Shattered 8 Balls and Dirty Shirts

BY : Worlds_First_Ghost
Category: Web Comics > Homestuck
Dragon prints: 136
Disclaimer: I do not own Homestuck, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

The computer monitor rattled for a solid minute after the fist initially struck the metal desk. The massive, unending block of grey text on the monitor made Karkat curl his fingers into an even tighter fist, only to stop once the pain of his fingernails digging into his palm became too much. Nothing productive ever came from these confrontations with his past selves, but he still found himself almost impulsively responding to them every time he saw one. If anyone asked him why he did this, he’d just tell them that it was cathartic. “It feels satisfying to yell at these idiots,” is something he’d usually say, and those who knew him well enough would leave it at that. But it was a blatant lie, of course; the bickering and circular arguments he had with himself only left him angrier than when he began. The reality was that they served as decent distractions, keeping his mind from dwelling on the situation he and the rest of his friends were stuck in. The more he fixated himself with petty squabbles with those from the past, the less he had to deal with people from the present undermining his authority and acting like insufferable tools. A rueful groan slithered through his teeth as he shut down the memo in disgust. With any luck, that would be the last one he’d have to close tonight.

On the other side of the room, Vriska listened to Karkat’s muttered, incomprehensible curses in silent amusement. Using her vision eightfold, she could clearly observe the subtle tremors of anger that made him fidget in his chair and cause his legs to ineffectively kick at his desk. It was almost enough to make her wonder: if he can work himself into a conniption so easily on his own, would it even be possible to annoy him further? She brought a finger up to her chin and mulled the thought over before ultimately deciding that while it was highly unlikely that she could get Karkat any angrier than he already is, watching his rage from up close would be a fun way to kill a few minutes. With a devilish smile, she got up from her seat and strode over to his station before placing a non-threatening hand on his shoulder from behind.

“Really, Karkat? Am I mistaken, or did I just spy you responding to another memo a second ago? I’m almost upset that I didn’t notice this one while you had it open! Maybe I should head back to my desk so I can catch up on what hilaaaaaaaariously stupid arguments you got into with yourself this time.”

Karkat nearly jumped out of his skin at Vriska’s touch. He swatted her hand away and scowled. “HOW PREDICTABLE. I REALLY SHOULD START EXPECTING YOUR GLOATING TO BE A DAILY FUCKING OCCURRENCE AT THIS POINT. ” He turned back to his computer screen, squinting his eyes to eliminate the possibility that he might see her in his peripherals. “IT ISN’T LIKE MY PLATE IS ALREADY FULL OF BULLSHIT WITHOUT YOU YAMMERING ON ABOUT WHATEVER SARCASTIC SELF-FELLATION YOU’VE GOT PLANNED TODAY. BUT I GUESS I CAN’T STOP YOU, SO GO AHEAD.”

Vriska pulled back her arm and folded it over her chest with a huff. “Man, you’re crabbier than usual today.”

“HAH. CRAB REFERENCE. NEVER GETS OLD. ARE WE DONE HERE?”

“Also, it’s a little beneath you to try and garner some sympathy points from me, don’t you think? If I started caring about your problems, I’d have to extend the same treatment to everyone else, and my kindness can only be stretched so thin! Try being more considerate.”

“WHATEVER PROBLEMS THE REST OF THOSE MORONS HAVE ARE INDISCRIMINATE PUSTULES ON A HOGBEAST’S BACKSIDE COMPARED TO MY CURRENT SITUATION.”

“And let me guess, your problems are the whole hog?” After spending so much time around Karkat, it hadn’t taken long to get a feel for the general pattern that his insults followed. As creative as he might think he is, she always found his grouchiness to be painfully predictable.

“EXACTLY. IT’S TRAMPLING AROUND AND SPRAYING ITS FILTH EVERYWHERE LIKE A JET POWERED SHIT HOSE.”

“Uuuuuuuugh! You’re so dramatic! And disgusting.”

“BOTH AWFUL QUALITIES FOR A CONVERSATION PARTNER. YOU SHOULD REMEDY THAT BY FINDING SOMEONE ELSE BETTER SUITED TO ENDURE YOUR ANNOYANCES.”

Vriska shook her head. “You know, it amazes me how a wiggler like you was even able to find time to lead us. Let’s be honest, your people skills are pretty horrible, and I always see you do waaaaaaaay more whining than you do actual leading. So what’s your secret?”

“DO YOU THINK THIS IS AN INTERVIEW OR SOMETHING? GET LOST.”

“Come on! I’m so super, genuinely curious to know how you manage to present yourself as a hyper-competent Troll Napoleon wannabe all while acting like a worthless boy-grub all the time! The sheer effort of balancing those two personalities must be soooooooo taxing, right?”

Karkat finally swiveled around to face Vriska, his brows knotted in a nasty glare. “HAS YOUR BUSTED THINK PAN EVER TAKEN A MOMENT TO CONSIDER THAT THE REASON I ACT THIS WAY IS A DIRECT RESULT OF YOUR OWN ACTIONS? YOU CHUTESUCKERS ARE THE MOST UNCOOPERATIVE BUNCH I’VE HAD THE MISFORTUNE OF BEING IN CHARGE OF. AND NOW THAT THE GAME’S OVER AND DONE WITH, YOU STILL INSIST ON BEHAVING LIKE A BUNCH OF LAWLESS BUFFOONS. BELIEVE ME, YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW THANKLESS THIS POSITION IS.”

