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Sugar and Spice

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It is five o'clock, two days after the beginning of classes, and Rose is going to spend the rest of the year regretting being in a suite with Dave.

Of course she was happy to apply for a suite with John and Jade. She didn't mind switching dorms to be with them, either, but really. This is a bit absurd.

From next door, Dave murmurs something - she doesn't quite catch what - and there's an answer of some sort. Then, audible over the hum of her fan, the bed squeaks.

And again.

Silence, for a moment. Shifting positions, perhaps.

Dave is saying something. The bedsprings squeal.

Two footsteps.

IF YOU WANNA BE MY LOVER

...and, for the second evening in a row, Dave has turned on his 90's pop playlist in order to (badly) hide the fact that he is having sex.

YOU GOTTA GET WITH MY FRIENDS

If there weren't a wall there, her bed would be right next to his. She pounds on the wall.

MAKE IT LAST FOREVER

"Dave, turn it down!"

Friendship never ends.

"Thank you!"

His bed squeaks as he gets back on it.

She's never going to win, so she picks up her textbook, rolls out of bed, and goes into the suite common area, where she drapes herself over the couch, turns the common-room fan around to blow straight on her, and gets back to her reading.

Halfway through the chapter, the music turns off in the middle of Britney Spears declaring that her unrequited affections are keeping her from her rest. A couple of minutes later, Dave stumbles out of his room looking rumpled, sweaty, and self-satisfied, Tavros not far behind him.

"Do I need to be concerned about this being a regular occurrence?" Rose asks. "Fond as I am of Tavros, your choices in music, as well as their volume, will inhibit my study."

"I'll play Enya next time." Dave's wearing a blue-and-white tank top with gold sequins sewn onto the stomach in a Rorschach blot-like muddle of possibly-bat and probably-vulva, and mostly three-year-old glitter art project. Rose's gaze skids away in self-defense, falling on Tavros, who is blushing and won't meet her eyes.

"Uh, I'm really, sorry. About that. It's just, all summer..."

"You don't have to apologize, Tavros."

"Yeah. The Lalondian rage is upon me, not you, but fortunately my shirt's design acts as a nazar and protects me from the evil eye." Dave waves a hand farewell in her direction and opens the door.

"Evil eye?" Tavros asks, wheeling out into the hall. The door falls shut on Dave saying, "The aftereffect of a -"

Rose sighs and goes back to her reading.

Half an hour later, she's finished, so she throws her textbook on her bed and knocks on John's door; Jade is in physics lab.

"Are you interested in grabbing dinner?" she calls.

"Yeah! Man, I'm so hungry. Let me call Karkat and Vriska."

Karkat doesn't answer his phone, and Vriska says she'll meet them there, so John and Rose go outside.

They pass Dave on the path to the dining hall; he's alone, which means that once he gets back to the suite he's going to blast rap music while he works on homework. He looked at his math problem set yesterday and declared This entire section is the textbook author's answer to the question How do I skullfuck thousands of college students directly in their brains without actually killing them so I can ram my throbbing mathman shaft directly into their gray matter and hump it until I come variables, on more than one occasion.

He rather belied his own complaining by then doing the first two problems correctly the first time through, but that's of no consequence where Dave and excessively graphic metaphors are concerned.

Dinner is uninspiring but relatively inoffensive, as always, involving indifferent preparation of tofu and vegetables at the vegetarian station, and something gloppy and chicken-based at the main food station. John and Vriska chat about their D&D session, where John is playing a thinly-veiled Nic Cage, whatever Nic Cage would have been in a Tolkienesque setting.

Upon their return, Dave is indeed playing rap, though he appears to have opted for one of his old Ayem night playlists, since the words are in Alternian, calling out the performer's kismesis for a battle of wits, muscle, and sexual stamina.

She pounds on his door, he puts on some headphones, and she gets down to working after turning her fan on.

An hour later, Tavros arrives fresh from the first Ayem meeting of the year with his backpack hung over the back of his wheelchair, and he and Dave cozy up together, or as together as is possible when they're in completely separate pieces of furniture, working on completely different homework. Tavros, in his wheelchair, is reading the Canterbury Tales; Dave is making his way through his macro theory textbook while spilled out on the couch.

Dave has plugged his iPod into a headphone splitter and they're both listening to something; judging by Tavros's humming, it's something with an actual melodic line.

She goes into her room and turns the fan on, leaving the door open in an attempt to create a cross-breeze, and checks her email, then her LJ friends page, where someone has posted a link to Tumblr, and then...

She ends up on TVTropes.

At ten, Jade comes back. A few moments later, she pokes her head into Rose's room and points at the part of the wall on the other side of which Dave and Tavros are, mouthing, "Aren't they adorable?"

Rose rolls her eyes, stands up, and writes on the whiteboard on her open door, I suppose.

Jade seizes another of the dry erase markers. have you seen them??

Rose leans out of the door to glance over; they're in essentially the same positions as before, though now Dave is using the couch armrest as a pillow.

