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-- caligulasAquarium [CA] began trolling twinArmageddons [TA] --

CA: heres somethin that you might find interestin

The moment the link pops up on his screen, Sollux knows that he shouldn't click it, but he does anyway, curiosity getting the better of him. And now he's staring at his monitor, eyes wide in horror at the video that's playing before him.

Part of him is completely floored by the contents. The other part wonders how Eridan has even managed to come by such a video. It isn't as though Eridan has the skills to have fabricated such a thing, even if had he wanted to. (Did he want to?)

TA: what the hell ii2 thii2, ED?
CA: looks to me like its a vvideo a you pailin yourself
TA: ii don't remember any of thii2.
CA: the mind honey drippin from your mouth leads me to think thats to be expected
TA: fuck you, ED. how diid you get thii2 viideo?
CA: wwhy wwould i start revvealin my secrets sol

Sollux resists the urge to smash his head against his desk, but only barely.

TA: what'2 your angle, ED? what do you want?
CA: to revvel in your embarrassment an misery
TA: ii got that, fii2hface. ii know how thii2 works. what do you want?
CA: be my vvalentine

If he'd been drinking anything, he would have promptly inhaled it from gasping in surprise. It takes a full minute before he's even able to type a response.

TA: you're blackmaiiliing me iintwo beiing your valentiine.
CA: if you insist on phrasing it that wway
TA: why?
CA: because the humans keep talkin about it an i wwant to givve it a try
TA: you are 2o ob22e22ed wiith human culture thiing2. who knew.
CA: look either you agree to this or im forwwardin this on to evvery single person wwe knoww

The words "prove it" are at the tips of his fingers. He wants to say them so badly. But he knows it wouldn't end well. For as much of a ridiculous and absurd waste of space as he is, Eridan has definite moments of being dangerous and playing downright dirty. It would be almost admirable if not for the fact that it's constantly offset by the fact that he's a whiny bitch.

Whatever.

TA: why me? you could be blackmaiiliing anyone else.
CA: maybe i like you sol
TA: liike. what doe2 that even mean? are you telliing me that you piity me?
CA: no this is different
CA: its a human thing

TA: what'2 two 2top me from comiing over there and bla2tiing your face iin?

There is silence on the line for a while, and Sollux wonders if he's actually managed to scare the other troll off. Unlikely, but a troll could hope.

And then Trollian explodes.

-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] began trolling twinArmageddons [TA] --

CG: GODDAMN IT, SOLLUX. WHY THE FUCK IS ERIDAN SENDING ME PORN OF YOU? THERE ARE SOME THINGS I DO NOT NEED OR WANT TO KNOW ABOUT MY FRIENDS. I CAN ONLY HOPE THAT THIS WAS ALL INDUCED BY MIND HONEY AND THAT YOU WERE COMPLETELY INCAPABLE OF RATIONAL THOUGHT BECAUSE THAT IS THE ONLY REASON WHY YOU WOULD DECIDE TO RECORD YOURSELF IN THE FIRST PLACE AND ACTUALLY KEEP IT. NOT THAT I'M JUDGING, BUT SERIOUSLY, KEEP YOUR SELF-PAILING HABITS TO YOURSELF.
CG: YOU KNOW WHAT? NEVERMIND. I AM JUDGING YOU. JUDGING YOU FOR NOT DELETING THIS AS SOON AS YOU WERE SOBER AND FOR LEAVING IT IN A PLACE THAT AMPORA COULD FIND. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU TWO ARE UP TO, AND I REALLY DON'T WANT TO KNOW SO SPARE ME THE DETAILS. BUT LEAVE ME THE HELL OUT OF IT OR SO HELP ME I WILL SHOVE MY FOOT SO FAR UP YOUR EXCREMENT CHUTE THAT YOU'LL NEVER WANT ANYTHING TO FUCK IT EVER AGAIN.
CG: OH, GOD, AND NOW I JUST MADE MYSELF SICK WITH THAT MENTAL IMAGE.

