JADE: john... i have a daughter

JADE: shes almost harry andersons age

JOHN: ...

JOHN: ...

JOHN: you have a daughter.

JADE: yes

JOHN: you've had a daughter.

JADE: yes john!!

JOHN: i...

JOHN: wow.

JOHN: i'm... a little shocked about this?

JOHN: i mean...

JOHN: ...

JOHN: you have a daughter?!

JADE: yes john!!!

JADE: i have!!! a daughter!!!

JADE: i have a daughter john!!!

JADE: in fact i have had a daughter for quite a while!!!

JOHN: i'm sorry, i'm struggling to process this a little bit.

JOHN: if she's nearly harry anderson's age, then that means you've had a daughter for... what...

JOHN: i guess that must be about fifteen years?

JADE: yep!!!

JOHN: wow.

JOHN: i'm not sure how to feel about this j






It is deathly quiet.

JADE: YOU of all people dont get to judge me, okay????

JADE: everyone was getting married and having babies at the time and i just

JADE: i wanted that for myself so badly

JADE: you have NO idea what it was like, living on that fucking island with my dead grandfather, waiting for forever for you to finally wake up, and then

JADE: and then i went through all of that NONSENSE all over again on the ship through the yard

JADE: and THEN when it was over i thought MAYBE i could have something like a normal life

JADE: but then you just vanished on everyone for years!!!

JADE: everyone was busy building the lives wed all been working for

JADE: rose and kanaya, roxy and callie, jake and...

JADE: and dave and karkat were

JADE: they were

JADE: *sniffle*

JADE: look, i knew, ok?

JADE: i knew that on some level they just didnt want me there!

JADE: i knew the plans they had for each other even when they didnt!!!

JADE: and it was clear that i didnt fit into those plans

JADE: but they just wouldnt ADMIT it!!

JADE: i tried SO hard to get them to see what they wanted but it just didnt work

JADE: and then karkat left and

JADE: *snuffle*

JADE: and i couldnt just leave dave by himself after what happened to dirk

JADE: so i stayed

JADE: i tried to be the good person and stay

JADE: but then he

JADE: *snuffle*

JADE: he

JADE: *sob*

ROSE: Jade, it's alright. I can take it from here.

Jade leans soggily into Rose's shoulder.

JOHN: jade, i'm...

JOHN: *sniffle*

JOHN: i'm sorry, i-

ROSE: John, if you start crying as well we shall never get anywhere.

JOHN: r-right. sorry.

JOHN: um... so...

JOHN: i'm sorry, i got a bit lost in all of that.

JOHN: could we rewind a little?

ROSE: I think that might be for the best, narratively speaking. We got a touch sidetracked.

She gives Jade a gentle pat on the back as she says this.

ROSE: So, to rewind.

ROSE: Jade wanted a child of her own, but while she was with Dave and Karkat the three of them were unable to conceive one due to a number of reasons.

ROSE: They looked into adoption, but...

ROSE: Well, let's just say that if the administration was getting uncomfortable about an adoption between a troll and a human, they were starting to be outright obstructionist when it came to one between a troll and two.

ROSE: Having exhausted all other options for producing or fostering a child between the three of them, Jade had to look elsewhere.

JOHN: you mean...

JOHN: find a surrogate or something?

ROSE: Correct.

ROSE: It was at this point that Jade came to me.

ROSE: I could understand her pain quite acutely, and so...

ROSE: I agreed to carry a child on her behalf.


ROSE: ... Without telling Kanaya.

There is another heavy silence. Vrissy is stunned, all eight pupils staring at her mother in shock. Harry and Tavros are trying to find somewhere to look that isn't straight at Rose. Vriska meanwhile is sporting a grin as wide as a bus, and looks like she wants to give someone a high-five.

Jade is a picture of misery. Kanaya doesn't seem to be surprised, or angry, or even disappointed. She just folds her arms, expectantly. John is discovering that he can't decide what to do with his hands. He feels impossibly embarrassed.

ROSE: I'm... not sure why I made that decision.

ROSE: I regret not telling Kanaya, of course.

ROSE: But I can't say that I regret going through with it.

ROSE: At the time, it didn't feel as though the deception was even all that prolonged. The whole affair was... short.

ROSE: Purely physical, and nothing more.

Kanaya finally moves to stand next to her wife. She places a softly glowing hand on the shoulder that hasn't been generously watered by Jade.

KANAYA: Rose And I Have Already Discussed This In Private Before Coming Here And I Have Therefore Already Said Everything That I Would Like To Say On The Matter

KANAYA: And Vis A Vis The Matter I Think Thats Really All That There Is To Say

KANAYA: I Wanted To Be Able To Tell Vrissy This In Person However

KANAYA: Moreover For Her Benefit And For That Of Everyone Else I Feel In My Capacity As A Mother And Leader I Should Make It Clear

KANAYA: This Is Not Something That Will Undermine Roses And My Relationship

KANAYA: Neither As Comrades

KANAYA: Or As A Couple

KANAYA: I Am Upset At Being Lied To And For No Other Reason

KANAYA: And In Particular I Would Like To Make It Understood That I Do Not And Never Will See Jade As Having Jeopardized Our Marriage Through The Simple Crime Of Wanting To Be A Mother

KANAYA: If Anyone In This World Understands The Lengths To Which A Person Will Go To Achieve Such An End

KANAYA: Then That Person Is Me

As she says this, Kanaya looks at Vrissy, and it's a look all filled to bursting with two universes' and countless lifetimes' worth of love and maternal devotion. To all observers, Vrissy is either on the verge of bursting into tears, or gagging. It really could go either way.

