Chapter 1: Be the Bitter F*ck Up
As is said by the universally constant John Cusack in the 2000 classic High Fidelity: “Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music.”
Now, dear reader, if you were to replace “listen to pop music” with “watch romantic comedies” then the life story of one Mr. Karkat Vantas would be neatly summed up, in one pithy, insightful line.
You see, a man can only watch When Harry Met Sally (and the like) so many times before he begins to develop certain unrealistic expectations in life. He wouldn’t go so far as to say that they were the cause of all of his misery – for they had been the guiding force behind 90% of his romantic decisions, holding his hand through the delicate seduction process and soothing his wounds after break ups – but they had contributed to a (shall we say) unique outlook on life, that had lead to so many of his problems.
Contrary to popular belief, Mr. Vantas was an optimist. His rage and frustration (and rage) was caused largely by the fact that world and the behaviour of those who inhabited it, were constant sources of disappointment to him. He thought of the Earth as a sort of... Garbage ball of misery, held together broken dreams and children’s tears.
As it may be obvious to you already, dear reader, Mr. Vantas was a grumpy, deeply embittered young man, with very high expectations. This made him rather unbearable in a romantic context.
He was, as well, a lonely man. Often gazing up at the stars as a child, and finding more of an affinity with them than with any of the people or things that surrounded him. He’d longed to study them, get close to them. Though, his dreams were dashed by a string of awful marks in physics and math – perhaps the first true disappointment he had had.
Though it cannot be emphasised enough that Mr. Vantas was also a deeply intelligent man, even if he was terrible at physics.
As well as harbouring an odd blend of optimism and cynicism and a strange love of the romantic comedy, Mr. Vantas also harboured a Master’s degree in biology.
He had, in fact, been studying for a PHD, when, for reasons beknownst only to himself, he had suddenly decided to up and leave college in favour of working in a local store that dealt in the buying and reselling of second hand DVDs and games. He cut off all ties with his family, and tried initially to cut off all ties with his friends (thought this had proved far more difficult than he expected and he ended up resigning himself to the fact that they were never going to leave him alone).
Mr. Vantas was, in short, a loser. A loser who didn’t even have the grace to be lovable.
Our story begins almost exactly two years after Mr. Vantas had chosen to abandon his PHD, having no desire to return to his studies, (Who needed a PHD? That would only lead to a job, and money and who needs jobs and a good income, dear reader? Not Mr. Vantas, that’s for certain) on a particularly blustery October afternoon. When Mr. Vantas, and a certain Miss. Kanaya Maryam, had chosen to take their regular afternoon coffee in an establishment known as “Auntie June’s Cakes and Coffees”.
“This place is stupid.” Karkat spat, sneering at the cafe’s homey décor and dragging his feet, as if making a concerted effort to scuff the floor.
The place looked like a kitchen lifted directly from the cover of a 1950s decorating magazine. It had gone past kitsch, beyond ironic and had landed in just plain stupid.
“Indoor voice, Karkat, please.” Kanaya replied, primly. She took a seat at the nearest table and pulled off her fake leather gloves with her teeth. The act was somehow horribly elegant and feminine, and served to explain why the fingertips of all of Kanaya’s gloves were worn so horribly.
“This is my indoor voice.” He snapped, throwing himself down in the opposite chair. Kanaya lifted a stylishly tweezed and pencilled eyebrow.
“I’ve always been curious as to why you feel the need to speak at a level that must be a good twenty decibels above everyone else’s.”
“Probably short man syndrome, some shit like that.” Karkat replied. He made an honest effort to lower his voice slightly. Not so much that Kanaya would notice, or for her benefit in any way shape or form, that smug bitch – more to prove to himself that he could.
“Quite.” She gave him a tart little smile.
“You seem to be wearing a fucking obnoxious amount of green lately.” Karkat ran a disdainful eye over Kanaya’s verdant form. The jade coloured duffel coat swaddled her long, thin body (and made her look fat) was removed to reveal a green polo neck and green suede skirt.
Karkat didn’t even know suede came in green. But Elvis could have Blue Suede shoes, so why the fuck not.
The point was, was that she was wearing a fucking stupid amount of green.
"Green is my favourite colour.”
“No shit.” He rolled his eyes.
“At least I wear more than just plain black, Karkat.” She said, as she vaguely signalled the older woman behind the counter for service, “Or... grey, if you’re feeling daring.”
“There’s nothing wrong with black. It’s sensible. Your colour phases are fucking embarrassing.”
“I don’t have colour phases.” She said, “I love green. Always have. I seem to remember having a brief red period-” Karkat sniggered, Kanaya held up a manicured middle finger, her face not so much as flickering “- In high school. And my recent foray into blue was merely an infatuation with... a more morose way of looking at things, shall we say.” She examined her nails (painted, shockingly, green) then combed them through her stupid, ‘individual’ hair.
“A whole two years is not a foray.” Karkat snapped, taking a glance down at his own grubby, bitten finger nails. “And I will give you a whole fifty dollars if you manage to go one whole conversation without being a portentous, wordy, douche bag.”
“What can I say, I am the apotheosis of a bombast.” She replied, with a slight flourish.
“You’re the apotheosis of a-” Karkat’s doubtlessly witty comeback was then interrupted by the hollow, plastic clatter of a pile of trays falling to the floor.
Karkat and Kanaya looked toward the source of the trays and the profanity, to see a gangly young man, bright eyed, bespectacled and bucktoothed, staring gormlessly in the direction of their table.
They exchanged a glance, before Kanaya got to her feet to help.
Apparently she’d misinterpreted the glance. Karkat had been giving her a “why the fuck is he staring at us” look, not a “Golly let’s help the weirdo right away!” look.
She got down on her knees and began piling up trays, while the boy apologised and urged her to go back to her seat. She ignored him though, and handed him a pile of trays, and he scampered away, red faced, dropping them on the counter and apologising profusely to the woman who stood there.
Though the woman at the counter assured him that it was nothing to worry about.
Kanaya returned easily to her seat, brushing a little dirt off her legs.
“That was weird.” Karkat grumbled. Kanaya rolled her eyes, and the Waiter had appeared back at their table.
He was younger than they were. A high school senior, probably, based on the over stretch limbs he sported, and the puppyish look to his face and wide, blue eyes.
The buck teeth and a spattering of freckles across his cheeks made him look even younger.
Though when he opened his mouth “Hi, I’m John, sorry about that, can I take your order?” his voice was disconcertingly adult sounding, and was completely mismatched to the rest of him.
When Karkat looked carefully, he could see the clear outline of a five o’clock shadow.
He might have been a college freshman, then. But he was definitely younger than they were.
“Coffee. Black.” Karkat barked.
“Black?” Kanaya questioned. “You won’t drink it.”
“I didn’t sleep last night.” Karkat argued.
“You won’t drink it.” She said. All smug and shit, like she knew what was best for him. “Make his coffee strong, but do put some cream in it.”
The waiter, John, looked toward Karkat for confirmation. Karkat, defeated, slumped down in his chair and blatantly gave Kanaya the finger.
“What Mom said.” He spat. Instead of looking uncomfortable, as Waiters tended to do when he and Kanaya bickered over them (apparently thinking themselves in the middle of a lover’s tiff) John seemed to be smiling faintly.
He was distant. He was... kind of staring at them both. Karkat, more so than Kanaya, if he was feeling paranoid.
“And what will the lady be having?” He asked. Kanaya smiled, only slightly (because Kanaya rarely smiled properly, she was almost as bad as Karkat.)
“Green tea.” She said, before blinking innocently in Karkat’s direction.
“Are you fucking kidding me.”
“I like green tea.”
“You’re just doing this to piss me off.”
John’s hands shook as he hit the speed dial on his cell.
“Oh. Hello John.”
“Karkat and Kanaya are at my work.”
“They’re at the Cafe! They look like students. They look a little older than us, actually. Which is kind of weird. But I think they’re at the same college as us. I mean. There’s only one college in this town, so...” John trailed off, and a puff of air crackled down the phone line.
“Are you sure it’s them. Are you positive.”
“Yes. Completely. Just... They’re exactly the same. Down to the haircuts, they’re just... human!... Rose?”
“Sorry. It’s a lot to process.”
“Karkat picked a fight with her over nothing. And she was all monotone and... she looks so pretty, Rose. And tall, too.”
“He’s a redhead! I think he looks good... He’s still got the same dark circles under his eyes and everything... Listen, can you hear him yelling?”
“Are you freaking out right now? Because I’m totally freaking out.”
“I thought they’d have different names, at least.”
“The lord works in mysterious ways... And by the lord, I mean Us.”
“You’ll never grow tired of that gag, will you?”
“We have to tell Jade and Dave.”
“This is so exciting. I have coffee to pour.”
“Then shoo. Before you lose your job.”
Coffee/Tea was otherwise uneventful, and Kanaya and Karkat parted ways, with plans to meet on Wednesday.
Karkat liked being with Kanaya. She kept him sane, he felt, being most of the rest of their group of friends were essentially a ball of dysfunction, psychopathy and various personality disorders.
It’s not even like he was the picture of a functioning human being himself.
He made his way to the bus stop, with his mind on the Waiter. John.
There had been something, vaguely... something, about him that Karkat just couldn’t put his finger on. He felt like they’d met before.
It was like some kind of time delay déjà vu that was only really hitting him now. Coincidently, an empty plastic bag, caught in the breeze hit him full in the face at that moment, and it took several seconds for him to detach it. He balled it up, throwing it viciously into the nearest trash can, while silently hoping that no one had seen that.
He carried on dragging his feet while he walked, slouching, which he knew he shouldn’t do because it only made him look shorter, but who gave a shit. He was over being short.
Not so over it, however that he still didn’t make a considerable effort to stand between Aradia and Nepeta if someone was taking pictures.
Nepeta would almost be worth dating for the sheer fact that she made him look like he was a reasonable height.
But that sounded like the kind of reasoning Eric would have for dating a girl. And Eric (never Eridan, never his stupid, nickname - seriously, who the fuck makes up a nickname for himself?) was a fucking douche bag.
The guy had once gone out with a girl for like... three months because her hair matched his favourite scarf.
By the time Karkat was at the bus stop, all thoughts of the strangely familiar waiter had given way to Eric based loathing. Karkat enjoyed seething, it was one of his favourite activities, and he always found himself with a thousand and one topics to seethe over.
There was... Kanaya wearing all the green, his mean dentist, the fact that the bus was never on time, Vriska’s continual existence, that one neighbour he had that never picked up his dog poop, the fact that he hadn’t gotten laid in almost year... the list went on.
Point being, he was never short of things to sit and be bitter over, which he found provided an excellent level of entertainment for his many bus journeys.
There was another one, the fact that he couldn’t afford a car.
Karkat was very content in his misery, until the bus pulled up. After stepping on to said bus, he was somewhat disturbed to see Teri sat right at the front, face set in that default crocodile of hers. Good God, she was mortifying. He crept past her, trying not to sound too... Karkat-like. Or to drag his feet too much.
Alas, he felt a hard hand curl around his bony wrist.
“Trying to get away from me, Karkat?” She purred, tugging Karkat down in the seat next to her, with quite a force. She gave her dry, raspy chuckle and Karkat winced. “Your sneaking is like any normal person’s stamping... You’ll never make the audition for the ballet company that way.”
“Fuck you. I’m the Swan Queen.” He grumbled. Teri rasped again, and slapped his thigh.
“Always a such a comedian.” She cackled. “Aw, Sweetie, I remember when you used to make such an effort to be with me. And I was only too happy to let you.” She made a kissy face, and Karkat glared. Not that there was any point in him glaring at her.
“Why do you always talk like we haven’t seen each other for thirty years. I saw you this morning, you idiot.”
“Because you hate it. And you’re so adorable when you’re mad.” Teri cooed at him. She reached round, and gave his cheek a harsh squeeze.
“You can’t even see me!” He slapped at her hand, and she only grabbed his wrist again, drawing it toward her mouth.
“I can smell your cute. I can taste it on the air.” She licked the back of his hand, which he promptly snatched back, groaning with irritation. He’d gone past the point of being disgusted by Teri’s saliva. Not just because they’d dated for so long – she just... licked people. Few of their friends were phased by it any more. Many just ignored her, now.
“Baby, don’t be that way.” She whined, when Karkat started wiping his hand on her jacket.
“How’s the internship going? Licked your way to unemployment yet?” he snapped.
“Oh, Karkat, I didn’t know you cared.”
“I don’t. Not in the slightest, I’m just trying to make this bus ride less awkward.”
“It was so not awkward. And it’s going pretty awesome.” She then smiled cruelly and gave him a sharp elbow to the side. “How’s squandering away your time and intelligence going?” She asked, with that horrible laugh of hers.
“It’s fucking amazing. Life is beautiful. It’s a motherfucking miracle.” He sneered, all false enthusiasm. Teri’s face, however, lit up at Karkat’s crude impression of one of their group.
“Ah, dear, sweet Gamzee.” She sighed, giving Karkat a wistful look. “It’s been so long.”
“You saw him yesterday. You were at our fucking apartment.”
“I forgot how easy you were to piss off.”
“No you didn’t!”
Teri smiled and pinched his cheek again. “So easy.” She seemed to stop and think for a moment. “I feel like we’re almost at my stop.”
Karkat glanced out the window.
“Looks that way.” This was a lie. They were actually one stop before Teri’s stop – but there was nothing like tricking your blind ex, to make you feel like a big man.
“Who knows when we’ll meet again.” Teri said dramatically as she stood.
“We’re all going to Vagabond’s for drinks on Friday, it’s Kanaya’s birthday, remember?”
“Obviously... Is Spider Bitch coming?” She asked, face twisted.
“Kanaya likes her.” Karkat replied, injecting as much disdain into his voice as possible.
“Eww.” Teri made a show of gagging, before the bus stopped. She blew Karkat a kiss as she exited, “Tragically separated again, Môn amore, and who knows for how long,” and practically sashayed off the bus.
Karkat decided then, that nothing would ever compare to the joy he felt when confusing that blind girl, and making her walk another four blocks to her apartment building.
When Karkat stepped through the front door of his crappy fucking apartment, he was immediately concerned. The smell of soft drugs and bad candy was decidedly fainter than it usually was. Which could only mean Gavin (or Gamzee, rather, as he preferred his “clown” name to his “slave name”) had either a) wandered off somewhere, b) been totally conked out on his meds all day, or c) was dead.
As much as option c) would be convenient for Karkat, options a) and b) were far more likely. He hoped Gamzee just hadn’t made it out of bed today, because Karkat really didn’t want to have to organise another Gamzee hunt. Though those often started out kind of funny, they only ever ended in tears and yelling. Mostly from Karkat.
“Gamzee, I’m home.” He called. “Gamzee?” Karkat kicked off his shoes in their narrow entrance hall, and stumbled his way into the kitchen. Gamzee wasn’t there... And only Saturday and Sunday’s bottles of Faygo was present in the recyclables.
Now deeply concerned, Karkat entered the living room to find Gamzee’s usual spot vacant, barring a few crumbs, and a fuck ugly, partially bald, three legged cat that got in there sometimes. All of the time.
Gamzee had named him “Sticky”.
“What have I told you about letting that gross cat into the apartment?” He yelled. There was no answer.
As much as Karkat hated going into Gamzee’s creepy ass room, desperate times called for desperate measures.
After a three minute wrestling match with Sticky, (Upon trying to remove him from the apartment, Karkat has noticed that he was gnawing on a bottle of Gamzee’s pills) Karkat kicked open the door of Gamzee’s room. He was hit by a wall of darkness, smoke and terrible rap music.
“Sup.” A wobbly voice came out from the ether.
Karkat stared into the smoke filled room. He became aware of Gamzee’s blue tinged, backlit silhouette. And everything suddenly looked like a shitty 1980s music video.
“Did you take your pills today fuckass?” Asked Karkat, deliberately louder than usual, and shaking the small bottle of pills obnoxiously.
“Nah. Busy.” Gamzee replied. Karkat threw the pills with as much violence as possible, and was thoroughly pleased when he hit his roommate on the head.
“Busy with what?” Karkat asked. Gamzee gestured to the lump in the bed beside him.
“Steve.” Interrupted the lump.
“Whatever. This is my best friend, Karkat.” Karkat saw Gamzee gesture vaguely toward him, as a head popped out from beneath the lump... Steve.
“What kind of fuckin’ name is-” he began, but before Karkat could tell him to fuck off, Gamzee began to speak.
“It’s like ... the Hindu version of the star sign Cancer.” Karkat frequently had to remind Gamzee how one went about tying their shoe laces – this, however, he remembered. “His mom is like this... crazy motherfuckin’ hippy crab lady.” Karkat could make out Gamzee making pincers with his hands.
“Shut up about my insane hippy mother and take your pills.”
“I’m self medicating.”
“Take your fucking pills or I will jam the bottle into your useless, lazy ass.” Karkat said this through clenched teeth. He looked and sounded like an idiot, but Karkat saw Gamzee give in and swallow his pills.
“And don’t you try and fucking take any.” Karkat pointed at shape Gamzee appeared to have been sleeping with... Steve. “I know you’re probably some whacked out clown fetishist, just trying to look for his next buzz, but that shit’s just going to knock you the fuck out. If I have to deal with unconscious one night stands, I swear to god, you’ll-”
“Okay! Jesus, I fucking get it.” Snapped Steve. “He’s a peach, Gavin, he is an absolute peach.”
Karkat gave them both the finger, then slammed the door shut. Job well done. If there were prizes given for the ability to mother a twenty-five-year-old, drugged up, mentally ill man-child, Karkat would have won all of the fucking prizes.
All of them.
Karkat flicked on the TV, and sat down next to Sticky, who sort of wriggled toward him, in order to lie a furry cheek on Karkat’s thigh.
Sticky gazed up at him with the haunted eyes of a Vietnam veteran. Every time Karkat made a conscious effort to remove the cat from the apartment, Sticky would gaze up at him with that same look – you weren’t there man, you weren’t there, said the look – and Karkat would just feel too guilty to put him back outside.
“If your filthy ass face stains my pants, we will be taking a trip to the vet, and only one of us will come back alive.” Karkat grumbled, petting Sticky’s head, then immediately regretting it because... there was a reason that mangy old flea bag was named “Sticky”.
“What is fucking wrong with you?” He asked Sticky. Sticky only stared back at him, with eyes that had seen far too much. “You’re taking your whole fucking... being sticky shtick way too far.” Sticky blinked. “Cats are supposed to clean themselves, you know.”
“I guess you’d probably die of some horrible fucking disease if you tried to lick yourself, huh?”
“Maybe you’ve fermented. Should I have Gamzee lick you, huh Sticky? Huh? And if you get him high, we can start whoring you out Sticky, yes we can.” Karkat mockingly cooed, Sticky continued to stare. He pulled the sleeve of his shirt down over his hand, and patted the cat.
“Who’s a disgusting, ugly, disease ridden old kitty cat?”
“That’s right Sticky! You are! You Are!” He gave the cat an even more enthusiastic pat. Sticky... stared. “Who’s going to get put down the minute I can get him into a cat carrier?”
“Such a smart Kitty!”
“Man, you are one creepy motherfucker.” Said Gamzee from the doorway. Without his weird clown makeup shit, and with his hair flat and no fucked up clown based t-shirt, Gamzee was actually pretty attractive.
Not that Karkat would touch him with a ten foot ski pole, or anything, it was always just something of a shock to the system to see Gamzee looking normal. Karkat usually thought of him as Gavin like this. When he was dressed, he could never, ever be anything other than Gamzee.
“Why do you keep letting the fucking gross cat into the apartment?”
“’Cause he’s just a lonely little kitty. Looking for a little shelter and some motherfuckin’ love.” Gamzee strolled over to the couch, and hoisted Sticky into his arms, cradling him like he was Gamzee’s own gross, mutant cat baby.
“Look at him man.” Gamzee looked tenderly at Sticky. “Look at all the love in that furry little miracle’s eyes.” He dangled Sticky, till the cat’s face was level with Karkat’s.