Quickly exiting that window for the previous one, Sollux leaves Karkat to his ranting, growling under his breath.

TA: what the fuck, ED? why the hell would you 2end that two KK!?
CA: dont test me
TA: fuck you. fuck you and fuck however you got that 2hiit recorded and fuck thii2 2tupiid human holiiday.
CA: wwell i guess you could but thats movvin kinda fast
CA: its more about makin your partner swwoon for you and wwinnin them ovver and less about turnin them into a one night stand

TA: god, ii hate you 2o fuckiing much.
CA: wwatevver
CA: are you doin this or not

TA: fiine. one day. what do you want me two do?
CA: be my vvalentine
TA: what exactly doe2 that entaiil, moron?
CA: its a redrom holiday
CA: so redrom things
CA: you gotta be nice an take me on a human date an buy me dinner an stuff like that
CA: keywword here is nice
CA: put your scrawwny little heart into it

TA: thii2 ii2 the 2tupiide2t thing ii've ever done.
CA: thats debatable
TA: do you want me two do thii2 or not?
CA: dont threaten me sol
CA: kar might keep a secret but i doubt that ter wwill be so accommodatin

Sollux snarls and slouches more in his seat. Maybe he can just kill Eridan during their fake date. Who would blame him?

TA: what tiime do you want me two come over tomorrow?
CA: the earlier the better
CA: i wwanna spend as much time wwith you as possible

