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In Full Clarity

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You get used to this.

Your life settles into a more even tenor than you think you can ever really recall it managing before. Your collaborative Ampora/Captor hellvirus made the rounds of Gresley--by the end of that week practically all of the guys on your floor were sick, with the exception of one Dave Strider, who was overheard to mention that germs were just not capable of piercing his indestructible shell of awesome; you thought you could hear the iron fist of Nemesis, or possibly narrative causality, creak gently in his direction.

(There is nothing more pathetic than a sick Gamzee, unless of course it is a feverish and irritable Karkat attempting to persuade him that he is not going to die but if he does for some unforeseen reason kick it he, Karkat, will ensure that Gamzee receives a full juggalo funeral with all the trappings.)

Eventually perhaps they will forgive you.

Once everyone’s got over it you’re aware that the whole stupid experience has formed some sort of ties between you. You, KK, GZ, even Aragorn down the hall, Eridan, you’re kind of all friends together. There had been a kind of awkward moment where you’d Officially Introduced him to KK, who stood in the doorway of his room like a small truculent bollard and refused to let either of you in “until you apologize for going off like a fucking IED at Gamzee during orientation.”

“Uh,” Eridan had said, “I flew off the handle at a lot a people durin orientation. Kinda wasn’t thinkin all that straight. You’re gonna need to be more specific here, Kar.”

“My roommate. Gamzee. Stupidly tall, couple of facial scars, fucked in the head to the point where he thinks being a juggalo is not a desperate and tragic disease. You unloaded a steaming heap of verbal rageshit all over him for zero reasons whatsoever while he was, I quote, up and getting his motherfucking wicked rhymes on. In addition the name is Karkat. Kar. Kat. Two syllables, neither of them requiring much fucking effort on the part of the speaker.”

“Aw, fuck.” He’d rubbed at his face. “Yeah, I vaguely remember. Was right before I had to run off and hurl a bunch a times, was kinda in a shitty mood, but that’s no reason to be downright fuckin cruel to some dipshit I never met before.”

Karkat looked slightly mollified. “Right. Well. So long as you apologize properly to him face to face I guess I’m okay with it. Gamzee was all ‘it’s all good, purple haired motherfucker got his own heavy shit to be dealing with,’ by the way. Kid is disgustingly generous. I’m trying to train him out of it.”

“You gonna let us in, Kar, or we gonna stand out here in the hallway like a pair a derpy Jehovah’s Witnesses?”

“It’s Karkat.” He’d stood aside to let you in.

“Whatever you say, Kar.”

(You’re gonna whip out Estel on Strider and see if he gets the reference. Shit will be awesome.)

You attend your very first honest-to-fuck Theater Party. They’re not quite pretentious enough to spell it with the RE, but it’s a damn near thing.

(You suffered yourself to be dressed in one of Eridan’s jackets and you let him put goop in your hair but you draw the line at makeup (“but Sooool, you have the best eyes, let me just do your mascara it’ll make the colors really stand out and everyone there is gonna be so fuckin jealous of me, pleeeease”) and eventually after you promised to let him fuck around with you and eye makeup in private he stopped whining and you actually got your shit together and went to the party. Rose and Kanaya had moved all the stuff out of their dining-room and hung drapes on the walls and put scarves over lampshades and it was all incredibly fucking bordello and undeniably also kind of awesome, especially after your first glass of absinthe (dude, you had no idea fire was involved with that shit, it is kind of mesmerizing to watch the sugar burn) and whoa, yeah, look, hey, Eridan was dancing with you, you thought you could go with the flow here.

At one point Kanaya was dancing on the table, tall and sinuous and graceful, an undulating pillar of dark green and bright silver, and someone was singing something plaintive and beautiful to the music of that could not possibly be a fucking lute no fucking way, and after that things went kind of fuzzy.)

You learn that absinthe hangovers are the worst hangovers. You think you can maybe dig where some of those whiny-ass romantic poet fuckers were coming from.

You show Eridan the hippie hut, now that he has restored amends with KK and GZ. He fucking loves it. He says it reminds him of fairy rings and at that point you think you will never stop bringing up this moment in mixed company.

You do not fail your Disney English quizzes because Eridan and surprisingly KK between them beat some semblance of understanding the coursework into your head.

You talk to AA a lot. She’s really digging the program she’s in and you actually didn’t mean to make the fucking archeology pun but it just kind of slipped out. She isn’t seeing anyone and she’s 0k with that--AA was always chill as fuck about relationships, didn’t work herself up into a froth about shit like that, unlike you. You reflect that she’s the most adult kid you know.

