Midnight on the Demon patrol

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Chapter 8

The first coherent thought Dave has upon waking up is fuck yeah three days' leave, so he goes straight back to sleep.

The second coherent thought he has, about a hour later, is shit want to pee don't want to brave the ladder dilemma.

The third is old soda bottle in the corner? And the fourth is Rose will know somehow, I'll never live it down.

At any rate, he is awake. He cracks open his eyes, gazes at the slanted ceiling, stretches his legs. Shit yeah futon. Missed you, buddy. His back hardly hurts today.

Of course he kind of hurts everywhere else. But it's a low-grade, stealthy kind of soreness. He figures so long as he doesn't move an inch it'll have no reason to get worse. Maybe he can get Karkat to fetch stuff for him.

Something is breathing nearby.

Dave cranes his neck, rolls his head on the nice soft fluffy pillow. On his left, the railing, the high ceiling of the rest of his apartment. The upper curve of a tall window. Toward his feet: the ladder, and another window.

On his right...

The wall. Okay, fascinating. Only when he looks up in the corner where the ceiling slants low, behind the futon, there's his demon, curled in a tight ball in a nest of old clothes and stolen pillows, sleeping.

It's the first time Dave has seen him like this. Unaware. Vulnerable. Not glaring suspiciously or pretending to ignore him but tracking him anyway.

And he stayed close.

Heh. Probably because his nest is here, and he didn't want Dave's insistence on sleeping in his own bed to chase him off, the stubborn little brat.

Dave's best camera is downstairs, but cameras are a reliable and always appreciated birthday present and he's got like seven of them, and it just so happens his third best is right there by the side of his bed. Dave turns onto his side, doesn't even bother to lift his head off the pillow.


Oh hey, there's the cable to plug it straight into his phone. Look at that. He knew one day it would pay to be a lazy fuckhead and leave it all in a tangled mess by the head of his bed.

Takes him two minutes.

#fuckyeahpetdemon demon hunting technique step one look adorable to lure fools in

He's an asshole, so he wiggles closer to the corner of the bed and flicks Karkat's forehead right between his smaller eyes.

Click, click.

"What the fuck?!" says the sudden pointy bits explosion.

Dave thumbs through his pictures. Haha, okay, yeah, this one. He uploads it.

"No, seriously, what's your malfunction, I was sleeping! Did you want me to savage you?!"

#fuckyeahpetdemon demon hunting technique step two bite chunk off dinner

"Hey, I'm talking to you. Stop poking away at your phone thing. Hey, dickwad -- oh, what the fuck ever."


#fuckyeahpetdemon step three groom prissily aww yeah still the prettiest

"... Did you just take pictures."

Karkat is suddenly looming over him, hands planted on the corner of his mattress as he squints at the phone screen. Dave blinks mildly.

"Shh, babe, I'm making you a star."

Karkat stares down at him for a few seconds. "Right. Give me that thing, I obviously need to call someone in to treat your brain damage."

Dave chuckles, quiet and rough, lets his eyes close again. He is so tired. It's a still alive! booyah kind of tired though, so he doesn't mind too much. He wriggles a little in his bed, makes himself comfortable.

"If you think I'm letting you sleep after you just woke me up, I really am going to have to call someone about your brain damage."

Dave purses his lips in aunt-like disapproval. "Aw, come on. It's so nice in here. I'll even let you share if you wanna."

Oh hey cuddling. Yes. This is what's missing to make it the perfect morning. Be so damn nice to have someone to drape his arm on and hair to play with and everything.

He doubts Karkat is going to want to, though. Unless Dave orders him, and yeah, nope. Okay, bummed now. He sighs.

"You need anything?" he asks, because he can be a responsible summoner, yes, really, he can.

Yesterday Detective Alders and the partner of that officer who was thrown out on the plaza that Karkat went to drag to safety both opened a vein for him, so he shouldn't be ravenous. It's probably the best time to discuss some shit.

He wishes he could at least have breakfast first. If he starts pushing it off, though, he'll keep delaying until it's time to go back to work. (Until it's time to feed him again.)

Karkat stares at him in silence, eyelids hooded thoughtfully.

"I could eat."