Maybe he can strangle Eridan before the sun comes up.


~~~~~~~


Sollux shows up before sunrise just to be a dick. If Eridan wants him over early, then he's going to be over early. Eridan had never specified how early. Early is now "early enough to annoy Eridan and also early enough that Eridan's neighbors don't see how creepy Sollux is being."

He doesn't even bother with the door, instead floating straight up to the second level of Eridan's hive and circling until he can see Eridan's recuperacoon through the window, the scene dimly lit by the light from Eridan's computer. He's curled up in the slime, and it would be adorable if it were anyone but Eridan.

Since it's Eridan, Sollux just wants to harass him.

Getting in the window is easy enough. Human windows don't really hold up to psionics. Troll windows aren't much better, but that doesn't really matter, right now.

Eridan is so sound asleep, Sollux could probably reach in there and off him, if he really wanted to. Instead, he reaches inside and tugs on one of Eridan's ankles, huffing when all he does is shift a little. Seriously, what would Eridan do if someone wanted to cull him? Roll over?

…probably.

Sollux tugs a little harder, and Eridan makes an annoyed noise and opens his eyes. For a moment, all the pair does is stare at one another. And then Eridan is clambering out of his recuperacoon, arms folding over the edge, and Sollux is slightly peeved that Eridan seems to feel completely unthreatened.

"Wwhat are you doin' here so early?"

"Ath early ath pothible, you thaid."

Eridan groaned and let his head drop, slimy hair dragging along his arms.

"God, you suck."

"Not today, ED. Remember? Romanth only."

"You're insufferable." The comment is muffled, and Sollux grins at the victory. Maybe he can piss Eridan off so much that he'll call off the date early.

He has to be careful, though. Too much and Eridan will spread that video. But maybe he can work things a little bit differently.

"Thorry, ED. Would you like for me to bring you breakfatht in bed? Thinth I'm here tho early and all."

Hazy eyes blink up at him, slime clinging to the lashes, and Eridan nods tiredly. "Sure, wwhatewer." And then he sinks back into the slime, unbelievably trusting, considering.

Sollux thinks about raiding Eridan's computer to find that file and delete it, but the seadweller probably has it stored somewhere else, too. And if Eridan wakes to him rifling through his computer, that probably won't go over well. He'll take care of it some other time when Eridan isn't around. As it is, pissing off Eridan is going to be entertaining. That can wait.

Without another glance, Sollux turns to go raid Eridan's fridge, hoping there is something edible and not disgusting in there.

The amount of human food present doesn't surprise him as much as he thought it would. It actually seems kind of appropriate, considering Eridan's apparent preoccupation with human culture. Whatever. He can figure this out.

Fifteen minutes later has him with a plate of toasted bread (the toaster had quickly succumbed to his technological genius) covered in some of the grub sauce he'd found, and he just hopes it's edible. He takes it upstairs along with a glass of juice and nudges the whole recuperacoon with his hip, jostling it just enough that Eridan's eyes blink open again. He looks a little more coherent this time, but also more confused.

"I thought I dreamed you."

"What? Why the hell would I be in your dreamth?"

"Wwell, I do dream of horrorterrors."

Sollux only huffs and shoves the plate at him. And Eridan stares for a moment before laughing softly. The sound is so startling that Sollux nearly drops the plate into the sopor slime.

"Wwhat is that supposed to be?"

"Honethtly, I kinda hoped you'd know. Your kitchen ith confuthing."

Eridan is still smiling a little when he takes the glass from Sollux. "That's kinda adorable, but also disgustin'."

"Hey, you were the one who wanted to do thith thtupid date thing."

Eridan downs the whole glass in one swallow, opening his throat to wash it all down, then passes it back to Sollux.

"I'll go wash theethe, and you can go clean up or whatever. No hurry."

The slightly baffled look on Eridan's face only sticks for a moment, but it's worth it. He debates patting Eridan on the head or something equally absurd, but that will probably result in him losing a finger or two. For as much as Eridan wants a Valentine's Day, Sollux doubts that he's ready for affectionate touches just yet.

While Eridan is in the ablution trap de-sliming himself, Sollux tries to think of cliche dates and stupid romantic things. Crap, he should have bought flowers or something. Well, maybe he'll do it while they're out, and then Eridan can have his pick. And it will be cheesy and absurd and drive Eridan hopefully crazy.

He's grinning when Eridan emerges, and the other troll looks honestly…concerned at the expression.

"Sol?"

"Don't worry about it, ED. Now come on. There'th got to be thomeplathe open thith early in the morning, thinth I can't make breakfast. And I might know jutht the plathe."

"Sol, it's fiwe in the--"

"Nope. Don't care." And with that, Sollux grabs Eridan's hand and hauls him through his hive and to the door, grabbing the keys that are on the table next to it.

"Sol, I don't hawe my wwallet! Let me--"

"Nope. Don't care." He grins and locks the door, pocketing the keys and turning to face Eridan. "I'll pay for everything. It'th Valentine'th Day and all."

"You just locked me out of my house wwith no money." Oddly, Eridan doesn't sound angry. He's more confused than anything else.

"Don't worry about it, cupcake."

Eridan's jaw actually drops at that, and Sollux is able to reach forward and wrap his arms around him, sending them both rocketing into the air via psionics before Eridan can do anything more than squeak in surprise, clinging to him desperately, likely afraid Sollux will just drop him. But Sollux is too busy enjoying himself to do that.

The sea troll is decidedly frazzled when Sollux deposits them both on the ground, reluctant to let go until he's decided that they really are stopped, and then he shoves Sollux forcefully away.

"Wwhat is your fukin' deal?"

"Didn't know you'd object to being carried, printheth. Come on. Thith ith a human plathe. You'll like it."

Eridan follows him inside, sulking, but as soon as he sees the menu board inside with the pancake of the day written in orange chalk, his pouting ceases. He is compliant as the human hostess leads them to their table, eyes flicking upward to the menu every now and again, though he tries to appear disinterested.

