tanjetea: (hso2012)
[personal profile] tanjetea posting in [community profile] hso2012_r3s4
Summary: So it turns out, polyamorous relationships between three girls and two different species are harder to manage than they sound!

Characters: Jade, Kanaya, Rose, cameos
Ships: Jade<3Kanaya<3Rose


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“Well...why don't we all just go out with each other?”

You and Rose turn as one towards Jade. You blink in comic timing and she giggles.

Rose raises an eyebrow, smoothing down her skirt. “You mean as polyamorous couples?”

“I guess? Just kinda seems like a good idea!” Jade shrugs, flopping over onto her stomach.

You glance between the two of them. “Is this...a human tradition?” you ask hesitantly.

Rose shakes her head. “Not normally. Polyamorous relationships are rare among humans, but not unheard of.”

“I see. The same is true for trolls.” You bite your lip lightly. “We are talking here of, I presume, an identically red relationship?”

“Yep! It'd be fun, don't you think? We all wanna be together, don't we?” Jade smiles charmingly, reaching for your hand; a cheap trick.

Rose watches, lips pursed. “They have a low rate of success.”

“Well, we've still gotta try, right? I mean, what if it works? And if it doesn't...” she shrugs. “We're just back to where we started.”

Rose does not look convinced. She glances in your direction as though looking for support.

You don't blame her, and a large part of you would be very content to agree with her now and end this whole discussion. But Jade's carefree earnestness gives you pause.

Perhaps it makes sense. Humans are so attached to that strange idea that one romantic partner is sufficient. If they are truly incapable of black romance, as depressing as that sounds, this might be the best alternative.

But the mechanics... It is already a skill that not all trolls are capable of to manage each of one's four partners. To add more... And then you remembers all over again, for the tenth time, hundredth time, that unless your feelings for your friends drastically change in the near future it is very likely that you will never have a moirail, kismesis, or auspistices. The thought cuts deeply as ever.

But...if it's the closest the humans can reach, maybe it's the closest you can, too?

You raise your head and look Rose in the eyes. “I want to try it.”

Jade squeals, leaping towards Rose and clasping her hands. “So can we do it? Can we all be girlfriends?”

Rose blinks, then glances towards you. You smile. Rose frowns, but then softens. “I suppose so,” she says reluctantly, the last syllable cut short as Jade hugs her.

She catches your eye again and sighs, just a little. You can't help but shrug sympathetically. You'll just have to try your best.



*

It's awkward.

Rose is terribly stiff and unresponsive, especially when the three of you are together. She is always stoic, but you have begun to be able to interpret her behaviour after three years together, and you recognise this quickly as a defence mechanism. She's out of her depth and so is attempting to analyse your and Jade's behaviour for information, a retreat which of courses requires her to stand back for full objectivity. You allow it, albeit with some discomfort, especially whenever Rose's eyes narrow just slightly when you and Jade laugh together. Jade, you can tell, is frustrated, and goes out of her way to involve Rose further with little success.

Then, after about half a week, Rose abruptly changes her outlook entirely and begins to devote herself to the project whole-heartedly. There's something worryingly challenging in her eyes, a thirst to prove something, but if that's the way she finds it easier to dedicate herself to their relationship then Kanaya won't argue. She patiently draws up a schedule (with a truly exaggerated glance in Karkat's direction) and ensures that it is followed strictly. You don't quite understand, and Jade seems to find it downright amusing, but it serves well enough. As long as she is happy, you are content.

Jade, on the other hand, you hardly see it all in the first week. She continually makes excuses why she cannot join you, and just as you are beginning to wonder sadly whether your exercise is over before it has begun, she finally confronts you apologetically.

“Sorry... We really haven't seen each other in ages, have we?” She avoids your eyes. “Um...that's my fault. It's just!” She looks up suddenly, eyes shining. “I'm really...not all that used to being around people, you know? I just sorta lived on an island on my own for a really long time, and I did talk to people over the internet, but it's not the same! And now it's like everyone wants to do things with each other? Dave wants to play music, and Dirk wants to talk about robots with me, and Roxy wants my opinion on her experiments, and Jane wants to talk about gardening, and Grandpa just wants to talk a lot...” A small smile flickers. “And Rose is just so serious about that schedule! And she just looked so sad whenever I said I couldn't go? I mean... It was alright with John and Davesprite, 'cause I know them really well, so it was okay if I did my own thing now and then! But I can't just reject people I just met! That's -” She clenches her fists and says emphatically, “that's so rude! So...” She slumps again, dejectedly. “Sorry. I didn't mean to avoid you.”

You shake your head, reaching to hug her; she returns it immediately. “It is okay. But is it not accepted among humans that one must spend a certain amount of time with one's matesprits?”

“Well, yeah! Kinda felt mean saying that, though... Guess I was being mean either way, though!”

“Never,” you say, and Jade smiles.

As time moves on, however, Rose's routine begins to feel more and more natural, and you surprise yourself how easily it comes to you. You love Rose. You love Jade. They love one another. And as often as you can, you spend time together – in couples, or all together. It's difficult to manoeuvre, like a slow but complex dance. But at the end of the day, it is so very satisfying.

