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It's the first (only) time they meet face to face, and it's in a fucking dream bubble. Because they're dead and gone, every last one of them. Karkat died with a sword to the chest, something he wasn't too surprised by. And John? Well, whatever killed him was obviously epic, heroic, leaderly. Everything Karkat wanted to be and more. Karkat wants to hate him for it more than he's wanted anything lately, but all he can do is stare at John.

John is the same height he is, has a similar slouch to his posture, and regards him from behind ash and blood spattered lenses. He's smiling too.

Karkat doesn't even bother to hold back and punches him square in the face. His glasses break at the bridge and John lets out a pathetic sounding oof.

John looks up at him through his singed bangs, and gives Karkat a lopsided smile as he holds his glasses in place with one hand. For a moment Karkat considers punching him again, but he doesn't have the energy and there isn't any time.

“Egbert,” he says, through teeth clenched so hard he’s afraid he’ll break them. The bubble they're in is full of happy bright colors. Karkat suspects it's all about John Egbert. Isn't it just always?

“Hey Karkat,” John says. “I guess this is goodbye, huh?”

Whatever the fuck it is the humans did—it's always the humans, the insufferable fuck ups—in their session it's effecting them too. Whatever John caused, whatever he and his pukingly pink pals managed it’s starting to take effect. Everything's going black around the edges, and the bright colors are melting off like running paint.

John turns away from Karkat, and it’s then that all the hate and rage comes back. When Karkat tries to fly at him—to beat the snot out of him—he hits something like an invisible wall. John's just walking away, and maybe it really is goodbye then. Fine by him.

But then John stops for a second, half turns back with one hand still holding his glasses. His matted, sweaty hair clings to his temples, and a thin line of blood seeps from one nostril. John lifts his free hand and waves.

Something a little like burning settles in Karkat's vascular system and sends bile back up his protein chute. It's the most disgusting thing he's ever felt and loves every second of it.

Then he doesn't do anything as everything is unmade and remade and fate charts a new course. One untouched by a game and a meddlesome Guardian.

Karkat wakes up in his hive, in his respiteblock, and inside his recuperacoon and feels as if he has forgotten something very important. Something so important he feels angrier than usual. His skin feels too tight and hot even under the cool sopor slime. It feels as if he’s forgotten his entire life, and everyone important in it, but that’s stupid. He’s stupid. What a grubfucking moron.

Karkat pulls himself from his recuperacoon and begins another night. Another night hiding his blood, another night trolling with some of the stupidest fuckers in the vastness of the universe. From then on it continues to feel like something has gone missing, and while it fades and is forgotten itself it never quite goes away.