Twenty minutes later, they've ordered and their food has been set before them, and Eridan is attempting to inhale his stack of white chocolate raspberry pancakes as slowly and regally as possible.

"Tho… How ith it?"

Eridan glares up at him, but he can't be angry, because this is what he'd wanted. Instead, he shoves half a pancake into his mouth in the most childish display of retaliation Sollux has ever seen.

The next thing on Sollux's list is buying flowers, or maybe seeing a movie, but he hadn't really thought about the fact that waking Eridan so early would result in not many places being open, yet. And so they walk from the restaurant. It's quite a few blocks until they hit downtown, and they walk in silence. It's a little awkward, because normally they'd be snarking back and forth, but Sollux has to be careful, so…

…so he holds Eridan's hand.

That makes things even more awkward, and Sollux really hopes Eridan is feeling it. Maybe he'll call this whole thing off before--

Eridan's fingers curl to meet the back of his hand.

Well, shit.

The park is relatively empty when they get there, and Sollux has spent the entire time trying to figure out how to dislodge his hand from Eridan's only to have Eridan tug him over to one of the benches and down next to him.

"Wwhy'd you hawe to wwake me up so fukin' early?" Eridan closes his eyes and throws an arm over them to block out the rising sun, which has the added effect of detaching their hands, and Sollux is more than happy about that.

They sit in silence for a while, and Sollux really hopes Eridan isn't dumb enough to actually be dozing off out here. He does not want to deal with the other troll's nightmares, and especially not out in public like this. While he doesn't want to shove Eridan over or start harassing him -- he's so much more pleasant when passed out -- it's really boring to just sit doing nothing. The sun lightens everything, and Sollux's eyes roam around the park, noting the early joggers and a sparse few businesspeople.

And then he notices a flowering bush not far off.

With a sideways glance to Eridan, Sollux decides that he won't notice a brief absence and absconds temporarily. This will be much sappier. And also cheaper. He doesn't want to spend any more money on this stupid day than he really has to.

He returns with a flower in hand, bright pink and still stemmed, and after a moment of thought, he leans over Eridan and shoves the stem behind one of his aural fins.

Eridan jerks and swipes out in reflex, but Sollux stops the blow before it reaches him, grinning down at Eridan.

"Aw, look how pretty you are."

Eridan's eyes narrow, and Sollux can almost see him mentally assessing himself, searching for anything amiss, and only moments later a clawed hand flies up to meet his fin. His eyes go wide when they touch the petals, and Eridan looks like he's trying to understand.

"Wwhy did you… Is that wwhat I think it is?"

"Probably."

There is a moment of silence while Eridan apparently decides what to do, and he decides upon lowering his hand, along with his shoulders, and staring at the ground. He makes no attempt to remove it, and Sollux growls inwardly. Fine. If he wants to play it that way.

Sollux tries not to look like he's stalking off, even though maybe he is just a little. The nut vendor isn't in the park yet, but there is a convenience store across the street, and he hopes that Eridan is sufficiently enraptured or embarrassed by his flower to stay put. He returns with a bag of peanuts in hand, brandishing them in Eridan's face.

"I'm not John, Sol. Those wwon't kill me." His smile is a bit wry, a bit cautious, and Sollux rolls his eyes and opens the bag, plopping down next to Eridan again.

"Shut up, ED. Watch and learn."

Eridan's expression turns more and more smug as time passes uneventfully, and Sollux is about two seconds away from just chucking the whole bag at Eridan's head and its ridiculous purple streak when a movement on the grass makes him pause.

Finally.

A bushy tail bobs and weaves nearby, and Sollux shakes out a few peanuts and tosses them forward. The squirrel pauses in alarm, then inches forward, presumably as soon as it realizes that they're here to feed it. As it draws closer, Sollux flicks out an occasional peanut, and Eridan leans forward, breath slowing like he's afraid he'll frighten it off.

Three feet, two feet, one foot, and Sollux lays a peanut beside him on the bench. The squirrel, round from people doing exactly this, jumps up onto the wood, and Eridan bites his lip with a muffled squeak. Sollux turns to him, taking in the wide eyes and parted lips.

"You've never done thith before." It isn't a question, and Eridan is too enraptured to protest as Sollux drags Eridan's hand forward onto his own lap and places a peanut onto the tips of his fingers.

Eridan's breath halts completely when the squirrel hops onto Sollux's leg, tiny hands reaching forward to grab the offered peanut, and then his face splits wide, sharp teeth bared in delight. He looks over at Sollux, gesturing with a shake of his head for more peanuts, and the joy in his expression has never, ever been aimed at Sollux before. It's kind of overwhelming.

He continues to give Eridan peanuts, and another few squirrels join them in time. When Sollux shakes the last of the peanuts out, he is careful to cast them to the ground a short distance away, encouraging their new fans to hop off and give them space to shift and stand.

Or, well, they would be standing if Eridan could wipe that unusual expression from his face and focus on anything else.

But then…does it really matter? He's not even exerting any effort anymore, and it's making Eridan happy, and that's Sollux's job today. His official one, anyway. The unofficial "drown Eridan in sap" job is more covert.

He stretches one hand out to Eridan's, and the other troll doesn't do more than glance at it before taking it. The soft smile he directs toward the ground, the way he won't meet Sollux's eyes… He's really enjoying this, isn't he?

Sollux huffs and tugs Eridan along, and Eridan follows eagerly, cape fluttering behind him. Sollux can't even find it in him to be angry about it. The worst he can seem to muster is general annoyance at how completely ridiculous Eridan is being. They both know this is all an act, but Eridan is letting himself get submerged.

It will only hurt more when the day is over.

Sollux wonders why he cares.


