"Almost Lover"

(What lead up to 005221)

The soft clop of your shoes echo off the walls, reverberating the sound with a slight metallic ring. This place is so big; it can make even the largest among you feel minute. You swish your hair out of your eyes and huff a little indignantly at how ungroomed you've become in your short stay here. Or has it been long? Somehow time seems really wonky here, not your thing of course. Your deal is more on the end of hope, and right now you're hoping your instincts aren't wrong. Your cape swishes around your feet as you make a sharp left and smile at the big, metallic door in front of you labeled Arboretum.

Your name is Eridan Ampora, and you just found what you were looking for.

As the door hisses to life, and slides open, you cautiously take a step into a vast room of towering trees. Your gills tense as you reflexively inhale the deep, wet, earth air. A soft sound makes your head snap to the side, your audial senses honing in on the location. Carefully you pick your way through the quiet sentinels, following the soft hitching noises you hear. A shiver runs across your skin as the dirt beneath you becomes looser and fades into sand, the trees around you more tropical, yet still immense. Then you see him. A small, slight figure hunched over, a tangle of coarse black hair touching his knees which are pulled to his chest, his face and hands curled in protectively.

You watch closely, not moving closer, but listening to his gentle sobs. Every time his candy colored little horns bob with another heave of his chest, you pity him more and more. It hasn't been easy, for any of you, but especially for him. You watched him tense as your true natures came to fruition, locked together in the veil. You saw the hurt blaze in his eyes as he awoke suddenly when Prospit was destroyed. And you followed him here, after he thought he had so craftily absconded from the main room where you and the other trolls tended to lounge. You hadn't intended to stick around anyways, watch Fef and Sol get all buddy-buddy was making your stomach churn fire, but Kar trying to quietly make off had piqued your interest enough.

Your fingertips across my skin
The palm trees swaying in the wind
Images…

You take a tentative step towards him, but he doesn't seem to notice. You grow bolder as you approach him, his sickles seem to be nowhere near by which means you won't lose a limb for approaching him. Before you realize it, you're standing right next to him. You reach out a trembling hand and brush your fingertips across the back of his neck as you whisper his name.

"Kar?"

With a hiss he tears away from you and skids across the sand, coming upright and retrieving his sickles lightning quick. You hold your hands up in surrender as he glares at you, showing you are unarmed and mean him no harm. It takes another few seconds before he shifts out of a fighting stance, though he keeps his weapons in his hands.

"What the fuck do you want, Ampora?" He growls, wiping pinkish tears away quickly with the back of his hand.

So his blood was a reddish hue. Or was it pink? For once, you didn't really care, and that would strike you as odd if you didn't need to worry about the sharp blades in the hands of a startled and upset troll.

"Geeze, Kar," You keep your hands up to show you mean no harm, "I wwas just wwonderin wwhere you wwere."

"Well now you know, so get lost fuckface."

"Wwhats wwrong, Kar? You can talk to me," You try to make your voice sound soothing.

"Nothings fucking wrong, Ampora," The troll growls and grips his sickles tighter, "Get fucking lost."

You swallow hard. He's armed, he's mad, but he's hurting, and you can't help but pity him, "No."

"What?" His voice is slightly stunned, an unusual sign from the typically boisterous asshole.

"I said 'no'," You swallow hard again, your gills flexing against your throat, "Somethin is botherin you. You don't evver talk to anyone. You try to be all high and mighty, but I can sea wwhen you're hurtin."

There's a tentative silence and he doesn't move, prompting you to add, "Come on, Kar, I'm not you anemone."

There is a slight jerk in Karkat's body and you wonder if you'd have enough time to pull out a weapon to defend yourself with. Then it comes again, followed by a soft, rumbly sound. Then the strangest thing happens to Karkat's face. It breaks into a…smile? No, that's not the right word. Smiles don't look anything like what he's attempting, but you guess it's the closest thing his typically scowl-ridden face can come up with. And he's laughing, cold as it may be.

"The damn fish puns," he lowers his sickles, shaking his head, "Fucking fish puns? You're pathetic."

You feign hurt as he puts away his weapons, "Well cod forgivve me, I wwas just triton to kelp. Go hurtin my eel-ins."

This time it's a relieved laugh that shakes his frame, "So. Fucking. Pa-the-tic."

You laugh with him and settle into the sand at the base of the tree, patting the spot next to you invitingly, "Noww come on, Kar. Wwhats reely botherin you?"

