"So what's an ashen kiss like, then?"
Karkat ducked his head, hunched. Jade was leaning against his shoulder and it was hard not to notice, but it was warm and nice on the beach, even now that the sun was down; she was comfortable and she was going to stay that way even through the heights of Karkat's histrionics.
In the end he didn't throw a fit or splutter or anything, he just picked up her hand off her knee, cradled the inside of her wrist on his palm. She watched him, intrigued; a shiver went down her back when he stared back, wordless and oddly intense.
He brought her hand up to his mouth, brushed his lips against the back of it, against her knuckles, hot breath caressing her skin, and she shivered again. "That's the outer leaf kiss, for respect and submission to the middle leaf's guidance," he said quietly, his voice a little rough.
She cleared her throat. Her swinging foot bumped against his ankle in the sand. "And the middle leaf kiss?"
She let him turn her hand in his hold. He kissed her pulse, the soft thin skin where her wrist joined her hand, where the veins showed. For a second she could feel the flat of his teeth behind his parted lips.
"Ah. Teeth for -- threat? Reminder?"
"I hold your life in my fangs," Karkat replied -- still oddly quiet, oddly intense.
"Hm." She bumped the side of her foot against his leg another time, and two and three. She had the vague feeling that she might be pushing it a little bit. "What about... pale?"
Karkat breathed out through his nose, but it seemed more to gather his strength than to express his loss of patience with her. Then he turned on his hip and leaned in to kiss her forehead -- his lips glided to her brow, to the bridge of her nose; at last, lip trembling ever so slightly, he brushed a butterfly-light kiss on her closed eyelid, and drew back.
"Oh, that's nice." Her hand found his, squeezed.
There were only two more to ask for and she knew he'd humor her. She tried to ask and it stuck in her throat; she laughed, awkward. "And I suppose the only difference between flushed and caliginous is how much biting you--"
"No," Karkat said, growled almost; his hand tightened on hers almost too much, for a second, and even when he loosened it again to spare her articulations it stayed firm, unyielding.
She wet her lips.
"Well, if you promise there's no biting -- show me caliginous, then."
He was rolling to face her once again and his hand was on her jaw and she thought he was aiming at her mouth until he dodged her, until his hand went around to the back of her head and caught her hair.
His mouth felt burning hot on her neck, that high place just under the corner of the jaw, felt hotter even as it glided down -- no teeth at all, only openmouthed kisses, hungrier and hungrier as they travelled down and across her throat.
It took her a couple of minutes to realize his hand in her hair wasn't holding her back but supporting her head, that she was the one tilting it back, offering more.
She grunted when he sealed his mouth over her skin, sucked, tugged at his hair when he made to pull back as if that grunt had been a "stop". He stopped anyway, shoulder shaking under her arm, leaned back.
She leaned in, forehead to forehead.
"There'll be," he said, "there'll be a mark. I. Sorry, there'll be--"
"That's fine," she said, brushing her lips across the bridge of his nose, smiling against his skin when he exhaled all small and shaky.
She nuzzled him; no quadrant, no human anything, just the way Bec had done it to her, a friendly nudge with his whole face that shoved you back a little. Karkat's mouth twisted like he couldn't figure out how to respond.
She wanted to laugh when he went for her mouth this time, wanted to say "Finally" but that kiss wasn't any less intense than the caliginous one, the differences were mostly that she could kiss back, that she wasn't at his mercy. There were tongues, too; his nudged between her lips cautious, almost shy, and she grabbed a handful of his hair to haul him in and kiss him as deep as she wanted.
At some point he toppled onto her and then they were in the sand, Jade underneath, Karkat solid and warm over her and desperate not to lean his full weight on her, whenever he didn't forget himself.
He made the most fascinating mess of noises when she kissed her way from his brow down his temple to the soft bare place behind his ear, to lower.