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Fifty Shades Of Pale

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After an unclear series of events that will most likely never be explained, a community of humans and trolls began living on a meteor where where the mood of Vriska Serket became a growing cause of concern. In the first week of cohabitation Vriska had ruined everything she could get her hands on. She stole everyone's food from the communal fridge (she denied it while eating the snacks in plain sight), she painted graffiti on the walls, she destroyed computers and even plunged her head into an aquarium to sink her fangs into a cuttlefish (she told Feferi that the cephalopod was asking for it). She destroyed Sollux's computer, trampled Karkat's DVDS, ripped Kanaya's fashion clothes and messed with Nepeta's shipping wall. She threw things at Gamzee, she bonked Equius on the head while commanding him to stop sweating (the sweating intensified), she kicked Tavros down the stairs on every occasion and one time kicked him *up* the stairs (it took a lot of kicks). It was not that Vriska had changed in nature. She was only been herself, if perhaps a little too much. Whatever she did, the Thief of Light just had to steal the spotlight and it didn't take long that trolls began avoiding her altogether.

The humans lived on the other side of the meteor and were spared from Vriska, until she ran out of people to annoy on the troll side of the meteor and turned her gaze toward the human dormitories. It began when Jade's squiddle plushies vanished from her room and were found torn apart, as if bitten by a wild animal that wore blue lipsticks. It was Rose who was next when she found her Grimoire of the Zoologically Dubious penned with raunchy pirate fanfiction. Dave's photography equipment then went missing, only to be found discarded in a thrash can. The rolls of film were filled with nothing but close ups of pails and buckets. Last of all it was John who was targeted, much to his outrage, when he caught Vriska in the act of defacing a movie poster in his room. John did not appreciate her justification that she was "making them less lame", and John made a point to say that Jodie Foster was a pretty lady who, in fact, did not need blue lipstick to look good.

The humans attempted to reason with the scorpio troll but obtained no results. The Vriska situation was intensifying to the point where they might not be able to contain it and soon it was time to call an emergency meeting over the problem.

-- ectoBiologist [EB] has opened a memo --

EB: i don't want to be judgmental but can we talk about the fact that vriska is kinda maybe insane.
EB: like in movies when a character makes us laugh because they always do crazy things.
EB: and whenever there's a plan going on you just know the goofy character is gonna ruin everything.
EB: but when you actually have someone like that in your life.
EB: it turns out that it really sucks.
turntechGodhead [TG] has joined the memo
TG: yo man
TG: couldnt have said it better
tentacleTherapist [TT] has joined the memo
TT: I have attempted many times to discuss politely the issue with the individual in question.
TT: But whenever I converse with her she rolls her eyes upward the ceiling and makes the gesture of opening and closing her hand.
TT: She finds it funny and I suppose that it is indeed comical from an outward perspective but it does not solve the problem at hand.
gardenGnostic [GG] has joined the memo
GG: she broke my stuff and refused to apologize!
GG: shes banned from my room!!!
TG: pretty sure shes banned from everybodys room
TG: doesnt seem to stop her
GG: i though at first that it was just a cultural misunderstanding
GG: but i talked with the other trolls and they are all very nice
GG: theyre not like her at all!
GG: I dont understand whats her problem and she wont tell me :(
TT: I suspected at first that her aggression was rooted in her blood pigmentation but even trolls who rank higher on the hemospectrum do not prove to be as unruly as her.
TG: i dont think even the trolls understand her
carcinoGeneticist [CG] has joined the memo
CG: DO I SERIOUSLY HAVE TO SPELL EVERYTHING TO YOU PSYCHEDELIC FUCKING FREAKOUT WEASELS ON IDIOT DRUGS.
EB: oh hi karkat!
CG: FUCK YOU JOHN EGBERT
CG: AND FUCK EVERYBODY ELSE IN THIS ROOM.
CG: I’VE BEEN SCHOOLFEEDING YOU ABOUT QUADRANTS SINCE THE DAY YOU ARRIVED ON THIS METEOR.
CG: YOU SHOULD KNOW WHAT THIS BUSINESS IS ABOUT.
TG: spoilers were dumb can you tell us plz
CG: YOU KNOW WHAT?
CG: FORGET IT.
CG: I’LL WAIT UNTIL YOU DISORIENTED Íæûë€Å MONKEYS STOP SHITTING ALL YOUR WITS DOWN THE LOAD GAPER. GOOD DAY, OR NIGHT, OR WHATEVER.



Perhaps what puzzled the human kids the most was the growing realization that Vriska wasn’t happy with herself either. With every day that passed Vriska’s distress became more manifest. Her movements were too stiff and she spoke too fast. Her mind was elsewhere and her mood was forced. Budding frustration seemed to fill her body all the way to the fingertips; her fingers rapped on desks, her feet tapped the ground and her hands opened and closed as if to strangle the air around her. Sometimes a mood came over her and she snatched the nearest object which she toyed with ever increasing frustration until the object was done and torn to pieces. This gave her but a fleeting moment of satisfaction. The very air around Vriska felt heavy, clogged and unbreathable. Yet still she forced a toothy grin on her face and made a show to pretend that everything about her was playful acting.

-- arachnidsGrip [AG] has opened a memo --

AG: What do you mean what’s up with me.
AG: The only thing that’s up is that I’m not a huge loser like you guys.
AG: Hahahaha see you l8ter nerds!

-- arachnidsGrip [AG] has left the memo --



Vriska was not online often. She was quick to destroy any computer she used. It was common sight to witness Vriska grab her keyboard and gnaw on it in a fit of frustration (people learned not to let her borrow their PCs). When Sollux stopped bothering to repair the terminals in the communal room it only exacerbated the situation at hand. Vriska started roaming the meteor and mischief inevitably followed in her wake, like a natural disaster in the shape of a person. Nobody wanted to have her on their hands and sometimes she would disappear for lengths of times. At times, when Vriska thought nobody was looking, she could be spotted in an empty corridor, resting her forehead against the wall, her hands trusted into her pockets, gazing at her ground and kicking the wall bitterly as if something was eating her from the inside.

-- tentacleTherapist [TT] has opened a memo --

TT: I have corrobarated evidence from several sources on alternian psychodynamics and I think I have an inkling about the nature of her problem.
turntechGodhead [TG] has joined the memo
TG: we dont need to corroborate shit
TG: spidergirl is crazy end of story
TT: You are quick to dismiss an issue that may run culturally deep. I believe that Vriska is, out of a lack of better term, flirting with us.
TG: the fuck
ectoBiologist [EB] has joined the memo
EB: no offense rose but i’m gonna side with dave on that one.
EB: maybe your seer compass is playing pranks on you.
TT: No you see, I think we are approaching the problem from a human perspective whereas we naturally dismiss the appeal of the darker quadrants.
TG: here we go with the goddamn quadrants again
TT: I believe that Vriska Serket is an individual strongly defined by her black sentimentality. It is a boiling turmoil of intense emotions that we mostly perceive as hate.
TT: However Vriska’s black quadrant is empty. I think that she is expressing her hate in hope of attracting a kismesis partner. Her lack of success in that regard would be the reason why she appears so desperate and frustrated with the current events. I understand that trolls who encroach puberty are under a lot of biological pressure for filling their emotional needs and Vriska may suffer from not having anyone who reciprocates her feelings.
TG: bullshit everybody hates her
TT: I am aware of the blind spots in my theories. Perhaps there are subtle degrees of troll hate that we do not perceive, differences that can dictate which kind of hate is suitable for relationships and which kind is platonic.
carcinoGeneticist [CG] has joined the memo
CG: BLACK FLIRTING, REALLY.
CG: IS THAT IS YOUR ANSWER?
CG: WOW NO WONDER YOUR SESSION WAS FUCKED UP FROM THE START WITH A SEER LIKE THAT.
CG: OR MAYBE YOUR SPECIES JUST HAS WORTHLESS BILGESACKS FROM LEPROUS MUSCLEBEASTS INSTEAD OF GRAY MATTER AS I'VE ALWAYS SUSPECTED.
CG: ALRIGHT WRIGGLERS IT’S TIME TO SIT DOWN AND LISTEN WHILE LUSUS KARKAT TELLS YOU A RECUPERACOON STORY.
CG: VRISKA ISN’T BLACK FLIRTING.
TT: How informative.
CG: SHUT UP AND LET ME CONTINUE.
CG: VRISKA THINKS THAT SHE’S BLACKFLIRTING BUT SHE ISN’T.
CG: SHE’S FULL OF FAKE HATE.
CG: AND FAKE ANGER.
CG: ALL THOSE FEELINGS BURNED OUT INSIDE OF HER A LONG TIME AGO AND LEFT BEHIND A HOLLOW SHELL. A FLIMSY FACADE HELD BY SPIDERWEBS WEAVED OUT OF LIES AND DECEIT.
CG: AND THE SADDEST THING IS THAT SHE GOT CAUGHT IN HER OWN WEB.
CG: AND NOW SHE’S IN COMPLETE DENIAL ABOUT HER LASCIVIOUS DISPLAYS OF PALE SOLICITATION.
CG: SO IN CASE THAT WASN’T CLEAR.
CG: VRISKA NEEDS A GOOD RAILING.
gallowsCalibrator [GC] has joined the memo
GG: 1 DON’T FULLY 4GR33 W1TH K4RK4T’S CHO1C3 OF WORDS
GG: BUT H3’S R1GHT >:[
GG: VR1SK4 1S STUBBORN 4ND K33PS R3PR3SS1NG H3R PROBL3MS
GG: L1K3 4 BL1ND DR4GON F1RMLY 3NSCONC3D W1TH1N 1TS 3GG 4ND R3FUS1NG TO COM3 OUT
EB: okay i’m a bit confused.
EB: what do you mean when you say vriska’s afraid to come out?
CG: JOHN.
CG: DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED IN THE COMMON ROOM YESTEDAY?



Something odd had happened between John and Vriska in the common room yesterday. It all started when John saw Vriska scuttle into the room and decided to give her a bottle of apple juice as a token of peace. Vriska leered suspiciously at John and at the offering in his outstretched hand. Then she made a small "humf", snatched angrily the bottle from his hand, lifted it up and threw it at the ground. Apple juice splashed on their shoes and the sound of shattering glass filled the common room, followed by an awkward silence. Everyone was staring.

Vriska then did something even moreso unusual. Her breath paused, her eyes dilated, her lips parted slightly open and a curious expression came over her face. John didn’t notice much of it as he simultaneously attempted a goofy smile, placed a hand on Vriska’s shoulder and told her to calm herself. Vriska then grabbed John’s hand, dragged it toward her face and in a quick cat-like motion, rubbed her cheek against it. For an instant her eyes closed.

The next instant Vriska snapped back to her old self. She yelled prudishly and shoved the boy away like defending from an aggressor. Vriska’s chest heaved with deep breaths, her face was flushed and she rubbed her cheek as if it had been burned. Then she yelled "I’M NOT EASY LIKE THAT", turned her back and ran. John told her to wait but she didn’t listen.

EB: of course i remember.
EB: i offered vriska a bottle of apple juice and she threw it at the ground.
EB: that was really terrible that apple juice was a token of peace.
EB: if she didn’t want it then she didn’t have to waste it.
EB: or maybe she assumed that i secretly replaced the juice with piss as one of my pranks.
TG: what kind of sicko would think of something like that
CG: NO YOU SEE.
CG: WHEN A TROLL BREAKS SOMETHING RIGHT IN FRONT OF ANOTHER TROLL.
CG: IT SENDS A CERTAIN MESSAGE.
CG: IT MEANS THE TROLL WANTS TO BE PACIFIED.
CG: "COME ON AND STOP ME".
CG: THE INTENT COULDN’T POSSIBLY BE CLEARER.
CG: ALTHOUGH YOU NORMALLY DON’T DO THAT IN PUBLIC BECAUSE THAT’S DOWNRIGHT OBSCENE.
EB: okay you say vriska wanted me to calm her.
EB: but it’s what I tried to do!
EB: i grabbed her shoulder and told her to calm down and then she pushed me away.
GC: 3X4CTLY
GC: VR1SK4 1S 1N SOL1D D3N14L 4BOUT H3R P4L3 N33DS
GC: 1T’S SOM3TH1NG C4LL3D 4 QU4DR4NT LOCK
GC: 1T’S WH3N YOU PR3T3ND TO YOURS3LF TH4T YOU DON’T W4NT TO F1LL 4 QU4DR4NT WH3N 1N F4CT YOU DO
GC: 4ND TH3 MOR3 YOU TRY TO 1GNOR3 TH3 PROBL3M TH3 B1GG3R 1T B3COM3S
GC: UNT1L TH3R3’S SO MUCH PR3SSUR3 BU1LD1NG UP TH4T YOU’R3 4FR41D TO TOUCH TH3 PROBL3M B3C4US3 1T HURTS TOO MUCH
GC: L1KE 4 FLOODG4T3S TH4T YOU C4N'T OP3N W1THOUT LOS1NG CONTROL
GC: 4ND TH3N YOU G3T SO US3D TO RUNN1NG 4W4Y FROM YOURS3LF TH4T YOU DON’T NOT1C3 1T 4NYMOR3
CG: WHEN A TROLL HAS A BAD CASE OF LOCKED QUADRANT IT LEADS TO A SERIOUS IMBALANCE. THE FLOW OF THEIR EMOTIONAL MATRIX GOES ALL OVER THE PLACE AND SPILLS IN THE WRONG QUADRANT WHERE FEELINGS GET INTERPRETED INCORRECTLY. FOR EXAMPLE IT’S LIKE WHEN PEOPLE ARE IN DENIAL ABOUT BEING IN REDROM AND ACT MEAN TOWARDS THE PERSON THEY LIKE.
CG: IN VRISKA’S CASE HER PALE QUADRANT IS LEFT DRY AND HER EMOTIONS SPILL OVER TO THE BLACK QUADRANT, MAKING HER CONVINCED THAT SHE’S A GREAT KISMESIS LOOKING FOR SPORT.
EB: wow.
CG: BUT WHEN YOU LIE TO YOURSELF THERE’S ALWAYS A SMALL PART OF YOU THAT DOESN’T BUY ANY OF YOUR BULLSHIT.
CG: BECAUSE A NATURAL CRAVING IS HARD TO HOLD BACK
CG: IT’S THE SAME FOR VRISKA. SHE HOLDS IT BACK FOR AS LONG AS SHE CAN BUT SOMETIMES IT SLIPS PAST HER DEFENSES. BEFORE SHE REALIZES IT SHE SOLICITS A PALE ADVANCE. THEN SHE GETS SCARED, PUSHES YOU AWAY AND RETREATS BACK INTO HER SAD SHELL.
GC: SO BASICALLY SHE’S TSUNDERE.
EB: sorry i dont speak alien language.
TG: ok so if i get this right
TG: vriska just needs to learn to chillax
CG: YOU CAN’T JUST MAKE YOUR FRUSTRATIONS GO AWAY.
CG: WELL AT LEAST TROLLS CAN’T. WE BIOLOGICALLY CAN’T. SOMEONE ELSE NEEDS TO DO IT FOR US
TT: Interesting.
GC: 1 GU3SS 1TS WHY 4S 4 SP3C13S W3 C4N 4PP34R 4 L1TTL3 H4RD H34D3D
GC: W3 TRY TO NOT L3T 4NYTH1NG G3T TO US TO M1N1M1Z3 OUR 3MOT1ON4L B4GG4G3 4ND L3SS3N TH3 LO4D
GC: BUT TH3R3’S 4LW4YS SOM3 N4GG1NG B1TS OF B1TT3RN3SS TH4T G3TS STUCK 1N OUR PSYCH3 L1K3 BL4CK GOO TH4T N3V3R N3V3R GO3S 4W4Y
GC: W3 TRY TO BURY 1T D33P 1NS1D3 US 4ND 1T S33PS 1NTO D4RK THOUGHTS TH4T THR34T3N TO BURST OUT 1NTO SUDD3N 4CTS OF V1OL3NC3
GG: this is...
GG: this is really something!
TG: cant you guys just take a chill pill or something
CG: WHAT THE FLIPPING FUCK DO HUMANS TAKE PALE DRUGS
TG: ok no i mean
TG: have you tried squeezing a stress ball thats what those little shits are made for
CG: ARE YOU SERIOUSLY TALKING ABOUT
CG: PALE MASTURBATION
TG: nevermind
GC: 1 DON’T KNOW HOW 1T WORKS FOR HUM4NS BUT TH1S 1S K1ND OF 4 B1G D34L FOR US
GC: 1T’S WHY W3 H4V3 P4L3 URG3S
GC: 4ND N33D MO1R41LS TO F1LL TH3M
GC: 1T’S TH3 MOST 1NT1M4T3 BOND TH4T TROLLS C4N SH4R3 4ND 1T’S V3RY ROM4NT1C1Z3D 1N 4LT3RN14N CULTUR3
GC: 1 DON’T KNOW HOW TO 3XPL41N 1T B3TT3R 1N WORDS BUT 1T’S R34LLY D33P
GC: TH3Y S4Y TH4T H4V1NG 4 MO1R41L 1S L1K3 B31NG COMPL3T3 FOR TH3 F1RST T1M3
GC: 4LSO TH1S STUFF 1S K1ND4 T4BOO 4ND W3 DON’T T4LK LOUDLY 4BOUT 1T
GC: JUST 3XPL41N1NG 1T TO YOU GUYS M4K3S M3 F33L D1RTY 4ND P3RV3RT3D
CG: YEAH NO KIDDING.
CG: TALK ABOUT AWKWARD.
GG: i dont understand why you think its dirty
GG: i mean its platonic so it doesnt involves people doing you-know-what
GG: its just people talking about their problems
GG: and doing cute stuff, like snuggling and hand holding!
CG: JADE HOLY FUCK.
CG: WHERE DID YOU GET A DIRTY MOUTH LIKE THAT.
EB: snuggling?
EB: hand holding?
CG: FUCK YOU TOO JOHN.
TG: you guys are fucking nuts
TG: i love it

Chapter Text

Vriska was not seen again since the apple juice incident. This went on for several days and for the first time since cohabitation, the crew dwelling on the meteor saw a change of pace in their daily life.

CG: SHE’S SULKING
CG: LET US ENJOY SOME PEACE FINALLY

Karkat’s prophecied peace never came. A sense of gloom fell upon the meteor as humans and trolls lived warily of the ticking bomb above their head; the buzzing talk of the day was trying to find out what crazy thing the irredeemable spider bitch was going to do next. Time passed slowly in anticipation and yet nothing came of it; Vriska apparently kept to her room which none dared to visit. A painted skull laid bare on her door and people spoke in hushed voices when they walked by it.

Meanwhile on the other side of the meteor, Rose Lalonde laid quietly on a pink bed with her knees neatly pressed together. A pile of books on alternian psychology laid next to her; they were colored red, black, ashen and pale pink. She held one preciously cupped in her hands. Suddenly there was a beep and a speech bubble containing John’s green ghost appeared over her computer.

-- ectoBiologist[EB] has opened a memo --

EB: vriska.
tentacleTherapist [TT] has joined the memo
TT: What is it john?
EB: it’s vriska
EB: she was in my room last night.
gardenGnostic [GG] has joined the memo
GG: oh!
GG: OH!!!
TT: John it is your esteemed duty as team leader to be as informative as possible about your conquests of the romantic persuasion. Tell us everything. Don’t spare any juicy detail.
EB: no no it’s not like that!
EB: it was...
EB: it was weird!
EB: at first i felt like i was suffocating in my dreams, i was feeling crushed, that’s when i stirred awake.
EB: and then she was there.
EB: vriska was in my bed, straddling on top of me.
turntechGodhead [TG] has joined the memo
TG: woah back the fuck up
TG: where do i sign up to wake up covered in bitches
EB: i told you it’s not like that! she just sneaked into my room and sat on me like some kind of overgrown family pet who craves attention at a godforsaken hour of the night.
EB: i can still remember her huge troll yellow eyes glaring at me in the darkness. they were glowing like cat eyes it was really eerie.
TT: And then what?
EB: she hissed.
EB: she hissed at me.
GG: So what did you do?
EB: i told her to get the hell out of my room!
EB: then she she scrambled away.
EB: that’s it.
carcinoGeneticist [CG] has joined the memo
CG: GREAT MOTHER LUSUS IN THE SKY YOU HORNLESS FREAKS TRULY HAVE BULGE SLIME IN YOUR BRAINS.
CG: I TOLD YOU ALREADY.
CG: SHE WANTS THE PAPS.
CG: WHEN A TROLL HISSES AT YOU IT’S BASICALLY A STRIP TEASE VERSION OF A PALE ADVANCE. IT MEANS THE TROLL IS AN HIGHTENED STATE OF EXCITATION.
TG: you mean pale horny
EB: look i’m in culture shock ok and besides all this troll junk is hardly obvious as you make it out to be.
TG: yeah no kidding
TT: I find it captivating that Vriska is making a bold move on a human in a quadrant that we don't have. It marks an interesting development in the history of our interspecies relationships.
EB: look guys i’m sure it’s very touching and i appreciate the attention it but i’d rather not have people creep on me when i sleep.
EB: besides i’m a human, shouldn’t she try that stuff on another troll.
CG: SHE DOES.
CG: I TOLD YOU SHE’S A TEASE.
CG: SHE’S PRETTY MUCH FRONTING HER PALE NEEDS TO EVERYONE.
CG: ALTHOUGH I NEVER THOUGH SHE’D GO AS FAR AS GOING HISSING IN THE NIGHT, AT A HUMAN ON TOP OF THAT. THE GIRL IS A COMPLETE MESS.
TG: ok hear me out for a sec
TG: if this is all she wants
TG: then why dont one of you troll just shove your hand against her face and tell her to calm the fuck down
CG: HMMM I DON’T KNOW WHY DON’T WE ALL JUMP ON EACH OTHER LIKE EPILEPTIC MONKEYS AND FILL PAILS IN AN ORGIASTIC RAINBOW DEBAUCHERY.
TG: good question
CG: LOOK I’M SURE THAT VRISKA WILL ATTRACT A PALE MATE IN TIME BUT NOBODY IS RECIPROCATING FOR NOW. IT DOESN’T HELP THAT SHE CAN’T BE HONEST WITH HERSELF. IT’S NOT A VERY ATTRACTIVE PALE QUALITY FOR US TROLLS.
TT: What about us humans.
CG: WHAT.
TT: Do you think that a human could partake in pale needs?
TT: Theoretically speaking.
CG: WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME IF YOU CAN FEEL CONCILIATORY EMOTIONS? DO I LOOK LIKE SOME KIND OF EXPERT IN HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS TO YOU. HOW ABOUT YOU JUST LISTEN TO YOUR HEART AND DO WHAT IT FUCKING SAYS.
TT: That was very beautiful advice Karkat but it doesn’t answer jack shit.
CG: YOU DO HAVE A HEART RIGHT? YOUR SPECIES’ BIOLOGY IS SO WEIRD.
CG: LOOK IF VRISKA IS BOTHERING YOU THEN JUST TELL HER TO FUCK OFF AND IGNORE HER. THAT’S HOW IT WORKS. AND IF FOR SOME REASON THAT FORSAKES ALL LAWS OF NATURE YOU WANT TO TALK HER THROUGH HER PROBLEM AND LAND SOME PAPS ON HER SPIDERBUTT THEN BE MY GUEST. I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT.
CG: I TOLD YOU. IT’S NOT SOMETHING WE TALK ABOUT.
TT: For the purpose of keeping this cultural exchange tidy you should know that it is normal for human beings to calm each other and share intimate contact.
TT: We do not hold any taboo against helping each other out with our personal problems.
TT: In fact we can indulge ourselves in these acts on a casual basis.
CG: I THINK I’M GONNA BE SICK.

Chapter Text

One day Vriska suddenly left her room without any fanfare. She simply strolled into the communal area and every troll in the room found an urgent reason to be elsewhere. When she caught wind of the situation, Rose gathered the attention of the other kids and started planning shenanigans. Jade agreed immediately, John needed a lot of coaxing and Dave decided to stay in his room to draw comics. The three kids met in Rose’s room and talked in hushed voices like conspirators.

"I’m not completely sold on the idea", said John.
"It’s a scholarly experience", said Rose.
"Just talk to her as normal and offer to discuss her problems!", said Jade.

In the end John agreed to the plan but only under reassurance that the girls would stay close for moral support. The three humans then set themselves upon their quest, sneaking through the dimly lit corridors, leaning over every corner and looking out for trouble. They eventually spotted Vriska in the otherwise deserted common area. She appeared to have several can of Nepeta’s wall paint in her possession, most likely taken without permission, and she was using them to draw on the wall a large portrait of Marquise Spinneret Mindfang. Her back was turned to them.

"I don’t think…" said John
"Remember she wants to open up to you" said Rose.
"Go go go!" whispered Jade.

The two girls pushed John into the room and then scuttled back into hiding behind a corner. John opened his mouth and lifted a finger, ready to argue that this was the crappiest moral support he ever saw, but John then saw that Vriska took notice of him and he clamped his mouth shut. John shrugged and waved a greeting as he walked forward. He wasn't sure why but the whole situation seemed silly all of a sudden and it made him smile inside. He felt a lot more confident about this than he expected.

"Hi Vriska!" said John.

Vriska gave him a long look. She had a dry and sullen expression on her face, the kind that you see on someone that had a long day and an even longer night. She had no reaction to John's greeting.

"You’re not running away" said Vriska.

She spoke in a dead tone like making a statement about the weather; her voice seemed to have lost all sharpness after her several days of sulking. Vriska didn’t wait to allow any conversation. She turned around, dipped her finger into dark blue paint and continued outlining the Marquise’s ample bossom. Her art skills were abysmal.

"Everyone ran away" said Vriska again in a perfect neutral tone.
"I guess they were busy. Watcha drawing?"
"Stuff."

John walked up close and stood by Vriska’s shoulder to look at her work. She gave him a quick glance. His proximity alone seemed to set off something in her, as if he had walked right into her personal space which had bloated out of proportions. Vriska hesitated, then steadied herself and continued her drawing. John finished forming an opinion and whistled.

"You know what, that looks pretty good!" said John

John didn’t need to fake his enthusiasm and rarely ever did; he let out a breath of warm positive vibes in his voice as he usually does when he felt cheery. He was relieved to see that Vriska was alright and he was glad that she had found something she enjoyed doing, even if it was drawing giant graffiti of a pirate murder rapist in a public area.

"I think it's kinda cool" John said.

Vriska took the compliment silently and made as if she didn’t hear him. John scratched his neck and turned around to face the corners where his moral support was hiding. The two girls poked out and made made silent motions with their mouths. "Keep talking". John turned back.

"S-so Vriska what have you been up to these past days"

Oh shit that came out really bad though John. Vriska’s reaction all but confirmed it. Her mouth drew tigher, her head tilted lower and her brow frowned. She dipped her finger into the paint more messily and she slapped it on the wall more briskly. John pondered on the absurdity of the situation; she wanted to confide in someone but she didn’t allow anyone to get close to her. John sighed, trusted both his hands into his pocket and looked again at Vriska’s sketchy drawing from bottom to the top.

"Do you want help? I can help you with that if you want", said John.
"I can do this. I’m the best." said Vriska.
"Yeah you’re doing great!"

This time it was a good move observed John. Vriska took the comment and then stretched her back deeply and satisfyingly, as if shaking off a burden. Her face relaxed, her shoulders dropped slightly lower. John turned around in the direction of the corner. The two girls were currently slapping each other on the face to get the best spying position but they paused to give John a double thumbs up. "Keep going". John turned around.

"I like what you did with her cape" said John
"You can’t see it but her jolly rogers is sewed on the inside", said Vriska. She smiled with the corner of her mouth. "When the wind blows all her enemies can see it. Her ships glides silently over the dark water and with a signal her canons light the sea on fire. She holds a sword in each hand and a gun between her teeth for when she runs out of swords. She claims the most beautiful trolls for herself and then trade the others. She feeds the dead bodies to her lusus and keep their horns to stuff into the canons for cluster shots."
"That’s wicked" said John.

John gave Vriska a fistbump of approval on the shoulder. She hiccuped at the sudden contact and then softened up. She rubbed her shoulder absentmindedly while staring at the pirate queen. John could feel the pressure draining out of her. John had once read that spiders have an hydraulic system in their bodies that uses fluid pressure to extend and retracts their long legs; that was the reason they had such quick and fidgety movements. When spiders lost internal pressure they were forced to slow down. Vriska is a little like that, John noticed. The more relaxed she allowed herself to be the less jittery she was; she became less spider and more girl.

"Vriska you know, er..."
"What is it."
"I wanted to say well if you need anyone to talk about your problems I’m here for that."
"Are you making fun of me?"

Vriska sourly stepped away from John and looked at him as if he had doused her in freezing water. Her arms were crossed and her nose was pinched, her eyes burned and her fangs were bare.

"Er – I was just saying, if you need anyone…"
"If this is your idea of a joke then it isn’t funny John Egbert.
"Did I…"
"Do I look like some poor easy girl to you that you can take for a ride and rail in your hive? Get out, GET. OUT."

John’s eyes darted in direction of the corner. The girls were crossing their arms in a big X. John felt cold sweat on his neck and stretched the corners of his mouth into an overly large smile that did little to conceal his fear. Vriska stared at him with cold fury, her arms dropped to either of her sides and her hands balled into tiny fists. She took a mean step forward. I’m so fucking out of here. John decided he had overstayed his welcome.

In his hurry to leave, John ran to the closest exit to his left which was a different entrance than the one he came by. When he turned the corner he crashed into a crowd of people. John was surprised to see that Tavros, Karkat, Dave and Kanaya were hiding there and had evidently been spying on him like the girls but from a different vantage point.

"What are you guys doing here?" said John
"I uh, was uh already here"
"STRIDER TOLD ME THERE WAS SHENANIGANS AFOOT. I CAME TO WATCH."
"I came to watch Karkat."
"I came to watch Dave watch Karkat."
"Look out she’s coming this way" said John.

The kids tangled together in a mess as they ran away unceremoniously from the common area. John made straight for his room, now less worried about Vriska's mood crash than he was worried about the imminent chewing that Karkat was going to deliver.

-- carcinoGeneticist[CG] has opened a memo --

CG: A LOBOTOMIZED WEASEL COULD HAVE HALFASSED A BETTER ATTEMPT AT PALE SEDUCTION THAN WHAT YOU FARTED OUT YOU JUST TURNED CENTURIES OF ALTERNIAN ROMANTICISM INTO YOUR OWN PERSONAL VOMIT VOLCANO I KNEW I COULDN’T TRUST YOU HORNLESS FREAKS TO KNOW HOW TO COURT A PROPER MOIRALLEGIANCE
EB: did I do that bad?
CG: I WISH I COULD BURN MY EYEBALLS BUT THEN MY DEEPEST REGRET WOULD BE THAT I CANNOT BURN THEM TWICE
EB: oops.
CG: JOHN WHAT WERE YOU THINKING. YOU LITERALLY ASKED HER TO OPEN UP TO YOU WITH ALL THE GRACE OF A DANCING TRUMPBEAST. THAT’S LIKE FLIRTING WITH SOMEONE IN REDROM AND THEN SUDDENLY SUGGESTING THAT YOU GO BACK TO YOUR PLACE AND FILL A PAIL. IS THAT HOW HUMAN SOCIETY WORKS HMM? YOU JUMP STRAIGHT TO THE DIRTY BUSINESS?
TT: Perhaps you could inform us on how to conduct a proper pale courtship.
TT: PERHAPS I COULD INFORM YOU ON HOW TO STOP BEING SO DAMN PERVERTED
CG: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU
CG: I AM TRYING MY BEST TO TURN THIS HELLHOLE INTO A RESPECTABLE SOCIETY AND YOU GUYS ACT LIKE WRIGGLERS WHO JUST DISCOVERED A SHOOSHPAP MAGAZINE
twinArmagedons [TA] has joined the memo
TA: come on kk stop pretendiing two be 2o prude about thii2 2tuff.
TA: ii know you're not innocent ii’ve already hacked into your paletube browsiing hiistory.
CG: WELP THAT’S IT I’M OUT THAT WAS A GREAT DISCUSSION BYE
carcinoGeneticist [CG] has left the memo
TA: ha ha
TA: don’t let kk fool you.
TA: he liike2 two act liike a pale viirgiin but tru2t me he’2 not.
TA: anyway ii 2aw the whole thiing on my moniitor it wa2 hiilariious.
EB: wow did the entire meteor creep on this conversation.
TA: you guy2 diidn’t notiice but nepeta wa2 al2o 2pyiing from the vent.
EB: seriously.
TA: ii can tell you guy2 have no iidea what you’re doiing 2o ii fiigured ii could get a kiick out of thii2.
TA: ii’ve got vrii2ka’2 computer for repaiir over here and her grub2tiick ii2 iintact.
TA: meaniing ii have full acce22 two her per2onal fiile2.
EB: it’s not very nice to snoop on other people’s computer.
TA: look do you want two look at her porn or not.
TA: tru2t me iif you want two under2tand how raiiliing work2 iit wiill be a lot quiicker two ju2t look at iit iin2tead of talkiing about iit.
TG: come on share the good stuff
TA: giive me two 2econd2.
-- loading files –-
-- files sent –-
TG: the heck is that
TA: iit’2 her pale 2mut folder.
TG: it looks more like a cutesy crap folder
GG: awww.
GG: pictures of cute trolls cuddling with each other.
TA: check out the viideo collection 2he ha2 a biit of everythiing iin there.
EB: wow these titles.
EB: first_time_pale.mov
TT: railing_in_the_recuperacoon.mov
GG: cant_get_enough_paps.flv
EB: papped_by_kismesis_kink.flv
TG: little_lowblood_girl_wrings_every_drop_of_anger_out_of_three_subjugglators_and_begs_for_more.mpg
TG: are you fucking kidding me
TG: this pale stuff is just cuddling how do you manage to make it look so porny
EB: highblood_on_highblood.flv
TG: uncensored_handholding.mov
TT: talking_about_problems_and_crying.mp4 oh my stars and garter.
GG: hurt_comfort.flv ooooh wow.
TG: noncon_shooshpaps.mov ok screw this im watching pale rape
TG: wow the quality is bad was this filmed in a dungeon
TG: k so this troll has her hands tied up
TG: and shes being held affectionately against her will
TG: this cant really be a thing
TG: the acting is goddamn hilarious
TG: they are acting right
TG: please tell me these are actors
GG: the hurt_comfort one is really good!
TT: From what I gather the act of railing has a strong physical component.
TT: A mixture of emotional and physical contact to produce a cathartic effect that is perchance to taming.
TT: But the various interactions in these videos revel in a degree of intimacy that we rarely associate outside of amorous partners.
TT: For example the two boys in "railing in recuperacoon" aren’t wearing any clothes but it is still considered pale.
TT: Also may I perhaps copy this file for the purpose of personal studies.
TG: yeah these trolls are pretty crazy about touching each other like grooming monkeys
EB: vriska did respond when i touched her and stuff.
EB: but i didn’t want to go that way i mean this quadrant is supposed to be platonic right? i don’t usually put my hands inside other people’s pocket when i like them in a platonic way.
TT: It appears that pale activities enjoin every form of intimate contact except sexual gratification.
TA: ii gue22 that’2 one way two put iit
EB: well it doesn't really change anything since i never got that far with vriska.
TA: ha ha that'2 riight.
TA: well you were doiing kiinda okay at fiir2t.
TA: then you took all the 2ubtletiie2 of pale 2eductiion and completely blew iit out of the water.
TA: maybe you could a2k feferii two 2how you how iit’2 done.
TA: 2he’2 ba2iically the troll ca2anova of pale romance.
EB: the fishgirl?
TA: remember when you came aboard the meteor and feferii ran two you guy2 and greeted you wiith hug2 that wa2 far from iinnocent.
TA: kk wa2 fumiing iit wa2 hiilariiou2.
GG: i though it was just karkat being grumpy at everything.
TA: naah you can alway2 u2e karkat'2 reactiion2 two gauge how alterniian 2ociiety 2ee2 thiing2 iin general.
TA: kk ii2 pretty average a2 a troll.
TA: two be hone2t he'2 the mo2t 2tereotypiical troll you could iimagiine.
TA: iit2 liike he make2 iit hii2 liife calliing two be iincrediibly normal.
TA: probably becau2e of hii2 blood iin2ecuriity.
TA: but yeah iit’2 feferii who ii2 kiind of a freak wiith all her huggiing and cheeriing.
TA: 2he ha2 more pale lu2t than the ocean2 have water and 2he’2 completely una2hamed of actiing liike a cuddle2lut. 2he’2 been raiiliing half the troll2 that liive on thii2 piiece of rock.
TT: Interesting. I though that trolls were monogamous in the pale quadrant.
TA: iit’2 2uppo2ed two be monogamou2 but iin the end iit doe2n't mean that much.
TA: look at iit thiis way.
TA: you human2 are 2uppo2ed two be monogamou2 iin the red quadrant riight?
TA: doe2 that mean you guy2 never date or break up or cheat.
TT: Point taken.
TA: the conciiliiatiive quadrant ii2 heaviily romantiized iin troll dii2ney moviie2 where cute troll2 meet for the fiir2t tiime and fall iin moiirallegiiance but liife rarely work2 that way.
TA: 2ometiime2 troll2 are anxiiou2 two te2t the water out of curiio2iity.
TA: 2ometiime2 they have 2trong pale urge2 that they need two 2atii2fy.
TA: and there are alway2 2ome deviiant iindiiviidual2 who 2kiirt around what ii2 2ociially acceptable.
TA: liike fef for example, 2he miight a2 well be holdiing a 2iign that 2ay2 free hug2.
TA: or liike vrii2ka ii don’t 2ee her formiing any la2tiing pale relatiion2hiip that’2 for 2ure.
TA: iif you want two a2k more about thii2 2tuff you 2hould a2k kanaya 2he’2 urgiing two tell you all about iit.
TA: 2he’2 readiing thii2 2creen over my 2houlder and blu2hiing liike hell.
TA: I Am Not
TA: wiill you plea2e 2top touchiing my computer.
TA: oh 2hiit.
TA: feferii ii2 on my 2creen she'2 on her way two vrii2ka’2 locatiion.
TA: ii thiink 2he’2 goiing for the kiill.
EB: it’s not very nice to snoop on people with tiny cameras.
TA: look do you want two 2ee how pale 2eductiion work2 or not 2o 2hut up and open the liink ii 2end you.

Chapter Text

Vriska was still fuming with unspent rage when Feferi Peixes walked into the common room. The angry little spider threw a dirty look in Feferi's direction but the fishgirl proceeded to entirely ignore her. She went straight for the fridge, casually grabbed a can of tab and then sat on a chair with a jaunty little jump that landed her on her butt. She PSHHHed the soda, held the can delicately with both hands and drank from it in small gulps, her attention turned bluntly away from the other occupant in the room. Vriska looked suspiciously at Feferi for a while and then slowly resumed fingerpainting the portrait of Marquise Spinneret Mindfang. She paused a few times to throw dirty looks in Feferi's direction, a stubborn expression painted on her face.

-- grimAuxiliatrix[GA] has joined the memo --

GA: Sollux Has Cordially Invited Me To This Viewing Session So That I May Dispense Commentaries.
TT: Thank you Kanaya it is well appreciated.
GA: Hopefully I Have Not Missed Anything
TT: Nothing happened as of yet.
TT: Are you certain that she will make a move?
TT: She doesn’t look very interested.
TA: ju2t waiit trust me ii know fef.
TA: iif thiis doe2'nt end iin a piile ii'm gonna eat my keyboard.

Once Vriska started painting with her back turned, Feferi immediately started gazing in her direction. Her eyebrows were raised, her lips were thinly stretched in an almost-smile and she twirled a finger around a stray lock of her hair. Her feet balanced on the tip of her sandals and she let them dangle freely from left to right as if swept by an undersea current. She continued sipping from her can of soda. For a short instant her shoulders moved happily up in a jig.

TT: Kanaya I believed you had commentaries.
GA: Yes If I May Begin
TT: Please.
GA: A Reasonable Human Translation Of Moirallegiance Would Be The Concept Of A Soul Mate But In A More Platonic Sense And With A More Specific Purpose
GA: Trolls Are A Very Angry Species That Perpetually Struggles To Hone their Violent Emotions
GA: Which Leads Them To Feel Instinctive Urges Of Pale Attraction Towards Other Trolls
GA: A Pale Relationship Is Generally Deconstructed As One Troll Seeking Pacification From Another Troll
GA: Trolls Who Are In Need Of Pacification Are Said To Be Waxing Ardent While Trolls Who Crave To Provide Pacification Are Said To Be In Cuddlelust

Feferi finished her can of soda and cheerfully skipped toward the fridge where she took another one. Vriska glared at her sharply. Feferi ignored it, went back to her seat, opened the can and took one long sip from it. Then she suddenly turned and looked straight in Vriska's direction. Vriska blushed and turned away swiftly, focusing her attention on the Marquise.

GA: Trolls Who Experience Strong Feelings In The Pale Quadrand Are Said To Be In Pale Palpitation Or Palepitation
GA: While Informal Terms Can Include Slang Such As Shooshap Cravings Or Moirail Lust Or Being Pale Horny
GA: Trolls With Unrequited Pale Feelings Can Manifest A Variety Of Symptoms Such As
GA: Dilatation Of The Pupils
GA: Abnormal Response To Physical Contact
GA: Destructive Behavior As A Plea For Attention
GA: Growing Restlessness Ranging From Budding Frustration To Sudden Outbursts Of Violence
GA: And Perhaps Most Famously
GA: Tendency Towards Obsessive Compulsive Behavior Coupled With Manic Hoarding Disorder
GA: Also Known As The Archetypical Instinct To Make Piles Of Stuff
GA: As Such In Alternian Culture The Moirallegiance Is Strongly Associated With The Pile And Typically Blooms There
GA: Although To Those Who Are Less Prude Pale Activities Can Certainly Occur Outside Of The Pile
TT: oh! oh!!
TT: I think feferi is going to make a move.

Feferi sprang lazily on her feet and start pacing across the room. She held unto her can of soda and took small sips as she drifted without paying much attention to her surrounding. She went by Vriska (she turned around angrily) and ignored her, reached the end of the wall, then made a loop and ended up back at Vriska’s location; there she stopped in her track and sipped quietly from her can of soda, as if Vriska just happened to stand on her projected path. Feferi waved a curt greeting with her free hand. Vriska said something back and they started chatting back and forth.

EB: i can't tell what they're saying.
EB: can you zoom in and maybe let us hear a little better?
TA: what do you thiink thiis i2 2ome kiind of 2py moviie.
TA: Ju2t kiiddiing of cour2e ii can.

Vriska was standing sideway with her hands raised, as if ready to fight. She was glaring at Feferi with full hostility.

"If this is about your stupid pet getting the fangs then I told you I’m not sorry, the little asshole deserved it," said Vriska defiantly.
"Princess Beryboo is doing alright," said Feferi.
"I don't care if it's doing better, he started it," said Vriska.
"Yes it wasn't your fault," said Feferi.
"Are you here to kiss my ass too," said Vriska aggressively.
"Can you move?"
Vriska was taken aback by the sudden demand. "What," said Vriska.
"I said can you move", repeated Feferi rudely. "I’m trying to look but you’re in the way."

Feferi took a step forward and Vriska scuttled aside. She leered at Feferi with a sour frown draped over her eyes. The fishgirl made nothing of it. She stood very straight and peered at Vriska’s work like an attendee at an art gallery, sipping curtly from her can of soda as she scanned the crude painting without making an opinion. Her pinky finger was extended. Vriska did not look very happy with this arrangement but stood her ground; she appeared unwilling to step into Feferi's personal space, preferring to stand from a more comfortable distance.

"It’s not finished yet," said Vriska.
"No it’s not," said Feferi.
This enraged Vriska.
"So are you done looking or what?" said Vriska brusquely.

Feferi didn't answer and continued peering at the artwork. Vriska started tapping the floor with her foot. She couldn’t continue her work if Feferi didn't move her ass and it looked like the fishbutt wasn't going anywhere. Vriska grew frustrated. In a jerky movement she stepped forward and made to shoo Feferi away with her hands. It all happened so fast; Feferi suddenly dropped her can of soda (it was empty) and deftly grabbed Vriska’s wrist all without turning her body; she simply grabbed the hand and kept facing the artwork in deep contemplation. Vriska was surprised by the sudden dry rattle of the aluminium can on the floor and even more startled that her hand was being held prisoner. She pulled on it but Feferi didn't let go.

"Getoffme, getoffme…" snarled Vriska.

Feferi appeared too awestruck by the artwork to pay attention to her. She pointed excitedly at the Marquise.

"I love it!" she said.
"I don't care! Getoffme!" repeated Vriska.
"I love what you did with the sea in the background."
"Can you please..."
"And her cloak, it’s so majestic. And her hair in the wind, her captain coat, her sword, her eyes!" said Feferi.
"I..."

Feferi spun, grabbed ahold of Vriska's free hand and held them both excitedly as she shoved her most cheerful face right into Vriska’s nose.

"She looks so kickass!" said Feferi adoringly.

Vriska blushed a deep cerulean and her eyes wandered away from the intense stare of the fishgirl. For an instant Vriska stopped struggling to free her hands. Feferi immediately let go of them without a second thought. Vriska blinked several times in a daze; her hands stood suspended in mid-air for a second and then limped downward disappointingly. Feferi's attention went back to appreciating the artwork as she dully ignored Vriska who stood hot and bothered by her side.

"Oh no I think I brushed my sleeve against the wall," said feferi. "Look at her cloak see I really ruined it."
"I don't see..." began to stammer Vriska.
"It’s okay we can fix it together!"

Feferi crouched, grabbed a can of paint and twirled around like a dancer. Without asking permission she happily reached for Vriska’s hand, grabbed it, ignored the spider girl's protests and dipped her fingertip into the paint. She held Vriska's hand still and guided it to fix an invisible smear in the coat outline while soothing her. The shhhhhh was almost imperceptible.

"Theeeere… it’s okay, right theeeere" said Feferi soothingly.
"Bluh," said Vriska.
"We go it's all fixed!" said Feferi eagerly, her face almost touching Vriska's.
"Don't..."

Once again, Feferi let go of Vriska’s hand just as suddenly as she grabbed it and began ignoring her. Vriska shuddered. Her lips squished together in a stifled yearning to bite on them. Her eyes closed for a second and started taking longer breaths to steady herself. Her feet shuffled back and forth on the ground and she rubbed her fingers together while her face betrayed a begging expression that Feferi was apparently too oblivious to notice. Vriska was about to say something nervously when the fishgirl suddenly started hopping up and down with excitement, noticing something about Vriska's appearance.

"Vriska, your hair has been getting long!" said Feferi.
"Yes, no, what? My hair? Hell yeah! Long hair is kick ass," said Vriska.
"Oh no! You got paint on it."
"Psshaw who cares."
"This is important! You have to let me take a look."

Feferi squished her swimmer's body along Vriska's back and delicately ran her fingers through Vriska’s hair. Vriska tilted her head upward, in the manner that someone enjoys a particularly soothing shower, and closed her eyes.

"Vriska you’re so dirty!" said Feferi disapprovingly.
"Hmmmm," moaned Vriska with her eyes still closed.
"When was the last time you took a bath? And look at your nails! You have to let me clean you up in exchange for ruining your painting!"
"Ok ok ok ok."

The fishgirl placed her hands around Vriska's waist and lovingly burrowed her nose into Vriska's neck. She gently moved her hips and rocked Vriska's body back and forth like the waves of the ocean.

"It's been so long since we took a bath together" Feferi whispered.
"Hissssssssss..."

Vriska was hissing softly, like an air balloon deflating in a very pleasant manner.

GA: Oh
GA: Oh My
GA: Please Excuse My Outburst But Feferi Is Just So Bold
TA: 2he make2 it look so ea2y.
TT: she’s leading her by the hand.
TT: oh nooooo they're leaving.
TT: is it over already it was just starting to get good! :(
TA: look2 liike they’re goiing to contiinue in fef'2 bathroom 2orry guy2 ii gue22 that'2 iit.
TA: ju2t kiiddiing ii'll ju2t swiitch the portviiews.
EB: ok so.
EB: i guess i should have asked vriska to take a bath with me?
GA: You Know Nothing John Egbert

Chapter Text

Feferi’s bathroom belonged to a palace harem. The room was the size of an entrance hall and was lit by chandelier, the floor was covered in ceramic tiles and in the corners stood statues of mermaids with cheap colorful ribbons tied to their bronze masses of hair. The bath was the most distinguished feature; it was as large as a king size bed and stood in the center of the room on four massive claw feet of cast iron, its frame reached as high as the hips and was pearly white decorated with a wave motif. It was the kind of bath you expected to see in a movie scene being attended by lascivious servants while they ceremonially disrobed a member of royalty, although Feferi was content to simply skip toward a faucet and give it a hearty tug. Vriska stood uncertainly away with her arms crossed.

GA: Trolls Typically Start To Feel Conciliatory Urges At The Onset Of Pupation
GA: And These Urges Eventually Develops Into The Pale Quadrant Along The Course Of Sexual Maturity
GA: As Such The Exploration Of Pale Feelings Is Culturally Considered A Sign Of Early Adulthood
GA: The Physical Consumption Of A Pale Relationship Is Called Propitiation
GA: And Trolls Who Form A Couple For The Purpose Of Propitiating Are Known As Moirails
GA: However The Use Of This Term Is Formally Reserved For The Context Of Long Term Pale Relationships
GA: In Which Case Trolls Are Said To Have Found Their Other Half Or Soul Mate
GA: Trolls Who Dabble In Pale Activities But Have Yet To Reach This Degree Of Commitment Are Sometimes Called By The Diminutive Rail
GA: To Refer To Their More Frivolous Pursuits Inspired By Pale Lust
GA: These Words Have Important Connotations In Our Language
GA: For Example Equius And Nepeta Are A Foremost Example Of Pale Partners Settled Into An Official Relationship
GA: Thus It Would Thus Be Improper Or Overly Familiar To Refer To Them As Rails
GA: Meanwhile It Would Be Widely Incorrect To Call Vriska And Feferi Moirails
GA: It Would Suffice To Say That They Are Simply Railing
TA: oh riight.
TA: remember when ii 2aid that liife didn’t work out liike in troll dii2ney moviie2.
TA: well equiiu2 and nepeta that ii2 some troll dii2ney 2hiit right there.
TA: they even met iin a fore2t how cliiché can you be.
TA: they’ve been together for for 2weep2 and never cheated on each other a2 far a2 ii know.
TT: I take this to mean that there is such a thing as pale infidelity.
TG: the only thing i got so far that trolls get bro married
TG: and sometimes their bromance is not official yet???
GA: I Have Yet To Fully Understand The Human Bro Quadrant But This Comparison Is Probably Just
GA: In Fact It Is Custom For Trolls To Announce An Official Moirallegiance With A Grandiose Ceremony
GA: So That All Of Alternian Society May Hear That These Two Trolls Are Indeed Bro Married

Feferi gesticulated actively and pointed at Vriska's shoes; she appeared to insist that they have to remove shoes in her bathroom. Vriska made a "nuh-uh" response and Feferi wrestled with Vriska until her red shoes were flying in the air. Feferi then swiftly kicked away her own sandals, ran on tiptoes to a corner of the room and dragged a stool next to the bath. She settled Vriska on the stool and started inspecting her hair. Vriska looked like she was having second thoughts. Her legs twitched, her elbows were pressed against her sides and her index fingers poked at each other.

GA: Pale Activities Are Generally Deconstructed Into A Dynamic Where One Troll Takes A More Active Role Over The Other
GA: The Troll Who Is Active Is Called The Propitiatory Incumbent And The Troll Who Is Reactive Is Called The Propitiatory Succumbent
GA: Or In The Vernacular Tongue This Dynamic Is Called Being A Top Of Being A Bottom In The Pile
GA: I Personally Do Not Agree With The Perception Of These Stereotypes
GA: As There Are Plenty Of Relationships Where Equal Dynamics Take Place
GA: Moirails May Simultaneously Open Their Hearts And Provide Relief To One Another In What Is Known As A feeling Jam
GA: Or They May Take Turns Being Aggressive Or Reactive In The Pile
GA: However In The Current Situation We Have A Textbook Example Of A Propitiatory Incumbent And Propitiatory Succumbent Interacting With Each Other
GA: In The Context Of Promiscuity Such Individuals May Suffer Discrimination
GA: And Even Be The Target Of Denigratory Terms Such As Shooshpap Addict Or Cuddleslut
TG: at this point im convinced you guys are just making things up

Feferi inspected Vriska's mane while shaking her head and then took out a hairbrush. She gave the mass of hair a few tentatively flicks of the brush and a smile started stretching the corners of her cheeks. Meanwhile the bath filled tantalizingly slowly; the water flowed from the faucet with hardly any pressure and the splashing sounds echoed through the cavernous room.

GA: It Is Culturally Inappropriate To Ask A Troll To Be Open With Their Feelings
GA: As Troll Feelings Are Buried For A Reason And To Bring Them Out Is Like Opening An Old Wound
GA: These Emotions Must Gradually Be Brought Out In A Safe Environment
GA: This Lengthy Preparative Process Is Called Mollification Or Pale Foreplay
GA: A Good Way For Trolls To Bond Together And Allow A Pale Relationship To Blossom Is For Them To Share Personal Activities Together
GA: Especially When Said Activities Allow For Copious Amounts of "Accidental" Hand Holding
GA: Intimate Contact Create A Rush Of Chemicals In The Troll Nervous System Which Numbs Emotional Pains And Lowers Inhibitions
GA: Which In Turn Helps Trolls To Open Their Heart
GA: In That Regard Grooming Is A Bold And Effective Strategy To Set Up The Mood For Pale Activities
GA: Although It Also Requires Impressive Skills To Conduct And Is Certainly Not For Amateurs In The Pile

Vriska wasn't taking the grooming very well. She blinked repeatedly, then started breathing without rhythm and shifting her weight uncomfortably on her seat. Suddenly Vriska's second thoughts got the better of her and her eyes flashed with panic; she lifted her hands and stammered excuses and attempted to stand up but Feferi immediately swooned over her, draping her arms around Vriska's neck and rubbing her head against Vriska’s head while steadying her back on her seat. Feferi whispered in Vriska's ear about how pretty she would be, just like Mindfang, and Vriska stopped struggling. She flopped back on the stool, albeit still visibly agitated, and she stared at her toes while Feferi continued brushing her dark tangles of hair. After a while Feferi began humming a cheery tune and Vriska gradually started breathing more freely until she completely gave in to the hairbrushing. She looked vacantly far away while rubbing her bare feet against each other and listening to the slowly-filling bath.

Chapter Text

Vriska did need a bath badly; her hair was unruly and sticky and caked with filth, it was likely the dirtiest thing that ever walked into Feferi’s bathroom. Despite her good humor Feferi worked through Vriska's lion mane with great difficulty, and sometimes when she accidentally pulled on a knot too hard Vriska would close her eyes and make a loud "Ack" or "Bluh" response. At one such occasion Vriska was stung with too much discomfort at once and started shaking her head in disagreement. Feferi then traced the base of one of Vriska's horn with an idle finger while whispering encouraging words in her ear, causing Vriska to blush cerulean and squeeze both her hands between her knees.

GA: The Act Of Falling For Someone In The Pale Quadrant Is Called A Conciliative Crush
GA: And The Process Of Flirting In The Pale Quadrant Is Called Adulation Or Pale Seduction
GA: Many Authors Have Tried To Dissect The Subject Of Pale Romance To Single Out What Qualities Make A Troll Appealing For Moirallegiance
GA: In Popular Culture Trolls Who Are Highly Attractive As A Bottom In The Pile Are Typically Depicted As Burdened And Peevish And Pale-Deprived
GA: While Trolls Depicted As The Best Tops Pile Often Display Exotic Attributes And A Natural Openness
GA: One Of The Most Basic Plot Of Palerom Stories Is To Have A Troll From The City Move To The Suburbs And Thence Form An Unbreakable Bond With An Indigenous Character That Will Change Both Their Lives Forever
GA: In These Tropes The City Troll Is Generally Depicted As Haughty In Personality And Overly Civilized
GA: As Well As Internally Repressed By The Harsh Expectations of Alternian High Society
GA: While The Country Troll Embodies The Most Attractive Qualities Of A Pale Top By Living Proudly And Independently And True To Their Roots And In Touch With Personal Feelings
GA: These Trolls Often Display Animal Themes Or Otherwise Live Close To Nature
GA: And They Generally Portray A Certain Wildness To Their Simplicity Of Character That Produces A Disarming Effect
GA: I Personally Do Not Condone These Stereotypes And Even Find Them A Little Silly
GA: But There Are Some Truths In Them And They Should Give You A Good Idea Of What The Attractive Traits Of A Pale Top Or Pale Bottom Are Like.
GA: For Example Bottoms In The Piles Are Typically Concerned By How People See Them
GA: While Natural Tops In The Piles Are Usually Good With Animals

Feferi was now done untangling the larger part of Vriska's hair. She jumped on her feet and inspected the water level in the bath; the tub’s capacity was barely filled to a third. Feferi smiled to herself, produced a bowl, filled it with water and used it to start washing Vriska’s hands dirtied with paint. Vriska reacted strangely when her hands made contact with the water and tried to pull free but Feferi held to Vriska's hands firmly. Feferi soaked them in the warm water and cleaned them while staring positively at Vriska's face And Vriska pretended to not care while turning her flushed face as far away as possible. When most of the paint was gone Feferi started clipping Vriska's nails one by one while making small talk about the health of her pet cuttlefish.

TG: in this case jade harley over there is probably a pale superstar
TG: shes basically a furry
GG: no i’m not!
TG: she lived her entire life in the middle of nowhere true fact
TG: biggest dream is to run on all four with singing forest creatures and shit
GG: shut up!!!
TT: Sollux you lived in a collective hive correct?
TT: Out of curiosity do you identify as a top or bottom in the pile.
TA: ii don’t giive a fuck ii’m my own moiiraiil.
GA: Keep In Mind That Many Other Themes Are Exploited In Palerom
GA: In The Case Of Stories Set In A City
GA: The Troll that Tops In The Pile Is Typically A City Rat Or Rogueish Outlaw
GA: Or Is Otherwise At Odd With Society In A Profound Manner
GA: Such As Being Defined By A Pursuit Of The Arts Or Being Dedicated To A Poetic Or Philosophical Lifestyle
GA: In The Case Of Succumbent Protagonists They May Follow The Stereotype Of The Troll That Is Hivebent
GA: Who Is Typically Lead To Discover The World By A More Extroverted Moirail
GA: Or It May Yet Follow The Archetype Of The Exiled Aristocrat Or High Strung Law Officer Or The Soldier Who Had A Hard Life
TT: You seem to know a lot about this subject Kanaya.
GA: I Have A Modest Collection

Feferi finished clipping Vriska's fingernails and moved down to Vriska’s legs. She grabbed her feet and dipped them into the bowl of water (Vriska tried to pull on them too) and then she also clipped Vriska's toenail. Sometimes she idled and massaged the side of Vriska's feet with an errant finger and Vriska's shoulders moved up by a inch.

GA: Lowblood Trolls Have Warm Internal Temperature And Are Better Soothed By coldness
GA: While Trolls Who Are Higher On The Hemospectrum Have Progressively Lower Body Temperature And Crave Warmth
GA: For This Reason Lowblood And Highblood Moirail Pairings Are Often Seen As Titillating
GA: As They They Make For A Popular Interest In Pale Literature Or As A Pale Preference In General
GA: From What I Have Seen Humans Have Relatively Warm Bodies That I Would Place Between Rustblood And Mustardblood.
GA: This Quality Alone Makes You Appear Very Attractive To Highblood Trolls Such As Our Vriska Over There
GA: John
GA: When Vriska Fled From Your Touch During The Apple Juice Incident I Suspect That She Ran Away From The Warmth Of Your Hand
GA: Or Rather That She Was Startled And Scared By The Surge Of Pale Feelings That It Aroused Inside Of Her.
EB: wow.

Feferi checked the tub again, saw that it was filled by approximately two thirds and judged that it was sufficient. Feferi then produced a bottle of soap and emptied the whole thing into the hot stream of water that spouted from the faucet. She happily slapped the surface of the water and a fleece of white foam rose endearingly over the bath. Vriska stood up from her stool and looked at the soapy water with an undeniable "bluh" expression on her face. Feferi placed her hands on Vriska's face and contorted her cheeks into a smile, then giggled when Vriska feebly slapped her away. In one smooth move Feferi avoided the slaps, slid behind Vriska and grabbed the bottom end of her shirt with both hands. Feferi then started undressing Vriska.

GG: is it really okay for us to watch this?
GG: theyre kinda taking their clothes off and stuff...
GA: Yes That Is Usually How You Proceed To Take A Bath
GG: but they are, and they're...
GG: are you really really sure this is okay???
EB: so that’s what trolls are like uh.
EB: are they naturally smooth or do they shave or...
TG: a4xj6sa3
TG: alchemy code for popcorn
GA: While Propitiation Most Ofen Occurs When Fully Clothed
GA: There Is Also No Objection To It Happening In The Recuperacoon Or In The Bathroom
GA: A Troll Has No Reservation For His Or Her Palemate
GA: In Fact It Is A Symbol Of Deep Moirallegiance When Trolls Discard Clothes In The Presence Of One Another
GA: It Shows That They Have Nothing To Hide
GA: By Treating The Situation Non Sexually They Confirm That The Relationship Is Completely Pure
GA: And Also That They Accept Each Other Body And Soul
TT: I see.
TT: It is somewhat unusual behavior for humans.
GA: I Am Aware Of The Human Clothes Taboo And Find It Strange
GA: People Can Hardly Be Expected To Bare Their Hearts If They Are Unable To Bare Pieces Of Tissues

Chapter Text

Feferi wrestled with Vriska until her the last piece of her clothes was thrown in the air (cerulean boxers with a spider motifs) and all that remained was a Vriska that stood naked, frowning disapprovingly and covering her nudity with her arms. Feferi beamed at her from head to toes, grinned mischievously and started dragging her towards the soap-filled tub.

