Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5
Chapter 6 Chapter7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10
Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15
Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23
Chapter 24: Growing Up
Dirk ==> Be guilty as fuck
You are guilty as fuck. Because while you keep your promise to Dirk, you continue to fail Dave.
That’s right. It took so much of your energy to wake up Dirk that you don’t really have it in you to bring Dave back yet. You feel the weakness in your bones. You’re slower than before, and you know you don’t have the strength to bring your youngest brother back yet.
So you take Dirk and Lil’ Cal and move somewhere that you can both pleasantly live while you regain your strength.
You move to Texas. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. And you remember spending several happy childhood years here. It’s where you fully picked up your southern accent, and you know that Dirk will develop his for a nice long time.
You get yourselves a small nondescript house in a small nondescript town with a stable portal to Derse just a few minutes away. You regain your strength and watch as Dirk grows into a strong and healthy adolescent. You train him in swordsmanship, and you teach him how to improve his flashstepping. In your weakened state, you’re not the best at it, but you’re still more than a match for Dirk. He continues to progress.
Life is good.
Dirk attends the local school and quickly becomes displeased with the lack of knowledge in this realm. You take him back to Derse on occasion to visit the Condesce’s impressive library. Dirk quickly becomes engrossed in the detailed writing and learns to read the language of Derse proficiently.
Knowing about your upcoming struggles with Damara, you also teach him Japanese. Dirk thinks that your nonsense language is silly at first, but he eventually changes his mind. He picks it up quickly when you drop him into that pocket of the world called Japan and leave him to survive on his own for a few months. All at the tender age of twelve.
You never let Dirk out of your sight, naturally. But you never let him see you either. Centuries of stalking Jake English have made you very good at that.
You come to Dirk every few days to feed him, but other than that, you leave him alone. You watch as he finds his way in the world. He sleeps several nights outside before different people take him in and teach him their ways. He works on a few farms and builds strength that you know will come in handy.
He learns Japanese.
On his thirteenth birthday, you take him out for authentic Japanese sushi and bring him home.
You watch as Dirk grows stronger, smarter, and taller. You watch as he matures. And the question you had dreaded comes all too soon.
It’s Dirk’s sixteenth birthday, and he lounges on the couch, sipping a cup filled with your blood distastefully. He has taken to wearing short sleeved shirts and plain dark brown trousers so that he can fit in with the locals if he has to. He doesn’t try very often, but when he does, you’re pleased with his success.
You are sitting in a reading chair across the room, sharpening two katanas. One is yours, and the other is your father’s. You aren’t sure how, but you know that today is going to be a big day. Like it or not.
You are wearing clothing similar to Dirk’s. A white short sleeved shirt and black pants. As usual, you are wearing the orange hat that Jake gave you. You’ve worn it since he gave it to you, and grudgingly, you put away the orange scarf he gifted you long ago. You tucked the precious piece of fabric away in the dresser back in Derse next to where Dave is still asleep.
Your thoughts are such when Dirk finally looks at you and says, “hey, Bro.”
“Yeah?” you respond, flicking your gaze at him.
“Today’s my sixteenth birthday. Did you forget?” he asks.
“Nope,” you say.
Dirk doesn’t look entirely pleased with your answer. “Bro, I’m sixteen,” he says flatly.
“Yep, you are,” you agree.
Silence fills the room for a good minute.
“Bro, I’m sixteen and I’m an incubus and I shouldn’t be feeding from your hugs anymore!” Dirk finally shouts. “You can drop me off in Japan for a few months on my own, but you can’t show me how to feed myself? Why haven’t you taught me anything about that? Why?”
Again, you are left with silence. Slowly, you put down your katana and look at Dirk. You remember this moment. You remember being positively pissed that Bro hadn’t said a word about how to feed from others. That he hadn’t shown you how to love or anything about your incubus side. He fed you with his hugs, and you could feel his love for you in them, but that wasn’t enough.