“Gamzee, you are mistaking a loving gaze, with the gaze of someone who has looked long into the abyss, only to find that the abyss gazed back into them.” Karkat sighed. God that cat was fucking ugly.
Gamzee gave an appreciative gasp, dumping Sticky on the ground. Karkat made a mental note to make a special effort not to have any physical contact Gamzee for the next few days. He probably had Cat AIDs now, and Karkat really didn’t want to have to explain that to his Doctor.
“Shit man. Shit. That’s deep.” Gamzee marvelled at him. “Did you come up with that?”
“... Gamzee. You have a Master’s degree in philosophy.”
“I know, and I couldn’t have even come up with that shit man!” Gamzee grinned. All Karkat could do was stare in disbelief. It was a motherfuckin’ miracle in itself that Karkat had not beaten Gamzee to death with his own shoes, out of sheer frustration.
Gamzee’s grin faded. His jaw slackened and his eyes narrowed. “What was I even doing out here.”
“I don’t know.” Karkat sighed. “Fuck off, Gamzee.”
“Can do, buddy.”
Chapter 2: ==> Struggle to Sleep
Karkat couldn’t sleep. That was sort of one of his things. And Gamzee was on a schedule all of his own, so he occasionally had company – but, for the most part, Karkat was on his own at nights.
He would drop off to sleep eventually, for a couple of hours, in front of the TV, or his laptop (or on top of Sticky that one time.)
Gamzee was always offering him his pills, because one of those things was probably enough to knock out a grown elephant, but he always knocked back the offer. Prescription drugs that weren’t prescribed to him weren’t the answer.
Plus, he felt like his Mother would be able to tell. They hadn’t spoken in two years, and she lived a hundred miles away, but she’d just know.
She called him his first week of Freshman year, just to ask him if he was drinking. This was simply because she “felt like” he was drinking. And she didn’t approve of drinking.
Soft drugs were totally cool, though.
He was assaulted with the memory of the one year she visited for Christmas, and she spent the entire week getting high with Eric and Feferi and talking marine biology.
The amount of times he had to tell Eric to stop trying to fuck his Mom was, worryingly enough, not even half the amount of times Karkat had to tell him to stop trying to rope her into a three-way with him and Fef.
He was taking advantage of her love of crabs and weed, and no matter how huge Karkat’s mommy issues were, that was just not fucking cool on about nine hundred different levels.
Then Eric made some joke about wanting to “Collect the entire Vantas set” and then Ed had to hold him back while he foamed at the mouth and threatened to tear every ridiculously coiffed hair on Eric’s head individually, then set fire to his naked scalp.
His Mom had just kind of stood there and watched, with that same “Lol whut?” expression Gamzee permanently wore.
But thinking about his Mom while he was over tired and unable to sleep was never a good idea. Neither was thinking about Eric, he just angried up Karkat’s blood.
But most things made him angry, so he was kind of at a loss as to what to think about.
In the end, he just grabbed his laptop and checked to see if there was anyone on Pesterchum. Not that that was very likely at two am, because, for the most part, everyone had a life and stuff, but... it was always worth checking.
Nepeta was on.
He could live with that.
CG: WHY ARE YOU UP SO LATE
AC: 3: <*ac curls up into karkittys lap and looks at him sad*>
CG: UGH CG: WHAT SHITTY PROBLEM OF YOURS DO I HAVE TO FIX
AC: 3: <*ac shakes her haed and a reat rolls down her fuzzy cheek*>
CG: DROP THE FUCKING ROLE PLAYING AND TELL ME WHAT’S UP
AC: 3: <*ac angrrrly scratches karkittys muscular btu mean thighs* “no fuck yoy” she says>
CG: NEPETA WHAT THE FUCK
AC: 3: <*ac wont drop the roll playing because it mahehs her feell betetwer*>
CG: NEPETA AS RETARDED AS YOU ARE, I AM NOW SLIGHTLY WORRIED ABOUT YOU CG: ALSO, ARE YOU DRUNK?
AC: 3: <*ac appludes kartkityt what a fjckin genius he is*>
CG: I ALWAYS FORGET ABOUT HOW NASTY A DRUNK YOU ARE
AC: 3: <*ax is in no mood for your catshit*>
CG: SERIOUSLY CG: WHAT THE FUCK
AC: 3: <*ac looks u- solemly* Karkitty I lost my fub today 3’’’’’’’:> AC: 3: * job
CG: WHAT THE FUCK SERIOUSLY HOW
AC: 3: they told me to stop tryin to save the cats theta get puty down and youre not suppored to steal teh lkittes
CG: I TOLD YOU WORKING IN AN ANIMAL SHELTER WOULD BE A STUPID IDEA
AC: 3: i don’t care some of those kittys were purrfectly fine 33333’’:
CG: IT’S FOR THEIR OWN GOOD MOST OF THE TIME
AC: 3: <*scratches karkittydouche*>
CG: YOURE THE WORST VET EVER.
CG: THEY TOLD YOU THIS IN SCHOOL.
CG: THEY TOLD YOU YOU’D HAVE TO PUT ANIMALS DOWN TOO, AND IT WASN’T JUST ABOUT SAVING THEM.
CG: THEY WARNED YOU ABOUT EUTHANASIA
CG: HOW MANY CATS DID YOU STEAL FOR THEM TO FIRE YOU
AC: 3: ........ 9
CG: OH MY FUCKING GOD.
CG: YOU HAVE PROBLEM.
AC: 3: my only problem is ny no job and my n9 meowths to feed 3:
CG: HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU DONE THIS NOW
CG: IS THIS THE THIRD TIME
AC: 3: meowbe
CG: OH GOD.
AC: 3: i do don’t need your shit right now oh god oh god fjkin oh god yourself your such a DOOOOOUCHEBAAAAAAAAAG
arcenicCatnip [AC] blocked carcinoGeneticist [CG]
CG: HEY FUCK YOU
CG: I’LL BE SYMPATHETIC WHEN YOU’RE NOT DOING STUPID SHIT
Well Karkat felt kind of bad.
Not like... really bad. Just a little.
He’d never really been one for consolation, he was more of an advice man. A fixer. If Nepeta had followed his advice in the first place – not taking the job in the animal shelter, where she’d be surrounded by animals she’d have to kill – then this could have easily been avoided.
Nepeta usually actually listened to his advice and this should, hopefully, stand as a clear sign, that Karkat knew best. About everything. All the time.
He checked the time. 2:30. And he had to be out the house for work by 8AM. He ran a hand down his face, and decided that he’d ought to go to bed.
It’s not like he would actually sleep or anything, but, none the less, it was worth a try. He was really looking forward to Friday. He was planning on using the opportunity Kanaya’s birthday had given him to get so drunk, he would sleep like a baby. Karkat found he could only ever achieve a decent night’s sleep if he first drank his weight in alcohol, but found that abusing this made his insomnia a whole lot worse.
He’d taken it way too far in his second year of college, and decided he’d have to stop drinking for a good while.
That really hadn’t been one of the better times of his life.
He shook his head, and padded his way toward the bedroom, bumping into Gamzee along the short way.
“Morning, bro.” He said casually.
“What the fuck are you doing, getting up now?” Karkat snarled, aghast at such a flagrant abandoning of that precious, illusive unconsciousness. Karkat would give anything to be able to sleep like Gamzee, who could literally drop off any time he felt like, regardless of time, place and how much sleep he’d already actually had.
“Man, Tav just text me all, ‘Oh my god get over here, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up’ so I’m gonna get a cab over to his place. Help a brother out, you know.” He said with a faint smile, as he wandered toward the door.
Karkat could not trust Gamzee to get a cab by himself – alas, cabdrivers tend to struggle with the instruction “take me to my motherfucking buddy Tav’s”, given with no further explanation because Gamzee had no idea where Travis actually lived – Karkat certainly could not trust him to go out alone at night and he most definitely couldn’t trust him to do a decent job of helping out an injured cripple.
Travis could be concussed or he could have broken something, and Gamzee was more likely to stick a joint in his mouth than say... check him for signs of serious injury then, should it be necessary, call an ambulance.
In short, if Karkat let Gamzee go by himself, he’d probably end up with a lost Gamzee and a dead Travis on his hands. Like most things involving Gamzee in life, it would only end in tears and yelling.
“Oh Jesus fucking hell. I’m coming with you.” Karkat growled.
“You don’t have to bro, I reckon I can-”
“No. No you can’t.”
One decidedly suspicious cab ride later, (any one would be suspicious of a taxi service that operated solely between the hours of 11pm and “whenever the sun comes up”, only took back alley routes and occasionally stopped to drop off mysterious packages. The fact that it was advertised as a “Taksi” did little to soothe Karkat’s reservations,) and Gamzee and Karkat were in front of Travis’ apartment building (which was an even bigger shithole than theirs).
Travis had been able only to rent a flat on the tenth floor of the building, and the elevator frequently broke. He had mastered the art of getting upstairs on a wheel chair, but, unfortunately, still fell on occasion. And when he fell, he fell spectacularly.
“Did he say which flight of stairs he fell down?” Karkat said, starting on the way up the first flight.
“He didn’t fall down no stairs, buddy.” Gamzee said, wandering behind him.
“So where did he fall?”
“He slipped getting out of the bath man, his fucking rail thing broke, and then he didn’t turn the tap off or some shit, and it flooded, so the floor’s too wet and flooded and shit to pull himself over to his chair or out of the room of anything. Plus, he can’t reach his door knob. And he’s got no fuckin’ leverage or nothing because his bathroom is literally just a bath room. You know? Fuckin’, his toilet and sink are all in another room and stuff.”
“So we’re not just helping our crippled friend. We’re helping our wet, naked crippled friend.”
“Yeah.” Gamzee had over taken him on the stairs, apparently taking them two at a time. He was cheating. He was cheating and showing off with his stupid long legs. Just rubbing it in that Karkat was practically a foot shorter than him, that smug motherfucker.
“He said he’d been lying there for like three hours too, and he just lucky he brought his phone to the bath with him, or he’d probably be all dead and shit. I mean, that helper, physio dude comes over a bunch, I guess, but it’s still a motherfuckin miracle his phone survived the water and shit.”
Gamzee was a shit ton of steps ahead of him. Karkat was out of breath.
“You’re talking, but all I hear is ‘Wet naked Travis’.” He wheezed.
After five or so minutes of Karkat panting, complaining and taking short brakes (all the while encouraged by Gamzee – “come on my littlest broski, you just gotta believe in yourself and shit!” ) they finally reached Travis’ apartment.
“Spare key’s in that there... rock thingy.” Gamzee said. Karkat rolled his eyes. The ceramic rock had a little indentation for a key. This really would have been quite clever, had Travis lived in a fucking house, with a fucking garden with fucking rocks in it, instead of in the middle of a huge tower block. Fucking moron.
Karkat released the key from its ceramic rocky hideaway, and entered the apartment.
“Travis? It’s Karkat and Gamzee. Are you still conscious? Or am I going to have to make a scene and call an ambulance, because you’re too fucking stupid to call someone sooner.” He called.
Gamzee dawdled in behind Karkat, looking about as concerned as... someone that didn’t really give a shit because they were on a bunch of drugs.
“Yeah... still conscious.” Travis answered. “C-could one of you, uh, grab me a towel please?” He said, his voice weak and tentative. It was pretty much always like that, but particularly so, this time.
“On it, my incapacitated friend.” Gamzee wandered away to Travis’ study/game room/room where he kept all of his towels and clothes and shit.
“Tav, I’m coming in, so don’t piss yourself or anything.” Karkat approached the bathroom door, finding the living room carpet growing gradually wetter as he got nearer. He twisted the door knob, finding it stuck before he could even turn it half way.
“Don’t tell me this fucking door is locked.”
“You live alone, you stupid cunt!” Karkat yelled, his voice rising an octave with his annoyance and sheer disbelief.
“Uh... One of you is, uh... Going to have to kick the door in.” He mumbled. Karkat sighed, and braced himself. He took a run up, and gave the door a dramatic kick, kung-fu movie style.
There was an impressive crunch. And it certainly wasn’t the door.
“Oh holy freaking fuck, my ankle!” Karkat squealed, as he fell flat on his ass and lost about ten thousand of his man-points.
Gamzee appeared soon, with several fuzzy towels, a pair of boxer shorts and an inane smile.
“Aw man, that was faggy as fuck.” He guffawed. “Aw, best friend, I’m like... so disappointed in you right now.” Karkat rolled along the floor, making a beeline for Gamzee’s fucking ankles. Gamzee stepped over him with ease, and approached the bathroom door.
“Watch how it’s done, man, watch me call upon my motherfucking mirthful messiahs. They’re good bros, they’ll give me... the strength and shit to-”
“Get on with it.” Karkat growled. Gamzee gave a single nod, then took a similar approach to the door that Karkat did.
Again, there was a crunch. Again, the door remained unscathed. Gamzee fell backward, but, luckily, had Karkat to break his fall.
“Are you fucking kidding me, Gamzee.” Karkat slapped Gamzee and kicked him onto the floor. “You weigh a fucking ton, you are six foot three, how can you not kick a fucking door in, you useless fuckwad!”
Gamzee just shrugged. “Man, we gotta get someone strong up in this place.” Then he pulled out his phone.
“No. No, we are not calling that creepy motherfucker over here. Especially not for his strength, he’ll have to masturbate three times on the car ride over. Do you want a sweaty, semen coated pervert in your vicinity? Because I don’t.” Karkat growled, lunging for the phone. Gamzee held his phone aloft, and Karkat found himself beaten. He cursed his tiny stature.
“Karkat, I don’t want him over either, but, uh, my toes are turning a really weird colour, uh, and I kind of have to, uh, pee.”
Gamzee had already started calling anyway. It took him a couple of tries, but Ed finally picked up.
“Hey! Edwin my strongest motherfucker...” Karkat couldn’t hear Ed’s half of the conversation, but it was pretty easy to guess the kind of shit he was saying.
“It’s 3:30... Yeah, it kind of is man, Tav’s got himself all fallen down, and he can’t get up, and we need someone to come kick a door- ” Gamzee’s eyes narrowed “... Dude... Dude, that’s racist don’t be – oh hey Karkat.” Karkat made a move for the phone, and snatched it from Gamzee’s large, bony hand.
“Listen up Zahhak,” He growled, “You are coming to Travis’ apartment. You are going to kick down this door, and you are going to do it all without once mentioning the fact that his dad used to clean your family’s pool. You’re going to be pleasant. You will at no point bring up ‘smelly hippies’ in relation to me, or ‘virtual aristocracy’ in relation to Gamzee. It is way too late for that shit.” Karkat had become aware of an increased level of heavy breathing throughout this, and was answered, for a few moments, with panting.
“Was... Was that an order?” Ed swallowed, loudly.
“If it gets your muscular ass -” an audible intake of breath “- over here quicker, then yes. It fucking was.”
There was a grunt of “Oh fiddlesticks.” Then all Karkat could hear was the dial tone.
“What the fuck.” He asked... no one in particular. Not a moment later, Gamzee received a text that simply read: Dà I am on my way.
About ten minutes later, Ed arrived, piggy backing a thoroughly drunken Nepeta.
“What the fuck is she doing here?” Karkat asked, her head had been resting limply on Ed’s shoulder, but she perked up at the sound of his voice.
“I could hardly leave her.” Ed replied loftily. “Gavin-”
“... Gamzee.” Ed did loathe Gamzee’s Clown Name. It was terribly improper. He walked toward Gamzee, and turned so he had his back/Nepeta to him, apparently about to hand her to Gamzee. “If you’d like to take her, please.”
“Take me to Karkitty!” Nepeta piped. Karkat rolled his eyes.
“I thought you said he’d been being an... excuse me, ’douche bag’.” Ed replied, with some confusion.
“I wanna go to Karkitty.”
“Nepeta, I really don’t think-”
“Karkitty!” She chirped. Ed gritted his teeth (the ones that weren’t broken) and set her gently onto the couch, where Karkat had taken a seat. “Oh, Karkitty,” She purred “You are still a douche bag.” She cuddled up to him. As much as he loathed to admit it (and he never, ever would out loud,) he could almost halfway tolerate a hug from Nepeta. She was always warm. And the fact that she was pretty chubby just made her soft and... welcoming. And she had great tits. Karkat had never been much of a boob man, but Jesus.
“Such a pretty Karkitty.” She cooed, rubbing her cheek on his shoulder. She smelt like Vodka and kitty litter.
“Get the fuck off of me.” He grunted. He objected to the word pretty. Karkat was, at best, interesting looking and pretty was entirely the wrong word for him.
“Pretty, pretty Karkitty!” she sang. Karkat sprang up when he heard the snapping of wood, as Ed kicked Travis’ bathroom door off its frame. The sound had taken him off guard completely, and Nepeta was left pouting, alone on the couch.
Upon spotting a naked Travis, Gamzee’s eyebrows raised appreciatively, and Ed’s eyes widened with a mixture of fear, confusion and wonder.
Gamzee whistled. “Well that is a motherfuckin miracle right there.”
Karkat’s curiosity was perked. Hopefully subtly, he peered round Ed till Travis was in view. He was lying in about three inches of water (which was draining away into the living room carpet), and... No, yeah, Karkat could see why they were impressed. Travis was blushing, and making a pretty futile attempt to cover himself with his hands, while still holding his phone.
“If you listen real close, you can hear the sound of Spider-bitch fapping to this image.” Karkat snorted.
Ed had thrust his arm across his eyes, squawking, “My goodness, cover yourself man!” While Nepeta leapt off the couch and scurried over to the bathroom.
“No, no, I want to see!” She squealed – then gave an impressed “Ooo!” when she did.
“Uh, I would really appreciate it, uh, if we could all, uh, stop ogling my junk and, uh, get me up off the floor.” Travis stuttered. Karkat pulled off his shoes and socks, and rolled up his pants, as he entered the bathroom, and Gamzee followed suit, dropping the towels and underwear into Nepeta’s arms, while Ed gathered himself. Karkat got his legs, and Gamzee his arms, and lifted him out of the bathroom, onto the couch. Karkat went back to retrieve Tav’s wheelchair, which had rolled away, and tipped over – probably while Travis tried to climb into it, and failed, because he’s a useless motherfucker.
“Can, uh, I have a, uh, towel please?”
Gamzee obliged, and took a towel from Nepeta, who appeared to have ignored Travis’ requested that his junk ceased to be ogled.
He actually had a surprisingly great upper body, too. Not that Karkat was looking.
“Do you want me to be all putting you to bed and shit, bro?” Gamzee asked, helping Travis dry himself off with an unnecessarily hands on approach.
“Uh, yeah! That would be really sweet of you.” Travis said with a clueless smile.
“Gamzee. No.” Karat snatched a towel and the boxers from Nepeta, throwing the towel at Gamzee and the boxers at Travis.
“No to what, best friend?” Gamzee asked, innocently.
“Your slutty clown shenanigans. In-friendship-group sloppy make outs are banned.” Karkat declared. Nepeta snorted.
“Oh purrlease Karkitty, like you can talk. Not after Teri and Eric and me.”
Slowly – Ed turned on the spot, nostrils flared and chipped teeth bared. His hands had balled into fists.
“We promised we’d never speak of that.” Karkat squeaked, a jolt of fear running down his back like a drip of water. He cleared his throat, and composed himself. Ed liked to put out an image of being refined, but he was little more than a snarling, testosterone fuelled thug.
“Ed calm your sweaty man tits, we did it once or maybe six times. I’d like just broken up with Teri and-” Karkat couldn’t finish his sentence, due to the fist that had just connected with his nose. “Motherfucker!” He grabbed his nose, and fell to the floor, eyes streaming. Nepeta pounced on Ed, failing to knock him to the ground.
“Eddie! You have to stop doing this! I’m fucking... twenty... five years old, I can sleep with who I want!” She slurred, beating her fists weakly against the chest of a now, rather guilty looking Ed. She looked over to Karkat, then stilled, “Karkitty. You’re bleeding. You’re bleeding a whole bunch.”