"Ready for your bath?"
"Fuck no"

Feferi lifted the angry little spider and threw her into the bath. There was a yell, water splashed on the ceramic floor and then Vriska was coughing and paddling in the water like a wet puppy. Feferi quickly peeled away her shirt and kicked off her dress, revealing a one piece bathing suit that she wore underneath, then struck a happy triumphant pose with her arms in the air before jumping into the bath after Vriska. In one smooth motion the fishgirl dived underwater, emerged behind Vriska and grasped her in a big cuddling hug from which there was no escape.

TG: woah back the fuck up did she just lift vriska and threw her
GA: As A Sea Dweller Feferi Possesses An Underwater Physiology Adapted To A High Pressure Environment
GA: Her Rapidly Collapsing And Expanding Bladder Based Aquatic Vascular System Can Output Enough Power For Her To Drag A Whale With Her Leg Strength Alone
TG: holy hell
TG: i though she was a peppy cheerleader not a sea monster death machine
TT: Does Feferi always wear a swimsuit under her clothes?
GA: Probably Yes
GA: I Would Be Surprised If She Has Ever Worn Proper Underwear For A Day Of Her Life

Vriska half-heartedly tried to slap Feferi away like a bug that she was afraid to touch. Feferi let go and Vriska frowned angrily in the water with her arms crossed over her chest. Feferi allowed it and instead rummaged around the bath. She produced a large bar of soap and a hard sponge that she brightly showed to Vriska. Vriska tried to run away from the bath, Feferi pulled her back by the neck, Vriska pouted her lips in disagreement and Feferi paid it no mind as she started giving Vriska’s body a thorough scrubbing.

Not an inch of gray skin was spared that day. The rough sponge glided down Vriska's bony shoulders and against her malnourished torso, it brushed her dirty knees and elbows and scrubbed her armpits and visited her groin in a stiff professional manner (Vriska cried out and held on to Feferi’s head for support). Vriska then made a childish sulking face and Feferi slapped her sponge into it. Vriska’s face was mercilessly scrubbed despite her loud protests, and then Vriska squeaked in surprise when Feferi dragged her underwater to clear the soap. Next Feferi moved on to scrapping Vriska's filth-encrusted soles. This was the greatest test of character that Vriska ever faced. Feferi scrubbed the sensitive feet squeaky clean while Vriska’s eyesbrows contorted and her toes sprawled and her cheeks puffed and her mouth squeezed into a line all while holding unto a bath wall with tense knuckles.

EB: what do you think will happen next kanaya?
GA: The Placatory Arbitration Will Soon Begin I Reckon
EB: can you say that again.
GA: Feferi Will Use Oral Stimulation On Vriska To Arouse Her Most Intimate Parts Of Herself
EB: no i think you made it worse.
GA: Feferi Will Try To Make Vriska Talk About Her Feelings
EB: ok.
GA: The Placatory Arbitration Or Pile Talk Is The Last And Most Daunting Obstacle To Overcome Before Railing Can Truly Begin
GA: It Is An Aggressive Form Of Pale Foreplay That Consists Of Verbally Inciting The Emotions That Are Deeply Repressed In The Troll Psyche
GA: The Ultimate Purpose Of A Pale Session Is To Draw Out These Thick Globs Of Agglutinated Feelings And Unwind Them
GA: Pile Talk Has Often Been Described As A Dance With Words Or As A Daunting Game Of Meowbeast And Vermin
GA: If The Emotions Come Out Too Strongly Then Containing Them Will Be Like Trying To Put A Leash On A Storm
GA: And If The Emotions Come Out Too Weak Then The Pale Seduction Will End Before It Can Reach The Pile
GA: In Ideal Circumstances The Proper Balance Of Foreplay And Escalation Is Carefully Maintained And The Events In The Pile Can Follow Their Natural Course Until Both Trolls Slowly Reach Together The Consolatory Culmination
EB: do i even wanna know.
GA: It Is A Torrid State Of Passionate Closeness Where All Feelings Are Bare
EB: no you see it was a rhetorical question i didn’t actually ask.
GG: john you're being rude!

Vriska crumbled in exhaustion against a bath wall to recover from the hell she raised while her feet were being scrubbed. Her body slumped into the bubble-covered water, her eyes half-closed and she started drifting away like on a sea of clouds. Feferi playfully enjoyed the bath next to her, turning around in small circles like a goldfish in a bowl while making small talk with Vriska.

"Sometimes I wonder if she feels lonely all by herself on the wide seas."
"The marquise is too kickass to feel lonely."
"But where is her hive where does she returns to."
"The ocean is her hive."
"But then how does she rests."
"She doesn’t rests she’s too busy looking for losers to plunder."
"It must be hard for her to live up to her reputation and all the expectations."
"She doesn’t have to meet anybody’s expectations she lives how she wants."
"Sometimes she must feel like she is drowning under the pressure."
"She can’t drown!"
"She tries so hard to prove herself all the time."
"She doesn’t need to try!!"

EB: are you sure that feferi is doing it right?
EB: vriska looks kinda mad.
GA: The Most Common Mistake That Amateurs Can Do In The Pile Is To Be Too Passive
GA: The Irked Answers By Vriska Are Entirely Natural And In Fact Desirable
EB: i don’t know.
EB: did vriska ever try not being crazy.
GA: I Understand What You Mean And I Think She Did Try That Once For About Five Minutes
GA: However The Aggressivity Aroused During Pile Talk Is Part Of A Larger Problem That Goes Beyond Vriska And Which Concerns Our Race As A Whole
GA: Trolls Are A Violent Species With A Certain Latent Savagery That Is Deeply Ingrained To Our Psychological Makeup
GA: For Example This Is The Reason Why You Cannot Stay For Long Inside The Personal Space Of A Troll Without It Devolving To Scratching And Biting As A Mild Form Of Territorial Dispute
TG: i though karkat was just psming
GA: Trolls Are Psychologically Unable To Hold Back From Lashing Out When Their Person Is Threatened
GA: Alternian Culture Employs Many Metaphors To Refer To This Facet Of Trollhood
GA: The Most Common Expressions Typically Suggest That There Is A Beast That Lurks Inside Every Troll
GA: When Trolls Are In Danger This Beast Is Said To Wake From Its Slumber And Take Over Trolls To Rise To Their Defense
GA: While This Imagery Is Relatively Crude And Archaic It Is A Convenient Way To Explain A Complicated Issue
GA: For Example Causing Physical Harm To A Troll Is A Sure Way To Trigger A Violent Primeval Response
GA: Perhaps More Interestingly This Condition Extends To Emotional Wounds As Well
GA: Trolls Learn To Function In Society By Burying Inside Them The Feelings That Would Cause Them To Lose Control Of Their Person
GA: And Trolls Treat Attempts At Discussing Their Personal Issues The Same Way As Being Physically Assaulted
GA: This Is The Underlying Reason Why Trolls Are Pathologically Not True To Themselves
GA: And That Is Why The Knotted Feelings That Dwell Inside A Troll Must Be Lured Out Into The Open By A Moirail Before They Can Be Tamed Like A Wild Beast
TT: Feferi and Vriska appear to be talking again.

"I think she should take breaks sometimes."
"Breaks are for losers."
"What’s wrong with taking breaks."
"Can never take a break."
"Why not."
"Make you lose all the irons you have in the fire."
"I think it's okay if she wants to go to shore and rest for a while."
"No I just said it’s not okay JEEZE stop hugging me."
"Because Mindfang is strong."
"She's the best!"
"And sometimes the greatest test of your strength is knowing when to rest."
"No NO STOP HUGGING ME."
"that’s why when things gets too hard she goes home."
"MINDFANG DOESN'T NEED A HOME YOU STUPID IDIOT."

EB: yeah well vriska looks REALLY pissed now.
GA: Vriska Has Been Burying Violent Emotions Inside Of Her And They Are Sure To Come Out With An Equally Violent Reaction
GA: A Railing Session Is Inherently A Wild And Messy Business That Is Both Emotional And Physical In Expanses GA: The Act Of Recalling Emotional Pain Causes Trolls To Enter A Defensive Savage State Called The Dolorous Woes
GA: And The Heightened Physical Response That This Emotional Pain Engenders Is Called The Peritraumatic Exertion
GA: This Dual Process Is More Commonly Known Together As The Pale Struggle
EB: are we gonna have to answer a quiz on all this stuff?
EB: like do I need to start taking notes i wasn't really paying attention.
GG: john!!
GA: As You Can See Feferi Is Quite Experienced With Handling The Pale Struggle
GA: Notice How She Is Expertly Cuddling Vriska From Behind As To Avoid Her Flailing Fists
GA: And She Subtly Set Up The Stage In Order To Have The Terrain Advantage Over Vriska

"when things get too hard she must go to shore."
"NO SHE DOESN’T."
"where her old hive waits for her."
"LET ME GO YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MINDFANG."
"and then her lusus tucks her to sleep."
"HER LUSUS DOESN’T DO THAT IT CAN ONLY HURT PEOPLE."
"and she forgets about everything for a while."
"NO SHE DOESN’T SHE CAN’T LET GO SHE CAN NEVER NEVER LET GO."
"I’m not letting you go anywhere Vriska."
"FUCK YOU PEIXES WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME."

GA: It Is Not Unheard Of For A Troll To Perish During A Pacification Attempt
TG: seriously
GA: A Railing Session May Need To Be Aborted If You Sustain Too Many Wounds In The Attempt
GA: And In Some Cases A Pale Relationship Must Be Cemented By Putting Your Life On The Line
GA: An Important Aspect Of The Pale Struggle Is To Draw it On Yourself Rather Than Fighting It Back
GA: It Is Somewhat Difficult To Explain
GA: You Need To Soak All The Rage As If You Were Drinking It To The Last Drop While Thirsty For An Ocean
GA: And You Need To Make Yourself Feel Huge For The Other Troll As If You Became Their Hive Where Everything Is Safe And Sound
GA: A Pale Crush Is How It Feels When Everything Comes Crashing Down Around You And The Place Where You Want To Go Is Actually A Person Rather Than A Location
GA: And A True Moirail Is Someone Who Is Able To Reach Out For What Lurks Into The Hearts Of Trolls And Embrace It No Matter How Ugly It Is
GG: :o
GA: And Then
GA: When The Timing Is Right
GA: Intimate Touching May Be Applied
GA: In Order To Carefully Sooth The Emotions

"I got you vriska you're safe here."
"LET ME GO I HATE YOU AND I HATE THIS SHITTY BATH."
"You’re not alone Vriska."
"FUCK YOU PEIXES YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING."
"I know it’s been hard."
"NOBODY UNDERSTANDS THERE’S ISN’T EVEN ANYTHING TO UNDERSTAND."
"I can hear your heart beating."
"I’M JUST THE IRREDEEMABLE SPIDER BITCH."
"It’s okay."
"NOBODY WANTS ME HERE WHY DON’T I JUST GO AND WALK OUT OF THIS METEOR WHO THE FUCK CARES."
"You're strong."
"NO I’M SCARED."
"Shhhh it's okay."
"ARE YOU HAPPY IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR YOU FUCKING ROYAL BITCH I’M SCARED."
"It’s okay let it go."

The mightly clockwork gears of time itself seemed to suspend their motions while Vriska's eyes grew wide with terror and Feferi's little pink nailed hand slooooooooooooowwwwllllyyyy smooshed her face in a sensual pap, all the hate and rage dissolving from Vriska’s being as her breath escapes her lungs and her strength leaves her and her contorted face becomes smooth all over while her eyes roll back and her mouth twitches into an ecstatic thin smile.

GA: The Shooshpaps Yes
GA: That Is What It Is All About
GA: Young Quivering Trolls Begging For Comfort
GA: Cajoling Fingers Rubbing Worried Faces To Appease The Begging Soul
GA: Trolls Wearing Their Heart On Their Sleeve And Smearing It All Over Each Other In Obscene Displays Of Affection
GA: Hard Throbbing Hearts Beating In Worried Chests Compressed By Smothering Cuddles As Trembling Hands Seek Each Other In The Dark And Tired Eyes Cry What Was Held Back For So Long
GA: This Is
GA: This Isd A Bitg Too Muchg
GA: Damnd Sorryh
TT: Is something wrong Kanaya?
GA: Not At All
GA: Sollux By Any Chance
GA: Would There Be Any Adverse Effect To The Act Of Spilling Fluids On A Keyboard
GA: Such As Blood From A Nosebleed As A Random Example On Top Of My Head
TT: You can take your time Kanaya.
GA: No I Am
GA: I Am Entirely Fine
-- arsenicCatnip [AC] has joined the memo --
AC: :33 < *ac saunters in the dark cave to look at the fun*
-- centaursTesticle [CT] has joined the memo --
CT: D --> Nepeta you will leave this sordid place at once
-- arsenicCatnip [AC] has left the memo --
-- centaursTesticle [CT] has left the memo --

Chapter Text

Feferi craddled Vriska in her arms while her hands made the magic happen on Vriska's face. Soon enough Vriska’s head lolled aside, her lips slightly parted way and her closed eyes shuddered in a subtle way that made her eyelashes quiver.

GG: hum?????
GG: kanaya?
GG: can you explain what shooshpaps are?
GG: it looks kinda like petting :B
GA: Shooshpapping Is An Essential Element Of Pile Play And Its Technical Name Is Somatic Assuagement
GA: The Shooshpaps Work By Using In Reverse Order The Same Fundamental Mechanism That Is Behind Peritraumatic Exertion
GA: In Other Words If A State Of Heightened Emotions Causes Violent Turmoils In The Physical Body
GA: Then Soothing The Physical Body Also Becalms The Soul
GA: For Trolls The Sensation Of Being Embraced During Their Dolorous Woes Is Akin To Being Reached Over On A Spiritual Level
GG: vriska said that she was scared
GG: what was that about
GG: what is vriska scared of?
GA: I Have No Idea
GA: However It Is Normal For Trolls To Admit Unexpected Things In The Pile
GA: Trolls Repress So Many Parts Of Themselves That Nobody Truly Understand How They See Things On The Inside
GA: Trolls Sometimes Bury Their Feelings For So Long That They Forget They Ever Had Them
GA: And Thus Many Trolls Do Not Understand Themselves
GA: Even When Unappeased Emotions Are Eating Them From The Inside And Urging Them To Seek A Pile
GA: In Popular Adages Moirails Are Often Compared To A Mirror Of The Soul
GA: In The Sense That You Can Only Truly Know Who You Are By Looking At Yourself Being Reflected Through Your Moirail
TG: ok times out
TG: how about we discuss the real important issue at hand
TG: like the fact that we are peeping on two chicks in a bath
TG: and we miss on most of the good stuff because of all the soap bubbles in the way
TG: you cant see it but im throwing popcorn at my screen
TG: boo
EB: boo.
TT: Boo.
GG: rose ??? :O

Vriska started to grow uneasy in Feferi’s arms. Her mouth contorted in a wave and her head shook from side to side as if to deny a silent accusation that was being pressed on her. Suddenly Vriska made a jerky movements And pushed Feferi away from her. She looked confusedly to her left and right as if she forgot where she was and what was going on and then started wailing like a wounded animal. Feferi approached her prudently while holding up one of her palm in an offer of peace and Vriska retreated to a corner of the bath. Vriska’s pupils dilated until they nearly filled her eyes and her legs kicked the water, sending soap bubbles afloat in the air. She started breathing through clenched teeth and her hands made sharp movements that whipped the air. A fine layer of soap clung to her feverish gray skin like an overflow of foam from the mouth of a rabid beast

EB: woah.
EB: vriska is going bonker again.
EB: i though she was already pacified or whatever
GA: Trolls Typically Need To Be Pacified Several Times During A Particularly Torrid Pale Encounter
EB: but why?
GA: When Trolls Enter Their Dolorous Woes It Becomes An Exhaustive Process That Spirals Out Of Their Control
GA: Their Emotive Memory Is Entirely Reset
GA: Painful Events Are Suddenly Remembered And Old Wounds Are Reopened
GA: Repressed Sorrow And Fear And Anger And Frustation Start Gushing Forth In Successive Waves
GA: And The Pale Struggle Is Rekindled Repeatedly
GA: Each Time Requiring To Be Physical Contained And Suppressed With Somatic Assuagement
GA: Thus We End Up With A Constant Back And Forth Of Shooshpapping

Feferi tackled Vriska like a football player. The two trolls rolled together and struggled underwater before breaking the surface and holding unto a bath wall while panting and gasping several feet apart. Vriska was dazed for a few seconds too long and it’s all it took for the fishgirl to move on the offensive. Feferi approached the panting Vriska with a serious expression on her face, threw her arms wide open and then gently wrapped them around Vriska’s neck in a protective manner. Feferi whispered to Vriska that it was okay, that everything was gonna be alright, and Vriska's eyes twitched in their orbit until they became fixed and then Vriska closed her eyes and rested her head on Feferi’s shoulder like a newfound warm pillow.

TG: ok i admit
TG: i was kinda hoping that the two chicks would go freaky on each other in the bath
TG: but i didn't expect them to be like actually freaky
TG: well not scary freaky but like this is kinda weird freaky
GA: Trolls Who Enter A Deep State Of Dolorous Woes Are Said To Become Lost Within Their Wrath
GA: In Which Case The Role Of Their Moirail Is To Find Them And Pull Them Back To Reality
GA: And If The Pale Struggle Rekindles And The Troll Becomes Lost Again
GA: Then The Pale Partner Must Be Ready To Dive In And Pull Them Back For As Many Times As It Takes

Vriska started mumbling in Feferi's arms. She said progressively louder that she can’t, she can’t, SHE CAN’T and then abruptly shoved Feferi away. The next second Feferi crashed into Vriska from behind and held unto her waist in a loveful hug. Vriska struggled to pull free from Feferi and Feferi responded by lifting Vriska slightly in the air. Vriska flailed her arms and legs like a puppet, Feferi pressed her forehead into into Vriska’s back and Vriska gradually went out of steam, until Feferi put her down and Vriska slumped to her knees halfway into the water. In a blink of the eye Feferi also went on her knee and embraced Vriska, craddling her like a terrified child in need of comfort. Feferi ran her fingers through Vriska’s hair and Vriska closed her eyes forcefully. Her lips started trembling.

GA: In The End Pale Romance Is Heavily Centered Around The Idealized Concept Of Achieving A Connection
GA: In Alternian Culture This Bond Is Called By Many Names
GA: Such As The Condolatory Liaison Or Neural Handshake Or Falling In Palerom
GA: Other Popular Expressions Include Having The Same Heart Or Discovering Your Soul Mate Or Reaching An Understanding
GA: Or Just Finding Someone Who Really Really Gets You
GG: is it over?
TT: I don't think so.
TG: nope vriska is going cray cray again
EB: don't they ever get tired?
GA: Propiation Can Be A Very Physically Consuming Process
GA: Especially In This Particular Scenario Where Two Extreme Personalities Meet With Each Other
GA: Railing Vriska Is Like Turning Inside Out A Black Hole Of Personal Issues
GA: And Feferi Is Feferi

The struggle between Vriska And Feferi seemed to last an eternity. Whenever Vriska gave the impression of having calmed down for good she would suddenly prove it wrong with newly found strength; she exploded with outbursts after outburst of violent wailing with no hints of stopping. Feferi stood in the middle of this craze and as if she stood exactly where she was born to be. It was the startling image of a girl dancing in the rain, laughing at the thunder and calling the storm her home. Whenever Vriska flared with intensity Feferi would grab her flailing hands and and spin her around the bath like dancing with an unwilling waltz partner. She would then placate Vriska against a bath wall and and wrestle with her, as soon as Vriska’s fury receded Feferi would immediately swoop over all her, cuddling Vriska in fullbodied undulating hugs and whispering soothing words into her ear. Her fingers gently petted Vriska’s face like kneading a pastry, and Vriska shooked in her arms while mouthing inaudible words that might have been thank you. Then a fresh wave of anger would take over her and the dance began anew. It seemed as if both trolls were lost in a trance were nothing else mattered in the world. Feferi fought and snuggled with Vriska like it was something she had rehearsed for so long that she knew every step by heart; she shooshed and papped Vriska like the ebb and flow of the tide that has cuddled the shores for centuries past.

TG: I have no idea what the hell is going on
GG: i think it’s beautiful :B
EB: was I really supposed to find out by myself that vriska wanted this
EB: whatever this is
EB: trolls are weird
TT: I think that the struggle is coming to a close.

Vriska’s anger came and went, but now with each wave some of the intensity was lost. The more Vriska stopped struggling the more she crumbled into a fragile mess. Her fists flailed with no strength in them, her eyes half-closed with the sudden tiredness of a thousand weary nights. It became less clear if Feferi was still placating Vriska or if she was helping her to stand upright. Then right there in the steamy hot bath, Vriska fell in Feferi’s arms and her body started shaking as if she had been pulled out of a freezing lake. She rambled clumsily with her eyes closed.

"And the worse, is, is, when they try to ignore me. It’s like like like I stop to exist. And it's like, I’m going to fade, fade little by little and vanish without a scream. And sometimes I’m afraid, afraid that I agree with them. That maybe I really am trying too hard for nothing, that I’m unimportant and forgettable. And I'm scared is that if, if I ever accept it in my heart then I really will vanish, I'll stop existing right there. And then everybody, everyone will forget that there ever was a Serket. Because because because nobody cares nobody cares at all. But I do, I care, I don't want to disappear."
"You exist to me."
"I try, I never stop trying"
"You don't have to be like her"
"No you don't understand!"
"You're not mindfang"
"Hsssssssss"

The soft sound escaped Vriska like steam escaping from a great overcooked engine.

GA: When Thickened Emotions Are Fragmented And Drawn Out It Is Typically Accompanied By A Psychosomatic Response
GA: Hissing Is The Most Stereotypical Reaction Found In Trolls
GA: While Other Variants Include Purring Or Honking Or Crying Or Psionic Abilities Going Wild
GA: The Troll Is Then Said To Be Undergoing Emotional Decompression
GA: It Is The Most Excited State Of Pale Palpitation That A Troll Can Reach
GA: When These Symptoms Manifest It Generally Indicates That The Pale Foreplay Is Over And The Shooshpaps Can Begin
GA: Trolls May Naturally Reach This State Of Excitation When The Load Of Their Emotional Burden Cannot Be Contained Anymore
GA: And Such A Desperate State May Urge Trolls To Make A Bold Sollicitation Of Casual Railing
GA: Such As Going Hissing In The Night For Example As John Learned Firsthand
GA: However This Is A Somewhat Improper Conduct That Is Looked Down Upon In Society
EB: yeah karkat was kinda mad.
EB: to be honest it didn't bother me that much.

Feferi helding Vriska at arm’s length with an impassive expression on her face, as if to slowly confirm that all of the bad temper had been squeezed out of Vriska. Vriska breathed laboriously, her eyes closed and fluttered open several times and she appeared completely lost. She pushed Feferi away without any strength (Feferi let her go) and she made a few steps before turning around and stumbling backward. Her back pressed against a side of the bath and she didn’t move anymore. Her eye were dead set on staring emptily downward. Feferi strolled toward Vriska, sat in the bath and studied her intently.

TT: What is Feferi going to do now?
GA: Feferi Will Try To Open A Dialog With Vriska
TT: They don't appear to be talking.
GA: Of Course I Am Speaking On A Figurative Level
GA: Moirails Must Know How To Communicate With Their Bodies What Words Cannot Say Alone
GA: What I Mean Is That Feferi Will Be Use Physical Contact In Order To Establish The Pale Connection That I Mentioned Earlier
GA: It Is The Most Depraved Act Of Overwhelming Intimacy That Can Happen In The Pile
GA: We Should Not Be Looking At This It Is Absolutely Wrong
TG: wait one second i just realized
TG: if this junk is supposed to happen in a pile of stuff
TG: then why are they doing it in a bath
GA: Well Like I Said It Railing Can Technically Take Place Anywhere
GA: Moreover We Could Say That Feferi Is Pacifying Vriska In A Huge Pile Of Water
TG: thats goddamn bullshit and you know it

Chapter Text

Feferi and Vriska sat in front of each other in the bath without exchanging a word. Vriska appeared completely emptied of energy after having thrashed in the bath for so long. She slumped against the bath wall and stared downward intently. Feferi edged closer to Vriska confidently, breathed calmly and gently lifted Vriska’s head to encourage her to make eye contact. Vriska struggled to look down at the water for the longest time before mustering the courage to acknowledge Feferi with a hesitant peek.

TT: Oh.
GG: i think its happening!!!

Feferi waited until Vriska looked at her again and then grabbed her attention by slowly lifting her right hand and letting it linger in the air between both of them to show it plainly (Vriska stared at it with eyes wide open). Feferi then softly brought her hand forward in a gentle caress on Vriska's cheek and then let her hand hover there for a while. Vriska appeared shaken to the core. She trembled with great confusion, as if possessed by a hundred contradictory demons, and after visibly struggling back and forth with her entire being she timidly raised her own trembling hand and made it cup over Feferi’s hand out of her own volition. Vriska hesitatingly wrapped her hand around Feferi's hand and jammed her eyes shut as if expecting an explosion. Her mouth made a weird squeezed line that might have been an honest smile that is out of practice. Vriska then started breathing through her mouth in hyperventilation and she had a long whole body spasm as if she was suddenly exposed to a chilling wind.

GA: This Is Too Much
GA: I Am Sorry It Is Just Too Much For Me
GA: The Idea That We Are All Sitting Here
GA: Looking At This Together On Our Screens
TT: It's okay Kanaya.
TT: You can take your leave if you want.
GA: No It Is Too Late To Turn Back Now
GA: Even If This Feels So Wrong Someone Must Give The Commentaries
TT: Thank you Kanaya.

Feferi leaned forward until her face was nearly pressed against Vriska’s face. Vriska felt Feferi standing so close to her. Vriska's eyes, still held firmly shut, started twitching with urges that she couldn't contain anymore. Vriska started making resteless involuntary movements and then she leaned forward of her own to rub her eyebrow against Feferi’s eyebrow. Vriska immediately appeared afraid of what she did. Feferi poked back with her chin. Vriska rubbed the side of her face into Feferi’s hair and Feferi pressed her forehead against Vriska’s forehead. Having so established a communication, Feferi and Vriska slightly nudged their chests closer to each other and took turns leaning forward to rub cheeks against cheeks. For a second Vriska almost retreated backward with a final ounce of hesitation before swallowing down and putting her shaking hands around Feferi’s waist. Feferi warmly pulled their bodies together in an unbreakable hug and their cheeks pressed flat against each other in perfect intimacy.

GA: It Needs To Be Said That No Two Trolls Are Alike And All Interactions Are Unique
GA: Every Pale Relationship Is A Puzzle To Figure Out GA: And Of Course The Intensity Of The Physical Interactions Performed In The Pile Varies Between Couples
GA: Some Trolls Have Mild Pale Urges And Only Feel The Need To Hang Out With Their Moirails From Time To Time In Order To Touch Base And Bump Fists
GA: In Contrast Some Trolls Harbor The Most Depraved Pale Urges That Can Only Be Satisfied By Abandoning Themselves To A Relentless Debauchery Of Intense Cuddling In The Pile
GG: woooooow

Vriska’s hands fumbled and found it’s way into’s feferi’s hand. The fingers crisscrossed together blindly and then both hands was held upright at either of their side, honestly and defiantly. Feferi shifted her position and placed her forehead against Vriska's forehead and both girls closed their eyes.

GA: Can I Talk About Hand Holding
TT: Yes Kanaya you may talk about hand holding.
GA: The Intimate Enlacement Of The Digits Has A Long And Rich History With Palerom
GA: As A Matter Of Fact Hand Holding Has Been Censored In All Forms Of Alternian Media For Millenias In Order To Avoid Giving Suggestive Ideas To The Younger Generations
GA: The Reason Is Completely Understandable
GA: Young Trolls Who Have Not Fully Bloomed In Their Pale Quadrant Would Be Unable To Understand The Subtleties Of Pale Seduction And Pale Foreplay
GA: And Thus If They Saw The Deed And Attempted To Replicate The Activity It Would Only Create Violent Altercations
GA: Being Able To Hold Hands In Perfect Agreement Is Held As A Milestone In Popular Culture For The Purpose Of Losing Your Pale Innocence
GA: And The Act Of Holding Hands Is A Long Standing Symbol Of Overcoming The Psychological Barrier That Makes Each Troll An Island
GA: Thus Allowing Trolls To Not Feel Alone For The First Time Of Their Life
GA: By Achieving A Connection On The Most Profund Level
TT: Can you tell us more about how this connection is achieved?
GA: Oh Gosh
GA: Please Give Me a Moment To Settle Down
GA: Alright I Can Perhaps Inform You About The Basics
GA: As A General Advice In Pale Romance It Is Important To Not Jump Straight To Hand Holding
GA: Being In An Hurry In The Pile Is The Surest Way Of Mishandling Such A Delicate Relationship
GA: Likewise One Should Never Directly Express A Desire For Talking About Personal Problems
GA: Or Directly Offer To Conduct Lewd Activities Such As Cuddling
GA: Focusing On The Physical Aspect Of The Relationship Will Only Overwhelm A Prospective Partner
TT: Of course.
GA: With That Being Said
GA: The Technique For Achieving A Pale Connection Is Very Basic
GA: You Could Say That Feferi Is Using A Textbook Example Right Now
GA: After Having First Subdued The Dolorous Woes
GA: Once You Have Comfortably Achieved The Feat Of Holding Hands Without Triggering Any Stressful Instinct
GA: You Slowly move on To The Forehead To Forehead Position Or FTF
GA: Once Again It Is Important To Take Your Time
GA: The Textbook Example Generally Recommends That You Hold The FTF Position With Your Partner While Slowly Counting In Your Head To One Hundred
GA: And You Should Slowly Feel The Connection Bloom Between You And Your Moirail
GA: This Can Then Be Followed With More Feelings Jams After Or Even During The Affectionate Contact
TT: Interesting.
GA: After All It Is A Matter Of Slowly Adjusting Your Hearts On The Same Wavelength
GA: Moirails Are Said To Breathe With The Same Breath And Live With The Same Heartbeat
GA: And Trolls Who Are In A Deep Relationship Are Able To Sense When Their Pale Partner Is Emotionally Burdened And Needs To Be Relieved
GA: This Connection Is Often Exagerated In Popular Culture
GA: As A Literary Device Moirails Are Portrayed As Being Able To Sense When Their Significant Other Is In Danger
GA: And In Classic Tragedies It Is Common For A Character To Be Able To Sense The Mortal Demise Of Their Moirail From A Great Distance
GA: This Is Typically Followed By Having Said Character Hurl Themselves To Their Death From A High Place Or Otherwise Commiting Troll Sudoku
GA: Out Of Grief For Having Lost The Only Person In The World Who Would Truly Understand Them
TT: Feferi And Vriska are talking again.
TT: Something looks wrong with Vriska.

Feferi and Vriska had changed position. Feferi was pressing both of her hand behind Vriska's head to hold her in place with their foreheads bumped intimately against one another. Vriska appeared distraught and lost in a daze; she was extending her hands and pawed Feferi extensively like someone struck with blindness who struggles to understand their surroundings. Drops of blue liquids fell down from Vriska's chin. Vriska and Feferi spoke quickly under their breath.

"Don't, leave, don't leave me with her."
"She isn't here you're in a safe place."
"Always there, always wants more, from me."
"She's gone she isn't there anymore."
"The journal, always read, better place."
"You don't need the journal anymore."
"Always trying, my best, to be, like her."
"You’re not Mindfang."
"She’s, people don’t, they don't, forget her."
"I won’t forget you Vriska."
"I can’t, can’t stop myself, always, ignoring me."
"I’m looking at you Vriska."
"Please I just, I just can't."
"You’re right there in front of me."
"Can't rest, can never rest, I can’t, can’t."
"You don’t have to be Mindfang, you don’t have to be anyone else but yourself."
"Don't stop please."

Vriska grabbed unto Feferi like she was about to drown. Feferi spoke while patting her hair.

"You just don’t know where to exist. Your worry about all the things you should have done and then you only live in the past, you worry about all the things you need to do and then you only live in the future. But what matters is that you exist in the present, right here with everyone else. We’re here, we’re now and it’s real. You don’t have to be anywhere else. You tried so hard and got this far, why don’t you try living here just for a while. "
"Hsssssssss"

A tiny fist bumped Feferi on the face for one last time. A hand fell limp. A tired head went to rest on a welcoming shoulder. Feferi spoke and her strong voice carried over the water, it spilled over the bathwater and filled the room with mesmerizing authority. It was a singsong voice that could remove all burdens and absolve all mistakes, something magical that granted second chances and allowed life to bloom once more, and for a supreme instant Feferi did seem a witch.

"It’s okay."
"You’re vriska serket"
"And you live in the present"
"We can stay here for as long as you want"

A pink nailed hand gently patted a worried forehead. Drops of water could be heard falling.

GA: You Will Notice That Vriska Was Unable To Discuss Things About Herself
GA: But Was Willing To Project Them Unto The Marquise
GA: Which Is The Medium That Feferi Employed In Order To Draw Vriska Closer To Her True Feelings
GA: This Same Tone Of Conversation Was Then Applied For The Rest Of The Pale Encounter
GA: The Use Of Extensive Metaphors Is An Essential Component Of Pile Talk For The Purpose Of Communicating Raw Feelings
GA: For This Reason The Language Of Palerom Is Said To Be Flowery And Vidid With Imagery

With one final cuddle Vriska slumped snuggly into Feferi’s arms and blinked sleepily. Her breathing slowed down and her face relaxed into a sheepish smile.

GA: Vriska Is Currently In What Is Called The Pap Zone
GA: It Is A Cathartic Feeling Of Disconnection That Is Sometimes Described As Floating In Space
GA: It Is The Only Way For A Troll To Rest Safely Outside Of A Recuperacoon
GA: A Troll Can Spend Minutes Or Hours In The Arms Of A Moirail Without Knowing How Much Time Has Lapsed
GA: And At Its Deepest Level It Is Said That Trolls May Experience Vivid Hallucinations Built From Fragments Of Their Memory
GA: Which Are Sometimes Said To Features The Object Of Their Deepest Desire
GG: vriska feels so good that she’s dreaming???
GG: woooooow :O
TG: no wonder you trolls are making a huge deal
TG: this shit is like drugs to you guys
EB: i guess the railing is over now?
EB: well that was culturally enriching even if a little weird.
TT: Thank you Sollux And Kanaya
TT: This was very informative.
TA: you're welcome
GA: Of Course This Demonstration Must Have Appeared Very Silly From Your End Of The Monitor
GA: It Would Be Frivolous To Expect Aliens To Find Interest In Such A Convoluted Facet Of Trollhood
GA: In Fact I Am Suddenly Abashed And Apalled Of Wasting Your Time Of The Day With This Very Apparent Nonsense
GA: It Is Now Painfully Obvious To Me That This Cultural Exchange Was Devoid Of Any Applicable Meaning Whatsoever
TT: Kanaya.
GA: It Would Be Utterly Wrong To Lure Aliens Into Relationships That Is Outside The Scope Of Their Understanding
TT: Kanaya.
GA: Yes Rose
TT: I have been thinking.
TT: And I think in my humble opinion that humans may perhaps be able to engage in pale activities.
GA: Rose I Do Not Think That This Proper At All We Should Not Even Think Of Such Forbidden Relationships
TT: Nonetheless the potential is there.
TT: If humans and trolls have to cohabit on this meteor then we must learn to understand each other.
GA: Well Rose I Suppose That If You Insist So Strongly Then It Cannot Be Helped Just Do Not Tell Karkat Okay
TT: Of course.
TA: you know iit probably wouldn't be that hard for you guy2 to fiind troll2 wiilliing to try iit out
TA: remember when kanaya 2aiid that troll2 are attracted to wiildness and eccentriiciity iin theiir moiiraiil2
TA: well you human2 giive off tho2e pale exotiic viibe2 liike crazy just 2ayiing
GG: i think
GG: i think i could see myself being a top in a pile
EB: you want to cuddle with trolls?
GG: that's not what i said john jeez!
EB: it's kinda literally what you just said.
GG: i mean i was just wondering about what dave said
GG: i did live isolated so maybe it does make me pretty good at this!!!
TT: Following this logic I guess it would also make me a top.
TT: My lieu of residence was quite remote and near a the forest.
EB: I lived in a suburb but it wasn’t exactly the countryside.
EB: does that makes me neutral or a switch? this is stupid.
EB: also dave reeks of urban life so he's the bottomiest bottom that ever bottomed.
TG: oh please
EB: sorry dave trolls are probably gonna line up to put their grubby little hands on your face and tell you that everything is gonna be okay.
TG: fuck this is dumb enough to be true
GA: Ah Hem
TT: Yes Kanaya?
GA: I Could Potentially Allow The Possibility Of Maybe Letting You Borrow Some Palerom Books
GA: For Entirely Educative Purposes Of Course
TT: It would be lovely Kanaya.
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] has joined the memo --
CG: OKAY NOBODY MOVES
CG: I HEARD THINGS AND I NEED ANSWERS
CG: WHAT THE ALMIGHTY FUCK IS GOING ON IN THIS PLACE
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] was banned from the memo --
TA: oop2 my fiinger totally 2lipped on the ban button
TA: it2 probably tavro2 who leaked iit two hiim he kinda 2uck2 at keepiing 2ecret2
TA: oh riight ii forgot two 2ay ii sent tavro2 a priivate liink two me22 wiith hiim becau2e why the fuck not
TA: ii diid'nt tell nepeta though so 2he mu2t have gotten the heat from tavro2 as well
TA: oh 2hiit kk iis comiing my way
TA: ii can 2ee him comiing on my moniitor2
TA: gue22 he'2 goiing 2traiight for the 2ource two 2hut down the operatiion
TA: ii'm 2o fuckiing out of here iif anyone a2k2 ii don't 2ecretly 2how porn two aliien2 ok later ladiies
-- twinArmaggedons [TA] has closed the memo --

Chapter Text

A day had passed since the human dwellers of the meteor became privy to an unusual bath scene. Hushed talk of the event spread like wildfire among the troll population while John Egbert focused on a moreso important issue, which was to spend the entire rest of day (and some of the night) playing videogames incessantly. On the next morning John woke in a sluggish turpor and languidly dragged himself out of bed to face what announced itself as yet another bright, lazy morning. An hour later John exited his room and paced down the meteor corridors. John entered the common room while suppressing a mouth-covering yawn and it was at this precise moment that John realized something was very wrong in the atmosphere.

John cheerfully greeted Karkat who replied with a grunt and then walked a demicircle around John to avoid him. Kanaya lifted a fashion magazine to hide her face. Nepeta crawled under a table and studied John with her tail waving back and forth (john always wondered if that tail was mechanical or something). John noticed Gamzee sitting in a crosslegged position on the floor with a sopor pie in his lap and about to lick a green-covered finger near his mouth. He eyed john with an indiscernible expression and stayed completely frozen in the act for as long as John looked at him. John shrugged and walked by Aradia who sat on bench reading an archeology book; Aradia prudishly tucked her legs together and turned her body away from John, then peeked at him from over her shoulder and sharply turned her head away. John noticed Equius and Tavros sitting in a wide space while surrounded with small tools and pieces of robotics; Equius was evidently performing his usual maintenance on Tavros’ legs. John waved at them both and the trolls stopped their lively discussion to stare at him with unclear apprehension.

"Sheesh what’s wrong with everyone today", John though aloud. He noticed Dave, Jade and Rose sitting around a table and waved at them. John then got himself some pop-tarts (not made by Betty Crocker, he always checked) and went to sit with his friends. He placed down his food plate and turned his palms upward in disbelief.

"Is it me or the mood is kinda weird", said John. His friends nodded in agreement. Jade in particular seemed agitated by the thick atmosphere in the room. "They know", said Jade like delivering a juicy gossip. "Know what", asked John hopefully. Jade advanced over the table. "They know we spied yesterday", Jade in a hushed tone as if afraid to wake up somebody. John shrugged his shoulders about the news. "Oh, of course everybody would know, nobody can keep a secret on this giant space rock". said John. This didn't seem to make Jade feel any better. She slumped on the table like a dog ignored by its master. "They avoided us too when we arrived", said Jade with a mournful whimper.

John was more preoccupied with filling his growling belly than by the current social situation. He chomped down hungrily on a pop-tart and spoke in a casual manner with his mouth full. "Sho, whatch’s their problem anyway", said John. "Well we spied on dirty stuff..." said Jade without finishing her sentence. She looked nervously around the room in case anyone was within hearing shot. John shook his head. "It’ch not even dirty they’re chust pretending it is", said John. Jade sighed a little. "Well it’s important for them", Jade said. "Now they know we’re interested about pale relationships", she added in a conspiratorial tone. John turned towards Dave to this right. "Are we?", asked John.

Dave stirred in his seat and paused between two bites of his sandwich. The Knight of Time was listening to music through a pair of oversized headphones, although the volume must have been low since he also followed the ambient conversation. "Beats me", said Dave.

Rose tapped the table with the book she was reading. "I think the trolls are concerned at the possibility that we might be interested," Rose explained. John found her tone of voice suspicious and noticed a pile of object sitting next to Rose. "What do you have over there Rose", asked John. Rose pushed toward the middle of the table a small tower of book that threatened to tumble. "Earlier this morning Kanaya dropped these on my table without saying a word", said Rose. John picked one of the book, eyed the cover and turned it around without much interest.

SAVE ME FROM MYSELF

After having accidentally killed her childhood moirail during a pacification attempt gone wrong, a gifted lowblood swears to close her heart forever and goes on to become the fiercest celebrity warrior of the imperial gladiator entertainment program. However her world of ruthless violence is one day shattered by a midnight visit that takes an unexpectedly torrid pale hue. Her quadrant would be perfect if it wasn't for one problem: her pale crush is her kismesis, her greatest opponent in the arena! Kismesis by day and moirail by night, nobody must know about this forbidden relationship!

"Five diamonds out of five!"- the Alternian Informer
"An absolute must read!"- President of the Palerom Authors Association.
"This review was removed for containing spoilers" - Head of the Legislaceration Office.

John boringly flipped the pages of the book and discarded it boringly on the table. Rose cleared her throat. "I figured that these books might help us understand better some of the subtle dynamics between pale relationships", said Rose carefully. John swallowed a mouthful of sugary pastry and scratched his head. "Who cares it’s just friendship anyway, they stamp it with a different name and pretend it’s a special relationship when it’s not. Trolls are weird", said John plainly. Jade immediately disagreed. "It’s not just friendship it's more than that!" said Jade.

At this instead Sollux entered the common room by the main entrance. He noticed the lingering uneasiness in the atmosphere, looked at the humans sitting huddled together and chuckled to himself. He picked two bottles of juice from the fridge (gushing strawberry and blueberry explosion), waved in direction of the kids and sat at their table. "Lookth like everyone ith acting like a bunch of babieth", said Sollux.

"Yeah talk about a cold reception", said John.
"Thank you for letting us watch the pale session yesterday", said Rose curtly.
"Karkat flipped out for hourth it wath totally awethome", said Sollux.

Sollux unsnapped both of his juice bottles, opened his jaw very wide, jammed a bottle in each corner of his mouth and drank from both bottles at the same time. Jade looked at him worriedly while rubbing her hands. "Do the trolls... hate us now?" asked Jade. Sollux slammed the bottles of juice on the table and let out a content sigh. "Nah it’th more like the oppothite if you athk me", said Sollux, "before now they thaw you ath a bunch of obliviouth alienth. They didn’t really pay attention to you guyth for the purpothe of filling their pale quadrant. You know it’th like thitting on the load gaper in front of your pet and not giving a fuck."
"Sollux!" Jade yelled indignantly at the crude metaphor. Sollux chuckled. "Look I’m juth saying it like it ith. I guethth they’re noticing you for the firtht time and they don’t know what to think. It’th like the ruleth of the game haveth changed if you know what i mean. Wait ith that a pile of pale romance bookth over there holy thith" said Sollux.

Sollux picked a book from the top of the pile and read the title. "They made a movie of that one it really thucked", said Sollux, "well if you’re thitting there reading all that crap then of courthe everybody ith gonna freak out". Dave shook his head at the last statement.

"I’m not reading one", said Dave. "Come on Dave just pick one!" said Jade.
"Nuh-uh", said Dave.
"Dave when we arrived on this meteor we all agreed we would do an effort to get along. I think we all ought to read at least one book for our education", said Rose.
"I don’t really feel it either", said John
"Not you too John!" said Jade.

Jade picked a book on the table and trusted it in John’s direction. John blocked it with both hands.

"Read the book John!" said Jade.
"No way!" said John.
"You'll never know if you hate it if you don't try! Take the book!" said Jade.

Jade reached over the table and tried to bonk John on the head with the romance novel. John blocked her arms, the book slipped out of Jade’s grip and it dropped down straight into into John’s plate of food, splitting his last pop-tart in twain in a splatter of strawberry filling.

"Oh noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo", said Jade.

Jade jammed her two small fists against her cheeks. John started laughing until his face flushed and he bumped the table with his fist. Dave spat some apple juice and started chuckling too, then Rose giggled while holding a book over her mouth and Jade tried to smother her face with her hands but ended up laughing infectiously as well, then all of a sudden the tension of this unusual morning seemed to vanish into thin air.

"You guyth are freaking weird I love it," said Sollux.

Sollux drank again from his dual bottles of juice and the mood infected him all of a sudden; he chuckled involuntarily, spilled juice on his shirt and started rapping the table with his knuckles while steadying himself.

"He he ha ha but yeah jutht give it some time and everybody will be back to normal. These weirdoth are jutht a little scared and don’t know how to approach the thituation. And if you do want to try out a moirallegiance go ahead it will probably be hilarious. Jutht don’t try anything with Equiuth or Nepeta thince they’re already together in a therious relationthip, it’d be really bad manner to pale flirt with them. But yeah athide from them you can try with pretty much with anyone knock yourthelf out later buncha pervertth" said Sollux.

Sollux took his leave and psionically levitated his empty bottles of juice into the thrash disposal unit. Jade started cleaning with her sleeve the book that fell in John's plate. John grabbed a banana from a bowl of fruit, peeled it and stuffed his face with it while picking another pale romance book from the top of Rose’s pile. He munched and looked at the cover of the novel, lifted his eyebrows and turned it around to read the synopsis.

UNDER THE PALE MOONLIGHT

"Best book of the sweep" – The Highblood Gazette
"So intense I want to hug myself" – Palerom Literature Association
"I was not threatened with death to write this review" – The Alternian Digest

After making a kismesis move on the wrong person, a haughty highblood is disgraced from alternian high society and sent off for indefinite exile in equatorial Alternia, where the natives are queers and do not fear the sun. There young aristocrat has a fateful meeting under the pale moonlight with a lowblood of mesmerizing wildness; deep pale feelings begin to stir for the first time inside his cold heart and in the instant before she vanished back amidst the trees, the boy immediately knew that he was unconditionally and irrevocably in moirallegiance with her. But does he dare go into the deadly forest and find her? More importantly, does he dare sail the dark waters of his past that perhaps better lies forgotten? What is the shadow that looms upon his heart and can she help him lift it?

John turned the book to study the picture on the cover. "I didn’t know trolls could have a tan. Shiny black skin and big yellow eyes. She looks like a black panther. What are you reading Rose", said John. The book in Rose’s hands was so large a brick that it could knock someone unconscious. Rosed answered with her eyes fixated on the pages. "It appears to be an anthology of myths and legends featuring moirallegiances from the heroic age. The story I am currently reading covers the deeds of a king-adventurer that was two third god and one third mortal. He became lifelong moirail with a beastman. It is interesting" said Rose.

"Did anyone see Vriska today?" said John.
"Nope", said jade. "She isn't up yet. I heard that Feferi carried her sleeping to her cocoon after the pale thing yesterday. Apparently Vriska’s been sleeping ever since. So, are you gonna read that book John?"
"Sure", said John.
"Really??" said Jade with a gasp.
"Nope!"
"JOHN."
"Woah stop trying to hit me I’m just messing around, I’ll take the book with me", said John.

Jade excitedly turned to face Dave.
"Dave, your turn!" said Jade.
"I take that one", said Dave.
"You took it randomly you didn’t even look at it", said Jade.
"Sure I did it looked super interesting", said Dave.
"Riiight", said Jade.

John gathered his empty dish and stood up from his chair.
"Alright I’m gonna do stuff", said John.
"Aww you’re leaving already?" said Jade
"Peace out man", said Dave.

John didn't return to his room. Instead John exited the common room discretly, took an unusual turn and walked over to the troll side of the meteor. John arrived at Vriska’s room. He reached over to knock on the door before stopping himself at the last second. John looked again at the cover of the book he was carrying. Soulful round yellow eyes that glow in the dark, he’d seen that before. John prepared to knock on the door, stopped again and decided that he was being really silly. John pocketed the book and left the troll quarters to go back to his room.

When John sat at his computer desk he was surprised to see Vriska suddenly appear online.

-- ectoBiologist [EB] has invited arachnidsGrip [AG] to a private memo --

EB: hi vriska!
EB: i haven’t seen you around in a while.
EB: well we saw each other in person but i haven’t seen you online.
EB: not since you broke your last computer by bashing it with your forehead.
EB: did you get a new one.
EB: a new computer i mean not a new forehead.
AG: )(-ELLO JO)(N glub glub glub glub glub glub.
EB: vriska? are you alright?
AG: )(e)(e)(e)(e)(e)(e!
AG: Wait let me c)(ange t)(e settings pc)(ooooooooooo!
-- arachnidsGrip [AG] has left the memo --
-- cuttlefishCuller [CC] has joined the memo --
CC: S-E-E t)(is is muc)( better!
EB: oh.
EB: yeah.
EB: how did this happen anyway?
CC: I'm inside Vriska's respiteblock rig)(t now glub glub glub.
CC: You caug)(t me in the middle of doing some ST------EALTH DIPLOMACY!
CC: )(ELL YEA)(! 38D
EB: urgh.
EB: for a second i forgot about your typing quirk.
CC: Glub glub glub glub glub glub glub glub glub glub glub.
CC: Sorry I'm just so -EXCIT----------------ED!
CC: Vriska is still sleeping don't make any sound. 38)
CC: NOT LIK-E S)(-E CAN )(-EAR YOU PFFFFFFFF )(-E)(-E)(-E)(-E!
EB: wow.
EB: you seemed a lot calmer in person the previous day.
CC: Of COURS-E w)(en you glub your little fis)( you have to TAK--E YOUR TIM--E!
CC: Don’t get me wrong I’m always ---EXCIT---ED ON THE INSID---E glub glub glub glub glub. 38D
EB: i guess you’re not mad that people were spying on you.
EB: actually i wasn’t sure if you knew that people were spying on you.
EB: i hope i didn’t spill the beans just now that would be embarrassing.
CC: )(-E-E )(-E-E are you kidding OF COURS------E I know we were watc)(ed!
CC: It only makes everyt)(ing MOR---E ---EXCITING!
EB: right.
EB: so vriska is doing fine?
CC: My little fis)( is still sleeping like a wriggler in the recuperacoon w)(ere I left )(er yesterday.
CC: I wouldn’t be surprised if s)(e slept for T)(R-E-E DAYS after we )(ad SO MUCH ---EXCIT---EMENT!
EB: really? damn.
EB: wait you never really told me.
EB: what are you doing in vriska’s room?
CC: I'm leaving )(er little gift for w)(en s)(e wakes up.
CC: I alchemized )(er a new computer!
CC: T)(en I glubbed sollux until )(e stopped B---EING SO LAZY and )(e salvaged the data from Vriska’s wrecked computer and )(e put it in t)(is new one!
CC: Sollux is so cool I never )(ad the gills for tec)(nology )(e)(e)(e)(e)(e.
CC: AND T)(EN!
CC: I went to drop my DIPLOMATIC GIFT in Vriska’s room t)(is morning and I gave it a final test run to make sure that everyt)(ing was plugged rig)(t.
CC: It went so well t)(at the c)(at client automatically logged in with Vriska’s old settings!
CC: T)(en you messaged me and )(-ER-E W-E AR-E isn’t that exciting?
EB: yep! talk about crazy timing.
EB: so vriska’s computer works fine?
CC: Glub glub glub it works P-ERF-ECTLY fine!
CC: I’m just gonna leave it )(ere with the CUT-EST pink ribbon and my little perfumed personal message.
CC: I wrote )(er that s)(e’s free to take a bat)( again with me anytimes she wants! 38D
CC: My bat)(room is open to you too jo)(n if you’re interested )(e)(e)(e)(e)(e)(e.
EB: what.
CC: If you can’t sleep at nig)(t you’re free to go knock on my door. 38)
CC: We can sneak into my bat)( just you and me no need to tell anemone.
CC: I’d be HAPPY to learn more about you jo)(n glub glub glub glub glub!
EB: damn.
CC: Is something wrong Jo)(n?
CC: Don’t be S)(ELFIS)( you can s)(are with me anyt)(ing you want.
EB: it’s nothing.
EB: it’s just I never realized this was an option.
EB: and also.
EB: it’s pretty weird for a girl to offer a boy to take a bath with her.
EB: like super ultra this stuff never happens outside of movies weird.
EB: anyway i think i’ll have to say thanks for the weird proposition but no thanks.
CC: That's okay Jo)(n my offer will still be t)(ere if you change your mind! 38D
EB: actually.
EB: i was kinda looking forward to eventually chat with you.
EB: HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM?
EB: i was putting it off for later but since we are talking right now i guess i might as well go for it.
EB: even though it’s pretty sudden since we never really talked together before.
CC: GLUUUUB t)(at’s fine. 38)
CC: Go a)(ead jo)(n you can ask me anyt)(ing pc)(ooooooooooo.
EB: i was wondering if we could sometimes discuss how to do the pale thing.
EB: since you look like some kind of expert on the subject.
EB: yesterday kanaya said a lot of words very quickly and i forgot half of the junk she said.
EB: and i was thinking.
EB: maybe i should learn more in case Vriska goes hissing in the night and jumps on my bed again.
EB: i could throw some shooshpaps on her so i can send her home and go back to sleep.
EB: something like that.
CC: This is so very fis)(y. 38|
CC: Jo)(n you are a T------ERRIBL------E liar )(e)(e)(e)(e)(e)(e.
CC: I can T-ELL )(ow )(ard you clam up your feelings and pretend to not care!
CC: Do you )(ave your eyes on little vriska?
EB: no!
EB: maybe.
EB: i don’t know it’s complicated.
EB: well actually it’s not.
EB: this whole pale thing is pretty much just regular friendship.
EB: like i just wanna learn how to talk to vriska i don’t wanna marry her.
EB: you guys act like it’s a super serious relationship when it’s nothing special.
CC: Y-E-A-)( we could say t)(at.
CC: IF W-E’RE B-EING COMPL---ET---ELY R---ETARD---ED!
CC: PSYYYYYYC)(-E )(-E-E )(-E-E )(-E-E )(-E-E )(OO )(OO )(OO! 38D
EB: Uh.
CC: I'm just joking of course. 38)
CC: Glub glub glub glub glub glub glub glub glub glub glub.
CC: Is somet)(ing the matter Jo)(n?
EB: no it’s nothing.
EB: it’s just that.
EB: for a second i forgot that you’re kinda weird.
EB: i’m not sure what i was expecting.
CC: T)(at’s just because we don’t know eac)( otter yet!
CC: Every stranger is a TANGL--E BUDDY t)(at is waiting to )(appen.
CC: I t)(ink it’s so exciting that we are finally uniting our races by s)(aring our quadrants.
CC: And since you’re interested in glubbing t)(en w)(y don’t we have a PRACTIC-E S-ESSION! 38)
CC: Just you and me and a BATH FULL OF BUBBL---ES glub glub glub glub glub glub.
EB: gosh stop tempting me already.
CC: SO YOU AR-E B-EING T-EMPT-ED! 38D
EB: no! not at all. absolutely not.
CC: T)(ere’s no reason to be s)(y since it wouldn't be a R-EAL pile activity.
CC: After all you’re saying that you don’t )(ave a pale quadrant )(e)(e)(e)(e)(e)(e.
CC: You could just tell me about your lusus and I'll s)(ow you )(ow it’s supposed to work!
EB: tell you about my what.
EB: that’s how you call your parent right?
CC: Your lusus was culled during the game wasn’t it.
CC: We can use t)(at as practice for learning to talk about feelings.
CC: It’s perfect since you’re an alien and you’re not affected by pale urges glub glub glub.
EB: i do not really want to talk about this subject.
EB: are you trying to mess with me it’s not very funny.
EB: look i’m gonna go okay.
EB: bye.
CC: BY----------E JO)(N!
CC: If you c)(ange your mind anytime you can just knock on my door. 38)
CC: It’s always UNLOCK----ED!
EB: urgh.

