People say lusii tend to be dumb. They don't have a prairiedogdad! Yours likes to keep up a constant stream of observations on his surroundings, and with how detailed they are you're gonna be awesome as a field communications officer; it'll be a cinch to master the, what, thirty signals in frequent use? Hehe.
This one signal, though, and the alert interest in it -- something unusual has just happened north of your house. Oh ho.
You bark back to your Dad, a noise you told Luelyr next door was an "aw c'mon, calm down, it's not worth freaking out."
It's actually "Message received; go in stealth mode for further observations." He yips back an "Acknowledged!" and you take a handful of seconds to shiver all over in delight before sneaking to the nearest North-facing window.
Green bulldog-stalk female, purple snake-crane-walk male, Dad said earlier. Purple. Not a violet, no, but the next best thing. (Actually, fish trolls in your neighborhood would likely prompt you to call for a retreat, sight unseen. Mneep, fish trolls.)
You get to your post just in time to see them crossing straight into a lawnring and knocking on the door.
You fumble for your binoculars.
Your neighbor comes out. He's looking scowly, hostile, surprised. He has a sickle in hand, as is only smart, but against two people maybe he shouldn't have opened at all. Ohhhoho. He sees them and -- damn, the tall guy (Dad was right, that one's a rubber skeleton) blocks your view with his surprisingly wide back. Is there going to be blood...???
Instead you see a hand gesticulating widely in the gaps, and the girl gesticulates right back, and then she shoulders past him to get inside.
And then she gets back out to yank the purple guy in by the wrist. He almost catches his horns on the door plinth. Your neighbor is left alone on his doorstep, staring in disbelief.
The way his mouth moves, you're pretty sure he's swearing, but that really wasn't a risky guess.
-- blitheSpy [BS] started trolling saffronBisque [SB] --
BS: harias harias harias
BS: hi hell>o< hi
BS: y>o<u'll never guess what!!!
SB: Hi hoN.
BS: >o<mg harigrub
SB: OkaY. Three trieS?
SB: You got your new zoom lens delivereD.
BS: WR>O<NG WR>O<NG WR>O<>O<>O<>O<NG!
BS: remember my neighb>o<r?
SB: You have twenty of theM.
SB: Where's the rest of my guesseS?
BS: N>O< TIME F>O<R Y>O<UR WR>O<NGNESS.
BS: but >o<kay y>o<u can guess which neighb>o<r i mean
SB: Three questionS.
BS: kay <3<3<3
SB: Live lusus or dead lusuS.
SB: Vulpecula chicK? WhatshernamE. MililI?
SB: Pap or slaP.
SB: Cancer or perseuS.
BS: wh>o<>o<ps s>o<rry i had t>o< keep an eye >o<n DEVEL>O<PMENTS.
BS: bluh yeah >o<k cancer
SB: Your other cancer neighbor still has her lusus righT?
SB: Also she lives way far and out of line of sighT.
SB: Three questionS. WiN.
BS: pffffff n>o< >o<ne was still thinking ab>o<ut that game
BS: HE HAS PE>O<PLE >O<VER.
BS: THIS IS T>O<TALLY SURPRISING!!!
SB: I am totally surpriseD.
BS: liaaaarrrr. </3
You get a handheld typing device and wander casually out of your backdoor on the East side of the hive -- there's a little shack there holding things like watering devices and pruning shears. You get the shears and start shearing, in careful little snips that won't actually affect the visibility into your own ground floor windows. You make sure to take your time, not to look like you're rushing anywhere. (You've got a nice view from here already.)
When you're outside, without walls or windows in the way...
BS: harias >o<h my little h>o<rr>o<rterr>o<rs harias
BS: >o<ne >o<f his wind>o<ws is >o<pen
BS: s>o< much yelling
SB: Thought that was business as usual with that onE.
SB: Unless i'm remembering them wronG.
BS: n>o< n>o< that's EXACTLY right.
BS: the yelling? n>o<t quite just a few w>o<rds here and there but W>O<W
BS: i have DEDUCTI>O<NS already
SB: Okay finE. This is me askinG.
BS: i have deduced............
BS: iiiiii have deduceeeeeeeed...
SB: They're creW.
BS: DAMN IT.
BS: H>O<W DID Y>O<U EVEN???
SB: They walked iN. Guy didn't run away like if home invasioN.
SB: Knew each otheR.
SB: Olive girl in charge not purple guY. Points to a social call not businesS.
