Chapter 1: Pushing Them Away
Causalgia Chapter 1:
Pushing Them Away
In the midst of a mild buzz made by a combination of cheap, ineffective alcohol and end-of-the-week excitement (which lasted right up until the point when you recalled your extensive list of burned bridges), it occurred to you: you are lonely, have always been lonely, and, unless something miraculous happens, it looks like you’ll be lonely for a long time. As you considered this, you examined the rest of the inhabitants of the bar you usually haunt on Friday nights.
Look at all these fuckasses, smiling and happy and together.
This revelation was punctuated by the robust, drunken singing of some generic 80’s hit by the entirety of the bar, and that was just about when you decided it was time to hit the pavement. After slamming some sort of acceptable currency down on the not-too-filthy counter, you managed to shuffle out of the goddamn place and start your 10-block walk home in the mid-winter cold.
As you slowly make your way back, you prod at this idea. You can almost taste it; it’s suddenly just overwhelming and you don’t even notice that you bump into some poor drunkard in your effort to stay on your feet.
It’s just the beer talking; pull yourself the fuck together, Vantas.
This isn’t some run-of-the-mill teenage angst bullshit, you are a grown-fucking-man, thank you very much, and you don’t identify with those needy, pubescent fucktards, with their complaint rock and their ‘woe-is-me’ attitudes. No, this stupid feeling, almost like a constant burning right smack dab in the middle of your chest, is something you don’t completely understand, nor have any possible desire to.
Then again, it’s not really a huge surprise. You’ve been pushing people away your entire life without realizing it. Even as a little kid, you remember deeming everyone in the world, save you and few others, major fuckasses (you’d always been a fairly….articulate person). You remember not having friends and not caring. It was a lifelong thing, your whole lone wolf perspective. You had several acquaintances, just no best friends. People you could talk to about everything. Who wouldn’t mind listening to your extended tangents. Who could offer solace from the crazy world you live in.
It was there, on the snowy sidewalk just four blocks from your apartment, that the final realization hit your mind like a bullet.
Your name is Karkat Vantas ,and you are the loneliest fuckass on this side of the universe.
Chapter 2: What Poor Drunkard?
In which there is banter and realization. (Sollux's POV)
Chapter 2: What Poor Drunkard?
Your name is Sollux Captor, and you have no clue who this short douchebag is, but he’s obviously not in the best of moods.
You turn to yell at him after he almost knocks you right onto your skinny ass, “Hey, watch where you’re going, shortstack!” and barely get a couple neurons firing before he’s shouting back, “Maybe if you weren’t wearing 3-D fucking glasses, asshat, you’d would’ve been able to avoid careening into me like some kind of runaway stick!”
You reach up and touch the rims of your prized ocular devices then reply, “Fuck you! I can wear whatever the fuck I want! At least I’m taller than a snot-nosed kid!”
He gives a derisive snort, “At least I don’t act like one, fucktard!”
And that’s when a thought hits your brain like a newly-uploaded wall of coding.
Fuck, this short douchebag’s actually kind of….cute.
In a very angry way, of course, as you find out when he’s suddenly stomping over to you and pinning you against the brick wall of yet another alcoholic celebration-spot. Your mouth turns up just a tick when you have to look down at him to make eye contact, just a few minute degrees. Then he snaps in front of your face, “Earth to dumbass! Are you even fucking listening to me?”
Oh. He had been moving his mouth in a way resembling speech, albeit more sharp and jagged looking.
“Of course. It’s kind of hard not to when one is shoved up against a wall by someone else.” you reply, nonchalantly, which appears to piss him off even more, if that’s possible. It’s kind of endearing, especially when a bright flush springs to his cheeks in response to your added chuckle.
“Oh, shut UP, you miserable cockmunch, I’m TRYING to apologize!” he screams, then he looks over his shoulder as a group of college kids walk by, “What?! You have a problem with two acquaintances having a friendly chat? No? Then move the fuck along, asswipes!”
You really can’t help yourself, and you laugh, which is sort of uncomfortable when being pinned to a wall by some random, short, angry person. When he finishes his tirade focused at the idiots across the street, he turns back to you, and by that time, your ribs hurt from laughing. He sighs and steps away from you, mumbling something under his breath that sounds like an apology. Your eyes sweep quickly over the messy brown hair, the chocolate eyes with huge bags under them, and the seemingly-permanent scowl that’s been etched on his young face from years of practice. You make a decision and hold out your hand, “I’m Sollux.”
He glances up at you like you’re crazy for talking to him, then tries to overpower your hand in a quick battle of a handshake, “Karkat.”
Your name is Sollux Captor, and you’ve just made one of the most important decisions of your life: knowing the atomic fireball that is Karkat Vantas.
Chapter 3: Accursed Glasses
In which confetti is not thrown and compliments recieved.
Causalgia Chapter 3: Accursed Glasses
Hours later, you find yourself laughing it up with your new bespectacled acquaintance over a beer or a dozen in a different, cleaner bar, and you don’t remember how you got there. All you know is you’re finally drunk enough to let go of a modicum of your rage and really look over the guy sitting next to you.
He’s got brown hair that some might call plain, but looks warm to you, a long, elegant nose positioned over thin lips, and, unfortunately, you can’t see his eyes from behind those ridiculous glasses, but you’re positive they’d have a slight slant to them after you discover he’s part-Japanese through your menial conversation. You want to see them though, and that leaves you irritated at the multi-colored frames hiding them.
“What’s the fucking deal with those glasses?” you pry, hoping to get a glimpse of what lies behind them, “Are you color blind or what?”
“No, they’re a distraction.” he explains after downing the rest of his current glass, “My eyes freak people out sometimes.”
You hesitate before reaching out and snatching the shades off his face, earning a protest and a grab for your hand, both of which you immediately ignore when you finally see what he was referring to.
They do indeed present a slight slant, but that’s not even close to the strangest thing about them. One eye, the right, is a deep, bright blue, while its counterpart is brown edging on the oddity of red. They’re disconcertingly enthralling, a pair of distracting, yet fitting shapes above his sharper cheekbones, and horribly attractive in combination with the rest of his facial attributes. So much so, in fact, that you don’t even notice he’s somehow gotten his ocular devices back from your clutches until he slides them back onto his face, effectively blocking your view of the rare mutation he harbors.
“See? They’re weird.” He states shortly, “I’ve been hiding them for as long as I can remember.”
You try to steal those accursed glasses again, and he swats your hands away for a few moments before he gets a grip on your wrists, “Dude, what’s your fucking problem? Didn’t I already say that I didn’t like them?”
You huff in frustration and snap back without thinking, “God, It’s not like they’re ugly or anything, cockmunch.”
He kind of freezes, trying not to choke on his latest swallow of alcohol, “Huh?”
You roll your eyes and smack the side of his head, “They’re fucking attractive, you moron. I’m not repeating myself again, so open your fucking ears.”
“Oh. Oh. Uh, thanks man.” He slumps against the counter and you desperately hope he’s not a sad drunk, “Sorry, I’m not exactly accustomed to receiving compliments.”
“Dude, calm down, it’s not like I proposed to you or anything, geez…” you mumble, coloring slightly, to your chagrin, when he smiles, “And congrats on actually being able to put together a sentence with the words ‘accustomed’ and ‘receiving’ while this drunk.”
He laughs, “Nah, my visions not blurring yet, I’m not far gone enough to be considered properly sauced.” The bartender comes up and refills both of your glasses for what might be the fiftieth time and you both nod your thanks before he continues, “And clearly, you’re not that drunk either, since you’re actually participating in a decent conversation. Also, are you serious about my eyes?” He pushes out all these words in an extremely short amount of time as if he’s afraid they’ll burn him.
“Yeah, I guess not.” You pause and consider his question, “Well, yeah, do I fucking look like the type to just throw words around like confetti?”
He gives a small grin that makes something in your chest flutter oddly, “I guess not.”
So, do like? Not like? Feedback is priceless.
Chapter 4: Conversation
In which there are questions and nonchalance.
Thanks to all for reading. Your thoughts are valuable, share them with me.
Causalgia Chapter 4: Conversation
After the short, short-tempered kid (that's practically what he is, nobody over 18 could have that much enthusiasm or energy) gets over his obsession with your eyes, your conversation drifts down the same vein of many similarly shallow ones, the same bland questions being asked, until Karkat eyes you suspiciously, well into the range between 'sort-of blazed' and 'barely bipedal', and asks you something you did not expect:
"Why the fuck are you still talking to me, anyways?"
You pause, glass at your lips, and blink, probably looking at least a little slow. It's not that you're slow; you're just thinking about so much more than that at the moment, like how the bags under his eyes make you worry that he's not getting nearly enough sleep, due to a number of possible variables, and how he seems to be practically hiding in his baggy, overly large clothing. There's also this weird kind of nagging feeling at the back of your mind that makes you feel like you're forgetting something important. He clears his throat and you snap your eyes back up to his and realize that you are indeed a bit slow tonight, though whether it's because of the alcohol you're both consuming or your companion himself, you're not sure.
"Why the fuck are you still talking to me?" you retort, not exactly used to such directness in words. You were raised in a family full of careful, cryptic people, leaving messages in between breaths and leaving legacies buried like treasure.
He shrugs, disarmed, and answers, "I was bored and you were more interesting than the sidewalk." He thinks for a moment and his eyes flick away for a modicum of time, then back, "I also kinda feel like I know you from somewhere. Do I?" Ah. That nagging notion that's been bothering you since you set eyes on him desists and you're extremely glad for it, "Oh, okay, that's why I feel like I've met you before." He sighs in what you think is relief and continues in the same, much more interesting vein, "Now, the only question is where and when we met. Any ideas?" Now it's your turn to shrug, and the rest of your evening is spent discussing possible times and places to have met. By the time the lights of your favorite place flicker on and the collective sigh of the weekly inhabitants reaches the ceiling, your once-serious conversation has dissipated into an exchange of the worst jokes you know.
And that's the last thing you remember before you wake up in your penthouse suite with Karkat snoring into your shoulder.
Chapter 5: Hungover
In which there are calming breaths and fucks almost being flipped.
Thanks go to the kind reviewers so far, I'm just glad you all enjoy this so much.
Causalgia Chapter 5: Hungover
When you wake up, you don’t feel that weird burn for the first time in what seems like forever, and your first conscious thought is how fucking great it feels not to have your lower chest aflame like you’re 50 and having a stroke for once. Your second conscious thought is simple:
Where the fuck am I?
It appears that you’re in some suite at the top of a building you’ve only seen the outside of on your daily walking commute to work at the firehouse, if your view out the huge window to the right of the bed you’re currently lying in says anything useful.
Instantly, you’re on the edge of flipping the fuck out and you go stock still, hoping whoever’s next to you doesn’t notice. Their breath stays steady, so you allow yourself a deep breath in, then out. You sit up slowly, and almost stretch before you feel the tug of an arm around your waist. You freeze again, and desperately wish you had invisible eyes on the back of your head or something equally stupid-sounding.
“….Karkat?” asks a voice from somewhere behind your shoulder, and the arm from around your waist moves away, but a twinge of that stupid burning’s back to replace whoever’s arm it was, and the voice continues, “Don’t freak out on me, now.”
Freak out? Who’s freaking out? Not you, that’s for sure. Not at all, not at fucking all!
“Seriously, are you alright?” Hang on.
Why does that voice sound familiar?
Some voice near the back of your mind, where you don’t usually go, because you don’t really have a reason to screen any of your thoughts, pipes in and tells you the voice you’re hearing, and the arm that went with it belong to someone you love. Which is funny, because you’ve never really loved anybody outside a ‘family’ kind of way. Sure, there were people you admired and were fond of, even attracted to, but you’ve never loved anybody out side of your sister, your mom, and your dear old man. You’re also damn sure that none of those people have a lisp.