And now, sitting on the other side of the room, you understand why Bro never showed you any of those things. You never brought it up, because Dirk is your little brother. You are fiercely protective of him, and you don’t want him to have to lose his innocence yet. You want him to be the happy little boy that you remember meeting back at your parents’ house.
But you have to face it, Dirk hasn’t been that boy for a long time. He’s far more capable and mature than any of the other mortals or demons his age. If you didn’t know better, you would guess that he was already around 100 years old.
So you sigh. Now you fully understand both sides of the coin, and you know what you must do.
“I have two gifts for you this year,” you murmur. “Nothing cheesy like the last 7 years. No cake and streamers. No jugglers or fanfare or any of that. These gifts you’ll keep for the rest of your life.”
Dirk doesn’t question how you know that. He’s long become used to your mind reading, and he probably figures that this is just some aspect of that.
Solemnly, you pick up your father’s katana and walk over to where Dirk is sitting. You place the katana, sheath and all, into his hands. “Happy Birthday, Dirk. This katana is yours to keep. It was our father’s.”
“It was—dad’s?” Dirk questions softly, turning the sheath over in his hands carefully, as if he’s worried about damaging it.
“Yeah,” you confirm and continue. “It won’t break like the other ones you’ve had. It will cut through almost anything.”
Dirk’s eyes widen in surprise. “Really, anything?” He unsheathes the katana and admires the deadly blade.
“Just about,” you agree. “There are some magic wards that will repel it. And Lord English.”
Dirk rolls his eyes at you. “Bro, I’m too old to be scared by your stories. Save us both the embarrassment of your trying.”
How you wish that they were just stories. But you hold your hands in the air and relinquish. “All right. You’ll have to see for yourself how strong it is.”
Dirk, quick and smug little shit that he is, puts away the katana and faces you again. “You said you had two gifts for me. What’s the other one?”
* * *
Dirk ==> Convince yourself that you’re doing the right thing
Rufioh agreed long ago to teach Dirk everything he needed to know about sex. He was never sore that you ran out on him and didn’t come back. Rufioh doesn’t hold grudges like that.
Dirk knows who Rufioh is too, you’ve chilled a little bit with him. You never brought Dirk to any of Rufioh’s parties, though. Far too risky.
Watching your little bro feed is not something that you really want to do, but you have no choice. Rufioh isn’t a weakling, but if Dirk isn’t careful, he could kill him tonight. It’s a risk that he will always run when he feeds his incubus side, and you have to show him where the line is.
You spend the night carefully guiding Dirk about how to control himself. You watch him lose his innocence and successfully feed himself for the first time.
You’re there every time he feeds for the first few months, helping him control himself and pulling him back if he ever begins to lose himself. You have to stop him a few times, but you don’t blame him. The demonic urges are deep and dark. You know very well how difficult it can be to keep them in check.
Finally, Dirk goes a full year without you having to intervene. You decide that he’s finally capable of feeding his incubus side without your help.
In the time that you haven’t had to feed Dirk, you’ve noticed that you’ve become stronger too. You grow faster, more powerful. Before long, you feel like you’ve managed to work back up to where you were before you woke Dirk up.
But you’re not yet ready to wake Dave. Besides, you remember this part in your life. You remember the years you and Bro spent fighting the evils of the universe together. You remember the day that Bro forced you to help him stagger back to Derse so that he could wake up Dave.
You’re really not looking forward to that day. But if your memory serves you correctly, it is still a while away.
A few more years pass, and you start training Dirk to take out the forces of evil. You explain to him how demons will return to Derse if they are killed, and that it is your responsibility to keep them in line. You know that somewhere out there Jake is doing the same, but you don’t tell Dirk about that.
Together, you two are an unstoppable team. You relocate to The City that has the most portals from Derse and hence the most demonic problems. The city where you will eventually build Haven.
At first, you don’t have an office. You just have you and Dirk, and a shitty little apartment on the rooftop floor of an ugly brick building. The rent is half-off because the roof has water damage and leaks every time it rains.
