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Summary: Two instances of a shared need for each other, one dark and harsh, the other soft and light. In one, horrorterrors and fear, in the other, cuddles and comfort.

Characters: Eridan, Rose
Ships: Eridan<>Rose

Category One:
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Category Two:
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"I thought," Rose says beside him, one of her own wands in her left hand, "that Karkat said this trip would be uneventful."

"That'll teach us to trust his judgment," Eridan snaps, and sends a flaring bolt of white science off into the closest group. It expands as it travels and engulfs the bastards utterly, before shrinking down into nothingness and collapsing in on itself. That's a new trick, he thinks, one he hasn't learned for long. Good thing he figured it out before now.

"I don't think that he should carry all of the blame, do you?" She's entirely too calm about this, dancing to the side as she uses her own power to blast a couple of them to oblivion, then leaping back to avoid the backlash. It's a pattern, with her - she doesn't even know she's doing it -

"Ros!" He sees it just in time, the shadow behind her, and it engulfs her before he can do anything - covers her in shadow, but there's just enough light in her that he can see her there. "Hang on!"

She's struggling - if she heard you, she gives you no sign. She's pushing back with her own power, but it's not enough, the shadowy tentacles aren't giving way -

He can't blast it. That would blast her too, and he's not going to let anythin' happen to her. So he forces the output down, dials it back through himself, tries to burn away the outside with a concentrated point of light - and he's weakening it, just barely. But he's not sure it's enough -

The aura of grimdarkness around Rose pulses outwards, pushes the weakening tendrils of darker shadow away; it leaves trails of indescribable grime over her face and her clothes. She grimaces as she finally pushes it away, and the thing screams a horrible scream as she collapses onto her knees, filthy but free.

"Fuck, Ros," he says as it dies back down, and pulls her back up as fast as he can. "You okay??"

"I'm fine," she answers, although he's not sure he believes it. She's been burnt in several impossible ways, her eyes full of a darkness that hurts his head to look at. It makes him fuckin' nervous; he's heard about her old grimdark ways, and he's terrified that if she ever goes completely insane, he won't be able to bring her back. He's gonna try, of course, but just the thought terrifies him.

"You sure?" he asks, holding up his wand and scanning the room as best he can. It's big, though, big and cavernous, and the damned devils have plenty of places to hide. If that's what they even are - it's what the windy idiot said as soon as he saw them, and frankly that's as good a name as any, because they look like the exact damned opposite of the angels he hunted down. What the hell kind of world were these things made in, and whose nightmare were they in?

"Absolutely." She's trying to sound snappy and reassuring, but she doesn't quite manage it, not when he knows what she sounds like when she's exhausted. She's not quite there yet, but she's close. "A bit sore, but that's not surprising."

"Good," he says, exactly as if he believes her, but he doesn't let go of her hand. It means he has to carry his science wand in his off-hand, and it feels weird as hell but he doesn't want to let go of her long enough to change that around. Not that it's done him a hell of a lot of good so far, not when he didn't even see the thing that'd grabbed her until it had been too late. If he'd fired he would've gotten her too, and then... and then it had just wrapped around her and started to feed, until she'd burst into those impossible black flames -

Fuck. No. Don't think about it, he orders himself. First things first. "We have to go, find the others and hole up until someone can think of a fuckin’ plan. Those things aren't gonna let up." He glanced back at her - she was wobbling on her feet, as if she didn't quite remember how to use them, anymore. "Rose? You okay to walk?"

She looks down at legs, shuffles her feet experimentally for a few seconds, then looks back at him. "No," she says, decisively. "But I think I can run."

"Good. Then we'd better start running.”

He doesn't let go as the two break into a run - or a stumble, for Rose, and he's terrified that she's going to trip over her own feet and slam head-first into a wall. The devils are still there, indistinct black shapes that he can barely see, flickering in and out of sight - they're like the angels he’d fought on his world, but too dark and too insubstantial. They don't seem to give off any light at all; the only way he can see them is by looking for the shadows that happen to be a little bit thicker than the others.

They do, at least, seem to be afraid of whatever Rose did to ward off the ones that grabbed her. And they scatter like schools of tiny fish whenever he sends a blast at the shadows with his little science project, so that's something.

He feels like they’ve been running for a long time when the floor buckles and shakes beneath them. Eridan curses and pulls Rose below a sturdy metal lab table - it’s the closest thing he sees to shelter - and hangs onto her as the shaking gets worse. What were they doing? Were they shaking the entire asteroid apart? Or had they run into something else, and the thing was breaking apart on its own? Honestly, he ought to stop thinking about things falling apart, it didn't help the situation.

