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Tavros doesn’t realize that something about his partner’s anatomy doesn’t quite measure up to typical human standards until Karkat drunkenly brings up the subject during one of their so-dubbed (by Dave, obviously) “Ladies’ Nights”.

(“But Dave, not everyone who will, be there identifies as, um, female.”

“You’re leaving me at home with the couch and Xbox 360 to go eat crunchy insectoid finger foods in a trendy bar while Karkat gets smashed on frosty multicolored drinks served by sultry trollboy waiters and everyone talks about their sex lives, right?”

“Right.”

“Trust me, it’s Ladies’ Night.”)

“I mean, don’t get me wrong, if John were a troll he’d be on the smaller side of average, length-wise.” Karkat sways a little in his seat, cheeks ruddy with drink and the heat of so many bodies crammed into one corner booth (Tavros always gets stuck in a chair at the open end of the table, in deference to both the long stretch of his metal legs and the truly ridiculous breadth of his latest horn-spurt). “But it’s not like it fucking tapers or twists back on itself or does anything else a normal bulge should when squirming around in the deeper parts of your nook. Not to rag on the dope-eyed screwball or anything because when it’s good it’s like your soul’s being massaged by a thousand tiny throat singing cherubs but when it’s bad it’s like being pailed by the unholiest of underlubricated jackhammers.”

Kanaya nods sagely in agreement, blinking just a little too long with each downward bob of her head.

“I feel quite privileged in that Rose’s anatomy allows for the easy interchanging of… attachments, should any one in particular prove uncomfortable. Recently we discovered an online company that stocks several high quality models fashioned after the tentacles of various Earth sea creatures. Much more nook-friendly, even if they weren’t designed specifically with Alternian anatomy in mind. They’re not quite as flexible as I might normally prefer and the texture of the suction cups is a bit startling at first but all in all we’ve been quite pleased with our purchases.”

Karkat looks intrigued enough by the prospect that Kanaya scrawls the web address out onto the dry corner of a cocktail napkin and offers it to him with the most elegant of eyebrow waggles. He stows it away in the unfathomable bowels of his shoulder bag without fanfare, refusing to acknowledge the two faintly snickering trolls sitting across the table: one grinning with Cheshire cat smugness, the other sweating uncomfortably despite himself at the frank scandal of it all.

It’s a good group tonight, small enough to be intimate but large enough that it feels a bit like a reunion (even if they do chat almost every day online and see each other all the time at work or mixed troll and human functions). Tavros feels golden warm and buzzing with good cheer, and all of them are laughing and gossiping with the hard-won easiness of old soldiers lucky enough to survive the war.

Usually these evenings are just a chance for the human-partnered members of their little social circle to spend some time together in the smoky darkness of the nearest Alternian-run food and beverage serving establishment, indulging in their native tongue and all the down home delicacies deemed unfit for human tables. Tavros generally isn’t a big fan of bar food, but after so long without there’s something almost religious about breaded scarabs and plainsbisonbeast wings with spicy grubsauce and the bone marrow dripping out hot and gooey when he crunches into the bone. He rarely misses a meet-up, though there have certainly been instances where he’s regretted it mightily in the morning.

He’s starting to suspect that this is just such an occasion. He must be drunker than he thought, because while ranting about some of the more aggravating specifics of human society and interpersonal habits is a longstanding tradition of Ladies’ Night and hash-outs of their partners' various sexual and romantic quirks are certainly nothing new, ever since the conversation had turned with much general bemoaning to the dimensions of the organs and sex toys humans typically use for penetration Tavros has found himself completely and utterly without a clue.

“Good thing Mr. Scratching Post is purrfectly happy doing it the other way,” Nepeta giggles. Tavros has only met her human kismesis once or twice, so it’s a little awkward knowing as much about their sexual escapades as he does (especially the parts where she complains about the poor quality and limited color palate of most of the cat-themed dominatrix gear on the market).

As the designated driver for the evening her corner of the table is devoid of the litter of uncleared shots and empty pints (Tavros and Equius), highballs and delicate stemware (Kanaya), and giant novelty pitchers with little umbrellas and enough salt on the rim to blight a small field (Karkat), but she seems perfectly pleased to have forgone the opportunity to drink in exchange for all this juicy material for her shipping wall.

She elbows her moirail good-naturedly in the ribs. “What about you two, hm? Does your prince need another lesson on the impurrtance of stretching, or did I scare him enough last time that the meowsage sank in?”

Equius sets his half-empty pitcher down with the great care characteristic of someone attempting to appear more sober and dignified than he actually is. “Nepeta, this conversation is obscene. I will take no part in such… low behavior.”

“Oh stuff a sock in it,” Karkat scowls, slurping at the dregs of his horrifying daiquiri/margarita hybrid. “It’s not like everyone doesn’t already know about your all night pony play fisting sessions with Other Other Strider.”

