It was not easy being single. After all, who would’ve thought a charming sea dweller of such noble blood would ever have to worry about quadrants? It just wasn’t fair. Even Mituna had a matesprit and he was a low blood; as did Rufioh, but that was a different story.
It was also not easy being single with a flush crush.
Sitting on the staircase, he sighed wistfully again as he stared in his flush crush’s direction, wondering if he would ever summon the courage to even have a chance.
“See you later, Horuss!”
Meulin’s goodbye rang loudly as she departed from her moirail’s part of the dream bubble. Cronus’s head snapped up, startled, before he realized he had an idea. The olive blood was the perfect candidate to help him. He just had to convince her.
“Uh, hey! Meulin, baby. Can you come over here for a minute? I need to talk to you.”
The Leo’s green skirt swayed as she halted and her alert eyes fixed on him with a hint of distrust, the corners of her mouth falling slightly in his presence. “What is it, Ampurra?”
He could tell she attempted to keep her tone friendly, but the distaste hidden in her voice was hard to miss. It was obvious she expected him to hit on her, again. However, he had something else in mind. luckily for her.
“I’m serious. Get your pretty tail over here,” he urged her, trying to flatter without flirting; it was not something he was used to.
Meulin hesitated, eying him suspiciously, and crossed her arms. She was not budging by the looks of it. He would have to change that and fast before anyone else got the wrong idea. It was such a pain in the neck how much the others misjudged him.
Cronus used his last resort, but attempted to be quiet about it. “It…uh…involves shipping.”
That did it.
“Shipping! Why didn’t you say so! I love ships! Eeeeeee!”
Even from several feet away, Cronus swore he almost became as deaf as she was. But his pain was worth it as Leijon scrambled over and kneeled down before him, expression brighter than before. He even swore her tail was swaying with excitement.
However, he was too preoccupied at the moment nursing his auricular sponge clots. “Jeez, babe. I don’t think the horrorterrors heard you from here. You might want to squeal a little louder next time.”
Meulin turned a faint green bashfully. “Sorry. Now what did you say about shipping?”
Oh right, that. He rubbed the back of his neck with some nervousness and anxiety. Why did he think talking about a crush was going to be easy?
“Well…you see, Leijon…”
“Well? Spit it out. I want to know!”
“I was wondering if you could…teach me sign language.”
He expected the surprise that flashed across her face. “Huh? What does sign language have to do with shipping?”
Again, anxiety struck Cronus, but he knew he would have to tell at least Meulin if he wanted her help. And she was one of the only ones besides his crush, and perhaps a few others, who knew sign language. He steeled himself with determination.
“See, babe, I uh…”
He took a deep breath before leaning over to whisper in her ear. To his relief, she listened carefully. When his secret had been told, he pulled back, face tinted with a violet blush, and waited for her reaction.
She looked puzzled at first and was quiet for a few moments as she took in the information fully. He instinctively feared the worst, considering her relationship with his said crush. Then her blank eyes brightened and she went to squeal again. He flinched and motioned desperately for her not to.
“Ops, sorry,” she apologized with a giggle. She then leaned forward, her fists balled with glee. “But are you serious? You and him?”
Cronus was sure to cut her off before she got anymore ecstatic and blew his cover. “Yeah, yeah, I know. Pretty fucking mind-blowing, but I need to learn sign language before I can even have a chance of asking him to be in my quadrant—”
“Sorry, go on. I’ll be good,” she assured quickly though still bouncing slightly where she sat.
He then realized something important. Leijon was awful close to the troll in question and had…well exercised vocal cords, to put it one way. He worried that she would spoil his secret before he was ready and ruin everything.
“Also!” he stressed. “Would you be a good gal and not tell anyone until I can get things sorted out? Please? This is between us, mage and bard, alright?”
To Cronus’s relief, her expression grew serious and she nodded. “Match maker’s honor. Cross my blood pump and hope to…well…I’m already dead, but you get the point.”
A chuckle left him as he leaned forward to prop his chin up. “So, about these sign language lessons…they alright with you and all?”
The girl straightened and grinned. “Ready when you are!”
“Say…can we listen to some of my music while we—”
“Seriously, Leijon. This is boring. Can we skip to something more interesting, like ‘Wanna fuck’?”
“Ampurra!” Meulin paused her careful gesturing to scold and leer at him with an intensity that seemed surprising, and he feared that she would call off the lessons due to his admittedly messed up priorities. Then she relaxed and went back to minding her signing. “Romance first. Pailing later. You know the rules of shipping, Ampurra. Now pay attention.”
Meulin was one strange gal sometimes, but he had to admit, she had her charm. He chuckled uneasily but did as she asked, trying his best to absorb as much information as he could for conversational reference. However, at the back of his mind, one question still nagged at him and made him fidget with his cigarette restlessly.
Finally, he interrupted with a sharp sigh. “I know this isn’t any of my business, but why are you helping me woo Kurloz if you used to be his matesprit yourself? I’d understand if you had any reservations, but you don’t seem to have any.”
