Your name is Kanaya Maryam and you’ve been staring at the same boring page in the same boring tome for what seems like sweeps. It’s not that you don’t enjoy the meandering diatribe of nonsense that has so far lent nothing towards your investigation, nor is it that you’d much rather be out hunting for one shy juggalo-- though both these things are true. No, you are merely distracted by the excessively close proximity of the first human that you called a friend.
“He’s very long winded, isn’t he,” Rose remarked, from behind Kanaya’s shoulder. She leans against you, certain parts of her unspeakable human anatomy brushing up against your back. You sit perfectly still as if her milk sacks aren’t accosting your back like some deranged street lusus and pretend that your heart isn’t beating faster than normal. Which is fairly easy to do, as you naturally assured Rose that your species pumps blood faster than theirs. Which is a complete and utter lie. She knows it’s a complete and utter lie. And yet.
Rose leans forward to flip the page, brushing your fingers aside as her warm human heat permeates your back. You feel your face flushing, and thank your lucky stars that she can’t see how she affects you with every conniving move. Her pranksters’ gambit is through the roof and you can do nothing but meet her forward motions with steely resolve and a liars farce. You feel as though she is playing a game with you, trying to bait you to respond to her in kind, and you will not give her the satisfaction. You’ve been down that path before and that path is strewn with heartbreak and fairy costumes and promised unkept.
You clear your throat and you can feel her smile through your skull, the corners of her mouth curling up with all the secrets and mysteries that a human girl could possess. You curse your chitinous windhole and you arrange your features into what Rose calls your “poker face” (to which Dave offered you his disco stick but you politely declined). You make no move as Rose lifts her hand from your shoulder and smoothly moves back to her seat beside you. She’s been moving her seat closer to you by fractions of inches for the last week, and she’s practically sitting in your lap these days. She acts like nothing is different though, calmly demurring that she doesn’t know what you mean, kanaya, darling, theatrically widening her eyes. She claims it’s an accident and moves her chair half an inch away from you, passive aggressively pretending that that is enough space.
You don’t really know what’s gotten into Rose Lalonde, but you desperately wish that things would go back to how they were before. If she were a troll, you’d think she had caliginous leanings towards your person that she was having trouble controlling. Everything was so much easier with quadrants, even if it took forever to explain such alien concepts to the humans. Things were even easier a few weeks ago, when the two of you were playing interior decorator in what was once a cold grey room. Creating items with the alchemiter was a lot of fun, and you were even able to create luxurious patterns using random things in the lab and leftover junk from everyone’s fetch modus. It was less fun moving the heavy furniture about the room, but it was rewarding once you finished. Everything was so much cozier, from the rugs you created on the floor to the massive couch that you had made combining a number of things with Dave’s Red Plush Puppet Tux. Eventually you finished arranging everything according to a “Feng Shui” book that Rose had found stuffed in a bookcase and she throws herself down onto the Plush Rump Chesterfield. You smile down at her, happy at a job well done, and she smiles back, her lips painted with the same lipstick you use-- it’s not as if you have any choice but to share unless you want to walk around without the proper grim grin. Something about her smile jarrs something in you, and you bite back your expression; and apparently that was enough to put Rose on your case, seeing how far she could push you without cracking.
You are taking her bullshit.
You are not giving her the satisfaction.
You ignore her as she touches her thigh against yours, grit your teeth and get on with your reading. She’s being extremely pushy today, and you know it’s because she is slowly breaking you down, no matter how firm your resolve was in the first place. She’s enjoying this game, and having trouble hiding it. You’re uncertain what her ultimate plan may be, but you have already severely underestimated her tenacity to keep forging ahead as you give her the cold shoulder.
She’s ignoring you, finally, her lips moving slightly as she reads what can only be an extremely interesting passage if she has set aside her games for the moment. You deflate a little, unaware of the fact that you were constricting your stomach muscles severely in your attempt to keep yourself contained. You do really think that she’s being a little unnecessarily mean in her attempts to prank you. Matters of the quadrants are not a laughing matter, even if they are extraordinarily complex and at times extremely irritating. The fact that there is an entire quadrant that deals with what Dave calls “the Friendzone” is frustrating, because you can’t help but meddle in others affairs. But no more-- no, you’ve called the whole thing off and you aren’t about to help anyone out, unless it’s to help separate Gamzee from his troublesome limbs.
