“Have you figured out which animal was yours to call?” Kanaya asked as Karkat was dragging his feet through the grass toward her. She was sitting by one of the rivulets of water that came out of that weirdass, nonsensical pool at the very top of the island-hill, under the bluest tree.
Karkat paused, frowning down at her, at the way she stared down at her cupped hands, and then sighed. “I asked around. Let’s see yours, then. Hopefully it’ll suck less than mine.”
Kanaya leaned back, opened her hands, unveiling a trio of tiny, jewel-toned frogs. “I wish I could say I was surprised,” she said dryly, though there was still a little smile on her face.
Karkat realized he was about to step on one of the dozens of goddamn frogs gathered adoringly around her in the high, messy grass, and pulled his foot back, almost landing on his ass and rolling backwards down the slope he had just finished climbing. Kanaya caught one of his windmilling arms and reeled him back upwards; Karkat sat, cautiously, on her rock.
“Thanks. Well. Vriska can call spiders, scorpions, and basically anything that scuttles around and can ruin someone’s day with venom,” he said as he leaned closer to politely look at Kanaya’s handful. “Wasn’t a surprise either, but it was still appropriate. Yours is… Yeah.”
One of the frogs jumped on his knee. Karkat sat very still. He wanted to believe it felt something of an echo of their Game duties – the Knight helped the Space hero with the universe frog, right? – but probably it just wanted to be closer to Kanaya.
“It would have been appropriate for Jade or for the Dolorosa, too,” Kanaya replied with a little frown between thin eyebrows. “If we count the frog breeding duties as significant.”
“Jade’s got woofbeasts, which is more significant since she actually was one, and the Dolorosa did jack shit regarding the game in her latest life so pretty much fuck her.”
Kanaya sighed in a vaguely amused way. “She can call slitherbeasts. I don’t know why. Those eat frogs, don’t they? Maybe because she failed to birth a new universe…”
“Maybe because those tattoos look like slitherbeasts,” Karkat said with a snort. “I mean. The scarier Megido goes around with butterflies. Who the fuck even knows why? God tier wings? All the trolls have those. The Game is a random asshole and that’s it. Don’t break your brain over it.”
“Or maybe it’s a death and rebirth symbolism.”
“Oh la la, symbolism.”
“What’s yours, then?” Kanaya asked, smiling at him. Karkat grumbled own at his knee frog. It was looking up at him with its bulbous, unimpressed eyes.
“… I haven’t managed to call up a single thing yet. Maybe they don’t live nearby. But I got annoyed and asked some villagers, and. Um.”
“Things, I quote, that are not insects but have something shell-like and want to fuck up your day. So yay me, I get snapping shellbeasts. Signless gets the crabdads, how is that fucking fair in any kind of universe?! They’re cranky assholes! Mine was a cranky asshole, anyway. Urgh. Why can’t I get cholerbears.”
Kanaya snickered, and leaned forward to release the tiny frogs into the little stream. A bigger one jumped up on her wrist.
“It’s a nice day, isn’t it.”
Karkat grunted, side-glared at the cheerful, glistening stream and the intensely blue sky. The temperature was perfect for t-shirts, the sunlight a gentle caress on his (still weirdly reddish) skin. “Too bright. Also I really fucking miss the internet. Been trying to keep busy but I swear to God I’ve been having cravings. I’m this close to stealing some surplus computers and teaching the kids in the village how to type so there’s someone new to have a flame war with, but I’d have to teach them how to read first. Ugh. It’s getting claustrophobic with only Sollux. And Dave and Jade and Roxy, I guess, but everyone else is like, oh, I have other things to do outside the hive now. Ugh.”
Kanaya pinched her lips, patted his shoulder gravely, and provided him with a huge lap toad, who croaked disapprovingly at him. Karkat sighed, petted its weird pebbly hide dutifully.
“Which god would you be swearing to?” she mused. Karkat cringed.
“Oh lususfuck on a toboggan, one of us is totally gonna end up god of the internet when it finally gets around to getting created. No. Fuck this. Fuck this up one nostril and down three urethras, I’m going to become a computerless hermit starting now. This is me, Nature Karkat, in my new glade home. How do you do. ”
Kanaya laughed in his face. He was about to keep expounding on the bush that was now his new sleeping room and the damp rocks hiding his squirming future dinner, but then.
“ … Kanaya, your frog just shat on me.”
“So that’s a no on Nature Karkat, then?” she asked, laughing with her fangs out, and stood up with a hand held for him to take.