Taken off guard, the olive blooded troll stared at him for a moment before grinning. “Oh, that? You’re worried about that? That’s in the past, silly. I admit I don’t completely trust you, but you’re the best chance I have to help Kurloz move on and be happy again. New love is nothing to be reserved about, at least not the way I see it.”
Cronus wasn’t sure how to feel about that, but he supposed he was glad he had his previous matesprit’s blessings and help. “I guess so—”
“Kurloz, look! What is that finned douchebag bulgelicker doing with Meulin? Fuck him!” Mituna’s explicit declaration caught both their attention and Cronus felt his blood pump leap into his throat.
In a flash, he dove for cover behind the far side of the stairs, hoping both they and the greenery behind him would keep him hidden. Cautiously, he peeked out to see Kurloz and Mituna approaching Meulin, who had stood to greet them warmly. It was not too common for his friends to wander away from their respective areas, so he guessed the other trolls must have been out on moirail business.
“H-hey Meulin, where’d that shithead go?” the yellow blood questioned, scanning the area for him through his helmet.
Hastily, he ducked back into hiding to avoid being spotted, though he was sure he wouldn’t have to hide for long. Wanting to keep an eye on their two guests, he peeked back out once a good dozen seconds had passed. He was met with quite the surprise.
Kurloz had not been fooled and was now standing right in front of him, gazing down at him with his sharp, blank eyes. Startled, Cronus fell back on his ass and could only smile at him weakly in sheepish greeting. He had forgotten how intimidating the indigo blood was in person and it made him respect him all the more, a tall, grim troll dressed like a living skeleton with a pair of wicked goat horns curving from his black hair. He was a work of art, in his opinion.
And just like he had ever since Meulin’s accident, he did not speak a single word.
“Oh, uh…Hiya, Chief. Looking swell. I didn’t…know you were here.”
Kurloz only shook his head doubtfully; his lie was a shallow one after all. He then reached out and helped the sea dweller to his feet, much to his surprise. He hadn’t expected him to do much other than probably give him a cold reception, especially for all the times he harassed his moirail, so he was quite at a loss about what to do and ended up just staring at his hand dumbly for a few moments before taking it clumsily. Even still, the Prince did not hesitate to yank him up, frank and quick.
Abruptly, the Bard found himself nose to painted nose with his flush crush and the flush that came to his face had an intensity he could only dream of taming. Behind them, Meulin bounced up and down, in an ecstatic but thankfully silent manner, and Cronus couldn’t help but shoot her a warning look. Mituna and Kurloz followed his gaze, but the girl smoothly transitioned into fawning innocence, hands behind her back as she smiled brightly.
She waved. Once again, the indigo blooded troll didn’t seem as fooled. His eyes gained a certain knowing glint, but he did nothing more but return his attention back to Cronus, who was rendered speechless once again now that his eyes were on him once more. He scolded himself mentally, for acting like a lovesick wiggler. He was better than this, better than some inexperienced juvenile who was too nervous to open their damn mouth.
“What’s the matter, fool? Cat got your fucking tongue?” Mituna blurted out behind his moirail, flinching and spazzing slightly as always.
Wordlessly, Kurloz turned his shaggy head and put a frank finger to his lips.
The Gemini paused before smiling. “Kay!” he chimed with pale fondness.
This was his chance. Cronus’s mind raced to think of what to sign, of what to do to hint his affections and earn himself a second chance at an audience with the Capricorn, a time that wasn’t such a surprise.
He cleared his throat as an idea came to mind and he attempted to put on a charming smile despite how fast his blood pump was racing. “I uh bet you are wondering what Meulin and I are doing together, eh chief? I can assure you, it’s uh…”
The Aquarius’s nerve collapsed and he could find no more words, especially when Kurloz’s intense stare locked onto him. And so, he hastily and clumsily abandoned speech for his new language. His hands shook slightly as he tried his luck at his first official conversation in sign language.
‘She was teaching me sign language, so I could talk to you and understand you,’ he managed to sign out with a determination that he refused to let die.
At first, he fretted over his signing, very self-conscious. The high blood looked over to Meulin for any shred of encouragement, only to find her excitedly flashing him a thumbs-up and a grin. He had obviously done well for his first try under pressure, driven by his flush crush.
Then he summoned the courage to focus on Kurloz’s reaction. He found the bone-clad troll’s blank eyes wide with surprise and he swore he could detect a faint trace of an indigo blush somewhere on that painted face. It was very slight, but Cronus could also see flattery in his expression and even delight.
Dazed, Kurloz signed back. ‘For me?’
That made him hesitate. All eyes were on him after all, and all the trolls present were at least a bit familiar with sign language, being Kurloz’s ex-matesprit and current moirail. He swallowed thickly as he felt his face grow hot. He could do this without spilling the beans completely, or at least he hoped.
‘I…’ He glanced around briefly, checking everyone’s demeanor. Mituna seemed less than impressed as expected while Meulin balled her fist, tail twitching, as she urged him on silently, huddled over with excitement now that no one was watching. ‘There is a matter I wish to discuss with you and I was hoping to do so privately, with just the two of us.’
Mituna scoffed. “Pfft haha! Shithead is just trying to get fucking laid. Don’t do it, Kurloz. He’s a sneaky son of a bitch. Thinks he’s so smooth. I hate him!”