Equius flushes a brilliant shade of cobalt. It takes quite a few thumps to the back from Kanaya before Tavros clears the last of the accidentally inhaled liquor from his lungs.

(At least it’s Alpha timeline Dirk they’re talking about and not his actual Bro-in-law.)

“Very well,” Equius grumbles, straightening as if dignity were a cloak he could don with good posture alone. “Though our shared tastes means that, regardless of who is the receptive partner, encounters are enjoyable even without more… careful preparation, both Dirk and I have found it beneficial to incorporate mixed yoga and tai chi into our usual exercise routine. The pelvic openers are particularly useful, as are the meditative portions, which allow for the mental focus needed to relax the more internal muscle groups and… Oh. Oh goodness.”

Cool façade crumbling under a fresh onslaught of sweat, he ducks quickly behind the curtain of his hair. Nepeta just beams and paps at his huge bicep affectionately. “I’m so proud of mew! That’s very healthy way to address purroblems in your physical relationship, approaching it together like that!” Kanaya smiles softly in agreement, her own cheeks faintly green and her gaze far away and glimmering with barely disguised hunger, and even Karkat salutes the blushing blueblood in approval.

“I never in a million turd studded sweeps thought I’d say this, but your matesprit’s an okay sort of guy, for a human. A fuckpocalypse unto himself and a complete and utter freak, mind you, but basically okay.”

Tavros joins everyone else in a sloppily executed toast, even though he’s still fuzzy on what exactly it is they’re toasting about.

Dirk, yes, but something more than that. Some sort of shared experience. Not fisting, they aren’t all that drunk, but…

Surely they don’t mean—

But how would that even be an—?

“Nitram over here, though.” Karkat jerks a thumb in his direction, follows it with one glassy eyeball that struggles momentarily to focus on its intended target. “I am so fucking sorry, you poor sack of shit. If your Strider’s even half the size he talks himself up to be…“

He trails off with a sympathetic wince. Three more pairs of eyes turn expectantly his way, their expressions a mix of sympathy and morbid curiosity.

Tavros’s brow, already creased in confusion at the complaints of his fellow trolls, jumps up a rung or two on its puzzled contortions echeladder.

“Uh, what?”

“He’s expressing sympathy over how much it must hurt the inner recesses of your nook when Dave fucks you with his outrageously proportioned human bulge,” Kanaya clarifies in a mock stage whisper.

Though he’d had his suspicions, Tavros can’t help but pull back from the table, agog.

“Wait, seriously? That’s seriously what you all were…”

Karkat slumps across the table with exaggerated theatrics. “God, have you even been listening to a nooksniffing word I’ve said, or does that part of your thinkpan switch off in the presence of twice fried beetle legs?”

This is at least partially true (it’s too bad that the scale of most Alternian insects freaks Dave out so badly, because Tavros really, really likes beetle legs), but that’s beside the point. “No, just, wait, one minute.” He holds up his hands in defense. “I’m just, uh, confused, because that thing that, that all of you are talking about, has never really been an issue, for us.”

“What?!” Karkat squalks, loud enough that other patrons are starting to glance their way. “Do you just never let him top, or something? Because otherwise—“

Nepeta interrupts before Tavros can even start to protest. “Silly Karkat, you know topping isn’t about who goes in who! Besides, maybe he doesn’t have one, since it’s split up in humans and doesn’t always match up with gender and stuff.”

This is getting slightly out of hand. “Not that that would be, my business to tell you, one way or the other, or even, your business, uh, to ask.”

“Oh of course n—“

I don’t care if it doesn’t come off when he showers or if he carved it from the trunk of the very last truffula tree,” growls Karkat, in high spirits now that he has an in-person, flesh and blood target at which to funnel his own wrathful aggrevation. “He’s got something he fucks you with sometimes, right?”

A couple of sweeps ago Tavros probably would have fled under such direction questioning, but he’s older now, with more literal and metaphorical steel in his spine. He squares his shoulders, narrows his eyes (lets the dramatic tension build while the world settles back into focus, uh, whoops). His septum piercing feels hot against his upper lip. “Well yeah, but…”

Equius rises abruptly from the table, nearly knocking into the overhead Tiffany style lamp.

“I require,” he chokes. “Some air.”

And with that, he flees.

Nepeta looks torn between going after her moirail and being personally schoolfed juicy canon details on one of her furaviorite ships, but Kanaya stills her with a soft touch at her elbow.

“It is rather warm. I shall accompany him, on the condition that you relay everything I miss in excruciating detail back to me at a future date.”

“Deal!” They exchange elaborate, mischievous winks, and with a ruffle of skirts Kanaya has slid out of the other end of the booth and gone after her former server player.