Shit. Dave rubs a hand across his face. "Physical or metaphysical food?"


Shit. "Well. Let's go to the kitchen first." He struggles into a sitting position; all his muscles suddenly point out how sore he is. Holy shit, full-body ouch.

Karkat's brow furrows, and he looks away. When Dave looks at him, leaning forward, hands pressed to the futon, the demon looks -- unsure. Worried.


"My -- something inside feels weird. Not very good."

Dave's back stiffens. He touches Karkat's shoulder, eyebrows furrowed. "Show me where. How bad is it?"

Karkat grumbles, but sits up straighter, rests a hand on his belly. "Not very, but worse than yesterday."


Karkat scowls at him, lips pursed, and looks away. "I thought I was imagining it at first. I wasn't hit there, so I have no clue what the fuck. It's not hunger, I remember that from earlier -- hell, I'm feeling it now."

"Yeah, and your stomach would be higher -- if you're made like a human inside." Dave is realizing that he has no idea. Shit.

Okay, no panicking, he's been feeling it a while, there's still time. Dave drags himself out of his warm nest of blankets, grabs his cell phone, and crawls to the ladder. (Karkat dragged him up yesterday, since Dave couldn't pull up his own weight but was damn well determined to go. He bounced him off every single rung. What if it's something really bad, what if something ruptured, how do you even operate on a demon.)

He hunts up some fresh underwear (anyone else, he doesn't give a fuck, but it makes him feel too weird to call Jane Crocker when his butt is naked and his man parts dangling merrily) and dials. "Jane? Hey babe, listen, I know you're busy but--"

"Are you bleeding from the eyeballs?"

"No but--"

"Are you bleeding from lower orifices?"

Dave rakes a hand through his hair, gives a tug. "No -- Jane, it's not for me!"

"Because I really don't have time today to -- oh. What's wrong?"

Bleh. Nice to see how he rates. He looks up at Karkat, who's perched at the top of the ladder and watching him. he looks more tense and unhappy than irritated for once. Dave doesn't like it. "He says he didn't get hit there but his tummy hurts -- don't laugh, okay, I'm serious, like, inside, lower than where his bellybutton should be, but I have no idea if all his guts and stuff are even in the same place and--"

"Yes, they are. Dave? Can you turn up the sound? I need to ask Karkat a question."

He does.

She asks.

Karkat goes "Oh."


#fuckyeahpetdemon how can so much turd come out of such a scrawny dude idgi


"Shut up."

Dave arches his eyebrows and chews noisily on his strawberry jam toast.

"I'm serious, shut up."


"And hand me the jam."


"And fuck you. By the way."

"Mnh." Gulp. "Did you wash your hands, dude."

"Fuck you and yes and shut up."

Dave doesn't say anything. Very pointedly. Karkat drags a chair closer to the kitchen table and perches in it, glaring daggers at him. If he could blush no doubt he'd be scarlet. Fucking adorable.

Also hilarious. Dave has laughed himself out while Karkat was in the bathroom, though, so now he can pretend total indifference-- "Pff."

"Shut the fucking fuck up."

Okay no he can't.

Dave hands over his spare toast before Karkat can try fishing the jam out with his claws, or worse, licking it straight from the pot. He busies himself making some more and doesn't betray how many awws are pushing behind his teeth about the way Karkat licks the toast clean, and then eats it. It's so precious he might die early from an acute case of diabetes.

Bad plan if he did, he's gonna die earlier already as it is... Okay, no thinking about that. Aradia gave him a real bargain, end of story.

"Flesh things are so ridiculous I can't even fathom how the first amoeba didn't just go 'the fuck am I doing' and explode through its cell walls in utter shame."

"Maybe it did. Unicellular division is pretty much how amoebas reproduce, innit? Whoops, all those amoeba bits are now baby amoebas. Go forth and be fruitful, my self-hating children. By the way, was that dude really Eridan and Sollux' lovechild?"

Karkat grumbles under his breath. "More like hatechild, I think. Don't remind me, the poor thing, it makes me want to puke."

"And it's a... Page of Doom? Huh. Neither of them is a page."