You finally turn, and you’re rewarded with an unguarded view of those eyes you were drunkenly coveting last night, one brown, and one blue. These same eyes glance over you worriedly, as if he’s afraid he’s broken you in some way. You finally manage to wrangle your voice back into place and blurt out the first thing that comes out, “What the fuck happened last night?” Nice, way to sound like an accusatory ass, Karkat.
Sollux, whose name you conveniently happen to remember, clears his throat and looks away, “We didn’t fuck, if that’s what you mean.” Geez, look, now you’ve made him feel bad, you idiot. You flop back onto the huge pillow pile behind you and sigh, feeling guilty. Since when do you feel guilty? This is some hangover. “Something wrong?” he asks, and you almost laugh for some reason.
“If you don’t count the fact that I’ve just woken up in some stranger’s bed without a real clue of how I got here, then no, nothing besides the fact that I’m an absolute idiot,” you grumble, then continue when he laughs, “and you are too for letting this happen!”
“Calm down!” he laughs, and you really want to, “Nothing happened, dumbass, you slept here because your place is on the other side of the world and it was late. That’s it, end of story.” His lisp is slipping away; must only be obvious in the morning. “I’m guessing this is your place, then?” you ask, trying to maintain some degree of normalcy in this morning that is the epitome of abnormal. “No, of course not, this is some random place I rented for the night.” he snorts, “Yes, what else could it be?”
You sigh again, this time almost a little jealous. He’s got himself a nice place here, at least compared to your shitty apartment on the other side of town. Then, you realize you’re practically clothe-less in a bed with a guy you barely even know, and you have to take a calming breath or a dozen before you can see straight again. When you can, he’s leaning over you, looking painfully worried, and you blush despite your situation. Or maybe because of it. Who the fuck knows, this hangover must be messing with your mind something fierce, because the next thing you hear is him telling you that you look cute. Cute, of all things.
Fuck this hangover, you swear to yourself you’re never getting drunk again.
Chapter 6: For Some Reason
In which there are high standards and staring.
Causalgia Chapter 6: For Some Reason
After you do the best possible job of calming down the mass of worry that’s been cuddling up to you the entire night, you suggest, by the look he gets on his face after you mention it, the best thing ever: breakfast. You’ve never been the domestic type, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play chef every now and then, and that’s exactly what you do, depositing Karkat in a chair at your granite counter and telling him not to break anything, including himself. When you look him over from your station at the stove, he’s still wearing that adorable blush you earned when you called him cute, which isn’t exactly a lie. Now that he’s not wearing that ridiculously baggy ensemble, you can watch the muscles that comprise his torso coil and uncoil as he fidgets at your counter, asking about coffee. You ceremoniously start the monstrosity of a beverage machine you got for Christmas last year with a grin and when he ducks his head, you know it’s because he’s blushing again, for whatever reason. You’d like to think it’s because of you, especially when he stutters a ‘thank you’ after you set a plate of eggs and pancakes in front of him.
You’re pretty sure he wouldn’t act like this normally; he doesn’t seem like the type to be nice for reason, and you’ve got no problem with that. He’s even cuter than he was when you met him last night, just different, quieter. As he munches his way through your food and you thoughtfully sip your coffee, your eyes meet, maybe not accidentally. The third time it happens, he finally mentions it.
“Dude, what’s with the staring?” You think that might be the first sentence you’ve heard him utter without dropping some sort of convoluted swear.
You almost apologize, but, whoops, your inner douchebag decides now’s a better time than ever to show himself, “You should be flattered.”
He nearly chokes on his morning meal and meets your eyes again, “Should I?”
“Yes, you should.” You smirk over the edge of your favorite coffee mug, “I’ve got high standards, bro.”
Dear God, what’s wrong with you? Sometimes you hate yourself. Right now especially. Until, that is, he bursts out laughing.
“Wow, I’m not sure if I should be flattered or severely creeped out.” he chuckles as he recovers the ability to speak, “I guess we’ll go with flattered for now, thanks man.”
By the time you’re waving him out the door, wearing too-big clothes he borrowed from your closet, you realize you’re going to miss the ray of fiery, rageful sunshine that is Karkat Vantas.
Then, you realize that you’re going to see him again soon, anyway. He’s going to have to give you back those clothes eventually.
Maybe you’ll take the great pleasure of taking them off his body yourself.
Chapter 7: Internal Analog
In which there is communication and coffee.
Causalgia Chapter 7: Internal Analog
When you finally open the door to your shitty apartment, you realize you already miss the attractive idiot whose bed you shared last night. You made sure he didn’t walk you home or anything (a guy’s gotta have some pride) and now you’re regretting not being able to meet his abnormal gaze for a few more minutes. You muse your feelings to your pillow, who’s a great listener, then, when you realize what you’re doing, you promptly sit up and stand to go make some more coffee. Or, try to stand, which doesn’t work out so well when you’re wearing the pants of someone a good couple inches taller than you. After you check to make sure nobody saw your fantastic trip-and-recovery combo, you grumble and shuffle into the kitchenette to try to stimulate your underactive brain cells with a shot of their favorite addiction.
The rest of your weekend passes normally; you go for your normal runs through the city’s park, yell at a couple dumbasses, attempt to make something more complicated than a sandwich for lunch, fail twice, yell at your neighbor in apartment 67 to ‘keep it the fuck down when others are trying to pursue recreational activities’, talk to your mom over the phone for what feels like a lifetime, and, worst of all, try to ignore the slight burn that’s started up in your chest again.
By the time you settle down on your couch to start your weekly movie marathon on Sunday night, the burning’s back full force and you start to wonder whether you should consult a doctor about it. Then, your phone buzzes as if it senses your pain, and you read a horribly typed message from none another than the attractive asshole you met on Friday.
Hey kk lunch tomorrow at 1? I know a great place. and you still have my clothes.
The first thing you think is a convoluted thought of how the fuck did he get my number? and who the fuck’s ‘kk’? Then, you quickly summon a response, trying to make up for your shyness earlier:
Dude who the fuck are you trying to talk to? If you’re inferring that I’m ‘kk’, then I’ve got news for you, pal, the name’s KARKAT. Not ‘Kar’, not ‘Kat’, and definitely not ‘KK’.
You read over your reply with pride then tag on a bit more:
Anyway, yeah, fine, I’ll bring your clothes.
You go to put your phone back in your pocket with a smug little grin on your face, but it apparently has other plans:
Whoa, calm down, it’s just a nickname, a show of affection? A way to say "hey, bro, I actually don’t hate you”? Alright, I’ll be outside your offices at 1 sharp. Don’t be late.
You snark back a quick confirmation and sit back again with a sigh of relief. You ponder why you feel relieved for a moment while you hit play on your remote, then realize that the stupid burning sensation’s no longer attacking your chest.
That’s weird…it was really bad a minute ago..wait…is it because…?
Then, you’re laughing, because there’s obviously no way the burning left because you were talking to Captor. You met the guy a few days ago, less than 50 measly hours has passed since you first laid eyes on the bundle of sharp angles that is Sollux fucking Captor.
You suddenly freeze and wonder how the fuck you know exactly how long it’s been since you met him.
Have I been…keeping track? What the fuck is going on…?
But there’s a timer in your head that tells you it’s been exactly 45 hours, 23 minutes, and 12 seconds since you saw him first. You shake your head like a dog and try to focus and the misadventures of Jennifer Aniston to ease away the strangeness that has settled in your mind, but the feeling like you’re ignoring something important nibbles at you until you see him next.
For any who are wondering, our dear Mr. Vantas lives in apartment 69. He is a rather active individual, and a volunteer fireman. He actually gets paid to work on the firehouse's computers and mainframe...he helps out by occasionally dealing with paperwork. He is naturally a caffeine addict.
Chapter 8: Dream By Numbers
In which there is rememberence.
Causalgia Chapter 8: Dream by Numbers
After you send your carefully constructed text to your new favorite ball of sunshine, and promptly picture him tripping around adorably in your clothes, you fall victim to the forces of slumber, slumped over your computer desk, one hand at the keys, one hand clutching your phone.
Your name is Sollux Captor, and, for the first time in a very long time, you dream.
You dream of a world, no, two worlds, almost polar in nature, one dark and one light, with colored figures to match, black and white skinned. Two groups of comrades, one wearing vivid violet, the other wearing golden yellow. You realize there’s two of you, each wearing one of the bright, almost surreal colors. You examine your hands, in awe of their grey tint and their sharp nails curved into claws. Your yellow-clad self feels the pressure of a hand in your own and looks up to see bright, blood-red eyes carve into your gaze, eating up space in your mind meant for thinking, occupying every cell. These amazing oculars stare at you steadily from underneath a mop of messy black hair, from which a pair of the cutest little candy corn horns protrude. You ignore your violet self and focus, and you can hear the owner’s voice, raspy, just as you expected…
Just like you remember.
His voice floats through your mind like the scent of freshly baked bread, warm and familiar despite its rough tone:
“Sollux. I….I’ve missed you.”
You respond of your own accord:
He nods and fixes you with a smile that makes you feel like you’re glowing. You think you’re grinning back, but you’re not sure because all your thoughts are centered on him, your world, your piece of fiery heaven.
“Yes, yes, of course! How the fuck did you know?”
You’re pretty sure you’re going to break your face with all this smiling. You reply without thinking:
“I’ve missed you too.”
He’s in your arms now, and you didn’t notice you were floating but it doesn’t matter because he’s here and you just remember.
You remember everything. You remember your matesprit, your favorite, your love.
It’s ridiculous, it’s crazy, but it’s so real.
Your first thought, as you reach full awakening, is to call Karkat immediately, but you throw the idea away when you glance at your clock and see the astonishing time. He strikes you as the type to treasure his sleep and then you frantically realize that it’s not just a vague guess, you remember how grumpy he would get if you woke him up even a minute early. You can almost see his cranky, grey-skinned self growling at you from under the covers….wait, no, from under some thick, green substance. You stop yourself there, shutting down your inner projector and easing away from the strange, terrible, wonderful visions provided by it.
You’ll see him tomorrow. You’re seeing Karkat tomorrow, and that’s what helps you sleep with a smile on your face.
For those of you discombobulated by Mr. Captor's dream, wait maybe a chapter or two, and you shall recieve some answers.
Chapter 9: Circular Motion
In which there are letters and skills.
Causalgia Chapter 9: Circular Motion
Your name is Cornelius Scratch, and you’re feeling quite accomplished at the moment.
You have managed to arrange the very last of the ‘coincidental’ meetings between sixteen individuals you’ve been attempting to concoct since last fall. And that one has finally had the dream!
You suppose you’re getting a bit ahead of yourself. So, you explain. Or, rather, you let this self from another dimension explain through his rather well-written letter, dated October 25th of the past year:
Mr. Scratch, It has come to my attention recently that I will be approaching absolute destruction soon, therefore I have decided to breach the heavens and search for an individual to receive my ultimate directions. You see, I exist in a dimension in which a deadly, wonderful game is played and may eventually be lost. The players of this game are principally sixteen distinct individuals, each with their own role to perform. I have been observing these extraordinary young ones fight their way through most of the vicious levels of this game, and have concluded that they have bonded over more than their experiences here, in this world. They are, simply put, fated participants in a circular motion, which they will be a part of in every world in which they exist. It would be a crime, in my eyes, to keep these individuals separated, unknowing of each others’ existence….
This other self goes on to give you precise directions in order to arrange meetings, fleeting moments between each of the ‘participants’ of this mysterious game. You glance down at the list of names, all of which now have check marks beside them. You move to watch the remainder of the dream of one such player, Sollux Captor, through the white orb on your desk. This particular one has only recently made contact with the last (or first, depending on one’s mental processes) of his fellow players. There was a reason behind the order; this Doc Scratch, as he signed his precocious letter, mentioned that it was crucial that certain members should meet last in order to insure…
No, it’s best not to reveal much more at the moment. There’s a time and a place for everything, and now is not the time for that. Soon enough.
