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Dave opens his eyes to burnt-red darkness. He’s still in the pile of blankets and Alternian law books and plush dragons they'd jury-rigged themselves in a corner of Terezi's hive, because there is no way in at least three hells he was gonna sleep in green slime, no matter how R3FR3SH1NG--she even sounds like that in real life--as if they could both fit into her recuperacoon, anyway. He can feel the hard edges of something that’s probably called Ancient and Noble Methods of Judiciannihilation, Volume Nine, shoved up against his ribs.

Everything else about his ribs is wrong.

He doesn't quite scream. Screaming is not something Dave Strider does, even if his body isn’t anything like his body at the moment, with the angles and the hips, and how breathing makes something different move in his chest than he’s expecting. He's honestly impressed when he manages to say, "So." He doesn’t sound like him. He doesn’t sound like a human. All right. He can deal with multiple doomed timelines, he can deal with being in Terezi's body.

He reaches up to feel his face. The skin is smooth, like someone’s taken chitin and made it into the kind of fabric you only see on ten-foot-wide dresses on runways, dresses with pheasant feathers and live baby koalas attached. Her face. Baby koalas with rows and rows of teeth.

"Did my tongue grow three inches last night, or am I just happy to see you?"

"I see you," Terezi says in his voice--doing the thing where the numerals of the blind prophets are trying to screech their way around the edges of his drawl, it's uncanny as fuck. "I see me, coolkid, are you me?"

Well. His troll heart races like a game of GTA gone horribly wrong. "When you said you wanted me in you"--ugh, the voice--"I didn't think you meant it like this." And how the hell she deals with being blind he doesn't know, it’s claustrophobic as fuck, he doesn’t know where anything is. He’s thinking about panicking, even inhales hard with his alien respiratory sacs or whatever, but that cracks something wide open in Terezi's brain and he smells everything: the stale Alternian night air drifting in the window, two species' worth of sweat from last night on the sheets, the fresh-slaughtered prey hanging from meat hooks in the gaping abyss of her deathpantry.

When he reaches out to touch her arm, his arm (just for some physical contact, fuck, he can't see) he hears her scowl. Muscles shifting under the skin, he's not questioning how he knows it. "Is this what happens to humans after they have sick hump rumpuses, Dave, is this normal for you?"

"I--"

"I was not expecting to wake up pink and sighted. Is everything usually this dark?" Righteous pointy girl troll fury, and something not entirely serious under it.

Dave can play. "No, I think it's my sunglasses." Blood rushing through his body's veins. Oh, there's the hearing. Vicious chirpbeasts stirring in their nests, the swaying of her scalemates hanging outside the window, their plush hearts crying out for mercy. Dave is not inclined to feel merciful, which could just be the Terezi in his head, or childhood trauma. "I mean, if I had to bet. I'll call my bookie, see what he says."

"Alternian bookies find aliens a poor prospect for betting. It's difficult to collect foreign currency," Terezi says, suddenly quiet, like she's on the edge of some realization. He feels the currents on the air when she reaches up to touch her face, his face, and the silence between them is heavy.

"What's up," he says, and then gropes himself, it is a completely healthy urge, he's a growing boy, "what's wrong." His ribs stand out from his sides like the edges of some absurdly steep cliff-face, sharp enough that he thinks he should be cutting his palms but no, they just sweep down smooth to her tiny waist and then onto what little there is of her hips. Hipbones, though, his girl’s got hipbones for days. He has hipbones for days. There’s an existential crisis here he ought to sidestep.

“Humans are not very good at killing one another without weapons, are they,” she says, and hey, that’s why he’s not having a nervous breakdown, supernaturally calm alien chick right there. She’s wriggling her fingers in front of her--his--face, and then plucks the sunglasses off the bridge of his nose.

“BRIGHT!” she shrieks. It hardly sounds like him at all. He’s about to applaud her manipulation of human vocal chords when she says it again, quieter, “Bright,” exactly like he’d say it, which is downright creepy. He’s not sure just when he closed his hands into fists, but his nails prick into his palms, little bright pinpoints.