Karkat quickly scoots over to take her vacated position at Tavros’s elbow, squinting at him with renewed intensity. Nepeta mirrors the action on his left, though her expression is decidedly more predatory.

Tavros wonders whether he shouldn’t have gone out for some air, too.

“Look,” says Karkat. “I know you guys have been pailing since you were old enough to stop pinging the skeevy-ethics-o-mometer, but you’ve at least seen other human bulges before, right? In movies and stuff?”

“Um, yeah?”

“So how does he stack up?”

Tavros frowns. He hasn’t actually watched a whole lot of human porn (the plots elude him completely, and while Dave teases him about how that’s so even beyond the point of the genre it comes back around to being utterly fucking adorable Tavros just can’t really get into it when he can’t at least roughly figure out what sort of quadrant relationships are being emulated on the screen) and what little he has seen have featured endowments so exaggerated that it was obvious even to alien eyes that such length and girth was generally part of the pure fetish material end of the bell curve of human variation.

“What would you consider, uh.” He gestures vaguely. “Average?”

As one, Karkat and Nepeta lift up their hands, indicating a span of about twelve Alternian decisubunits.

“Oh. Is that, uh, erect or—?”

Shaking their heads, they move their hands further apart.

Tavros swallows. Some things are clicking into place, now.

“Oh. Yeah. I can see how that… Might be less fun, uh, the further in, you go.”

“No shit it’s less fucking fun.” The other troll looks like he’s seriously debating stabbing him somewhere painful with his little pink paper umbrella. “So what’s Strider packing that’s spared you the indignity?”

“Well, uh, he’s… It’s more like…” Tavros fumbles for a bit, settles on holding up his empty shot glass to demonstrate. “And then, uh, if we get really, worked up…” He presses his fingers to the rim of the glass, wiggling them to draw attention to the extra half decisubunit.

Nepeta has to cover her gasp with both hands. “Meow my god, Tavros!”

“You bastard!” Karkat spits. “You lucky, lucky bastard.”

Tavros can’t help himself. He smirks.

Somewhere back in the smoky dusk of the bar their waiter has seen him, taken the raised glass to mean that he wants another round. He appears in an instant bearing a tiny, gleaming glass filled to the brim with Tavros’s shooter of choice, thick Irish cream floating over fiery copper butterscotch schnapps.

With a salute to his friends—one squeaking in feverish, fangirlish delight, the other near-spitting with hate so black you’d have to squint to tell it was platonic—Tavros downs the shot in one swallow, flushing despite himself at the loose circle of his lips around the rim, the easy way the creamy liquid fills his mouth, and the sweet, familiar burn of it racing down his throat.

***

He’s sobered up enough by the time Nepeta drops him off at his building that he doesn’t even need help climbing all the stairs up to their apartment. It’s a definite improvement over last time around (all the alcohol had seemed to settle right in what was left his thighs, making coordination with the prosthetics all but impossible), though Nepeta does trail along behind him for a flight or two to make sure he’s got the hang of it. Stairs can be tricky things even at the best of times, but by the third landing she deems him together enough to make it home without further escort. They hug goodbye, Nepeta churring an innocently obscene question into his ear, Tavros waving her off with a shake of his head and a hearty laugh.

He kind of likes having this treasure all to his own.

Dave’s lounging on the couch when he walks in, idly channel surfing with the brightness down low, more listening to the flicker of background chatter than watching. His shades are off (they keep the lighting in their apartment comfortably dim enough for them both) and folded on the coffee table next an empty takeout box and a handful of green glass bottles, also empty.

“How are the girls?” he calls once Tavros has the door locked behind him.

Stairs are one thing, managing the coordination necessary to pull off his shoes standing up is quite another. Tavros focuses his energy on shrugging out of his coat.

“Good,” he says, flashing sharp teeth as he laughs, remembering Nepeta’s pout down on the stairwell. “Jealous.”

Dave mutes the TV, shaking his head. He’s smirking, like Tavros just said something funny. “You’ll have to repeat that, in English this time. Or at least click a little slower so I stand half a chance of catching it.”

Tavros does as he’s told, keeping the cadence of his trills slow and even. He loves the way Dave’s eyebrows come together as he listens, jewel red eyes half closed, translating the beats and shifting tones into music, into something he understands.

(His pronunciation, on the other hand, can only be described as embarrassingly choppy at best, inadvertently obscene at worst; Dave nearly got them both kicked out of the Alternian Embassy, once, trying to show off and ask for directions to the nearest water fountain.)

“Jealous? Of what?”

Tavros switches back to English. “My awesome luck.” He sinks down onto the couch, close enough to wrap Dave up in his arms, brush a faint kiss to the top of one small, rounded ear. “Hi.”