Something flickers in the corner of your eye; your new white orb is moving between participants minds. It seems that they are all experiencing similar motions as their comrade before them. You watch as it flicks from the mind of a lawyer, to a teacher, then a doctor. You look away after that; you have more important matters to attend to.
You check over yet another sheet of parchment, this one filled with calculations, and according to the numbers in the darkest writing, your patients, as you’ve come to call them, will start to experience their strange side effects within the next few days.
Oh. You’ve said too much again.
You call them patients because you feel as if you’re simply a psychiatrist lifting the shade of extended amnesia from their collective consciousness, and you’ve always wanted some way to use your unusual skills.
You turn back to the white orb, a cue ball, and wonder.
Wow, okay, explanation time! Doc Scratch foresaw his own inner destruction by Lord English, so he ended up writing a letter to his counterpart in this universe. Sorry there’s not really any direct action of the trolls/kids in this one, but it’s necessary for the story to continue!
Chapter 10: Synchronize
In which there is a pulse or two.
Causalgia Chapter 10: Synchronize
Your name is Karkat Vantas, and you've just had the strangest dream.
You don't remember most of it, but it felt like home. There were beings you're sure you know from somewhere, but you can't tell exactly where, sort of like with Captor.You stretch and yawn before glancing at your clock: exactly 4:13 AM, way before most of the other residents of your apartment building rise and start their morning rituals. You pause, head resting against your thin pillow, and listen.
YOU ARE OVERWHELMED IMMEDIATELY.
Thousands of drumming noises pound against your head in an instant, mismatched and cacophonous. There is no rhythm, only beats, some steady, some unstable. You can't even hear your own surprised (and completely dignified) yelp over the din that is your mind.
You attempt to focus on your own pulse to calm down, as your father taught you before he passed, putting your fingers to your wrist and closing your eyes. Your beat jumps out at you suddenly, as if it has been waiting for you. You wince, but your eyes stay closed, and slowly, the other beats die away, though you can still feel them beating faintly in the background. Except for two; yours, and one that you automatically know is about 9 miles away, at the top of a tall building. You can also tell, simply by the beat's quality, that its owner is awake, and has been for at least a few minutes. Actually, it's not quite a heart beat; it's missing that ba-dum motion that's characteristic of the beat of a heart. It really is a pulse, bringing with it the slight swishing of blood pushing through your veins, and the other's veins as well. You shiver slightly, feeling the movement of both of the liquids' movement start to synchronize.
That's Sollux. That's his pulse. He can feel your presence as well.
Some crazy voice, possibly British, resonates within you, trying to persuade you that the other pulse you can feel right now belongs to your new friend (Acquaintance? Bro? ….eventually something more?), and you attempt to shove it away but fail. Your rational side denies the possibility of feeling his pulse this far away, and wonders why it would be his pulse, if anybody's, while this newly awakened, almost intuitive side appeals to your senses, can't you feel that? What else could it be?
Before you know it, you're at the firehouse later that day, doing mindless paperwork and having a conversation with one of the firemen, staring at the clock and hoping that 1:00 PM gets there sooner.
Chapter 11: Impressive Engine
In which there is awe and misunderstanding.
Causalgia Chapter 11: Impressive Engine
By the time 1 o'clock rolls around, you're waiting outside the firehouse for Karkat, leaning up against your vehicle of choice. When you decided to bring this car a few hours ago, it was mostly because you wanted to see his reaction to it, but now you're thinking that perhaps this wasn't the best idea; he might freak out and refuse to go with you, but there's just as strong a chance that he'll be amazed by it.
You sincerely wish it'll be the latter.
Especially after having that bizarre dream, where you were holding him and swearing to never let go again. It seemed like something kind of important, just a little.
A loud slam and a bout of colorful cursing shatters your musing and you look up from the ground where your eyes rested last to see an especially angry Karkat walking, no, stalking his way over to you.
"Sorry, I got caught up in something. How long have you been waiting out here?" He sounds almost sheepish, but you don't think that he can really sound like that.
"Not too long." you answer, and you try to continue, but he's looking over your shoulder to your car with what you think is awe written all over his expressive face.
"Whoa, what the fuck…" he keeps looking at you, then your pride and joy, back and forth, "That's your car?"
You chuckle and turn to survey the gleam of black and yellow that covers your Corvette as he continues to gape, "Yes, this is my car. Try not to drool on it."
He chooses to ignore your jibe and runs a careful hand over the hood, walking around to the other side of the vehicle, "You've got to be fucking kidding me. How the fuck-"
You cut him off by opening the passenger door for him with one hand and tugging him by his wrist with the other, "Dude, just shut up and get in the car."
He complies with an eagerness that tells you that you definitely made the right choice, and you loop over to your side, get in as smoothly as you can, and start the impressive engine.
One exciting car ride later, you guide him to the door of your favorite lunch spot, hoping and praying that he likes sushi as much as you do. Judging by the gleam that settles in his eye when you mention that this place serves mostly Japanese cuisine, you have once again made the right decision, and you throw a little internal party for yourself as he eyes the menu, sitting across from you at one of the restaurant's many little modern tables. When your waiter comes up to take your respective orders, you notice it's one of your good friends from college and you greet him accordingly, in Japanese, thoroughly confusing your date.
Wait, did you just call him…?
You quickly brush away those crazy thoughts and order for yourself, and then you ask Karkat what he wants, in English, of course. He looks bewildered and hasn't chosen anything yet, so he simply says, "Whatever the fuck's spicy here." You pass on the message to your friend, and he grins and asks you who your cute new toy is, earning him a roll of your eyes and a friendly smack on the arm. By now, Karkat's gone from looking benignly confused to eyeing the two of you suspiciously. When the waiter leaves, he immediately cuts to the chase,
"What the fuck was that all about? Do you like to take people out, then embarrass them by flirting with others?"
You sit for a moment, in shock, before laughing and replying, "No, it's not like that, KK, he's an old friend of mine from college. Are you jealous?"
The flush that covers his face after that is well worth the glare you get in return.
Chapter 12: Pass the Wasabi
In which there are offhanded-compliments and near-swooning.
Causalgia Chapter 12: Pass the Wasabi
Wow, you’re definitely not assuming that this is a date or anything, nope. And there’s no way in hell you keep glancing at Sollux and thinking about how goddamn attractive he is in that suit. And it’s certainly not true that you got a little jealous there for a second, not at all.
What is true is that this food is good, so that must mean he has good taste in at least what he consumes. It’s also true that you can absolutely not get rid of this awful flush that keeps dominating your face, much to your chagrin. He keeps complimenting you in this off-hand kind of way, and that’s not helping your problem in the slightest. He’s grinning like the idiot you’re sure he is, and you’re fighting your damndest to keep your face at least slightly neutral by staring down your sushi and asking, as calmly as you can, if he could pass the wasabi. When he complies, your fingers brush and holy shit when did you turn into such a fucking girl?
You have the strongest urge to tell him about that crazy dream you had where you were grey-skinned and he was there, but you feel like the details of it are falling through your fingers like grains of sand. He keeps looking at you like he wants to tell you something important, but he doesn’t say anything out of the ordinary. It’s all compliments you awkwardly receive and banter exchanged, until, that is, he asks you a question that you last entertained when you were a kid:
“Hey, KK, what’s your favorite color?”
You look up at him (sadly, even sitting down, he has a couple inches on you) and raise an eyebrow, “What kind of fucking question is that?”
“A normal one.” Now his grin is mischievous, and you’re not sure if that’s a good thing when it comes to him, “And you should answer it.”
You grumble and sigh, then look around to make sure nobody’s around to hear you actually answer this asinine inquiry, “It’s red, you dumbass, now stop asking stupid questions.”
He nods like this is what he expected, and you wonder why, then you catch yourself asking what his favorite is in return.
“Well, it’s hard for me to choose one; it’s a tie between red and blue…”
Oddly enough, you feel like that fits him, even though you’ve only known him for a couple days. You curse that stupid internal timer again, and he looks like he wants to tell you something. You meet his gaze, and he merely smiles and shakes his head, then catches his waiter friend for the bill, refusing to let you pay for anything.
By the time you’re in his car again, you’ve dropped your irritation in favor of being awed again because, hey, he has a really nice car. The ride passes smoothly, all mundane conversation again, and by the time he insists on opening the passenger door for you, you wish this little luncheon would’ve lasted longer. You hand him his (folded and washed, fuck you very much!) clothes, and he smiles again; if you had the capacity to swoon, you would’ve.
He squeezes your hand, kisses your cheek, and hops back into his car, driving away before you can properly react.
Chapter 13: Complying
In which there are opputunities taken.
Causalgia Chapter 13: Complying
You leave him looking a bit shocked, standing near the curb, a hand on his face where your lips were a few seconds ago. There’s more than a hint of that adorable blush there now, and you’re proud to say that you are most definitely the cause of it this time. With a glance at your watch, you realize you’ve got to get back to the office; even if you’re the CEO of your little software company, you still have to work. You make a quick stop at the garage on the edge of town to exchange your flashy little number for something a bit more conservative, then make your way across the city once more to your reserved parking spot.
A few hours later finds you sitting at your desk, absorbed in a code that one of your employees couldn’t get through. You know the white-on-black wall of characters is reflecting off your glasses and you probably look possessed at the moment, but you can’t find any fucks to give, especially not when your subconscious thoughts drift to your little tryst with that wide-eyed, feisty, absolutely gorgeous-
Whoa, you need to stop those thoughts; it wouldn’t be good for your boss-man reputation if you were found with your hand so close to your crotch in this building. That wouldn’t do at all.
Then again, you think as you survey the mostly-empty maze of cubicles outside your own office, nobody’s looking…
No, Captor. Now’s not the time or place.
You feverishly hope nobody recognized that moment of weakness and attempt to merge yourself into the code once again.
After about another hour of staring down your screen like you’re trying to make it move, you realize that you won’t be getting any work done until you get rid of that. A glance over your monitor and into the cubicle conundrum reveals a deserted jumble of short white walls, and you decide you’ve been bothered by this problem long enough. You let your wild thoughts become focused on him again, and your hand is at your fly before you even realize it. It’s not long before your active imagination conjures up an image of his darker-than-your skin against yours and his usually acidic tongue working wonders elsewhere, trailing down to your current problem. You can practically feel his breath, hot against the sensitive skin there, before his tongue traces down your shaft and over the tip. You know the sensation of his mouth is worlds apart from that of your hand’s now-erratic movements, but you’ll be damned if you stop now. You imagine winding your fingers into that mess of hair and pushing him down, willing him to take you in, and damn, he complies completely. His teeth scrape at the base before you’re enveloped and fuck that would be amazing. He’d suck long and hard, up and down, you bet, and he’d actually like how you’d be pulling on his hair a bit harder. His hands would grip your thighs for support, and you could probably thrust into his mouth without worry of pissing him off. He’d take it all in stride and when you actually yank at his dark locks, he’d actually moan around you and holy fuck you’re gone.
Clean-up is brief and with another furtive glance around, you assure yourself that nobody saw your completely dignified use of time.
As you walk down the curving flight of stairs to the lobby, you imagine the look on his face after he’s swallowed.
As you pop open the door to your car, you hope he’s a little masochistic like your mind tells you he is.
And as you drive home, you desperately think that maybe you’ll actually get him to do that sometime
Chapter 14: Chance Encounter
In which there is, as the title says, a chance encounter.
This one's for those of you who support PB&J.
Causalgia Chapter 14: Chance Encounter
==> Be the grumpy asshole.
Well, you would, but it seems he's having a bit of an emotional crisis. Let's get back to him later.
==> Be the leech of the law instead.
Hey! You don't appreciate that description! Your title is one full of honor and…though you hate to steal your business partner's thunder, justice! There's no way anyone's gonna be you right now, nope.
==> Be…the doctor?