Vriska fully expected the outburst and met it with a smile. She took the time to examine Karkat’s face as he glowered at her, taking keen notice of how the edges of his lips twitched from the effort of maintaining a scowl. His tired yellow eyes were constantly blinking and the drooping bags underneath them looked to be just a shade darker than usual. One of Vriska’s eyebrows rose and her smug grin faltered an inch. This was an unsettling departure from her usual mental image of Karkat, which was one of an uptight, angry boy who fancied himself as a big shot and who only bossed people around and crafted colorful insults in order to inflate his own ego. Instead, what she saw seated before her was an insecure troll who was buckling under the stress of self-imposed responsibility. The furrowed brow and gritting teeth was all just a mask to push her and others away so they wouldn’t learn the truth.

With a curt scoff, Vriska flipped her hair back with her hand in an attempt to regain her previously aloof expression. This idiot has nobody but himself to blame for that. No one was forcing him to keep pretending to be a leader; the game was already over, they won! If he wanted to be a martyr and let this fake burden take an even greater physical toll on him, it was none of her business.

“As insightful as this is, by which I mean it isn’t at all, why do you expect me to care? Wouldn’t this conversation be better suited with that retarded moirail of yours? I’m sure the two of you can occupy yourselves for a whole week just letting out all that pathetic, insecure baggage you’ve got just feeeeeeeestering inside you.”

Karkat grunted and glanced over at Gamzee, who was dancing by the horn pile as usual. Why was it that Vriska was able to sniff out his frustration almost immediately, yet Gamzee remained completely oblivious? It was truly a miracle to see him anywhere that wasn’t within the immediate vicinity of the pile ever since he gathered all those horns and created that eyesore. It was like he was some type of acrobatic sentry guarding that piece of shit and warding off potential thieves with his outrageous dance moves. Of course, he would also try and charge people to use his pile as if he was trying to start some idiotic innkeeper role play with everyone else, even though nobody was ever interested. Still, it was a permanent act that never switched off, not even when Karkat wanted to have a serious talk with him. Not that he tried to do much of that anymore, however; after about three succinct, unproductive, and frustrating attempts at conversation, Karkat had given up trying to talk to him altogether. Perhaps Gamzee was just trying to cope with the situation in the same way Karkat was doing with his memos, but would it really hurt if he tried talking with his moirail if something was really bothering him? Instead, the only one who wanted to talk to him was Vriska, who was possibly the worst candidate for a conciliatory chat partner on the whole meteor.

“BELIEVE ME, HE WOULDN’T GET IT. I’VE ALREADY SPENT COUNTLESS HOURS ATTEMPTING TO DRILL MY TROUBLES INTO THAT IMPENETRABLE CRANIAL PLATE OF HIS ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS.” Karkat turned to Vriska again with a faint, almost resentful glimmer in his eyes. “NOT EVERYONE HAS THE LUXURY OF HAVING AN ATTENTIVE AND ACTUALLY FUNCTIONAL MOIRAIL LIKE YOU. SPEAKING OF, HOW ABOUT YOU GO BOTHER HER AND LEAVE ME ALONE? THAT ACTUALLY SOUNDS LIKE A REALLY GOOD IDEA TO ME.”

Vriska nearly sputtered before quickly averting her gaze towards Kanaya. The other troll was quietly fixated on her computer and had her back turned towards them. Whether she was truly ignorant to their bickering or merely pretending not to notice was unclear, but it made Vriska grimace all the same. Despite the fact that their work stations were right next to each other, Kanaya had yet to strike up anything resembling friendly conversation with her since they arrived on the meteor. Vriska meanwhile had tried numerous times to try and reconnect with her moirail, but Kanaya would brush her off at every turn, always claiming that she was too busy or too anxious about their current situation to talk about feelings with her. Normally these interactions played out in the reverse, and acting as the initiator for genuinely friendly chats was foreign territory for Vriska. The constant rebuffs eventually wore her down and made her discouraged until it reached a point where not even a single word would pass between them. It was like they were less like moirails and more like two neighboring desk workers where their shared place of employment was the full extent of their relationship.

Vriska wheeled around back towards Karkat. A deep frown replaced the confident smile previously on her face, which caused him to flinch. “Oh, tell me you’re joking right now! Functional? As if! The only function she serves is giving out free lip service that nobody asks for.”

“ARE YOU REALLY TRYING TO PAINT HER AS THE INEFFECTIVE PARTNER? SOMEHOW I DON’T BUY THAT. YOU’RE CLEARLY JUST LOOKING FOR AN EXCUSE TO PLAY THE VICTIM CARD LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO.”