The feelings aren't the same, as you'd expected. You don't feel yourself bored, overdosing on positive emotions, growing weak and soft. The two girls have many similarities – intelligence, a great curiosity, deep kindness – but the impressions are very different. Where Jade is bubbly and bright and open, Rose is contained and thoughtful and quiet. Neither feels quite like what you expected a matesprit to feel like, and you're not sure whether that's because they're human or because you never really knew what it was like to have a matesprit at all. But you find you don't mind. Rose analyses you both, passionate about knowing you fully. Jade shrugs it off, happy to leave some things as a surprise. You're somewhere in the middle, and you find you quite enjoy it there.

*


The real problem starts one day when Jade digs out an old game from Roxy's stash.

“Ooh, Mario Party! That sounds really fun!”

Roxy chuckles. “Omig, I totes forgot I even had that!”

Jade turned to you with a grin. “Could we play a game, do you think?”

“Knock yourself out. I'm busy though, so you'll hafta do without. Gotta warn you, though – this game thingy here has a history of ruinin' friendships.”

“Oh, really?” you ask, concerned, but oddly, Jade and Roxy merely share a grin.

“Sounds fun!”

You aren't so sure, but Rose seems interested as well, and Roxy must have been exaggerating. Right?

The game is pleasant, even if you're not terribly good at it, and you're enjoying it until you hear Jade murmur beside you, “Damn... Almost there, but I still need...”

You look at the board. Sure enough, Jade will soon reach the star, but hasn't quite got the right number of coins.

The next game, you lose deliberately.

Jade looks at you weirdly and Rose raises an eyebrow. “What was that for?”

You shrug. “You need the coins more than I at this stage.”

Jade snorts. “Yeah, but we're not working together! We're supposed to be competing!”

“You really think I would deliberately subvert your desires for my own game?” you ask, unable to restrain a frown.

“Well, no, but...” She shook her head. “Um, never mind.”

The game continues mostly smoothly. If Jade and Rose are oddly quiet and unenthusiastic, well, you aren't really enjoying this game so hugely, either.

Then Rose manages to land on the square that would allow her to steal a star from her opponents. She leans back thoughtfully.

“Don't you fucking dare,” Jade growls, and your eyebrows raise to your hairline. What is going on?

Rose shakes her head, but to your amazement she shifts her cursor to rest over the image of Jade's character.

“You bitch! I only just got that!” Jade cries, looking seconds away from leaping on top of Rose. Rose only smiles smugly, resting one dainty finger over the A button.



Jade growls again and you can't restrain yourself. “Girls! There's no need for this!”

They turn in bemused unison and you purse your lips. What is going on? “Rose, is this really necessary?”

Rose shifts. “It's only a game.”

“Yeah,” Jade agrees, but you can only frown. You know what you saw.

You shake your head doubtfully, and Jade and Rose exchange a glance.

“If it is really so important, I can steal the computer's star instead.”

“That would be for the best.”

In the end, you win. You all watch the ending in silence together, then turn the game off. You never play again.

*

Now that you've seen it once you can't stop. It's as though a veil has finally been lifted from your eyes.

Jade and Rose fight all the time.

They argue over who has the better taste in literature. They challenge each other to see who can make the better dinner. (Answer: neither. Jane has long since firmly taken over that particular arena, to everyone's relief.) Once, you even find yourself mediating a discussion about which episode of The Squiddles was the best.

You try your best. It isn't your role – it shouldn't be – but you're the only one capable of it. Karkat rolls his eyes, and Terezi just laughs and yells at you to get a room – they obviously believe you three are destined to be ashen. But that's not the way it should be.

And it keeps getting worse. At first, Jade and Rose would listen to your admonishments with appropriate apology and continue on their way, but before long they were merely shrugging you off, and by now you can feel their frustration whenever you intervene. It's downright bizarre.

Were they always like this? They used to fight occasionally, of course – they were friends. But they don't seem to have stopped, and you don't understand why.

“I suppose I can't expect better from one who honestly believes that the most superior episode of The Squiddles was Princess Berryboo's Wedding.”

Jade slams her fist on the table. “That episode was a masterpiece and you know it!”

They exchange smiles after a moment, but it's too late. You already detected that hint of black.

You sigh.

*

Sometimes, as you lie in bed and wait for sleep to come, Rose and Jade entwined around you and each other in various configurations, you wonder what it would be like to play auspistice to these girls. Would you be happy? It is, you can't help but admit, an intriguing thought. Auspisticism was always the quadrant with which you felt the greatest pull. It's a strange one, overlooked a little by some trolls, but that only makes you feel an odd fondness for it even more. The concept is rather delightful – the complex push and pull of black against grey, of calming and stirring, the different personalities intersecting and bouncing off one another, the sensation of feeling something so deeply and yet in such a disciplined way. It is by far the most complex quadrant, and one you have always wished to explore. Certainly, it was the quadrant you thought you would fulfil first. The idea of never filling it at all is highly depressing.

