Fan Fic / Herding Cats
is a Homestuck Fan Fic
Nepeta has completed all of her tasks in her portion of the game and goes to confront her Denizen, Psyche. Psyche declines to fight Nepeta, but offers instead to give Nepeta an important task. As the Hero of Heart, Nepeta must ship all 12 of her fellow trolls (including herself) until they each have a matesprit
and a moirail.
Psyche reveals that they're in a doomed timeline, but offers to keep the timeline from being destroyed like the other doomed timelines while Nepeta completes her task, and that this timeline can even exist permanently if Nepeta succeeds. Psyche has 3 conditions: 1) Nepeta must only use her heart powers to guide, not force, her fellow trolls into relationships, 2) she must tell no one why she's doing this, and 3) she must save the matespritship for herself and the boy she loves, Karkat, for last, and tell no one of her feelings for him until it's time.
So Nepeta posts a memo she calls "The Shipping Wall". Vriska
immediately shows up to mock and laugh at her attempts to ship everybody, saying Karkat would go ballistic over it. But Karkat shows up and actually approves of the idea, mainly because he's spent a week having to put up with everybody's relationship problems, and is so sick of it he's more than eager to foist the task onto Nepeta. He even orders her to ship Vriska first, mainly to keep every memo from devolving into Vriskachat.
And so Nepeta starts her epic shipping quest! Hilarity Ensues
! Complications arise! Trolls become pale or flushed for each other! Black rom and ashen even enter the picture!
This Nepeta Quest 2012 is one of the longest Homestuck fanfics out there and at currently 31 chapters and nearly 500,000 words is STILL a WIP. Fortunately, it updates fairly regularly (usually a new chapter is added between one and two weeks). It's length is justified because while Nepeta is the main character, all 12 trolls have important roles to play, and all 12 of them will have all 4 of their quadrants filled. This means no fewer than 22 different relationships (6 moirallegiances, 6 matespritships, 6 kismessitudes, and 4 auspitices) will be explored in this Door Stopper
of a tale, with only one of them, the moirallegiance of Nepeta/Equius already stable from the start. So far all of these troll romances have happened or are about to happen. According to the author, there are just two epilogue chapters remaining.All regular personality tropes for the 12 trolls apply here until they no longer do.
>Story: Have tropes
- Adorkable: How Terezi feels for Eridan.
- Aliens Made Them Do It: Double Subverted. Psyche's rules state that Nepeta can't force the trolls to fall in love or tell anyone that their lives are on the line. On the other hand, Nepeta knows that if she doesn't ship everyone, Psyche will allow their timeline to fall out of existence, so at the very least this trope applies to her.
- Seemingly played straight in Chapter 13 when Equius nearly gets Nepeta to admit her feelings for Karkat. Just as she's about to in her pesterlog she types "not the right time" in familiar pink typeface of Psyche's lines from Chapter 1. Nepeta's confusion after that suggests that at that moment, Psyche briefly possessed Nepeta to keep her from breaking one of her three conditions.
- It is implied that this is more of Psyche subtly telling her that this isn't the right time by nudging her response, as it shows up a lot more in chapter 26 when Karkat declares his feelings for Nepeta
- Alpha Bitch: Vriska, of course, but only at first.
- Alternate Universe Fic: With the in-universe explanation of alternate/doomed timelines. This story takes place in a doomed timeline, that may not be so doomed after all.
- Amateur Sleuth: Aradia. She knows this is a doomed timeline, is mystified by why it isn't being destroyed, and is determined to find out the truth. Terezi later starts helping her out.
- Anguished Declaration of Moirallegiance: Terezi to Aradia.
- And later Karkat to Nepeta.
- Arc Number: Nepeta is typically associated with the number 33, and there will be 33 chapters once the fic is finished.
- Ascended Extra: This is one of many fan works that takes Nepeta, described by her own creator as an "expendable character", and makes her the main character.
- Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: As in Homestuck, dying on your quest bed results in ascending to God Tier, coming back as a near immortal. Since this fic takes place soon after the events shown in Act 5 Act 1, Vriska's already done this at the start of this fic. By Chapter 31 all 12 trolls have ascended to God Tier.
