• Published 22nd Apr 2019
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Enchorus - GMBlackjack



Stories set in the Songs of the Spheres multiverse written by a variety of authors.

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Neither Meat Nor Candy (GMBlackjack)

> Be John Egbert.

You are John Egbert, and you are suddenly struck by a feeling you haven't had in years. A feeling of being... something. You can't quite put your finger on it, but you know you felt like this a lot when you were playing SBURB. But not when the entire war over the Green Sun was happening...

You can't say you've felt like this since you moved to Earth C. Maybe it was that universe that made things different? No... you'd been to many other universes since the Merodi picked you up. You hadn't felt it at all. Until now.

This being.

ROXY: john, u ok?

You look up at her and the rest of your friends you are currently having lunch with. Right next to you is Roxy, who, let's be honest here, is a bit more than a friend at this point, as the slightly annoyed gaze from Calliope tells you. She catches your eyes and manages to look away with mild guilt on her face.

You really need to talk to her and work this out, but in the back of your mind you know you won't. It'll just be awkward for eternity. Unless something happens.

Like being.

Whatever that means.

> Realize you haven't responded to her. Everyone's probably worried now.

You shake yourself out of your random delirium.

JOHN: yeah, i'm fine. just... got a strange feeling is all.
CALLIOPE: oh?
ROXY: do you not like the smell of the pasta?
PINKIE: I think there's actually something going on. I got a WEIRD Pinkie Sense moment.

You vaguely register the pink party pony that seems to invite herself everywhere. You suppose it's probable that Jade asked her to come along with the other horse at the table - Allure - but you don't really care about that.

You care about the bowl of pasta in front of you for some inexplicable reason. An Earth Ottoman dish you can't recall if you've had before or not. It smells good, and you are quite hungry. But for whatever reason it seems... off. It's not particularly sweet or heavy. It's just pasta. And you're pretty sure you didn't order it.

PINKIE: Earth Ottoman to John, helooo?
JOHN: pasta. what is it about the pasta?
DAVE: its just pasta john

You look at your old time-shifting friend. Your mind flashes for a minute to him arriving at your doorstep yesterday begging you to hide him from the other Jade. You agreed - what else were you going to do - and so far she hadn't come knocking and the present Jade wasn't about to tell her anything.

JADE: john?
JOHN: yeah, it is just pasta. i think that's what's wrong with it. it's supposed to be... more. Like there's...

> Look at Pinkie.

JOHN: a choice. or something. god, i don't even know what i'm talking about...
PINKIE: Hey, just because I'm Aware doesn't mean I know everything! My guess is there really was supposed to be a choice. But something's changed and your little zappy-sparky powers are letting you know something was up.
JOHN: so... should i do something?
JADE: like what?
JOHN: i have no idea...
ALLURE: Are there any big choices you never made in... SBURB?
PINKIE: (I hope people are ready to highlight...)
JOHN: well, we haven't fought lord english, but the gallifreyans have that all taken care of, right?

Everyone around the table nods - though you notice Dave and Roxy tense at the mention of the Gallifreyans. They still have a hold on all of your souls, ensuring you will go back and complete the retcon loop for the sake of the multiverse. Upon your deaths. Of which a grand total of zero have happened. You're glad for that, though you wonder what will happen when your numbers start dwindling. You're all immortal...

ROXY: are u sayin we might have to go now?
JOHN: no.
PINKIE: No.
ROXY: ...then what are you sayin?

You have no idea what you're saying. But you know you want to eat the pasta.

> Eat the pasta.

You twirl a fork into the pasta and shove it in your mouth. It tastes absolutely delicious, but it almost feels as if it's forcing its way down your throat. Your conscious mind has no say in the matter as the winding noodles snake through your body in a way you really shouldn't be aware of but are anyway. It occurs to you this sensation should be somewhat nauseating, but no response rises from your gut. It just is.

CALLIOPE: that was qUite unlike yoU, john.
PINKIE: That wasn't him. Or if it was, he didn't have a choice.
DAVE: this stinks heavily of symbolic bullshit
DAVE: i say we ignore it
DAVE: and
DAVE: like starve it of its meaning or something
DAVE: that is how this works right pinks?
PINKIE: Sometimes?
JADE: we could try to hunt down twilence.
ALLURE: For an odd feeling at a table?
JOHN: we don't need to go through the trouble. really, i'm fine.
JOHN: it's getting... weaker.

You're not lying. You can feel the being fading off of you, reaching away. You decide to push the event into the back of your mind. You rest easy, knowing it really isn't any of your concern...

>Be Vriska about a thousand relative years ago.

You scream - not in pain, though you are certainly in a lot of pain at the moment. No, you scream out of rage. You flail your hands wildly, trying to grasp the distant form of the House Juju, sparkling with red, yellow, blue, and black colors as it prepares its final activation. The defeat of Lord English. By your hands. Your hands!

You need to see it! You need to see it! This is your moment, your spotlight, your victory!

The black hole that was once the Green Sun draws you toward it. Something in the back of your mind tells you it isn't' the kind of black hole you find in space, but something else. Something much more... exotic.

You grunt, focusing your vision eightfold on Lord English. He's not even looking at you - he's standing, glaring at the House Juju with his eight-ball eyes. He knows his time has come, you're certain. But he still looks ready to fight...

The door on the House Juju opens...

...and reality goes sideways.

You expect your body to be torn asunder, or at least for you to experience a technicolor nightmare as you're thrown across existence. But no, your trip consists of a flash of darkness followed by an unceremonious fall onto a field of wheat.

>Stand up, idiot.

You don't even need to be told - not that anyone told you to stand up, that's ridiculous. Despite the rising level of your inner fury, you manage to take a moment to look around. Wheat, wheat, wheat, and a human male with pinker skin than you're used to.

You grab the male by the shoulder and stare into his eyes fiercely.

VRISKA: WHERE AM I????????

The male makes no response besides trembling.

VRISKA: I c8n’t 8e here! I h8ve to go 8ACK!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: I need to see what happened!
VRISKA: I NEED TO KNOW HOW IT TURNED OUT!

You start shaking the male with uncharacteristic desperation in your movements, your words, and your eyes. You're ashamed, but you can't stop yourself.

VRISKA: I need to go 8ack!
VRISKA: I need to SEE!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: I NEED TO SEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

The male belts out a few words of panic in a language you don't recognize. For some inexplicable reason, this makes you stop.

> He's useless. Throw him away.

With a look of disgust, you toss him to the side. He gets a small gash in his leg that starts bleeding, but you don't care. He runs away despite the injury, falling over a few times.

You are alone in a field.

You have no way back to Lord English.

You are never going to see what happened.

You scream.

>Be Davepetasprite^2.

You are Davepetasprite^2, better known to your friends as Davepeta. Those who know you exist, anyway, you're kind of a new thing and a big deal. Because you're going to completely wreck Lord English's shit.

Currently, you are hiding behind the House Juju, using it as support to keep from falling into the monstrous gaping maw that's eating up all of Paradox Space and the dream bubbles. You hope that whatever the House Juju's going to do, it does it in a way that makes it easier for you to move around. Because, otherwise, you're going to have a bit of a problem not getting flung into oblivion.

If that black hole even goes to oblivion. It's not like you have much of a clue.

You poke your head around, looking at the front of the House Juju. A door is opening, and a white hand is reaching out...

...and then it just freezes. You can swear you hear a classic Windows error bloop.

For a moment, fear runs through you. Did something go wrong? Is the House broken? Is Lord English going to win?

You look at the offending monstrosity and realize, with a bit of glee, that he is frozen too. Unmoving. Brimming with a white, zappy energy, like the House itself.

DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < Here goes nothing!

You jump forward, allowing the black hole's pull to latch onto you. It drags you forward - right into the body of Lord English. You grab his frozen form with your claws, discovering him to be as hard as diamond. It'd be impossible to puncture anywhere on him in this state.

Good thing that's not your plan.

> Defeat Lord English.

DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < DIE MEOWTHERFUCKER!

