I hope you are all going to be able to sit through their chat conversation. Because that's about seventy-five percent of this chapter. And I apologize for having taken so long with this chapter, as well as having broken my vow at faster updates. I have a hard time writing with an unstable mindset, and that is how my mind has been for the past however long. I almost forgot what it was like to be sane.


"Did she just wake up?" Sollux asked.

"Probably," Karkat replied, putting his fingers to the keys to type a response to her.

"I REMEMBER YOU TOLD ME ABOUT HOW YOUR LUSUS DEALT WITH ILLEGAL BIRTHING A SWEEP OR SO AGO, RIGHT?"

Sollux took a seat next to his student so he could follow the conversation.

"Your Memory Is Not Incorrect. My Lusus, As A Virgin Mother Grub, Is Responsible For All Births Not Conducted By Mother Grubs. Upon Notification, She Will Aide The To-Be Ancestors Either In Birthing The Grub Or Culling It Before It Is Born. Do You Have A Friend Who Wishes To Request Her Assistance?"

Karkat hesitated for a moment or two while he gnawed on the edge of his lip, giving Sollux an uncertain glance, then typing his answer.

"SOMETHING LIKE THAT. MY FRIEND ACTUALLY DOESN'T KNOW WHETHER OR NOT HE WANTS TO KEEP THE GRUB. HE FEELS LIKE THE GRUB IS HIS RESPONSIBILITY BUT HIS RESPONSIBILITY TO TAKE CARE OF OR KILL HE DOESN'T KNOW."

Sollux looked at Karkat after reading the text, though Karkat wouldn't meet his gaze. He put a hand on Karkat's back and ran it up and down reassuringly. They both turned back to the screen when Kanaya sent her message.

"That Is Quite The Predicament. It Is Rare To Find Trolls With Other Trolls With Consideration Towards Other Creatures, Though I Should Admit That It Is Refreshing To Hear. It Is Rather Upsetting To Have To Receive Frequent Requests To Tend To A Pre-culling Or A Notification As To Retrieving An Already Culled Grub. Does Your Friend Have Any Inclination Towards Either Decision?"

Karkat paused again. Even though he didn't enjoy being eaten from the inside out in particular, Sollux made his situation more bearable than he would ever care to say aloud. As the red-blood thought about it, he considered how horrifying it would have been had he never asked for Sollux's help. Perpetually fearful to the point of self-destructiveness.

"HE SAYS THAT HE'S THINKING ABOUT KEEPING IT."

"Keeping It To Raise As In Taking The Stead Of A Lusus, Or Keeping It Alive? There Are Many Ways To Go About The Situation."

"Fuck," Karkat muttered, sighing angrily and running a hand through his hair.

"IS THERE A FUCKING CONSULTATION OPTION? YOU KNOW, THE SELECTION WHERE THE TROLL HAS NO FUCKING IDEA WHAT HE'S FUCKING DOING SO HE NEEDS TO TALK IT OUT? HOW IS HE SUPPOSED TO KNOW IF HE'S READY FOR EITHER?"

Karkat gave the return key an angry smack and waited for Kanaya's reply anxiously. Fortunately, it didn't take long to appear.

"There Is Such An Option Actually. Would You Like To Consult My Lusus About The Situation? She Is Available To Confer With During The Day, Every Day."

Sollux nodded to himself, then looked at Karkat as he stared at the screen, absorbing the information. When Karkat's fingers did not move to type a response, he nudged his student gently.

"You're not going to have any work from me for the next week," he murmured. "You should ask her to come sooner rather than later."

"I know," Karkat replied, "but where do we meet her at? And I know for a fact that Kanaya is going to come to translate because her lusus speaks another fucking language." He glanced up at Sollux momentarily, then looked back at the screen, tapping the keyboard lightly but not typing anything. "I don't know if I want her to know or not. This whole incident has been a fucking shame. I feel like too many people know already and if I don't keep this shit secret then keeping it a secret would be a waste of time before I know it."

Sollux rolled his eyes and tapped the screen with his index finger at Kanaya's last message. "I do believe that she already knows."

"What?" Karkat replied. He looked back at where Sollux had indicated and furrowed his eyebrows, not understand what his teacher was hinting. He reread it over with his eyebrows knit together. Sollux sa him pause in his reading, as the realization came to him, and to his surprise, Karkat didn't start cursing. He only sighed in frustration and thrust the computer at Sollux.

"Pick the best day for me, I don't want to think about it," he growled, rubbing his forehead.

Sollux received the computer with his own confusion. "That's uncharacteristic of you, Karkat," he commented.

"I have no fucking idea what you're talking about," Karkat muttered in reply.

"You… usually just take things into your own hands and make your own decisions," Sollux said softly, beginning to type to Kanaya. "Are you sure you want me to pick?"

"Yes, I want you to pick a random day because I don't want to think about it! I don't know what you and the other instructors have planned and I don't want to ask."

Sollux smiled and sent his first message.

"When ii2 the 2oone2t Friiday you two can manage?"

"And Who May I Ask, Is This?"

"2ollux Captor. Ii'm helping Karkat with thii2 problem a2 well."

"Sollux Captor? The Prodigious Young Instructor At Alternia High? I Have Reason To Doubt You."

"Ii 2uppo2e you would…"

"It Is Quite Possible That You Are An Imposter."

"Iif that were 2o, then Ii don't thiink that iit matter2, a2 iit doe2 not change the face that Ii am 2omeone that wii2hes to help hiim. Karkat happen2 two be a very clo2e 2tudent of miine and there wa2 no rea2on not two."

"But Say You Were Indeed Sollux Captor, Why Would You Be Helping Karkat? I Would Not Expect Someone Such As Yourself To Become Involved In Prenatal Affairs."

"Ii'm not a2 famou2 a2 you probably thiink Ii am. Ii don't know where the rumor of my age began, but Ii can a22ure you that they are untrue."

Sollux inwardly grimaced after sending his last message. He was very proud of having become so accomplished at his young age, but if it lying meant he could help Karkat, then his pride could be assuaged.

"That a2iide, Ii have liitle two nothing two lo2e two begiin wiith, and Ii beliieve Ii wa2 the only one he could turn two at the tiime."

"Interesting. In That Case, Then I Must Place My Trust In You As He Has Done. We Can Service You As Soon As This Week."

"Then thii2 Friiday?"

"That Is Correct. Please Specify The Location And Time."

"Would you be alriight wiith the rooftop of the urban hiive2? Roughly around miid2un."

"We Will Be There. I Will Need Your Coordinates, However."

Sollux typed in the triangular coordinates to his rooftop easily, down to the third decimal, and sent it to her.

"Iit'2 a date then."

"It Could Be Known As Such. I Look Forward To Seeing You Sollux Captor."

"2ame."

Sollux logged off of Karkat's account and shut down the computer. Looking to him, he put a hand on his student's shoulder and squeezed it lightly.

"I hope you're ready for this Friday."