-- ectoBiologist [EB] has left the memo --

Chapter Text

-- turntechGodhead [TG] has invited grimAuxiliatrix [GA] to a memo --

TG: sup kanaya i was just thinking about you
GA: Hello Dave
GA: I Somehow Doubt That This Happens Often
TG: nah were cool
TG: we got mad jazz in common
TG: see im starting to read one of the books you let us borrow
TG: and i think its super interesting no lie
GA: Really
TG: yeah man its the bees knees in fact its so good i was hoping you could tell me more it
TG: like about the plot and whatever
GA: Dave Are You Trying To Extract Information From Me So That You May Dispense Yourself From Reading The Book
TG: wow rude
TG: i would never do that it would be downright unconscionable
TG: maybe i really am doped out about rubbing my hands on troll faces
TG: did you try to consider that for a second kanaya
GA: I Suppose That We Can Discuss The Book In Question
TG: hell yes
TG: ok so its the thick one with the red cover
GA: Dave How Far Are You Into The Book
TG: well alright
TG: i may have gotten a little bored with reading
TG: but i think i got pretty far just looking at the pictures
GA: I Do Not Recall Lending Rose Any Book With Illustrations
TG: wrong i distinctly remember looking at one picture
GA: Dave Did You Only Look At The Book Cover And Nothing Else
TG: maybe
TG: i cant remember every little detail like that
TG: look if you describe the book as super cool then maybe it will motivate me to finish it
TG: so what is it about anyway
GA: A Red Cover Means That You Picked A Book From A Military Collection
TG: you mean with soldiers and stuff
GA: Yes
GA: Moirallegiance Is Treated Under A Fascinating Perspective In Alternian Military Culture
GA: For A Start Soldiers Are Much More Libertine With Their Pale Quadrant
GA: And Certain Socially Shunned Behaviors Such As Pale Polygamy Or Public Railing Are More Widely Accepted
GA: Military Trolls Are Known To Form Lesser Pale Bonds Through Their Entire Combat Unit Denoted By Referring To Each Other With Terms Such As Battle Brother Or Scourge Sister
TG: i think ive heard something like that before
GA: In Troll Culture The Terms Brother And Sister Are Borrowed From The Animal Kingdoms And Used Informally To Portray A Partnership Between Trolls
GA: The Words Do Not Strictly Have A Pale Connotation By Themselves
GA: Trolls Who Call Themselves Brothers Or Sisters Are Simply Sworn To Stand By Each Other With The Idea In Mind That Both Trolls Would Personally Benefit From Such An Union In The Long Term
GA: It Would Be More Proper To Call It A Kind Of Social Contract
TG: so basically theyre bros
TG: gotcha
GA: I Am Not Familiar With What A Human Bro Is
TG: to be honest i never understood him either
GA: I Am Not Sure If I Follow
TG: its just irony it doesnt mean anything go on
GA: In Military Culture In Particular Trolls Are Sworn Together On A Deep Level
GA: And This Bond Extends To Being Ready To Become Moirail To One Another In A Time Of Need
GA: This Closeness Is The Cited Reason For Why Fellow Soldiers Will Defend Each Other To The Last Breath
TG: hardcore
GA: The Physical Act Of Propitiation Depicted In Military Settings Is Also Much More Intense Than What You Find In The Usual Pale Relationship
GA: Trolls In Active Military Careers Are Known To Suffer A Heavy Emotional Strain Over The Course Of Their Duty
GA: And The Nature Of Their Work Often Forces Them To Repress Their Pale Needs Until A Mission Is Finished Or In Some Cases Until A War Is Over
GA: This Gambit Of Repressed Pale Urges Sometimes Lead To Explosive Railing Scenes
GA: The Most Common Trope Associated With Military Palerom Is The Crying Berserker
GA: In Other Words A Soldier Who Violently Expresses Pale Urges By Entering A State Of Uncontrollable Frenzy
GA: Raising Havoc While Challenging Any Sworn Brother Or Sister To Try To Stop Them
GA: All While Yelling Haunting Comments About The Reality Of War And The Harshness Of Life
TG: is that what this book is about
TG: people who starts fucking things up because they get tired of taking shit
GA: More Or Less
GA: In A Typical Scenario A Crowd Will Gather To Cheer On The Random Acts Of Violence GA: And The Crowd Will Eventually Part Before A Troll Wearing An Expression Full Of Intent Who Will Confront The Crying Berserker In Single Combat
GA: Tackling Them And Wrestling Them And Rolling In The Mud And Ripping Clothes While Loudly Exchanging Pile Talk With Every Blow
GA: Until Both Warriors Are Physically And Mentally Exhausted And Reach An Understanding While Crying In Each Others Arms As The Crowd Goes Silent With Respect
GA: The Most Recurrent Themes In Such Scenes Are Honor And Troll Dignity And Promising To Make It Back To Your Hive Because Everything Will Be Alright
TG: wow
TG: you almost convinced me to read a book with two half naked war clowns groping each other on the cover
GA: It Is Said That Only A True Moirail At Heart Can Tame Someone Who Is Battle Drunk On Pale Lust
GA: Very Few People Are Able To Gaze At A Crazed Individual Who Has Become Death Destroyer Of Worlds And Hear The Silent Cry Of Their Soul
GA: Begging For An Outstretched Hand To Reach Out For Them And Bring Back The Troll That Is Lost And Scared Inside The Rampaging Beast
TG: you guys have weird ass tastes you know that
TG: well i guess i could have picked a worse book
TG: i like the part where they beat the crap of each other
GA: While It Is Ultimely Coincidential I Think That Picking A Military Novel Was A Judicious Choice
GA: I Am Sure That This Is The Kind Of Palerom That Would Fascinate Karkat The Most
GA: Karkat Has Been Modelling Himself After The Ideal Of The Alternian Soldier Since A Young Age
GA: Before We Knew About The Game He Was Zealous To Prove Himself In A Military Carreer
GA: And During The Game He Was Overly Eager To Take The Role Of A Respectable Leader
GA: This Obsession Of His Would Be A Very Good Subject To Start During Pile Talk
TG: wait im confused
TG: what does karkat have to do with any of this
GA: Nothing
GA: I Am Saying Things That Inexplicably Have No Meaning
GA: That Is How Irony Works Right
TG: ok kanaya be real with me
TG: have you been shipping
GA: Why Dave I Am Surprised That You Would Ask Such A Question
GA: I Do Not Even Have A Shipping Wall This Is Absurd
TG: you made a shipping wall
TG: youre looking at one right now arent you
TG: you want me and karkat to become super bff or whatever
GA: Dave This Is A Very Inappropriate Thing To Discuss
TG: you are a sick individual kanaya maryam you know that
GA: I Know
GA: I Mean I Do Not Know What You Are Talking About
GA: Sorry Dave I Would Like To Continue This Conversation But My Recuperacoon Is On Fire
GA: It Appears I Must Leave Immediately Good Bye
TG: you know what kanaya youre right
TG: i should go pale seduce the shit out of karkat
TG: in fact im gonna do it right now
GA: Dave No
-- turntechGodhead [TG] has closed the memo --

-- turntechGodhead [TG] has invited carcinoGeneticist [CG] to a private memo --

TG: karkat lets do it
CG: WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT STRIDER
TG: i want to do the act of tribulation with you
TG: im gonna go tribal all over your ass
TG: you like that exotic human shit right
TG: i want to poor my hot tribadism all over your face
CG: DAVE
CG: WHAT IS HAPPENING IS SOMETHING WRONG
TG: i want to put my dirty hands all over you
TG: gonna use your face like a turntable
CG: ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT SOMATIC ASSUAGEMENT
TG: yes bby lets use the automatic sausage on each other
TG: its k just let it happen nobody will know
CG: DAVE THIS ISN’T YOU
CG: DID SOMEBODY PUT YOU UP FOR THIS
TG: karkat im trying to tell you my feelings dont be rude
CG: DAVE WHAT DO YOU WANT WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY
TG: im saying that i am a huge slut
TG: and i want to hold hands with everyone
CG: NO
CG: YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW DIRTY ARE THE THINGS YOU’RE SAYING
TG: karkat lets do it
TG: you and me
TG: forehead to forehead
TG: let me be your succubus plz
CG: DAVE STOP
CG: I CAN’T DEAL WITH THIS RIGHT NOW OK
CG: I’M SORRY
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] has left the memo --

Chapter Text

-- ectoBiologist [TG] has invited gardenGnostic [GG] to a memo --

EB: hi jade!
EB: we just saw each other but we didn’t really get to talk during breakfast.
EB: how are you doing today?
GG: good
EB: hey do you know who pissed off karkat? he was really fuming this morning.
EB: kinda like when i prank him except i didn’t do anything this time i swear.
EB: i think dave has been messing with him.
GG: maybe
EB: still no sign of vriska this morning.
EB: do you really think she’s going to sleep for three days?
EB: hey jade i forgot to ask! did you start reading your book about troll super pals?
EB: i started reading mine yesterday it’s alright i guess.
EB: i find that it’s hard to remember characters because of their weird alien names.
EB: i just finished getting used to the names of the trolls we already know and now they almost sound like plausible names.
EB: but when i see new troll names they automatically sound like something out of badly written fanfiction.
GG: hmmm
EB: hey jade you know what i found out?
EB: i thought it was weird that these palerom novels are written with english letters instead of troll runes.
EB: it turns out that if you toss a troll book in the alchemiter along with an english dictionary it comes out translated.
EB: it also works in reverse if you use our books with an alternian dictionary!
EB: the way alchemy works still baffles me up to this day and i wrote a FAQ on the subject so that’s saying something!
EB: jade are you there?
-- gardenGnostic [GG] is now an idle chum! --
EB: jade you’ll never guess what feferi tried to propose to me yesterday.
EB: jade?
GG: yes
EB: jade are you feeling alright?
EB: the real reason i wanted to talk is because i'm a little worried.
GG: why
EB: because you looked weird this morning!
GG: really
EB: yeah! you looked really tired and you sat alone at a table with your cereals left untouched.
EB: it looked like you were drawing in your sketchbook of totally-not-furry art like you often do except the whole page was covered in scribbles.
EB: you were just sorta moving your pencil around.
EB: and now i’m getting even more concerned because you keep making one word replies.
EB: is this a bad time?
GG: oh sorry john!
GG: im just a bit out of it........
GG: i didnt get any sleep last night
EB: why?
EB: is something bothering you?
GG: no! absolutely not.......
EB: jade people don’t stay up the entire night unless there’s something bothering them.
EB: or unless they’re doing something really important.
EB: are you?
GG: not at all!!!
EB: well then what’s the matter
EB: have you been engineering another radioactive gizmo.
EB: no wait i know!
EB: did you spent the night reading your novel about pale relationships?
GG: i didnt read my book
EB: wow.
EB: jade i am really confused now.
EB: just yesterday you were really excited about that stuff.
EB: are you not interested in alien relationships anymore?
EB: you can so hard to understand sometimes.
EB: it’s like back when we were playing the game and you kept springing insane new twists on me.
EB: everytime i think i got you figured you go full jade harley on me.
GG: ok ok............
GG: i did try to read my book yesterday night
GG: i was really pumped up about it and i though for sure that i wouldnt be able to put it down!
GG: but the truth is i got impatient after the first pages
GG: i mean the plot was moving so slow!
EB: so...
GG: so i got on the computer and i asked sollux if he could link me more of these videos he showed us before
GG: its so much better than reading they go straight to the point
EB: i’m still not seeing the problem jade.
GG: its just that there are so many videos!
GG: i watch one and then i watch another and it never stops!
EB: jade are you telling me you’ve been up all night watching porn?
GG: its not porn!!!
GG: theyre cuddling and crying and talking about their feelings and its just so damn cute!!
GG: its like watching pictures of baby animals on the internet but a thousand times more addictive!
EB: coming from you that’s really something.
GG: there was this amazing video of a lowblood that was a real pain in the ass
GG: but then he broke down and it was like wooooooooow
GG: then i realized that hurt comfort had its own tag and i started going through the entire gallery
EB: jade youre starting to worry me.
EB: jade are you still there?
EB: jade are you watching a pale video while talking to me.
GG: of course not john!
GG: i pause the video to reply i cant do both at the same time.
GG: john can we talk later it was just getting good!
EB: jade i think you should get some sleep.
GG: geeze john im perfectly fine!
GG: i don’t even feel tired
GG: i alchemized myself a lifetime supply of coffee to sip while watching videos
GG: its keeping me awake just fine!
EB: jade you have to stop.
GG: no i dont!
EB: jade harley you’ve gone completely gaga on cuddlesmut.
EB: the first step is admitting that you have a problem.
GG: i can stop anytime i want!

15 HOURS LATER

-- gardenGnostic [GG] has invited twinArmaggedons [TA] to a memo --

GG: sollux i did it!!!!
GG: i finished watching everything!
TA: ha ha 2eriiou2ly?
TA: holy 2hiit jade you are a bea2t.
GG: hee hee!
TA: wow iit2 three iin the morniing why are you not 2leepiing.
GG: youre not sleeping either!
TA: good poiint.
TA: look2 liike were the only one2 left awake everybody el2e ii2 offliine.
TA: out of curiio2iity what wa2 your favoriite viid?
GG: ooooh hmmmmmm...........
GG: i thiiiiiiiink.............
GG: cant_get_enough_paps.mov
GG: it was amazing!
TA: hell ye2 ii remember that one good ta2te2 harley.
GG: the second part is so so intense i rewatched it at least three times!!!
GG: i loved how the greenblood troll was faking pale palpitation at first but then grew into it!
TA: are you kiiddiing me you notiiced that.
GG: it was super obvious duh!
GG: the pale struggle at the start was such BAD ACTING.........
GG: but in the second part when they switch position to double handholding with head on shoulder you can tell that the greenblood started to feel it and that it wasnt planned....
GG: and then he slowly started panicking............
GG: and the rustblood held on to him and refused to let go
GG: and then the greenblood shuddered and completely surrendered omg
GG: then the rustblood pushed him down and lifted his shirt to listen to his heart and i literally stood on my chair omg omg
GG: and then the greenblood ruffled his hair and started purring OMG OMG OMG
TA: jegu2 jade are you iin palepiitatiion or 2omethiing get a hold on your2elf.
GG: sorry it just makes me so excited!
GG: but............
GG: theres still so much about pale relationships that I dont understand!!!!!!
GG: for example the way that censorship laws are applied!
GG: ive seen your clips of regular movie where the camera pans offscreen when people start hugging or holding hands
GG: but sometimes trolls can casually touch each other and its no big deal
GG: like when feferi washed the paint off vriskas hands
GG: its like sometimes handholding is obscene and sometimes its strictly business
TA: ii gue22 that2 one way to put iit.
TA: iit2 weiird that you cant tell the diifference becau2e iit2 really obviiou2 for u2 troll2.
GG: :O
TA: iintiimate contact become2 ob2cene when iit doe2nt 2erve any purpo2e.
TA: for example a troll can grab the hand of another troll to help them cliimb out of a hole and there2 no problem there.
TA: iit2 only when people deliiberately hold hand2 for no rea2on that iit become2 charged wiith pale iinfluence2.
GG: !!!
TA: for troll2 a2 long a2 youre iin phy2iical contact for a logiical rea2on then of cour2e you dont feel anythiing pale about iit.
TA: troll anthropologii2t2 2ay iit2 the remaiin of a hiivemiind thought proce22 that date2 back from when we were 2tiill 2ubtarrenean.
TA: siince iit2 benefiiciial to 2et emotiion2 a2iide iin order to collaborate for a ta2k iin a colony.
TA: now iit2 ju2t a ve2tiigiial proce22 left iin the reptiiliian braiin but iit 2tiill diictate2 how we feel about thiing2.
TA: the bottom liine iis that our compul2iion2 to protect our per2onal 2pace temporariily 2hut2 down iif we keep our2elf occupiied.
GG: OH!
GG: like when vriska agreed to let feferi give her a bath!
GG: vriska refused john to get closer to her when he made a direct offer
GG: but feferi gave a pretext for intimate contact and vriska took it without even thinking!
TA: biingo.
TA: pale foreplay and pale romance ii2 all about 2neakiing pa2t per2onal barriier2.
TA: for example a typiical pale date wiith a moiiraiil ii2 two paiint other2 naiil2.
TA: iit giives a valiid rea2on two touch each other.
TA: and wiith frequent weak expo2ure2 you learn how to let someone get closer to you.
TA: dont let feferii and vrii2ka give you the wrong iidea youre 2upposed two move 2lowly iin palerom.
TA: otherwii2e thiing2 quiickly become overwhelmiing.
GG: yes that's another thing i noticed!
GG: at the start of amateur videos you often see trolls who arent ready
GG: and they look super cautious about touching each other as if it would burn
GG: but after pale foreplay they tentatively poke each other
GG: as if to check if something that was hot had cooled down and become safe to touch.
TA: 2ee that2 the natural reactiion when you raiil for the fiirst tiime.
TA: since normally when troll2 are iin 2udden contact iit cau2e2 a viiolent biiofeedback.
GG: this!!!
GG: can you please tell me more about this?
GG: im really curious how it feels for trolls when their inner beast is taking over!!
GG: for example if i suddenly hugged you how would you describe how it feels?
TA: you a2k 2ome really weiird que2tiion2 jade.
TA: how the fuck are you 2uppo2ed two de2criibe a feeliing two aliien2 who dont have them.
GG: sorry!!
GG: you dont have to answer if you dont want to!
TA: nah iit2 fiine.
TA: alriight how about thii2.
TA: you know when you 2iit on your hand or on your leg and they become all priickly liike fiilled wiith 2tatiic.
TA: waiit do you human2 even have that?
GG: yuss!!!
TA: ok phew well iit feel2 a liittle liike that.
TA: iit2 an iinvadiing feeliing and iit2 2o unu2ual and uncomfortable that you cant ever get u2ed two iit.
TA: but iits not automatic you see it buiild2 up 2lowly.
TA: when 2omeone grab2 you at fiir2t you dont feel anythiing.
TA: becau2e the braiin ii2 proce22iing whether that iintiimate contact ii2 2erviing a purpo2e or not.
TA: and then iit 2tart2 two feel liike a 2ubtle breeze on your 2kiin.
TA: iit 2pread2 from the area iin contact liike a riipple under your clothe2.
TA: iit2 liike hot and cold at the 2ame tiime and iit quickly crawl2 all over you.
TA: and even iif you tell your2elf that you’ll iignore iit or that youll fiight iit the creepiing feeliing alway2 manage to 2liip through your 2kull.
TA: and 2uddenly iit feel2 liike you’ve been 2tariing for hour2 at an annoyiing fla2hiing liight2 that iis riight iin front of you eye2.
TA: and you ju2t want to la2h out iin front of you and 2ma2h the annoyiing liight to make iit stop.
TA: and that2 when everythiing become2 a bliindiing headache and you biite or pu2h away whoever ii2 tryiing to 2mother you wiith iintiimate contact.
TA: iin 2hort iit2 a biig feeliing of holy 2hiit get iit off get iit off.
TA: there that2 how iit feel2.
GG: :o
GG: sollux i cant believe what im hearing................
GG: are you telling me that all trolls have to live with this
GG: sollux this is terrible!
TA: nah not really.
TA: iim probably makiing iit 2ound wor2e than iit ii2.
TA: iit2 2urprii2iing when youre young and dont know better but then you pupate and you get over iit.
TA: you learn not to 2tart huggiing 2tranger2 becau2e you dont want a 2pliittiing headache.
TA: and al2o you dont want to get your hand biitten whiich you would kiinda de2erve for actiing iinnapropriiate.
TA: after a whiile you dont even thiink about iit anymore.
TA: you keep everythiing 2triictly bu2iine22 and go on your way becau2e everyone ii2 happy wiith not beiing a touchy touchy freak.
TA: be2iide2 iit2 not liike you get hurt often.
TA: for mo2t people iit ha2nt happened iin 2weep2.
TA: once you get burned a few tiime2 you iin2tiinctiively pu2h people away out of habiit way before the creepiing 2en2atiion actually get2 to you.
GG: it still sounds.................
GG: i dont know!
GG: doesn’t it gets in the way of your other quadrants too???
TA: blackrom and redrom 2erve2 a reproductiive purpo2e whiich keep2 the braiin occupiied so it doe2nt triigger the reactiion .
TA: iit2 ju2t a pale thiing.
TA: and to be hone2t iit ii2nt all that iimportant.
TA: not unle22 you get your rock2 off from holdiing hand2 or whatever.
GG: ive always wondered......
GG: why is holding hands special?
TA: iit ii2nt.
TA: iit2 not liike we have any 2peciial pale organ2 iin our fiinger2 that would be dumb.
TA: iit ju2t happen2 to be the extremiity of the body 2o when troll2 begiin to experiience wiith wiith pale urge2 they naturally 2tart from there.
TA: iin a typiical 2cene where two young troll2 are falliing iin palerom.
TA: youll u2ually 2ee them goiing on a pale date and 2iittiing on the oppo2iite siides of a bench wiith theiir arm2 2tretched out.
TA: 2truggliing to hold theiir fiinger2 hooked together whiile blu2hiing and lookiing away and hiidiing theiir face wiith theiir other hand.
TA: tryiing to 2lowly adju2t to the weird feeliing that handholdiing ii2 2uddenly produciing when iit2 done wiith a moiiraiil.
TA: iit2 2uppo2ed to feel really 2oothiing kiinda liike the viiolent defen2iive reactiion but workiing iin rever2e.
TA: liike iit make2 you feel anchored iin realiity.
TA: iit make2 everythiing become clear and you remember all the liittle thiing2 that really matter.
TA: or 2ome boriing crap liike that anyway.
GG: the other thing about hand holding that is confusing me is......
GG: for humans its usually something done by people who love each very much!!
GG: moirallgegiance look like something that is halfway between being lover and being super best friends!
GG: and sometimes i find it hard to see the disctinction between redrom and the pale quadrant
TA: really?
TA: for troll2 the diifference ii2 really obviiou2.
TA: redrom ii2 when you 2ee 2omeone and you thiink theyre awe2ome.
TA: palerom ii2 when you 2ee 2omeone and you want to 2ee them cry.
TA: iit2 two completely diifferent feeliing2.
TA: iin fact iit2 you human2 who are confu2iing to u2.
TA: iif you project all your quadrant2 on the 2ame per2on then iit2 gonna lead to a lot of problem2.
TA: for example iit2 natural to have 2mall cru2he2 whenever you meet attractiive people.
TA: but your moiiraiil 2tay2 the 2ame 2o iit2 all good.
TA: iif your moiiraiil and lover are the 2ame per2on then whenever youd 2ee attractiive people youd become dii2tanced from your 2oulmate ju2t becau2e of theiir phy2iical lack.
TA: that2 dumb iit make2 much more 2en2e two 2eparate both relatiion2hiip2.
GG: sigh
GG: i really really want to try a pale relationship
TA: then why dont you go and fliirt wiith 2omeone.
GG: i cant!
GG: what if i do something wrong and it leaves a bad impression and nobody likes me anymore
GG: just the though is driving me barking mad
TA: jade i thiink you’re worryiing about thii2 way too much.
GG: i bet im not!
GG: i wish there was a way to practice this stuff without being serious
GG: like railing someone who doesn’t have any pale urges so we both know were just playing around
TA: jade youre throwiing around the word2 raiiliing and playiing around.
TA: ju2t 2o you know that2 pretty damn 2leazy liike wow.
GG: sorry!
TA: per2onally ii don’t giive a fuck but be careful not everybody ii2 liike me.
GG: exactly!
GG: i like it a lot more when people are open with talking about this stuff
GG: sollux pardon me for asking but............
GG: do you have a moirail???
TA: nope.
GG: ok............
GG: well since we already talk a lot....
GG: and we like the same videos............
GG: do you think we could try maybe
GG: a pale date???
GG: is that how it works
GG: do you just ask out people on a pale date
TA: jade get your miind out of the gutter.
TA: ju2t a miinute ago you talked about practiiciing raiiliing and now you pretend to talk about iinnocent datiing.
TA: dont you realiize how tran2parent and fucked up that would 2ound to a troll.
GG: sorry!
GG: you see thats what im talking about!
GG: i cant catch all the subtleties of troll quadrant and im always afraid of making huge mistakes!
TA: and anyway.
TA: what the hell made you thiink that we could work together.
GG: well youre kinda funny and swear a lot and not a prude
GG: so its a good thing that this stuff bother you as much as the others!!
GG: and...............
TA: sorry not iintere2ted.
GG: aww
GG: but its alright!
GG: im very glad that you take the time to talk about this stuff with me!
TA: not liike iim doiing anythiing anyway ii cant 2leep.
GG: maybe i can bug john until he lets me practice on him.
GG: were brother and sister so were supposed to be close right?
GG: it must probably be the closest thing to having a morail for us humans.
GG: but when i think about me and john being brother and sister it doesnt feel real at all
GG: it feel like something that was arbitrarily decided through weird game magic and were supposed to take it for granted
GG: but i dont think that makes it the same as being real siblings who grew up together
TA: giiven how our race naturally reproduce2.
TA: iim not exactly placed two under2tand how beiing 2iibliing2 iis 2uppo2ed two be speciial.
GG: since i was young i always knew that i had a brother waiting for me out there
GG: whenever i felt lonely during the day id take a nap under a tree just to sneak in his prospit tower and look at him sleeping
GG: and i though about how my world would turn upside down when he would finally wake up
GG: sometimes johns dreamself mumbled in his sleep
GG: and one time on my birthday i dared to shook him a bit and ask him questions and he mumbled to me his pesterchum name
GG: it made me so happy!
GG: but then i started talking to him online and i found i couldnt tell him the truth about myself
GG: i was afraid to look weird and scare him off
GG: and i guess i wanted him to think of me as a normal kid just like him
GG: but now im starting to realize
GG: if i was really his sister then i would have been able to discuss anything with him
GG: like with moirails they look like they have a perfect understanding of each other
GG: my favorite part is when they quickly exchange short sentences that are full of impact
GG: like they can read each others mind and say exactly what they need to hear
GG: but i could never do something like that with john
GG: i just kept myself in a shroud of mystery
GG: i convinced myself it was playful and that it was for the best in order to prepare the game
GG: but now i realize that there wasnt really any need for all that secrecy
GG: i wonder if john does think of me as his sister and im the only one who doesnt feel it
GG: maybe its because i grew up all alone that i dont know how family is supposed to feel
GG: sometimes i worry that ill never understand things like a normal person
GG: ill always be the girl who lived on a tropical island with a magic dog
GG: and i can pretend to be normal but it will never become true no matter how hard i try
TA: jade youre rambliing your a22 off.
GG: yeah urghhhhh................
GG: my head hurts so bad
GG: who though that drinking so much coffee was a good idea???
GG: its like theres a pack of dog howling in my head and they wont SHUT UP
GG: i am officially too tired to fall asleep now
GG: i think im just gonna die on my keyboard instead.......
TA: jade ii thiink you’re overthiinkiing all thii2.
TA: alterniian culture keeps exaggerattiing the iimportance of haviing a moiiraiil untiil iit become2 2tupiidly gloriifiied.
TA: but iit2 not all that matter2 iin liife iit really ii2nt.
GG: maybe youre right
GG: but at least it matters to me
GG: sometimes i think that i look at all these pale smut videos while sighing because a part of me knows that ill never have that
GG: ̶̜̼̱̦͓wow͈̪͓
GG: i͍͖̱̟͍͡think my̫͙͚͖ chat program is͚̩͎̞͜ bugged
TA: alriight jade 2top wiith the melodramatiic bull2hiit 2eriiou2ly iit doe2nt 2uiit you.
TA: two be hone2t youre more than good enough for a pale relatiion2hiip.
TA: youre the only human iin your group who doe2nt need any raiiliing practiice tru2t me.
TA: iit2 obviiou2 youre a natural even a bliind troll could 2mell that.
GG: gosh sollux
GG: are you saying that
GG: are you saying that you find me attractive
GG: in a pale way i mean!!!!
TA: well duh of cour2e iit2 what iim 2ayiing
TA: but iim 2peakiing iin a general manner anybody would be iintere2ted iin you.
GG: i dont think you realize how much this means to me! :D :D :D
GG: thanks solly!
GG: can i call you solly?
TA: 2ure whatever.
TA: why dont you talk to feferii about raiiling techniique2 iif iit make2 you feel any better.
TA: iin fact why dont you practiice wiith her.
TA: you two are clo2e friiend2 riight?
TA: iim 2ure 2he would get her giill2 off from that.
GG: i dont think i want to practice with feferi.....
GG: shes really nice but shes also a top in the pile which is what i want to be!
GG: what i really want to do is to practice with a succumbent troll....
TA: well jade harley iif you dont want to practiice wiith fef then youre diiggiing your2elf iinto a hole.
TA: feferii ii2 pretty much the only troll here who ii2nt a prude about pale 2tuff.
TA: a2iide from me of cour2e.
GG: pardon me solly if i ask something rude again but....
GG: youre not interested in getting a moirail?
GG: i remember you saying that youre your own moirail but i wasnt sure if you were joking
TA: ye2 and no.
TA: iit2 a 2hiitty joke wiith a graiin of truth.
GG: oh!
GG: can you tell me more about it?
TA: meh.
TA: iive learned how how to cope wiith pale urge2 by myself siince ii was a wriigler.
TA: ii kinda had to.
TA: iif ii was left wiithout a moiiraiil for too long i would ju2t have 2tood there and exploded.
TA: iit ii2 liiterally 2omethiing that can happen.
TA: iim a p2ii actiive troll whiich you probably notiiced by now becau2e iim weiird a2 fuck.
TA: but what you probably dont know ii2 that p2ii actiive troll2 are usually more unbalanced and dependent on haviing a moiiraiil.
TA: and iim exceptiionally p2iioniic so my power level iis off the roof even for normal p2ychiic2.
TA: whiich actually kiind of 2uck2 by the way.
GG: so what do you do? :o
TA: 2ee iit2 actually 2iimple.
TA: whenever half of me goe2 crazy then the other half 2top2 me.
GG: woooow
GG: i didnt realize this was an option :O
TA: iit2 not really 2uppo2ed to be an optiion.
TA: and ii admiit iit2 not perfect since ii leak a liittle fru2tratiion here and there.
TA: but iin the long run iit keep2 me goiing.
GG: i see :O :O
TA: you dont get a lot of optiion2 not when youre 2omeone liike me.
TA: you 2aiid your wriigglehood wa2 2pent worryiing about beiing diifferent than other people well color me iimpre22ed.
TA: ii worriied about gettiing culled on the account of beiing an un2table 2ub2tance.
TA: wonderiing whether ii would end up gettiing thrown iinto a 2tar2hiip reactor a2 fuel.
TA: or maybe get turned iinto a fuckiing engiine becau2e why the fuck not.
TA: how hard can iit be to pretend to be cool after gettiing over thii2 2hiit.
TA: the poiint ii2 youre far from beiing 2peciial iim pretty 2ure ii automatiically wiin the 2peciial olympiic2 now and forever.
GG: sollux i dont know what to say!
GG: so..... you and feferi arent moirails then??
GG: i always wondered what was the relationship between you two........
TA: 2iiiigh.
TA: iit2 compliicated.
TA: iive been hangiing out wiith feferii a lot 2iince we played the game together.
TA: and dont tell anyone but 2he2 the coole2t troll ii know.
TA: whenever wed get iin trouble during our adventures 2hed 2weep me off my feet and iignore my prote2t2.
TA: and 2hed jump around wiith me iin her arm2 u2iing her freakii2h 2eadweller 2trength.
TA: only to put me down when out of danger and pretend to be a weak diitzy clutz agaiin.
TA: liike 2eriiou2ly how can you not love 2omeone liike that.
TA: al2o 2he kii22ed me back to liife and iit2 kiind of an eye openiing experiience.
TA: ii flew back to my land wiith my dream2elf and the only thiing ii wa2 thiinkiing wa2 holy 2hiit never 2top kii22iing me.
GG: awwwwwwww
TA: the only problem is that feferii ii2nt the kiind of per2on that can 2tiick to one quadrant.
TA: 2he cant stop her2elf from tryiing to iinject pale feeliings iin our redrom .
TA: alway2 tryiing to pu2h me iin the neare2t piile and glub me.
TA: that kiind of stuff.
GG: :o :o :o
GG: so it is possible to be in redrom and also be pale partners at the same time?
TA: iit is po22iible but iit2 a really really fucked up thiing to do.
TA: in alterniian 2ociety iit2 a taboo that ii2 ba2iically the 2ame a2 iince2t for you guy2.
TA: when you meet your 2oulmate youre 2uppo2ed to be elevated on a 2piiriitual level youre not 2uppo2ed to want to paiil them.
TA: iit2 an unholy corruptiion of priinciiple2.
TA: the practiice of 2hariing quadrant2 wiith the 2ame per2on iis hii2toriically a22ociiated wiith mutants and rebel2 who u2ually 2uffer a fiiery death.
TA: iin fact raiil paiiliing porn wa2 made iillegal by alterniian law decree for miilleniia whiich ii2 why you dont 2ee any in the viideo2 ii liinked you.
TA: but yeah feferii ii2 kiind of a freak who liike2 to roleplay that 2iick 2hiit.
TA: why do arii2tocrat2 alway2 have the mo2t fucked up fetii2he2.
GG: its really hard for me to wrap my head around what you find acceptable or reprehensible
GG: its all turned upside down
GG: but from what i understand you dont really think of feferi as your moirail??
TA: i let her glub me on the piile to make her happy but iit doe2nt really do anythiing for me.
TA: ii can only thiink of her her as my matespriit.
TA: iit2 liike a rever2ed faiirytaiil ii’m iimmune to the charm2 of the wiitch becau2e iim iin love wiith her.
GG: hee hee
TA: ii dont giive a 2hiit about what feferii doe2 wiith her pale quadrant and we both know iit.
TA: iim the one who iinstalled camera2 iin her bathroom 2o 2he could record her 2o called conke2t2.
TA: for the record there arent creepy voyeurii2tiic cameras hiidden iin every corner of thii2 meteor.
TA: ii ju2t put up a few iin the maiin area2 for KK becau2e he though iit would iincrea2e 2ecuriity.
TA: and then feferii glubbed me untiil ii added 2ome iin her bathroom siince 2he alway2 wanted to try recordiing a pale 2e22iion.
TA: becau2e 2he2 weiird liike that.
TA: 2ometiime2 ii wonder how iit would have turned out iif we never played the game.
TA: iif feferi wa2nt born an empre22 2he probably would have made a career a2 a pale actre22 no kiiddiing.
GG: alright im just thinking out loud BUT........
GG: if you say that being your own moirail isnt perfect and if you cant think of feferi as a proper moirail
GG: then why dont you fill that empty quadrant with someone else?
GG: you dont need to be alone sollux
GG: damn̫͙͚͖ ͈̪͓the glitch͚̩͎̞͜ is̶̜̼̱̦͓ back again
GG: what about karkat did you try getting close with him?
GG: also does your chat also have these weird glitches?
TA: iim perfectly alriight.
TA: everythiing iis under control.
TA: iim hackiing the planet liike a 2mooth criimiinal whiile the 2ubjug2 are 2leepiing
GG: uh ok :o
TA: ii dont even know what im going to do about my quadrant2.
TA: ii cant stop loviing feferii even iif 2he 2uck2 at iit.
TA: and 2iince she act2 half mate2priit and half moiiraiil iits liike tryiing to fiill two quadrant2 at the same tiime.
TA: but iinstead of workiing ii end up with a half-fiilled quadrant for each.
TA: ii thiink iit2 part of 2ome kiind of comiic joke that follow2 me everywhere.
TA: ii try to have twiice of everythiing but ultiimely ii end up wiith half of anythiing.
TA: ̶̜̼̱̦͓FUCK̡͈̜͓̲͚͔̯ FUCK FUCK͍͖̱̟͍͡.
TA: do̫̦̦̰ you 2ee what ii mean.
TA: you keep makiing me talk about my2elf ͖̞͍͍̳͡͡goddamniit my head͇͖͖ hurt2.̶̜̼̱̦͓
TA: ii told you that youre pale attractiive enough a2 iit ii2 2top worryiing about iit.
GG: :o
GG: :o
GG: :o
GG: so you do feel that way about me!
GG: you know...............
GG: we could........do pale stuff together i mean IF YOU WANT TO!!
TA: look jade.
TA: you dont want me a2 a moiiraiil you really dont.
TA: iim not liike the other troll2 ok iim weiird.
GG: were both weird maybe we can be weird together
TA: FUCK you really dont under2tand.
TA: iim liike a walkiing nuclear reactor why would anyone want to hug that.
GG: im a nuclear physicist a reactors is just a toy in my hands
TA: god̶̜̼̱̦͓ damn͈̪͓ jade ii cant have a̶̜̼̱̦͓ moiiraiil ii just cant̸̡̹͈̜͓̲͚͔̯ FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK.
GG: i think͈̪͓ i̫̦̦̰ saw̫͙͚͖ sparks̫̦̦̰ this time woah
GG: wait͈̪͓
GG: sollux are you doing this :o
TA: ju2t leave me alone okay.
GG: :O :O :O :O
GG: sorry i didnt mean to do anything bad to you
GG: but maybe its a good thing that you feel this way about me
TA: jade its like youre fuckiing around iin2iide my head and iit2 crowded enough wiith me a2 iit ii2.
GG: you dont have to be alone with yourselves
TA: FUCK̫͙͚͖͈̪͓.
GG: what if we recreated the same scene in cant_get_enough_paps.mov since we both like the video
GG: double hand holding with head on shoulder would that make you feel any better
GG: i can also do the thing where i hug you against the wall so you cant escape
TA: jegu2 fuck jade do you ever 2top thiinkiing diirty for a 2econd.
GG: im not gonna stop if its something you need!!!
GG: i could listen to your heart if you want
TA: FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK F͍͖̱̟͍͡Ų͕͎̬͈ͅU͍͖̱̟͍͡Ų͕͎̬͈ͅU
͍͖̱̟͍͡Ų͕͎̬͈ͅU͍͖̱̟͍͡Ų͕͎̬͈ͅU͍͖̱̟͍͡Ų͕͎̬͈ͅU͍͖̱̟͍͡Ų͕͎̬͈ͅUCK
-- gardenGnostic’s computer has exploded --

Chapter Text

Jade sat before the still-smoking ruins of her computer while trying to blink away the flare dots floating in her eyes. The air around her still felt electrified and smelled faintly of ozone. Jade's computer chair had rolled a feet away from her desk, her hair were standing on their ends and her eardrums were ringing but she was otherwise unharmed and safe, although her heart wasn't convinced of the later and tried very hard to claw its way out of her chest.

Jade stood from her chair, patted her hair back into shape and sat quietly on her bed. She absentmindedly squished together two tangle buddies and waited for her heartbeat to calm down. Her eyes also started to droop; the excitement of the moment was wearing off and her sleepless nights were coming back to her all at once. Even paradox space seemed to be trying to tell her to go to sleep; the explosion of her computer was like the exclamation mark that officially punctuated the end of her long day.

For an instant Jade thought about her conversation with Sollux and vividly remembered the distinct glint of red and blue lightning that struck before her computer exploded. Something about the bright memory made Jade jolt to her feet. She wasn't done yet, there was one last thing she had to do. Jade's mental exhaustion gave her thought process a sluggish and implacable quality that made it all the much easier for her to make up her mind. She bothered Sollux. She wanted to make sure he was okay. She was going to knock on his door and ask if he was okay.

Jade timidly opened the door to her room and peeked at the dimly lit corridors. Karkat had ordained that there would be a mandatory curfew for all inhabitants of the meteor at midnight, after which they were recommended to stay in their room and go the fuck to sleep. Although everybody had been respecting Karkat's curfew thus far, Jade was sure that it was more like a nice suggestion than an actual rule to follow. She made one step outside of her room, then another, and then closed the door behind her by carefully rotating the handle so as to make as little sounds as possible.

Jade was suddenly aware that she was wearing a pyjamas and walking barefoot, but decided that it was too late now to have cold feet. Jade put one foot in front of her, and then another, and thus glided between the shadows of the darkened corridors. She listened intensely for noises, in case anyone could possibly be awake at this hour of the night, but heard no sign of life. Everything around her was heavy and silent. It was three in the morning in all its deafening glory.

Jade felt especially intrusive once she walked past the deserted common room and started threading upon the troll side of the meteor. She hesitated at every corner, each time taking more time to resolve herself to continue with her silly idea, and when she finally reached Sollux's door she was so meek and hesitant that she paused before knocking at his door.

What if he was perfectly fine? What if he already went to sleep in his slimy-pod-thing? She would look so stupid if she woke him up. He can't sleep after THAT and we both know it, Jade decided on the spot. She made to knock on the door and hesitated again. Was she being rude? She didn't tell Sollux in advance that she was coming, which was certainly a display of bad etiquette now that she thought of it, but that's what he deserved for rubbing off her computer from the face of the meteor. But even so, Jade felt that there was something improper about knocking on a door at three in the morning. You could throw small rocks at a window at three in the morning. You could signal someone to come out with a mimicked animal cry at three in the morning. However, you couldn't plainly knock on a door at three in the morning, it just wasn't proper procedure.

Jade lightly rapped on the door with her fingernails.

Like a critter discreetly calling another in the night, Jade thought to herself. Jade waited and listened but no sounds came from inside the room. She peered at the gap under the door and recognized the flickery type of light typically given off by a computer left in screensaver mode in an unlit room.

Jade scratched on the door again.

It was Karkat who suggested during the first week of cohabitation that they removed the transportalizers and used doors instead. Dave complained that replacing teleporters with plain doors was a downright affront to the rule of cool, but Jade now recognized that Karkat sometimes had very good judgment about things. Appearifying in people's room was flashy and sudden; sometimes you wanted a solid object between two people to create a palpable layer of intimacy, and if Sollux wasn't ready yet to open his layer of intimacy then that was fine. She could wait.

Jade slumped to the floor and sat cross-legged with her back laying against the door frame, causing it to rattle meaningfully. Sollux is listening and he can tell that I just sat down, Jade decided. For a while nothing happened, and then Jade heard a creaking noise coming from inside the room. It was the sound of a computer chair being left vacant. She heard footsteps becoming clearer. Was he going to open the door angrily? Was he going to tell her through the door to get out? She waited but nothing happen. He's standing in front of the door and doesn't know what he wants, Jade decided again. After a long while Jade heard the sound of a slumping body and the door vibrated behind her. He was sitting on the other side just like her. Oh noooo what do we do now

Jade breathed deeply and peered at the darkness around her. She remembered the other times when she stayed up late in the dark. Her sleep schedule had been somehow erratic during her youth due to a certain sleeping condition of her (which apparently wasn't a condition at all) and Jade had sometimes found that she couldn't sleep at night. She would then sneak past her stuffed grandpa to lay on the green grass and look at the night sky. She was always amazed at how the morning dew sneaked on her in the morning hours. She felt the same strange clarity now that she felt back then.

Jade heard scratching from the other side of the door. Without pausing in her though, Jade scratched the door in response, still thinking about twinkling stars and morning dew. She heard the scratching again and she answered it like an echo. I know that feeling, it's the same feeling as when a family pet brushes against your side and you lower yourself to pet them without ever giving it any thought. This was something that Jade knew well, since her family pet was the kind to teleport out of nowhere and press against her leg at any given opportunity. In fact this is the only feeling that I know better than anyone else. Jade couldn't help but giggle aloud in the night.

Jade heard rumbling from behind the door and Sollux unexpectedly slided the door wide open. Jade felt a strange peace of mind in staying cross-legged on the floor, only to lean backward and lift her chin to look at Sollux from underneath. Jade saw that Sollux had taken off his glasses and was rubbing with his fingers between his eyebrows. Red and blue sparks were crawling out of his eyes at infrequent interval, as if he was blinking small fireworks.

"Are you going to be okay", asked Jade.
"Yeth I'll be fine", said Sollux

Jade felt cheeky like a small mouse at Sollux's feet. There was a hundred different things she could have said or done but they all required thinking and were therefore invalid. She had to work on autopilot. Right now Sollux was scared to approach her, so she had to be still and show less interest than a bored housecat. You can't force a wild animal to eat in your hand, you have to look as harmless as possible and wait for it to come.

After a while Sollux ceased rubbing between his eyes and blinked his last fireworks. He placed back on his unusual glasses and, after hesitation, touched Jade's shoulder to urge her to get up.

"I'm okay now juth go to sleep", said Sollux.
"Alright", said Jade

Jade got up and started to leave in the direction she came from. A whim then overtook her and she spontaneously turned around, threw herself face-first at Sollux, grabbed him by the waist and pushed her cheek warmly into the fabric of his shirt.

"Get off get off get off!"

Jade willfully pushed herself away from Sollux just as abruptly as she had pounced. She beamed at Sollux. There was no sign of any fireworks. See that wasn't so bad, Jade thought. Jade balanced back and forth on the tip of her feet as if urging Sollux to admit being wrong about something, and a tired smile crept on her face. Sollux agitated his hands above his head for a few seconds and then gave up on being angry.

"You're crazy Jade Harley you know that", said Sollux
"Tee-hee! Good night Solly!" said Jade.

Jade ran on tiptoes all the way back to her quarters and a feeling of exhilaration compressed her chest. It felt to her like something incredibly funny had happened; she just wasn't sure what it was. Jade also found that she wasn't afraid of alerting anyone while on her trip back; she knew it couldn't happen because tonight was just perfect like that. Jade reached her room, threw herself inside, closed the door and flattened her back against it while panting. She was too giddy. There was no way she was going to sleep when everything felt so alive and exciting. She crawled on her bed on all four, grabbed a pillow and smothered it against her chest. Jade's cuddling reactor went on maximum overdrive and the last of her batteries died out. Still hugging the pillow, Jade slumped on her side and fell into a deep asleep that she never felt coming.

Chapter Text

-- tentacleTherapist [TT] has invited adiosTorreador [AT] to a memo --

TT: Hello Tavros.
TT: Have you perhaps reconsidered my offer?
AT: i HAVE RECONSIDERED YOUR OFFER, aND,
AT: i FOUND IT TO BE EXACTLY THE SAME OFFER AS BEFORE,
AT: sO IT WAS NOT VERY DIFFICULT TO RECONSIDER,
AT: gIVEN THAT IT WAS ALREADY CONSIDERED, aND THAT MY FIRST OPINION STAYS THE SAME,
TT: I see.
TT: That is perfectly fine Tavros.
TT: You are free to change your mind and seek my patronage at any time in the future.
AT: uHHH, i DON'T THINK i WILL NEED TO RECONSIDER MY RECONSIDERATION,
AT: sINCE IF THE OFFER WAS THE SAME THE SECOND TIME i CONSIDERED IT,
AT: tHEN IT WILL PROBABLY STILL BE THE SAME THE THIRD TIME i LOOK AT IT,
AT: uNLESS THE OFFER WILL SPONTANEOUSLY CHANGE ITS NATURE, iF i LOOK AT IT ENOUGH TIMES,
AT: wHICH i DOUBT,
TT: If I may ask Tavros.
TT: What is the nature of my offer that you referring to?
AT: uHHH, tHE NATURE OF YOUR OFFER, wHICH MAKES IT UNNATURAL,
TT: I understand Tavros that it is hard to decide whether therapy is the right choice for you.
TT: However I remain certain that we could work together on your confidence issues.
TT: This is still a subject which interests you, does it not?
AT: yES i AM QUITE CONFIDENT, aBOUT MY LACK OF CONFIDENCE,
AT: aND i HAVE TRIED A FEW TIMES TO GRAB THE BULL BY THE HORNS, sO TO SPEAK,
AT: bUT i DO NOT THINK THAT YOUR SO CALLED HUMAN THERAPY, iS SOMETHING THAT i WANT ,
AT: bECAUSE IT IS A LITTLE WEIRD, aND ALSO VERY INAPPROPRIATE,
TT: How inappropriate?
AT: tHERE IS ANOTHER WORD, uHHH, tHAT WOULD BE MORE APPROPRIATE, tO DESCRIBE HOW YOUR OFFER IS INAPPROPRIATE,
AT: bUT THE WORD IS INAPPROPRIATE TO SAY, sO THIS IS ALL VERY CONFUSING TO ANSWER, }:(
TT: Please Tavros there is no need to hold back.
TT: What word would that be?
AT: i WOULD SAY IT OUTRIGHT IF I WAS CONFIDENT, wHICH i AM CONFIDENT THAT i AM NOT,
AT: bUT IF YOU HAD TO ASK ME WHAT i CANNOT TELL YOU, aND IF i HAD TO ANSWER,
AT: tHEN i WOULD SAY THAT A PSYCHOLOGIST SOUNDS A LOT LIKE A PALE PROSTITUTE, sORRY,
TT: I see.
TT: Thank you for telling me Tavros.
TT: I apologize if I have offended you in any way.
AT: i AM NOT REALLY OFFENDED, uHH, i AM MOSTLY SURPRISED,
AT: bECAUSE i WOULD NOT HAVE EXPECTED THIS FROM YOU,
AT: aND, wELL, tO BE MORE EXACT,
AT: i WOULD NOT HAVE EXPECTED THIS FROM YOU, bECAUSE I DO NOT THINK YOU THAT ARE ABLE TO PERFORM THE SERVICE THAT YOU OFFER,
AT: iT IS HARD TO TAKE SOMETHING SERIOUSLY, wHEN IT SOUNDS FAKER THAN FAIRIES,
TT: If I am understanding this right.
TT: You do not see me as able to maintain a pale relationship?
AT: iF i HAD TO WRITE IT IN WORDS, tHEN YES IT WOULD BE THESE WORDS,
AT: aGAIN, sORRY,
TT: May I ask why you hold this opinion?
AT: i DON'T THINK, tHAT YOU REALLY KNOW HOW TO OPEN YOUR HEART,
TT: That is a strange statement.
TT: The essence of psychoanalysis lies in astute listening
TT: And I am quite confident in my listening abilities.
AT: wELL, i SUPPOSE THEN, tHAT i DON'T THINK THAT THIS THIS CONFIDENCE IS WARRANTED,
AT: aND i KNOW A THING OR TWO ABOUT FALSE CONFIDENCE,
AT: iT IS A VERY ANNOYING THING TO HAVE,
AT: bECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU HAVE IT,
AT: aND, wELL,
AT: yOU ARE PROBABLY AS GOOD AS YOU THINK AT HEARING WORDS,
AT: bUT i DON'T THINK YOU ARE A GOOD AT HEARING FEELINGS,
TT: Another strange statement.
TT: Can you clarify yourself?
AT: iT IS JUST MY IMPRESSION OF YOU BUT,
AT: i THINK YOU ARE THE KIND OF PERSON WHO, uUHH, iSN'T VERY GOOD AT REACHING OUT TO OTHERS
AT: i THINK THAT YOU KEEP TELLING YOURSELF THAT YOU ARE SO SMART, tHAT NOBODY COULD EVER UNDERSTAND YOU,
AT: aND, tHAT WAY, yOU NEVER HAVE TO MOVE OUT OF YOUR SHELL,
AT: bUT YOU ASSUME THAT PEOPLE WOULD WANT TO OPEN THEIR HEART, tO SOMEONE LIKE YOU,
AT: wHEN YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE,
AT: tHE FIRST HEART YOU NEED TO OPEN IN THE PILE, uUUH, iS ALWAYS THE ONE IN YOUR CHEST,
AT: bECAUSE, yOU CAN'T HEAR OTHER PEOPLE'S FEELINGS, iF YOU CAN'T EVEN HEAR YOUR OWN,
AT: oTHERWISE IT IS LIKE TRYING TO LISTEN TO WHAT PEOPLE SAY, wHILE COVERING YOUR EARS,
AT: iT DOES NOT WORK, aND, aLSO IT LOOKS A LITTLE DUMB,
AT: bUT THEN, uHHH, i DON'T KNOW YOU ALL THAT WELL,
AT: AND, i AM JUST TALKING ABOUT A GENERAL IMPRESSION, tHAT MIGHT BE COMPLETELY WRONG,
AT: aLTHOUGH, i DON'T THINK IT'S WRONG AT ALL,
TT: Thank you for your input Tavros.
TT: I bid you good day.
AT: oH, aLSO,
AT: tHERE WILL BE A FIDUSPAWN COMPETITION IN THE COMMON ROOM, iN CASE YOU ARE INTERESTED
AT: iF YOU COULD PASS THE WORD ALONG THE HUMANS IT WOULD BE GREAT,
AT: fOR NOW IT IS ONLY ME AND GAMZEE, wHO ARE PARTICIPATING,
AT: tHE GRAND PRIZE FOR THE WINNER IS A SOPOR PIE,
AT: uNLESS GAMZEE EATS IT, bEFORE THE EVENT IS OVER,
TT: Thank you for the invitation Tavros.
TT: I will keep it in mind.
-- tentacleTherapist [TT] has closed the memo --

-- tentacleTherapist [TT] has invited grimAuxiliatrix [GA] to a memo --

TT: Well Kanaya.
TT: My first attempt at soliciting a pale relationship was a resounding unsuccess.
TT: In fact I fear that I acted as poorly and gauche as John did during his first attempt with Vriska.
GA: Rose This Is Terrible News
GA: Can You Tell Me What Happened
TT: I attempted to combine my approach at offering pile talk with my personal interest in psychology.
TT: But it seems that my offer was unexpectedly transparent.
TT: And.
TT: Well I expected something other than being called a pale prostitute.
GA: Oh My
TT: I was also told I had a problem with reaching out to others.
TT: And that there will be a Fiduspawn competition in the common room.
TT: Although he forgot to tell me the time when the competition actually started.
GA: Rose If I May Ask
GA: Which Troll Did You Try To Solicitate
TT: Tavros.
TT: At first examination he appeared to me like the perfect test candidate.
TT: I figured that due to his history of abuse he would have many things to get off his chest.
GA: You Asked Tavros
TT: Yes
TT: Is something wrong Kanaya?
GA: Rose I Am Not Sure What To Think
GA: You Are Aware That Tavros Grew Up In A Very Rural Background
GA: That He Is Gentle Hearted And That He Can Commune With Animals
TT: Yes I know as much.
GA: Tavros Is Obviously A Naturally Incumbent Troll
GA: It Is Silly Thing To Attempt To Seduce Him As A Top In The Pile
GA: Rose I Do Not Know What You Were Thinking
TT: I suppose it is as you say.
TT: Perhaps my application of human psychology on an alien demographic has lead me to an unreceptive target.
TT: It is of no importance.
TT: You don't lose anything by trying.
GA: Perhaps
GA: But I Worry About Your Grasp On Moirallegiance Which Now Appears To Be Flimsy At Best
GA: Rose If I May Be Frank
TT: Of course Kanaya.
GA: Rose I Had High Hopes For Your Interest In Palerom But I Am Having Second Thoughts
GA: I Do Not Think That You Are Ready Yet To Conduct A Pale Relationship
TT: That is be expected.
TT: I am but a neophyte on this subject.
TT: I will learn in due time.
GA: No Rose I Fear That The Problem Is Much More Than A Lack Of Experience
GA: The Other Humans Would Probably Be Ready To Form A Moirallegiance But Not You
TT: Really.
GA: Yes
GA: John And Especially Jade Seem Much Better Suited Than You At Being An Incumbent Partner
TT: I am sorry Kanaya but I am not sure if I follow your logic correctly.
TT: If I have difficulties understanding the finer details of this subject matter then I do not see how the other humans could fare better than me.
TT: Or are you genuinely insinuating that I lack wits compared to my friends?
GA: Rose The Pale Quadrant Is Is Not About Wits
GA: This Is Exactly The Problem With Your Attitude Towards It
GA: Your Approach To Pale Relationships Is Overwhelming Intellectual And This State Of Mind Makes You Improper For Moirallegiance
TT: It appears that everybody is talking in riddles today.
TT: I always considered a good idea to be smart at something.
GA: Rose I Simply Want To Warn You
GA: Rose I Simply Want To Warn You
GA: You Do Not Seem To Realize That A Pale Connection Is A Two Way Emotional Streets
GA: Especially For Someone Like You Who Is Not Naturally Incumbent
GA: It Can Be A Very Taxing Experience To Open Your Heart Wide Enough To Invite Others To Do The Same
GA: You Do Not Give Any Sign To Be Ready To Bear Such A Strain
GA: In Fact You Display Efforts In The Opposite Direction By Insisting To Remain Distant
TT: Kanaya if I may.
TT: I believe that I am all but distant.
TT: I have obviously proved my ability to take initiative by taking the first step in soliciting Tavros.
GA: It Is Not About Initiative As Much As It Is About Openness
TT: So you agree with Tavros's diagnostics of my pale potential?
GA: I Just Think That You May Have A Problem With Reaching Out To Others
GA: For Example You Are Very Careful With Your Choice Of Words
GA: However In Pale Romance It Is Often The Most Spontaneous And Silliest Of Sentences That Have The Greatest Impact
GA: Because All That Matters In The Pile Is That Your Words Convey The Right Feelings
GA: Even If It Means Saying Things That Do Not Make A Lot Of Sense
GA: It Requires A Great Degree Of Simplicity And Freedom In The Way That You Communicate In The Pile
GA: Moirails Who Are Especially Gifted At Pile Talk Are Said To Be Able To Speak With Their Heart
GA: But I Do Not Sense That You Have Any Talent At Heart Speaking At All
GA: It Does Not Serve Your Purpose To Constantly Desire To Appear Smart
TT: I think I have heard enough.
GA: Pardon Me
TT: This diatribe was a very convoluted way of critizing me and your opinion certainly didn't warrant such efforts I assure you.
TT: I do not try to look smart Kanaya Maryam I just am.
TT: But I can see how your level of judgement could easily cause you to misplace your concerns.
TT: Good day.
-- gardenGnostic [GG] has joined the memo --
GG: rose!!!!!
GG: rose rose rose rose rose rose rose rose rose rose rose rose rose!!!!!!!! :D
GG: i have super great news omg omg omg omg omg omg
GG: dont tell anyone......................
GG: but i think I got reeeeeal close to someone
GG: in a P-A-L-E way :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
GA: Oh My
TT: I do NOT have a problem with reaching out to others.
GG: rose???????????????? :o
-- tentacleTherapist [TT] has left the memo --

Chapter Text

"Can I come in", said Rose.
"Door's unlocked", answered Dave.

Rose walked into Dave's room and closed the door behind her. She was holding a thick book in her hands. Rose noticed that Dave was not sitting at his desk and let her gaze wander around the room until she spotted her brother; Dave was sitting on his bed with his back all the way against the wall and his legs unfurled lazily before him. There was a pile of old comic books next to the pillow and Dave held a worn issue in his hands, which he read it impassively and without paying any attention to the person that he had just allowed in his room.

Rose looked at Dave in silence and then dragged Dave's computer chair halfway across the room. She spun the chair around, sat on it stiffly, straightened her back and pressed her legs firmly together. She delicately placed the thick book (Advanced Psychology) on her lap, raised a fist in front of her mouth and make a small deliberate cough. Dave turned his attention towards her; his shades glistened and his mouth stayed a line.

"I know that face sis you're cooking something", said Dave.

Rose calmly smoothed her dress as if to make herself presentable in a professional manner.

"I would like us to have a serious conversation as therapist and patient", said Rose.

Dave's mouth twisted upward with a single-pixel smile.

"Oh sweet another psychology power trip. Been a while since the last time. You wanna try to convince me again that I'm hiding in my bro's shadow, that I'm running away from my real self and that irony is not, in fact, the coolest thing since the green ranger", said Dave.

Dave continued reading his comic in very good humor.
"Not exactly", said Rose.

Rose stood from the chair and left her psychology book in the seat. She walked towards Dave and then prudishly sat on the end of his bed. Dave slowly rotated his head toward her, lowered his comic and raised an eyebrow at her as if to silently question her sudden intrusion. What the hell are you doing. Rose ignored the question and fumbled through her sylladex. She brought out a small recording device that she had recently alchemized for the occasion. She ceremoniously placed it on the bed and flicked it on.

-- loading void recognition program --
-- loading automatic quirk settings --
-- opening PSYCH. folder --
-- creating therapy session log #000001 --

TT: With you consent I would like to give a different direction to our session today.
TG: hmm hmm
TT: I would like to try an experiment which I believe will help the tentacles of my therapy to sink in.
TG: hmm hmm
TT: If this approach does not produce a better treatment then I will simply desist.
TG: uh uh
TT: I will not lie to you, this approach is extensively influenced by the culture of our gracious hosts on this meteor.
TG: thats fascinating
TT: The purpose of this experiment is to gauge whether physical proximity can be employed as a bridge to emotional proximity.
TG: ok ok

Dave continued reading his comic for a while, seemingly absorbed and entirely forgetful of the person on his bed. Rose said nothing and waited patiently. Dave then decided that he had ignored her long enough and placed his comic book aside.

TG: alright so you dont wanna do this over chat anymore
TT: Yes. I believe that talking in person will make this session much more confrontational.
TG: suit yourself
TG: you can sit over there on my bed and tell me all about the deeper signification of my turgid dreams
TG: and especially the many phallic shadows that hide in their every corner
TG: but i get to keep my comics ok
TT: For your information I do not plan to stay on this side of the bed.

With her last sentence still hanging in the air, Rose abruptly shifted her position and shuffled one feet closer to her brother. Dave's legs twitched worriedly but his face stayed the same, save for one of his eyebrow which slowly curved upward once again.

TG: alright sis whats the deal
TT: As I have previously explained this session will deviate from normal procedures.
TG: yes but why are you coming closer
TT: Do not be alarmed this session will be kept perfectly under control.
TG: this isnt going to be weird right
TT: I will now start the experiment.
TG: rose what are you doing
TT: Please stay perfectly still.

Rose leaned forward and gracious placed her hand on Dave's wrist. Dave frowned and looked ready to crack a joke but didn't. He shook his hand to dissuade the physical contact from happening but Rose held on to him with a perfectly serious expression stamped on her features.

TG: the heck is this
TT: Please tell me how you feel about the death of your brother.
TG: rose we cant have a conversation like that
TT: Please do not pay attention to the physical contact.
TG: come on rose its not funny anymore
TT: I am ready to wait until you are comfortable to talk.
TG: i have a better idea how about you stop being so damn close

Dave made a movement which hinted at wanting to leave the bed and Rose quickly responded in kind. Her face a mask, Rose hiked her dress to give herself more freedom of movements and then slowly climbed on the bed on her knees. With perfectly neutral precision, Rose smoothly lowered herself to sit on one of Dave's extended leg, locking it firmly in place between her own two legs and taking great consideration so as to not put too much weight on it. Dave looked to his left and right in disbelief as if to silently ask an audience to share his outrage. Does anyone else see this shit?

TG: rose you ARE aware that you are straddling my goddamn knee
TT: If this is not too much a burden then I would like us to resume our session
TG: rose cmon this crap isnt even ironic its going straight into weird shit territory
TG: your a psychologist remember youre supposed to solve issues not create them
TG: what the hell did you take an hypocritical oath or something
TT: Please do not pay attention to the physical contact and resume the session.
TG: look rose
TT: Yes, Dave. You may tell me anything.
TG: rose were done with the sistertraps remember that was years ago

Dave squirmed with unrest and attempted to free his trapped leg. Rose immediately leaned forward and gripped Dave's thigh with both of her hands, securing Dave in place while simultaneously keeping herself balanced. She intently looked at her brother straight in the reflective shades and frowned to make clear that she was not going to budge. Dave's mouth twisted in his trademark what-the-fuck expression and Rose seemed to answer what was on Dave's mind.

TT: The only thing we are going to do on this bed is open our hearts
TG: thats the shittiest euphemism i ever heard
TT: Moirallegiance does not serve a sexual purpose.
TG: i knew this alien junk would go straight to your head
TG: in case you didnt notice rose we arent trolls this crap doesnt work with us
TT: If my actions do not evoke any response then there is nothing to be afraid of.
TG: oh yeah sure i guess that makes me feel better bzzzzzzzzzzzzt wrong
TT: It is perfectly normal for a brother and sister to be comfortable with each other.
TG: rose you know fully well that were riding the westermarck effect like a rodeo bull
TT: You do not need to do anything. I only ask that you stay still

Rose held up her palm and silenced her brother's protests. Dave's voice died in his mouth but he still mouthed a few more words, without actually speaking, and his sister then placed an outstretched finger on his lips to keep him fully still. Rose's stern face betrayed no emotion but her finger trembled visibly. Dave silently shook his head in a barely perceptible manner hinting of his urges to say "no", and then Rose bit her lips, and for an instant they both lost their sense of pretend.

TT: Dave please let me do this just for a while...
TG: cmon rose
TT: I want to...
TG: i cant

Rose carefully placed a finger on Dave's reflective black shades. Her fingertip followed the curves of the metal rims until it reached his ears, which it circled briefly. The finger then traced a languid path along the curve of Dave’s cheek (Dave's hands suddenly clenched the bed covers), pressed against his chin, then his neck and finally shirt, and then Rose placed her whole hand against Dave's chest where she let it linger.

TT: Is your heart beating fast.
TG: no its just watching pokémon and having an epileptic seizure
TT: I am going to put my hand under your shirt please do not move.
TG: now youre just fucking with me
TT: I want to feel your heart beat.
TG: you want weird shit

Rose returned to her deep thoughts and seemed to forget entirely about wanting to feel Dave's heartbeat. Rose's lingering hand started moving upward instead, and traveled from Dave's chest to his shoulder, then down his arm and wrist, and then she adjusted her straddling position to reach lower and grab his hand.

TG: you went for the hand holding too early
TT: Shut up Dave I'm new at this.

Rose squirmed to move herself a few inch up Dave's leg and her brother groaned with annoyance. Dave made signs of wanting to rise from the bed but Rose placed her free hand on Dave's chest to soothingly push him down back into immobility. Once Dave stopped struggling, Rose leaned again and grabbed his free hand with hers. Rose tightened her grip on the double hand holding, took a deep breath, shuffled on her butt to posture herself in a more comfortable position, then leaned forward and mechanically pressed her forehead against Dave's forehead. She closed her eyes shut.

TG: are we done yet
TG: wait youre not actually going to count to one hundred are you
TT: Shhh.
TG: fuck counting to one hundred
TT: Shhhhhhhh.
TG: ok lets say i let you do your crap rose
TG: after youre done counting to one hundred are you gonna leave me the fuck alone
TT: Shhhh don't talk.

The device on the bed did not record any sound for a while.

TG: fuck fuck FUCK come on Rose you KNOW that we dont need to be this close
TT: Closer to the body, closer to the heart.
TG: rose come on i can feel your breath on my face
TT: Breath when I breath.
TG: fuck no
TT: Squeeze my hands Dave.
TG: no
TT: Close your eyes like me.
TG: not like you can even tell if my eyes are open or not this is dumb

There was no sound for a while. The tense atmosphere then took an unexpected turn as Rose started speaking with very uncharacteristic slowness and hesitation.