“Don’t you fucking interrupt me!” The unexpected shrill note in Vriska’s voice successfully silenced Karkat. “I mean, she’s always meddling and prying and trying to get me to divulge my deepest insecurities, but the moment I decide to humor her, she only ever says things like…” She brought her hands to her mouth and covered her fangs with her index fingers before resuming in a deliberate, mocking monotone: “I Am Sorry Vriska But After All Nobody Is Perfect, Everything Happens For A Reason, We Will All Be Laughing About This Soon, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah! It’s like talking to one of those dumb machines that give out fakey fake fortunes to anyone willing to drop a Troll Caegar in it. She sure has a lot of shallow, useless well-wishings that anyone could take to their pump, but fuck those! How about tailoring some personal advice for me instead of those stupid outfits you’re always wearing? Isn’t that the whole point of being a moirail!?”

Karkat’s chair cushion squeaked and sighed like a deflating balloon as the mounting volume of Vriska’s voice pushed him deeper into it. She was practically screaming by the end of her rant, and some of the others started to take curious interest in what was going down. Karkat did his best to ignore their stares and focused solely on Vriska. Her body heaved and quivered with every breath that managed to straggle out of her clenched teeth. It was no surprise to Karkat that her romantic aspirations were fucked; she had previously confided with him about her struggles with Tavros. However, this situation with Kanaya made things even more complicated. Their moirallegiance was pretty much only possible due to Kanaya’s abnormal patience and willingness to extend a helping hand to practically anyone, even parasites like Eridan and Vriska. Vriska was hardly pitiable otherwise, and she’d have a devil of a time trying to find prospects left if this relationship turned sour. Though, this in itself seemed to make this deranged, angry girl just a bit more pathetic in his eyes. Could he possibly spare some of his pity on her?

Karkat placed a hand on his face and peered at Vriska through the gaps of his fingers. What was he thinking? There was no way he could pity someone who looked like she might bite off his cartilage nub if he got too close. Still, he couldn’t ignore the pang of curiosity that gnawed at his mind. That relationship between her and Kanaya was one of the few relationships here that he considered quite stable up to this point, and not even the sauciest of his rom-coms could’ve concocted a fallout like this. Even if it did mean having to talk with Vriska for longer than any reasonable troll would care to, he had to figure out more. Maybe he could even help calm her down a little, but not in a way that denotes anything pale-related. This, to him, would simply be teaching someone a lesson in keeping their quadrants in harmony, which was what he essentially did with half the trolls here already.

Getting up from his chair, he gingerly leaned his face closer to Vriska, who continued to seethe and glower in barely-constrained fury. She glared menacingly at him, so he maintained a reasonable distance; the thought he had earlier of her mauling his face remained a real possibility. “HEY, UH, DO YOU WANT TO MAYBE MOVE THIS TO ANOTHER ROOM?” He kept the volume of his voice low and carefully paced. The girl was a regular hormonal cauldron fit to boil over, so he had to put forth an effort to act delicately for a change. “MAYBE WE COULD TRY TO WORK OUT THESE ISSUES YOU HAVE SOMEWHERE MORE PRIVATE.”

Vriska’s lips screwed up into a confused snarl. “What’s that supposed to mean? Is… Is that supposed to be your attempt at a pale pass? How utterly lame of you! I bet you’d just loooooooove to pick apart my sponge and get me to open up more about my moirallegiance troubles, you creepy fuck!”

Karkat gagged and took a step backwards. “YOU’RE SO FUCKING DELUSIONAL IT’S A WONDER YOU’RE EVEN ABLE TO FUNCTION IN REALITY AT ALL.” That was enough for the pretenses of delicacy; this was still Vriska he was talking to, after all. “LOOK, I JUST SEE THAT YOU’RE INCREDIBLY EMOTIONALLY UNHINGED AT THE MOMENT. AS A GOOD LEADER I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT NOBODY UNDER MY COMMAND IS ABOUT TO GO SHIT LOOSE OFF THE RAILS AND SCREW THE REST OF US MORE THAN WE ALREADY ARE.”

“Unhinged???????? I’m not the one punching my desk and starting arguments with myself. I’m actually feeling fantastic right now, if you were so curious!”

“CLEARLY. I CAN TELL JUST FROM EVERYONE’S FACES THAT THIS IS JUST ORDINARY BEHAVIOR FOR VRISKA SERKET.”

Vriska quickly turned to the few onlookers who were still watching them. Her cheeks started to burn a bit with every pair of eyes she looked past. Just how long have they been eavesdropping anyway? She then crossed her arms and grumbled before shaking her head. “Fine, whatever. Since you clearly loooooooove my company, I think I know a place where we can ditch the peanut gallery.”

“YEAH SURE. AND JUST TO REITERATE, THIS SESSION IS ABSOLUTELY NOT PALE IN ANY SENSE OR SEMBLANCE OF THE TERM. THIS WILL BE STRICTLY PROFESSIONAL, UNDERSTAND.”

Vriska narrowed her eyes at Karkat before a small laugh broke past her lips. “Oh my god, I was just giving you a hard time! You didn’t really think I’d accuse you of committing pale infidelity, did you? I mean, I don’t think you’re thaaaaaaaat pathetic, Vantas.”

