Crash Standing


Chapter 12: Day Sixteen

-- truncatedGrip [TG] has returned from idle! --

AA: haha didnt you just fall asleep five hours ago?? at least if i interpret the sudden idleness right
TG: i did
TG: i so fucking did
AA: i thought vacations were for "sleeping and fucking timezones up the left nostril with all the force of your time swag until theyre flipping like a breakfast paste disk and dont know what the fuck"
TG: you have learned well padawan
TG: my asshole man lusus stays an ignoramus completely willingly

"Byrd, two minutes!"

It's Dirk in the corridor, not Bro. Fuck your life anyway. He won't let you get away with letting your face thump back down on your keyboard and going back to crick-in-neck sleep.

You're not even dressed. Mnuh.

He knocks again. "Byrd?" The door handle moves.

"Don't you dare!" you yell back. The handle returns to its original position with surprising but gratifying swiftness.

GT: Courage my man! Im sure the rays of the sun will soon have you all invigorated and ready to conquer the day!
TG: its seven am
TG: only assholes are awake at seven am
TG: daylight sucks im a night byrd ok hell im even dersite
TG: if i were any more nocturnal id sprout candy corn horns and an unfortunate tendency to talk about my feelings
GT: Oi oi! Your aspersions are entirely unfair. Im awake at seven am!
TG: case in point
AA: byrd not that i care but if you dont get going youre gonna get in trouble and your webcams turned off so we cant watch it
AA: anyway the ships internet will cut off soon wont it
TG: fuck that noise im staying until i physically cant anymore

That's when the door opens behind you. "Dirk, for fuck's sake, leave me the hell alone, what if I were fondling the morning glory, huh?"

"Guess I'd drag you upstairs by the feet so you can keep jerking it as long as possible," Bro replies from the door. "I'm hella considerate that way."

And then he grabs you by the ankle and drags you off the bed.

You swear at him and grab for your blankets, but then the laptop almost follows so you have to let go. If it broke you would drown yourself, no joke.

Your boxers are riding up already and wow do you not want your ass chafed on the carpet. "Okay, okay!"

"The most okayest," Bro replies agreeably, and drags you over the threshold.

Five minutes later you've crossed two staircases on your ass, back and elbow. Ow. When Bro drops your legs you don't even have the strength to trip him, your abs were working overtime trying to keep your head and spine from hitting or raking across the stairs and are all out of energy. You flop right there across the wooden flooring and groan, eyes closed.

"I'll tell Pops and Daddy you didn't even let me have any breakfast first."

"You inhuman monster," Dave agrees from somewhere off to your left.

"You'd probably throw it up!" Terezi chirps from more toward your feet. You jerk up into a sitting position somehow. You didn't know she was around, it feels awkward to... well. The flop-mopey while half-naked thing. Urgh.

"What are you even doing here?" you ask as you catch a wooden sword Bro was lobbing casually at your head.

"Training," she replies. She's sitting bent double over one leg, the other one stretched out so wide you wonder if she even has any tendons in her inner thighs because yours are whimpering in sympathy. Then again, it'd be a weird place for Terezi not to have tendons when she has them everywhere else.

You're on the main deck, about half a floor over the waves, which makes the breeze kind of cool even though you're at the back of the ship and the rest of it blocks some; the wind makes eddies that ruffle your hair without warning and then let it fall flat right in your eyes, which is annoying as hell. All the lounge chairs and little tables have been cleared out and piled up against a wall inside the dining room. The glass doors are closed, probably so the rest of them can enjoy their lie-in with minimal interruption from noisy Striderian torture. Bunch of bastards.

Dirk's stretching too, wordless as he grabs the handrail and rounds his back, slides into a low cat-crouch. Man, why is everyone so serious today. You sigh and start your own exercises, as well as you can.

(You can't grab onto your foot and rotate your waist fully toward the left. You can't counterweight yourself out of pitching onto your back when you rotate to the right too fast.)

