She picked up the dirty hoofbeast skull off the ground, eyes widening with glee.
“Sollux! Sollux, come see this, hurry!”
“What? What ith it??” The psiionic shrieked, sprinting towards Aradia. She turned around, a wide smile showing off all the blunt fangs on her mouth.
“Look, look, look!! Oh my god, Sollux, this is so exciting!” she exclaimed, bringing the bone close to her face so she could examine it properly. Sollux stopped right before her, bowing down to catch his breath. “No cracks... no dents... it probably died of some sort of disease, or maybe hunger or something. We can probably dig out the rest of its skeleton in no time!”
“And by... ‘no time’... you mean in... in three hours or so.” Sollux panted, looking up at Aradia from behind his glasses. She puffed her cheeks, frowning.
“Sollux, we can’t just plant a shovel on the dirt and dig away! We have to be careful when handling the goods!”
“The goodth.” Sollux echoed.
“Yes! The goods! The bones, Sollux! We can’t damage them! Look, if you just pick that brush, I’ll take those gloves and we can—”
But before she could finish her sentence, the ground rumbled. Aradia yelped, jumping a little and clutching the skull tightly onto her chest. She slowly turned around, eyes wide as saucers, and suddenly her bloodpusher was beating faster than ever before in her life.
The hoofbeast’s skeleton was floating, sparkling with Sollux’s psiionic powers, neatly arranged in the air: spine, ribs, hipbone, forming a perfect headless hoofbeast, since Aradia still held its skull dearly against her shirt, not caring if it was making her clothes filthy with decomposed skin and dirt. She watched as Sollux flattened the stirred dirt before carefully descending the skeleton and setting it down as gently as possible.
“Well, that was easy.” He said, cracking his knuckles, and Aradia looked to her side, where Sollux now stood. “I believe I juth saved us, what, three hourth or tho? Though I guethh we’ll thtill have to dutht thethe off befooommmph!!”
Sollux was quickly silenced by a pair of soft, warm lips pressing against his, lips which were pushing him backwards and almost making him topple down to the ground. When Aradia pulled back, face flushed and eyes red with tears, Sollux felt his bloodpusher beat like a crazy asshole inside his chest.
“Thank you, Sollux.” She whispered, voice wavering as she tried to stop the tears from falling. “Wow. You’re so amazing, I... I pity you so much, I can’t even believe it. I’m, I’m so happy, I just... wow. Wow.”
Sollux flushed, turning his head a little and coughing on his curled fist.
“Well, uh... I only did what any decent troll would’ve done.” he said, walking towards the skeleton on the floor, a brush already on his hand. “Now come on, let’th get thothe thingth cleaned up and into your wheel cart. We don’t have all night.”
She waved her head, giggling under her breath as he kneeled and brushed the monster’s calves. She approached the skeleton as well, kneeling next to Sollux and setting the skull aside. He didn’t dare look at her, too ashamed of the yellow tint still covering his ears and cheeks. She giggled again, leaned towards him and placed a small but firm and sweet kiss on his cheek.
“Still. Thank you.” she whispered, smiling fondly at him. He looked at her and smiled back.
“No prob, AA. Now come on,” and he handed her a brush, which she immediately took. “These boneth are not gonna clean themthelveth up.”
“I guess not.” She said, still smiling to herself.
It took them five hours to clean and take every single bone back to Aradia’s hive, partially because her wheel cart wasn’t nearly big enough to carry the entire skeleton all at once, partially because they were constantly distracting themselves from the task at hand. In the end, they set up the specimen on her living room wall, firmly pinned to the wall, and Aradia perched her adventurer hat on top of its head with a wide smile on her lips.
Filthy as they were, they decided to take a bath together, completely comfortable in each other’s presence, as expected from two four sweeps old trolls. Exhausted, they made their way to the living room again, where they snacked on grubsauce pasta and talked both their ears off. They observed the skeleton on the wall and made up the hoofbeast’s life story, of how he was born, how he lived, how he died and how he had finally fulfilled his lifelong wish of becoming a neat wall adornment after passing away.
They laughed, hugged and pushed each other playfully until they fell asleep on the carpet at the break of dawn, holding each other’s hand. Aradia’s lusus closed the hive's windows and drapes, to protect the two small kids from daylight, and draped a hoofbeast fur blanket on top of them as soon as they were out, lying on the couch behind the two trolls to rest a little as well.
And despite the obvious lack of sopor slime, neither one of them had daymares that day.
They slept peacefully, and both hoped they'd be able to do something just as exciting the next night, and in their childish and innocent minds, they promised each other to explore all Alternia together, and maybe someday, the entire universe as well, just like the older trolls.
They wished, they hoped, they promised, and if it ever came true or not, it doesn’t matter.
If not everything, Sollux promised to explore at the very least a vast part of it alongside her.
They floated weightlessly in the void, watching the Green Sun. Waiting.
"Remember that hoofbeast skeleton we set up in your wall?" he asked all of the sudden, breaking the silence, and the maid smiled softly.
"Sorry. About not exploring Alternia with you, I mean."
She waved her head. "Don't apologize, Sollux." Aradia said, smiling fondly at him. "We still have the entire universe ahead of us, don't we?"
"Which one of them again?" he joked, making Aradia giggle.
"Any of them is fine by me. As long as we're together, right?"
A deep breath. The faint reminder of where once his bloodpusher used to beat inside his chest ached.
Blindly, he took her hand, and they floated a few inches closer to each other. He smiled.