Negative Space @gummywyrms
Negative Space This is an updated version of the original story that was first posted on AO3! Mostly just small grammar/spelling errors and slight changes to make the story flow more smoothly.

The telly head held the small, unconscious girl cautiously in his arms, examining her delicately for any injuries. She seemed alright, although she must’ve hit her head after the fall. He took this quiet moment to try and recollect what had just happened.

He had been awoken, unfortunately, to find himself face down with the small brunette lying nearby, angry Regrets fluttering about.

They had been swooping and diving at the poor girl, squawking with the fury of a thousand suns as they pecked at her head. He had only come to consciousness, however, when all the commotion had attracted a much larger Remorse, having swept down to scoop up the child in its talons.

They had been swooping and diving at the poor girl, squawking with the fury of a thousand suns as they pecked at her head. He had only come to consciousness, however, when all the commotion had attracted a much larger Remorse, having swept down to scoop up the child in its talons.

They had been swooping and diving at the poor girl, squawking with the fury of a thousand suns as they pecked at her head. He had only come to consciousness, however, when all the commotion had attracted a much larger Remorse, having swept down to scoop up the child in its talons.

Everything after that was a bit of a blur for him, having been driven entirely by emotion and instinct at that point. He had remembered tackling the creature and trying to wrestle his assumed charge out of its claws. At some point, they had both toppled to the ground, him tightly clutching her tiny body to his chest as he slammed into the ground, falling unconscious from the pain that wracked his body.

He had no clue how long he had been out, but it was getting dark and his host hadn’t attempted to take back the body. He let out a staticy sigh as he held the child (Hero was her name he was fairly sure) close to him. He trudged along the rocky terrain, eye darting about as he examined the landscape for anything that could be deemed as shelter.

It didn’t take him long, much to his relief, to spot a large cave, surrounded by a few trees. A perfect resting spot, as far as he was concerned. He hustled over to find it was fairly dry as well. Nice, dark, quiet. He needed that right now. He thought she might, too.

The inside of the cave had stalactites and stalagmites everywhere, jutting out like the snaggle-teeth of some strange monster. He could hear the distant drip of water from deeper within the cave, his footsteps echoing as he scoped out a safe place to put Hero.

Eventually, he decided on a large group of stalagmites, clustered off to the side of the cave. With utmost care, he set her down, removing his jacket and wrapping her in it tightly. There. Now she’d be safe.

With that, he let his instincts guide him once more as he drifted off into his thoughts, plodding off deeper into the cave.

He was… Unsure what to do now. He had become so used to being in danger. The man who shared their body died (or, at least, that’s what he was fairly sure happened) and he woke up in terrible danger. Fears, Griefs, a storm of Nothing. It had become the norm for him, and he was tired of it, to say the least.

As soon as the danger had passed, the host (he’s pretty sure his name is RGB? Weird name.) rescinded control over the body that was rightfully his. He was shoved to the back of their shared consciousness, left to either rot or emerge once again when they needed defending.

He didn’t notice his hands balling up into fists as his thoughts drifted. To how he was, at best, a defense mechanism and nothing more. He had no purpose otherwise. He was constantly on edge, constantly living in fear of the next terrible threat. He knew nobody personally, only knowing of the people RGB knew because he had access to bits and pieces of his memories and personal experiences. Even then, they were only fragments, and that was when they weren’t blurred beyond recognition.

His attempt at connecting with someone, anyone, had failed miserably. That girl. That poor girl, RGB had swept her from her bedroom and dragged her here. For what purpose he couldn’t figure. The memories said something about an apocalypse, that he was certain. To make it worse, he could tell she was terrified of him. He couldn’t interact with her if he tried.

He was alone.

At this point, his entire body was trembling. He slid down one of the caves walls into a sitting position, feeling the emotions clawing their way up his non-existent throat and rushing through the rest of his body as the adrenaline wore off. He could feel the pain and exhaustion seeping into his tired limbs.

He was tired. He was scared.

No use holding back now.

---

Hero awoke to the gentle patter of rain echoing throughout the cavern. Everything seemed peaceful and quiet, except for her head, which was screaming in pain.