Karkat examined his hands, and found them to be covered with his own blood.
He promptly passed out.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THE COMMENTS AND KUDOSSESESES ON THE FIRST CHAPTER UFHERJDGFRJG SO TOTALLY UNEXPECTED AND GUYDFEWH THANK YOU SO MUCH AND THANKS AGAIN. JUST. FLAILING EVERY WHERE.
If you're wondering why some trolls have their names changed, and some don't, It's just because I left the names that I felt just sounded like unusual names, rather than outright weird alien names, the same or made excuses for them. Can't be making excuses for all of the names, so some of them are different. I hope no body minds that, or this horribly nonsensical author's note.
Chapter 3: ==> Get Accosted By a Perky Teenager
He woke up several hours later in a bed in what appeared to be a half empty emergency room, with a hell of a headache and a plastered up nose. Ed was sat on his left, Gamzee on his right. Travis was stretched out in the next bed over, sound asleep.
“Karkat, please allow me to give my apologies to you.” Ed said. It was then that Karkat noticed a glaring Nepeta standing over Ed’s shoulder.
“No. Fuck off.”
“You must understand that I am terribly protective of Nepeta-”
“And the thought of your... grimy, uncouth hands on her sweet, innocent flesh-”
“Just sent me into a horrible rage. Obviously, I had not meant to break your nose-”
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” Karkat felt the large plaster bandage on his nose, “How long do I have to wear this?”
“The Doc said like... a month?” Gamzee said, looking to Nepeta for conformation. She gave a single nod. “And I tried to set it while you were passed out. Kinda messed it up.” Gamzee said, very sheepishly. Karkat glared.
“What the fuck did you do to my face.” He growled. If he didn’t feel so shitty, he’d smack Gamzee upside the head.
“Karkitty, don’t freak out!” Nepeta said, more of a warning than anything. She appeared to have sobered up. “He just couldn’t really get it totally straight again. And then the doctor said that it was set, and there wasn’t really much she could do about it.” Nepeta shrugged then perched on the edge of the bed, she reached over and brushed the hair off of his forehead. “You’re just going to have a cute little kink in your cute little nosey!”
Karkat swiped at her hand, still glaring. “Great.” As if he wasn’t weird looking enough already, he now had a bent nose. Fantastic.
“You should thank me man, I was all covered in your blood and snot. Gross.” Gamzee twisted his face. Karkat just rolled his eyes and he would have pinched the bridge of his nose, were it not for the fact that Ed was a fucking moron who punched people for sleeping with their friend three years ago.
“How’s Tav?” Karkat asked.
“He’s fine. We figured he might be concussed, but he’s okay. His wrist is bruised though, so they gave him a bandage.” Nepeta answered. Gamzee grabbed Travis’ wrist to show Karkat the bandage, causing him to snort awake, then yelp with pain. Travis snatched his injured wrist back, and clutched it to his chest.
“We can get our asses out of here now you’re all conscious and shit.” Gamzee smiled, and stood. Then sat back down again, because apparently he didn’t want to stand. Karkat went to check his watch, before remembering that he’d removed it at some point last night.
“What time is it?” he asked. There were no windows in the ER, just a shit ton of beds, and doctors bustling around the place.
“And now I’m going to be late for work.” Karkat scowled at Ed, sounding especially bitter, “Nice job, fuckass.”
“If you wish, I will drive you back to your apartment and then to work. By way of apologising.” Ed combed his fingers through his long, dirty hair, and avoided Karkat’s eye. At least, Karkat thought he was avoiding his eye, it was hard to tell with the shades he was wearing.
“Yeah, sure, that’s pretty decent of you, I guess... You’re still a fucking prick and you are by no means forgiven.”
“As you wish.”
They were then interrupted by the arrival of a tiny middle-aged man, clad in white and baby pink. He scurried over to Travis’ bed, his movements not unlike that of a bee.
He looked devastated, flinging his arms over Travis and letting out a loud sigh of relief.
“Uh... Good Morning, Tink.” Travis mumbled. The man, Tink (who was actually named Fabien del Toro and had been bestowed the nickname “Tinkerbull”, after Travis had hilariously combined the man’s mannerisms with a translation of his last name and the joke brought delight to none who heard it), was Travis’ physiotherapist, and tended to help around the house with a lot of the things Travis couldn’t do – like cleaning and cooking and laundry other basic household tasks.
It was not that Travis couldn’t do things due to his disability, but more that he couldn’t do them because he was a useless shit who would probably die if he didn’t have someone babying him twenty-four-seven.
Tink, despite being a married man in his late forties, behaved, dressed and spoke like an elderly woman. He had huge eyes, that were emphasised by a pair of extremely thick, round glasses, and he spoke very... fussily. In fact, he did everything with such a high degree of fuss, he could easily out fuss Kanaya in a fussing competition, which was something of an achievement.
“Are you okay sweetie?” He asked, gargantuan eyes practically swimming with tears. Travis nodded, his bottom lip suddenly jutting out. “Oh, we’ll get you home and settled down with some coco- Oh!” Tink grabbed Travis’ arm, horrified “Your poor wrist!”
“Get me the fuck out of here, before I punch someone.” Karkat said, with a scowl that was dangerous enough, that Edwin, Nepeta and Gamzee had him out of the hospital within ten minutes.
“I would greatly appreciate it if you would go through the details of your... Encounters with Nepeta.”
“It was three years ago.”
“I should hope that... mother of yours taught you about the necessities of prophylactics. ”
“Nah, I just used the pull out method. Of course, that wasn’t very effective, but there’s not always time for these things in the heat of the moment, and nine months later, she had our first son, Roberto. Then obviously we moved to the trailer park, and I had an affair with her sister. Mostly I wear a grubby wife-beater and drink beer. She cries herself to sleep at night, but I just don’t give a fuck. The boy has some homosexual tendencies, but I’m working on beating that out of him with a-”
“Nepeta, at that point, had feelings for you, and had done for a long time. Are you aware of this?”
“Are you aware of the methods used to castrate horses?”
“After an injection of local anaesthetic in given directly to the scrotum, an incision is made, and the testes are removed. The horse then has his spermatic cord crushed, when the person performing the surgery wraps a very strong ligature around what remains of the testicles, and pulls tight. The whole task generally takes two or three minutes, and can also be performed with an emasculator – an instrument that is not entirely dissimilar to a common nut cracker. Sometimes, both are used. There are often risks of infection, should the proper antibiotics not be given to the horse. And, in some cases, the horse will suffer a condition known as ‘evisceration’ in which the horse’s abdominal contents begin to fall out through the scrotal incision. If I find out that you were aware of Nepeta’s feelings for you, and that you, in fact, used her for your... lewd fancies, I will not hesitate to castrate you in exactly the same manner. I however, will not be using a local anaesthetic.”
“You’re getting off on this, aren’t you, you sick fuck?”
“Could you hand me my towel, please.”
Karkat arrived at work on time, and faced no questioning in regards to the large plaster bandage on his nose from his employer. His boss, Mr. Podgorny, was a cynical, troubled divorcee, who generally noticed very little about his employees and cared about them even less. Provided they didn’t scare off customers, and swore to stay out of the closet in his office, they were basically free to do as they pleased.
Of course, Karkat had ignored the last rule. The closet was full of Star Trek shit and communist paraphernalia. It was not every day that you got to see a limited edition Captain Piccard action figure astride a bust of Chairman Mau, so Karkat liked to have a look in there every now and again, just to see what was shaking.
The only other employee was a girl named Kim. She was a huge college student, who dressed worse than Karkat did, and liked to think she had amazing taste in films. She also liked to think Karkat cared about her problems, and tended to alternate between whining about her fat ass, and mocking Karkat’s movie collection (“Seriously oh my God, you’re actually buying that? Karkat you’re such a philistine. Don’t you know anything about movies, seriously you just don’t watch shit with Sarah Jessica Parker, oh my God, seriously.”).
Luckily Karkat didn’t have to deal with either of them very often. Podgorny only turned up to open up the store and close it again, and Kim worked Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays, where Karkat worked Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. They did, however, both work Fridays, as they tended to be a little busier – causing the day to become by far Karkat’s least favourite.
On this particular Tuesday, Mr. Podgorny was gone by 9:30, and Karkat had the store to himself. He re-alphabetised the movies that the fucking retarded customers had messed up the previous day for the first hour, then plonked himself on the chair behind the counter and read.
Mostly, he read chick-lit (“Oh my god, seriously Karkat I can’t believe you are reading that shit, oh my god, the cover is pink, seriously Karkat, ugh.”). He was currently working his way through a delightful novel about a high powered career woman in her prime, who worked as a stripper at night because she was extremely sexually secure, and strong, and if stupid men wanted to throw hundreds of dollars at her for taking off her clothes why the hell not? She then has to choose between a hot and sexy, confident lawyer or a sweet, awkward hot and sexy computer geek.
Personally, Karkat was rooting for the hot and sexy confident lawyer. The geeky guy was a total faggot.
He was in the middle of reading a graphically described paragraph about a particularly sloppy make out with the sweet, awkward hot and sexy computer geek (who Karkat was warming to, as the kiss had shown the high powered career woman and the readers a new, sexually confident side to his personality,) when a customer banged through the doors of the store.
A customer on a Tuesday morning was relatively unusual. Usually they just wandered in and wandered round and wandered back out again, so Karkat didn’t even look up from his book. He was, however, forced to stop reading, when the customer slammed his hands on the counter, and chirped:
“Hi Karkat!... Wow what happened to your face?”
Karkat, jumping a little with shock, set down his book.
“Who the flying fuck are you?” He asked, lip curled. The boy was in his late teens, had bucked teeth, and messy black hair. He was very familiar.
“Um...” The boy’s (very blue) eyes widened behind his glasses, “Um... No one.”
“And how did you know my name?” Karkat narrowed his eyes, and stood, so he was at his full, and totally unintimidating, height.
“... I read your name tag!” Said the boy, really obviously thinking fast. Karkat flicked his name tag.
“My name tag says Karl.” He said, eyes narrowed. He’d assumed it had been a spelling mistake, till he broke into the Communism Trek closet. He then decided that it had been deliberate, to keep with a communism theme. Kim’s name didn’t need changing, and she had worked there longer, he figured that made sense, though it did imply Podgorny was dedicated enough to the party, that he would gladly edit his employees names to fit in with his creepy theme. Maybe he had a fetish or something. Maybe Karkat should introduce him to Edwin.
“Oh.” The boy wrinkled his nose. It was quite sweet. Karkat pretended not to find it sweet. “Um.” He ran his tongue over his teeth.
It came back to Karkat, then. This boy had, of course, been his clumsy and oddly familiar waiter. Karkat hadn’t thought about him at since yesterday, distracted by the whole Travis falling down/nose breaking incident. But Karkat was surprised he’d forgotten his face so easily. Especially when his presence seemed to induce this ridiculously huge déjà vu attack.
“...You’re that waiter! The fucktard who dropped his trays.”
“Yes! That’s me!” The boy grinned. His name was John. Karkat remembered that too.
“That doesn’t explain what the fuck you’re doing here.”
“Nope!” John grinned. It was more of a fear grin than anything. Karkat noticed that his hands were shaking. “I... um. When you were arguing with your friend um. I thought you were... uh... funny. And interesting. And... Um... cute?” John visibly cringed the second the words left his mouth, Karkat sneered, bearing his teeth. “So I, um, I thought I would Facebook you and you were pretty easy to find because your name is so unusual!”
“Get out.” Karkat said simply. John looked upset then, so upset that Karkat was a little taken aback by it.
“No! I - look I um...” John buried his face in his hands, then took a deep breath. And Karkat wasn’t sure why he hadn’t called Podgorny “Do you want to go for a coffee with me? On your lunch break. Or after work. Whenever.”
“It doesn’t have to be in a homosexual way!” John whined.
“What the fuck is your deal, kid?”
“Look. I just. Um. It’s really important to me, that I get to know you!” He blurted, then he blushed. “I mean. Don’t you feel like... in the two minutes that we spoke that we... really made a connection? Like... Don’t you feel like we’ve met before. That us being friends was... Meant to be?”
Now, that was fucking retarded. That entire little speech was fucking retarded. But it was also kind of romantic. ‘Meant to be’ god, the idea was fucking ridiculous, but John was earnest as hell and Karkat kind of wanted to believe it. There was just something... nostalgic? About talking to John. It was like meeting an old friend he hadn’t seen in forever.
“You’re pretty fucking desperate aren’t you kid?”
“Incredibly.” John replied, with a shy smile. Karkat went to pinch his nose – oh wow ouch no bad idea – but didn’t, settling for sighing and shaking his head instead.
“Listen fuckass, I am not in the habit of indulging fucking weirdoes, so consider yourself lucky that I’m fucking doing this for you. We close at six, I will have one coffee with you. I am telling my roommate that, if he doesn’t hear from me by 7 PM, to assume that you have kidnapped me and made a suit out of my skin.” Karkat grunted. John smiled, like, really smiled, and he just seemed to glow when he did. Karkat glared down at the counter.
“Okay. Great. Thank you so much for this.” John clapped and squeaked, like a nine year old girl with a new pretty dress.
“You’re welcome you fucking freak.”
“My name is John by the way. John Egbert.”
Karkat left work and found John hanging around outside, eager puppy look firmly fixed upon his eager puppy’s face. John dragged him to the nearest coffee shop, and sat him down at what was probably his regular table. John ordered him a coffee and ordered himself something stupid and pink. He suckled at a straw, looking all of five years old while he shuddered and complained about brain freeze. Karkat sipped his coffee.
“I like your shirt!” He proceeded to reach over the table and pluck Karkat’s shirt. His... plain, black, baggy shirt. It had a little cancer symbol stitched into the side. Kanaya had started making them for people’s birthdays the year that she got really into all of that zodiac crap.
“It’s virtually the same as all of my other shirts.” He said. John laughed, rather knowingly.
“So, tell me about yourself.” He said, suddenly, Karkat swallowed too much hot coffee too quickly.
“Did you not already read all about me on Facebook.”
“Well... No, because you blocked me.”
“Yes, yes I did.” Karkat gave him a very brief, very nasty smile. John returned the smile sheepishly.
“Um.” John scratched his stubble – apparently he hadn’t shaved in a few days, and he was actually growing more of an impressive beard than Karkat ever could. But Karkat was a ginger, and even though his hair leaned more toward an auburn, his beard would only ever grow in a glorious fiery red. He looked like a gross straggly Viking, “So, are you still in college?” John asked. Karkat stopped thinking about beards in order to scowl.
“I’m twenty six.” He replied.
“Jesus, really?” John looked completely shocked. “That’s so weird! You should be my age shouldn’t you?”
“Um. Well, I was born in 1989, so... Um... No.”
“That is so weird!” He repeated, taking a thoughtful slurp of his frothy pink thing.
“Trust me, if anything is weird right now, the fact I was born in 1989 was not one of them.” Karkat muttered. John swallowed, and nodded.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” He conceded. “Did you go to college?”
“What did you take?”
“No way! That’s what I’m taking!” He said, giving a small delighted round of applause. Everything he did was so exaggerated and campy, down to the movements of his small, full, toothy mouth. Watching John was sort of like watching a horrible, hammy actor, who went so far past being a ham, that he was just... magnetic. Karkat was unable to stop watching him, through a mix of horror and fascination. Everything was exciting. Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. And he reminded Karkat of himself, a little, early on in college. Not that Karkat was running around camping it up, and being outwardly enthusiastic about things. But there had been a little John inside him, being all faggily delighted and naively perky about things at one point. But college had killed him.
“You’re a freshman, aren’t you?” He said. John nodded so vigorously that his glasses almost flew off his face.
“Yes! I love college! It’s so great! Living with your buddies and partying. I mean, not that I do much partying-”
“Yeah! Mostly I stay up late and watch movies and stuff. Pretty cool, huh?”
“There I go, talking about myself.” He shook his head, and took a long sip of his drink. “Did you just get a BA, or... Are you still studying?”
“I have an MA-”
“Wow! What the hell are you doing in a crapsack place like that store?”
“I realised a few months into my PHD that I hate biology and I hated college and I had no idea why I was there or what I wanted to do with my life.” Karkat spat. And it ended up coming out a lot more vicious sounding than he’d actually intended.
John looked pretty put out.
“Oh.” He licked his lips, and gave Karkat a sad smile. “I really like biology.” He looked disappointed, “Um... So, are you going back to college to pursue another career or-?”
“Did you only hear half of that sentence or something?”
John shook his head again. It was like conversing with a child. “So... you just work in that store?”
“No. I also watch a lot of TV. I take care of my loser friends, that’s a pretty big thing that I do.” John frowned at him slightly. Karkat then, leaned in toward John, and spoke in a very hushed tone, his face softening considerably. “And there’s also... Well... I’ve never told anyone this before... but I volunteer at the hospital on some nights, reading to sick kids. A lot of them are... they’re terminal. But they’re such little troopers. They’re an inspiration to me.” He made himself well up, smiling, and gazing wistfully into the distance. John’s face was a picture of glee. He looked like a mother that had just been handed a crappy macaroni card by her five year old.
“Fuck no! I hate children. Especially sick children.” Karkat snorted. And John’s face fell. And Karkat felt a teensy bit guilty.
“So you’re not doing anything... anything worthwhile at all?” John asked, having now shifted from disappointment into, apparently just being upset. Karkat wondered why his personal failures should be so deeply affecting this stranger.
“But... You’re happy, at least, aren’t you?” John looked a little hopeful.
“Not in the slightest.” John stopped looking hopeful.
“I... So you’re... Miserable and you’re wasting your life.”
“Well... I mean... You were so ambitious! I just. I really thought you would make something out of yourself.” John said, he began removing his straw from his cup, and repeatedly stabbing it back through the lid of his drink.
“Look,” Karkat slammed down his coffee cup, having grown sick of this stupid bullshit, “Do I know you, Egbert?”
“I’m sorry. I must be really confusing to you.” He replied.
“I... We used to know each other. But you don’t remember.”
“No it was. Um.” John’s eyes rolled back into his head, he suddenly smiled, to himself by the looks of it, then said, “We lived on the same street growing up. You just always seemed cool and I used to really look up to you I guess.” John looked impressed with himself. Karkat... Stared.
“Really.” That did explain an awful lot, he supposed. But he wasn’t sure if he was prepared to swallow the story. He couldn’t quite connect John with the Street where he grew up. He could connect John with something, but he wasn’t sure if it was exactly his memories. John was familiar in the murky way, that something you might dream about is familiar to you, even though you swear you’ve never seen it before.
He remembered John, but he wasn’t sure if he remembered him in the conventional sense of the word.
“Yeah! I kind of owe you one bro. For um... inspiring me and stuff. And I think I can fix this. You.”
“Really.” Karkat raised an eyebrow.
“Of course!” He nodded, that same over the top nod again. “When are you next free?” he asked, all traces of disappointment replaced by a new enthusiasm.
“Tomorrow.” Said Karkat. He couldn’t quite bring himself to lie.
“Awesome!” John grinned, and half danced in his chair. “Meet me here tomorrow at nine.”
“Oh come on,” John rolled his eyes and pursed his lips, being indignant just about as fabulously as he did everything else, “You just said you don’t have anything better to do.”
“I do have plans with my friend in the afternoon.”
“Kanaya?” Karkat almost jumped down John’s throat over that one, before he remembered that he had seen Kanaya and Karkat in the cafe the other day. “Cancel. She won’t mind... In fact, send her to this great Pizza place. Have a coupon.” John pulled a coupon from his pocket, then slapped it down on the table.
“... Okay.” Karkat took the coupon and put it in his own pocket. “What are you even going to do with me?”
“I’m fixing you!”
