When the air starts to get that tell-tale shimmer to it, all you can think is, not another one of these weirdo dream bubbles. You have seen things over the past few years that man was never meant to see, and a distressing number of them were wearing brightly colored hot pants. You figure you're going to just find someplace quiet to hole up until the current travesty parade is over.
When you duck into one of the meteor lab's empty rooms, you see you're not the only one to have this idea. "Hey, Karkat. Ducking the festivities this time?"
He turns around. "Who the fuck are you to speak to me that way?"
Whoa. This isn't your Karkat. He's taller, for one thing, and instead of a lumpy sweater the dude is wearing that kind of sci-fi body armor that's like a bulletproof wetsuit. The kind that provides the viewer with a really helpful outline of all the wearer's major muscle groups. Which Karkat has a lot of, apparently. This was a thing you never needed to know, at least not from a distance.
He takes a few commanding strides toward you and his bootheels ring on the metal floor. You disclaim all responsibility for what your anatomy does about that. "I asked you a question, scum."
Oh god, this is the dream bubble where Evil Karkat lives. He has pink-tinged fins where his ears ought to be. The fins have gold earrings in them. You think he might be wearing lipstick.
"Dude, isn't it obvious?" you say. "I am a fine-ass alien prince."
He curls his lips back scornfully and his teeth are sharp, two rows of shining serrated fuck-you. "Aliens have no princes when I get done with them."
The sensible thing would be to get out of here and revert to plan "avoid everyone until we're through this bubble." You've seen how scary-violent trolls can get. On the other hand, Karkat. You've been increasingly aware of your own Karkat as a potential makeouts friend for months now, which might be just a lack of other options who aren't a) your ex, b) your sister, c) dating your sister, d) the Mayor, or e) COMPLETELY PSYCHO, but despite the poor reasoning it's still a thing. Your Karkat has seemed pretty oblivious. Evil Karkat, though....
"You know what? I'd like to see you try to take me down." This is not your best decision-making. But you're a god, and this is a once-on-a-meteor opportunity, and why not? "Matter of fact, I'm willing to bet a blowjob you can't."
"A what?" His voice does a growly thing that makes your hackles stand up, and other parts think about following suit.
You give him a minimalist smirk. "Sexual favors, bro. You know you wanna tap this."
He barks a laugh. "I could take that any time I wanted."
Holy shit, why is Evil Karkat so hot. You equip your sword. "Not until you beat me."
If a shark ever got everything it wanted for its birthday, you think it would smile the way Evil Karkat does right now. He opens his specibus, and damn. He doesn't use sickles like normal Karkat—he uses a huge goddamn scythe instead. You open your mouth to make a Grim Reaper crack and then have to just dodge in a hurry because wow he swings that thing fast.
This is no friendly practice strife. You have to stop thinking about your boner almost immediately and start thinking about not getting sliced in half. The front end of the scythe is just as dangerous as you'd expect, and the back end has a weight on it that's sharpened like a morning star. He swings it in fluid arcs around himself so it's defense and offense at the same time, constant motion with hideous consequences. You spend the first two minutes easy just on the defensive, deflecting his strikes and darting out of the way.
Okay. Okay, you got this. You can see the pattern. You just have to get in and back out before the backswing gets you. Flash step, thrust, flash step back.
Karkat stops, grounding his scythe against the floor hard enough to dent the metal. There's a trickle of blood down his arm, weirdly opaque, dark purply-pink. (Rose would be ashamed of your sense of colors.)
"Not bad, for landbound trash," he says. He presses his other hand over the tear in his sexy wetsuit and it glows for three seconds. When he lets go, you are utterly unsurprised to see unharmed gray skin through the gap.
Still, it has to be said. "You're a fucking healer class? Mister Ragesnarl Deathscythe?"
"I'm the ruler of the motherfucking Alternian Empire, you pretentious grub," he says. "I'm the ultimate authority over life and death."
"Do you get that printed on your business cards?" you ask. "Cause it kinda seems like it might be a bit of a squeeze to fit all that, you know, they say you're supposed to try to keep it simple—"
Whoops, no, dodging time again. He comes at you in a whirl of blades, fast enough that they make a nasty buzzing sound as they cut through the air. If you let him make this into a stamina contest you're fucked. Those are the shoulders of a guy who could go all night.