They've been like that for quite some time.

if you look from the door they look like they're doing a horizontal spiderman kiss!

How romantic.

Jade frowns at her. your heart is several sizes too small

Tavros cuts short further whiteboard conversation by looking up and smiling at them, which makes Dave look up, too, and he gives them an I know what you're doing and my appreciation is a veritable floating island of trash lurking in the Pacific Ocean of my soul, lying in wait to interfere with the paths of the valiant commercial vessels attempting to do legitimate business kind of look, in the face of which Jade smiles giddily and skips over, asking Tavros something about classes.

Rose goes back to her email and her fan.

+++

Around midnight Jade wanders into the common area in a towel, clearly on the way to the shower down the hall, but is interrupted by Dave calling out, "How's the physics set?"

"It's not bad. I did the first problem since I got home."

"Thanks." Dave turns back to his reading.

Rose texts Kanaya.

Doing anything interesting?

I Have A Class At Nine AM Tomorrow And So Am Going To Bed.

Good night.

Likewise.

Rose reads most of the TVTropes page for the drama The Crowning Suns, an American remake of an Alternian Western-like series. She caught up on it over the summer, but doesn't think she'll be able to watch during the school year.

By that point she figures she might as well go to bed, even if she doesn't have class tomorrow until eleven.

+++

She wakes up in darkness and still-hot night air to the creaking of Dave's bedframe. Her clock says, annoyingly, 3:23.

Maybe she could switch rooms with Jade. Or John. John would probably look sadly at Tavros until Tavros refused to have sex, and then one day Dave would tease him until he snapped and they would make out while John was awake and trying to be productive. Tavros lying on Dave's bed, watching him undress, and Dave would say something self-aggrandizing, Hottest thing you ever seen, think you can handle it? before crawling naked into his arms and kissing him with all the intensity he never allows himself to show. Closing all the space between them despite the heat, Dave flushed bright red against his pink My Little Pony sheets, mouth night-bitter.

Rose slinks a hand up under her nightshirt, turns her face to press her sticky-hot cheek to her pillow. She's already wet – Why is the clitoris located so far from the vaginal opening? It seems inefficient as far as female sexual pleasure is concerned, Kanaya says in her thoughts – and she rocks into the brush of her fingertips.

On the other side of the wall, Tavros murmurs something, and Dave answers, their voices too low for her to catch the words. She imagines they're curled up around each other, Dave's hands skidding down Tavros's back, tracing the lines of muscle and bone as Tavros's hand drags over Dave's side, following the curve down to his hip, where he leaves it, palm a spot of heavy warmth against his skin.

This time, when Tavros speaks, she can almost hear him. You'll be okay if we, uh, now, even though it's hot?

I'll stay cool, Dave answers back, and the bed creaks. Probably Tavros is surging forward to kiss him like that remark deserves.

Her fingers are slick and hot between her legs, not as nice as Kanaya's but you can't have everything at three-thirty in the morning when your suitemate is getting it on with his fuzzy grey horndumpling, or whatever equally ironic term Dave uses to describe their relationship.

She overheard, once, Tavros say my boyfriend when referring to Dave in front of some humans; he said it with the characteristic Alternian hissing f and rolled r, all nervous adorable pride, and it's that memory, not the sweetdark slide of her fingers, that makes her hide a gasp in the fluff of her pillow.

Dave's bed is creaking steadily now, one or both of them breathing deep and loud, whimpering occasionally; she wonders if that's Tavros, under Dave's mouth, or Dave losing control in his pleasure, and there's a pause, a squeak of a different sort – shifting positions, probably – and then it starts back up again, the same speed but louder, and Rose lets her eyes close, feeling a bead of sweat slide between her breasts as she works against her fingers, grinding up, one foot braced on the mattress.

Fuck, fuck, yes, Dave says, clear and bright through the wall, and Rose comes shivering, breathless, her whole body tight with it.

There's a brokenly desperate noise from what sounds like Tavros, and Rose pulls her hand out from between her legs, wondering suddenly what Kanaya will think of this. Maybe Rose won't mention it to her.

There's some murmuring from next door, then the bed squeaking and footsteps, a pause, maybe to pull pants on, and then Dave opens the door to his room.

A pause. A knock on her door.

"What?" she calls, pretending grogginess.

"All's fair in love and roommates," he says through the door, "but next time you want to get your yaoi fangasm on, it goes on the official register of Suitemate-Porn-Soundtrack-Record-Keeping, which means me'n Tavros get to be next door sometime you and Kanaya get your flushed ladyhumps on."

From the other side of the wall, Tavros calls, "What are you – Dave?"

"Just sayin'," Dave adds, quiet enough that Tavros won't hear it, gives the door what sounds like another rap with his knuckles, and calls to Tavros, "Nothing, just talking to Rose about suitemate stuff."

She lies back down in bed and thinks, Kanaya lives in senior housing, remembers that all Alternian students have recuperacoons instead of beds, then decides, rubbing her sticky fingers together and smiling to herself, It was worth it regardless.