“So, I have known you for... all of an hour. Except apparently we grew up on the same street, which I will choose to believe for now, by the way,” Karkat looked John dead in the eye, and found the boy to be dumbly grinning. Karkat looked down at the table. “And you have decided that it’s appropriate for you to try and ‘fix me’ because you think I’m that much of a fucking loser. And you think you’re doing me a favour, and don’t appear to see how fucking rude and... rude, you’re being.” Karkat sat back, and drank the last of his coffee.
John seemed to consider his answer.
“Yeah!” He grinned. Teeth, teeth everywhere.
“... Well. I guess I have fuck all else to do tomorrow.”
Spent the whole day writing with an epic hangover oh God. Ah, not much to say, apart from that I was thinking about doing some illustrations or something (OR IF ANYONE WANTED TO DO SOME OR-) if I have the time, so that'll be delightful for... no one.
Chapter 4: ==> Go for a walk/Be the Watchmaker
Karkat, rather unusually, dropped off to sleep at a reasonable time that evening – even with Gamzee and Travis playing Guitar Hero in the living room and Sticky yowling on the fire escape. Though his sleep was predictably disturbed.
He dreamt, not for the first time, of a land steeped in a violet fog, with black buildings that seemed to be pumping blood into the already scarlet oceans. It pulsed beneath his feet, and allowed itself to be drawn into his lungs, and the whole place seemed to be alive, seemed to have been created just for him. But for some reason, he wasn’t so much amazed by the place, as he felt like it was kind of a dig at him?
(It was things like this that made him not like talking about these dreams – “Oh yeah, well I was on this planet with oceans of blood, I felt like it had been custom made for me, but I took it really personally. The planet was totally mocking me.”)
A man stood before him, in a suit and a hat, glaring with jagged teeth. He was dressed entirely in black – this black was perhaps the blackest black Karkat had ever seen, with absolutely no hint of the blue or green or red when he stood in the light. His skin, too, was this same shade of black, and the white of his eyes and his teeth stood out so clearly, it was as if they were alight. Karkat was far too distracted by this man’s appearance to notice that he’d come toward him with a knife.
He was not afraid of pain. He was, however, afraid of his own blood.
The sight of it, quite frankly, freaked him the fuck out. In and out of his dreams, he just wasn’t a fan of seeing it.
Though, he knew he was freaked the fuck for a different reason here – and he knew he was babbling on and on about it and whatever it was he was saying, the all black man in front of him stopped looking pissed off, and started looking like he felt sorry for him.
Karkat woke up then, due to a bang (Gamzee tripping over the Playstation wires) not in a cold sweat or any kind of post nightmare panic – just annoyed that he’d woken up, a little confused and with that same strange sense of Déjà Vu he felt around John.
Though, for him, dreams about alien planets and oddly coloured people were something of a norm. They were almost guaranteed, should he fall asleep. Though this one was particularly vivid, and there was something faintly upsetting about it.
He had been more ashamed of his blood than afraid of it, and that struck him as being very, very odd. Though, at the same time, it made perfect sense to him.
Not that he had any fucking idea why it should.
He woke up at 3AM and resigned himself to getting up, swaddled in his quilt, and watching Gamzee and Travis play their stupid game.
Travis fell asleep in his chair at around 4, and Gamzee just sort of wandered off and left them both at half past.
Karkat noticed Travis was shivering, because there was no heat in their shitty apartment and it was getting dangerously close to winter. Karat dumped his quilt on top of Travis (because he was a fucking great guy like that) and decided to go for a walk.
He was careful to slam the door of the apartment as loudly as possible, before he trotted down four flights of stairs and outside.
Walking at night in the bad part of a relatively big city probably wasn’t the smartest thing he could have been doing with his time, but Karkat didn’t really care. It was windy as fuck out. He preferred doing this in summer, when it was warm, and the sun started coming up early. It made it harder for him to sleep, but easier for him to walk. He’d often come out to find the sky dyed a strange shade of green, probably from a combination of the sky itself and the pollution from the orange street lamps that remained lit.
The whole street was bathed orange now, and the sky was a clear indigo, the stars obscured by the city lights. Even though he’d despised the place (as he despised... most things, really) it was times like this that he missed home. He’d loved the clear night skies.
He’d never slept well as a child either, and he and his mother had spent countless nights lying out on their lawn, while she pointed out each constellation, and named individual stars.
She always did Cancer first – for obvious reasons.
The brightest star was named Beta Cancri, or Al Tarf (which was Arabic for something Karkat couldn’t remember) which was an orange giant. Not quite a super giant, but on its way there.
The constellation was named after a servant of Hera, a giant crab who’d been sent to assist the hydra in the murder of Heracles. Heracles had beaten the fuck out of the crab, obviously, and Hera put the image of the crab in the sky, as a way of thanking it.
He’d once asked his mother, “Why the fuck did you name me after some squished ass giant crab?”. Her initial response (“Because I love crabs, dipshit.”) had not been satisfying, but after a little more questioning (“Why don’t you just tell me, fuckass.”) he’d gotten a proper answer out of her.
It had been by far one of his clearest childhood memories. She’d turned her head to face him, but stayed flat on her back, and said: “When I heard the story first, it really upset me. I mean... what a fucking bitch sending a poor crab out to do her dirty work. And... I dunno if you’ve ever felt like this about anything, but... I just felt so sorry for it. I was real young when I first heard the story, and it just. I dunno, I could never imagine doing that to a poor little crab, or anyone. And it just... It hurt.” She’d sniggered at herself, and looked back up at the sky. “Basically, you’re named after some squished ass giant crab because I couldn’t contain my tender motherly feelings for mythological marine life.”
And he’d said, “That’s so fucking retarded.” Then she hit him – not hard or anything – and started laughing again.
Karkat tripped over a paving slab, and out of his memory, finding his throat felt a little tight, and his brain felt kind of... itchy.
The wind stung his face while he walked, and only seemed to get stronger and stronger the further he watched. He didn’t turn around though. The thought didn’t even cross his mind.
He watched his feet while he walked now, rather than the empty sky, and sighed. He was so tired. Tired of not being able to sleep, and tired of his shitty job, and tired of his shitty apartment, and tired of this fucking unending purgatory he’d tripped into the second he stepped out of high school.
Maybe he’d get a good night’s sleep soon, and go back to not caring.
He looked up, briefly, wind making his eyes water when he did, and saw a figure stood dead still in front of him.
Face obscured by shadow, a dress flapped around its legs, its long, knotted hair whirling violently up around it. It waved, tentatively.
She nodded. “Hi Karkat.” She said flatly.
“It’s 5AM.” He said.
“I couldn’t sleep.” She crossed her arms, wearing a heavy jacket over what looked like a night dress. She shuffled then, almost awkward, and tossed her head in a fruitless attempt to move the hair from her eyes. “I... It was windy and- I had to come out.” She shrugged. She was hesitant, but her tone was as fey and oddly authoritative as ever.
“This isn’t any of your weirdo ‘all dis be inevitable’ quantum-time-crap, is it?” Karkat asked impatiently. She only chuckled softly, and pointed westward.
“Look up, over there.” She said, Karkat followed her finger. “Do you see it?” she asked. Karkat narrowed his eyes, staring into a dully illuminated patched of sky. He saw a silhouette, whipping around in the distance, then stopping and floating.
“Is that a bird?” He asked, a little at a loss for words. These were the hazards of hanging around with Aradia, weird shit was just drawn to her like she was some kind of freak magnet.
“Nope.” She replied.
“Well I’m not asking if it’s a fucking plane, if it ain’t Superman.” Karkat sneered. She sighed, sounding at least dimly amused. Karkat continued to watch the distant shape, watching it spin, and turn, come closer. The closer it got, the more human it seemed to grow.
“The fuck is that?” He asked.
“I’ve no idea.” Aradia smiled, very faintly, “Though I’ve feeling we’ll find out soon.” She sort of held his wrist for a moment. “Goodnight Karkat.” She said, in practically a whisper, then turned on her heel and left.
A flash of anger, and frustration, “I fucking hate your weirdo cryptic bullshit!” He practically screamed after her. She didn’t even turn around, and he wished he had something to throw.
He stood rooted to the spot for a while, watching the silhouette dance around in the sky. It was almost enticing – hypnotising – begging him to come play with it. Like he was Wendy and the figure was Peter Pan. Or a less faggy simile.
In the end, he just kind of... ran. Ran back to his apartment, churning up a butt load of explanations – it was just a plastic bag, it was just a balloon, fuck what Aradia said, it was just a bird or something. He was over tired. He was seeing things. He’d been hanging round Travis too much, because he was seeing fucking fairies, or whatever the fuck that thing was supposed to be.
He didn’t get to sleep till 8AM, and Travis woke him up at 10 with a breakfast of burnt toast and virtually raw eggs.
How the fucker had managed to survive for this long was beyond Karkat.
As is said by the universally regular, but not quite constant, Dan Aykroyd in the 1989 classic Ghostbusters II: “Death is but a door. Time is but a window. I'll be back."
Though, he was actually quoting some fictional dead guy (Vigo the Carpathian), but, none the less dear Reader, it is a quote that has great relevance to our tale.
This successfully sums up the outlook of one Ms. Aradia Megido, in an easy-to-swallow, capsulated manner.
You see, dear Reader, Ms. Megido was rather a complicated young woman, with rather a complicated outlook on life, and truly it could only be summed up by a quote from one of the last true bastions of uncomplicated family entertainment.
Ms. Megido was, by trade, a watchmaker, having fallen into the profession after developing obsessions with the concepts of time, fate and inevitability, after experiencing rather a brutal attack in the thirteenth year of her life.
Her mother brutally murdered before her eyes, and Ms. Megido virtually eviscerated and left for dead, it was actually a huge shock to all that she had survived the experience at all. It was, however, not so much of shock when many found her to be a changed person. Ms. Megido began to claim that the voices of the dead rung in her ears constantly. She lost interest in her previous hobbies (archaeology, socialising, conversing, eating) and began to think only of fate; of the unavoidable approach of the future, its way of constantly kicking your backside and leaving you with no such thing as a true present. She stared at clocks for hours on end, the same thoughts buzzing around her mind, the same voices howling in her ears.
Rumour had it, in fact, that these voices gave Ms. Megido cryptic instructions and ideas, that she felt she had little choice other than to follow or follow through with.
In High School, she had been “The creepy Goth chick who thinks she’s fucking psychic” – and though she was teased mercilessly, people often came to her for her “abilities.”
Sometimes she could help, sometimes she had to make stuff up. Either way, she charged five dollars a pop and made good money.
Rather like Mr. Vantas, Ms. Megido was difficult to be around – though for quite different reasons. All found her terrifying or virtually unbearable, barring one Mr. Solomon Captor (or Mr. Sollux Captor, rather, as he had endeavoured to have his first name legally changed to his hacker handle, in the twenty first year of his life) who found her fascinating. Though Mr. Captor had always been a morbid little so-and-so.
Her social isolation only increased when she became obsessed with building watches. She’d been the only one of her friends not to go to college, choosing instead to set up a small watch and clock repairs shop, where she also took and created custom orders. She offered a “psychic” reading service at weekends. Twenty dollars an hour.
She tended to drum her fingers to a steady Tick-Tock.
She was doing rather well for herself, and she had a great group of friends. Though often, she felt little, beyond the dullest pangs of feeling.
She had confided in Mr. Captor once, that she often thought she may not be alive at all – that she truly had died on the night of her mother’s murder, and she simply existed in some strange afterlife, or that she was, perhaps, just a very corporeal ghost.
Ms. Megido had often thought about testing this theory, but had found herself unmoved by the idea of an accidental suicide, opting instead to continue on in her state of perdition. She was excited (and this was hardly a true excitement at all) only by two things: the occasional interesting “prophecy” she would receive from her voices, and the completion or correction of a particularly tricky watch.
Ms. Megido’s story begins, truly begins, on the same treacherous October morning she would be compelled to find Mr. Vantas and point him in the direction of what she was told was a “creator of worlds, dancing upon the winds” (her voices, whatever they may be, truly did have a flair for melodrama,).
Following this, she would begin her trek home, to be promptly knocked over by a rundown old car.
Her neck would be broken, her heart would stop, and her brain would cease to function. And she would reawaken, a matter of moments later, more alive than she had been in thirteen years.
PLOT EDGING SLOWLY FORWARD LOOK AT IT GO. Um, next should be mostly (?) delightful JohnKat shenanigans and FJKINHIIIIIGHONLIIIIIFE!!!Aradia shenanigans. COMMENTS AND KUDOSESESES AND BOOKMARKS JUST KEEP ME GOING SO THANK YOU A BILLION TIMES FOR DOING IT even if I'm not replying just SERIOUSLY SO APPRECIATED YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW Also dundee998 thrust an accuradorable Karkat in my direction and I couldn't hold any of my creys GO LOOK http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a364/dundee_998/karlkarkat.png
Chapter 5: ==> Receive string of shitty answers
Thanks again for comments and bookmarks and just any acknowledgment that you're enjoying it, it makes me so very happy ^^
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Karkat stomped out of his apartment at Ten, realising he was late to meet John, but what the fuck do you expect if you arrange to meet at 9am. He still felt guilt, and ended up legging it to the cafe they’d met in despite himself. Conveniently, it was like a five minute run from his apartment building, and John was sat patiently outside on his second pink, frothy thing when Karkat got there.
“Well look who decided to show up.” He said, brightly. “I figured it was stupid to organise this on John time. Everybody says I get up way too early.” Then he yawned. “I had a super late night last night. I wanted to call this morning and reschedule, but I don’t have your number.”
“Real subtle.” Karkat snorted. John’s eyes widened.
“Oh no! I wasn’t trying to be forward there, I wasn’t even hitting on you! I just genuinely wanted your number for easy contact purposes in that moment... When I swore I was awkward.” He said wistfully, and with a paint smiled.
“Shut up.” Karkat grunted. He asked if John had a his cell with him, and he did, so Karkat entered his number while he spoke, “I had a particularly shitty night’s sleep last night too, and I can’t be bothered with you pussy footing around whatever the fuck it is you want from me.” He slammed the cell on the table, John wincing as he did. It did look pretty expensive.
“What time did you get to bed?”
“Gee! What had you up so late.”
“I couldn’t sleep anyway, never can, so I went for a walk. Fucking... bumped into my weird ass friend.” Karkat cleared his throat and actually did lower his voice to a reasonable volume, “There was this weird fucking thing in the sky. Flying. Freaked me the fuck out.” He told John. He had no idea why he did.
John was a fucking weirdo any way, he’d get it. It’s not like Karkat would give a shit if he scared the fucker off, either.
John’s smile faltered, just for a second – Karkat barely caught it. “Wow, haha, I didn’t know you were into UFOs and stuff!” John trilled.
“I’m not!” Karkat spat, in response. “Well I kind of was, when I was like twelve.” Twelve, twenty three. Same difference.
“Well it probably wasn’t anything.” John said – and it was very fucking terse compared to how he usually was. “Why don’t you sit down. Can I get you a coffee?”
“No. I didn’t get a chance to cancel on Kanaya, so I’m going to have to go see her.” Karkat grunted. He started walking away before John had even gotten up, but soon found him bounding toward him, pink thing in hand. Karkat couldn’t believe this child had the gall to be so much taller than him. It was fucking embarrassing.
“Oh cool! Can I come?”
They walked in silence for a while, John slurping loudly at his drink, Karkat glaring daggers at him when he did.
“Where does she live?” John asked, suddenly – clearly unfamiliar with the street they were on. It was, as a matter of fact, Karkat’s street – so at least he knew the boy hadn’t gone any further than cyber stalking him.
“Not too far from here. On Fifth Avenue.”
“Oh. That’s not the nicest place.” John said. He sounded surprised. Karkat guessed he didn’t blame him, John had only briefly seen Kanaya, and she was a classy bitch. Not the kind you’d expect to live on this side of town.
“It’s a hole. But she wanted to get away from her old roommate, and I guess she likes it there.”
“Huh.” John suckled his straw thoughtfully. Karkat decided John had some kind of oral fixation, and tried not to watch his lips too much while he suck at that lucky little tube of plastic. People never tended to take Karkat for a letch, but he was... pretty terrible. He figured a bit of cheeky, private perving never did no body no harm – and John wasn’t bad at all to look at.
John’s lips left the straw.
“What does she do with herself, then?”
“She works in this little clothes making place... thing. It’s called ‘Made Local’ they make their own shit and they repair vintage clothes and make all this great stuff out of them.” Karkat said. He’d always told Kanaya that her store was for pretentious hipster douche bags like Eric, but he had to admit that some of the stuff she made was pretty cool looking. “Don’t tell her I said that though.”
“My lips are sealed.” His lips were pink. “She’s so pretty, Karkat, don’t you think?” Karkat shrugged. “She shouldn’t make the clothes, she should totally model them.”
Karkat narrowed his eyes, because suddenly this all made sense. “I’m not setting you up with her, if that’s what you’re fucking failing to subtly hint at.” Karkat had maybe started thinking John had been interested in him. Not that he’d wanted him to be – or maybe he did. He hadn’t gotten laid in so long and-
“Jesus, no!” John looked borderline horrified. That still didn’t mean he was interested in Karkat. It was hard for Karkat to tell – he came off as being kind of a dickless wonder.
“S’not like I’d fucking blame you or anything, but you’re barking so far up the wrong tree.” He told John, bitter sounding.
“I understood the tree. I didn’t try to bark up it. I just thought it looked really great from a platonic distance.” There was a slightly uncomfortable pause, before John grinned. “... So have you like, tried barking up her tree before or something?”
“Uh... No.” Karkat snorted. Then he corrected himself. “Kind of.” He remembered Nepeta’s... seventeenth birthday party, it would have been. They were sort of cuddling on Nepeta’s trampoline at like three in the morning (She was sat between his spread legs, back against his chest, because both of them got weirdly touchy/feely when they were drunk,) She was smiling, and Karkat thought she looked so pretty, he just kind awkwardly propositioned her (“I know you’re dykey as fuck, but have you ever kissed a boy,”) and she’d blushed, (“No, I haven’t,”) and turned to face him, (“Wanna try it?”) then planted a surprisingly heated kiss on his lips.
“We were sixteen, it was a mutually curious barking, which we had to break off, because we both started laughing. She was all ‘If I ever needed anything to confirm I was a lesbian’ and I was all ‘If I ever needed anything to confirm you were a bitch.’”
It had almost been kind of romantic up until they started laughing. Karkat had tried to slip her the tongue, and they’d both just lost it. Karkat had never heard her laugh so much since.
John smiled, warmly. He was always fucking smiling though.
“Aww. That’s kind of cute.” He nudged Karkat. “Me and my friend Rose kind of had exactly the same thing when we were a little younger than that. Only instead of calling her a bitch I just kind of didn’t talk to her for a few days.”
“The mature way to deal with lesberejection.”
Kanaya’s apartment was on the ground floor of her building, in what felt like the dingiest corner of the floor. Karkat hammered on the door.
“Kanaya?” He waited a moment, then began pounding again. “Kanaya!” He was just being a prick now. “Come on bitch, I haven’t got all fucking day!”
She swung the door open not a moment later, clad in a t-shirt and boxer shorts, she had her arms crossed protectively over her flat chest. Her hair stuck out at all directions. Clearly having just woken up, she looked rather miffed, to say the least.
“For goodness’ sake Karkat! You have to give people longer than six seconds to get to the bloody door.” She snapped. Kanaya never really had been a morning person. “What on earth happened to your nose?”
“Edwin found out about my thing with Nepeta and broke it.” Karkat said. Kanaya just rolled her eyes.
“Well that was bound to come out at some point, I suppose. I was just about to ring you, actually.”
“Why, are you cancelling on me? Because you can’t, I’m cancelling on you first.”
“Well that’s wonderful to know, but, no.” She rubbed her eyes, smudging a little leftover eyeliner across the top of her cheek, “Aradia was hit by a car at some ridiculous hour, this morning.” She said, annoyance replaced by her usual calm.
“Holy fucking shit.” Karkat’s jaw quite literally dropped.
“Is she okay?”