Sure! That can be arranged.
You are now Tavros Nitram, a doctor who specializes in prosthetics, and you've had a chance encounter with a stranger.
You accidentally bump into him on the subway as you both attempt to let the other through the narrow door first. Not everyone else on the train is as patient as you, of course, so you end up kind of squished together for a few moments before the rest of the passengers vacate the train car. You offer him an apologetic smile and he waves it off with a grin of his own.
From what you can see of him, he's got tattoos all across his chest and arms, though there's nothing vulgar among the messages akin to 'peace' and other harmless gestures. His hair's tied back in a messy ponytail, and his arms are full of what seems to be paint and other art supplies. When he speaks, his voice's a bit gravelly and deeper than yours:
"Sorry about that, bro. All those people got their rush on all of a sudden."
He smiles and indicates for you to go in front of him, and you nod in return,
"Thanks…uh, yeah, everybody's always rushing in the city, huh…"
When he smiles again, you get a strong feeling that you must know him from somewhere, and you know you must be right because…well, you don't exactly make friends easily.
"It's too bad, man…if they just slowed their rolls, they could see all the miracles in life…"
He steps off behind you, adjusting his hold on his supplies while you watch worriedly:
"Do you need any, uh, help?" He shakes his head slowly, "Nah, I got this, bro. Now, do you got a name?"
"Oh!" This is always the hardest part for you; you always stutter when you say your name, and since it's already a strange name, most people spend the rest of their time calling you some weird convulsion of your name. You manage to force out, "T-Tavros Nitram…" and the stranger grins wider,
"Nice to meet ya, bro, I'm Gamzee Makara." He looks off to his right, where one of the exits is, "Normally, it'd be awesome to get my chat on with a new bro, but I got a class to teach, so…" he turns and waves over his shoulder, "Here's to hoping I get to see your miracle again sometime soon."
You kind of stand there for a moment, trying to get your bearings, before you realize you had an actual conversation with someone you didn't know. You definitely would've sat down and thought about this occurrence, but you remember with a jolt that you have appointments to get to, so you shuffle up the opposite staircase with your mind centered on the familiar stranger.
Chapter 15: Dignity
In which there is communication.
Causalgia Chapter 15: Dignity
==> Be the grumpy asshole dealing with an emotional crisis.
You think you’ve finally calmed down enough to think clearly. After that god damn fucking dickface went and-
No, no, no, no. There’s no way you’re going to start thinking about that occurrence for at least another decade. Then, you’ll be able to observe the event objectively. Some small part of you hopes you’ll be able to recall every single detail of that perfect, just absolutely perfect moment-
You quickly bury your head in your pillow and let out what definitely isn’t a shriek of any type. There is also no way you’re comparing your recent experiences to every single one of the glorious romantic-comedies you’ve ever watched. He met you by chance, took advantage of what he seemed to think was a good opportunity in you, and pretty much just charmed the fuck out of you.
You take a moment to recognize that he even paid for you, the stupid fuck. And let’s not forget how good he looked in that getup, as your wonderfully impudent mind decides to remind you right at the moment that you’re on the verge of recovering your dignity. You’re gratuitously grateful that there are no mirrors to be found in your bedroom because you’re pretty sure your face’s a wretched shade of maroon by now.
You briefly wonder if he likes the color covering your cheeks before your face meets the pillow once again.
==> Be the object of the grumpy asshole’s thoughts
You’ve just arrived home when the mobile device in your pocket vibrates, letting you know you’ve received a message. You pull it out while leaning against your front door and grin when you see the name of the sender.
Alright, so maybe I didn’t have the worst fucking time of my life, asswipe. And you’re forgiven for flirting with our waiter; I don’t care about your bullshit he’s-just-my-friend excuse. Also, completely jealous of that ride. Who’s back did you have to rub to make that wish come true? Ugh, fuck, I’m rambling, what I’m trying to say is that this wasn’t horrible and we can maybe do it again sometime.
You grin wider and send back a response:
He really is an old college friend of mine, no need to be jealous of him. I do agree, though, with your sentiments towards my car, but rest assured that nobody’s back was rubbed in the process. We can definitely make this happen again sometime soon.
There are a few minutes of pause between your last text and his new one; you chuckle and imagine him freaking out over your message for a minute before typing back a counter. You occupy yourself by checking your various websites and emails, and are only roused from your computer screen by the diligent reminder buzz of your mobile phone:
Whatever, I guess we can.
In his language, you think, that is an enthusiastic affirmative.
Chapter 16: Law and Disorder
In which justice should prevail.
==> Be the lawyer (finalllllllly!)
Your name is Vriska Serket and man, do you loooooooove your job!
You might pretend to get all offended when some uninformed idiot decides that you’re the scum of the land, but hell, the look of fear in your opponents’ eyes as you strike down their every hope and dream is beyond comparison.
Sometimes, like now, you just like to prop up your feet up on your hard-earned desk and talk about it. Your audience is none other than your good friend and business partner. She grins and gives a cackle at your description of one of your more memorable foes.
==> Be the cackling friend/business partner.
Your name is Terezi Pyrope, and, man, being a lawyer is awesome!
You and Vriska are some of the youngest, most successful lawyers in the state, and you are quite pleased with this fact. So pleased, in fact, that you’ve decided that a little reward is in order.
You pop the cork on the champagne you bought in celebration and promise not to drink too much. Ms. Serket, however, makes no such agreement and grins predatorily at her new glass full of fun. She murmurs her appreciation over the rim of the glass, “Thanks, ‘Rezi…here’s to kicking ass…”
“And taking names. All of them!” you laugh back. Some people might call it a cackle. You guess that’s alright; it makes you seem more intimidating.
The two of you knock back your first glass of celebration simultaneously, both reveling in your victory.
It tastes awesome.
So do Vriska’s lips, if your hazy, hung-over mind is telling the truth the next morning.
It’s time for some serious interrogation.
Her voice right now isn’t necessarily the smoothest on your frayed nerves, but you like it right now, in your post-celebratory atmosphere.
“How did we end up like this?”
She sighs and gives a laugh, “You mean feelings-wise or more like ‘why are we in this physical position’?”
You shrug as best as you can from your small space on the couch in your house, “Both?”
She gives her own shrug, and stretches. Her arm, the carbon-fiber-expensive-as-fuck one, brushes against your side for a moment before she settles back down and answers, “Who the fuck knows.” Her phone, on a table nearby, goes off annoyingly, and you both jump a little. She grins and taps her wrist after checking the reminder, pantomiming checking a watch, “I got an appointment at three for this thing.” She gestures to her newer arm, “Gonna get everything allllllll checked out.”
Have you mentioned yet that you kind of like a lot things about her? Like how she does holds out certain words, as if she’s trying to make them beg for mercy? Or how she doesn’t care much what most of the world thinks about her?
You frankly don’t know what to think about this.
Please keep the comments rolling in, I want to know what the readers think! Kudos to those of you who can see the upcoming interaction between Ms. Serket and a certain previously-introduced character.
Also, if any of you are attending Otakon, perhaps we'll run into one another! That seems to be a catalyst for so many things in life.
Chapter 17: Dazedly
In which something unexpected happens.
==> Be the owner of a successful company.
Your name is Sollux Captor, and you are going to die.
Or so say the voices that have been plaguing your every thought since you had that weird dream, with the gray skin and the horns and whatnot. They ebb and flow like some sort of demented tide and you can't seem to rid your mind of them no matter what you do. The only time when they're not absolutely unbearable is when you're with your newest acquaintance, a Mr. Karkat Vantas. His angry language and interesting demeanor seem to block out the majority of your internal tormentors, but when you're alone, you can't escape them, and they like to remind you of such.
You will DIE, you worthless MAGGOT. You aren't FIT to walk this planet, let alone any other! There is no escape from your fate, BOY.
It's times like these that you just want to curl up and cover your face. Your usual space-cadet qualities have been amplified ten-fold, and your employees have been quick to notice, whether out of genuine care or other motives you don't care to know. You go to work everyday, but spend half your time there trying not to smack your head to your desk. Today should be no different, you tell yourself as you struggle through your toast. You dazedly realize that you're in your most conservative car a few minutes later, and you start the engine despite the friendly little voice among the terrors in your mind that tells you not to.
You drive half-mindedly, not really knowing where your own thoughts are taking you. You approach a turning stoplight before it hits you like a car speeding through an intersection.
Because that's actually what hits you, a white compact that t-bones your own vehicle. You catch flutters of a completely blank face on the man in the other vehicle, no eyes, ears, nose, or mouth to be seen, before you see no more.
==> Be the worried boyfriend.
What the fuck? You're not his boyfriend! (Though that doesn't mean you don't want to be so…)
You're simply (for now) an anxious acquaintance of the tall, attractive man in the bed you're currently sitting next to. Of course, you had to say that he's your significant other in order to gain access to his bedside, but you swear it's not like that (yet).
The nurses keep sending you glances and giggling as they walk by on their duties, though you swear some of them are only walking by to gawk at you and your (more-than-a) friend. You ask one of the doctors working on Mr. Captor to tell them off, and he does, brandishing a clipboard at them and shooing them away with a couple disapproving British words.
Then, you sit silently next to him for about an hour or so, simply watching the steadily slowing movement of his chest and trying not to cry because you are a man, god damn it, and will not cry. There is no way he's dying, nope, because you just met him, and fuck, he just can't do this.
You tell him as much when his breathing's slowed to the point that he breaths only once or twice a minute. You finally give in and hold his hand, feeling how cold it is and how distant his pulse is, fading away while you watch helplessly. The British doctor from before comes in to check Sollux's vitals once more, and sighs, shaking his head as he closes the door behind him.
About fifteen minutes later, he flatlines.
You close your eyes and cry because, god damn it, he just can't do this. He can't do this to you.
You hopelessly thumb over his wrist, trying to find his lost pulse, for a least a few minutes before your tears start hindering your view. Your thumb rests over where the rhythm would be if he wasn't…
No, you won't think about it, you're just going to leave now, no traces.
You can't remember this, nobody can.
You lean over to kiss his forehead in a rare show of emotion, then give his hand one last squeeze before-
Wait. Was that…his pulse?
You pause, wide-eyed, and squeeze it again. The machine that monitors his lost heartbeat bleeps hopefully. You frantically lean over him again, your own pulse racing. It can't be.
==> Karkat: Do the 'bloody thing'!
What? No! That sounds disgusting!
==>Karkat: ...Revive the prophet!
You have no clue who this prophet is, but something in you stirs when you hold his hand, deathly cold, the faintest of pulses emitting from his skin. You're going to save this fucker.
You focus and find a little pocket of energy in the back of your mind that screams "Use me!" so you do, putting your thumb firmly over where the rhythm is slowly augmenting and breathing out.
You nearly faint when the machine gives a couple more bleeps and you can feel his own beat meekly coming out under your hand, from both hope and lack of energy. You continue to focus until your own energy finally gives out and you crumple down on the floor next to the man who should've died. You smile when you faintly hear Sollux stir and call out for you before you black out.
Chapter 18: Here's to Hoping
In which there are reveries and inquiries.
==> Be the ‘British doctor’.
Your name is Cornelius Scratch, and everything is going pretty much according to plan.
The effects that these two are having on each other are…surprising, to say the least, but not completely unexpected. You’ve never seen two individuals interact in such a way before, but your other self warned you of the extremities of the sixteen’s relationships.
The two individuals you speak of are currently in the same room in this medical establishment. One is unconscious; the other was ultimately unconscious, meaning dead. The newly awakened one is calling out for assistance, his voice still weak from his previous ‘slumber’. He sounds confused, and you find that particularly humorous, letting out a light chuckle as you remove the stethoscope from around your neck in the employee break room. There’s only one other being in this room, and it just so happens to be another one of your ‘subjects’. This young man is staring out the window, blissfully unaware of the present dramatic irony that a certain other ‘subject’ would find quite amusing; you, who have observed and partially controlled his life for the past few months, are once again watching him. You assume the smile on his face is present as an indirect effect of the arranged meeting between him and an elementary art educator. You clear your throat and the poor man jumps, startled out of his reverie.