After the first rainstorm, you and Dirk spend a night reroofing the place. Once you finish, you not only have a leak-proof apartment, but you also have a prime arena for a strife. You never gave up on the unexpected strife with Dirk over the years. You’ve taught him to stay on his toes at all times, and you know that his reflexes are fantastic for it.
In time, you notice that the exact location where Bro built haven is available for lease. You decide to take a look.
The property looks like it used to be a bar at one point in time. At least, you see the leftover splintered wood from where the bar probably once was. It also looks like the place has been painted over at least six times. You notice brown, lime green, salmon, bright yellow, and a deep red beneath the faded blue walls in a couple of prominent holes. The echoes of your feet reverberate off the bare walls and cracked tiled floor. A rat scurries off into a hole in the corner.
You smile. It’s perfect.
You and Dirk start renovating the place immediately. It takes months before its ready for you to open, and in the first few days, the only things you can really boast are clean bathrooms and a moderately functional bar.
But that’s fine. You don’t really expect any patrons anyway. In fact, you’re not really sure why you bought this place, other than the fact that Bro did.
You sit in the plain wooden office chair you bought for yourself in the back office. If they existed, you’d totally have purchased one of those fancy ones that spin around in circles. Leather-bound, just for extra ironies. But this is still the past, and those don’t exist yet.
Since you have no informants other than your keen incubus senses, work is slow. You’ve given Dirk the task of purchasing and stocking the bar with liquor while you sit in Bro’s office—correction, your office—and ponder.
Why did you buy this place?
Why did Bro buy this place?
What was he thinking?
You try not to sigh in relief when the lenses of your sunglasses go dark, but you do anyway. Bro’s face appears before your eyes, and this time he’s grinning at you. “See? I told you things would be better next time I saw you.”
“Yeah, they are, but I still don’t know why I picked up this hole-in-the-wall joint,” you say, spreading your arms at the barren room. “Care to enlighten me?”
“Really?” Bro tisks. “Dirk, I thought you were smarter than that.”
You frown at him. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”
“Come on now,” he says in a chiding voice. “Look around you. Isn’t there something about your office that’s—missing?”
Slowly, you look around. “A gold-plated sign with my name on it?”
Bro snickers. “Dirk will get that for you in due time. C’mon. Think bigger. What’s missing?”
Again, you look around the room, thinking of everything that used to be in Bro’s office. You look at the open area of the wall where you’ll eventually pick up a comfortable brown couch. There’s empty space in the corner for the filing cabinets you don’t have yet. And your desk isn’t quite as big as the one you’ll someday have. There’s a small cabinet in the corner where you’ll someday get a minifridge next to the—
“Figured it out?” Bro asks.
“The closet,” you murmur, standing and walking over to the solid wall where Bro’s closet was. You didn’t even realize that it wasn’t there, because you have never been inside. You never wanted to find out what horrors Bro kept in there.
But right now, there is no closet. There’s only a brick wall.
“Mmhmm, you’ll need a sledgehammer to get through that, but I promise it’s worth it,” Bro says. A short silence fills the metaphorical space between you two. Finally, he asks, “how’ve you been holdin’ up?”
“Doin’ all right,” you murmur. “Easier now that Dirk can feed himself responsibly.”
You kind of want to thank him for pulling you out of the shit you were into a century ago. You don’t.
“You’re welcome,” he responds anyway.
Bro leaves you, and you find a sledgehammer. Sort of. It’s really more like a giant chunk of scrap metal that you heave into the place. Dirk’s back with the liquor. He raises an eyebrow at you from where he’s stocking the shelves, but he doesn’t ask.
You wait until Dirk leaves for home before you pick up the giant chunk of metal again. You’re certain there’s some witty phrase about a wrecking ball you could use here. You know that Dave would think of one in the future, but you don’t really care about that right now. You want to know what Bro has been hiding all these years. What you will be hiding.