"Can't believe you'd allow an outsider to behold me in my undergarments," you grouse, only couched in funny words so no one'll notice you're grousing.

"She ain't an outsider, she's an in-law." Bro turns to Terezi. "You wanna call yourself Strider-Pyrope, be my guest."

She cranes her neck (her horn almost gouges a hole in the floor) and grins. "Assume your name? What a quaint custom."

You're pretty sure she knows almost nothing about human marriage. From Dave's indulgent look, you're also pretty sure she really likes being called an in-law, purely for the word itself. Girl has a serious fetish. You try to imagine yourself -- well -- Dave in a police uniform. Probably a sexy one, for kinky roleplay. Yeah, this is a sex life you are really glad you will not have.

You try to wonder what Karkat would be into (you try not to wonder what Jade would have told you she was into, eventually, you try not to remember what you knew she was into and never got to try.) The deck is full of brothers grunting quietly as they warm up and the whistle of a wooden sword cutting the air, again and again, your head is full of sleepy fog and too much sunlight. You fell asleep with your shades on so you have them (Bro wouldn't have stopped to let you get them, you think) but it's still too bright out here, the air's too clear, the water glistens too happily.

You get up, start a series of sprints from handrail to handrail -- might as well do it right today, maybe it'll give you a few days of respite.

The ship moves under you, not a lot but enough that you know it's going to suck when you start the sparring.


You were right. Your footwork is already sloppy enough on stable land, but factor in the waves and whoa, bruise party. You're not sparring, thank fuck, but Bro is being your dummy as you practice strikes and he has no problem being a dummy who hits back.

Dirk, Dave, and Terezi are having a three-way. Also chatting about Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff. Apparently Dave did a few strips for her, on the meteor. You kind of assumed Dave wasn't interested in it any longer and was leaving it up to you; were you wrong?

You're not sure if you're annoyed or not. It was weird being handed something Dave had grown out of, but having it be taken back is, hrrm.

Oh, damn it, self, he's allowed to still like talking about it, who cares.



"Hai, sifu."

"I should beat a counting song on your skull in Korean, you little shit."

"Says the oldest fucking weeaboo I ever -- ow, Jesus, that's the only elbow I've got left, what am I supposed to do next, hold it with my teeth?"

Bro whacks you another dozen times or so -- ankle turned too far out, shoulder out of alignment, fingers not positioned optimally on the yadda yadda.

"Okay, that'll do." It won't do. Your arm strength sucks, you need to stop attempting to block him. "Dave, you're up. Byrd, I gave Terezi the basics of flashstep yesterday, spot her."

He doesn't tell Dirk to do jack shit, you notice, but then again Dirk is disciplined enough to go straight into self-study, and ass-chafey enough about being ordered around by Bro on matters of ass-kicking to make it hella counterproductive to try. It'd make their finishing spar a bit too intense for a place so small.

Then again at least if they fell off the ship they'd land in water, not on pavement a bazillion stories down. Crazy fuckers.

Sighing and rolling your sore shoulders, you go to spot Terezi. The sun is fuckoff bright. Stupid Pacific.

"By the way, Byrd," Dirk says between two swings, a few minutes later. "We're having a Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff movie marathon tonight. That cool with you?"

You blink. Oh. Right. They were movies in the other universe. You seem to have heard mention of that. "Uh. Okay."

"You'll like them," Dirk assures you. He's staring ahead at the horizon as he sweeps in low, form perfect, but there's a faint smile on his mouth. "They're masterpieces."

"Well duh!" Dave calls out from where Bro knocked him on his ass. "I'm kind of the one who made 'em after all. How could they be anything else?"

Terezi shifts out of her starting stance, and your eyes snap up to look at her, and then you realize she's frowning in your direction, like she can tell you--

"No," you say, and wow the lack of care in your voice, that is some fine Strider cool, "you were not the one who made them."

Dave is dragging himself up on his feet, you see him from the corner of his eye. "Well it might as well have been. Oof."

... Fucking.