TT: We are falling together... in a deep hole.
TG: nope still on my bed
TT: We are hiding, from danger.
TG: uh from what
TT: We are sitting, in a field of flowers.
TG: rose are you going cray cray on me
TT: You are feeling, very lonely.
TG: sure lets insult me thats cool
TT: You are strong...
TG: ok now you're kissing my ass

Dave gave his sister a quizzical look. Well this is different. Rose chewed her lips annoyingly as if she was trying to find the right words in her head but they taunted her by staying just beyond her reach. After an instant, Rose pushed her forehead away from her brothers as if to give herself some room to think. Rose’s eyes fluttered open and she gasped silently as if she immediately thought of something decisive. Rose resolved herself, squirmed closer to Dave (much to his annoyance) and she applied her forehead against his once more. Rose swallowed hard to clear away her own hesitation, jammed her eyes shut and let her voice turn into a whisper.

TT: I don’t want you to die.

Dave instinctively jerked from under her as if he had been prickled with a needle. Rose rode his reaction and tenaciously held to both of his hands, half-wrestling with her brother until his body spasms died down. Dave immediately seemed to regret his display and tried to distract from it by quickly speaking in outrage, although he was unable to fully stifle the agitation in his voice.

TG: fuck you rose
TG: you forced me to say that back then during your crappy suicide mission
TG: what else was i supposed to say
TG: it has nothing to do with emotions i was just pissed that i always have to save you from doing stupid shit
TG: who cares if i dont want you to die
TG: why are we talking about this now
TG: theres nothing to say about it
TG: not a single thing
TG: rose cmon say something

Rose said nothing. Dave started speaking faster and faster, as if unsettled by nearby bugs that were closing on him to climb on his clothes and crawl on his skin.

TG: okay now its clear youre just fucking with me so alright whatever do your stupid thing you know what i dont even care
TT: Shhh.
TG: how about i just talk about my dead bro right here and right now so we can get it over with and then i can kick you out of my room where i was reading my comics and being rad as fuck before you started doing your weird rose lalonde shit
TT: Don't rush it.
TT: Take your time.
TG: well too bad that pale crap is pacifist so i can say whatever i want and its not like you can stop me so if i want to rush it then oops its your own damn problem isnt it

Rose squeezed harder on the double hand-holding and squirmed a final inch of terrain upward of Dave's outstretched leg. Their chests were almost touching now, and both were heaving. Rose strained to keep her composure but Dave looked especially burdened; he acted very much as if he had been chained next to a doomsday machine that displayed a bright red, inexorable counter going down in the single digit.

TG: i dont understand why you even pretend that I have issues im a certified badass see even the stupid game though i was cool thats why it made me a knight thats right skaia just had to take one hard look at my strider creds to see that i was awesome material
TT: You did good.
TG: hell yes i did my best daves were constantly dying left and right while you guys were busy chatting with trolls hell we wouldnt have gone through sburb it if it wasnt for me
TT: I can see you now.
TG: see what
TG: I can see what you really look like
TG: rose you cant see anything your eyes are closed
TG: rose talk to me

Dave bit his lips waiting for an answer. To Dave's great surprise, Rose suddenly let go of the double hand-holding, and for a brief instant Dave felt a crashing wave of relief fill his chest cavity at the thought that maybe, just maybe, his crazy sister was finally done with her mindfuck. Dave was wrong. To Dave's horror, Rose showed that she only let go of the hand-holding to press both of her hands at his temples and old him still. Dave groaned. The coolkid thought that nothing could surprise him anymore, and then much to his confusion, Rose started speaking in a funny way that sounded ladylike and desolate.

TT: A knight you are, brother o' mine.
TT: With a sword in your hand and covered in armor.
TG: i dont wear any armor
TT: Yes you do.
TT: You're covered in armor from head to toes.
TT: And you never take off your helm.
TG: rose stop that crap
TT: You did well, brave knight.
TG: rose please
TT: To have rescued the seer of light.
TG: rose
TT: You have left me in your grace.
TG: stop
TT: May I lift your visor so that I may gaze at your face?
TG: dont touch the glasses
TG: DON'T TOUCH THE GLASSES

Dave violently pushed Rose out of his bed. The recording machine fell to the floor where it smashed into pieces, and then all of the magic of the moment was gone. For an instant Dave blinked in surprise at what he had done, then rushed to see if his sister was hurt. He reached out to help her stand up and his helping hand stopped in mid-air as if it had met a palpable, invisible barrier between them. Dave's hand couldn't come any closer. Dave looked at his sister worried; her hair was messy and her face was turned downward the ground.

"Rose are you alright? I'm sorry..."

Rose half-stood on her knees, still looking at the ground. Dave crouched to look at her face and then froze without knowing what to do. Her eyes were red, and he realized that she was just as scared as he was. She looked like she didn't know anymore what she wanted. Her cheeks were puffed, her chin was trembling, her eyebrows were sad and her mouth was begging. She had looked at him with that face before and that was when she was about to die.

"Rose..." said Dave.
"I think have to go", said Rose.
"Rose", said dave.
"I have to go", said Rose.

Rose closed the door delicately behind her. Dave was left suddenly alone in his room and with no idea how he was supposed to feel. If my irony is an armor then it is paper thin, it takes but a sear of light and it burns. Dave ran his hands through his hair, applied his forehead against the door to his room and started kicking the door in frustration.

Chapter Text

It was the third day since Vriska had fallen into a deep sleep and John couldn't stop thinking about something that Feferi had said. It slept into every crack of his mind whenever he wasn't looking and John tried his best to keep himself distracted and pretend that there wasn't anything weird in his head. As it stood, John was currently sitting in his room and was deeply occupied by re-reading COLONEL SASSACRE'S DAUNTING TEXT OF MAGICAL FRIVOLITY AND PRACTICAL JAPERY, which served as a lasting distraction since it was conveniently huge enough to kill a cat. John had just let another content sigh at the marvel of the Colonel's unparalleled pranking genius when he heard a cascade of beeping sounds indicating that someone was trying to pester him. The sound repeated a few more times before John could put aside the heavy book and reach his desk computer.

-- cuttlefishCuller [CC] has invited ectoBiologist [EB] to a memo --

CC: )(ello jo)(n!
-- ectoBiologist [EB] is an idle chum --
CC: JO)(N!!!!!
CC: Glub glub glub glub glub JOOOO)(N!!!!!!!!!!!!
CC: Jo)(n t)(ere's something you need to sea!
CC: W)(en you get t)(is message please come to Vriska's room glub glub glub.
CC: PL---EAS---E COM---E!!!! I'LL B-E WAITING T)(-ER-E!!!!!!
CC: Sea you soon 38D!!!!!!!!!
-- cuttlefishCuller [CC] has left the memo --

John arrived puffing to the troll side of the meteor where he found Feferi waiting for him. She was passing the time by actively punching buttons on some kind of troll cell phone that looked like a seashell. Feferi noticed John from a distance, waved at him excitedly and went back to feverishly pushing buttons on the small device. John though at first glance that Feferi was texting, but upon closer inspection he decided that she was probably playing Troll Bejeweled. In fact, John realized just then, Feferi was probably the kind of person who could excitedly play Troll Bejeweled for hours on end. John finished walking to the end of the corridor where Feferi brightly looked up from her little screen and eagerly clamped the seashell shut.

"HI JO-HN! Thanks for coming on such short notice!" said Feferi .
"Hey! No problem! So did Vriska finally wake up!?" said John.
"NO-PE! Still sleeping like a wriggler!" said Feferi.

John felt a huge let down crush his high spirit and drag his shoulders down. He looked behind his back in disarray. He had nearly jogged all the way there.

"Oh, hum, ok. But then why did you tell me to come here so urgently?" said John.
"HMM? Did I?" said Feferi all puzzled.
"Yeah! You sounded really exci... Nevermind, what did you call me here for?" asked John.

Feferi threw her hands into the air so happily that her feet went off the ground for a second.

"I just had a GR-EAT idea!", said Feferi.

John took half a step backward defensively.

"An idea", said John.
"YE-AH! Let's go inside!" said Feferi.

Feferi grabbed John's hand and dragged him enthusiastically toward the door to Vriska's room.

"But you just said she was still sleeping..." said John.
"YES! Sleeping like a wriggler! Let's go inside and look at her!" said Feferi.

Feferi opened the door to Vriska's room and pushed John inside.

John had already been inside Vriska's room before. In the low light setting of the room, John recognized the angular shapes of her desk and of her bookcase of FLARP manuals. However John also saw unfamiliar shadows which he couldn't place at first, until his eyes got used to the dark, whereas he then recognized a pile of magic eight balls, a pile of discarded pirate cosplay clothes, a pile of boondollars and a small pile of tiny dice stacked on her desk. Is there anything in this room that ISN'T stacked into a pile, John though to himself. John slowly spun around and also recognized in a corner of the room one of Vriska's latest doomsday device, which she had high hopes to use in order to destroy the fabric of paradox space and thus earn everyone's attention, although John knew that the doomsday device only beeped a lot and produced smoke that smells bad.

Feferi motioned John to come closer to the vat of slime that he had tried his best to ignore thus far. The large apparel was basked in slowly pulsating green light. A humanoid figure laid immobile in the slime. Her head was laid to rest on the outside rim of the construct and her mass of hair nearly unfurled all the way to the floor. John blinked. Vriska's hair were surprisingly straighter and cleaner than her usual haggard look, but then then remembered that Vriska had recently been given a thorough bath that she desperately needed. John made small steps closer to the recuperacoon on Feferi's cheerful invitation, and then John stopped flatly in his track with sudden worry.

"Hum. Feferi? Is she naked in there..." said John.
"Of COUR-SE she is! Come on come closer!" said Feferi.
"Yeah but..." said John
"CO-ME ON John we don't have all day! Don't stay over there like a grumpy fish!" said Feferi.
"But the slime barely goes to her chest and I can almost see..." said John.
"RI-GHT! Your human no-clothes taboo!" said Feferi.

Feferi clapped her hands at something so obvious and then actively leaned over the slime vat. John couldn't see what she was doing but she seemed to be playing with some kind of controls, and then for an instant there was a low humming sound like an air conditioner being turned on. The slime level slowly rose to Vriska's collarbones and then Feferi stopped fiddling with the controls with a cheer of victory.

"THE-RE! does that makes it better?" said Feferi.
"Yes, actually, it's a lot less distracting", said John.
"RIGHT! Come closer then!" said Feferi.
"I already am", said John.
"CLO-SER!" said Feferi.

The fishgirl merrily dragged John forward and settled him face-to-face with the sleeping Vriska. John diverted his attention to the sopor slime. He had heard before about the substance but it was the first time he actually investigated it up close. John had always held slime of the green color in high esteem, out of principles.

"what is that stuff anyway", said John.

John dipped a finger in the slime and brought it up. The substance stuck to his digit in a large glob.

"Wow it's like I can taste it with my finger. All prickly and stuff. And that smells, is that, sour candy and clay?" said John.

Feferi gently shook John to make him stop acting silly and diverted his attention toward the individual who laid nearly submerged in the slime. John wondered just how deeply in sleep Vriska was to ignore the ruckus around here; Feferi wasn't making a very impressive effort at keeping her voice low and yet Vriska breathed steadily and remained completely motionless.

"JO-HN! John look at her! Tell me what you think!" said Feferi.
"I think that she's still sleeping", said John.
"DOO-FUS! How does she makes you feel?" said Feferi.
"I'm supposed to feel something?" said John.
"YE-AH! do you feel any diamonds in the air when you look at her?" said Feferi.
"Hum, what?" said John.

John tried to ignore Feferi's weirdness and peered again at Vriska's sleeping face. It was the first time she had ever appeared so innocent to him, and innocent hardly ever described Vriska Serket. Feferi beamed excitedly at John while he looked.

"AL-RIGHT! Now, what does she looks like?" said Feferi.
"She looks like Vriska", said John.
"PUH-LEASE, John, try to clam down! Focus on nothing but breathing. Look at her. Take your time. Now tell me, what do you see."

John took his time.

"She looks serene. Peaceful." said John.
"YES! Doesn't it make you want to protect that peace?" said Feferi.
"I dunno. I guess she does look better like this than when she is completely crazy", said John.

John found that he had a hard time pulling his stare away from Vriska's closed eyes.

"Did she ever look that calm before?" said John.
"HMM YUP! She did once, during the game!" said Feferi.
"When was that" said John.
"WHEN~~~ she was beaten up and bleeding to death", said Feferi.
"Uh uh."

Feferi slumped down shoulder-to-shoulder next to John. She suddenly looked calm and thoughtful, and John was startled with the rapidity of her mood swing. Feferi looked at Vriska and sighed. She dipped her finger into the slime and stirred it around.

"She's a hard girl to handle. It takes a lot to make her let go", said Feferi quietly.
"Yeah no kidding", said John.
"Do you think you have what it takes to take care of her", said Feferi.

Feferi met John's eyes expectedly and John felt there was something very strange in her tone of voice. She was talking as if she was transferring her property to him. John hesitated in his answer and Feferi sprung full of life once again.

"You'll be FI-NE, I can tell that sort of thing!"
"Huh."
"Try to touch her now!"
"What."
"COME ON JOHN put your hand on her cheek, see how it makes you feel!"
"That is... a little weird"

Feferi looked at John queerly as if he was a tourist lost in a big city and then giggled at his confusion.

"It's not WEI-RD at all, not for us trolls! It's normal to want to test the water. When you don't know if someone is the right moirail for you, you make a pretext scenario to touch them, and then you focus on how it feels! You try to see if it doesn't trigger any of the bad feeling!" said Feferi.

"I have literally no idea what you are talking about", said John.

"...and SOME-TIMES it happens all by mistake! You see it all the time in cute palerom stories", continued Feferi with starry eyes. "Two trolls fall on each other by accident, they grip at each other's body, they suddenly realize that they don't have any urge to let go, that it doesn't trigger the bad stuff, and in fact that it feels GR-EAT! The two trolls then look in confusion at each other, they can see on each other's face that they BO-TH don't want to let go, and it's like WOW~ what is going on? And that's when they know that they are falling palerom, and they see diamonds floating everywhere!"

"Holy crap you trolls are WEIRD", said John.

Feferi didn't seem to hear John's comment at all.

"ANY-WAY! that's why I wanted to bring you here John! Vriska is sleeping, it's the perfect occasion! Touch her and tell me how it feels to you!" said Feferi.
"I really don't think this is a good idea", said John.

Feferi made an earnest broad smile at John and he couldn't stop a similar smile from creeping on his face (although Feferi's teeth were always a bit scary). Feferi giggled like a mermaid at John's smile (and his little bit of terror) and nudged him excitedly with her elbow, and then John lost track of what he was doing. He had already lifted his hand above the recuperacoon before he realized that he was being incredibly silly.

"Look Feferi I don't think it's even ok for me to look at her while she's sleeping", said John.

Feferi shook her head widely from left to right.

"HM HM! John stop carping around, Vriska already did it to you didn't she? She crept into your room during the night. It's only justice that you also get a chance to glance at her while she sleeps", said Feferi.

John couldn't help but feel that Feferi had a point.

"Well I guess I can look. But I draw the line at touching", said John.
"Just a slight brush on her cheek, see if it makes her sigh a little", said Feferi.

John's mind went blank. He blinked and found that he had already extended his hand barely a few inches away from Vriska's soft, inviting cheek. At this precise instant, perhaps because of an air movement, or perhaps because of a coincidence ordained by paradox space, Vriska chose to move in her sleep. She then made a content sound, like one can only make in a comfortable bed, and John retracted his hand immediately.

"I think... I think I want to take my time", said John.

Feferi looked at him with huge sparkling eyes like he was the most adorable thing she had ever seen.

"YE-AH! I understand! Gotta do things PRO-PER-LY and SLO-WLY!" said Feferi.
"Yeah. Sure. Whatever. Slow is good." said John.
"I can help push you two together if you want! We can do stuff together when she's awake!" said Feferi.
"I don't..." began John.

It was too late to stop her. Feferi was chipping with excitement like a nest full of baby birds that was just brought food.

"Yeah! TO-GE-THER! And instead of using a pile we could do it in a more human environment! Something to make you more comfortable! Perhaps your designated sleeping area", said Feferi.

John was suddenly lost by the flow of the conversation.

"In my bed?", said John.

Feferi bounced forward and John had to lift up both of his palms to try to contain her.

"Yes! I can hold Vriska's arm REAAAL tight for you, and then you can stand in front of each other and look in each other's eyes, she's gonna be afraid to reject you but I'll be right behind her, cooing in her ears, and holding her down and reassuring her! Then! You can take as much time as you want, and slowly caress her cheek! Vriska will need some convincing but leave that to me, I know all her buttons, I'll show them to you!"

John's head started to spin.
"Yes but..." started John

John couldn't remember when Feferi had started holding his hands. She was hopping up and down and John could feel her dragging him dangerously into her pace. John tried several times to place a word but Feferi was, quite clearly, unable to shut up.

"...Trust me once we got her between us she's gonna give herself up like a treasure, we can squish her together on your bed and smother her with tenderness..."

John managed to pull his hands free and tried to interject.

"I don't think she would want that", said John quietly.
"Are you sure?" said Feferi with sudden seriousness.

John was seized with doubt. He vividly remembered the different side of Vriska that he had seen during the bath scene, and for the first time it was like gears in his chest started to move. John was overtaken by the possibility that perhaps, just perhaps, the complete nonsense that Feferi was spouting could be something that Vriska actually wanted, somewhere deep inside her weird alien heart thickly wrapped in personal issues. However still, something rusty inside John made him want to try to deny it.

"She doesn't let people get close..." said John.
"...she does when you do it right" said Feferi.

John held his hand over his chest. Why did it hurt so much.

"I think... I think I'm gonna leave the room now", said John.
"Are you alright John?" said Feferi with bubbling concern.
"I'm okay, just have, a hard time breathing", said John.
"It's AL-RIGHT John! Take your time!" said Feferi.

John left the crushing darkness of the room and felt an immediate rush of relief from standing again in the bright, wide corridors. John placed his hand on a wall, took several deep breaths, then jammed his fists into his pockets while ignoring the wild battering still going inside his chest. He pretended to be disinterested and then asked Feferi the most urgent question which had bothered him all day.

"Hey Feferi! When you said before that Vriska would sleep three days, was that..." said John.
"A CRA-PPY estimate! But I'm not usually far off. Give it a day or two, and then Vriska's gonna pop her eyes open and empty the entire fridge!" said Feferi.

John felt an unspecified burden lift from his chest.

"Ok. Thanks Feferi", said John.

John was about to conclude this meeting but Feferi stood in his way, squirming in place, bursting to say something but waiting for a signal to do so.

"Err, yes?" asked John politely.

Feferi exploded all at once and John knew that he was in for another rant.

"Wait wait wait wait JO-HN! Don't you SEE what matters the most? Don't you wonder, aren't you afraid, aren't you thinking, that you need to be ready when Vriska wakes up?" said Feferi.

John looked at her weirdly. Ready for what?

"Ready to SWEEP HER in the pile! John! JO-HN! Nothing ever happen in palerom if you don't make It happen! When Vriska wakes up you can't just sit around, you can't tell yourself that you'll wait another day, because after that day is over you'll tell yourself that you can wait another day, and then another day, and it just never stops! When Vriska opens her eyes you need to go on the warpath immediately! But it's AL-RIGHT because I can help you get ready!"

John suddenly remembered how his last conversation with Feferi went down.

"I think I know where you're going with this. Look - you already invited me to take a bath with you and..." said John

Feferi shook her head in largely exaggerated negation.

"John, John-John-John-John I'm not a DUMB-ASS! I can see that taking a bath together all of a sudden is something that goes against some of your human customs!" said Feferi.
"A little yes", said John.

When did she move so close to me, John though alarmingly. Feferi's chest was nearly pushed against his. John tried to back away from her only to realize that he was placated against the wall.

"SO YE-AH, you can't just sit around UN-PRE-PARED! The first shooshpap always leave the most important impression! I can show you ALL about it! How about tonight you knock at my door, and we go to my bathroom. BUT. We just sit in the bath. No water. Fully clothed. We turn off the light, we put a candle in the middle of the bath, and we just talk the night away! John do you know what heart speaking is? Doesn't matter I'll show you! I bet you'd probably be good at it, I can teach you a few tricks!"

John's head began spinning again.

"Hard speaking? I don't..." said John.

Feferi placed a finger over his mouth.

"TH-INK JOHN, think about my offer, and knock on my door tonight if you are interested. BYEEEEEEE JOHN."

***

John made the trip back to his room in stumbling confusion. He closed the door behind him, sat at his desk and let out a long breath. Is it me or is everyone on this meteor complete insane. John turned towards his computer and stifly waved his computer mouse to clear away the screensaver. He had new messages.

-- turntechGodhead[TG] has invited ectoBiologist [EB] to a memo --

TG: john
-- ectoBiologist [EB] is an idle chum --
TG: john you have to help me
TG: rose is on the cuddlepath shes gone crazy with huglust
TG: im currently hiding under a desk but its only a matter of time before she finds me
TG: john you have to do something
TG: talk to her try to convince her to stop molesting my forehead
TG: wait no dont do that too dangerous
TG: if you see rose run for your life
TG: she might try to squeeze you with her tentacles
TG: just tell me when you get somewhere safe
TG: also
TG: dont even try to talk with harley shes one of them now
TG: roses crazy but jades even crazier
TG: john we have to do something
TG: john are you there
TG: john youre still my bro right
TG: i mean my human bro
TG: with our perfectly normal human bromance right hahahahahahahaaaa
-- turntechGodhead [TG] is an idle chum --

-- tentacleTherapist [TT] has invited ectoBiologist [EB] to a memo --

TT: John.
-- ectoBiologist [EB] is an idle chum --
TT: My sources indicate that you have returned from a visit to the troll side of the meteor.
TT: Please make a report at once about your social interactions and how they make you feel.
-- tentacleTherapist [TT] is an idle chum --

-- gardenGnostic [GG] has invited ectoBiologist [EB] to a memo --

GG: u͈̪͓ ̴ rghh͈̪͓ john̫̦̦̰ i dont̫͙͚͖ feel so̫̦̦̰ good
-- ectoBiologist [EB] is an idle chum --
GG: john i̶̜̼̱̦͓ think̸̡̹͈̜͓̲͚͔̯ something is̫̦̦̰ wrong with me̡͈̜͓̲͚͔̯ F͍͖̱̟͍͡UCK
GG: jo͈̪͓ ̘̙ ͚̜̞́ ̖̱͙̩͚ ͓̹ ̴̲̮hn are you there
GG: john pl̫̦̦̰ease͈̪͓ come scratch̫̦̦̰ at my door͈̪͓ when you have͈̪͓ the chance
GG: i mean kn͈̪͓ ̴ock on my door FU͍͖̱̟͍͡CK
GG: uu ͖̞͍͍͡u ͖̞͍͍͡͡urgh m̶̜̼̱̦͓y he̫̦̦̰ad h̶̜̼̱̦͓u͈̪͓ ̘̙ ͚̜̞́ ̖̱͙̩͚ ͓̹ ̴̲̮r̫̦̦̰t̫̦̦̰s
-- gar͍͖̱̟͍͡d̨͕͎̬͈ͅenGnostic [GG] is an idle chum --

John turned off his computer and sat on the floor to start reading again from COLONEL SASSACRE'S DAUNTING TEXT OF MAGICAL FRIVOLITY AND PRACTICAL JAPERY. The book was, after all, conveniently huge enough to kill a cat.

Chapter Text

TRIGGER WARNINGS: #pale_education, #first_time_pale, #dubcon_shooshpapping, #interracial, #hurt_comfort, #tear_licking_on_the_first_date

After having told himself all day that he wouldn’t, John sneaked out of his room at five past midnight and went to knock on Feferi’s door. The door opened and John began speaking at once.

"Look Feferi I wanted to say..." said John.
"JO-HN!" yelled Feferi.

Feferi jumped into John's arms and squeezed him with an heartfeld hug. Wow, she acts like I just came back from a long journey! Feferi pulled away from John just as fast as she had pounced and then beamed silently at him with bubbling intensity, her mouth slowly curving into a thin smile and then breaking into the most earnest dumb-happy grin. John recoiled slightly at Feferi's display of pointy teeth. How can a smile look so cute and scary at the same time, I can’t tell if she wants to hug me or eat me. At a loss for words, John just stood and smiled rather like a dork.

"Thanks for coming John, I’m ready to go!" said Feferi.

Feferi closed the door behind her, turned back towards John and waggled her shoulders in a dancing-like manner, indicating that she was eager and impatient to get moving. Wait does she still want us to go her bathroom? John hesitated for a second and then Feferi took off like a speeding train, pulling John by the sleeve and dragging him through the darkly lit corridors of the meteor at night.

"Wait! Feferi, WAIT!" said John.
"No words, just come!" said Feferi.
"But I have something to say..." said John.
"Shhhhhhh!" said Feferi.

John had been preparing a long paragraph in his head that he wanted to recite after knocking on Feferi’s door. He wanted to explain in detail that he didn’t plan to come see her tonight, that he just happened to be unable to sleep, that he supposed they could maybe talk about troll relationships a little and that he didn’t want to do anything weird with her, but all these words stumbled out of John's mouth with little effect as he was hurried alongside Feferi through the empty stretches of corridors. After a few sharp turns, John and Feferi came to a screeching halt in front of a door with a brass mermaid design on it. Troll mermaids have horns that’s funny.

"Like I wanted to said, I don’t really want to take a..." said John.
"Shhhhhh, we’ll talk inside my bath!" said Feferi.

Feferi pressed a pink-nailed finger on John’s lips to silence his worries and John felt a sudden pang of uneasy feeling. Something feels wrong when she touches me. The thought lasted but a second. Feferi’s finger darted away from John’s lips just as fast as it came and in the next instant, Feferi was busy rummaging through her sylladex. She pulled out a candle, a lighter and a girly-looking lantern. Feferi proceeded to lit the candle inside the lantern and then offered the light source to John, who took it. Feferi then opened the mermaid door, which lead to a rectangular black void, and politely invited John to go first.

John stepped carefully into the overly large bathroom with the feeling that he was intruding on sacred ground. It’s so dark in here. Candlelight flickered on the queen-sized bath, on the bronze mermaid statues and on the fancy chandelier that loomed overhead. John instinctively turned his head toward the spot next to the door where there might have been a light switch but Feferi caught his look. Feferi made a muffled sound of reproach (HM-HM!) and urged John to keep going.

"Can we talk now?" began John.

Feferi shook her head and motioned at John to remove his shoes, which he did (John opted to keep his socks because the floor was cold). John then approached cautiously the oversized bath that loomed ahead. This thing is almost like a swimming pool. Feferi kicked off her own sandals, ran to John and excitedly pulled him toward the bath. John felt a strong impression from the contact of Feferi’s skin on his own, her finger wrapped around his wrist, and the sudden pang of uneasy feeling came back. Her skin is cool to the touch instead of warm! That’s why it feels so weird! John was reminded at once that Feferi was cold blooded; John had heard mentions of it before but when directly confronted with the fact he couldn’t help but find it unnatural and unsettling, especially in contrast with Feferi’s lively personality. It firmly reminded John that she wasn’t human. It feels like I’m being lured in a dark alley by a vampire.

John and Feferi had to take turns holding the candle to climb over the waist-high partitions of the bath. John nearly fell over when climbing overboard and Feferi giggled while holding him still, and then Feferi herself climbed and fell down clumsily on the other side, sliding on the slightly sloped ground with a satisfying squeal (WEEEEEE) that made John chuckle despite himself. For the first time, John finally felt the heavy atmosphere relax a little.

Looks like it's completely dry. John and Feferi shuffled awkwardly towards the center of the bath, due to the floor being slippery by nature of its construction, which Feferi found it very amusing. Upon reaching destination, Feferi delicately put down the flickering candle lantern and took it upon herself to make the place more comfortable. She pulled out of her sylladex a cushion, a simple plush fuchsia cushion, and let it fall on the floor. She has really girly tastes. Feferi then pulled a differently colored cushion from her sylladex, then another, and another, until John stopped counting and the floor was littered with perhaps two scores of the fancy pillows. You know what this place is almost starting to look cozy. Feferi lifted her palm upward like a hostess and invited John to put himself at ease. John hesitated and Feferi gave the example by collecting several pillows together and then throwing herself on the pile of softness with yet another satisfying squeal.

John pulled himself a cushion and sat cautiously next to the candle lantern. He grabbed his knees togethers and peered at the dark void where the ceiling would be. It’s night, I'm alone with her and I don’t even know her that much! John had to concede that Feferi had been true to her word; she had given up on offering John to take a bath with her (whew!) and she seemed to have only picked the bathroom as an eccentric meeting place where they could talk in private.

"No water, no soap, I don’t think this is going to be a very productive bath!" said John aloud.
"HM-HM!" said Feferi in agreement.

Feferi laid flat on her back with no hint of wanting to say anything or go anywhere. The candle lantern flickered silently and casted long shadows around them.

"Sooooo hey Feferi! why did you choose to meet like this? It kinda makes us look like conspirators!" said John.

Feferi let out a content sigh, rolled over on the pillows and placed her hands behind her neck.

"Location, location! Sometimes I like to come here by myself at night and lay down in the empty bath. I can almost hear the ocean and smell the salty breeze!" said Feferi
"It’s probably just the sound of water in the pipes and the smell of bath salt residues." said John.

Feferi suddenly sprang to life and sat upright toward John, her arms wrapped around her knees in a mimic of John’s position. Her feet twitched happily.

"AL-RIGHT, so what do you wanna know about moirallegiance?" said Feferi.
"Everything! Kanaya already taught us a bunch but I’m not sure if I understood half of it. I know that when a troll starts acting violent then you’re supposed to... pet them? Actually that’s all I know for sure." said John.

Feferi balled up her fists and drove them into her cheeks.

"That won’t do John! That won’t do at all! Moirallegiance is more than just pacifying trolls who are going on a rampage! John-John-John-John can I go over the basics with you just to be sure? After all that’s why we’re here!" said Feferi.

She repeats my name like she repeats typing types glub in a chat client, it’s kinda funny. John started feeling bad for being overly on the defensive towards Feferi. I did ask for her help. John sprawled on the pillow in a more laid-back manner and invited Feferi to go on.

"Sure Feferi! You can do a summary, it wouldn’t hurt!" said John.
"OH! Oh! Oh oh oh oh oh oh", quipped Feferi.

John knew that reaction. Feferi was waiting for a signal to explode.

"...Yes Feferi?" said John.
"Can I make a SPE-ECH? Pretty please John? As an introduction to tonight’s meeting!" said Feferi.

John blinked in surprise. Well I wasn’t expecting that.

"A speech?" said John.
"YES!" said Feferi.

Feferi suddenly moved forward and trusted her excited face barely an inch away from John’s nose. John recoiled as much as he could without moving from his seat, staring at Feferi and treating her much like a large wild animal that comes out of a forest with unclear intentions. Feferi started speaking very fast.

"YE-AH! A speech! You see John all my life I always wanted to stand in front of crowds and make speeches about the things that I care about! I though I was born to make great changes happen in alternian society! To redefine culling, to solve social issues, to stop all the fighting over blood casts and unite our race with nothing but my voice alone! In other words, being a DIPLO-MAT! It’s what I though I would grow up to become, but then paradox space had a different fate in store for me, and I never got the chance to make any speech at all! Please John can I make a speech please please please please please please!" said Feferi.

John had vaguely heard before that Feferi had interests in politics and social activisms but it was the first time he saw her personally bring them up. To be fair, John hadn’t really paid attention to Feferi before.

"Sure, you can do a speech if you want!" said John.
"SHELL YES!" said Feferi.

Feferi clapped with excitement and thanked John. She then crawled a distance away from John, turned around at once, took a deep breath and coughed to ready her throat. She stood on her knees, opened her arms in a sign of warm greeting as if overlooking a crowd, and then spoke with a booming voice that filled the bathroom.

"PEOPLE OF... it’s called Earth, right?" said Feferi.
"Yes." said John.
"PEOPLE OF EAR-"

Feferi’s knees slipped from under her on the smooth bath floor and she fell down face first. Feferi giggled, pulled herself a cushion and returned immediately to her oratorical position.

"PEOPLE OF EARTH, today we will speak of the bonds that unite us all..." started Feferi.

John relaxed on the pillows.This looks promising.

"...Pacification is the goal of morallegiance, but does one waits to see the ravages of civil war before undertaking diplomatic action? No, I say! The fires of political unrest must be quenched by the oasis of negotiation, and the same can be said of the fire that dwells within us all! For there is no greater piority for individual or organization alike than to bring matters of internal dispute to a peaceful end! Make piles, not war! The only real enemy is the part of ourselves that we fear to confront, but which we can learn to fight alongside a faithful diplomatic ally; and we shall not stop until all confused emotions are becalmed under the aegis of perfect mutual understanding..."

John suspected that Fereri was jamming together several speeches that she had rehearsed before, many of which had nothing to do with pale relationships. If she was in charge of troll society it would probably turn out WEIRD.

"...and the intensity of the pale struggle shall replace the bloodletting of civil war! No troll shall be left uncuddled! Let the softness of the shooshpaps replace the steely glints of weapons brandished in the streets, for no troll is an island..."

I think she forgot that she’s supposed to be addressing earthlings.

"...And let it be known as our manifest destiny now and forever that we will never suffer to see a troll sigh alone by themselves, but that we will extend the hand of moirallegiance and brandish forth the torch of civilization that lights up the darkness of this bathroom!"

John clapped in applause. She’s a bit touched in the head but she’s fun.

"WHEW! How was it? Did I do good?" said Feferi.
"It was great!" said John.

Feferi rolled on her back in exhilaration, wheezing from her longwinded speech and gasping for air. John took the initiative to make small talk.

"You see Feferi, it does address some of my questions! I knew that pale relationships were about pacification but I always wondered what pacification had to do with normal friendship. But now from what I understand, the purpose of this relationship is to be preventive in nature right? To pacify feelings that could lead to anger or violence before it actually happens? Kinda like periodically resetting the counter on a bomb instead of waiting for the countdown to reach zero. Something like that."

"BASICALLY!" said Feferi at once.

Feferi perked up from her pillow and thanked John profusely for listening to her speech. She puts her head down for five seconds and then acts like she’s been resting for hours, this girl is a monster. John found that he was enjoying this strange midnight meeting so far.

"John-John-John-John this is PER-FECT now that we cleared the introduction it means we can move on to actual practice! Then you’ll be ready to sweep Vriska into the pile in no time!" said Feferi.
"When you say practice..." John said nervously.

Feferi bounced on her cushion and dragged herself closer toward John, who crawled backward worriedly.

"RE-LAX, John you act like a fish afraid of drowning in water!" said Feferi.
"We’re not going to do anything weird right?" said John.
"NO-PE!", said Feferi.
"Why do I have a feeling that whenever people ask that question then weird shit will invariably happen", said John.
"John you worry too much, we’re not going to do anything that you don’t want to do! In fact, we’re going to set up rules!" said Feferi.
"What kind of rules?" said John.
"The rules for the GA-ME we're going to play!" said Feferi.

We're going to play a game? Feferi squirmed excitedly in her seat as if they were about to reach the crux of their secret meeting. John already knew from Feferi’s tone of voice that she was going to talk a lot.

"Yes John, a game! It will be EX-CI-TING and it’ll teach you something important! You see John, the biggest difficulty that beginners have to face is learning how to successfully approach trolls in a pile. This is like the difference between knowing how to swim and sinking like a rock! John-John-John-John do you remember when you offered Vriska to talk about her problems and she puffed up like a blowfish? That’s exactly the kind of problem you’re going to face in the future!" said Feferi.

John remembered very well the thundering reaction that he received from Vriska when he tried to approach her in the common room.

"That was incredibly silly! I was offering to help her and she got mad at me!" said John.

Feferi nodded and started gesticulating actively.

"EX-ACTLY", said Feferi, "You see John it’s culturally wrong for us to announce out loud your pale intentions, or even just to make your pale intentions appear too obvious! This goes the same whether you are approaching it in public or in private, and it causes a lot more problems than you might think! For example John, let’s say that Vriska invites you to go her room while dropping pale hints, and then you go to her room and find Vriska sitting nervously in a pile! The situation may look shrimple to you at first glance, but in truth it’s far from being the case! If you just make a step towards Vriska you're going to startle her, she’ll be overwhelmed, she’s going to scuttle away from the pile like a scared spider and then she’ll say it was a really lame idea after all! And it’s not just Vriska who is like that, it’s just how trolls think and act in general. It’s terribubbly but trolls have certain natural defenses toward fulfilling their pale urges, and that causes a lot of difficulties when it comes to allowing people to come closer to them! Vriska herself wants you to fall into her web but she can’t bring herself to talk about it!"

She talks a lot!John was surprised to hear trolls described with such a vulnerable side. They had always appeared to him as somewhat ruthless people.

"Wow! Is it some kind of fear of intimacy?" said John.

"Call it what you want", said Feferi, "But John trust me, trolls can tell when you have pale intention! It makes them want to push people away from them, or even bite them! But once you know how to approach trolls in the pile, you can sweep them under your diamonds and they’ll calm down and enjoy it! So you see John that’s what I want to teach you in our session tonight!"

John held up both of his palms to ask for a timeout.

"Wait Feferi! What if I just ask Vriska for her permission to let me come close to her? Would that work?" said John.

Feferi shook her head negatively.

"HM-HM! You can’t do that John!" said Feferi.
"But why?" said John.
"John, John-John-John-John you never ask for permission in palerom! Asking for permissions is not even in our culture! On Alternia, when someone doesn’t stop you from doing something then that means you have permission to continue!"

John started feeling a little worried and began scratching his elbow. This is kinda, hum...

"Is that really how trolls think?" said John.

Feferi nodded positively.

"HM-HM!", said Feferi positively, "John I know that you humans sometimes see alternian culture as ruthless but for us this is just common sense! If Vriska lets you approach her then it means you have permission to come closer, if she lets you hug her then it means you have permission to hug her! So you see John it’s not complicated at all! Trolls are quick to push people away when they aren’t comfortable. So when trolls let you come close to them with pale intentions it’s because you EARN-ED it! And besides John, Vriska already made her feelings toward you PER-FECT-LY clear when she sneaked into your respiteblock in pale heat. That should be more than enough to convince you to take the initiative as the big fish and take her for a swim!"


John was not convinced.

"This is a bit different than how humans work", said John.

"If it makes you feel any better John, you can ask Vriska for her permission to continue after you manage to sit with her in a pile. But don’t ask before! You’re just going to scare her! Like I said it’s culturally wrong to talk about this stuff out loud. In fact, the whole idea of asking for permission to woo someone is very alien to us. Do humans ask each other for permissions before falling in love or hating each other?" said Feferi.

"I guess not", said John.

Feferi bounced up and down in a bright mood and squeezed her fists with fighting spirit.

"It’s alright John! You just need to learn how to think like a troll and act like a troll! Then you’ll learn how to make Vriska fall under your diamonds in no time! For now, our first goal is to teach you how to approach trolls in the pile, which is what we’re going to practice with our game tonight!"

In yet another fit of hyperactivity, Feferi gathered the cushions strewn in the bath and threw them one-by-one in the same place until there was a small mountain of pillows in the center of the bath.

"AL-RIGHT first we make a pile, then we need someone to play the big fish and someone to play the little fish. Since you’re a beginner John I’m going to play the big fish, so that means that you get to sit in the pile!"

John crawled unto the pile cautiously. I wonder where she’s going with this.

"Alright I’m there... but just so you know that still doesn’t mean I want do anything weird", said John.
"Relax John! this game is just to teach you how to approach trolls." said Feferi.

John fashioned himself a sort of groove in the pile of cushions and then sank comfortably in it. John spent the next moment reflecting on the absurdity of sitting on a small mountain of multicolor girly pillows inside an oversized bath in a dark bathroom lit by candlelight, to play a sort of suspicious game with a hyperactive fishgirl that he barely knew. Feferi waited for John to settle down before continuing her explanation.

"NEXT! You see John, the goal of the game is to STOP me from reaching you on the pile! If you let me capture the pile and stay alone at the top then it’s OV-ER, it means that I’ve won the game! If you managed to stay on the pile alone, it’s your victory! It’s shrimple like that!" said Feferi.

John thought about it for a moment.

"So it’s like king of the mountain?" said John.
"YES! WHAT-EVER that is! And now for the rules. Rule number one! No fighting allowed. Rule number two! You can tell me to stop moving anytime you want! In fact, if you catch me moving and tell me to stop then I have to return to my starting spot! So you see, as long as you keep an eye on me, you win!" said Feferi.

John scratched his neck and mentally reviewed the rules to check if there was anything suspicious.

"So you need to... sneak up on me?" said John.
"EX-ACTLY" said Feferi.

Feferi hummed innocently while John looked at his surroundings in disbelief. How the hell is she supposed to sneak on me in this bath, it’s not like she has anywhere to hide.

"SO! Do you agree with the rules?" said Feferi.

John wondered if there was a prank hidden somewhere in the game. It was an important lesson in the Egbert family line to always expect a prank when something looked too easy.

"I guess I agree," said John, "but only because I want to see where the catch is! I can see you Feferi, you’re right in front of me. It’s not like you can hide anywhere, and the second you move I can just tell you to go back where you sit!"

Feferi perked her head up at the challenge.

"Then if I reach the pile do I get to hug you as a prize?" said Feferi.
"Sure, why not! I just don’t see how you can actually win this weird game. When do we start?" said John.

John looked around for some kind of signal. Feferi had a small bubbling laugh.

"We already started! You just stay where you are and I’m going to be sitting riiiiight here", said Feferi.
"Wow! Okay, that’s not even close to me!" said John.

The declaration that the game had started was followed by an uncomfortable silence, at least on John’s side, and the midnight conspirators stayed solidly put at their respective place, one fidgetting awkwardly in the pile and the other shaking excitedly her shoulders from times to times and for no apparent reason. The candlelight flickered innocently between them.

==> CONTINUED...you sick bastard

Chapter Text

Okay the game has started, now what? John stood on full alert, expecting some unexpected turn of event to disrupt the status quo and thus reveal the ruse that Feferi was hiding in her sleeve, but nothing of the sort happened. John slowly came to term with the fact that Feferi wasn’t in any hurry to win and allowed himself to relax a little on the pile, shifting in a more comfortable position with his face turned toward the fishgirl and his fist lazily pushed against his cheek. Feferi mimicked John’s lack of interest by reclining and then laying on her back with her hands resting serenely on her waist.

John suppressed a yawn and then immediately looked at Feferi again. Still not moving. For a short while John silently watched Feferi’s chest rise and fall with calm breaths. John then noticed that candle that was burning in the lantern between him and Feferi was subtly scented; it was releasing a faint yet pleasant aroma that reminded John of freshly baked cookies. The overall combination of candlelight, girly cushions and perfume made John think of a royal harem. I can’t say I’m uncomfortable right now. John coughed for attention.

"So...You’re going to wait until I fall asleep? Is that how you plan to win the game?" said John.
"NO-PE, that didn’t even enter my mind!", said Feferi, "Sometimes I forget that you humans can sleep anywhere! Trolls fall asleep in recuperacoons, we can’t fall asleep in the pile out of boredom!"
"Oh right! Well then what are we supposed to do?" said John.

Feferi suddenly sat up and waved her tiny fists excitedly.

"Why don’t you tell me more about yourself! After all, I barely know you John!" said Feferi.
"What do you want me to tell you?" said John.
"EVE-RY-THING! Start from the beginning, don’t spare any detail!" said Feferi.
"Are... are you sure?" said John.
"YES! What else are we going to do to krill the time, it’s BO-RING in here! Come on John, tell me your story!" said Feferi.
"If it’s what you want! But just so you know I’ll be keeping my eye on you at all times." said John.
"That’s okay! I’m going to lay down right here where you can see me!" said Feferi.

Does she even want to win this game? I don’t understand her at all. John started telling his story while making sure to keep an eye on Feferi.

"Once upon a time there was an old lady who owned a pranking store, and then there was this baby riding a meteor... blah blah blah GROWING UP IN A SUBURB blah blah blah ALLERGY TO PEANUTS blah blah blah FIRST TIME SEEING FAVORITE MOVIE THE FIRST TIME blah blah blah LEARNING PRANKS blah blah blah PRACTICING MAGIC TRICKS blah blah blah LEARNING THE PIANO blah blah blah..."

Wow I can speak a lot about my life, I hope this doesn’t become a bad habit. John repeadedly made sure to check whether Feferi had moved from her spot while telling his story. However, it soon became apparent to John that Feferi didn't have any intention of going anywhere. John could see her plainly laying on her stomach in front of him with her hands under her chin, listening intently to his story with her legs dandling freely in the air.

"HEY! What’s a piano? The thing you said you were learning to play?" said Feferi in interruption

"It’s a fricking huge instrument!" said John, "It’s wide like this, and it has white keys and black keys and then I put my hands on the keys and I move my fingers like this, see? And then it plays music like PLUNK PLANK PLINK. Pianos are really heavy. They’re often dropped on the head of cartoon villains in order to defeat them, but it’s okay because they always return in the next episode. The piano in our house was in the living room."

"Did you like playing the piano John?" asked Feferi.

"Are you kidding me?", said John with a smile, "Nobody likes being forced to learn musics. It’s fun and interesting at first but then it becomes harder and harder while your parent just keeps repeating to you to keep practicing and never give up. I think it’s a conspiracy that all parents must force their kids to learn music and all kids must pretend to like it. My dad said my grandma used to play the piano for him. He liked to hear me play in the living room while he baked a cake in the kitchen. It always put him in a good mood. That was when I still liked cake, mind you, but after eating a bajillion cakes enough is enough, you know what I mean? Dad always said that when I grew up I could start playing the organ. It’s like an even bigger and cooler piano, with big wind pipes and stuff... Hey did you just try to move?"

Feferi shook her head.

"HM-HM, nope! I was just flexing my legs, SEE? Like this." said Feferi.
"I guess so. Does this game ever ends or is it just an excuse to make me talk about myself?" said John.
"YES!" said Feferi.

I could have framed that question better.

"Anyway! So where was I... blah blah blah BETTY CROCKERS blah blah blah FRUIT GUSHERS blah blah blah INTERNET FRIENDS blah blah blah GIFT EXCHANGE blah blah blah THIRTEENTH BIRTHDAY blah blah blah SBURB PACKAGE blah blah blah ROSE DESTROYING MY HOUSE blah blah blah..."

I’m pretty sure by now that this game is just a pretext to make me talk about myself.. John was certain that Feferi couldn’t sneak on him. In addition, John realized that Feferi couldn’t rush to his position without risking to slip on the smooth floor. Maybe there’s a trick hidden in the rules? John mentally reviewed again the rules of the game but couldn’t find any sort of loophole. In fact John noticed something funny that made the game even more in his favor. How is she supposed to capture the pile? She said that fighting isn't allowed. John pondered how even if Feferi managed to reach him by a freak accident, she would not be allowed to physically push him out of the pile in order to win. Technically I'm safe whether I keep an eye on her or not, this is incredibly silly. John pushed the game out of his mind and rolled on his back to focus on his narrating his story while making wide hand gestures toward the ceiling.

"...And that’s when I fell inside my dad’s room and it turned out to be completely normal! It was the most shocking twist!"

Feferi interrupted John.

"So your lusus wasn’t a subjugglator?" said Feferi.
"Yeah! He had a completely normal room!" said John.
"John did you ever really knew your lusus?" said Feferi.

John frowned slightly.What kind of weird question is that?

"Of course I knew him!", said John, "Between all the cakes and pipe smoking he’s hard to miss. He’s like a walking stereotype of being a dad. You can’t be more dad than him. Sometimes I think he’s an avatar for the universal constant of dadness. So like I was saying..."

Feferi interrupted John again. Gee what is wrong with her.

"BUT JOHN! Isn't it strange that he had no laughassassin equipment in his personal quarters?" said Feferi.
"Yep like I said, that was weird! He only had a single harlequin magazine laying on his desk. He’s usually obsessed with this stuff." said John.
"Doesn’t it make you think that there might be other things about your lusus that you don’t know?" said Feferi.

John started feeling a tingle of irritation build up in his voice. Why does she cares about this junk.

"Look Feferi, maybe my dad cleaned his room before my birthday just to trick me. He’s really good at pranking. All his contacts on his PDA said that they knew him as a legendary prankster." said John.
"You don’t really think your lusus cleaned his respiteblock just to trick you, don’t you John?" said Feferi.

John felt a small cold feeling crawl down his back, like the first drop of rain from a gray-covered sky. There’s something weird about her voice, it sounds so clear in the dark.

"Well I'm just saying that he COULD have tricked me, he would just need to know in advance..." said John.
"Maybe your lusus wasn’t part of the royal enforcer blood cast like you thought," said Feferi.
"But that’s so weird, what does he do all day..." said John.
"You never really looked at him, did you John," said Feferi.

John grew more and more frustrated. How long does she wants to drag this meaningless interruption? John perked up on the pile to stare at Feferi face to face.

"Look Feferi do you want me to continue my story or not?" said John.
"Don’t you think that maybe you saw your lusus as generic because you never bothered to look at the person underneath?" said Feferi.
"No Feferi you got it all wrong! He liked being the most generic dad of all history, it was like his biggest prank." said John.
"John did you ever try to understand your lusus?" said Feferi.

Feferi stepped into the pile. When did she remove her glasses? She looks so serious without the weird glasses. John felt more tingling feelings run down his back like static electricity.

"C’mon Feferi can you just let me continue the rest of my story?" said John.
"You never loved him, did you John?" said Feferi.
"Feferi this isn’t funny anymore..." said John.

Feferi crawled further unto the pile and delicately grabbed John by the wrist. John waved his hand like trying to shoo away an annoying fly but Feferi held on to him.

"John! Do you remember his face?" said Feferi.
"What the hell! Of course I do!" said John.

John had the faint idea that there was something else he was supposed to say but Feferi’s pressing questions were bouncing around in his skull like rubberballs. Of course I remember his face...

"John do you remember the face of your lusus?" repeated Feferi.
"C’mon let me go, of course I remember him, he had a nose..." said John.
"What did he have beside a nose John? What was the rest of his face?"
"Why does it matter what his face was like?" said John.
"John you talked about everything but you never described him to me, not even once!" said Feferi.

John shook his head in a feeble attempt to dislodge Feferi’s siren voice out of his head. Is this what they mean when they say you can't stop listening to mermaids? Feferi advanced further forward again and delicately grabbed John’s other wrist.

"You never really looked at him, did you John?" said Feferi.
"Yes I did, he’s my dad, I grew up with him all my life!" said John.

John flattened himself in the pile and Feferi loomed above him. With the candle lantern behind her back, she appeared to him as a shadowy outline except for the two reflective yellow eyes that nearly glowed in the middle of her face. John couldn’t stop looking at the eyes.

"Feferi you’re too close..."
"Maybe you prefered to think that he never had a face, that he was never a person."
"No I didn’t!"
"That way you never had to think about his burden as a lusus."
"I looked at him I swear!"
"You treated him like a complete stranger, and then he died during the game and you forgot all about him".
"I didn’t forget him!"
"You act like his death was just a small detail, a footnote in your big adventure. Did you cry for him even once?"
"Look Feferi you don’t understand, my father..."

John’s sentence died in his throat. What was I trying to say again? John felt his boiling frustration slowly turn into anger. Why does she keep accusing me, I haven’t done anything wrong. John’s heart started beating fast and his face flushed red. Why is she touching my hands. John tried to wrestle Feferi away from him. Let me go let me go. John tried to hit Feferi but Feferi swayed away John’s fists like wrestling with an infant. She pressed forward and climbed over John, pinning him down in the pile by placing her hands to either of his side.

"Rule number one no fighting allowed" Feferi whispered to him.
"Feferi, I can see you moving..." said John.
"Rule number two John, you have to tell me to stop moving..." said Feferi
"But..." said John.

Feferi’s long hair fell all over John like an intimate blanket.

"Do you want me to stop John?" said Feferi.
"Look Feferi I just think..."said John.
"You said I could hug you if I reached you." said Feferi.
"Yes but...." Said John.

Feferi placed her knee between John's leg to further pin him under her. She never stopped looking at him straight in the eyes.I can’t read her face at all, what is she even thinking.. John felt Feferi’s glare so intensely that John felt his eyes start to dry nd he had to force himself to blink manually. Wait I think there’s something sad about her, but why would she look sad while trying to piss me off. John’s head started to spin.

"Feferi I can’t move!" said John.
"Tell me more about your father John." said Feferi.

She stopped calling him my lusus. John’s lips started trembling.

"What was your father’s face John? Try to remember." said Feferi

John felt pressure starting to build behind his eyes. She’s a witch, she’s using her voice to cast a spell on you. Feferi did not make any threatening gesture toward John, rather it was John who cowered under her of his own. John knew that she was supposedly stronger than she looked, but that didn't make her heavier, and John could easily push aside Feferi's lithe swimmer body if he wanted to. why am I afraid to touch her? John felt his grasp on the situation slipping.

"L-Look Feferi I don’t understand why you keep talking about my d-dad like I’m a liar but, but..." said John.
"John did you forget the face of your father?" said Feferi.
"Whatch the hell ish, wrong with you, Fwefweri..." said John.

John was surprised to choke on his own words. Oh fuck no, no no no.

"Did you, do chomething to me" said John.
"What was his face John?" said Feferi.

John felt the pressure behind his eyes increase tenfold and then a hundredfold, so much that John was convinced his eyeballs were about to violently pop out of their socket. Suddenly, a pang of vibrant pain contorted John’s face and he felt warm liquids spill over his cheeks.

"Damn it, this is stupid, I don’t want to cry, damn it." said John.

Feferi lifted her pink-nailed hand and softly tapped John’s cheek.

"Shhhhhhhhhh." said Feferi

For an instant John's mind completely blank with dumbness as if Feferi had downright murdered him in the pile. Is she doing what I'm thinking? Feferi delicately tapped John’s cheek again. This is dumb I'm not a troll! A third timid shooshpap fell on his cheek, then another. It’s so SOFT it’s like crashing into a comfortable bed after a really long and shitty day, except every taps feel like that over and over.

"It’s alright just let it go" said Feferi

John wanted to protest violently but his words caught messily in his throat and turned into a gargle. John then tried to stand up but Feferi’s barely had to lay a finger on his face to drain all the incensitive out of him. Feferi then kept shushing and tapping his face and John’s feet twitched from underneath him in the pile. Why am I feeling this so strongly, it's vibrating all the way to my bones, it’s like putting your foot in cold water and getting the creeps in your entire body, it’s like when you hear fingernails screeching on a blackboard and it completely messes you up on the inside. In a last-ditch effort, John tensed every muscle in his body and managed to hold back his tears, although his jaw started shaking uneasily under the pressure. Feferi kept a neutral expression and pressed a calm finger on John’s trembling chin, as if to help him stop it from shaking.

"It’s okay John... said Feferi"
"Guh..."
"Try to remember your father John, what was he like? What was your favorite thing about him?" said Feferi

More fat warm tears squeezed out from under John’s eyeballs. She’s doing it on purpose, she’s doing it on purpose god damn it. John wanted to run away, he wanted to punch Feferi, anything that worked as long as he could make it stop. John’s fist sailed awkwardly in the air and made a small BONK on Feferi’s head. Feferi didn’t react in the least, like a warrior honorably giving an opponent the first blow. Her only response was to grab John’s fist and rub it intimately against her cheek. Fuck. She let go of John’s fist and it fell down lifelessly. Feferi leaned down and whispered.

"It's okay don’t fight it." said Feferi
"Fuck, fuck..." said John.
"Your father would be proud of you John." said Feferi.

More tears. How can there be so much water behind my stupid eyeballs. John wanted to yell angrily at Feferi, he wanted to tell her that he didn’t want to talk, or hear, or even think about his stupid lousy dead father, but all that came out of John’s throat was incoherent mumbling. I'm as useless as those stupid people in horror movies who are always the first to die.

"You don’t have to talk." said Feferi

Feferi removed her tiara and shook her hair in a way that reminded John of shampoo commercials. She was the easiest troll to ignore on the meteor and now I can’t even look away. Feferi was neither smiling nor frowning; her face remained but a mask with a slight trace of sadness. It made John think of a nurse, a lifelong nurse who looked at old people dying and babies being born as an everyday part of her job. Wait what is she doing now. Feferi bent over John and carefully pressed her palms to either side of his head. Slowly, Feferi then removed John's glasses and placed them aside with great care. John felt suddenly exposed and he shuddered in anticipation as Feferi gracefully turned back toward him, lowered her head and placed her forehead against his forehead. Her forehead is cold but that feels so good right now. Feferi spoke in a whisper.

"Your father is dead John." said Feferi.

Fuck not the tears again. John’s feet started kicking harder and harder in the pile. He tried to speak and choked on another sentence. He tried to force his tears back but it only made everything hurt more. And still Feferi continued to shush him and shooshpap him. She’s treating me like a baby. A primal part of John roared with anger and he tried to hit Feferi again but his fists bumped lifelessly against her; Feferi answered by hugging John intensely and John felt his rage dissolve. She’s draining all of my strength, she’s Dracula except with hugs. John wished he could find it in himself to hate what Feferi was doing, to throw her aside in a decisive manner and walk out of the room like an adult, but his body felt broken all over, and then repaired and wired all wrong and now just trying to think caused short-circuits in all his nerve endings. John knew that his face must looked terrible and he hated it. He didn’t want anyone to see this but Feferi kept starring as if it was something that had to be done. John felt his thoughts of the past and present mix in a confused emotional brew that he couldn’t describe by any name, except that he both wanted it to stop and never stop at the same time. Feferi burried her face into John’s neck and then John felt he was coming dangerously close to becoming her possession.

"Your father is dead and not coming back." repeated Feferi.

Feferi’s words bounced in John’s head like an echo. Your father is dead. The muscles in John’s body tensed up and Feferi hugged him harder. Your father is dead and not coming back. Feferi rubbed her chest against John and cuddled him long and hard, fighting John’s heavy sobs while cooing in his ears. There are no happy endings, just things that happen with no point at all. John felt the last of his insides turn into the same cold jelly found in fruit gushers.

"It’s okay John I’m not gonna let you go."

No it’s not okay, he’s dead and never coming back. John started shaking violently despite him and Feferi started playing with his hair, ruffling John’s black locks with soothing fingertips all while making sure to delicately hold her forehead in contact against his. John felt as if his head had been dunked into a bucket of ice; he couldn’t fathom that someone playing with his hair could feel so electrifying all the way to his sprawling toes. Without thinking, John started hugging Feferi of his own, squeezing her hard, as if he was afraid that the floor would open into a trap and he would start falling, falling somewhere from which he could never come back. That’s it, that’s the lowest point I can reach, I can’t possibly surrender more than this.

"I’m sorry that your father is dead." whispered Feferi.

You’re not the only one that’s sorry. John wasn’t surprised to feel more burning tears trinkle painfully down the raw canals of his aching eyes. He didn’t even sob this time, he was too tired for that. John was past caring about how dumb he looked, he was past caring about Feferi’s cuddlelust and her stupid pile. John felt too empty to care about anything other than pushing tears after tear that each felt like lava. John's eyes hurt too much to open and he was effectively blind in Feferi's arms. You know what I don't care anymore, you can do anything whatever you want to my body. John felt like he had been turned into a balloon animal to toy with, and then punctured and deflated, until all that remains was a two-dimensional piece of rubber on the ground, and then the piece of rubber was thrown away on a busy highway and repeatedly run over by large trucks.

"We can stay like all night if you want." said Feferi.

John calmed down and so did Feferi's assaults; she cuddled John with less and less intensity until she was kneading his body, like cats are prone to do, and then she stopped altogether. However John soon felt her stir and change position on top of him. What is she doing now? John started feeling an unusual texture scraping against his face. Is she wiping my tears with a piece of tissue? John started breathing more freely as if a weight had been removed from his chest; he couldn’t help but feel very at peace with the world as the unknown texture darted back and forth, lapping his tear-soaken cheeks with a familiar rhythm. Then, in the tiniest part of John’s brain that was not yet numb with emotions, John realized what was going on and his hands violently clutched the pillows underneath him. She is licking my tears. Feferi's work was slow and delicate, almost aristocratic; she was treating him with a subtle sense of respect while simultaneously playing with his hair. It’s like being groomed by an animal, this is so intimate, this is so wrong. A voice in John’s head tried to convince him that he should just let it happen, reminding him that he had already decided he would let Feferi do whatever she wanted with him. Just stay like that and keep being at peace with the world, it’s what you want right. But John couldn’t shake the sheer wrongness of it all; it filled up his mind as surely as one cannot ignore the scorching summer heat or the glacial winds of winter. This is too much. John felt his internal organs squeeze all at once as if he had been punched violently in the guts, John felt his nerve endings fry as if an entire GREEN SUN was converted into bio-electric signals and pumped straight into his nervous system. This is too much.. John felt his brain starting to spin like a dynamo. It rattled in his skull, it turned red like a iron in the fire, and then started glowing bright white like a reactor on the breach of nuclear fission. This is too much I can’t I CANT.

John suddenly found himself sprawled on the hard and cold bath floor, blinking and gasping for air. It took John some time to gather his bearings and register that he had just thrown himself out of the pile. Feferi’s spell still hung heavy on his mind but John started seeing a few light beams of clarity passing through the thick dark clouds in his head.

"Wow... Wow..." said John.

Why does it feels like I barely crawled out of a whirling deathtrap. John rubbed his eyes and squinted. It was hard for John to see without glasses but he could make out Feferi’s pixie-like shape sitting on top of the pile. Suddenly, Feferi shot both of her arms in the air like a victorious boxer after the KO has been announced.

"I win!" said Feferi.

Feferi was talking with her normal chirpy voice again.

"Guh...what?" said John.
"You left the pile!" said Feferi.

John crawled cautiously toward Feferi, his mind going red with blind fury. John wasn’t sure if he wanted to yell at Feferi first or just bluntly hit her. John had barely reached the pile that the sea troll amically handed him over his glasses, as a token of peace, which disarmed John unexpectedly. John took the glasses, pushed them on his nose, and blinked. This isn’t like me, this isn’t like me at all. Since when do I get angry like some kind of violent brute? I never get angry like that, this is so out of character it’s not even funny. John cooled down his head and unclenched some of the hardness in his guts. I need to focus, I need to go back to Normal-John. John managed to let go of some of his blind fury, although he couldn’t stamp out the frustration in his voice.