Karkat shrugs. "Doesn't work like that with classes. Aspect, yeah, unless they invert, but class is more personality based, and that poor asshole has 'lots of potential, none of it showing up!' written all over it. Might evolve when it crosses over to Class Four, if it lives that long."

Dave makes interested noises, though he's more interested in having a conversation, any conversation, than in stuff Rose will probably tell him was already known.

He's trying to delay having another conversation, he knows. Mnh.

He drinks one, two, three long mouthfuls of coffee. Ow, hot.

"You think that's why God made amoebas hate themselves, so they'll actually want to self-destruct and seed their baby germs or whatever? Because that exploding shit has got to hurt."

"Say, how many tragic head-first accidents have you had with the ladder, total?" Karkat asks. "You can round it up."

"But you peed before today, right? So how come number two was such a -- okay, no, we don't throw toast, that is a grievous waste of jam."

Karkat hisses between clenched teeth and nabs Dave's coffee cup, swallows it while glaring nastily at Dave before Dave can warn him.

"That is not going to help your transit issues, bud. How's it taste?"

"... Fuck you. How can you drink that stuff, it's hideous." He drains the cup anyway.

"I can't wait to see you bouncing off the walls this afternoon," Dave comments. Alas, the pot is empty. Eh, whatever, he doesn't have to go out today, he can take a nap if the need takes him.

Karkat is about to push off the table and get up; Dave calls him back, sobering up.

"Karkat. Wait. We've got to talk about some shit."

Karkat sits back, slow and cautious, scanning his face for meaning and apparently not finding much of it, from his frown.

Dave opens his mouth, closes it. "Wow, I have zero idea where to start. Uh."

"What is it about?"

Dave scratches at a dried spot of mystery food on the table. His face is getting a bit hot. Hell. "Feeding. Uh. The sex one."

Karkat's eyes narrow dangerously. "If anything you're going to say ends in 'and this is why I can't feed you this way' you can cram it back in your gullet and choke on it."

Dave sighs. "I know it's not feasible to cut it out. I just--"

Karkat cuts him off with a short, irritated teakettle whistle. "Is it about your weird hang up about my finding fleshy stuff weird and gross? Shitting was weird and gross too, and I did it anyway. I don't get your problem!"

Dave stares at him, at a loss, and Karkat's irritating is irritating him now, and argh. "Look up consent! Look up rape."

Karkat's fists are planted on the table, and usually he never stands like that but maybe it helps his hip joints that he's leaning forward because he's definitely standing on his back legs right now. It makes him so much less of Dave's half-cat talking pet and so much more of his human prisoner.

(His slave, now, might as well call a cat a cat.)

"You have my name," Karkat says, slow and forcefully patient. "I gave you my fucking name. How am I supposed to consent more?"

Dave flings a hand up, lets it flop down. "You were tricked!" He can't even hold his eyes for more than a handful of seconds. Shit. Fuck.

But Karkat doesn't snarl back, surprisingly enough, just tilts his head slowly, like looking at Dave from another angle will, he hopes, suddenly make him make sense.

"... Are you seriously feeling guilty that I was stupid enough to get myself caught?"

Dave glares up at him, cheeks hot. Why is Karkat making him feel stupid for it, fuck's sake.

"Wow. You are. Okay, what the fuck." Karkat slowly sinks back down into his chair, though he's still staring at Dave like maybe if he does it long enough his stare will level up into an X-ray that also reads thoughts somehow. "Okay, I think I can conceive of ... wanting a fair fight, it's not good if it's too easy...?"

Gnmrph. Demons. So if he beat Karkat fairly it wouldn't be rape? To the victor go the spoils as an actual moral thing? No, Dave refuses to accept this, he can't, he... has no idea how to explain anything else. The philosophical divide is so vast, he doesn't know how to bridge it.

"Let's... yeah okay why the hell not, let's go with this notion. To start from. It wasn't fair, so..."

"Huh." Karkat hums, thoughtful, scratches at the underside of his chin. "You don't feel that you deservemy name?"

"Uh. That is. Definitely not a thing I am feeling. Seriously, just -- rape?"

Karkat blinks, upper eyes first and then the bigger pair, like a wave of what running from the top down.