"Dirk, spar," you say with great restraint, and then you jump at him, because beating on your clonebro is somehow more excusable than taking your sword to the railing until one of the two breaks.

He arches an eyebrow but he blocks you, slides his sword free, whirls back to get himself some space, and prods at your defenses, fast enough that you have to do some fancy, awkward as hell belly-dancing to get out of the way.

"Goddamn -- take your beating like a man!" you hiss after the third sneaky deflect-and-counterattack. His eyebrows arch; he stands his ground. You clash. It was a stupid idea; he's a dozen pounds heavier and his shoulders are -- it's not fucking fair how built he is when he's your age, it's not fucking fair that you know he'll just keep growing more solid and you'll just -- oh but you're built to be much faster, you're not faster now and you don't want to be faster right now anyway, you want to --

He's only really using one hand. You'd be on your ass already otherwise. He's only using one hand and he's not using the other hand to punch or shove you even a little.

You go for a headbutt. A second later something is stomping the hell out of your instep and then you're flying ass over teakettle. Bam.

"You okay?" Dirk asks a moment later as you fight to breathe, appearing over you, a hand rubbing his forehead. At least he'll bruise.

You've landed flat on your back and no matter how often it happens and how well you know you'll be fine in a minute, you still can't keep yourself from being all oh shit I can't breathe.

You're so sick of training.

"Byrd! Are you okay?"

Great, Jade is in the gallery that goes around the ship. (Jane's with her, but what do you care about looking like an ass in front of Jane.) Awesome. Perfect. Just what you needed for your morning to be radiant.

Just when you were starting to breathe somewhat normally again Terezi walks up and prods you in the solar plexus with her cane. Ghhk.

"If you're quite done indulging, Mister Strider, may we resume my lessons?"

She holds out a hand. For a moment you consider not taking it.

Goddamn but you are a miserable little turd today. You let her haul you up, and turn to limp your way to the railing. Your back is still smarting.

Dirk stares at you for a little bit. You can't make yourself say something, you don't even know what you'd say. Eventually he just shrugs to himself and goes right back to practicing kata. You sigh through your nose and go back to watching Terezi.

She's not doing awesome at it, but it took you several weeks to truly get the technique. She's pretty fast naturally, though, and she compensates with that, which camouflages some of the issues.

"Fuckin' hell, Pyrope, I can't tell you what you do wrong if you cheat!"

She purses her lips at you. She doesn't start in on one of her stupid legal roleplays, which you should be thankful about, you're sure, but fuck.

Jade and Jane are still watching from their corner. What the heck do they want, it's really not that fascinating. Are they that bored?

Wait, you forgot where you were for a minute. Yeah, they probably are at that. Awesome, you get to be entertainment.

You bet they'll even welcome your other self's ridiculous masterpieces of misunderstood crack-genius, if they're that entertained by a bunch of too-pale assholes getting their...

... asses handed to them by...

... Jade is watching Dave.

It's not just the spar she's watching. Bro gets barely a glance. She's chattering with Jane, but her eyes are on Dave's body.

On his ass, really.

"Byrd," Terezi says around a sigh, "could you pay attention--"

"Ask Dave," you say back, and shove away from the guardrail. You drop the wooden sword on Bro's bag in passing -- you're barely not angry enough to throw it -- and stalk your way to the other side of the ship, the other gallery. Fuck that noise, you're going back to your bedroom and you're sticking a chair under the door handle and you're biting the next asshole who knocks.

-- gardenGnostic [GG] began pestering truncatedGrip [TG] --

GG: byrd?? :/
GG: whats wrong? you ok?
TG: im fucking fine
GG: uh huh.
GG: i believe you super believingly :////
GG: come on just talk to me, you know ill get it out of you eventually
GG: byyyyyyyyrd come on :'( did terezi say something? or dirk?

You take the cramped service stairs at a jog and you don't consider blocking Jade. Not even temporarily. Of course you don't. She's Jade.

She's yours, her and John, Dave gets Rose and being real, it's fucking fair, right?