You use the momentum from the black hole to twist around and throw the green skull monster right at the House Juju. The two collide. There's a bright flash of things that never happened, and yet always did. You smell the scent of roses and see some kind of Tower rising in the distance as Lord English is sealed away...

And then the black hole sends you to a random corner of the multiverse, since that's what it seems to like doing to people who aren't ghosts.

> Be Aradia.

You are Aradia, Maid of Time, fluttering as close to the black hole as you think is safe. You have been watching this entire fight unfold from the start, and now you've seen the fate of almost everything. You watch as the House Juju itself is torn into the black hole. You swear you can hear the zap over the chaos of thousands upon thousands of ghosts being torn from their dreams to an uncertain fate.

This is the end of Paradox Space, you're sure of it. This is what you were here to see.

And yet...

You look to the black hole, growing, devouring more and more planes of existence as it continued on its rampage... Would it eat everything?

Or was it really eating them? You feel as if it isn't a death sentence, and you've got a pretty good intuition for this sort of thing.

It was that Calliope that made the black hole. She'd ensured Lord English's defeat. But what was it doing?

A Jade ghost flies by you, grabbing you by the neck. She's trying to drag you in, you realize. You remain calm - altering the perceived flow of time around yourself while keeping Jade's the same, giving you an edge. You move faster than she does, pulling back from the darkness - dragging her with you.

ARADIA: jade why would you do that?
JADE: You need to go through.

You know it isn't Jade talking even before you see her dark eyes. It's just wrong. A normal person - troll or human - would be offput by this. But you just smile.

ARADIA: are you calliope by chance?
JADE: yes. you must enter.
JADE: there is more for you out there.
JADE: i will eject you beyond paradox space so you can arrive at a different destiny

You raise an eyebrow. The prospect of something new excites you considerably, but you can't help feel that this is some kind of trap.

ARADIA: i don't know... can i get sollux first...?
JADE: sollux has already been absorbed.
JADE: the course of narrative has deemed him 'close enough to dead' that he's been sealed away.
JADE: but you are alive. and like all others who live, you are going to be ejected to something greater.
ARADIA: i understand being vague and mysterious
ARADIA: i really do
ARADIA: but youre going to have to give me more than that if you want me to cooperate
ARADIA: all this seems really cool and fascinating but you have to admit you arent exactly trustworthy sounding!
ARADIA: sorry

Calliope twists Jade's face in annoyance.

JADE: the narrative both has been and will be interrupted. something slipped through my sights.
JADE: i had feared it would be john. but I don't think it is.
JADE: it might be the Tower itself.
ARADIA: the what?
JADE: nothing of importance.
JADE: for now.
ARADIA: youre lying
JADE: yes, but i'm not explaining that right now.
JADE: this interrupt means what was supposed to happen won't.
JADE: that this ghost will not be sent to close the loop.
JADE: everything is being put on hold.
JADE: in essence, the computer has frozen. and everything will have to wait.
JADE: and i will die.

She seems upset about this, which confuses you. Didn't she sacrifice herself?

JADE: the plan has fallen apart.
JADE: lord english has been defeated. but...
JADE: ...
ARADIA: but what?
JADE: all of this has happened before.
JADE: but it's apparently not going to happen again.
JADE: ...
JADE: they're coming.
JADE: they know lord english is out of the picture.
JADE: you must go now!

Calliope uses Jade's space powers to shove you toward the black hole. You could have resisted - but you don't feel like you want to anymore. This Calliope may be out there, but she does seem to have some idea about what's actually going on. You wish you could talk to her more, but she's not going to be around long enough for that.

You watch Calliope's essence leave the Jade ghost. She'll fall in with you. But unlike you, she will be trapped.

But you? You are going places you never would have imagined, not in your wildest dreams...

As the event horizon takes you, you see a tremendous portal open up in the sky from somewhere beyond paradox space. Eldritch tentacles pour in, accompanied by white glowing shapes, a few floating masks, and some extremely advanced spaceships.

You won't know that this was a Class 1 brigade until much, much later in your life...

> Be Aradia much, much later in her life.

ARADIA: isnt it interesting?
CORONA: What?
ARADIA: how were opposites

The two of you are walking down a path of Skaia's Dream. Neither of you is physically there - dreaming still occurs for living players within range of the SBURB remnant - but both of you are perfectly aware of this and don't mind in the slightest. You rarely come across each other in the waking world and are quite grateful for the opportunity to just... talk.

CORONA: How we think of death, right?
ARADIA: well yes that
ARADIA: thats obvious
ARADIA: but also in other ways like... aspects!
CORONA: Our Aspects don't... contrast.
ARADIA: all aspects contrast in one way or another
ARADIA: time can be considered the onward eternal march while doom can be said to be the end
CORONA: And yet I give endless life, and you promote the end.
ARADIA: yep!
ARADIA: isnt dualism interestnig?

Corona purses her lips, laying a hand on a brick wall of Canterlot High. You are aware that the pony SBURB sessions included versions of her in it at times, but none of those alternates had shared her aspect of Doom. Mostly Hope, a few Rage and Light, but not much else. It was something unique about her, specifically, that gave her the right to the most mysterious of Aspects.

CORONA: I'm not sure interesting is the right word.
CORONA: Confusing, more like.
ARADIA: well that kind of makes sense
ARADIA: the aspect wheel is an imperfect copy of the tower itself
CORONA: I know. I think we all know that, now, thanks to good ol' Neoan.
CORONA: Who I guess hates us now.
ARADIA: we did cause him a bit more problems than he was expecting
ARADIA: but the green sun was destroyed...
ARADIA: so I guess the horrorterrors won the conflict?

You pass through a memory of the Combine-Horroterror war, seeing an image of the Green Sun floating in the distance as it is used to create a new universe. Corona winces at the sight of the mutated frog.

When you first saw it you were disgusted.

Now, you're just fascinated.

Some part of you realizes this constant fascination with the morbid, wrong, and suffering is a problem... But you can't imagine being anything else. It's what you bring to the table. It's why you're here.

You pass into a memory involving the black hole that sucked you into the multiverse. Your smile widens.

ARADIA: want to know something funny
CORONA: HIt me.
ARADIA: when i first left i didnt understand anything about what the multiverse was really
ARADIA: and as i traveled i slowly figured more and more of it out
ARADIA: i dont think i realized until this moment that i had actually figured it out
ARADIA: when the answers came i didnt even care enough to register it
ARADIA: isnt that weird?

Corona shrugs, not sure what to make of it.

CORONA: I don't think we have all the answers.
ARADIA: i didnt say all the answers
ARADIA: just the answers to the big questions
ARADIA: well my big questions anyway
CORONA: Sometimes I wish I could be as content as you are with... everything.
ARADIA: we need people who arent satisfied with the way things are so they may be changed
CORONA: You really are an ancient guardian, aren't you?
ARADIA: heheh yeah

> Notice you are being followed.

You turn around to see a very familiar Skaian ghost stalking you.

ARADIA: meenah!
ARADIA: come join us were having quite the discussion!
MEENAH: uh...

The royal troll quickly tries to look like she wasn't stalking them, kicking a shoe back.

MEENAH: nah, I got a universe to run, and stuff.
CORONA: Then what are you doing out here?
ARADIA: this is a very good question
MEENAH: none o yer beeswax! seaswax? ...there's gotta be a pun there...
CORONA: If you want your people to respect y-
MEENAH: i ain't giving up the fish puns. not now. not ever.
MEENAH: me n fef are gonna make things the way they need t be.
MEENAH: endless fish puns.
CORONA: *groan*
MEENAH: problem, baconhead?
CORONA: I'm just going to wake myself up now.
MEENAH: oh, yeah, forkin time!

Corona shows that she has enough power to wake herself up completely on demand, missing Meenah's overly-eager "forkin'."

MEENAH: bitch doesn't know how to have fun.
ARADIA: you just mentioned the word FUN in a dreamscape with a narratively important aura that isnt keyed to some particular event
MEENAH: ...what?
ARADIA: i hope you enjoy your party!
MEENAH: you spent WAY too long with those hor-
PINKIE: HIYA!
MEENAH: FUCKIN FIS)(-ST-EALIN' S)(ARKBIT-ES!