With a giant heave, you throw the metal into the wall. It crashes through the brick, but you never hear it hit the floor.
Curiously, you walk over to the wreckage of the wall and gaze inside. What you find inside makes you laugh. “No way. No fucking way.”
Inside your soon-to-be-closet is your very own portal to Derse.
* * *
Dirk ==> Start up Haven!
Ok, but you’re not making a sign for it. Not yet. You don’t want to attract too much attention from the mortals, so you keep the place as nondescript as possible.
You patch up the hole in your wall with some lumber before Dirk sees it. While your brother is out for one reason or another, you carefully finish crafting your very own closet to Derse.
The room was clearly sealed off from the other parts of the main building. You’d have felt pretty shitty if you busted open the wall and landed in the business next door. But somehow, this place was constructed with a three foot walled-in radius around the portal. You aren’t sure who the original designers were, but you could kiss them.
timaeusTestified [TT] began pestering timaeusTestified [TT] at 5:12
TT: I’ll cash that in next time I’m in town.
“No fucking way,” you murmur in response to your shades. Furrowing your brows you say, “I thought you weren’t listening to all my thoughts and conversations anymore?”
TT: When did I ever say that? Never. That’s when.
“How did you know—” you begin, but Hal knows what you’re going to say.
TT: Dude, a long time ago. Bro downloaded all of the other AR’s memories into me, remember? I scoped this place out way before the portal even opened.
You smile softly. “Lookin’ out for me after all this time, huh?”
TT: You know it. Now if you don’t mind, I have a life to get back to.
You let him get back to it.
With Derse at your fingertips, you also have the Condesce conveniently close at hand. Once she finds out you’re willing to do all of her dirty work in the mortal world, she is quick to inform you of the major trouble, especially any trouble in The City. Since she can see through the eyes of her demonic minions, her information is extremely useful.
The gateway to Derse also allows you to go back and see Dave a lot. And you do. You know he was such a shit little kid, but you feel terrible about keeping him asleep so long. He’s your shit little kid now, and you want to do right by him.
But the time isn’t right. You’ll know when you have to do it. You’ll be weakened for years after you do it, and you can’t afford that right now.
You and Dirk make the place presentable within another month or two, and it isn’t long before you decide to start recruiting people.
You keep your promise to Porrim and Kanaya. They’re the first ones you seek out. You find them in a city not too far away. It isn’t hard to persuade them to come. You even get a bonus gift with them. Two of Porrim’s close friends happened to be staying with them, and they are just as excited about coming to The City.
“Fucking hell. Tell me you aren’t going to follow this bulgelicker to THE CITY with the MOST Derse portals and foul demonic spawn spewing their noxious reproductive fluids everywhere? I’d rather choke on my own feces and die than go with him.”
“I’ve missed you too, Karkat,” you say, your face a perfect deadpan.
Karkat’s eyes widen. “How the fuck does he know my name?”
“Mind reader,” you inform him. “Which means I know you’re full of shit and you’re going to come with us.”
He does. So does his cousin Kankri, who seems a bit sheltered but nice. Kankri looks positively thrilled when he sees the bar and can’t wait to try out his hand at bartending. Inwardly, you cringe a little, but you let it happen.
Porrim and Kanaya help the interior of the place actually look more comfortable and less like a functional factory. Karkat sets up the offices in the back, and he and Kanaya actually make a pretty good demon fighting team. Karkat has some wicked skills with sickles that make him no small foe. Kanaya has taken your sword-fighting lessons from centuries ago and applied them to a more direct approach. A giant broadsword to be precise. She’s sacrificed some of her speed for power. It’s an approach that you think fits her well. You watch her broad powerful swings when she takes on a few targets, and it’s easy to see how she will someday be enamored with a chainsaw.
You don’t give them any targets that are too crazy, but you know that you can count on them to get the job done well.