GG: am i gonna have to follow you, buddy? >:(
TG: im tellin you im fine
TG: fine as daves ass
TG: as a connoisseur of such im sure you can tell thats plenty fine right?
GG: oh my god tell me youre not doing this because i looked at daves butt a little!

Yes, you want to say. No, you want to say. You fling your door open, since there's no one to hear it, and then slam it closed behind you.

GG: id look at your butt if you were wagging it before me being all manly and stuff, you know :/
TG: great were interchangeable that is exactly what i wanted to hear thx jade however did you guess
GG: ok, now youre being ridiculous and also kind of petty.

You grit your teeth. You pace around your bed -- all five steps and then back that you can take in the narrow as fuck passage between the bed and the wall. It's not long before you bounce off the wall and fall on the mattress. You let it happen, flopping with your full weight, hard enough to make the frame groan.

Sproing. It fails to be all that fun.

TG: i guess yeah
GG: :(
GG: sure you dont want to talk?
TG: ok why not!
TG: you never looked at me like that when we were dating
GG: oh for fucks sake davesprite!
GG: i was younger and less horny, for one, and for two your ghost butt wasnt exactly that butt-like!!
TG: ...
GG: sorry. byrd.
TG: no its fine its true enough
TG: i mean whats up with asking for another label were confusing people here just when they were well used to this very simple and uncomplicated classification here i come demanding a moniker thats got nothing to do with my previous appellation i mean i coulda gone for vade or deva or evad or *junior* or *mark two* what was i thinking

... shit. Why did you hit send. Why.

There's no response for a while, not even the little "your friend is typing" message. Shit.

GG: ok i see youve got some stuff to vent out, thats fine, i understand that, but im not gonna be the one you vent on.
GG: ill talk with you later.

-- gardenGnostic [GG] stopped pestering truncatedGrip [TG] --

Aw, hell.

"i have a butt *now*," you send, because you're a dumbass and also because it's... almost a joke... if you squint... and jokes are kind of ... apologies?

Okay no, just because you can't let a zinger go unsaid no matter how much worse it'll make things, it's pathological.

Jesus. She's your ex. Why do you want her to be looking at your ass, that is a stupid thing to want. You are stupid, you are a pile of human-shaped stupid with a ridiculous center of creamy stupidity, your bones are made of high density moronism, your brain is a great dumb mass of what.

You just.


Just, it's. When Dave was all casual about -- what he said, you wanted to punch him, you didn't even stop to think about why, you just wanted to punch him.

He was so casual about claiming Alpha Universe Dave's movie for himself. Even if it was a joke. Even though you used to think like that, back when you were so new at being Davesprite, it didn't matter which of you, you guys were the same you, and so long as it wasn't a Game Constructs Stay Out zone it would amount to the same fucking thing no matter which one did the thing, any of the things.

The SBaHJ Moive is not Dave's.

It's not yours either, and what if one day you were going to decide you wanted --

No, this train of thought will go nowhere, you're ending it here.

Fucking Dave. Fucking Dirk and his third Dave, like there weren't enough already, like the world needs that many of you. You don't care how awesome and therefore in demand you...

... no, it's not even feeling right to front to yourself.

Fucking sucks.

You log out of the ship's net and bury your face in the pillow for a good long teenage sulk. You figure if you're behaving like a cliche tantrummy brat you might as well own it.

Fuck, but you're hungry.


A couple of hours later you get hungry enough to venture out. You're cautious; you don't feel like you could handle apologies yet and even less like -- urgh -- socializing, but your stomach is boring a hole through your lungs and going for your trachea and if you sigh soulfully into your mattress one more time you're gonna find a way to wriggle out through a porthole that would barely admit your head and drown yourself.

You sneak your way to the kitchen -- the staircase up from the crew quarters where you're bunking pretty much opens right behind it, so it's not difficult sneaking. It gets harder the second you walk in, though, because one of the Crockberts is there.

You play it casual. Little wave as you go to the fridge, yep, so smooth.

"Byrd, good morning. Mentioning that lunch is barely two hours away will not help, will it?"