“Perfectly fine. I got a call from Feferi at seven. She picked her up - and the boy who ran her over, apparently – this morning. She’s horribly bruised, and her muscles are strained and, according to her X-rays, her spine looks like it had suffered massive trauma in the past, but had healed, so the doctor’s were surprised she didn’t break it again. Of course, she’s never broken her fucking back before, so we’re all at something of a loss.” She rubbed her eyes again, frowning. She looked baffled, and sleepy, and kind of hilarious with her hair not done. “I’m going to see her this evening, you should come too.”
He nodded. “This day literally keeps getting weirder and weirder.” Karkat said. He’d basically given up trying to rationalise anything, or give it any thought.
He knew weird shit was afoot. He didn’t really care. Kanaya pursed her lips.
“She also asked Feferi to ask me to say ‘hi to John’ from her, to you.”
Karkat groaned. The universe was just really making an effort to skull fuck him right now, and he hadn’t had nearly enough sleep to put up with that bull.
John hopped out from behind the door, Kanaya gasping in fright when he did.“Tell her I said hi back.” He said, sheepish.
“You’re the waiter from the other day.”
“Uh huh.” John nodded, and held out his hand for her to shake. She took it, one arm still over her chest. She gave Karkat a look. Karkat mouthed a string of obscenities at her.
“Do you know Aradia?” She asked John. He twisted his face a little.
“You might say that.”
Kanaya just stared at John, looking to Karkat for further explanation. He could only shrug. “Well, thank goodness we’re having that drink on Friday.” She sighed.
“Uh. Do you want a pizza coupon?” John said, producing a coupon from his back pocket. He’d just given Karkat the same coupon yesterday, why did he have so many fucking coupons.
Kanaya tentatively took the coupon.
“Best Pizza in town. Go there between seven and eight PM.” John said, very confidently. Kanaya, blinked at John.
“You’ll find it makes your life a lot easier if you don’t question him. Just go with it.”
Soon they were making their way... somewhere. John was leading the way and Karkat lacked the energy to argue with him. Well, he always had energy to argue, there were just more pressing things he wished to question/yell at John over.
“What’s with all the fucking pizza coupons?” Karkat asked, removing yesterday’s coupon from the back pocket of the jeans he hadn’t actually taken off since Monday.
At least he’d changed his shirt.
“You’ll see.” John replied smugly. Karkat wanted to shove him, but he didn’t, because he could be merciful like that sometimes.
“So what the fuck are we doing today.” Karkat jogged a little, till he caught up with John. This is how he resigned to walking when he was with tall people – hell if he was going to ask someone to slow down to accommodate his stumpy legs.
“Well, I was thinking about your situation, and I realised that there’s just no way you’re going to get your life back on track until you’re happy!” John bent a little to put an arm around his shoulders, which Karkat then jerked violently. John held on, extending one hand to the sky, and smiling, “Karkat Vantas – I will make you a happy man.”
“Can you do this without,” he tried to wriggle away from John again, “Sounding like you’re going to service me sexually.”
“Uh...” John let go then, and came to a contemplative halt. “I’m going to make you... feel good?” Karkat’s eyebrow’s shot up. “That was even worse wasn’t it.”
“Fucking hell.” He face palmed, then started walking again. “Seriously, what are we doing today?”
“Well, I was thinking about maybe going to the Petting Zoo!”
“Well, you’re not going to be happy just like that! We have to work on making you happy on like... a temporary basis first!”
“And why would a Petting Zoo do that?”
“They have alpacas!”
“Really? Shit, I fucking love alpacas.”
“Sarcasm, you fucking dickweed.” Karkat snarled. He wished John didn’t have to have such a stupid, babyish little face, it was like he was kicking a puppy in the nads every time he said something dismissive. John couldn’t just look a little disappointed, he had to look utterly dejected, because Karkat didn’t like fucking alpacas.
“They have baby ducks.” He said, with a pout and a shrug – like baby ducks were some mournful bargaining tool to be pulled out only in the most desperate situations.
“I hate baby ducks.” Karkat grumbled.
“What don’t you hate, Karkat?” John asked. Karkat opened his mouth, then closed it again. A silence followed. “Wow, you’re actually having to think about that, aren’t you?”
“Give me a minute.” Karkat snapped. He thought about maybe saying that he didn’t hate his friends, but he did actually hate most of them. And that was too fucking sappy...
Nah, he hated pretty much everything, there was no point trying to make it seem like his heart wasn’t black and shrivelled like a long discarded prune. He did like films though, he supposed.
“Some movies are okay.” Karkat offered.
“I love movies! We could totally go see a movie.”John took his arm, Karkat’s growl of ‘stop fucking touching me’ was ignored. “How about that new Rob Schneider comedy. He’s a grumpy Janitor that gets turned into a mop by an angry wizard, then Adam Sandler gets hired to replace him, but he uses the Schneider mop and shenanigans ensue!”
“That sounds like literally the worst thing ever.”
“You sound like literally the worst thing ever.” Huffed John. “So what do you wanna see?” He asked. Karkat felt his face colour a little. Usually he was banned from picking movies because his taste was so shitty.
“I guess there’s this new Katherine Heigl movie. She’s a sassy CEO, and Gerard Butler is a sexy but struggling author. And they have a really intense sexual attraction. But they fall in love too.”
John sniggered, “Wow, so do you get your vagina free when you buy the ticket or-” Karkat interrupted him by forcefully yanking his arm from John’s grip. “Sorry, that wasn’t fair.” John said, sounding guilty. “There are plenty of women who wouldn’t touch that crap with a ten foot barge pole. I should have said, ‘do they take 50 IQ points at the door or’-”
“How the fuck is this coming from the boy who wanted to see a Rob Schneider movie.” John looked as if he was about to defend himself. But even he could see there was no sense in attempting to defend that.
“I bet there’s something we could both agree on.” John said, “We could go back to my place, I have 50 First Dates on DVD, do you want to watch that instead?”
“... Well it is pretty great movie.” It was, in fact, one of Karkat’s absolute favourite movie, and there was something highly unnerving about the way John seemed to smile at that. It was a smile that said ‘Haha, I fucking knew it.’ But before Karkat could properly register his suspicion, John had started bleating away about something.
“That’s what I keep telling my friends! Rose is all ‘John you’re an idiot, watch this German movie it’s a masterpiece’, then she puts on this weird fucking movie about this piano woman and uh, I can’t really remember much of it, but the lady pees next to someone’s car for like no reason, and I was like ‘how am I the idiot, this woman is peeing next to a car’. It just made no sense, but I was still stupid because I’m more impressed by like, Liv Tyler than some woman who pees next to a car.”
“Your Rose friend sounds like an idiot.” Karkat scowled, “Fuck, 50 First Dates is a really nice movie.” It was heartfelt and tragic as well as being genuinely funny!
“Did you cry?” Asked John, “I cried.”
Karkat gave no answer. If he was watching the movie with John, he’d just have to stay strong.
John had somehow managed to afford a really nice looking house, in a really nice part of the city. It was relatively big, and clean, and Karkat was mystified that a college freshman could afford it. The yard was relatively small, and bordered by a white picket fence, and the front door opened into a large hallway, in which sat a flight of stairs.
The presence of pantyhose and a few bras of different sizes (one set that were average, one set practically training bra sized) drying on the radiator proved that John had at least two female roommates (and judging by her bras, one of them may have been about twelve.)
The walls were decorated with pictures. Some of a young John and what was probably his father (a proper looking man with a pipe and a fedora,) some showing a girl with long dark hair, (Jade, went Karkat’s mind, without him being quite sure why) who looked very similar to John, with a strange white dog. One picture which peaked his interest in particular, was a bizarre family portrait of a young extremely blonde boy in shades, with what Karkat could only assume was his father (a young man, just as blonde, his eyes also hidden behind dark glasses) and this weird as fucking puppet.
They were all wearing matching sweaters (including the puppet) and Karkat didn’t know whether to be amused or disturbed.
There was just one picture of a pretty blonde girl (just as weirdly blonde as that boy) and her very glamorous looking mother. They were not smiling. The mother was draped over a chaise lounge, while the girl sat on a high back chair, hugging a violin.
John let him inspect the photos, then lead him to the living room, where there was a reasonably large television, and two squishy looking couches. This room, as well, was chocked full of pictures. The largest was of John and the three people that were probably his roommates, in formal wear. It was probably their Graduation or their leaver’s ball, or something.
Roommates or not, he really still shouldn’t have been able to afford such a big fucking house. It was even bigger and nicer than his Mom’s place, and it’s not like she had a shitty salary or anything.
Karkat plopped on the larger sofa (proving it to be as squishy as it looked) as John selected the DVD from the packed shelves in the corner of the room.
“How the fuck did you afford this place?” Karkat asked.
“Um... My Dad died when I was pretty young and... my roommates, um” John cleared his throat “That’s the people in the pictures. Dave, Rose and Jade. Rose is the blonde, Jade’s got the dark hair. Um, they pretty much all had the same thing. Dead guardians. So... we’re all pretty well off, what with their wills, and selling our first houses and stuff.” John gave a sad smile, then bent down at the DVD player. This was a highly inappropriate moment for Karkat to be checking out his ass (which proved to be pretty cute).
“I’m sorry to hear that,” he said. Karkat could totally be pleasant when he wanted to be. “That must have been hard.” John nodded, but didn’t turn around. “And really strange that it happened to all four of you.”
“It really brought us together, I guess.” John sat on the sofa, next to Karkat (way too close to Karkat) and grabbed the remote, flicking the TV off standby. “We’re going to have to be quiet, ‘cause Jade’s still in bed.” He frowned, “And Dave should be, ‘cause he works nights, takes afternoon classes, but i didn’t hear him come in this morning.”
The fact that Karkat had known her name had probably just been because... John had mentioned her already, or something.
“Jade’s the girl with the dark hair?”
“Are you guys related?”
“Yeah... Sort of.” John smirked a little, not taking his eyes off the remote while he flicked through the language options on the DVD.
“Getting pretty fucking tired of your non-answers, Egbert.” John reached over (rather impressively, without looking first) and lay his finger over Karkat’s lips.
“Shh, only Adam Sandler now.”
Part way into the movie, John and Karkat were disturbed by keys jangling in the front door, and the sound of heavy footsteps in the hall. The same very blonde boy from the pictures strode into the living room, shades in places. He was a little smaller than average height, and had a relatively slender build. His clothes were simple, but very trendy and effective, showing off the obviously toned lines of his arms and torso. He nodded to Karkat when he entered. Even with his shades hiding his eyes, the way he stood and the greyish tinge to his very pallid skin, Karkat could see how exhausted he was.
“Sup.” He said. John hit pause.
“Jesus, Dave, you look terrible! Are you only just home?”
“Yep.” He nodded, and leant on the door frame for support. “Busy morning. Hit Aradia with a car on the way back from work. That Aradia.” Karkat’s jaw dropped once again. “Oh don’t look so shocked, man, I know people. We probably had a fling once, or whatever you’re gonna make up to make yourself feel better.” And Karkat had fucking nothing to say to that. “Nice hair, by the way.” Or that. “Then I went to class. So if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be going to bed before I collapse.” With that, Dave slammed the door shut.
John gave a sheepish chuckle. “Wow, is he talking about your friend?”
“You know he fucking is.”
“Gee, what a coincidence!” John shrugged. Fury washed over Karkat.
“This is more than just a coincidence, isn’t it. And don’t fucking make like it is when it isn’t.”
John sighed, heavily. “Look, I could explain, but you won’t believe me.”
Karkat could only grit his teeth. “Try me.”
“Not yet.” John, looking pained, put a hand on Karkat’s knee, which he then proceeded to shift uncomfortably, “Look, Karkat... I promise I’ll explain all of this soon. I just-” He patted Karkat’s knee, then buried his face in his hands. “Can you do me a favour, and stick around till Rose gets home. She’ll help.”
“But she won’t explain.”
John shook his head, “She’ll probably be able to get you into a state where-” John cut himself off, grimacing, “Can we please just watch the movie?”
Karkat growled quietly to himself. “I don’t know why I’m doing this.” He said, genuinely at a loss. He ran a hand through his hair, and went to pinch the bridge of his nose (he kept forgetting about the fucking plaster bandage thing). “I guess, at this point, it wouldn’t sound crazy at all to say I feel like I’ve met you before. Just. I dunno, not in this life, or some shit.”
“Not crazy at all.” Said John.
Chapter 6: Be the Irresponsible Driver
SORRY IT'S BEEN SO LONG - I got lazy and busy and Aaaah, sorry.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (or, rather, a long since destroyed universe) an important film was made. And that film was called:
“In Which A School Hive Geek Wins A Date To The Recreational Gathering Of Students To Mark The End Of A Season With The Most Pathetic Girl In The School Hive Though The Date Never Took Place Because Our Hero Has A Ridiculous Accident, Six Sweeps Later Our Hero Realises He Still Wants The Girl For His Matesprit And Hires An Investigator To Find Her Who Becomes Flushed For The Girl Himself And Feeds Our Hero False Information, So That He Should Wax Black For Her Instead, He, However, Remains Flushed, And Eventually Wins The Girl After Approximately 12 Comedic Scenes, 3 Kisses, 4 Misunderstandings, 2 Betrayals, And One Twist, The Twist Being That All Along The Investigator Was Truly Waxing Black For Our Hero All Along, Culminating In a Dramatic Hate Kiss, Which The Girl Watches in Delight That Her Matesprit Should Have Filled Another Quadrant.”
Critically, it was panned for its pretentiously short title, poor acting, and the fact that the whole thing was considered by many to be frightfully unfunny. The film, however, contained one very profound line: “Is that... Is that hair domination salve?”
No. No wait, that wasn’t it.
No, the very profound line was said by the film’s hero, in a scene which seemed to be completely removed from the rest of the film. He said:
“Trolls can go up against gravitation in a propane fuelled floating device, why should he not hope that ultimately he may be able to stop or accelerate his drift along the Time-Dimension, or even turn about and travel the other way.”
As was said before, dear Reader, this scene seemed to have absolutely nothing else to do with the rest of the film – it is, however relevant to the life of one Dave Strider, who gained the ability to “accelerate his drift along the Time-Dimension” and also “turn about and travel the other way” at the tender age of thirteen.
His other friends had gained powers too, but it became abundantly clear that not only was Mr. Strider’s power the coolest but, that it was also by far the most dangerous.
In fact, it took him rather a long time to accept that, even though he was the Knight of Time, he couldn’t just go around using his powers all willy nilly, regardless of how useful they may or may not be at the time.
Yes, dear Reader, Mr. Strider was an effective God amongst men who was banned from using his powers in anything but the most extreme of circumstances. It was as much a begrudging self imposed ban, as it was one gleefully enforced by his friends, who seemed to have a real bug up their asses about Mr. Strider accidently tearing a hole in the fabric of their carefully crafted universe.
So when Mr. Strider found a mysterious figure tumbling over the hood of his car one suspiciously windy October morning, he was genuinely very proud of himself that he didn’t go back in time to half an hour ago when he left the radio station.
He’d have been thoroughly buggered, dear Reader, had circumstances not turned out the way they had.
You see, Mr. Strider was not supposed to drive at night. Nor was Mr. Strider supposed to drive at all really, the terrible eyesight (which was a nigh on partial blindness) that came from his albinism (he thanked Junior Ecto-biologist Egbert for that one,) making him something of a danger on the roads, especially at night. Or, five AM-ish as this was.
But he’d had a bad night on his show, with strange callers that made even him uncomfortable – and he had class in the morning. He had just wanted to go home.
After he’d hit what he was going to assume was some kind of hobo with his car, he sat for a second and contemplated what to do.
And this, dear Reader, is where we find Dave Strider: aged 18, attending one of the country’s most mediocre art schools, in his shitty car, wondering how exactly one deals with run down a hobo.
Driving away would probably be the easiest option. He could just fuck off. He’d clearly just hit a hobo, and nobody cared about hobos, they’re hobos. There’d be no way anyone would ever find out.
Alternatively, he could turn back time and give himself a pre-emptive slap on the wrist “Get the bus douche bag, it’s too dark to drive.” But God only knows what that could result in fucking... dinosaurs coming back to life or some shit (chaos theory really was the bane of Dave’s existence).
He gathered himself, took a deep breath and decided to not be a total hobo murdering douche. He got out of his car, tripping over his own feet as he jogged toward whoever he’d run over.
It was, in fact, a young woman. In the faint light of dawn, combined with the street lamps, Dave could see that her skin was quite dark, enough so that she was probably west Asian or something like that. Her hair was long, tangled and sloppily dyed a deep red. She was wearing a big coat, what was probably a nightie and a pair of large, military style boots. He couldn’t see her face through her hair, but he could see that her neck was snapped, and that every exposed bit of skin was badly scraped. She wasn’t breathing.
He barely hesitated before he made the move to turn time back an hour, to run back to the station and tell himself to get on a fucking bus, but it was this hesitation that saved him what could have been an awful lot of trouble.
He heard a snap, and jumped with fright (thankful there was no one there to see him do so,) he looked over at the body, and saw that her neck appeared to have cracked itself back into place. She was staring up at the sky - still not breathing.
Dave... well Dave would have crapped his pants if he hadn’t managed to remind himself he wasn’t two years old in time. Moderately horrified, he stepped closer to the body, standing over her and staring into her now visible, very glassy eyes.
Even with how badly scraped her face was, Dave knew.
He’d always known the day would come when fate dragged them all back together (Rose had said so. And John had already bumped into Karkat and Kanaya), but it was something of a shock that it had to happen so... violently.
He leapt back with a combination of shock and terror when she took a long, painful sounding breath. Her chest lurched up violently, and she made that strange, inward wheezing noise. She choked and spluttered and coughed up a little blood before she sat bolt upright a grin on her face so awkward and stretched looking, it was as if she’d long since forgotten how to smile, and was only now learning again.
She looked up at him, dead in the eyes/shades, and pointed.
“You are Dave Strider.” She said. Dave didn’t react on the surface, giving only a single nod. On the inside, he was freaking the fuck out. “And I don’t know how I know that. I just do.” She twitched, slightly, “And you already know who I am. And you’ve been looking for us. For me and my friends.” She blinked. “And for some reason, I’m totally okay with that.”
“Can you stand?” Dave asked, ignoring her previous statements. He wasn’t quite sure whether or not to confirm or dismiss what she’d said.
She tried to stand, putting a little weight on her ankle before hissing with pain, “I don’t think so.” she replied. Dave merely nodded again, and went back to his car. He opened the passenger’s side door, then returned to Aradia, where he pulled her into his arms, with some effort, because he was a gentleman like that.
Aradia was quite small, but she was by no means light. And Dave, being a little below average height and rather slender, wasn’t exactly built for carrying fully grown women around.
He staggered over to his car, and tried to gently lower her into the seat, though it ended up with him half dropping her, and her yelping with pain.
“Sorry.” He said. He slammed the door shut on her and jogged to his side of the car, throwing himself into his seat with a force that made the little vehicle creek.
“Where are we going?” Aradia asked, as Dave twisted his key in the ignition.
“Because I just mowed you down with my car, and you can’t stand.”
“Oh. Yeah.” She laughed then, loud, and rasping – raising a hand to her lips afterward, as though she could not believe the sound had come from her mouth.
Dave gave her a glance, not taking his eyes off the road. She was chuckling to herself still, a tentative grin slowly stretching her face.
“I haven’t laughed like that in years.” She said, “How strange.”
When Dave had explained what had happened, the Doctor told him to stop driving. Unless it was a clear, bright day or an absolute emergency. He’d been expecting to be hauled down to the police station and for his licence to be hacked to pieces in front of his eyes. But the Doctor was old, a little flat of voice and dead behind the eyes, and apparently couldn’t be bothered. Aradia chattered to him, regardless, seemingly to anyone who would listen.
He told Dave, after Aradia had gone through a CAT scan, that she was awfully lucky that that bad back of hers hadn’t been damaged again. When the Doctor asked her how she’d sustained this original injury (“Have you been hit by a car before?”) Aradia could only shrug. Apparently she’d never had a back injury before.