"We’re... moving," he hears Rose mutter, under her breath. "Sollux... trying to shake them off?"

"What? Are you sure?" He swears under his breath. "This room is too close to the surface, it ain't safe for us here!" It stings like hell, because he knows too well what it feels like to be given up on, and that's exactly how this feels. "If he slips even once -"

"Then we'd better keep moving," Rose interrupts him, and pulls out one of her own wands (although she prefers to call them needles.) "Which way?"

"Down, of course - but the nearest hatch is -"

"No time. We're going to improvise." She sends a bolt of darkness down, into the rocks not far in front of them - he still hadn't figured out how she did it, but he wasn't gonna complain that time. He could make things explode, but he didn't have that kinda control yet, couldn't make a bolt of energy that burrowed like a flounder into ocean mud.

The hole widens, widens - and then suddenly there's a blast of something that smells horribly foul, and a blast of darkness, and then they're surrounded, with just a narrow space around them and an army of devils. "Oh, no, Ros," he says, staring around them. "Tell me you didn't just open a hole straight to the fuckin' control room -"

"If I'm right about our position, it'll take us closer, although there will still be barriers in our path. But I suspect we're going to have to destroy these phantoms first." She's standing, staring them down, crackling with energy - it's an odd feeling, the energy creeping over his skin like tentacles. He's glowing too, though, too much white science coursing back and around and through him, and how does that feel to her? "I suggest you stay close."

"Are you kidding me?" He's still got her hand in his, and he squeezes it more tightly. "I’m not gonna let go! "

"Good." She spares him a quick glance, and he can see the relief, buried as it so often is below layers of exasperation and concern. "Then I think we'd best get started, don't you?"

He can't help but grin at that, even if it's the kind of grin that he imagines the old emperors wore before they were executed by their enraged citizens. In a way, this mess is making him feel a lot more alive. "Yeah," he answers, grip tightening on the wand as the devils advance, her hand ice-cold in his. "Let's do this."

Eridan is staring at the bed as if he thinks it's going to bite him.

"What's wrong?" Rose says behind him. He jumps a bit, although he'll never admit it, and turns to look at you - already stripped down to your underwear, and more amused by him than you feel you should admit. "It's no threat to you."

"Yeah, I know that. It's just... weird." He shakes his head. "I mean. The idea of sleepin' on a thing like this, I don't get it."

She shrugs. "No more than I understand the appeal of sleeping in a tank full of green slime," she says, with a small smile. She walks up beside him, rubs her hands against the sheets - real silk, she thinks with a smile. If Eridan had any idea how difficult it had been to make silk with only a few tattered scraps of green handkerchief to work with, she was sure even he would be impressed. "I do hope you'll at least indulge me long enough to try it out."

"I said I would, didn't I?" he answered, but he still looked terribly cagey about it. "Just lemme have a little bit of time to think about it."

"Fair enough. I suppose you have to get ready for bed first, at any rate." She waved her arm to regard his cloak, his shirt and pants, his excessive amounts of jewelry. "Unless you mean to wear all of that to bed with you, of course."

"Please," he says, shaking his head. "Have I ever done that before?"

"I'm not in the habit of sharing your sleeping arrangements before now, Eridan," she answers smoothly.

"Okay, fine. So the answer is no." He shakes his head, no doubt muttering under his breath. "And you're right, I guess I should get ready. If you'll just excuse me...."

Rose shrugs as he walks off, fluttering his cape behind him - it seems to be a habit with him, one that he has no intentions of breaking. It's a harmless enough one, she's decided, so there's no real need to convince him to break it.

So instead she pulls down the coverlet and slides between the silken sheets, sighing happily. She hasn't had a proper bed in entirely too long - not since her very first bed, the one that her mother had given her before their passive-aggressive games had begun. It had been genuinely comfortable and simple, and she'd loved it. Granted, it hadn't had silk sheets - she'd been too young for those, she supposed - but that was its only flaw.

She has some time to enjoy the cool sheets before Eridan comes back out, stripped down to a pair of violet underwear. "There you are," she says, smiling. She's seen him without his clothes before, although he'd resisted the idea for a very long time. At first she had assumed that it was because such things were beyond the pale for moirails - an unintentional pun that had left Eridan in an absolute fit of laughter - but apparently not - he'd just been that nervous that he was utterly unimpressive without his costume. Not that he had any real need to impress her, she'd argued, but he'd declared that it was the principle that mattered.

