It's not Vriska's fault that Aradia's horns make perfect handles. Not Vriska's fault that when she tugs on them hard enough, the rustblood has to come to her - baring her teeth in defiance, her hands on Vriska's own but without the strength to pry the higherblood's fingers away. It's not Vriska's fault, not at all, that Aradia looks so gorgeous when her head is bowed - her hair all a mess, tangling around her shoulders, hiding her eyes but allowing the glint of teeth to show through.

Similarly, Aradia tells herself that it's not her fault Vriska has such control over her. That's it's not her fault she's come to love the stain of cerulean blood under her nails, the taint of it on her tongue. She tells herself, when she makes her way back to her hive with scabs on her back and a dull ache in her scalp, that she doesn't need Vriska's hate.

There is no deception quite like self-deception.

On the first night, when it all began, they worked themselves into a frenzy so desperate that they were physically unable to leave the hive for a week due their injuries.

Aradia remembers the shudder of Vriska's skin, the rising of blue bruises, the gasp of pain when her nails dug in deep into the small of her back. She remembers biting Vriska's shoulder, tasting the blood, licking it away. She remembers wanting to leave no skin unmarked, so that Vriska would remember who did this to her. She remembers little else but pain, and a pleasure so deep it almost felt fatal.

Vriska remembers the fall of Aradia's hair down her back, wrapping her hands in it to yank the rustblood's head back and expose her neck. She remembers sucking hickies onto the skin, remembers gripping her horns so that she could guide Aradia's movements. She remembers seeing the defiance in Aradia's eyes, feeling the anger in every movement and every clawmark, and she remembers how Aradia cried out into the night with with every movement of Vriska's fingers in her nook.

The first night is the beginning, but it is not the worst night for injuries.