"Out of all the fleshy stuff that has to happen to me now -- there's things that move and gurgle inside me, my moods change from stupid external factors like not enough sleep and not enough food and too tired -- do you get that? My mood, my self, is affected by outside factors, by -- random biological processes? You think I care about having to lay down here for five minutes as you do your weird touching thing?!"

He started out slow and lecturing. He finishes snarling and up on his feet once again, claws twitching with the need to dig furrows in the wood, only Dave ordered him not to damage his shit so he can't even do that.

'Your weird touching thing.' Wow.

"And now I'm angry and all my spines are up, and did I tell them to?! No I fucking didn't! I can't control jack shit in this body, how do I fucking control that?!"

"By... calming... your... tits..." Dave drawls out, though he regrets being flippant the next second. He sighs, winces. "Seriously, just -- hey, lemme show you a biological trick. Sit down? Okay, thanks. Now breathe air in, and hold it there."

Karkat looks suspicious, but he does, chest puffed up, armor plates showing flashes of red in the cracks. Dave only halfway believes this is happening. He feels like a kindergarten teacher, a bit.

"One, two, three. Release slowly as you can. Okay, good, do it again."

Karkat does it a third time without prompting, and then a fourth. His hair already looks less bristly; his frowns smoothes a little. Dave tucks his thumb in his palm rather than leaning in and smoothing it out the rest of the way.

"Feeling better?"

"Some," Karkat says grudgingly. "I'm still not happy."

Dave gives a slow not, crosses his arms loosely on the table before him, leans on his elbows a bit. "It doesn't control your emotions, buddy, only keeps you from having your body and your brain wind each other up until you end up in the clouds and the only response is to rain down fire and brimstone upon the Earth."

Karkat grumbles, chin propped up in his palm, elbow spur planted on the table, "You say that like I wouldn't want to do it anyway."

Startled, Dave laughs, just a quick one. He purses his mouth to keep from smiling too much, shit's uncool, but... Okay, no, Karkat can have this one. Heh. "You're such a brat."

"You're such a tool." A sigh. He stares down at the table, eyelashes shadowing his eyes, a fang peeking out as he gnaws thoughtfully at black lips. Dave really, really wants to kiss him.

Karkat twitches, stares at him with suspicion; Dave remembers he can feel his, ah, interest. Um. It wasn't like he was massively perving!

"Okay. I don't get your problem, but yeah, okay, you have a problem. Just -- don't take away giving me your energy?"

Shit, now he sounds hesitant, this is wrong, this is bad, Dave really dislikes it.

"Because -- because that I get. That feels normal -- almost normal, it's good, it makes me stronger, it -- it's pure energy, even if it has a weird -- taste, shade, undertow, argh, you don't have the right words, why is there no word for this?"

"Blame Kankri for not making one up yet?"

"... Yeah, I can do that."

They stare at each other in silence for a few seconds.

"I can do that, too," Dave says quietly. "Keep feeding you that way, I mean." That's the problem, actually. "It's just --"

Karkat climbs on the table. Um.

Karkat shuffles to Dave's side of the table. Um.

Karkat headbutts him in the forehead. Ow.

And then he swings his long armored legs around to bracket Dave's chest and he hops off the table's edge and slips in the gap between Dave's body and the table.


There isn't much of a gap, actually; gravity has to help fight the friction.

Holy fuck is there friction.

Ngh. Nghghhgh. Dave has an armored hellspawn straddling his lap, pinning him, trapping his hips between muscled thighs, Dave has a hard plastron pressed tight to his own chest, there's barely enough space to breathe.

They're breathing each other's air.


The demon rests his forearms on Dave's shoulders, digs his elbows in some. He leans in, nips his chin. He does it a bit hard, Dave bets his skin has pointy little indents now. He's hard as a rock.

His hands cup narrow hips of their own accord, feel their way across smooth chitin, to the small of Karkat's back. "Shit. Do you even -- do you feel it at all?"

"Huh? Yeah."

He sounds distracted, like Dave's question is an interruption without too much of a relationship with the shit he's thinking about. Cools Dave down some. He bows his neck, presses his forehead against Karkat's cheek, eyes closed.

"Have you ever...?"