In time, Hal even comes back with Terezi and her older sister Latula. Hal looks completely different, again. His hair is light brown and styled into a short cropped fashion. He’s also taken on a slightly darker skin-tone. You have no idea what sort of look he’s going for, and you don’t care. Hal seems happy, and that’s all that matters.
Though the dragon sisters stay to bartend and knock out demons with you, Hal takes his leave shortly after arriving. “There’s more to see. More to do. I haven’t even started to live,” he tells you, when you ask.
“Terezi?” You ask him, wondering why he is leaving her behind.
“Story for another time, Bro,” he says with a telling grin.
“All right. When you get bored, you know where to find me,” you say, giving him a handshake goodbye.
You don’t see Hal again for a very long time.
Though you were off to a bumpy start, the place easily falls into the familiar grind that you remember. Except, instead of simply accepting the missions from Bro, now you’re the one talking to the Condesce and finding the most problematic targets in The City. You’re the one writing them down on little pieces of paper and handing them to your employees. You’re the one that makes sure that nobody has a target that’s over their head.
It’s no surprise that your handwriting looks almost exactly like Dirk’s. It takes some concentration at first, but you purposely make your handwriting look like the shittiest chicken-scratch you can. It’s legible but just barely. Dirk never suspects a thing, and neither do your other co-workers.
The only one who you thought might know is Terezi, since she spent a century or so with Hal. But it seems Hal never told her your secret. You never once hear it in her thoughts.
Nobody knows about your—affiliation—with Her Imperious Condescension either. You think that some may suspect you get your information from her. You hear it in Karkat’s thoughts, in particular. But they don’t have any proof. They don’t know about your portal, which you now keep behind a locked door. The only ones who have ever bothered to ask what is behind your closet door are Porrim and Karkat. You tip down your shades enough to wink at them and tell them they don’t want to know.
They never ask again.
You wear the orange hat that Jake gave you all the time. You let your hair grow a bit longer than before and you forego styling it in the morning. After all, what do you care? You’re shoving it under a hat every day.
After telling Kanaya about them, she makes you perfectly tailor-fitted white dress shirts that you wear every day, popping your collar in that way you remember Bro doing. You always thought it was douchey before, and you guess it probably still is, but you like something about it. It makes you feel more like Bro. More like the person who can actually run this place and protect the people of The City.
Two centuries pass by.
By safeguarding the people in The City, you do your part to keep the mortal realm safe. Haven, though you haven’t officially named it that yet, starts to flourish, attracting all sorts of demonic patrons. The good kind, of course. You make it clear that the other kind is not welcome. It’s easy for you to tell them apart with your telepathy.
It’s also easy for you to pick the information from them, without anyone knowing. Latula, Kankri, and Terezi all work the bar-front, and they all do a superb job of collecting info for you. Rarely do they find anything that you didn’t already pick from your patrons’ brains yourself, but on occasion it does happen.
Money comes to you by the handfuls as the bar and lounge business picks up. Even if it didn’t, money is never an issue, as the Condesce has more of it than you could ever want. Derse currency isn’t quite the same, but you quickly figure out that gold is gold anywhere you go. You pay your employees well. You all live well.
Life is simple, until Dirk begins to miss one too many work days. Business can be slow sometimes, and you don’t mind him taking the days off at first. But disappearing for a month is a bit much. Also, Dirk only left you with a short ominous note. “At Rufioh’s.”
You may be a shitty parent, but you recognize a problem when you see it.
Once you realize that Dirk isn’t coming back on his own, you find him at one of Rufioh’s parties in the mortal realm. You know that Rufioh and his brother Tavros both feed off the party-high, consuming it like the energy you take from others during sex. But when you notice that several people in the room have literally partied themselves to death, you frown.
Rufioh is your good friend and a dependable lover for Dirk, but you can’t let this continue.
You shut the party down and forcibly extricate Dirk from the premises kicking and screaming like a little kid. You hate to do it, but you force Rufioh to “decide” to return to Derse. He looks apologetic when you show him to the nearest portal back into the other dimension, but he doesn’t complain and he’s not angry.