Karkat glares at you a moment, as if sizing up what kind of threat you pose. Deciding it must not be much of one, he plops down next to you with a sigh. You're not sure whether you feel insulted or relieved. You decide on relieved.

"It's nothing," Karkat grumbles, "It's stupid."

"Wwell, wwhich is it?" you look at him, "Nothin, or stupid?"

"It's both you nookwiffer," the acid typical with his words just ins't there.

"Kar," you eye him over the top of your glasses.

"Don't give me that look," he snorts pulling his knees up to his chin again, wrapping his arms around them and slouching forward, "Images."

"Of?"

He turns his piercing eyes to glare at you from the side, then he looks away defeated, "Prospit."

"Oh," you nod knowingly, remembering Derse.

"Mostly it's destruction," he voice cracks.

You tentatively wrap and arm around his shoulder; he tenses up, but doesn't pull away. You take that as a good sign. You sit in silence for a few more moments before he speaks again, his voice barely a whisper.

"I felt so suddenly happy to be there. Happier than I've ever felt before. Then it was ripped away."

"It wwasn't fair," You agree softly and he leans against you and you wrap your arm tighter around him.

"And it's being ripped away again," his voice is barely a whisper, like air escaping from tiny cracks.

"Wwhat do you mean?" you feel him tense again under your arm as he swears softly.

"Nothing," he grumbles, but after a second he chokes on a sob, "It's Sollux."

Your eyes narrow instinctively as a vein of hatred flows through you, "Wwhat about that mustard blood?"

It was the wrong thing to say and Karkat tenses under your arm again and you apologize instantly, but he doesn't answer. After a few more moments of silence, Karkat relaxes again under your arm and breaths out softly.

"I pity him."

One. Two. Three, four, five, six seven eight daggers shoot into your heart, and it's your turn to tense up. Karkat pitied Sollux.

Karkat pitied Sollux?

Karkat pitied Sollux?

An insurmountable rage and hatred boil into your brain for the insufferable prick of a two colored eyes low blood snarky mother fucking bastard! At the same time, you feel your heart drop out of your chest, through the sand beneath you, and out the other side of the meteor when you're sure Bec Noir has found it and stabbed right through it with his blood coated blade.

"Be he pities Feferi," Karkat almost growls, "And what's worse is I think she pities him back. So he doesn't know how it feels."

"I knoww," you're not sure if you meant that to be consoling, or if you meant to tell him you knew exactly how he feels.

"I'm fucking pathetic," he curls into your chest a bit, and you tighten your grip around him.

"Yes you are," your voice is just a whisper but it resonates through your chest into his head and he scoffs.

"Thanks, fuckass."

You sang me Spanish lullabies
The sweetest sadness in your eyes
Clever trick

You sit there for an immeasurable amount of time, your arm wrapped warmly around Karkat. The sound starts softly, low and husky, but soon it comes to a recognizable volume. Karkat is humming. Soon words come to the melody, Alternian words to a song lusus' hummed to their grubs. It is a sad song about a young troll who had lost his lusus and had to be strong if he didn't want to get culled. Tears start forming in your eyes and you run your hand up into his hair. His song hitches as your fingers brush across one of his nubby horns. Softly he continues and hitches again as you purposefully nudge one of his horns again, knowingly sending a wave of soothing endorphins coursing through his veins.

He pulls back and looks deep into your eyes, a soft sadness there instead of the typical rage, a frown instead of a scowl. His voice is a husky whisper as he picks back up the song and this time you turn so you can face him, making no show to hide your intentions. Your hands latch around the base of each candy colored horn of his and slowly thumb where the roots meet the scalp. His eyes flutter and his breath comes out in a soft, warm sigh. You press harder and the sigh becomes a moan. Suddenly his lips are on yours, pressing hungrily against you. You leave one hand to fondle a horn and curve your other around to the base of his neck.

He pulls away panting, and you look into his eyes. They're soft and vulnerable and God you pity him so much it hurts. You thought you knew what pity was when you felt it for Feferi, Nepeta, and even the human Jade. But those were just hints of ghosts of feelings compared to what coursed through you now for this pitiful creature in your arms. He launches back in and it's you who pull away this time, panting, holding your hands up for a break.

"Can wwe," you pant, "Go somewwhere more private? I eel too exposed here."

He nods and kisses you again, "My respite block."

