Alright, then. Another Homestuck fic for you. This is going to be multiple chapters (how many, I don't know, and I'm also not really sure how the plot is going to progress, so this should be a fun adventure for all of us). Primarily Erisol with eight other flushed pairings (both requited and unrequited).
Thanks to the lovely Soso for beta-reading most of this for me.
Sollux frowned at his bathroom mirror and took off his glasses, setting them next to the sink. He rubbed his eyes before holding open his left one and plucking out the brown-tinted contact lens and placing it in the plastic case on the other side of the sink. His frown deepened as he put his glasses back on and opened up the medicine cabinet behind the mirror. He reached for a short, squat bottle and poured two of the little blue pills into his hand before putting the bottle back and taking the glass sitting next to the sink. He turned on the tap, put the glass under the stream, and filled it halfway. He popped the two pills into his mouth, downed the water in three long swallows, and replaced the glass on the counter. He slowly blinked at his reflection, his eyes now mismatched—one brown and one traitorously blue—and made a soft "hmm" of acceptance as he felt the pills already kicking in. His thoughts were slowing down and his eyelids grew heavy, and with a grim sort of nod, he stepped away from the mirror and out of the bathroom, flicking off the lights as he went.
He turned right and turned on his bedroom light. He went to his closet and pulled his plain blue shirt over his head, dropping it into the basket on the floor before toeing out of his shoes and socks, and starting on his black jeans. He closed his closet door, stripped down to one of his many sets of bee-print boxers, and flipped off his bedroom light. He went to his nightstand and fumbled for the charging cord for his cell phone, plugged it in, and quadruple-checked that he had no new text messages, missed calls, or emails. He pulled the blue-and-red-striped covers back from his bed, climbed in, took off his glasses, and snapped off the bedside lamp.
He was mercifully asleep in a matter of minutes, his dreams medicated and dark.
Something was intruding into his unconsciousness. He didn't know what that aggravating sound was but he was vaguely aware that it shouldn't have woken him up. His eyes blinked open and he smacked at the source of the buzzing, his hand colliding with the slick plastic of his phone. He grimaced and went to hit the "ignore" button, but somehow his finger dragged against "answer" instead, and all of a sudden, his phone was on speaker and an obnoxious voice was yelling, "SOLLUX, I NEED YOU TO GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE NOW OR SO HELP ME GOD I WILL BOUNCE OVER THERE ON A BUBBLE MADE OF MY OWN FUCKING FURY AND DRAG YOU OVER HERE BY YOUR FUCKING HAIR!"
For a second, Sollux was speechless. He'd been on the receiving end of several of Karkat's rants and knew that he wasn't at full rage yet—in fact, he mostly just seemed irritated—but he had been blindsided by the barrage of cursing. "Okay, KK," he said finally. "What the fuck is wrong now?" His lisp was even more pronounced now when he was groggy, but it was one of the few things about himself that he'd made peace with.
"MY FUCKING COMPUTER CRASHED FOR THE FOURTH TIME TONIGHT AND YOU'RE THE ONLY FUCKING PERSON I KNOW WHO HAS THE MENTAL CAPACITY IN THEIR FUCKING THINK PAN TO FIX THIS SHIT!"
Sollux closed his eyes and tried not to groan. Of course Karkat was having computer issues right now. He squinted at the time on his phone and rolled his eyes. Twelve-thirty. This was ridiculous. He needed to start turning off his phone before he went to bed. Karkat was lucky he didn't have class the next morning. "Alright, fine," he grumbled. "Just give me about twenty minutes. I was asleep," he added pointedly, but the line just went dead as Karkat hung up. Of course the little bastard would have no sympathy for him.
