,” Kanaya says. Her grip stays as tight as John’s on hope, as Dave’s on denial. “If you all succeed.”

“Can they truly be said to be us, I wonder?” Rose muses. English feels heavy on her tongue; she wonders if it’s the effects of the supernatural or the psychological. “Having had entirely different experiences during the game, it’s difficult to say.”

For just a moment it feels as if her fingers are going to crack. She doesn’t gasp until after Kanaya’s hold on her has returned to merely bruising, and she is relieved when the pressure remains steady.

It occurs to her that her skin does not feel as if its lower layers are burning outwards towards the air. She wonders where the sensation came from in the first place, realizes that her free hand is curling around a wand that isn’t there. Her weapons may have been ill-chosen. They are most likely still with her corpse on the roof of the castle, data being dissolved by the Scratch. She decides that neither of those things matters.

“I wonder what sort of universe our alternates will create,” she muses. “Or have created.” This asteroid is a pool of time cut off from a river that has suddenly reversed directions; Dave still looks like illness turned inside out, and Aradia has simply disappeared, preferring no witnesses to the side effects upon a God Tier Maid of Time.

John looks scarcely better, despite his domain remaining untouched. She wonders if he’s only just realized that they cannot win the game, or if he is letting himself wander into the realm of might-have-beens. Both things are painfully, painfully pointless and painfully, painfully John, and she will not engage in either.

“Perhaps it will be less violent,” Kanaya says. The screen glows sickly orange with the burst of another gate, and the light catches on her teeth, impaled on the tips of her fangs. “Your universe, I mean. Or your alternate selves’ universe.” Rose hopes that the tinny thrumming heartbeat in her ears is delayed panic, that the timing is pure coincidence.

“I suppose it’s a possibility,” she says.

“You guys?” Jade calls, paper-thin. “Are we gonna start looking for a way into – you know?”

“Yes.” Kanaya lets go; Rose sways, nearly falls.

“This is going to be difficult,” she says, too distracted by her balance to prevent herself from speaking.

“A new universe? Indeed it shall.” Kanaya’s hand hovers a millimeter from Rose’s shoulder; she withdraws, brushes a strand of Rose’s hair behind her ear, claw scraping her scalp. It takes everything Rose has not to lean into the sharpness or the touch.

“You guys’ll work it out.” Jade’s optimism is almost inaudible, as convincing as a plywood-and-linen stage set of a galaxy. “All of us will.”

“We can but hope,” Rose whispers, knowing it will carry.

She closes her eyes as her planet shatters for the last time.
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August 2012

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