And no, helping Rose Lalonde out with her research is not being meddlesome. It is the opposite of meddlesome, you tell yourself, as you point out a passage to Rose and feel a slight flutter in your stomach as she thanks you. No, you are just feeling the human emotion called friendship and your own personal interest in the universe that you’ve made. It’s absolutely natural to spend all your time meddli-- researching obscure facts and writing painstaking notes for Rose to collate and transfer to the large green tome she’s been filling in. Rose has offered to let you write in the book as well, but you have declined as graciously as you could-- her handwriting is very loopy and fancy and you quite like the look of the lavender pen on the old paper.
You offer to pour some coffee and Rose mutters her assent, apparently done with her torture for the time being.
“Dream bubble approaching!”
Terezi’s voice trickles out through the phonogram and Rose barely looks up from her reading.
“Aren’t we surveying the dream bubbles for clues on the status of the universe and what is to come?” You enquire. Rose turns a page, and then looks up at you, her head resting on a hand.
“We have been, yes, but I think we need to diversify our approach a little,” Rose conveys, and you ask her how you would go about doing that, what have we missed?
You play right into her trap. She drops a worried book on to the desk with a dull thud, and thumbs through the fraying pages with a practiced hand. Your stomach plummets as you recognize the book -- “Grimoire for Summoning the Zoologically Dubious” -- as one of the books that she had turned to before she had gone dark before, back when she was still playing her session.
“I was against you meddling with such powers of darkness before, why do you think I would support such endeavors now?” Kanaya asked.
“We’d only summon a little one, hardly a greater god,” Rose said slowly, testing the waters with Kanaya, “there’s only so much I can learn from the furthest ring by peering into the dark and we do need more information or I fear that the outcome in the next session will not be favourable. Besides,” Rose continues, with a twist of her lips, “this ritual will be pretty fun.”
So now the two of you are alchemizing scads of candles. You try to refrain from thinking about how you came to be able to alchemize such waxy apparatus.
You feel that sometimes you are too dedicated to the task.
It doesn’t take long before you have enough candles to line the metal surfaces of the study, and you help Rose light them, shooting her dubious looks as she instructs you from her side of the room. The candles arranged, the Plush Rump Chesterfield has to be moved to the exact middle of the room, which is conveniently displayed on the floor in the form of the transportalizer. The couch is wider than the thick metal plate is and the couch thankfully stays inside of the room. It would be a pain to have to deal with the couch splintering had you made a wrong move.
“There,” Rose says, and leaves you at the couch to turn off the lights. The room glows amber and you fidget near the arm of the couch. Shadows stretch from the dark corners of the room, the unused computers ceasing to blink as Rose powers those down too. The coffee pod reflects Rose, her god tier adornment glowing gold in the candlelight. It would be a shame to lose her again to the darkness, you muse, remembering the dark part of her session. You had been childish to think that you could have stopped her then, and now you are simply watching her as she moves forward with her plan to tempt fate a second time. You try to will your displeasure of this plan across the room, but Rose merely smiles back and sashays towards you.
She puts her hands on your shoulders-- she’s alarmingly close, the tips of her eyelashes reflecting the light of the candles, making her look softer and less devious. Sort of like a candle herself, you begin to think before she exerts pressure on your shoulders and you flail spectacularly on to the couch.
Just as you push yourself up, she’s on you, the Grimmoire in one hand, the other pushing your chest to the cushions, and she’s straddling your hips, tucking her feet under the tops of your thighs and resting the Grimmoire on her lap. Your laps? Your thoughts are reeling and you grunt for her to get off, but she presses down with her elegant fingers. You know she can feel your heart beating, fast and terrified, and you narrow your eyes at her.
You’re breathing fast but shallow.
“Wh-what,” you begin to say but Rose shushes you, her face grim. You firmly believe this is another one of her idiotic pranks, albeit a very extensive one, and you struggle beneath her grasp, trying to throw her off you with your arms. You’re not some sort of namby pamby female who takes shit lying down-- except now Rose is leaning down towards your face and her hair is tickling you and you can feel your face flushing and your heart is beating too fast and you’re too afraid to breathe and she keeps coming closer and closer and all you can think about is how you’re so stupid and how your hands are clammy and you’re enjoying her weight right around your midsection and how she’s not even holding you back anymore as your hands fall from their fighting positions and you stare up in to her eyes, surprised to see how serious she’s being.
And your heart plummets.
And you lean forward to make up the distance.