"C'mon, Mister Man, you've got a teenager." You're not sure which one he's got. Maybe Jane never had a devour everything stage. Um.

He chuckles quietly, but doesn't stand in your way. He's busy cooking. Okay, good.

Gamzee is also here. Jesus fucking Christ you did not see him, how the fuck did that happen?

He looks even more like a creepnasty zombie than usual. His face is totally blank behind the paint -- not smiling vacantly, the way you've seen him most often. Not ragey either, you guess that's good.

You stare at each other for a few seconds and then he turns back to the counter and prods away at some liquid sauce thing in a pan. You decide you will not run from him and if he wants a fight he can have it (haha with Egbert around, shyeah right, so brave,) and dump your armful on the table to attempt some sicknasty sandwich confection.

You get sandwichey guts kind of all over the table, but you get sandwiches too, eventually. (The crusts stay on. You got no patience for this and you're hungry enough they even go down okay.)

You eat one right there, before you even put things back where they came from, and then you make an effort to clean the table, not looking at Dadbert, and you pick up your second and third sandwiches and bite into them both in one go as you make your escape.


-- shit. "Mmph?"

"If you're free now," he says, and taps the wall, where a... chores list is taped, aw fuck. "I'm not sure how laundry has managed to pile up so high in such a short time, but there you have it. The boys' dorm is especially, ah, odoriferous."

You swallow your mouthful, eye your sandwiches. Siiiigh. Urgh. You guess it needs doing.

If you're lucky you'll look too busy to attempt conversation with.

"Yeah, okay."


You do the adults' suites first, since they're higher; you wrap Bro's nasty underwear in a shirt off the floor, and then you get to John's dad and Rose's mom's master suite and welp you really should have gotten a laundry bag, if there was any, and also tongs. Mom's undies are at least tied off neatly in a plastic bag. So glad.

Rose is in Roxy, Jane and Kanaya's room -- with Kanaya. You do not stay long. Oh god, your eyes. There was decolletage. Her and Jade and Terezi's room is thankfully empty (which you determine after standing at the door like a tool and trying to listen in through solid oak.)

The guys' room is also empty. No John, no Dave (thank fuck,) no Karkat, and you knew Gamzee was downstairs. (You suppose either John or Karkat would have been tolerable, but all in one you're more relieved than disappointed.) The pile you gather is not any more sizeable -- actually you fail to locate enough dirty underwear, compared to the other rooms' ratios -- but it's way more smelly. Why are dudes so gross.

You hear Dave and Dirk's voices in the corridor and dodge into the staircase with your awkward armful, and trudge down as fast as you can. (You think you hear a "Good boy" from the kitchen as you gallop past.)

Lower deck... that staircase starts here. You shoulder a door open -- okay, that's a broom cupboard, here's the other staircase -- and go down into the bottom deck (why is it not officially called the lowest deck? It would make more sense to you.)

Down here they didn't really bother making it pretty. It's all neutral blue-grays and angles and cheap linoleum. You shoulder another door open and oh, yay, the laundry room. An empty basket is already out.

Cloth catches on the corner of the dryer and the ship bounces a little on a wave, and, your lone arm being kind of already busy, you go down like a sack of elegant and graceful bricks, almost straight into the basket. Your legs dangle out from the waist down so the edge presses painfully into your hips and your upper body is flopped ridiculously into your most fucking fragrant of loads.

"I hate my life," you groan into someone's briefs. You hope they're at least Karkat's, but you don't like your odds.

Okay, this is Kanaya's shirt, she will not begrudge you using it as a pillow. Nope, won't. You're too fucking exhausted to extricate yourself right now, or hold up your head.

You kind of wish you could vent to Kanaya. She's not involved, she has no horse in this race, you bet she'd just listen and nod and let you be as silly as you wish. She's too polite to tell you how much to your face, it'd be perfect.

Only you've got this niggling feeling that it might be the same as draping yourself seductively across her lap and asking if she needs a relaxing shoulder massage, or like, her face papped.

