You're just leaving Jane's house, feeling way too full for your own good when Dirk corners you.
'Hey,' he says, jogging slightly so he can fall into step with you. 'You haven't been 'round for a while. Is everything chill?'
'No doubt,' you say, swinging your arm around his shoulders to make up for being a fucking awful brother. Dirk awkwardly goes to put his arm around your waist before he realises that's weird and shoves his hands in his pockets instead. 'Just busy, you know, being first gent is a lot more work than you'd think.'
Dirk smiles and you feel kind of really, supremely guilty for lying to him. It's not your fault. It's not.
'Did you want to come back with me?' he asks. 'I've got way too many video games and a metric buttload of flat soda.'
'How much is that? No, don't answer. You make a very tempting offer,' you say, before hesitating. His face falls just a little in anticipation of your rejection, so you can't follow through, 'And I guess Karkat can shout at someone else for an afternoon. I'm just kidding, we are very much in love and the volume of his voice is, if anything, endearing.'
'He's not here.'
'Oh thank fuck, he is not a fan of ball-and-chain style humour. Anyway, yeah, I'll come over.'
His whole posture brightens and it's worth it, it really is. You can make it through one afternoon at his place. You can. God damn you wish that Troll Kingdom would have a natural disaster or something. It'd be so fucking rad to have an excuse to not go to Consort Kingdom.
It's not that you don't love Dirk's place, because you do. Jungles are baller. Jake has every single movie ever made. Jade actually cooks for them because she comes over all maternal for Jake instead of insisting that they have to learn sometime and she isn't going to ever use bugs in her cooking because that's gross, Karkat. Jade's troll game is weak, you and Rose gave into the bug thing super quick. Maybe even a little too quick, you know, as far as dignity is concerned. Whatever, the point is that you like Dirk and Jake's place. You just don't like that Jake seems to have recovered from his position that the consorts weren't allowed in the house.
You follow Dirk so that he can't see your grimace as you approach his island. You don't know how convincing you were about it being too nice a day to transportalise when you have flying powers, but it worked. You don't really know why you're putting this off so much, it's like a fucking bandaid, you gotta rip this shit off, deal with it now and maybe swear about it a little.
He lands and you can already feel them creeping in around you. Or maybe that's the paranoia. You're not a fan, either way. The door is not only unlocked, it's completely open, which means that the little bastards are probably all over the place. John's salamanders you can deal with. Rose's turtles and Jade's iguanas, fine. You just fucking hate your crocodiles.
Dirk greets two salamanders in the entrance by name before transportalising up to the kitchen. You follow him and see that for some reason, there are five fucking nakodiles all wearing aprons and chef hats already there. You don't think Dirk sees you flinch back.
'Alright, chill here for a sec, I need to grab something,' Dirk says, as if this is all very normal.
'Cool, yeah, absolutely, take your time, that's fine,' you say. If Dirk thinks that's maybe one too many responses, he doesn't react to it, he's just gone. You're ... alone. With the crocodiles. Each of their aprons has a different pattern on it, what the actual fuck. You think one of them has smuppets on it. Why is this your life?
Okay, so intellectually? You know that these aren't the same bastards who tried to cook you. There's basically no way. That was fucking thousands of years ago, from their point of view. But, like ... still. They're just looking at you, with their beedy little eyes.
'Sup?' you say. You can feel that your shoulders are almost all the way up to your ears with discomfort but there's no relaxing you.
'Nak,' says one of them.
'Nak nak nak nak,' says another.
And then they all just fucking start nakking. You nope the fuck out of there, freezing the kitchen in time so that you can't hear them anymore, and wait, chill as a particularly frosty cucumber, in the hallway. Dirk comes back a couple minutes later, and you drop the time bubble around the kitchen in shock when you see that he's cradling a crocodile like it's a baby, toothy snout over his shoulder and one scaly foot on either side of his hip.
'What you got there, bro?' you say. Your voice cracks like you're 15 again.
'This is Carlos,' he says, apparently not noticing that or the cacophony of nakking from behind you. Maybe that's normal for him now. Oh god, is that normal for him now??
'Hi,' you say. You don't know what else to say.
Dirk rearranges him in his arms so that instead of facing away from him he's facing you. The god damn crocodile is wearing a tiny pair of dorky anime shades.
'Oh ...' you say. 'Cool ...'
'Right?' he says. 'He's so clever. I never could get my seagulls to stop bouncing and pecking around long enough to put shades on them. I'm gonna ask Rose to knit me some tiny jumpers, don't you think that would be the raddest thing ever?'
'Yup,' you say.
He grins at you and you find yourself supremely grateful that Dirk's kind of rubbish at reading expressions.
'Is ... Carlos ... going to be hanging with us?' you ask.
'I can't really control where they go, they're their own 'diles, you know? Oh, did you want to hold him?'
'No!' you say, way too quickly. 'Um, I mean. I had my eye on a particularly round salamander I saw before. If that's chill.'
'Sure, dude, you gotta follow your gut on consort cuddles,' Dirk says seriously. He hikes the crocodile up on his hip again and leads the way to the game room. It's a fair production thanks to his ongoing competition with Roxy as to who has the better setup.
He sets the croc on his lap and picks up a controller. You sit as far away as possible on the couch. The bastard stares at you. Evilly.
You stand up suddenly and flashstep to the doorway.
'I don't like crocodiles!' you announce.
Dirk's eyebrows lift above his shades as he looks at you. The crocodile is looking at you too behind his stupid matchy shades, and it's giving you the heebies.
'Okay?' he says.
'I don't like crocodiles and they tried to eat me and I said it was the onions but we all knew I was lying and I'm gonna fuckin' olly the fuck out unless you clear the area of those devil beasts because I am not equipped to deal with this!'
'Okay, hop away from the door so I can shoo Carlos out. He's got shit to do anyway. He's a big deal in the finance world.'
You shuffle awkwardly to the back of the room so Dirk can gently place Carlos in the hall and close the door so that you're in a crocodile free room.
'Sorry,' you say.
'Dude, you could have just told me,' he says. 'I've been sending you pictures of those little red fellas for months now, holy shit, is this why you've been avoiding the island?
'That'd be dumb ...' you say, sitting on the couch.
He sits next to you and hands you your controller.
'Kinda,' he agrees. 'Damn. I thought they'd be your favourites. You know, 'cause they were yours.'
'Not so much,' you say.
You're very glad he doesn't press you for details. You're not sure how to explain that you cheated them out of money and they tried to cook you. And they kept sneaking up on you and biting you on the knees. Not a fun fucking consort to have.