It was late.
The dull throbbing behind Sollux Captor's eyes made him look up from reassembling a dismantled laptop and gaze at the alarm clock holding sentinel on his desk.
He sprang out of his revolving chair, avoided tripping over the wires strewn across the floor, and sprinted to the dresser. He had five minutes to change and hunker down underneath his blankets, feigning sleep. His roommate would be returning from his weekly anger management course and would be in a particularly volatile state of mind. Karkat was always angrier than usual when those meetings ended, as if they caused the human ball of fury to backtrack, rather than progress. Sollux would prefer not to deal with Karkat when he was like this.
Half-way through changing, he heard the tell-tale jingling of keys in the door.
Shit fuck shit shit shi-
He jammed the shirt over his head and, without pausing to don pajama pants, dived into his bed and under the covers. The bedroom door slammed open just as Sollux slammed his eyelids shut. Karkat shuffled into the room, grumbling under his breath. Sollux stiffened; Karkat was only hushed like this when he was exceptionally upset. It took little to nothing to provoke him when in this state.
Drawers banged shut, clothes were removed and flung across the room, and pajamas were hastily adorned. Sollux heard Karkat yank his blankets back and waited for him to throw himself onto the mattress.
"Sollux, I know you're fucking awake. Stop ignoring me like a damn pansy."
Mentally groaning, Sollux shifted in bed to look at his roommate. As short, ruffled, and cantankerous as always, Karkat stood in the middle of the room.
"Hey, KK. How wath your meeting?"
"Shut up, lispy. I didn't want you to talk to me. It just pisses me off when you get the dumbass idea that I can't tell when you're faking."
"Thorry, I jutht didn't want to make you more upthet than you already are."
Karkat bristled, "How would you even fucking know how angry I already am, asswipe?"
"Becauthe you alwayth come home pithed off after your meetingth."
"I DO NOT."
"Then why are you yelling at me?"
Karkat glared at him and sank into bed. "Because you're an idiot and I hate you."
Sollux flinched. That stung. He didn't understand why, but he had always wanted Karkat to like him, or at least get along with him. Whenever Karkat threw that phrase around, Sollux felt somewhat distressed that he would never be friends with his roommate. However, he had learned quickly that in order to survive in living with Karkat, he had to give out the insults as good as he got.
"Whatever, jackath. I wath jutht trying to thpare your fucking feelingth."
"Fuck you, and fuck your mock concern. I don't need you meddling in my personal business like some stupid, mystery-seeking kid."
Karkat picked up a pillow from his bed and hit Sollux over the head with it.
Sollux stifled a laugh at the childish display, knowing any further show of amusement would earn him a mini-fist to the face.
"It'th not mock, you dope. I hate it when you come home mad. It meanth I have to avoid getting yelled at."
Karkat slumped back onto his bed and mumbled a response. "I guess I don't have to yell at you so much."
Sollux started. After a moment, the thought had processed in his brain and he broke out into a grin Karkat would describe as "Shit-eating."
"Wipe that stupid smirk off your damn face, fuckass."
"Whatever you thay, KK."
Sollux rolled over and slept, legitimately.
The following day was spent on light feet, attempting to avoid waking the slumbering Karkat. Sollux made himself toast and black coffee and settled down in the living room to work on assignments until he had to leave for class.
Ten minutes before his departure, Sollux heated up two pop tarts and a new mug of coffee and set them on the table for his roommate.
Smiling to himself, Sollux shut the food behind him, pleased with his peace offering, and set out for his first class of the day.
After a mind-numbing internal analysis of his desire to spend copious amounts of money on these pointless, low level classes he wasn't allowed to test out of, Sollux sighed and began the trek back to the apartment. Cracking virus codes was a hobby, not homework. He had finished the week-long assignment in under a half an hour. The teacher had gawked, and then released him early.
The crisp, autumn air smelled sweet and was tantalizingly cool against the twenty-year-old's skin, and it made him contemplate how cold the upcoming winter would be. This time of year had always been his favorite; he loved watching the leaves on the trees change colors.
Sollux had a fascination with colors, his two favorite shades being red and blue, as were his eyes. His pupils had gained him a considerable amount of attention early in life, and he was occasionally asked about it even now, but he had learned to handle the uncomfortable questions with maturity. After 20 years of being an anomaly, his eyes didn't bother him anymore.
He chuckled as he thought of Karkat. He was five foot, two inches, nineteen years-old, and consistently picked on for having skipped a grade. They had only been roommates for two years, but had been relatively close friends in high school.
His mind on the feisty man, Sollux readjusted the grocery bags in his arms and unlocked the apartment door.
The lights were off.