Flash step in, thrust—clang as your blades meet and the impact numbs your whole arm. Your sword flies from your useless fingers and you jump back, bracing for the moment of agony that comes with a death neither just nor heroic.
When you're still breathing a second later, you frown. Evil Karkat has captchalogued his scythe. "Ready to forfeit?" he asks.
Oh hell no. You flash step after your sword, swooping down to grab it—and it's not there. You look up in time to see the hilt smack into Evil Karkat's hand. He smirks at you and throws it point-first into the wall, crackling with red and blue light. You're not sure whether you'd rather punch him or kiss him to wipe that goddamn look off his face. You'll figure it out when you get there.
You launch yourself at him and he doesn't move, the prick—and he doesn't have to, because you slow down as you move. Time is fine, but space is really not, getting molasses- thick and resistant, hardening around you as Evil Karkat watches you struggle. You come to a halt about a foot away from him, your fist cocked back, your body suspended in midair.
The next thing you know you're waking up on the floor, Evil Karkat's boot nudging you in the ribs with more curiosity than intent to bruise. "What's wrong with your brain?"
"Wow, rude," you say, shaking off the remnants of the most ill-timed impromptu nap ever. "What's wrong with your manners?"
His boot gets a little more insistent and you don't flinch just because you don't want to give him the satisfaction. "Forfeit," he says. "Or I kill you now."
That's less of a deterrent than he thinks it is, and you'd point it out, except forfeiting ought to unlock his jumpsuit and all the treasures within. "You got me," you say. "Time to have your wicked way with me, dude. How can I service the imperial nook?"
"In your dreams are you worthy of getting anywhere near my nook," he sneers. "You'll take my bulge and you'll fucking like it."
"Okay," you say, partly because it is but mostly because you bet that'll make it less fun to gloat about. You try to get up and get as far as your knees before the air gets stiff and crackly around you. You don't fight it. Let him make the next move, you figure.
He does something to the front seam of his wetsuit with his painted claws, and the material peels back like a time-lapse video of a flower opening. The tip of his bulge peeks out from whatever trolls call their foreskin-analogue, glistening pink like the most evil tropical fruit. You lick your lips. He lets you go for it.
This is not the weirdest thing you have ever put in your mouth (dinnertime in Can Town can be a creative affair, okay), but it's on the list. Evil Karkat keeps a hand on your shoulder like he's making sure you don't try any funny business, like he still thinks he's claiming something you were in any way reluctant to give. You guess all Karkats are pretty clueless when it comes to actual flirting instead of romance novel bullshit.
God, he likes it, too. His breathing keeps hitching, and you can see the way his fantastic abs tense each time. His wetsuit is open far enough that it shows off a little triangle of velvety gray skin above his junk, momentarily undefended. You want to nuzzle it so bad. You're kind of starting to tent your PJs here, and you wonder if he'd mind if you just reached down, you know, got to work on that....
No, hang on, out of the corner of your eye you can see the edge-of-the-dream-bubble shimmers. This was a little one, if you could cross it that fast. You wonder if Evil Karkat has noticed. You wonder if he's going to finish before time's up. You make a little question sound in your throat, a sort of "Nnnnh?" by which you mostly mean hurry up, dude, clock is ticking here.
"Silence," he says. "You will give me the forfeit you offered and count yourself lucky I'm not taking more...." The second half of the sentence is already blurry and distorted, the sound of someone trying to talk to you underwater.
Then you pop out the far side of the bubble, and you're kneeling on the floor with your mouth open around nothing and a stiffie that now numbers among your most awkward this month. You wipe your mouth on your sleeve hastily and get up to go pry your sword out of the wall.
Somewhere out there, you realize, there is now a dream bubble populated by Evil Emperor Karkat with a boner that just got stood up. And that is amazing. You should tell your Karkat (see above re: the suitability of the rest of the meteor's inhabitants; the only one you can really talk to without things being weird is the Mayor, and the Mayor is an innocent). And hey, what a great way to bring up the topic of Daves touching Karkats in the pants area. Which is an idea you've wanted to put on the table, if it ever happened to come up.
Take that, Evil Karkat. Dave Strider is victorious again.