Rose Lalonde paced back and forth nervously across Skaia's black and white chessboard tiles. Occasionally, she'd look up from staring incessantly at her aquamarine slippers to gaze off into the planet's blue horizon. Her ectobiological brother Dave stood behind her, nervously tapping one of his feet to a silent rhythm drumming inside of his own head. Kanaya, Terezi, and Karkat were standing off to the side while the red-blooded troll was rambling on about how there was no doubt the Prospit ship had crashed and everyone was dead. Sollux and Aradia seemed undisturbed by the humans' nervous energy or Karkat's fervent blabbering and cursing, and they were both consumed in their own conversation, slight smiles on both of their faces. No one really knew where Gamzee had run off to though.
Where are you John? Where are you?
Although Rose had certainly missed her closest female friend of the same species, the person on the Prospit ship she longed to see the most was John Egbert, the lovable Derp of Breath himself. Unbeknownst to anyone--not even Kanaya, her master proofreader--she kept a small journal full of possible scenarios between herself and the Heir. Most of them were at least somewhat romantic, but somehow she just could never imagine him sweeping her off of her feet. As the three years went on, the situations she dreamt up and recorded became awkward, depressing, and had so few happy endings. Angst built up inside of her like she built up the stories of John's house when the game first began.
She remembered her last encounter with John clearly. She had gone Grimdark, and her thoughts screamed what her words could not. She felt overwhelmed by an unontrollable force, but at the same time she proceeded with her daring endeavor to defeat Jack. John had ascended to the God Tiers, and wielding his Warhammer of Zillyhoo rushed to fight their oppressor. Despite their efforts, John and herself were both sliced fatally with Jack's sword. The feeling of the sword entering her body was gut wrenching to recall. John was able to be resurrected, since his death was neither Just nor Heroic, and he found her lying there, dying. She remembered the last thing she saw was John's beautiful blue eyes staring into hers, and then she woke up on Derse as her dreamself. She felt a burning envy for her original body, the one that was kissed by John.
A loud noise broke her from her reverie. She and the others stared at the yellow blot moving its way across the sky. A sigh of relief washed over Rose, followed by a feeling of anticipation pounding through her whole body. They were so close, just so close. She looked over at Dave. His usual Strider poker-face had been replaced by a smile, so big it was undoubtedly not for ironic purposes. She hoped he was smiling like that because he too had someone he'd waited for. Rose had heard talk of people wanting John and Dave to get together, but John had blatantly stated he was by no means a homosexual. In vain, Rose hoped Dave was the most excited about seeing Jade, who had resurrected him with a kiss as well.
The sprites and consorts were the first ones out of the ship, Dave and Davesprite giving each other a (for lack of a better word) sicknasty brofist. Rose waved politely at Jaspersprite, but didn't speak. She was waiting for John.
Jade ran off the ship and tackled Rose in a friendly hug. "We have so much to catch up on! Three years without you was like, torture! I only had John and Davesprite, who I must say got a little boring at times. I mean, John's great and Davesprite really just isn't Dave but..."
Rose cut her off. "You're rambling Jade. Why don't you go see the trolls and Dave while I talk to John. Speaking of which, do you know where he might be."
"He's still on the ship, he said he had something to do before he came out here."
"It's perfectly understandable. Now, I think it'd be for the best if we proceeded over to Dave and the trolls. In all honesty, I'm certain Dave has missed you terribly."
Jade blushed. "Really? Oh gosh there he is... what do I say? I mean everything was perfectly fine when we were on LOFAF until I accidentally killed him and well, I mean I guess I've kinda..."
"HEY, YOU, JADE HUMAN! GET OVER HERE!" Karkat yelled. Jade rushed off to meet the trolls in person, and receive lots of friendly handshakes. Dave greeted her last, and before she could say anything he pulled her into a kiss. Rose felt happy for them, but at the same time, she was jealous. She wanted something like that with John.
"Hey guys, did I miss any... HOLY CRAP DAVE? THIS IS LIKE ONE OF MY ROM COMS!" squealed John Egbert, walking right in on Dave and Jade's special moment. Dave flipped him off and reluctantly pulled away from the girl he'd been waiting for.
"Jesus christ Egderp why did you have to do that?" Dave asked him angrily.
"Because it was cute! Duhhh. Dude. Bro Hug. Come on. You know you want to."
Jade pushed Dave forward and John gave him the tender bro embrace he'd mentioned to Jade earlier. Rose felt oddly out of place as John seemed to notice everyone but her, shaking hands with the other trolls and giving Karkat an awkward but kind hug. Eventually, his sapphire eyes turned toward her and he shot himself into her arms.
"Rose! Hey I missed you!" He buried his face in the nape of her neck, sending small shivers down Rose's spine. She hugged him back tight, resisting the urge to kiss the top of his head which was so close to her. Instead, she rustled his raven black hair and he raised his head up to drop their embrace.