Stupid trolls.

Stupid you, stupid Dave, stupid Alpha universe Dave, stupid Bro and Dirk, stupid Jade. Especially stupid you.

"Should I say it," you muse. The ship is still moving happily with the waves -- nothing that you think should alarm you (it's alarming anyway) -- and it makes your stomach tighten a bit.

Or maybe that's the edge of the basket.

You hope you don't get sick in the laundry. Those sandwiches were perfectly adequate, damn it, it'd be a right waste. At least the laundry is in the right place for washing it afterwards.

Should you say it. It's practically a dare at this point.

Yeah, dares are also on the list of things you are pathologically unable to resist.

"How could it get worse?"

You're almost disappointed when nothing happens.

Your stomach hurts from the position and your legs are going tingly with blood flow constriction. You regretfully start looking for somewhere to put your hand and push yourself back up that is not covered in panties.

Something goes "pop!" over your head and then several heavy points of -- you're not sure -- land on your back, and you jerk, and then needles pierce through your shirt and a bit into your skin and something goes "rrrreeeow!" right in your ear.

You flop back down, staring at nothing like a total moron. More needles happen to you. Delicate cat paws shuffle on your back.

"Gcat," you muse. (Hi Rose's bra.) "G-fucking-cat."

That asshole is kneading at your shoulder blades, just between the scars your wings left. Your shoulders twitch; for a moment you even feel your wings arching along, and then a warm round weight. That son of a mothball!

Only there's more than four paws on your back, and the tail that whaps you in the face looks pretty black.

You heave yourself up and upend the basket on yourself, showering yourself in laundry; a cat yowls in protest and then holy shit it's in your lap.

It looks up at you and throws you a wounded, betrayed look with all four eyes.


"Dude, my back is no one's personal throne. Those are the rules of Striderland."

You shove the basket off your head. Gcat is washing his creepy white paw with his creepier green tongue on top of one of the washing machines and looks completely unconcerned. Should have known you wouldn't get him.

Siiiigh. You nudge Mutie's flank with the back of your hand to try to get him to dismount; the asshole just flops on his side across your knees and bats at your hand. At least his claws are sheathed.

Now that you think about it, you don't remember a cat carrier being mentioned in any way during the trip. There wasn't one in the apartment, there wasn't one on the plane with you and the Lalondes, and there definitely wasn't one in the truck with the rest of the trolls and furniture. "Where the fuck did you come from?" you ask the cat, who rolls on his back and makes motions with his paws to invite you to touch his tummy. Yeah, right, you are totally not wise to that slashmurder trick.

You... maybe don't mind Mutie quite as much as Gcat. It has nothing to do with enjoying being used as a self-warming seat and everything to do with how he was Rose's constant companion for the four months you spent locked in that doomed timeline, how he would manage to drag smiles out of her even after you both knew you were both fucked and there was nothing to be done about it, that she was even more fucked than you were.

You trail a cautious finger on his little skull between his weirdass four eyes, and then you slide him off your lap and into the laundry, where he flops happily. Then you get up and close the door in a hurry, because losing two felines in the ship's machinery is exactly what you need to make this trip fun for the whole family.


When you log back on (on invisible, haha what a tool) and check Pesterchum, all the Lalondes are on idle. You... guess you'll finish sorting out the laundry first, and then you'll tell them to come and pick up their beast.

Sigh, bis repetitae.

Someone made a very clear chart of which tags mean which settings and how much powdery shit goes on top of what, and there are several washing machines so you separate things into piles. Mutie peeks into the cupboards when you look for detergent; you almost close him into two, and then you do close him into the third because hey stop being in my legs, cat, and he stays there calmly until you feel bad and let him out.

Gcat keeps washing his ass on top of the dryer. Damn but it's hard work for a radioactive cat to stay pristine.

-- tipsyGnostalgic [TG] is back from idle! --

Huh. Okay, you're pretty much done sorting, might as well bite the bullet.

