Terezi opened the door and Sollux floated the groceries in, bags hovering in dancing wires of blue and red. They spoke idly of their nightly events as Sollux put away the items Terezi wasn’t using to make that morning’s dinner. Her blindness did not hinder her ability to mix up one hell of a stir-fry and both noses appreciated the smell wafting off the sizzling ingredients. Sollux draped an arm around her waist and rested his chin on her opposite shoulder, staring at the kitchen wall of their shared hive-stem.
“You still like me right?”
“’Course I do babe,” Terezi said easily, used to Sollux’s frequent and constant need for validation.
“Okay but are you sure?”
He bit the inside of his cheek, unwilling to press the matter any further and make a nuisance of himself.
“You wanna talk about it?” Terezi asked, smelling his appleberry disconcertion. With an expert flip, she sent the contents of the frying pan up into the air and back down, not one piece hitting the stovetop.
Sollux pressed his face into her shoulder and mumbled a “maybe” as he hugged her a little tighter.
“It’s a date. Dinner first though.”
Sollux traced a thumb over his moirail’s hip and resituated so his chin was back on her shoulder. She continued on silently, face staring straight ahead since the chunks of meat and vegetables couldn’t really be intimidated by the fact that her blind eyes seemed to look at them.
“Go set the table?” Terezi suggested when the sizzling sausages smelled like they were getting close to done.
“Sure,” Sollux said quietly, only because she couldn’t see him nod, and he pulled plates from their shelves and cutlery from their drawers. Dinner was quiet and short, Sollux already feeling guilty for saying anything and making a scene. What a piece of shit, dramatizing his problems for attention like this.
“Okay babe,” Terezi said, standing up, “you go check your beehives while I clean up, then to the pile with both of us.”
“I can help,” Sollux offered.
“You can help your bees, you’re absolutely right!” she said with a bright grin. He smiled back, shoulders hunched and feeling chagrined, and then went to do as he was bid.
Alternian bees were both bred and genetically modified to be only beneficial to trolls, so while Sollux technically could put them all to sleep while he pulled out the honey supers, he didn’t need to. They buzzed around him, purple and bumbling, as affectionate as insects were really capable of being. His stomach turned when he thought of having a jam with Terezi, feeling like a burden and wondering why he couldn’t just get his shit together like a normal goddamn troll.
His shaky hands failed him when a bee flew too close to his face and startled him, and he accidentally dropped the honey super. It would’ve been fine, had the mind honey not splattered high enough to flick between his lips. It was only a drop, but fuck if Sollux’s psionics didn’t immediately begin sparking erratically, a pressure building in his head, swift and terrible. Sollux was used to migraines, but honey-induced problems were not something he ever had a desire to grow familiar with, and the pressure in his skull made everything mottled, blurred together and out of focus. His hand went to his now-aching head, and he tried to wipe what felt like a drop of honey from his lower lip before he could ingest that, too.
His hands were sticky and splattered from handling the honey supers, and he only ended up getting more honey in his mouth than when he’d started.
Terezi was putting the freshly dried cutlery in the drawer when she heard the crackling whine and smelled the unhappy ozone of psionics.
“Sollux, what the fuck?” she called over her shoulder, shutting the drawer a bit hard.
She marched into the room where they kept the hives and her shoulders dropped. If she had eyes instead of mangled spheres of burned flesh, she would’ve rolled them.
“Seriously Sollux?” she asked the levitating, highly dangerous psionic. “Seriously?” She strode in confidently, strands of energy singeing and sometimes burning little lines across her bare arms and the fabric of her clothing.
“Whatever, we were gonna jam anyway I guess, but really hun could you be, I dunno, coherent for our little talks?” Terezi grumbled as she crossed the room, knowing full well that Sollux wasn’t in a state of mind to hear her or remember her words. When she reached him she yanked him down by the corner of his shirt, which caused his psionics to spark violently and flare. Any common- or perhaps sane- troll wouldn’t try anything with Sollux in a state like this, but Terezi was so far past used to this bullshit that she was more concerned about property damage than any harm that could possibly come her way.
“Shoosh, you gigantic wreck,” Terezi said quietly, pressing her scarred and calloused palm into his cheek. Not quite firm enough to be considered a proper pap, but present and soothing. “Shoosh, shooosh,” she repeated, holding onto his shirt and keeping him grounded with the hand that wasn’t on his face.
Lightly, quickly, she papped his face, barely there, still far from firm.
“There, see, shoosh, it’s fine.”
Something garbled and undecipherable came out of Sollux’s mouth, wordless screeching it sounded like. His psionics flared again, shooting out a pane of the window.
“You’re scaring your bees you silly little fool,” Terezi scolded lightly, her papping slowly growing more solid on his face. “Calm down, palest love of mine, hush yourself, shoosh shoosh shoosh lover you’re fine.”
Sollux sparked again, but less violent.
“C’mon idiot,” Terezi said affectionately, papping Sollux twice more, firm and cool on his overheating cheek, “let’s go to the pile and wait for this to cycle out of your system, yeah? We’ll talk about your feelings when this honey bullshit stops happening, c’mon diamond star.”
Terezi half dragged him from the room, her arm bracing him around his back and her free hand grabbing his wrist as well. His eyes darted wildly, out of focus but still faintly recognizing her through the haze of his overactive psionics and pressure of his inevitable headache. It took some coaxing to get him down onto the pile, eyes still trailing wisps of red and blue as she pulled him close to her and they settled onto the mess of scalemates and wires.
