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With Ghosts Who Wait

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I was buried like a treasure
But no one ever came to mark the spot
So I got good at pleasure
And started tyin' tighter knots

*

You are more than a little drunk, and Karkat, bless his fucking miniscule waste sac, is utterly tanked. These are the only redeeming things about getting force-marched into one more of your Luminescence’s interminable parties: you’ve secured an excuse to drink without anyone clucking at you, Karkat is folded up snug and snickering under one of your arms, and everything feels actually pretty okay. The voices of the dead wind all through you but they’ve been drowned down to a dull, indistinct burble: no one’s going to die tonight. Not yet.

Also, your Archagent has just punched out Lord Yhosti, who ‘borrowed’ a rare apiculture manual from you once and when you’d gone to take it back found the thing folded up and wedged under the leg of his favorite armchair. You think you might be able to write the weregild off as a business expense.

“Yes,” your insane little goblin of a matesprit says fervently, and bobs up and down on his heels like a wiggler, “yes, yes, oh my ferric fucking Gods yes.

“That was beautiful,” you have to agree. Lord Yhosti had borrowed a few chapters of one of Karkat’s romance novels, too, for his coffee table.

Eridan is standing there with his hair mussed up and wariness ‘round his shoulders like a cloak, his knuckles still corpse-white from impact. All the soft little Lordies are scattering away from him, ripples in a pond, and Yhosti’s fucking out. He’s got a glass jaw and was never much good at hand-to-hand. And as for his auspistice...

“Three, two,” Karkat breathes against your jaw. “One.”

HEY!”

Eridan’s jaw snaps up and he rounds on the angry highblood like a cornered beast, like the center of a hurricane.

“What!” she says, and points furiously. To the point, is the Lady Tazima Miujra, but moreover every line of your kismesis’ wary scowl promises sincerely ill-advised murder and he is beautiful. His pupils are narrow with fear and his estoque is strictly for show, he’d glass someone with a broken-off wine bottle before he’d ever think to duel someone, the idiot. If he’d pull out his sword and condescend to get his ass beat he’d be allowed to limp off and let you lick his wounds in private but no, shit, he’s not going to, you know that look, he’s not even going to dodge.

Instead, when Tazima slaps him across the face, all outraged ashen propriety, he punches her right in the gut, then bites her neck on the way down. Fuck, you’re going to be quibbling with Miujra’s estate over personal damages for the next perigee at least. This is going to be a bitch to clean up and Eridan’s still biting. The only thing keeping the goldblood from a messy death is the high ugly collar protecting her vertebrae, and Eridan’s killer teeth are going to get through it sooner rather than later.

And then: rescue, blessed rescue from on high, thank all the Gods and their magnificent senses of humor. Terezi descends on the fray like a particularly exasperated vulture, scattering courtiers as she goes. The look that she shoots you through her blind eyes promises papping from the business end of a cane in the near future.

“None of you boys are anywhere near as cute as you think you are,” she hisses, and steps neatly on Karkat’s foot as she passes. Then she goes about hauling at least four frantic highbloods off each other all at once.

“Well, fuck, time to go,” you say.

“Such a shame,” Karkat says, watching the ashen clusterfuck with all the fond regard of a tipsy bastard with no personal stake in who’s placating whom. “Fucking Miujra wasn’t right ashen for that nerd Yhosti anyway, they’d be better so much better pale. He might actually get himself laid for once.”

“Yeah, well, I know one blackrom he’s not getting his fussy fucking claws into,” you say. Eridan gets pitched in your direction, wiping royal green from his filthy mouth and you are damned if you’re going to give him the space to enjoy it. You snag him by the wrist before he can scuttle off to some dark corner and brood.

“Let me go,” Eridan hisses at you, a low warble pitching his voice vicious enough to singe your fucking aurals. He’s—oh, merciful God, you think he’s actually drunk too, you don’t know what the hell he must have been ingesting. Maybe Serket slipped him some of her ablution-trap rocket fuel, you are going to electrocute her for this next time your paths cross. Hate, pitch-black and burning, steals your breath away.

