Karkat and Dave were strifing. It was not an odd occurrence in their 3 year trek through the outer ring. They had done this enough times that Karkat no longer felt himself involuntarily not blinking. He had watched Dave, knew the patterns he usually took. It was nothing an imp would pick up on, but Karkat could tell when the next flash step would happen, and sometimes, if he was lucky, where it would land. It was a dance of creating an opening not too obvious, but something Dave would notice, something too tempting to not use.
The troll did just that. And when Dave flash stepped, he turned and shoved an elbow. It connected, and they both went tumbling, sword and sickles forgotten, a wrestling match. Karkat landed on top, and pinned Dave quickly. The human wriggled beneath him trying, and failing, to flip him.
Karkat blinked, looking down, breathing, waiting. Dave struggled for a few more seconds before going slack. “I win,” Karkat said, bending down and kissing the human roughly. He scooped Dave up from his back, and reached down to grab his ass as the two proceeded with their sloppy makeout session. Karkat reached under Dave’s shirt, scratching his stomach as Dave in turn reached around for his horn. Karkat’s claws brushed lycra, and Dave stiffened. Karkat brushed a thumb beneath the tight material, and received an elbow to the face.
“Fuck, Jegus. Shithead.” Karkat nursed his nose as Dave slipped out from under him. Before Karkat could get another word in, Dave had vanished.
Karkat had learned a lot about humans through the game, and even more through his interactions with his matesprit, who frustrated him enough that the line between kismesis and matesprit was blurred. Only humans would do that. Only humans would want to do that.
He learned that humans had no quadrant system, which made courting all sorts of sticky and messy and confusing, but still very worth it when it sorted itself out. He learned that humans had either a sizable, inflexible bulge, or the smallest of bulges with a nook, instead of both, and that the former was reserved for males and the latter for females. Mostly. Except when it wasn’t that way at all. Karkat also learned about dysphoria, though it took him a long time to understand that, more than a lack of quadrants. Troll females were incredibly similar to troll males anatomically, except that they grew an extra layer of fat to protect their major organs. Nine times out of ten, if a troll is running from a fight, it was a male troll, who was just as vulnerable from the rear as from the front. Males could grow more to compensate for this, sometimes, but still. Females were always more aggressive and stronger. An extra, natural layer of defense was always there. Karkat couldn’t understand why a male human would hate that additional defense mechanism. He certainly wouldn’t mind having it.
Mostly, Karkat learned humans were much more confusing and complicated than he thought necessary.
The first time a strife session had dissolved into sloppy makeouts, Dave had ended it quickly, and drew several lines in the proverbial sand. Things he wouldn’t allow Karkat to do, no go places to touch. Karkat didn’t know if it was a weird part of human courting, but he was happy to wait it out. Except the lines were always there, and Dave had not bothered to explain them. It took a few more months before Karkat received an explanation, but only because he had sought it out relentlessly. In fact, up until that point, Karkat would have labeled their weird flirting as black. But then he learned there was plenty to pity about Dave Strider.
Dave and Rose had been whispering for days. Even Kanaya was growing concerned. Karkat started trailing them as discreetly as possibly (no small feat when one was a fucking seer). He found them in the alchemizing room, using up energy reserved for necessities, creating small bottles and needles, pills.
Both humans looked as though they were wrigglers caught with claws in sweet biscuits jars. Rose glided across the room with an ease and grace, simply stating, “It’s medical,” before leaving quickly, captchaloguing the bottles discreetly. Dave tried to flashstep away after a slight of hand captchalogue as well, but Karkat, who had strifed with him on multiple occasions already, saw his exit strategy and tackled him to the floor.
“Fucking shit, Vantas!”
“Getting predictable, Strider.” He’d pinned the human’s hands back to keep him from accessing his strife specibus. “You will explain ‘medical’ reason you have for playing a long game of running around and hiding like burrow rodents. Kanaya is concerned about her matesprit, and I—” Before he could state his own stakes in the knowledge, Dave elbowed his nose, knocked him back, and disappeared. Karkat wiped the blood away, then tracked the human back to his respiteblock.