Rufioh was always chill like that.
At the time, you don’t consider the consequences, but you soon come to realize that you left your brother without a source of food. Dirk is miserable as he seeks out others just to feed himself, and that’s exactly how he lands himself in one of the worst situations of all.
“What did you say his name was?” you ask, hoping that you heard him wrong.
“Caliborn,” Dirk repeats.
“And you two are a thing now?” you mutter back.
“Yep,” he says.
You groan. Loudly. Karkat peeks in through the doorway to your office curiously for a second before disappearing again.
“Why the fuck do you care?” Dirk asks, sounding just like the angsty teenager that he never really was. No, you take it back. He’s always been this way. He never grew out of it.
“I care because Caliborn is bad for you, trust me,” you say.
“What, did you read that in my mind or something? Well read this,” Dirk responds crossly, pointing to his forehead. “F-U-C-K Y-O-U! That’s what I think about your ‘caring.’ If you cared so much, you wouldn’t have sent Rufioh away.”
You sigh and try not to explode at him. Goddamnit. You kind of hoped that the Caliborn thing would never happen. That you and Dirk, and eventually Dave, would never have to deal with the mess that his relationship is going to be.
But it is a thing. And you can’t stop it.
“Fine,” you sigh back. “But don’t say I didn’t tell you so.”
The following months are hell for Dirk. Caliborn is the worst boyfriend on the face of the planet. You are almost positive of that fact.
Caliborn is a demon from Derse, and though you wouldn’t say he’s catastrophically evil, he has a terrible mean-streak. It’s clear that he only cares about himself and enjoys the pain of others. He’s easily one of the biggest sadists you’ve ever met. That’s saying something, considering you know the Condesce.
Dirk starves several times before Caliborn decides to engage in some “risqué” behavior with him. Like holding his hand. He is also very possessive and forbids Dirk from seeing or feeding from anyone other than him.
Suddenly, you realize why Dirk will someday thoughtlessly starve himself with Jake. While Jake will be too oblivious to notice Dirk’s needs, that is not the case with Caliborn. Caliborn ignores them on purpose.
Also, if Caliborn is this way, Dirk will probably assume that all of his lovers will be this possessive. This callous. This awful.
You hate this little bastard more than anything else. He’s hurting your brother, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it but let this awful relationship run its course.
Left with nowhere to go, Dirk comes to you. You feed him your blood and your love in your hugs. Dirk is stubborn to a default, and he won’t leave his “boyfriend.” But if he doesn’t feed, he’ll die. You can’t let that happen.
So you put up with feeding your brother again. It’s cumbersome, and you have to make more trips to the Condesce than you would like, but you make it happen. Dirk continues to work every night, and he’s still a reliable partner. So you guess that counts for something.
Life continues, and time passes. You run the place, calling the shots. Even though they all started out as friends, somehow everyone begins to see you as “the boss.” You still consider everyone that works for you dear friends, but you step up to the plate and take on the role of the leader. You’ll do that for the sake of The City.
* * *
Dirk ==> Meet Feferi
You end up visiting the Condesce far more than you would like to feed yourself and your brother. She doesn’t seem to mind at all.
So it throws you off when you come to visit her one time and she is less than happy to see you. She lifts her head and scowls in your direction.
You raise an eyebrow at her. “Tired of seeing me?”
“No,” she growls lowly. “My sister wants to see you.”
“—you have a sister?” you ask, surprised.
The bright and sunny voice is such a stark contrast to the Condesce’s that you are thrown off. A girl who doesn’t seem to be much older than sixteen appears next to the Condesce and waves cheerfully at you. The two look very similar. Both have the same darker skin tone and long untamed black hair. Their eyes are both just a bit wider than normal, and they both seem to love bright fuchsia lipstick. This girl is wearing a black tanktop with magenta lines similar to her sister, but she has on a flowing light blue and green skirt that rolls like the sea in a way you think would make Kanaya jealous.
