Retcon Heir

There are few things worse than a loved one gone missing. At least one of those is not knowing if there was anyone to miss in the first place.

This is a tale of tales. Of gods, memories, mythtellers, a Muse, an Author, and the friend She seeks in the world She helped knit into Being.

http://archiveofourown.org/works/974474?view_full_work=true

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6. Chapter 4

The sitting room is a lot more cramped now.

 

You’re sitting back by the fire, this time with a nephil at each shoulder. Everyone else is afraid to dare to sit too close to the Cherub. For the record, she seems happily oblivious to their awe, munching on the sacred sweets Lago provided.

 

CALLIOPE: these are fantastic, lago! my compliments.

LAGO:

CALLIOPE: if it woUldn’t be too mUch troUble, woUld yoU happen to have any steak lying around?

LAGO:

LAGO: ah

LAGO: OH YES!! Steak. The steak I have. I will do. That. Get it.

 

With a flash of movement Lago disappears into the back room. Calliope smiles, turning to you.

 

CALLIOPE: i sUppose...yoU mUst have a lot of qUestions right now.

ROSE: I suppose that’s one way to put it.

 

Calliope leans back, chewing on a lolly thoughtfully.

 

CALLIOPE: it’s all still a little confUsing. it seems, even as a fUlly realized mUse of space, i still learn something new about my aspect every day.

CALLIOPE: maybe i simply can’t learn everything.

CALLIOPE: bUt i did learn something, recently. about yoUr friend, and the ability to retcon.

ROSE:

ROSE: When you say, ‘friend’

ROSE: you imply that he does actually exist?

 

Calliope hums. Every eye in the room is on her.

 

CALLIOPE: it started at the library.

CALLIOPE: a lot of my followers live there with me, and i task them every day with reading over my logs.

CALLIOPE: one day, one of them came to me, saying that there were words missing from one of the scriptUres!

CALLIOPE: more and more of them came forward. holes had begUn to appear in all of my stories!

CALLIOPE: as yoU can imagine, i was more than a little Upset by this. UmU

CALLIOPE: what’s more, people began to actually forget the missing parts!

ROSE: So you knew about all this.

CALLIOPE: i’m sorry i didn’t come to yoU all sooner, rose. U_U i really did not know how to handle something like this!

CALLIOPE: i knew i had to do something, but i didn’t know what. as a mUse, i can’t act proactively like you can to get things done.

CALLIOPE: yoU know, for a very long time during the game...i was very displeased with the passive natUre of my role. it always seemed like i was jUst waiting for things to be done, waiting to be saved, while enormoUs things happened all around me.

CALLIOPE: i felt so weak.

CALLIOPE: Useless, honestly.

CALLIOPE: bUt since then, i’ve come to realize that a mUse’s power to inspire is incredibly powerful! when i set events into motion, i can caUse amazing things to happen! even as a passive role, i’ve inspired many people on this planet to do things that revolutionized their lives!

CALLIOPE: and i have inspired people in smaller ways as well.

CALLIOPE: ...sUch as inspiring someone to craft a new weapon that could remedy retcons, for example.

ROSE: ...Kanaya.

ROSE: Of course. You inspired Kanaya to create Scheheirazade. It was so obvious.

CALLIOPE: who better to assist in the healing of spacetime’s fabric than a sylph of space? ^U^

CALLIOPE: in fact, i was very serioUsly considering having her be the one to assist me in editing all the myths back to their proper form.

CALLIOPE: but i realized i needed someone who had a bit of lUck on their side. someone who knew just where to go and when.

CALLIOPE: ...and also...

CALLIOPE: it only seemed fair to yoU to have yoU be the one who finds yoUr friend.

ROSE:

ROSE: Calliope, I’ll ask you once more:

ROSE: All this...it means he does exist?

CALLIOPE:

CALLIOPE: no

CALLIOPE: and yes.

ROSE: I don’t...

CALLIOPE: rose,

CALLIOPE: woUld yoU mind terribly

CALLIOPE: if i were to tell you a story?

 

Whatever opinion you may or not have had on the matter is immediately drowned out by the sound of every nephil in the room leaning forward.

 

ROSE: ...I guess that’s a yes.

 

Calliope closes her eyes.

 

~ ※ ~

 

The Reluctant Heir

 

On the opposite side of the Veil, the Heir walked with the dead, their bodies cold, their hearts filled with determination. It was here his guide, Our Thief of Light, had been banished to, and it was here that she would be his guiding Light for the last time.

She led him to a treasure that granted an immeasurable power. It was said that this weapon was strong enough to rend the threads of reality apart, to alter existence to such an extent that it could not even be called "altering." This power, strong enough to go against the Lord of Time, was dangerous, a danger of magnitude unimaginable to mortal souls.