We walked along a crowded street
You took my hand and danced with me
Images…

The hall is blessedly free of the other trolls, though a door creaking causes your heart to skip a beat slightly and Karkat to stop you both dead and slam you into a dark corner, crooning apologies as your swear at the pain in your back. Quietly you two try to tip toe your way down the corridor to Karkat's respite block at the other end. As you come passed your own door, however, suddenly the door across from your swings open. Without thinking, you throw Karkat against your door and swirl your cape over him, turning to face Vriska as she exits her own block. She looks up from a black magic 8 ball she's carrying and throws a wicked grin at you.

"Well heeeeeeeey there, Eridan," her smile is poisonous.

"Hey there, Vvris," you try to look stoic at your former kismesis, you're kind of glad to be out of her web actually.

"What are you up to, acting all sneaky?" He good eye narrows on you, the smile curling around her lips even more dangerous.

"Sneakin?" You gaze at her with your best incredulous look, "I wwas just headin into my block. I couldn't stand Kar's rantin anymore."

"Oh, the windbag on a tirade again? Well thanks for the warning, I'll avoid him," she winks at you, and you can't help but flinch slightly, "Too many irons in the fire to be worried about him though. You go get some rest, thought, you're looking a little purple around the gills."

You snort at her and hit your door with your hand sending it flying open, careful to ruffle your cape just right. You feel Karkat take the hint and tumble into your room, concealed by the flowing purple fabric. She smiles at you as you turn to enter your room, and you have never been so glad to close a door in her face. You listen as her footsteps recede down the hall and breathe a sigh of relief. You turn to find Karkat staring in awe at your posh room. If you were going to have to live in this place, you were going to do so comfortably. You had spared no grist in making it feel as much like home as possible including tables, overstuffed chairs, and a large lounging daybed.

"I guess wwe're in here," you apologize.

"Whatever," Karkat takes your hand and leads you to the large daybed and pushes you down, crawling on top of you, "Couldn't stand me, eh?"

"Wwhat else wwas I gonna say?" You look up at him indignantly.

"Shut up, Ampora," and he's kissing you again and the argument you were going to make disappears into his fevered kiss.

You tear at your scarf and cape, untangling yourself from the heavy fabric. Karkat's fingers frame your face and he runs his nails along your fins there, sending a bolt of heat straight to your belly. As he continues to kiss you, you run your hands into his hair and grab ahold of him horns, pressing at their pliable base, eliciting a long, low moan from the troll on top of you. Karkat begins panting as you send wave after wave of endorphins coursing through his body, and he lowers his head to rest in the crook of your neck. A horn comes in just the right position for you to flick your tongue out over the pliant base of one candy colored nub, and he thrusts against you, the hardening bulge in his jeans rubbing deliciously against your own growing excitement. Carefully, you wrap your mouth around one horn and tentatively run your sharp teeth across the base, a welcomed gasp curling your lips into a smile and causing him to thrust again. Suddenly, a wet, warm, slick tongue runs along the gills in your neck and Karkat's horn pops out of your mouth as your head slumps into the bed.

Karkat purrs happily, his fingers kneading the fabric of your shirt as his tongue darts again against the sensitive flaps of skin, making them tense reflexively. He slowly, carefully pries one open with his tongue and explores the edge, the muscle clamping down tightly around the intruder. You gasp and feel the heat inside your throat, deeper than any kiss you've ever had before. You resist the defensive urge to push him away because while you know all he needs to do it bite and you're crippled for life, it feels too damn good.

Too soon he begins to move lower, tugging at your shirt. You sit up slightly, tearing off the offending garment as Karkat removes his own unceremoniously. The feeling of his skin against yours is amazing. As he kisses lower, you whimper softly and buck your hips against him, hands returning to his horns to pump more endorphins into your lover. He tries to gain access to the gills on your sides, but the muscles there are tighter and won't budge. You silently thank your body, because if he had gotten them to move, you know your survival instincts would have kicked in and ruined this wonderful session.

Soon enough his tongue and fingers are at your hips, feathering kisses and tracing circles. You try to reach for the button but he smacks away your hands, opting to remove your pants himself. As the fabric restraints are removed, your bugle bobs openly in the warm air, pulsing slightly as purplish liquid oozes out the tip. Karkat laughs a little causing you to prop yourself up on your elbows and look at him indignantly.

"Wwhat?"

"Nothing," he looks bemusedly at your pulsating member, "Just kind of expected it to have fins or something."

"Oh yeah," you scoff, "Because that makes fuckin sensahhhhhh," and your head slumps back as his tongue runs up your shaft.