He finally let out a frustrated groan and turned on the lamp. After he put his glasses back on, he rolled out of bed and hunted for a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. He didn't bother with socks; he just shoved his feet into a pair of shoes and rubbed the bridge of his nose as he unplugged his phone. Fortunately, Karkat's apartment was close enough for him to ride his bicycle. The sleeping pills hadn't quite worn off yet and he didn't trust himself behind the wheel of a car. At least the night air would be bracing, and if he needed to, he could always pop another pill or two.
As an afterthought, he grabbed a hoodie out of his closet and tugged it over his head, knocking his glasses askew. He pocketed his phone and grabbed his apartment keys off of his dresser, forgoing the contact lens that hid his heterochromia. Karkat and Gamzee, Karkat's roommate, both knew about his eyes and it was late and he genuinely did not give a single fuck. His priorities lay with fixing Karkat's computer and going back to sleep as soon as humanly possible.
He was right about the cold air waking him up. By the time he hopped off his bike after the two-mile ride, he was wide awake and irritated about it. He was definitely going to have to take another pill to get back to sleep or risk his insomnia robbing him of some much-needed REM. He locked up his bike on the rack outside of the door to the apartment building and buzzed Karkat's apartment.
"THAT YOU, MOTHERFUCKER?" Karkat practically screamed at him through the speaker. Sollux had no idea how his neighbors put up with his near-constant shouting. He tipped his head back and growled in frustration before hitting the intercom button. "Yes, numb-nuts, it's me."
The door buzzed open, and Sollux let himself inside and went to the elevator. He hit the button for the fourth floor and allowed himself to slump against the wall as the doors slid shut. He was mentally exhausted but physically alert. It was a strange feeling, one that had his eyes drifting shut so that he could almost sleep but then the elevator bumped to a stop and the doors opened and he lazily pushed himself off the wall and went into the hallway of the fourth floor.
He knocked on the door of apartment 413 and rubbed at his eyes and the bridge of his nose until Karkat answered. The shorter teen looked up at him with a relieved sort of glare and stepped back to allow Sollux entrance. "About fucking time," Karkat said, his voice thankfully not raised.
Sollux finally stepped inside and allowed himself only a half of a second to register that Gamzee was still wide awake playing some video game on their Xbox with another kid about their age he half-recognized. His mind began to whirl, scanning for a name to put to the face—and certainly that septum piercing was distinctive, he should remember that—before finally the name Tavros floated to the surface. They'd met once or twice, probably at school, although Sollux didn't share a single class with Gamzee. This kid, Tavros, he definitely didn't know about Sollux's eye thing (God, he hated it, it made him so self-conscious), and for a second, he began to panic until he remembered that it was dark and Tavros was across the room and there was no way he could see Sollux's eyes, even if he'd acknowledged his presence, and that wasn't happening because he was so absorbed in the game with Gamzee. Okay, not a threat, he told himself.
Sollux only knew Gamz because he was Karkat's roommate and pretty much his best friend, a title that used to belong to Sollux but they'd drifted apart a bit after high school and now… Well, they were still friends, or else Sollux wouldn't have dragged his ass over here at half past midnight, but the days of gaming together at the same physical location and ordering shitty pizza at ten-thirty in the evening and comparing notes on their (nonexistent) love lives were over.
No, now Karkat was spending his days with Gamzee and apparently this kid Tavros and Sollux had been re-designated as Computer Technician in Karkat's mental cast list and while he didn't mind—he had other friends, after all; Aradia and he had always been close, and they were almost as tight as he and Karkat had been—it was still a bit strange to recall that they had once spent every waking moment together.
"What seems to be the problem?" Sollux asked when Karkat gestured toward the computer, the command Get on this shit unspoken but definitely implied. Karkat was very lucky Sollux didn't care about being bossed around like this.
"I downloaded this file and I tried to run it and then it just crashed. I booted it up a few more times and tried to run it again and it just kept crashing my computer."
Sollux plucked off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. "Jesus fuck, KK. I told you like a hundred times not to download porn onto your laptop. If you need to beat off—"
"It's not fucking porn, four-eyes. It's for a project that's due on Monday and I got my lab buddy here to work on this so I kind of fucking need to get this shit done."