SB: Arguing yeS. But you'd tell me if at murderous ragegasm leveL.
You pout a little as you trim the rust blooms off your tanglethorns bush. Harias is totally not psychic, and she's not even here to hear the pitch of your neighbor's screaming. This is super unfair.
BS: sp>o<ngedead shittard
BS: rainb>o<w spray >o<f h>o<>o<fbeastshit v>o<mited up y>o<ur abh>o<rrent facial h>o<les
BS: almighty cretin>o<us dunderfuckery blah blah stuffing her n>o<>o<k with the thicker end >o<f her pretenti>o<us rifle blah blah play a merry tune >o<n the flute with her assh>o<le t>o< twirl t>o<
A last burst of screams -- all your neighbor's voice, man, that dude can out-yell anybody you know -- and then...
"IF YOU KEEP TALKING ABOUT MY NOOK I'M GOING TO CHOKE YOUR DUMB FACE WITH IT!"
A pause. Your eyes have gone wide.
"IN A REALLY NOT SEXY WAY!"
Dead silence. You try not to giggle. You haven't seen your neighbor's face twisted in shock much, mostly in suspicion, startled nerves, weary resentment, and furiously desperate territorial displays -- goddamn but you think at least three of your other neighbors have also entertained thoughts of papping him down in the last half-sweep alone -- but you can bet that's the one he's making right now.
You're pretty entirely sure that was the olive girl's voice. Pretty entirely completely sure, because the purple guy seemed way reluctant to be there and also his chest looks wide enough to be at least six octaves lower. So.
Your dad scuttles by. You pet his little head, ruffle his cute round ears. You bark. Danger-to-neighbor-not-crew still?
Purple-snake-crane is snake and crane, Dad barks back for a duh, and thumps his foot in emphasis. Okay, okay.
"I'll stay in the garden," you promise, soothing, and you let him have one of the flowers. They're poisonous to a lot of animals, but your dad doesn't care about a little thing like that. Heheh.
They're still arguing in there, but too quiet for you to hear anything. One or two times a low bass buzzes through, and you almost feel it in your horns more than you hear it with your ears, which pings in your oh holy crap displeased highblood run away gland, but you are not a slave to your instincts and also he's still inside the house and there's a secret passage emerging in the compost heap five steps over, you'll be fine.
You take the occasion to make your bushes pretty and your snapflowers free of bothersome leaves that might get in their teeth and stop them clamping down. Also to chat about your next date with Harias. You guys haven't met in meatspace yet, but soon, you think. She's just such a gorgeous little tank on her pictures, you want to kiss her face all over and feel up that adorbs little paunch, it looks like the comfiest thing.
Vantas's front door opens, and the oliveblood girl waltzes out, skirt swinging happily and everything. You can still hear occasional shouting in there. Huh. You track her from the corner of your eye as she drifts around the lawn, looking down at it and zigzagging weirdly, and it takes you a minute before you realize she's counting steps. To measure... huh, you're not sure what.
She's drifting toward your hive. You casually move closer to the escape tunnel, which also just happens to be a tad closer to the closest path between your lawnring's boundaries and his.
BS: suspect number >o<ne appr>o<aching >o<perative's l>o<cati>o<n i repeat suspect number >o<ne appr>o<aching >o<perative's l>o<cati>o<n
SB: Which one is number onE?
BS: >o<live!! because the >o<ther dude is big like tw>o< of her ;D
SB: GroaN. <3
She looks straight at you, face turning to scan you straight on.
She raises her hand and waves. Is she grinning?
BS: ... huh
You wave back, and smile, mouth closed. Huh, you've got the same kind of shearing front teeth she's got, only she doesn't have any visible canines around them. You guess the openmouthed hi doesn't have to be ominous then.
"Hey there! Are you Karkat's neighbor?"
Could still be ominous! She's not very tall but still taller than you. (Okay, everyone you know is taller than you. Neighbor used to be included, but not even any longer. Hn.) At least she stays on his lawnring. "Nope, I'm a horticultuninja." You grin, harmless as possible.
"That explains everything!" she replies with an attempt at seriousness, but then she giggles.
You wonder if she's one of the greenies lucky enough to be psychic, or if she's just that badass somehow. Then again, purple buddy. Then again, again, some people with blue as a dominant in their hemochrome are probably not assholes? It would only make sense, like, statistically speaking. You'd have to ask Harias if she or her clade knows any.
She's still looking you over. Your dad has started circling maneuvers underground. You tilt your head, disarmingly frank. "Yeah, what is it?"