- Axe Crazy: Gamzee goes through this, but unlike the Alpha Timeline, he's calmed down before he can kill anyone, thanks to Tavros' epic slam poetry.
- Bi the Way: Nepeta's equal opportunity in suggesting matespritships of the same gender. Among the other trolls, the one most Bi is Vriska, who even after happily becoming matesprits with Kanaya, still has some flushed feelings for Tavros.
- Equius is a subversion. At first, he wants Nepeta to ship him with Gamzee, but that's only because Gamzee is a highblood. Equius admits he likes nothing else about Gamzee, and later becomes his kismesis.
- Recently, Eridan, despite having a matesprit in Terezi, has got caught up in a "flushed infidelity" with his moirail, Gamzee. Gamzee's matesprit, Tavros is actually relieved to hear this since it now means he and Virska can act out their flushed feelings for each other.
- And now Terezi's getting into it with Aradia.
- And now thanks to another maroonion, Sollux is riding the bi-cycle.
- Break His Heart to Save Him: In a way. Terezi is being deliberately obnoxius and insulting at Karkat's outburst mainly to try to get him to stop being flushed for her. It works all too well, resulting in the Karkat/Terezi kissmesitude.
- Brick Joke: In Nepeta's first Shipping Wall memo, Vriska at her bitchiest declares that if she ever finds herself making a cat pun, she'll hang herself. Instantly Terezi "FIVE DAYS FROM NOW" shows up on the memo and asks for Vriska's neck size. Kanaya gives it and Terezi leaves. Five days later, at another Shipping Wall memo, a now successfully shipped and much nicer Vriska offhandedly makes a cat pun. Terezi promptly presents her with a cat collar to wear instead of a noose.
- After they become matespirits, Kanaya and Vriska explain an 'absence' as having to fight off a sudden basilisk attack. Later, Karkat and Kanaya are attacked by basilisks for real. Kanaya is killed, and ascends to the God Tiers.
- Butt Monkey: Equius seems to take a lot of abuse, particularly from Gamzee. Tavros gives him a lot of crap too until they enter into an auspistice together with Eridan mediating.
- Even then, he still gives and takes a lot of shit from (and to) them.
- Can't Spit It Out: Sollux is like this in all of his relationships, which is especially frustrating for Feferi (she'd be just as happy to be his moirail or matesprit, but which is it? that's what she claims, but it turns out she just wanted to be Sollux's moirail all along) and Vriska (who wants to be his kismesis).
- Terezi is also having this problem in trying to become Aradia's moirail. She gets better at it.
- Character Development: The trolls are able to improve once they have matesprits and moirails.
- Chick Magnet: Sollux seems to be one of these. Lampshaded by several characters who think that the way he treats the women in his life also makes him a bit of a Kavorka Man.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Everybody, but Vriska and Kanaya take the cake.
- The Courtroom Index: Chapter 15 with the mock trial of Nepeta uses quite a few tropes from this index:
- Ambulance Chaser: Eridan tries to claim that he's the Alternian maritime equivalent, a "submarine chaser". No one buys it.
- Courtroom Episode: What Chapter 15 is all about.
- Decoy Trial: No one seriously believes that Nepeta was trying to murder Eridan as charged. They're just trying to get her to admit that she and Eridan are now kismeses.
- Hanging Judge: Feferi but more for the 2 rebels in the audience, Tavros and Gamzee than for Nepeta.
- Kangaroo Court: Tavros accuses this trial of being a "kangaram" court.
- Penultimate Outburst: From Tavros.
- Stock Legal Phrases:
- Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you "Her Imperious Condescension"?
- How do you plead?
- I plead the fifth. Eridan makes this without knowing what it's called.
- Objection! Defendant is quite clearly "muskbeasting" the witness!
- Objection! Relevancy.
- Permission to treat the witness as hostile? (To which Feferi responds "This is an Alternian courtblock. You ALWAYS have permission to treat the witness as hostile!")