“This conversation isn’t over, fuckass.” He pounded on the door a few times. Locked, of course. “Though I seem to be the only one attempting to spew anything from my chute. Fruitlessly. Let me keep going. I haven’t humiliated myself enough trying to understand the subtle ways of Dave fucking Strider. ‘Medical’ doesn’t make one look like a hoofbeast caught by a fucking hunter. ‘Medical’ doesn’t make that hoofbeast abscond, kicking all along the way.” He pounded on the door a few more times. “I will tear this door down with anger hot enough that the green sun seems like a dwarf digesting itself in an attempt to keep burning as it dies. FUCK YOU PRICK OPEN THE DOOR.”
He gave the door a last heavy punch, then rested his forehead against it. “Strider. Dave. I’m trying to understand. You aren’t making it easy.” There was a moment’s pause, then Dave opened the door. He was standing tall again, but Karkat could tell it wasn’t his usual stance. It was forced.
After a confusing (for Karkat) and awkward (for Dave) conversation, Karkat was much closer to understanding. Of course, he could never understand completely, not really. And he knew that. But sometimes, he forgot on purpose. Sometimes, he wanted to touch his matesprit because that is what trolls do with their matesprits. But Dave wasn’t having it. It was frustrating, and it was hard. It was hard, and nobody understood.
They were due to finally arrive in one week. Everyone was ecstatic. Piles were built, sopor was ingested. At the same time, there was an edge of not knowing what was coming. It would be hard, certainly. But at least they wouldn’t be careening through space anymore.
Karkat and Dave were enjoying each other’s company. Thoroughly and liberally. Or rather, Karkat was enjoying Dave’s. The human may not have had a malleable bulge, but his hand could do great things, curling and rubbing, and fuuuuck!
The troll had purred, groaned, and moaned beneath those claw-less hands. He had learned to appreciate the lack of sharp teeth humans had, because “blow jobs” were fantastic. For all the movement a normal bulge could do on its own, going with the motion of a “blow job” was a fan-fucking-tastic.
In fact, Karkat was finishing up at that time, writhing against Dave’s hand. “Fuck, Dave. FUCK!” Dave’s shirt was off and his shades were captchlogued away, but his binder, and his pants were still on. They were always on. Karkat was happy about the one layer of progress they’d made. He was happy, but…
Dave wiped the genetic material off with a towel. They’d been screwing enough that pails were no longer necessary. It never built up. Not that humans could produce enough themselves anyway. Their genes would get lost in the slurry.
Karkat moved to Dave’s side on the bed. Beds were nice. Dave draped an arm around him, protective. The actions screamed, “Mine, my matesprit, mine, not yours. Move along. Mine.” Karkat nuzzled into Dave, sliding a finger along the place between his binder and his pants. Safe skin to touch. The troll had a nagging want in the back of his mind. A want he’d had for a long time. Ever since that first kiss. It only compounded itself every time he came.
Dave gave a mumbled, questioning response.
“I…want to…do things to you.” The arm left. The foot came. Karkat found himself on the floor.
“Fucking shit, Strider.” Karkat stood up. “Matepsrits are supposed to reciprocate. You fuck me. I fuck you. Except I don’t. Fuck, I just. How much do I need to prostrate myself beneath the great Dave Strider to get permission to get him off? Should I get on my knees,” which he did, “And bow the fuck down to our god of time?”” He did this too, mouth inches from the floor. “I’ve done research, you fuckass. I’ve read shit on what remains of the internet. I’ve talked to Rose.” Dave glared. “Oh fuck you! Fuck you and your mightier than thou superiority Better Not Fucking Touch attitude. Who else could I ask? Whenever I attempt to start this conversation I get a face full of Hell Fucking No. We are reaching the new fucking session soon. I want to fuck my matesprit before I die. I want you to make the noises. I want to see what your face looks like when you come, and I can’t—fuck! Why can’t I be the one to give you a ‘blow job’!” Karkat sat up and wrung his fingers through his hair. He imagined Dave was still glaring at him, imagined the face full of Nope was turning into a 5 course meal being shoved down his throat. He stood up and made his way to the door.
