AlternianDidact: I know this sounds like a weird question, but did we
AlternianDidact: Listen, this might sound weird, but were you
AlternianDidact: Hey, real big fan of your work! Did you by any chance
AlternianDidact: This is going to sound like an absolutely insane question, but
AlternianDidact: Listen I'm just going to come out and say it, did we
Fuck's sake, why was writing a simple private message so fucking hard?
Lucas had to have written twenty messages, and erased every single one without sending them. There just wasn't any way to ask something like "do you have the ability to walk into other people's dreams, and did you accidentally just show up in mine and get stuck in my head for a whole day" without it sounding like chaser behaviour, a really, really bad pickup line or just straight up mental health crisis material. Even typing the words out felt, in the most literal sense, completely insane.
In point of fact, Lucas couldn't be sure of anything that had happened yesterday. He'd been on a day-long caffeine bender after a recurring nightmare and two - maybe one and a half - hours of sleep. Sure, he couldn't possibly have known a random person's Tumult password, but maybe he'd imagined the whole thing. He'd somehow seen this account name in passing and his mind had just run with it, integrating it into some delusional waking dream about a buff hyena lady that could just show up in dreams and make his miserable life a little more interesting. Crazy things like this just didn't happen, and good things didn't happen to him.
Yeah, said a voice that was definitely an intrusive thought this time, who'd want to hang out with you?
There was no point in messaging a professional dominatrix from Philadelphia about the bizarre fever dream he'd had. Even if she was really hot. God, those pictures. She just wasn't at all ashamed of her body, was she? He wished his skincare routine was as good as hers. God, he wished he had the courage and the creativity to get tattoos like she had. Not a single cliche in her ink, it all looked custom-made. And those piercings. The eighteen bars, studs and rings in her ears hadn't been enough, she'd gotten two bars in each eyebrow, four rings on her bottom lip and one in her septum, two nose studs, and that was just the stuff above the neck. She had pierced nipples - on a chain, of course, and then when you got lower...
No. No. This was wrong. He shouldn't be keeping a mental inventory of her piercings like this. This was just leering. Even if she'd put these photos up with that intention, it somehow felt wrong to do this, like even if she wanted to be ogled he'd found her the wrong way. This felt voyeuristic in a way that she couldn't possibly have invited. He should just go, he should just...
Oh, she'd just posted another picture. Well, it couldn't hurt to just glance at it.
There she was, her hair dyed bright pink this time, dressed in ratty jeans and an old, beaten leather jacket. She hadn't bothered with makeup this time, and honestly she looked a little bit tired. She was winking at the camera, holding up a little sign written in black marker that said "To Lucas from London, who couldn't get me out of his mind. Offer still open!"
There was no way. There was just no way. Lucas stared at the image for what must've been ten minutes, just not doing anything. This was the proof, surely? That he hadn't imagined it all. That it hadn't been some fever dream. But he just couldn't believe it. It was just too impossible. To accept what he was seeing would be to accept that it all actually happened, that there actually existed a weird trans woman who could turn into a hyena who travelled in dreams, and that she had actually spent some time kicking around his head. "Lucas, you're insane" - that, at least, was a thing Lucas could comprehend, even if he was in no way emotionally prepared to deal with it. This somehow seemed to lead to a conclusion infinitely scarier: "Lucas, the universe is insane."
Almost on autopilot, he clicked on the little envelope button.
AlternianDidact: Hey, it's Lucas! Just saw your picture. Sorry I didn't message you sooner
No. Too forward. She'd know he'd been creeping her profile. He waited ten whole minutes before even thinking of another message.
AlternianDidact: Hey Myrrah, it's Lucas, I
Too direct? Was he really on first-name terms with her?
AlternianDidact: I saw your picture, and
No. Just no. Just don't mention the picture, Lucas. Stop being a creep.
AlternianDidact: It's Lucas, I
Wait, how would she actually know it was really him? She had 21,000 followers on Tumult. There had to be at least one other guy called Lucas from London who'd think she was talking to him.