He glanced over at the other trolls. "Hey Karkat... where's Vriska? I missed her too!"
Rose's heart sank. That was right... the other Hero of Light. She had really caught John's attention, patronizing him and all. But John... John didn't know about what happened to her...
All eyes were on Karkat now. He immediately grew flustered and stared at the ground, only to have Kanaya nudge him angrily and urge him to break the news to John.
"UH..." Karkat began. "VRISKA KIND OF UM KILLED TAVROS AFTER ASCENDING TO GOD TIER, AND THEN WELL TEREZI HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO KILL HER AND BECAUSE HER DEATH WAS JUST SHE'S KIND OF UM DEAD FOR THE REST OF ETERNITY."
John's eyes went wide behind his square glasses, but then he slammed them shut. His fists and jaw clenched, and he hung his head low. Rose didn't know how to react. Part of her wanted to console him, the other knew it was best to leave him be. As Kanaya would say, he was "flushed" for Vriska. It was obvious.
They spent the rest of their time exploring the meteor and ship, while John locked himself away in his room. Rose watched enviously as Dave held Jade in his arms. After putting up enough with everyone else's happiness, she stormed off of the meteor to find John on the Prospit ship. Being the Seer, she easily located his room.
The Heir was lying on his bed, a subdued mess of bloodshot eyes and tear-soaked cheeks. Rose quietly made her way over to him and sat on the bed next to him. Shyly, she wrapped her arm around his shoulders. His deep blue eyes met her lavender ones, and a single salty tear fell from his eye. Rose reached up under the lens of his glasses and wiped away the tear.
"You loved her didn't you?"
John cleared his throat. "Not in the way you think Rose. I listened to her weird alien girl problems, and she was a friend. That's all. A friend. I don't know if we would've been moi-whatevers or whatnot, but I cared about her."
So he wasn't red for her. "John, I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry. I wish we'd known sooner so we could've told you. I know how much it must hurt, but don't lose all of your hope yet. We still have a battle to win, remember?"
"I know. But I don't think I'm even ready for that. What kind of hero am I anyways? I've died twice! And even if I die a hero, I'm gone! I'm really scared Rose."
"I analyzed that. But what you fail to realize is that you are in fact a hero John. You're the Heir of Breath, the Friendleader, the Pal Honcho!"
"I guess I am! Hehe, so... Rose? Can I ask you something?"
Rose was slightly confused, but she nodded her head in agreement.
"Do you have a thing for... uh... Kanaya? Because you two seemed awfully friendly with each other... a little too friendly..."
"John, Kanaya's just my friend! She made for interesting company, I must say. But no, if I did have any feelings toward her she would most definitely classify them as pale."
John laughed and flashed her his signature toothy, Egderp smile. "I get it! I guess we both kinda misunderstood who we liked! Pshh!"
"Do you... harbor feelings for me John? Particularly those of the 'flushed' variety?"
He blushed furiously and glanced down at his knees, gnawing anxiously at his lip.
"Well, do you like me Rose?"
This is it, Lalonde. You have to tell him.
"I missed you terribly. Ever since... well I'm not certain of the precise time it all started, I've had these feelings for you. I was young, I didn't know what they were. But the separation only made them grow stronger. My missing you turned into wanting you. And then by the time today came, I needed you. And when I saw you crying over Vriska... I just felt lost."
"You don't have to feel that way anymore Rose! I like you too! A lot! It wasn't until after a year on the ship that I really realized it though!" Happily, John squished his nose against hers, causing her heart to skip a beat. He was so close to her, and the gap between their lips was so small. She mustered all of the courage beating within her heart and closed the gap, gently placing her mouth on his.
John was static for a moment, mostly due to shock. He sighed into his kiss with Rose, entwining his fingers in her pale blonde hair. She clutched at the blue fabric of his god tier hood, enjoying the feeling of his heart beating against her own. John pulled Rose up onto his lap and tilted her head back while still keeping his lips against hers.
Breathlessly, she pulled away from him only to have a small frown cross his face.
"Its been a long day John, I'm exhausted. I need to go to sleep."
"You can stay here, if you want. I mean you don't have to, that's perfectly okay. I guess I'm tired too. Crying makes you sleepy, huh?" He yawned to verify his tiredness.
Without any warning, John picked up Rose and laid her down on his messy, unmade bed. He pulled the covers up to her chin, and crawled in the other side. Rose twisted her arms around this waist and pulled him to her, resting her head on the pillow next to his. John gently kissed her nose, moved down to her cheek, her lips, and the nape of her neck. Rose smiled and pressed her forehead against his.
"Good night Rose. We have a world to save, so sleep tight okay?" He told her, closing his eyes, she gently removed his glasses from his face and reconnected their embrace.
"I know John. Whatever happens, I'll be right there with you. Got it?"
"Hehe alright Miss Heropants McSmartybluh."
"Haven't you used that on my before?"
"Only the last name, Rose. Only the last name."