- Silence! Order in the "courtblock"!
- Artistic License – Law:
- Courtroom Antic:
- Accuse the Witness: Nepeta accuses Eridan of faking her bloodstains on his coat.
- The Perry Mason Method: How Nepeta is forced to admit she's Eridan's kismesis.
- Smoking Gun: Done twice against Nepeta. First, video footage of her hive shows her leaving on the night in question when she tries to claim she spent the entire night at her hive. She then changes her story, by claiming she went out to go on some game quests. Terezi then produces the video footage of her attacking Eridan.
- A Day in the Limelight: The "Sidelines" chapters are notably Nepeta-less.
- Death by Sex: Sollux's eyes explode during a round of hatesex with Vriska. Subverted in that he's brought to his Quest Bed and then ascends... and then they get right back to it.
- Feferi accidentally kills Equius during sex because they were trying erotic asphyxiation and he didn't use the safe-word. Like Sollux, he's taken to his Quest Bed and ascends.
- Death Is Dramatic: Discussed and deconstructed by Vriska, of all people, who argues that killing off characters doesn't necessarily make a story more interesting.
- Deus ex Machina: Psyche, keeping this doomed timeline from being destroyed.
- Did They or Didn't They?: Did Feferi get into a threesome with Sollux and Aradia? Feferi insistently denies it while Sollux and Aradia lather on the innuendos and winking emoticons like this: " ;)" .
- Driven to Suicide: Sollux when the Aradiabot explodes. This leads to:
- Everybody Lives: Seems to be one of the main goals of this fic. No one's died so far at any rate. (Well, not permanently.)
- Evil Counterpart: Eridan becomes this for Nepeta, the blackrom shipper to Nepeta's redrom shipping.
- Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Mentioned by name (sort of) by Eridan in chapter 13.
- The First Cut Is the Deepest: Eridan for Feferi, Karkat for Terezi.
- In the end, Terezi for Karkat as well. Their failed flushed feelings for each other results in their kismessitude.
- Fix Fic: A Homestuck where the trolls manage to get their relationship shit together.
- Foreshadowing: Quite a lot of it, to the point where it isn't much of a spoiler which couples are paired off as matesprits, moirails, and even kismeses. The main suspense is seeing how they all get there.
- Friendly Rivalry: According to Eridan and Terezi, this is what the relationship a troll is supposed to have with their kismesis. Terezi even uses these exact words to describe it.
- Nepeta/Eridan, Vriska/Sollux, Tavros/Aradia, Kanaya/Feferi, Equius/Gamzee and Karkat/Terezi have all been confirmed to be kismeses.
- Friends with Benefits: Or " 'rails with pails" as Vriska calls them. It's happened with Eridan/Gamzee, Vriska/Tavros, and Terezi/Aradia, and may or may not have already happened with Sollux/Feferi.
- ''->"CC: But t)(en, t)(at is )(ardly t)(e ONLY TA I've forked in t)(e past couple of days!!" As of this suggestive line in the beginning of chapter 26, it is fair to say that Sollux/Feferi is explicitly implied. In explanation, Sollux's trollian handle is twinArmageddons, and is shortened by the chat client to TA. A "TA" which Feferi has apparently forked.
- Gender Flip: Possibly Eridan and Terezi; at one point they refer to each other as "Miss Ampora" and "Mister Pyrope" though whether this actually has any meaning remains to be seen.
- Heel–Face Turn: Vriska's much nicer once she becomes successfully shipped.
- Both Mindfang and Dualscar in "The Death of Spinneret Mindfang".
- Heroic BSOD: Nepeta experiences this over realizing she's hurt Karkat in shipping Terezi with Eridan.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners / Platonic Life Partners: The moirails. We have Nepeta/Equius, Vriska/Tavros, Gamzee/Eridan, Terezi/Aradia, Sollux/Feferi and Karkat/Kanaya. The moirails of the same gender (Gamzee/Eridan, Terezi/Aradia) are HLPs, while the moirails of different genders (Nepeta/Equius, Vriska/Tavros, Sollux/Feferi, Karkat/Kanaya) are PLPs.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Inverted. Eridan tries to pull this mostly for Karkat's sake rather than Terezi's.