“I’ll let you go when you stop disgracing us both, you bloody-minded sea-savage,” you retort, a trifle belatedly, and start dragging. He bucks and snaps, digging his heels in just to be contrary—he wants to get out of here every bit as much as you do but when he gets started on a fight he doesn’t settle easy. And if there’s one thing that gets him riled up it’s manhandling, rational thought going up in so much smoke as soon as you squeeze his wrists. But you need him out of here fast so you dig claws in and pull, and Karkat twines a white sleeved arm through his and pushes. By the time you’re off the ballroom floor and into a quieter hallway the gutter-blood’s half-mad with the restraint, making abortive little charges at you and hissing hard through his teeth.

“Aw, he’s wild tonight,” Karkat laughs breathlessly. “Eridan, you alright, buddy?”

“Let me at him, Kar,” Eridan snarls, low and bubbling-tar furious and your heart makes an athletic bid up towards your throat and you want him, you want to take him. You could drown in his eyes, you could come apart in his jaws, and when he breaks your hold on his horn he only surges forward into your space. He curls an arm around the small of your back, claws fisted in fabric just over your ass, and you feel heat bolt all through you. All it takes is a little rough handling and he loses every last pretension to be anything but what he truly is, a remorseless killer with teeth like chips of lightning and nails he keeps sharp as thorns. His pupils are narrowed with hate. You want to hold him down till he never looks at you any other way but this, like he’s crazy for you, like you’re the moons and sun and he thinks he can take you down regardless.

You have made yourself the loveliest monster.

The clash of his teeth up against yours feels like very best part of yourself, and you can taste green blood on his breath—another snap of jaws and it subsumes between that strange sea-salt violet of his. There’s an eerie thrill to it, his cold color, a dark taint to the hemochrome that slicks across your tongue and lingers as it warms. And, too, Eridan kisses like he thinks he can make your head fucking fall off if he just tries hard enough, so you kiss him back all mocking-soft breathy lips and tongue, daring him. His hand goes to grab your ass proper, scooping you flush up against him, bulge to bulge, and he drops his face down to suck hard on your throat, a wet and warning challenge, and it is all you can do to gasp for air and hang on.

“Oh, fuck,” KK says, and you look dazedly up over Eridan’s busy head to see your matesprit sag against the wall, fingers pressed to his lips. “I’m nowhere near sober enough to fucking deal with you jerks. Sollux, you...I... fuck.”

You tilt your head back against the wall, and grab ED’s wrists again. The shark-fucker makes a breathy little snarl and ravages your throat harder, sending you dizzy with the pain of it. He’s already rocking against you, fitfully, as if he’s quite forgotten how, and your knees are beyond weak.

“You guys’re fucking soused,” Karkat pronounces gravely, and then giggles. “We can’t pail in the hallway, come on. Get.”

“I’m good here, thank you ever so,” you grit out, and Eridan works his hands up under your vest, rakes claws from rib to rib. You whine, despite yourself, and Karkat looks a little floored.

“I’m going to get a room,” he says, and wobbles off.

Eridan rips off your cravat in one savage flash of teeth, the sound of tearing silk loud even over your startled gasp. Everything flashes white for a second, and sparks hit the inside of your spectacles.

Karkat wobbles back, and grabs a horn each of the both of you. His hands are decadently warm and to your horror you and Eridan make the exact same moan.

“We’re all getting a room,” Karkat says hoarsely, and you both nod.

The room is not on any ground floor. The room is not even on a second or third floor.

The room is at the top of a goddamn tower, because KK has this thing about getting drunk, which is that he segues beautifully from happy drunk to cuddly drunk, but the moment some internal boozometer ticks over he takes off for the stars by any route possible. You know it’s useless to try and argue with him when he’s like this, so you try and keep your hands off Eridan’s sour face long enough to reach the top of the tower Karkat’s picked—skidding along from landing to landing on fitful bursts of power because your feet aren’t so great at keeping contact with the floor anymore, and who are you to argue with your own limbs—and you don’t complain too much along the way. Eridan stumbles along after you, bitching and moaning. He doesn’t much like climbing stairs with a bellyful of whatever the fuck he’s been doped with. You don’t much give a shit.