“My weak, planetbound species doesn’t spend our childhoods trying to kill each other, thanks,” he says. This body is sharp everywhere, her nails and her teeth, the teeth in his mouth could tear a hamburger off the side of a cow, no cooking required, and he will never ask her to give him head, ever.

She laughs at him. “But it’s a time-honored way to prove your strength and worthiness!” she says, “I couldn’t kill anyone with these.” Her hand--his hand, blunt nails and all, strokes up against his throat. He swallows. Human skin is rougher, warmer from this side. She traces her fingertips in a slow line, like she’s marking where one of her nooses would go. “See?”

“Um,” he says, real fucking eloquent, “no,” and her fingers keep moving, pressing against his neck, lacing around him like a cage. He can’t see what she’s doing, just feel it, nothing else in the world but Terezi’s hands, “I’m not so hot in the seeing department right now, if you hadn’t noticed --”

She leans closer. He can feel the change in air pressure. His hands clench and those claws of hers punch right through the skin, ow, now he’s bleeding, probably going to leak teal handsmears all over. She makes this little inquisitive noise, and pulls back. It’s easier to think without her hands on him. Not much, but easier.

He disentangles his hands from under the blankets, and yeah, bleeding. He can smell the blood even if he can’t see it, smell it welling up from the middle of his palms. So he licks it off.

It’s the Alternian thing to do, yeah, lick up the accidental puncture wounds you self-inflicted while your extra-quadrantal fuckbuddy's thinking about killing you nice and slow and by hanging. Dave’s not expecting the explosion on his tongue. It’s like sticking a ball of aluminum foil in his mouth and chewing on it, sour metal and awful but it’s teal underneath, the exact artificial flavor of blueberry popsicles that don’t taste like blueberry at all, have nothing to do with blueberry and everything to do with stained tongues and hot summer afternoons and illegally opened fire hydrants pouring out all over the street, aimed at innocent pedestrians with expensive electronics--

-- what the fuck.

"Terezi," he hears himself gasp--he'd be wigging out at how shrill his voice is, only now he's making out with his hand again, licking the blood off until there's no more left. "This how you see everything."

She seizes his hand and licks around the cuts, and then grumbles a bluh and releases him. It takes him a second to remember he's stronger than she is while she’s in his body, that he could have torn himself away at any moment.

"Is there a problem, Miss Pyrope." It's hard to be smooth when you're trying to get the last drop of troll blood off the corner of your mouth. She doesn't say a word, but there's anticipation in the air like a giant indrawn breath. He goes on, "That--that tasted kinda good."

He wants to lick. Everything in sight. In not-sight. Terezi presses herself up against him, winding her arms around his neck, and if she was doing it in her own body he'd be scared she was going to squeeze too hard and snap something. "I taste very good. Don't I," she says, right into his ear, and it's every romance novel cliche Dave can think of, and a few more he wouldn't admit to knowing about. She licks the corner of his mouth with his soft human tongue.

Which is when he discovers that when trolls are so turned-on they can't even think straight, it tingles in places he's not sure have names in any Earth language. "So," he says. Definitely shrill. "Red tastes the best, right." He lets her push him down, it just feels right, her being the one to push him down, no matter what bodies they're in; and then she tries to bite a hole in his lower lip with blunt human teeth like she did last night with her own.

It doesn't work. Dave grunts and tries to sit up, but Terezi's bigger than him like this and she crowds him down on the makeshift bed, sweeping a hand out to knock a few books off onto the floor. "I can't taste anything." She sounds prissy in ways his voice was never meant to sound prissy, and kneels over him and tugs up at the hem of the tee-shirt he's still got on, lets him squirm up on his elbows long enough to get it off, toss it to the side. "Human tongues are stupid, Dave."