She smiles sunnily at you and holds out her hand. “I’m Feferi! I’m the ruler of Prospit!”
You’re a little floored, but you don’t let it show. Instead, you shake her hand politely and say, “Bro Strider. What can I do for you?”
Feferi takes a second to glance at her sister and giggle, “you’re right, he is a cute one.”
“Hands off,” the Condesce growls back.
“I’d never,” she promises, and even crosses her heart. Or what you assume is her heart. You’re really not completely clear on their anatomy.
“Get on with it. I’m gettin’ bored,” the Condesce sighs.
Feferi turns her attention back to you and says, “Bro, I’ve heard about the things you can do. We need you.”
You take less than a second to process that request. “I certainly hope that doesn’t involve visiting Prospit. I have a feeling that place is bad for my health.”
“Naturally,” Feferi agrees. “But I am the ruler of Prospit. I can grant you immunity from its holy effects.”
Somehow you don’t think you’re getting out of this, but you ask anyway, “what do you need me for?”
Feferi leans in closer to you, until her face is only a couple inches away from yours. There’s a look of wild excitement in her eyes and a far too happy smile on her mouth as she asks, “is it true you can pull souls even better than the legendary Dave Strider???”
Again, you’re surprised, but you don’t let it show. “My dad?” you ask softly.
She nods quickly and enthusiastically.
“He can,” the Condesce answers for you.
“WONDERFUL!” She exclaims. The whites of her pointy teeth are both blinding and frightening at such close proximity.
Her Imperious Condescension pulls her back by her shirt. “Close enough.”
“I’m not gonna do anything to him,” Feferi rolls her eyes at her. Her fuchsia eyes turn to you and then to the floor, and her expression becomes somber as she quietly says, “I just need him to save someone.”
Even though she’s the Condesce’s sister, you can tell that this girl is nothing like her. Seeing Feferi so distraught reminds you a bit of your own younger siblings, and about the hardships you would endure to protect them.
“It’s all right, no need to start crying,” you tell her. “I’ll do it.”
“You will?!” she exclaims.
“Yes, under two conditions,” you continue.
“Yes, anything! Name them!” she says quickly.
“First, this immunity must last forever. No take-backsees,” you say.
“OK! Done!” She says, gesturing quickly in your direction.
You actually do take a step back as a shimmering white light surrounds you. You feel the protective force around you, granting you strength and immunity to Prospit. You wonder if this will be good against anything holy.
“What is your second condition?” she asks impatiently.
“I own a place in the mortal realm. It’s a safe-haven for demons with good hearts,” you explain. “None of the demons who work for me or who come to my place are to be targeted and attacked by angels. For any reason.”
You see her hesitate at this.
“I won’t help unless you promise me this,” you tell her unwaveringly.
Feferi glances back at her sister. The Condesce shrugs and says, “I don’t own him.”
You’re actually a little shocked to hear her say that. Her Imperious Condescension acts like she owns everything.
Finally, Feferi nods at you. “Ok, I will honor that. None of the demons will be harmed.”
“All right. Then show me what I have to do.”
It turns out that what you have to do is nothing like what Feferi thought you were going to do.
She brings you to Prospit and takes you through a glowing golden palace. She leads you into a room where a man is laying on a bed. The Condesce’s sister catches you by surprise once again.
The person Feferi wants you to save is a demon.
As you approach the bed, his eyes suddenly open widely. One burns red and the other blue. He lets out a blood-curdling scream.
Suddenly, you notice something very peculiar happen. You’re floating off the ground, and you don’t have flight abilities. In fact, everything is drifting up into the air. You, Feferi, and the bed.
You notice that the room is devoid of anything else. It would seem this is why.
In time, he settles down, and your feet again find the floor. Quickly, Feferi runs to him. When you get to his bedside, she turns to you with tears in her eyes and says, “Please, save Sollux.”
You come to his side and place your hand on the cool skin of his wrist. Instantly, you feel the warring within him, the constant battle of two sides vying for power. You feel his rage, his compassion, his misery.