"Will you finish a sentence already, you're pissing me off." He squeezes his legs on Dave's hips experimentally. Dave grunts, immediate reaction.

"Ff... You're not making it easy, okay? I was just thinking -- if -- I feel selfish as fuck just using you like this. Would it -- argh!"

Oh, fuck, Karkat nipped his neck.

The asshole doesn't even bother asking him if it was a bad argh, because apparently he can feel it wasn't. He's just giving him a narrow, smug smirk. Making a displeased noise under his breath, Dave nips his chin right back. Karkat regards him like that attempt at hurting him was pitiful and beneath his notice, but that wasn't even a, no, shit, he needs to think.

"Would you want me to try -- to make you feel good, too? Can I -- can I try that? Please? I'm not, I won't order you to let me do that, you don't even want the sex at all so if you'd rather lie there and think of England that's fine, your choice, England's a pretty nice country or so I'm told if you like rain and soccer and--"

Karkat wriggles, presses closer. Dave was not aware there was a closer to be had. His dick rubs nice and almost too tight against Karkat's taut belly. No, shit, it rubs farther down, against the curve of his crotch, like a woman's pubic mound almost only without the valley in the middle. Dave wants out of his underwear. No, he doesn't. Yes? No? It's not like a single layer of cotton is an efficient barrier anyway oh Lord.

Karkat doesn't even rub up and down, just presses harder and shifts back and presses back in, it's weird as fuck, it's marvelous. Dave's hips start rolling on their own or almost; his hands are curving down along the last segments of Karkat's vertebral column plates, finding soft velvet curves.

"I can hurry up too, one minute man, you won't have to ah hell you need to stop doing that I'm going to come in my boxers, Karkat -- Karkat--"

His fingertips tease the edge of his little tail and it twitches under his touch, flicks like a lamb's, it's hilarious, adorable, he wants to tease the underside, he wants to do a hundred things he's not going to get the time to, because isn't it embarrassing how much of a teenager he feels like around Karkat, how fast his pleasure crests. Karkat nibbles at his neck, his shoulder, finds the still healing wound his own fangs have left, and Dave is done.

He grabs Karkat's ass and hauls him in, and he--

--and a key turns in the front door lock.

Holy shitting monkeyfuck.

He rears back in panic, catches a glimpse through the kitchen door of the front door opening, a slice of silhouette -- oh shit, oh fuck, Rose -- he doesn't think, gets up still holding Karkat to him, shoves him forward to get out of sight before she sees them.

The table scrapes loudly against the floor as their combined weights shove it ahead, glasses and cups rattle. His body is stupid, his coordination is shot, Karkat's thighs -- Karkat's thighs won't let go and his claws dig into Dave's back thoughtlessly, startled, and Dave comes, racked with shudders, his mortified face hidden against his demon's neck.

Jesusfuck on a motorcycle.

"Dave! Are you -- oh. Huh."

"Auuuuugh!" he yells into Karkat's shoulder. His hands are still on his demon's ass, aren't they? Yes. They are. Fuck his life. Fuck it with a chainsaw. "Get out! Get out, get out, get out!"

"I thought you fell," his sister replies, pinched. And then he expects her to apologize and say she'll come back later, and instead she says, frostily, "We'll be waiting in the living room."





"What, no? Just leave!"

"No can do, bro," Dirk (No. Why Dirk. Why.) yells from the other room. "My condolences for the coitus demolitus, but seriously, hurry the fuck up."

Can he escape through the window. Yes. this sounds like a plan. Dave waits for the sound of heels to go out of range before he forces himself to lift his head. Shit, he's crimson from forehead to throat, and he doesn't want to think about his ears, they feel like burning.

Karkat is sprawled on his back on the kitchen table, thighs spread, wings splayed open amidst butter sticks and jam jars; he blinks up at him in utter confusion.

Dave can't even think of anything to say. He just stares back. Just... fuck. Argh. Augh. Nrgh.

Karkat presses a foot against Dave's hip and push-rolls himself back on his wings and shoulders, and then he twists at the hips so he rolls back down on the side, freed from Dave's body, and he jumps off the table.

"Did those assholes just sour my meal on me. Is that what happened." He shakes his head in disbelief, stalks his way to the door. He looks like murder all over. Dave is frozen in place a second too long and then Karkat is in the other room and Dave gives chase, at least to the doorway.

