Characters: Dirk Strider, Roxy Lalonde, mentions of Jake English and Jane Crocker
Ships: Dirk<>Roxy, mentions of unrequited Dirk<3Jake
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Tags Present: None
Tags Not Used: None
TG: youve been distant the last couple days
TG: u ok??
TT: Of course I am, just busy.
TG: im here if u need to talk
TT: I know.
You are Dirk Strider and you have always been conscious of your dreamself on Derse. When you were very young, you just assumed you had very repetitive and unwavering dreams, but as you aged and understood more about your dual-consciousness, you realized your life on Derse was no more a dream than your life on Earth, comparatively speaking. That realization also came with a curiosity and a need to explore, and that’s when you discovered that you weren’t alone.
You don’t have any family aside from this long-limbed, big-eyed, perpetually grinning puppet that you call Lil’ Cal. Your brother, who lived centuries ago, left him for you like he left most of the things in your apartment, and you’ve made do with what you have. It isn’t the easiest existence ever but you’re not complaining. You never complain. There’s no one to complain to.
You were only seven when you completed your first robot. All the materials were already around, your Bro must have somehow known you’d want them or need them, it was only a matter of putting together the pieces of the puzzle and adding some simple programming. It takes time to learn, but if there’s one thing you have a lot of, it’s time. A few years after that, you have robots to rap with and robots to spar with, and you’re coming up with new upgrades every week. It’s how you deal with living alone in the middle of an ocean; being surrounded by robots makes your room feel less empty, the quiet feel less perpetual, and you feel less lonely. For years, they were all you had.
And then you met Roxy.
You don’t realize you can fly until the desire to see more than the inside of your purple bedroom has you climbing out the window and chancing the possible drop to your death as you attempt to scale down the outer wall of your tower. The feeling comes over you suddenly, naturally, and then you’re floating in cool nothingness. You descend into the streets, looking around and eyeing the long chain that connects the two parts of Derse. It’s cold and quiet but the expanse is more than what you have on Earth. This feels like the first time you swam down to the ruins beneath your apartment, like realizing there’s still something new to discover that you’ve never experienced before.
You’re the only human among the carapaces, that you can see, but there’s a second tower on the moon just like your own. No one has ever emerged from it and you’re tired of waiting, so one night you decide to check it out for yourself.
You remember when you first made the connection between “Roxy the only other human on Earth” and “The blonde girl who sleepflies on Derse”. It was the epiphany of epiphanies, and the pieces all fell into place after that. Together you learned as much as possible about your parental figures from the past and gathered information about this game you were meant to play with your two other friends. For once in your life you felt like the future might amount to something, like you weren’t alone in a world in a perpetual standstill. Winning this game would mean leaving the post-apocalyptic Earth behind to create a new universe and simultaneously allowing Prospit and Derse to conquer their stalemate, and you’re going to do it all with Roxy by your side.
While you’re always conscious on Derse, Roxy is always unconscious. As the years pass, you begin to spend more and more time in her tower than your own, checking up on her, making sure she’s okay, that everything is still as it should be. The more she drinks, the more often you have to go out and bring her back to the tower, but you don’t mind at all. It’s nice to be in the physical presence of another human being even if they’re asleep.
Once, shortly after you turn fourteen, you’re idly people-watching from Roxy’s tower window on Derse, and a sudden movement seen from the corner of your eye and a subtle change in the air pressure catches your attention. You turn to see Roxy sitting up in her bed--sheets a rumpled tangle around her legs, as she sleeps engaged in an eternal battle with her bedclothing--and her eyes are wide open. Your heart nearly stops, and you open your mouth to say something, anything, but then you see how unfocused her gaze is. She’s staring right through you. A few moments later, her eyes slide shut again and she sprawls back against her pillows once more.
You walk over and tuck her in with ever so slightly trembling hands. It’s really for the best that she stays asleep, you know. It’s hard enough at times to keep all your plans straight, to guide your friends towards being the best that they can be. Having Roxy awake on Derse would just be another variable to figure in--a strong-willed variable you can’t claim to perfectly predict.
You tell yourself these things, over and over again, but it doesn’t stop a large part of you from wishing she’d sit up and look at you and grin, talk with you in person for long hours about everything and nothing, be your partner in crime.
You know how your friends think of you. Jane thinks you’re brilliant and you have everything under total control. Jake thinks you’re determined and maybe an endearing kind of ruthless. Roxy knows you have a bigger heart than you let on and that you have the best of intentions for everyone even if you’re secretive and manipulative about it. There’s just a lot you aren’t forthcoming with because you don’t see the opportunity or the reason for it.