~~~~~~~


They walk through the city in the early morning before most places are open, and Sollux buys Eridan some kind of fluffy coffee drink with way too much sugar in it. They sit at a small table underneath the outdoor overhang, and Sollux takes Eridan's hand again, in full view of anyone passing, then proceeds to listen with rapt attention to everything that comes out of his mouth. It takes a special effort not to snark and fight with him, but Sollux is surprised to find that, when he isn't being a dick to Eridan, Eridan returns the favor.

He's not quite sure what to make of that, so he presses Eridan's knuckles to his lips. That earns him a squeak and a stutter, and Eridan has to take a large sip of his coffee to try and mask it. But Eridan doesn't pull his hand free, so Sollux just sits there, stroking the back of Eridan's hand with his thumb and actually taking the time to think about what he's doing.

It's softer than he expected.


~~~~~~~


Eridan is actually nervous when he asks if Sollux will take him shopping.

"Sure, ED, but…why?"

"Because it's nice to get a second opinion, and I suppose you'll hawe to do, for noww." (Who else would go with me?)

Sollux is overly appreciative, complimenting Eridan's lean legs, smooth stomach, toned arms, and nice ass loudly when he emerges from the dressing room, cooing and fawning over how attractive he is for everyone in the store to hear. Eridan blushes brightly and slinks back behind the curtain every time, but he never asks Sollux to stop.

He also buys what Sollux considers to be a ridiculous amount of clothing -- all pieces Sollux had approved of -- and conveniently captchalogues everything so that his hands are free. One of them goes straight into Sollux's, clinging gently.

Sollux realizes, as the door dings from their exit, that he'd meant everything he'd said. He won't let himself look at Eridan for a while out of fear that all he'll see is lean legs, smooth stomach, toned arms, and a nice ass.

When he does look, the first thing he sees is a little half-smile and long eyelashes.


~~~~~~~


Dinner, at least, Sollux has planned. The typical, fancy human places that advertise couple specials and the like have been booked solid due to the holiday, but there's an especially nice, troll-operated place on the edge of town that had squeezed him in.

He doesn't tell Eridan where they're going, and the sea troll holds on tightly while Sollux flies them there, complaints about the means of transportation nonexistent by this time. And from the way Eridan's chin is resting on his shoulder, Sollux hears his gasp loud and clear when they touch down.

It's called simply The Aquarium, and it's as close as Sollux will ever get to taking Eridan on a date underwater.