“Hello yourself.” Partially pinned in this position, Dave can only return the embrace with one arm and the quirking corner of his mouth. “Have enough to drink?”

Tavros buries his nose in Dave’s white hair, trying to clean out the lingering smoke smell of the bar with his scent. He feels electric, body buzzing and faintly numb at the extremities, hyperaware of the hot, sticky weight of his tongue, the way it scrapes vaguely along the edges of his teeth, searching for something familiar.

“Mm. Still thirsty.”

“Yeah? There’s more beer in the fridge, if you want it.” Dave’s cold, hard hand presses against the flushed heat of Tavros’s neck, his cheek, turning him slightly as if to gauge his level of inebriation. “Or do you need me to get you some water?”

Tavros reaches up to catch Dave’s probing hand, drags it across his face until his fingers are teasing along his parted lips. Dave stares at him, transfixed, as he kisses and nips at the thick pads of his fingertips until they’re faintly swollen and shining.

“I want—“ He wets his lips in anticipation, throat rumbling low around the alien words. “To suck your cock.”

“Oh,” says Dave, as Tavros slides his free hand up his thigh, nails scratching lightly along the denim inseam.

“Fuck,” says Dave, as Tavros palms him heavily through his jeans, pressing and searching until he feels the neat, contained lump of his erection.

“Oh, fuck,” he groans, as Tavros slips off of the couch, lanky frame curling to fit into the space between Dave’s spread knees and the edge of the coffee table, thumbing the button of Dave’s pants as he goes.

Tavros has done this enough times that his hands know just how to pull and where to press, molding Dave’s eagerly pliant body beneath him with practiced efficiency as jeans and boxers are pulled low, then off, dragging Dave’s hips to the edge of the couch.

He loves the way Dave’s bulge fits neatly into the cup of his palm, how he can cover it with the barest curl of his fingers. Loves how it almost pulls back into his body completely when he isn’t hard, lost in the wrinkle of his foreskin and the tiny holdout of fat that rides low on Dave’s belly, softening the curve of his pubic bone. Loves this comforting similarity between them, how much the result resembles his own slitted bulge sheath. Loves the way the fat head of it flares just enough to tease at the entrance of his nook when he lets Dave inside, Dave slipping out before slamming back in again with every other frantic, jackrabbit thrust. Loves it when he fights to stay inside of him, pushing in and in and in with his hips, grinding desperate little circles instead of pumping, Tavros’s bulge trapped tight and leaking between them.

But most of all, perhaps best of all, he loves the way he can reduce Dave to wordless, full-body shudders with just the barest of kisses here, right under the head, mouth dropping open wide enough to drag the tip of his tongue along the crease where shaft meets tight, flushed sack.

(Being able to suck Dave’s entire bulge into his mouth in one go ranks up there pretty high, as well.)

Dave’s hands push back the shaggy fringe of his mohawk to pet heavily along base of his horns. Tavros can tell how desperately he wants to be buried in his heat, feels it in the short, jerky pulses of the flesh caught between his lips, but Dave doesn’t tug him forward.

He knows better.

In the end he settles his restless palms lightly on Tavros’s cheeks, breath going ragged as he feels them flex and contract with every long, lingering suck to his head.

He’s good, he’s so, so good. At this, to him.

He deserves a reward.

It’s easy to sink down on him until metal presses against pale, quivering flesh, until his mouth is filled completely with the taste of Dave, his weight, the contrast of the softer press of him against his palate and the hard flesh flushed just enough to stretch his swollen lips. Dave does tug, now, pulling at Tavros’s wrists where his large hands hold him pinned and spread open (not that he actually wants him to let go, it’s just another step in the dance).

“Please... Fuck. Please just, move. A little. I need— I want to see…”

Comfortable where he is and lacking the energy or inclination for an enthusiastic bob, Tavros rumbles out a negative, but he does tilt his head up just enough to meet Dave’s gaze, red eyes gone hooded and dark but for the wet, golden glow of the reflected lamplight.

Yes, Tavros muses as he works Dave with his tongue, swallowing around and around his shallow length until Dave gives him his own chaser, hot and faintly bitter in his throat, keeping up the constant, suckling pressure until Dave has to twist and pull his way free, oversensitive flesh throbbing in an attempt to rally even as it retreats to safety. Tavros laughs, pats it in recognition of a job well done, and gives it one last, fond kiss farewell.

(Until we meet again, old friend.)

He really is a lucky bastard.

***

-- turntechGodhead [TG] began texting adiosToreador [AT] --

TG: dude wtf why is everyone ogling my crotch today
TG: not that they ever skip a chance to lust after my smaug getting his mighty dragon snooze on in his cave hoarded with gold
TG: its just normally theyre not so
TG: blatant
AT: uHHH,
AT: i CAN EXPLAIN,