“OF COURSE NOT.” Karkat snorted and turned away from Vriska, hoping to hide the redness that had already started to tinge his face. “JUST FORGET ABOUT IT. LET’S GET GOING.”

Vriska nodded and hurriedly shuffled towards the transportalizer. She had already vanished in a crackle of light by the time Karkat reached the platform and followed suit. The two of them traversed the twisting pathways of the meteor in complete silence before they finally arrived in Vriska’s room. As the door slid open along its tracks, the first thing that caught Karkat’s attention was a massive pile of shattered 8 balls in the far right corner.

“WHY THE FUCK DO YOU SMASH SO MANY OF THESE THINGS?”

“Don’t ask.”

Vriska strolled toward the pile and flopped down upon it with a loud crunch of shattered plastic. She looked expectantly at Karkat, who hesitantly took a seat next to her.

“SO BRING ME UP TO SPEED WITH YOU AND KANAYA. FROM WHAT I’VE SEEN YOU TWO HAVE ALWAYS BEEN LIKE REGULAR PALS. I MEAN, SECOND TO EQUIUS AND NEPETA, I’D PROBABLY PLACE YOUR PALE QUADRANT AS THE STABLEST HERE.”

“Well sure! I mean, I may have been a little harsh with what I said back there, I’ll admit. It was never perfect between us, but things used to be pretty great! But now she’s giving me the cold shoulder and acting like she wants nothing to do with me anymore. Like what’s her deal?” Vriska knocks a shard to the side with her foot and stares at her sneaker. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it feels a little sad not to have someone wanting to pester you. It used to be that I at least had one troll who cared what I was up to, but now I don’t even have that anymore.”

Vriska looked down and fixed her gaze towards her sneaker. She could see Karkat watching her from the edges of her vision, so she intensified her focus on her shoe to the point where his presence was reduced to a gray blur. Perhaps if she kept at this for long enough, it would be like she was all by herself and nobody could hear all this embarrassing emotional baggage she was putting out. It was difficult enough to say these things out loud, but knowing that she was deliberately letting down her guard with another troll in the room made things worse. She closed her eyes and grumbled something unintelligible, realizing what a waste of time it was to pretend Karkat wasn’t here. When she eventually did turn to look at him, though, she found that he was doing his best to avoid looking at her as well.

“YEAH, I GET YOU.” Karkat ran his fingernails down the back of his neck as he searched for something to respond with. His head was turned in the complete opposite direction of where Vriska sat, so it almost felt like he was talking to the wall. “MAYBE MY PROBLEM IS THE OPPOSITE OF YOURS. LIKE THAT MY MOIRAIL DOESN’T KNOW WHEN TO GIVE ME SOME SPACE.” The hair on his neck tingled as he felt Vriska’s derisive glare cut into them in response to that comment.

“Oh poooooooor Karkat! People actually want to be his friend and enjoy his company! What a truly insufferable life you must lead.”

“SEE YOU ONLY SAY THAT BECAUSE YOU ENJOY THE PRIVILEGE OF NOT HAVING TO PUT UP WITH HIM ON A REGULAR BASIS. I’M SURPRISED MY THINK PAN HASN’T COMPLETELY GROUND AWAY INTO DUST AFTER BEING REPEATEDLY ASSAULTED BY HIS REGURGITATED NONSENSE ABOUT MIRACLES OR HIS BULLSHIT CLOWN RELIGION. I MEAN, I APPRECIATE THE SENTIMENT IN TRYING TO CONNECT WITH ME, BUT I’M ABOUT TO BACKFLIP OFF A CLIFF AND INTO A SEA OF MY ONSETTING INSANITY IF I CAN’T GET HIM TO TALK TO ME LIKE A NORMAL TROLL FOR ONCE.”

Karkat’s hands cupped his knees, his fingers flexing against them. His harsh tone only slightly contrasted with the deep frown he currently wore, which appeared more contemplative and sad than genuinely angry. He knew it was useless to try to disguise his true emotions from Vriska; she was probably fingering through his mind at this very moment.

Vriska, however, was not reading Karkat’s mind. She was much too preoccupied in keeping herself guarded than to try and penetrate Karkat’s mental defenses. Besides, she could clearly see the frustration and despair in his sagging frown, even though his face was completely downturned. He made no motion to continue ranting or even make an attempt at a change of topic, and so Vriska decided to match his silence. For a good long while, neither of them spoke a word to each other.

The silence grew longer between them until Vriska scooted closer to Karkat and gently placed a hand on his arm. If they weren’t going to speak, she felt as though she at least needed to do something to make this situation just a little less awkward. However, the unexpected contact caused Karkat to snap out of his reverie and instantly flinch away. He clutched the spot on his arm where Vriska touched him and stared at her with wide eyes, as if she had just placed a burning candle on his skin.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

Vriska appeared shocked, then scowled. “I don’t know! You just looked so miserable and I thought… oh fuck it! Screw you, Vantas!” She then crossed her arms and turned away.
Karkat slapped his hands against the sides of his head and groaned. “LOOK, I’M SORRY ABOUT THAT. THIS IS SOME PRETTY HEAVY SHIT WE’RE SPITTING OUT BETWEEN OURSELVES RIGHT NOW. I’M JUST A LITTLE NERVOUS WE MIGHT BE–”

“Waxing pale for each other?”

