Special Relativity

She sits on the roof and stares into the starry night sky. The air is cold, but she does not shiver. Slowly, stretches out her hand, and traces out a path in the sky. Spica, Zavijava, Porrima, Auva, and more, she knows them all, though she shouldn’t, they shouldn’t mean a thing to her. She connects the twinkling dots with her fingertips, and she wonders what stars they have across the universe, and if they mean anything to anyone there. “Do you miss me?” she asks. In the normal course of events, information cannot travel at more than 299 792 458 metres per second. The universe will be long dead and cold before she gets an answer.

Of all the possibilities I had prepared for, your utter indifference was not one. I had expected your anger, and I hoped for your love. No, that’s not right, either. I was sure you loved me. I don’t think I would have let myself feel the way I did if I hadn’t been sure. I’ve never loved anyone before, or at least, I have never acknowledged such a thing. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I know I have three years to figure this out, three years I had to fight for, and I will not waste them.

Kanaya’s skin glows faint in the dark, a slender silhouette in negative space. Rose touches her arm, and Kanaya winces away. Her skin is cold and smooth, like marble, like the skin of a corpse, and Rose wonders what it would be like to run her hands down Kanaya’s body, but they are far from that now. “You never did tell me about the phosphorescent skin,” she says instead. “You know, I had quite the opposite problem, for a time.”

Kanaya’s hand is on the spot where Rose touched her. She does not turn her gaze from the pressing dark in front of them, but after a time she smiles, just a little. “Do tell,” she says.

I didn’t expect you to love me back, why would I, how could I, no one ever had before. Why should you care if I stayed? The fact that you did was terrifying. When you got close to me I could smell the cosmos glittering in your rich red blood, and I wanted to split you open and drink you up, and that was even worse. Why didn’t you let me stay, why couldn’t you let me stay, why did you have to love me back.

“We call them vampires,” Rose tells her, “They are very popular among girls my age, these days, though I’ve never had much interest.”

“I see.” Kanaya plays with the hem of Eridan’s scarf, cinched tight around her waist again and still stained with green blood. “And what is the popular Earth lore of these creatures?”

Rose stares wistfully into the dark. Some of her hair has come loose, and Kanaya wants to brush it back, but they are far from that sort of thing. “Traditionally,” Rose says, “Vampires must live in the darkness, or face death in the light.” She turns, and smiles, just a little. “Now I wonder if it isn’t quite the opposite.”

My breath caught when I saw you. I always believed this to be a romantic exaggeration of terrible teen fiction, but it happened, I saw you and breathing didn’t matter, nothing mattered. I don’t think I really understood what it was I felt about you until that moment. Maybe if I’d understood before then, things would have been different.

Every day is the same endless blackness. It’s hard to tell if they’re even still moving. “Motion is just a frame of reference,” Rose says. “We can assume we are in motion because Jack hasn’t torn out our throats yet.” Her hair falls on her shoulders now, one of the few things by which they can mark the passage of time, though even that is unreliable, in this place.

“You told me it wouldn’t be so dark,” Kanaya says.

“Have you ever tasted red blood?” Rose asks softly.

As I sit here, thinking back on it, I wonder how things would have been if not for Vriska. If I had met you before, or perhaps long, long after, would it have all been different? Would we have wasted all that time if I had not been so frightened? Was it really worth it, in the end?

Kanaya cannot see the knife, but she’s knows it’s there. “You do not have to do this,” she says, but her mouth his dry and her words strained and heavy. Rose draws the knife across her palm, and rich red blood pools into the lines on her hands and drips, drips, drips down her long pale fingers. Kanaya stares and stares.

Rose reaches out and touches a bloody finger to Kanaya’s cheek. She traces out a pattern that she memorized long ago, Spica, Zavijava, Porrima, Auva, and more. The blood looks almost black on Kanaya’s white skin. Rose traces a thousand secrets there, encoded in her blood.

I don’t know why I’m doing this.

Rose smears her blood across Kanaya’s mouth, painting her lips blacker than black. Her heart is pounding. Kanaya’s head is light and giddy with the rich iron scent of Rose’s blood. She licks her lips. Rose leans in close.

You’re only going to hurt me.

“When did you read my walkthrough?” Rose asks, a lifetime ago. This is an awful idea.

* * *

It is night on an alien world. She sits in the green grass and looks up at the stars. There was a time when no one bothered looking, a time when there was hot dry sand under her feet, but she isn’t supposed to remember that. It doesn’t matter though, none of it does. She lies down and lets the glittering starlight wash across her bare skin. They don’t mean anything, not particularly, and their names are best forgotten, but she never will. “I miss you,” she whispers, but the universe is long dead before anyone knows it.

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