"Dunno where else I'd be, Ros," he says, and for all of his cageyness he seems a bit more comfortable, anyway. "So, um... which covers am I supposed to go under again?"

She stifles a laugh. "Here," she says, pulling back the covers and patting the silk-covered mattress.

"Okay, fine. Might as well get this done with," he says as he gingerly crawls into bed.

"You talk as if I was condemning you to some sort of torture," she notes. "I hope that it isn't nearly that unpleasant."

"It's not that," he answers, as he slides in. "I'm just... I can already feel my fins snagging on the fuckin' fabric, I'm gonna have this thing ruined in a few minutes -"

"It's a little more durable than that," she interrupts with an arched eyebrow. "I made it, remember?"

"Yeah, yeah, I get it." He rolls his eyes slightly, but doesn't pull away. She's used to it by now, and she's patient as he finally situates himself, lying on his back and staring straight up at the ceiling. "Okay, fine," he says. "Guess this is good as it's getting."

"Excellent." She slides closer to him, rests her head on the thick cool skin of his chest. She smiles, feeling the gentle thumping of his blood-pusher as it worked - not nearly as strong as the beating of her own heart. It had taken him quite a while to get used to how warm she was. "Are you comfortable, then?"

"Mmph." He wraps one arm around her shoulder, a bit awkwardly. Do you want the truth?"

"Always," she answered.

"Then no," he says, squirming. It's really not going to do if he squirms like that all night. His arm wraps around her, though, if a bit awkwardly. "I mean, the heat's nice, and I guess the fabric's kind of soft once you get used to it?"

"But?" she prompted, looking up at his bemused face. This was the most comfortable bed she could've created, and she'd worked on it for a long time, figuring out how to preview her creations in a manner that she could interact with in a tactile sense so that she could make sure it was perfect. She had to admit, she was curious about what sort of fault Eridan could possibly find in it.

He must've picked something of that up in her voice, though, because at first his own answer was an exasperated sigh. "It's nothin' to do with the bed, Ros," he answers. "I'm just not used to it, okay? I mean, it's nothin' like sleeping in my sopor tank at all. I've gotta let you try that sometime, you'd probably love it, it's like floatin' all night long."

"Because you are floating in it all night long," you correct him, with a small smile. He grunts, but good-naturedly - an admission, rather than a defiant sound. "And I'm willing to try, but I doubt that a tank full of green slime would be very good for my complexion."

"Oh, you've got to! It just blows this outta the water. Besides, it'll be just fine. I mean, look at me! My skin's in perfect shape, right?"

"I don't think that the rough-and-grey look would suit me as well as it does you, Eridan," she says, and yawns. She's really too tired to keep this up for long.

"Yeah, I guess," he admits with a mock sigh. "But seriously, we can figure somethin' out if you're willin' to try."

"It would be impolite for me not to, since you were willing to try my sleeping arrangements." She stretches, then catches his free hand with hers, curling her fingers around his. "Can we come to an arrangement, then?"

"Depends on what it is," he says. She can hear his voice echo oddly in his chest.

"Only that if it really bothers you, you do not have to sleep through the night in this bed." She'd intended to tell him as much anyway; her conversations with the other trolls had indicated that trolls were accustomed to sleeping with the aid of certain chemical compounds in their bed-vats, which was one reason why she wasn't entirely sure about sharing one of them with Eridan. But, as she'd promised, she would hopefully uncover the truth, given the chance to do a bit of research.

"Oh, all right," he says, immediately calmer, although he makes no move to pull away. "So what do you want me to do?"

"Stay with me until I fall asleep. Please."

"Ah. Well. No problem, then." He squeezes her hand, and she can feel him relax. "I was gonna do that anyway, you know."

"I know." She grins. "Because I had no intention of letting you go."

"I hope not," he says. "But I don't know how you expect to go to sleep if you keep talkin' all night."

"Again, your logic is impeccable." She yawns one last time, and relaxes. The company's nice, she decides. Makes her feel a little more at home. "Good night, Eridan."

"G'night, Ros."

Date: 2012-08-05 04:50 pm (UTC)
dodostad: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dodostad
Oh I actually liked their dynamic here! Well done!

Date: 2012-08-12 03:05 am (UTC)
cest_what: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cest_what
I really like their relationship here :)


HSO 2012 Round 3 Sector 3

July 2012

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