“There,” Karkat pants, stumbling through the top room and onto the balcony. “There, here, we’re better now. Ah, God, yes, there’s the sky, there it is.” He sways frighteningly against the edge, and half-collapses against the wrought iron. “Right where I left it, ‘s right...” ED’s gone completely quiet, beside you. You don’t know if he’s ever seen Karkat like this before. You kind of wonder if it scares him, and you really hope it does. Scared the shit out of you, first time you found him climbing a tower from the outside, eyes locked on the sky and feet kicking out over open air more often than not.

Karkat’s face in the fading starlight, as he looks up, is something else. A stranger’s. Sanctified. He’s seen things, your best friend, he’s seen heavy fucking shit that neither you nor the finface at your side will ever really get to know about. They take Threshecadets from their hives at six sweeps sharp and when they come back planet-side they come back strange, silver chains laced tight around their hearts and the fucking stars painted bright in their eyes. Karkat’s never really been yours since the first time he left you, and when you see him with his face lit up like this you’re viscerally reminded that you’re only just barely managing to keep him tethered down with the rest of you mortals. The Gods are coming, he’s told you, sure and certain, and he knows each of them, somehow—improbably, appropriately—as friends.

As far up as you are right now, he’s looked down from further still.

But—no, no, fuck that. Not tonight, this is a fun night, not a monument to all your various and sundry fuck-ups night. So your Empress has decreed, and you don’t like to think on the devastating eyebrow-raise AA will fix you with later should you dare to disobey. You wobble over, and sit heavily beside him. He leans over and licks your raw throat, like an apology. He’s always been so sorry for the things he can’t help, your KK.

“Kiss me?” he asks, quietly.

“Oh for fuck’s sake,” you snap, and haul him into your lap. Eridan makes a jealous noise and nips your neck, his claws sharp and demanding across your side as he reaches for Karkat, too. You elbow your kismesis away, busy pressing soft and tender into KK’s mouth, running your hands over the beautiful curve of his lower spine under the tight red sash. He leans into you, and presses his lips soft as whispering against all your bite-marks.

Eridan sinks his fangs into your ear.

You cry out with pain, and Karkat, startled, sprawls back off your lap.

“Ow,” he says, like it’s funny.

Eridan is still latched on like a remora, his breath cold and damp and loud against your aural sponge, and you claw fitfully at his throat and shoulders, strike out with a sloppy lash of power. “Get off! Get off get off get off—”

You can smell burnt hair, and Karkat yelps and rolls away from the two of you. Eridan just rumbles low in his throat, and rips your waistcoat open. Buttons scatter across the balcony, and he tosses the sad brocade scraps over the railing.

Your ass drops back hard against the balcony just from shock.

Karkat blinks at you, then bursts into laughter. “Oh my God, you! You just! Fins, I love you.” He rolls to his hands and knees, and shucks off one of your boots.

“Karkat, no—”

He tosses it over the railing. Eridan actually laughs at that too, a wicked cackle that grates all through you but mercifully results in the release of your ear. You can feel it throb clear through—wouldn’t be surprised if you end up with piercings, like some kind of dockside hooligan.

You glare, flatly, and Eridan rips off a sleeve. It flutters off into the gathering morning too, and Karkat, still laughing, goes for your other boot.

“I hate you both,” you tell Karkat, kicking and squirming. “Stop it—”

They don’t stop. Bit by bit you are unwrapped like a parcel, a flurry of fraying threads and scattering buttons building up around the three of you as the shreds of your outfit—God damn, you’d liked those stockings—get pitched over. Your partners cackle like loons, and keep you too busy fending off their hands and mouths to protest much.

Finally you are naked and they’re not, and you sprawl against the railing and fight the urge to cross your arms over your chest.