“Whatever,” he says to her, and tries to reach up, hook his skin-puncturing fingers around her shoulderblades and pull her down on top of him. She braces her hands on his upper chest--his hands, his hands take up a lot of space when he’s a tiny alien girl--and slides up against him, like a hot pink blanket and he thinks about saying something about wanting to climb inside her skin, but that’s too much Terezi Pyrope, even if he’s got her brain and her amazing taste-smelling tongue right now, which he should be using instead of letting her do whatever she feels like doing to him. He lets go of her shoulders and grabs her by a handful of his blond hair, yanks her down and slams their mouths back together where they belong.

She takes the hint. The kiss is slick and wet and his tongue slides over her teeth and she sucks on it, a sharp pulse that makes him breathe in sound and bite down hard on her lips and okay, yes, red does taste best. Red floods over his tongue like illegal cherry-bomb firecrackers set off by punkass kids in back alleyways, he wants more of her --

She shoves ineffectually at his face and says, “That hurt,” like she's personally offended by the naked pink weakness that is the culmination of the entire evolutionary development of homo sapiens sapiens.

“Yeah,” he breathes, “now you get it.”

This close, he can feel when she swipes at her lower lip with her tongue. She wrinkles his nose. “Salt,” she says, way too calm about this, and she runs one of her fingers over his lips and into his mouth to prick it on the rows and rows of teeth he’s got. He can feel her eyelashes flutter against his cheek. He must have really fucking long eyelashes. He’s never thought about that before. The tingling troll arousal thing just gets worse, distracting and everywhere and he squirms under her to see if that helps, rubbing skin on skin.

It doesn’t. But, hey, his body has a boner. He’s a little bit annoyed with the part where he’s got a boner, he doesn’t get to feel the boner--or, well, he’s feeling it, through jeans, shoved up against his alien girl thighs--but it's cool, there is never anything uncool about Dave Strider's dick.

He opens his mouth to say so and what comes out is, “So what if this is permanent, huh.”

She rocks against him, grinds up into his hipbone, and Dave knows from his long, careful survey expeditions last night that that’s pretty uncomfortable with her kind of pelvic topography.

“Would you teach me to be a coolkid, coolkid?” Terezi drawls, all his South Texas vowels gone smirking, like she’s been paying attention to how he sounds when he’s flirting with her, studying him to find out his weaknesses before she pounces. “Would you take me to school?”

"God, TZ, just take off your pants." He tries to be nonchalant; it comes out breathy and wanting. He can use that. "Take me to the heavens."

Terezi draws in a breath and lets out a long, fluttery sigh. "Do you want me to ravish you, Dave?"

-- that might mean something else entirely in troll speak, but it's a risk Dave is willing to take. "Show me the stars, my disturbing alien lawprincess." He cups her cheek, letting her feel the claws. "I'm yours forever."

"If I take them off, can I lick your delicious red vascular fluid when we switch back?"

He would just reach down and shred the pants off to avoid signing his name to that contract, but there is he refuses to do the walk of shame on Alternia, so he grabs her down there and hears her mouth drop open into a little o of surprise as she pushes her hips into his hand with a noise that sounds suspiciously, embarrassingly like whimpering.

The tingling gets stronger, until it's a rush of white noise from his horns all the way down to his nook. "Friction's nice, ain't it," he says. Terezi makes the strangled, desperate sound again, and her forehead bumps his, and the pants, apparently, cannot come off fast enough.

"It's sticking up." She sounds puzzled. An eight-hundred piece edgeless jigsaw worth of puzzled. His hearing goes crazy again, as if her ears are trying to fuck with him, zeroing in on the tiny rasp of the single finger she runs up and down the length of his cock, the way the joints creak when she tries fisting herself, then lets go with a gasp she probably thought she stifled before it could get out.

Dave considers not sounding smug and decides it's not worth the effort. "Human bulges sure are weird, huh." He rests a hand on his stomach, as close as he's going to get to dipping two fingers into his nook. "Not even sure they're supposed to like what we're doing."

"Why wouldn't they?" She leans forward, just a fraction of an inch, still holding onto his cock, and, shit, he's getting the hang of not-seeing. "Sniff it, Dave."

"What."

"You heard me! Your human bulge is not going to sniff itself."

