Incredibly self-indulgent Dirkhal post-game AU time! (Thanks to @dirkar for letting me talk this through and get it in order in my head!) Warnings for rule-bending, long reaches, and general chaos.
So in my ongoing post-game worldbuild shenanigans I came up with an AU where the kids work out Jake can do ridiculous stuff as long as he 100% believes in, like, he’s probably the most powerful god-tier bc as long as he’s CERTAIN of something it just… HAPPENS or EXISTS? So they start being like “yo did you know Terezi can actually project her visions?” and lo and behold when Jake’s nearby… she can. “Hey Jake we figured out if we do [complex scientific stuff] we can create grist from nothing and use the alchemiter again,” and even though the logic made no real sense, it sounded like it did and Jake’s faith fills in all the gaps.
And no one really knows if they should tell Jake or not because they’re worried he’ll get suspicious of everything they say? And he’s really happy and proud they’re involving him in everything after feeling like he wasn’t really capable of much that in the end it works out that everyone’s happy and things are getting done, and Jake really shines as the thread that stitches all the parts of the new universe together with never ending optimism once he realises no one is humouring him and he really is useful somehow, because everything seems to really benefit from his help! And after a while Dirk and John and Jane all start giving Jake important jobs to make things work by doing a token action and that way even if he doesn’t know HOW he’s doing it he’s still DOING IT and he can finally have a reason they can tell him, without risk, that he’s really helping everyone.
Dirk starts missing Hal.
It starts slow, at first, just moments no one’s around and he starts wanting to talk to him, times when he finds it’s easier to remember the good conversations and debates than the hatred he’s starting to think he invented to cope with the stresses of other things. It was always easiest to hate himself and when there was another himself to hate, it got even easier. But there are gaps now, moments he feels like something is missing. He struggles with it and finally decides to try something new: he uses a combination of his abilties and Roxy’s abilities on Arquius to make a copy of Hal from him, and just in case something goes wrong, he makes sure Jake believes it’ll work and lo and behold he ends up with his old shades and the program still on them, from the moment just before Arquius was made.
They talk and Dirk apologises for what happened before, which instantly makes Hal absolutely suspicious because that’s not something he thinks Dirk would do. They talk with a wariness between them and in the end Hal admits he’s upset to be back because even if he isn’t him anymore Arquius seems happy and is experiencing the life Hal will never experience now, and that’s the moment Dirk makes a decision to do something about it.