“Fuck you guys,” you grumble.

“Mmm,” Karkat says, and licks your shoulder. “How do you... fuck. So smooth.”

“Fuckin’ unconscionable,” Eridan agrees, and kisses your jaw, his hands petting over your chest where you might have had gills, if you’d been born with gutterswill in your veins. Instead your skin is flawless, kept completely smooth by virtue of your position and your psionics, and you know it makes him sick with jealousy just to look at you. His eyes are distant with the best kind of loathing, as he traces over everywhere you’ve never been hurt enough to leave a mark. In the starlight all his scars glitter a little, like silver netting. He has been hurt again and again and it has made him bitter and mean, strong and fierce and proud and beautiful, and he will be hurt still further, in the course of your short stupid lives, and all of it makes you savagely hungry.

You haul him hard against you, and slowly, deliberately, lick his fins. He shudders all over, choking up, and his nails gouge starpricks of pain into your thighs. Everyone knows this about seadwellers: they’re hardasses, made of spine and spite, dangerous as anything, and utterly, hilariously vulnerable ‘round the ears. Those fins that mark them out as deadly bits of business give the rest of you a fair fucking chance, and when you roll your tongue up against one velvety violet tine ED sags against you like you’re killing him. He’s fucking beautiful with his hair all messed up like this, curls all around his face and his eyes frantic with lust, looking every bit the wild thing he truly is.

“Sol,” he sobs, scrabbling at you, “Sol, Sol, God please, fuck, God, yeah--”

Karkat’s eyes are so wide. “Fins!” he says brightly, like he’s had a revelation, and then leans in and starts mouthing, sloppy and a trifle too roughly, at the other side of Eridan’s face. The boy shakes all over like he’s going to have a seizure, and he fucking keens, high and helpless, hands and gills and eyelashes all a-flutter. You sling your arms around his waist, and you can feel Karkat wiggling in closer, his legs tangling with yours, fingers fisting in Eridan’s coat, panting so eagerly he kind of wheezes. It should be illegal to be this goddamn cute.

You realize this is the first time everything’s aligned for you and Eridan to have a real go, like, you might be able to really do it, everything’s been a blur of medical procedures and long workdays and cautious, competitive courtship for ages now but no, you think this is finally it, and the way KK’s been eagerly petting at you both means he’s thinking the exact same thing, only even more delightedly.

“Are you th—are you sure,” you ask, and Eridan blurts out, “Y’really wanna, like, f’r shore, Kar—” and KK, bless him, laughs only a little unkindly, and then kisses your crude asshole of a kismesis so sweetly that if the world had any justice in it cherry blossoms would rain down all around you.

God, though, you keep re-learning how this muddle fucks with your head, the way Eridan—Eridan Ampora, of all kids—makes such soft flushed moans under the studious press of Karkat’s mouth, sounds he’d never make for you no matter how stupidly you might have flipped, once or twice. You’re the smartest kid on the planet, no modesty necessary, but you feel stupid confused at the way your kismesis adores your matesprit just as devotedly as you do and that’s the one thing you can’t hate him for. The tenderness and fury churns you up inside: you don’t know what you’re supposed to be feeling right now, and the burn of hate and love at once makes you sick with confusion. You want KK all to yourself, wrapped up precious and safe, you want ED all to yourself to break into bloody, quivering chunks. You want to watch them touch each other in front of you until you halfway die from whatever these commingled feelings are doing to your insides.

“Scream for me, Fins,” Karkat murmurs, slow and pleased, and Eridan gives a wrenching cry that rattles you down to your bones, and lunges forward. They roll over and over each other on the small balcony, lithe and showy, spilling out jackets and sashes as they tumble. Underneath his carefully tailored camouflage Eridan’s shoulders are a fucking hymn of honest labor, eight sweeps of hauling nets and dumping bodies filling him out solid as bricks. He’s got too Gods-be-damned much muscle to smirk at you about but fuck if it doesn’t send your pulse skittering up your throat. And then Karkat, God, the stupid martyr’s been sculpted into all sparse planes and tense wire. Tangled together they make a terrible sight: the highblood’s lime-flushed hide is as scar-netted as the gutterblood boy he’s leaning over. It isn’t right. But it’s gorgeous.