“A-ah, Doctor Scratch…I didn’t hear you come in…”
“Not to worry, Doctor Nitram, I am simply clocking out.” You gesture grandly to the sign-in sheet hanging on the wall nearby, as if anybody could protest if you didn’t keep record of your time here. You then serendipitously remember that the young prosthetics doctor must have just had an appointment with the lawyer with a missing limb, “How was your time with Ms. Serket?”
He fidgets and looks quite uncomfortable at the mention of his most recent patient, “It was okay, I guess…she’s not very thankful…” he mumbles.
You simply chuckle and bid him farewell, leaving him to distill in his own thoughts.
==> Be the undead prophet.
Firstly, you’re pretty sure you’re not a member of the walking dead. Secondly, this is not a very good time. You’ve just come to in a hospital bed with the man you may or may not be falling in love with laying unconscious on the floor next to you.
==> BE THE GODDAMN PROPHET.
Alright, alright, fine!
Your name is Sollux Captor and—
Why is Karkat on the floor?
Why do you have IVs stuck into your wrists?
What the ever-loving fuck happened?
You look around, desperately trying to find a clue to what might’ve happened in the desolate cinder-block room you’re in. As you turn to further survey your surroundings, you suddenly feel very sore, and decide to lay back against what you suppose passes for a pillow around here. You instead call out for somebody, anybody to come and help you figure out why Karkat’s passed out on the tile floor and how either of you got here in the first place.
A few minutes later, a nurse finally comes in to check on you, shocked to see you awake and even more shocked to see ‘Mr. Vantas’ not awake.
“Wow, that’s strange!” she chatters as she pages another medical professional to assist with getting Karkat into the other, luckily unoccupied bed in the room, “A few minutes ago, he was as alert as a guard dog, holding your hand and refusing to budge an inch!” she giggles and continues, “It makes me so happy to see other people happy, you know?”
You check her name tag and hoarsely ask, “Excuse me, Ms….Harley, but was this man was seriously holding my hand?”
She looks confused, “Yeah, of course he was! Why wouldn’t he be? Isn’t that what significant others do when their loved ones’ are in a hospital?”
“Er, yeah, of course, he’s just usually not that….affectionate.”
The other doctor walks in on her laughing, and also looks surprised to see you awake.
“Oh, uhm, Mr. Captor! This is odd.” he comments, helping Ms. Harley get Karkat into the bed next to yours, “When Doctor Scratch checked you, he said you weren’t supposed to come to for at least another few hours. I wonder what happened?”
You pause and swallow, despite the aching pain you feel practically everywhere.
Here’s to hoping they don’t think you’re crazy.
You slowly point to Karkat and smile slightly,
“He saved me.”
Chapter 19: The Weight of The World
In which there is sweet, sweet fruition.
Causalgia: Chapter 11- The Weight of the World
Your name is Karkat Vantas, and you have no clue whose bed you’re in.
You slowly open your eyes and damn you feel really sore all of a sudden, the ache concentrated in your chest and lower back making you groan in pain. A hand makes gentle contact with your forehead, and you hear a sort of buzzing that you suppose is trying to masquerade as a calming ‘shoosh’. It actually makes you want to laugh, but you decide against it when you gasp in a breath at the mismatched eyes that level with yours.
“…Sollux?” you manage to croak out (Jesus, you sound terrible) and you reach for him like a child.
He merely smiles and catches both your hands in his own, giving them a comforting squeeze that’s surprisingly soft, considering all the angles in his fingers,
“Rough day, huh?”
Again, you have to fight the urge to chuckle, “Yeah, sure, whatever…”
He’s looking away, and you can see a glimpse of a frown from this profile view, a bad sign, and then he speaks again,
“You didn’t have to do that.”
Though his statement might be vague to the outside listener, you immediately know what he’s referring to and you’re quick to reply,
“Yeah, I did, you dumbfuck.”
It’s completely silent for a moment, save for the irritating beeping of the machine they’ve got you hooked up to.
Right. Sollux. Car crash. Hospital. Brain Trauma. Coma.
Momentary death. Revival.
And that’s about where you black out memory-wise.
He whispers back, still looking away, his hands still around yours,
“No, you didn’t.”
You roll your eyes and drop his hands to reach up and tug him back to you by his collar, his forehead clunking against yours in the process,
“Yes, I did.”
He spares a moment’s hesitation, eyeing you with a questioning air before you close your eyes and nod.
The kiss that follows is warmer than your favorite sweater.
==> Be the other participant in the lip-lock festival
Hey, this guy saved your life, the least you can do is give him a smooch!
…Though that’s not necessarily exactly why you’re currently bent over his hospital bed and kissing him like you’ve wanted to since you met him.
He might not have come to terms with it yet, but you sure have.
You lean away from him slowly, still pretty close, close enough the murmur to him,
He looks up at you, eyes wide with surprise at your use of his first name instead of the usual nickname, “Yes?”
You swallow and you swear your heartbeat’s sounding in his ears,
“Karkat, I lo-"
The door to the room opens wide, cacophonous, and the nurse from before walks in, presumably to check the object of your newly minted affection’s vitals. Somehow you don’t think that’s the case, especially considering the giggles she keeps hiding into her sleeve. You swear under your breath and quickly lean away from Karkat, sitting back in your chair next to his bed as she gives you a knowing smile and fiddles with the machine that tells you that the shorter guy is alive.
You’re both alive.
“Have you ever felt so alive?”
You, Sollux Captor, are discussing something with your dear moirail, a red-blood who has always been there for you, even though you haven’t always been there for her.
“What do you mean, AA?”
She smiles and tilts her head to the side,
“You seem so alive nowadays. It’s like, before you were just smoke, and now you’re a fire.”
You laugh, at ease for once in your pitiful life, your head in her lap as she threads her fingers through your hair, carefully and skillfully avoiding your twinned horns. “I don’t even know what that’th thuppothed to mean, but alright, that’th okay, everything’th pretty okay.”
“It’s because of him, I’m sure.” She gives a little knowing smile much like the one Nurse Harley just gave you, her hands coming to rest, “I’m glad you’re happy, Sollux.” You glance up to her, your mutated, solid colored eyes meeting her normal ones, “I’m athumming you’re happy to, then, AA, tho I’m glad you’re happy ath well.” “Of course.”
“Of course, you’ll be ready to head home in a day or so, Mr. Vantas!”
You blink, coming back to reality, as Karkat squeezes your hand, glancing up to you with a confused look on his face, “You okay?”
You nod and try to shake of the sense of unreality out of your head, “Yeah, sorry, zoned out there for a second.”
Your eyes don’t leave his until the nurse finishes her round.
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Chapter 20: Soup and Sympathy
In which a certain three-word phrase is uttered
Soup and Sympathy
“Sollux, stop staring.”
Your name is Karkat Vantas, and you really wish your friend-pseudo significant other-maybe actually significant other would stop staring at you.
“KK, the doctors told me to keep an eye on you at all times.”
“That doesn’t give you an excuse to basically grope me with your eyes!”
Sollux gives another nasal chuckle, “What, you really want me to stop?”
Now his eyes are really boring into you, and you know they don’t miss a thing.
“Well then, c’mere, I’m going to make you some soup and you’re going to come talk to me while I do so.”
You grumble half-heartedly, really just dragging your feet now, “What happened to me needing ‘bed rest and a whoooole bunch of TLC?’”
Sollux grins at your impersonation of Nurse Harley’s higher-pitched instructions, but keeps tugging at your wrist incessantly, “The way I see it, if you’re well enough to bitch at me about pointless shit, you’re well enough to come keep me company while I prepare food for you. I mean, I’ve been taking care of you for the past couple weeks, it’s the least you could do.”
As he pulls you to his kitchen, you recoil mentally,
Fuck, I’m being so ungrateful, what the fuck is wrong with me? He’s doing so much to keep me healthy, to make me comfortable….but why? I guess because I saved his life, but…
He interrupts your thoughts with another laugh, “Plus, we can get to the ‘TLC’ part later.”
You sputter, then quickly look down to the floor, trying to hide the hideous flush that’s probably invading your pigmentation, and you stay that way until you’ve heard him set a couple of objects down on the marble countertop and set the no-longer-canned-soup to warm on the stove.
He makes a ‘tsk’ sound and walks back over to you, an arm sliding around your shoulders, “You okay?”
You don’t look up to see his facial expression, but you assume his jaw is set in shock, “Okay, now I’m worried. Who are you and what have you done with KK?”
“Shut up! I’m trying to be polite!” you mumble-yell, “You’ve been doing all this shit for me and I’ve been the shitiest person ever—“
He cuts you off by cupping your chin in his hand and raising it up to eye-level, “It’s okay. I wanted to do all of it. Though, I could’ve done without waking up in that hospital with you passed out on the floor beside me.” The corner of his lips turn upwards before he leans in a bit closer and you swear he’s going to kiss you again and—
“Ah, nope, eat your soup first, KK.”
The fucker stepped away at the last second, only to shove a bowl of soup under your nose. He eyes you expectantly, though through the seriousness, you can definitely see an impish grin, “Something wrong?”
You storm away as best you can with a sore body and a hot bowl of soup, muttering under your breath, “Fucking tease.”
On your way out of the kitchen, you hear a real laugh out of him.
Your name is Sollux Captor, and you still haven’t been able to tell Karkat that you love him.
It should be easy enough, you’re pretty sure you’re making your feelings towards the sorter male obvious through your course of action. You just hope and pray that he doesn’t chalk up your recent care of him to be simply because he saved your life, because he’s done more than that.
For the first time in your life, you have a real purpose.
And yet, through the solemn mood, you can’t help but grin every time he says your name, laugh every time he splutters, and muse whenever you catch a glimpse of his smile.
Something is very wrong with you.
That something is also very right.
That something is him.
You follow the usually-grumpy guy into the living room, where he’s set up camp, bowl resting in his lap, hair sticking up every which way, and TV channel turned to Lifetime, which he swears is ‘definitely the shit’.
“Hey, KK, can we talk?”
He glances up at you, eyebrows furrowed, “Shouldn’t I be eating?”
You shrug and try to seem nonchalant, though your heartbeat must surely be resounding throughout the room by now, “Yeah, go ahead.”
He gives you another questioning glance before digging in once again, eyes trained back on the cheesy movie.
One bowl of Campbell’s chicken noodle later, he looks across the couch to you again, “Okay, you wanted to talk?”
“Yeah. Okay, listen, KK…” you scratch the back of your head, suddenly very, very unsure of yourself, “You know I’m not just doing this, taking care of you, because you saved me, right?”
He nods, looking quite confused, before you continue, “Have any clue why I’m doing this, then?”
He doesn’t get to reply before your hormonal side gets the better of you; you surge across the couch and wrap him up a huge hug, limbs all tangled.
And then you whisper it.
“KK, I love you.”
Chapter 21: Suggestions
In which there is a visitor.
==> Be the shouty guy who just pretty much went into cardiac arrest.
Well, you would, if not for the whole ‘HOLY SHIT DID HE JUST SAY WHAT I THINK HE SAID’ train crashing engine-first into the middle of your mind. Why don’t you be somebody else for awhile?
==>Be somebody’s sister.
Your name is Kanaya Maryam, and you’ve decided to surprise your brother with a little visit! After all, he’s always going on about how you can visit him anytime.
You’ve decided that today will be the day, since it was the only day in a long while that your muse didn’t jump up in your face as soon as you woke up. It is both a blessing and a curse, for though your creative mojo can be a bit bothersome at times, it is through that conduit that you provide the world with the designs of your making, both whimsical and edgy…
Being an artistic genius is hard.
