Daemons are from Philip Pullman's Golden Compass trilogy; they're a part of a person's soul that takes on an animal shape. (In 30th's AU, only humans have daemons, trolls don't.)

30th-Century Night: Daemon AU


Rabbits can scream, when they're scared.

Dave thinks he vaguely knew that, at some point. Who would care to remember, right?

Bowie is perched on his shoulder, huge as she is, claws tight; her feathers are puffed up so she looks even scruffier, even huger. Certainly more impressive than a drab, rangy wild rabbit.

The rabbit doesn't care, the rabbit did not scream when Bowie flew over its head, and now it's hopping against the dumpster and sliding back down and jumping again, jumping for its person's leg like its negligible weight will help balance the poor asshole. The whole thing is silly as hell, and as frightening on an instinctive level as it can be to get closed in a metal box while your daemon stays outside, it's not like the human will get trapped in there; the problem is going to be pretty temporary.

Dave should be laughing. At least inwardly.

"--whimsical fuckwhiffing dumbshittery -- just like my amazing joke of a life -- hngh, shit, shit -- fuck it, fuck it in one ear and out through the nose holes--"

The rabbit sees them and it startles, moves to run, but after that it sets its tiny feet and honest to god growls.

It is the least terrifying threat Dave has ever, ever gotten in his life. Either of his lives. Any of his lives.

An angry sob. "--I give, are you fucking happy, I give--"

Bowie drops from his shoulder and on top of the rabbit like a bird of prey, and Dave presses a hand on the back of (Karkat's) the guy's rapidly rising thigh and pushes it back down.

The man (boy? small dude?) jerks even before he touches him, from his daemon's own shock, but a second time at Dave's hand, so hard he knocks his knee into the metal side of the dumpster.

"Down, boy," Dave deadpans, he isn't sure how. His voice is rusty in his throat. "Gimme a sec."

One wild kick, two -- the dude's twitchy. "What the -- don't touch me!"

That voice. The metal walls makes it resonate weird, the trash muffles it, but.

"You sure I should take my hand off you, bro?" He lifts his hand; Kar--the dude starts tipping over again with a yell. On the ground Bowie is playing rodeo with the bunny. She pecks it on the head in annoyance when it almost manages to wriggle free. Dave generously pins the dude a second time.

"Hey! Get your grimy claws off Kuli--"

He should be able to straighten up now that his legs are steadied, but he's probably been struggling for a while; his muscles are too tired.

"My daemon lets go of yours when I let go of you. It can be once I've pulled you out, or it can be right now. Which one do you want?"

A beat of silence.

"Fine, fine, jesusfuck," the dude wheezes, bent in half on the dumpster's edge.

Dave steps behind him and slips an arm around his hips and an arm around his thighs, and steps back, pulling him along. The dude helps as he can, hands finally managing to grab the edge and push.

Warm brown skin. Raven-black hair.

Dave sees the whorl of an ear and he knows, he sees the curve of a cheekbone and he knows, he sees -- banal brown, furious, ashamed eyes, and he knows, he knows, he knows.

He stares up at Karkat Vantas the not-a-troll, Karkat Vantas the older teenager, Karkat Vantas who now has a daemon somehow. (Karkat who doesn't know him.)

Karkat's ass is still propped up on his chest, Dave is still holding him by the legs. He could hold him up all night.

Karkat (Karkat, oh god) wriggles in Dave's hold. Not too much; he's still pretty high. "Thanks kindly for your assistance, now could you put me down on the ground."

"I could," Dave agrees vaguely.

"Do you have a fetish for ass cheeks pressed tenderly against your pectorals?" the human (Karkat, Karkat) snarls, embarrassed to death and... and wary, there is something wary there that never used to be even in troll him's eyes. "You getting off on this or something?"

Then again Dave did find him dumpster-diving.

He looks really scruffy. And scrawny, and bruised.

"Yep," Dave says. His raven starts preening the rabbit's ear, who sputters and kicks like it hurts. Karkat stiffens in Dave's hold.

Dave lets Karkat glide down against his body, and discovers with not too much surprise that he wasn't even kidding.

It seizes him, the need, just grabs on and pierces right through, and it's been so long since he let himself feel anything that deeply.

He wants to hold on tight and get as close as he can to someone he knew, someone who could have understood (someone who doesn't recognize him) someone he missed, and he can't have John and he can't have Jade (they're dead and it's too late, they'll never meet, he missed that train) and he doesn't get enough of Rose, and Terezi is a lifetime out of reach. He wants to hold him tight and smell his human hair and --

If "as close as he can" involving a dick and an asshole, being buried to the hilt in him, limbs wrapped around him so he won't leave again, so he can't, Dave will be pretty --

Does it count as happy, when it feels like he'll go insane with loneliness if Karkat does go away instead? Does it matter, being honorable or proper, when he thinks of letting Karkat disappear in the evening crowd and feels like he can't breathe?

He looks down at his daemon so she can reason him, because it's the thing to do in those situations, right? Only her wings are spread, covering the rabbit almost entirely, only its head poking out of her black feathers, nose twitching wildly.

She'll never willingly let go, either.

Okay then.

"So," he says (his arms are still around Karkat's waist, and Karkat isn't fighting even despite how tense he is. Dave forces himself to loosen them, to let him step back, turn face to face.) "Do I need to mutilate this awesome sandwich into crumbs if I want to lure you to my place or what?"



Whenever they fuck, Bowie is on Kulira. Scaly bird's legs and long toes holding onto her, body so low it's almost like the crow -- "raven, not crow, and not rook either, that was last time" -- is brooding his hare like she thinks it's an egg instead.

Karkat could believe it if he wasn't seeing the way Bowie's tail flips down, the way she presses down on Kulira's rump.

Which is mildly disturbing, because everyone knows daemons don't mount each other when their human does, as they share in their human's climax and don't have any of their own.

Plus Bowie is female anyway.

She still tries to hump Karkat's hare, still clenches her long clawed toes on Kulira's soft flanks, still tries to preen the edge of delicate long ears with her sharp, hard beak. She still tries to mate with Karkat's daemon. Normal daemons don't ... they just pet and groom each other, or cuddle maybe, if there are feelings, or ignore each other if there aren't -- as Karkat rather thought they might. But when Kulira made herself a form in the blankets that first night, half-hidden under a pillow, Bowie started crowding her almost immediately, and crooning and making strange little almost-chirps that didn't even sound natural for a corvid.

She's as desperate as Dave is. Both scarily hungry for more of them, for their presence and their attention and the touch of their skin and anything they can grab at.

The day Dave buys them online classes Karkat pretends that Kulira kicking Bowie off and mounting her instead is merely born of impatience and irritation. Revenge fuck, nothing more. That the way Bowie -- twice as large -- flattens herself under his hare, wings fanning out on the bed, tail tipping up in invitation... well, Dave is a pervert, makes sense his daemon would be too.

He makes sure to bite Dave's nape as well, so Dave won't think it means anything when Karkat pins his hand flat and laces their fingers together with bone-cracking force.

(Some days when Dave rocks against him long and slow with his eyes in Karkat's, Karkat almost wants to be holding onto Kulira, to hug her soft comforting fur and soul-rightness against his chest. To ... maybe shield himself from, maybe share, that scary, intense thing Dave makes him feel, that infinitely possessive, infinitely tender thing the man keeps offering and offering even as he forces himself to leave the door unlocked. Karkat hasn't yet, because it'd mean Dave would risk touching her as well.)

(He hasn't yet, and he thrusts harder to make himself forget that he will.)