"Oh, nothing. You've got the same sign as my -- uh, neighbor," she replies, and shrugs. "My name's Jeydhe."
Or, huh, you think Jeydhe. You're pretty sure it wasn't Jeydde, the consonant wasn't tapped enough, but maybe it was Jaidhe instead. Hmmm. "Ershey Metius!" Telescopium is hardly one of the rarest signs. She must not see a ton of people. "You're Lupus, right? I don't think I've ever met one of you guys."
This is the weirdest small talk, but she's the one who brought it up. It's weird to see her flounder. It's weird and interesting.
"Looks like," she finally says, fingers twisting the hem of her skirt. "I've never met another one, but then again I live in the middle of nowhere."
And then whoops what do you say next, umm. You're good at observing from afar and at chatting on the internet where it's safe, but.
Things could get uncomfortable, but then, "--Don't know why the fuck I'm still standing here like a douche in my own living block listening to you say jack fucking shit of worth and content--"
"I'M MOTHERFUCKING SORRY, AIGHT?"
You go tense. That was some nicely resonant Highblood snarling, wow, the movies did not prepare you to the notes the undergrowl would reach.
Jeydhe relaxes. "Oh thank God."
"I thought I was gonna have to go back in and yell at them again. Say, what kind of soil is this? Because I think Karkat could do with a pretty tree or a climbing vine, but not if it's going to die in a month."
You spend the next ten minutes talking at length about soil and moonlights. Jeydhe seems pretty knowledgeable, but about a totally different ecosystem! She didn't even account for sun resistance, must be nice to grow things in a forest with full coverage.
BS: Y>O<U WERE RIGHT T>O<TALLY CREW
BS: n>o<w the questi>o<n bec>o<mes which quadrant but i'm getting an idea...
BS: N>O< GUESSING AHEAD THAT IS N>O<T FUNNY.
"So, uh. Planning to be here a lot to take care of his trees? Because Vantas is pretty dutiful about his lawn, I mean he'll water it like clockwork, but the one tree that was there from the start kind of, you know, died."
She nods absently, measuring the yard with her eyes. "Oh yeah, of course, I mean, being friends over the internet is fine but doing the quadrant thing is a bit more --"
Oh uh. You said that out loud. Um. Meep.
She stares at you for a second and you cringe, and then she snorts and shakes her head, trying and failing not to smile. You grin harmless as possible and ruffle the short hair at the back of your head. "Sorry, it's just. He hasn't gotten a lot of visitors!"
"I'm not surprised," Jeydhe replies, rolling her eyes. "He's kind of a huge asshole! I mean, he does have his good sides when you get to know him, but that doesn't make the asshole stop being there, you know?"
You nod dumbly. You feel pretty dumb. You're not employing any incisive journalisneak techniques here, you're being clumsy and nosy and it's mere luck that she just happens to feel like babbling.
"You been together long?" you ask, snipping flowers off accidentally and pretending you meant to and you're way more interested in the bush than in her, yeah, totally.
"--Oh, me and -- heh." She crouches, hugging her knees with an arm, to poke at the ground, tear out some grass, check for sandiness or rocks maybe. "Not very? Like, a few days, and if what I'm hearing from their yelling means anything, I guess I'll be single again tomorrow. Bluh," she adds, but then she giggles.
"Uh. Were they too much of a pain to auspisticize or ...?" you venture. (You're pretty sure you're right but...)
"Oh, no, it was easy!" (You were!) "It's just that I promised Gamzee I'd only put my nose in it until they were pale again." She rolls her eyes. "Karkat was all like, no! That's not what the quadrant is for! But that was a case of really not protesting half as much as he could have."
You hum and nod distractedly. Huh, you see. (You don't see.)
BS: HARIAS THE PURPLEBL>O<>O<D IS VANTAS'S PALEMATE??;!?!?,??!!!!????
SB: Ok did not see that cominG.
SB: It's kindA. Who the heck is the pappeE.
"Yeah, pale-pitch flips are... Kinda hells of weird." You nod sagely. "Not as weird as flush-ashen but still really weird."
She yanks a sod of turf out, making a hole in the lawn. Vantas will be pissed. You hope he doesn't accuse your dad again, that might not end well. "Well, I don't know if either of them ever wanted to kiss or anything! But they were just going to sit on their butts and mope and be bitter in their corners, and just... let it go. Nope!"
BS: this w>o<man is a DEVIANT.
