In the run-up to the Christmas season, Kanaya exhausts herself working. There is her coursework at design school, and the hours she works as an intern at a small design firm on the other side of the city, and between the two she has only infrequent opportunities for relaxation.
Rose notices this, of course. They have been friends for many years, ever since Sburb, though they have only shared their tiny Manhattan apartment since early summer. And since mid-November, Kanaya has continually been in a long, slow wilt. She may, perhaps, even be beginning to turn brown, although to confirm this would require investigation of a dermatological sort.
Thus Rose can hardly claim surprise when, the evening of December 23rd, Kanaya returns home from work, finishes off the last of their leftover Thai takeout, takes a shower, and slinks off to her room without making any other appearances for the rest of the night.
Rose stays up until midnight catching up on modding the LJ kink meme for the troll science fiction show known as “Vanqueror” on Earth, after the name of the ship it takes place on. At one point she has to tell a couple of anons who are busy flaming each other to please conduct their courtship in private messages, as it is not only wasting comment space but also boring the other readers.
She also works on the fill she’s been writing about Hanar and Pero’s (completely canon, don’t listen to the Hanar ♠ Elinden shippers) kismesissitude and how it would change if Kozamat were to become their auspistice. It’s not going very well; Hanar seems to just keep thinking of things to make Pero cold-rage again, and then they just end up fucking some more.
Finally, after Pero eats Hanar out unto orgasm for the fourth time in the scene, Rose decides to put the last three orgasms into a different fight, hits CTRL+S, and shuts down her laptop.
The shower smells – odd. Not bad. A little like menstrual blood, actually, now that she thinks about it, which is always a smell she has found somewhat more comforting than is likely healthy for a young human woman. She generally puts her feelings on that subject down to in-game possession by very-real horrorterrors and forgives herself.
But her period was last week, and female trolls do not have periods, so she figures that Kanaya must be trying out a new brand of makeup or perfume, takes a shower, and thinks nothing of it.
Then, the next morning, she picks up the phone on Karkat calling Kanaya to do some moirailpisticing between him and John, and since Karkat doesn’t check to see who is actually answering the phone, the first thing she hears is, “Explain to the wasteshooting derpface hornfucker why sex is not funny in this season before I put my claws to their evolutionarily intended purpose and rip his fucking face off.”
“I’ll get Kanaya,” Rose says, and goes and knocks on Kanaya’s bedroom door.
There is a groaning within, and then the noise of someone thrashing about in bed, before the door opens a sliver.
“What is it?”
“Karkat is on the line. It appears that he is having some sort of seasonal sexual function problem with John.”
Kanaya sighs, opens the door, and slips past Rose to go to the apartment’s land line. The smell that wafts out from her room is familiar, the same as the one in the bathroom last night, and Rose sniffs at it a bit, enjoying it, before she follows after, curious.
In the tiny kitchen/living room, Kanaya is twisting the phone cord around one long, slender finger as she listens to Karkat rant.
“Did you tell him what is happening?” Kanaya asks, with the air of someone who is interrupting.
Rose hits the power button on her computer, pretending not to listen.
“One moment. Did you say that you began foreplay before you attempted to explain this?
“That was not very smart of you.
“I am not criticizing you. I think it may have been unwise, though.”
Rose mistypes her password twice. It is a general rule of thumb that the relative pleasantness of Karkat’s mood has an inverse relationship with how long it has been since he both achieved orgasm and prickle-cuddled with John; that he is in such a state indicates a miscommunication of some long standing. Perhaps John has taken to orgasm denial? But no, Karkat’s phrasing makes it sound as though the difficulty is related to the season, and John’s prankstering would not find that relevant. Unless stockings are somehow reminiscent of cleaning supplies? Further questioning will be necessary.
“Karkat,” Kanaya finally sighs, “please put John on the phone. I will explain everything.”
Rose, in her distraction, hits ENTER instead of the apostrophe key, and misfires a Vanqueror kink meme comment lauding an anonymous fanfiction author’s portrayal of Elinden ♦ Sabaha.
“John? This is Kanaya. I am sure you have realized that Karkat is somewhat upset with you. He called me to smooth things out between you.”
Rose reposts the comment.
“He feels that your sense of humor has been in poor taste recently. Yes, I am now explaining what he told you last night.
“Trolls, as you know, are confronted each year, near the winter solstice, with the arrival of the Imperial Drones, collecting genetic material from each matesprit and kismesis pair. This time is not chosen randomly. Even before the foundation of the Empire, trolls deposited their genetic material with the mother grub during the winter. Trolls also enter into a mating frenzy near the winter solstice.”
A pause. Rose somehow manages to delete the misfire through judicious application of Modly Powers, but she comes very close to accidentally deleting a request for a Star Trek TOS/Vanqueror crossover in which Numis converts Spock to quadrants.
(It occurs to her, briefly, to consider requesting Picard ♠ Zabao, but she dismisses this as the ravings of a demented fangirl.)
“Teasing him is not healthy for your relationship right now. He leans towards kismesissitude with himself, which he filters through you. Showing preferences for either his past or future selves can only anger him.”