"What the hell! What the hell..." said John.
"You see John?", said Feferi happily like explaining a clever trick, "You said I couldn’t sneak on you but I sneaked on your feelings! We just talked until you slipped into a shade of pale and then..."

John groaned loudly in interruption and rubbed his forehead in an attempt to ease the pounding in his skull. It didn’t work.

"Who cares about the game anymore!" said John.

John kicked one of the stray pillow at the bottom of the pile. It flew out of the bath and fell on the other side of the bath with a disappointing flop. John’s shoulders went down. So much for going back to Normal-John. John sighed and started rubbing his eyes. His eyes hurted. They hurted a lot.

"I mean, what was the POINT of doing that to me!" said John.
"Because now you know how Vriska feels." said Feferi.

Feferi’s tone was neutral and informative. It took John by surprise.

"What does Vriska has to do with this?" said John.
"John, John-John-John-John you barely put your little toe in the ocean that Vriska is trying to hold back! I wanted you to experience this at least once! It’s the only way for you to understand why Vriska is so scared of the pile, and why it’s important that you take your time with her and take this seriously." said Feferi.

John stammered.

"B-But Vriska WANTS someone to talk to!", said John, "I’m not w-weird like her, I’m normal, I’m normal and you’re the one who kept talking about...You know what!"

John slammed his palm against the bathroom floor to steady himself upright. Blood rushed to his face again. I don't want to talk about this, I don't even want to think about this. I feel sick.Feferi shook her head in disagreement.

"I didn’t do anything to you John, the bad stuff was already there! All I did was bring it out and calm it. That’s how it works. First you hug the wounded fish RE-AL tight, then you open the festering wound and you clean it. Then you bandage it, you kiss it and you release the little fish back in the wide ocean. You can’t let the wound go bad or else the whole fish goes bad. This particular brand of pale play is sometimes called hurt comfort, if I remember right it’s the second most popular tag on..." said Feferi.

John stopped caring about anything that Feferi had to say. I wanna go back to my room, my normal human bedroom on Earth from before we played the game, where everything is normal and nothing hurt. John was brought back to reality when he felt Feferi’s cool fingers close on his wrist to get his attention.

"...Do you see John? Don't think bad of me, I just wanted you to give you a small taste of the pale quadrant." said Feferi.

Is she giving me the puppy eyes. John pulled away from Feferi. His heard started to spin again. He looked around him desperately for something to lean on to for support.

"I get it, I get it, but what I don't get is...Is this really something that trolls WANT to do? Talking on purpose about things that hurt?" said John

Feferi nodded calmly.

"But that's so DUMB! Why would ANYONE want to do that stuff on purpose!" said John.
"You’ll see that for yourself John." said Feferi.

John looked at Feferi incredulously.

"How?" said John.
"Because you’ll want to swim back to my pond tomorrow." said Feferi.

Feferi picked up the pillows, blew off the candle and the session was over.

Chapter Text

~INTERMISSION~

-- ectoBiologist [EB] has invited gardenGnostic [GG] to a memo --

EB: hello jade!
GG: john!!!!!!
GG: its about time you came online!!:O
GG: youve been staying in your room all day....
GG: are you sick? :|
EB: nope!
EB: I though I was sick.
EB: but it turns out I just needed to stay in bed for a while that’s all.
GG: if you say so...
EB: hey! what about you jade?
EB: are you feeling better now?
EB: you tried to tell me something yesterday about having a bad headache!
EB: it was hard to read because the chat screen was all fuzzy...
GG: oh!!!!!!:O
GG: yes! my head hurted real bad yesterday......
GG: but its over im doing a lot better now!!!
EB: are you sure it was just a headache?
EB: it was the first time i saw you like that!
GG: well
GG: its a long story.................
EB: then go ahead!
EB: tell me the whole story!
EB: I still have some popcorn from dave’s alchemy code.
EB: but he forgot to add the salt and butter before reading the captcha.
EB: dave can be so lame!
GG: ha ha ha! :B
GG: ok fine ill tell you the story....
GG: just promise me that you wont find it weird ok
EB: don’t worry jade.
EB: my standards for weirdness have increased by a lot recently!
GG: ok so it all started when i went to see sollux in his room at three in the morning
EB: ...
GG: JOHN!!!
EB: hey i didnt say anything!
EB: nothing weird about wanting to sneak out of your room at night to meet aliens while everyone is sleeping.
EB: nope nothing weird here at all.
GG: geeze john i knew youd make fun of me!!!
EB: ha ha ha sorry!
EB: ok so you went to his room!
EB: and then what happened?
GG: nothing happened!
GG: sollux just wasnt feeling right and it was kinda my fault
GG: so i went to check on him thats all
EB: and that’s how you got your strange headache?
GG: no.......
GG: that was the day after...........
GG: at first i woke up really duper super happy!!!
GG: i spent all afternoon alchemizing different kinds of tangle buddies to put into a big pile!!! :D
GG: then sollux messaged me about wanting to go to my room...
GG: and i almost squealed!!!!!!!
EB: almost?
GG: okay john you got me....
GG: i did squeal a little
GG: BUT........!!!!!!
GG: it turned out that he wanted to APOLOGIZE about last night
GG: i was so mad i couldnt believe it!!!!
EB: apologize for what?
EB: did something happen between you two?
GG: NOTHING HAPPENED!!!
EB: ok.
GG: sollux came to my room with a bunch of equipment
GG: and he started fixing my computer as an apology
GG: but i didnt care about the stupid computer
GG: so i sulked on my bed with my arms crossed
EB: what happened to your computer?
GG: sollux blew up my computer but thats not the point
GG: the point is that i was so angry at him!!!
GG: he kept trying to look cool and pretending that nothing happened between us last night
EB: I can't see why he would do that.
GG: and after a while he started saying that it couldnt work between us because i was an alien
EB: what could'nt work?
GG: NOTHING!
GG: anyway so i sat down on my pile of tangle buddies
GG: and i just ignored everything he said and took out my bass
GG: and then we were like that for a while
GG: just me sitting in the pile and playing the bass....
GG: while he tried to plug things together........
GG: and he kept looking at me on the pile and hesitating and plugging things in the wrong slots......
GG: and FINALLY he decided to just shut up and approach me!
EB: then what happened?
GG: you know
GG: stuff........
EB: jade thats not very clear!
GG: we just talked a bunch and then he started crying thats all
EB: wait Jade that sounds like a lot important things!
EB: what did you talk about?
EB: why did he start crying?
EB: we’re still talking about the cool hacker with the weird glasses right?
EB: I cant even picture him crying!
GG: alright i might have skipped a an hour or two but it doesnt matter because NOTHING HAPPENED
GG: we just talked a lot about various things
GG: and sometimes he was too scared to talk about himself and tried to get away
GG: so i had to wrestle him back into the pile because it was obvious he still had a lot to say
EB: jade.
EB: did anybody teach you about, well you know...
EB: about that stuff?
GG: why would you need anyone to teach you about stuff
EB: nevermind.
EB: somehow I’m not even surprised.
GG: well it wasnt easy!!!
GG: he kept acting like he was going to explode if i hugged him
GG: it took everything to calm him down and convince me to let me try
GG: i think this is when i made a mistake.......
EB: you mean that’s when you got your headache?
GG: yuss :|
EB: did something go wrong?
GG: sollux agreed to let me hold him......
GG: but he made me promise that id let go if anything weird happened
EB: what happened?
GG: i didnt let go :(
GG: i probably shouldnt have gone so quick for the cheek rubbing
GG: i mean ok there were a few sparks......
GG: but i though it was just normal stuff you know like blinking fireworks
EB: I’m not entirely convinced that blinking fireworks is normal.
GG: also the spark didnt feel bad they just tickled a little
GG: so i ignored them and hugged him harder but it just made more sparks
GG: and thats when i started feeling uncomfortable and a bit unfocused
GG: like having a song stuck in your head but with colors instead of music
EB: uh.
EB: so then what did you do?
GG: well i was feeling a little disoriented
GG: so i proposed that we call it off and he agreed and he left
GG: i though it was pretty good for a first session!!!
EB: but...
GG: BUT..............
GG: i was sure that i just needed to lay down for a while and then id be ok
GG: but it didnt work and my mild headache didnt go away
GG: it just kept getting bigger and bigger
GG: and after an hour or two it was so big that it wanted to jump out of my head!
GG: that was around the time when i messaged you
GG: sorry if i scared you with my message :(((((
EB: Not at all!
EB: I was just curious what it was about.
GG: well i wasnt feeling too good at the time......
GG: but that was only for a short time!! i got much better after that!!!
GG: after i messaged you and saw that you were away
GG: i decided to message kanaya and ask for advice
GG: kanaya was really surprised at the situation!!!
GG: but once she calmed down she explained to me what was happening
GG: kanaya said that it was a temporary and harmless condition
GG: it happen sometimes when you make a connection with a troll like sollux
GG: kanaya then gave me some suggestions on how to cope with it
GG: all i had to do was follow her instructions and then i was fine!
EB: what did you do?
GG: i hugged my pillow real hard for about an hour...
GG: and then i was done discharging!
EB: say that again?
EB: discharging?
EB: you mean like a battery?
GG: yes!!!!
GG: apparently some stuff from sollux rubbed off on me in the pile
GG: kinda like being charged full of static electricity....
GG: and then zapping everything you touch
GG: i fried one of my tangle buddy :(
GG: and i nearly made my laptop explode too while trying to chat with people!!
EB: why do computers keep mysteriously exploding on this meteor.
EB: well no matter.
EB: so you’re completely fine now?
GG: yes!!!!
GG: i bet it sounds like a big deal when i talk about it like that...
GG: but it turns out that it isnt really important or anything
GG: like i said
GG: it was just some static i picked up by mistake
GG: it confused me a little because i didnt know yet how to get rid of it
GG: you know....
GG: since our species doesnt have stuff like that!!!
GG: kanaya said that the advice she gave me was the same advice they give to young trolls
GG: when they start showing signs of psi activity or whatever they call it
EB: well pardon me but it still sounds like a big deal to me.
EB: you’re probably the only person in the world who wouldn’t think it was special!
GG: well now that i look back at it......
GG: i supposed it was an interesting experience!
GG: john that stuff makes you feel so weird!!!!
EB: how weird?
GG: its like.....
GG: like youre afraid to let your mind wander off because otherwise youll start floating
GG: and youre also afraid to think too hard about anything because otherwise itll explode
GG: so you just try to get a grip on yourself......
GG: and soon its like the world is spinning and the floor is moving under your feet
GG: and you just want to hold on to something real tight for stability!!!!!!
GG: i guess this is how being seasick feels like
EB: that sounds like quite the experience.
GG: oh right....
GG: i think i scared dave too :(
GG: dave went into my room about an hour after sollux left...
GG: just when my headache was starting to get real bad!
GG: he was trying to say something about rose being after him
GG: i didnt really understand
GG: my head hurted too much to pay attention to what he was saying
GG: so i tried to hold him tightly for stability...
GG: and then dave let out a high pitched scream and ran away :(((
GG: he said something about me being one of them
GG: i dont know what was that all about
GG: dave has been acting weird recently...
GG: and rose too.........
EB: I guess we all have brain problems.
EB: but hey!
EB: I’m glad your problem got resolved pretty quick!
EB: does this mean you're going to stop doing weird things with trolls?
GG: NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! :OOO
GG: the idea that sollux is feeling all the time what I merely tasted for an instant.......
GG: its ripping me in half to think that hes out there all alone!
GG: hes always pretending that hes fine when hes not!!!
GG: but i saw how peaceful he looked in the pile
GG: and......
GG: i guess i just want to protect that peace
GG: im sure i must sound really weird..........
EB: no you don’t!
GG: i bet you always think im weird
EB: jade I never though once that you were weird.
EB: you’re just full of surprise and there’s nothing wrong with that!
EB: hey!
EB: I’m the guy who spends half his time thinking about pranks and magic tricks to surprise people!
EB: technically I should be jealous.
EB: since you keep surprising everyone better than me and you don’t even need to try!
EB: how am I supposed to find you weird when we’re so similar
EB: we are brother and sister after all!
EB: even if its through weird ectoslime stuff...
EB: jade?
EB: are you still there?
GG: i think its funny......
GG: how you can let a stupid worry float in your head for so long
GG: when you just need to talk about it once and hear a few words to set it free
EB: hum.
EB: okay.
EB: hey jade!
EB: this is totally not the reason why I contacted you but...
EB: do you think you could send some food to my room?
EB: please please please please please please please!
GG: oh!
GG: actually....!!!!
GG: someone voluntereed to bring you food not too long ago!
GG: she should be dropping it at your door any moment by now!
EB: oh wow!
EB: this is really swell!
EB: thanks anyway jade!!
GG: no problem!
GG: also...
GG: take care brother!!!
-- gardenGnostic [GG] has left the memo --
-- gardenGnostic [GG] has disconnected --
EB: oh cool are we going to start calling each other brother and sister now?
EB: damn it!
EB: I hate it when people leave before you finish writing a long sentence!
-- ectoBiologist [EB] has closed the memo --

John pulled his chair away from his computer and rubbed his growling belly. At this precise instant, as if paradox space had decided to answer the plea of John Egbert's stomach, there was a sudden knock on John's door.

"I’ll be there soon!" said John.
"I’ll leave it here!" said a voice.


John slipped out out of his pyjamas, put on some fresh clothes and then cautiously opened the door to his room. John peered in both directions of the corridor and found it entirely empty of life; he then looked at the ground and saw a generous and plentiful food tray decorated with a pink ribbon. John also noticed a message left on his door; it was also decorated with a pink ribbon and smelled of perfume that reminded John of freshly baked cookies.

MUST NOT BE READ BY ANEMONE BUT JO)(N!!!

)(IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII JO)(N!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’LL WAIT TONIG)(T AT OUR USUAL SPOT!

GLUB GLUB HUGE FISH

Chapter Text

TRIGGER WARNINGS: #pale_education, #alien_culture_clash, #walls_of_text, #confused_feelings, #human_clothe_taboo

At five past the strike of midnight, John sneaked out of his room and knocked on Feferi’s bathroom. This is totally not turning into an habit nope not at all. John heard no response, knocked again and then entered the room.

The scene in the bathroom was slightly different than he expected. The comfortable pile of cushions was already prepared in advance but it was laid upon the bathroom floor, not far from the bath, rather than inside of it. The flickering candle lantern was also deployed on the ground, between bath and pile. There was no sign of Feferi. Did she prepare everything and then decided to wait in her room? John took a few steps inside the room and inspected the area. That’s strange why did she put the pile on the ground this time?

"Feferi? Are you there? Hello?" said John.

John heard a splash and an excited little wet head popped from the bath.

"HIIIIII! I’M O-VER HERE" said Feferi.
"Oh, there you are!" said John.
"Sorry John I got a little BOR-ED while waiting!" said Feferi.
"That’s alright," said John.
"Give me a moment to get dressed and I’m all yours!" said John.
"N-NO!" said John.

Oops I said that a bit too loud.

"I mean, how about you stay in the bath while I stay here?"
"SURE! You can make yourself comfortable in the pile while I finish glubbing!" said Feferi.

Feferi’s head vanished underwater with a splash before John had the time to argue that he was fine standing on his own. John looked at the pile with a suspicious eye, let out a sigh and sat down in it with alarming precautions as if he expected the pillows to bite. I’m not letting her sneak on me this time.

John waited to a while and listened to the watery echoes that bounced around him in the vast bathroom until they completely died down. No wonder I didn’t hear her in the bath, she stays underwater. John was not particularly surprised that Feferi didn’t need to break the surface to catch her breath, although it still felt weird and alien to him. Is she swimming in circles while blowing bubbles like an oversized goldfish in a tiny aquarium?. John strained his ear and heard a tiny muffled sound. Is she yelling underwater? Is that how she spends her leftover energy when she’s too excited? John had the sudden mental image of a teenage girl alternating between breathing in a paper bag and squealing at the top of her head at her favorite boys band. Just how excited can you even be. John reclined on the pile of cushions, relaxed and smell the subtle perfume of freshly baked cookies that was floating in the air. Or maybe she's particularly happy tonight because I came back? John hearded a splash and Feferi’s little wet head reappeared.

"I’M DO-NE! Sorry John I really needed that!" said Feferi.
"That’s ok!" said John.

Feferi shook her head like a wet poodle and smiled radiantly at John. That’s the face of someone inviting you to jump into a pool with them.

"Nice try but I’m not going in there!" said John.
"I didn’t ask!" said Feferi.
"Just making sure," said John.

You can’t catch me twice with the same trick, remember you are dealing with the pranking MASTER.

"HEY! How do you feel today John?" said Feferi.
"I dunno," said John.

There’s something about how the world feels after you cry a lot, everything is so clear and different, and you want to hold on to that clarity of mind and never let it go.

"A bit weird," said John.
"Oh no! How weird?" said Feferi.

I feels like everything that used to bother me now goes right through me. I feel like I aged by several years overnight and I'm still not sure if it's a good or a bad thing.

"Just weird," said John.
"Does it make you feel like you can swim in the sky and dance under the twin moons?" said Feferi.
"I don’t know about flying but I guess I feel a little clear in the head," said John.

Feferi looked at John excitedly as if waiting eagerly to hear more from his answer. John scratched his elbow and looked away.

"I suppose it's not a feeling that is entirely... bad" said John.

Feferi splashed happily in the bath.

"WEEEE! I’m SO glad that your species is compatible with pale feelings after all!" said Feferi
"That’s... really great yes," said John with a tone that said the opposite.

Remember John you came here to hear some answers. John sat with his back perfectly straight, took a deep breath and gathered his mangrit until his meter threatened to explode. Stay strong John, you're a though Alabama ex-ranger on an airplane full of felons on the loose, you ain't letting anybody get under your skin, your little girl is home and you won't back down until they put the fishgirl back in the bath, wait what the hell am I thinking.

"I came tonight because I wanted to talk about something," said John.

Feferi’s head bopped up and down in anticipation.

"OH! Oh-oh-oh-oh! Talk about what?" said Feferi.

I can do this.

"I’ve been thinking about a lot since our discussion last night," said John.
"Thinking about what?" said Feferi.

John balled up his fists tightly. I can talk about this.

"Now that I think back on it," said John, "I don’t agree with some of the things you said yesterday. You said that I never loved my father, but I don’t think that’s true, I mean I’m still not sure how I feel about this and there are a lot of things that I’m still confused about, but I don’t think that you can come out of nowhere into my life and act as if you know everything when..."

To John’s surprise, Feferi suddenly shook her head.

"John I don’t think that you never loved your lusus!", said Feferi.
"But it’s what you said yesterday!" said John.

Feferi shook her head again.

"John-John-John-John I didn’t say that because I though it was true," said Feferi, "I said it because YOU thought it was true! Or rather, because you were afraid that it could be true!"

Feferi started shaking frantically like she does when she gets excited, when it looks like she had drunk half a dozen cups of coffee at once when you weren't looking, and John immediately knew that she was going to talk a lot tonight.

"You see John!" began Feferi. "You were afraid think about your dead lusus so your avoided thinking about it! That creates a bunch of troubled water in your head that you’re afraid to swim through! BUT! The troubled water doesn’t stop there! Since you were afraid to think about your lusus, it created the fear that perhaps you didn’t react to his death because you never loved him, so you ran away from that thought too! You end up being afraid to hear things about yourself that weren’t necessarily true! Do you see John? Do you see how the troubled water spreads? It starts with a small source of pollution and then it eats you from the inside, and the more it spreads the harder it is for you to swim around it! Soon it spread so much that there isn't any place in your head where you can swim safely, and then you’re angry all the time and you don’t even know why! All it takes is a small grain of irritation but then your mind keeps putting layers upon layers over it to protect you, until it becomes a big shiny pearl that is too big to spit out!"

John stirred in his seat.

"...and then you squeeze me with a hug until I spit out the pearl?" said John.

Good lord her fish-speak is starting to make sense. John’s comment seemed to drive Feferi mad with glee and she splashed happily in the bath like a large animal at an aquatic zoo during feeding time.

"HEE-HEEE!!!" said Feferi.

John scratched his head in deep though.

"So you didn’t really mean... all the things you said?"

Feferi stopped splashing at once.

"HM-HM!" said Feferi. "John-John-John-John a pale session isn’t about finding what is right or wrong! It isn’t a debate about what people think or how they should feel! A pale session is just a one-sided conversation! It’s a reflection! And the big fish plays the role of the mirror!"

"I don’t think I understand," said John.

"A mirror!" said Feferi. "Imagine someone holding a mirror to show you what you look like! A pale session is just like that but with feelings! All I did yesterday was listen to your feelings and then throw them back at you! And since mirrors don’t choose what they reflect, I didn’t get to choose what I said either! So you see John, the things that I said yesterday are ABSO-LUTELY not what I really think of you! It was just pile talk to make you slip into a shade of pale!"

"A shade of pale? There are more than one?" said John.

"It's not really important!" said Feferi. "The important is that I'm so happy you came back tonight! John-John-John-John there is so much I want to teach you!"

John felt a nagging worry tug at the base of his neck which he needed to put at ease immediately. Careful John she’s trying to draw you into her rhythm, stomp your foot before it’s too late.

"And you can teach me by just talking about the pale quadrant, right?", said John
"YES! We don’t have to talk about your father if you don’t want to!" said Feferi.
"I stay here and you stay there and we don’t come closer to each other, right?" said John.
"If it’s what you want!", said Feferi.
"We don’t play any games, right?" said John.
"Not unless you want to!" said Feferi.
"Maybe a-another time," said John.

John tried to hold back a massive shudder. Last night was a bit intense, I don’t think I could handle that two nights in a row. John massaged his shoulder. She just wants to talk about pale stuff. John pondered why he would have any reason to turn her down when she was so ready to accept all of his conditions. If it’s just listening I don’t mind. John reclined in the pile, emptied his lungs and closed his eyes.

"Just talking," said John.
"Just talking!" said Feferi.
"And you don’t mind staying in the bath?" said John.
"Of course not! I like the water!" said Feferi.
"And out of curiosity... what would tonight’s lesson be about?" said John.

What's the worse that could happen?

Chapter Text

THE FIRST LESSON

With her head poking cheekily out of the bath, Feferi proceeded to educate John on pale philosophy.

"...and that’s why it’s called listening with the heart!" said Feferi. "Remember John you always start by opening your own heart! You need to open it REAL wide so that you don’t judge your partner, and you don’t contradict them, and you don’t make any personal opinion about them at all, even if they are sayings terribubble things that you don’t agree with! You see John once you step into the pile, you have to leave behind the person that you used to be! You leave behind your ideas and opinions and you start listening with a fresh mind that is completely empty! But you of course you don't leave it empty! You listen to your partner and then you slowly pull together a new personality, something very simple and very direct that will be the most effective at tackling the person in the pile! It’s an innately pale talent to be able to forget who you are and become someone new!"

Yeah no kidding, you become a completely different person when you get serious. You stop being excited, heck, I think you even let go of the fish puns!

"...that’s why people who are avid roleplayers are often natural performers in the pile! You know like Nepeta! She always had a potent interest in roleplaying and trust me John, she would be a highly wanted commodity on this meteor if she wasn't going steady with Equius! She's the kind of person that people don't want to respect out loud during the day but want to crawl into her pile at night when nobody's looking! And I’m pretty sure that I saw Jade roleplay with Nepeta a few times since we started living here, so I wouldn't be surprised if Jade turned out to have a gift too!"

Jade is a beast.

"...and once you learn to empty your mind and become a new person, you can then go even deeper! You need to listen to more than what your moirail says, you need to listen to what they don’t say!"

John blinked in surprise.

"You listen to what they don’t say?" said John.

"THAT’S RIGHT!" said Feferi. "You need to listen to the silence! John-John-John-John the thing you need to realize is that everybody has troubled water inside of them! We just can’t see it because it’s invisible, you could say that it is exactly the same color as all the water around it! The only way to know the shape of the troubled water is to listen to what people don’t want to say! Because if all the words that people say are like fishies, lots and lots of colorful fishies swimming in every direction, then the troubled water lies in the places that the fishies avoid swimming through! So you see John, even if you can’t see the troubled water inside someone, you can still look at all the fishies and deduce how their ocean is constructed! It’s like when there is a hole in space, it’s completely black but we know it’s there because of the lack of stars!"

"Wow!" said John with honest surprise. "Consider my mind blown! KABOOM!"

Feferi grinned like a maniac.

"And to listen to the silence you need to use more than your ears!" continued Feferi. "You need to understand how people think! So what you do is, you listen to their life story, you put themselves in their place, you live their life and you feel how they must feel! AND THEN! That’s when it clicks together! You start the hear the silence inside them, because you know what SHOULD be important to them, you know what they should be talking about, and when they avoid that subject you can immediately tell that something is wrong! And that’s when you start to see the outline of the troubled water inside of them!"

She talks so much, where does she finds the time to breath? Wait is she simultaneously drawing oxygen from the bath through her gills so she can keep talking forever? That would be seriously cheating.

"...you focus on more than just the information contained inside words! You listen to the tone of voice, you pay attention to their reactions! Sometimes it’s the most subtle things about people that can reveal the architecture of their ocean! It can be a twitch of their feet when the tell a story, it can be second of hesitation when trying to say a word, it can be a passing annoyance when you ask about something they don’t want to dig out of their past! People are like puzzles waiting to be figured out! And your goal is to find the key to their puzzle, to discover the exact right words that will unlock them!"

And of course you can’t just ask people to give you their key because that would be too easy. Or is it that they can’t give their key because they don’t have it themselves?

"...So it’s really-really-really important that you TAKE-YOUR-TIME when listening to people! It’s like putting together a big jigsaw puzzle just to find which piece is missing in the box! You mustn’t get ahead of yourself just because you start seeing a hint of troubled water! You need to go deeper, you need to swim around the troubled water to learn its shape, it's only then that you can discern the true nature of what is causing the pollution inside of it! You need to be patient, you need to listen, you need to wait until you are COM-PLE-TE-LY SURE of yourself before you dive in! You’ll see John it goes by instincts! You can hear the click when all the puzzle gears start to align together! All that matters then is that you don’t hesitate, you don't think about it for one second, you pounce ahead and you grab them by the feelings! And now I’m going to give you a secret tactic to always get it right! The secret is to always limit yourself to only chance per session!"

John stirred on the pile in confusion.

"Only one chance?" said John.

"YE-AH!" said Feferi. "Only one strong approach per session! You see John let's imagine that you’re playing with Vriska the same game that we played yesterday! If you try to approach her and she notices you and pushes you away, then you need to immediately end the pale session! You end it, and then you wait until the next day to start again! Because John once you fail to dive in, the momentum is loss, the magic is broken and your ship is already sinking! Even if both you and Vriska feel ready to try again, I want you to absolutely remember this iron-clad rule! If you fail once, you end the session, you only start again the day after! It might take you several days to woo Vriska, but that’s okay! If you try to move too quickly in a single session, you won’t learn how to set up a pale mood and the relationship will never soar! The fact that you only have one try per session is there to remind you to TAKE-YOUR-TIME, it forces you to listen to your little fish for as long as it takes before you try to make a decisive approach! It’s all or nothing, sink or swim!"

"That’s... a pretty good advice actually," said John.

"Trust me John it’s the best way to build intensity in the pile!" said Feferi "And you know what John? If you listen to Vriska for an entire night and your instincts don’t pick up any opportunity to approach her, that’s perfectly alright! You can just call the session off and sleep tightly, and on the next day, you vow to try harder to listen to her feelings, and you keep doing that until the gears click together and you pounce on her! Always take your time! It’s a terribubble thing to overestimate yourself!"

"Wow," said John.

Feferi lifted waved both of her arms in the air in a mimic of throwing confetti during a birthday party.

"AND THAT’S IT! WE’RE DONE!" said Feferi.

John looked around him in surprise.

"Aw come on! It’s over already?" said John.
"AH-YUP! You can go back to your room now!" said Feferi.
"Oh okay..." said John.

John consulted his wrist watch. It's one in the morning she's been talking for an hour, but I don’t feel tired at all. Feferi splashed in the bath to get his attention.

"But since you’ve been such a good listener John," said Feferi, "we can skip ahead and start tomorrow’s lesson if you want!"
"Well I’m not sleepy after all..." said John.

THE SECOND LESSON

John sat comfortably in the pile with his knees brought together, casually sipping from a carton of apple juice that he was glad he had stashed in his sylladex. Feferi was already deep into another gleeful rant; this particular lesson was about pile etiquette and how to avoid beginners' mistakes in moirallegiance. John found this subject immediately interesting due to how badly he had crashed with a single sentence during his first pale advance on Vriska.

"...and you never ever EVER tell someone to calm down in the pile!" said Feferi. "That’s like telling someone who’s hurt to stop bleeding! It doesn’t work and it’s even insulting! When you’re in the pile, the words 'calm' or 'relaxing' must never come out of your mouth! You don’t tell people to calm down, you MAKE them calm down! You use your voice to grab them by the feelings, you use your body to grab them even tighter! You guide them where you want them to be!"

That’s easy to say when you have a blatant disregard for personal space!

"...So you see John, you don’t just identify a problem and say it smugly out loud! It doesn’t help at all and it is SUCH a beginners’ mistake! If all it took to heal someone was to tell them where is the wound on their body, then nobody would need doctors!"

I guess that heroes of life are interested in more than just healing the body.

"...so sometimes it isn't hard to guess someone’s problem but that doesn’t mean that finding the solution is easy! It’s a lot harder to heal with words than to wound with them! You need to focus on your goal, you need to only confront your moirail when you are ready to absorb their reaction and counterbalance it, otherwise the trust in the pile is lost! If all you’re going to do is make a neutral comment about the nature of their situation, then you’re better off keeping the comment in your mouth and then eating it! Your words are precious, you squander their strength when you waste them! You don’t want to spend a single word on saying something that doesn’t make the pile talk progress!"

Sheesh since when does being a friend comes with such a huge instruction manual, can’t you just have movie nights together and goof around a lot.

"...So you see, it’s a huge mistake to discuss things said during pile talk once a session is over! Remember John, what happens in the pile stays in the pile! A feeling jam is like a sanctuary, when you step in the pile it’s like you plunge into a different world! All that matters there is the intimacy between you and your partner! And once you step outside of the pile, you return to the real world and you don’t talk about what happened! Not to anyone and not even to your partner! The harder you enforce this rule, the stronger is the feeling of sanctuary that you confer to your pile! You just leave everything behind when you exit the pile, and when you come back you start from where you left off! In alternian myths you often see legendary moirails who are separated for sweeps at a time, but when they are finally reunited in the pile they continue as if time hadn’t passed at all! They used to say that piles are the only thing that cannot be touched by the flow of time! Of course it’s a metaphor since moirails change piles all the time, it just means that when pale bonds are true they're absolutely indestructible!"

I guess it’s true that diamonds are forever

"... and you don’t tell ANEMONE about what you discuss with your partner in the pile! It’s PER-SO-NAL! But don’t treat it like something that is super interesting and secret, that’s the mark of an amateur! You need to treat pile talk as something that you immediately forget about when you leave the pile! If someone curious asks you about what happened during a pale session, the best response is to be disinterested and vague and say that nothing happened at all!"

God damn it Jade!

"...you never ask other pale couples about what they do! It’s really bad manner to put your nose in other people’s pale affairs! It’s the golden rule for pale respect: No meddling! Keep it to your ashen quadrant!"

I always forget that this quadrant exists.

"I see", said John, "It must be a big social taboo to repeat a secret that was said sorta in confession!"

"YES!" said Feferi. "A big social taboo and also a category leviathan crime of treason against universal quadrant law which stands for immediate culling by imperial drone squad."

"Ha ha ha oh wait you’re serious," said John.

"The law was never really enforced!" said Feferi quickly. "It was mostly just to scare people! It’s pretty instinctive to not repeat what happens in a pile, so don’t worry John I’m not going to tell anybody that I tasted you."

Is she talking about what I’m thinking...

"Humans are so different!", said Feferi, "Our tears have a faint taste of blood in them but yours taste pure like the ocean!"

John felt an immense wave of blood rush straight to his head as if he had been suspended upside down. If I blush any harder my head is going to explode.

"SO FEFERI AH-HEM" said John "WHAT ABOUT THE NEXT LESSON THEN?"

John’s wrist watch was indicating two in the morning.

THE THIRD LESSON

The third lesson was about quadrant integrity, which John found a lot more technical and a lot less interesting than the previous lessons.

"... So you see John it’s normal for the high quadrants to be be subject to vacillation but the low quadrants lean toward integral stabilization. That means it’s okay to flip between redrom and blackrom, but your moirallegiances needs to remain firmly grounded! You want to avoid any red or black feelings in the pile! The lower quadrants are more emotional than physical and the emotional trust is broken when you allow your pale relationship to be defiled by feelings from other quadrants! And it’s an even greater sin to fake vacillation and date people in the wrong quadrant! You don’t lie to your partner and even more importantly, you don’t lie to yourself!"

And what happens when you date someone in two quadrants at the same time, does it make troll logic explode?

"Does that mean you need to pick in advance what kind of relationship you want to have with a troll?" said John.

"Of course not!" said Feferi. "It’s normal to have confused feelings! A lot of the time a young troll will be interested in another troll without understanding yet why they feel attracted to that person! But that's okay, you don’t need to rush your ambiguous relationships, your quadrants will eventually fall into place one way or the other! In fact it’s not unheard off to date the same person in different quadrants on separate occasion, for the purpose of testing the water and get a better idea of what it is that you want! No John the important thing to remember is that even if you're still confused and undecided, you need to conduct your pale courtship properly! You don't act on any red or black impulse when you’re in the pile! You can be as intimate as you want but NO KIS-SING, NO BITING! You can re-think your choice of quadrants once you leave the pile!"

I was kinda expecting the NO KISSING rule to be there but did she just say no biting? What the hell is going on in blackrom.

"Let me guess", said John, "trying to suck face in the pile is a big social taboo that is enforced by terminator death squad? No don’t tell me I don’t even want to know!"

John thought about it for a second and then added.

"But wait a minute Feferi," said John, "isn’t it a bit weird that smooching is off limit but it’s apparently okay for two people to take a bath together?"

Or to lick each other’s tears? Seriously what the hell that should count for more than a kiss. Although it would make my first time really pathetic if it counted. Wait no my first kiss was on a dead corpse, shit I’m building a terrible track record here.

"Maybe it’s weird for humans!" said Feferi. "But for us it’s not particularly unusual to do pale activities in a bath or in a recuperacoon! You humans seem to assign a strong cultural significance to your clothe taboo. For trolls it’s a lot more intimate to look at someone’s heart than to look at their body! Is nudity associated with redrom or blackrom in your species?"

"Redrom I guess?" said John. "It’s kind of a red thing, you know, for when people make love?"

You know you’re talking with an alien when you have to explain how love works, this is going straight into Captain Kirk territory.

"Well you need to forget about that human thinking John!" said Feferi. "Pale play encompasses a very broad spectrum of activity with very little room for taboo! Every moirallegiance is unique, and pale couples are highly encouraged to try out different activities in order to make a connection in the pile! The only rule is that you avoid acting on impulses that are directly in redrom or blackrom territory! Remember John the difference between pale and red is that you focus on the mind, not on the body! You only use the body as a medium!"

Say what you want, the distinction between redrom and palerom doesn’t look that clear to me.

"AND... THAT’S IT! The lesson is over!" said Feferi.

John raised his voice in disbelief.

"Oh please!" said John. "It just starting to get good! Hey what are we going to talk about tomorrow? How about you just tell me how it starts..."

THE FOURTH LESSON

The fourth lesson was about the cultural aspects of pale seduction. John listened intensely while finishing the last piece of food in his inventory, which was Dave’s lame popcorn without butter and salt. I need to teach Dave to care more about proper alchemy, maybe he would pay closer attention to capcha codes if he didn’t specialize in creating incredibly shitty items that don’t even look metaphysically possible!

"...so you see John, it broadcasts your pale attractiveness when you show to a troll that you’re interested in seeing things from their point of view! That’s why the best way to tie a knot of pale feelings is to spend time with a troll and take part in their hobby! For example Vriska really likes to FLARP, so if you learned to FLARP with her and most importantly if you learned to ENJOY IT, truly and honestly, then it would bring you one step closer to understanding her! You would discover why Vriska invests a piece of her soul in that particular hobby! And then it’s like you acquire that piece of her soul for yourself and place it inside your chest, and when you have all of the pieces it forms a big diamond! And the more your partner feels that you make an effort to understand them, the closer they come to trusting you for handling them in the pile!"

John raised his hand for attention and talked with his mouth full of popcorn.

"You know we just call that friendship around here," said John, "except sometimes you make it sounds all twisted and weird like listening to a serial killer."

Feferi ignored John and kept talking while drifting in the bath on her back.

"...which is why the biggest theme in pale seduction is closeness! You and your partner needs to feel close like two halves of the same soul, so close that your personalities start to rub off on each other! That’s why it’s a bold advance of pale flirting to make a small change in yourself that is inspired from the person you are interested in! You pay attention to your partner and their mannerisms, you pick something subtle and unimportant that they do and you make it become a piece of your daily self! Even if it’s just in the way they talk! It’s a very pale thing to use the same references when you talk or even to share a communication quirks!"

"Really?" said John with amazement.

"Absolutely!" said Feferi. "For example did you know that Equius didn’t use to make animal puns before we played game? It’s something that he picked up during his playthrough because his partner was Nepeta! They spent a lot of pale time together and then Equius started using animal puns like her! But of course, in his own personal brand! He probably didn’t do it on purpose as much as it rubbed off on him in the pile, those kind of things tend to happen!"

Apparently there are a lot of things that rub off in the pile.

"...and as a more obvious example John, I go CRA-ZY about fish puns so of course you would make me swoon in the pale quadrant if you started using fish puns in your daily talk! And now that I think of it, there was someone who used to do that, he used fish puns but only when talking to me! He was actually kind of SLEA-ZY! That’s weird, for some reason I can’t remember who that guy was or what happened to him, it’s like he completely vanished in the background..."

"WAIT A MINUTE!", said John with a sudden realization.
"Yes?" said Feferi.
"I did something like that!" said John. "I mean, the stuff you were talking about just earlier! The thing about picking up quirks! When Vriska was my patron troll during the game, I started typing things in 8 letters just like her. I though it was funny!"

Feferi couldn’t contain her excitement for several minutes.

"REALLY?" squealed Feferi. "John-John-John-John you did it without even realizing it? No wonder that Vriska sneaked into your room when she was in pale heat! WOW! It’s so amazing that you did it without knowing what it would mean to her! WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW!"

Here comes the blushing again.

"Well I didn’t know it was culturally significant!" said John. "It just sorta happened! I guess Vriska did open up to me a little during the game, back when I was exploring the magic castle, but I didn’t know it had anything to do with a pale advance!"

Feferi splashed like a maniac for several minutes. In the end, John had to get out of the pile and make splashes in the water with his palm to bring Feferi out of her fit of excitement.

"Oh come, on stop that!" said John with rosy cheeks. "It’s not even a big deal! Can we continue the lesson, please!"

The second half of the lesson was a more in-depth exploration of pale culture.

"...so you see John, when moirails grow beyond exchangings quirks or mannerism they can move to a more tangible medium! They can exchange a physical object in the pile! It’s another way for two trolls to feel close to each other, it’s very soothing for a troll to wear something that belongs to their moirail. Something that they can touch and feel to fully impact on their mind that they aren’t alone! Did you notice that Equius sometimes wears Nepeta’s hat and that Nepeta sometimes wears Equius’ glasses? They trade it in the pile! It’s just another facet of pale culture, sometimes you see trolls sitting in a pile and wearing each other’s shirt while holding hands and it is SO CUTE! You need to understand John, trolls are naturally very possessive! For example they like to amass things and stash them inside chests as if to claim them! Of course trolls also leave these things around and forget about them but the fact of the matter is, they don’t easily let of go of things that they are holding! It means a lot for them to do so, which is what makes a pile exchange a wrenching display of closeness! As a rule you can exchange any object in the pile but the emphasis is put on something that you can wear, like a piece of clothing or an accessory!"

"That reminds me a lot of a friendship bracelet", said John.

"OH NO!" said Feferi in outrage. "NO NO NO NO! The Alternian Bloodmarket always tried to sell cheap moirail trinkets to oblivious trolls but you need to stay away from that kind of crappy thinking! A real pile exchange is when you trade something that you wear proudly, something that represents you! You can’t just acquire a lousy trinket for the purpose of immediately exchanging it with fake feelings, that’s RE-TARD-ED! The exchange has to mean something to you! But if you don't wear any accessory and you plan on eventually entering a pale relationship, then you might want to start wearing one! Once it has accrued your smell it becomes tradeable! Sometimes you can tell which trolls are interested in pale relationships because they openly wear multiple objects that are easy to trade!"

You’re covered in bracelets and necklaces yourself, you wear half a dozen different accessories!

"Oh-oh-oh-oh!" continued Feferi. "And there are so many mistakes to avoid! First of all, you NEVER ask if you can initiate a pile exchange! You absolutely can’t do that John, it’s something that happens spontaneously in the pile and without exchanging any word! And you don’t do something silly like putting a necklace in their hand! You need to personally lean forward and wrap it around their neck! Oh-oh-oh-oh and when you are offered something John, you TAKE IT! You don’t hesitate, you don’t say anything, you just go on and accept it! It has HU-GE cultural importance for us and it would be a CAT-AS-TROPHIC mistake to turn it down! And preferably you offer something back to seal the deal! Don’t worry John it’s not like you are giving away your property, it’s just an exercise to build deeper bonds! It can be done in many ways! For example you can initiate an exchange at the start of a session, have a feeling jam and then swap them back when you’re done! Or you can initiate a pile exchange at the end of a pale session as a promise that you’ll get together again in a pile in the near future! But remember John, this is a serious pale advance! It’s generally taken as sign that you want to go steady! You can fool around in the pile but once you start to wear each other’s colors then it stops being something trivial!"

Her words are starting to fall on my head like hammerblows. John yawned with all his jaw muscles and then consulted his wristwatch. Holy shit it’s three in the morning. John started feeling the weight in his eyelids and the tiredness creeping in his shoulders.

"It’s getting late isn’t it?", said Feferi, "But before we hit the recuperacoon I’d like to give you an extra special lesson! It'll just take a few minutes!"

John yawned again. Just one more lesson how bad could it be.

Chapter Text

THE EXTRA LESSON

"This lesson will be slightly different if that's okay with you!" said Feferi.
"That's fine! What is it about?" said John.

Feferi threw her arms in a wide motion as if to describe a wicked explosion.

"PSCHOOOOO!" said Feferi. "It's called seeing with the heart! Since you've been listening so well tonight John I want to reward you by showing you an AD-VANCED TECH-NIQUE! Do you remember the first lesson about listening with the heart? You could think of this as moving on to the next level!"
"Listening with the heart and seeing with the heart," said John, "I’m starting to see a pattern here just saying."

Feferi had to start her lesson several times in a row due to being too excited to contain herself, stopping mid-sentence to splash frantically in the water or lean against the side of the bath with bubbling excitement and then forgetting where she was. She’s going to explode again, I knew this wasn’t going to take just a few minutes! Eventually Feferi managed to calm down to and start again her lesson again from the start.

"You see John!" began Feferi. "It’s only with the heart that you can see how people are on the inside! The essential is invisible to the eye! To see with the heart you need to picture how your moirails appears to you, deep down inside! If all the words that your moirail said in the pile are like colorful fishies, then you need to summon all of the fishies at once and let them arrange into a HU-GE picture, where each fish is like a drop of color! A person who is anxious about the future may appear to you as stuck inside a hive on fire, a person who is afraid to open up may appear to you as covered in armor! But you will need to swim all the way to the bottom of the ocean inside of you in order to contemplate all the fishies at once, and the picture will change constantly as the fishies move, and you need to let yourself drift and allow the images to flow through you until you find the right one!"

Well that’s different.

"How do you know which image is the right one?" said John.

"You see John that's the secret trick!" said Feferi. "You need to hug your moirail REAL TIGHT and speak as the images come to you, and when you feel your partner reacting, when you feel their muscles become dense under your fingers, you know that you are swimming closer to them! When your partner is distant, when you feel them soft under you fingers, then you know that you are drifting away from them! So what you do is, you keep swimming and you talking to steer yourself in the right direction! You will end up saying a lot of silly things but that’s ok John. It doesn’t matters if your words don’t make any sense, all that matters is that your partner can hear the feelings behind them! This is sometimes called speaking with the heart because it’s a little like being able to directly speak feelings! And when you and your partner can reach an understanding through these feelings you will feel the connection happen between you, and before long you are both together with your hearts and swimming together in the sky under the alternian twin moons!"

"I’m not sure I really understood all that", said John.
"It's ok I can give you a free reading to show you!" said Feferi.

Feferi started climbing over the bath partition, dripping wet from her long stay in the bath, then fell and landed clumsily in front of John. Her legs kicked spasmodically for a second like a fish flopping out of water and John couldn't help but smile to himself. I wonder if she has a wardrobe full of swimsuits. John yawned again, this time a massive mouth-covering yawn that sucked all the thoughts out of his head and beckoned him to bed, and for an instant John stopped looking at Feferi.

"Actually Feferi it’s fine I think I’ll just go to sl..." began John.

When John looked again in front of him his words died on his tongue and all at once his eyes grew wide, his tiredness vanished under a flood of adrenaline, his head filled with hissing steam and his heart twisted inside his chest as if it had just sucked a large obstruction through its aorta. She took off her swimsuit. John shielded his eyes with both his hands and started feeling a scorching heat spread on his cheeks.

"Feferi? Hello? Human clothe taboo?" said John.
"What? It's alright I’ll be ready in a second!" said Feferi.
"That’s, hum, really great!" said John.

John heard the soft flapping sound of a towel being rubbed against a body, the body of a girl his age that was indubitably in front of him and also naked, and John's cheeks now started sizzling as if they were red-hot. She’s drying and changing in front of me as if it's nothing. John tried his best to laugh at the situation but it didn't stop him from sweating profusely. She did say that trolls are less strict in their views on nudity but wow this is awkward. John tried to think of a way to escape the situation but couldn’t come with anything concrete. All I can do is swallow and wait. John’s hands twitched in front of his eyes. Stop wanting to look between your fingers, dumbass!

"You see john!" said feferi, "This special trick is really advanced pale play and I’m sure you'll be GREAT at it! And when you master it you’ll be able to make any troll swoon in the pile!"

John wasn’t paying much attention to what Feferi was saying. There’s a naked girl in front of me, there’s a naked girl in front of me, oh and also she’s an alien but seriously there’s a naked girl in front of me. John suddenly heard a dry mechanical click, and then heard the thunderous whoosh of a blow dryer. Feferi was drying her massive hair, and from what John understood, she was still not wearing any clothes, nor was she in any hurry to change that.

"I THINK WE ALREADY DID GOOD TONIGHT" John yelled over the sound of the hair dryer.
"IT'S OK I JUST WANT TO TAKE A QUICK PEEK INSIDE YOU" said Feferi.
"JUST PUT ON SOME DAMN CLOTHES ALREADY" said John.

John heard Feferi unexpectedly turn off the blow dryer the instant he finished his sentence and then John had the sudden horrible sensation that he had said something wrong.

"Oh, that again" said Feferi.

John immediately noticed the change in her voice.

"Is this still bothering you" said Feferi.

John tried to hold back a shudder. Not the mermaid song again, she's not singing she's just speaking normal sentences, so why does her voice cuts so cleanly through the air like she's singing.

"It’s not bothering me!" said John evasively, "It’s just... weird, alright?

I need to speak in her language.

"Look Feferi," said John, "you’re broadcasting redrom feelings in my pale quadrant and it’s vacillatating my quadrant intergeneralization out of stabilitity and basically I’m getting mixed signals and it’s messing with my head!"

"John you can look at me if you want" said Feferi.
"Nuh-uh don’t think so," said John.
"John look at me" said Feferi.
"I’m pretty sure that’s not how you treat ladies," said John.
"John I want you to look at me" said Feferi.
"What the hell is wrong with you!" said John.

There was a short silence and John felt a little ashamed for having raised his voice. Keep your cool John, you can deal with this, she’s just being weird again and trying to get the breast of you, oh fuck did I just say breast thank god this is happening in my head.

"John, tonight you are learning how to think like a troll" said Feferi, "you need to let go of silly things like that"
"It’s easy for you to say about a taboo you don’t understand," said John.
"I can understand at least part of it" said Feferi, "It just carries a different meaning to us. Trolls are a proud species, John, they want to look tough and intimidating. It takes a lot of trust for a troll to present themselves naked and defenseless. But right now I’m alright with this, do you know why John?"

John swallowed hard and became intensely aware of the sweat on his palms.

"...Why?" said John.

"Because in a pile you need to open your own heart first", said Feferi, "And if I’m going to look inside your heart then I must not have anything to hide. It should not matter between us whether I wear clothes or not"

John heard the sound of a towel dropping to the floor. You’ve got to be kidding me.

"John you need to learn that there’s nothing special about looking at a naked body" said Feferi.
"Of course why didn’t I think of that," said John.
"Looking at the mind is much more intimate" said Feferi.
"I’ll take your word for it," said John.
"I will show you" said Feferi.

She’s getting closer, she’s getting closer to me, holy shit she’s touching my hands. Feferi gently pulled John’s hand away from his shying face and John answered by squeezing his eyes shut real hard. Wordlessly, Feferi slipped between John's arms, settled herself comfortably in his arms placed John’s awkwardly hovering hands on her waist. John grinned his teeth trying to ignore the continuous internal explosions detonating inside his brain and Feferi's voice pierced clearly through the cacophony.

"Hold me" said Feferi.

John’s hands clutched Feferi's waist and Feferi wrapped her arms around John. I’m holding her against me, I can feel her lack of clothe I can smell her why does she have to smell so good why does she have to be so SOFT. John focused on keeping his hands from shaking. I can feel her cold skin on my skin, so cool and pleasant like the scales of a fish freshly caught out of a river.

"To see with the heart, you first must close your eyes" said Feferi.
"Way ahead of you," said John.
"Then you must hold your partner real tight" said Feferi.
"Are we done yet?" said John.
"That’s it, stay like that John, don’t move at all" said Feferi.
"Just do your thing quickly and please don’t kiss me my track record is bad enough as it is..." said John.

Feferi placed her cool forehead against the feverish skin of John’s own forehead. This feels so nice, and so wrong, it is everything that is nice and wrong at the same time. John felt Feferi pat his body and then expertly adjusted her cuddling posture in a way that subtly felt more natural.

"You wait until you are ready", said Feferi, "and then you say the first thing that comes in your head. You listen to the reaction of your partner’s body and you adjust the flow of the images in your mind. You navigate through your partner’s ocean, you never stop talking and you swim deeper and deeper inside of them. I am now going to start"

John felt Feferi squeeze him slightly harder in her embrace to steady herself. Why does this keeps happening, they told me about the fishgirl, they told me about the fishgirl and yet I keep falling in her arms. For a long while Feferi said nothing and John felt her cool breath on his face, he felt her mass of hair brushing against his neck. Feferi’s hair weren’t dry yet but they weren’t dripping wet either, they were damp and sticky and it produced a strong effect on John that pervaded his mind. Remember John she’s a sea witch, don’t fall under her charm. John willed himself to stay perfectly still. I’m not going to give you what you want. John tried to empty his mind. Keep looking in your crystal ball, all you’re getting is fog.

John waited and waited some more and still Feferi still didn’t say a word. In the silence that followed John started getting the strange impression that she was gone and that he was alone, even thought he could certainly feel her against him, and in the silence John became increasingly aware of restless sense of agitation under his skin.What is this feeling anyway. John felt uneasy to the core of his being, as if he had walked into a spiderweb and he would never feel at peace again until he had brushed it off from his skin. Am I afraid to fall in love with her is that it?. And there in Feferi arms John realized that he couldn't love Feferi even if he wanted to. I’m terrified of her. And with this though John steeled himself in Feferi’s arms. John stopped shaking, stopped sweating and settled down his beating heart. But she scares me but in a weird way like I can’t get enough of it. John drew long calm breaths, relaxed his face and went from squeezing his eyes shut to simply letting his eyelid fall down over his eyes. There's nothing confusing about this. I know what she does. She’s gonna try to hit me with a train made out of feelings, but this time I’m not backing down. I’m going to stare at her right in the face. Metaphorically. With my eyes closed. Yeah.

For a reason that he couldn't explain, John knew exactly how Feferi would look like if he opened his eyes; her expression somewhere between annoyed and pensive, her mouth half-opened and her lips imperceptibly trembling, waiting intensely for words to come to her without knowing what she was looking for. And then when John least expected it, Feferi's singsong voice vibrated cleanly through the air.

"You’re full of holes" said Feferi.
I’m not giving you any reaction.
"I try to poke at you and my hand goes through a hole"
"Your father is dead but you don’t care, a missing feeling, a hole inside you, holes so many holes"
"I try to grab you and you vanish under my fingers"
"You are air"
An heir?
"You look solid at first glance, I approach and you dissolve into nothing"
"You’re made of wind, pretending to be solid, pretending to be a person"
I’m not weird like that I’m normal.
"You want people to think that you're normal"
Fuck she felt that.
"You want to appear like a normal person, like the protagonist of a story who can represent any normal person"
"But you don’t want anyone to come closer to you and notice the holes"
"So you keep running away, trying to catch you is like running after the breeze"
I - am - perfectly - still.
"And there’s something else"
No there’s nothing there.
"There’s a music"
No there isn’t.
"I can hear it playing"

Feferi hugged John very tight and whispered in his ear

"I can see you now"

John swallowed hard.

"What do you see"
"I can see you playing a big instrument, the piano, no, the bigger piano with wind and pipes, the one you talked about"
"The pipe organ"
"You look so focused, your fingers are dancing on the keys"
"But there’s something wrong with your instrument"
"It is sticky with something gooey, something black"
"It fills some of the pipes"
"The pipes are stuck and the wind doesn’t pass"
"Your fingers dance on the keys but some of the keys don’t produce any note"
"But you don’t seem to realize it"
"You keep playing like like there's nothing going on"
"But the music is incomplete"
"the song is wrong"
"John what did you do to your song"
"I didn’t do anything!"
"John people want to hear your song"
"I didn’t put the holes there!"
"The wind is the music and the music is you, your fingers keep dancing and you don’t listen, your father is dead and you don’t care, a hole in your feelings a missing note a song full of holes"
"I don’t like playing this stupid instrument!"
"But I want to listen to you"
"I can’t play it"
"I want to know how the song ends"
"I SAID I CAN’T!"

With the ponderous slowness of a patient on an hospital bed, John grabbed Feferi and pushed her away from him. Feferi let go of John without any resistance. For a tangible instant John held Feferi at arm’s length away from him and his head hung low between them; he breathed laboriously as if he had run a great distance. When John heard the sound of his voice he knew that the spell was broken.

"I can’t, okay!" said John. "I can’t play the stupid wind! And who told you about my land anyway?"
"Your land?" said Feferi with a puzzled tone.

John crawled out of the pile with short movements as if his whole body ached. Feferi didn’t make any protest; her eyes followed John silently as he stood up, stretched his muscles and then started talking with great agitation.

"Blocked pipes, wind that doesn’t flow, a pipe organ! You knew about this right?" said John.
"Is this something that happened to you in the game?" said Feferi.

John stared at Feferi in disbelief and threw his arms in the air.

"GAAAH! NOT AGAIN!" said John.

John started angrily walking in circles while pointing accusatory fingers and throwing angry looks at Feferi.

"You always do this!" said John. "You always make plans and then act innocent, you act naive so you can get away with everything you do, you play dumb so that people can’t question you without getting a bad feeling in case you turned out to be be honest, which is probably never!"

"John..." said Feferi.

"And you always take innocent things and then go too far with them!" continued John. "You never know when to stop! It’s like you’re addicted to pushing boundaries until people freak out and then you act triumphant like it was planned all along!"

"John..." said Feferi.

"Licking tears, who the hell does that!" continued John. "And what are you supposed to be anyway, are you trying to be cute or a psycho? Just pick one or the other, stop being so confusing!

"John!!!" said Feferi.

"WHAT?" said John.

"John your eyes are open," said Feferi quietly.

Oh right. John's eyes fixated on Feferi without registering anything out of the ordinary and John then had the strange feeling of hearing a switch turn off inside of him. Well she sure is showing a lot of skin. John first looked around him as if to seek an explanation, then turned away from Feferi with no great urgency, then halfway turned back to openly peek at her. Yep that’s a lot of skin. John scratched his head. I'm not sure why I made such a big deal out of it. John pondered if he should apologize about looking when he didn’t really feel bad about it.

" ...I guess I opened my eyes yeah," said John.

Feferi exploded in a fit of excitement and started jumping up and down in the pile, her mass of hair whirling in the air like a black mantle. Yes I can see that you’re naked that’s really great, yay.

"You looked at me!!!", said Feferi. "Do you see John you looked at me, you looked at me and you didn’t care about my body at all! I made you more interested in pale than in red!"

John groaned out loud.

"Ok so NOW you’re gonna say it was all according to your plan!" said John.
"MAY-BE! You just said that I always make plans!" said Feferi.
"That’s not a real answer! Come on Feferi be honest with me just for one second!" said John.
"NE-VER!" said Feferi.

John grabbed his head as if it was about to explode.

"GAH! YOU CAN’T JUST..." began John.

John looked at Feferi and saw that she wasn’t listening at all. She was lost in another fit of excitement and spending it by spinning naked on top of the pile. John wanted to say something and found that his mouth didn’t feel right, and then he realized it was trying to creep into an amused smile. No you stupid mouth, stop doing that!

"WEEE-EEEEE!" said Feferi.

Feferi then lost her balance, fell down and rolled to the bottom of the pile in a flat "Oomph!" and then didn't move for a fraction of a second, her face against the floor her arms extended. John shoulders slumped down and all the hostility left inside of him deflated at once.Why did I ever find her threatening again? The next instant Feferi stood up with her arms in the air in a victorious declaration of "It's alright I'm okay" and John found it harder and harder to be mad at her. John pretended to taunt at Feferi but couldn't hold back his grin.

"I bet you’re still acting and pretendiiing!" said John.
"Oh! Oh! Maybe I’m pretending to be pretending!" said Feferi.
"Holy hell do you ever stop playing mind games!" said John.
"NO-PE! Do you like my gills? You can touch them if you want! HEY! Why are you laughing at me?" said Feferi.

John was hunched over and choking back on painful laughers, as if he had just been punched in the guts and it was the funniest thing that ever happened him.

"I have no idea," said John, "Everything just sounds funny right now, like there’s some kind of huge cosmic prank and I realized I’m right in the middle of it. I don’t even know what’s supposed to be so funny but I can’t stop laughing at it. I think I just really need to go to sleep now. Good night Feferi."

John made a few steps toward the door and then turned around.

"Oh, by the way!", said John, "Thanks for tonight, I mean, thanks for the lessons and everything. I really enjoyed it, even if you are completely crazy."
"That’s okay John! I enjoyed tonight too, even if I am completely crazy!" said Feferi.
"Damn it now I’m laughing again, how do you even do this. Good night Feferi," said John.

John distinctly remembered how he closed the door to the bathroom and left behind an excited fishgirl that was starting again to spin naked in circles. John did not remember his walk back to his room, nor the way he crashed into his bed, pushed his cheek into his pillow and fell deeply asleep in his clothes.

Chapter Text

On yet another languid morning on the meteor, Dave slammed the snooze button of his alarm clock and let out a low moan. Rise and shine little princess. Dave grabbed his shades, yawned and walked to his billboard to consult the schedule of the day.

┌—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————┐ │ │ │ │ │ ====== METEOR DAY 17 ACTIVITY SCHEDULE ===== ===== PERSONAL NOTES ===== │ │ │ │ 08:00 BREAKFAST------------------------------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 08:30 BREAKFAST------------------------------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 09:00 FREE [ MESSAGE KARKAT TO PROPOSE ACTIVITY ]--------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 09:30 FREE [ MESSAGE KARKAT TO PROPOSE ACTIVITY ]--------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 10:00 FIDUSPAWN GAMING AT TAVROS'------------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 10:30 FIDUSPAWN GAMING AT TAVROS'------------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 11:00 DARK CARNIVAL CHILL OUT [ FrEe fAyGo ]-------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 11:30 DARK CARNIVAL CHILL OUT [ FrEe fAyGo ]-------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 12:00 DINNER---------------------------------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 12:30 DINNER---------------------------------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 01:00 ZAHHAK'S FITNESS GYM OF MAXIMUM STRONGNESS---------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 01:30 ZAHHAK'S FITNESS GYM OF MAXIMUM STRONGNESS---------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 02:00 LITERATURE CLUB AT ROSE'S--------------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 02:30 KANAYA'S ADVISORY AND INSTRUCTIONAL ROMANCE CORNER-------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 03:00 JADE AND NEPETA'S RP CORNER — EVERYBODY INVITED!!!-------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 03:30 JADE AND NEPETA'S RP CORNER — EVERYBODY INVITED!!!-------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 04:00 M4K3 YOUR OWN PYR4LSP1T3 WORKSHOP------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 04:30 M4K3 YOUR OWN PYR4LSP1T3 WORKSHOP------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 05:00 SUPPER + COMMON ROOM FEATURED EVENT----------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 05:30 SUPPER + COMMON ROOM FEATURED EVENT----------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 06:00 SUPPER + COMMON ROOM FEATURED EVENT----------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 06:30 SUPPER + COMMON ROOM FEATURED EVENT----------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 07:00 CLASSIC MOVIES AT JOHN'S---------------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 07:30 CLASSIC MOVIES AT JOHN'S---------------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 08:00 CLASSIC MOVIES AT JOHN'S---------------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 08:30 CLASSIC MOVIES AT JOHN'S---------------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 09:00 METEOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY----------------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 09:30 METEOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY----------------------------------------------->AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 10:00 LATE NIGHT SPOOKY TIME AT ARADIA'S------------------------------------>AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 10:30 LATE NIGHT SPOOKY TIME AT ARADIA'S------------------------------------>AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 11:00 LATE NIGHT SPOOKY TIME AT ARADIA'S------------------------------------>AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 11:30 LATE NIGHT SPOOKY TIME AT ARADIA'S------------------------------------>AVOID ROSE<--------- │ │ 12:00 CURFEW---------------------------------------->PUT CINDER BLOCKS IN FRONT OF DOOR<--------- │ │ 12:00 CURFEW---------------------------------------------->DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE CURFEW<--------- │ │ 12:00 CURFEW------------------------------------------------------->THE CURFEW IS A LIE<--------- │ │ │ │ │ │ │ │ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ │ │ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ │ │ @@@ @@@ │ │ @@@ @@@ │ │ @@@ TODAY'S FEATURED EVENT: INTRODUCTION TO FLARP @@@ │ │ @@@ what the fuck is flarp @@@ │ │ @@@ @@@ │ │ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ │ │ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ │ │ │ │ │ └—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————┘

Dave looked over the list, shrugged and then enclosed himself in his bathroom where he spent the next forty five minutes doing his hair and eyebrows. I should put a selfie on my blog, see if I can get more likes from the horrorterrors. Dave finished getting dressed, removed the cinder blocks in front of his door and went to the common room for breakfast.