Cronus swore bicyclops really needed to wash his mouth out sometime. “Yo, anyone got a bar of soap I can shove down Mituna’s throat? Chief’s getting rather annoying.”
“Suck my bulge, nooklicker.”
Suddenly, his caliginous feelings towards Mituna were rearing their head a bit more enticingly and he had the urge to floor the dweeb. Kurloz, however, was soon motioning for his attention and Cronus quickly complied, especially when the other troll began signing a reply.
‘Don’t mind Mituna. When is a good time for you, bard? Your gesture intrigues me, so I’ll give you a chance.’
‘Thank you. You won’t regret it.’
Or at least he hoped.
“I hope I know what I’m doing.”
Cronus straightened his favorite leather jacket, trying to fight away the butterflies in his stomach. Anxiously, he looked towards Kurloz’s part of their bubble from atop the stairs leading to his own. He planned to make a good entrance, but just hoped he wouldn’t pull a Mituna and absolutely embarass himself.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be fine! Just follow your heart and you won’t fail!” Meulin encouraged, always the involved matchmaker.
That sounded easy enough, but he wasn’t so certain it would be that simple.
“But Kurloz may be a land-dweller, but he’s a virtually a prince by nature. Do you really think I could be good enough for him, kitten?”
Knowingly, the mage grinned. “Only one way to find out. Go get ‘em! Go and win Makara over.”
Her confidence and excitement was beginning to become infectious and he couldn’t help but smile fondly. “Thanks, kitten. You’re the best.”
“Just doing my job, Ampora. Now get ready! Here he comes!” she squealed before hurrying to find a good spot to watch that wouldn’t be in the way.
Cronus started and returned his attention forward. Sure enough, Kurloz was coming, dark and regal. Suddenly feeling small, he glanced around for help from Meulin. At first he couldn’t find her, until a nearby bush with a blue tail gave her away.
“Go on!” the bush whispered.
He nodded and inhaled deeply, steeling himself. He approached the staircase and fussed with his jacket one last time, gritting his fangs around his cigarette. The bard then descended them in style, sliding down the slim side and landing in front of his flush crush. It took him only a second to gather himself, bewildered that had actually worked and he had not tripped and fallen on his face, before he grinned brightly at his guest.
“Hey, chief. Glad you could make it.”
‘And I’m glad you didn’t break your motherfucking neck,’ Kurloz jested back.
“Hey!” Cronus yelped, but couldn’t help but laugh at the same time. “You’re a bold fucker, I’ll give you that. Must be one of the reasons why I like you so much.”
The indigo blood’s face turned a light purple and he realized that might have been quite frank and his face soon grew hot as well. Growing uneasy again and feeling his confidence start to recede, Cronus rubbed the back of his neck and cleared his throat. He was just glad Mituna wasn’t around.
“Well, I guess I’ve already gotten to my point, eh chief?”
Silently, Kurloz nodded.
Again, the bard broke into sign language, wanting to show his potential matesprit what he had learned for him. ‘There’s no easy way to ask this, and I know you have virtually zero reason to agree, but…’ He paused, summoning every ounce of his courage and experience from his lessons. ‘I think you’re a stunning guy and there’s just something about you that I really like, so…’
Fighting back his body’s urge to tremble, Cronus took Kurloz’s bone-printed hand in his and planted a charming kiss. “I was hoping you would agree to be my matesprit.”
There was a silence that dragged on for a few seconds. And all the while, Cronus kept his gaze locked with Kurloz, searching the other troll’s expression for any sign on what his answer would be. However, with each passing second, he became more and more uncertain.
Then, Kurloz gently removed his hand from his and lifted it to sign.
‘Are you so motherfucking certain I have no reason to like you, motherfucker?’
Cronus waited for him to continue, mind struggling to process what he was telling him.
‘I can assure you a brother is all up and wrong about that,’ he finished with a smile that strained his stitches. ‘I think you’re full of miracles.’
The violet blood could hardly believe his eyes and his jaw dropped slightly in disbelief. “Are you serious—?”
Kurloz didn’t even allow him to finish his sentence before he was abruptly yanking him forward by the front of his shirt. For a moment, he almost had a panic attack at the suddenness and out of fear that he had somehow angered the prince. However, all his fears were dispelled by the soft feeling of his lips on his. Even with the stitches in the way and preventing any deeper kisses, he found he could get used to this.
Then Kurloz’s hands were on his ass too.
“Whoa! I’ll take that as a huge yes.”
The prince’s suggestive smirk was well enough to confirm that. Cronus could get used to that as well. Kurloz was a better match than even he had previously thought.
No further words were spoken by him and no further gestures were signed. Only silence hung between them as their gazes met with new emotion. The only sound was Cronus’s guardian bush squealing near the top of the staircase.
Finally, Cronus had the one he wanted, and it was a miracle.
As the first place winner (for the tumblr giveaway), krabwatch (http://krabwatch.tumblr.com/) won a fan fiction, and they requested Kurloz <3 Cronus. I am not used to such a pairing, but it was a delightful challenge.
Homestuck (c) Hussie