You take a moment in the elevator to fidget with your clothing (one of your designs, of course, Marketing opportunities!) and collect your thoughts. You sincerely hope that he’s not busy with work today and that he doesn’t have company over.
Oh, who are you kidding, this is your brother we're talking about. He’s more of a recluse than ever, you’re sure.
And that is why, when you knock on his door, proudly labeled Apartment 269, you are ever so shocked to hear a very distinct moan through the barrier.
You quietly shift to press your ear against the door and hear a laugh, definitely his, then an answering grumble, and you barely have enough time to lean away and look presentable before the door opens.
“Uh, KN? What’re you doing here?”
==> Be the brother of the fashionista.
You do so promptly, and also inherit the trait of ‘surprise’.
“Not that I’m not happy to see you, sis, but when’d you decide to come over?”
She smiles her warm smile and edges past you into your living space, “I’ll answer your questions after you answer mine. Who is this delectable little morsel on your sofa, Sollux?”
Karkat looks up with a ‘huh?’ from his seat, where he’s been trying to hide what had been a growing blush and a quickening of breath.
“You, my dear, are simply exquisite. Look at those cheekbones! That color!” Kanaya’s practically drooling now, advancing to the couch in a few fluid steps and setting herself down next to Karkat, close enough to make him lean away in discomfort.
“Uh, I don’t mean to be rude, but who are you?” he asks, incredulously, eyes flicking up to you for an explanation.
“Oh, I sincerely beg your pardon, dear, my manners aren’t usually this wretched.” Your sister extends an elegant hand for Karkat to shake, “Kanaya Maryam, sister of the unfortunate man who owns this apartment.”
By now, you’ve firmly lodged your forehead into your palm, “Kanaya, please, don’t scare him, Christ…”
But your dear KK has leaned forward again, mouth slightly agape, “Wait, THE Kanaya Maryam? Like, The Jade Sylph collection Kanaya Maryam?!”
Kanaya has the decency to appear surprised for a moment before she nods eagerly, “Yes, the same! How on Earth do you know of my work if you spend any amount of time with the sad excuse that is my brother? I mean, he’s quite kind and handsome, but he could do with a wardrobe change, I think—“
“KN, just stop.” You grumble from the doorway, where you’re still standing, though she doesn’t look put off in the least.
“Oh, come now, Sollux, it’s not as if we don’t already know that fashion is not your forte. What is surprising and worth discussion is how you managed to snatch up such a fine catch.”
Both you and Karkat immediately blush, though his coloring is far more noticeable, and he mumbles, “Um, Ms. Maryam, it’s not like that…”
“Oh, nonsense, the both of you! Have long have you known my brother, dear…?”
“…a month? Maybe more?”
“Then I see no reason why you two shouldn’t give each other a chance!”
This is when you literally pull Kanaya away from the couch and quickly whisper to her the several occurrences that comprise your current situation. You, of course, manage to leave out certain parts.
She turns back to Karkat, apologetic, “My deepest apologies, Mr. Vantas, I seem to have put my foot in my mouth once again. I do hope you can forgive me?”
“It’s no problem…” You swear, if he gets any cuter, you’re going to fucking jump his bones and—
“Sollux, dear, I am going out to retrieve ingredients for a celebratory dinner tonight. Do try not to do anything too risqué while I’m gone, yes?” She throws you a knowing grin and a wink over her shoulder as she leaves as quickly as she came.
Chapter 22: Iron or Rubber
In which there is planning, but not by who you think.
Causalgia: Iron or Rubber
==> Now can we be the shouty guy?
….sure, though you’re sadly not any more calm then a couple of minutes ago. Now, you’re shocked by Sollux’s previous utterance, confused and interested by the introduction of his sister, who just happens to be a world famous fashion designer, and frustratingly turned on just a bit.
You take emotional inventory as Sollux shoos his sister out the door, whispering what sounds like a threat to her, which she disregards with a laugh. By the time he sits back down next to you, you are in no less emotional turmoil.
“Eh, sorry about her, KK, she doesn’t really remember that people have boundaries sometimes…”
You shake your head at him and think carefully about how you want to phrase your question, “What the fuck was that before she knocked?” Oh, wow, great, there goes your mouth again, “Ah, sorry, that sounded bad, I meant—“
He cuts you off with a head-shake of his own, “No, you have every right to hate me now, I’m being pushy, it’s just that…” he looks just as frustrated as you feel for a moment, running his fingers through his hair, pushing it up and out of his face, “Well, okay, so you somehow saved my life, though I don’t know exactly how,” he starts, and you can feel the headache coming; you’re sure he’s going to make you explain your actions at his bedside. He instead turns to you a bit more, and you can see his usually guarded eyes, “But this is more than that…I meant what I said, Karkat.” He’s standing up now, oh no, bad sign, he’s turning away, “And I understand that you don’t feel the same way, so,” he gives a weak chuckle, looking defeated as you tries to take a step towards his safety net, his room.
Key word: tries.
You’ve got an iron grip on his forearm (actually, it’s more like a rubber grip; you’re still sore and aching) and determination in you features as you pull him back, “Don’t put words in my mouth, Sollux.”
He kind of sits there, mouth slightly agape for a moment, before the slightest hint of hope crosses his lips, “…KK?”
You turn away slightly to uselessly hide the blush you know is coming (fuck you, pigmentation!), and continue, “I never said I didn’t feel the same way.”
There’s only a brief moment of hesitation before he’s turning you back to him and eagerly putting his lips to yours again, gentle despite his own enthusiasm and yours.
You don’t even remember the burning on your chest from a month ago.
==> Be the sneaky fashionista
Gladly! You haven’t done anything this fun in years.
You’re currently prowling down the aisles of the local grocery, looking for the inspiration for tonight’s meal, which you will be eating with your brother and his delightful new partner.
You’re quite looking forward to it, as you usually dine alone or with dreadfully boring acquaintances, providing very little conversation. Of course, your brother isn’t much of a talker, but it seems that his friend is. Perhaps you’ll be able to convince him to model for you….maybe you’ll get them both to do so.
You are practically salivating at the idea of dressing them both in articles that would actually show off their respective best features; your brother, you think, might look quite good in a much more fitted suit, perhaps of a lighter neutral color to compliment his darker skin tone. And his ‘bro’…you consider briefly the possibility of a matching, darker-colored suit fitted to his own proportions to set off his wonderfully pale skin.
It’s decided, you’re definitely getting them both to at least try these things on once you’ve designed them, but that is a conversation for an office, not for the middle of a supermarket.
So you continue through the store, suddenly energized and influenced, a thousand ideas swarming your mind. You make sure to stop and examine the establishment’s alcoholic beverage isle, choosing a wine that you suppose will serve your purposes, setting it into your cart with the slightest of smirks.
Those men need to let a little steam off, it seems, and you think you know exactly how.
Chapter 23: Seizing Opportunities
In which there is another encounter.
Causalgia: Seizing Opportunities
==> Be the spectacle-wearing tall guy.
That’s much too broad a description. There are several people who could fill that category, from an author, to a CEO, to a mechanic. Please narrow your search results.
==> Be the spectacle-wearing tall guy we’re most familiar with, then.
Alright. We’ll come back to the other two later.
Your name is Sollux Captor, and kissing Karkat is even better than you first expected.
As soon as KK uttered his version of the confession, you had decided that there was far too much space between you two, and immediately resolved to fill that gap.
You’ve got him in your arms, halfway across your lap, and he’s actually kissing you back which is way more than you would’ve expected or hoped for. Apparently, he’s not so sore anymore because he’s squirming and reaching up to you like he wants more, and god do you want to give it to him. And you almost do; his mouth’s movements on yours seem to be sucking away your determination to go slow and not rush into anything, his arms tossed around your neck and your teeth catching on his lip.
Your momentum turns you both to the side, ending up with him practically straddling your lap. He looks up at you, blushing furiously and panting like he just won a marathon. You can’t help yourself; you lean forward and catch his bottom lip, which had been jutting out in a slight pout, in your teeth gently, sucking on it then licking over it. He reacts accordingly, meaning he pulls away quickly, trying to stifle what sounded vaguely like a low moan. He just kind of stares at you for a moment before speaking,
“...not that whatever we just did right there wasn’t fucking great, but do you really want your sister walking in on that?”
You gaze back at him, taking in the pink that’s not yet left his skin and the upwards tilt of his lips before replying,
“Very true. Sorry, got…carried away for a second there.”
You’re both grinning like idiots for a moment before he realizes his expression and fights to keep his expression neutral,
You motion for him to come sit next to you instead of on you, and he obliges, flopping back down in his customary spot, though this time he lets himself lean into slightly. You look down to him, a bit surprised at the situation, before he starts blushing up a storm again and muttering under his breath,
“Shut up, Captor.”
You laugh, actually laugh for the first time in a few weeks and answer,
==> Be the sister again!
Once again, your query terms are too broad, and you must narrow them. Have you never used a search engine before?
==> Fine, whatever. Be Ms. Maryam.
No need to be so rude about it. Ugh, where have the world’s manners gone to? If only you could just gather all of the world’s children and spend a day teaching the do’s and don’ts of society….
Maybe another time.
Your name is Kanaya Maryam, and you are standing in the checkout line at your brother’s local grocery store, waiting to buy various items of nutritional val—
Who is that.
There’s a woman (that’s what she must be, her elegant features speak of maturity and hardship) in line in front of you, and you have never seen so magnificent a creature, you think. Her hair and skin are both brilliantly pale, a striking contrast with the dark clothes and makeup she appears to favor. Her eyes are closed at the moment, as you peer in what you hope is a clandestine manner over her petite shoulder, but you’re sure they’re also of a rich dark coloring. She seems to be counting something, a total perhaps, before she her eyes flicker open and—
What a beautiful hue.
They’re a collected lavender color, a combination of violets and magentas swirling together into an orb of a color you can’t say you’ve come across. You open your usually quick mouth to say something, anything to the woman, who is now currently gathering her new belongings (among which are a magazine whose title you cannot see, but seems to contain some sort of mythology, a box of what seems to be earl grey tea, and the same type of wine you have picked out for your dinner companions…you swear this is not creepy in the slightest). She merely continues towards the sliding door before turning, perhaps to call her thanks to the cashier, and she meets your eyes, lavender to jade. Then, she does something you did not expect.
Then, she leaves, no traces left behind.
You continue on to the counter to deposit your purchases for the cashier to scan while you try to get your bearings back. For some odd reason, you feel as if you know the beautiful woman who just left the shop. The cashier gives a quiet chuckle, patting your arm and looking through his messy hair at you with big blue eyes (he would certainly look wonderful with a trim and something besides that gaudy apron), and you realize you must look dumbfounded.
“First time seeing Rose, huh?”
You do a double take when he speaks before quickly reacquiring your sharp tongue,
“You said her name was Rose?”
He nods and continues scanning your items, efficiently organizing them into bags,
“Yeah, Rose Lalonde, psychiatrist in method, as she likes to say.”
He’s humming now, and you consider your options. Clearly, he knows this Rose, but how does he know her? Are they friends, relatives…something more? You automatically cringe at the thought of losing the beauty to this man, who seems nice enough but in need of some class.
“You know, she left this for you while you were spacing out. She said something about ‘seizing an opportunity’ or something.”
He’s holding out a piece of paper, clearly ripped out of a notepad of some sort, with a name and number written out in a neat yet complicated scrawl.
You stammer your thanks and gather up your groceries, tucking the note away into your coat pocket for safe keeping.
Perhaps you, too, will find a companion this winter.
Chapter 24: Ruffled
In which there is whining to a third party and reflection.
Life isn’t fair.
At least, that’s what you’re bound to think.
At one point in your life, you loved to live, thrived in a sense of purpose and direction.
The same cannot be said now.
You’re a wash-up, beaten down, melodramatic has-been.
You’re also pretty sure that alcohol no longer loves you the way you crave it.