 

And so, the Heir of Breath stuck his goddamn hand in it.

 

ROSE: Calliope, why are you telling me this all this? I already know how it happened, he told me all about Vriska and the weapon--

CALLIOPE: pardon me, who told yoU? :U

ROSE: ...!

CALLIOPE: ...

CALLIOPE: part two:

 

In doing so, the Heir gained a powerful ability, one in which he was able to disregard the rules of reality and become, effectively, unstuck from the universe. Combined with his powers over the aspect of Breath, the Heir was able to lead and aid his divided allies. And with this new power, the Heir was able to be the final key necessary in the vanquishing of the Batterwitch and the Lord of Time.

 

And like that, the Game was won.

 

There were celebrations, reunions. But among it all, the Heir realized something about him had been changed. In becoming unstuck, he had a power that none of his companions knew the extent of. He experimented, learning he could break the walls between universes as easily as porcelain, could alter entire timelines. He could not only alter, but warp, create, and erase existence.

 

This scared him.

 

As he became aware of this fear, a new feeling begin to spread through him. The feeling that dragged cold and lead-like in his heart when he thought of himself against his companions. For against his companions,

 

against the Witch, who fended for herself years before the game, who could shape space to her will, who had suffered enslavement by the Batterwitch.

 

against the Knight, who suffered the trials Time had handed him, who knew the impossible dread and despair of a doomed timeline

 

against the Seer, who had fought and railed against the cruel neutrality of the Trials and had become a slave to the Horrorterrors as reward

 

against the Trolls, who had all suffered an entire lifetime filled to the brim with war and bloodshed before even becoming a part of the Trials

 

against the Nobles, who had fought a dreadful future and a dead version of his own Trials for months

 

stood him.

 

His self-doubt, implanted in his heart at a young age, grew and grew until it ate him up. He, who had lived a life of comfort and frivolity, who had only survived the Trials due to his companions' guiding hands, who had only the power over air, he was the one who was given this power?

 

He could not understand it.

 

He could not grasp it.

 

He could not stand for it.

 

And so the Heir stole away from his companions. In his heart, he felt they were better off without his existence. No one would miss the unworthy Heir, he murmured to himself, taking to the sky, and fading into breath. All he had to do was use his undeserved power one last time, and he would no longer have to burden anyone with himself. And so he took off to Afterus, to the Keepers of Story.

 

And there, the Heir went missing.

 

~ ※ ~

 

Silence vibrates, hot and tense, between the two of you.

 

ROSE: ...You're saying....

ROSE: You’re saying he did this to himself?

ROSE: I had suspected he might have intentionally left us.....but to go this far...

CALLIOPE: ...

CALLIOPE: rose.

CALLIOPE: i feel i shoUld make it very clear:

CALLIOPE: the person yoU are trying to find has gone throUgh a lot of effort to remove himself from yoUr lives.

CALLIOPE: from yoUr life.

CALLIOPE: and for the record, it will be mUch easier for yoU if yoU were to stop right here and now.

CALLIOPE: are yoU sUre yoU want to try to reach him?

ROSE:

 

Through the fog, you see yourself.

 

You are 10, seeing words of a particular blue hue wink into existence in the late hours of night.

 

You are 12 (a few hours away from 13), holding needles of an even weight in your hand, feeling a wonderful warmth in your heart despite the tinge of cold metal.

 

You are 13, and he smiles at you, not caring that your skin is crawling with alien presence, that darkness oozes from your skin like blood or that your throat creaks and burbles wetly when you try to speak.

 

You are 16, and in the middle of reality falling apart, in the middle of the lowest low you have ever been in the trainwreck called Your Life, he appears and pulls you out.

 

ROSE: Damn straight I do.

 

Calliope smiles.

 

~ ※ ~

 

It's smaller than you thought it would be.

 

The object glows a white more pure and absolute than any white you've ever seen, making Calliope's robes look absolutely dingy by comparison. Just holding your hand near the box it sits in makes every hair on your body tingle with electricity. A hum comes from its core, pulsing at a frequency that makes the back of your skull tingle.

 

You can feel the eyes of the others drilling holes into your back. You know there's no turning back now.

 

(“And so, the Heir stuck his goddamn arm in it.”)

 

ROSE: And so the Seer followed, like a dunce.

CALLIOPE: sorry?

ROSE: Nothing.

 

And with a deep breath

 

you shove your arm in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"By guiding light,

by space and time,

I weave these words,

I spin my rhyme."

