Title: The Gentle Fall
Ratings/Warnings: PG, swearing
Written for: 1st_eggokage's prompt "You make me want to listen to music again."
Author's Note: Title from Vienna Teng's "Gravity."
The new world’s a big damn place, this half-familiar clone planet - ectoclone halfbaby planet, because Dave is pretty sure it got mixed up with Alternia somehow, which is possibly also some gross incestuous thing, and he could really use Rose chattering all purple into the middle of his metaphor and derailing it right about now - but anyway, the point is, it’s not like he’s avoiding Jade. Or Terezi. There’s just a lot of ground to cover, a long trip before he makes it home.
Not that the little shanty full of brightly colored streamers and corners good for tucking extra beds and half a desert’s worth of half-built guns and weapons is anything like home, of course. It’s not like that.
At least - no, it’s definitely not like that, even if it’s kind of hard to think about making that argument after Terezi pesters him all 1F YOU DON’T G3T B4CK H3R3 SOON W3 4R3 DR4GG1NG YOU B4CK and R3M3MB3R 1 W4S M34NT TO B3 A L3GISL4C3R4TOR 1 W4S H4TCH3D TO HUNT, 1 C4N F1ND YOU, all the kind of ridiculous shit that definitely, definitely, definitely doesn’t make him smile, doesn’t make it hard to close the window and doesn’t make him kind of wish he could put her world and all that death gloomy justice shit she loved all back for her, which doesn’t even make sense because it was by all accounts kind of a completely awful world and she doesn’t even like the whole killing thing really, so what the fuck is up with that.
Except he doesn’t think that anyway, he just thinks she’s pushy and also her text is seriously a pain in the ass to read sometimes, fuck, and he doesn’t care that it kind of sucks to lose what you dreamed about, it’s not like it matters.
He figures it would probably be a good idea if he got some sleep before he started h - off, but she’s gonna bug him forever now, and he’s not that tired, and it’s a bright night, and he has headlights for a reason, and basically sum total: fuck that.
In thirty-six hours he’s at the edge of Jade’s dug-out hard-fought little garden, all cacti and terra-cotta pots and stubbornly-watered spiky-edged things, and maybe it was kind of stupid to get here that fast but whatever, it’s not like they know exactly where he was.
The door is a tiny crack open, caked-up dust streaked across dull-red paint, and for this weird hovering half-second he’s not sure whether or not to knock, so he just leans back against the doorframe and calls, “Wow, this is the best welcoming committee of my life.”
“Dave!” Jade sounds the same as ever; shouting from inside, and then the door’s swinging open and she’s all fucking over him, braid smacking him in the ribs as it swings and his arms kind of pinned to his sides for a second before he wriggles them around to hug her back - which, who the fuck cares, it’s not like it’s cool to just stand there and wobble while she practically knocks him through the wall, so. It’s kind of all right, his hands settled sort of awkwardly on her back and no actual space between them, to feel her all in-one-piece and not-broken and not all tense and different either, though he knows she’s probably fine. And thank God she lets go of him before he totally melts into some kind of fucking… Egbert raised to the power of eleven, or Leijion, or whoever. That shit’s contagious.
There’s a familiar click-click-thud as Jade tugs Dave through the door, and sure enough, it’s Terezi waving her cane around and the backs of her fingernails tapping against the metal as she twirls it like a baton, music starting up from somewhere in the background - kinda of total shit, but at the moment he’s more interested in the metal cane-tip coming to balance pointing straight at his face, Terezi and her canary-and-orange drapes of fabric and the mother of all shit-eating grins as she says “Dammit, coolkid, I thought I was going to get a chase out of this one.”
“Well, gotta be careful with that shit,” he says, deciding to count the crooked beginnings of a smile as collateral damage - what the hell, he’s been gone a while. “Don’t want your vicious bloody hard-on for justice scandalizing my delicate baby soul, now -“
“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” Jade sighs, the obscenity curling comfortable and half-chirpy through her mouth in a way that does things to him that should be a lot trickier to do, but then she’s continuing into, “Will you stop being so stupid and just say hello!” She grabs Terezi’s wrist and yanks, other hand digging into Dave’s shoulder as she sends him stumbling forward, and the whole thing would be totally obnoxious on anyone else but it’s Jade fucking Harley, and so he just snickers and spreads out his arms all eyebrow-crooked at Terezi, all challenging and brazen and fuck whether that makes any sense.