"Sup Jade," said Dave.
"Good morning Dave!" said Jade.
"Nice new glasses" said Dave.
"Thanks!" said Jade.

Maybe it's the new fashion extravaganza to wear 3D glasses for breakfast I wonder where I can get mines nah just kidding my shades are awesome. Dave poored himself a bowl of cereal, put on his headphones set at low volume and then took a closer look at the book that Jade was reading. The title read PSI ACTIVITY FOR DUMMIES. Well that is pretty weird even by Jade Harley standard but watch me pretend I don't care like a total hardass.

"Cool," said Dave.
"I know right!" said Jade

Dave munched quietly on his cereals while slightly nodding to the beat of his headphone music. Not much later, John arrived in the common room and sat next to Dave. That's right John you sit next to your best fucking friend in the world oh man we're so fucking tight.

"How you doin' man" said Dave.
"Slept like a rock! How 'bout you?" said John.
"Doin' great" said Dave.

John my poor baby you didn't slept like a rock it's obvious that you stayed up late anybody can see that in your beautiful blue eyes that's what you get for not hiding them being reflective eyewear during your every waken hour of your life. Dave said nothing and spied on Jade from behind his shades; Jade was snapping her fingers at different speed which, to Dave's sudden freak out, was actually producing sparks and arcs of electricity. Completely oblivious to her surrounding, Jade analytically observed the results she was obtaining like conducting a scientific experiment. What the flipping fuck how does she do that why does she acts like it's perfectly normal how come each day on this meteor keeps getting weirder and weirder and I'm the only one to notice ok no I'm totally not freaking out nope look everyone I'm not gonna react I'm not gonna say a single thing I'm so fucking ice cold.

Dave eyes' darted in their orbit toward John as if it could somehow nudge him into action. Come on John say something you're the straight man in our team it's your job to point out when things are going banana milkshake. John seemed to suddenly notice Jade and pointed his spoon at her.

"Holy shit Jade!" said John.
"I know!" said Jade.

Yeah that's right John you ask about the weirdass wizard shit.

"I can't believe you got his glasses!" said John.
"I knoooow! He's got mine, we exchanged just yesterday!" said Jade.

No no no John don't ask about Sollux's goddamn glasses who the fuck cares about that you need to ask about the wizard shit come on John you know I can't ask myself I'm supposed to be the uncaring one.

"WOW! is that Vriska over there? She's finally awake!" said John.

John no please don't change the subject.

"Oh right I forgot that you didn't knew!" said Jade. "Vriska woke up yesterday, but you were sick in your room so we didn't want to bother you with it."
"How is she doing? Is she ok? Did you talk to her? Do you think I could just go and sit next to her?" said John.

John sweet precious John why are you saying these things all of a sudden why are you so concerned about Vriska oh fuck it's happening John is discovering girls that's it game over our bromance is gonna be destroyed by tight clothes and teenage hormones I knew this shit was going to happen some day come on Dave say something cool you need to get his attention.

"Oh yeah," said Dave, "she emptied the entire fridge after she woke up. Made a huge mess. Karkat was mad it was hilarious."

That was okay I mean not cool but not bad just short and sweet maybe worth 7/10 on the smooth scale I could have squeezed an elaborate metaphor in there like maybe say that if Vriska kept eating like that she'd becomes bloated like the size of Texas or the size of Jupiter ha ha yeah I'm gonna keep that one for later.

"I was getting worried that Vriska didn't wake up for so long," said Jade, "but it turns out that this is fairly normal for trolls. Did you know that there's some kind of link between troll sleep and the pale quadrant? Apparently Vriska hadn't been sleeping well for an entire week back during that time when she was having her stressful phase. I'm glad she was calmed down and given the chance to recuperate."

Oh no no no please don't start talking about pale stuff I get enough of that shit from Rose already. Dave ate his cereals silently and continued spying on Jade as she rubbed her fingers a few more time, each time producing sparks of lesser intensity, until they completely died out.

"Oh I'm already empty," said Jade.
"So you're getting used to this stuff?" said John.
"It's actually pretty easy once you know the trick!" said Jade."You just need to turn it into a loop in your head!"
"You turn it into a loop?" said John.
"Yup!" said Jade "You know, like putting a song on repeat so it has no start or ending! You do that with the stuff and then you can push it back in a corner of your mind and forget about it! It's very useful for storing charges without any side effects. Right now I'm reading the chapter on how to let it out in small burst. I can make it run out a lot faster that way! As soon I can get rid of this stuff I'm ready to jump back into the pile!"
"Wow!" said John.

Dear diary I don't understand my friends anymore and I feel so sad and alone.

"It keeps happening Jade," said John with a grin,"you keep walking into one power up after the other! You're not afraid that this is gonna make you look weird?"
"I'm starting to realize," said Jade, "there's nothing wrong with being a little weird. What really matters is that we're all the same on the inside. Like Sollux, he isn't very different from us you know. He just has too much on his mind that's all."

Dave noticed John turn his head as someone walked past their table. Jade noticed it as well and made a small giggle.

"John, you probably don't want her!" said Jade.
"Want who?" said John.
"Feferi, you doofus! You're staring at her!" said Jade.
"Am I?" said John.
"John if you're interested in learning about pale relationships you should pick another troll," said Jade. "You don't want to directly start with someone like Feferi. From what I heard she has a reputation for being a little... intense."
"Oh okay," said John. "Thanks for the warning Jade."

No John stop don't look into this pale stuff you need to remain pure this stuff isn't a relationship it's never-ending sexual frustration you don't know what it's like to have an off-limit teenager grinds their body against your confused boner while trying to fuck with your mind. Dave continued eating his cereals impassively and looked as John stole a few more glances at the peppy cheerleader sea troll. Come on Dave stop being a useless piece of shit and say something you need to save your bro.

"John my good man," said Dave, "sorry to burst your bubble but the pretty troll princess already has a boyfriend."
"Only in the red quadrant!" said Jade. "She's free in all her other quadrants, including pale. Trolls can have a lot of partners you know. For example Sollux is Feferi's boyfriend but he's entirely free to have a moirail on his own! Plus, Feferi doesn't stabilize in the pale quadrant. It's only when trolls are in a serious relationship that their quadrants are said to stabilize, that's when they settle down in a particular type of relationship."
"Are Equius and Nepeta the only stable pale relationship?" said John.

Jade nodded.

"I think so!" said Jade. "That's why you're not allowed to flirt with them! But you can still befriend them as normal. Nepeta is really nice. Are you going to come to our roleplaying activity John? If you're interested in pale relationships then this might help you in some aspects!"
"Nah it's alright," said John, "but I've been thinking of trying out FLARP."

I liked it better when people talked in english on this meteor instead of weird-alien-junk-that-everybody-understands-except-Dave wait hold the fucking presses what did Jade just say about not being allowed to pale flirt with people if they are already in a relationship.

Dave calmly pushed aside his cereal bowl, removed his headphones and turned toward Jade.

"Jade let me get real with you for a second", said Dave.
"Yes Dave?" said Jade
"Are you're saying that if you get bro married with a troll then all the hug vampires have to leave your forehead alone because molesting your feelings would be like forcing you to cheat on your bromance?" said Dave.

Wow why are they acting like I said something weird. Hellooo? I'm the only sane person on this meteor? Dave put his headphones back on and started making plans in his head.

-- turntechGodhead [TG] has invited grimAuxiliatrix [GA] to a memo --

TG: kanaya
GA: Yes Dave
TG: kanaya i need your help to turn karkat into my dudewife
TG: kanaya are you there
TG: kanaya dont leave me hanging this is urgent
TG: theres no automatic away message so i know youre reading these
TG: and dont pretend youre busy i bet im the first person to ever approach your relationship advice panel
GA: Sorry Dave
GA: My Body Is Not Ready For This
TG: can you make it ready
TG: this shit is more real than kraft mayo
TG: i distinctly remember you shipping me and karkat before
TG: so im guessing he doesnt have a pale buddy yet am i right
GA: Indeed Karkat Does Not Have Any Current Prospect In The Lower Conciliative Quadrant
GA: Although I Vaguely Remember Him Possibly Having An History With Gamzee For Perhaps A Short Period Of Time
GA: Or Perhaps It Did Not Happen Who Can Know For Sure
GA: I Do Not Think That It Canonically Matters Right Now
TG: right
GA: But I Have To Admit That I Find Your Sudden Interest In Pale Relationships Quite Unexpected
GA: Did Something Perhaps Happen To You Recently Dave
TG: k
TG: let me run you by the situation
TG: rose is lusting after my feelings and ive been going 007 on her ass to avoid her
TG: but she learns fast and i dont know how long i can last
GA: Dave Is There A Reason In Particular Why You Strive To Avoid Rose
TG: yes and its pmuch the best reason there is
TG: its to keep my cool intact
TG: rose is on a personal mission to destroy my poker face and wont take no for an answer
GA: I Am Not Sure I Understand The Problem
GA: According To Alternian Culture If Rose Can Induce An Emotional Reaction In You Then She Has Your Explicit Permission To Continue Her Advances
TG: you see that shit
TG: you see that shit kanaya
TG: this is why i have trust issues
GA: Perhaps You Are Saying That You Would Prefer Trading Rose For Another Partner Which You Deem More Compatible With You
TG: hell yes
TG: id take karkat over rose any day of the week
TG: karkat isnt the touchy type with girly feelings right
TG: we could just exchange bro fists and goof around like morons
TG: itll be much easier to handle than dealing with the sistertraps
TG: ok let me tell you my plan
TG: im gonna befriend the shit out of karkat
TG: and the next time rose tries to rope me into uncensored handholding
TG: im gonna pull karkat and slam him against my shoulder
TG: and ill be like oops sorry rose but this is my new pale buddy right there so im totally not pale available
TG: and then shell commit sudoku because she just got ice burned at her own game
TG: so what do you think
TG: like on a scale from 1 to 10 how slick is this plan
GA: I Am Unfamiliar With Judging Plans Based On Their Value Of Slipperiness
GA: But If I Had To Try
GA: I Would Say That This Plan Is Indeed Oiled Up And Hard To Properly Grasp
TG: k thats pretty slick
GA: If Rose Is Interested In Upholding Alternian Customs On This Meteor
GA: Then She Would Be Trapped By Her Own Logic If The Same Customs Ordained her To Stop Her Advances
TG: i call it operation karkat shield
TG: it reminds me of the infamous auto-harley maneuver
TG: i have to stop grabbing people to block shit directed at me
TG: but addiction is a powerful thing
GA: It Is An Unorthodox Tactic But It Is Nonetheless Recommendable
TG: dont be cheap on the compliments kanaya im pretty much a fucking genius
TG: i also though about using john
TG: and arguing that he counted as a pale superfriend
TG: but knowing rose she would probably argue that we arent doing it right
TG: and next thing shed ask me and john to bro cuddle in front of her and things would get super weird
TG: but on the other hand
TG: if i pick karkat shes pretty much stumped
GA: Dave If You Do Not Mind Me Asking
GA: What Is Your Plan For Approaching Karkat
TG: my master plan is
TG: i invite him to chill the fuck out at my room
TG: then we play videogames and pretend to like sports and exchange high fives a lot
TG: thats usually how male bonding works
GA: Dave If I May
GA: It May Be a Little Forward To Invite Karkat To Relax At Your Respiteblock And Then Initiate Hand Contact With Him
GA: Have You Been Listening At Anything We Said About The Pale Quadrant
TG: no i usually block it out and start playing rap lyrics in my head
GA: What About The Demonstration We Had
TG: you mean back when we peeved on the bath scene
TG: are you kidding me
TG: we were watching naked alien babes wrestling covered in soap
TG: i didnt look at the chat for half the time
GA: Dave You May Need Some Proper Schooling In Pale Relationships In Order To Achieve Your Goals
GA: Especially Since Karkat Is Very Orthodox In The Way He Approaches His Relationships
GA: There Are Many Rules And Customs To Follow In Order To Properly Conduct A Pale Advance
TG: oh cmon
TG: do i really need to jump through all those ethnic hoops
TG: how about roughhousing
TG: you think karkat would be down for some roughhousing back at my place
GA: Roughhousing
GA: I Am Not Familiar With The Term
TG: its like male bonding on steroids
TG: we take our shirts off and wrestle like cavemen
TG: its the real dope i strongly recommend it to you kanaya
GA: Oh My
TG: actually you know what
TG: im gonna go see karkat right now and invite him to a manly chill out
TG: where doing it man
TG: where MAKING THIS HAPEN
GA: Dave Please Wait
GA: I Am Not Entirely Convinced That You Are Ready
TG: dont worry kanaya i got this
TG: just sit back and watch the bromance unfold
TG: im gonna make karkat the sweet bro to my hella jeff so hard
-- turntechGodhead [TG] has closed the memo --

Chapter Text

-- turtechGodhead [TG] has invited grimAuxiliatrix [GA] a memo --

TG: kanaya
TG: kanaya please respond
GA: Yes Dave
TG: kanaya i think that karkat is broken
GA: Broken
TG: yes
TG: as in doesnt work properly
TG: ok so
TG: i just tried pulling karkat aside and wrapping my arm on his shoulder like a good bro
TG: and then i invited him to hang out at my room and chill out
TG: so far so good right kanaya
TG: WRONG
TG: dude gave me another one of those weird ass look like he wanted to bite me
TG: and i pretty much moonwalked the fuck out of the room
TG: what im trying to say is
TG: are you sure that all trolls secretly yearn for a bff
TG: maybe karkat isnt interested in having a superpal
TG: maybe he doesnt need one
GA: Dave
GA: You Could Say That I Have Been Keeping A Close Eye On Karkat For Some Time
GA: And If You Ask Me If Karkat Needs A Pale Partner Then It Is Without Hesitation And Certainly With No Blushing Of The Cheeks That I Can Say This
GA: Yes Dave
GA: He Needs One
TG: well he sure doesnt know how to show it
TG: whats his deal anyway
TG: and how can you be so sure that he wants one
GA: Dave You Need To Pay Attention To More Than What Trolls Say
GA: But First Let Me Get Back At Something
GA: Dave Have You Read Your Military Themed Pale Novel
TG: uhh
TG: yes
TG: yes i read it
GA: Then You Might Have Questioned Yourself As To Why The Alternian Military Allows Pale Bonds Within Barracks
GA: When Military Institutions Typically Frown Upon All Forms Of Relationships In A Professional Context
TG: i guess thats a bit strange yes
TG: but then everything that you do is fucking weird no offense
GA: Technically All Quadrant Activities Are Forbidden In The Army
GA: However It Is A Long Standing Tradition In Alternian Military Culture To Turn A Blind Eyes Toward Pale Bonds Between Soldiers
GA: The Reason Being That These Bonds Confers Certain Health Benefits That Are Highly Desirable For Combat Purpose
GA: Such As The Capacity To Operate For Long Periods Of Time Without Requiring Sleep
TG: k you lost me
GA: To Start All the Way From The Beginning
GA: It Is Important To Understand That The Pale Quadrant Plays An Important Role In Regulating The Biological Cycle Of A Troll
GA: The First And Most Obvious Effect Of Satisfying Pale Urges Is An Increased Clarity Of Mind
GA: When This Effect Is Induced In A Troll Through Frequent Exposure It Further Develops Into Long Term Positive Attributes
GA: Such As Increased Mental Fortitude And Resistance To Stressful Circumstances
TG: seriously
GA: Yes
GA: In Fact It Is Well Known That Statistically Trolls With Moirails Have A Longer Life Expectancy Than Those Who Dont
GA: Inversely To These Benefits Of Having An Active Pale Quadrant
GA: Trolls With No Moirails Have A Tendency To Absorbs Stress Inefficiently And To Require More Rest
GA: The Vast Majority Of The Troll Demographic Falls Under This Category
GA: Which Only Adds To An Already Persistent Weakness In Our Species
GA: This Problem Might Not Be Obvious To Your Race Which Seems To Have A Greater Freedom Of Sleep
GA: But To Us Trolls Our Dependency To Recuperacoons Is A Great Weakness To Overcome
GA: Sleep Management Is A Normative Issue In The Everyday Life Of A Troll
GA: As We Must Continually Choose Between Losing Productive Hours Or Staying Awake In Exchange Of Becoming Increasingly Violent And Inefficient
GA: This Is Further Complicated In The Context Of Battlefield Logistics Since Deployed Soldiers Often Do Not Have Access To Recuperacoons
GA: As Such
GA: The Ability To Operate For Long Periods Of Time Without Requiring Sleep Is A Very Prized Attribute In Our Culture
GA: Especially In Prideful Military Institutions Such As The Threshecutioners
TG: k but what does that have to do with karkat
GA: I Am Getting There Just Now
GA: As Somewhat Destined To Be A Social Pariah
GA: Karkat Has Always Been Preoccupied With Presenting Himself As An Upstanding Citizen And A Model Troll
GA: Hence It Was The Lifelong Goal Of Karkat Since His First Pupation To Join The Esteemed Ranks Of The Threshecutioners
GA: Which Are The Most Lethal Members Of Our Society
GA: After The Game Karkat Shifted His Ambition To The Even Greater Challenge Of Presenting Himself As A Glorious Leader
GA: Thus Karkat Is Very Stubborn To Constantly Prove That He Possesses The Most Prized Qualities In Our Culture Including The Ability To Operate Without Rest
GA: It Is As A Direct Result Of This That Karkat Has Duly Insisted To Lead Us Through Our Entire Session Without Sleeping Even Once
TG: is it that bad
TG: our session only lasted three days
TG: well ok it lasted three days for me
TG: and only like 24 hours for my friends
TG: because of weird time travel shit
TG: how long did yours last again
GA: A Little Over Three Weeks
TG: oh
TG: ok yeah karkat has a problem
GA: It Would Not Be As Much Of An Issue If Karkat Had Returned To A Normal Sleeping Schedule After The Game Ended
GA: However Karkat Appeared To Have Developed Very Improper Sleeping Habits That He Is Now Unable To Shake Off
GA: It Is No Secret To Me That Karkat Often Goes Through His Ample Collection Of Romcoms At Night Instead Of Acquiring Proper Rest
GA: Which Is How I Can Tell That His Pale Quadrant Is Not Properly Regulated
GA: Not Only Do Pale Urges Typically Cause Trolls To Have Difficulty Sleeping
GA: But Trolls Who Mismanage Their Sleep Schedule Will Naturally Develop Pale Needs As A Result
GA: And As A Close Friend I Am Concerned About Karkat And His Overall Well Being
GA: He Is Simply Not Taking Good Care Of Himself
TG: damn that was a long explanation
TG: you could just have said that karkat has some kind of weird alien insomnia
TG: it isnt surprising since hes basically a tightly wrapped ball of stress on the verge of exploding
TG: but arent you trolls supposed to have a magic slime bed to help you sleep
GA: Yes
GA: Sopor Slime Is A Highly Processed Chemical Compound That Is Technically Categorized As A Pale Drug
GA: However It Cannot Successfully Reproduce The Biological Functions Of An Active Pale Quadrant
TG: does that mean that it sucks
GA: Sopor Slime Can Barely Produces A Nights Worth Of Minimal Rest Plagued With Painful Nightmares
GA: It Is Also Highly Toxic And Potentially Addictive
GA: Especially If Taken In Any Greater Dosage Than Passive Absorption Through The Skin
TG: hum
TG: ok
TG: dont you sleep in that shit like every single night
GA: Yes
TG: no wonder you guys are all batshit fucking insane
TG: no offense
GA: None Taken
GA: As A Poor Substitute Sopor Slime Is Unable To Regulate A Pale Quadrant That Has Been Destabilized
GA: Just As It Is Unable To Provide Sleep To Trolls With Unrequited Pale Urges
GA: Technically Its Only Purpose Is To Induce Artificial Sleep When Natural Sleep Is Not Available
TG: wait you have natural sleep
GA: The Only Way For A Troll To Fall Asleep Without Sopor Slime Is By Doing So In The Arms Of Their Moirail
GA: This Is The Result Of A Biological Function That Manifests After A Troll Reaches An Epiphany Of Pale Satisfaction
GA: Also Known As Being Sent Into The Pap Zone
GA: This Allows Trolls To Drift Into A Deep Sleep With Distilled Recuperative Effects
GA: When Waking From Such Slumber Trolls Typically Display Such Vitality And Clarity Of Mind That They Can Spend The Next Several Days In An Advanced State Of Activity Without Ever Feeling Tired
GA: Which Is Often Announced By A Massive Spike In Appetite Upon Waking In Order To Prepare For Prolonged Activity
GA: Hence Why It Is Said That The Purpose Of The Pale Quadrant Is To Regulate Or Even Fully Reinitialize The Biological Cycle Of A Troll
TG: ok so your species has a reset button
TG: because thats not weird at all
GA: A Pale Session Does Necessarily Need To Culminate Into Induced Sleep In Order To Regulate Biological Functions
GA: Statistically
GA: The Majority Of Pale Sessions Do Not Reach The Intensity Required To Send Trolls Into The Pap Zone
GA: Such Occurrences Only Marks Sessions That Are Particularly Torrid Between Compatible Partners
GA: Any Activity In The Pale Quadrant Contributes To Partially Improving The Biological Cycle Of A Troll And Thus Improving Their General Well Being
TG: why dont you guys ditch the slime since it gives such crappy sleep
GA: Moirallegiance Is Statistically The Rarest Form Of Troll Relationship
GA: Thus Sopor Slime Has Become Omnipresent In Our Society For The Purpose Of Commonly Inducing Low Quality Sleep
GA: Even If It Cannot Be Compared To Having A Good Pale Session Every Once In A While
TG: ok so basically
TG: you want me to tell karkat to go the fuck to sleep
GA: Yes
GA: I Am Certain That Karkat Would Acquire More Healthy Sleeping Habits If He Had A Moirail Looking Out For Him
GA: But He Is Stubborn To Prove That He Can Keep Going On Forever Without Burning Out
TG: yeah no kidding
TG: alright kanaya lets go straight to the dirty business
TG: how do we get karkat to chill out
GA: To Conduct A Pale Courtship It Is Essential To Pay Attention To How You Present yourself
GA: Pale Attractiveness In an Individual Is Something That Is Felt Through The Voice And Through Body Language Rather Than Through Specific Actions
GA: It Can Be More Properly Described As Specific Kinds Of State Of Mind That One Must Subtly Broadcast
GA: For Example
GA: A Prospective Moirail Must Convey An Engaging Feeling Of Serenity
TG: check
TG: im an ice cold machine
TG: ok sometimes i make people mad
TG: but usually its because they already have a spider on the ceiling
GA: Next
GA: A Prospective Moirail Must Appear To Act Primarly On Instincts And Without Thinking
TG: check
TG: i dont even try to be this cool
TG: my shits so zen i run entirely on autopilot
GA: If You Say So
GA: Next
GA: A Prospective Moirail Must Appear Wild Or Somewhat Close To Nature
TG: done and double done
TG: im a party animal
TG: well i probably would be if i went to a lot of parties
TG: but you dont actually need to be social to know that you could be a party animal if you wanted to
TG: look kanaya its obvious im a beast at this shit so lets skip to the important parts
TG: how can i befriend karkat without making him flip the fuck out
GA: The Proper Way To Extend A Pale Advance To A Troll Is To Mentally Disarm Them
GA: It Is Like Playing A Game Of Meowbeast And Rodent
GA: You Must Never Directly Admit Your Pale Intentions And You Must Appeal To Their Personal Values At Every Misdirection
GA: In This Particular Case
GA: I Am Certain That Karkat Would Be Highly Receptive To Praises Of His Leadership Skills
GA: And He Would Be Especially Subdued By An Appeal To The Same Military Values Which Are The Source Of His Problem
GA: Such As Hinting At A Relationship That Is Similar In Concept To Military Brotherhood
GA: Which Could Be Described As A Personal Ally With Pale Potential When The Need Arise
GA: In Human Terms It Could Probably Be Translated As
GA: Being Friends With Pale Benefits
TG: so thats it
TG: i just need to offer karkat to become my bro
TG: wow kanaya that was really useful thanks a lot
GA: Youre Welcome

-- turntechGodhead [TG] has invited carcinoGeneticist [CG] to a memo --
TG: sup karkat
CG: FUCK YOU.
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] has closed the memo --

-- turntechGodhead [TG] has invited carcinoGeneticist [CG] to a memo --
TG: wow rude
TG: karkat lets talk
CG: LET'S NOT.
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] has closed the memo --

-- turntechGodhead [TG] has invited carcinoGeneticist [CG] to a memo --
TG: oh my god stop closing the chat client
CG: I WILL IF YOU STOP PESTERING ME.
CG: I’M SURE WE CAN BOTH FIND A BETTER USE OF OUR TIME.
CG: LIKE ME DOING IMPORTANT LEADERSHIP WORK AND YOU FLUSHING YOUR HEAD DOWN THE LOAD GAPER.
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] has closed the memo --

-- turntechGodhead [TG] has invited carcinoGeneticist [CG] to a memo --
TG: cmon karkat
TG: i just though we could have a friendly conversation for once
CG: SWEET MOTHER GRUB’S OOZING VESTIGIAL THIRD ORAL SPHINCTER.
CG: DAVE WE DONT DO FRIENDLY CONVERSATIONS.
CG: WHAT WE DO IS WE TAKE TURNS PUKING FROM OUR BLITHERING FECULENT WORDHOLE AND ROLLING IN OUR ARGUMENTATIVE FILTH LIKE A PAIR OF OINKBEASTS.
CG: AND I HAVE NO PARTICULAR TASTE FOR DOING THIS RIGHT NOW.
TG: man we need to chill together so you stop climbing up walls all the time
CG: I DO NOT CLIMB WALLS.
TG: yeah man you keep climbing up walls whenever you drop of a fuck
CG: I DO NOT DROP FUCKS.
CG: YOU CAN'T EVEN DROP FUCKS.
CG: YOU CAN DECIDE TO NOT GIVE A FUCK
CG: AND THAT IS ENTIRELY RESPECTABLE.
CG: BUT OTHERWISE THE FUCKS REMAIN FIRMLY SECURED.
TG: karkat youre dropping fucks right now
TG: ok no this is going all wrong
TG: let me try this conversation again from the start
TG: how about this
TG: karkat i think youre doing a great job as our leader
CG: YES DAVE KEEP BUTTERING ME I’M SURE THAT’S GONNA WORK HMMM.
CG: I CAN MAKE OINKBEAST SOUNDS TOO IF YOU WANT.
TG: god damn it karkat im trying to compliment you for real just shut up for a second
TG: alright so like i was saying
TG: i think youre doing a great job as a leader
TG: because id seriously freak out if i had to manage a community by myself
TG: especially since were all hormonal teenagers with no parental supervision
TG: which is like the super saiyan version of being a goddamn moron
TG: and you know what
TG: your idea of creating an activity schedule
TG: that was fucking sweet
CG: ARE YOU DONE YET.
TG: almost
TG: what im trying to say is
TG: you cant juggle all that sick responsibility all by yourself
TG: you need to take some time to decompress
TG: its obvious youre flipping the fuck out of your mind at the end of each day
TG: especially after you give the daily assembly speech
TG: where you systematically insult everyone on the meteor
TG: and then announce going back to your room to kill yourself
TG: so hey maybe you could use some bro time to disconnect from all that noise
CG: GET TO THE POINT.
TG: which is why i wanna invite you to chill out on the human side of the meteor and have a sick time
TG: we can play video games or pretend we like sports you name it
TG: theres gonna be chips
TG: and popcorn
TG: and yes the popcorn will have butter and salt
TG: sheesh why is everybody complaining about my popcorn
TG: so karkat are you gonna say anything or what
CG: SUSPICIOUS.
TG: what
CG: DON’T WHAT ME STRIDER.
CG: MY ANSWER HAD A SINGLE WORD IN IT.
CG: IT CANNOT POSSIBLY BE SYNTAXICALLY AMBIGUOUS.
CG: LIKE I SAID.
CG: SUSPICIOUS.
CG: THIS WOULDNT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH YOU BOMBARDING ME WITH LEWD ADVANCES FOR THE PAST SEVERAL DAYS.
CG: WHAT AM I SAYING.
CG: OF COURSE IT COULDN'T POSSIBLY BE RELATED.
TG: woah look i know we kinda started on the wrong foot
TG: especially when we firmly lodged said foot in each others ass
TG: but lets pretend for a second that its not a thing that happened
TG: im sure we could become good bros
CG: BRO AS IN BROTHERS.
TG: yeah
TG: when two dudes are super awesome together they become bros thats how it works
TG: unless you want us to become sisters
TG: in which case i call dips on being the little sister
TG: hell yes this is a dream come true
CG: WHERE THE HELL DID YOU GET THE IDEA THAT WE CAN BECOME BROTHERS.
TG: i dunno i mean this is something that trolls do right
TG: terezi and vriska are some kind of scurvy sisters if i remember right
CG: SCOURGE SISTERS.
TG: yes
TG: that thing you just said
CG: ALRIGHT STRIDER
CG: IF YOU WANT US TO BE BROTHERS THEN STATE YOUR BUSINESS.
TG: what
CG: COME ON SNOOK NIFFER OUT WITH IT ALREADY.
CG: WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS ALLIANCE.
CG: IF YOU WANT US TO BECOME BROTHERS THEN YOU MUST PROPOSE ME YOUR TERMS.
CG: FOR EXAMPLE THE SCOURGE SISTERS WERE SWORN TO EXPEDIATE CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE.
CG: WHERE JUSTICE WAS APPARENTLY INTERCHANGEABLE WITH SPIDERMOM.
CG: AND THE TERM CRIMINAL WAS INCREMENTALY LOOSE DEPENDING ON WHETHER SAID SPIDERMOM WAS HUNGRY.
CG: BUT YOU GET THE IDEA.
CG: BROTHERHOOD OR SISTERHOOD IS NOT A TYPE OF TROLL RELATIONSHIP LIKE QUADRANTS.
CG: IT IS A SOCIAL CONTRACT.
CG: AND TROLLS WHO ARE SO CALLED BROTHERS OR SISTERS CAN INDEPENDENTLY BE PALE OR RED OR BLACK FOR EACH OTHER.
CG: SO TELL ME STRIDER
CG: WHAT EXACTLY IS THE DIRTY BUSINESS THAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO SWEAR UPON.
TG: cmon karkat no need to make it weird
TG: cant we make this into a generic alliance for sticking along each other
TG: like
TG: can we become sworn brothers for the explicit purpose of goofing around
TG: and pretending that we like sports
TG: and playing videogames irresponsibly all night long
CG: WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY.
TG: im saying
TG: maybe we can just be bros in general
TG: as in
TG: not the troll version of bro but just the regular human version
TG: if the humans on this meteor can try their hands at troll relationships
TG: then im sure you trolls can try some of our human quadrants too
TG: the whole cultural exchange thing goes both way right
TG: so im thinking why not try the whole human bromance experience
TG: its really sweet you see
TG: we ride together and we get in trouble together
TG: we wear sunglasses and we dont look back at explosions
TG: and whatever happens we watch out for each others back
TG: i mean were both knights right
TG: knights got to stick together you know what im saying
CG: SO THEN.
CG: LIKE THE ALTERNIAN MILITARY DEFINITION OF BROTHERHOOD.
TG: yes that
TG: that thing you just said
TG: which i just blindly assumed to be the kind of bromance i was thinking about
TG: because wow its the first time i ever hear about this
TG: so what do you think karkat
CG: I DON’T KNOW
TG: what do you mean you dont know
CG: I WAS TALKING ABOUT YOUR OFFER TO COME TO THE HUMAN SIDE OF THE METEOR TONIGHT.
CG: I DON’T KNOW.
CG: I WAS THINKING OF MAYBE GOING TO ARADIA’S LATE NIGHT SPOOKY TIME.
TG: woah no man you dont want to go see one of aradias horror movies trust me
TG: I went to spooky time last week and let me tell you something
TG: the ultraviolence is off the fucking roof
TG: i though aradia looked like one of those bookish girls that are easy to talk to
TG: so i went there expecting one of those cheesy zombie flick with hilariously fake effects
TG: but wow that girl is into some freaky occult shit
TG: like
TG: shes a death fangirl
TG: shes literally a fangirl of the conceptualization of death
TG: the kind of person who hangs around quietly just to wait for an impending disaster
TG: she gets that look on her face at the end of her movies when everything turns into an orgiastic apocalyptic bloodbath
TG: like she thinks its the best thing that could ever happen
TG: nah man forget about going to late night spooky time
TG: that shits so freaky you wont be able to sleep for days
TG: and i wanna make sure you get to chill out and get tucked in for some sweet-ass quality sleep
CG: DAVE.
CG: IF THIS TURNS OUT TO BE PART OF SOME ELABORATE SCHEME.
CG: I AM LITERALLY GOING TO EAT YOUR FACE.
CG: YOUR GANDERBULBS WILL SQUISH UNDER MY TEETH.
TG: so is that a yes

Chapter Text

-- grimAuxiliatrix [GA] has invited turntechGodhead [TG] to a memo --

GA: Good Morning Dave
GA: If I May Be As Bold
GA: Could I Perhaps Inquire About How Your Night With Karkat Went
TG: was ok
GA: I See
GA: Thank You For Informing Me Of The Current Situation Dave
GA: I Will Return To This Subject In The Near Future When You Have Further News To Share With Me
TG: look kanaya
TG: im pretty sure i did everything right
TG: i showed karkat my awesome comics and my badass blog
TG: we watched shitty cartoons
TG: we got mad at video games for being unfair bullshit
TG: and we stuffed ourselves full of junk food with the nutritional value of cardboard
TG: hell we even pretended to like sports
TG: although i still think that your alternian official sport makes no sense
TG: like seriously why is that one ball worth 150 points
TG: who the hell thought that was a good design idea
TG: anyway my point is that i chilled out with karkat until like three in the morning
TG: until i accompanied him back to his room like a good chum
TG: and sent him off with an awkward bro fist
TG: everything was done right
TG: it was a perfectly average and uneventful bro night
TG: but when i think back on the whole thing
TG: i cant help but feel like something was missing
TG: i dont know it kind of bothers me
GA: Have You Tried Partaking With Karkat In Some Of The Standard Activities Of A Pale Date
GA: Such As Painting Each Others Nails
TG: ha ha good one kanaya
TG: but seriously i dont feel like i made him open up to me
TG: and im not sure exactly how youre supposed to do that
GA: Have You Tried Using Oral Stimulation On Him
TG: what
GA: Have You Tried Speaking With Him
TG: yeah man
TG: we talked the entire night
TG: actually he did most of the talking
TG: he was grumpy and silent at the start of the evening
TG: but as soon as he defrosted he was like an unstoppable blah blah machine
TG: i think he talked about himself for like two hours straight
TG: while we played a shitty skating video game
TG: and i mostly just listened silently and nodded
TG: actually
TG: you know what
TG: this is the shit that is bothering me the most about the whole thing
GA: Can You Be More Specific Dave
TG: like i said
TG: karkat talked a shitload about himself right
TG: but he mostly talked about the romcoms hes been watching recently
TG: or about other small things
TG: like the first time he tried programming and nearly killed himself with a computer virus
TG: which still doesnt sounds metaphysically possible to me by the way
TG: but my point is
TG: he didnt actually want to talk about military stuff
TG: and thats the part i dont get
TG: you kept schoolfeeding me about this army brotherhood shit
TG: like i should expect karkat to secretly be some kind of jarhead military nut
TG: but that wasnt the case at all
TG: i mean i tried bringing up the subject
TG: because im like what the fuck is a threshecutioner
TG: and sure karkat knew their entire military structure and their war history by heart
TG: but he didnt look like he wanted to talk about this shit
TG: if you know what i mean
TG: like when karkat talks about romcoms you can tell its something that actually interests him
TG: but when he talks about soldier stuff or how to be a leader
TG: it almost sounds like he is forcing himself to like it
TG: but he sucks at it real bad
TG: and he sure as hell isnt making an effort to stay on the subject
GA: Does This Strikes You As A Little Strange Dave
TG: look kanaya
TG: im just saying
TG: maybe you made a huge mistake about him
TG: maybe this army shit isnt important to him
GA: Dave
GA: Do You Think There Might Be A Possibility That This Subject Is Important To Karkat
GA: While Simultaneously Being Something That He Does Not Want To Talk About
TG: that doesnt make a lick of sense kanaya
TG: when you like something you talk about it
TG: thats how sane people work
TG: wait are you telling me you already knew about this
TG: you knew he wouldnt want to talk about this crap didnt you
GA: I Am Merely Speaking From An hypothetical Point Of View
TG: screw you kanaya maryam i can see right through your flighty broad act
TG: you knew all along karkat wouldnt be interested in talking about the whole alternian military thing
TG: i dont understand you at all kanaya
TG: why did you write me a a wall of text about all this garbage
TG: when its something that doesnt interest him in the first place
TG: i mean
TG: you said i had to grab karkats attention by appealing to his interests right
TG: in that case shouldnt you have told me about the hobbies that he actually likes
TG: like his romcoms or his shitty programming
TG: jesus christ
TG: i cant decide if this pale shit is complicated or if you guys are just loony
GA: Dave Just Out Of Curiosity
GA: Did You Propose To Karkat An Offer Of Military Brotherhood Like We Discussed
TG: yeah
TG: actually now that i think of it
TG: im pretty sure that was the selling point in convincing him to hang out
TG: like he just fucking dropped the angry act in the middle of conversation
GA: Then Perhaps This Subject Does Interest Karkat To A Specific Extend
TG: i dont know man
TG: this is too much insane troll logic for me
TG: and you know what is probably the silliest thing about all this
TG: its the fact im not even allowed to tell that him im making a pale advance
TG: like its all a big complicated ethic wedding and its automatic game over if i stop playing along
TG: and
TG: i have no idea what im supposed to do with him now
GA: Perhaps
GA: And This Is Only A Suggestion
GA: Perhaps You Could Try Asking Karkat Why He Does Not Want To Talk About Military Subjects
GA: And Perhaps You Could Try
GA: Pushing Him A Little
GA: Just A Little
TG: maybe
TG: i dont know
TG: this isnt going to turn into something weird right
GA: No Dave I Can Fully Certify That It Will Not Turn Into Something Weird
-- turntechGodhead [TG] has closed the memo --

-- turntechGodhead [TG] has invited carcinoGeneticist [CG] to a memo --

CG: DAVE.
CG: DAVE SWEET ALMIGHTY TAINTCHAFING CRYPTOBAFFLING STRIDER.
CG: FORGIVE ME FOR POINTING MY PROBING BUSYBODY SNIFFNODES UP YOUR CROTCH BLISTERING BUSINESS BUT I JUST HAD A VERY INTERESTING CHAT WITH ROSE.
CG: IT APPEARS YOU HAVE BEEN TURNING DOWN HER PALE ADVANCES WITH A CREATIVE EXCUSE.
CG: ONE WHICH SHE CAME TO ASK ME TO CONFIRM.
TG: oh shit
TG: im fucked isnt it
CG: APPARENTLY YOU TOLD HER THAT WE WERE WORKING TOGETHER ON OUR PALE QUADRANT.
CG: THAT SURE SOUNDS DIFFERENT THAN YOUR PROPOSAL OF SHARING THE HUMAN BRO QUADRANT
TG: did i say bro quadrant
TG: maybe you misread me a few times
TG: and whos to say you didnt misread rose just now
TG: maybe you are misreading the words you are reading in this very sentence
TG: maybe you are stuck in a perpetual state of misunderstanding
TG: how could you ever know for sure
TG: did you ever try to think about that karkat
CG: DAVE YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.
TG: thats right i dont understand
TG: you see that shit karkat
TG: we dont understand each other on a daily basis
TG: like we are both playing piñata blindfolded but theres no candy doll
TG: we just keep bashing each other on the head with a baseball bat while people clap
CG: DAVE.
CG: I AM NOT FURIOUS ABOUT THIS TURN OF EVENT.
TG: ok
CG: IN FACT I AM HAPPY.
TG: can you even be happy karkat
CG: I AM HAPPY BECAUSE NOW IVE GOT MY SICKLE AGAINST YOUR FUCKING THROAT.
CG: FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND YOU TOLD YOUR PRETTY WORDS TO SAVE YOU FROM SOME PERSONAL AND AWKWARD TROUBLE.
TG: maybe
TG: i forgot
TG: that was a long time ago
TG: my memory is pretty bad
TG: to be honest i cant even remember what i ate yesterday
TG: who are you again karkat
CG: I TOLD ROSE THAT IT WAS TRUE WE WERE PALE TOGETHER.
TG: oh sweet thanks karkat youre the best
CG: I TOLD HER IT WAS TRUE BECAUSE JUST THIS ONCE I'D LOVE TO SEE YOU FUCKING TRY TO TITILLATE ME IN THE PALE QUADRANT
CG: JUST SO I CAN WATCH YOU FAIL MISERABLY AND LAUGH
CG: AND AFTER YOU CRASH AND BURN ILL SPIT ON YOUR CORPSE AND TELL ROSE THE FUCKING TRUTH
TG: uh
CG: COME ON DAVE WHY DON’T YOU WORK YOUR HUMAN PALE MAGIC ON ME WHILE I CROSS MY ARMS AND JUDGE YOU
CG: OOPS THAT’S RIGHT YOU STINK OF URBAN LIFE AND DON’T KNOW A FUCKING THING ABOUT HOW FEELINGS WORKS
CG: YOU KNOW WHAT STRIDER
CG: THIS TURN OF EVENT MIGHT BE THE MOST ENTERTAINING THING TO EVER HAPPEN ON THIS METEOR.
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] has left the memo --
TG: well that went weird
-- turntechGodhead [TG] has closed the memo --

-- turntechGodhead [TG] has invited grimAuxiliatrix [GA] to a memo --

TG: kanaya
TG: kanaya please repond
TG: karkat just dared me to seduce him
TG: this is the darkest hour of my entire existence
TG: i am regreting all the decisions in my life which have lead to this outcome
TG: kanaya there is a chain of events that happened here
TG: and it was conducted by a maestro with a dildo instead of a baton
TG: and theres no music here only a bunch of farting noises
TG: kanaya my life is an ass orchestra please help
-- turntechGodhead [TG] has closed the memo --

Chapter Text

-- grimAuxiliatrix [GA] has invited turntechGodhead [TG] to a memo --

GA: I Am Here Dave
GA: My Apologies For The Delay
GA: Can You Describe What Happened Earlier
TG: karkat found out about operation karkatshield
TG: which means he found out i was trying to become his superfriend
TG: and its just like you saids
TG: trolls arent supposed to be told upfront about pale flirting or whatever
TG: you know what i realized
TG: thats why i like humans so much
TG: we dont need to be friendship ninjas with each others
TG: we just goof around and let things happen
TG: yeah thats cool
GA: Dave Just To Be Exact
GA: Did Karkat Say That He Wishes To Avoid Any Further Meetings With You
TG: no
TG: he was angry but he didnt exactly tell me to go to hells
TG: i think he gave me an ultimatum
TG: he basically dared me to befriend the shit out of him
GA: In That Case This Is Good News Dave
GA: If A Troll Can Broadly Mentions That Your Current Relationship Is Pales
GA: Without Cancelling Said Relationships
GA: It Means That You Have Received Substantial Pale Approval In That Direction
TG: look kanaya
TG: im pretty sure karkat is pissed at me
TG: and now that i think about it
TG: im starting to get pissed at him too
GA: Why Is That Dave
TG: because
TG: i invited him to a super chill out last night
TG: and hes the one who didnt open up
TG: and now hes saying its my fault and that i need to try harder???
TG: its true i only started this whole friendship thing as a way to hugblock rose
TG: but i dont care about that anymore
TG: im just pissed that the whole thing doesnt works
TG: you know
TG: because karkat sucks at friendship
GA: What Is Bothering You The Most About Your Relationship With Karkat
TG: well just once
TG: id like to be able to give him a high five without feeling like a handholding molester
TG: i swear sometimes it looks like you trolls are basically just grey humans with horns
TG: and the next second
TG: its like youre entire race of mongolian savages with hugging PTSD
TG: and apparently that means my friendship isnt good enough for you
TG: i might be new to your weird alien relationship rituals but its not a reason to shit on me
TG: not cool
GA: Dave This Is No Time To Be Angry When You Have Been Doing So Good Until Now
GA: It Might Appear On The Surface That Karkat Is Overly Criticizing Your Friendship
GA: But When You Start To Look Past Appearances
GA: Karkat Has Personally Accepted That You Work Together On Your Pale Quadrant
GA: In Our Culture It Means That He Has Pushed Your Relationship From Pale Flirting To Pale Dating
GA: It Is A Very Positive Sign Dave
GA: You Need To Pay Attention To What Trolls Do And Not What They Say
TG: im getting tired of jumping through all these ethnic hoops
TG: i want to hear something concrete about what what karkat expects from me
TG: what exactly am i supposed to be doing here
TG: whats the finish goal
GA: You Need To Find What Karkat Needs The Most
TG: he needs to chill the fuck out
TG: and he needs to go to fucking sleep instead of staying up all night to watch romcoms
GA: And What Do You Think That Karkat Needs The Most In Order To Achieve These Results
TG: i dont know
TG: does karkat comes with a hidden switch
TG: a button you can press to make him less of an asshole
GA: I Detect That Your Comment Was Somehow Facetious In Nature
GA: However It Was Not Far From The Truth
GA: The Process Of A Pale Courtship Is Oftentimes Compared To Finding A Hidden Switch That Will Make A Troll Respond To Pale Advances
GA: Other Popular Metaphors Will Compare Pale Relationships To Solving A Puzzle
GA: Or To Finding The Right Key That Will Unlock A Troll From The Inside
TG: oh great
TG: so now karkat is an asshole because hes password protected
TG: how does that work exactly
TG: do i say a few magic words that will upgrade karkat to a new version
TG: one that is horny for bro hugs and not distant as fuck
GA: Yes That Is Essentially How It Works
GA: However The Triggering Factor Does Not Necessarily Need To Be Spoken Words
GA: It Can Also Be An Event That Will Produce A Strong Impression On Karkat
TG: so what youre saying is
TG: i need to find an activity that will help karkat open up
GA: I Suppose That Is One Way To Put It
TG: i swear you guys are on a quest to make everything sound complicated
TG: with all your talk of people being locked and needing keys
TG: ok so karkat wants us to do something cool together
TG: what if i just ask karkat what he wanna do when we hang out
TG: like
TG: he could just tell me his key or password of whatever
TG: that would be super grand
GA: The Proper Answer Would Probably Be That Karkat Himself Does Not Know What He Needs The Most
TG: this is officially too complicated for my puny human brain
TG: and i know what im talking
TG: i saw my own brain in a jar and wow that little guy didnt look impressive
TG: maybe i should just give up on trying to make karkat understand human bromance
TG: heck maybe i should just give up on trying to understand him altogether
TG: whoever said that a human being could understand the feelings of an alien
TG: wow that was almost poetic
TG: give me credits if you quote that
GA: Jade Appears To Be Doing An Accomplished Job At Understanding Pale Feelings
TG: i said human being
TG: jade is an internet furry big difference
TG: look kanaya you obviously know karkat very well
TG: why dont you just tell me karkats secret password that unlocks friendship
TG: that way i can just punch the cheat code on his nipples and be done with it already
GA: Even If I Had A Personal Opinion On How I Would Choose To Approach Karkat From A Pale Angle
GA: It Does Not Mean That This Approach Would Equally Work For You Dave
GA: On The Contrary
GA: Telling You My Personal Views On The Subject Will Only Contaminate Your Natural Judgment
GA: All Moirallegiances Are Unique At The Core
GA: Due To Being The Specific Product Of The Synergy Between Two Individuals
GA: Therefore Nothing Hurts A Prospective Pale Relationships More Than When Two Partners Try To Emulate What Other People Do In The Pile
GA: The Only Right Way To Wager A Moirallegiance Is Through Trials And Spontaneity
GA: This Is Precisely The Reason Why I Have Only Been Giving You Minimal Guidance Through Your Courtship With Karkat
TG: i thought you were getting off to giving cryptic advices
GA: Maybe That Too
GA: But The Fact Of The Matter Is
GA: I Cannot Tell You How You Can Unlock Karkat Dave
GA: You Will Have To Discover By Yourself The Cheat Code That You Need To Punch On Karkats Nipple
GA: To Borrow From Your Own Vocabulary
GA: And Now I Feel Entirely Terrible For Having Typed That
TG: ok fine i get it you cant tell me
TG: to be honest i feel bad for asking now
TG: feels like trying to cheat at something and completely missing the point
TG: forget i asked you about that crap
TG: how about you give me more of that sweet cryptic advice bullshit
TG: you said earlier that i need to find a special brotastic activity to share with karkat
TG: how do i find that
TG: do i get any hints plz
GA: There Are Many Methods That Can Help You Obtain A Better Perspective On A Pale Relationship
GA: In Fact We Can Try One Of These Methods Right Now
GA: Dave
GA: You Say That You Have Listened To Karkat For Hours Last Night
TG: i learned more about troll romantic comedies that i ever wanted
TG: so yes
GA: And You Have Listened To His Silence
TG: he didnt give me a whole lot of silence if you ask me
GA: In That Case It Should Be Enough Material
GA: Dave If You Close Your Eyes And Try To Think About Karkat What Do You See
TG: i see the inside of my pupils
TG: because my eyes are closed as fuck
GA: I Am Of Course Speaking Metaphorically At The Moment
GA: I Apologize For Not Having Made Myself Clearer On The Subject
GA: Dave If You Close Your Eyes And Think About Every Litttle Things You Know About Karkat
GA: What Kind Of Mental Image Do You Get
TG: cmon kanaya
TG: do i have to do that weird junk
TG: can i just pretend that i tried and leave it at that
GA: This Method Might Not Be As Efficent As A Direct Reading But It May Help Give You An Idea Of What To Do With Karkat
GA: You Do Not Lose Anything By Trying It Once
TG: yes i do
TG: id lose all my cool because this is girly imagination stuff
TG: and its not going to help at anything other than making me feel stupid
TG: it probably only works for trolls
TG: because you have magic troll brains that understand each other
GA: Dave I Believe You Have A Heart Right
TG: yeah
TG: pretty useful thing
TG: pumps my blood and shit
TG: spends all day not going into cardiac arrest which is freaking sweet
GA: Then You Should Be Fine
GA: Just Close Your Eyes
GA: Try Not To Think Of Anything Else But The Impression That Karkat Gave You Last Night
TG: this is dumb
GA: Perhaps
GA: However It Is Even Moreso Intellectually Challenged To Not Take A Short Moment To Try It With Serious Intent
GA: After Which You Would Be Able To Tell By Yourself If It Did Not Help You At All
GA: In Which Case I Would Be Utterly Devastated By Your Preemptive Opinion Which Turned Out To Be True
TG: wow kanaya youve been working on your human sarcasm
GA: Yes
GA: My Human Sarcasm
TG: ok ok fine im gonna pretend to try
GA: Thank You Dave
TG: i dont promise anything
TG: im probably just gonna think of his stupid romcoms again
GA: That Is Fine
GA: It Does Not Matter If You Start Picturing Karkat Watching His Romantic Comedies
GA: There Are Not Right Or Wrong Answer To This Exercise
GA: Just Let The Images Come To You Without Trying To Fight Them
GA: Take Your Time
GA: Try To Consider Every Little Small Things You Know About Karkat
GA: While Keeping Your Eyes Closed In The Most Calm Manner Possible
GA: Just Like That Yes
GA: Also
GA: I Am Just Now Realizing How Incredibly Silly It Is To Type Words Of Encouragement To Motivate Someone To Keep Their Eyes Closed
GA: Dave Are You There

-- turntechGodhead [TG] is an idle chum! --

TG: oops my bad
TG: kinda went to lay on my bed
TG: more comfortable you know
GA: Did This Exercise Help You Understand Karkat
TG: nope
GA: What Did You Think About Dave If You Do Not Mind Me Asking
TG: military crap
TG: of course i was gonna think about military crap
TG: since karkat acts so damn weird when you try to talk to him about it
TG: but i have a hard time picture how your alien military is supposed to look like
TG: so i mostly though about human soldiers with guns and shit
GA: Did Any Specific Scenario Appeared In Your Head
TG: maybe
TG: who cares
GA: Dave What Did You See
TG: a soldier
TG: a wounded soldier
TG: no wait its more like
TG: a soldier who hides his wounds
TG: it was dumb
GA: A Soldier Who Hides His Wounds
TG: yeah
TG: big dude comes back to the army camp his uniform all messed up
TG: clutching a big red spot on his chest
TG: tells the medics to stay away from him
TG: says hes totally fine but he aint fooling anyone
GA: Why Does The Soldier Hides His Wound
TG: i dunno
TG: i think hiding isnt the right word here
TG: since everybody can tell that the guy isnt alright
TG: its more like hes protecting his wound
GA: Protecting
TG: yeah
TG: pretending that hes fine
TG: yelling at people not to come close
TG: just sitting on his bench clutching a big red spot that slowly grows bigger
GA: Why Would He Want To Protect His Wound
TG: maybe hes afraid to look weak to others
TG: maybe he wants to convince himself that he isnt weak
TG: why should i know
TG: it was a just a stupid thing in my head
TG: and i dont wanna talk about it anymore
GA: It Is A Shame That This Exercise Did Not Give You Any Idea At All
GA: I Suppose That You Were Entirely Right All Along
TG: stop doing that
TG: look even if i had a stupid idea
TG: how the hell am i supposed to approach karkat
TG: do i just go and ask him out on a friendship date
GA: Yes That Is Usually How Alternian Customs Work
TG: i long for the pure and innocent period of my life
TG: back when i didnt knew about alien friendship dates
GA: If This Particular Burden Is Too Intimidating To You Dave
GA: I May Be Able To Help You In That Direction
GA: Today I Am Scheduled To Spent Time With Karkat To Perform A Certain Activity
GA: We Could Potentially Choose To Trade Place If It Interests You
TG: trade place with what
GA: Today It Is My Turn To Form A Scouting Team With Karkat And Investigate The Lower Dungeons Of The Meteor
TG: oh fuck
TG: you mean keeping an eye out for the monsters in the basement
GA: Yes
TG: what are there monsters anyway
TG: when we joined you on this meteor we were so excited
TG: because this shit is basically an entire underground city all to ourselves
TG: then we asked what was actually inside the meteor and you were like
TG: btw dont go there or you get attacked by monsters
TG: thats some weird ass headquarters you got there thats for sure
GA: It Cannot Be Helped
GA: The Vast Majority Of The Structure Inside This Meteor Consists Of Empty Rooms And Corridors
GA: However Certain Scattered Areas Contain Self Sustained Laboratories Preprogrammed By The Game
GA: And These Areas Appears To Be Automatically Producing Mutated Chess Monsters For Unknown Reasons
TG: you cant make up shit like this
GA: We Have Attempted In The Past To Venture Inside The Meteor And Vandalize The Cloning Equipment
GA: However These Areas Were Found Inexplicably Repaired Soon Thereafter
GA: We Believe That The Few Monsters Roaming The Meteor May Be Self Regulating Their Own Birthing Equipment
GA: Which Would Explain Why This Meteor Was Found Devoid Of Any Carapace People And Operating Entirely On Its Own
TG: i always found that freaky
TG: huge empty corridors and nobody in sight
GA: Karkat Has Made Many Theories About The Nature Of This Meteor
GA: Which It Initially Housed The Necessary Ectobiology Equipment For Our Session
GA: It Is Possible That These Types Of Meteor Facilities Also Serve The Game Purpose Of Producing The War Machines That Are Sent To The Battlefield On Skaia
GA: But Now That The Game Is Over
GA: This Meteor Is Simply Continuing To Produce Monsters Without Any Particular Aim
GA: And These Creatures Have Naught To Do But Unintelligently Patrols The Corridors In A Random Manner
TG: real
GA: Karkat Has Also Conjectured That This Meteor Structure May Technically Be An Unfinished Late Game Dungeon
GA: Which Would Explain Why The Game Has Generated Such Vast Amounts Of Empty Rooms And Corridors
GA: Including Many Treasure Chests With No Content
TG: no wonder sburb got such a shitty score in the gamebro magazine
TG: gamebro always knows whats up
GA: The Exact Nature Of Our Setting Is No Important Matter
GA: None Of The Roaming Creatures On This Meteor Have Yet To Reach Our Settlement
GA: And Karkat Prefers To Keep It That Way By Making Sure To Dispatch Potential Threats Which Happen To Come Too Close To Where We Live
GA: Also Known As Cleaning The Basement From Times To Times
TG: ok fine
TG: there are a few random ass monsters roaming around
TG: no big deal
TG: in fact some people would probably think that it adds excitement to our weird life
TG: no kanaya what i really want to know is
TG: why do these things look like bovine cyberdemons
TG: thats the real question here kanaya
TG: why do these monsters have gruesome mechanical udders and otherwordly cow attributes
TG: why do they produce bloodthirsty mooing that chills the very soul
GA: The Appearance Of Our Monsters Would Be Due To The Prototyping That Took Place In Our Session
GA: This Particular Detail Has Developed In Another Problem Of Its Own
GA: Since It Is The Reason Why Our Primary Enforcer Equius Zahhak Firmly Refuses To Take Part In The Scouting Teams
GA: It Is A Great Loss Of Our Firepower That Zahhak Simply Cannot Bear To Fight These Mutated Beasts Due To Them Being In His Own Words
GA: Too Majestic
TG: fucking equius
TG: just kidding i love the guy
TG: but ill be damned if ever set a foot in his crazy gym
GA: But As I Was Saying Earlier
GA: It Is My Turn This Week To Form A Team With Karkat And Explore The Lower Level To Make Sure That The Area Is Secured
GA: Perhaps It Would Give You A Great Opportunity To Bond With Karkat If You Took My Place
TG: sure why not
TG: anything to prevents the awkwardness of having to ask him out on a friendship date
TG: because thats getting too weird and my irony insurance probably doesnt cover that
GA: Then I Will Inform Karkat Of The Change In The Teams
GA: Dave If I May
GA: I Have A Proposition To Offer Which Pertains To Your Activity With Karkat Tomorrow
TG: shoot
GA: Dave I Believe That In The Past You Have Alchemized Certain Eyewear Which Allowed You To Hold A Chat Conversation Without The Use Of Any Keyboard
TG: oh right the computer shades
TG: not sure why i stopped using them
TG: something about it being confusing to chat and talk with irl people at the same time
TG: why do you ask
GA: If You Were To Wear Such An Item During Your Excursion Tomorrow
GA: Perhaps I Could Indirectly Support You By Providing Advisory And Instructional Commentaries Unknowingly To Karkat
TG: you mean you want to stalk our friendship date
GA: I Was Planning To Use Different Words To Describe This Delicate Scenario
GA: But Yes That Is What I Am Proposing
TG: actually
TG: thats a pretty sweet plan
TG: the way your troll friendship works is pants on head retarded no offense
TG: so i always end up confused and going back to you
TG: the process would be a lot more streamlined if you gave me advices on the spot
TG: hell yes kanaya this plan is TIGHT lets roll with this
TG: how TIGHT can our shit even be
GA: I Am Unfamiliar With Measuring Positivity In Units Of Tightness
GA: But If I Had To Try
GA: I Would Say That Our Plan Is Properly Tied Up In Bondage And Fully At Our Mercy
TG: god damnit kanaya

Chapter Text

-- loading void recognition program --
-- loading automatic quirk settings --
-- turntechGodhead [TG] has invited grimAuxiliatrix [GA] to a memo --

TG: testing testing
TG: sup kanaya can you read this
GA: I Can Read You Dave
GA: Are You On Your Way To Meet Karkat For The Scouting Mission
TG: yeah
TG: but i kinda dont want to anymore
GA: But Why
TG: because when karkat heard i was gonna replace you he flipped his shit
TG: started saying he could do a better job alone
TG: you know
TG: like the asshole he is
GA: Dave You Cannot Start A Pale Date While Being Angry At Someone
TG: dont care
TG: im just tagging along for the monster smash
GA: Perhaps It Would Be Better To Cancel This Date Until You Ameliorate Your Mood
TG: nah
TG: karkat would flip his shit even more
TG: is it me or is he getting really obsessed with his role as a leader
TG: dude has a problem
TG: by the way why are we doing this activity so late
TG: when i think scouting mission i figure its something you do in the morning
TG: not super late in the evening i dunno
GA: You Could Think Of It As A Cultural Habit
GA: Our Kind Traditionally Prefers To Venture Forth At Nightfall Since Troll Biology Is Not Particularly Resistant To Sunlight
GA: It Is The Same Reason Why The Blazing Alternian Sun Causes Many Troll Youths To Adopt A Nocturnal Lifestyle
GA: Of Course The Dangers Of Alternian Daylight Do Not Apply On All Conquered Planets Or Even On This Meteor
GA: But The Mindset Of Setting Out At Dawn For A Nightfall Recon Is Deeply Engrained In Military Culture
GA: Karkat Is A Very Orthodox Tactician Who Closely Observes Such Traditions
TG: whatever dont care
TG: karkat doesnt even like military stuff he just pretends he does
TG: a threshcutioner is supposed to be some kind of troll super elite troop right
TG: well karkats interest in becoming one is something that he mentions like once
TG: and then he never wants to talk about it again
GA: Perhaps This Would Be A Good Opportunity To Ask Karkat His Opinion On The Subject
TG: meh
TG: alright im in front of karkats door
TG: the shades automatically convert voice to text
TG: so you should be able to read what karkat says
TG: knocking on his door now
CG: STRIDER.
TG: karkat
CG: WE’RE GOING.
TG: meh
CG: THIS WAY.
TG: k
GA: Is This Equipment Working Properly
GA: Dave I Am Not Seeing Any Conversation
GA: Dave What Is Happening Why Are Neither Of You Talking
TG: im pissed
GA: Actually It Would Probably Be Better If You Did Not Answer Me
CG: I’M PISSED TOO.
CG: I AM COVERED IN THE PROVERBIAL URINE.
CG: WOE IS ME FOR BEING DEPRIVED OF MY USUAL PARTNER AND HAVING TO TAKE CARE OF AN AMATEUR IN HER STEAD.
TG: wouldnt want to get in your way karkat
CG: SPARE ME THE USUAL STRIDER BULLSHIT.
CG: WE HAVE A JOB TO DO.
TG: arent we all serious tonight
TG: fine dont say anything
TG: im just gonna follow you mechanically
TG: waddling cutely after your footsteps
TG: like you just acquired a little strider from the strider pet shop
TG: and i totally just imprinted you as my mother
TG: sweet is thats the biggass door that leads to the dungeons
TG: shit you dont keep it locked are you serious
TG: arent you afraid that one day somebody is gonna be like
TG: sup im going to the bathroom
TG: and then they take a wrong turn and end up in murderland
TG: which i suppose is at the bottom of all these stairs
TG: damn that is a lot of stairs going down
TG: you didnt tell me about this shit
TG: you didnt warm me about the stairs
CG: ARE YOU DONE YET.
TG: you know i cant stop karkat i have a problem
TG: oh cool i can see the floor
TG: you know i was somehow expecting this place to look different
TG: like you know
TG: with some kind of dungeon atmosphere
TG: with dripping water and skeletons and shit
TG: this is just like our floors except vacant as fuck
CG: JUST FOLLOW ME WHILE WE CLEAR THE CHECKPOINTS.
CG: CAN YOU EVEN DO THAT.
TG: that depends
TG: are there gonna be monsters
TG: i dont wanna get scared like a little girl
TG: you know how im not brave like you
CG: LET’S JUST GO OVER THE BASICS AND GET THIS OVER WITH.
CG: BASED ON PREVIOUS PATTERNS THIS IMMEDIATE AREA IS INVADED APPROXIMATELY ONCE EVERY SEVEN DAYS, MEANING THAT THERE SHOULD ONLY BE ONE ENEMY UNIT ON THIS LEVEL FOR THIS WEEK.
CG: AND BY ENEMY UNIT I MEAN ONE OF THESE PUTRID CROTCHSTAINED BARFPUPPETS STRAIGHT OUT OF AN ALTERNIAN FINE ART GALLERY
CG: THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THESE FUCKERS HAVE SHITSPONGE FOR BRAIN AND ARE EASY TO TAKE BY SURPRISE.
CG: OUR PLAN IS TO SNEAK ON THE STUPID THING.
CG: DISPATCH IT SWITFLY IN ONE STRIKE.
CG: AND THEN WE GO HOME AND PRETEND IT WAS FUN AND NOT TERRIBLE FOR EVERYONE.
CG: BUT OF COURSE YOU ALREADY KNOW ALL THIS STRIDER SINCE I FORWARDED YOU THE MISSION DEBRIEFING DOCUMENT THIS AFTERNOON.
TG: oh yeah
TG: i printed it out and drew comics on it
GA: Dave
GA: You Need To Stop Antagonizing Karkat And Start Listening To Him
GA: Remember Dave Every Troll Is A Puzzle
TG: its karkat hes not a puzzle hes an asshole
CG: WHAT.
TG: i said wow karkat youre perfectly in control
CG: RIGHT. MUMBLING TO YOURSELF. CLASSIC STRIDER.
CG: HOW ABOUT YOU CLEAR AROUND THAT CORNER WHILE I SECURE THE CORRIDOR.
TG: sure lets split up just like in all the horror movies
TG: not like anything bad ever happens when people do that
TG: shit thats a pretty nice statue over there
TG: karkat i found a statue of the bovine cyberdemon
CG: WHAT STATUE.
CG: THERE IS NO STATUE ON THIS LEVEL.
TG: this is some cartoon bullshit right there
TG: its not a statue isnt it
CG: WOW GOOD JOB KEEPING AN EYE OUT FOR THE ENEMY.
CG: REALLY GOOD JOB STRIDER.
TG: shut up you didnt see it coming either
TG: ok what do we do what do we do
????: [BLOODTHIRSTY MOOING]
TG: fuck its coming closer its coming closer
CG: INITIATE PLAN B SECTION THREE.
TG: who cares about plan bee section tree i dont think we stand a chance in hell to beat it
TG: how could anyone fight something so magnificent
TG: something so majestic
TG: something that sticks its udders right into your fucking face
TG: i cant believe its doing that on the first date
CG: DAVE STOP HOLDING ME.
CG: CAN YOU CALM YOUR FLIGHTY BRO METER FOR JUST FOR ONE MINUTE.
TG: how can you even fight such reckless beauty karkat you tell me
TG: do you hit it with a sword uh
TG: you cant hit a udder with a sword its like an unspoken rule of the universe
TG: its the ultimate protection this fuckers goddamn invincible
CG: WHATEVER YOU DO.
CG: DON’T LET IT HIT YOU WITH ITS MILK ATTACK.
TG: oh you did not just fucking say it has a milk attack
????: [BLOODTHIRSTY MOOING]
CG: AAAAAH FUCK FUCKING FUCK
TG: GET THOSE UDDERS AWAY FROM ME
GA: Should I Be Worried

TWENTY MINUTES LATER

Half the level was devastated. The floor was trampled, several columns were pulverized, the walls were cracked, dust was falling and the beast laid dead in the center of the room. The massive body had a snoop dog sword plunged in one eye and a sickle in the other, although the final cause of death was a pixelized SORD stuck in the neck at an angle that was both awkward and hard to explain. The creature's corpse was half burried and immobilized by items locked in CARD VAULTS from a weaponized encryption modus. An UNREAL AIR antigravity skateboard hovered near the ceilings. The ground was littered with SMUPPETS that served a dubious battle purpose. Dave and Karkat were collapsed next to one another with their back against a large square column; they were breathing heavily and their clothes were dirty.