"I was eating, you heinous bitch!"

"Yes, I saw that," Rose replies primly. Dave would die inside some more if he couldn't see a trace of blush on her face. Thank fuck he's not the only one bothered.

"Hey, dickwad? Which one does the key belong to? Because the other one would be a trespasser, and I can eat their fucking face."

Dave rubs his face with a hand. Shit, he's not even wearing his shades yet. They're all the way back by his bed. Neverfuckingmind. "They both have keys. Sorry, no dice."

At least Karkat... doesn't seem happy to be interrupted? So on some level he must have, okay, 'enjoyed it' was a way tall order, but not minded the acts much, compared to the expected end result.

Rose is seated in a corner of the couch, and Dirk perches on a square Ikea thing with shelves in it that Dave uses for storing vinyls he doesn't mind scratching and putting his keys and cell phone and shit on top of. He doesn't even know what that type of furniture is called.

Dirk is generous, fishes jeans out of the clean clothes hamper and lobs them at him, over Karkat's shoulder. Karkat twitches, wings flicking open in threat. Dave's just glad to have something to hold against his crotch. He trudges to the bathroom, slams the door behind him, sees about cleaning up some and puts his pants on.

It's not like his siblings haven't seen his bare chest before, so he just trudges out, slouching, hands in pockets and glowering their way.

Rose is tapping her nails against the coffee table, click-click-click, and it isn't Kankri who pains her irises with wet red, it's Terezi's flat burnt-out eyeballs.

Why the fuck does she feel the need to call on the Seer of Mind at him.

"Sit down, bro," Dirk says in a vague, is this actually an order way. (From experience? It is.) Dave bristles.

"Thanks for inviting me to sit in my own place, dude." But he goes anyway, dragging his feet to the far end of the couch and flopping there, sullen and irritated. Are they angry at him? What the hell for?

"No problem," Dirk replies, and crosses his arms. Reminds Dave way too much of Bro like this.

When Karkat hops onto the coffee table between Dave and his guests and crouches there to glare at them, Dave has to admit he's a little glad of the support. He reaches to slide his hand down a flared wing, smooth it back down. "Hey, Karkat. It's okay."

"What the fuck do they even want."

Dirk just slants Karkat a look before going back to Dave, Rose doesn't even bother. "How old, now?" she asks, bitten out neat and precise, coldly furious.


"How old are you going to live to be? Thirty-five? Forty?"

Oh. Huh.

"What did you even fucking give to stop a whole building--"

"It was just the fašade," Dave says, which is obviously the wrong answer, because then Rose's hands curl into actual claws and hard white scales start to shimmer over her skin. "Sixty-six!" he hurries to add. "I'm just down to sixty-six. Year old, not years lost. Sixty-six and, idek, six days and six hours and etcetera. She only took a bit over three years."

They both stare at him. Karkat's little tail flicks in irritation as he slowly adopts the sphinx pose, glowering at them.

"You're... not lying," Rose eventually says, like she doesn't believe her own words, her own demon. Dirk makes a sharp sound of disagreement.

"Except it's not fucking possible, lil' sis, you saw the mass of that whole thing, they say he held it for over ten seconds, every point of data we have collected about that Maid of Time is that she does not work that way. Her requests are regular, predictable and it's not fucking possible."

Dave's brow knits. "That... huh. Seriously, she ought to have asked that much?"

"Seriously, yes. Maybe forty-five if some of that concrete was actually wood or plastic, might I remind you that it would mean you'd now be at the halfway point of your life?"

Dave stares at his twin, and then sighs and reaches across the couch to pat her knee. "But I'm not, it's fine. Want me to ask my girls?"

Latula responds fast; Aradia must be busy elsewhere.

Yeah? Whassup -- oh. Um.

Yeah. Oh um.

Dave and Latula share a discomfit moment, and then she goes, hey, can I...?

Bluh. Sure, why not.

Woo. "Hey, kiddo! How'z it hangin'!"