- Played painfully straight with Aradia in regards to Sollux.
- And Equius to Aradia- he breaks up with her because he knew neither of them were really happy and he wanted her to be happy.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Apparently when a troll gets a matesprit, it's their moirail's duty to give the matesprit this speech.
- It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Sollux gives this speech to Feferi, and spends several chapters trying to use this to drive Vriska away from her.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Eridan really does care for Gamzee and Karkat, and he manages to win over Terezi by being nice to her.
- Just Friends: Given the specific quadrant take. It turns out that, pre-game, Tavros was flushed for Aradia while Aradia was pale for Tavros. And even though, thanks to Nepeta, Tavros now has a matesprit and Aradia now has a moirail they're both happy with, they still have partial flushed/pale feelings for each other. It's the frustration that arises from these incompatible feelings that's one reason they are now kismesis to each other (see Took a Level in Jerkass below for the other reason).
- Kangaroo Court: Nepeta is on trial for the attempted murder of Eridan when Tavros leaves, accusing the others of holding a "kangaram court". He's correct, but everyone else was just trying to get Nepeta to admit her caliginous feelings for Eridan, not actually prosecute her.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Tavros takes this attitude at the start of the Chapter 23 FLARPing session. The results are just as good as you'd expect.
- Loving a Shadow: Eridan for Feferi.
- It also turns out this is why Sollux wouldn't commit to what his relationship was with Feferi. Sollux had been flushed for Aradia all along, but thought she was now unobtainable after she got killed and her spirit possessed a robot. Feferi, with her cheerful, friendly personality, reminded Sollux of the way Aradia used to be. So he was trying to become flushed for Feferi and become her matesprit. It wasn't working.
- The Matchmaker: Nepeta's task.
- Mood Whiplash: Chapter 12 is largely a memo celebration of the matespritship of Eridan/Terezi. Everyone (except Sollux) seems to be having a great time...and then a heartbroken Karkat shows up with his outburst.
- Chapter 19 has a lot of this. It starts off as an adventure where Nepeta and Feferi travel to Derse to retrieve Aradia's dreamself, goes to heartwarming as Sollux and Aradia (still in robot form) reveal their flushed feelings for each other, turns to horrific when the Aradiabot explodes and Sollux tries to kill himself, switches back to heartwarming when Aradia rescues Sollux and he gets both of his red quadrants filled, and ends on kinky.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Both Nepeta and Eridan feel this way when they realize how much Karkat was flushed for Terezi.
- Official Couple: The matesprits: Vriska/Kanaya, Tavros/Gamzee, Eridan/Terezi, Sollux/Aradia, Equius/Feferi and Karkat/Nepeta.
- OT 3: Vriska ships Mindfang/Dolorosa/Summoner. In the context of her FLARP session's post-Heel–Face Turn Mindfang, anyway.
- Vriska would also like to have this with Kanaya and Tavros.
- And it may or may not have happened with Aradia/Sollux/Feferi.
- A caliginous one occured between Vriska and Sollux/Aradia.
- And now Sollux/Aradia have another one with Tavros.
- Another has happened as of chapter 26, with Nepeta, Eridan, and Terezi.
- It seems Aradia and Sollux are trying to spread this to everyone, with a moirail/matesprit version too.
- Eridan is asked if his Auspistice sessions with Equius and Tavros result in this. He replies, "Not all of them."
- Chapter 28 leads to BOTH a threesome AND a foursome that are discussed in more detail in Chapter 29.
- The threesome is Kanaya/Vriska/Feferi.
- The foursome is Gamzee/Equius/Tavros/Eridan.
- OOC Is Serious Business: When Nepeta drops the cat puns (and in the pesterlogs/memoes, her :33< emoticons), it means she's REALLY upset.