It was a cloudy that morning, and still rather too dark. Dave decided, while a nurse cleaned Aradia’s scrapes, and another bandaged her leg (she’d torn a couple of muscles, or something – she needed to be on crutches for a while,) that he would see Aradia home, then get the bus to college. His apartment wasn’t too far from the hospital, and he could easily walk to collect it in the afternoon. After some sleep.
“Who’s taking you home?” Dave asked.
“I called my friend while you were in the bathroom.”
“Feferi.” She said, lightly. “She’s the only one who can drive. Apart from Equius and -” She stopped herself, suddenly, “Edwin – sorry. That’s his name.” She looked thoughtful, for a moment, then shook her head, with a small smile.
“I’ll come with you, if that’s okay. I’d feel like a douche if I left you.” Dave told her.
She nodded, “I told Feferi to expect another person.” Dave raised his eyebrows, “I thought you might. You stayed this long.” She tiled her head to the side a, a little perplexed looking. “You don’t talk much.” She said. Dave shrugged. “Neither do I, usually. It’s strange. I can’t seem to shut up... I’ll be giving Feferi a run for her money today.”
Dave hadn’t had much contact with Feferi during the game. Almost all he knew about her, was that she was supposed to have been the next Empress of their planet, that she was the only one of her kind with her blood colour, and that they’d placed her in the royal family of some obscure Island nation, off the coast of Oman.
One of their conditions was that the lives of their friends must reflect the lives they’d lead on Alternia. It was an odd condition, that they’d adhered to to the best of their ability, and one that they’d always felt slightly guilty about.
Feferi was one of the ones they’d never expected to find their way to the others. But Dave was now seeing her first hand, as she rushed into the ER.
She looked, in a word, exotic. Her skin golden brown, her hair wild, black, waist length and tightly curled, along with her broad, striking facial features, certainly leant her the look of royalty – but by no means was she the delicate Princess of picture books. She was fierce looking. Though, this was detracted from completely by her clothes and the fact she appeared to be slightly damp. She appeared to be wearing a pair of cargo pants and an oversized tweed jacket over a wet suit – she also had a pair of goggles hanging round her neck.
“Aradia!” She squeaked, rushing toward them. “Oh my gosh! I was so worried there! How’s your leg, does it hurt?” She went to touch Aradia’s bandaged leg, then snatched her hand back. She... really didn’t look fierce at all, now.
“I’m fine, honestly Feferi. I have pain killers and crutches. I’d really just like to go home.” Aradia said, catching Feferi’s hand and giving it a friendly pat. She looked surprised by the gesture, but pleased. Feferi glanced at Dave, smiling, and sticking out her hand. He’d expected her to be a little more... royal than this.
“And who is this handsome gentleman?” She asked. Dave shook her hand, giving her a quick wink over the frames of his shades.
“Dave Strider.” He said, “And you are?”
“Feferi Peixes.” She replied, returning his wink with an exaggerated enthusiasm. Dave was a little disappointed – he usually got a blush for a wink.
“He’s the one that ran me over.” Aradia piped, cheerfully.
“Oh.” Feferi’s grip loosened. “Well, it was sweet of you to stay with her.”
“He’s seeing me home too.” Aradia told her. One of the nurses rushed over when he saw they were about to leave, giving Aradia a reminder of how many pain killers to take.
“Though, you’ll probably know all about this with that back of yours. Yipes!” He said.
Feferi helped her onto her crutches, and Dave watched. He stood close behind as they made their way into the hospital parking lot, in case Aradia slipped on her crutches. Feferi, who had been dawdling along next to Aradia, picked up her pace, slightly, Aradia matching it.
“What did that nurse mean. About your back.”
“My X-ray thing said I’d broken before – that it was a miracle I’d survived that and that it hadn’t been damaged again. I told them I’d never hurt it before, but it was definitely my X-ray.”
“There must have been a mix up.” Feferi said, shaking her head. “We’d better hurry up. Eridan is waiting in the car and-”
“You’re not indulging him with that silly nickname too, are you?” Aradia asked, her tone very friendly, if a little teasing.
“Anything to stop him from whining.” Feferi said. “You’re in a really good mood. I mean. You’re. Well, you’re smiling.” She sounded surprised.
“Strange, isn’t it?” She glanced over her shoulder at Dave. “I’d almost say that getting hit by that car did me a world of good.”
Eridan was... wearing a scarf. And a badly knitted green sweater, with white squirrels on it. And very tight jeans. He was sporting a quiff, a lock of which had been bleached white blonde, and stood starkly out against the chestnut brown of the rest of his hair. The pièce de résistance of this ensemble, was the big, plastic framed, Bo Diddley style glasses that sat upon a pale, haughty looking face.
Dave was not surprised. Dave had never ever been less surprised by anything. Ever. He was a little surprised by the fact that Eridan seemed to be a little... pudgy. Maybe he needed to cut down a little on his Starbucks intake or something.
“Hello Eric.” Said Aradia. Deliberately.
“It’s Eridan.” He corrected, sharply, and with a surprisingly think accent. German, if Dave had to guess. They’d put him with some old, rich European family. The Princely House of Something or Other.
“Asy.” He spat. Dave had no idea what it meant, but it sounded douchey.
“Be nice Eridan.” Feferi said, with the air of a put upon mother.
“I just think it’s rude to pull you out of w-work, when the bus is like-” He couldn’t pronounce his Ws properly, half stammering on them too. Feferi interrupted him, not verbally, but with a hiss. A “tsst!” Eridan huffed. “I’m sorry you got hit by a car and I’m glad you’re not dead and stuff.”
“Thank you.” Said Aradia.
“Can you sit in the back, please, Eridan.” Feferi asked. “There’s more room for her leg in the front.”
“No.” He snapped. Feferi glared. Even Dave was a little frightened – he didn’t blame Eridan for diving into the backseat of the car. Feferi helped Aradia into her seat. Dave took her crutches, and joined Eridan in the back seat. It was a nice car – but not anywhere near as nice as it should have been, considering the family they put Feferi with. Dave really wouldn’t be surprised if she’d run away, or something.
“Hey.” Eridan said. “Who are you?”
“Dave. I hit Aradia with my car.”
“Cool.” Eridan replied, with a smile. “I’m Eridan.” He held out his hand. Dave ignored it, keeping his eyes forward.
“Sup.” He mumbled in reply.
“Is that your natural hair colour?” Eridan asked. “W-wow, it’s so blonde.” For a second, Dave thought he was going to touch his hair. But he didn’t. “They always say blondes have more fun.”
“Mmm.” He drew that ‘mmm’ out a little too long for Dave’s liking. “So, are you like... a model or somethin’? Because you’re really good lookin’.” Dave didn’t even dignify that with a response. “So are you like... single or-”
“Down boy.” Feferi said, as she plopped herself in the driver’s seat.
“W-what? I’m not allowed to ask our new friend Dave some perfectly innocent questions?” Eridan snapped – then he turned back to Dave. “So do you work out?”
Dave got the feeling this was going to be a very long car ride.
The Camera panned away to an aerial shot of Adam Sandler’s fishing boat, then the screen faded to black, and the credits rolled. 50 First Dates was truly an underrated movie. Few Films could explore the nature of love and the human memory with such wit and delicacy.
Karkat heard a sniff to his left. He saw John wiping his eye with his sleeve.
“Are you kidding me?” He snarled.
“It’s really tragic! She’ll like... never remember her own kids or anything! And poor Adam Sandler! His wife will keep forgetting him. And he loves her so much. It’s heart breaking!” John said, his voice a little tight.
“That’s what I told Kim at work when she asked me how I could justify liking this movie.” Said Karkat, waving his hands, “She thinks she’s so smart. She was all ‘why don’t you just watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind it’s exactly what you said only much better’ and I was like ‘fuck you Kim, fuck your pretentious shit.’ I hate her so much.”
“Rose really likes that movie. She tried to make me watch it, but I told her no, because any movie she liked was probably dumb and boring.” John grinned, “She got so pissed off, it was hilarious. My Prankster’s Gambit went from here,” He held his hand about knee high, “To here!” and he raised his arm above his head. Karkat didn’t want to know what a Prankster’s Gambit was. Nor did he care.
“People who think they have ‘great taste’,” Karkat sneered, “Fuck ‘em. They know nothing.” He sighed. “So when’s this Rose coming back.”
“Uh. Late. She has a job as well as school, so yeah.”
“Like any of you need jobs.”
“Well. No. But she likes it. She likes to be busy.” John shrugged. Then Karkat heard vibrating, and something that sounded suspiciously like Playing With the Boys. “That’s me.” John said pulling his phone from the pocket of his jeans. He looked at the screen, and without answering the call or hanging it up, placed it on the arm of the sofa.
“Any particular reason you’re not answering that?” Karkat asked.
“Uh.” John glanced sheepishly at his phone. “It’s just this person from class. They’re trying to get me to join their study group thing.”
“Don’t play the pronoun game with me.”
“What?” John ran a hand through his hair. He was blushing. “Well, they’re a boy. But. It’s not like that, Karkat, honestly.”
“Sure, I figured as much.” Karkat grumbled. It’s not like he cared, but he figured John wouldn't be into guys like that. Even if he was kind of... yeah, he didn’t give off a hugely gay vibe. He gave off even less of bisexual vibe. But, again, it’s not as if Karkat cared, particularly. Nope.
“Cool.” John said, smiling with relief. “So... you’re single?” John asked, a little out of the blue.
“I’d think that was pretty fucking obvious.”
“Why?” John looked genuinely confused and Karkat rolled his eyes with irritation. John was probably going to give him a lecture about his self esteem after this. And Karkat would have to explain the difference between having low self esteem and understanding that you’re weird looking, and total fucking douche bag.
“Oh no reason really. Just my entire personality.” He could hear himself yelling. John didn’t even flinch. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m pretty fucking repugnant. And I’m not the ugliest guy ever, but it’s not like it helps the whole horrible human being thing I’ve got going on here.”
John’s brow drew together, his eyes widening – Karkat was waiting for him to open his mouth and start singing something inspirational to him (You are beautiful, in every single way – and words can’t bring you down – NO NO NOOOOOOO) “I don’t think you’re horrible or repugnant or anything.” John told him, patting his thigh. Really kind of awkwardly high up on his thigh.
“Why is your hand on my fucking leg.”
“Sorry!” John snatched his hand away and tucked it into his lap. “Do you want to watch another DVD?”
“I think I just want to go home.” Karkat told him. Part of him wanted to wait for this Rose girl, and whatever she was going to do, but a lot of him was tired. A lot of him felt kind of like he’d just been kicked in the nuts because he’d managed to mistake someone who only wanted to be his friend for someone who wanted to be maybe a little more. And it’s not like he’d fallen for John or anything – he guessed he liked him a little – but it was still kind of... really disappointing. He felt like moping for a while.
“Don’t you want to talk to Rose?” John asked.
“Some other time.”
“But a second ago you were all-?”
“It’s a lot to take in, and this has been a fucked up twenty four hours, and I’ve decided I’ve had enough for today.” Karkat stood, put his hands in his pockets and left the room, John following him all the way. He grabbed Karkat’s shoulder
“Hey... Uh... is there something wrong?”
“I’ve had like two hours sleep, and my friend got hit by a car like ten minutes after I’d finished talking to her and then there was that... sky thing, and you know... there’s just been some really freaky shit going on today. I just want to go to my fucking bed, okay.” Karkat rubbed his eye, perhaps subconsciously.
“Oh yeah.” John nodded. “Uh. Have a nice sleep then, I guess.” He looked genuinely concerned. Karkat felt guilty. “And I hope your friend is okay!”
“Yeah.” He nodded. “I’ll just show myself out.” Before he could, John had rushed forward, and opened the front door for him.
“I’ll call you!”
oh Karkat, you mopey bitch.
Chapter 7: Pout/ Feel Uncomfortable/Be the Plastic Bag
HEY, REMEMBER ME. Sorry I haven't updated in a while. My laptop died, then I went back to school, and I was suffering writer's block and I felt like I'd written myself into a corner and uuuugh. But yeah, more regular updating again. Sorry if this is crap, I just needed to put something up again. I'M KIND OF CONSIDERING SPLITTING THIS UP INTO SOME SEPARATE FICS? So I can carry on each story line in it's own fic - in case you're here for JohnKat but you don't give a crap about Dave and Aradia or something.
I don't know, give me a little feedback about that if you want. AS ALWAYS, thank you for reading and commenting and stuff, it's always deeply appreciated
“Now that ain’t no motherfuckin’ happy face.” Said Gamzee, upon Karkat’s return to their shitty apartment. Karkat swallows the ‘fuck off Gamzee’ bubbling in his throat, and stomps into his bedroom, crawling out of his jeans and his t-shirt, and replacing them with a hoodie, and a pair of clean boxers.
He then stomped back into the living room, and threw himself on the couch, Gamzee swinging his legs to rest on the coffee table, as Karkat apparently did not care whether or not he crushed them.
Karkat clicked the TV on, then became so incensed by the fact that one of the buttons had stuck on the remote, he threw it across the living room. Not with such a force that it shattered - just enough that the batteries fell out of the back.
Gamzee just looked at him.
"What?" Karkat spat.
"... You just threw the remote, man."
"Well you know if you got any problems, Uncle motherfuckin Gamzee is here, to provide hugging services and shit." Gamzee stood, and extended his arms with a dramatic flourish. Gamzee had always had a strange grace to him, which never failed to take Karkat back a little. He teetered on the spot a little after standing, but he teetered with a sort of drug-addled elegance that Karkat imagined would be very difficult for one to achieve consciously.
"Does someone need a hug?"
"Like a hole in the head." Ignoring Karkat completely, Gamzee hoisted his smaller friend from the couch by his arm pits, and crushed Karkat’s face into his chest. Gamzee smelt of weed, and grease paint. Always a pleasant combination.
"We should go over to the bean bags and have a feelings jam." Gamzee said as he patted Karkat’s head.
"I don't want to have a feelings jam!" Karkat whined into Gamzee’s t-shirt. But there was no such thing as an optional feelings jam. As if he was a large doll, Karkat was lifted, carried to the ‘study’ and dropped on the beanbags.
The ‘study’ was the term used for the room where Karkat and Gamzee stored all their ‘crap’. It was not so much a study as it was a ‘room full of shit’ with a desk in the corner. In the ‘study’, apart from the desk, were: a pair of bean bags, a safe, piles upon piles of DVDs, Gamzee’s juggling shit, Karkat’s old biology text books, Gamzee’s many and largely unused philosophy texts, a litter box, a pile containing selection of coats, hoodies and various bits of winter wear, and a popped inflatable arm chair.
Gamzee leant forward, the picture of seriousness, even with the ridiculous clown make up. He tented his fingers.
"What are these remote throwing feelings, best friend, what needs to be jammed about."
"This is stupid." Karkat protested. They sat in silence for a moment, then Gamzee suddenly left, returning a moment later with a packet of gum. He slowly took a piece from the pack, then held it dangerously close to his lips. “Don’t you dare.” Gamzee shook his head, and placed the strip of gum in his mouth. He began to chew. Not chew, but chew the gum, mouth wide open, tongue rolling around, making a sound that made Karkat want to punch all the things.
"Stop it." Karkat ordered. Gamzee carried on chewing. "I'm trying really fucking hard not to damage you right now." And despite Karkat’s obviously very terrifying threat, Gamzee continued to chew. He chewed and chewed and chewed. Karkat shoved his fingers in his ears and growled, "Gamzee." But even that was not enough to block out the sound. "Oh Jesus-fucking-Christ, fine."
Karkat took a deep breath, and flipped Gamzee off for good measure before he spoke.
"So this guy came up to me at work on Tuesday claiming to be my long lost childhood admirer or something, and we've hung out like... twice." Karkat could feel himself pouting. "And it turns out he doesn't like guys or anything, so. Fuck him. He was a fucking idiot anyway."
Gamzee swallowed his gum and lifted a foot. He stretched over and poked Karkat in the knee with his big toe
"Sounds like my favourite motherfucker fell in love at first sight."
"Fuck off Gamzee." Karkat swiped at his foot. "It's just. I felt like it wasn't the first time I met him. I definitely haven't met him before. I just. I don't fucking know, okay?"
"Was it like... You felt like you'd met him... in a dream, or like... some previous existence or some shit?" Gamzee said, with a note of interest.
"I guess." Karkat shrugged.
"You know today, I was out on my corner – just juggling before you get your motherfuckin panties in a bunch. You know, down by the art school that rejected Eridan-"
"Whatever man. Anyway, I was just minding my own business, when some blonde ass, skinny jeaned motherfucker comes over to me and just... fuckin watches." Karkat was taken completely aback by the sheer amount of venom in Gamzee’s voice. It was the kind of rage Karkat very rarely heard, and when he did, it scared the crap out of him. He tensed where he sat, and dug his fingernails into the fabric of the bean bag. "Then he tossed a twenty at me and left." Gamzee snarled. His nostrils flared, eyes popping and teeth bared, he looked positively feral. Karkat swallowed.
"And, it's like I said before. I feel like I fuckin knew this guy. And I feel like I fuckin hate him. Almost as much as I hate that asshole clown posse that stole my motherfuckin-"
Karkat interrupted him, concerned. “Gamzee. Calm down.” He said – adding a friendly: “Buddy.” Then a “Shoosh.” He smiled a little when he did, and Gamzee smiled back, his face relaxing.
Gamzee took a deep breath.
"I just wanted to go over to him, and be all,” Karkat visibly flinched when Gamzee began yelling “'it's all you motherfuckin fault!'” but he stopped, his voice returning to its usual pitch and volume when he did. “And like... hit his stupid face and shit. But I don't know why." Gamzee finished thoughtfully.
"Did you take your pills today?" Karkat asked.
"That's the thing, I swear I motherfuckin did!"
Karkat, taking a chance, asked “Was the guy wearing shades?”
“Yeah. Fuckin stupid ones too.” Gamzee huffed.
Karkat sagged in his bean bag. He slammed his hand into his face. Then he remembered his nose was broken. Then he tried not to cry for about ten minutes, while swearing and screaming – Gamzee having to prise his phone out of his hands when he mashed Nepeta and Edwin’s number into the keypad. Karkat was going to call Edwin and tell him that he would come over to his house, tear off his nose and feed it to whatever horse he was fucking this week.
“How about… Less yelling,” Gamzee suggested. “Instead, we’ll get high and watch Hitch. And you’ll forget your nose, and your no-homo friend crush thing.”
“You know exactly how to treat a girl, don’t you, Gamzee?”
“Motherfuckin Don Juan, man.”
And within an hour, Karkat found himself giggling at… uh… he couldn’t really remember. And he was so chill, he didn’t even try to kick Sticky out of the apartment when he jumped in off the fire escape, through the open window.
He did regret this later, however, when, after a total of five showers, he couldn’t get the smell of Sick Cat off his hands.
“… But yeah, so I’m like totally into dudes right now.” Eridan finished, looking toward Dave for approval. Dave just sort of swallowed, and shifted even closer to the door than he had before. Eridan’s hand somehow kept making it to his thigh though, no matter how many times Dave violently jerked his leg.
“So are you like into dudes, or girls or both?” Eridan asked.
“That ain’t none of your business.” Dave muttered.
“So you’re gay?” Eridan said, Dave shook his head, “Because straight men don’t answer questions like that with anything other than like, ‘I’m so into girls, I just love pussy’ or something.” He licked his lips, in a way that really just made Dave want to open the window and hang out of it like a dog if that meant he could be just a little further away from Eridan. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, pussy is still totally great and stuff, but it’s like I was saying before, I’m just super into dudes right now.”
“Whoopdy fucking doo.”
“So what, are you like Bi, or something? Because obviously, so am I, so I can totally w-work with that.”
“No you can’t.”
“Yes I can.”
“No you can’t.”