“NO. WHAT A MORONIC THING TO SAY. THERE’S NO WAY EITHER OF US WOULD JEOPARDIZE OUR CONCILIATORY QUADRANTS LIKE THAT.”

“Pssh, duh! That was another joke, dumbass. But you know I’m glad we’re at least on the same page, Karkat. I was just making sure you weren’t as much as a sentimental grub that I thought you were being.”

“NOPE. THIS EXCHANGE IS COMPLETELY OUTSIDE THE BOUNDS OF QUADRANTS.”

“Yup.”

No further words passed between the trolls for two minutes. Karkat shuffled against the hard, jagged eight ball shards in a futile attempt to get comfortable while Vriska leaned forward to tighten her shoelaces. She briefly turned to Karkat before returning her attention back to her shoes, where she mimed as if she was retying them while clearing her throat to speak.

“Aaaaaaaalthough,” she drawled, her eyes still glued to the ground, “here’s a thought to tickle the old lobe stem. I know you’re practically a walking encyclopedia full of pointless and boring romance stuff, so this might be an easy question for you.”

“GO FOR IT.” Karkat let Vriska’s barb breeze right past him and shifted his position so that he could face her.

“I’m speaking purely hypothetically right now, but say there are two trolls in a moiralligience and one of them ain’t holding up their end of the deal. They’re just letting their partner flounder and fester in a stew of their own misery and won’t even extend a helping claw to them! Is that even a real relationship at that point?”

“IF IT WAS, IT’D BE A PRETTY SHITTY ONE.”

“Right? That’s what I’m saying! So anyway, if that troll decided to go out and find someone else to lean on and push all their baggage on, would that really be considered infidelity? I mean, how can they cheat if they aren’t in a real relationship?”

Karkat nibbled on his lower lip. It was obvious where she was going with this and he knew that his answer would directly encourage whatever action she would do next. Still, he couldn’t help but speak freely: “NO, I’D SAY NOT. THEY’RE JUST LOOKING OUT FOR WHAT’S HEALTHY FOR THEM.”

“I tooooooootally agree. It’s so great to know that we can come to the same conclusion for something like this.” Vriska finally lifted her head away from her feet and stared directly at Karkat. Her hand brushed away an errant strand of hair that was hanging between her eyes and her lips curled in a smile that seemed uncharacteristically forced. “So… do you wanna be moirails, then?”

The words came from her own mouth, yet they sounded like they came from a total stranger. Vriska’s mouth twisted and curled in her efforts to maintain her smile and not immediately disengage with a cagey remark, as if her question was merely facetious. This had to be a new low for her; Vriska Serket didn’t need to depend on anyone, especially tantrum-throwing tools like this guy. But he was the only one of the trolls who could at least tolerate her attitude for extended periods without trying to shoo her away. And now that he knew a little more about what she was dealing with, he’d probably feel more obligated to offer her company. Maybe she could view this less as depending on him and more as forging a small alliance with someone against a group of assholes who can’t stand her.

Meanwhile, Karkat’s breath stuttered through his teeth as he collected his thoughts. Could he really trust this girl with his emotional wellbeing despite how cruelly she had treated those closest to her in the past? It was a little bizarre to think that he might actually be better off with her than with Gamzee; Vriska would at least listen to him, even if she mocked him afterwards. But he wasn’t intimidated of her, not anymore at least. Under that bravado and snark was a timid girl who only knew how to lash out and spurn others because she was hatched wrong. He could deal with her barbs and, who knows, maybe he could use this experience to teach someone all this awesome romance knowledge that would only go to waste otherwise.

“ALL RIGHT, I ACCEPT. THIS IS PROBABLY AT THE VERY BOTTOM OF THE LIST OF STUPIDEST FUCKING THINGS I COULD POSSIBLY DO. BUT I MEAN HEY, WHO KNOWS IF WE’LL EVER MAKE IT OFF THIS ROCK. MIGHT AS WELL MAKE ALL THE BRAINDEAD DECISIONS WE CAN WITH THE TIME WE HAVE LEFT.”

Vriska chuckled in spite of herself. “That’s the spirit!” She shuffled a little more towards Karkat and leaned against his shoulder. “Now you’re stuck with me for good!”

“YEAH, YEAH.” Karkat grumbled in annoyance, but made no attempt to push Vriska away. He looked back at her, whose smile now appeared to be completely genuine and free of any sarcasm or malice. He could feel the edges of his own lips twitching upwards in response, as silly as that made him feel. With a final, self-conscious snort, he pressed himself closer towards Vriska in return, all while his hand slowly drifted towards her crotch and press against the fly of her jeans.
Feeling Karkat’s fingers blindly fumble in their attempt to find her zipper made Vriska’s entire body stiffen. The mere sensation of feeling his hand pressing against her groin was such an inconceivable idea that her mind had trouble processing it. Like, Karkat was an ass, but he wasn’t a pervert; she had to just be imagining it. It was only after her zipper started being pulled and the first few crunches thundered in her ears that she realized whatever was going on wasn’t make believe. With a startled yelp, she slapped his hand away before forcefully shoving him off of her.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing????????” Vriska’s mouth twisted into a quivering scowl and she pivoted her hips in a way that her lower half was facing away from Karkat, but that she could still glare at him. Violated was the shadow of what she was currently feeling.