Could you play auspistice to Rose and Jade? Yes, you could. Perhaps you would even enjoy it. But when you open your eyes and stroke an arm, a cheek, a head, you know that it is not your destiny. Your feelings are far too red, too concupiscent. You would feel stifled and strained in an ashen role. You don't just want to stop them hurting each other or anyone else. You want to create healing, create happiness and joy, and you want to see them create that in one another.

Rose stirs and blinks, rubbing her eyes.

“It's nothing. Sleep.”

“As you wish,” she mumbles with a hint of a smile, shuffling closer to your chest. Jade makes an odd sleepy murmur and Rose strokes her foot down Jade's leg twice before falling silent herself.

You are going to be matesprits. You are going to make it happen, no matter what it takes.

*

Games don't work. You've seen it happen again and again – as soon as Rose and Jade start playing a game, their feelings take a sudden dart towards the black. So when Jade insists on playing a game of cards with Rose, you make your disapproval clear.

“I don't get what the problem is,” Jade says as she shuffles, already an edge in her voice.

“I believe I have made myself clear what the problem is on multiple occasions. I do not see the point in repeating myself.”

“Yeah. Guess you're just gonna have to see whether we can bare to be civil to each other while playing go fish,” Jade mumbles, and Rose murmurs in agreement, and before you can stop yourself you've stood up, glaring at the two of them.

“You are acting like children.”

Jade purses her lips, her ears flattening. Rose, for once, does not appear to disagree with her. Indeed, it seems they are in full agreement.

It hurts. You slump, sitting back down again. It seems even in this role you are a failure. They have pushed you and pushed you into playing this part, but you aren't capable. You have not earned their respect. They see your acts of meddling as merely irritating. Perhaps their relationship was always truly meant to develop into black, and you have stood in the way...?

“Kanaya...?”

You look up. Jade and Rose are watching with equal concern. You shake your head, utterly bewildered.

“I don't understand how humans can express confusion at the ability of trolls to switch between red and black when the two of you change moods so rapidly.”

“What?” Jade and Rose stare at you and you feel utterly defeated. Even now, you still can't understand one another. That is not good enough for an auspistice or a matesprit.

“Kanaya, maybe it's best we talk about this,” Rose suggests, and you reluctantly nod.

“I must ask...” You clasp your hands together, looking at your matesprits beseechingly. “What manner of relationship do you desire?”

“What do you mean?”

“What type? Red, or black, or...”

“Kanaya...” Rose shakes her head. “Humans don't feel black romance. You know that.”

“But you clearly do. You argue, and you challenge and try to best one another, and deliberately start fights, and-”

“Well, yeah,” Jade responds, sounding even more confused than earlier. “But that's not the same thing! And it isn't romantic...”

“It is something you enjoy doing with a romantic partner. How is it not romantic?”

Rose has that look in her eyes she gets whenever she faces a particularly difficult problem and that only increases her desire to see it dead and dissected. “That is not normal behaviour for troll matesprits?”

“Of course not. If we wished for arguments and anger, we would turn to our kismeses or auspistices. That is not the role of a matesprit.”

“But we don't have those!” Jade protests and you feel like screaming.

“Because you insist that you do not feel that way!”

“Well, I believe we've discerned the crux of the problem.” Rose taps her forefingers together. You and Jade share a glance and shrug. Rose merely smiles. “For trolls, matesprits are entirely supposed to encourage positive emotions. Is this correct?”

“Of course. Is this not true for – erm, human partners?”

Rose shakes her head. “No. Humans only have one partner, so we expect them to provide for each other entirely, including the more competitive emotions. We don't tend to think of that as romantic, though, especially compared to troll blackrom – we enjoy the competition because it comes from someone we trust and love so dearly.”

You sit back. Jade does, too.

“So...” Jade drums her fingers on the table. “...you don't want us to do that?” She looks at you, wide-eyed and earnest. “'Cause...I'm not sure I can't! I like arguing with Rose. It's fun!”

You hesitate. What do you want?

You remember Rose's doubt that the arrangement would work out. You remember Rose's inability to relax and let the relationship go forward. You remember Jade's difficulty in finding time for you both. Is this just another in a series of obstacles? Should you not bother?

“It's your decision,” Rose says quietly.

You think. And you shake your head.

“No. It's all of our decisions. I believe...” You breathe in deeply. “It feels...strange to watch you fight. I don't enjoy it. But I believe I could manage it. However...” You lower your head just a little. “I do not wish to do so with either of you. Could you...?”

Jade and Rose exchanged a look. “I guess we could do that with each other? So we don't with you?” Jade suggested, and Rose nodded.

“I would enjoy that.”

Jade reaches for your hands and you and Rose both take them, and then you take Rose's in turn.

“So, what do you think! Working out pretty well, huh?”

Rose smiles in satisfaction, her purple eyes glittering. “It has greatly exceeded my expectations.”

You watch the both and smile. It isn't what you expected, perhaps... but you must agree.

Date: 2012-08-05 08:55 pm (UTC)
frightening_fauna: also by me (Default)
From: [personal profile] frightening_fauna
help im dead from how cute this is oh my godjhfjhjhhfgdvgdg

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HSO 2012 Round 3 Sector 4

July 2012

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