CG: WHAT IN THE SWEET ALMIGHTY TAINTCHAFING FUCK WAS THAT
TG: it was a fucking disaster thats what it was
TG: if the scene that happened just now had a music theme itd probably be cotton eyed joe
CG: WHO’S GENIUS IDEA WAS IT TO START THROWING SMUPPETS AND MAKE IT CHARGE EVERYWHERE.
CG: WHY DO YOU EVEN HAVE SMUPPETS IN YOUR INVENTORY.
TG: not like you were doing any fucking better
TG: flailing around with your dumbass sickle like a squirrel freaking out at a tribal rave party
TG: who made you in charge of this meteor again because i dont remember voting for you
CG: I’M YOUR LEADER BECAUSE OF MY INCREDIBLE TACTICAL SKILLS AND MY ABILITY TO MOBILIZE AND MOTIVATE A BUNCH OF USELESS PEOPLE TOWARD A COMMON GOAL.
CG: WHICH IS MORE THAN WE CAN SAY ABOUT YOU.
CG: APPARENTLY YOU KEEP UP THE COOLKID ACT AT ALL TIMES EXCEPT WHEN IT ACTUALLY MATTERS.
CG: IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT YOU THAT ISN’T COMPLETELY FUCKING FAKE.
TG: if theres anything fake here its your fucking skills as a general thats for sure
TG: if playing soldier is supposed to be your jam then how come you suck so much at it
TG: your greatest military achievement was giving yourself fucking insomnia
CG: AS IF YOU'RE A BETTER SOLDIER THAN ME STRIDER.
CG: DONT PRETEND I DIDN’T SAW YOU TRY TO GRAB MY SHOULDERS AND PUT ME IN FRONT OF YOU.
CG: IS THAT YOUR SICK FETISH DAVE YOU USE OTHER PEOPLE AS A SHIELD.
TG: shut up karkat
TG: im not a hero
TG: and neither are you
TG: what happens when you go down here with kanaya
TG: you hide behind her skirt while she goes to town with her chainsaw is that it
GA: Who Told You That
TG: i dont fucking get your karkat
TG: if you get scared so easily then why do you care so much this shitty mission
CG: IT IS A PERFECTLY NORMAL AND DISTINGUISHED IN OUR CULTURE TO PURSUE A MILITARY CAREER.
CG: BUT I WOULDN’T SUPPOSE THAT A MEMBER OF YOUR SHITTY PEACE LOVING SPECIES WOULD UNDERSTAND THESE KINDS OF NOBLE ALTERNIAN THINGS.
TG: noble my fucking ass
TG: youre just obsessed with never showing any sign of weakness
TG: no wonder youre afraid to talk about military crap youre a fucking disgrace
GA: Do Not Stop Dave
GA: Continue Pressuring Karkat Until He Is Emotionally Compromised
GA: You Are Doing A Very Convincing Job At Pretending To Be Angry
GA: You Are Indeed Pretending To Be Angry Are You Not
TG: shut up
CG: I’M NOT EVEN TALKING HOW CAN I SHUT UP.
CG: YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR PROBLEM IS STRIDER.
CG: YOU ALWAYS THINK THAT PEOPLE ARE TALKING AND JUDGING YOU IN YOUR BACK.
CG: I BET THE ONLY THING GOING IN YOUR MIND IS A SINGLE LONG BULLSHIT STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS.
CG: OH NO HOW DO I LOOK. I HOPE I LOOK COOL. EVERYONE PLEASE LOOK AT ME BEING COOL.
CG: THAT’S YOU.
TG: wow

SICK FIRES

TG: you know what your problem is karkat
TG: youre always trying to pretend youre a perfect little alternian role model
TG: well guess what its not going to dye your fucking blood
TG: so why dont you try to deal with your shit like every other assholes out there
CG: OH SURE BECAUSE BEING A MUTANT FREAK IS EASY TO DEAL WITH.
CG: LIKE THAT GREAT TIME AFTER MY FIRST PUPATION WHEN I WENT TO PLAY OUTSIDE WITH THE TROLLS IN THE NEIGHTBORHOOD ONLY TO MENTION MY BLOOD COLOR WITH A DUMB GRIN ON MY FACE.
CG: NEXT THING THAT HAPPENS I HAVE TO HIDE IN A FUCKING WASTE DISPOSAL UNIT FOR THE ENTIRE NIGHT TO AVOID THE IMPERIAL DRONES PATROLLING THE STREETS.
CG: HOW DID MY EXISTENCE FUCKING HAPPEN IN THE FIRST PLACE LUSUSES AREN’T SUPPOSED TO TAKE IN TROLLS WITH PHYSICAL DEFORMITIES I SHOULD HAVE BEEN LEFT TO DIE A LONG TIME AGO.
CG: BUT NO THAT FUCKING CRAB THOUGH IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO PICK ME UP JUST TO GIVE ME A CHILDHOOD ON PERMANENT DEATH ROW.
TG: boo fucking hoo karkat you had a sad childhood well guess what youre just an asshole with an excuse
TG: what the fuck were you even thinking
TG: that you just had to become a threshcutioner and everybody would start clapping their hands and tell you congratulations karkat and the credits for your life would start rolling
TG: is that why you insist so much on being a big shot leader
TG: because youre too dumb to realize youve gone full metal straightjacket with your shitty ambitions
CG: FUCK YOU STRIDER. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A MUTANT.
TG: oh shit here comes karkat with his grand opinions
TG: not like the real reason i wore oversized shades all my childhood while pretending it was ironic was because im a fucking space baby with hellfire eyes
TG: you know what karkat who cares if youre weird on the inside at least your deformity isnt on your fucking face
CG: I DON’T BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE RED EYES.
TG: thats right you dont because im wearing those rad as fuck shades saying no peeking allowed and fuck you for caring
CG: YOUR ALLEDGED ECTOBIOLOGY MUTATION IS PROBABLY AS FAKE AS EVERYTHING YOU SAY OR DO.
TG: my eyes are less fake than your fucking skills as a leader thats for sure
CG: I WANT TO SEE.
TG: dont you dare touch the shades
CG: JUST TAKE THEM OFF.
TG: i will fucking kill you
TG: god damnit let go of me
TG: ok so now you want to wrestle asshole well youre fucking asking for it
GA: Oh My
CG: YOU DON’T STAND A CHANCE.
CG: I DO TWO THINGS AND TWO THINGS ONLY, I DEVASTATE SORRY MOTHERFUCKERS AND I GET SHIT DONE AS AN AWESOME LEADER.
CG: BUT IF YOU WANT TO BE SCHOOLFED A PIPING HOT NUTRITION PLATEAU FULL OF FUCK YOU THEN THE CAFETERIA IS RIGHT OPEN.
GA: Oh Gosh Oh Dear
CG: OUCH.
TG: whats wrong karkat
TG: you like that forehead to forehead pervy shit dont you
CG: THAT WAS A HEADBUTT AND YOU KNOW IT.
TG: that was a headbutt of love
TG: thats how we show affection at the strider household we beat the shit out of each other
TG: welcome to the family karkat i got plenty where that comes from
CG: YOU TALK TOO MUCH AND FIGHT TOO LITTLE.
CG: HOW ABOUT YOU CHOKE ON A KARKAT FLAVORED KNUCKLE SANDWICH.
TG: oof
CG: DO YOU LIKE MY TASTE STRIDER.
GA: Oh Jeeze This Is Entirely Too Much Oral Stimulation
TG: that totally didnt hurt
TG: k so you want to play rough uh
TG: you asked for this were making this happen
CG: GET THOSE HANDS AWAY FROM MY FACE.
TG: you fuckers are all into that face rubbing shit arent you
TG: thats right you take those shooshpaps on your dirty face you little slut
GA: Dave
GA: Dave We Have Made A Terrible Mistake
GA: We Forgot To Add Visual Support To Our Communication System So That I May Monitor The Situation

Chapter Text

TRIGGER WARNINGS: #military_pale, #scenes_of_violence, #oral_stimulation, #forced_hand_holding, #breathplay, #pale_voyeurism, #interracial, #body_fluids

If someone from the human-troll settlement were to walk down the stairs leading to the meteor dungeon, they would stumble on a strange scene. On the usually deserted first floor, in a vast room the size of a dancing hall and supported by square columns, a pissed coolkid and a shouty troll clashed together in a mighty battle, whereas said battle involved a lot of putting hands in each other's face while making "eww" expressions. Soon this debauchery of pale disrespect devolved into savagery as the boys started grappling each other while engaging in a verbal exchange of psychologically devastating blows.

TG: you suck karkat
CG: NO YOU SUCK.
TG: your face is stupid
CG: YOUR SHADES ARE DUMB.
TG: wow rude i cant believe you just said that

The two boys took a brief break from their struggle to wipe the sweat off their face and then promptly started running at full speed toward each others. The coolkid and the shouty troll slammed together with a "oof", then grabbed grabbed each other’s torso and started trying to push each other in the opposite direction, as per the vague rules that somehow establish male dominance in these things. Grunts and gasps echoed in the cavernous room, and for a moment the two boys seemed evenly matched.

After minutes of struggling, whereas Dave was slowly running out of steam, it became apparent that Karkat was only intensifying his efforts, and soon thereafter Karkat had worked himself up into a formidable frenzy. His nostrils flared, his breath snorted violently, his back bent low and his face dripped with sweat as he pushed Dave on the defensive, then forced him to take a take step backward, then another. Before he knew what was happening, Dave found himself wrestled to the ground and pinned underneath Karkat. Dave's mouth remained a thin line while Karkat treated himself to a rare smirk, so close he was to tasting the satisfying victory in his grasp

CG: WHERE IS YOUR COOLKID ACT NOW.
TG: dude
TG: youre trying way too hard
CG: AND YOU’RE A LET DOWN.
CG: IF THIS WAS TAKING PLACE IN AN ALTERNIAN BATTLE ARENA THE CROWD WOULD GO WILD WITH DISMAY AND THEN COMMIT MASS SUICIDE.
TG: wait
TG: you guys have battle arenas seriously

Dave struggled to break free from Karkat's hold but wasted his stamina doing so without gaining any ground. In a last ditch effort, Dave looked around him for a way to get out of his messy situation, and then his eyes settled on one of the object on the ground near him which had been scattered on the floor during the previous battle with the mutated chess monster. In a creative and desperate effort, the coolkid snatched the object in his outstretched hand and Karkat realized only too late what dangerous weapon had found its way into Dave's hand. In one bold move the coolkid firmly held the sexually charged puppet by its suggestive proboscis and viciously smeared its voluptuous textile buttock in Karkat’s immaculate face, prompting a cinematic slow motion of the troll cowering before the brutal rump assault unleashed upon his integrity as a person.

CG: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Dave addressed a quick prayer to the god of asses and took advantage of the situation to break free from Karkat's hold and roll a safe distance away from him. Dave then tried to stand on one knee, only to realize he was panting and too exhausted to fight further, until he noticed that Karkat was also leaning on the floor just as exhausted as he was. The two boys mutually acknowledged the need for taking a break and started exchanging words while entirely out of breath.

TG: what the fuck
TG: since when are you this strong
TG: are you secretly ripped or something
CG: WHAT'S WRONG STRIDER.
CG: DID YOU FORGET TO SPEND TIME.
CG: AT THE ZAHHAK FITNESS GYM OF MAXIMUM STRONGNESS.
TG: are you fucking kidding me
TG: you actually go to that shit
TG: you exhaust yourself every day
TG: trying to manage this meteor by yourself
TG: you dont fucking sleep at night
TG: and then you go to murder gym
TG: are you trying to kill yourself karkat is that it
CG: A GREAT LEADER ALWAYS FIND THE TIME FOR TRAINING.
CG: NOT THAT I WOULD EXPECT A DEGENERATE NOOK SNIFFER TO UNDERSTAND.
TG: god damnit karkat
TG: you need to stop pushing yourself so hard
TG: cant you see this stupid military shit is driving you nuts from the inside
TG: you need to take a goddamn break
CG: HOW ABOUT YOU MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.
TG: not until you calm your tits
CG: I AM PERFECTLY IN CONTROL OF MY NIPPLES.
TG: no karkat
TG: your nipples are constantly lactating pure concentrated anger
TG: youve been serving that shit cold since the day we stepped on this meteor
TG: getting real tired of your milkshakes here
TG: tired of seeing you stuck in a perpetual state of dropping all your fucks
TG: while all you do is keep up your pretend act
TG: that youre a perfect little soldier and leader and alternian role model
TG: or whatever the fucks your problem
TG: how can you sleep at night with all that noise in your head
TG: oops thats right you fucking dont
CG: I DON’T NEED TO JUSTIFY MYSELF TO YOU.
CG: I’VE GOT MORE KARKAT SANDWICHES TO STUFF DOWN YOUR THROAT IF IT’S WHAT YOU'RE ASKING FOR SO NICELY WITH YOUR TIGHTLY PURSED LIPS.
TG: does hearing that you have a problem makes you pissed off
TG: yeah i bet it does it always sucks to hear the truth
TG: thats right come at me bro

The coolkid and the shouty troll slammed into each with all the martial grace of drunken sailors; teeth clenched, shoes screeched on the floor, throaty grunts were exchanged and then Karkat started throwing his weight against Dave with ever-increasing feral rage, his eyes twitching maddeningly in their orbit with the pupils fully dilated.

TG: holy shit
TG: your eyes are like crazy
TG: you need to fucking calm down already
TG: your pissy karkat reactor is about to reach critical mass and kill us all
CG: YOU WHINE TOO MUCH AND FIGHT TOO LITTLE.
GA: Grab His Hands And Hold Them In Place
GA: It Will Dampen The Activity In His Lower Reptilian Brain And Lower His Violent Impulses
CG: WHAT THE VOLCANIC FUCK GEYSER DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING.
CG: STOP DOING THAT.
CG: DAVE STRIDER LET GO OF MY HANDS.
TG: nope dont think so
CG: LET GO OF MY HANDS RIGHT THE FUCK NOW.
TG: trigger warnings motherfucker read them next time
GA: Keep Holding His Hands Firmly And Walk Forward
GA: Karkat Will Instinctively Walk Backward And Away From You
GA: Use This To Your Advantage To Push Him Against The Nearest Wall Or Column
CG: FUCK YOU DAVE STOP TRYING TO GET SO CLOSE TO ME.
CG: GET YOUR MIND OFF THE GUTTER WE’RE SUPPOSED TO FIGHT NOT FULFILL YOUR DEPRAVED PALE FANTASIES.
TG: dont know what youre talking about
TG: im just trying a new wrestling move
TG: not my fault that its super effective
TG: whats wrong karkat youre getting owned
CG: I SAID STOP THIS PERVERTED SHIT IMMEDIATELY.
CG: THIS IS NOT HOW DUEL WORKS.
CG: PALE INTERACTIONS ARE STRICTLY FORBIDDEN IN BATTLE ARENAS.
CG: YOU ARE MAKING A MOCKERY OF THIS FINE INSTITUTION.
TG: wow it really is working
TG: are you even trying karkat
TG: ive got your back against the column
TG: you aint going anywhere bro
GA: Put Your Palms Against His Palms And Interlace Your Fingers Together
GA: Squeeze His Hands As Hard As You Can And Do Not Let Him Go
CG: LET ME GO.
GA: Keep Your Hands Together And Lift Them
GA: Push Them Against The Column To Either Sides Of His Head
CG: YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THE SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF ALL THIS INTIMATE TOUCHING DO YOU.
CG: YOU ARE SUCH AN IGNORAMUS I COULD SHIT MILES OF RAGE SNAKE TO CHOKE YOU TO DEATH.
CG: THIS ISN’T EVEN DOING ANYTHING SO YOU CAN FUCKING STOP ALREADY.
TG: my ass its not doing anything
TG: shit is like dropping an ice bucket on your dumbass angry head
TG: which sounds about goddamn perfect right now if you ask me
GA: Move The Center Of Your Chest Closer To Karkat Now That He Cannot Retreat
CG: GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME.
TG: nah
GA: Keep Karkat Placated Against The Wall
GA: Refuse To Let Him Budge From This Position
GA: Force His Anger To Leak Out Of Him
CG: FUCK YOU STRIDER.
CG: FUCK YOU AND THE SHITTY PIXELIZED SKATEBOARD YOU RODE IN ON.
CG: YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE GETTING INTO YOU MEANINGLESS PUSTULE OF A SHIT RINSING ROCKET PROPELLED SPAZ MAGGOT SPRINGLOADED UP THE ASS OF A PSYCHEDELIC HANDHOLDING PSYCHOPATH.
CG: LET ME GO SO I CAN FILLET YOU WITH MY SICKLE LIKE THE INSEPID GRUBFISTED DOUCHEBAG THAT CRAWLED OUT OF A BLITHERING FECULENT SHITHOLE THAT YOU ARE.
TG: wow when do you find the time to breath
GA: Keep Holding On To Karkat And Ignore Everything He Says
GA: If Karkat Was Truly Unresponsive to Your Pale Advance He Would Be Violently Pushing You Away From Him
GA: The Fact That This Primal Response Is Not Being Triggered Is The Formal Proof That Karkat Is Recognizing Your Pale Attractiveness
GA: If Karkat Was Not Requesting Pacification Then His Body Would Not Immobilize Under Intimate Physical Contact
CG: I DON’T NEED YOUR PATHETIC ATTEMPT OF WORTHLESS PALE GESTURES I’D RATHER WEAR A BUCKET ON MY HEAD AND PERFORATE MY BONE BULGE WITH A CULLING FORK THAN CONSIDER THE TWITCHY EYED VOMIT-INDUCING POSSIBILITY OF BEING PACIFIED BY THE LIKES OF YOU.
GA: Ignore The Stream Of Insults
GA: Karkat Is Simply Funneling His Rage Into Verbal Violence As A Safe Outlet Since His Body Refuses To Lash Out Against You
CG: WHEN I’M DONE WITH YOUR PRIMITIVE NEANDERTHRASHINGS I WILL UNLEASH A MAGNIFICENT CORUSCATING COLUMN OF HOT FUCK YOU DOWN THE PROTEIN CHUTE BEFORE FLIPPING YOUR HUMAN FLESHBAGS RIGHT OFF THIS METEOR.
CG: FOR THE REST OF YOUR PATHETIC LIFE IT WILL JUST BE YOU AND THE HORRORTERRORS MUTUALLY SCREAMING INTO THE DARK VOID AS SLIMY TENDRILS GOES MYTHOLOGICAL ON YOUR SORRY ASS WITH ENDLESS MOLESTATION.
TG: come on dude just admit i beat you at wrestling
TG: you dont have any strength left
TG: its pretty much like fighting a baby
TG: its not even fun just embarrassing
TG: I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR YOUR BUGWINDED TWADDLE STRIDER SO YOU CAN SHOVE IT DOWN YOUR IGNORANCE SHAFT AND GO CHOKE ON A BEHEMOT’S GLISTERING REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS WHILE FONDLING YOUR AUTOEROGENOUS SHAME GLOBES LIKE THE DEGENERATE XENOPHILIAC YOU ARE.
CG: I DON’T GIVE A PUNGENT WHIPPING LUMPSQUIRT ABOUT THE FESTERING DISCHARGE OF PALEBRO SPITTLE THAT YOU THINK YOU CAN SQUEEZE FROM YOUR LEPROUS NOOKSUCKER EXISTENCE.
CG: FUCK. FUCK FUCKING FUCK.
CG: FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.
TG: youre just repeating fuck now
TG: where did all your fancy insults go
GA: Move Your Face Closer To His In Order To Maximize The Mollification Effect
CG: FUCK YOU STAY AWAY FROM ME.
TG: woah dude dont try to bite off my nose
TG: not cool
CG: THEN STOP GETTING SO CLOSE.
CG: YOU CAN GO MOLEST A SPIKEBEAST WITH YOUR CUDDLELUST FOR ALL I CARE I AM NOT WAXING ARDENT DO YOU HEAR ME DAVE STRIDER I DO NOT NEED TO BE PACIFIED.
GA: Try Again To Move Your Head Forward As Soon As Karkat Settles Down GA: Make Sure To Move At A Very Slow And Imperceptible Speed
GA: Attempting Too Quickly To Go For The Forehead To Forehead Position Will Trigger A Violent Reaction
GA: In Which Case You Need To Retreat Backward And Let Karkat Exhaust His Struggle
GA: As Soon As His Dolorous Woes Subside You Can Start Again To Bring Your Head Closer To His
GA: Be Subtle And Patient And Distract Him While Talking
GA: Keep Trying Until You Can Bump Your Forehead Against His Forehead And Keep Him Perfectly Still
CG: STOP GETTING SO CLOSE TO ME.
CG: THE LAST THING I NEED IS TO HAVE YOUR SHITTY REFLECTIVE EYEWEAR TRUSTED INTO MY Cartilaginous nub.
CG: WHY DON’T YOU JUST TAKE THEM OFF ALREADY YOU SPINELESS COWARD.
TG: nice try smartass but the shades stay where they are
CG: DON’T YOU DARE PUT THAT FOREHEAD WHERE I’M THINKING.
CG: STOP THAT AT ONCE.
TG: then why dont you stop me
TG: dude youre all bark and no bite
TG: whos the coward now uh
TG: oh now you want to wrestle again
TG: cmon stop struggling
GA: It Is Normal For Karkat To Have Short Struggling Fits
GA: You Need To Hold Him Down To Convince Him That You Have What It Takes To Handle Him
TG: i got you pinned down buddy
TG: you can cry all night long i aint gonna let you go
TG: not until you learn to chill the fuck out already
CG: LET ME GO.
CG: LET ME GO RIGHT FUCKING NOW.
TG: then calm down already
TG: you hear me asshole
TG: calm
TG: down
CG: YOU CAN’T TELL SOMEONE TO CALM DOWN.
CG: THAT DOESNT MAKE A LICK OF FUCKING SENSE IT ONLY MAKES EVERYTHING WORSE.
CG: IF PEOPLE COULD SIMPLY CHOOSE TO CALM DOWN THEN THEY WOULD ALREADY BE DOING IT WITHOUT NEEDING TO HEAR YOUR GENIUS SUGGESTION RUBBED IN THEIR FACE YOU GIGANTIC MORON.
TG: k so you want to be a smartass
TG: fine then
TG: breathe with me
CG: WHAT.
TG: i said breathe with me
TG: if i cant tell you to calm down then ill make you calm down
TG: dont try to pretend thats not how it works
TG: rose tried to use that shit on me enough times already
CG: YOUR SPECIES DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A PALE QUADRANT YOU BRAINDEAD SHITSTAINS THIS IS CULTURAL APPROPRIATION.
TG: do you even hear the crap youre spewing
TG: nope stop trying to fight it
TG: stay with me karkat
TG: take a deep breath
TG: and let it go
TG: come on little asshole we can do this all night
TG: breathe with me
TG: and let it go
CG: HOW ABOUT YOU TRY TO GET THROUGH YOUR AGGRAVATION SPONGE THAT I AM ALREADY PERFECLY CALM.
CG: THERE ISN’T ENOUGH DISMAY FLUIDS IN THE WORLD TO PROPERLY EXPRESS HARD HOW YOUR BUFFOONERY IS BREAKING THROUGH THE IDIOCY SPECTRUM AND REACHING NEW THEORETICAL LEVELS
CG: LEVELS THAT CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED IN THE METAPHYSICAL REALM WHERE YOUR EXISTENCE REIGNS SUPREME.
CG: CONGRATULATIONS DAVE YOU ARE THE KING OF THE MORONS AND YOUR CHARIOT AWAITS.
TG: i got you karkat
TG: im not letting you break free
TG: you cant get away from my mad luchadore skills
TG: now
TG: breathe with me
TG: just do it
TG: take a deep breath
TG: and let it go
TG: see its not that goddamn hard
CG: WHY DO WE NEED TO BE THIS CLOSE.
TG: because apparently its the only way to fucking keep you still
TG: one more time
TG: breathe with me
TG: and let it go
TG: thats right just like that
CG: I’M NOT GOING TO ENTERTAIN YOUR CONCILIATORY DELUSIONS DO YOU HEAR ME.
TG: you say that but youre breathing with me anyway
TG: do you like pretending to be hard to get
TG: is that your game karkat
CG: I DO NOT PLAY GAMES FUCK YOU FUCK YOOOUUUUGNNHHHNNGG.
TG: nope
TG: stop struggling
TG: not gonna let you go
TG: breathe with me
TG: and let it go
TG: thats right just like that
TG: keep cooling down
TG: wow
TG: even your crazy eyes went back to normal
TG: see that wasnt so fucking hard now was it
CG: NOT THANKS TO YOU STRIDER.
CG: EVERYTHING YOU DO ONLY PISSES ME OFF EVEN MORE.
TG: then how come you calmed the fuck down
TG: shit its true
TG: you cant listen to trolls say you can only look at what they do
TG: everything that you guys say is a crotchload of total bullshit
CG: ARE WE DONE HERE.
TG: nope
CG: WHAT IN THE KNOTTED HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT YOU.
CG: YOU PACIFIED ME THAT MEANS WE’RE FUCKING DONE.
TG: hell no
TG: im not finished with you
TG: not when i finally learned how to cancel your tantrums
TG: if i just have to hold you like that to gain karkat rage immunity then sign me up
TG: that means we can finally continue our little chat from earlier
TG: your pissy moods cant save you now
CG: NO.
CG: NO NO NO FUCKING NO.
CG: LET ME GO YOU HANDHOLDING PSYCHOPATH.
CG: YOU’RE NOT USING MORE ORAL STIMULATION ON ME.
TG: you can bet your ass im gonna suck you dry
TG: were going to milk your angry tits until theres nothing left to squeeze
CG: IS THERE SOMETHING FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG WITH YOUR ALIEN BRAIN.
CG: ARE ALL HUMANS STUCK IN A STATE OF PERMANENT PALELUST.
CG: IS THAT THE ANWER TO THE ULTIMATE RIDDLE OF PARADOX SPACE.
CG: BECAUSE IF IT IS THEN IT SUCKS GARGANTUAN BEHEMOTH TEATS.
TG: not listening dont care
TG: were going to finish what we started
TG: starting by being honest with each other right the fuck now
TG: karkat you know what i want to know
TG: i want to know why you care so much about being leader
TG: why do you insist to do everything by yourself
TG: why do you care so much about it
CG: I DON'T CARE ABOUT IT AT ALL AND THERE IS NOTHING TO DISCUSS.
CG: THE END.
TG: then why are you getting angry
CG: I AM NOT GETTING ANGRY.
TG: yes you are
TG: you can say whatever the fuck you want
TG: its not gonna hide whats on your face
TG: karkat
TG: why do you care about so much about being leader
CG: LET ME FUCKING GO.
CG: LET ME GNNNHHHFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.
TG: you see this shit karkat
TG: we barely started talking and youre already bringing out the crazy eyes
TG: keep struggling bro
TG: i dont even care
TG: im just gonna calm you again
TG: we can do this as many time as it takes
TG: were gonna hold hands all the way down the rabbit hole called friendship

Chapter Text

In an effort of willpower, Karkat mustered all the strength in his body, squeezed his eyes shut and started pushing forward like a beast of burden. Karkat’s hands unstuck from the column along, then his back, then Karkat placed his foot at an angle on the wall to leverage himself. With a hefty grunt, Karkat managed to force Dave to take a step backward and then stopped, panting like a cornered prey, his hands shaking feverishly and his face blushing red. Then it was over. Karkat’s stamina depleted all at once and his body turned soft, Dave pushed forward and slammed Karkat back against against the column. Karkat snarled and stared defiantly at Dave, his chest rising and falling as if he had been abruptly stopped in the middle of a sprint.

CG: FUCK.
CG: YOU.
TG: give up dude
TG: youre just exhausting yourself for nothing
TG: you know we can stay here for as long as it takes right
TG: you said it yourself
TG: a monster walks into this level every eight days
TG: and we already went power ranger on the monster of the week
TG: we got the entire place to ourselves
TG: heck we could spend the entire night here if we wanted
TG: we have all the time in the world to deal with your pissy shit
CG: WRONG.
CG: I DON'T HAVE TIME TO WASTE ON OUR DEPRAVED PALE GAMES THERE IS IMPORTANT LEADER WORK TO BE DONE ON THIS METEOR FULL OF BLITHERING GLOBEFONDLING ASSMAGGOTS.
TG: fuck that shit
TG: you have nothing to do thats more important than doing this right now
TG: and you fucking know it
TG: we both know it
CG: YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ME YOU DUMBFUCKING CRETINOUS SNIFFNODE.
CG: WHY DO YOU KEEP GIVING A WRITHING BUCKET OF STEAMING SHIT ABOUT SOMEONE YOU DON'T EVEN UNDERSTAND.
TG: fuck your karkat
TG: dont cry about being misunderstood when you dont fucking talk
TG: if you have anything to say then you can do it right the fuck now
TG: im waiting
TG: not going to say anything uh
TG: just gonna stay there and stare at me
TG: aight then lets turn back the clock on this shizzle
TG: you said that military shit is part of your cultural values
TG: because apparently alternians get their jollies off from playing soldiers
TG: and you know what karkat
TG: fine whatever i dont care
TG: its not that fucking weird
CG: YOU SEE.
CG: THERE’S NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT.
CG: SO HOW ABOUT YOU LET ME STRAP ON MY ANGER POWERED JETPACK SO I CAN BLAST THE FUCK AWAY FROM ALL THIS ROWDY DOUCHEBAGGING NONSENSE .
TG: youre wrong karkat
TG: theres one last bullshit about you that i dont understand
CG: NO THERE FUCKING ISN'TGNNNHHHFF.
TG: nope stop struggling
TG: youre staying right here with me
TG: you know what i want to know karkat
TG: i want to know why you still care about alternian cultural crap
TG: that stopped being relevant a longass time ago when your planet exploded
TG: your troll friends grew up on alternia too but theyre all fine
TG: youre the only one who cant let go of this shit
TG: which doesnt make any fucking sense
TG: because you dont even like that alternian shit
TG: thats right you fucking dont
TG: so why do you keep forcing yourself to be the leader on this meteor
TG: if you arent doing this for yourself
TG: then who are you doing it for
TG: tell me karkat who exactly are you trying to impress with your shit
CG: WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO KNOW.
TG: because my heart is crying for you
TG: true fucking fact
CG: SCREW YOU DAVE.
CG: YOU JUST WANT TO TWIST THE SICKLE IN THE WOUND.
CG: IS THAT WHAT YOU GET OFF TO YOU SICK FREAK.
TG: the only thing i get off to is motherfucking friendship
CG: LET ME GO RIGHT NOW YOU FUCKSHITTING DOUCHEWAD.
TG: you cant run away from this legendary infinite hug
CG: FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.
TG: come on tell me karkat
TG: who are you trying to impress
CG: YOU DONT EVEN CARE.
CG: NOBODY CARES.
CG: I CAN’T FUCKINGGGGGGNNNNNNNNHHHHHHHHHHH
TG: stay with me karkat
TG: i got you dude
TG: thats right breath with me
TG: breath
TG: and let it go
TG: im not letting you go
TG: look
TG: listen to me
TG: every trolls on this meteor know about your blood color
TG: and you know what karkat
TG: they dont give a shit about your blood color
TG: so youre obviously not going crazytit just to impress them
TG: so what else is left
CG: STOP IT.
CG: I DON’T WANT TO FUUUUCK SHUT UP JUST FUCKING STOP TALKING.
TG: and dont try to pretend its about pleasing your ancestors
TG: i know for a fact that you dont believe in that crap
TG: so what exactly is left karkat you tell me
TG: who are you trying to impress
CG: YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND.
TG: then make me understand

Dave patiently waited for an answer. As his only response, Karkat threw angry looks at Dave, then started breathing furiously through his nose and then, to Dave's surprise, Karkat started slamming his own head against the column behind him, as if to chastise himself for what he wanted to say, or perhaps as an effort to drive his thoughts out of his mind. Dave quickly closed the distance between their bodies and pressed his forehead forwards until Karkat's head was immobilized against the wall, which only pissed off Karkat even more. Each time that Karkat was deprived of an outlet to express his boiling anger, the more it increased in pressure inside of him. Soon Karkat looked on the verge on saying something explosive and meaningful about himself, something that he had been holding back for too long and refused to let go, and his mouth started trembling. Karkat immediately forced it shut, giving the impression of someone who had taken a bite out of a raw lemon and wanted to pretend as hard as possible that he was entirely unaffected. Dave offered no comment nor any reaction to this spectacle. His mouth stayed a perfect straight line. Karkat seemed to be driven especially furious by this neutral reaction, as if Karkat was begging for an excuse to be angry and outraged and thus continue to refuse to continue the conversation. Yet still the coolkid remained impassive as if he knew Karkat's game and knew he only had to wait for him to crack.

TG: talk to me karkat
TG: make me understand

Dave felt something different in the air this time. Karkat stopped struggling with him all at once and, instead, became curiously interested in his reflective shades, in which Karkat could see his own mirror image as if he was struggling against himself. Karkat blinked, an unclear emotion passed on his face and something clicked inside of him. Once again Karkat squeezed Dave's hands and started pushing himself away from the column, but something was different this time. This time Karkat was talking at the same time as he pushed, and he was talking about himself, as if there was a suddden disconnection between his body and his head and the troll could conditionally speak his heart’s content as long as his body was giving free reign to express the internal violence that came with every word. Dave remained impassive, absorbed Karkat's struggles and listened to him.

CG: YOU CAN'T UNDERSTAND.
CG: YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND WHAT IT’S LIKE.
CG: TO ALWAYS BLAME ALL YOUR PROBLEMS.
CG: ON A PHYSICAL FLAW THAT YOU CAN’T FIX.
CG: IT'S SO EASY TO CONVINCE YOURSELF.
CG: THAT THE WORLD IS FILLED WITH DUMBASS SUPERFICIAL PEOPLE.
CG: WHO CAN ONLY MISJUDGE YOU FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS.
CG: SO YOU CAN ALWAYS PRETEND. CG: TO BE A VICTIM OF SHALLOW THINKING.
CG: AND NEVER STOP TO CONSIDER FOR ONE SECOND.
CG: THAT MAYBE.
CG: JUST MAYBE.
CG: PEOPLE CAN HAVE A VALID REASON TO HATE YOU.
TG: karkat youre not making any sense
TG: what are you trying to say
TG: i want to understand you but you need to give me something
CG: WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY IS.
CG: SOMETIMES THE TRUTH IS MUCH MORE SIMPLE THAN WE THINK.
CG: AND THE TRUTH IS.
CG: MY REAL PROBLEM WAS NEVER MY DISGUSTING MUTANT BLOOD.
CG: BECAUSE EVEN IF MY BLOOD COLOR WAS PERFECTLY NORMAL.
CG: I WOULD STILL DESERVE TO BE CULLED.
TG: the fuck are you saying now
TG: isnt your blood color like
TG: your entire goddamn problem
TG: getting culled means dying right
TG: why would you deserve to die if it has nothing to do with your blood
CG: YOU SEE DAVE.
CG: YOU DON’T GET IT.
CG: NOBODY FUCKING DOES.
CG: WHEN IT’S ALWAYS BEEN SO OBVIOUS.
CG: I SHOULDN’T NEED A REASON TO BE PURSUING A MILITARY CAREER.
CG: BECAUSE IT'S THE KIND OF THINGS THAT A PROPER ALTERNIAN IS SUPPOSED TO ENJOY.
CG: I SHOULD BE ASSUMING THE POSITION OF LEADER AND LOVING EVERY SECOND OF IT.
CG: I SHOULD BE RUTHLESS TO THE TIP OF THE HORNS WITH A BIG FUCKING SMILE ON MY FACE.
CG: THAT’S WHAT A GOOD TROLL WOULD DO.
CG: BUT LOOK AT ME DAVE.
CG: DO YOU SEE ME FUCKING SMILING EVERY DAY.
CG: WHEN THINGS GET TOO HARD I HAVE TO HIDE IN MY ROOM TO WATCH ROMCOMS.
CG: HOW CAN I POSSIBLY BE RUTHLESS BY NATURE.
TG: keep talking
TG: i need to hear everything from your own goddamn voice
TG: tell me karkat whats wrong with not being ruthless
CG: DO I NEED TO SPELL EVERYTHING TO YOU.
CG: I’M A COMPLETE FAILURE AT THINKING LIKE A PROPER ALTERNIAN.
CG: SINCE MY PUPATION I WANTED TO SHOW THAT I WAS NORMAL LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.
CG: I WANTED TO PROVE TO ALL THE OTHER TROLLS THAT I SHOULDN’T BE JUDGED AS A SHITTY MEMBER OF MY SPECIES JUST BECAUSE OF MY PHYSICAL ABNORMALITY.
CG: BUT THEY WERE RIGHT ABOUT ME.
CG: IT’S NOT JUST MY BODY THAT IS AN ABOMINATION.
CG: IT’S ALL OF ME.
CG: MY LIFE HAS BEEN NOTHING BUT A STRUGGLE
CG: TO KICK MY SHITTY MENTALITY IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
CG: UNTIL I FINALLY START LIKING THE RIGHT THINGS.
CG: TELLING MYSELF THAT I WANTED TO BECOME A THRESHCUTIONER.
CG: CONVINCING MYSELF THAT I WANTED THE BURDEN OF BEING A LEADER.
CG: FORCING MYSELF TO THINK AND ACT AS IF I WAS A PROPER TROLL BEING.
CG: EXPECTING THAT ONE DAY SOMETHING WILL MAGICALLY CLICK INSIDE OF ME AND IT’LL BECOME TRUE.
CG: BUT ITS NOT HAPPENING DAVE IT FUCKING ISN’T.
CG: AND THE SECOND I STOP TRYING.
CG: THE SECOND I STOP TRYING IT PROVES THAT EVERYONE WHO JUDGED ME BY MY BLOOD WAS RIGHT ABOUT ME ALL ALONG.
CG: TELL ME DAVE WHAT ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO.
CG: WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT YOU’RE UGLY BOTH ON THE INSIDE AND ON THE OUTSIDE.
TG: the shits you say i swear
TG: youre not ugly karkat youre a goddamn calvin klein underwears model
TG: both on the inside and the outside
TG: it doesnt fucking matter what the trolls on your planet would think about you
TG: theres nothing wrong with you

Dave strengthened his resolve and, with a hefty grunt, forced Karkat's back against the column. In one final stretch, Dave slowly lifted both of their shaking hands and slammed them back against the wall, to either side of Karkat's head, and Karkat threw back such angry looks that Dave half-expected his shades to start melting.

TG: i got you bro stay with me
TG: theres nothing wrong with you alright
TG: you have to get this shit out of your head
TG: theres nothing wrong with you karkat
CG: YOU DON'T FUCKING GET IT DO YOU.
CG: THERE IS NOTHING GOOD ABOUT ME AS A TROLL.
CG: NOT A SINGLE THING.
CG: IN ALTERNIAN CULTURE IT MEANS I DESERVE TO FUCKING DIE.
CG: BUT YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND THAT SINCE YOU’RE A FUCKING WORTHLESS HUMAN.
TG: maybe youre right karkat
TG: maybe i cant understand a completely different alien culture
TG: but what i do understand is that there isnt anyone out there to kill you
TG: who cares if you suck at being a jerk from jerk planet
TG: youre not on alternia anymore
TG: its over karkat
TG: its been over a long time ago
TG: you already won this fight
TG: its over

Dave forced his head forward to fully immobilize Karkat against the column's wall once again. For a while both boys said nothing, sucking and expulsing air so close to each other's face while the excitement of the struggle slowly trickled down.


TG: its over karkat
TG: you dont have to do this anymore
TG: the guys who would judge you for being a shitty troll are all dead
TG: theyre all dead but its like you still drive yourself mad trying to prove them wrong
TG: how long are you gonna live your life just to win an argument with ghosts in your head
TG: you really are crazy karkat you know that
TG: karkat say something

Dave waited for a response but received none, then pushed himself away from the wall to take a good look at Karkat. Dave’s mouth dropped open. There was something absurd happening, something that was right in front of him and which he should have noticed several minutes ago. Karkat was staring at the floor. Karkat motherfucking Vantas was keeping his mouth shut and staring at the floor.

TG: karkat
TG: karkat look at me
TG: not gonna say anything uh
TG: when its about giving personal advices to other people you can never shut up for one second
TG: but when its about yourself you just wallow in defeat is that it
CG: DO YOU THINK THIS IS EASY FOR ME.
CG: DO YOU THINK I CAN EVEN THINK STRAIGHT RIGHT NOW.
TG: well its not fucking easy for me either
TG: what am i supposed to do with you
TG: you know i cant leave you like that
TG: you know what pisses me off karkat
TG: you know what pisses me off the most about this
TG: its all those shitty stories that keep feeding us bullshit
TG: about how you just need to need to talk about your problems
TG: and then theyll magically go away or something
TG: well it doesnt fucking works
TG: it doesnt matter if you talk about the past its still there and it still hurts
TG: so then what was the goddamn point of telling all these stories
TG: big fucking waste of time if you ask me
TG: come on karkat say something
TG: anything at all

Dave attempted to nudge Karkat with his chin to catch his attention (yo, karkat, yo cmon snap out of it) and Karkat's only response was a low grumble, something that might have started out as a stream of insults in his head but only came out as a sad growl, after which Karkat remained silent and lifeless. Dave looked at Karkat worryingly; Karkat's head was wobbling, his eyes were drooping and his chin nearly pressed down against his neck. Dave had the strange feeling that Karkat was falling down a deep hole, and then immediately placed his head back against Karkat's to support him. For a while Dave and Karkat said nothing, their forehead rested on each other in a downward arch, their hands firmly interlaced and pushed against the wall, and then Karkat started quivering as if he was standing against a freezing wind in his bare blothes. Dave started speaking clearly and his vibrating voice cut through the thick atmosphere like a knife.

TG: k
TG: look
TG: listen to me
TG: youre not ugly karkat
TG: youre not ugly and you dont deserve to die
TG: but saying that crap doesnt making any difference to you isnt it
TG: whats the point of talking to someone who cant look at you in the eyes
TG: i can repeat myself forever like a broken record
TG: i bet it wont change a single thing about how you think
TG: the second i stop holding you down youll go back to your self loathing bullshit
TG: and the worse thing is that i cant get mad at you about it
TG: because that doesnt help at all
TG: it only makes things worse
TG: but then what am i supposed to do with you
TG: i know im not a genius
TG: im like the self appointed master of the obvious
TG: going on a personal quest to point at shit thats right in front of him
TG: all im doing is listening to your stupid shit and throwing it back at you
TG: but what do you do when its not enough anymore
TG: when theres nothing i can say that that will reach out to you
TG: its written all over your face right now
TG: while you stare at your shoes like its the new heroin
TG: nothing that im saying is going to stick
TG: it never sticks with you karkat
TG: isnt it
TG: shit goes straight from one ear to another
TG: never knocks on the right door where it fucking matters
TG: you know what karkat
TG: fine you win
TG: i give up
GA: No Dave You Cannot Stop Now
GA: It Was Just Getting Good
GA: And I Just Provided Myself With A Bowl Of Popcorn For The Show
TG: i said i give up
TG: i give up on my mad irony credentials starting right the fuck now
TG: im going to look like a total dumbass but i dont care
TG: im going to do the thing
CG: YOU ARE GOING TO DO WHAT.
TG: im going to do the stupid thing i came here to do in the first place
CG: WE CAME HERE TO KILL A FUCKTARDED MOOBEAST MONSTER REMEMBER.
GA: Perhaps You Could Describe To Me All The Things That You Are Going To Do To Karkat
GA: In Details Preferably
TG: oh shut up
CG: WHAT.
TG: nah not you
CG: YOU’RE FUCKING WEIRD DAVE YOU KNOW THAT.
GA: Dave What Is It That You Want To Try To Do With Karkat
TG: look
TG: i wish i didnt have to do this stupid things
TG: because its weird as fuck
TG: i wish i could just tell you a bunch of magic words that make everything alright
TG: but its obvious youre fuckdeep in narnia and need a wakeup call
GA: Dave I Am Not In This Narnia Place I Am Inside My Room
TG: im talking about him
CG: WHO.
TG: you
CG: WHAT THE SHITMUFFIN ASSCRADDLING FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT.
GA: Karkat He Is Saying That He Is Going To Try Something Different
TG: you know he cant hear you right
CG: WHO CAN’T HEAR ME.
TG: holy fucking shit now i remember why i hate these glasses

Chapter Text

TG: alright shut up both of you

Dave abruptly let go of the double handholding and Karkat looked lost and confused by the sudden loss of intimate contact, as if he wished that it would have gone on forever. Karkat rubbed his thumb against the palm of his hand, and for a second he appeared on the verge of angrily ordering Dave to keep holding hands with him and never stop, but then his stubbornness got the better of him. Dave started pacing across the room, picking up objects on the ground here and there, and for a while Karkat kept his mouth shut and fumed silently against the column, his eyes fixated on Dave.

CG: DAVE STRIDER YOU REALLY ARE A LOONEYBLOCK SACK OF SHIT YOU KNOW THAT.
TG: just shut up for a sec
TG: its obvious that talking with you is a waste of time
TG: its never gonna change a thing about how you think
TG: so im gonna try to do something different alright
TG: its a really stupid idea and ill look like a dumbass but i dont care
CG: JUST WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT.
TG: im saying that im going to do the thing that you need the most
TG: whatever the fuck that means
TG: im going the full mile with this shit
TG: which means i pretty much lost my mind
TG: but nobody can blame me for not trying

Dave finished picking up the objects he had been looking for and then walked over to Karkat. With a perfectly expressionless face, Dave dumped next to Karkat the content of his Sylladex and Karkat looked apprehensively at the pile of smuppet. Without waiting for his opinion, Dave grabbed Karkat by the shoulders, turned him around and pushed him backward into the soft pile.

CG: YOU CAN’T JUST PUSH A TROLL INTO A PILE YOU IMBECILIC DOUCHECRUMPET YOU HAVE TO PASSIVELY INVITE THEM UNTIL THEY APPROACH YOU ON THEIR OWN.
TG: do i look like jade to you
TG: im not a troll whisperer so fuck that shit
TG: you should be happy that im trying so hard in the first place
TG: im bursting my ass jumping through all the ethnic hoops of your weird alien friendship rituals
TG: you see this man
TG: i even brought a shitty pile for us to sit in
CG: IT IS THE MOST OUTRAGEOUSLY OFFENSIVE PACIFICATION NEST I HAVE EVER SEEN.
TG: its a fucking mystery why you guys are obsessed with piles but whatever
TG: the point is that now we have one and its awesome
TG: were going to do this alternian style
TG: which means you dont have any excuse to run away

Dave settled himself in the pile in front of Karkat, who whined and protested a lot, and Dave grabbed Karkat by the shoulders to keep him still.

TG: k
TG: now close your eyes
CG: WHY THE FUCK WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT.
TG: karkat plz
TG: im doing my part so you need to do yours
TG: i dropped my awesome irony in order to look like a supreme idiot
TG: in exchange how about you stop being an asshole for like ten seconds
TG: thats all i ask
TG: just close your eyes and shut up for ten seconds while i do my thing
TG: then we can both laugh at me for being a dumbass and call it a day
CG: TELL ME ONE REASON WHY I SHOULD GIVE YOU A CHANCE.
TG: cmon karkat stop being lame
TG: you taunted me to pale seduce you remember
TG: youre pretty much obligated to give me a chance
TG: its not like you have to do anything hard
TG: all you have to do is sit there and close your eyes
TG: and if my stupid idea doesnt work
TG: then im gonna leave you alone for good
TG: how does that sound is that a deal
TG: we just do this one thing and then were done
CG: FINE.
CG: YOU HAVE EXACTLY TEN SECONDS OF MY TIME.
CG: PRAY THAT YOU CAN MAKE IT COUNT FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR MISERABLE EXISTENCE.
TG: man
TG: why do you have to be like that
TG: well at least youre closing your eyes
TG: aight now stay like that
TG: no peeking allowed
TG: oh and give me your hand
TG: karkat i said give me your hand
TG: fine im just gonna go and grab it
CG: DO YOU EVER STOP BEING LEWD.
TG: do you ever stop being weird as fuck
TG: k
TG: now dont move
TG: and keep your eyes closed

Dave felt his heartbeat rapidly increase in anticipation of what he was about to do while he held Karkat's hand and looked at his face for several seconds, until he was quite convinced that Karkat was intent on keeping his eyes closed. Dave then exhaled until his lungs were entirely emptied, then filled his lungs again and steeled himself, as if he was about to partake in some uncleanly business and he wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. Dave took out his broken sword from his sylladex, pressed the unnaturally angular tip of the blade against Karkat’s palm and sharply flicked his wrist.

CG: OUCH.
CG: DID YOU JUST CUT ME WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR DYSFUNCTION.

Dave felt a wave of anger swell through Karkat's body and irradiate from every pore of his skin until the air felt electrified. Dave’s heart started pounding and the hair on the back of his neck started rising; his every battle instinct told him to expect Karkat to pounce on him and murder him. Dave felt like a naive kid who had knocked over a beehive with a stick and who was about to discover what buzzing wrath had just been incurred. Dave squeezed his eyes shut in anticipation of the tackle and his hand firmly gripped the handle of his broken sword.

TG: oops
TG: my bad
TG: i guess it was a bit too much
TG: is it too late to ask you to not kill me
TG: karkat plz dont kill me
TG: its not cool to kill your bro
TG: hum
TG: karkat
TG: arent you going to move

Dave slightly opened one of his eyes and peeked in front of him. Karkat was shaking. Karkat was boiling with volcanic anger and yet he was somehow holding it back, or rather, Dave had the strange impression that Karkat’s anger was turned inward and against himself. The troll was looking downward while biting his lips, his hands were gripping his knees and his neck muscles were twitching. He was making no sounds save from sucking in air in half breaths that were interrupted by gasping. Perhaps more important of all, Karkat he was defensively holding his wounded hand clutched against his chest. Dave's broken sword fell to the ground with a loud clatter that echoed through the vast chamber and then Dave grabbed Karkat's arms with both hands.

TG: its alright man
TG: its gonna be fine were almost done
TG: we just have one last thing to do
CG: WHAT COULD YOU POSSIBLY WANT MORE FROM ME YOU PSYCHOPATH.
TG: show me your wound

Dave felt Karkat recoil in his arms and violently exhale all the air in his lungs as if he had just been sucker punched in the diaphragm.

CG: WHAT.
TG: i said show me your wound
CG: NO.
TG: cmon dude
TG: you just have to do this one thing
CG: FUCK YOU.
TG: were almost done
TG: im not asking for a lot
TG: i just want to see your wound karkat
TG: can you show it to me
CG: GO CHOKE ON A BILLION FUCKS.
CG: I DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT WHAT YOU W-WANT.

Dave felt the shift in Karkat’s voice although he didn't understand it at all. It almost looked like Karkat was starting to feel afraid. It gave Dave the impression that Karkat had fallen on the ground and then found himself face-to-face with a venomous snake, hissing in attack mode with its fangs barred, except in this case Dave was the snake. Karkat was not attacking Dave, he was not running anyway and he was not erupting in insults. He was petrified with terror, as if any sudden movement would precipitate the situation to worse, and he was protectively clutching his wounded hand against his chest and wrapped his good hand around it. For a while Karkat squeezed his mouth shut and said nothing, as if he hoped that Dave would get up and leave if he ignored him long enough.

TG: karkat
TG: i want to see your hand
CG: STOP FUCKING WITH ME.
TG: karkat why are you hiding it
CG: I’M NOT HIDING ANYTHING.
TG: yes you are
CG: NO I'M NOT.
CG: YOU'RE IMAGINING THINGS.
TG: karkat youre hiding your hand right now
CG: WHAT ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT.
TG: your hand
TG: the hand that you are holding against your chest
TG: the one i cut a little with my sword
TG: like five seconds ago
CG: YES.
CG: WHAT ABOUT IT.
TG: show it to me
CG: NO.
CG: GO AWAY.
TG: i want to see it
CG: I SAID NO.
TG: why cant you show it
CG: FUCK YOU DAVE YOU KNOW WHY I CAN’T.

Karkat immediately regretted saying too much and said nothing more. Dave prodded Karkat with more questions and Karkat proceeded to ignore them while shaking his head and forcing his eyes shut. Dave sighed, gripped Karkat's shoulders and squeezed them tight, and Dave realized that Karkat was doing more than just trembling. He was starting to shake uncontrollably. Dave immediately pulled Karkat closed to him.

TG: dude
TG: yo
TG: are you ok
TG: i didnt cut you too hard right
TG: i mean this shit happened really fucking fast
TG: all i did was put the tip of the blade on your palm and then twist my hand
TG: now im like
TG: maybe i put too much pressure on the sword
TG: maybe i cut you real bad
TG: karkat i want to make sure youre alright
TG: im getting kinda worried here

Dave felt Karkat twitch in his arms, as if Karkat had been mentally disarmed for a fraction of a second and had decided to show him his hand, followed by immediately changing his mind and going back on the defensive, but not quick enough to completely hide his impulse from Dave. The coolkid instinctively realized what it meant: Karkat's puzzle had clicked. For a second, there was something in Dave's words that made the right gears shift into place, and Dave needed to repeat what he just did in order to hear more clicks and bring Karkat slightly closer to unlocking.

TG: im worried
TG: karkat
TG: i said im worried
TG: i really am
TG: one hundred percent true fact
TG: i just cant help being worried right now
TG: im really totally mega super duper worried like mad
TG: im so so so worried
TG: worried about you
TG: btw
TG: in case that wasnt clear
TG: im dropping my worries all over the place
TG: im basically drowning over here
TG: im fuckdeep in worries because of you

Dave could see that Karkat had difficulties breathing. if Dave didn’t knew better, he would almost think that Karkat was starting to have a panic attack.

TG: karkat im worried
CG: NO YOU’RE NOT.
CG: STOP REPEATING THAT.
CG: YOU’RE NOT FOOLING ANYONE.
TG: but i really am worried
TG: dude youre hurt in front of me
TG: so of course i wanna make sure youre alright
TG: i just wanted to make a small cut
TG: its all i wanted to do
TG: but it all happened to fast
TG: and now im thinking
TG: maybe my hand slipped
TG: maybe i made made a mistake and i hurt you real bad
CG: I'M FINE.
CG: IT’S JUST A SMALL CUT ON THE PALM I CAN FEEL IT.
TG: but you wont show it to me
TG: of course im gonna be worried
CG: STOP SAYING IT.
TG: i cant help it dude
TG: what am i supposed to do
TG: the more you hide your hand the more im freaking out
TG: at this point im convinced that i hurt you really bad by mistake
CG: I TOLD YOU I’M FINE.
TG: i bet youre not
TG: maybe i cut you super deep and theres blood everywhere
CG: IT'S JUST A SCRATCH.
TG: fuck maybe i lopped off a finger or two
CG: NO YOU DIDN’T.
TG: oh shit maybe i took off your entire goddamn hand
CG: STOP DOING THAT.
TG: maybe youre hiding a bloody stump
TG: maybe youre bleeding to death in front of me and im just sitting here like a jackass
CG: MY HAND IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU DUMBASS.
TG: really then show it to me
TG: you see this shit
TG: you cant show it to me
TG: how am i supposed to believe that youre fine
CG: STOP DOING THIS.
CG: STOP FUCKING WITH MY HEAD.
CG: I’M NOT HURT.
CG: I AM COMPLETELY FUCKING FINE.
TG: then why dont you show me your hand
CG: I DON'T CARE ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK.
CG: SO JUST STOP ALREADY.
TG: i cant stop
TG: not when i dont know if you need help
TG: what do you want me to do
TG: just stand up and forget that youre hurt
TG: you know i cant do that
TG: i cant leave a wounded soldier behind

Once again Dave felt Karkat recoil in his arm as if he had punched him in the feelings again, and this time it had ripped open an old wound.

