June 1st, 2016

green riverscape

Second Best by NoBrandHero (Teen)

Title: Second Best
Fandom: Homestuck
Pairing: Past Jade/ Davesprite, (Beta Strider Family Gen)
Categories: Angst, Character Study, Family
Length: Epic
Warnings: Depression, Betrayal, Unhealthy Relationships, Past Character Death and Suicide

Author Website: Dreamwidth Tumblr

Author’s Summary:
Dave doesn't survive the game. Davesprite does. When Sburb's endgame door sends the kids to a reset Earth, Davesprite finds himself restored as the Default Dave because Sburb doesn't care about anyone's survivor's guilt.

Review:
Probably the earliest incident in "Homestuck" that strikes me as truly horrific, rather than merely sad or morbid, is when Dave's power as the Knight of Time is revealed. Suddenly, there are Dave corpses all over the place. And the moment I started to rationalise away the profligate child deaths, Davesprite appears and reveals not just Terezi's murderous gambit, but his own abandonment of his Rose and well-planned suicide. (And the horror just set up shop.) So I was quite intrigued by a story about Davesprite.

"Second Best" is written before John's retcon, after the Alpha kids introduction; set post-game where the Beta kids are returned to the world they left, complete with occupants and their guardians. The story bills itself as emotional hurt/ comfort and this is entirely accurate. Davesprite stays in his apartment with a parent figure who discourages emotional communication and deals with one emotional blow after another. Throughout, there is the jarring duality of Davesprite and the not-doomed-Dave that Davesprite never met. Sympathy is easy even when Davesprite is lashing out or setting himself up to fail. "Second Best" also verges on being a character study of canon Davesprite (and Dave), delving into their canon issues and coping methods. Details like Davesprite thinking colloquially but briskly while talking in long, rambling metaphors really make the story work, echoing canon Dave's defensiveness and building upon it.

As the story progresses, we also get the (Beta) Strider-Lalonde family figuring out how to be a family, which is both full of interesting parallels and sweetly awkward. As Davesprite is the narator, we see his family through his interpretations, personal relationships and interests. This focus means their characterisations is often conveyed narrowly but vividly in telling details.

Second Best