AlternianDidact: Your old password was Zer0sc0p!cM4Ncubu$
What? No! No! How could he even think that was an appropriate thing to say?! Why did he even let himself type it out?! What a fucking creep he was!
AlternianDidact: It's Lucas! Thanks for the actual good night's sleep you gave me.
Just stop, Lucas, just stop, he told himself. Type like a normal human being! Treat her like a normal human being!
AlternianDidact: Hey, I had a question about your username.
Oh, for fuck's sake. He'd just typed the blandest, most boring thing imaginable, and worse, worse, that's what he had actually sent to her. This was it. This was a new low. He felt like an irredeemable fuck-up.
HypnospacePsychonaut: lmfao Lucas is that you
AlternianDidact: Yes.AlternianDidact: How did you know?HypnospacePsychonaut: Your location is listed as London and your handle is a HS reference nerd <3HypnospacePsychonaut: I've been in your head rememberAlternianDidact: Right.HypnospacePsychonaut: Took your time getting back to me huh ;DAlternianDidact: I'm sorry. I just didn't want to seem like a creep.HypnospacePsychonaut: Lmao the boy who's head I literally barged into uninvited is worried HE'S being a creepHypnospacePsychonaut: Honey you're fineHypnospacePsychonaut: I hope you slept well. Good dreams and such <3AlternianDidact: I did. First time in a while. Thank you.HypnospacePsychonaut: Aw, and he's polite too!~ You're welcome, Lucas.
That comment - "he's polite, too" - set him blushing. It sounded a little condescending, which he usually hated, but it didn't seem... malicious.
AlternianDidact: I don't really know what to talk about, though, other than to say thank you.HypnospacePsychonaut: You had a lot going on and it didn't seem good! I felt like you might want someone to talk to.AlternianDidact: I don't know, I felt like you'd probably be busy or something. Like you have clients, right?
Oh yeah, okay, the intrusive thoughts sneered. Yeah, just, you know, ask her about her sex work, right off the bat. Creep.
HypnospacePsychonaut: Babe of course I have clients but did you remember my professionHypnospacePsychonaut: I'm a fuckin pro-domme, bitches can wait when I tell them to waitHypnospacePsychonaut: This is Daddy Myrrah's time and Daddy Myrrah wants to spend it talking to *you*AlternianDidact is typing...HypnospacePsychonaut: Next you'll say some self-depricating shit and you're gonna stop typing it right now
Wait, what? How did she know?
HypnospacePsychonaut: Spent a day trapped in your head rememberHypnospacePsychonaut: This is the one condition of our conversation, LucasHypnospacePsychonaut: You can tell me about your problems, or the dark shit in your life, or any of the things that are bothering youHypnospacePsychonaut: You can even tell me about how sometimes you don't FEEL like anyone would want to spend time on youHypnospacePsychonaut: But I don't want to see you actually believing thatHypnospacePsychonaut: Watch your self-talkHypnospacePsychonaut: Understand me?HypnospacePsychonaut: (we can also just jam about nerd shit, things don't have to be heavy idk)
There was a long pause, while Lucas decided what to type. Eventually, Myrrah broke the digital silence.
HypnospacePsychonaut: I'm sorry did I come on a little too strong there?AlternianDidact: No, it's just... this is strange. This is all very strange for me, right? I've never had anything like this happen to me before.HypnospacePsychonaut: lmao I'd be pretty surprised if you hadHypnospacePsychonaut: It'd mean some bitch is biting my styleHypnospacePsychonaut: and I am the one who does the biting >8EHypnospacePsychonaut: As you may have seenAlternianDidact: I'm just going to come out and ask this. Are you a furry?HypnospacePsychonaut: lmfao of course I amHypnospacePsychonaut: do you think I chose my dream avatar at randomHypnospacePsychonaut: that's not gonna be a problem is itAlternianDidact: No. I'm a Homestuck. It's not exactly as if I'm in any position to judge.HypnospacePsychonaut: Good boy know your place >:3
There it was again, the blushing.