CG: STOP.
CG: JUST STOP RIGHT NOW.
CG: I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND IT’S NOT GOING TO WORK
TG: dude
TG: you know i cant leave you behind
TG: i cant let you go back on the battlefield until i know youre alright
CG: THERE IS NO BATTLEFIELD YOU DUMBASS.
TG: yes there is
TG: youve been walking on the battlefield all your life
TG: dont you think its about time you take a break
CG: I CAN’T DO THIS.
TG: come on man
TG: its safe here
TG: theres no one here but us
TG: its time to take a break from all the fighting
CG: I SAID I CAN’T DO THIS DAVE.
TG: youre gonna be fine
TG: you made it this far didnt you
TG: just sit down for a second
TG: take a deep breath
TG: let me take a good look at you
TG: see if we can patch that nasty wound youve been carrying for so long
TG: But i cant help you if you wont show it to me.
CG: YOU KNOW I CAN’T.
TG: and you know i cant leave you either
TG: not until i know youre alright
TG: because im worried
CG: STOP FUCKING LYING.
CG: NOBODY IS WORRIED ABOUT ME.
CG: NOBODY AT ALL.
TG: i am
CG: NO YOU’RE NOT.
TG: im really fucking worried about losing my bro
CG: HEMOSPECTRUM MUTANTS CAN NEVER HAVE ALLIES.
CG: YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT BROTHERHOOD MEANS.
TG: yes i do
TG: karkat this isnt just about you
TG: its about me too
TG: i lost a brother before and you know what it fucking sucked
TG: i cant let it happen again
TG: so i need to know if youre gonna make it
TG: im not asking to do this for yourself
TG: do it for me
TG: do it so i can stop worrying so much
TG: show me that youve only got a scratch
TG: take your time
TG: keep your eyes closed
TG: clench your teeth
TG: take a deep breath
TG: and just move your hand
TG: put your hand in front of you
TG: and open the palm
TG: thats all it takes
TG: im gonna hold you man
TG: youre not going anywhere
TG: we both know youre gonna be fine
TG: your wound is nothing youre pretty much invincible
TG: theres nothing that can bring you down
TG: but i need to see it for myself
TG: otherwise i cant go on anymore not without you
TG: thats it keep moving
TG: youre gonna be fine
TG: keep moving your hand
TG: put it right there between us
TG: thats great
TG: just open it
TG: youre almost there
TG: you know im not going to open it for you
TG: i cant do that you need to do it yourself
TG: thats right take a deep breath
TG: see its just a scratch
TG: theres barely any blood
TG: hum
TG: dude
TG: karkat
TG: karkat are you alright
TG: are you faking this
TG: cmon stop that its not funny anymore
TG: karkat whats wrong with you
TG: shit shit shit
TG: kanaya
TG: kanaya are you still there
TG: come on say kanaya put down the fucking popcorn
TG: say something you stalking freak i know youre out there just answer me
GA: What Is The Matter Dave
TG: kanaya i think karkat is broken
GA: Again
GA: This Seems To Happen Awfully Often With You
TG: stop fucking around this is serious
TG: i think theres something wrong with karkat like hes stick or something
TG: his whole body is shaking like mad and his eyes are closed
TG: hes holding me tight but it doesnt sounds like he can hear me
TG: im not sure if its related to pale shit i mean hes not crying or anything
GA: This Is Not Uncommon
GA: Many Trolls Do Not Show Lachrymal Symptoms During Pale Intercourse
TG: look karkat is basically having a seizure in front of me and i think its slowly getting worse
TG: am i supposed to do how do i make it stop it
GA: Hold Karkat In Your Arms And Squeeze Him Tightly Against Your Body
TG: are you trying to say karkat has a hugging fever or some shit
TG: fine im doing it alright im holding him
TG: i think
TG: i think its helping
TG: hes not getting better but hes not getting worse either
TG: hes just kinda stuck in fever mode while I bear hug him
TG: kanaya whats wrong with him
GA: His Pale Quadrant Has Been Overloaded With Stimulation Causing His Emotional Matrix To Become Unstable
TG: you weird fuckers and your crazy alien words
TG: just tell me the truth i broke karkat isnt it
TG: i went too far with my dumbass roleplay shit and now hes broken
TG: it would almost be funny if it didnt look painful as fuck
TG: like his head is full of electricity and its all my fault
TG: what is he thinking about right now what is happening in his head
GA: His Emotive Memory Is Being Reset
TG: what the hell does that even mean
TG: are you saying hes remembering old crap that he forgot
GA: More Or Less
GA: Karkat Is Not Remembering Any New Information About Past Events
GA: He Is Experiencing Emotions Which He Should Have Felt During Past Events But Which He Has Repressed Until Now
GA: Karkat Had Probably Forgotten Entirely About These Repressed Emotions Until Now
GA: To The Point That He Only Felt A Vague Pale Urge In The Back Of His Head Which He Did Not Fully Understood
TG: are you really saying that this stuff is normal for trolls
TG: why the fuck is that a thing
GA: Our Species Has A Very Rigid Mental Structure
GA: It Is Part Of Troll Nature To Repress Unnecessary Feelings During Emotionally Stressful Situations In Order To Continue Operating As If Nothing Happened
GA: It Is These Buried Emotions Which Are Currently Catching Up To Karkat All At The Same Time And Overloading His Pale Quadrant
TG: shit
TG: so basically his whole brain is crying now
TG: look karkat im sorry i gave you feeling epilepsy
TG: what do i do kanaya how do i stop feeling epilepsy
GA: Karkat May Not Answer To Your Voice But He Will Instinctively Respond To Physical Closeness
TG: im already holding the fuck out of him
TG: it stopped him from getting worse but i dont think hes getting better either
TG: hes just trembling like crazy in my arm
TG: like i pulled him out of a frozen lake but he cant feel warmth anymore
GA: Try Holding His Hands
TG: again with this crap
TG: why are you guys so gung ho about hand holding
TG: fine im trying but if it does nothing im stopping
TG: wow this is so eerie
TG: whenever i touch a body parts it stops shaking
TG: right now im holding his hand and its staying still
TG: now i let it go and it goes back to shaking
TG: you cant make up weird shit like that
GA: Have You Tried Shooshpapping Him
TG: how the fuck does that even work
GA: Take Your Hand And Put It On His Face
GA: Gently Rub Different Parts Of His Facial features With Varying Rhythm And Intensity
GA: Find Out Which Area Produces The Most Soothing Reactions In Karkat
TG: above his eyes
TG: i touched above his eye and it definitely did something
TG: fuck what am i even doing with my life
GA: Do Not Be Afraid To Alternate Between Touching Different Locations To Maximize Efficiency
GA: Try Putting Both Of Your Hands On His Face At The Same Time
TG: god damnit kanaya i hate you so much
TG: you said before that all i had to do was talk to karkat about his problems
TG: you said that it wouldnt turn weird
TG: well you lied to me kanaya this is weird
TG: this is ultra fucking weird
GA: From A Troll Point Of View This Is A Perfectly Natural Activity Taking Place Between Two Mature Individuals
TG: fuck your troll point of view
TG: you lured me on the set of some weirdass alien porno and you know it
GA: Dave You Need To Focus On The Situation At Hand
GA: Karkat Needs You Right Now
TG: kanaya maryam when im done with this im going to destroy you
TG: im going to go castlevania on your ass do you understand me
TG: look
TG: im doing it okay
TG: im rubbing my hands on his stupid face are you goddamn happy
TG: wow so much fun
TG: wait
TG: i think its working i think its working
TG: hes calming down or at least hes not shaking as much
TG: but its not enough its not enough at all
TG: what do i do next what do i do next hes still flipping out
GA: Let Him Wrap His Arms Around Your chest To Feel Your Presence
GA: Try Lifting Your Shit To Let Him Hold Your Skin Rather Than Your Clothes
GA: Skin Contact Is Inherently More Soothing Than Tissue Fabric
TG: damnit kanaya youre getting off on this arent you
TG: fine if karkat wants to feel my ribs i dont care
TG: come on karkat put your grubby gray fingers on my strider swag
TG: k hes holding on to me what comes next
GA: Hold His Head And Gently Rub Your Face Against It
TG: do you guys have a forehead fetish or something i swear
GA: I Would Suggest Trying Cheek To Cheek Rubbing In This Particular Situation
TG: get over here karkat
TG: i hope you can feel the friendship happening here because shit is getting transcendental
TG: come on were basically stuck to each others face how can you possibly feel alone now
TG: he stopped shaking
TG: karkat stopped shaking
TG: i mean not completely hes still trembling like mad
TG: but hes not in epilepsy mode anymore
TG: hes just twitching every second or so
TG: like hes sitting on an electric chair on low intensity
TG: it still looks painful as fuck
TG: is it over do i just continue holding him like this
GA: Help Karkat Find Himself
TG: oh sure and i suppose i just give him a map or something
GA: Dave
GA: The Only Reason That Karkat Allowed His Pale Quadrant To Reach Instability Is Because You Convinced Him That He Could Trust You With His Feelings
TG: jesus christ as if i didnt have enough pressure already
TG: look kanaya im hugging the ever loving fuck out of him what else can i do
GA: Talk To Him
GA: Guide Karkat Back To You With Your Voice
TG: that doesnt make any sense and you know it
TG: ive been doing nothing but talking with you since the start
TG: karkat doesnt register anything i say
TG: its like my words are going straight through him
GA: Your Words Are Going Straight Through Karkat Is Because They Do Not Have Enough Weight
GA: You Need To Speak With Your Heart So That Karkat Can Hear The Feelings Behind Your Words
TG: talking with my heart oh wow that sure is useful and not cryptic at all
TG: kanaya can you stop getting off to being mysterious for just one second
TG: just give it to me straight
TG: what do i need to say to karkat
GA: You Need To Say Whatever Pops Up In Your Head
GA: If You Find Yourself Thinking About What You Are Going To Say Then It Is Automatically The Wrong Thing To Say
GA: Therefore You Need To Immediately Discard Those Thoughs And Say The Next Thing That Comes To Your Mind
GA: You Just Keep Doing This Over And Over
GA: You Hold Karkat Tightly And You Speak As Much As You Can Without Thinking
TG: what kind of advice is that
TG: thats like asking me to be a dumbass how is that supposed to help
GA: You Do Not Need To Worry Dave
GA: The Ability To Speak Your Mind Is Definitely A Racial Habit That Is Strong In You Humans
TG: not all of us
TG: john is good at saying whatever is on his mind
TG: but i cant be john
TG: even if i want to
GA: You Were Very Close To Speaking With Your Heart Just A Few Minutes Ago
TG: no i wasnt
TG: i was bullshitting my way through and you know it
TG: its the only thing i know how to do
GA: Dave
GA: Karkat Trusted You With His Pale Quadrant Because He Karkat Believed In You
GA: If You Do Not Have Faith In Yourself Then Have Faith In Karkat Who Has Faith In You
TG: is this supposed to be a reference because i think you fucked it up
GA: Dave You Lost Nothing From Trying
TG: fine
TG: im gonna try your weird shit
TG: but i dont promise anything
TG: im just gonna try to talk to him and if it doesnt work then fuck that
TG: just let me think for a second
TG: oh right im not allowed to think about anything
TG: who made up those stupid rules anyway
TG: fuck it i dont care
TG: im gonna do it
TG: im gonna talk with my heart
TG: yep im gonna do it right here right now im totally gonna say whats on my mind starting any minute
TG: oh
TG: sup karkat
TG: how you doing
TG: nothing much you
TG: whats that you say
TG: youre shaking in my arms and barely conscious
TG: you cant hear anything im saying because your brain is undergoing defragmentation
TG: wow that sucks
TG: but you know what sucks even more
TG: its having this big bundle of responsibility dropped into my arms
TG: i wasnt told that my dumbass scenario could give you roleplay seizure
TG: nobody tagged a trigger warning on that shit
TG: and you know what karkat
TG: i do want to talk to you for real
TG: i want you to hear the shit you need to hear
TG: but you need to stop running away from me do you understand
TG: dont lie to me you you do it all the fucking time
TG: you keep running away from the things that matters the most
TG: you want try to project the image of a strong asshole leader because its a troll thing
TG: so when things get hard you lock yourself in your room to watch romcoms all night
TG: you want to get that lovey dovey shit out of your system
TG: so you can go back to being an asshole all over again when morning comes
TG: but you dont have to do that karkat you dont have to hide in your room
TG: theres nothing about you that you need to hide not a single thing
TG: maybe that was true back then when you lived on jerk planet
TG: you need to stop carrying alternia in your heart otherwise there wont be room for anything else
TG: people do worry about you karkat
TG: a shitload of people are worried about you
TG: youve been lying to yourself for long that you cant see whats in front of you
TG: and you know what karkat
TG: its fine if you want to keep pretending that youre a perfect little alternian role model
TG: thats right you dont have to stop doing that junk
TG: if thats what you want to do then follow your dreams little asshole
TG: im not here to convince you to change who you are
TG: because fuck that shit thats not how friendship works
TG: but the things is karkat
TG: if taking breaks from leadership to look at romcoms is so important to you
TG: then why the fuck didnt you just say so
TG: why didnt you just invite me to watch your crappy movies with you
TG: who cares if sometimes you feel weak and need to stay in your room
TG: that doesnt mean you have to be alone we can be weak together
TG: ill even fake being being interested in the shitty things you like
TG: you know how good i am at faking im pretty much a pro at this shit
TG: we can be huge phonies together
TG: shit is that the big secret
TG: is every knight in sburb secretly a huge faker
TG: wow what a revelation my mind is totally blown except not at all
TG: its like when rose said i was wearing an armor
TG: it turns out she was right about me all along what a surprise
TG: this shit is so funny i am totally laughing right now ha ha ha
TG: come on karkat im even pretending to be happy
TG: cant you feel how fucking close we are right now
TG: karkat
TG: you know what were gonna do
TG: you know what were gonna do when this is over
TG: were gonna go to zahhak murdergym and well get ripped together i swear
TG: and the next time we come down here to fight a monster cow
TG: were going to style all over it like total badasses
TG: were both knights so isnt it time we act like it
TG: knights are supposed to be brave and shit isnt it
TG: but theres nothing brave about running from what you need the most
TG: so if you feel weak and need to stay in your room then why dont you call me over
TG: two is better than one we can get through that shit together
TG: same for me when i feel weak i can call you over
TG: and as long as were together were fucking invincible
TG: were going to survive no matter what
TG: so you see karkat you dont have to be afraid to die anymore
TG: wait where the fuck did that even come from
TG: karkat are you afraid to die
CG: ...
TG: oh shit you can hear me
CG: ...
TG: no no no you dont have to talk
TG: just continue whatever the fuck your doing
TG: because youre obviously doing it right
TG: you can go ahead and keep your hands them under my shirt
TG: or you can put your dirty fingers on my face sure go ahead thats cool too
TG: its basically everything i ever dreamed off true fact
TG: i secretly love having fingers rubbed on my face like you have no goddamn idea
TG: ive been dreaming all my life of this one magic moment where i have a total freakout with my alien dudewife
GA: Breath With Him
TG: karkat breath with me
TG: come on we did it before we can do it again
TG: breath
TG: and let it out
TG: you see that shit karkat
TG: we fucking rock at breathing
TG: when this is over were gonna collect our trophy as the best breathing duo
TG: were gonna travel the world from one breathing competition to another and win every prize
TG: come on karkat one more time
TG: breath
TG: let it out
TG: what no
TG: dont try to talk
TG: what the fuck theres nothing to talk about
TG: nothing fucking matters except breathing right now
TG: just breath with me one more time
TG: breath and let it out
GA: Shoosh him
TG: shhhhhh
TG: its fine gonna be fine karkat
TG: shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
CG: ...
TG: yo
TG: you alright man
TG: you finally opened your eyes
TG: yeah no kidding youre confused welcome to the club
TG: you have no idea how glad i am that youre not braindead or something
TG: you can keep holding me im not going anywhere
TG: take all the goddamn time you need
TG: or you can keep touching my face if you want i dont give a fuck
TG: dude
TG: dude
GA: Is Everything Alright
-- turntechGodhead [TG] is an idle chum --
GA: Dave You Have Not Said Anything For Several Minutes
TG: kanaya
TG: lets not talk anymore
-- turntechGodhead [TG] has closed the memo --

Chapter Text

"Kanaya," said Dave, "let's not talk anymore."


Dave pressed a button on the side of his glasses and turned off the chat client. Karkat stared unresponsively at Dave as if he hadn't heard anything. It doesn't feel like Karkat anymore, thought Dave to himself. The more that Karkat came back to his senses from his shaking spell, the more Karkat seemed to have forgotten know who he was, or who Dave was, or what they were both doing in the pile. Perhaps even more surprisingly, Karkat's first reaction in his disoriented state was to start feeling Dave's face with his fingertip. At first Dave was uncharacteristically complacent to indulge Karkat, but now the excitement of the moment had passed and Dave was starting to grow distant again. Okay maybe I lost my cool at little because Karkat had a WEIRD ALIEN SEIZURE but now this face-touching thing is getting a little stupid.

"Dude," said Dave.

Dave brushed Karkat’s fingers away from his face, causing Karkat to look confused for a second, and then Karkat slowly went back to papping Dave's cheek with the back of his hand.

"Dude stop being weird," said Dave.

No the weirdest part is that he isn't afraid to touch me, Dave thought to himself. What is this, reverse-Karkat or something? Karkat is supposed to be an hugphobic asshole supreme who never shuts up. This Karkat doesn't say anything and only wants to touch. It's completely upside down. Even his face doesn’t feel right. Karkat was not frowning or rummaging in angry thoughts as per his usual mood; the only thing that Dave could discern on Karkat's face was a powerful sense of curiosity, one that leaves the eyes wide and the eyebrows raised and the mouth entirely relaxed. Dave had the strange impression of being face-to-face with a jungle child, one who meets a fellow person for the first time and needs to poke them a lot to fully understand the implications of this fated meeting. This friendship ritual is getting weird as shit. This is pretty much the opposite of coolness. Dave tried to brush Karkat away once again but Karkat only crawled closer in response, so much that Dave started losing his precarious balance in the pile.

"Yo man don't get so close," said Dave.

Karkat grabbed Dave by the shoulder and pushed him down in the pile.

"Woah woah slow down," said Dave.

Karkat climbed on top of Dave and peered down at him. Did his eyes always look like that. For a reason he could not explain, Dave couldn't stop staring at Karkat’s large circular yellow eyes. It's like they see straight through me. Karkat blinked, and then his eyes caught the lights reflectively like cat eyes, and at this precise instant Dave was reminded of just how weird and alien trolls were.

"Yo come on," said Dave, "aren’t we done with this pale crap already? We’re done right?"

As his only answer, Karkat pressed on Dave's chest with his palms, like kneading a pillow to test its softness, and a shadow passed on Karkat's face. There’s something bothering him, though Dave to himself. Karkat looked plaintively at Dave and frowned, and then Dave felt a small electric tingle run up his spine. It’s not over yet. Dave shaked his head in disbelief. That’s bullshit. I did everything right. I’m obviously the goddamn casanova of pale bromance, so why is he looking at me like something is missing in the equation.. Dave raised his eyebrows at Karkat with annoyance.

"Come on Karkat what more do you want from me," said Dave.

Karkat’s mouth twitched in hesitation and then Karkat spoke for the first time since he came out of his shaking spell.

"YOU TOO," said Karkat.

Me too, though Dave, sure why the fuck not. Dave pushed Karkat away from him, like shooing away an oversized family pet, and then Dave started looking around the pile for a particular object. C'mon where is it, I'm pretty sure I dropped it around here. Dave located the broken sword, picked it up, showed it to Karkat and then showed him his open hand. Without a second thought, Dave dragged the edge of the shortened blade against his palm in front of Karkat. . Holy shit that fucking hurts what was I even thinking this is the dumbest idea I ever had I’m such a wimp. Dave’s composure stayed perfectly still as he put away the cutting instrument and showed Karkat the bleeding scratch on his hand.

"See man, same as yours. Doesn’t hurt at all," said Dave.

Karkat greedily snatched Dave’s offered hand and looked at it with great interest. Before he was afraid to touch me, Dave mused to himself, now he holds my hands like it belongs to him. It really does feel like some kind of switch was flipped inside him. For a while both occupants of the pile said nothing. Dave waited patiently to see if his bleeding hand caused any reaction in Karkat (it didn't) and Karkat held on possessively to the hand while peering down at the cut on the palm, like a kid fascinated by looking down a deep well. Come on dude we both know where this is going, just put your wounded hand against mine and do the bloody handshake thing, this is brotherhood 101 stuff right there.

To Dave's great surprise, Karkat started frowning while looking at the hand as if it wasn't what he was looking for. Oh please are you for real. Perplexed, Karkat started examining Dave's hand methodically as if he was working on a puzzle. Karkat put his finger in Dave’s cut (hey fuck you that hurts), then rubbed the blood between his fingers, then massaged the rest of the palm as if he expected to feel something under the skin. Unsatisfied, Karkat then flipped over the hand as if he perhaps expected to find the answers to his questions on the other side. He acts like he's never seen an hand before. Silently, Karkat continued his examination. He separated Dave’s fingers to see how far they could stretch, he bent the wrist this way and that way, he scratched at the nails to determine their hardness, he pinched at the jelly between the fingers and poked at the joint between bones and felt the muscles under the skin. More than anything else, Karkat appeared interested in rubbing the thin skin over Dave’s knuckles. He acts like I’m some kind of exotic toy.

Suddenly Karkat seemed to notice that Dave’s hand was attached to the rest of Dave’s body. Karkat traced a finger along the length of Dave’s hand, then this wrist and then his arm, and followed the skin until he reached Dave’s sleeve. Karkat frowned disapprovingly. As if it was the most natural thing in the world, Karkat started pulling Dave's sleeves to bare as much skin as possible.

"Hey man don’t be so rough," said Dave.

Karkat started fumbling annoyingly with Dave’s shirt, while Dave protested midly and slapped his fingers away with no real effect, until Dave let out a deep sigh.

"The shits I do for you I swear," said Dave, "if anyone ask we didn’t do this alright."

Dave pulled his shirt over his head and Karkat’s eyes grew proportionally wider as Dave revealed more of this body. I don’t even care about this pale crap anymore, I just want to understand what he's looking for that's so important to him. Dave balled his shirt and threw it out of the pile, then turned around to display his less-than-impressive skinny teenager chest to Karkat.

"See? We look the same as you guys, just with no horns and less gray. Are you happy now," said Dave.

Karkat looked at Dave's bare chest with pure awe and didn't dare to move as if he was beholding something sacred. Dave was pretty sure that troll anatomy was nearly the same to human anatomy (except with funny names), yet Dave could feel a palpable fascination in Karkat's demeanor. It kinda makes sense. Even if we look roughly the same, he has never seen something like this before. It's so easy to think of the trolls as weird aliens and forget that we humans must look just as foreign to them. What kind of person would NOT be fascinated by poking a real alien up close. Dave chuckled and puffed up his chest as if giving a grand display.

"How is it dude, do I dazzle you with my awesome as shit alien charms," said Dave.

Karkat recoiled when Dave talked, as if he was afraid he was being chided for doing something wrong. For a few seconds Karkat stood on his guard, like an animal caught frozen by a car's headlight, and then slowly Karkat gathered the courage to nudge himself closer to Dave in his shirtless state. With a lot of hesitation, Karkat extended a single finger and poked Dave on the chest. Dave said nothing and didn't move at all. If I make any sudden move it will scare him away, though Dave. It’s like trying to get a wild animal to eat from your hand, you blink too hard and then they’re motherfucking gone.

Karkat poked Dave a few times to gauge for a reaction and Dave didn't move. Karkat grew bolder, nudged himself even closer and then continued his same methodical examination as before. Karkat tapped Dave's chest, he briefly placed his ear against it and then individually felt Dave’s ribs (that tickles yo). Karkat felt the wiry muscles in Dave's shoulders, he traced circles around the collarbones and pinched one of the nipple (oh please). Karkat poked Dave's belly button, then poked him again as if he expected it to go deeper (dude stop that), then felt Dave's hip bones and hooked a finger down his pants (that’s off limit dude). Karkat then started pinching together Dave’s skin in various places (what are you, some some kind of crab) followed by rubbing the skin with a strange look on his face (sure why not go ahead dude, the human petting zoo is open).

Dave wondered quietly what was supposed to be so fascinating about the human body for a troll. I think I can see where he’s getting at. It's in the skin, troll skin feels weird like some kinda rubber, it's probably thicker than ours, hence why their fancy blood color doesn’t show through easily. If their skin is plastic then ours is paper. We humans must look like delicate flowers to them. Karkat finished poking Dave's torso to his heart's content and started moving his gaze upward. His curious finger traced along Dave's chest, it went along his neck, it followed Dave’s jaw and cheek and ended on his shades. Karkat stared at the shades with intense curiosity and his mouth made a curious movement as if something caught his interest. For the first time since Karkat's exploration, Dave's entire body tensed up. Dave grew distant, turned his face slightly away from Karkat and pushed Karkat's hand away from him.

"You see man," said Dave, "we look the same as you guys. Show's over."

Dave tried waving Karkat away from him but Karkat refused to budge.

"Oh come on!" said Dave with sudden annoyance in his voice. "We did the talking, we did the petting, so about you crown me king of the shooshpaps and give it a fucking rest already. We're done here. I don't know what the hell you're looking for but it isn't here okay."

Karkat continued staring at Dave's reflective eyewear. Then, without the slightest hesitation, Karkat extended his hand toward Dave's shades and Dave brutally snatched the hand in mid-air, his movements fast and unforgiving like a striking snake, and then Dave squeezed Karkat’s fingers hard.

"Fuck no," said Dave.

Karkat was not taken aback by Dave's aggressive reaction. On the contrary, Karkat wrapped his free hand around around Dave's hand that was squeezing his fingers, and Karkat softly massaged it with his thumb, as if to indicate that Dave could let go now. I guess he didn’t care that much about my shades, thought Dave with relief, thank fucking god. Dave let go of Karkat’s hand with reluctance and Karkat then rubbed his aching fingers while looking calmly at Dave as if he didn't held any ill feelings toward the harsh treatment. Then, without the slightest hesitation, Karkat extended the same hand toward Dave’s shades. This time Dave reacted him even more angrily; his grip fell hard on Karkat's wrist as if he wanted to crush it, and Dave entire body tensed as if Karkat had attempted to murder him. Dave nearly snarled and then spoke through clenched teeth.

"What did I just fucking say," said Dave.

Once again Karkat didn't react and made no hint of wanting to remove his hand from its uncomfortable situation. Dave continued holding Karkat's wrist to stop his hand from coming closer to his shades and neither of them said anything. Dave stared at the outstretched hand and its mere proximity seemed to infuriate him. Dave started frowning, and then his shoulders rose by an inch, and then his brow creased and his eyebrows twitched and his mouth forced itself into a thin line. Soon, Dave's whole body started moving with unrest as if he couldn't wait to leave the pile, and he started breathing harder and harder. Karkat quietly lowered his gazes toward Dave’s chest which strained to visibly rise and fall with each heavy breath. The troll looked at this process with curiously calm eyes and then, ignoring the fact that Dave was already maltreating one of his hand, Karkat delicately placed his other free hand on Dave's chest, the palm flat and the fingers spread calmly. Dave looked down at the hand that lingered peacefully on his chest as if he didn't understand what it was doing there. I don't understand what is happening in this pile anymore, Dave thought to himself. Time moved at a crawl as nothing further happened; the two boys appeared to be stuck with each other in the pile at an impasse, like two wrestlers locked in a strange position where neither of them accepted to give in, with Dave angrily squeezing Karkat’s wrist to stop Karkat's hand from reaching his shades, and with Karkat passively letting his free hand linger on Dave’s chest as if encouraging it to stop going up and down with such intensity. Slowly, Dave’s anger trickled down like a melting block of solid ice. Dave's chest stopped rising and falling and his shoulders lowered by an inch. Then, Dave hesitatingly opened his fingers one after the other and released Karkat's hand. Karkat took back his hand and rubbed his aching wrist without saying a word.

"Look just stop doing that alright, it’s not cool," said Dave.

Without the slightest hesitation, Karkat once again extended his hand toward Dave’s shades. Dave grabbed Karkat's hand just as hard as he had done before but this time there was something desperate in his gesture, and in his voice as well.

"Do you think something is magically going to change if you keep trying," said Dave, "well guess what einstein it won't so just stop already, just stop."

Dave made motion to leave the pile but Karkat held him down and, once again, Karkat let his hand linger on his chest. Dave started breathing rapidly again and Karkat's lingering hand soothed him, and Dave then realized that Karkat was not going to stop. That’s what it was about all along. He said "YOU TOO". It was my turn in the pile. The fucker wants to pacify me, which is dumb as shit because I'm never angry, I am totally fucking chill so why does he keep PISSING ME OFF Dave started thrashing violently in the pile and Karkat grabbed him solidly, pushed him down and put both his hands on his chest. Dave looked up at Karkat, his nostrils flaring, and Karkat looked down with his strangely calm eyes, and Dave felt his aggression leak out of him like the pressure in a punctured balloon. Dave couldn't stop feeling more and more angry, but the anger came to him and leaked out of him constantly, and all that Dave could think about was the warm feelings of Karkat's hands on his chest.

"Shhhh," said Karkat.

It feels like he’s sapping my strength just by touching me. Fuck you Karkat and fuck your lifedraining voodoo fingers.

"Shhhhhhhhhhhh," said Karkat.

I don't need to be pacified you moron I am zen as shit I am PERFECTLY FUCKING CALM.

"Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh," said Karkat.

Dave punched Karkat in the face, followed by letting out a groan. His punch had no strength and the most it could do was push outwardly against Karkat's cheek. Karkat received the weak impact, ignored the fist that made his cheek bulged and continued staring calmly at Dave without breaking eye contact. Karkat looked preoccupied, like he was staring at a wound that worried him. Stop looking at me with those dumb eyes, I don't need you fucking sympathy. More rage poured into Dave's body and, on a sudden impulse, Dave awkwardly grabbed Karkat’s head with both his hands as if he hoped he could squeeze Karkat's skulls until it collapsed. Karkat did not appear the least bit threatened by the gesture. On the contrary, Karkat gently grabbed each of Dave’s wrists and rubbed them gently with his thumbs. Karkat's fingers continued their mild massage as they slid from Dave’s wrist to his arm, and then moved to Dave’s shoulder and then his neck and then his face, and then Karkat shooshpapped Dave.

Holy fucking shit.

Dave shuddered so thoroughly under Karkat’s touch that he felt his toes curl in his shoes.

When did he drug me, there has to be some kind of alien drug involved here because there’s no fucking way that just touching can be felt so strongly. Fuck. My entire body is covered in goosebumps, it’s like having icecubes slid down your shirt, over and over, and you never get used to it, it just wrecks you all the way to the bones and it never fucking stops.

Dave suddenly realized that if Karkat's hands were on his face it meant that he could flip away his shades in the blink of an eye. A flare of anger rippled through Dave's body, which only made the subsequent shooshpap wreck him that more deeply, and Dave felt his head start to spin.

"Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" said Karkat.

Dave started shaking his head as if he was vehemently to denying something, although he didn't know exactly what it was that he was trying to fight back. Why does it hurts so much to breath, wait why am I breathing so hard, how long have I been hyperventilating like this.

"Shhhhhhhhhhhh" said Karkat.

Dave felt the strong need to hold on to something, yet he refused to cling on to Karkat out of principles. Instead, Dave's fingers clutched on to the puppets of questionable taste that made up the pile, and then Dave closed his eyes and forced himself to regain control of his breathing.

"Shhhh" said Karkat.

Dave’s breathing slowed a little, and then a little more, and then Dave became aware of how hard his heart was beating in his chest, and then Dave focused on both his breathing and his heartbeat until he gradually returned to his usual cool self. In his final stretch of effort, Dave let go of the puppets in the pile and gasped. Karkat ceased the shooshpaps to observe Dave, who crawled halfway into a fetal recovery position. Dave's lips quivered like he was cold.

"Fuck you Karkat, just fuck you," said Dave over and over.

Dave made motions to crawl out of the pile but Karkat grabbed one of Dave's hand, then the other, then forced him down in the pile and held him there. Dave flared with renewed outrage.

"Stop touching me you piece of shit," said Dave.

Karkat didn’t budge.

"Look I pacified you, you pacified me, everybody is happy so let's fucking go home," said Dave.

Karkat remainded silent and squeezed both of Dave’s hand tighter in response.

"OH COME ON!" yelled Dave.

Dave's head became clouded by an overpowering red mist of self-righteous fury and for an instant the pile of puppet was filled with the sound of violent struggling and throaty grunts, and then the fight was over just as quickly as it had started. Dave was wrestled under control in the center of the pile and Karkat straddled Dave and held him immobile by the shoulders. Dave's forced immobility seemed to tear him up from the inside. Pushed to the limits of both both emotional and physical exhaustion, with his brow creasing with pain and frustration, Dave grabbed on with both hands to Karkat’s shirt and mumbled words under his breath.

"I CAN’T, I CAN’T, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t..." said Dave.

Dave lost tract of time as he lay there with his eyes closed, repeating the same words over and over, while Karkat slowly stopped holding him down and started kneading his chest and shooshpapping his face and running fingers through his hair. Dave felt the world around him become smaller and smaller, from the entirety of paradox space to just a meteor speeding towards destinations unknown, and them his world went from a meteor to just a dungeon floor, and then from a dungeon floor to just a a pile of puppets floating in a white void. Finally, even the pile vanished and all that mattered to Dave was his struggle to keep breathing and stop shuddering.

After what seemed an eternity Dave recognized that he wasn't shuddering anymore, and that he didn't have difficulties breathing, and then he started slowly expanding his world again. He was in the pile, and Karkat was with him, and Karkat was not massaging him anymore. He was looking silently at Dave if he was waiting for Dave to give him a signal to continue.

Dave tried to move and felt entirely strange in his skin, as if he had been rolled into a ball of clay and then back in the shame of a human, over and over. Dave strained to stand on his elbows, then looked at Karkat in the eyes and felt himself nod. Why the fuck did I just nod, Dave asked himself. With terror growing in his chest, Dave looked as Karkat slowly extended his hand toward the shades when they both knew that this time Dave didn't have what it takes to stop him. Karkat moved slowly, centimeters by centimeters, as if to give Dave as much time as he needed to brace himself, and Dave grabbed unto Karkat’s shirt for support as painful memories started running through his brain like electricity.

They threw rocks at you, the little assholes in the park threw rocks at you when you took them off, what were you even expecting, you’re a space baby with hellfire eyes you don't even come from Earth. Dave's fingers clutched on to Karkat's shirt as if he was afraid to drown. Of course people will think that red eyes are weird as fuck, shit looks straight out of a shitty fantasy story, even if people want to be nice it just means they're gonna pretend not to stare, who wants that kind of shitty pity in the first place. Dave felt pressure build behinds his eyes. What's so wrong with covering them anyway, shit is pretty much the respectable thing to do, that way nobody has to pretend that you aren't weird as fuck, and nobody has to throw rocks at you, come on Dave do something, Karkat’s hand is barely a few inches away from your shades, you need to stop him, you need to say something, they threw rocks at you, JUST SAY SOMETHING.

"You’re not going to, throw rocks at me, aren’t you?" said Dave.

Congratulations Dave you are the king of the morons and your chariot awaits.

Karkat shook his head from left to right and Dave lowered his defense. Karkat leaned forward and carefully removed the shades. Dave blinked confusedly, as if he was surprised at how it didn't draw any reaction from him after all.

"I think, I think I’m a-alright," said Dave.

Dave tried to stop holding to Karkat's shirt and then immediately broke in cold sweat. A sudden flash of pain made Dave slam both his hands against his body, crossed over his chest, and then Dave closed his eyes and started shaking.

No I’m not fucking alright.

Dave's mouth dropped open, his face contorted with unease, his neck muscles twitched and his stomach started hurting as if it had been repeatedly punched. Dave tried to say something but couldn’t. Dave looked at Karkat and felt explosions behind his eyeballs. His vision blurred. What the fuck is wrong with my brain.

Karkat swooped expertly forward, unclenched Dave's hands from his chest and then placed the hands under his troll shirt. Dave hugged Karkat hard and unashamedly. Carefully, Karkat then applied his forehead on Dave’s forehead while holding his head still from trembling. Dave’s eyes fluttered open and directly met Karkat’s eyes for the first time. Wow this is pretty fucking close. Dave looked deep into Karkat's eyes and felt flooded with icy calmness, as he was looking at a quiet lake during a cold autumn morning. Dave's eyes stopped leaking and Karkat wiped them clean. Dave mumbled disapprovingly.

"This is, so fucking, stupid," said Dave

Karkat kept silent and Dave hugged him harder.

"If you tell anyone, I'll kill you," said Dave.

Dave slumped down in Karkat’s arm, devoid of any strength to struggle, or protest, or do anything other than hug Karkat and siphon from his body as much calmness as possible. Dave lost track of time. He might have clung to Karkat for minutes or hours, there was no way for him to know, all he knew is that he was going to stay there for as long as it took. Dave's felt his mind wander far away, far away, and Dave stopped thinking.

When Dave came back to reality, he was now laying down in the pile, facing up, and Karkat was looking down at his eyes with fascination. Dave's head felt more empty than it had ever been before. Moreso, Dave felt that there was something strangely different about Karkat now, a subtle change in his attitude that indicated that he was focusing on helping Dave anymore. He was focusing on himself. Karkat was peering down into Dave's eyes as if he had found something in there that had caught his attention and spoke to him. In an unexpectedly casual tone, Karkat suddenly started talking.

"So that’s what my eyes will look like," said Karkat.

That doesn’t even sound like Karkat anymore.

"Your eyes will turn red?" said Dave.
"Troll eyes do that," said Karkat.
"When are they going to change," said Dave.
"In a couple of sweeps ," said Karkat.

Dave heard both the words that Karkat said and the words that he didn’t say. I heard that. I heard it loud and clear. Dave's heart started beating fast and everything started falling into place. He can't think of himself as alive in the long term. He can't naturally think that way. His survival is not something that he grew up to take for granted. He grew up thinking that every day could be his last. He doesn't even realize that it's how he thinks. Dave felt the unsaid words go through him as if an icy sword was plunged into his heart and twisted, and then Dave steeled himself with resolve. Dave grabbed Karkat’s shirt with fierce determination, dragged him closer and stared into Karkat's eyes with all the intensity of the GREEN SUN .

"You WILL stay alive," said Dave.

This is what he needs to hear the most.

"You’re not going to die Karkat," said Dave.

Nobody told him that he was going to stay alive back when he was on Alternia.

"You’re going to be alright," said Dave.

His childhood was spent on permanent death row. He needed to hear this shit a long ass time ago.

"You’re going to stay alive no matter what," said Dave.

Dave could see a lifetime’s worth of accumulated stress drain from Karkat’s body. Karkat blinked in confusion, as if he couldn't logically process what Dave was talking about all of a sudden, yet at the same time Karkat's features became soft, his head tilted downward and his eyelids drooped with tiredness. This is the part where Normal Karkat would start arguing that I'm wrong for one pissy reason or another.

"Yes you’re right..." said Karkat.
"Karkat? Are you alright?" said Dave.

Karkat wobbled uncertainly and then Dave had the strange feeling that Karkat melted in his arms. Karkat came crashing down, laid his head on Dave’s chest, closed his eyes and then stopped moving. Dave didn’t move either, feeling at loss of how he was supposed to react in this strange situation. After a long minute of hesitation, Dave prodded Karkat, received no reaction, and then he heard the slight snoring. Karkat had drifted into sleep.



PACIFICATION COMPLETE



Dave laid silently in the pile and looked at the ceiling, feeling like he had just gone through something overwhelmingly huge that he couldn't describe even if he tried. Is that how much it takes to pacify a troll? Because holy shit it takes a lot. Dave gazed at the sleeping Karkat and couldn't help but feel a strange satisfaction to know that Karkat had finally found sleep. Dave then waited in the pile for something to happen, something that would give a sense of closure to the events that took place, but nothing of the sort happened. There was no blinking victory banner to officially announce his success at having lead the pile session all the way to its natural end. Dave knew that real life didn't have convenient things like that. Real life only offered rushed denouements, awkward quietness and unclear lingering feelings, and it always left you wondering if you ever did the right thing, or if you played your part right, or if anybody even cared. Dave continued waiting although he wasn't sure why anymore. Nothing was going to happen from now on. He was only going to continue laying down shirtless in a pile of pornographic puppet, and Karkat was going to continue sleeping on his chest, and Dave would continue to feel his warm breath on his skin. Without thinking, Dave started petting Karkat’s head and scratched around the base of his horns. He makes a funny sound when he exhales. You can barely hear it but it’s almost like he’s purring. Dave suddenly realized that what he was doing wasn't coolkid material and took his hands away from Karkat hurriedly. Dave then froze in place, his hands still in the air, and he looked nervously around him in case an audience was going to boo him. But there wasn't anyone to boo him. He was still alone with Karkat, he was still in a vast empty room with columns in an half-dark deserted floor, and nobody cared whether he looked cool or not. Slowly, Dave placed his hands back on Karkat’s head, scratched around the horns and listened to his breathing.

"The fuck am I even doing," muttered Dave with his eyes half-closed.

Dave's eyes fell on his shades, laying next to Karkat in the pile. After a slight hesitation, Dave picked up the shades, put them on and pressed a button.

"Kanaya," said Dave. "Kanaya are you still there. Yes everything is fine. Karkat just had his friendship orgasm. I'm gonna need some help to drag him back to his room. Yes. We’re on the first floor of the cow level. No. I suppose you don't need to come immediately. This isn’t so bad. Yeah I’ll contact you later. Thanks man."

Dave removed his shades, his hand fell limp to his side and the shades slipped out of his fingers. Dave pushed a long sigh until his lungs were completely empty, and then Dave became aware of the implacable sleepiness that was creeping on him, as if two infinitely tall black walls were closing together around him and were about to grind his consciousness into oblivion. His hands still cradling Karkat's head, Dave slumped backward in the pile and his eyes closed by themselves. This isn’t so bad, Dave thought to himself before the great plunge.

Chapter Text

Dave was stirred awake by light being shone at his face. Dave first assumed that he was being roused by someone with a flashlight until he squinted between his fingers and realized that it was just Kanaya standing before him. She was illuminating the darkness around them with her vampire-glowy-thing, which he never really understood how it was supposed to make sense. Dave groaned and rubbed his eyes.

"Time?" asked Dave.
"It is currently a little after three in the morning," said Kanaya.

I've been sleeping for hours are you kidding me, Dave thought to himself, it feels like I barely closed my eyes for one second. Dave sensed a weight pinning down his torso and looked downward. Karkat had drifted into a deep sleep and was tightly holding on to Dave's chest while rubbing his face against it like it was the most comfortable pillow. A little drool was escaping from his mouth.

Dave pointed at Karkat and Kanaya helped him free himself from his vile bondage as a human pillow. Karkat did not wake up from being brush aside. In fact, Karkat slumped back comfortably in the pile of puppet ass and went back to snoring at once. Looks like we got a little Sleeping Beauty over here. Dave located his shirt on the ground and put it on. Shit was was getting a little cold. Kanaya motioned at Karkat and Dave nodded in agreement. Without exchanging any word, Dave grabbed Karkat's feet and Kanaya held unto his arms and together they began the gruesome task of dragging the unconscious Karkat up the long flight of stairs.

After a solid ten seconds of hard work, Dave started feeling his tiredness get the better of him and requested a break. "Let's keep it easy yo". Kanaya answered by throwing Karkat on her shoulder like a sack of flour and then continuing to make the climb by herself, her back as straight as an arrow. Dave delivered his best does anybody else sees this shit expression to nobody in particular and then started after Kanaya. Soon they were moving upward at a steady pace the only noise that filled the night was the dry sound of their footsteps on the dusty stairs. Kanaya's white glow illuminated the way and Dave spent a lot of time looking up quietly at Kanaya's back.

Dave had always had the impression that there was something off about Kanaya, something artificial and cold, as if she wasn’t properly alive. Of course Dave knew about the weird rainbow drinker shit, whatever it was supposed to be, but there was something else about Kanaya that bothered him, something about the way she carried herself. She was too composed, too distant. She gave Dave the impression that he was looking at a store mannequin, the kind that is supposed to stay behind a window and display fashionable clothes, but which had been somehow magically brought to life, and while this animated construct could present itself with perfect grace it still lacked the warmth of a real person. Dave was reminded of this impression more than ever now as he looked at Kanaya walk up the infinite stairs like an automaton, with Karkat on her shoulder, at three in the morning. She does get flustered from times to times, Dave agreed with himself, and it's super obvious when she does, but afterwards she inevitably starts to slip away and return to her perfectly composed demeanor, as if there's always something pulling her back. Or something like that. All of the trolls are fucking weird yo.

Dave and Kanaya reached the top of the stairs and then headed towards Karkat's respiteblock. The silence of the night felt heavy around them in the dark corridors. One they arrived at destination Dave opened the door for Kanaya who entered and carefully laid Karkat on the floor. Kanaya then started methodically undressing Karkat as if Dave's presence didn't matter at all. While Karkat's clothes flew across the room Dave became conscious of his own clothes, all dirty and wrinkled and (he realized just now) smeared with blood. In the heat of the moment, Dave hadn't noticed how much the stupid red stuff had leaked all over the place. Hugging intensely with bleeding hands in a pile of crap was definitely not one of Dave's brightest ideas. Dave asked Kanaya whether trolls had bathrooms, or whether they had anything that was basically a bathroom except with a weird-as-fuck troll name, and then Kanaya pointed in a direction behind her back. Dave said thanks and moved in that direction, leaving behind him a Kanaya who was cooly yanking off the pants of an unconscious Karkat.

Dave Strider flicked on the light in bathroom (urgh why are bathrooms so bright), located the sink, washed his hands and then looked at himself in the mirror. Dave's first reaction was to assume that there was something wrong about the mirror, like maybe it was glitched or something. He simply couldn’t identify with the boy that he saw reflected in it. It wasn't a coolkid, it didn't even look him. The boy's mouth was unfocused, his hairdo was a complete mess (the Horrorterrors would never reblog this), his blood-smeared clothes were comical in a serial-killer-kind-of-way and his facial expression wasn’t any one of ones he had practiced before. It just looked dumb.

Dave leaned closer to the mirror. There was something else that felt missing, something that he felt should be obvious and right in front of him. Dave blinked, lifted his hand to his eyes, closed his fingers in the empty air and realized for the first time that he wasn’t wearing his shades. Kanaya hadn’t said anything.

Something about the situation felt strangely funny Dave, so funny that he could start laughing on the spot and it would feel just right, and then Dave started feeling a great fire rising in his chest, a fire that felt clumsy and out of practice, like it was being kindled in a furnace that had been cold for many years too long. Dave immediately quenched this stupid mood by pulling his pair of certified cool Ben Stiller shades from his inventory and putting them on his nose. He was -not- going to have a laughing epiphany at three in the morning. He was not going to do that even if it felt so real at the moment. Dave tapped his hair back into shape and examined himself in the mirror until he had regained his cool (although he did allow himself a single-pixel smile) and then left the bathroom to see how Kanaya was doing.

Kanaya had long finished tucking Karkat to sleep in his magic alien slime bed. The device was emanating a soothing light that pulsated ever so slowly, tinting the room green in a very alien-ish manner. Kanaya was leaning against the recuperacoon with her arms crossed. She was looking at Karkat's sleeping face without any discernible emotion on her own. Shit let's join the creepy stalker parade, Dave thought to himself. Dave joined Kanaya her shoulder-to-shoulder in her strange activity and together they quietly looked at Karkat's sleeping face. Kanaya was the first one to speak.

"Thank you for your assistance Dave", said Kanaya, "Karkat's biological cycle should now auto-regulate. This should take care of his insomnia as well as return his appetite to normal levels."
"You make it sound like I performed maintenance on him." said Dave
"From a troll point of view that would not be entirely wrong," said Kanaya.
"You guys are seriously fucking weird," said Dave.

Dave tried to boop Karkat on the nose and Kanaya waved his hand away.

"You said something about his appetite?" said Dave.
"Yes," said Kanaya. "Karkat has not been eating correctly these past days. I have often told him to take better care of himself but he would not listen to me."
"You're starting to sound like his mom," said Dave.
"I do not know anything about that," said Kanaya.

The coolkid and the jadeblood shared another moment of silence. It's funny, thought Dave to himself, We've been talking together a lot these past days but it was always online, but now that we finally meet in person we don't have anything to say. Why is everything always so silly. Dave leaned closer to Karkat's sleeping face to discern what was supposed to be so interesting about it. The fucker looks so damn different when he's in Sleeping Beauty mode. It doesn't feel like Karkat at all. Dave pondered what kind of person Karkat could grow up to become if he could stay this peaceful even when he is awake, as opposed to being a goddamn fucktard.

"Dave it would be good if you did not mention to anyone what happened tonight," said Kanaya.
"Wasn’t planning too," said Dave.
"It would also be good if you could act with Karkat as if none of this has happened," continued Kanaya.
"Would have done that anyway," said Dave.
"Do not be alarmed if Karkat behaves as if he does not remember anything you have discussed," said Kanaya.
"Don't care," said Dave.
"It is simply yet another aspect of alternian cultural views over these kinds of affairs," said Kanaya.
"It's fine," said Dave.


Dave waited for a while and then turned toward Kanaya.

"So is that a thing you do," asked Dave. "You guys hug like freaks during the night and then you pretend to be bad dudes during the day."
"I suppose it would not be entirely wrong to put it in this manner," said Kanaya.
"Fuckin' A," said Dave.


Dave examined Karkat's closed eyelids for a while, then suddenly snapped backward and turned towards Kanaya.

"Ok so what happens now?" said Dave.
"Karkat will probably remain asleep for an entire day if not more," said Kanaya.
"No not that," said Dave. "I mean what happens after he wakes up? Is he gonna be different? You said something like that before. You said that doing pale stuff has permanent positive effects on trolls, like, they have better clarity of mind, and they can focus better and shit, and there was something about how it helps them stay awake for long periods of time? To be honest I didn't understood what that the fuck that was all about. But what I'm saying is, does that mean Karkat is going to be different when he wakes up?"

Kanaya cleared her throat carefully.

"I was strictly speaking of subtle and gradual changes that can develop over many sweeps," said Kanaya. "Trolls can more aptly focus on a particular task at hand when their emotions are sorted out, and frequent exposure to natural sleep helps trolls to overcome their dependency to sopor slime, but these secondary effects depend on an individual having a dedicated moirail following them in life. A single session will provide relief for immediate pale urges but it will only induce minimal long term effects."
"Oh." said Dave.

Dave turned away from Kanaya and slumped against the recuperacoon.

"So Karkat is gonna be the same asshole as ever?" said Dave.
"He will be approximately one percent less of an asshole than his usual self," said Kanaya.

Dave felt strangely satisfied by that notion progress, no matter how small it was. One percent is enough.

"Or perhaps you would like to perform maintenance on Karkat more often," said Kanaya.
"I don't know shit," said Dave.
"That is okay," said Kanaya.


Dave looked at the sleeping Karkat and slumped his shoulders even lower. I’m pretty sure he performed maintenance on me too.

"I'm pretty sure he performed maintenance on me too," said Dave. "Ok ignore what I just said. I didn't want to say that out loud. Not sure how that happened."
"That is okay", said Kanaya.



The coolkid and the jadeblood left Karkat's bedroom and then stood together in the corridor without any clear goal. Dave couldn’t help but feel a certain sense of complicity toward Kanaya; it didn't felt proper for him to leave without exchanging a few words with her. Kanaya must have been feeling the same since she also chose to hang around, and yet neither of them seemed to have anything to say at the moment. The teenagers just leaned against the corridor wall, to either sides of Karkat's door, and looked straight ahead. She's doing the mannequin thing again, she's slipping away and turning full automaton on my ass.

"You’ve been waiting for us all night," said Dave.
"I have kept myself occupied," said Kanaya.
"You really care about him," said Dave.
"You could say that he is an important acquaintance of mine," said Kanaya.
"You ever though about taking care of him yourself?" said Dave. "I mean, being pale with him or whatever. You don’t have to answer if you don’t have to."

Kanaya made a delicate pose against the wall, with her elbow in her palm and her fingers positioned on her lower lips. She looked away from Dave.

"It would not have been wise for me to try," said Kanaya.
"But why?" said Dave. "You know everything there is to know about this weird junk. I would never have gotten this far if it wasn’t for you guiding me through every step. Plus you’ve known Karkat for much longer than me, shit man you even knew him back when he was on Alternia. So I'm like, why the fuck was I even needed?"

Kanaya didn't say anything.

"I'm just saying, sometimes it feels like you pushed me in the back in your stead, I don't know," said Dave.

Kanaya still didn’t say anything. Dave wondered if he had said too much, and then Kanaya hesitated and spoke distantly.

"I would have been... no good," said Kanaya. "There is a difference between knowing what to do and being able to perform the deed. It is two very different things. I believe I have said this before but... a good moirail needs to know how to become close with other people."

Kanaya continued looking away from Dave. Dave made a half step toward her.

"So?" said Dave.

"Please do not tell this to anyone Dave but I might have a certain tendency to act in a somewhat distant manner with other people," said Kanaya.

Wait does that stuff bothers her? I felt that just now, shit totally bothers her. Dave made another half-step towards Kanaya and had the sudden feeling that he had never really looked at her before. She had always been in front of him and yet he had never taken the time to pay attention to her, he had only been looking in her direction. She's a person too. She has her own problems.

"C'mon over here Kanaya," said Dave.
"Is there perhaps something you wish to show me Dave?" said Kanaya.
"Just get over here dude," said Dave.
"Dave why are you wrapping your arms around me," said Kanaya.
"You know what Kanaya? You’re alright. You’re gonna be fine," said Dave.
"Dave you are holding me very tight this is not entirely proper," said Kanaya.

Dave felt Kanaya spasms in his arms and hugged her tighter in response, and then he felt Kanaya become softer and let her go. Kanaya immediately took a step backward. Her face flushed with unease, her hand clutched the fabric of her clothes, her posture leaned slightly forward and the white glow emanating from her skin flickered as if she had difficulties keeping a steady grasp on it. Then it was over and Kanaya regained her perfectly neutral composure.

"Thank you for your words Dave," said Kanaya.
"It’s all good dude," said Dave. "You should get some sleep. Me too I'm really goddamn tired. G'night Kanaya."

Dave started walked back to his room and then heard Kanaya quickly calling after him.

"Dave," said Kanaya.

Dave turned around.

"Yes Kanaya?" said Dave.

"Dave if you would provide me with your shirt I will perform cleaning duty on it," said Kanaya. "I am already going to do the same for Karkat’s shirt so I do not mind. I simply do not like to see clothes in a sullied state, that is all."

Dave pulled his shirt over his head, balled it in his hands and threw it at Kanaya who caught it with an iron hand. What's up with everybody wanting me to take off my shirt tonight, is this shirtless Dave holiday or something.

"Here you go man," said Dave.

Kanaya unrolled the shirt, shook her head at how dirty it was and then started walking back to her room.

"Thank you Dave and good night," said Kanaya.
"G'night Kana... Yo I saw you try to lick that blood," said Dave.
"Just a little taste," said Kanaya.



Chapter Text

-- tentacleTherapist [TT] is pestering turntechGodhead [TG] --

TT: Hi.
TG: nope
TT: I have not spoken yet.
TG: yes but we both know how this convo is gonna play out
TG: youll say we need an urgent therapy appointment
TG: then youll make some blah blah about me running away from my feelings
TG: and basically youll be real sassy about everything
TG: and then ill remind you that youre not allowed to molest my forehead
TG: because im already superfriend with a troll and thats a big no no
TG: and then youll shake a tiny fist at your screen cartoon villain style
TG: the end
TT: That is an interesting scenario you just wrote.
TT: However I am sorry to say that your precognitive abilities are off.
TT: I just wanted to say hi.
TG: oh
TG: well isnt that just totally awkward
TT: There is no need to repeat a conversation we already had.
TT: I can clearly remember you gloating that you wanted to cancel all present and future therapy appointments.
TT: Therapy which you needfully require, I might add.
TG: oh right this is totally a previous pesterlog that happened
TG: k so if were already thru about this stuff
TG: then what do you want to talk about instead
TT: No, Dave.
TT: We have already steered the conversation in this direction.
TT: There is no going back now.
TT: We must explore further the interferences of my therapy with your personal life.
TT: Why don't you tell me more about this mysterious friendship with Karkat that is both unexpectedly sudden and intriguingly convenient.
TG: what is there to talk about
TG: we hit off very well
TT: Karkat hates your guts.
TT: He has never displayed signs of amiability toward you nor you toward him.
TG: nah
TG: you just dont understand superfriendship
TG: me and karkat are brothers
TT: You mean you and karkat are bros.
TG: thats what i said
TT: I detect a subtle difference of vocabulary.
TT: Dare I ask which one is the bigger bro and who is the smaller bro?
TG: geez rose
TG: why does one of us necessarily need to be a bigger bro
TG: didnt Kanaya say there are plenty of relationships where people are equals and take turns or some shit
TT: Are you saying that this is the case for you?
TG: wow no
TG: i was just throwing that out there for the sake of the conversation
TT: Then how serious is this social venture?
TT: Should I presume that your relationship with Karkat has been consumed with utmost intimacy?
TG: ok stop
TG: whatever youre thinking right now is entirely the product of your imagination
TG: why would you even assume something like that
TG: me and karkat just hang out and chill
TG: just guys being guys
TG: no need for any weird shit
TT: Are you so sure that nothing happened between you?
TT: You were not there for breakfast today.
TG: well what can i say
TG: i need my beauty sleep
TT: One is supposed to sleep during the nightly hours.
TT: Perhaps you have forgot.
TT: Or if I were to be more daring, perhaps I might suggest that you lost sleep because you were not in your room at all after the curfew.
TT: It would be most scandalous indeed.
TG: ofc i was in my room duh
TT: What were you doing in your room instead of sleeping?
TG: thats the best question anyone ever asked
TG: k so here i was laying in bed
TG: chilling in my pjs comfy as hell
TG: all tucked in under the covers
TG: about to catch some mad sleep after busting monster ass all day
TG: and then the curse took over
TT: The curse.
TG: the strider curse
TG: every full moon we turn into party animals
TG: its a certified medical condition
TT: Really.
TG: once it takes over we cant stop jamming till we drop
TG: so what can i do
TT: Indeed, what can you do?
TG: well ill tell you what i did
TG: i performed an acrobatic triple pirouette out of bed
TG: landed at my turntables flipped up all the switches
TG: fired up my favorite mixes put on my headset
TG: a multilaser disco ball popped up out of nowhere
TG: and the rest was a one way ticket to cool city
TT: You should alert me when you are about to throw an impromptu celebration.
TT: I would have joined you.
TG: hell fucking yes
TG: remember that time we partied on derse
TG: we def need to do that more often
TG: you got all the moves
TT: I certainly do.
TG: anyway so thats why im so tired today
TT: I see.
TT: And did your fabled partying of last night involve anyone else?
TG: yeah i jammed with a bunch of gay leprechaums
TG: ofc i was alone why the weird question
TG: are you a cop
TG: because the only crime ever i committed was being too cool
TT: Are you so sure?
TG: what do you mean
TT: What do you think that it means?
TG: k youve obviously got some cryptic shit on your mind
TG: just get it out of your system already
TT: Karkat also did not show up for breakfast today.
TT: In fact he has been missing all day.
TG: so what
TT: And furthermore.
TT: I have been notified by my information network that you did, in fact, went to Karkat's respiteblock sometimes during the hour of the night.
TT: And that, for some reason, you smelled of blood.
TT: Both troll and human.
TT: Or at least this is as much as Nepeta's nose can pick up.
TG: i should have known
TG: the rogue of heart spying on everybodys biz
TG: ok so what if that junk happened
TT: You snuck to Karkat's room, came out covered in blood and Karkat was never seen again.
TT: Common logic dictates that you are a murderer.
TT: Unless you have a better explanation to offer?
TG: k here i go
TG: you totally forgot the part where i went dungeon crawling yesterday
TG: which by the way isnt nearly as close to being cool as it sounds
TG: dont let the name fool you
TG: its like a hellish version of old macdonald had a farm down there
TG: and pretty sure cows arent supposed to squirt acid milk
TG: one of the fuckers even tried to eat my goddamn hand
TG: you should see the stupid cut it gave me
TG: well actually you cant because i put a huge bandaid on it
TG: squiddle bandaid
TG: dont judge
TT: Hmmm.
TG: captain shoutypants was hurt a bit worse
TG: so i dropped him at his room and he said was gonna take the day off
TG: end of the story
TT: Hmmmmmm.
TG: so are you some kinda hardboiled detective now or what
TG: going around the meteor and solving crimes
TG: because it sounds rad as fuck
TG: if you need a sidekick for your adventures hit me up
TT: Hmmmmmmmmm.
TG: i think youre just jealous of my superfriendship with a troll
TG: you finally found something you dont understand
TG: thats why youre mad
TT: I certainly am not.
TT: However, I do suspect that not everything on this meteor is what it may seem on the surface.
TT: I will leave this conversation as it is, although I find it most unsatisfactory
TT: I will only say this Dave.
TT: You can’t hide your feelings from me forever.