“He’s possessed. I know he is,” Feferi murmurs beside you. “He wasn’t like this before. He was sweet and dear. Sure, he had his little outbursts, but he was never like this!”
You search deeper into Sollux’s mind. It’s like a fucking amusement park in there. His shit’s so messed up that there’s no up or down.
“Just pull that demonic soul out of him!” Feferi says, anger in her voice.
Finally, you release Sollux’s wrist and look at her. “I can’t do that.”
“What do you mean you can’t do that? My sister said you were the best. She said that she’s seen what you can do and that you can pull any soul from any body,” Feferi says, her eyes glaring sharply at you. “Don’t hold out on me. If you don’t honor your end of our agreement, I won’t honor mine.”
You sigh. Dirk and Dave are little shits, but you are so glad you never had a little sister. “It’s not that I don’t want to help you. If I pull the ‘demonic soul’ out of Sollux, I’ll be pulling out his soul.”
This shuts her up. She blinks at you with her wide eyes for a few seconds. “I don’t understand.”
“Clearly,” you agree. Then, you explain, “there is no other demonic soul in Sollux. There is only one soul within him: his own.”
Quickly, she begins to panic. “Then. Then what’s wrong with him? What do we do? How do we fix him?”
“What’s wrong is that his soul is fragmented,” you murmur, touching his wrist again and assessing his soul. Sure enough, you can tell where pieces that once kept the warring sides acquiescently compliant are ripped off. Missing. “I’ll have to find the pieces and put them back into him.”
“Can you do that?” she asks.
* * *
Dirk ==> Save Sollux!
Saving Sollux isn’t as difficult as you thought it might be. The most difficult thing about your task is dealing with one king of the fairies. AKA: John’s future dad, who loves to pull pranks and tell corny jokes.
“Say, do you suppose we’ll be headed to Morrow?” he asks.
You know it’s a setup for another stupid joke, but you sigh anyway and respond, “No. Why do you want to go to Morrow?”
“Because it’s better than going toDAY!” he finishes proudly.
You stare at him and slowly shake your head. The sooner you are done with this little fetch quest, the better.
Dad jokes and pranks aside, the king of the fairies is actually quite helpful. You never truly find out his name, because as soon as you introduce yourself as “Bro” he laughs and introduces himself as “Dad.” He refuses to tell you his real name if you won’t tell him yours. You don’t, so you never find out.
John’s dad, as you’ve come to think of him, is excellent at sensing souls, if given their specific frequency. He leads you directly to the missing pieces of Sollux’s soul, and within a few days, you have collected them all.
When you place the last piece of Sollux’s soul together, he moans and slowly opens his eyes. One is still red, and the other blue, but there is a calmness behind both his irises that wasn’t there before. He looks at you with a puzzled expression before fixing his gaze on the girl that brought you here. “Feferi?”
She squeals with delight and tackles him back onto the bed with a hug.
You decide to give the two of them their privacy.
As you prepare to leave Prospit through a hallway of portals very similar to the ones leading to Derse, John’s dad catches you. He smiles and shakes your hand warmly. You are half-expecting a buzzer underneath his fingers, but this time there isn’t one. His voice is more serious than it has been this whole time as he says, “Bro, it was a delight working with you. I was skeptical of you at first, because I am skeptical of demons. You may be an incubus, but you are a good person. I understand that you run an agency that protects the mortal realm?”
“Yes, I do,” you say with a small smirk. “Why, you need a job?”
He laughs and shakes his head, “if only I did! How I would love to travel the lands and take down the foes that threaten the peace of the world! Alas, I already have a job and responsibilities to my people. The only reason I came here was because I owed Feferi a favor. Being king is a hefty amount of work. But perhaps—”
You wait for it.
“—perhaps one day I could send a fairy or two to work for you?” he asks, hope behind his bright blue eyes.
You grin knowingly. “Anytime.”