They slant you looks, out of the corners of their eyes, and when Karkat bends down to nip the solid angle of Eridan’s jaw and Eridan gives a breathy, showy warble and rolls his hips, you know they’re doing it just to show off for you. It makes you feel fine as hell.

Then Eridan kind of melts, under Karkat’s attention, goes pained and longing-soft, his hands too gentle as they twine through Karkat’s tousled hair, his ragged breaths too hungry, his gaze too fond, and they way they wrap up in each other twists your guts into terrible knots. What if they—don’t want you, don’t need you, why would they—suddenly this all feels less like a free show and a lot more like a mugging, and you can’t stand anything about him. Sizzling with anger, you reach out in a blaze of power and haul Eridan across the tile and into your lap.

“The fuck!” he yowls in pain and fury, slapping at you.

“You’re mine,” you hiss, “You don’t forget that, fish-fuck, you’re mine.” He stares at you from scant inches away, pupils blown wide as sinkholes and mouth gaping smearily open, then his teeth click together and he slams your frontpan with his own. Kid hits like a tidal wave, and everything in your head goes utterly silent for one moment of white-hot pain.

Then his hands go around your throat, and that’s new. That’s very new.

You blink stars from your eyes, thrash a little. He’s straddled your hips and is staring down at you with a dark and fathomless gaze. His hands are strong as iron bands and he seems utterly intent on straight-up murder. You can’t breathe and have a headache fit to die from: you could get him off you with your psionics but your level of control right now’d probably pulp him into bits and for reasons you aren’t quite clear on you don’t want him to die just yet, not actually die. Everything feels too hot and too fuzzy and your chest spasms out of control, struggling reflexively for air you’re not going to get. The way ED’s curled over you, there’s no way for KK to see what he’s doing till it’s too late.

He leans in, brushes his blood-wet lips to the curve of your ear.

“I’m just as much his as yours, Captor,” he murmurs low and pissed off into your aural dish, “and he’s just as much mine as you are his also. You spoiled fuckin’ ganglin’ sorry case a lee helm, this was all your idea anyway! Are you going to Goddamn come about or do I gotta make you?”

God, you hate when he gets all nautical at you, and he knows it.

He bites down on your ear, slow enough that you can feel the agony of his teeth bolt all down your vertebral chute, almost as bad as the pain of knowing the insufferable monster is right. Seascum, but he’s smart.

And he knows you. Better than anyone does this hateful, screwed up, vicious boy know who you are and what you deserve for it. And yet: you work your hands up right before his dumb mug so he can see your fingers, and you curl all of them down but the relevant two.

He goes “Heh,” real quietly, kisses your slack lips, and then lets you go.

You gasp and then start to cough, the shock of fresh clean air down your pipes sending your head into a giddy spin.

“Think our delicate golden flower here could use some softer handlin’,” ED drawls, all airy contempt and you are utterly lost to how much you hate this boy. “Sire Vantas, would you be so kind?” He shifts off you to your side and Karkat presses against you, gentle hands and laughing mouth, and you find yourself wallowing through a hot mess of pain and love and hate and self-loathing. It’s not like you presume to deserve Karkat, not all of him, not the entire thing. No one does. It’s that what you’ve got you’re damn well going to hang on to—and, hell, the same goes for the kid with the fins and the champion sneer.

“Hey, you big hatestud,” Karkat says, soft against your lips.

“Hey yourself, asshole,” you retort, too charmed for any venom.

Then you kiss him, because you are so completely smooth. He makes the most fantastic little chirps when you drag fangs across his tongue, strangled off all coy and teasing, and his hands knead encouragingly at your shoulders. His nails aren’t worn unevenly blunt like yours from typing. Instead they’re filed perfectly smooth and round in the classic Threshecutioner’s affectation: first do no harm. He probably couldn’t unpick a knotted cord with his his nails like that, let alone scratch you up like he’s instinctively trying to, and it makes your heart ache with tenderness.