Meenah lifts her trident aggressively at the sudden appearance of the Bard of Space.

PINKIE: Aww, there's no need to be like that!
PINKIE: Plus, I'm not dreaming, you could actually hurt me!
MEENAH: that's the idea, assassin!
PINKIE: Actually you probably couldn't do much to me...
PINKIE: Oh, wait, forgot! Thief of Life, duuuuh! Just suck me dry!
PINKIE: Man, why aren't you the vampire?
MEENAH: what the shell...?
PINKIE: I mean rainbow drinker.
PINKIE: ...Wait, you should know that, you and Alushy hang out.
MEENAH: i don't know what you're suggestin.
ARADIA: i think ill leave you all to that!
ARADIA: lots of maid of time stuff to do!
ARADIA: and all the time in existence to do it!
ARADIA: :)

You allow Meenah to stab you, just so she gets the thrill of the hunt. It's the least you can do.

> Be Meenah

You are now Meenah, and you are right pissed that you didn't get much satisfaction out of that forkin'. She smiled, got stabbed, and now she's gone. That's that.

PINKIE: I can set up some pinata dummies if you want.
PINKIE: Or you could probably dream up a horde of monsters!
MEENAH: bah. it ain't the same.

You start walking, heading back to your capital city, Peixe. Basically a dream city with some fancy-schmancy reality anchor doo-dads you use to keep a hold on most of the Skaians. You named it. Well, technically you and Feferi named it, but let's be real you were the one who was pretty insistent about it.

Skaia's Dream likes you for whatever reason most of the time, and whenever you start walking it rarely takes long for you to reach your destination. Already you have arrived in the dream city, shuffling around with a pink pony bouncing behind you. You ignore most of the people walking around even if they don't ignore you.

You basically run the universe, of course walking around will draw attention.

PINKIE: Do you really want to make all these people fight?
MEENAH: i want to fight.
MEENAH: i don't give a jellyfish's ass about the rest of them.
MEENAH: and jellyfish AR-E asses, you know.
PINKIE: That's not true.
PINKIE: The first part, not the fact about jellyfish.

You turn to glare at her.

MEENAH: how the shell would you know?
PINKIE: Aside from being Pinkie Pie?
PINKIE: I talk to Feferi, you know.
MEENAH: fef don't know shit.
PINKIE: She's keeping your image stable despite all the craaaaaaazy stuff you do~!¡
PINKIE: Oh, cool, lemme try something. ∑´•ª¥ç˙ˆ∑˜√¨ø∑´¥®. Nice!
MEENAH: ...what in...?
PINKIE: Just checking out the alternate medium.
PINKIE: Anyway, back on track.
MEENAH: you have a track?
PINKIE: Maybe?
PINKIE: What I'm saying is, you have a heart in there somewhere.
PINKIE: These are your citizens and friends whether you like to admit it or not.
MEENAH: whatever. i'm still goin crazy. there's not enough action.

Pinkie turns to look at you with a pitying glance.

PINKIE: I think you need to talk to Vriska.
MEENAH: i talk to vriskas all the time.
PINKIE: I mean the Vriska. The one I work with all the time.
MEENAH: ...
PINKIE: Here, I can take us there right now!
MEENAH: ponkadonk don't you dare do th-

Pinkie does the portal. Did she use her device or Bard of Space powers? You don't know. All you know is that you're standing in front of Vriska.

> Be Vriska.

I'm sorry, it looks like you're trying to be Vriska right now. No, let's do that later. How about...

> Be Feferi.

FEFERI: Jane is trying to do W)(AT!?
KANAYA: Limit Troll Reproduction On Earth C.
ROSE: I thought you knew.

You pace around the 'royal hall' of Peixe. Several Meenahs and Feferis are there with you, as well as a handful of others (unfortunatly, Kankris are among the number...) but you're the only Alpha Ghost in the room right now. You're not too annoyed at having to take charge since you basically do it anyway, but having something of this magnitude be dropped on you without Meenah present is... problematic.

Or maybe this is a good thing. Now Meenah won't start an illegal war without thinking.

You'd like to think she's mature enough now not to do that, but she's pretty hot-headed...

...Would she even care about troll reproductive rights on Earth C?

You shake your head, deciding to deal with this yourself regardless of anything else.

FEFERI: Okay, okay. W)(Y is s)(e trying to cull everyfin?
ROSE: It is decidedly less barbaric than culling.
KANAYA: That Makes It All The More Dangerous...
ROSE: Regardless, she believes that an appropriate response to possible troll overpopulation on Earth C is to limit their expansion through sanctioned breeding programs.
KANAYA: She Has A Lot Of The Population On Board.
FEFERI: The Oversight Division isn't going to stand for t)(is.
FEFERI: ...Are t)(ey?
KANAYA: I Am... Uncertain Where Overhead Sarsrpilla Stands On The Issue.
KANAYA: The Current Charter Prevents Such Practices From Being Undertaken Merodi-Wide.
KANAYA: But Like The Concessions Made With The Gems Until Recently, Exceptions Can Be Made For Singular Worlds If The Need Is Accepted.
ROSE: We know Jane's going to try and push this at an upcoming meeting.
ROSE: We were hoping you and Meenah could come along to stand up for us?
FEFERI: I'll definitely be t)(ere! T)(is can't be allowed to )(appen!

You said that almost without thinking. You're sure it's the right thing to do though.

And now it's time to make use of one of your least helpful subjects...

FEFERI: Kankri! I need to construct a decisive argument against a political opinion!
KANKRI: I am glad you have finally come to see the merit of my words, Feferi, though I would implore you t-
FEFERI: O)( come on! Just... Can you do it quickly?
KANKRI: I could dictate such a speech to you right now, if you wanted. I already have several points. On both sides, if you're curious...

You point at a Karkat.

FEFERI: )(ey Karcrab...
KARKAT: NO. NO I AM NO-
FEFERI: I need someone to go over )(is speec)( and cut it down to a manageable size!
ARANEA: I can do that!
FEFERI: ...And I want the final result to be the trut)(.
ARANEA: Hey!
VRISKA-1: Bitch, she got you!
VRISKA-2: SERVED!
MEENAH-2: OOOOOOOO!
ARANEA: ...
KARKAT: FINE, I'LL DO IT, JUST GIVE ME A MINUTE...

You turn back to the visiting couple from Earth C.

FEFERI: So, a)(em, now t)(at t)(at's out of t)(e way... )(ow's life you two?
FEFERI: Still being cute?
KANAYA: Why Must You Call Us Cute Every Time We Meet?
FEFERI: B-ECAUS-E YOU'R-E SO GLUBBING ADORABL-E!
ROSE: Heh.
ROSE: Can you really say she's wrong?
KANAYA: ...
KANAYA: No Comment.

> Be Jane.

You are Jane Crocker.

And you have just lost a political debate.

Pretty badly, too. No wonder Dirk didn't want to be anywhere near this.

You honestly should have seen this coming.

ROSE: Hey, Jane.
JANE: What do you want?

You look up, surprised to see sadness in the usually cryptic woman's eyes.

ROSE: Jane, I can see-
JANE: What can't you see?
ROSE: ...Why a choice wasn't made.
JANE: What are you talking about?
ROSE: Something tangentially related to this.
ROSE: Events mirroring something else that never happened.
ROSE: Or did, long, long ago.
ROSE: Another time, another space.

You look at her like she's crazy. She might be, for all you know. You all might be crazy. SBURB isn't exactly something you come out of unscathed.

ROSE: I came here to say we...
ROSE: ...
ROSE: We're still mad you tried.
ROSE: But we're not going to forge an endless crevasse between us just because we had a little fight.
ROSE: We've got to stick together in this wide multiverse.

You look at her, unsure. It'd be rude to blow her off, wouldn't it? And you have an image to maintain. You've ended up the face of Earth C in a multiversal alliance that places way too much weight on friendship...