Sollux raised an eyebrow. Tavros was his lab partner? He seemed to be more than comfortable with letting Karkat do all the work himself, but he never expected that Karkat would just roll with it. It was an interesting development, but he decided not to comment on it.
He had Karkat log onto the computer and then he executed an obligatory system restart. Having the laptop fail a few times had surely not been good for it. After Karkat logged back in, Sollux gave him a pointed look. "Out," he said. "I can't have you hovering over my goddamn shoulder, okay? I'll call you if I need you."
Karkat shot him a glare and crossed his arms over his chest, but he left the bedroom anyway. Sollux didn't know how or why he'd gotten so obedient lately, but it was a nice change of pace. Or it would have been, if it hadn't been so freaky. He didn't quite know what to make of it, but it wasn't important right now. Right now, he had to get Karkat's laptop running again.
He installed a free antivirus program on the computer and ran a check. He rolled his eyes at the results—the file Karkat had downloaded wasn't infected with anything, but it was corrupted. Fortunately, he knew how to fix it, and when he finally double-clicked on the icon and pulled the file up, he waited for a solid two minutes before determining that, yes, the corrupted file had been the problem.
Ten minutes of work. Easy day.
He pushed back from the desk and put his glasses back on. He cracked his neck and went into the living room to fetch Karkat. "Hey, KK, it's—" He froze.
There was Karkat in a beat-up armchair and there was Gamzee on the sofa, still playing Little Big Planet with Tavros next to him, but on the other side of the couch, watching the screen with a bored expression, was another guy Sollux hadn't seen before. Panic rose in his chest along with something else he couldn't name but fuck, that guy with the dark, wavy hair and the thick glasses that he probably didn't even need but wore to be ironic and the sour look had come from nowhere and now he'd turned his head to look at him, too and oh, my God he had a penetrating stare and what if he can see my eyes, fuck, leaving without putting in that contact was so fucking stupid and—
"It's fixed?" Karkat asked hopefully, snapping Sollux's focus back to the rest of his surroundings.
"Um, yeah," he said, carefully not saying "yes" to avoid the lisp thing. He didn't even know why it suddenly bothered him, but this other guy here, out of nowhere, was throwing him off. Even when he wasn't looking in the guy's direction, he was acutely aware of him. The fight or flight reaction in his body was screaming for the flight option, so he swallowed and said, "C'mere, KK," and backed into the bedroom, away from Suave Hair and his Gaze of Dissection.
"What's up?" Karkat asked, following him. He went right to the laptop to look it over and frowned at the new software running in the background. "The fuck is this?"
"Free anti-virus program," Sollux explained patiently. "You didn't have a virus, but you don't have protection on your computer and you need something, so I got you this. I trust these guys and since it's free, it's no big deal. Right?" he added pointedly. Without waiting for a response, he went on, "But the file you downloaded was corrupted. I fixed it and it's fine now."
Karkat hmmed in acknowledgement.
"Um, KK, who's that guy out there?"
"You mean fuckin' Hipster Dude?"
"That's my lab buddy. Eridan Ampora. Forgot to mention that—he was in the bathroom when you got here."
"Oh." In the background of his internal processor, he wondered what the Hell Tavros was doing there if he wasn't Karkat's lab partner, but most of his computing power was focused on fuck fuck fuck fuck why the fuck—?
"Pretty lucky for me, actually. Guy's a fuckin' biology nerd. It's only gonna help my grade." He looked up at Sollux and, with an ease born of years of shared experiences, said, "Get the fuck out."
Sollux snorted with laughter and headed for the door, through the living room, and out of the apartment. And if he looked back at Eridan, sneaking a glance on the way out, it was only to verify that, yes, Eridan's eyes were still on him.
As soon as the front door closed behind him, he shook his head. "I really need to get back to sleep," he mumbled to himself.