Rose F5s an elf!Hanar ♠ elf!Pero fill that she was reading last night.
“I recommend that you spend the next three or four days having sex.”
Rose snorts and mutters, “You make that sound like a punishment.”
Then Rose realizes: if Karkat is in the throes of some sort of troll heat, and entering heat near the winter solstice is a trait common to all trolls, then it follows that, being a troll, Kanaya is also in heat.
It isn’t far-fetched. The smell in the bathroom, different from usual. Usually Kanaya is up early, but it is noon now, and she was asleep until only a few minutes ago. She also seems to be flushed a more intense shade of jade green than usual.
Rose regrets momentarily that, being human, she is not susceptible to troll pheromones; the emotion surprises her, and so she examines it, as is proper. She wishes to be able to sense troll pheromones because she wishes to know physical attraction to Kanaya at a time when Kanaya is particularly susceptible to concupiscent attentions. This is sufficient grounds to determine that Rose herself has concupiscent urges towards Kanaya, either a “crush” or some form of unrequited troll matespritship.
This does not disturb her. It would be dishonorable to confess her attractions while Kanaya is in the grip of xenobiological mating urges.
The phone seems to have been returned to Karkat. Kanaya says, “I think he now understands. Please be safe. You know I care about the health of your relationship.
She hangs up. Rose pretends to have been working on the Hanar ♠ Pero sex scene all along.
Kanaya stalks over to the refrigerator, opens it, stares inside, closes it. Opens up the cabinet of pasta and dried food, stares inside, closes it. Returns to the refrigerator.
“I would like a raw steak,” she says finally. “Preferably one that is, as you say, 'still mooing.'”
Rose looks up. “The grocery store is located on the corner. I’m quite certain of your capability to purchase your own meals.”
“I cannot go outside right now,” Kanaya says. “I do not want to think about what will happen if I meet another troll.”
Rose deletes an inappropriate response to a kink request. “I suspect they’re all hiding in their apartments, like you seem to want to do.”
“I suspect,” Kanaya says very quietly, “that they are with their concupiscent partners and are frolicking in such a haze that they have no time or attention to devote to the acquisition of food from outside.”
Rose knows a guilt trip when she sees one.
“Not that I have any ambitions towards resembling Karkat in any way, but I will channel his attitude towards your pathetic attempt at subtle coercion as it deserves, though in a less colorful manner, and inform you that it is your food, therefore your responsibility to acquire it.”
Kanaya flushes a little greener, goes into her room, comes out wearing a form-fitting black skirt and a very tight form-fitting jade-green blouse. The outline of the blouse makes it clear that she is not wearing a bra, which is her prerogative, but also somewhat distracting.
Kanaya throws on a grey coat and a knit hat and leaves the apartment.
Kanaya doesn’t return to the apartment for two hours, which is really too long.
“Where did you go?” Rose asks.
“There is a Jewish delicatessen between the apartment building and the grocery store,” Kanaya says, and burps.
Rose decides not to comment when Kanaya goes back to her bedroom, but she realizes after Kanaya has left that the kitchen smells different now, too. It’s the same heavy edge from before, but with something deeper, richer, added in. It may be that the consumption of animal flesh promotes production of a hormone that signals them to be aggressive and capable hunters, a trait that she understands to be considered socially and evolutionarily positive among trolls.
She googles “troll heat” and does some Wikipedia reading over some freezer tortellini.
Around dinner time, Rose judiciously decides to pick up Chinese. It is, after all, traditional for non-Christians to do so, and based on the allusions Karkat and Kanaya make to the troll form of Christianity, the ideals are somewhat different.
When Rose returns with a bag full of Chinese takeout, Kanaya emerges, stinking of pheromones, from her bedroom. The meal is very nearly silent; Kanaya eats with a single-minded focus that seems to imply that she is focused on food in order to distract from some other subject of attention.
Sex, of course, Rose chastises herself. Kanaya is in heat; she is thinking of sex.
After dinner, Kanaya disappears into her room again. Rose tries not to imagine Kanaya masturbating, and fails.
Rose cooks Indian for Christmas dinner, just to be contrary. When she admits over Pesterchum to Dave that her primary reason for doing so is contrariness, he types, you are truly my sister in both blood and irony, and then, when she points out that puns are uncool, getting laid is so cool that i have an overabundance that must be neutralized by bad puns to keep from flooding the universe with cool and causing its cool death
My brother, my brother, why have you forsaken me?
troll sex is calling
I hope you dream of thinly-veiled troll phalluses disdaining you for the rest of your life.
She tries not to imagine Dave making the beast with two backs, wonders if he and Terezi have gone flushed or if this is someone new, tries not to imagine Terezi licking him all over, fails, and drops her head onto the table.
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuyh, says her Pesterchum window.
After rereading her favorite kink meme fill (Numis ♥ tentacle monster!Zabao), she makes like Kanaya and hides in her room to jill off.
The afternoon of the 26th, Kanaya emerges from her room, showers, and reemerges looking presentable.
“Are you feeling better?” Rose asks, in the midst of banning a forum troll.
“Much better. Thank you. I am sorry if I caused you any concern.”
“Not at all,” Rose lies.