-- truncatedGrip [TG] started pestering tipsyGnostalgic [TG] --

TG: yo rox
TG: birdiepoo my main feathery dude!! this is a p surprising surprise tbh are u stealin mah voidy trick
TG: whats up broson?
TG: idk where the porn hub is atm sry
TG: im facepalming irl
TG: only not really cause if i let go of the washing machines door itll crush my head srsly why wont the bitch stay stuck in place need some kind of shit to prop it open
TG: are u asking me 2 come down & hold it open 4 u?
TG: no
TG: hells of no
TG: no washing machine door shall thwart a strider for long im gonna own the shit out of it just you wait
TG: it will rue the day it decided to you know what lets cut this metaphor here
TG: *arches the fuck outta left eyebrow*
TG: so just wondering here what did yall do with that four eyed freak cat i mean it did come out of the game right
TG: huh
TG: idk i was all for releasing it in the labs cuz thats where mine lived but rosie was like no hell be lonely without his plague of freaky cats lets keep him in the house but then it was moot cause on the second day he disappeared like ninja
TG: you prolly missed the announcement, rosie was all oh no cannot show my feels 2 the world & went 2 angst in private
TG: she might have talked abt it w/ peeps in private windows i guess??
TG: why?
TG: wonderful
TG: guess that means youll have to improvise a litter box then
TG: rox?
TG: sry hold on

You thought she'd be more interested. Huh.

A cat winds through your ankles and you stumble a little, glare down. Oh hey, it's Gcat. What the fuck does he want. You stare at him with suspicion and drop a dirty sock on his head, which he disappearifies before it hits. Welp. The mystery of the Lone Sock, solved. It was this furry douche all along.

TG: theres smth happenin out there
TG: huh
TG: like what

You're done loading the machines. You close them, then open one of them again, fish Mutie out by the tail, close it again, and fiddle with the dials. There it goes.

TG: like a coupla ships?
TG: jade tells me theyre hailin us wonder if theyre ok
TG: im goin up to the pilots room
TG: siiigh k

You're not sure what to do with the cats. Well, Gcat will do what the fuck he wants to do with himself no matter what, but Mutie should have a harder time walking through walls. Might just leave him locked up in here...

Then again if you take your eyes off him you bet Gcat will spirit him away again, and Rose will -- well it'd be a bit mean to go "hey I found your cat it's fine" and have it poof away before she can even confirm with her own eyes it's not dead of wild raccoon or 18 wheeler.

"What do you think, four-eyes? Yeah, I'm talking to you, nerdball. I could decide for you and here I am, not only saving you from extra rinse but even asking your fuzz-brained opinion."

The cat looks up at you and then starts winding around your ankles again. Okay, no way you can go out the door without him if he's sticking so close. Gingerly, you lean in and slip a hand under his chest to attempt a one-handed oozy-beast pickup.

You wonder if he's not part-dog, because he doesn't even squirm when you almost drop him, and once he's on your shoulder he just drapes himself there and starts grooming your ear with his raspy hell-tongue. Urgh.

Okay. Time to go out into the wider world, and, like, perhaps meet the natives even.

You still don't know what you'll say to Jade or to your bros. Well, no, you know you owe Jade an apology. You're just not sure if you want to give any to your asshole siblings (then again do you have any other kind of siblings?) Maybe you'll just... coolly pretend nothing happened and see how they react.

Yeah. That's a plan.

Maybe later you can kidnap John and have some brohood bonding times over trivial shit. You're sure it'll help. (You're not fretting about your ability to bring out some horny from Mount Teenagedoom, no matter how stalled your man engine is right now, but you're not sure you want to have to worry about Karkat and his potential feelings. You're just... kind of raw about your heart quadrant at the moment.)

... Did you just actually think of heart quadrant as something you had, even as a joke. Okay, no, it's time to go. You lean to the side so the cat doesn't slop off you and open the door, just in time for Gcat to land on your head and finish unbalancing you toward the wall.

Just in time to hear the gunfire ringing down the staircase.