“Can you two be quiet for a second please?” Feferi snapped. Dave silently thanked her, and they all went silent for a moment. Dave could hear vibrating and what sounded like one of those bad ring tones that comes with the phone already. “Aradia, sweetie, that’s my phone, do you think you could grab it, it’s in the glove compartment?”
Dave heard her fumbling around for a moment. The phone stopped ringing when she found it, then began again quite quickly. “Okay, now what?” Aradia asked.
“Answer it, silly! Then hold it up to my ear.” Aradia did just that. “Hello? Oh hi Kanaya!… No, she’s totally fine, better than she has been in years! A little scraped, and bruised but otherwise- … Yes, I know! And the doctor said they thought she’d had massive spinal trauma before, or something, and they were amazed she hadn’t screwed it up again! Which is obviously ridiculous be- … Well yes- … No, I do think it’s bizarre but-… Kanaya, calm down, they probably just mixed the X-ray up or something… I’m just driving her home to get some rest. Uh huh. He is?” Feferi paused, and turned to look at Aradia, taking her eyes off the road.
Dave’s heart skipped a beat, before he realised that it was like 7 AM, and no one would be on the road to hit. Unless fate dragged a sleepwalking Jade into the middle of the road or something, but that would probably be a little much.
“Aradia, Kanaya says she’s so glad you’re alright, and that Sollux said he was waiting inside the store for you!” Said Feferi.
“Oh, great!.” Aradia paused for a moment before she replied. “Um. Tell her I said to tell Karkat I said hi to um… John! From me.”
“… Sure.” Feferi says, with a tentative laugh. “Aradia says great, and could you tell Karkat to say hi to John from her… No, me neither.”
They say their good byes, and Aradia hangs up for Feferi, and stows her phone away.
The remaining five minutes of the car journey were spent with Dave trying to give various excuses as to why Dave absolutely could not give out his phone number.
He ended up with a business card thrust into his hand – “Eridan Ampora, Free Lance photographer”
Aradia appeared to live at the clock shop in the city centre. Dave had passed it once or twice while he was getting lunch during the week. With how close this place was to his school, he might actually make it to class today.
The store was called “Maid of Time” and it advertised “Expert clean ups and repairs” as well as “the finest selection of antique clocks and watches in the state”.
In the window, there was cardboard cut-out of an anime style maid, cleaning a grandfather clock and winking – a speech bubble came from her mouth that read “Ask us about our custom items!”
“Kind of stupid, huh?” said Aradia. “My friend Nepeta drew it for me, and Sollux had it printed and stuff. It was Nep’s idea too.” She smiled then, and walked toward the entrance, telling Dave to follow behind her.
A bell rang when they entered. The shop had the look of an old, villagey sort of antique store, only with… more clocks. It was very cluttered, and noisy, and Dave wondered how anyone could stand the constant ticking.
“You get used to it. The ticking.” Aradia said, suddenly. “I find it quite comforting.”
“You do, huh.” He said. Aradia nodded, and gave him a strange smile. Dave honestly tried to smile back, but couldn’t quite get his lips past their usual slight upward quirk. Well, the sentiment was there at least.
When a snort, and a figure emerged from behind the small cash desk in the corner of the room, Dave practically pissed his pants for something like the fourth time that day.
A man who was a little shorter than Dave, and certainly older, stumbled into the front of the store. His complexion was dark, the kind that tanned easily, and the total absence of a tan suggested he rarely left the indoors. He was extremely thin, and wore a pair of old-style, red and blue, 3D glasses. There appeared to be a small tinfoil hat perched upon dark, choppy hair, that just seemed to scream “yeah, I cut it myself, hair dressers are in league with the government.” His pants were far too small for him, flashing a little ankle, and the crotch threatened to bite into his testicles, creating some kind of gross, male camel toe. On top he wore a red and blue bowling shirt. His shoes were mismatched and so were his socks. This was basically exactly how Dave had expected Sollux to be.
“I fell asleep waiting for you, and I think I drooled on your cash register.” Said Sollux, with a very pronounced lisp. “Who’s this douche bag?” He asked, pointing quite rudely at Dave.
“This is Dave. He’s my friend. He hit me with his car.” Aradia told him, brightly. Sollux regarded her with suspicion. An awful lot of suspicion. Like, if he narrowed his eyes any more, they’d just be shut.
“Is he safe?” Sollux asked – apparently unfazed by the fact Dave had run his friend down.
“Super safe.” Aradia told him. Sollux took a step away from her.
“… You’re kind of… perky.”
“I feel great!”
“… Stop it.” He said. Though his tone was more that of a suggestion than a command, Aradia still looked uncomfortable. She cleared her throat.
“Uh, any way Sollux, it was nice of you to come check up on me.”
“You’re welcome. Is he leaving now? Can we talk?”
“Crazy people things?”
“Dave can help.” Aradia suddenly nudged him, catching him in his stomach and winding him slightly.
“I can?” he spluttered.
“But not right now. It’s the wrong time.” She said. Dave was sure Sollux rolled his eyes at her. “The voices said so.” She added.
“Okay…” Dave mumbled. His presence was apparently creating something of an awkward silence, and he began to back away toward the door. “Well that’s just as well, because I have a class at Eight. And it’s about a half an hour walk from here to my school so…” Dave edged toward the door, and he could practically feel Sollux willing him out of the store. Aradia turned, with a grin, and waved.
“Bye Dave, thanks for running me over!” she sang.
Dave left with a “You’re welcome.” And he began to shuffle his toward school.
He could sleep in his first class, it wasn’t all that important any way.
Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting in the wind, wanting to start again?
These words were said by the wise and stately Katy Perry, in her 2010 hit single, Firework.
Even though Miss Kanaya Maryam had taken a strong dislike to Katy Perry (following the release of ‘I Kissed a Girl’ which had led to a number of misunderstandings and accidental molestations of unwilling straight girls hopping insincerely onto the bisexuality bandwagon) she found that this song resonated with her on a deep, deep level.
She really did feel like a plastic bag some days – drifting in the wind, and wanting to start again. She’d always seen herself as more of a sort of… American Beauty type of plastic bag, you know? The kind that danced among the leaves, and begged lonely outsiders to come and play with it. That kind of plastic bag.
But I’m afraid, dear Reader, she’d found in recent years, that she was actually the Katy Perry kind of plastic bag, that didn’t really know what on earth it was doing, where it was going, but it just knew that it had to get away from where it was.
Miss Maryam did have a tendency to read into things like plastic bags in Katy Perry songs just a little too much.
Aside from this, however, she was a highly cultured sort of person. She liked French New Wave cinema, and the Japanese Superflat movement, and she was just crazy about Alexander McQueen. It sort of bothered her, that with such a variety of interests, that even tied in well with a job that she loved (even if she made no money from it) that she should continue to feel like a plastic bag. She was happy. Sort of. If she was honest, dear Reader, Miss Maryam found that, really, there was something missing. A great job was great, and having passions was also great – but not really feeling settled despite this? That wasn’t so great.
You see, Dear Reader, poor Miss Maryam had found herself steeped quite thoroughly and quite miserably in unrequited love since the age of twelve, with someone who could only be described as a huge bitch. It was then that she stopped feeling quite so comfortable in her own skin – found she felt as if she didn’t quite belong. She found she was really quite lonely.
Yes, she had her school friends, and her internet friends, and hobbies that she loved. But she was really quite desperately lonely. It had always been her and one Mr Karkat Vantas at school, and then Mr Gavin “Gamzee” Makara came along, and she became something of a third wheel. And when Miss Vriska Serket swanned into her life, first on the internet, then at high school – Miss Serket seemed to exist as a constant reminder to Miss Maryam, a reminder that she really was lonely. And that she was different from the other girls.
Miss Maryam’s lack of romantic fulfilment seemed to contribute significantly to her plastic-baggy feelings, and that sense of drifting and not-fitting-in that just never seemed to go away.
Her long pursuit of Vriska, combined by her own lack of confidence, and general unluckiness in love, meant that Miss Maryam had become rather convinced she was just going to die a virgin.
We join Miss Maryam the day before the eve of her twenty sixth birthday, after her having been awoken by a text message from Miss Serket.
The message read, heeeeeeeey did you hear aradia got hit by a car???????? Lol xxxxxxxx
Chapter 8: Continue to be the plastic bag/Think with your cock/be victim of tickle assault
So we voted no on the splitting. Okey dokey, that is fine with me. Also, I'm not really sure I'll end up romantically pairing Dave and Aradia per say, I think I might juts have them have a sort of time travelling bromance thing. Which is why I was worried, I, yeah. Shoosh, self, shoosh.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
No, Vriska, I Didnt. It Is Six AM After All.
Kanaya sighed, and slammed her phone down on her night stand. She rolled over, and was, as always, very aware of how empty her bed was. She sighed, and wondered if she should just get up now.
No. No She couldn’t. She had two days off this week, and she planned on spending this one sleeping. She let her eyes slide shut again.
Her phone buzzed again, and with a grumble, Kanaya grabbed it from her night stand.
It’s seven AM!!!!!!!! Your clock is stuck again stupid ::::P any way youre supposed to call feferi or eric for info theyre picking her up from hospital, thought you might want to know so you have something new to fuss over xxxxxxxx
Kanaya rolled her eyes and tossed her phone over to the empty half of her double bed. She made a mental note to fix her clock (a kitschy little thing from the 50s she’d picked up from Aradia’s shop) and call Feferi later.
About ten minutes after she’d tried to go to sleep again
she realised how badly she had to pee. And that was it. She had to get up now. And once she was in the bathroom, she might as well shower, and brush her teeth, and after that, there was no sense in not getting dressed.
Or she could just get up and pee.
It was a very short walk to the bathroom, being that it was the only other room in her apartment (aside from her closet, but she hardly thought that counted). The main room had actually seemed very large when she first began renting it, but after she moved all of her stuff in (the bed, the TV, both sewing machines, the bookshelves and the table and chairs) she found there was really hardly any room at all. At least the landlord had let her redecorate. Money wise, he was doing rather badly and when Kanaya had joked “Either that wallpaper goes, or I do” he’d taken her entirely seriously and practically begged her to redo the place.
Her horrible comic delivery had stricken again, but at least she got to redecorate. She’d also gotten $15 knocked off the rent, so she really wasn’t complaining.
She walked the six feet or so to the bathroom, peed, and managed to actually ignore her compulsion to shower, and brush her teeth and actually start her day.
The second she hit the mattress again, her phone buzzed.
“Oh for fuck’s sake.” She muttered to herself, as she stretched to pick up what was probably a completely inane text. Something from Eridan – wweh wweh wwhy doesn’t fef lovve me ;_; - or Gamzee – mOtHeRfUcK tHeRe Is ThIs SwEeT aSs RaInBoW oUtSiDe RiGhT nOw – or someone else stupid, with a stupid thing to say.
It had turned out to be Sollux.
Can you call Feferii and a2k her two tell aradia that iim waiting iin the 2tore for her
Kanaya rolled her eyes.
Yes But I Wish You Two Would Just Start Speaking Again It Will Make Everyone’s Life Far Easier.
She set her phone down again, but Sollux texted at a lightning fast rate.
You know youre riight Kanaya how diid you deal wiith your ex oop2 waiit nevermiind you dont have one.
Well That Was Uncalled For.
Sollux sent her another text – which she ignored. When she curled up under the covers, she did feel very guilty. She could hardly just ignore Aradia because she wanted to get some more sleep. And she needed to warn her that Sollux would be sitting in her shop – he’d frighten the life out of her if Kanaya didn’t say anything.
She couldn’t just leave it.
Or could she?
No, she really couldn’t.
She tossed and turned for a while before giving in. Reaching over for phone, she tapped Feferi’s name into the contacts. The phone rang for a while before Feferi picked up.
“Oh hi Kanaya!” Chirped Feferi. She was always disgustingly cheery in the mornings.
“How’s Aradia, she’s not hurt badly, is she?” Kanaya asked.
“No, she’s totally fine, better than she has been in years! A little scraped, and bruised but otherwise-”
“That’s all?” Kanaya interrupted, without meaning to. “I’m so glad… Christ that girl is lucky.”
“Yes, I know! And the doctor said they thought she’d had massive spinal trauma before, or something, and they were amazed she hadn’t screwed it up again! Which is obviously ridiculous be-”
“What? That’s impossible.”
“That’s… that’s insane! Absolutely, bizarre, didn’t anyone think to take it up with doctors?”
“No, I do think it’s bizarre but-”
“They can’t even look at an X-ray properly - that really fills me with confidence in the healthcare system.”
“Kanaya, calm down, they probably just mixed the X-ray up or something.”
“Yes, I suppose. Not that that’s much better.” Kanaya sighed. “Where is she now, by the way?”
“I’m just driving her home to get some rest.”
“Sollux texted me a moment ago.”
“Uh huh.” There was a distinct drop in Feferi’s tone – she rarely gave such curt answers. It had been six damn months – not even Karkat and Teri dragged their heels for this long, and they were dating for years longer than Feferi and Sollux were.
“He wanted me to tell you that he’s waiting in the store for Aradia.”
“He is?” Feferi mumbled. Kanaya heard her report what she’d just said to Aradia. Kanaya heard the other woman’s voice (far more… lively, than she was used to hearing – very strange) before Feferi came back to her.
“Aradia says great, and could you tell Karkat to say hi to John from her…”
“Erm… Okay. Not that I have any idea who John is?” The name sounded vaguely familiar to Kanaya, but there were probably hundreds of Johns in the city. It was a common name. He might have been a classmate of Karkat’s and a customer of Aradia’s.
“No, me neither.” Feferi said.
They said their goodbyes, and, tasks completed, Kanaya fell quickly into a deep, dreamless sleep.
That is, until she was very rudely awoken by Karkat and the mysterious John (who turned out to be the waiter from Monday) a few hours later.
If there was anything Karkat was good at, that thing was moping. After his fifth shower, he found himself laying back on his bed, staring at the ceiling with a scowl upon his face. He made a mental note to never, ever touch the cat with his bare hand again. Ever.
He received a text not too long after, which seemed to be a string of a few.
Hey this is John and stuff. Did you have a good sleep?
Are you mad at me by the way? I know this has been really weird for you but… yeah. Sorry for everything.
This is the last text I’m sending okay so I just want you to know that I really enjoy your company and I hope youre not too weirded out by me to not want to hang out any more :)
So I totally lied when I said that was my last text. I don’t know if youre busy friday or saturday but we should totally go to the petting zoo even if you think its stupid and you hate animals :) I think youre a liar nobody hates baby animals
Honestly, Karkat really did hate baby animals, but he just felt damn guilty now. He thought he had a right to be sort of mildly annoyed at John, because… Maybe he thought he was going to get laid a little. And it’s always horrible having your hopes dashed, especially when they’re sexy hopes and you haven’t gotten any for a really, really long time.
CAN YOU DO ME A FAVOUR AND CLARIFY WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE FOR ME. NOT THIS WHOLE MYSTERIOUS PAST SHIT, BUT WITH YOU.
He cringed at himself, unsure whether to send the message or not. He did – and the second he tapped send, he dropped it, and went to get dressed. He made way to his door, but stopped in his tracks when he heard his text alert.
I don’t really understand what you mean?
Karkat snarled at the screen of his phone. He was tempted not to reply at all – John was obviously an idiot, and this whole situation was growing more and more ridiculous by the minute.
MIXED SIGNALS, FUCKASS, YOU’RE SENDING THEM.
Oh sorry about that.
How could he reply without sounding like a melodramatic asshole? Or without sounding desperate? Realisation hit Karkat like a cold wave. He was turning into Eric. If he didn’t get some soon, he would just be Eric.
YOU’RE NOT HELPING CLEAR ANYTHING UP FOR ME. HOW HOMO IS THIS THING ON A SCALE OF 1-10, IN YOUR VIEW. 1 BEING “WE’RE JUST BROS HERE TO SCOPE SOME CHOICE ASS AND WATCH FOOTBALL” AND 10 BEING “LET’S TOUCH OUR PENISES TOGETHER AND WATCH MAMMA MIA.” BECAUSE I HONESTLY CAN’T TELL WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME.
It took John a good ten minutes to text back, and Karkat was beginning to worry that maybe the “Touch our penises together” line was a little far. But, thankfully, John did reply.
Is that why you got all huffy after I got that phone call?
ANSWERING QUESTIONS WITH ANOTHER QUESTION IS FUCKING ANNOYING
Sorry. I guess… like… a 6 or a 7. Is that okay?
Karkat just stared at the message for a while. He felt a little bit giddy. Maybe he was going to get laid. Maybe even soon! If He excepted this invitation to the petting zoo… That was technically like, a third date, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it?
YES THAT IS FINE.
So can you come to the petting zoo Friday or Saturday? :)
SATURDAY, IT’S KANAYA’S BIRTHDAY FRIDAY AND I’M WORKING TOO.
Saturday! Can we meet where I work, I get off at 1.
Great! It’s a date? I guess??
Yes. Yes it was a date. A date upon which Karkat was definitely going to get some sweet, college freshman ass.
… After having that thought, Karkat gave himself a long hard look in the mirror. His reflection shook its head shamefully, and whispered “Never, ever think the phrase ’sweet college freshman ass’ again” to him. Karkat took this advice on board.
He allowed himself to smile, only for a moment, then tapped a message into his phone: THIS IS A MASS TEXT - GUESS WHO HAS A DATE HERE’S A CLUE IT ISN’T YOU HAHAHAHA.
Dave plummeted down onto his bed after class, too exhausted to even laugh at John and Karkat. Too exhausted to even be shocked by the fact that Karkat was sitting in his living room, and a ginger.
He was awoken hours later, by what felt like claws in his back.
“I don’t know which one of you this is, but I don’t know how many times I’ve told you – putting Oswald on my back is not a cool way to wake a guy up.”
“It’s Jade.” Said… Jade. Oswald was gone from his back in a moment, with a squeak, “And I don’t understand what wouldn’t be cool about being woken up by an Oswald!” Dave heard her making kissy noises. “Oswald loves waking people up, yes he does, yes he does!” Dave rolled onto his stomach, and groped around for his sunglasses, while Jade cuddled Oswald. “Good chinchilla. Best alarm clock.” She said.
“What time is it?” Dave asked, propping himself up with his pillows. His room was lit only by the light from the hallway - Jade hadn’t bothered to turn on his light.
“9 PM. Thought I’d wake you up so you could eat before work and stuff.”
“Ugh.” Dave groaned, and sank back into the pillows. Jade carried on with Oswald, cradling him like a baby. Oswald had made a rather good replacement pet for Jade. He wasn’t exactly Bec, but he gave her something to play with and baby. Plus, he was fuzzy as fuck. Not even Dave could resist his soft, squishy Oswaldiness.
“Any news about the trolls?” Dave asked.
“Well, Rose saw Kanaya at work.”
“And they’re munching carpet to the dulcet tones of Tegan and Sara as we speak?”
“Jeez, that was kind of cheap shot, even for you.” Jade said. Dave shrugged. “John and Karkat have a confirmed big gay homosexual date.”
“John is finally out of the closet and you didn’t wake me up right away? That ain’t cool Jade. We’d agreed on breaking out the confetti. I’ve had those ‘congrats on admitting your love for the cock’ balloons blown up for months.”
“He’s not out of any closet, dummy! I don’t even think he’s in a closet. He doesn’t even know if he’s homo for Karkat or not, he’s just been staring at his phone for the last hour, saying ‘why did I say seven, I could have said five, I could have said five’.” She topped off her uncanny impression of John by holding out Oswald, like he was a furry living phone, and gaping at him.
“To be honest, I’m a little disappointed.” She added, relaxing.
“Were you expecting a moe blush and the doki doki SFX?”
“There weren’t even bubbles or flowers.”
“Now why did you have to go and tell me that - I’m just heartbroken.”
“I’m sorry Dave, however will I make it up to you?”
“You just stay beautiful.” Dave tipped down his sunglasses and winked. Jade giggles and set Oswald down at the foot of the bed, and flopped backward over Dave’s legs with a dramatic, fakey fainting gesture.