Well. It's not like his life can get any weirder. He gets up on his sharp knees--the joints don't move the way he's used to, there's a ball-and-socket where a hinge should be--and bends down at the waist to take a whiff of his cock: terrible fake vanilla extract for the skin and maraschino cherries for the blood underneath, like some kind of weird drink Rose would order, and oh shit he's not thinking about Rose, not now that Terezi's hands are tunneling through his hair, circling around his horns.

Rose would have a field day with this, though.

And, what the hell, he gives Terezi a lick, see how she likes it.

Terezi wrenches his head back so hard that--Dave's sure--if she was in her own body, she would have snapped his neck like a twig.

He grins up at her. “Come on,” he says, “ask me for it.”

Instead, she shoves his thighs apart with her knee, twists to get a hand between his legs at the same time she lets go of his hair. He pretty much faceplants in her crotch, but she’s got her whole palm pressed up against his nook, and a finger--two fingers--working their way inside. The tingle-static goes focused and nuclear and he’s humping her hand, making all kinds of absurd whimpery troll noises. He doesn’t care. She rubs his dick against his cheek, which is just an invitation to taste more of that vanilla-maraschino deliciousness, and someday he is going to reflect on this moment and realize that he is willingly slobbering all over his own junk and under most circumstances this would be not only gay but also distressingly narcissistic. That time is not now. Future Dave can suck it. Future Dave can contemplate Past Dave sucking it. Whatever.

Her fingers move inside him, sinking knuckle-deep and spreading out, circling. All the parts of his nook are sensitive, he can feel each individual finger outlined in prickling electricity. She flutters her fingertips; he should probably feel bad that she knows so much more about what to do with a nook than he did when he tried this, but she’s had this toy longer, it’s only natural she’d know where the buttons for the flashing lights and the sirens are. He gets his tongue wrapped around the head of her cock and she shudders.

Dave sucks and she jerks in his mouth and spreads her fingers wide inside him. Some of the tingling static sparks across the burnt dark that is his vision, like he’s plugged into a wall socket and every kilowatt's going to explode between his legs any second. He tries swallowing around her, it’s about all he can think of to up the stakes on her side, and even if he’s a troll girl right now there is some kind of honor to be satisfied, he knows how his dick works and he can get her off before she gets him off.

It’s only because he’s got her perfect troll hearing to go along with the troll electric shock pleasure that he isn’t too distracted to drink down every helpless noise she makes with his vocal chords. She gasps and mewls, which he’d tease her about, but he’s too busy tracing his tongue insistently at that spot right under the crown of his dick he knows is the most sensitive.

But then Terezi hooks her fingers sideways in him, and he nearly throws himself off of her with the jolt traveling up his spine, tiny supernovae of holy shit exploding in every joint of his alien body. Her cackle turns to a startled yelp when he twists his upper body up and marshals the last of his strength to jerk her off, rough and quick; a few drops of come hit his shoulder. He slumps back into the blankets and doesn't even care when Terezi swipes her finger through it and puts it up to his lips, he opens his mouth to her and sucks on it, taking care not to bite her, even though he could and she'd like it.

"Tell me how it tasted," she orders, flopping down next to him and taking up more space than even his body has any right to. "Your tongue is worthless, Strider."

Dave punches her shoulder, limply. "You liked it a second ago."

"Don't try to best me at semantics, coolkid, I am simply the best there is." Rolling over so she's on her stomach, half on top of him and too, too warm to be comfortable to troll skin, Terezi tucks her chin into his sharp shoulder.

"You know," he says, and puts his thin arms around her. "We should try to figure out what the shit is going on here."

She scratches down his chest, ineffectual and--if she weren't a troll, he'd say it was tender. She's probably drawing the lines for where she's going to flay him someday. "Later," she mutters, already drifting off, just like she does in her own body. He reaches up and pets her hair, and she ignores him magnificently. "Suspicion of foul play. I’ll need all my investigative powers.”

And right now he’s got most of them. Yeah. They'll worry about it when they wake up.