HypnospacePsychonaut: Actually btw it Occureth To Me that I never actually asked what your pronouns areHypnospacePsychonaut: I've been "boying" you the whole timeHypnospacePsychonaut: I just kinda assumed and that's my badAlternianDidact: No, that's fine. He/him, I'm a guy.
Huh, that was a bit weird. Why'd he hesitate so long before typing that?
AlternianDidact: I should probably list them in my bio?AlternianDidact: I just figured it's probably not important since I don't actually talk to that many people here and they all know meHypnospacePsychonaut: Nah that's fine! I'm just glad I wasn't misgendering you the whole timeHypnospacePsychonaut: We were stuck in a weird and seriously uncomfortable situation togetherHypnospacePsychonaut: And I just had this nagging thought afterwards that maybe I was making it worse!AlternianDidact: I'm sorry I acted so poorly towards you.HypnospacePsychonaut: lmao you didn't know you had a girl up inside your headHypnospacePsychonaut: It's not like I think you would've been as shitty if you'd known from the startHypnospacePsychonaut: But you would've had absolutely no reason to believe I was not another intrusive thoughtHypnospacePsychonaut: And honestly you would've had to go to sleep at some point anywayHypnospacePsychonaut: Honestly just glad you didn't actually try to stay awake for three days or something I'd probably have died lmao
That hit him like a bolt straight through the heart. His selfishness could actually have killed someone! What an absolute bastard.
AlternianDidact: Fuck I didn't even think about that.AlternianDidact: Fuck, I'm so sorry.AlternianDidact: God I feel like a piece of shit now.HypnospacePsychonaut: Hey hey hey remember the self-talk thingHypnospacePsychonaut: It is not exactly as if I am gonna hold you having an episode against youHypnospacePsychonaut: Besides it's not exactly reasonable for me to be likeHypnospacePsychonaut: "listen here u little shit did you consider the fact that you might have a whole ass lady trapped in your head who might die of thirst"HypnospacePsychonaut: that is not a regular ass thing you ask of a person now is it?
She was right, actually. When it was put to him that way, Lucas couldn't deny it.
HypnospacePsychonaut: Besides you thought I was an intrusive thought and you were making your intrusive thoughts eat shitHypnospacePsychonaut: And your intrusive thoughtsHypnospacePsychonaut: Deserve to eat shit >:DHypnospacePsychonaut: It was just an unfortunate coincidence that I happened to be in the line of fire at the timeAlternianDidact: You're right. I suppose it would be pretty weird for me to just randomly assume every intrusive thought is actually a professional dominatrix from Philadelphia.HypnospacePsychonaut: Damn rightAlternianDidact: It would be a pretty egotistical thing to believe.HypnospacePsychonaut: And honestly if anyone's apologising here it should be me!HypnospacePsychonaut: ngl dude I saw some stuff I probably didn't have any right to seeHypnospacePsychonaut: Nobody has a right to see you at your lowest and that's kind of where I came in, even if I didn't mean to!HypnospacePsychonaut: So I want you to know that my lips are sealed and I will never, ever tell anyone else anything I sawHypnospacePsychonaut: But if you want to talk about it, I will listen
Lucas spent a very long time thinking about what to type.