Karkat lifted himself off of the ground and stared at Vriska as if she had grown a second set of horns. “WHAT? ARE YOU SERIOUS? I’M TRYING CONSOLIDATING OUR RELATIONSHIP YOU IDIOT.”

“Holy shit! And I’m the one who’s supposed to not know anything about romance!? We’re moirails, not matesprits! Why the hell would you getting into my pants be at all reflective of that?”

“ARE YOU REALLY SO STUNTED THAT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW THIS WORKS? THE WHOLE FUNCTION OF A MOIRALLIGIENCE IS FOR TROLLS TO RELIEVE EACH OTHER OF STRESS AND OTHER NEGATIVE EMOTIONS. AFTER COUNTLESS EONS OF THE EVOLUTION OF TROLL SOCIETY, WE AS A SPECIES COLLECTIVELY DECIDED THAT THE BEST WAY TO WAY TO DO THAT IS THROUGH STIMULATING EACH OTHER TO THE POINT WHERE ALL YOUR PROBLEMS, WELL, GUSH OUT.” Karkat could feel the heat in his cheeks as he tried to spit that last part out. It felt totally natural to research this sort of thing on his own, but actually having to explain it to someone was more awkward than he thought.

“Bogus! The whole point of a conciliatory quadrant is that there’s no sex stuff involved!”

“IT ISN’T SEX YOU MORON. IT’S A COMPLETELY PLATONIC, MECHANICAL PROCEDURE. IT’S JUST, LIKE, AN UNSPOKEN RULE ABOUT MOIRALLIGIENCE. THE REASON IT ISN’T TALKED ABOUT TOO MUCH IS PROBABLY BECAUSE NUB SUCKERS LIKE YOU WOULD JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS AND START ACCUSING PEOPLE OF RED INFIDELITY OVER SOMETHING DECIDEDLY NOT ROMANTIC.”
“But Kanaya and I never did anything like that before!”

“YEAH, AND FROM WHAT YOU’VE TOLD ME, THAT RELATIONSHIP WENT SOUTH PRETTY FAST.”

Vriska bit her lip and her eyes shot down to her shoes.”W-Well, did you and Makara ever do it before then?”

Karkat paused and scratched his head before heaving a sigh. “NOT REALLY. WHICH, AS I’VE STATED, IS PROBABLY WHY THINGS HAVEN’T BEEN WORKING OUT BETWEEN US EITHER. I MEAN, HOW WOULD YOU GO ABOUT PROPOSITIONING THAT GUY TO STROKE HIS BONE BULGE?”

Vriska sputtered out a small laugh, partly in amusement at the absurd mental image and partly to disguise her own embarrassment. The idea of allowing Karkat to fondle her like that seemed bizarre and a little gross, but who was she to doubt his knowledge on the subject of romance? After this whole conversation, she felt as if she knew even less about moiralligience than she did before she started talking to Karkat in the first place. Perhaps by allowing him to do this, something might just click in her sponge and she’d have a better idea of how this whole romance bullshit is supposed to play out.

As she nibbled on her lower lip, Vriska’s shoulders slumped and she spread her legs to face Karkat, though her head turned to the side to look away from him. Whatever he was about to do to her, she couldn’t bear to watch. “I don’t care how ‘platonic’ it is, if this takes longer than eight minutes, I’m calling it quits!”

Karkat only nodded in confirmation; making any sort of retort would only make things more uncomfortable. He grabbed Vriska’s zipper and finished pulling it down, taking her pants off afterwards. He tried not to spend too much time staring at her bare legs, their skin tone noticeably lighter and almost translucent compared to the rest of her body; it was clear to him that she didn’t spend a lot of time with these off. His fingers anxiously twitch as he gripped the waistband of her cerulean panties, and once he took hold of them, he half-expected her to sock him right in the jaw. Vriska, however, remained near-motionless with her face still fixated away from him, even as the last shred of her modesty was achingly dragged down to her ankles.

Now she sat before him with her legs spread apart and desperately fighting the reflex to close together. Sweat soaked through the collar of Karkat’s shirt as he found himself staring at her. He had witnessed a countless number of trolls in the same position that she was in right now, whether they were in the centerfolds of elicit magazines or plastered on seedy web pages. But as one sat right in front of him, with her bare skin trembling and flexing in response to the cool air, he felt as though he was looking at a half-naked body for the first time. Of course, Vriska looked nothing like those buxom model types; far from it, actually. She was thin and gangly with knobby joints, had no curves at all, and her legs appeared even leaner without the bulk of her baggy jeans concealing them. There was almost an aura of fragility surrounding her, as if she’d crumble if Karkat were to handle her too roughly.

“Hey, shitsponge.” Vriska’s sharp comment pulled Karkat’s distracted gaze away from her waist and towards her eyes, which shimmered with a mixture of frustration and barely disguised embarrassment. “All this ogling is cutting into your time. You’d better hurry this up!”