She sat there, clutching her head until the pain resided to a dull throb. Then, slowly but surely, she sat up, blinking as she attempted to adjust to the darkness.

She was in… A cave? Yes. A cave. She was surrounded by those big pointy rocks that jutted up from the ground. She could never remember the names of them, but she had heard them on TV once in a documentary. Stala-somethings. Whatever, that wasn’t important right now.

She was warm. She was wrapped in something quite soft, as far as her small hands could tell. It was a familiar, pleasant texture, albeit a staticy one. A jacket. RGB’s jacket.

Wait.

Where was RGB?

She leapt up, readjusting the jacket into a cape of sorts as she scrambled her way out of the stony nest she had been placed in. She squinted, trying to catch a glimpse of his luminescent screen in the dim light. When that didn’t work, she scrunched up her face, listening hard for the familiar buzzing sound he always made.

She was met with nothing but the same rain pattering down and the faint drip of water from further into the cave.

Scratching her head, she thought for a minute. Where could her guide have gone? Could he have retreated further into the cave? It was raining outside, and she knew he hated rain. However, the persistent drip that echoed through the cavern made her realize there would be water back there too.

Maybe, she thought, there was something back there that he had been looking for? She hoped so. It would be a silly decision to make otherwise, she thought to herself.

With that, she trotted off into the depths of the cave, calling RGB’s name. As she searched for her friend, she thought back on what had happened. She could recall being attacked by angry, bird-like creatures. At some point, she had found herself scooped up and lifted into the air by tight claws, a static-y screech and whatever was holding her squawking furiously as somebody beat it down. She was pretty sure they had fallen, which might explain why her head hurt so much.

She thought back on her savior. She hadn’t gotten a good look at him, but she could only assume it had been RGB, although he had been swept up and dropped like a rock from quite a great height only minutes earlier by the bigger of the bird monsters. It was unlike him to attack something willingly, but no one else had been around. Unless…

No. He couldn’t have. She perished the thought.

She was swept back into reality as she the faint sound of static electricity, muffled by cloth, reached her ears. A sound she had become quite accustomed to at this point. The sound of RGB.

She hurried in the direction of that little buzz, her shoes clomping on the hard ground and sending small stones scattering about. Then, she skidded to a halt. Now that she was closer, she could hear the erratic bursts of harsh noise that seemed to ring through the air, interrupting the calming buzz. It sounded painful and… almost like a sob, if she really strained her ears.

Something was wrong,

Was RGB hurt? Was he dying? Was this another creature entirely?

She wasn’t sure.

She wasn’t quite sure she wanted to find out, either.

But she didn’t really have a choice, now did she?

Instinctively clutching her makeshift cape closer to her, she began to approach the noise again, this time with much more caution. Closer, closer, closer still, the nearer she got, the more it sounded like a strange, quiet sobbing.

She didn’t know how long she had been tiptoeing her way towards the source, but eventually she noted that this part of the cavern seemed to have a few holes where dim light peered through, allowing her to actually see again. Rain fell through these holes, making a pleasant pattering noise and leaving puddles. Were she not so focused on the task at hand, she might have taken the time to splash around in them.

It wasn’t long until she noted that she felt very close. There was static in the air and the bursts seemed far less quiet. In the faint light, she could see a familiar figure huddled up against the wall, looking pathetically small and helpless.

“RGB?”

--- 

He didn’t know if he would’ve been able to hold it back, even if he tried. The bottled up emotions were all too much, having come flooding out as his body wracked with sobs.

Inky black liquid covered his already dark gloves and dripped to the ground. He didn’t try to stop that either.

He wasn’t sure if all of these emotions were even his own, some felt as if they had been bottled and shelved so long ago they had begun to collect dust. He didn’t care.

He just let everything flow, coming toppling out like water from a broken dam. It hurt a bit to cry, maybe because he had been holding back his emotions for so long. That didn’t matter to him.

He heard somebody say something. A name. Not one that was his, but a familiar one nonetheless. Used by a voice that had never been used to address him, but one he knew all the same.