Rose looks conflicted for a second, but then with a sigh she lets go, and Terezi smiles her huge, bright crocodile smile from Rose's understated face. "Hello, Latula! Sadly I don't think we can chat much today, Rose and I are in agreement that this affair needs explored from top to bottom!"

"Aw, harsh but I hear ya. Aiight, aiight." She moves their hand in an expansive flick. Karkat is staring at them, looking displeased.

"Can you personally attest that Dave isn't down a third of his lifespan?"

"Sure can."

Dave has to admit he wasn't doubting Aradia before Rose and Dirk brought it up but it's still really nice to have confirmation.

Only there's something Latula isn't saying yet, so he pokes. You holding out on me, grrrl?

She sighs, long and loud, and then she points straight at Karkat, with both pointer fingers at once.

Dave blinks their eyes. Rose/Terezi blinks. Dirk arches an eyebrow.

Karkat... grumbles. And starts fussing at his left hand with the right, which is apparently suddenly fascinating.

"Karkat?" Dave asks.


"I'm baffled," Dirk admits blandly. "What about Karkat?"

He doesn't answer on his own, so -- Dave makes him. He doesn't like to, but it feels -- he thinks it's important, Latula thinks it's important, and Terezi has gone still like a hound scenting prey. "Karkat Vantas. Answer. What do you have to do with Aradia riding me yesterday?"

Karkat hisses at him, spines flicking up in irritation. "You stole the difference right out of me, you asshole, is what I have to do with it."

Dave stops breathing.

"Did I -- oh. Did I take your years?"

"Not my years, dickmunch, demons are pretty much immortal unless killed, what the fuck would it be worth to her? Thirty years off infinity is still infinity. No, you took it in power. Which is why I'd like it if your brood clones could get the fuck out so we could go back to feeding me!"

Dave groans, presses a hand over his eyes. Rose is trying to repress a smile. Someone kill him.

"... Jesus Christ, how powerful are you?" Dirk asks, and oh, yeah, Dave hadn't gotten there yet. Huh. Yeah.

"When someone drains me of the shit I was using, thank you very much?" Karkat glares at Dave, eyes briefly throwing a weak sunset glow on his cheekbones, his nose, even in the light of the living room. "I had to finish it by hand, you lazy asswipe, when are you going to fill my fucking tank."

"Hubba hubba," Dirk says, expressionless. Dave pegs him in the head with yesterday's dirty shirt.

"Is that a Blood attribute?" Rose asks, bright-eyed and curious, as Dirk drops the shirt in the middle of the floor. "I mean, the ability to give your energy to your master?"

"I didn't give jack shit," Karkat grumbles, but he avoids her eyes and then Rose lets out a Terezi laugh.


"Not a lie!" Dave and Rose turn their best Mind dubious moues on him. He gives. "...Okay, I chose to give it, but it was that or allowing my summoner to get himself damaged, and I'm forbidden to do that, I'm not calling it a choice."

"You might have chosen to interpret the shortening of Dave's lifespan as not damaging, since death is unavoidable for a human and it wouldn't have hurt him any for the remaining time he had."

"... Fuck, that's right." Karkat squirms a little; he looks embarrassed by his lapse, it's oddly hilarious. "No, wait, it'd have caused mental anguish, that counts, right?"

"Dude. Think back to a half-hour ago."

"... Shut up. You know what? Just shut up."

Okay, yeah, Dave is totally fluffing up his hair. Yes, he is. He just makes sure to be careful as he slips his fingers in to the root, to avoid the quills, and then he ruffles and scritches Karkat's already messy hair into a dandelion.

Rose chuckles to herself and then says, "Kankri would like us to know how petty and cruel it is to give a Knight of Blood an order to ensure an individual does not come to harm, and then mock them for interpreting it as 'protect at all costs.' Now that does open up some interesting avenues for speculation...!"

Karkat was sort of craning his neck under Dave's hand, grimacing like he couldn't figure out if he wanted more or if he wanted to bite, but when Rose finishes he just groans and lets his head fall face-down on the coffee table. "Kankri. Kankri, fuck you. Fuck a hole right through your sanctimonious brain and into your blatherglands, can you never keep your communication nodules under check, shut the fucking fuck up about me using fuck you as an insult yes it's a metaphorical fuck now shut up, shut up forevermore--"

Dave pets his hair again, though he's biting down on his chuckles. "There, there. You realize the more you whine about it and the more Rose knows it's important, right?"

