Karkat Vantas is in your hive.
This is a unique occurrence, for the both of you. Aside from Nepeta and Vriska, no one risks visiting you. And you know very well how little he ventures from the safety of his home.
“So...” your fingers idly tap the table behind you, denting it. “Is there...a reason.....you....?”
He whips his head to the side to look at you, then away just as quickly. “No, I just felt like visiting the sweatiest fucking asshole I knew in the middle of the night. Congrats, it’s you.”
You must appear taken aback, because he colors - no wonder he leaves his hive so little, if his reactions are that easy to provoke - and mumbles something remarkably like ‘sorry’. After an uncomfortable moment of him looking back and forth between you and the floor, he finally manages to speak.
“I just....” he hunches his shoulders defensively, and under the heavy coat you are suddenly struck with the impression of a crab, “I just didn’t feel safe, there.” He glares at you, as if this is your fault.
The idiot just stares at you - you assume he’s fucking staring, anyways, you can’t tell with the dumb glasses in the way, who even wears those - not saying a word after your past self’s fucking embarrassing admission.
“What,” you grind out, glaring at him. He’s making you feel antsy. He opens his mouth.
“Your eyes are starting to change color.”
He jerks immediately, eyes widening before he slaps both hands over them. He tilts his head, and you realize that he’s trying to glare at you between his fingers.
“The fuck.” his teeth practically grate together, a sound you are plenty familiar with. You feel idiotic for blurting out the observation, but you have a hard time predicting Vantas’ movements - he is constantly surprising you.
“I....” you are lost for words. It was not a lie, after all, and you are not really sure what to call it. “I...did not intend to be so...brusque.” Sensing a chance to wander back onto familiar territory, you continue, “Perhaps it was too much of a, ah, STRONG, admission-”
“Oh shut the fuck up about strength already!” Vantas explodes in typical manner. “If I have to listen to you blather on about your stupid insane muscliness I am going to flip a shit so hard the gravity of Alternia itself will reverse and everyone will go flying into space, wheeling away and screaming forever!”
He freezes, almost in time with the end of the sentence, then slams both hands into his forehead so fast that it makes you jump. “Stupid stupid fucking dumb past me-” he growls, volume dropping as he berates himself. You clear your throat.
“Perhaps, ah, you could invest in tinted lenses, like myself,” he offers, and you sigh a little. It sure feels like the sweaty asshole is putting more effort in this conversation going smoothly than you. A lot more.
“Yeah, that’ll work for all of the two fucking seconds it takes some idiot to knock them off my face.”
You see him open his mouth, and you are certain as fuck that he is going to make so stupid strength comments - and he doesn’t. He closes his protein chute and just stares at you, expression unreadable.
You honestly might have preferred the STRENGTH hoofbeast shit.
You tap a finger to your mouth, suddenly lost in thought. Could you make a tinted visor for him? But no, there were common areas that adults would be required to remove such gear - you yourself had already dealt with some, although, you guessed, much less often than the less intimidating of your peers.
Maybe you could change or somehow disguise the color of his blood? Tinted contact lenses were not unheard of, but altering someone’s blood chemistry would be 100di%ly difficult - not to mention highly illegal. But you might be able to make a machine-
Your head jolts up as Vantas speaks. “I will not tolerate such 100dness in my hive-”
“Yeah, yeah, go sit on a lusus bulge, did you know you were plotting to turn me into a cyborg out loud?”
Your response dies on your lips, replaced with a weak “Oh, fiddlest%.”
Well. This is a new finding. Apparently Equius fucking Zahhak thinks out loud. A lot.
Or at least he does when it comes to robotics and projects - you half-suspect all the shit about hoofbeasts and 100dness and STRENGTH and the fucking hemospectrum are more or less automatic at this point. Which might normally provoke a bitter chuckle out of you - the roboticist acting like an automaton - but only makes you kind of sad now.
Wait no you are not sad on this idiot’s behalf.
Anyways he says - or tries not to say but betrays anyways because he’s about as opaque as a sheet of viewing-port silica compound - that only Nepeta really knows about it. Which makes sense, as the only other one crazy enough to come into this sweaty asshole’s deathtrap hive is Vriska Serket, and he explains that he never lets his guard down around her enough to start mumbling like that - again, perfect sense.
Wait, does that mean he lets his guard down around you?
Wait, does that mean you let your guard down around him?
Well, you’ve only met him in person once or twice, so you certainly don’t trust him. But STRENGTH-wise....yes, you can see yourself judging/underestimating Karkat Vantas’s abilities as much lower than yours - he is no threat to you.
There. Perfectly justified with no room for error or flaws.
Now where is Aurthour with some fresh towels?
You shove pitying thoughts out of your obviously corroded thinkpan, focusing on a half-built robot in the corner instead. You pay a little attention to Equius’s lusus coming in, handing his a stack of white towels that instantly become soaked.
You realize, with a jolt, that you are not as disgusted as you usually would be - sure, it’s gross, but it’s also normal for the blueblood, and that’s somehow comforting. For all that you two never talk - at least when you can help it - and he knows your most vital secret, the sheer everynightness of this whole conversation is helping you come down from that adrenal high....
Oh deer. You are not certain what the protocol is for when your guest suddenly falls asleep in the middle of a conversation.
You decide to let Aurthour handle it - he is not only an excellent butler, he is an impeccable host. He carries Vantas in capable white arms to one of the many spare respiteblocks, and genteelly shoos you out so that he might remove the mutant’s clothes and place him in the unused recuperacoon. You comply gratefully, letting the lusus do what he does best.
This is the first time you’ve had a guest stay overday.