He straightened up a bit, shifting into a comfortable position. He tried to brush the blood (tears?) off of his gloves, antennas twitching in nervousness. He didn’t want to look at her, to frighten her. She’d been through enough.

“RGB?”

A pause. “Are you okay?”

---

Her friend didn’t respond.

At first, Hero thought he had been trying to come up with a witty response of some kind. To reassure her he was perfectly fine, don’t worry about it!

Which she would have known was a lie. He had been crying. Quite hard, in fact. And despite what RGB believed, he wasn’t that good of a liar.

She watched him, his breathing heavy. She could tell he was trying not to go into another fit. She examined his antennas as they drooped sadly.

Without really thinking, she dove onto him from behind, wrapping him in a hug. He was pleasantly warm to the touch.

He seemed alarmed at this, but after a few moments remaining stiff as a board, he sort of melted into it, so to speak. She scooted around to his front to better hug him. She felt as he cautiously wrapped his arms around her, holding her with gentle firmness. The two of them sat there in peaceful, comfortable quiet for a few moments, saying nothing

Then she looked up.

Gazing down at her from the darkness was a singular, large eye. It pierced the shadows with its glow.

This wasn’t RGB.

She leapt back, heart pounding, and he let her. Sitting in an odd position on the floor was one of the few things she was ever so afraid of. The silent, looming monster that kept coming back to haunt her.

And yet.

He looked rather pathetic. Rather… Sad.

His eye seemed to grow wobbly, almost like a cartoon character on the brink of tears. In fact, now that Hero thought about it, he had been crying only moments before.

While she had no idea why, she couldn’t blame him. She wanted to cry a lot too.

He slouched, putting his head in his hands and let out a quiet noise, almost like a sigh, diverting his gaze away from her, almost as if he hoped he would scare her less by doing so.

He seemed harmless enough, she decided. He looked far less terrifying like this, although she was nonetheless nervous.

Slowly, she scooted over to the monochromatic man. He turned his head and gazed at her in a way that almost seemed apologetic.

Once they were only a few inches apart, she cautiously reached out, grabbing his hand and holding it tightly. He seemed to jump a bit, and in turn, she flinched.

Once again, he stiffened up for a moment, something like guilt crossing his features as he watched her flinch back, but her grip remained firm. Ever so slowly, however, he relaxed, beginning to embrace it like someone who hadn’t had any physical contact in years. His sturdy grip felt warm and comforting. Hero felt herself relax in turn.

She scooted even closer, ending with her leaning on him as she curiously examined his every detail. In turn, he watched her lift his hands to compare them to her own and smushed her face against his arm to listen to the static. To his surprise, she was pretty warm.

After a few minutes of this, Hero straightened up and stared at him.

“What ARE you?”

That took him a bit off guard, but it was… a good question actually. He stared at his free hand, thinking for a moment. Then he just shrugged nonchalantly. He had… No idea, honestly.

Hero squinted. “You… don’t know?” she scratched the back of her neck. “Then… are you a monster?”

He once again looked contemplative again, before doing a so-so sign with his hands. A soft, static-y noise came from his speakers. To Hero, it sounded almost like a “probably”.

“Okay. Are you… are you RGB?”

He shook his head almost immediately, no hesitation on that. Hero nodded. She should’ve assumed he wasn’t RGB. He certainly didn’t feel like him. Didn’t talk nearly enough.

“What’s your name, then?”He narrowed his eye. A name? He hadn’t ever had time for a name. Yet now he seemed to, seeing as RGB himself was taking his sweet time to make a comeback.

He made an incoherent noise and shrugged, but this time with more feeling. He was getting tired of shrugging.

“Do you not… have one?” 

A nod.

“Oh… Then we can give you one!”

And so, the young girl began going through different names. The television man tilted his head, watching her as she rambled. Eventually, she ran out of names.

She pouted. “None of those feel right!”

She willed herself to look up at him, flinching under the frightening gaze. Then she noticed something, just as he seemed to notice her fear and look away.

