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Basorexia and Brontide

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"A storm's coming in."

You didn't think the lands had random weather occurences, but she looks pretty certain. Doesn't keep you from questioning her. She sighs tiredly and refuses to rise to your baiting. Instead she suggests you both find shelter.

You wonder, as you search for cover, why it is that you got teamed up with her. Shouldn't she have paired up with Kanaya- have both Space players working together? No, Rose decided that you were more suited to this partnership, and so, here you are.

"Pick it up, Karkat!"

"Shut up, I'll get there when I'm good and ready!"

"It's your fault if you get struck by lightning!"

Like hell you will. You can barely see the clouds rolling up on the horizon. The storm she's so worried about won't be here for some time--being in such a rush to hide from it is a waste. You'd tell her as much, but you've done it before and she always comes back with, "Rose says we have plenty of time to spend."

So what if you do? Doesn't mean you should.

"Come on, Karkat! Get your slow ass over here!"

"Fuck you! If you think I'm being too slow then-"

"Damn it Harley- I told you to stop using your teleporting bullshit on me!"

She just rolls her eyes at you and keeps moving. A cave in the face of an impossibly high cliff comes into view, and she grabs your wrist and drags you in, despite your myriad and loud objections. It's just a little rain! There's no need to hide from it! This is stupid!

You sit in the cave and she types away on her lunchtop, probably bitching to Egbert about you. You just kind of glare at her. Every now and then she raises her eyes to meet yours and just gives you this infuriating look that says "You are being an ass, you know that, right?"

You don't give a fuck what she thinks, and you're about to let her know that when she closes her lunchtop and leans back against the cave wall, closing her eyes and smiling.

"What the fuck are you smiling about?"

"Don't you hear it?"

You don't know what the fuck she's hearing--all you hear is buck-toothed broads and their spacey-horseshit. Your buck-toothed-broads-and-spacey-horseshit-o-meter is straining under the pressure of her buck teeth and spacey-horseshit.

"No, Harley, I don't fucking hear whatever doubtlessly stupid and pointless shit your listen-handles are picking up on, and I don't-"

"Will you shut the fuck up and listen?"

Fine. Sure. Whatever. You cross your arms and close your eyes and listen hard. You don't know what the fuck you're listening for other than the usual sounds of-

A low, soft rumble sounds outside of the cave. You open your eyes and she's grinning her fucking face off. "Did you hear it?"

"It's just thunder."

She rolls those eyes again, shaking her head. "It's far-away thunder."

"Okay big-whoop. You were right about the storm whatev-"

"That's not the point Karkat!"

"Then what is?"

"There isn't one! I just like the sound!"

She just what? That's ridiculous. It's just thunder! That's stupid, and she's stupid. She sighs when you tell her as much, and pats the spot beside her on the cave floor, telling you to come over. You say no like five times but arguing with her is always fruitless.

"Just listen, okay?"

You already did. It wasn't anything special. She closes her eyes again and that smile is back on her face. You don't get it. What is it about the sound of far-off thunder that she likes so much? You don't think you'll understand no matter how much you try, but you figure it can't hurt--much--to listen with her.

Everything is quiet. There's no sound but the rolling of a distant storm and the two of you breathing. It's actually-. . . it isn't not nice. It isn't a thing that is unpleasant.

You risk a glance in her direction. Her eyes are closed, but you know she isn't sleeping. She's awake and aware, but completely focused on that far-away sound. Her teeth peek out from beneath her upper lip as the thunder rolls again and her smile widens. Her hands are folded in her lap and she wiggles her feet from side to side and in little circles. You don't understand why this is so fun for her.

"Hear it?"

You startle and realise you were staring. You immediately look away even though her eyes are still closed. "Y-yeah."

"But you still don't get it."

"No shit."

She doesn't sigh this time, and her smile doesn't fall. "I guess that makes sense. You know, this is the first time I've heard a far-away storm in the past three years."