BS: i like her! :D
"I kinda see why, considering how Vantas was ranting," you say, and can't help giggling.
"Bah, he really doesn't need much to set him off." She rolls her eyes again. "I mean, seriously, in most ways Gamzee is easier to deal with, and he's the seven feet of creepy murdertroll that everyone tiptoes around!"
You turn to her, and give her a slow, slow blink, and you say, "You're so ashen for him, wow."
She purses her lips at you, and for a little bit you're not sure if she's annoyed or thinking and you're damn glad you have the pruning shears in hand.
"For Karkat, yeah, probably. For Gamzee, not really? I mean, he's a creep, but he doesn't bother me. But I'm not super interested in knowing him either. Is that weird? I mean, being only ashen for one of them?"
Oh. God. Did she not have a stable internet connection in her hive. This is like the plot of half of all ashen tragedies out here. (Also of just about as many comedies.) You stare, wordless, for a bit too long -- she's wincing now looking at you, laughing all awkward, aw no, she's the best source you've ever had on--
"JEYDHE! You and the groin-busting tower of stupid are leaving."
Your neighbor is at his window, and he gives you a suspicious look when he sees you. You wave and cut more leaves and make no move to go away, because you're in your lawnring and way out of reach of a sickle throw.
"Oh, are we really!" she replies with a huff, and stalks to the window, shoulders squared.
You jump a little and almost drop the shears when the purple dude pops his upper body out of the window beside Vantas. (He is way in his personal space. Huh. Huuuuhhh. Huhuhu.)
"Yeah, woofsis, I think we may all be up and done for now. Got to put pans and wisdom in order, get our brood on."
Vantas grumbles and looks away. His shoulder is almost touching the highblood's. Dude is looming over him and he still stands straight like that's nothing much to be scared of. Wow yes, so crew. All the crew. So quadranted.
She sighs. You can only see the back of her head. You cautiously dodge under a little fruit tree; the purpleblood was kind of glancing your way and you are not liking that much.
"Okay, okay. Next time do you want to visit instead?"
Vantas blusters and growls under his breath, but he's looking away from the both of them awkwardly and crossing his arms and everything. It's like a billboard for "uneasy, pap me now!" for serious, you're surprised neither of them tries it.
You think maybe the purple dude was about to try for a shoulder pat -- he moves all vague and weird, it's hard to say -- but then you see Vantas notice you and he frowns. "I'll decide later. Just. Go away now."
Jeydhe heaves out a long sigh and reaches her hand out for ... Gamzee? Yeah, that was the name. Sign: Capricorn, holy crap.
He reaches his huge hand back to take hers, not bothering to get out of the window.
Then you see Vantas stumble and it takes you a second or fifteen to realize the clumsy oaf hip-checked him. Hahaha, is he six sweeps? That was so not suave, wow, you think even your moves are better, and you've never met any of your quadrantmates in meatspace.
It takes you fifteen seconds, because in the meantime they've just blinked out of existence like they were never here with barely a pop.
Woooow, Jeydhe teleports. And not short distances either, or you'd be hearing her pop out in the neighborhood, and it'd be useless to travel with it -- having to pop in and out a hundred times to get anywhere would wipe out anyone. That's pretty cool! (Pretty not smart, too. Welp. So far you like her, though, so you put the info on lockdown.)
"Have you rinsed your oculars enough, or should I perform a sensual strip-tease next?!" Vantas barks at you from his window.
Giggling, you throw yourself feet-first into the escape tunnel before he can start chucking things.
BS: best visit ever.
SB: Haha ok telL.
SB: Nosy braT. <3
-- blitheSpy [BS] started trolling saffronBisque [SB] --
BS: hi h>o<n
BS: guess what
BS: vantas has visit>o<rs AGAIN.
SB: This is starting to not even be noteworthY.
BS: which is n>o<tew>o<rthy in itself!!!
SB: Graphing iT?
BS: um DUH.
SB: Which ones this timE.
BS: teal libra chick & rust scutum dude
BS: y>o<u kn>o<w the >o<ne with the h>o<rns
BS: the RUST >o<ne with the h>o<rns
BS: h>o<w d>o<es he even kn>o<w s>o< many peeps with sweet and >o<r HUGE headgear f>o<r srs. :X mine are all scraggly
SB: Yours have characteR.
BS: >o<ne >o<f his crew has F>O<UR >O<F THEM.
SB: Ok yeS. You losE. <3
BS: >_> </3