No one you’ve spoken to can ever give you an accurate duration of a battle. Either everything seems to slow as the adrenaline shot that is the human flight-or-fight response floods their poor overwhelmed sponge of a brain, or it’s a blur of colors and sights and sounds as instinct smears it’s shit covered hand across the canvas that is their perception.
Not for you.
Your name is Dave Strider. The Knight of Time. A player in this bullshit session of some bullshit game called sburb where you fight for your right for your universe to fuckin’ exist. And you are currently engaged in the fight of your life. Literally. Final boss time. End of the road. It’s just you and your new buddy Dirk against not only one, but two goddamn Jack Fucking Noirs. Why not just invite Bec Noir as well eh? Make it a big ol’ Noir reunion up in here. All it would need is a shitty black and white filter over everything and some fucking smooth jazz and maybe a smokin’ hot babe--hell you could work with the white dog bird lady. Just give her some heavy makeup and one of those pretentious long cigarettes and you could work with this. Make your own doggone movie. Didn’t Dirk say his bro was a famous Hollywood director? Maybe when this was all said and done you could write a screenplay, send it off to make your big time break. Oh wait, the world was destroyed. Right.
It’s a shame you don’t have breath to talk, this is a pretty damn good ramble you got going up in here. It’s wasted echoing around the inside of your skull. No matter how chaotic a fight gets, Dave Strider has to take the time to appreciate the poetry of it all. It’s the only way you can stay sane with the constant ticking in your head. Luckily whatever weird fuckery the game did to you that allowed you to keep track of time loops also works as a hella insane level of multi-tasking.
You are aware of every single millisecond that passes as you dodge cyclops eye lazers from the roided out Jack Noir, hopped up on the good shit with his solid gold peg leg and wielding a goddamn crowbar of all things. The seizure inducing blast drags across your world, vibrating space itself with a steady thrum as you skid through the air--and how the hell do you skid through air--and you just know the moment that you need to flash-step in order to catch your teenaged doppleganger of an ecto dad-bro before he got blasted out to the outer rim for a second time. No creepy know-it-all spider troll here to shoot some magical portal gun into the air to provide a convenient shortcut back.
Dirk’s hand tightens around yours, but his face remains just as blank as ever beneath those pointed shades you both love and hate, but the moment has to end and time keeps ticking so you slingshot him toward the battle. He reengages just as the second robo-jack attacks the other and you throw yourself back into the fray as well.
Tick tock. In your head the timeline marches forward unerringly to some inevitable end so why the hell do you even have these powers anyway? You can’t see the future, that’s Rose’s schtick, but somewhere in the fucked up core of your frankly ridiculously comfy godly pjs there’s a knot in your chest that knows there’s a bunch of loops coming up, meaning something’s about to go pearshaped, and you don’t want to fucking time travel anymore.
You know you’re going to have to. There are already too many Dead Daves, and Dead Daves are the worst. If you wanted to keep them from filling up the afterlife like some fucked up Dead Dave discount sale you had to dance the fucking time travel tango with the universe played the music.
Time Travel is supposed to be about agency right? Making your choice of when and where to interfere and then following through with the song and dance to placate paradox’s space’s fragile sense of control and tricking them into thinking it was their plan all along. It sure as hell didn’t feel like it to you. You feel like one of your bro’s goddamn smuppets being jerked around in a porno you wanted nothing to do with.
At least this knot feels like the end this time. You recover from where robo-cop tossed you away only to freeze at the scene in front of you. They were all lined up like dominos, Robo-jack had Pimp-jack who had Dirk by his neck all lined up like ducks in a freaking row. Right here. Unmoving. Distracted as Pimp-Jack did his best to suffocate Dirk who'd managed to get his sword up in an attempt to wedge it back. You could see the time-line unfolding in-front of you. Right here was the celtic knot that was the bane of your existence.
You can feel each millisecond as you hesitate, aware that each one was predetermined because the damn timeline knew you would hesitate. You feel the loops tightening around your neck like a noose. Like that goddamn crowbar nearly digging into your bro--Dirk’s throat. You know you have to complete the goddamn loops, and there’s only one way to see how the fuck you are going to manage it. You line the jumps up in your mind during your steadily dwindling window, as much as you hate your sparkly magic time powers you’ve got a good head for this shit and you’re just going to have to trust that it’s going to work out because fuck it--
You jump, your caledfwlch cleaving through white skin and black carapace like it ain’t no thing, nothing more than butter on a sweltering houston day, left on the roof for the crows to turn their noses up at. You feel the blood spatter on your face--is it Dirks is it jacks they all bleed red--but you can’t allow yourself to think about that. Nope not a goddamn thing. Don’t think about how keeping the Jacks in place for you to finish them off could possibly count as heroic, especially don’t think of the resolute expression that settled onto Dirk’s normally impassive face as he realized what you were doing. Don’t think about the possibility the the fucked up teenaged version of the bro who raised and abused you was not fucked up enough to think of some self-sacrificial bullshit at that very moment and ruin your chance of ever getting to know him better. What the hell was the use of being a god if doing something heroic would just get you killed off for good?
The ticking of the timeline dragged you away, surrounded by the spinning red lights of your freymotifs as you jumped once, twice, three times, memories slotting into your mind as they happened, of grabbing dirk--two sets of hands oh god he’s been beheaded and you did that --and getting them the hell out of there because you don’t like the way the crazy pimp-jack’s head is glowing.
But you are too late. You are too goddamn late because it explodes in a cacophony of squealing gears and shattering space and you suddenly know why there wasn’t anything after the knot. You throw yourself back and back but you can’t outrun it. You’ve lost Dirk you’ve lost yourself you barely manage to think about everyone else before the alpha timeline falls to pieces.
At least you can’t be doomed if nothing exists. It's a small comfort before you get torn to pieces.