As he swirls and licks and sucks at your bulge, you can't help but squirm and buck your hips. You hear him fiddling with his own pants, though his tongue never leaves you, and when he finally stands up leaving your bugle slick with saliva, he is as naked as you are. As his knees hit the bed you wrap your legs around his waist. He looks at you with a frown and pries your legs off of him, making you groan in frustration.

"Fuck that," he explains as he straddles your hips, "You think I can't handle your bulge? Besides I'm not going in you dry, and you're already slicked up."

You make to argue but Karkat reaches behind himself and strokes your saliva and precum slicked shaft as if to emphasize his point and you moan in response, giving in. He lines himself up just right and takes a deep breath. You're about to suggest you just keep to the oral side of things when suddenly you are enveloped by incredible tightness and your head thrashes involuntarily to the side. You pry your eyes open to find Karkat's face screwed up, his eyes squeezed shut, and his lower lip trembling. You can't help it, so you thrust up into the incredible tightness and Karkat's breath hitches, his eyes fly open wide, and his head lulls to the side.

"Holy FUCK!" he whimpers.

You buck your hips again and he whimpers again, shifting his hips to sit more fully in your lap. Soon he's rocking in your lap and you're thrusting with each rock back causing the most pitiful sounds to escape his throat. As the pace increases, you know you won't last much longer, so you reach out and grab his neglected bulge. He practically screams in pleasure and clamps down hard around your shaft as rope after rope of cherry red cum spills onto your stomach and chest. You can't hold on after that and thrust one more time up, spasming as you fill his belly with your own purple jizz. Slowly, almost pained, Karkat pulls himself off of you and collapses next to you on the bed. A little bit of purple cum spills next to the red and you dip your fingers in both, bringing them up to look at them. Karkat growls and tries to slap your hand away, but you smile and mix the colors together, making a lavender that rivaled Fef's on the hemospectrum.

"Beautiful," you whisper, and his growling instantly stops. You turn to look at him and kiss him softly, before he snuggles into you.

And when you left you kissed my lips
You told me you'd never ever forget these images, no…

After several minutes he stirs and gets up, putting his clothes back on, you quirk an eyebrow at him, "Wwhere are you goin?"

"Well I gotta go clean up, fuckhead," he gives you a smirk before crawling up to kiss you once more, "And, uh, thanks."

And he's gone, out the door, closing it behind him with a smirk. Suddenly you're giddy as hell. You jump up and run to your silver basin of water, diving in almost head first, you swim around the little tank and giggle as the water turns a pinkish tinge. When you come out, you dry off and get redressed quickly, splashing on some cologne and making sure your cape swirls just right. As you make your way back to the common area, you try not to skip, but you definitely puff out your chest a bit and put a swagger into your step.

As you saunter in, Vriska smirks at you, "Well my my, a nap sure did you good."

"Shut up, Vvris," you smile smugly, "You just wwish you evver looked this good."

You lounge in a chair near Karkat's station and wait for the troll to join the group. It isn't long before he appears, hair slightly damp and his typical scowl back in place. As he sits, you slide over to him, smirking.

I never want to see you unhappy
I thought you'd want the same for me

"Hey, Kar," You beam.

"Hey," he grumbles, halfheartedly.

"So I wwas wwonderin, can I tell Fef and Sol? I'd like to rub it in their faces," and you want to, so badly. It would serve Fef right that you now had a matesprit, too, and were completely over her. Then all you had to do was stoke the fire of kismisitude and Sollux would be yours. Then Fef would know exactly how you felt.

"What are you talking about?" Karkat furrows his brow at you and you can't help but laugh a little.

"Wwell, I meant our Matespritship," you blush a little remembering you romp not that long ago.

"Eridan," Karkat's eyes soften. You've never seen that look in his eyes, that soft pity that isn't the kind of pity you want it to be. You feel your stomach turn to lead and drop to your feet even before he says it, "We're not matesprits."

"Wwhat the hell wwas earlier, then?" You manage to keep your voice low, but you can feel your purple blood rushing to your face, flaring out your fins, tinting your gills as fear and embarrassment grip you.

"Eridan," Karkat sighs and looks around, nervous of drawing attention, "Not here, ok?"

"Fuck that," you growl under your breath, "I think I deserve and explanation!"

"I thought I made it clear," Karkat purses his lips, looking at you with a bit of condescension, "I pity Sollux. Thank you for being there for me, but I just don't feel that way about you."

"Kar, come on," you plead, surely he feels something for you, he has to, because you feel it so deeply for him, "I nevver wwant to sea you unhappy, and he's the one wwho made you run off in the first place. That's wwhy I came lookin. I thought'd you'd wwant the same thing too."