You woke up this morning to a note from her telling you that she’d “moved on”.
If you’re being honest with yourself, you knew this day would come eventually. You just never expected it to come so soon.
All of her belongings are gone from your ornate bedroom.
You can’t say you don’t miss them.
Your name is Eridan Ampora, and you think you hate yourself more today than you did yesterday.
You may not be what she thinks is “cooooooool” or whatever it is she’s saying these days, but she never mentioned seriously considering moving out.
You don’t even bother stretching before getting up and opening the curtains of your room, Kingsly be damned (that butler is going insane in his old age, you think, what with his insurances that you do nothing for yourself), wincing away from the increase in brightness the action brings. You snatch up your phone, patting down your hair as best you can before selecting the contact named “Vri’s partner” and calling her up.
There’s a grumble from the other line and the sound of fabric shifting, “Ugh, what is it, fishstick?”
“You heard from Vri recently?”
There’s a rather pregnant pause on the other end before the lawyer replies, cautious, “Uh, no, not since a few days ago. Any reason why you’re asking me and not her?”
“…All ‘a her stuff is gone, Ter.”
The sound of more moving textiles catches your attention; she was hoping this would be a quick call, “I thought she was with you for the past few days.”
You shake your head at Kingsly, who has just approached you, looking distinctly ruffled, bearing a tray of your usual tea. “Just last night. She wasn’t here yesterday, or the day before that.”
There’s a sigh from the other end, “Sorry, Eridan, I don’t know what to tell you. You know how she is…”
Your voice is cold, “Doesn’t give her the right to just leave without warning me.”
“Eridan, look. She found this guy.”
You don’t let your shock filter through, “Oh? An’ who’s the lucky fella?”
“Some doctor kid. You knew this was going to happen, why’re you so upset?”
You can’t say for sure.
==>Be Mr. Captor.
…Hmm? Well, okay.
Your name is Sollux Captor, and you’re really glad your sister isn’t here right now.
Usually, her grocery runs are quick and unannounced, but it seems Fortune is favoring you today, since she hasn’t yet burst your happy little bubble.
Karkat’s been nestled into your side for about an hour now, quietly watching episodes of some Lifetime show you couldn’t care less about. What you do care about is the pink on his skin and the very slight smile on his lips. He’s mouthing lines now and then, and you have to resist the temptation to lean in and kiss him again.
Let’s just say you’re letting this temptation get the best of you sometimes.
When his whispers are muffled again and you block his view of the television, he pushes you away gently, the same smile quirking his usually turned down mouth, “Geez, Sollux, somebody’s eager!”
“Sorry, KK.” Though you can’t say you think either of you is really sorry.
To your surprise, his eyes don’t dart back to the TV, instead resting on you, “…How long?”
You’re a little occupied with staring into his eyes and you don’t answer for a moment, “….huh?”
He laughs and shakes your shoulder jokingly, “Earth to Sollux, I asked you how you knew.”
You take in the increase in pink the question’s brought to his face and immediately know what he’s referring to, “…I can’t say I’m sure, KK. I feel like I’ve known you forever, like we were really close at some point in our lives.”
He nods and resumes his TV watching, choosing not to pursue the topic any longer.
Though he doesn’t respond verbally, you just know he feels the same.
Chapter 25: Social Practices
In which there is a lack of restraint and a recognization.
Causalgia: Social Practices
==> Be the newly-minted significant other of Sollux Captor.
You would, gladly, in a heartbeat, but…
Your name is Karkat Vantas, and you can’t say for sure where you stand with him now.
Right now, the two of you are snuggled up on his couch, watching some movie you’ve seen a thousand times. The movie is just background noise to the beat of your own heart, and your pulse, just as noticeable as it’s been since you bolted awake that one night weeks ago, is sounding in your ears. A single thought keeps bouncing off the walls of your brain cavity, persistent.
You might actually…love this guy.
If Sollux notices your discomfort, he doesn’t say so. His eyes constantly flick back and forth from the TV to you, as if he doesn’t want to be caught. It’s endearing, in a way, knowing that he’s apparently worried that you’ll just slip out of his grasp.
Not that you would, of course. You’re still pretty sore from absorbing all of his injuries, and this is pretty damn comfortable.
==>Be the very excited sister.
You sweep through the doorway of your brother’s apartment, since he so kindly left it unlocked, arms full of your various purchases, the beautiful girl from earlier following you. It turned out that she found you just as stunning as you found her, and had been convinced that you were interesting enough to spend time with.
Naturally, you invited her to dinner.
She kindly acquiesced; even offering to help you prepare the meal after you explained your brother’s situation. She called it “charming” and called you “graceful” while you envisioned the wonderful dark fabrics you could drape over her petite form.
You look over your shoulder to see her almost invisible smirk, lavender eyes on the two men on the couch.
“Gentlemen, this is Miss Rose Lalonde, who will be helping me prepare tonight’s meal.”
Sollux shrugs, he’s used to what he calls “your antics” (which are actually “strokes of genius”, but you suppose you’ll take what you can get), and Karkat stares appropriately at Rose, probably admiring your catch.
At least, that’s what you think before his jaw drops and he says, “Rose?” and Miss Lalonde’s delicate lips turn upwards.
“Hello, Karkat. How pleasant to see you again.”
Both you and your brother look back and forth between the other two, a confused glance from him, and a look edging on jealous from you, then Rose’s lips (curses, why are they so tantalizing?) quirk a bit more,
“Don’t fret, Miss Maryam; Karkat and I have simply worked together before.”
Karkat seems to be considering something before he speaks, “Your hair is darker than before.”
When Rose gives a trill of a quiet laugh, you almost want to swoon, but common social practices dictate that you shouldn’t, so you settle for wondering how light her hair was when Karkat saw her last, because it’s much lighter than is natural.
“I decided to stop dyeing it, though now people are more inclined to believe that I have simply dyed it lighter. Now, if you’ll excuse us,” she says, turning and catching your wrist with thin fingers (she is actually touching you, oh your god, you’re not sure how to handle this), “We have a meal to prepare.”
==> Be “Miss Maryam’s” brother.
You do so graciously, for your sister seems to be having problems thinking straight.
Your name is Sollux Captor, and puns are your weakness.
Or, rather, one of them, because there seem to be several, including said plays on words and the familiarly attractive male sitting back down next to you. Curiosity concerning his and Rose’s past relationship gets the better of you, and you ask, “Where on Earth could you and Rose get similar jobs?”
It strikes you as strange for two people so different to be working together, and the idea is foggy until Karkat’s face’s pigment level rises to fallout level, and he mumbles something about modeling into your shirt. Then it all makes sense. They both have unusual yet striking qualities about them, and their eyes are both odd in hue. You wonder vaguely if Rose is an albino, which reminds you of your friend whose red eyes you’ve only seen once, which brings you full circle back to Karkat and his reddish-brown set of oculars, your favorite by far.
He’s resumed his Lifetime binge and his hand somehow finds yours, not quite weaving his fingers with yours, but something with conviction enough to let you know he’s not sick of you yet. You squeeze back to reiterate his unspoken statement, and you listen to the sounds of chatter and metal coming from your kitchen, reveling in your contentment as you hope Karkat does the same.
Though you seem to be focused on the next movie in the marathon, your gaze keeps flickering back to Sollux, wondering if he’s conscious of the fact that you’re holding hands because in your book, this is a very big step in a relationship.
After a few more minutes of this worrying, he clears his throat and nudges you, “You alright? You seem tense.” His voice startles you out of your anxiety and you look up at him (damn him for being so tall), eyes wide, “Huh?”
“I asked if you’re okay.”
“Oh. Uh, yeah, fine, why?” you answer, looking back at him, though suddenly there’s too much to focus on because he’s kissing you again and fuck it you just wrap your arms around his neck and kiss him back fully, for once , setting his glasses askew. He leans back to pull them off, and you let out an irritated sigh before his lips are rightfully back on yours.
You swear you hear a giggle from the kitchen slip out, but you’re a little too busy to care much. Somehow, you end up back in his lap, but this time you don’t stop, pushing the previously set boundaries a little, hands steadying yourself on his chest, mouth hard at work against his own. His hands are on your chest also, though they drop slowly to the hem of your shirt, pushing even farther, fingers brushing the bare skin of your stomach. You shudder in response and semi-accidentally push down on him slightly, making him gasp.
And that’s when you hear a voice from the kitchen call “Dinner’s ready!”
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Chapter 26: Liberties
In which there is an authorly commentary and a scheme examined.
Your name is Sollux Captor,and though you’ve known him for over a year now, he still continues to amaze you.
By “him”, you mean the single most important person in your life. He’s become a source of direction, of purpose in your mind, and you have recently decided that you’re never letting him go. You’re sitting next to him at your sister’s big fashion-show-thing. The date is February 12th.
==>Hey, wait, what’s happened in the past year?
Why is it important? Can’t an author take temporal and spatial liberties within their works?
==>What about the past Christmases? Anniversaries? Valentine’s Day?
Your scope zooms out until you can view the author, slumped over their desk, hair in dismay and posture condemnable.
Said writer slowly raises their head to look at you, the fury of a thousand Shakespeares in their eyes. Their hands curls around their pencil and mouse respectively,
“What. What do you want.”
==>Stop this self-insertion nonsense and get back to the plot!
“Plot? What plot?”
“Surely, you must be mistaking this piece for another, more structured work.”
==>Cut it out! Write more fluff!
“Very well,” sniffs the author. A puddle of their combined blood, sweat, and tears trails around their desk, “More fluff it is.”
==>Be Sollux Captor…..CURRENT Sollux Captor.
Your name is Sollux Captor, and you are eating dinner with three individuals. One of them you are not familiar with, another you are very familiar with, and the last, who you wish to be more familiar with.
Kanaya and her…”lady friend” really outdid themselves; you have no clue what you’re eating, but whatever it is, it’s good. Karkat seems to think the same thing based off of how his face contorts with every bite, an expression of near bliss.
The only problem is that over your glass of wine (also very enjoyable), you keep seeing the knowing glances between your sister and her pale friend.
Knowing your sister, those glances are almost never a good thing for you.
There’s also the issue that every time you reach for your glass, Kanaya or Rose keeps refilling it, saying something like “Drink up!” or “Here you are.” You have a horrible nagging feeling that your sister and her accomplice are trying to get you drunk.
Kanaya knows you, and she knows exactly how you handle your alcohol.
That’s what scares you the most.
==>Be the knowing sister.
Oh, certainly. You are simply having the time of your life. Your brother and his…”friend” are consuming more and more of the high-intensity wine, at your insistence, and Rose has subtly (or not so subtly, depending on which point of view one occupies) placed her petite hand on your knee. As the other two dig in ( politely, of course), you turn just slightly and raise a careful eyebrow. Her face is as impassive as ever, save for the quiet quirk of her lips. To distract yourself from the possibility whose fingers are now resting on your knee, you consider the next step in your plan to get your brother and Mr. Vantas together.
Of course, you’re not sure exactly how the shorter man deals with his drink, but you do know how Sollux will inevitably react. Due to what he calls an “unfortunate incident” that involved spring break, you, and a hotel room smothered in male strippers, you had discovered that your dear brother became quite….affectionate the more he drank. You’ve been saving this card up your sleeve, this ace, so to speak, since you found out about this tendency. You would normally feel bad for poor Karkat, who’ll be occupied by your brother for awhile if all goes according to plan, but, judging by the spark in his eyes and the way he keeps glancing over at Sollux, he probably won’t mind.
At that, Miss Lalonde’s hand quite suddenly finds itself trailing up the outside of your thigh and goodness you may be busy tonight as well.
Chapter 27: Pretty Sure
In which there are snuggles, of which the appreciation of the reciever is barely hidden.
Causalgia: Pretty Sure
Your name is Karkat Vantas, and though you’ve been hoping for nights full of quiet, dreamless sleep, this is not one of the cooperative evenings.