“OKAY, FUCK. SHUT UP,” Karkat said as he kneaded his knuckles against his eyes. “THIS IS A DELICATE OPERATION THAT YOU LIKELY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. JUST GIVE ME A SECOND TO ORIENT MYSELF.”

Shuffling closer to her, Karkat parted her legs even wider and directed his full attention to her nook. A matted mass of thick, wiry hair hid it from plain sight, so he gingerly parted the field to gain easy access to her entrance. Vriska’s thighs twitched uncomfortably as soon as he made contact with her skin, but Karkat steeled himself and stuck one of his fingers in his mouth. The digit glistened with saliva once he pulled it out and he then brought it downwards and slowly inserted it into Vriska. It felt like he stuck it inside a piece of grub loaf, only damper and with walls that pulsed and flexed in tune with a heartbeat. The noise she made, a strange blend of a wheeze and a confused moan, caused him to wince and dumbly gaze ahead as the full length of his finger remained motionless inside her. He racked his brain for knowledge he gathered from pale romance novels in regards to this particular subject. Most of them followed the same general pattern that seemed easy enough to imitate. And so, slowly and cautiously, he inched his finger in and out of her nook like a tiny piston pumping into its slot. A dull pain radiated from his bicep as he persisted in this short, repeated motion, but upon feeling Vriska’s hips press closer against his hand, he figured he should keep at it; he was obviously doing something right.

Vriska twisted her legs and chomped down on her lip whenever she felt a moan or any other similarly humiliating noise about to breech; there was no way she was going to give Karkat the satisfaction of listening to her melt in his hand. This, however, did nothing to stop the trembling of her thighs and reflexive poundings of her white-knuckled fists on the ground as the finger probed deeper inside of her with every thrust. The addition of a second finger only redoubled her efforts, and the twin indents of her lip caused by her fangs felt like they’d burst into bloody, cerulean geysers at any moment. Her neck was still twisted to the side, but whenever she dared to turn and look at Karkat, her eyelids clamped shut and her head was forced back again. It was impossible; there was no way she could look at him while she was splayed out and exposed like this. Karkat could lecture her for hours about how this is normal behavior for moirails, but it still felt wrong to know that he was the one who was getting her off like this. But she couldn’t just pretend that the person fingerbanging her and making her head spin didn’t exist at all; it just couldn’t be Karkat. Her imagination raced for an answer, to apply some sort of fake identity to mask the fingers inside of her. The figure of Tavros emerged in Karkat’s place within her mind’s eye, but that didn’t seem right. That guy was way too much of a weenie to be so sexually forward. The rustblood then melted away in favor of an image of John, who then was swapping places with Nic Cage. Vriska felt the tip of her tongue peek from the sealed walls of her lips as her brain distractedly juggled the two faces be until they seemed to meld together in a strange blend of familiarity

A third finger wormed its way inside of her and sent a shock through her body all the way to her eyelids, which shot open. Vriska’s arm lunged towards Karkat’s and her fingers gripped his wrist in a vice, keeping his digits trapped inside of her as the incoming wave of orgasm approached. She could feel him struggle in startled panic, but her grip held fast right until the first few contractions rocked her hips. The walls of her nook convulsed in a steady rhythm, each pulse pushing out a flood of cerulean fluid that coated Karkat’s imprisoned hand. Her breathing was reduced to a series of stuttered, high-pitched yelps in her efforts to suppress her screams.

Only once the tidal wave of climax ended did Vriska release her death grip on Karkat’s hand. He weakly pulled it towards himself and flicked his fingers to the side, casting a shower of cerulean droplets that speckled the stone gray floor. A small pool continually oozed out of Vriska’s nook, which contracted and gasped in the lingering moments of climax. He tenderly rubbed his wrist, which continued to throb with pain after that brutal throttling Vriska gave it.

“UH… SO I’M GUESSING YOU ENJOYED THAT?”

Vriska’s body stiffened and she crossed her legs before flipping her hair in as much of a standoffish way that she could muster. “Don’t flatter yourself, Vantas! That was… okay. But now it’s your turn.”

“FINE, FINE. LET’S GET THIS OVER WITH THEN.”

Vriska pulled her pants up and grinned as Karkat spread his legs. She then repeated the same process he did with her, removing his pants and boxer shorts and throwing them carelessly to the side. Unlike Karkat, Vriska had never seen the exposed lower half of any troll, printed or otherwise, and her lips curled inwards in effort to view this as totally normal. The most shocking part about it to her was his surprisingly slim frame; she never noticed it underneath his baggy clothes and the constant show of authority he was always putting on. His doughy legs lacked any sort of muscle definition, further shattering the impression she held that he was a much larger troll than he was. Her eyes then finally rested on the bone bulge hanging limply between his legs, which was already a bit swollen from the previous events; of course, Vriska didn’t know the difference between this and its natural size. Naturally she knew the gist of what one was supposed to look like, but viewing one up close was an oddity all on its own.