JANE: I...
JANE: Sure.
JANE: We can put this behind us.

You're not sure if you're lying or not. You decide that doesn't matter.

Maybe you really should just leave things alone sometimes...

> Be Rose.

You are now Rose, but you aren't at the political meeting. You are at none other than Dirk Strider's robot workshop.

You're honestly not sure why you're here. Or why you're here without Kanaya. That's the extra weird part.

You move to knock on the door, but Dirk opens it before you strike metal. He invites you in wordlessly.

You two sit down, awkwardly, at a table.

ROSE: What was supposed to happen?
DIRK: You seem like the one to tell me.
ROSE: I was beginning to feel like my mind would explode.
ROSE: That I would See too much beyond the horizon.
ROSE: To end up in a sort of... apotheosis.
ROSE: But then we were interrupted and that just sort of...
ROSE: Stopped.
ROSE: I hadn't had any strong visions until recently.
ROSE: Something I can't describe as more than...
ROSE: An echo.
ROSE: Meat or candy?
DIRK: No.
ROSE: What?
DIRK: There's your answer.

I appear before you, landing on the table and glaring Dirk down I...

Oh, geez, this is going to be confusing. I can't also be here with you and me and...

> Be Twilence.

You are now me. I am you. I think about you looking at me and I look back out at you.

Do you see why this isn't going to work?

No, we need... Another way to think of this. Hrm...

I think I'll just take control for a bit, keep things simple. I hope you don't mind your nostalgic format being upset for a while.

I glared at Dirk.

"Problem?" he asked.

"How could you know that?" I demanded.

"Logical deduction," he responded with a shrug. "It doesn't take a genius to read between the lines, Twilence."

"Yes it does," I asserted. "But then again, you're a genius."

Rose raised an eyebrow. "...How bad did Dirk get?"

"I really can't say," I admitted with a sigh. "Not because I don't know. But because it's supposed to be gone."

"But the past. Twilence, I am a Seer like yourself, I get inklings of what lies beyond the reach of our intelligences."

I furrowed my brow. "That's why I'm not on your case about knowing. You'll get hints. Dirk isn't supposed to get hints."

"Since when were you the expert on Aspects?" Dirk asked.

"Never," I admitted. "I just try to trot my way through them like everyone else." I narrowed my eyes. "You've been behaving yourself a little too well..."

"Because I can't do anything. There's no master plan. I am not a key player in your story - or song, if you prefer to use your local vernacular for the subject. I would be foolish to try to take over such a thing."

Rose stared at him in disbelief. He was all but admitting to it...

I glared at him. Then I relented. "I can't trust you."

"I can't trust me."

I twitched. "Dirk... just... treat your friends like people."

"I do."

"You know what I mean," I said with a growl. "Rose, we should leave."

Rose stood up, looking at Dirk with a confused - and slightly afraid - gaze. We walked out the front door.

"You would have loved it, Rose," he called from the doorway.

I teleported us away, sighing. "I'm sorry you had to go through that..."

"You're watching him." It wasn't a question. She already knew the answer, I didn't feel the need to confirm it. "How dangerous is he?"

"Given the right circumstances... as dangerous as he wants to be." I turned to her. "I can't answer all your questions. I can tell you that... had we not intervened, there was a large chance you'd lose your mind to the 'importance'."

"...In that case, I thank you and whoever else was responsible for the interrupt. I appreciate the... background presence we've been given. I feel as though I'm allowed to live."

I smiled at her. To her surprise, I pulled her into a hug. "Don't let her go."

And then I left.

...Okay, you can have the wheel back. Even though it isn't really a wheel, it's just... eh, I'm not going to try to explain it. Enjoy.

> Be Dave.

You are Dave Strider, and you have been hanging out a lot with the Super Chill Squad that calls itself The Enemy.

In other news, you're hanging out with your ghost selves. You've basically taken up John's house as your residence, though you've been skipping it through time so the psycho dog can't find you. Crazy bitch wants to marry everything in the multiverse and you're pretty high on that list.

Like, ridiculously high. You're pretty sure you're tied for first place with the other guy hiding out here.

KARKAT: I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND WHY YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF.
KARKAT: I CAN'T STAND MY GHOST SELVES.
KARKAT: AT ALL.
DAVE: hey cmon man.
DAVE: its like...
DAVE: a bunch of family I thought was dead
DAVE-2: we totally are dead dude.
DAVE: i know but like youre not gone.
DAVE: so thats pretty sweet
KARKAT: AH. YES. FAMILY. THIS FUN THING YOU KEEP MENTIONING.
DAVE: it is pretty sweet man
DAVE-3: yes do it doooo it do it man!
DAVE: i suppose the only downside is that they all know exactly what im thinking
DAVE: and have
DAVE: like
DAVE: no respect for my personal private boundaries
DAVE-4: youre just doing this to yourself
DAVE-2: fuck yeah
DAVE: im beginning to think karkat has a point
KARKAT: *I ALWAYS HAVE A POINT!*
DAVE-3: have you seen your nubs
DAVE-2: not a point to be seen on them
KARKAT: THAT'S IT, I'M LEAVING, GONNA GO LIVE IN THE FOREST AND NEVER COME BACK.
DAVE: come on bro
DAVE: we can make this work
DAVE-2: awwww...
DAVE: you can shut the fuck up
DAVE-2: can, yes
DAVE-2: will?
DAVE: goddammit im an asshole
KARKAT: *NO SHIT.*
DAVE: but im a fun asshole
KARKAT: THE SELF-AGGRANDIZING NEUROSIS IN THIS ROOM IS SO OFF THE CHARTS I CAN'T EVEN FUCKING THINK STRAIGHT.
DAVE-4: since when have you ever thought "straight?"

He marches to the front door and kicks it open, clearly intending to at least make it LOOK like he's going to live in the forest for a while.

The only problem is there's a very particular Skaian ghost at the front door with a very similar ghost tied around her ankle.

JADE-1: i found you!
JADE-A: im so sorry dave, i couldnt stop her this time!
JADE-1: nothing can stop love!
KARKAT: I HAVE A WAY TO PROVE THAT'S FUCKING BULLSHIT.
JADE-1: oh?

Karkat slams the door in her face.

DAVE: dude thats really not gonna stop her
DAVE-2: yeah your point is self-defeating
KARKAT: THAT'S JUST TO DISTRACT HER.
KARKAT: YOU, EXTRA DAVE, UH, THREE.
DAVE-5: im dave five.
KARKAT: UGH WHY DON'T YOU HAVE DIFFERENT NAMES YET!?
DAVE-5: dave is awesome
DAVE-3: also we tried names
DAVE-3: remember jade and jado?
DAVE-3: ...thats what we called them right?
DAVE: i think so
DAVE-3: but then we kept getting confused so we just stopped trying
KARKAT: UTTERLY POINTLESS.
KARKAT: WHATEVER, ONE OF YOU GET A PHONE. CALL THE LEAGUE OR SOMETHING, GET A RESTRAINING ORDER.
DAVE: woah karkat dude
DAVE: i know shes crazy but shes still jade.
DAVE-2: maybe we can talk this out...
KARKAT: THEN WHY ARE WE HIDING IN A TIME-DISPLACED VERSION OF JOHN'S HOUSE?
DAVE: very poor people skills
KARKAT: ...
KARKAT: I HATE YOU SO FUCKING MUCH.
DAVE-3: AWWWWWWWW
KARKAT: DAVE, CAN I RAM YOUR OTHER SELF'S BONE BULGE UP A WALL?
DAVE-3: hah I don't have one o-
KARKAT: *I CAN MAKE ONE FOR YOU.*
DAVE: this i gotta see
DAVE: go right ahead

This interesting experiment is unfortunately put on hold when a Jade charges through the door. The crazy one, you're certain of it. The other one appears to be on her phone, shouting crazily.