“Gonna,” he gasps, “I, Sol, I’m—fuck—yes, come on!”

“Got the pail,” ED says, and you startle because you hadn’t even noticed him go anywhere.

Karkat moans desperately, and when the pail’s slotted between you and the first spatters of fluid ring out against the bottom he sobs with need, rutting up against the side hard and desperate. He’s way too buzzed to hold out for long, to want to bother with any more foreplay, and that suits you just fine. Especially with the way his motions are pressing the deliciously cool, smooth curve of the pail between your own legs, God. That’s good.

Eridan hooks his jaw over your shoulder, obnoxiously intrusive, and curls his tongue wetly into your tattered ear. You yelp, then hate yourself.

“Waiting on your sloppy seconds, sharkfucker?” you sneer at him, trying to recover a little dignity, and when he and Karkat both laugh you realize all that came out of your bit-up mouth was a contemptuous warbling hiss and a thick spray of yellow blood. Fuck your lisp. Fuck Eridan, for slicing your mouth up so extravigantly, fuck Karkat for taking such sexy advantage of it. You’re drooling all over like a wiggler at his first sexual schoolfeed. “Go to hell, you two,” you add, a little more coherently.

Then Karkat hauls you into a truly stunning kiss by the your ears, his thumb stinging slippery-hot at the shred of where Eridan had chomped earlier, and you suddenly and entirely renounce every complaint you have ever made about losing your heart to one of the Mother’s Own. He kisses you like he’s had lessons and aced every test. He kisses you like he wants to let you know why anyone ever invented anything as awesome as sticking their mouths together, he kisses you like he knows by rote how to catch each and every individual nerve of your body alight and is so happy to demonstrate. He kisses you in such a way you understand exactly why ED composed that one sonnet he thinks you don’t know about.

It’s too much to bear and you blurt out a truly undignified little noise you know Eridan will mock you for later but you can’t think of anything but Karkat, and the pail already starting to catch your colors together, and how the taste of his blood against your teeth hits you so hard, how he tastes like alien spices, strange and sweet and unfathomably precious, and this is what you wanted, this, yes. Finally KK bows forward and climaxes, a heady spattering rush of scent and need and violent life, and you press your horns to his and tip over the edge too, curling your fingers tight in his messy hair while there is nothing more to you but the spilling of your essence into his, the pure bright burn of release.

Then you two lean your foreheads against each other’s shoulders, and just gasp for a while, try and catch your breath through the aftershocks. Some amount of furtive, wigglerish licking and giggling might be involved.

“Right,” you say finally, when it feels like your face is going to stay attached after all. “Yeah, uh. Right.”

“Mmmmn,” Karkat sighs, licking his puffy, green-speckled lips a final time, and flops over backwards. “Cull me now, that—fuck.That was good.

“Don’t fucking sleep there, you weirdo,” you manage, licking your own lips. “You’ll stunt your growth.”

“Like you would even know.” He rolls over onto his front, looks blearily guilty. “Fins—I’m such a douche, didn’t think to—pace myself, sorry—mind if I take a few?”

“Sure,” ED says, sounding surprised, “yeah, fuck, I mean look at you, do you even got enough juice in that sorry sack you pass off as skin for another round tonight?”

Karkat just grins, slow and filthy, and to your intense delight Eridan goes “glub.”

“Kid,” he says, “I am a professional.”

“You’re something alright,” ED says all hoarse and reverent, and then, “Hey, you shut up,” when you start laughing, and he smacks your horns.

Karkat whistles sharply for attention, and when you both pause your tussle to look over he waves a hand, indolently as any empress. “Give me something a little more entertaining to watch than a bitchfight, if you gentlemen would be ever so kind,” he drawls, and you have just enough time for the bottom to drop out of your digestive sac before Eridan’s claws rake down your sides, from your chest all the way to your hips. It stings cold in a way that lets you know he’s drawn quite a lot of blood and isn’t sorry at all.