JOHN: so, just to get this straight in my head.

JOHN: um... rose, if you're the mother...

JOHN: then since obviously neither dave or karkat is the father...

JOHN: ...

JOHN: who is it?

Rose's expression has the patience and tranquility of a mountain. Jade's is made of knives.

ROSE: John, there isn't a father.

ROSE: Jade and I are the sole parents of this child.

JOHN: oh.

JOHN: ...


JOHN: oh i'm so sorry, i didn't th-

ROSE: That's quite alright John, although you might like to direct that apology more towards your sister.

ROSE: All I will say is that if you would like to take up the particulars with us,

ROSE: Some *other* time,

(Here Rose looks pointedly at the various teens dotted about the belfry, all of whom are remarkably interested in the local architecture all of a sudden.)

ROSE: Then I'm sure Jade and I can walk you through some basic concepts.

JOHN: i uh

JOHN: no, it's

JOHN: i'm

JOHN: ...

ROSE: About to change the subject?

JOHN: haha.

JOHN: ok.

JOHN: so... how did you hide the pregnancy?

ROSE: Oh, that was simple.

ROSE: Jade's genes being, as they are, part canine, the gestation period was substantially reduced.

ROSE: I carried the baby to term in just under two months.

ROSE: Since she was unfamiliar with human pregnancy at the time, I assume Kanaya simply thought I was looking a little more... substantial than usual, and didn't think it polite to comment.

KANAYA: In Defense Of My Observational Skills I Feel Like I Should Point Out That You Had Recently Recovered Miraculously From A Debilitating And Potentially Fatal Illness

KANAYA: A State In Which You Were Exceptionally Malnourished To Say The Least

ROSE: Well, quite.

ROSE: Anyway, with the messy part finished, all that was left was the trifling matter of Jade and I raising the child together in secret for fifteen years.

ROSE: A task that we performed flawlessly until a few short moments ago, when she became the political prisoner of a certain Jane Crocker.

JOHN: oh my god.

JOHN: that...

JOHN: no offense jade, but,

JOHN: that BITCH!!

JADE: *sniffle* hehe...

ROSE: So this, finally, is the predicament that we are presently faced with.

ROSE: Jane has taken Yiffy hostage in retaliation for our supposed kidnapping of her son, and the murder of her former favorite clown.

ROSE: The fact that only one of these things actually happened, and that the rebellion is responsible for neither of them, will not matter to her in the slightest.

ROSE: The woman means murder.

JOHN: christ.

JOHN: ok.

JOHN: i think i understand everything so f

VRISSY: WAIT!!!!!!!!





VRISSY: ********YIFFY********????????

Vriska quietly settles on herself as a high-five partner. With geological slowness, Rose turns to face her one reasonably-named daughter, a tinge of embarrassment coloring her face for the first time this afternoon.

ROSE: Well... no.

ROSE: We didn't call her Yiffy.

ROSE: That would be a quite ridiculous thing with which to burden a child.

ROSE: Her full name is Yiffany Longstocking Lalonde Harley.

Vrissy looks as though she is about to shit the belltower they are standing in, brick by brick.

ROSE: It was, in hindsight, a monumentally terrible decision acting as the final chapter in a long series of novels, each one full of progressively more terrible decisions than the last.

ROSE: But that is the name that we decided upon.

ROSE: You have to understand... this whole situation ended up playing out a bit like an ironic game of chicken between the two of us.

ROSE: Something that far outstripped anything that the Strider fraternity could have produced in their wildest, most jpegged creative wet dreams.

ROSE: But in the end that triumph of irony came back to bite us in the fucking ass, as irony is wont to do.

ROSE: There was absolutely no possibility of us casually letting you all know that, by the way, we had had a secret daughter named Yiffany Longstocking.

ROSE: At least, not right away.

ROSE: But carapacian change-of-name paperwork is so complex and circuitous that, eventually, keeping quiet forever just seemed like the more reasonable option.

ROSE: So...

ROSE: Here we are.

Everyone lapses into a third meaningful silence, one which has an air of finality about it, as they collectively contemplate the here that they are.

They have plans to make. Even now, Yiffy is likely being held at spoonpoint, subject to the mercies of a power-crazed tyrant in pagliaccial mourning. The war for the planet is only just getting started, and the worst is likely still to come. And yet... when Rose slowly wipes a single tear from her eye and leans to touch foreheads with Kanaya, John suspects that the whole thing might just have brought them all closer together.

Beside him, Harry Anderson stifles a sleepy yawn. The day which once threatened never to end is now fading from the world. As the sky above starts to purple, the heaviness of the events hanging over them dissolves in the warmth of the evening sun, and a refreshing current of air seems to blow the last traces of it away like the merest dust.

> (==>)