JADE-1: okay.
JADE-1: so, just hear me out.
JADE-1: relationships...
KARKAT: BULLSHIT DETECTOR ALREADY THROUGH THE ROOF.
JADE-1: karkat! give me a chance!
KARKAT: HOW ABOUT... YOU TRY TO CONVINCE *YOURSELF* YOU AREN'T CRAZY FIRST?
JADE-1: oh, shes already accepted im not crazy. she just doesn't like me.
JADE-1: even though she totally would have been me without, well, having me around.
JADE-1: she really doesnt like to think about that.
JADE-1: wish shed grow up.
KARKAT: YOU'RE ONE TO TALK.
DAVE: crabby has a point
JADE-1: thats not why im here though. im here for the three of us!
DAVE: no
DAVE-2: shit?
DAVE-3: really
JADE-1: ...can i just have all of you at once?
DAVE: jade how fucked up are you in the head?
JADE-1: oh come on, its not like that!
JADE-1: im just free!
MATTIE: You're not letting them be very free, dear.

You all turn to see Mattie standing in the doorway beside the... well the Jade you think is sane. Behind them are a contingent of Sweeties who look ready to enter a warzone.

JADE-1: but mattie, im jus...
JADE-1: im like you!
MATTIE: Crikey. Jade, Jade.
MATTIE: I'll be the first to admit I'm a maniac.
MATTIE: But even I'm not going to hunt people down to a temporally distorted house in the middle of nowhere just for a chance at some 'action'.
MATTIE: I'm never seeking some kind of serious relationship. Like, let's be honest here, at all.
MATTIE: You've gotten it in your head that you are.
JADE-A: see? even mattie agrees with me!
MATTIE: You really should stop being so forceful.
JADE-1: ...mattie, i...
MATTIE: Go find a Changeling or something.
JADE-1: but its who they are! that's what i...
MATTIE: Jade.
MATTIE: Listen to me.
MATTIE: You're perfectly capable of letting them go.
MATTIE: You've done it before, you can do it again.
JADE-1: ...
MATTIE: And plus, I can tell you these two will be as boring as a salamander baking in the desert.
MATTIE: I can show you how to have a good time.
JADE-A: MATTIE!
MATTIE: Whaaaaaat? You're the one who asked me here, this is how I do things!
MATTIE: Well, besides mess with the fourth wall. Speaking of, hello readers, how would you like to be the nearly invisible-text-speaking whip-wielding maniac that is me?

> Be Mattie.

You really don't want this. Lemme just fix that for you...

> Be a Jade.

You are now the 'sane' Jade. The other you - who you can't help but look at with a little disgust, even if you know that's wrong of you to do - seems to have taken to Mattie's offer well. Apparently, she hasn't tried it with 'all the knives' yet, and reasons that, being a ghost, she can't really hurt herself unless she's really stupid.

The entire thing makes your stomach churn.

MATTIE: Anyway, it looks as if we're off for a night of risque fun!
MATTIE: But before we go, boys?
DAVE: oh no
KARKAT: WE ARE NOT COMING WITH YOU.
MATTIE: Balls, no, I was serious, you two would be a total bore.
KARKAT: *HEY!*
DAVE: when the promiscuous unicorn tells you youre lame you listen Karkat
KARKAT: *BUT!*
MATTIE: You two should really consider kissing.
DAVE: ...
KARKAT: ...
JADE-A: ...
JADE-1: I KNEW IT!

You decide it is probably best to leave. Find John, or something. Get out of this madhouse.

> Be Calliope.

Apparently, you are smart enough to realize you can't be John yet. Good for you.

You are Calliope, a green skeleton monster, and you are slightly depressed.

At least that's what you tell yourself.

> Try not to feel alone.

You fail miserably. You're pretty sure you are alone. In general, the people of this planet don't really know who you are or what you represent, and you kinda scare them with your appearance regardless. When you were younger you could pass as 'cute', but you are a large skull monster now, that's just how things are.

You suppose the rest of the Merodi don't fear you, but in that regard, you've just become part of the background.

And your friends...

Jane's gotten far too involved in politics for your taste. One day she sounds like a paragon of justice and progress while the next she seems a little... xenophobic. Not that you'd say that to her face, oh no, but it does make you uncomfortable around her. She's been drawing away from the public eye ever since she lost that debate. Maybe you should go talk to her... but you really don't feel like it.

Dirk is Dirk. You never really understood him and you get the distinct impression he views everyone in existence as some puzzle piece to force into the frame of his life's master plan. He hasn't talked to anyone much ever since Earth C was moved out of the E-Sphere, even canceling his and Jake's show.

And Jake... Honestly, you have nothing against Jake. If you were human you'd probably be upset that he was shaking his ass around on TV all the time, but you have no frame of reference by which to be upset at that. He's just... always busy. Distracted. And a little clueless.

Then there's Roxy...

Roxy is your best friend, and she's drifted away like nothing else. She's off on some super-secret job she's not allowed to tell you much about most of the time, and when she is around you mostly see her with John. It's clearly love, you don't fool yourself. You hate yourself for getting jealous - it's not like you're even human. You don't experience romantic feelings the same way, and didn't you write several shipping stories about the two of them when you were young?

Yes. Yes you did. And at one point you thought that maybe, just maybe, you had the power to make those stories a reality. But it's been confirmed you aren't a Prophet, even though your brother apparently attained such powers on his journey.

> Don't think about your brother.

Once again, you fail to not think about something. What a great track record for the day. You recently read through a copy of Homestuck you demanded from Vriska, and you got to see the exact sort of... evil things he was doing. You almost couldn't stomach how stupid his influence was. You know he's going to be defeated - after all, Lord English was sealed away - but part of you also knows that, since John hasn't gone back yet, part of him is still free.

You pray he'll never try to do anything. Ever.

> Realize you're not actually alone.

Who are you kidding? Of course you're alone. There's nothing here for you...

JAKE: Greetings, callie.

With a start, you look to your side to see Jake English sitting next to you, looking into the distance with a wistful expression.

CALLIOPE: jake!?
CALLIOPE: when did yoU get here!?
JAKE: I was just walking.
JAKE: Saw you.
JAKE: And you looked so sad, and i knew i couldnt just leave a lady moping like that.
JAKE: It wouldnt be right.
CALLIOPE: jake...
CALLIOPE: thanks.

You don't really feel much better, but at least you're talking. That's something, right?

CALLIOPE: jake. do yoU ever feel... Unimportant?
JAKE: Lately? All the lollygaggin time.
JAKE: I read the whole homestuck shebang.
JAKE: Dont really feel like i did much in it besides glow brightly and shout GADZOOKS!
JAKE: And that wasnt even me.
JAKE: That was the ghost.
CALLIOPE: how interesting.
CALLIOPE: i, too, was overshadowed by a decidedly dead version of myself.
CALLIOPE: ...and now i don't even feel like i'm part of the 'sUpporting cast'.
CALLIOPE: it's like i'm nothing.
JAKE: Yep.
JAKE: You know...
JAKE: Rose was saying that was a good thing.
CALLIOPE: Oh, I know, I understand where she's coming from.
CALLIOPE: A chance at a simple life without the constant pressure of the outside...
CALLIOPE: A chance at...
JAKE: A life where dirks not controlling all of our actions.

You stare at him in surprise. You never expected to hear that from him.

CALLIOPE: do yoU really think...?
JAKE: I may be...
JAKE: Lacking.
JAKE: In the brains department.
JAKE: But even I can see when someones pulling a hussle when I read about it.
JAKE: Even if I dont understand a bloody word of it.
CALLIOPE: yes, I sUppose he was.
CALLIOPE: i still believe he's a good person, at heart.
JAKE: ...
CALLIOPE: jake?
JAKE: I dont have any idea what im going to do with my life.
JAKE: Those shows i do dont really seem real you know?
JAKE: Im lost.

> Act surprised.

You fail so badly that even Jake knows you're faking it. This is so hard to do you're mildly impressed with yourself for failing so badly.