“Shoosh, palest,” Terezi murmured with another round of firm paps on his cheek. A wire near Sollux’s foot tangled in on itself, spinning like a dancing worm or a pair of headphones placed into a pocket. “Shoosh,” she said again, unable to smell the real color of the wire through the red and blue lights that made it move. “There, there now diamond mine, shoosh, it’s alright, it’s alright, shooosh.”
They continued on that way for a while, Terezi’s palm starting to tingle slightly from the repetitive motion of papping his face. His arms eventually secured themselves around her waist, his face half-pressed into the bony angles of her shoulder and collarbone as the hand of the arm he laid on carded fingers through his messy hair. Their legs were left useless, limp and dangling off the confines of the pile. Eventually Sollux’s sparks died out all the way, and his coherency returned to him.
“Shoosh,” Terezi continued on, stuck in a soothing routine she only half paid attention to. Sollux cleared his throat.
“Oh hey!” she exclaimed, brightening up a bit and letting her hand fall across her stomach, “You back?”
“I’m sorry,” Sollux said instantly, humiliated and ashamed.
“You’re good. How’s your head?”
“No, really, I’m so sorry TZ I didn’t mean-”
“Sollux.” He shut up. “How’s your head? You need a painkiller?”
“No, no, it’s fine, I’m sorry.”
Sollux was so incredibly far from fine. Why was Terezi even still with him? He was such a goddamn piece of shit like what was even wrong with him? Could he do fucking nothing right?
Terezi papped him again, a little hard.
“No, really, I’m okay now it’s fine,” Sollux said in a rush.
“I’m not papping you for the mind honey anymore,” she informed him. He flinched minutely, his fingers curling in the fabric of her shirt.
“You were having issues before this whole fiasco, Sollux, I know you.” Knew what a gigantic piece of shit that he was. “I know you’re just going to mope and sulk and find a way to make yourself feel even worse than you already do. Sulky Sollux! Now, Mr. Applberry Blast, we’re already in the pile, tell me your feelings.”
Sollux pondered staying silent out of spite. Not that he wanted to spite Terezi, just that he had a knee-jerk reaction to resent everything and be as much of an obstinate tool as he could possibly be. Fuck he was terrible.
“You’re sulking,” she informed him.
“I feel like a piece of shit,” Sollux muttered grudgingly, and definitely totally not gratefully at all. It wasn’t like he appreciated her dedication to helping him sort his shit out by pushing him past the borders of his comfortable little box of self-loathing.
“Because you flew directly off the handle and started zapping things?”
“No, because I accidentally ate too much stir-fry. Of course because I flew directly off the fucking handle! I did a goddamn pirouette of epic proportions! Ballet dancers from now until the end of the empire will whisper about my massive fucking leap as they huddle together stretching their-”
“Shoosh,” Terezi ordered with a firm pap.
“Sorry. God, you’re right, I’m sorry, you’re trying to jam like a goddamned adult and I’m over here being petty and defensive for no fucking reason like the total tool I am. Wow, look at Sollux Captor, what a nookwaffle.”
Terezi carded her fingers through Sollux’s hair and hummed, “It’s okay, Sollux, it’s okay. You’re fine. I don’t think any of your bees died. I’m fine. It’s okay palest.”
“Did I break shit this time?”
“Just a window pane.”
“Fuck, I’m so sorry,” Sollux ground the heel of his palm into his temple, feeling stupid as hell.
“It’s okay, shoosh, shoosh, you’re gonna start sulking again.”
“You’re practically doing it right now.”
“I am not sulking!”
Sollux bristled. “I’m not!”
“I mean, okay, if you don’t call this,” she poked a finger against his cheek, making his mouth scrunched, “a pout.”
Sollux swatted at her hand, “Stop trying to cheer me up.”
“Okay but it’s working so, nyeh.” She stuck out her tongue at him. Sollux snorted, then laughed weakly. He felt too drained to laugh properly and her antics weren’t actually all that funny, but she made him feel better anyway.
The two went silent for a time.
“I’m pale for you,” Sollux said, curling in on her a bit, “I’m really fucking pale for you and I’m sorry I’m such a goddamn mess.”
“Are you scared I’m going to leave you?”
“Yeah,” Sollux admitted quietly, “You’re so important to me TZ. Like, I’m so fucking pale for you and you matter so much to me but I feel like a total piece of hoofbeast shit all the goddamn time while you’re like some fucking,” Sollux waved a hand vaguely in the air, “thing that isn’t totally lame and terrible all the time and you could do so much better than me but I don’t want you to because you’re precious to me and I don’t want you to leave me because I’m stupid and dumb and can’t get my shit together and I’m anxious about our relationship all the time and…” Sollux trailed off, no longer sure where that thought started or where it was headed. Terezi’s claws felt soft and soothing on his scalp.
“I’m pale for you too, Sollux. And you’re not the only one who feels like a total piece of shit most days,” she reminded him gently. “I need you just as much as you need me, Mr. Appleberry Blast.”
She tilted his head up and grinned a mouthful of fangs his way, “We can both feel dumb and insecure together!”
Sollux chuckled again; stretched a hand out to pap her on the cheek.
“I think you’re great,” he told her. “I think you’re savvy and wonderful and smart as shit.”
“You too,” she said, adjusting on the pile slightly. Another silence passed, this one comfortable. “You wanna just sit here and cuddle for a while?”