You have been staring up at the ceiling from your designated spot on Sollux’s couch (though you’ve been trying to convince him that you’re okay, that you can go home, safe and sound, he hasn’t been assured…and neither has Kanaya) for about fifteen minutes, by yourself, while Kanaya and Rose talk to a buzzed Sollux in the room over. You won’t deny that you’re not completely sober, but you’re pretty sure you’re better off than him.
You sigh and turn to consider the entryway which they should emerge from in due time, eyes narrowed. You know Rose, and this smells suspiciously like she’s in on some sort of plot, of which you think you know the nature of.
With that thought, the chatter stops, and the ladies walk out, smirks barely concealed.
“Well, Karkat, dear, it seems we’ve had our fun for the night. I’m off to walk Miss Lalonde home, and then I’ll be heading home as well.”
Oh. Not quite what you had in mind, but alright, “Okay, thanks for dinner, you two.” You even manage to slip a simple smile in there as you follow them to the door and wave them out, “G’night!”
“Farewell, Karkat,” calls Rose over her shoulder, “Enjoy yourself.”
You close the front door after considering Rose’s cryptic comment for a moment, then shrug and head back over to the couch, which is now occupied by Sollux.
“Hey, scoot over,” you almost say, but then there’s a pair of thin arms around your waist and a face smooshed to your clothed stomach.
“Hey, KK,” says aforementioned sudden-assailant, “Did you know you smell really good?”
You manage to hold in an undignified squawk and quickly attempt to pry your roommate off of yourself, “Um, I never really considered it, no.”
He all but drags you down to the couch with him, all tangled up in limbs and smiles wider than you’ve seen him smile before, “Well you do.” Then, he’s got his nose pressed to the top of your shoulder and his breath is steady against your neck and you’re all sorts of uncomfortable.
You’re pretty sure you let a shiver escape you before the lid is firmly slammed back on your lack of self control. His lips are on your neck before you can blink again, though whether or not it was accidental remains unknown.
“Um, Sollux?” you question, kind of over the whole ‘politeness’ thing, “Can you get off of me?”
He pouts in response, he freaking pouts and you’re not sure why that’s so distracting, “But KK, you’re the one who’th on me!” And then he tightens his hold on you, using whatever means he can.
When you figure out that he’s basically an unescapable death trap of bones and angles, you let out a lengthy sigh and try not to move at all, which elicits another pout from him, “Aw, c’mon, what’th wrong?” When you don’t answer, his response is to cuddle you like a fucking teddy bear or something, “KK, I jutht want you to be happy!”
That sentence makes you feel like you’re sinking, but it’s not unpleasant, it’s like being surrounded by safety and warmth and you’re not sure if you’re not okay with it anymore.
So you do the guy a favor. You let him hug you, and you smile for him, and you make sure he actually gets some sleep at one point or another. You might have even kissed his forehead when he passed out on his couch at some godforsaken hour. No one will know, and you’re hoping he won’t remember.
Then you sit next to him, praying nobody freaks out in the morning, especially you, before you drift off.
The next thing you see is an arrow.
An arrow, stained with the brightest red you’ve ever seen.
An arrow right through your chest.
Chapter 28: Dreams Need Saving
In which there are dreams....and more dreams.
Causalgia: Dreams Need Saving
There is a brick wall to your left, a possible escape route to your right, and a dangerous situation around you.
The arrow’s not sunk deep, just far enough to draw the vivid crimson of your blood, and you pull it out of your chest with a snarl before assuming what you hope is a defensive position, crouched back on your legs and sickles drawn out quicker than you’ve ever drawn them before.
The trolls around you snicker in their highblooded ways, voices proud and unashamed, though you can see disbelief in some of their expressions. The blueblood that shot the arrow lowers her bow and glowers at you as if you are not supposed to be alive still. You very much doubt the fucker has ever had to “hunt” anyone like you.
“You think one arrow’s gonna be enough to kill me?”
Your question rings for a moment before the supposed leader of this notorious street gang stalks forward, a cerulean, from the looks of it, “Well, considering the amount of shit you’re in, we were hoping, for your sake, that you’d just drop dead at the sight of us. You’re marked, you freak!”
“The number of arrows that will be required to slay you, mutant, is a insignificant figure when compared to the amount of pride that will be upon us when we bring your carcass forward to her Imperial Highness,” says the blueblood, drawing another arrow, voice cold.
You won’t doubt that you’re scared, you won’t deny it at all, but the tone these idiots take with you makes your blood boil even further. You clench your sickles tight and raise them higher, eyes flicking from face to face, daring anyone to attack. You almost dare to believe that you spy a spark of red and blue from the rooftops above, but you shake your head and focus back on your opponents.
Or, at least you try to, before there’s an explosion too close, and your first instinct is to go hide, to cover the anomaly flowing from your chest. To get away from danger, because that’s what Crabdad always said, to go curl up somewhere and hide and protect yourself and the ones you care about.
Today, you don’t like his advice much. You’re tired of hiding, and you half want to fight back for once, but the red and blue sparks you thought you saw earlier suggest that you won’t have to fight much today.
A very familiar twin-horned troll floats through the new hole in the building, a pair of dichromatic glasses clenched in his fist, energy sparking from his hands and eyes and a very unfamiliar expression of fury on his face. He seethes at the trolls that remain standing among the rubble, “Get the FUCK away from him.”
One or two of the trolls, including the cerulean, look brave and stupid enough to consider fighting back against a psiionic with this much power, and the aforementioned telekinetic merely growls and tosses one of them, not the cerulean, against the still-standing wall with a twitch of his wrist and a burst of power.
The other trolls take notice and quickly turn tail, though the leader throws a look of fear and fury over his shoulder as he does. You would do the same, if you didn’t know this particularly powerful, young psiionic well yourself.
And you’ve still never seen him this furious before.
“Geez, Sollux,” you pant, “What’s got you so pissed off?”
His glare fades immediately, “Huh? Oh, thorry, I wath running late, wathn’t I?”
He’s not meeting your eyes, and you don’t know why, it’s scaring you—
“KK?” his inquiry breaks your anxiety and now he’s looking at you, but it’s concern on his face, maybe even a little pity…
Oh, who’re you kidding. This is Sollux Captor we’re talking about, who has a physic on one arm and a princess on the other. You have no business hoping for that.
“KK,” he says again, “You okay?”
You brush off your (dumb, stupid) thoughts and nod, “Yeah, I’m fine, what took you so long?”
He looks away again, sheepish, “Well, AA dethided that we should have a feelingth jam about five thecondth before I left, damn her premonitionth…”
Oh. So you guess that’s one obstacle out. The sick sense of hope in your stomach grows just slightly.
“Wait, she decided that, even though she knew we had shit to do, she needed to jam with you right then? I hope it was important.” You frown and cross your arms, but you both know it’s just a show.
“Actually, she wanted me to talk to her about…thingth.” He’s grinning and now there’s a tint of honey to his skin. Or maybe you’re imagining things? That explosion might’ve given you some head trauma; you’ll have to check when you get back hive…
All of a sudden, Sollux is a lot closer to you than before, gesturing for your hand. When you look up, confused and surely flushing by now, he makes a motion with his head that makes you assume he’s rolling his pupiless eyes, “C’mon, KK, let’th get you thomewhere not covered in evidenthe?”
Oh. You nod and step closer, letting him wrap his arms wrap around you, swearing to yourself that it’s just for ease of flight and praying you don’t do anything asinine for once.
And you wake up just before your feet leave the ground.
Or you think you do. Have Sollux’s walls always been so….sterilized?
And have you always had gray skin?
Wait. Of course you have. You’re a troll, for Grists’ sake. And yes, the walls to Sollux’s block of the lab have always been like this. The better question is:
Why are you here?
Oh. That’s right, you’re his gog-damned matesprite! Why wouldn’t you be here? What is wrong with you today? Or tonight? You can never really be sure on the meteor.
You shift in the makeshift pile the two of you have built up, brushing your limbs against his considerably longer ones, and he stirs as well, his red eye easing open slightly and a slight grin on his face, double fangs dipping just slightly, “Evening, KK.”
Your head is no less of a jumble when he leans forward to kiss your forehead, but you reply anyways, “Evening, Sollux. I just had the weirdest dream…”
He blinks and pulls you closer, knowing that you want to talk about it, tell him about it, just like you usually do.
“So, I think I was a human? Oh, you were too! And so was Kanaya! And that Rose one. I mean, of course she would be? Anyways, this human me…”
And you proceed to tell him about this strange dream-world. He merely smiles and nods, though you know he’s really listening for any patterns, something strange about it. He’s started to think that even though you have never shown any inkling of psychic powers, your dreams still carry premonitions, whether you can identify them or not. When you get to the dream that your dream-human had been having, he chuckles, “Eheh, tho I thaved you, ath usual, Thollux Captor arriveth jutht in time to thave the damthel in dithtreth with the choithetht of atheth!”
And, to make his point, he squeezes said choice ass, making you yelp and blush, swatting his hand away.
You think you could get used to this.
Chapter 29: Assistance
In which panic ignites and help is offered.
Waking up is a tilting measure.
For a few moments, your vision splits, and one half of you stays gray, rough, while the other goes human, soft; the same pulse emitted by two entities, and Sollux would sure get a kick out of this.
You blink, urgently, almost as if you’re trying to sweep away the strangeness of it all, and your surroundings become more familiar, human Sollux’s dwelling, with its striped wallpaper and high ceilings.
You don’t dare to shake your head, fearing that the alien world will seep back in, and you turn just enough to see the place’s owner, still peacefully, blissfully caught in slumber. There’s a trace of light brightening the room, and you assume that it’s around early morning, and you catch yourself looking for a set of twinned horns poking out from Sollux’s messy hair.
Your quickly awakening panic and paranoia starts screams at you, it’s time to leave, I need to get out, something terrible is going to happen, this is unsafe, and without further thought, you grab your jacket from the hook near the door and see yourself out in a few short steps.
Of course, the moment you step out the door, that paranoia spikes, and it takes all you have not to run, sprint, flee.
The employees in the lobby of the building throw you a few questioning glances, but that’s all you get before you’re outside and the late winter chill hits your face.
Clarity. That’s what you need. So you chart a course to your favorite park and, more specifically, your favorite bench, ready to do a day’s worth of thinking.
The guy on the park bench is really cute, you think, but when you point this out to your friend, he huffs something about hanging out with the wrong crowd and you drop the subject.
He doesn’t stray from your sight or thoughts, however, and you reach around your friend to retrieve your sketchbook, pencil and charcoals already at the ready.
This is how a lot of your days are spent, though it’s not a good thing or a bad thing. It just is, this rut of being good and smiling for the camera and making daddy look good because Eridan certainly didn’t and spending your days with Equius because it’d be a smart match and being irritated because you don’t want to be forced into anything, especially love.
Your mom always called you “a free spirit” and you’d like to think you live up to the thought.
Of course, it’s hard to be free when the very thing that makes you free ties you down.
Musing, you set down your supplies, a decent copy of the attractive man on the bench with the brooding features and the pale complexion saved on paper. Equius has been silent the whole time, as he is opt to do when not being addressed or talking about robots, not that you mind, since your conversations have gone south more times than you can count. But you have to appear perfect, as daddy says; smile, wave, seem generous, act interested, accept it.
You’ve learned well, you’d like to think, but there’s nobody to tell you otherwise.
The brooding man lets out a yelp as he is seemingly assaulted by a blur of black and yellow, and you look up, ready to act against the perpetrator, only to have your thoughts dispelled as the blur solidifies into a very real, very tall man and your subject hugs him back.
Your frown must be more obvious than you think, because Equius asks if you “need any assistance”.
You dismiss his offer with a sigh and look back to the sketch in your lap.
Your name is Nepeta Leijon-Ampora, and you might need assistance, but not from him.