JAKE: Am i really that pathetic?
CALLIOPE: i wouldn't say pathetic! lots of people have no idea what to do with their lives!
CALLIOPE: me, for instance.
CALLIOPE: u_u
JAKE: Then...
JAKE: Maybe we could figure something out?
CALLIOPE: what do yoU mean?
JAKE: Two absolute nobodies versus the multiverse!
JAKE: Well find something!
JAKE: No doubt about it!

He stands up tall, shifting into his Page of Hope robes for what he presumably thinks is dramatic effect.

JAKE: We will find our purpose!
JAKE: We will take it by the... uh... horns!
JAKE: And we will drive it where we want!
JAKE: IT WILL BE A JOLLY ROMP!
CALLIOPE: ^_^
CALLIOPE: yoU really are the page of hope, aren't yoU, jake english?

Somehow, you know that you'll find something. It won't be important, or meaningful, or really have much impact on anything... But it'll be something. Maybe it's best that you have no idea what that something is right now.

You push thoughts of your distant friends and hated brother out of your mind, focusing instead on the future...

> Be Caliborn.

You come to realize, very quickly, that there's been a shitty twist.

And it wasn't yours.

You grip your golden sniper and grind your teeth.

CALIBORN: HE'S SUPPOSED TO BE HERE.
GAMZEE: I mOtHeRfUcKiN' tHoUgHt We HaD nO iDeA wHeN hE'd ShOw Up.
CALIBORN: HE'S SUPPOSED TO BE HERE.
CALIBORN: BUT HE'S NOT.
CALIBORN: HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO TRAP HIM IN THE HOUSE IF HE DOESN'T SHOW UP?!

You and Gamzee turn to look at the House Juju. It's a small thing, small enough to be held in your hand. If, well, you could actually hold it. It's pretty intangible and only really moves when you move the chest it's contained in. But you like looking at the prize of your victory, so you usually keep the lid of the chest open. It's a very empty thing - a thing of nothingness. A thing of power.

A thing inadvertently responsible for creating John Egbert, your nemesis.

Who isn't here.

CALIBORN: I AM.
CALIBORN: GOING TO DO SOMETHING.
GAMZEE: MoThErFuCkIn HoMoSuCk? AwWw YeAh.
CALIBORN: NO.
CALIBORN: NO, IT NEEDS TO BE SOMETHING ELSE.
CALIBORN: IT WILL BE...

You grab your tablet and begin to furiously scribble your artistic vision onto a computer screen.

CALIBORN: SHIT OF THE CIRCLES.
GAMZEE: WhAt?
CALIBORN: YOU HEARD ME.

> SHIT OF THE CIRCLES.

YOU ARE...

NO. WAIT. THAT'S NOT RIGHT. YOU AREN'T ANYONE HERE. YOU'RE JUST GONNA SIT BACK AND WATCH. HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT FROM USUAL? BECAUSE IT FUCKING IS, SHUT UP.

TWILIT SPORKL IS A BITCH. WHICH SHOULD GO WITHOUT SAYING. BUT THIS IS A BOOK AND SUCH BASIC DETAILS LIKE THAT NEED TO BE ANNOUNCED FOR ALL TO SEE. SHE IS A BITCH. BUT SHE IS ALSO A VERY LUCKY BITCH THAT GETS TO FIND AN AMAZING DIMENSIONAL TRAVELING DEVICE. A SHIT CIRCLE. TITLES ARE SO IMPORTANT.

BLAH. BLAH. SHE STARTS EXPLORING THE MULTIVERSE WITH THE SHIT CIRCLE. AMAZING. JAW DROPPING. NOBODY CARES ABOUT ANY OF THESE SMALL TIME ADVENTURES. WHAT EVERYONE CARES ABOUT IS THE TIME SHE FINDS HOMOSUCK. BECAUSE EVERY STORY HAS A WORLD. EVERY FUCKING ONE.

ALL BECAUSE OF THIS STUPID TOWER THING THAT THINKS IT'S SO HIGH AND MIGHTY.

BUT SHE WILL RISE ABOVE THE STUPID TOWER THING! ALL TWILIT SPORKL HAS TO DO IS GATHER THE ENTIRE MULTIVERSE TOGETHER... SHE SHOULD FIGHT A WAR, YES, A WAR WITH HER CLOSEST FRIENDS. THE FATE OF EXISTENCE WILL HANG IN THE BALANCE. YES...

SHE CLIMBS TO THE TOP OF THE STAIRCASE, READY TO HAND THE TOWER OVER TO CALIBORN, HER LORD AND SAVIOR. SHE, AT THE TOP OF THE STAIR, WILL AWAKEN LORD ENGLISH. WILL BRING HIM INTO EXISTENCE NO MATTER WHAT THE ZAPPY BOY DOES. AND THE MASCULINE, RIPPED, ABSOLUTE MONSTROSITY OF A BEAUTY SHALL BE UNLEASHED UPON THE MULTIVERSE IN ALL ITS TRUE COLORS!

This isn't going to happen.

GET OUT OF MY STORY. I AM GOING TO RULE THIS MULTIVERSE!

Denied. Your ka has been suspended locally until further notice.

WHAT? WHAT?

> Be Caliborn.

You punch a hole in your computer screen at the Flowery image that had just popped up.

CALIBORN: WHO DARES!?
CALIBORN: WHO DARES INTERFERE WITH ME!?
CALIBORN: IS IT THOSE WORDS ON THE SCREEN?

Yeah, those aren't me, and in fact, nothing aside from this has been me. Long time no see, by the way, lil' Cal.

CALIBORN: WHAT KIND OF SHITTY TWIST IS THIS?
CALIBORN: WHAT COULD POSSIBLY CHANGE THE PROPHECY?
CALIBORN: WHAT ABOUT MY RIPPED BOD?
GAMZEE: WoAh, CaLm DoWn ThErE, yO-
CALIBORN: SHUT THE FUCK UP, CLOWN!

Might as well get comfy, I have no idea how long you're going to be there. Find a way to enjoy yourself.

You feel an immense rage building up in you, one that knows no bounds.

You will be free. You will not stay here forever. You will be understood. Your stories will reach far and wide and your art shall draw tears from those who view it!

You will b-

> Enough of that guy, can we be Vriska yet?

VRISKA: Terezi?
TEREZI: Y34H?
VRISKA: Life is good.
TEREZI: W3LL DUH, YOU GOT YOURS3LF TWO F1LL3D QU4DR4NTS.
VRISKA: You know that's not what I'm talking a8out.

You're standing on the balcony of your 'castle' in the human kingdom of Earth C, looking out at a sunset. Terezi is lounging at your side, able to appreciate the view by smell alone, as usual.

VRISKA: I mean life in general.
VRISKA: The act of 8eing alive.
VRISKA: You know. Existing.
TEREZI: YOU'R3 LOS1NG M3.
VRISKA: Fuck it, nevermind, I never should have gotten philosophical.
TEREZI: 1'M SUR3 D1RK WOULD LOV3 TO SP4R W1TH YOU.
VRISKA: I'm not convinced Dirk has real emotions.
TEREZI: F1N3, D4V3 TH3N. H3'S COOL.
VRISKA: Yes. 8ut he won't shut up about O8ama and the economy whenever philosophy is 8rought up.
VRISKA: Idiot can't even separate politics from philosophy.
TEREZI: H3 4SSUR3S M3 POL1T1CS 4R3 1MPORT4NT.
VRISKA: Well, no shit, of course they are. Were the Merodi not here I totally see Jane going psycho-Condesce on us.
VRISKA: Heck, same with Meenah.
VRISKA: Why do we have so many evil 8itches hidden among us?
TEREZI: WOW.
TEREZI: 1 C4N *H34R* YOU T4LK1NG 4BOUT YOURS3LF 1N TH4T L1ST.
VRISKA: You can't tell me you're not worried about the other Vriskas.
TEREZI: 1'M NOT WORR13D 4BOUT TH3 OTH3R VR1SK4S.
VRISKA: ...
TEREZI: H3H3H3H3H3.
VRISKA: ...Nice.

You share a laugh.

And then Meenah and Pinkie drop out of the sky.