When Eridan is cast in the fall production of Into the Woods you witness for the first time the phenomenon of somebody being physically sick from excitement, and you wonder how the fuck he’s going to survive stage fright on the opening night, and decide not to think about it and just pet his hair and go fetch him ginger tea instead. He’s Cinderella’s Prince and you hope they let him keep his purple hairstreak, simply because of the weeks of bitching you will have to endure if they do not.

They do not.

It’s the middle of September and you are sitting with KK on a sun-warmed gravestone slab in St. Simeon’s churchyard, ostensibly going over the stuff for an upcoming compsci test. The churchyard is actually kind of rad, you must admit: for one thing, it’s almost always quiet and deserted except for your people, and for another there’s this weird sense of peace that hangs around the place. Eridan goes on about how awesome the spiritual aura of the churchyard is and how it inspires him, and you ignore this because if you actually listened to him you’d have to stuff a pillow in his mouth to get him to stop.

“...nnnnrrrgh, fuck it,” KK says, and puts his pen down. “Fuck it sideways, horizontally, and orthogonally. Captor, your boyfriend’s girlfriend’s brother is getting on the taut shining strand that is my very last nerve.”

“Oooh, ten points for imagery,” you say and lean back against the stone. “What’s Thorongil up to now?”

He pulls up a dandelion and begins methodically destroying it. Fragments of leaf litter his lap. “He’s fucking stalking me is what he’s up to now. I can’t even go up to the vending machines or do laundry without encountering his melanin-deficient ass lounging in some corner. It’s like I have my very own personal goddamn Asshole FBI Tail or something. The fuck does he even want?”

“Two options,” you say. “One, he’s desperately in love with your rapierlike wit and acerbic tongue and wants to be lacerated by the former and carnally intimate with the latter--hey, fuck, don’t throw flower shit at me--or two, he’s on a mission to drive you officially bugshit insane.”

“Ugh. Don’t even fucking imply there’s any kind of romantic bullshit on Strider’s excuse for a mind, I don’t even think the asshole is capable of feelings for anybody except himself. But his mission is, like, succeeding is the thing.”

“Be strong, KK,” you say, and yeah, you deserve having a dandelion thrown at you for that. “--Okay, okay. I’ll ask Eridan to ask Rose if she has any clue what the fuck he’s doing or why he’s doing it. Maybe you can get a Lalonde restraining order.”

“This is stupid.” He glowers at the ruined dandelions in his lap. “No, don’t do that, if you do that it’ll look like one of those horrific middle-school games of do-you-like-me telephone. Which I do not. I want to make that absolutely fucking crystal clear, Captor. Pellucid. Visibility unlimited.”

“Okay, okay.” You wave your hands at him. “I get it, visual flight rules, no interference, you do not have even the tiniest iota of a thing for Strider. Message received and understood.”

“Good.” He turns the glower on you and adds a suspicion filter. You look as innocent as it is possible for someone with your bone structure to look. “Anyway me and Gamzee have a thing.”

You know that, you’ve known that since orientation week, but somehow you don’t think it’s the same sort of thing you have with Eridan. It’s similar on some levels but it’s not the same thing. You nod nonetheless. “Poor lovelorn creepy-little-fucklet Strider. Woe. Wweh.”

KK snort-giggles and throws more foliage your way. “Shut up, Captor. You are not as funny as you think you are.”

“Yes I am. I am a one-man fount of sheer motherfucking sick hilarious burns and you know it.”

“Fuck you.” He leans back against his ratty bookbag and laces his fingers over his chest. “Hey, I meant to ask, what was Klein talking about at the end of class when he said that malicious tampering with the campus network was grounds for expulsion and looked pointedly in your direction?”

“Eheheheh, he can prove nothing. Some complete genital warts on the lacrosse team were giving Eridan a hard time last week, you know, catcalling, harassment, that kind of bullshit. So I sent the bunch of them a virus.”

“...what did this one do?”

“First and foremost it asked if they wanted to fucking install it, you know, I left them a last chance before total annihilation commenced, and every last one of these assholes clicked yes. On an unknown app that popped up unprompted. I even misspelled one of the words, KK, I mean I was being kind and sweet with how obvious it was.”

“Jesus Christ.”

You don’t go “no, Sollux Captor” because you are not a dickprince like Dave Strider but you want to so bad. “Anyway, it was a really simple little thing, elegant in its spareness, that just set up an unbreakable feedback loop and made their machines overheat like fuck. I kinda wanted to figure out some way to make computers explode remotely, but making the important parts of them pretty much melt is still kinda metal.”

KK whistles, looking impressed. (It’s still a scowl, but it’s an impressed scowl.) “Fuck,” he says. “Never piss off an engineer or a computer nerd, I guess.”

“You damn right.”