Karkat growls against the table, wings gone limp and sliding off the edges. "Fuck you too. In nonsexual insulting ways, not in actually productive ways, if you couldn't guess."

"By the way," Dirk asks, "Can you actually hear Kankri speak, or are you just guessing? Because I've got Eridan whining at me about how he wants to chat it up come on pretty please I won't even hit on him much, and you haven't reacted even once."

Karkat just groans and oozes himself even flatter somehow.

"So... You hear Kankri. When he's riding me, or at any time?" A groan. Rose smiles. "I think probably only when he's using my body as an interface, or Dave would have caught you two debating before." Another groan. "Hm. Yes. Is it merely because you're both Blood? Or could, say, Eridan speak with Erisol, even though they're Hope and Doom?"

Dirk purses his lips a bit, arches an eyebrow pointedly. "Welp, Eridan just fucked off for parts unknown. Interesting."

Karkat lets out a short, frustrated yell. "Can you guys just leave already?! I'd eat your guts if I could I am so fucking hungry!" He pushes out from under Dave's hand and scrambles up the ladder, hissing. "Go away! You know he's safe now, just fuck off!"

He angrily throws pillows over the railing, by the corners so they spin like very fluffy shuriken before hitting. Dave purses his lips. "Okay, guys, it's not gonna damage the futon to be thrown overboard, so you can bet your asses it's the next item on the list. I really don't want to have to drag it back up. Subtle hint?"

Thank god, Dirk gets up, nods. "Yeah, okay. We'll leave you guys to your sexathon. Remember to drink a lot of energy drinks."

"... You just managed to kill my dick for the next three hundred years. Thanks, bro."

He herds them back to the door. Before she goes Rose turns and hugs him around the neck so tight he'd almost worry about bruises. He hugs back, eyes closed.

"Sorry, sis."

"You're the only twin I've got -- as per the definition," she says in his neck, very quietly. "Please avoid -- don't be an idiot, okay?"

Dave knows Rose's not the kind to meekly accept his idiocy. She'd be tempted to do some drastic shit to fix it for him. Bad plan all around. He tightens his hug and kisses her cheek, and frees her.

Of course Dirk is watching, unreadable, so Dave just puts on a flippant tone and goes, "Yo, big boy, wanna try my huggles, first hit is free."

Dirk smiles, just a tiny almost-invisible bit. "Sorry, bro, this bod needs to stay straight edge to keep in perfect condition."

They fist-bump instead. It works for him. He waves, blank-faced, until they disappear in the elevator and gets back in.

This time when he locks the door he puts the chain on it, too.

He lobs the pillows back up to the mezzanine and drags himself up after them, doesn't even bother getting up, he can only stand straight by the edge anyway; he shuffles on hands and knees to his futon and crawls on and flops face-down on it.

Karkat is curled up in his corner and growling quietly. He glowers back at Dave for a minute before he unfolds, shaking his wings out and folding them smoothly down his back.

He treads cautiously on the edge of the futon. Dave rolls on his side and reaches for his shoulder, curves halfway behind his neck. Guides him closer.

Karkat stares down at him for another long moment before he allows himself to be toppled down beside Dave. His knee spurs nudge at Dave's thighs; Dave can feel his body warmth even through the gap between them. He digs his fingers in his hair again, pets gently; Karkat lids his eyes and makes a rusty little noise of approval.

This is nice. Dave likes this. It's comfortable. He could sleep like this. And he's so tired, today's been exhausting and nothing even really happened, what the hell. It's a little too cool, so he pulls a blanket up with his toes, drags it up his side, drapes it over the two of them. There, cocoon.

Karkat blinks at him for a second, his head on Dave's pillow, all his pointy bits loose, and then he makes a little determined frown and drapes his wing over Dave's head.

Dave closes his eyes, before he starts melting too much.

He's almost asleep, fingertips tracing thin, vein-streaked membranes on automatic, when Karkat goes, "So. Dinner?"

Dave starts feeling around for a pillow to bury his face in.

[Chapter 7] -- [Chapter 9]