She smirks and pounces on him, all bones and elbows and chin specifically sculpted by some far-off Alternian god to be the personal bane of his existence, and to hell with everything, he locks his hands over her waist and gives as good as he gets in the nearing-traditional (fuck his everything) greeting strife of hug competitions.
After kind of longer than totally necessary they manage to untangle themselves, and Dave glances around again, processing that the rooms seem cleaner and a little more square and the walls are sorted in semi-blending colors and he doesn’t know what Terezi’s smelling as she sniffs at him, still hovering about a foot away, but he’s got a sense of spice and oil. That plinky-whiny music’s still playing, and he’s hardly going to be like, so hey it totally smells like a good morning in here, so he shrugs and looks between them and asks, “What the hell is that shit you’re listening to?”
“Well, you know,” Jade says, laughing as she leans against the wall all bright teeth and deep warm skin, “you left us!”
“Bereft,” Terezi adds, batting her eyes. “Freezing to death without the benefit of your fires.”
“Got some cool new rhymes for us?” Jade asks, flipping her hair over her shoulder and who the hell taught her to flirt, seriously, and also…
“What, you can’t play a damn thing all of a sudden?” he asks, shoving his hands into his pockets like he’s hiding treasure in the depths, or maybe a miraculous substitute for all the music he hasn’t been so much as touching these past few months. “Break your bass somewhere?”
Fuck, great job on the diversions there, Strider. Jade’s frowning now, shoving off the wall as she folds her arms: “You really haven’t been doing any music lately?”
“Well, you know,” he says, shrugging, taking thorough advantage of his shades to look away from the miserably piercing soft-grown worry in her eyes, “I’m a busy guy.”
“Not too busy to pester me all night,” Terezi accuses, earning a glare from Jade and a matching one from him, and he’s folding his arms across his chest before the little purple-and-ice voice at the back of his head can warm him classically defensive posture, Dave, almost transparent.
Fuck off, he mutters at his personal exaggerated Rose, scrabbles for an excuse, and slides straight past that shelf to the standard Jokey Bullshit Bin, coming up with, “Yeah, well, gotta nurse the artistic temperament, you know?”
Terezi snorts, but the sound dies as Jade steps in closer, reaching for his hand, and Terezi inches up behind with that weird awful not-embarrassed-but-like-she-should-be curiosity wrinkling her face up, and he tries to shake Jade off like a horse twitching away a fly, which works about as well as you’d expect considering muscles don’t fucking work like that and also his traitor nerves are going yeah, that feels pretty good, all her long kinda-thick fingers and calluses scratching along the dry skin at the back of his knuckles, Terezi scrunching her nose at him as her eyebrows curl down.
“Look, whatever,” he says quickly, because this is going to turn into some big emotional thing about issues he doesn’t fucking have any second now, “I’ll whip something up for you guys tonight, if you’re that pining and all desperate down here.”
“Don’t do this, Dave,” Jade says, all worried and quiet and shit, too late with the feelings, and then it’s another fucking hug probably rubbing adobe dust all over the back of his suit as she shoves him back, close against him and kind of nice and Terezi burrowing her way in all stubborn fuck-you-too as she works her head between their arms, fucking shoulderblades aptly named on the blades part, and then Jade’s kissing him with Terezi licking all gross and comforting along his cheek, and after that things kind of dissolve into he’s-not-even-sure, and it ends with coherency stuttering across his brain like a scratched-up disc and the last sputtered-out thought being that maybe he will mix something together after all.
(He does, starts it up that night and threads it together over the next few months while Terezi cooks - apparently she can actually do that now, fuck knows how - and Jade pieces things together, flour smudged on gray and oil smudged on brown. The result kind of circulates, and he’s not sure what asshole named it ‘Homecoming’ but he doesn’t have a better title, so. Whateverthefuck.)