Karkat was no idiot.
He was loud, he was silly and prone to having fits of rage for things that no one else considered important, yes… but he was no idiot.
He knew what red was –his feelings for Terezi had been red for a long time, after all. At one point, before Sgrub, they might even have ended up flushed for each other… if things hadn’t taken a turn for the worse.
Even now, he still held feelings for her that were definitely of a red quality, but they were nowhere close to that first, intense flush from before.
She still made his bloodpusher swell with her smirks, her cackle, her abrasive comments and sharp voice, but something had changed.
He had found himself unable to recall the same care, the same pity for her that he’d felt so strongly before.
It had been there, once, but not anymore.
As unsettling as it was, Karkat had tried to accept that, instead of trying to cling onto things that would never be. It was ok. He could do it.
At first it was ok –his delusions regarding Terezi had finally conceded, and it was easy to find some sort of balance again…
Until he had realized that those red feelings hadn’t just gone away for good; they had been buried somewhere inside him, waiting for the perfect flush material to appear.
They had shifted their sights on someone else.
The almost painful way his chest tightened up whenever he walked down shady corridors, auricular sponge clots perking at any sound that wasn’t his own heartbeat or his footsteps, the way his breath quickened the instant he stepped past the door of Gamzee’s hiding respiteblock…
It didn’t take a genius to make all those details click together, until it was so blatantly obvious even someone as dense as Strider would get it.
Only, it wasn’t supposed to be.
The way his body itched with need to just rush forwards and slip in Gamzee’s embrace, to feel his arms wrap around his shoulders, shielding him and dragging him close, chest to chest, forehead pressed against his collarbone…
All of this should have been pale.
The palest of pale.
His beautiful, perfectly pale quadrant.
That goddamn fucking feeling of red bleeding into his pale, marrying it, dragging it away from Karkat’s comfort zone until it made him feel empty and needy.
Until all he wanted was to confess to Gamzee and–
“What’s gotten you all up and upset?” the familiar inflection abruptly shook Karkat out from his thoughts, and he realized he had been standing frozen at the door, simply staring at Gamzee’s sprawled form on his shitty pile for a long while –longer than he would admit.
Refusing to allow himself the shame of acknowledging his embarrassment, he stomped into the room with a grunt, slamming the door shut behind his back, and moved forwards, showing no hesitation until he was towering above his moirail.
Gamzee didn’t need a matesprit. He needed a palemate. If he concentrated on that thought, things would be fine.
He didn’t want to confess he had failed Gamzee as his moirail, because admitting that would mean give up what he had with the taller troll, because he wasn’t supposed to shift redder, he just… couldn’t.
His bloodpusher clenched uncomfortably at the sweet, relaxed expression Gamzee sported, and he sighed.
“Nothing,” he muttered, feeling his anger vanish under that gentle gaze.
Gamzee opened his arms, inviting Karkat to just get down with him and take the offered comfort; once again Karkat didn’t allow himself any hesitation, flopping onto the pile with a hiss and wriggling until he was comfortably pressed against the taller troll’s side.
He was far too selfish to ruin everything and renounce to this closeness, even if it was enough to torture him.
He sighed, trying to cling to his pale resolve, eyes half close as Gamzee nuzzled his face, rubbing his nose into the shorter troll’s hair and making a comforting rumble with his throat. “Chill bro,” he murmured, sending a jolt down Karkat’s body.
It was his own fault for harbouring those feelings, after all. Just because Gamzee had become affectionately touchy, holding his hand, kissing and nuzzling him and growling under his breath whenever Karkat ranted about people –about Terezi, about Strider– Karkat had started deluding himself.
He had strayed from his path of perfect moirail and into this deranged, hopeless situation from which he could not get out.
Gamzee purred, the familiar, soft round of clicking noises that indicated he could feel Karkat was thinking too much, and tilted his chin up, gently pressing their foreheads together.
Karkat determinedly ignored how his heart fluttered at the closeness, wriggling a bit as Gamzee’s sharp, focused eyes –so different from the glazed over expression he wore before SGRUB– stared into his own.
“Relax,” the troll murmured, smiling.
The amount of affection in those eyes was almost too much.
Karkat expected Gamzee to pap him –he even yearned for the touch, as it would serve to remind him they were moirails, a very acceptable and satisfying quadrant– but instead Gamzee leaned forwards and pressed his lips against his own.
With a sigh, Karkat leaned into the kiss, awkwardly avoiding the other troll’s long fangs and feeling Gamzee’s fingers thread into his hair, caressing him and dragging him even closer.
It was soft and warm and nice, and Karkat echoed Gamzee’s purring with his own, a lighter, clicking sound, taking pleasure in the fingers massaging his scalp, his horns.
“You always up and overwork your thinkpan a lot,” Gamzee murmured as he pulled away, hot breath against his face, and Karkat shivered at the affectionate tone. The taller troll was smirking in a way that made him feel like he was missing something vital. “When the answer is motherfuckin obvious but you are blind to its miraculous truth”.
Grumbling under his breath about trolls who never stated things in ways that he could understand, Karkat buried his head in Gamzee’s collarbone again, breathing in the soothing smell of the other troll, and closed his eyes.
Gamzee peered at the shorter troll from above his hair and smiled indulgently.
“This motherfucker has all the time to wait for his bro to get his understanding on,” the Indigo troll murmured softly, arms possessively holding onto Karkat’s relaxed body.
Karkat had no idea what Gamzee was on about, but he didn’t really care, lost in the gentle touches and warm affection.