“Fine,” Dave mumbled.
Karkat spun around fast enough that he almost lost his balance. He stared. Dave stared at the floor. “What?” He waited.
Dave gestured, his arms outstretched. “Have at it.” His tone bit. More than usual.
Karkat crossed the room again. He sat down next to Dave, brought one hand up the side of his face and touched their foreheads together. “You fucking tell me if it is too much. Say stop and I will. I don’t want a foot in my face, or an elbow. You FUCKING tell me.”
“K,” Dave responded tersely.
Karkat was still shorter than Dave, but his matesprit looked so small then, so defenseless, so pitiful. As they started kissing, Karkat could tell Dave was hesitating. They’d made out plenty of times before, and Dave always charged forward, ending things violently and abruptly if they crossed a line. Now, he was simply scared. Karkat worked on the crook of Dave’s neck, scraping it with his teeth enough to agitate, but not break skin. Dave wrapped a hand around one of his horns and he laid back onto the bed.
Yeah, Karkat thought, hang the fuck on, Dave.
Karkat pushed Dave’s binder up, up, but not off. Dave gave a sharp inhale, and settled once he realize Karkat just wanted access to his stomach, to his abs. The binder was still in place on Dave’s torso, doing what it was designed to do.
Once Dave seemed less tense, Karkat moved down. Reaching a hand for Dave’s button and zipper, pulling them up, not yet risking friction for anything underneath. Dave’s eyes were shut tight. Karkat tugged the jeans down, and threw them over his shoulder. He waited with his hands on Dave's knees. He waited for Dave to tell him to stop. Dave's teeth were clenched, his body tensing in defense. Karkat knew this was too much for him.
But the human didn’t protest.
Karkat rubbed his head in annoyance. This wasn’t going nearly as well as he’d hoped. He thought, and considered things.
“Why’d you stop?” Dave asked, his voice much higher pitched than usual.
“Just thinking.” He scooped Dave up from his armpits and shoved him roughly against the wall next to the bed. Dave gave a yelp. Karkat nipped at the crook in Dave’s neck again, grabbed his ass, and shoved a knee between Dave’s legs.
This was either going to work or fail spectacularly.
Karkat grinned when he felt Dave pushing back. Finally. The human tugged his horns, and shoved him back onto the bed, topping, biting on Karkat’s lip.
“Thought you were going to suck me off.” Without warning, Dave sat up shoved Karkat’s head down between his legs. “Well, what are you waiting for?”
Karkat could have called Dave out on his bravado. But that would have ruined it. If Dave was in control, if this was like always, then it just might work.
Karkat looked up. Yup. Dave was doing much better. The troll rearranged himself, then tugged down on Dave’s underwear. He waited for a protest that Dave never voiced, then licked.
Dave tugged on his horns the whole time, shuddering half from enjoyment, and half fighting the impulse to abscond. Karkat would have stopped if Dave had pushed him away. If he’d told him to stop. If he’d frozen up again. Dave didn’t. Though Karkat could tell there was something deep inside Dave screaming for it to end, another voice picked up and set the first voice on pause. Freak out later. Enjoy this now. Please.
Dave came. Karkat converted his face and all the noises he made to memory, because the troll didn’t know if he’d be able to experience it again. He moved back up the bed and wrapped an arm around Dave’s waist as the human pulled his underwear back on.
“Was that a good blow job?” Karkat asked earnestly, worriedly.
“The best,” Dave said with a smirk on his face. It faded quickly. Karkat could practically hear the cogs turning in Dave’s thinkpan. Processing. Figuring out how Not Okay that was, if it was a tolerable Not Okay or a Fuck No Never Again kind of Not Okay.
“Thank you,” Karkat mumbled into Dave’s stomach. He did not know what conclusion Dave would reach. He was not sure he wanted to know. “Are you okay?”
“Probably.” It was a better answer than Karkat expected.
Karkat hugged Dave tighter. “Mine,” he voiced out loud with a hint of a possessive growl, “Mine.”
He heard Dave chuckle as he ran a hand through Karkat’s hair. “Right back at you.”