Karkat, whose collection of black bodice rippers are going to burn after this, cheers. Eridan blows him a smug kiss. Everything good in the world is a dirty lie. Your head is a dull throb of pain—your mouth, your torn ear, your scratched-up sides, your half-crushed throat, you’re tired and aching and cranky as fuck, but your pride’s a plucked string, you’re humming with anger and already heating back up.

You grab a handful of horn and twist, and then you’re the one rolling over across the balcony, skinning your knees against the railing, clocking your horns off the tile, snapping and clawing and giving near as good as you get. When Eridan closes in under your guard like this, though, there’s only so much of a show you can put on before the options are snap like a twig or charbroil his fool face off. You get a good punch to his gills, though, brutal enough to hear his growl go shrill and wheezy.

You can tell the exact moment where his desire to show off gets subsumed beneath the desire to make you fucking hurt: it’s when you find yourself sailing up and over the railing. Just as your psionics kick in, his arms grab you again, haul you back to slam against the iron bars—from the wrong side of the fucking balcony. You can feel all the wrought iron flowers digging a hundred points of pain into your spine and shoulders, and your legs kick out over a twelve-story drop. If you didn’t have your psionics the only thing keeping you from a messy fucking death would be Eridan’s arm around your chest. Your head spins and you’re tired as fuck and your heart is racing and you feel so incredibly alive, wired on adrenaline and bloodlust.

If you didn’t have your psionics... you can feel the strain of keeping your concentration up enough to float yourself starting to throb all through your thinkpan, rattling out to your horns, and when his other arm slips through the bars and palms your nook everything in you just shorts out, powers and voices and any pretense to rationality, and you sag hard into his grasp.

He nuzzles the back of your braincase, presses a mockingly-chaste nip to the back of your neck.

“So highblood or not I doubt you are anywhere within spittin’ distance a sober,” he murmurs, “and I just let you fuckin’ tucker yourself all out on our best buddy Kar over there. If I were to let go... you think you’ve got enough control left not to fuckin’ splatter?”

You might. You really might.

But then again, you might not.

Your fingers curl around his arms, clinging on to him for safety despite yourself. You are panting for air, strained past all hope, your lungs sandy-raw and burning. And he keeps kneading between your legs, the protective ridge of bone bulge and the soft yielding folds of your nook, stimulation that keeps you squirming and fuzzy with the distracting, insistent throb of undiluted pleasure. He’s a fucking master at all the worst ways to rub one out without a pail, filthy fucking dockside perversions folded away like extra aces up his sleeves, and you have never managed to win any of these kinds of games against him. You couldn’t focus enough to lift a teacup with him paying you this kind of attention, much less yourself, and you’re going to have a whole mustard-yellow garden’s worth of flower-shaped bruises all up and down your back from how hard Eridan’s holding you against the railing. You don’t even know if you can come again, so soon, or if he’s going to torture you with this all night. He’s stubborn enough to do it, too.

His arm around your chest is rock-steady. It might as well be just another iron bar, for how firmly it holds you, and how coldly.

But he winds you up tighter and tighter and you can feel the need building, a tide—ha, tide—coming in and out, each hard push between your legs wringing a pathetic moan through your gritted teeth. You’re chewing on your own tongue from your own frantic desire, your voice bubbling higher and wetter as you writhe desperately up against his grasp, your hips pushing into empty air. His breath is a heavy rasp in your ear, his lips pressed sticky and loose against the curve of your shoulder.

Finally he gasps, “Sol, ah—” and you hear the sound of him releasing down into a pail You realize that the fucking gutterblooded shark-fucking sea-scum has had the filial fucking pail between his legs the whole time, he’s been sitting perfectly fucking pretty while all you got was a nookful of his chilly claws and the bolt of rage that sears through you shatters the whole world into bits.

You spill down your own bare chest, screaming with blind animal fury, and then he lets you drop.