AlternianDidact: You remember I said I wanted to be an astronaut?HypnospacePsychonaut: Yeah and it was hella cool, I think you would make a great astronautAlternianDidact: I didn't just give it up because it was unrealistic, or because I was bullied out of it. I just...AlternianDidact: I stopped wanting it. I stopped setting my sights that high.AlternianDidact: So next I wanted to make video games.HypnospacePsychonaut: Hell yeah video game dev but also oof video game devAlternianDidact: But I didn't do so well at school.HypnospacePsychonaut: I hope you don't think it's because you're dumb because you're notAlternianDidact: No, I know I'm pretty intelligent.HypnospacePsychonaut: Hell yeah GST: Good Self TalkAlternianDidact: But school isn't really about intelligence.AlternianDidact: Or, to put it more precisely, it's about a very specific definition of intelligence, which is a round hole my square peg didn't fit into.HypnospacePsychonaut: LmfaoAlternianDidact: Fuck, I'm sorry, that must have sounded so pretentious.HypnospacePsychonaut: Oh fuck no honey no it's not that at allHypnospacePsychonaut: I am gonna let it slide just this once but I need you to know the consequences of using hole and peg metaphors in front of a domme.AlternianDidact: Right. Yes. Sorry.HypnospacePsychonaut: Do not apologise that is an order it's cute af
He was not blushing again. He was not blushing again. Was she making fun of him?
HypnospacePsychonaut: I'm sorry please continueAlternianDidact: I wanted to do Computer Science when I got to university.HypnospacePsychonaut: So what happened?AlternianDidact: I never got to university. I didn't even finish my A-levels.AlternianDidact: Those are the exams we do when we're 17 and 18 here in the UK? I don't know what the exact equivalent would be in America.HypnospacePsychonaut: Mmm sounds like high school diploma maybe?HypnospacePsychonaut: Doesn't matter I get the general vibeAlternianDidact: Well I didn't. Get the exam, I mean. Or the general vibe, I suppose. I think I was just burnt out after so many years of secondary school.HypnospacePsychonaut: High school is a shitAlternianDidact: I used to be really good at everything, back at the start. I'd get all my homework done on time, never got detention, got my coursework done, revised for exams.HypnospacePsychonaut: Oh I remember that.AlternianDidact: I can't remember when I started slipping. I think it was during the GCSE years? I didn't revise as much as I used to. Squeaked through with some okay grades but my teachers expected more from me and they didn't bother to hide their disappointment.AlternianDidact: Looking back, I blame the bullying for a lot of it. I think I stopped trusting almost any teacher when some of them joined in.AlternianDidact: But I didn't want to admit that the bullying had gotten to me, that it had thrown me so far off course that it had fucked up my future.HypnospacePsychonaut: You took the blame on yourself so that you would still have agency over the situation.HypnospacePsychonaut: You wanted likeHypnospacePsychonaut: The opposite of an excuseHypnospacePsychonaut: You tried to create a way to take responsibilityHypnospacePsychonaut: So that you could look back and say "yeah I should've done that differently"HypnospacePsychonaut: Because blaming yourself is somehow easier than admitting you just didn't have control over the situation.
There was another painfully long pause, in which Lucas said nothing because he was crying too hard. Fuck, was that all it took? Just admitting that being bullied into depression hadn't been his fault? Had that been the missing piece of the puzzle this whole fucking time?
HypnospacePsychonaut: yo LucasHypnospacePsychonaut: you okay friendoAlternianDidact: I'm sorry.AlternianDidact: I just don't know.AlternianDidact: Was there really nothing more I could've done?HypnospacePsychonaut: Lucas it's not your fault you got bullied and it's not your fault your teachers failed youHypnospacePsychonaut: THey were bad people, not youHypnospacePsychonaut: God has nobody ever actually said that to you?HypnospacePsychonaut: The people who bullied you were just bad people LucasHypnospacePsychonaut: The teachers who didn't stop them were failures, not youHypnospacePsychonaut: And EVEN IFHypnospacePsychonaut: EVEN IF there was some magical set of words you could've saidHypnospacePsychonaut: or things you could've doneHypnospacePsychonaut: It wasn't your responsibility to find itAlternianDidact: I'm sorry.AlternianDidact: I have to go.HypnospacePsychonaut: Babe I'm sorry I shouldn't have pushed you so hard to talk about itHypnospacePsychonaut: I will still be here if you need to talk later
Lucas closed his browser, shut down his PC and crawled into bed, not even bothering to take his clothes off.