Everyone needs a chance to get things off their chest eventually, though, and your chance usually comes in the form of talking to Roxy when she’s completely unconscious. She isn’t aware of the conversations and she can’t respond but it suits you well enough, you prefer it that way. You know you could talk your heart out, and she'd listen. Roxy isn't the judging type.
You seat yourself on the edge of her bed, and she curls toward you just the slightest bit. Everything is so quiet that you almost don’t want to speak, you’re not even used to the sound of your own voice unless you’re rapping with Squarewave, so you start with a quiet sigh that breaks the silence.
“I think I screwed up by killing that agent,” you admit to both yourself and to Roxy. “I don’t regret it one damn bit but shit just got real, and man, what if we aren't ready for real? We’ve got one shot at this and everything is working against us, as usual.” You think about all the formulating you’ve done over the years, how much you’ve thought about this and how you made sure your friends are the pinnacles of preparedness, how somewhere along the line you might have forgotten that you need to prepare yourself as well. “I don’t want to let you all down. No, I promise I won’t let any of you down.”
You imagine how you would feel if she woke up right now, or if she’d been slowly waking up over the last few minutes and heard the tail end of your confession, caught you while your walls are down.
She wouldn’t judge you, not for a second; in fact, she’d be more likely to mock you for talking to her while she’s asleep than for being honest about your feelings. She would want to help, just like how you always want to help her and Jake and Jane. You never would have thought you'd feel guilty for keeping your more vulnerable thoughts safely to yourself, but you can't help but feel you've been unfair to her when she's always been open with you and always reminded you that you can talk to her.
You slowly lay down beside her, eyes still open but body relaxed. You put a little more focus on your other consciousness and open up a conversation with Roxy's waking self.
[IMAGE: Dirk and Roxy lying on Derse. Dirk is without his shades, holding Roxy's hand.]
--timaeusTestified [TT] began pestering tipsyGnostalgic [TG]--
TT: Roxy, I’m nervous.
TG: i know
Your name is Roxy Lalonde, and you are about to slam face first, passed out into your drink. You’re trying to abstain from that very real possibility, though. It’d be a damn shame to waste that booze. Nothing lasts forever around here.
You absentmindedly try to count the number of hours you’ve been up, and lose count somewhere around 50. Motherfuck, not again. You knew it was a bad idea combining a frap and an eight-ounce vodka (even though it tasted totally rad), but this is ridiculous. You seriously need to catch some Zs before you do something really dumb, and you know that pretty well. You doze for a good five minutes on your laptop, and you’re tempted to just sleep right then and there on your arms and just never wake up or something. Okay? Okay.
Your body, however, says fuck that, Roxy. You are getting your ass to a respectable place and passing out there like the drunkard you are, like it or not. You say fuck that, body, I do what I want.
Not under this roof, your body replies sassily. You decide to stop having imaginary conversations with your body and just sort of slide out of your chair onto the ground and drag yourself to your bed, hauling yourself onto the mattress with tooth and nail. You should’ve conked out right on the f key, you think, but it’s not like you give a damn now because you are officially leaving the land of “sleep can suck my dick, I am a teen on the internet and I don’t need no sleep” and taking a nosedive into the land of “woah, was my bed this comfortable the last time I lay down on it what is this sorcery I was not prepared for this.”
[IMAGE: Roxy lying on her bed, cheek pressed against her pillow. Dolls are strewn about.]
If this were one of your poorly written Harry Potter fanfictions, you’d probably say that you fell asleep the instant your head touched the pillow. Unfortunately, real life isn’t as sweet and you end up rolling onto your side, having drunken and sleepy arguments with yourself. A good hour later, you just give up and think of good wizard angst to lull you to sleep.
Your dreams on Derse are always half-baked. You feel like you’re in your body, but have no control over it. You see, you hear, you feel, but what you do is out of your hands. Sometimes you wake up on Derse and watch yourself float right out of your bedroom through a haze, veering into unfamiliar streets with no way to head right back and nestle up in your pile of plushies, where nothing could get at you or hurt you, where you could safely dream.
You have no idea where you’re going. You probably won’t remember this in the morning, you idly think as you watch yourself travel higher and higher. Even if you did, it’d be overshadowed by the killer hangover you’ve been dreading for over 50 hours.