Oh.

"Oh."

She opens her eyes and looks up at the cave ceiling. "Don't you have something like that? A sound or a feeling or something that makes you feel all peaceful?"

You don't think you do. You strain your think-pan trying to recall a "something" that eases your mind. There aren't a lot of things that put you at ease, you realize--you're constantly on edge. Even now you're tense, and she picks up on that. Her smile is sympathetic as she pats your shoulder.

"Well, maybe we should find you something, huh?"

"I don't need anything, Harley--this is stupid."

She laughs, a high, breathy sound, "you only think that because you don't have something, and I do!"

You glare your fiercest glare, but she's too busy laughing to notice--or she thinks you look ridiculous, and you're making her laugh harder. Most likely the latter; you feel ridiculous, but then, that seems to be a side-effect of spending time with her.

She's doubled over, but calming down. "Hoo! Has anyone ever told you how unthreatening you look when you're glowering at people?"

"Gee, thanks, Harley."

She gives you a look that says she's in too good a mood now to fight with you. She's grinning lopsidedly right at you and something wells up that you thought you had pushed down a long time ago. Your chest tightens and you quickly turn your head away. No, no; You already decided that little flush-crush was not worth pursuing, and that you were over it. You were over it two years ago!

"Karkat?"

"Just shut up and listen to your stupid thunder."

You can feel her eyes on the back of your head for a few moments longer, but she doesn't say anything more. You hear the soft rustle of cloth and hair as she lays her head back against the cave wall. You're sure she's got her eyes closed, the better to keep her ears open, but you don't risk a glance to confirm.

You're a bit busy with an internal conflict.

You weren't even flushed for that long when you were flushed for her. You never confessed, and you got over it! You moved on and forgot about your silly red feelings for the human girl, didn't you?

In the silence of the cave you can hear two things clearly: distant thunder, and her steady breathing. Your frantic thoughts slow to a halt as you unconsciously focus in on the latter. In and out, in and out. She's breathing deeply through her mouth and it sounds as if she could doze off at any moment--and you know she definitely might. Somehow you begin to calm down, as if with every breath she erases more and more of your unease.

With a start, you realize what your "something" is. Just your luck that it's something as weird as someone else's breathing. You finally turn to look at her and her green eyes stare right back. You want to turn back around, but you're stuck--trapped by those eyes.

"Are you okay?"

No, you're not. That feeling in your chest is back and there are flutterbeasts in your digestive system and blood rushing to your face and all of those feelings you read about in your romance novels. This is the part where the red pair confess their feelings and engage in sloppy makeouts; it's a tried and true formula.

However, this isn't a romance novel and you aren't a reader--you're a would-be half of a red pair and you don't know her feelings the way you would if you were reading about her. This does not stop your blood-pumping vessel from trying to leap out of your ribcage.

You want to kiss her. That's what this feeling is.

You can't. She has no red feelings for you that you're aware of, and you've learned from the collection of human romantic comedies you've watched that kissing her without prior consent would result in you being on the recieving end of a slap or, considering who she is, worse. You swallow the lump in your throat and oh God you're staring at her aren't you?

She knows, too. Her face is getting redder by the minute and her eyes are wide and she knows. Her lips are moving but no sound is coming out and you just know she's trying to stammer out a rejection. The thunder rolls.

The thunder rolls and her mouth stops moving. She closes her eyes tight, pinches the bridge of her nose and takes several deep breaths. You tear your gaze away and count the pebbles on the cave floor. You can't calm down. You try to listen to her breathing again but that feels so much more inappropriate now than it did only moments ago (and it felt pretty damn inappropriate then).

A warm hand is placed on yours. Long skinny fingers interlace with your own shorter digits and she says your name. Once more you turn your head to meet her eyes, and she raises her free hand to your cheek. Her eyes are determined and she pulls her lower lip between her teeth nervously. It takes you a moment to realize what is happening.

