"They just watch," John says, kicking the mop bucket into the broom closet after a hard day's asteroid-cleaning. "I guess chores are like a spectator sport for trolls? It's pretty weird! But... that's trolls for you!"
Rose nods, shelving some dust rags. "For a solitary species they do seem to have an inordinate fondness for communal chores."
"It's the buckets," Jade says cheerfully. "They just like watching you mop. It's like... kinky? Yeah, kinky!"
John and Rose look at each other. John slowly flushes red all the way out to his ears.
"That... explains why Vriska took all those pictures that one time," he says. "Oh my god. Oh my god!"
"I think I'm going to need to have a talk with Kanaya about the importance of emotional honesty in a relationship, and also boundaries," Rose muses grimly. "'Just Moirails' my ass."
Dave has nothing much to add to any of this-- his patron creeper's blind, and has never showed much interest in any of his hygene-related shenanigans. But then two days later it's his turn to hose down the communal chow hall, and he's got the gray mop bucket marked HUMAN USE ONLY and he's getting his Mr. Clean on like he's the foodstain antichrist, unleashing an unholy devistation of suds and fury across the hapless metal floor.
And Karkat saunters in.
"Come to enjoy the show?" Dave drawls, still grooving.
"Making sure you pathetic humans can do anything right," Karkat says airily. "I've got a bet with Terezi that you can't."
"Hope you didn't bet anything too important," Dave says. "I am pretty much the ultimate definition of doing it right. I am the righteous king of correctness. I am the god of gratuitously proper happenstance. The messiah of hot, steaming, unbearably strict--"
"Yeah, yeah, and you missed a spot, fuckass," Karkat says. Dave glances back over his shoulder, and Karkat's pointing lazily, his chin cocked just so. The picture of bitchy nonchalance, but his other hand is a trembling fist.
Shit, he did miss a spot.
Dave kicks the bucket across the floor towards it, and he can hear Karkat's breath catch in his throat, hear the way he is suddenly making no noise at all. His eyes feel like lasers on the back of Dave's neck. If that's how it's going to be, then-- he sticks the mop in the bucket, sizes up the remaining stain, and gets to work.
When the last particle of-- urgh, dried tomato sauce? he hopes?-- has been brutally disposed of by a masterful session of Stridenihilation, Dave rewards himself with a nonchalant peek over his shoulder at his newest fan.
Karkat looks about two hot seconds from embarrassing himself in his own goddamn pants. His eyes are glassy and his knees are locked and his thin shoulders are quivering and he looks, actually, pretty hot like this. Dave feels a nasty little curl of pleasure in his gut at the thought that it's this easy to turn the bastard off. Or on. Or both?
"It's kinky!" Jade had chirped.
And it makes him feel pretty goddamn good.
He picks up the bucket by the handle, saunters off to the sink, and pours the dirty water out.
The sound Karkat makes can only be rendered as "Gnnnnhk."
Dave starts whistling, low and cocky, and spends, probably, more time rinsing the thing out than any human has ever spent cleaning a bucket before, Karkat's laser-beam stare on him the whole time. When he's absolutely certain he's rinsed every particle of dirt out, he squirts some soap in, sets the water to hot, and starts scrubbing old gunk off the outside. This is going to be the cleanest bucket in the history of paradox space if he has anything to say about it and he's Dave motherfucking Strider and he has something to say about everything.
This time Karkat doesn't even make a translatable noise, just a sort of thin, miserable whine.
When Dave's fingers are getting pruny and he's starting to feel more bored than vindictive he gives the stupid bucket a final rinse, shakes it off, and heads with it back over to Karkat. Karkat stares at him, shaky-legged and gulping for air, his hands splayed for balance against the wall. He looks wrecked, and that's-- that looks-- weirdly beautiful.
Dave steps in close, closer, till their noses almost brush and he can feel Karkat's hot breath against his lips, fast and spicy-scented, alien and desperate.
He drops the bucket to clatter on the floor between their legs, and Karkat Vantas goddamn comes right in his goddamn pants.
And Dave watches him the whole way through, leaned in close, watches the prickle of sweat at his temples and the crease of anguish between his eyes as he is subsumed by helpless pleasure and the way his head lolls back, afterward, pink-cheeked with humiliation.
"Done?" Dave asks. He toes the bucket between their feet, just enough to make it clatter hollowly, and Karkat trembles all over with the aftershocks.
"Fuck you," Karkat gasps, sliding down the wall into a miserable gray heap at Dave's feet, his eyes distant with loathing. "Fuck. You."
"Just did," Dave says.
He strolls off whistling.