“SO WHAT, ARE YOU JUST GOING TO STARE OR ARE YOU GOING TO DO SOMETHING?” As impatient as Karkat sounded, the look in his wild eyes made it seem like he legitimately thought Vriska might do something crazy like chop it off. All the notions she had of him being a scared little boy hiding behind a mask of anger were all too apparent now that he was exposed to her. It was certainly effective in healing her ego, which had been bruised beyond recognition after the treatment he had just given her, and, unlike him, she was not shy in taking advantage of his vulnerability.

“Okaaaaaaaay! Man, someone’s really impatient to get his rocks off.” The snark had returned: a personal victory. That should be enough to distract him from the tentative manner in how she extended her arm and grasped his bulge. Vriska gently squeezed the organ and felt the rest of Karkat’s body tense up. It was fascinating; even though she wasn’t mind controlling him, it was if she found another method of manipulating his body. A low whine rose from Karkat’s mouth, muffled by his sealed lips. That was probably a sign that she was doing something right; he’d probably be screaming at her, otherwise. Her fingers drummed along his flaccid length in contemplation before she opened her fingers and laid it flat. The grey organ languidly rolled about the curvature of her palm as she rotated and raised her hand. Eventually she closed her fingers around it in a loose grip before lightly stroking it up and down. Her digits then formed a rhythm where they would press down on the length one at a time before releasing their grip and starting the cycle anew. Handling it like a joystick in a video game helped keep motions focused, although she had to ignore the mound of hair cushioning the shaft and the shame globes which jiggled uselessly beneath her grip.

Karkat swallowed the scream that had been growing in his throat the second that Vriska placed her hand on his bulge. What started as curious fumblings soon evolved to a steady pumping motion as she familiarized herself with his most private area. There was a stunning confidence in her motions that threw him off guard and demonstrated just how exposed he really was. His neck arched back and directed his glazed gaze upwards while his fingers closed in on themselves. He of all trolls should know that this was completely normal, but it was still more than a little embarrassing to know that Vriska was able to reduce him to such a state. It was more than a small source of pride that he never let himself fall into any of her games, yet here he was at her mercy. If it were anyone else, maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to swallow; maybe he’d just have to use his imagination for a bit before he completely flipped the fuck out. His cheeks began to burn hotly as he imagined Jade to be the one playing with his unmentionables, but that didn’t seem too realistic. Perhaps it would do better for it to be someone with more familiarity. The buck-toothed form melted away and was replaced with that of Terezi wearing a playful, toothy grin. This was the mirage that remained in his mind’s eye up until he became all too aware of the pressure building in his crotch. His spine twisted backwards and his turgid bulge tremored in desperation to relieve itself of its burden.

The moment that the first ruby red bead burgeoned from the tip of Karkat’s bulge, Vriska was the first to notice it. While mostly ignorant about male troll anatomy, she knew enough to know what was going to happen next, and there was no way she was about to be in the crossfire. With a flick of her wrist, she aimed the shaft backwards so that the first arc of spunk shot out directly onto Karkat’s shirt. Karkat himself didn’t even seem to register it amidst the quivering and moaning he was currently undergoing. Vriska herself watched in awe as the pulsating bulge in her grip propelled these long, sticky streams of genetic fluid through the air before they all splattered onto Karkat’s clothes. The streams soon devolved into gasping dribbles that trickled listlessly down his aching shaft, which Vriska let go of to avoid getting any of it on her hand. Eventually Karkat opened his eyes and instantly realized what had happened to his clothes. The orgasmic afterglow fizzled and he glowered at Vriska, lips curled back to bare his fangs.

“OH FUCKING DAMMIT. WHY’D YOU DO THAT!?” If there ever was a whimpering, quivering boy sitting in his spot, that outburst did well to eliminate that notion.

Vriska couldn’t help but laugh at the sudden change in attitude. “Well, there’s no way I’m getting that stuff on me, right? Look, if you’re so angry about it, we can always hash it out during our next feelings jam, right?” She punctuated this last remark with a wink, hoping to prompt him into confirming that they were indeed an item after all this.

Karkat crossed his arms, knowing full well what she was getting at. “OH YOU’D BETTER BELIEVE WE’LL BE GETTING INTO THIS NEXT TIME. WHY WOULD I EXPECT ANY LESS THAT YOU’D GO AGAINST COMMON PALE ETIQUETTE BY GETTING MY CLOTHES FILTHY WITH MY OWN GENETIC FLUID? YOU’RE SUCH A KNUCKLE-DRAGGING SAVAGE IT’S A WONDER YOU MANAGED TO LAND ME AS A MOIRAIL IN THE FIRST PLACE. I MEAN WHAT THE FUCK.”

Vriska only rolled her eyes as got to her feet. “Oh spare me, you big grub! Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll be heading back to the lab. You should know you ain’t the only iron I’ve got in the fire. Feel free to join me, after you’ve cleaned yourself up, that is. Hahahahahahahaha!” She then reached out to tussle Karkat’s hair before casually waltzing out of the room.

Karkat glared as she passed through the doorway before looking back at his stained shirt, all while grumbling a string of half-hearted curses. Oh yeah, he’ll definitely have a few choice words about this during their next session.



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