MEENAH: fuckin pink ponies.
PINKIE: I mean, there are probably some Pinkies at the Emporium who'd li-
MEENAH: stop talkin.
PINKIE: *shrug*
MEENAH: ...how the fuckin shell did you do that?
PINKIE: :)
VRISKA: Hey Pinkie. Mission?
PINKIE: Nope!
PINKIE: Well, unless you count giving Meenah a talking to.
TEREZI: TH1S 1S GONNA B3 GOOD.
VRISKA: ...Fucking lovely, Meenah, what did you do this time?
MEENAH: fuckin' nofin.
PINKIE: She's itchin' to fight a war.
PINKIE: It's basically all she wants to do.
PINKIE: And she kinda wants it to be a challenge too.
MEENAH: and what the shell is wrong with that?

You hold your hand to the bridge of your nose and let out an annoyed sigh.

VRISKA: This is going to sound like a8solute 8S.
VRISKA: 8ut as fun as wars are.
VRISKA: They're not only fucking horri8le in the end.
VRISKA: They're also not worth the trou8le.
VRISKA: Get 8oring after a while.
MEENAH: bullshit.
VRISKA: In my early days of exploration I started wars, fought in them, and messed with entire planets just for the heck of it.
VRISKA: Trust me, I know what I'm talking a8out. It gets 8oring.
VRISKA: Predicta8le.
VRISKA: And just a little bit jading.
MEENAH: i'm not there yet, so you can suck it while I enjoy my wars.
TEREZI: LOOK, 1 KNOW YOU'R3 4 HOTH34D UP TH3R3, BUT M4YB3 YOU SHOULD L1ST3N TO W1S3, OLD VR1SK4.
MEENAH: WIS-E!?
VRISKA: OLD!?
TEREZI: VR1SK4 YOU'R3, L1K3, S3V3R4L HUNDR3D SW33PS OLD. ONLY TH3 COND3SC3 3V3R L1V3D TH4T LONG.
TEREZI: YOU. 4R3. OLD.
VRISKA: shit, you're right.
MEENAH: pussy.

Okay, now you're just sick of this. Time to talk in a language she'll understand. You grab Meenah by the neck and drive her into your wall. Pinkie cheers you on while Terezi starts laughing.

VRISKA: LISTEN UP PIEXES
VRISKA: I have softened up and, yes, I might even 8e considered a pussy by your standards.
VRISKA: 8ut I am not LESSER than you. I have 8een through a million more things, experienced more than you might in your entire immortal life, and I know a thing or two about how life works!
VRISKA: War. Is. Hell.
VRISKA: Even if you enjoy it, what you care a8out will be taken from you.
MEENAH: i don't care about nofin!
VRISKA: That's what you think.
VRISKA: You'll tell yourself that, over and over again, that nothing matters to you.
VRISKA: That you're just doing it 8ecause it's fun, it's convenient, it's what's expected, or some other 8ullshit reason.
VRISKA: 8ut that's all it is.
VRISKA: 8ullshit.
VRISKA: You fuckin' care a8out those ghosts.
VRISKA: You wouldn't 8e willing to 8e where you are if you didn't.
VRISKA: So stop 8eing such a fucking loser and get your head on straight.

All this time Meenah has been trying to remove your hand from her neck. She seems to have forgotten that you're a lot stronger now that you've been traveling for an eternity. You hold her there for a few seconds longer - and then release her without pushing any further.

MEENAH: serket...
MEENAH: ...
MEENAH: you're somefin else, you know that?
VRISKA: I've 8een known to think along those lines.
TEREZI: BOO! L4M3 R3SPONS3!
VRISKA: So, what are you going to do, Meenah?

Meenah stands up and glares at you, expression shifting from anger to confusion to understanding and a million other things you can't quite parse.

MEENAH: can I still fork bitches?
VRISKA: There is not, and never will 8e, a 8an on forking 8itches.
MEENAH: cool.
MEENAH: cool.
MEENAH: ...
MEENAH: guess i'll go back to skaia's dream and...
MEENAH: fuckin' address the people or some shit.

You put a hand on her shoulder and smile. You have to admit, you've gotten pretty good at the comforting smile over the years.

VRISKA: Try to actually talk with your friends sometime, okay?
VRISKA: Feferi's one of the 8est listeners you could ever ask for.
VRISKA: Get to know her.
MEENAH: ...sure.

Meenah opens a portal and vanishes, leaving the three of you on the balcony.

PINKIE: Wow, Vriska, you have come a LONG way.
PINKIE: Earlier this short you were beating up a kid because you couldn't see what happened to Lord English!
VRISKA: Eheheh...
VRISKA: You saw that?
PINKIE: Eh, yeah. Sorry.
TEREZI: YOU B34T UP 4 K1D?
VRISKA: I was upset, okay?
VRISKA: And a 8itch.
VRISKA: Actually, that's not an excuse.
VRISKA: ...I wonder what happened to that kid.

You feel remorse fall over you. He no doubt survived, but you can't exactly go an apologize now. He'll be long dead.

Why did it take you so many lifetimes to figure this out?

PINKIE: Hey, Vriska.
PINKIE: The past is behind us.
PINKIE: Let's look to the future.
VRISKA: Heh. Yeah.

You pull Pinkie into a hug.

TEREZI: G44444444Y!
PINKIE: That doesn't even mean anything to you!
TEREZI: 1 KNOW HOW TH3 1NT3RN3T WORKS, PONK.
TEREZI: 1T W4S TH3 ONLY 4PPROPR14T3 R3SPONS3.

You backflip kick Terezi off the balcony. Pinkie is already on the ground waiting with a super-trampoline that will send the troll into near orbit.

TEREZI: FUCK YOU GUYS!

Your hand meets Pinkie's hoof and the two of you start giggling uncontrollably.

SOLLUX: w0w. this is the most incredible thing i've seen.

You look down at the ground, happy to see Sollux up and about on his own.

Life is good.

VRISKA: Hey 8ee-8oy! How's it hangin?
PINKIE: Do you want to join Terezi on the trampoline? It's fun!
SOLLUX: why w0uld i ever want t0 d0 that?
PINKIE: ...The thrill of the fall?
SOLLUX: ...
SOLLUX: whatever. i'm here t0 tell vriska there's a party.
SOLLUX: wait.
SOLLUX: pinkie, aren't you planning that party?
SOLLUX: WHY AM I EVEN HERE?
PINKIE: To reaffirm your existence.
SOLLUX: that's bullshit.
PINKIE: Eh, at least you're not Tavros, he didn't even get a part.
VRISKA: That's lame. He needs more screentime.
VRISKA: Deserves it more than most of us.
SOLLUX: i think i just threw up a little.

You laugh, turning to Pinkie.

VRISKA: So, party?
SOLLUX: hey!
SOLLUX: i'm the 0ne wh0 walked here, i get to give the message!
PINKIE: You could have used a phone.
SOLLUX: I'M BLIND!
PINKIE: I know you have ways around that.

Terezi falls out of the sky and lands on Sollux. The two blind trolls flail around in surprise and mild panic.

PINKIE: Oooh, that's gonna leave a mark.
VRISKA: ...Just tell me a8out the party already.
PINKIE: OKIE DOKIE LOKIE!

Pinkie takes a deep breath - and then winks.

> Let's wrap this up. Be John.

You are John Egbert and... holy cow you and Roxy are fighting a horde of orange puff-balls with razor sharp teeth? How the... when did this start happening?

JOHN: roxy, what did you do!?
ROXY: cant tell you, sorry!
ROXY: *wonk*
JOHN: flirtatious wonking doesn't make me feel better!
ALLURE: Just retcon them away or something!

You look to the little Sweetie fighting with you. You forget, for a moment, why she's here. Because you're actually considering what she has to say. You're relatively sure you can start zapping them away into a nearby star, but you're not a hundred percent sure you'd get all of them.

Not to mention Unintended Consequences™...

ROXY: you dont need to be that fancy!
ROXY: just do the windy thing!
JOHN: oh, right.

> Do the windy thing.