For as much as Eridan prefers to stay on land, his eyes still go wide when their hostess leads them through the doors into the cool blue dining area. He still leans toward the wall of glass that runs right along the edge of their table, watching an eel wind by. He still cranes his neck back to see the schools of fish dance where the tank meets the ceiling. The light reflecting off the water and the glass gives Eridan this sort of glow. A glow that makes him seem…magical, honestly.

Sollux debates telling Eridan so just to piss him off, but then he remembers that he's supposed to back off. Just for today.

When Eridan turns to him, lights sparkling in eyes that are beginning to turn purple, Sollux forgets all bout holding his tongue.

"You look magical, ED."

Eridan gapes at him, but at least Sollux manages to not comment on how much he also looks like a fish. Instead of flying off the proverbial handle, however, Eridan only closes his mouth, lips twisting upward at one corner.

"No such thing as magic."

And that's it. Eridan turns to his menu like nothing happened, and he doesn't even look upset. If anything, he looks…smug? Content? Happy? What even--

Their waiter steps up next to their table and sets two glasses of water down, and that's enough to jostle Sollux out of his thoughts. Stupid Eridan and his stupid sparkly eyes and high cheekbones and pretty lips.

He'd never really noticed before what good table manners Eridan has. Then again, he's never really had a "proper" meal with him. (Those pancakes probably hadn't counted.) It makes sense, considering how much the other troll reads and how much he focuses on the status given to him by his blood (though in this weird, melded universe, blood just doesn't carry the same weight as it had before), but still, Sollux has never been quite so fascinated watching someone else eat. Eridan is precise, graceful, and tidy, and Sollux wonders if it's even normal.

Eridan's eyes flick up to him, a bite of lobster suspended before his open mouth, then he tilts his head to the side in what looks like amusement.

"Wwhat?"

"You eat weird," is all Sollux manages to say, and Eridan blinks in confusion, looking between the two of them, their plates, their silverware…

"Forgot I'm eatin' wwith the commoners." But there is no nastiness in the statement, and Sollux doesn't know how to respond.

He's still looking for words when Eridan dips the tip of one finger straight into his little pot of melted butter and pops the whole thing into his mouth, sucking the traces from skin and claw while staring across the table, apparently amused by Sollux's reaction.

"Happy noww?"