- Poor Communication Kills: Terezi gets Aradia to come to Sollux so they can reveal their flushed feelings for each other. At the same time, Feferi goes to Derse to elevate Aradia's dreamself to God Tier, bringing her fully back to life. Two good plans that result in the Aradiabot blowing up in front of Sollux driving him to attempt suicide.
- Porn Without Plot: Not this fic, but Nepeta once wrote one of Feferi/Vriska.
- And another of Vriska/Sollux, and a third of herself/Karkat.
- Running Gag: A few.
- Gamzee's constantly changing guesses as to what his consorts are.
- People's comments on Nepeta's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Eridan.
- Names for the various romances that the trolls participate, always ending in a reacharound and "is that really the name?"
- Gamzee talking about Equius and accidentally making sexual statements, such as saying he had to 'undress' him (when he meant 'dress down').
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: What Nepeta argues with Aradia on preserving this doomed timeline.
- Shipper on Deck: Nepeta, of course. Terezi becomes a black shipper of Nepeta/Eridan after reading Nepeta's "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- Shout-Out: A few.
- When Tavros talks about becoming Gamzee's matesprit:
CAT: bUT i JUST TOLD MYSELF, lOOK,
CAA: and maybe used it like a silly puppet in an attempt to fool some dersite guards
FGA: The Battlefield Is A Wondrous Body
FGA: Like A Magnificent Mother Grub
FGA: If Only I Could Be So Grossly Incandescent
- Also in Chapter 23, anytime Aradia delivers a witty insult, she slips on a pair of shades, which she claims cause the ouija spirits to shout cheers of approoval, one of whom she swears sounds just like "the late Troll Roger Daltrey."
- Chapter 24 is loaded with these:
PTA: am ii goiing two have two parkour my way two the bottom of thii2 2iituatiion ju2t to fiind out aa 2et me up 2olely for the purpo2e of briingiing down a multiinatiional con2piiracy?
CAC: :33 < so if you EVER do anything to hurt equius
- Ch 28 also has this lovely speech by Equius:
CCT: D —> To change who I used to be
CCT: D —> A reason to start over new
CCT: D —> And Feferi, the reason is you
- Show Within a Show: "The Death of Spinnaret Mindfang" FLARPing session.
- The Trial of Nepeta Leijon for the attempted murder of Eridan Ampora is a partial version of this. Everyone's roleplaying, but except for Feferi as the judge and Equius as the bailiff, everyone's playing themselves based on an incident (Nepeta's attack of Eridan) that has actually happened.
- The Road to the Undoing FLARPing session, although there's no actual roleplaying. Even the deaths are real. Fortunately for both players, Death Is Cheap.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: As Eridan is waiting for Nepeta to get back to him while she chats with Feferi, he complains they could be writing a fanfiction in the time that it's taking them. The first thing Nepeta says when she gets back is, "There was no fiction involved!"
- The End... Or Is It?: Vriska insists that despite appearances, Spinnaret and Dolorosa were not killed when they walked the plank.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Nepeta gives an EPIC one to Eridan on why he and Feferi were such lousy moirails and why they'd be even worse matesprits. This not only inspires Eridan to become Nepeta's kismesis, but even to start black shipping everyone else.
- Karkat delivers one to Vriska at the start.
- More recently, Tavros gave one to Sollux for the way he's been treating Vriska.
- Eridan calls these things a "calliginous diatribe". He gives one to Nepeta that's only partly this trope, but is mostly about why kismesis is an essential part of the quadrant.
- Aradia and Tavros make these to each other just before the hatesnogging.
- Nepeta and Karkat give Terezi and Eridan a major one for engineering the Road To The Undoing FLARP session in order to get Aradia and Tavros together as kismeses, and completely ruining the fun night out both players were expecting to have.
- Take That: Vriska's deconstrucion of the Death Is Dramatic trope could be seen as a Take That at the darker tone that Homestuck has taken.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Invoked in Chapter 23's FLARP session. The players are granted bonus Experience Points for insulting each other, but if either player dies, they're both sent back to the previous checkpoint.
- Given that Tavros was flushed for Aradia, who at the time of the session was Sollux's matespirit, and Aradia was pale for Tavros, who at the time of the session was Vriska's moirail, the situation went downhill very fast.
