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When you come to awareness, something feels different. You feel… smoother? Softer? The sword is gone from your stomach, though the splash of yellow blood-ichor thing remains. You look around. A classroom? Dang, you’d thought you’d seen the last of those. Wait, dang? What the heck? Heck? Seriously?

Knowledge starts to trickle in as you look at the… eclectic cast of characters. This is a much simpler game than Sburb. And obviously kiddie-rated, hence the inability to curse. Alright, you can roll with that. You examine the major plot points, rolling them around in your head as the pixel principal and the leopard man ramble on at the front of the room. Looks like it’s some sort of dating sim. ...And you’re one of the romance options. Premium too, dang, good for you, you’re worth like, 15 bucks, awesome, one for you, discount Dave. (You wonder how much people would pay for real Dave, and have to stop yourself before getting even more depressed.)

You spot the player character, pink hat? Hair? Head? Who even knows? They’re pretty cute, gotta admit. Principal dude calls ‘em “Cousin”, which you quickly notice is the default name. Lazy player, awesome. This is gonna be fun.

You wonder how you got here, while side-eying the plot (really? evil robo-alternate school kidnaps Pac-Man?). Some of the other romance options are cute. You dig dragon girl. Er, not Terezi (the heck is SHE doing here? shouldn’t she be killing more best buds of yours?). The one with the orange armor and the. ...Okay, apparently you can’t comment on “assets” anymore explicitly than that, lame.

Oh look, Cousin came over to talk. They’re pretty cool, gotta admit. You really do dig that unitard thing. Way better than bloody, fluorescent yellow bandages.

Oh. They… actually picked you. Despite your rambling.

Well, I mean, you did say you could get them the best ending. I mean, obviously, you’re the best of these chumps. But still, kind of flattered.

Even if they don’t believe a word outta your mouth. It’s fine. You hope they don’t wuss out of your storyline.

--

Man, Cousin’s really sincere about, well, everything. You can read their thoughts, so you know. They’re really trying to meet you halfway, despite your obvious crazy. They even brought you birdseed. Aw yiss.

You… kind of missed this. Just hanging out with someone, without worrying about being a fake Dave. It makes you think of Rose. ...And then you think about Bro, and you don’t wanna think anymore.

Man, good thing plot stuff happens and Pac-Man gets kidnapped, or else you probably would’ve ended up crying or something equally stupid and contrived.

You don’t think about Cousin holding you while you did it. You don’t think about how tiny and cute and soft they are, like Li’l Cal, minus 100% of the creep.

You don’t think about Bro when you help the little dude fight those robots.

You try not to think about what’ll happen when the game ends.

...You do anyway.

Cousin holds your hand as the void of white opens beneath you, and you fade out. ...You hope whoever the hell is playing this stupid game doesn’t reset and try another route. You don’t want to reset. You just want to be happy, dangit.

But you guess it’s too much to ask of the universe. Because you are Davesprite, bird-ghost-freak extraordinaire, and every single universe you end up in hates you.

You’re back in the classroom. Pixel principal and leopard guy are going through the same script. Cousin is back, but this time it looks like the player filled in a name, “Taylor”. Eh, good job going for a gender-neutral one, you guess.

“Taylor” talks to you, the same script, the same voice, the same face. And you can’t stop the twinge in your chest, just above where your sword used to be.

You regain your composure quickly though, repeating the script you saved from the first run-through, ignoring the gnawing ache in your gut.

And then they’re off talking to the others.

And the next day, they pick dragon girl.

--

The next playthrough, the name is “Kris”. And they pick Terezi.

--

The next, “Jesse”, and they go after conspiracy dude.

--

And the next.

And the next.

And the next.

You don’t think about the soft little hand in yours, or the brief joy you felt at having someone fight next to your side that didn’t end up dying as a result of your incompetence.

You are Davesprite. You’re not the hero of this story. Or any story really.

You watch the simple story unfold again and again, and wait for the player to get bored and quit. Maybe then you can finally just…

end.