That was strange; Karkat was normally home before Sollux was. Setting the bags on the counter, Sollux headed to their bedroom to put on more comfortable clothes. He flicked the light switch, then quickly shut it back off as a deep hiss resonated through the room.
"Uh, Karkat? Ith thomething wrong?"
Without waiting for an answer, Sollux makes his way to Karkat's bed, trying to identify his shape in the mass of blankets.
A low rumble that sounds distinctly like "Fuck off, lispy," greets him, and he sighs.
"KK, I'm jutht trying to help."
Sollux let out a startled yelp when a small, clammy hand reached out and latched onto his wrist. With surprising strength, Karkat pulled Sollux into the cocoon of comforters. In the darkness, Sollux could barely make out a glare from red-rimmed eyes.
"KK…KK, have you been crying?"
"Hey, look, you aren't completely oblivious. Yes, fuckbrains, I have. Unfortunately for you and your bottom-of-the-scale intelligence, it is none of your GODDAMN business, so kindly FUCK OFF."
Sollux sighed and started to push off of the bed.
"You know what, KK? I'm thick of the way you alwayth get mad at me for trying to do you a favor. I jutht want you to feel better and not tho pithed off all the time. Why are you tho-"
Karkat pulled gently on the wrist he still had an iron grip on.
"Shut the hell up and cuddle me, you nosy, insatiable piece of shit."
Sollux was lost for words as short, warm arms wound around his waist and a mop of black hair tucked under his chin to rest on his chest.
"My day was rougher than un-lubricated, anal sex with the goddman grand canyon, I'm pissed off, I don't want to talk about it, and the fucking neighbors will report me if I punch the wall again, so this retarded hug is going to have to calm me down. I swear on everything you have ever loved that if you mock me for this solitary moment of weakness, I will piss in your cereal every morning until you're so old you can't taste it anymore."
The arms around Sollux trembled, and, as they lay together, slowly relaxed into sleep.
Sollux's last conscious thought was, "Well, at least he isn't punching me."
Sollux woke warm, calm, and slightly confused. Why did his chest feel so hot? When did his blankets get so soft?
A quiet groan made his eyes shoot open. His initial fear subsided into subdued amusement when he registered Karkat, sleep mussed, relaxed, and pressed into Sollux's chest. The memories of the previous night flooded his mind, and he made a mental reminder to ask KK why he had been so upset.
Relishing the moment, Sollux lowered his head to rest on Karkat's and closed his eyes. This side of KK was rare and valuable, and it was probably the reason for Sollux's unnatural attraction to his friend.
Wait. Scratch that. Sollux was definitely NOT attracted to Karkat.
The little shit was abusive and rude and liked god-awful romantic comedies and he was cute and cuddly and liked to cook Sollux dinner and made stellar cupcakes and he looked so soft and kissable and…
God damn KK and his stupid soft side. He was sweet, but only when his guard was down, a fact that excited Sollux to know he was experiencing this miracle.
The peace lasted about thirty minutes longer, the Sollux felt KK stir. Waking up to find himself ensconced in Sollux's arms, Karkat let loose a sharp gasp and a sharper kick to Sollux's shins.
"Ow, KK! What wath that- OOF!" and suddenly, Sollux was on the floor.
"KK, what the actual fuck? It'th your fault I wath in your bed, thinthe you're the one who put me there."
Karkat said nothing, just climbed out of his bed and over Sollux. He gathered clothes and slunk towards the bathroom, presumably to shower.
"Oh, no, you don't!" Sollux sprang off of the floor to block the entrance to the bathroom. "You do not get to act super cuddly one minute and then be thilent the next. What wath that all about? Why did you make me thleep with you?"
Karkat blushes a fantastic shade of crimson before muttering, "I needed to know."
"Know what, KK?"
Karkat suddenly lunged at Sollux and pounded him mercilessly with small, anguished fists, until Sollux grabbed hold of his wrists.
"I don't fucking want to tell you! Fuck the hell off, Sollux!"
Sollux sighed for what felt like the fiftieth time that week. "Jutht tell me why, KK."
Karkat huffed out an indignant breath and remained silent.
"Wath it your dad?"
An almost imperceptible shake of Karkat's head.
"Did you fail your pthycology tetht?"
"Did I do thomething wrong?"
Another, more vigorous shake.
"Dammit, KK, jutht thpit it out!"
"FINE. Some douche bag started calling me a faggot, so I told him off. Kanaya overheard and is now convinced the guy was right. I asked for her reasoning and she said-"
Karkat blushed furiously and stopped talking.
"KK, I can't be mad at her or help you unless you tell me what the thaid."
If Karkat's voice was any softer, Sollux would have thought he was imagining it, but Karkat mumbled out, "She said it was obvious I love you."