Title: iim never admiittiing to thii2 jade thii2 never happened
Summary:Jade's not ready for the troll equivalent to narcolepsy, and nearly gets herself killed. Sollux has a heart attack, and they both reconcile their mortality over pale kisses.

This is a repost from my ao3 account, you can also see it there. They are identical in most every way, though so it doesn't really matter.

You spent weeks designing a comb that would work with the bees that are here, as well as figuring out how to train them to do the things that you need them to do, and it's with excitement that you are finally installing it. It was easy enough to alchemize once you figured out how to input designs and figures into the machine properly. You'll be able to design and programme on this machine much easier than you can right now on your slow low-processing-power husktop, and you'll be damned if you have to go another night with it nearly dying on you at just the wrong moment.

The bees you have for this hive are slow on the uptake and you are prepared to work through into the morning and even into the day if that's what it takes, but you are only an hour into working when you hear a scream. The voice isn't muffled by bees or electronics, it cuts straight through all the noise like the rest of it isn't there. The voice changes from screaming to confused pain and panic and then sadness and the voice is so familiar it nearly makes your heart stop.

You've heard plenty of voices before, in the universe before this one. You could rarely bother to try to save many of them, because there were far too many for one troll to even begin to help. Dead neighbors in the next hivestem always seemed to whisper, and so did the accusing voices of the friends that are now alive, but they were just unfortunate echoes of a doomed universe. In this universe you've rarely heard the voices of the soon-to-be-dead, but you have managed to stop every unfortunate end. You generally try to forget the first one. The least you can do is forget it, if only for Rose's sake. Nobody needs to remember that particular embarrassment. You have saved Karkat from himself more times than you can count, and saved basically everyone from falling off the cliff some intelligent troll decided to place the hives and outdoor loadgapers on. Who even thought it was a good idea to put a bunch of tired people on a cliff's edge and then not fence it off? (Probably John. He can fly anyway.)

This voice isn't any of those voices, because Jade has never nearly fallen from the cliff. This voice is her dying scream followed by her apologies for leaving you. She's so, so sorry. She didn't realize what was happening. She would have stopped and gotten down if she had realized that she was on a downswing. The voice that's coming from inside your own head is the voice of another troll soon to die, but you will be damned if you are going to let that happen. You can't lose another moirail, especially not to that never-ending silence.

You drop the materials in your hands and in your flashing psiionics immediately, abandoning the training of the new bees. You'll have to start over, but you can't care about bees when there's something so much more important to be worrying about. With a flash you break your window and vault your body out of it and across the lake. Have you hesitated too long? Was your split-second of shock too much? Your panic increases and you push yourself harder and harder, you can't let your hesitation get her killed. Faster, faster, you push yourself so hard that the light of the mid-evening moons is too bright and your psiionics are even more blinding, but you still have too far to go.

You are barely able to make her out when you see that she falls. It happens in slow motion, and she doesn't even look like she's realizes that she's fallen, paintbrush still in hand poised to make a stroke. You reach out with a blast of psiionics and cushion her landing, sending yourself facefirst into the lake. Your powers buffer you just enough that you dont break anything, and they keep you afloat, but you are more concerned about the girl that you just caught.

She's fine. You're fine, though soaked through, and you direct yourself to the shore and scoop the girl into your arms. A building migraine threatens at your peripherals, but it doesn't matter. She looks dazed and confused, tensing a second late at the coldness of your wet clothes on her body, and you just hold her closer and let her dying screams finish echoing in the back of your mind. It's okay. It didn't happen. You saved her. After a few minutes she seems to mentally shake herself and give you an innocent look like a barkbeast that's run into a glass door. Her mind is working far slower than it should, and you're sure that she's confused and scared. You want to yell or shake her, but she's more confused than you are and it wouldn't help anything. When you start shivering you sigh and lift the both of you up and over a couple hundred meters to her workhive. Not much of anything in her hive is her color, but you don't mind. The bright lime-jade would have been unnerving anyway.

You let her go and both of you make use of her wardrobifier, and instantly you are wearing fresh dry clothes with her symbol on them. You sit yourself in an out-of-the-way corner as she sits at her workbench and starts to fiddle with something, but every minute or so she stops and glances at you. Her face becomes more and more embarassed and vulnerable with each glance and you get more confused but let her do as she will. You don't really want any thanks anyway, and the only reason you're there is so that she knows you aren't mad at her for what happened.

Her workhive doubles as her home, because as much as she loves her friends and the other trolls, she has found that being around them too much exhausts her to the point of tears. They don't know, because she never felt like it was important to tell them. It was always more important to make sure everyone else was feeling better, that they were adjusting well to everything. The only one that she didn't stop to help was herself. The midmorning long after everyone else was asleep, you remember finding her alone and crying. You've never been good at tears, and normally you'd tell her to buck up and get over it... But you had never seen her cry before. You had never seen anything but her smile, and you realize that she's a lot like you. Her friends are more important than herself, and she'll keep going until she breaks. You don't think you were the best at papping that first time, but she didn't seem to mind.

She stops fiddling with the little electronics and comes to you after an hour of futile effort, wrapping her arms around you tightly and breathing in your scent. Your anxiousness abates some more, and you realize that you had been becoming more and more tense as the hour passed. You let her hug you, and hug back because there's nothing like the warm safe feeling to make the world less sharp and painful around the edges, and there are some sharp edges on your emotions right now from hearing Jade die. But she's not dead and she's here to comfort you.

You're not sure how long she sits there with you holding you, but eventually she takes your hand and leads you to the pile of blankets she keeps in the spare respiteblock. You steel yourself, waiting for an inevitably heartfelt feelings jam, but all you end up with is three quiet words. "You saved me." It's not a question, or thanks, it just is. You want to prepare to fight off any praise but instead what she does takes your breath away. She gently lays her fingers against your lips, pure trust beaming from her eyes. You don't think she could have learned about this from anywhere or any of the trolls here, especially since she tends to keep herself out of the main social group to begin with. Your mind flashes to paleporns that you have seen, but you tended to stay away from stuff this raunchily and vulnerably pale. You feel your teeth sharp behind your lips, and you know that you could take her fingers so easily, but there is the beauty in the gesture.

Her fingers are so important to her, she needs them for every aspect of her life, but she trusts them to you. She trusts you. You bring your hands up and hold the thin fingers against your lips, kissing them reverently several times. One kiss on each knuckle, then you turn her hand palm-up and kiss the fingertips as softly as you can. If this was anyone else you would feel hopelessly silly and embarrassed but this is Jade.

She doesn't want to make this about her, but she can't make it about you so she is resolving it in her own way, and your bloodpusher clenches with tenderness. You nearly cry. (You cry, but you will never admit it.) Once you are done, you let go of her fingers and place your own on her lips. She beams at you with such joy and trust, and with slow deliberate movements she does the same. Each kiss seems to cut straight through you, and when she's kissed the last fingertip you reach out and pull her so close and tight you can barely stand it.

Tomorrow, you'll talk, but today you fall asleep with your hands papping each other's faces softly.

My ao3 account is under the same name as this one, but with underscores instead of periods between. My tumblr is addynotladdy so feel free to add me if you want to have advanced notice of which chapters of which fic I'm working on, or new oneshots that I have published.