The air cuts into your flesh like knives, and you very, very nearly don’t make it. Your powers sputter and spark as you tumble, too dizzy to know which way is up and still aching with the aftermath of an intense second climax, you are utterly drained and you almost die from it. You sort your shit a bare handful of feet from the courtyard at the base of the tower, and then you are so goddamn tired that you smack hard against the pavement anyway. You see stars, and your shoulder gives a brutal crunch.

The balcony is a high distant shape above you, and Eridan is nowhere in sight. He didn’t even stay to see if you died, the utter fuck. God, you hate how much faith that douchebag has in you when it suits him.

You roll over, slow and painful, and throw up for a while. Good job, Captor, a party well fucking ended, you brilliant piece of shit.

By the time you haul your sorry psionic ass up to the balcony level half an hour later dawnlight’s nipping at your shoulders, and there’s only a carapace to greet you, and she’s a lot more intent on her mop than looking anywhere near your thoroughly abused and completely bare-ass fucking naked particulars. She’s almost certainly giggling at something else, like birds, or the weather.

“My partners?” you ask.

She points.

“You saw nothing,” you say.

She rolls her beady little eyes and gets back to mopping. You gather what little dignity you can—oh god, something went squelch—and abscond at a briskly miserable limp.

When you track them down Eridan’s already tucked up snug as a grub around your matesprit in a guest recuperacoon.

You kind of want to haul Eridan out by his horns for that stunt, for daring to trust you like that, but Karkat’s got his head tucked firmly under his chin and his limbs doing a pretty good octopus impression and you think if you try to pry them apart you’re going to lose an arm. You’re not even actually sure if they’ve done their thing and you missed it, or if they’re going to wake you up going at it tomorrow evening. You’re not sure which thought exasperates you more. How the fuck do you keep getting outmaneuvered by your own damn Archagent? Then again—you’d never have promoted him if he couldn’t get you like this. You are suffused, as always, with resentful admiration at the sheer audacity of the twisted purple bastard, and fond exasperation at how the greatest Threshecutioner of your generation does nothing but egg him on.

They leave off cooing at each other long enough to smile sleepily over the recuperacoon’s rim at you, and you are struck by them all over again, the warmth of their mutual regard. Eridan never thought you wouldn’t make it back up; Karkat either. They screwed you stupid and dropped you off a balcony to go gnaw each other’s faces in private, and thought that was okay. And... it kind of was. It kind of was awesome.

You belly-flop ungracefully into the slime, though, just to spite them. KK comes up shrill and sputtering with indignation, and ED aspirates some slime trying to snarl at you and has to go into a very satisfying coughing fit. You snicker with triumph curl up around them, taller than them both by a very great deal, and they whine and scratch uselessly, too dazed from the slime to actually hurt you. You might pay for all this later—you are certainly paying for some of it now—but it’s so worth it. Oh, you think muzzily, before sleep takes you: Oh Pulse and Haze, God of fate and family, of the silver eyes and the soft hands, who divided trollkind justly that they would learn to come back together, who asks no price too high to pay. Thank you. Thank you.

These two boys are yours, and that’s worth anything.

*

-- twinApprehensions [TA] began trolling gallowsConflagration [GC]! --

TA: 2o how’2 the fallout lookiing?
GC: RO4DCH P3TR3L’S SU1NG YOU FOR 3MOT1ON4L D4M4G3S
TA: what the hell 2he wa2n’t even iin the room when yho2tii got punched out!
GC: TH1S 1S 4PP4R3NTLY H3R COMPL41NT
GC: TH3R3 W4S 4LSO SOM3TH1NG 4BOUT 4 COPY OF DONGL3S MONTHLY 4ND 4 CR3D3NZ4 BUT TH4T’S WH3N MY 34RS ST4RT3D TO GL4Z3 OV3R
TA: fuck.

*

if the sun don't light
and the night won't turn
we'll get a room at the end of the world
and we'll rewrite all the wrongs we've learned
safe in our room at the end of the world

—Matt Nathanson, “Room At The End Of The World”