Eridan doesn't wait for an answer, just goes back to eating, but there's a little less structure in him, now. A little more messiness. And Sollux is surprised to find that it actually does make him happier.


~~~~~~~


"Sol?"

The question is soft, and it startles Sollux out of watching the sand pass beneath his feet. They're on a walk. On the beach. Under fucking moonlight, no less, and Sollux had been busy musing about his own awesomeness when Eridan spoke.

"Yeah?"

"Thanks."

"Nothing to thank me for. You're blackmailing me, in cathe you forgot."

Eridan seems to slump, and Sollux almost feels bad.

"I knoww, but you kinda wwent abowe and beyond. So thanks."

"Don't mention it."

"Wwasn't plannin on it, after tonight."

Sollux snorts and squeezes Eridan's hand in his own before tugging the other troll to the sand. Eridan squeaks in response, landing on his ass and blinking in confusion at the blanket that Sollux has removed from his captchalogue. The blanket spread out beneath them.

"Sol?"

"Shut up, ED. Look at the thtars with me."

Sollux is on his back, and it's with a fair amount of confusion that Eridan follows him down, despite the way Sollux has been behaving all day. When the other troll pulls him close to his side, Eridan visibly stiffens, and Sollux thinks this is it. He's finally freaked Eridan out.

But then Eridan actually chirps and cuddles into him, and he's all clingy limbs and too much cape and stupid horns in Sollux's face and that noise that makes Sollux's blood pusher jump just that little bit. He buries his fingers in Eridan's hair so he can hear it again, and Eridan's breath shudders in his chest. That same breath starts to slow and deepen when Sollux's fingers don't stop stroking, and Sollux finds himself gradually more and more covered in Eridan.

A very limp, relaxed Eridan who is…god, he's sleeping. Sleeping!

What is he thinking, falling asleep out here? There's no sopor slime. No pile. Nothing to keep him from the horrorterrors. Nothing but Sollux and this blanket.

He couldn't be thinking that Sollux would protect him. That would be moronic. What was to stop him from bailing at the stroke of midnight? Hell, even earlier. It's not like Eridan would know exactly when he'd left. There's nothing to stop him from leaving right now. Leaving Eridan to his nightmares and the horrorterrors, and it would serve him right for being enough of an idiot to trust Sollux with--

His blood pusher rises into his throat and stays there.

Eridan trusts him.

Why, why would he do that? Out of all the people he could fall asleep with, why would he pick Sollux? Sollux hates him. Platonically. Sollux wants to do terrible, mean things to him. Sollux is going to get up and leave right now. Leave Eridan alone on the beach, alone to wake in fear with no one to calm him, no one to tell him that it was just a dream, even if that's not entirely true. No one to make him stop crying like the pathetic little wriggler he is.

Another soft chirp makes him realize that he's been holding Eridan progressively more tightly, but the noise hadn't been one of discomfort. If anything it had been distressed because…because Sollux is distressed. As Sollux relaxes, Eridan cuddles happily back into him, breath slowing again, and what has he gotten himself into?

The image of Eridan waking alone and scared makes him ache somewhere inside, makes him want to wrap the troll up so nothing can hurt him. Eridan, who is so lonely that he'd blackmailed someone who hates -- hated? -- him just to have one day of pretend happiness. Except that Eridan hadn't been pretending. He'd been genuinely happy.

"You're thuch a dipshit, ED."

There's no response, of course. It makes sense. When Sollux actually needs Eridan to talk to him, he's annoyingly silent. Eridan is good at being annoying.

He's also good at being witty, snarky, adorable… Oh, Sollux is in so much shit.

The strangest thing about all of it is that…he doesn't mind. Not really.

He stays awake all night, thinking when Eridan is calm, stroking him gently when Eridan is struggling with nightmares, easing him back into restful sleep. When Eridan finally begins to stir with the rise of the sun -- because this new universe has definitely wreaked havoc on their typical nocturnal schedules -- Sollux is still there.

"Sol?"

"Yeah, ED?"

Eridan touches Sollux's cheek gently, brows furrowing in confusion, and then he seems to come to a decision, face glowing in a brilliant smile. And it's directed at Sollux. Only at him.

It's beautiful.

"I'we newer had such a good dream."

Sollux thinks he might have a name for this feeling that's bubbling inside him, but he's not ready to say it out loud just yet. Maybe in time.

And then Eridan's leaning in, and his mouth is soft against Sollux's. Soft, but assured, like he's doing exactly what he wants to be doing and has no qualms about doing so. Sollux eases him back, biting his lip at Eridan's little whine.

"You're not supposed to push me awway, Sol."

"You're not dreaming."

"A course I am." But when Sollux continues to hold him at bay despite how hard he's trying to squirm closer, Eridan's eyes lose their cloudy sheen, and he looks completely dumbfounded. "Sol?"

"Thith ithn't a dream, ED."

"You didn't leawe. It's been a day. You didn't…" But now Eridan is pulling away, and no, that isn't what Sollux wants at all.

So he kisses him again, but Eridan doesn't respond. He just continues to gape at Sollux.

"You didn't leawe."

"Oh my god, you're an idiot."

There's another long pause, and Sollux can see the hope as it blooms.

"You didn't leawe. Sol, you didn't leawe."

Sollux doesn't even bother replying, since Eridan clearly doesn't need him to, being much too busy talking, himself. But Eridan's decided to sit in silent awe, now, so no one's talking, and while it isn't exactly awkward, Sollux kind of feels like someone should be saying something.

Then Eridan does.

"Sol? You…really?"

"Yeah."

And somehow, that is the perfect thing to say. Because Eridan is on top of him, kissing him and pressing him into the blanket while the sun comes up over the ocean.