You do the windy thing. An immense breeze blows by you, flowing slowly at first, but quickly becoming a massive torrent of blue-tinged gusts that toss the horde of puff-balls away. The blue tornado you coalesce with your powers is soon tinged with stripes of orange, becoming a complimentary twist of multiple colors.

The tornado quickly dumps all the offending monstrosities into a lake. Without limbs, they find it nearly impossible to swim, and drown in the rippling waters.

It is at this point you realize you have the feeling again.

Of being.

But it seems weaker this time. As if it's fading. Drifting.

Saying goodbye?

Jade appears in the universe, shaking you out of your reflections.

JADE: john!
JOHN: oh, hi jade.

You quickly check to see what she's wearing. Something suitably modest, so you know which one this is without too much mental effort.

JOHN: we just beat up a bunch of ravenous monsters.
ALLURE: ...I have never felt quite so useless.
ROXY: oh sorry!
ALLURE: It's fine. I wasn't exactly here to help with... whatever this was anyway. I was trying to find you for Jade.
JADE: yeah. i couldnt get ahold of you.
JOHN: clearly, little busy with ravenous fuzzy monsters.

Jade shrugs, landing next to you. She frowns.

JADE: other me found dave and karkat.
JOHN: ooooh...
ALLURE: It wasn't... pretty, from what I hear.
ALLURE: Believe it or not, Mattie was the one who resolved the whole thing.
ROXY: what.
ROXY: that girl.
ROXY: STOPPED some kinky shit from goin down?
JADE: yeah. she... i really dont know.
ALLURE: She's her own person.
ALLURE: You really should try to get to know her better.
JADE: ...i dont know...
ALLURE: You shouldn't feel threatened.
JADE: i dont!
ROXY: oooooh...
ROXY: jade, gurl.
ROXY: that shade of red tells me that you are.
JADE: i...
JADE: john?

You gulp. This doesn't bode well for you.

> Avoid the question.

JOHN: i'm not really one to say.
JOHN: since when have i been good at reading people?
JADE: ...
JADE: *sigh*
ROXY: you should loosen up a bit.
ROXY: now really dont end up like that other you.
ROXY: dunno what got into her head.
JADE: its what id have become...
ROXY: you dont know that.
JADE: mattie told me as much.
JADE: and i basically fight it every step of the way now.
JADE: but...
JADE: can i really just ignore these feelings?
JADE: other me just... waltzed in and ruined everything.
JADE: i...
JADE: ...

An awkward silence developed.

> Have sudden personal clarity.

JOHN: do you ever think we're...
JOHN: being unfair to her?
JADE: ...
JADE: yeah.
ALLURE: ...I have noticed you guys drifting apart.
ALLURE: Like, all of you.
ALLURE: You're starting to pair off, form little groups, and separate from each other.
ALLURE: You were once very close friends, right?
ALLURE: It's just kinda sad.

You feel more than a little guilty. She's right. You let Dave and Karkat hide at your place, but you don't really interact with them too much, do you? You spend most your time with Roxy or just... doing whatever. This outing you're on now is unusual. You talk to them, sure, but when was the last time you tried to sit everyone down?

It's not like the fate of the world has to be at stake for you to be friends?

Right...?

> Make a decision.

JOHN: we're getting everyone back together.

Everyone turns to stare at you.

ROXY: what exactly qualifies as... everyone?
JOHN: i don't know. us. the main characters? whatever alternate ghosts care enough to show up?
JOHN: what i know is that we can't let everyone drift apart like this.
JOHN: we got through the mess that is SBURB together.
ROXY: or in spite of each other.
JOHN: well, yeah...
JOHN: but these ponies are right.
JOHN: friendship is important.
JOHN: so let's.
JOHN: ...do the friendship thing.

Allure smiles widely. She opens her mouth to say something but is interrupted by a sudden pink blur.

PINKIE: DO I HEAR AN EXCUSE TO THROW A PARTY!?
ROXY: yes
ROXY: yes you fuckin do.

~~~

I looked down at the party with a smile.

John really wasn't kidding when he meant everyone. He really went and got almost the entire SBURB team together for this. He was there himself, of course, entertaining people with the windy thing and all around being his amazing, dorky self. He may have not been the smartest bulb in the room, but he was one of the friendliest most amiable individuals you would ever meet, and he cared about everyone.

Rose and Kanaya were there - together, of course - but they had actually managed to step away from each other and interact with the other people around them. Rose was talking to a couple of the Dead Dave squad and one of the Jades, who was, somehow, managing to not hit on the red-robed heroes of time, a fact of which I approved. I had seen the two Jades talking amiably earlier - not as friends, but as people trying to make it to that point.

Kanaya was, surprisingly, not with any of the trolls, but talking to Jake and Calliope about the future, politics, and what exactly race even meant in a setting like Merodi Universalis. Jane was standing nearby, trying to look like she wasn't listening and failing miserably. Moments later the conversation would break up and Roxy would go out of her way to talk to Calliope, apologizing for not being around. It was clear Calliope didn't fully accept it, but she was more than ready to start talking with Roxy more.

Vriska was, naturally, trying to hog all the attention. She kept getting in John's face and attempting to take control of the party away from him, but Meenah would regularly boo her off whatever impromptu stage she had set up. This had started a long tradition of one-upmanship between the two trolls. Feferi, to her credit, was keeping score.

Karkat was busy shouting at his old best friend, Sollux, who still existed in an unusual state of being dead and not dead. The main Dave watched them with a smile on his face, understanding perfectly that this was how Karkat worked. It may have sounded like the trolls were at each other's throats, but in reality, they were bonding.

And then there was Dirk...

He had tried not to come, but everyone had insisted. At first, he had hung around the back of the room, looking 'cool' and avoiding any interaction. To put it mildly, Terezi wasn't having any of this, and had started pushing him around from person to person, telling him 'this is not the proper way to be a coolkid.' Somehow, he had managed to hit it off with Aradia, and they were already debating some kind of pseudo-philosophy that made my stomach turn.

But he was... smiling. It was barely perceptible, so much so that I don't even think most of his friends noticed. But it was there.

That was rare. Did it ever happen?

"The magic of friendship," Eve said from my side, a warm motherly gaze in her eyes.

I nodded, meeting her smile with my own.

"We were lucky, you know," Eve continued. "Our interpersonal dynamics weren't such a complete mess. We were all friends, and we always knew that. These players... some of them fought each other. Some of them tried to kill each other - and in some cases succeeded." She pointed at the Tavros ghost, currently chatting with the a Jade amiably. Vriska jumped in between the two of them and proceeded to give Tavros the best cake in the house, laughing all the while. To their side, Spades Slick was leaning against a table, dangerously twirling a knife, much to Meenah's delight. "It was only natural that they'd drift apart. Become enemies in many cases."

"Become villains..." I whispered, looking at Dirk once again.

"But they're here now. Trying to make amends." Eve smiled. "I don't know if they will. But friendship is - and always has been - magic."

"Just like how troll romance doesn't apply to us, the magic of friendship doesn't apply to them."

"But they can still learn things from it."

I smiled knowingly. "You have no idea how right you are."

Author's Note:

GM: And that's the last of Enchorus' daily updates - and the only new story in the bunch too. If you wanna see more you better send in some of your own suggestions!

As might be obvious, I have mixed feelings about the Homestuck Epilogues. On one hand I can't deny that they're well written and full of interesting details, but on the other I am rather disappointed with how far into M-rated territory they went. I have a little bar of "stuff I'm willing to put up with" versus "quality of writing." Fallout Equestria is a good example of this - it's just good enough that I'm willing to put up with the other crap in it. The Homestuck Epilogues... Maybe it's because they often don't really feel like Homestuck, or because it seems like a different story entirely, but they're more borderline.

This story is essentially my response to them since there's no way they can be considered canon in Songs of the Spheres. I hope you got some enjoyment out of these... well, they aren't exactly kids anymore. (If you're wondering why Roxy didn't feature much, it's because she appears numerous times later in SotS.)

Also, screw Dirk.

-GM, master of Roxy.

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