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Karkat: be calm.

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She drops hints around the subject for a perigee at least, because that's apparently the time-honored ancestral communication technique of the snarky broad. "I can't imagine that feels comfortable," she says, or, "Doesn't it get in the way when you strife?" or, "I could almost believe you intend to conceal your horns entirely in the wildness of that growth."

"Oh my fuck, Kanaya," you say after that last one, running your fingers through your hair to push your admittedly overlong bangs out of your face so she can see the full force of your glare. "I get it, okay? I am a hideous fucking affront to your sense of fashion and my presence provokes pus-dribbling spasms of revulsion in any decent creature, a fact of which I can never truly be adequately ashamed! Is that what you wanted to hear?"

She sighs, as if you're the unreasonable one. "No," she says. "I had hoped for something closer to Well then, would you cut my hair, Kanaya? though I admit I had no illusions about being able to adequately predict your phrasing."

You stare at her. That is an outrageously pale overture, aggressively so, demanding that you put yourself in the doubly vulnerable position where she's behind you and wielding something sharp. And okay, it's Kanaya, probably you'd be fine, but the fact that she would even suggest it... You're still staring.

And she's turning slowly deeper green, looking away from you, studying the most uninteresting spot on the entire floor. She clears her throat. "Excuse me," she says. "That was clearly inappropriate. I clearly haven't learned my lesson about meddling where my attentions aren't wanted."

"What, no," you say, "when did I say that? I didn't say a fucking thing like that, it just. You caught me off-guard, that's all. I wouldn't have expected... this."

Fuck, now she looks hopeful, in this awkward way that makes you want to hug her. "This?"

"Um," you say. "That kind of offer?" God, what if you're reading it wrong? What if it's not a romantic overture at all? Kanaya does read a lot of romances, but as far as you can tell she's always liked the concupiscent ones better, and she has been spending a lot of time with the humans, and maybe that's affecting her judgement....

You don't think you actually care. "Sure." You wave at the unruly mop of your hair. "I guess if it's offending you that bad you can fix it."

"That's very gracious of you," she says.

She brings you back to her own block, where, if this were one of your romances, there would be a scandalously inviting pile already heaped up in one corner to make your bloodpusher speed up. There isn't, though you could probably pull one together pretty quickly with fabric and Lalonde's empty soporific bottles, if... Okay, shut up, stop getting ahead of yourself. "Uh," you say.

Kanaya gestures at her chair. "Have a seat."

You do. She comes gliding up to you with a little pair of bright silver scissors in one hand—they're barely a weapon at all, at a size like that, you'd need to... well, okay, you could go through the ocular cavity and into the thinkpan pretty easily but Kanaya isn't going to do that to you and your imagination needs to just stop. In all directions.

She runs her fingers through your hair, pulling it out straight, making little hmm noises. You keep wishing her hand would linger closer to your scalp.

"What do you think?" you ask to distract yourself from that thought. "Is it terminal?" You've been spending entirely too much time with Strider.

"You've come to me just in time," Kanaya says. "If we operate now, you have excellent chances of making a full recovery." Her scissors flash in the corner of your vision and a thick curl of hair falls in your lap.

"I'm in your hands," you say. You hear the snip and another curl falls. You close your eyes.

She works slowly, meticulously, which you suppose you should have expected from someone with a typing quirk like hers and hobbies like sewing. It's... calming. She's sure of herself, and it sort of rubs off.

Then, as she's working her way around the cartilaginous extension of your auricular spongeclot—fingers so cool and steady when they brush your skin—she asks, "How have you been lately?"

You laugh bitterly. "How am I always? A one-troll parade of bitter failure and catastrophe, sitting on my useless ass waiting for us to get where we're going and doing nothing but alienate, ah, alienate... everyone who..." You're having trouble continuing that thought. Kanaya's nails are dragging gently along your scalp, slow and soothing, and you know you were busy hating yourself and it was important but... it's going to have to wait.

She hums a low meaningless comfort noise. "Surely not everyone," she says. She goes back to cutting, snipping away more excess. You get your clarity back but the self-loathing is still damped down a little. It's... nice.

You never pictured yourself in a comfort-based palerom. It was always epic, grand dramatic gestures, something with the earth-shattering intensity of your hookup with Gamzee. (In your wildest imaginings, you were the one so dangerous that you needed to be pacified. But it was always about danger and taming violent instincts, either way.)

Being quietly fussed over is more pleasant than you would have expected. You take a deep breath, let it out, take another one. "I'm still beating myself up a lot over the murders," you admit. Kanaya rests a hand on the nape of your neck. "I was the leader. I should have, I don't even know. Not fucked up."

"We have all fucked up, somewhere along the way," she says. Her nails again, that gentle scratching that unwinds things you didn't know were too tight. "But if it would help for you to talk about it..."

"Maybe when you're done with the travesty of my hair?" you suggest. "We could, um. Pull together a pile, get a little bit more comfortable?"

Kanaya kisses the tip of your horn. "It's a date."