Then it hits you that she is actually doing this. She is making this happen; and you should probably do more than just sit there staring like an idiot.

You don't know what to do with your hands and you don't know where to look, or even if your eyes should be open or closed. All of your purportedly brilliant romantic knowledge is out the window and you haven't even started. You raise your hands and place them stiffly on her shoulders, and meet her eyes in what you hope is a romantic and seductive way.

Judging by the way she explodes into a fit of laughter, it's neither. She collapses onto your chest, nearly knocking you over, and giggles and snorts and wheezes uncontrollably.

"Oh my God, what are you trying to do‽"

"I- I was trying to- Damn it Harley, you completely ruined the mood!"

Her fingers hold tightly to your sweater for support and you're surprised she can even breathe between her fits of over-the-top laughter.

"I ruined the mood? God, you should have seen your f-f-face!"

"Yes, you ruined the mood with your stupid, obnoxious laughing!"

"Wonder what I was laughing at, dumbass!"

Well, there it goes; your chance at a redrom with her has been effectively ruined. If you can't even get past the first kiss, how do you expect to have a proper relationship?

"C'mere, let's try again."

"Wait, what?"

You get a second chance? Really? This isn't like in your novels at all. Aren't you supposed to get this right the first time? Isn't the first kiss supposed to be some sort of litmus test for the potential of the relationship?

"Hey," she snaps her fingers in front of your face, "are we going to do this or what?"

"Fuck, give me a minute!"

"Oh come oooonnnn!"

The mood was almost perfect earlier; everything quiet but a far away storm,  her breathing, and your own.  All you could see was her, and everything else had faded from notice. Now, you can hear every little noise and everything that can distract you is trying its hardest to do so. You're not lost in her eyes--you are, in fact, having a very hard time meeting them.

Suffice to say, the mood is less than ideal for this do-over. She's not having any griping about that, though. She places both hands on either side of your face and leans forward, eyes closing and opening and closing again. You should probably contribute something to this. You definitely should. Yes.

You probably rushed forward a little too fast and definitely at the wrong angle; you both make noises of discomfort as your teeth knock together. She's probably going to stop and admonish you for failing so spectacularly again.

Except she doesn't. She does halt the kiss for a moment, but only long enough to adjust the positions of your noses and foreheads and other things that knock awkwardly together. Then she kisses you again, and she's not exactly perfect at it either. Your arms are wrapped stiffly around her and her hands are entwined awkwardly in your hair. Her fingers pull a bit and it kind of hurts. She shifts and mumbles something about her leg falling asleep.

Every now and then she laughs into the kiss, and you immediately think you're doing something not only wrong, but stupid. The way she's leaning into you and rubbing the back of your neck, however, tells you something else. It tells you that, maybe, you're not completely and utterly shitty at this whole kissing thing.

Then you make a go at the tongue thing and she sputters and cracks up.

"Fuck, Harley!"

"I'm--pffft-- I'm sorry, here let's go again-"

"Fuck no! You're just going to start laughing like a moronic grub again!"

"Aw, c'mon Karkat! I was just surprised! I mean, I'm not exactly used to getting a mouthful of troll tongue all-"

"Oh, that's just beautiful, Jade. I totally want to have sloppy makeouts with you now. You know how much I just love having a mouthful of stupid human tongue shoved down my throat."

"I was not the one doing stuff with their tongue and you know it! Now will you stop whining and kiss me again?"

"Wow, you sure know how to make a guy feel special."

"Oh fuck you!"

"Yeah right, like I'm letting you past primary diamond point with that attitude."

". . . Is that troll-speak for first base?"

"No, first base is snooty-highblood-speak for primary diamond point."

"Wait, how am I even supposed to reach second base? I thought that was a thing you were supposed to do- y'know, with my boobs?"

"Oh my God."

The rain is drenching the world outside of the cave, and the thunder is no longer a distant rumbling, but you don't have a thought to spare for the stupid weather.