"You thought wrong," the words probably came out harsher than he meant them, but they still sting, "What we did…"

"Don't," you snap, "Don't you dare say you regret wwhat wwe just did."

He looks at you, and the pity there makes you furious, "I'm sorry."

"Don't fuckin say sorry to me," hurt, anger, fear, pain, all of them course through you suddenly and all you want to do is run out of the room crying. Instead you slowly stand up, and gracefully make your way out of the room, avoiding every other troll. Once you're out of sight of the common room, however, you run as fast and as hard as you can, purple tears streaming down your face.

I cannot go to the ocean
I cannot drive the streets at night
I cannot wake up in the morning
Without you on my mind
So you're gone and I'm haunted
And I bet you are just fine
Did I make it that easy
To walk right in and out of my life?

You run. Blindly the halls and corridors whip by in a blur of purple tears and the swish of your cape behind you. When you finally collapse in a dark room, you're not quite sure exactly where you are in the complex. Your mind races as you cry endlessly. For the Prince of Hope, you feel like you have none. First Fef, then Vris, Jade, Rose, Nepeta, Sollux, and now Karkat. All of them turned you down, each one a severe blow. This one, however, was the harshest blow of all. You went to find him, you knew something was wrong. You risked injury and pain to get him to talk. He opened up to you, you pitied him and you thought he pitied you as well. You let him in so close to you, you were vulnerable to him, and he trusted you too.

But it was Sollux he wanted. You wish you could kill that dichromatic freak of a mustard blood for taking away Fef, denying your caliginous advances, and now denying you Karkat. You seethe as you cry, weighing if your hatred or your pity is stronger. You don't know how long you sit there, in the dark, your cape swirled around you protectively. You're not sure when you stop crying, you're not sure when the resolve hits you, you're not sure what you mean to do, all you know is you are on your feet and headed back to the common room.

You pass Terezi as you make your way into the room, but you hardly pay her any attention. The room is less populated than when you left, though you nearly run into Kanaya as you enter. Your feet take you steadily to Karkat. You try again to reason with him, although you know it will do you no good, the mutant blooded freak is stubborn, and that's something you admired in him. When he turns you away, you spot Sollux and Feferi curled in Gamzee's shitty pile of horns. The rage bubbles up in you again, and you storm over to the pile.

You start by trying to talk some sense into Feferi, but she just won't listen. When Sollux speaks, his voice grates on you and it's all you can do to not snap his neck. When Fef accuses you of trying to pull them out of their quadrant, you see Karkat visibly flinch and it's all you can take. When Sollux rises up to challenge you, you are more than ready to kill him ,like you should have done earlier when you had the chance on LOBAF. When he shoots crackling red and blue psionic energy at you, you meet it with a blast from your wand. For a moment, you feel pretty evenly matched, but then you can feel your energy getting stronger and pushing back against him. You obliterate him. You want to obliterate him. You prepare to obliterate him but a cry from Karkat makes you pull back at the last second, Sollux's body slamming into the wall.

Feferi turns to you, trident raised in anger, but you are far more furious than she is. She started the whole thing. If she had just been your matesprit, if she hadn't stolen Sollux away from Karkat., if she hadn't tried to block your kismestic advances on Sollux, none of this would have happened if it wasn't for her selfishness! You feel a grim satisfaction as you blow a hole straight through her chest. You turn and Kanaya catches your eye. You have no particular hatred for her, but the orb next to her reminds you of everything you hate, a continuation of the species is not necessary when you'll never fill your quadrants. You should have known blowing it up would piss her off, but you didn't care, and as you blew another hole right through her, she just became another body to the pile.

You turn and take in the chaos around you, blood and bodies everywhere, and you catch his eyes. His look is shock and disbelief, but his eyes. They look past you, like you don't even exist. For a moment you raise your wand at him, but when he doesn't move, you lower it and walk away, your head hung.

Goodbye, my almost lover
Goodbye, my hopeless dream
I'm trying not to think about you
Can't you just let me be?
So long, my luckless romance
My back is turned on you
I should've known you'd bring me heartache
Almost lovers always do

"I did it for you," you whisper more to yourself, knowing he probably can't hear you, "Noww he'll need you, and he wwon't have anyone else."

You look back one more time before running off. You don't know where you're going or what you're planning to do. A single streak of purple runs down your cheek and you whisper, "Goodbye."

You are Eridan Ampora, and you abscond.