“...so you’re not gonna get expelled for this, are you? Because that would blow.”

“Nope. They can prove nothing.” You smirk at him. “I could teach our fucking class, KK. I’m just that goddamn awesome. --And I have practice, it’s not like this is the first time I’ve fucked around with remote computer destruction.”

“...Captor, you are the scariest asshole I know sometimes.”

You grin, a huge enormous happy shit-eating motherfucker of a grin you can feel all the way inside your bones. Day: made.

~

When you get back to Gresley Eridan is collapsed tragically against his heap of pillows, arm over his face, other hand dangling off the edge of the bed. You’re ninety percent sure he wasn’t doing that a moment ago before you started punching in the door combination.

You play along. “--Are you okay?”

Sepulchral groan. He moves the wrist covering his eyes and you can see--oh, tragedy--the purple forelock is no more. His hair is all slightly darker brown, and has an odd sheen to it.

“I’m fuckin miserable is what I am,” he moans, and you lean down to kiss him. “--hey, you’re harshin my hyacinth here, Sol.”

“Fuck your hyacinth,” you say succinctly and you kiss him again and then he’s laughing soundlessly against you, all the drama gone in an instant. You love that you can do that to him.

“That was maaaybe kinda the point I was goin for,” he says, and wow all of a sudden you think both of you might be wearing entirely too many clothes.

In the beginning, weeks ago, flushed with the madness of oh god this is actually happening he likes me back, you'd been a little frightened: you had to admit you were not the world’s foremost expert when it comes to sex, but it turns out that neither was he. While your first time was awkward as hell it was also wonderful and you never ever want to forget the little noises he’d made when you nudged into him, the way he’d clung to you as you rolled your hips against him, moving in him, moving with him, and the way he’d fucking whimpered and bitten your shoulder with surprisingly sharp teeth. You absolutely don’t want to forget the bizarre wonderful pain-pleasure of him inside you, the fullness, the astonishing soundless explosion of pure physical sensation when he moved against you just like that, the way he’d held you after, as if you were something infinitely precious, infinitely wanted.

That had been good. Now it’s better, because you know one another; you’ve memorized the topology of Eridan Ampora, the planes and angles and slopes and curves that make up his body, and what you can do to him if you lick just there or nip here or brush your lips over this. He knows all of you, and he’s capable of reducing you to quivering jelly with a couple of brisk practiced nibbles at the nape of your neck, every hair on your body standing up straight in a frisson of electric touch. He knows what you like. By now you do not have to say a single word when you’re together like this: you are speaking an entirely different language.

You are still not used to the way he can turn you on with no warning, with a single phrase, even a single look. It’s painful, sometimes, the rush of blood to your groin like a physical blow. Striders and dandelions and computers blowing up are completely and utterly forgotten, shucked off like your clothes and left in a heap on the floor, and you are kissing him hungrily and he’s kissing you just as hungrily and when he pulls away to yank his t-shirt over his head you make a small keening noise. You’re rubbing your hips against his and you can feel he’s just as hard as you and goddamn Eridan get your fucking pants off that’s better and his hand slides down you and wraps around your dick and the coldness of his rings against your burning skin makes you gasp.

He’s in a kind mood, it appears; he’s not going to make you beg for it, hold you just far enough away that you can’t tip over the edge and lose yourself completely. He wriggles so you’re sitting on his lap and he’s stroking you in long rhythmic squeezes oh god you are so hard it hurts. You reach for him but he pushes your hands away--dammit, you don’t want to just let him do all the work but oh god the smooth hardness of his rings and the warm strength of his fingers are making it difficult for you to do anything other than cling to him and suck angry bruises into his throat.

When his thumb glides over your tip, already wet with precome, you groan, and he says your name and he catches your mouth with his and then he lets you go, he lets you go augh what no please and he’s moving on the bed--you’re aware of being surrounded by black and violet, you secretly like that more than a little--and then oh god his mouth is on you and the slick moving heat of his tongue draws spirals over the tip of your dick and he only has to do that one more time before you are flying, you’re lifted up, every muscle in your body straining as he takes you right over the edge and you burst into a million brilliant shards.

You can’t breathe for a few moments and you think your eyes might have popped a little way out of their sockets so you keep them firmly shut to settle them back in place, gasping, leaning with your face pressed against his neck. “Nngh,” you say. “Eridan. Ngh.”

“Is that a good ngh or a bad ngh, Sol?” He sounds amused, and right, that’s enough to get you back to more or less functioning and you sit up and look at him properly. “A guy needs some guidance here, y’know.” He licks his lips. They are very good lips. They are a little swollen from your biting them earlier and they are a wonderful flushed shade of rose.

