"Eridan, look!" Eridan did not. ")(E)(E)(E)(E. Yeah! That's it! Glub, glub, yeah! Eridan, look! You're watching my finger and I'm swimming!"
"Fef, that's not me or you." Eridan craned his head away from the computer just enough to look at the aquarium, where Feferi was tracing her finger in arcs across the class. Sure enough, his grub clone was sitting at the bottom, watching the giant finger go back and forth with patient consistency. Feferi's grub was upside-down in mid-water, looking up at the glimmering surface of the water above her.
"I know it's not us, crabby. But they're so smart! Oh, look, here you come!"
The baby Eridan clone was crawling up the edges of the aquarium with all his little legs, and stopped at Feferi's finger and began trying to gnaw at it through the glass.
"------E-E-E-E!! Eridan, look!"
Eridan watched her, at least. He just could not understand the fascination. Up until a day ago the only Troll that had seen a grub in person in a thousand years had been equipped with cameras or a scythe, and the latter seemed to have no desire to go anywhere back near the things since. Personally, he could not see the appeal any more than Karkat. They were just crawly little things that felt really weird when they moved up your arm. Why was almost everyone else so damn excited?
"Okay! Okay. I have to get out of here or I won't get anything else done. Eridan, will you watch these two until Nepeta comes back?"
"Sure, Fef," he agreed with a yawn. Like they needed watching. No grubs in Troll history had ever needed watching and didn't enough of those always survive to start the next generation? He felt fairly confident that he could leave the room completely unattended for the next two hours and that both grubs would probably still have all their legs. But sure enough, after his first check just twenty second after being left alone, he found his young clone floundering on the surface of the water after an ill attempt to reach the island set in the middle of the tank.
"no no stupid" he said to himself, and scooped the grub out of the water and into his hand. The grub thrashed about for a bit, having landed on its back, and he took the opportunity to dry it off with the end of his scarf. It gurgled and squealed, but it did not take long to dry such a tiny thing and soon it was standing upright and looking around the bright world of air it had once again returned to visit with a wide-eyed, open-mouthed astonishment that drew towards lights and motion.
"Yeah, she's cute darting around like a big ole' shrimp, isn't she?" Eridan said when he clone decided to look back in the direction of his tank and tank-mate. "You better not screw up with her when you're bigger, you know. If she's anything like herself, she'll be the best moirail you ever had and you don't want to screw that up. And maybe while you're growing up you take some tips from the pro here we can keep you from growing up into another loser that strikes out all the time like, uh... like me. Say, uh..." He partially wondered why he was talking so freely to the infant all of a sudden, but it felt so natural. "Do you maybe want to go visit the other grubs?"
Two tiny grub eyes looked up into Eridan's, shimmering and soft, and he half smiled down at his copy, before it abruptly vented purple waste over his palm. "oh fuckin gross" he said. "wwhy'd you have to go and do-- No, don't go to sleep! Don't go to..." But it was too late. Tiny claws gripping tight, the grub clutched onto Eridan's pointer finger and immediately zonked out. He tipped his hand, trying at first to dump the baby back in the water, but the grip was so tight that even holding his hand entirely upside-down had no effect. Wanting to clean his hand, he was tempted to pull the grub off, but he just looked so peaceful that he could not find it in him to do. Feferi's clone did another lap of her tank while her tank-mate made barely audible snoring sounds.
"noww you see" Eridan said, pointing to his own hand. "this is exactly the type of loser thing i wwant you to avvoid"