You hated this loss of control, the loss of mobility. You hear the quiet murmur of a Dersite crowd underneath you, probably wondering where in the world their princess is going this time.
Their princess. They love you. You numbly think about the crowds of carapaces underneath you, wanting to peer down. You love them too. They raised you, dealt with you, put energy into making sure you were alright. They’re surely worried about you now, watching you float off to god knows where. You grit your teeth (but not, because you can’t) and try not to think about it.
You should’ve been a better princess for them. A proper one, watching the kingdom and maintaining its health rather than running off and going rogue on them all the time. You should’ve shown that they didn’t waste their time and effort on you. You should’ve proven yourself and made the carapaces, who are family to you, proud.
Lots of things you should’ve done, you think dryly as you continue on. You hear a distant gasp from the crowd underneath you and you know what’s happened. It’s routine by now, every night. You suppose you should be thankful.
Your slow ascent is no match for his speedy chase. It never was. You make it about another meter or so before you’re caught in lean arms and spun around. It was almost like a waltz, a prince’s lead. The ballroom music is echoing now, you hear it. Maybe he hears it too.
dirk, you say.
“zzzzzz,” you say.
“Hey there, princess.” He smirks ever-so-slightly, and you would’ve never caught it if you weren’t his best friend. You’d smirk too, but you can’t.
“Time to take you home,” he continues, glancing behind him at your intended destination. “You’re not supposed to go there. Nor am I, so if you do float your drunken derriere over there, I’d have to go after you and then we’d have a grand total of two Dreamers on the wrong planet, and that wouldn’t work out well ‘tween the Kingdoms.”
what the fuck?, you ask, im too sober for that to make sense dorkydirk!
“I can’t have you floating to Prospit,” Dirk says, because he can’t hear you. Because you’re just sleepwalking, unable to consciously control yourself. He’s awake. You aren’t, even though you are. “As much as I’d love to visit the orthodontist’s nightmares, my princess is in another castle.”
pretty rude thing to call them dirk
but seeing them would totes be amazing so
ill go apologize for you ok :33
“zzzzz,” you say.
“Yeah,” Dirk finishes, glancing back again. He probably wants to go too, maybe go see Jake in person, like you know he would. You’ve spent many a night jamming about it, listening to him ramble and express how he wants what he can’t have through excessive metaphors and obscure culture references. “Let’s go back, Rox.”
He gently puts a hand on the small of your back, steering you back down.
no, you protest. stop let me go
ill go see them and come right back i promise
no biggie dirk were all friends here
esp you and me
let me go just for a bit
yknow like get away from all this i know you want to too
just head over with them get a taste of what normal is like
You know there’s no point. You can’t argue. You can’t speak.
Dirk leads you back down, holding your hand and hovering. The Dersites are cheering.
You’re not doing anything, you can’t do anything. You’re Roxy, not Derse Roxy. Derse Roxy is probably floating along with Dirk, snoozing happily. There’s probably a sloppy grin on her face, blissfully ignorant of everything around her, sleeping like you are but with the added privilege of control.
And maybe sweet dreams.
You envy Dirk. He’s awake everywhere, and he can control any part of him at once. You, and your drunken stumbles? Your “sleepwalking” tendencies? You can’t control a single damn part of you, and you hate it. You want to feel secure for once. Knowing what you’re doing, having your life go as well as you planned, as carefully as you want.
You probably could go like that. You could definitely be able to do exactly what you want, precise movements dictated by you and you alone. All it took was to quit drinking, wouldn’t it?
Unfortunately, your addictions overpower your control. Someday, you think.
Dirk’s arms are strong and steady around you, and it feels nice to have something concrete in your life. You’re a pretty wishy-washy person, you know, what with your drinking habits and constant attitude. Dirk isn’t. Dirk is steel-hard, unyielding, relentless. That’s why you can trust him. You know he isn’t going to let you down anytime soon.
The two of you pause in front of the crowd. Dirk raises a hand in reassurance, and you just sort of loll your head to the side.
Eventually, he takes you back to your room and tucks you in, taking a seat on the edge of the bed.
“’Night, Rox. Sleep well.” He says, and you snort.
if only you knew!
You wake up instead, your head throbbing. You reach over and down a gulp of your leftover drink, and stumble over to your computer tiredly.
--timaeusTestified [TT] began pestering tipsyGnostagic [TG]—
TT: It’s pretty damn late for you there, hm?
TT: I was thinking of getting some shut-eye myself.