- The Eeyore: Both Sollux and Aradia in the earlier chapters. In Homestuck their pessimism is fully justified. Here it's not for long.
- Title Drop: In Chapter 26.
- Took a Level in Badass: Nepeta, pawbviously. Also Tavros.
- Future!Karkat (all three of them) at Nepeta's mock trial.
- Eridan has gone from a whiny, heartbroken, pathetic douche to a confident, happily shipped, successfully blackrom-shipping douche.
- After Gamzee sobers up, he starts, with Tavros' encouragement, heaping piles of abuse on Equius, who for the most part stands still and takes it. After a while, Equius grows a spine, stands up for himself and starts giving Gamzee shit back.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Tavros in the later chapters. None feel this more strongly than Tavros' former friend Aradia. This is one reason why Tavros and Aradia are now kismeses for each other (see Just Friends above for the other reason).
- In chapter 24 he is called out on this by Vriska and Gamzee of all people, with Vriska admitting that she had dropped the ball on her part.
- As it turns out, more than a few trolls take some levels in dickery, such as Terezi (in regard to Karkat), Karkat (in regard to Terezi and Eridan), Gamzee (in regard to Equius) and Kanaya (in regard to Feferi), though they do occasionally get better.
- All of these examples result in a kismessitude. There's even a bit of a pattern for most them: Troll gains a new matesprit and/or moirail. Troll gains confidence from new relationship(s). Troll's confidence leads to arrogance. Troll's arrogance arouses the ire of another troll, leading to a kismessitude.
- Terezi and Sollux take several levels of jerkass in regard to Karkat. Sollux in particular becomes a real arsehole, such as when he mocks Karkat for actually being upset and worried that Sollux threatened to and attempted to commit suicide.
- Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Karkat (wrongly) fears this is happening between him and Nepeta. Initially, he figured out her feelings for him, but he despised her at the time, and so did nothing about it. Now, after he's seen her take a level in badass, he's flushed for her, but fears she no longer feels the same way about him.
- The Watson: Terezi is this to Aradia's investigation as to why this doomed timeline isn't being destroyed.
- Inverted to the point that Terezi/Aradia's investigation bears a closer relationship to Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin, where Aradia/Goodwin does all the investigating while Terezi/Nero comes up with all the solutions. Terezi even says at one point, "Elementary, my dear Megido," implying that it's Aradia who's the true Watson in this investigation.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Both Aradia and Feferi chew out Sollux for trying to kill himself even though both of them had told him that Aradia had not died when her 'bot exploded.
- All the other trolls (even his matesprit and moirail) do this to Tavros in Chapter 24 for becoming a jerkass.
- Karkat gives one to Terezi for threatening to reveal his blood colour, because she's a blueblood and she has no idea what it's like to live as a mutant.
- In the Chapter 31 Re Cut, several trolls chew out Feferi for forcing an unwanted French kiss on Karkat.
- World of Pun: All of Feferi and Equius' interactions. All of them.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: After becoming Vriska's moirail, Tavros becomes more confident and assertive, but also more egotistical. He outright tells Aradia that he's the Dogged Nice Guy who fell for the Alpha Bitch (her) who constantly rejected him in favour of a Jerk Jock (Equius) who she later spurned, but after becoming a confident, handsome guy in his own right, he's over her, and she's pining after him. Everyone pitches in to tell him that in fact, he's the former Nice Guy who became a Jerk Ass, while Aradia's the old friend he fell for who he's now blaming for refusing to fall for him. Tavros isn't convinced, until they point out that a Nice Guy wouldn't try to blame Aradia for his spine being broken.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: This is what Sollux feels is what happened when the Aradiabot exploded just after they had kissed.
- In chapter 26, Karkat finally declares to Nepeta his flushed feelings for her only for Nepeta to be unable to respond because of her promise to Psyche. He doesn't take it well.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Nepeta tells this to Equius in Chapter 27. It's an essential part of getting him to finally let go of the hemospectrum.