 

Once upon a time, the world came to an end. And so the chosen children carried its scattered seeds to a new realm: the Knight, the Witch, and the Seer.

 

...But wasn't there an Heir, too?

 

no.

 

A young man stood alone in his bedroom. It just so happened that day, the 13th of April, was that young man's birthday. Though it had been thirteen years ago he was given life, it was only that day he would be given a name.

 

What was the name of this young man?

 

nothing. there was no young man.

 

Your name is

 

no.

 

Your name is J

 

nope! the end.

 

You have a passion for REALLY TERRIBLE MOVIES. You like to program computers but you are NOT VERY GOOD AT IT. You have a fondness for PARANORMAL LORE, and are an aspiring AMATEUR MAGICIAN. You also like to play GAMES sometimes.

 

Games. We played a game. All of us, together. Your name is

 

why are you so stubborn???

 

That should be my line.

 

no, it's not!! your line is somewhere that's not here, somewhere with jade, and dave, and kanaya and roxy and everyone else! goddammit, why won't you stop chasing me?!

 

Who is ‘me’?

 

...

 

‘me’

 

‘me’ is someone better off forgetting.

 

‘me’ is someone you don’t need in your life.

 

I know a few people who would be ready to disagree with that. Starting with myself.

 

how would you know that? you don’t remember me, you don’t even know my name!

 

Well, that would sort of be your fault.

 

i’m not complaining about it! i-

 

i did this for a reason rose!

 

And for what reason would that be? Did you do something wrong?

 

no, i

 

i just! i’m not

 

i’m not necessary.

 

...Once again, I would have to disagree with you there-

 

HOW?

 

rose, name ONE important thing i did back then!

 

You were our friend.

 

rose, get real!

 

look, you’re a writer, you know you’re supposed to cut out unnecessary characters!

 

characters that don’t move the plot.

 

characters that are useless!

 

You weren’t useless-

 

i can count the things i did on a hand:

 

i hit some stuff with a hammer, i hit some bigger stuff with a hammer, i made a wind drill--and literally all those things were because either you or vriska told me to!

 

And you were our friend.

 

that has nothing to do with this-

 

IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THIS!

 

Listen to me.

 

I don’t remember your name, but I remember what you did.

 

You were the one who figured out the alchemization system.

 

You were the one who created us.

 

You were the one who gave me the Tumor.

 

You were the one who started the Scratch.

 

You were the one who fixed the glitching and kept us connected when we met up.

 

You were the one who brought Calliope back.

 

You were the one who did probably another dozen things I can’t remember, and you know what?

 

I don’t give a damn about any of that, because first, and foremost, you were our friend.

 

...You were my friend.

 

And you were the thing binding us together! That’s why you were our leader!

 

...i’m not your leader.

 

I know.

 

You’re our friend, and that’s why you’re also our leader.

 

if anything, i was the one always being led. if you hadn’t been there holding my hand half the time i would have been dead before the day was out.

 

i was more like... a tool.

 

used by people smarter, and stronger and...

 

better than me.

 

I wouldn’t say Vriska was better than you.

 

i wasn’t talking about vriska.

 

...

 

just forget it, rose. let me disappear.

 

i’m not worth remembering.

 

Yes you are.

 

no i’m not!

 

Yes.

 

no.

 

Yes.

 

no--oh for fuck’s sakes, cut it out!

 

Did you not say that I was the writer here?

 

...what?

 

I think I have more experience in this field than you.

 

And you want to know something? I don’t think there’s such a thing as a useless character.

 

And believe me, I have met quite a lot of characters over the past few years.

 

Ghosts, aliens, ghost aliens.

 

Sprites, exiles.

 

Witches and knights, sylphs and

 

heirs.

 

And not a single one of them did not serve as some sort of gear in the haberdash mechanism that was the Game.

 

Everyone had their role, and that includes you.

 

Especially you.

 

To be quite frank, I really cannot understand where this notion that you were useless came from. Because if I have learned anything over the past few days, it was how integral you were to this whole thing.

 

In fact...

 

I have reason to suspect that at least part of your justification for omitting yourself from those stories was so you wouldn’t have second thoughts on this whole “i’m not important” whim.

 

...

 

But it doesn’t matter.

 

Whatever put this idea in your head, we can talk it out.

 

We can talk it out, and we can solve it, and we can go back to everyone else in the Veil.

 

One day we’ll all look back on this and laugh.

 

But before we do that you need to come back.

 

So...

 

Please, John.

 

Come back.

 

Come back to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

LAGO: Forgive me for taking so long, Lady Calliope! I had difficulty finding the

LAGO:

LAGO: Who’s this douchebag?

 

 

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