“Shut up,” you instruct, and you push Eridan over backwards and you wriggle down to get your own lips wrapped around his dick, and he gasps, and that’s better, that’s more like it, Eridan Ampora can damn well stop looking that smug. He’s painfully hard, longer than you are, but narrower, you can’t take all of him in your mouth so you go on stroking with your hand as you run your tongue up and down his shaft, and the noises he’s making are absolutely wonderful. You love that you can do this to him, that you can take the irritable smirking hipster douchelord and reduce him to a writhing mess going hneeeeg with nothing more than your own lips and tongue and fingers.

He tastes salty, that flat taste of precome that always makes you think irrationally of tears, and you feel the faint catch in his already-ragged breathing that means he’s almost there, and you smile around him and that’s enough because his hips buck upward and he arches off the bed and you take him up and over that edge and he comes hot and fierce in your mouth, crying out.

Eridan Ampora is a screamer. You had been super pleased with yourself to have discovered that, even if it had been at a somewhat inopportune time and caused your neighbor to bang irritably on the wall.

He collapses, panting, and after a moment reaches feebly for you, his hands patting at the crumpled bedcovers. You wriggle up the bed until he can wrap his arms around you and pull you against him and kiss you, tasting of you as you taste of him; that had struck you as sort of surprising the first time he’d done it, but it’s grown on you. He’s still breathing hard and you can feel his heart thrumming in his chest.

“...fuckin hell, Sol,” he says at last. “If that’s what sayin you’re harshin my hyacinth ends up doin I’m usin it at every possible opportunity.”

“Oscar Wilde would be proud,” you tell him, and he giggle-snort-laughs that totally unsmooth laugh, and you are so in love with Eridan Ampora you think you might actually die of it.

~

Later, much later, you're watching him knotting his tie in the mirror. Rose is taking the pair of you and Kanaya out to the horrible-and-therefore-awesome Chinese buffet place in town to celebrate you passing the English tests and cheer him up for the loss of his prized violet hair; you’ve put on a clean shirt and sniffed at yourself, but Eridan is primping as if it’s senior prom. “Should I wear the iolite earrings or the amethysts, Sol?” he asks you.

“Listen to your heart.”

“Fuck you. My heart is goin “they would both look good with this outfit.” I need more ear piercins.” He tilts his head, examining himself. “Maybe one a each.”

You tilt your head. It’s the first time Eridan’s shown any interest in emulating your whole binary thing--you know he thinks your mismatched shoes are totally dorky as shit and he’s pretty hung up on things matching as a rule, so this is an interesting development.

“You could wear a red one on your left ear and a green one on your right and passing ships would be able to navigate around you,” you point out. Eridan sighs.

“If you’re not gonna be serious about this just keep quiet, I gotta think, this shit is serious.”

“Upon your choice of earrings for a double-date at a shitty Chinese restaurant depends the fate of the free world,” you agree solemnly, and he throws an earring box at you.

“Shut up, asshole, or I’m not lettin you have any a my cloves.” Both of you have developed a taste for Djarums, more’s the pity. You raise your hands in surrender.

“I yield. Go with the wearing one of each set, cause then I can borrow the other ones and we can match.”

He stops what he’s doing and turns to look at you and for a moment you think he’s pissed off that you’d suggest he lend you his jewelry, but that isn’t irritation on his face. “Sol?”

“What?”

“You’d do that?”

“What, wear earrings? Fuck, why not, I got the holes in my ears and it’s not like I’m trying not to be perceived as incredibly fucking gay or anything.”

“No, I mean...it....it means a lot to me. You and me wearin the same shit. Matchin.”

You get off your bed, still holding the box with the iolite studs, and come over to wrap your arms around him. “Then I definitely want to borrow one of each. Fuck, that’s actually really neat, your matching kink and my binary thing at the same time.”

He hugs you tight and says into your shoulder “I do not have a matchin kink, you perv.”

It sounds a lot like what you rather want to say to him which is mark me, make me yours, make me visibly part of you. You kiss his ear because it’s close at hand. “Whatever. Here, gimme an amethyst already, we’re going to be late and Rose will disapprove at us.”

“Fuck, you’re right.” Rose’s Disapproval is a powerful motivational tool. He hands you the little stud and you take it and peer at your ear in the mirror, locate the old piercing.

It hurts pushing the post through, but you don’t mind that. The blue-violet iolite stud goes in a little easier, and you feel as though your ears are huge and sticking out and obvious, but in the mirror there’s just a faint sparkle as you turn your head.

You’re not quite sure why it feels as though something a lot more significant than borrowing your boyfriend’s stupid goddamn earrings has just occurred, but it does. And you’re okay with it.