She hopped up, grabbing his telly head and turning it back towards her. His antennas wiggled in startled confusion. She braced herself as she met his disconcerting, harsh gaze, then began to examine his knobs.

The colors had been reversed, although she knew their functions hadn’t. She’d used the channel changing one before when he was like this. She could feel his eye following her as she cautiously reached towards them.

He flinched, prepared for her to change his channels as she had done before, but she just lightly brushed them, mumbling to herself.

“They’re like… minus signs…. Minus… Subtract… Negative…” Then, she seemed to come to a realization. “Negative!”

The telly man made a strange, confused sounding noise in response, so she backed up and prepared to explain.

“So you’re- so you’re not RGB. B-but! You’re the- the the the- the opposite of him! His uh. Inverse? Is that the word?” He nodded, so she continued, all the while gesturing wildly. “Uh. An’ when- an’ when something is. Inverted. It’s- It’s like- negative, right?” This time, a so-so gesture with one hand. Close enough, she decided.

“So, that means- that means you’re Negative!”

He tilted his head, looking thoughtful.

“Do you- do you like that name?”

After a moment of silence, he clapped his hands together and nodded. He seemed enthused at the idea. Hero smiled.

And then, she yawned. Satisfied with her work, and now seeming to realize how tired she was, she crawled into Negatives lap, curling up like a sleepy cat, much to his alarm. He hadn’t expected her to willingly do this, but then again, he supposed, the tired mind didn’t always think things through.

Cautiously, he reached out and patted her gently, ruffling her hair as she began to drift off. Leaning back against the hard stone wall of the cavern, he let out a soft, static-y sigh and closed his eye.

---

RGB awoke with a start.

The first thing he noticed was his pounding head, which he went to clutch in some strange, desperate hope that the pain would go away quickly and quietly.

The second thing was his surroundings. He could deduce he was in a cave, but he couldn’t at all recall coming here. The last thing he could remember was being grabbed by a Remorse- oh god the Remorse.

He attempted to leap up, to call Hero’s name, but his invisible throat felt unusually sore and raspy. That, and there was a small weight in his lap. These were the third things he noticed.

The fourth, an unusual sense of calmness. No emotions prying at him, just quiet relief. As if those bottled up feelings had been used as molotov cocktails, leaving nothing but scorch marks where they had struck, having burned away all remnants of whatever had been there.

It was… a nice feeling. One he hadn’t felt in a long time.

He glanced down to inspect whatever was in his lap and was met with exactly what he should’ve expected, a small girl, wrapped up in his coat, looking ever so peaceful.

This was met with frustration. He had told her time and time again that he wasn’t a mattress and that she most certainly shouldn’t sleep so close to him. (Even if this was all very cute.)

He shook her gently, and she shifted, stretched and yawned, staring up at him.

“Mmnn… Neg- oh. G’morning RGB.”

At this, his mind was now racked with another question. What was she going to say? He brushed this off for now, putting on his best frown.

“Hero…”

“What?”

He simply gestured to the both of them before crossing his arms and letting out a huff.

“Oh! Sorry.” She hopped up and out of his lap.

He stood, stretching his stiff limbs in exaggerated motions before scowling down at her once more, hands on his hips.

“How many times have I told you that I am not a mattress?”

“A lot.”

“And how many times have I told you not to dream near me?”

“A lot.”

He leaned back on the cave wall, looking as cross as he could manage. “The last thing I need is more of… whatever dreams do to me!”

“Well, did they?”

“Pardon?”

“Did they do the thing this time?”

At this, RGB paused.

Had they?

He shook his head, uncertainty clawing at the back of his mind. No. No they hadn’t.

“Well, that’s okay then!” Hero piped up, untying his coat from around her neck and holding it up to him. “Maybe he had them for you!”

He took it, trying to process the statement. “...he?”

test test test? did this work? i have no idea. this websites a bit buggy hahaha. hiiii im reposting this here bc ao3 is Baaaddd and i wanted to figure out how posting works. this is also the first fic in the tpoh tag here! neat, huh? fun fact: almost posted this with a draft from the wrong fic, you know, like a dumbass.
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