“Ooh, Mr. Strider, Ooh!” She sung, suddenly sitting bolt upright again, and advancing on him with a purpose. “You are so handsome, and suddenly your shirt is riding up?” Jade tugged his t-shirt up at his sides, and started tickling him. Dave tried to wriggle away from her.
“Hey, woah, hands off the merchandise.” He protested.
“But I already told the guys I got some boob!” Jade started pulling at his shirt again, tickling with a vengeance.
“Keep your paws off my silky draws, Harley, you boys only want one thing.” Dave slapped playfully at her hands, and struggled to keep his laughing down. He was extremely ticklish – Jade had pulled this out of him during a particularly stupid game of truth or dare, and had been using it as a weapon against him ever since, that bitch. “I’m not that kind of girl!” Dave snorted, struggling to think of a way to escape her without crushing Oswald, innocently nibbling his pillowcase, in the process, “Seriously, Harley, quit it.” He half snapped, in an ‘I mean business’ sort of a voice. Jade tickled him even more aggressively, and Dave found a hugely uncool snort erupting from him. “Stop it, you’re giving me a massive erection.”
“Pff, like that’ll stop me.” She sniggered, and Dave took a mock swing at her, from which she instinctively recoiled. Dave - in that moment thanking Bro for his borderline abusive childhood – did a sort of flippy, rolly thing backward of the bed, then scrambled into the hallway.
“Jade Harley tickles for hard dicks – she’s a filthy, filthy whore!” Dave yelled down the stairs. (John replied with a weak ‘cool’ and Rose ignored him completely)
“That was the lamest thing you’ve ever done, and the most retarded thing you’ve ever said!” Jade screeched, “Dave Strider is lame, tickling is his kryptonite, spread the word!”
Only a second after that, John and Rose were both hurtling up the stairs and toward him, brandishing wiggling fingers like they were knives.
Dave cursed Jade, his friends, his life, and especially Jade.
Kanaya closed the door on Karkat and his new friend John, contemplating the pizza coupon she’d just received with narrowed eyes. Strangely enough, she had actually been meaning to check this place out for some time, and she supposed she now had some incentive to do so.
She tried to avoid getting take out on her own. What if she choked to death? Could you imagine the headline: “TWENTY FIVE YEAR OLD WOMAN DIES ALONE, CHOKES ON PIZZA – DISCOVERED BY ANGRY FRIEND THREE DAYS LATER.”
She shuddered at the thought, stuffed the coupon in the pocket of her coat, then went back to bed.
She had the strangest dream. She was in a big grey computer lab, or something of that ilk, and she was just watching one of the screens. She was watching a pretty blonde girl, in fact – transfixed by her. Admiring her, in a hateful sort of way, dreadfully disappointed in her as well, for reasons Kanaya could not quite remember.
Then a bucket fell onto the girl’s head, and Kanaya just… cringed. Literally seized up inside, her face burning, half horrified, half... sort of… turned on, actually.
She woke up again at around four, when her phone vibrated, loudly on the bedside table.
The text was from Karkat, and read: THIS IS A MASS TEXT - GUESS WHO HAS A DATE HERE’S A CLUE IT ISN’T YOU HAHAHAHA.
She rolled her eyes, and replied to him: How Lovely. Would You Still Like To Visit Aradia With Me?
She remembered that she hadn’t actually told Aradia she was going over, but… not that it really mattered. If the shop was open, it was definitely okay to check in on her without calling first.
She’d showered and fixed her hair and makeup (she opted for plum eye shadow and deep green lipstick) before Karkat texted her back.
YEAH OKAY. ARE WE JUST GOING ASAP OR DO YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC TIME YOU WANNA GO OR WHAT
Well I Can Go Right Now If You’re Free? And Is Gamzee Coming?
I’LL MEET YOU OUTSIDE OF THE USED BOOKSTORE. GAMZEE IS COMING, HE WAS KIND OF WEIRD EARLIER AND I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE HIM BY HIMSELF BECAUSE IM A GOOD MOMMA AINT NO CPS GON TAKE MY CRACK BABY AWAY FROM ME XOXOX
The Guvment Is Simply Jealous Of Your Fly Booty And Beautiful Babby Dont Let The Bastards Keep You Down Etc.
Karkat arrived outside the used bookstore, Gamzee in tow, about the same time Kanaya did. She’d only had to wait round for a few minutes – Karkat was always terribly punctual provided you didn’t arrange to meet him before 12 PM. Gamzee, however, tended to operate on his own schedule. He was guaranteed to be at parties, at least.
Kanaya nodded to them, and Karkat stomped toward her, Gamzee floating behind him, with an inane half smile plastered across his face.
Kanaya and Karkat walked together in a comfortable silence, and Gamzee took up the rear, wittering to himself – strange and half rhymed.
Maid of Time was about half a mile away, and the walk took half an hour – granted it would have been faster were it not for the fact Kanaya and Gamzee had to accommodate Karkat’s short legs.
They arrived at the store, and found that it was open, but in complete darkness. Kanaya was about to knock, but Karkat burst in ahead of her, screaming bloody murder at the top of his lungs.
“Wow, unlocked store full of expensive antiques and not a single light to be seen. Shit Megido, you’ve really out done yourself this time!”
“Karkat, indoor voice, for goodness’ sake!” snarled Kanaya. Gamzee flipped the lights on behind them, then recoiled away from them, flicking them back off (“Shoulda done that shit in stages.”)
“What?” Karkat shrugged. “I’m worried, I wanna check on her.” He started yelling for Aradia again, but Kanaya clapped a hand over his mouth before he could make much more noise.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” She hissed.
“I think my Littlest Motherfucker is all up and excited for his date.” Gamzee chuckled.
Karkat smacked Kanaya’s wrist away, “Oh please.” he scoffed, though Kanaya swore she saw the tiniest ghost of a smile on his face.
“Actually, now Gamzee has pointed it out, you are a lot less insulting than you usually are. And rather… energetic, if I may say so.” She gave Karkat a friendly nudge. “I might even say you were happy, if I didn’t know you better.”
Before Karkat could give his no doubt borderline abusive rebuttal, Aradia hobbled down the stairs, one plastered casted leg raised. She was sort of hopping on the other one, and with great difficulty at that.
“Why are you in my store and yelling?” She asked, sounding horrifyingly perky. Especially for Aradia. Kanaya might have almost mistaken her for Feferi if she hadn’t known better.
“If the door was locked, this whole yelling situation could have been avoided.”
“I told Sollux to lock up ten minutes ago…” Aradia protested. She then frowned, hopped the rest of the way down the stairs, and perched on her desk. “Where the hell did he get to?” She sighed, “Oh crap, he must have wandered off again.”
“Just great.” Karkat snarled. “It’s bad enough when you pull this crap,” he waved an accusing finger at Gamzee. “We’ll go out and look for him.”
“Actually, I’d rather not be left down here on my own, getting back up the stairs is going to be really hard without some help!” She said, with a bright smile. Kanaya knew she was staring, totally dumbstruck. The others must have been as well. Aradia frowned, “What?"
“Sorry, I just thought you were hit by a car, not an ice cream truck full of rainbows and children’s dreams.” Karkat said.
“Uh… No, definitely a car. The boy who hit me was really nice! His name was-”
“Dave. I know, we met earlier today – but I bet you saw that coming or whatever.”
“Kind of, yeah!” Aradia chirped. Karkat shot Kanaya a look, which she saw, then raised with a quirked eyebrow.
“Gamzee, you’re way too incompetent for this, you stay here with Aradia.”
Gamzee gave Karkat an easy thumbs up, then wandered over to Aradia’s side of the room. “Can do.”
“And… uh, well Sollux promised to cook for me, and well… I haven’t eaten since yesterday evening. I would do it myself, but-”
Gamzee cut her off, “I could make pie-”
“No.” Snapped Aradia. Kanaya hardly blamed her, Gamzee’s pies were… mostly prescription drugs, weed, half cooked pastry and soda. “I mean… I don’t have any pie stuff, Gamzee.”
“Aww, that sucks.”
“I actually…” Kanaya felt around in the pockets of her coat, “Still have this pizza coupon from earlier.” She held it up, and Aradia checked it and smiled.
“Huh, that place is like… literally a five minute walk from here.” She said.
“Okay. So Gamzee can stay here, I’ll go look for fucking Sollux, Kanaya can get pizza, and then come join me once she’s delivered it.”
“Sounds like a motherfuckin plan, bro.”
Oh, I'm also on tumblr, so, if anyone cares and wants to follow me/ask me a couplaquestions, I'm Dorothy-Cotton there pretty much all day erryday.
Chapter 9: Blow chances with pretty girl/Be Partykat
Despite Aradia’s terrible directions, Kanaya made it to the pizza place in about five minutes. Aradia hadn’t even told her what kind of pizza she wanted – but it was okay. Kanaya would get her pepperoni – everyone likes pepperoni.
The pizza place was pretty run of the mill, but nice – with it’s tacky, faux old-world-Italian décor and gentle opera music playing in the background. It seemed like the back of the place was actually a restaurant, which gave Kanaya a little more faith in the quality of the food she was about to order.
The place was pretty busy (it was dinnertime) but she was at the front of the queue relatively quickly. She was served by a pimply boy in his late teens (he called her ‘ma’am’ ma’am for Christ’s sake, she was not old enough to be a ma’am yet, was she?) whose voice squeaked a lot. He asked her if she had a coupon - which, of course, she did – and then the pizza was ordered.
“You’ll have to wait ten minutes or so, ma’am!” he said. With a curt smile, Kanaya went to sit down on one of the many chairs around the entrance.
She watched a girl clop out of the restaurant and toss her apron at the boy behind the counter. She was tall in heels, well dressed. Fabulously dressed, in fact. The heels she wore were black, patent leather (patent leather was very in this season) and went excellently with the black pencil skirt she had on. A high necked, chiffon blouse in lavender topped off the ensemble, and was perfectly coordinated with the girl’s hairband.
She was shapely, though her hips nor her breasts were big enough that you’d call her figure an ‘hourglass’, but the pencil skirt really did nicely emphasise her narrow waist. She had deathly white skin and hair, and when she turned to leave, she said to the boy:
“Xander should be here in a minute.” He murmured something in response, and the girl replied with annoyance – “Well fine, I’ll wait till he gets here.”
She turned and started walking toward Kanaya. She wasn’t exactly elegant, but there was a great confidence to her walk, and now Kanaya could see her face. She was pretty. She was so pretty that her face elicited a whispered “Gosh” from Kanaya, who blushed upon realising what she’d done. The girl couldn’t have been any older than eighteen, and Kanaya was not about to start cradle robbing, no siree.
The girl sat next to her. “I like your scarf.” She said. “Very Pierre Cardin.”
Okay, so maybe Kanaya was totally about to start cradle robbing.
“I, uh… I made it myself, actually.”
“Really?” The girl said. Kanaya looked at her for a moment, close up, and saw how stupidly long her eyelashes were, and how sweet the upward curve of her nose was. Her makeup was also terribly well done – she’d done a lovely job of pencilling on what must have been very light eyebrows, her eyes were done up like Edie Sedgwick’s and her pitch black lipstick wasn’t smudged or on her teeth at all.
“Mmm.” Kanaya squeaked.
“The design is just gorgeous.” She said, smiling. “And I love that shade of green – it really compliments your eyes.”
That was it. Kanaya was in love. This girl was obviously some sort of angel, to whom no other woman would ever compare; summer’s days looked like shit next to her, and Kanaya had no idea who or what a Vriska was. Their romance would rival Romeo and Juliet’s, Tristan and Isolde would look like Demi and Ashton in comparison to them. Even Edward and Bella wouldn’t compare.
“Eheehpahaffleha.” Said Kanaya, suavely.
The girl raised her eyebrow. Kanaya desperately scrabbled around for something to say that wasn’t: “God you’re so beautiful, you’re so beautiful and you know who Pierre Cardin is, you’re flawless” or “AND SO THE LION FELL IN LOVE WITH THE LAMB” (even though she wasn’t much of a lion. Still.)
“I like your… uh… eyebrows.” Said Kanaya. The girl grinned. Kanaya wanted to drown herself. “No. I mean… What I meant to say was…” Kanaya could feel herself blushing. “I meant.” (The small Karkat in her head was berating her – “Way to ruin your chances with that foxy slut, Kanaya!”) “Oh fuck.”
Kanaya was then saved by a very pimply, squeaky bell.
“Two Pepperoni pizzas!”
“That’s me.” She said. Then she practically ran to the counter, grabbed the pizza boxes, and ran out of the restaurant.
- Hissing, “Stupid, stupid, stupid!” to herself, she stomped down the street, not worrying whether or not she scuffed her beautiful suede boots.
She arrived back at the store, to find Aradia, Gamzee, Karkat and Sollux. Sollux was clutching an old computer monitor.
“Dare I ask where you found him?” Kanaya asked.
“The florist across the street was just throwing away a perfectly good monitor.” Sollux said, clicking his tongue.
“That thing is from the fucking nineties, moron.” Karkat growled.
“Yeah, but… What if I need components from a shitty nineties monitor?”
“Will you though?”
“… Maybe.” Sollux shrugged. “Maybe Edwin’ll need ‘em. Half my revenue comes from selling shit I find to him.” There was a short silence, Kanaya busied herself with sorting out the pizza, and Sollux placed the monitor carefully on the floor.
“Does he still make those robots?” Aradia asked lightly. With a smile on her face. In relation to Edwin. Which was… not a thing that happened ever with Aradia.
“Yeah, kind of.” Sollux mumbled.
After some deliberation, they decided to eat the pizza downstairs. Karkat slapped Gamzee’s hand when he reached for his sixth slice, and Gamzee spoke only in rhyme for the rest of the evening, as a form of retaliation. Aradia maintained her level of bubbliness all evening, and seemed to use it as an opportunity to catch up with her friends – as if she hadn’t seen any of them for years. Her good mood even seemed to rub off on Sollux, who was rather animated as he discussed the many potential uses of the components in the shitty old monitor, announcing each idea to the room loudly as he thought of it.
Kanaya was quieter than she usually was, her thoughts consumed with the girl at the Pizza parlour, and the many ways she could have not fucked that up.
All she had to do was… Talk about Pierre Cardin. Ask her what kind of foundation she used – “are you a natural blonde? And if not, where did you get such an excellent dye job?” – even a simple fucking “do you come here often” would have been better than “I like your eyebrows.”
Karkat, ever observant, questioned her silence on the way home.
“What’s your problem?” He asked, scowling. It was that caring, concerned scowl of his though – that kind that let Kanaya know she was loved, if slightly annoying.
“I talked to a girl. A pretty one.” Kanaya told him. “But I panicked and ran off before I got her number or… said a complete sentence to her or anything.” She sighed. “She looked a little young for me any way.”
“You idiot.” Karkat snapped. Then he rolled his eyes. “Age is just a number, any way. You’re using it as an excuse to be a moron.”
“The lady is shy. She should loosen up and shit… ‘cause she’s fly.” Said Gamzee, smiling quite sweetly.
“Thank you Gamzee.” Kanaya said, aiming a tart smirk at Karkat.
“Seriously Kanaya, you’re motherfuckin hot… If you weren’t a lezzy, we could… tie the knot.”
“I’m sure we could.”
“If you didn’t munch carpet... I could get you real wet.”
“If you were on a man hunt, I could f-”
“That’s quite enough, Gamzee, thank you.”
Thursday, for Karkat was shockingly uneventful, especially in comparison to the other days that week – which had been so eventful, it would probably take at least 30,000 words to convert it to prose (with multiple points of view, of course).
He worked, came home, played Monopoly with Gamzee and Travis for nine hours, then slept a surprisingly restful sleep – his thoughts buzzing with John, and the idea of getting laid. John was an okay kid, he guessed, but really, Karkat had to admit that’s what he was looking forward to. Thinking with his dick had never caused him problems in the past and-
Okay, that was a lie, it had. Hugely. Especially with Nepeta. And that one time with Eric. Nepeta, because oh-dear-God the guilt and Eric because… well, Eric. Karkat mightn’t have gone so far as to call it the worst sex he’d ever had, but it was definitely in the bottom five. It was certainly the clingiest and the… dampest - Karkat swore Eric had started crying halfway through, but he never told anyone - because he was the bigger man.
Perhaps not… literally (Karkat hung his head in shame whenever contemplating this), but certainly ethically.
So perhaps thinking with the tiny brain in his penis was not that best course of action, but… maybe it would get him some actual physical contact, that didn’t come from a demented juggler, or an orally fixated ex-girlfriend.
He spent his shift on Friday quietly looking forward to Kanaya’s birthday, and pretending fucking Kim wasn’t there (“Oh my God Karkat are you seriously still reading that chick lit shit? Oh my God, I’m totally reading Sartre right now, I read real books.”).
He got home earlier than he’d expected, and found Gamzee crashed out on the couch – Sticky curled up on his stomach.
“Hey.” Karkat said. “Hey, Gamzee.”
Gamzee did not stir. Sticky didn’t even stir. But Stick had the excuse that he was probably at least a little deaf.
Karkat calmly walked to the kitchen, picked up two pans and clanged them together.
“Kanaya’s birthday drinks in an hour up we fucking get!” He declared. Sticky was awake first – clawing Gamzee’s stomach before launching himself out of the window, onto the fire escape. Gamzee followed, swearing, then clutching his stomach, sitting bolt upright.
“Mother fucker that is not cool, best friend.”
“Up. Kanaya’s birthday in an hour.” Karkat banged the pans again. For emphasis. And bastardry.
“I could’ve just motherfucking… I’m going out dressed like this, just let me sleep.” Gamzee lay back down on the couch.
“I [bang] don’t [bang] fucking [bang] think [bang] so [bang], Makara.[bang, bang, bang]” When Gamzee’s only reply was his middle finger, Karkat resorted to more drastic measures. Setting the pans on the floor, he grabbed Gamzee by the ankles and dragged him off the couch. “Take off your gross makeup, put on some big boy clothes.”
“I don’t wanna.” Said Gamzee, limp as Karkat dragged him down the hall to his bedroom.
“Life is tough, and sometimes we have to do things that aren’t sleeping and eating and juggling.” Karkat dropped Gamzee’s legs, pretending his arms weren’t aching as much as they did. “Plus it’s her fucking birthday you jackass.”
“I guess, man.” Gamzee made no attempt to get up off the floor. “Did you get her anything?”
“Yeah, like a month ago. I got her some book on the history of fashion in Asia or something.”
“Aww that’s real sweet, Karkat.” He said, nudging Karkat with his toe.
“I’m a regular Miss Congeniality.” Karkat went to his room, leaving the door open, and began to get changed. “I’m going to go ahead and assume you’re turning up empty handed, what with you being a total shit sponge and everything.” He called.
“I got some girlie magazines, I bet she’d fuckin love that shit.” Gamzee yelled in reply. Karkat rolled his eyes, and picked out one of his nicer shirts. He was pretty sure all of his nice shirts were birthday presents from Kanaya (or Teri) so it was rather a fitting tribute, he thought. He even put on nice jeans. He didn’t shower though, and the gift wasn’t wrapped. But still.
“No one wants your crusty, semen-stained, clown porn.” Karkat told him, re-entering the hallway. Gamzee was still lying on the floor.
“Hey. It ain’t clown porn.” He said. Then, for a moment, he looked thoughtful. “But some of it’s circus themed.”
Karkat blinked. “You have a problem.”
“Motherfucker was called ‘Dark Carnival’ instead of my Mirthful Messiahs there was all these ladies, all with the animal ears and the body paint. And these dudes with these huge-”
Karkat’s patience, ever in short supply, had run out. “I don’t fucking care about your circus porn, I am not Edwin!”
“Alrighty! Calm your bitchtits, buddy, I’m going.” Gamzee sat up, and scooted his way to his room.
It was really the little victories Karkat treasured the most.
Gamzee did scrub up well, Karkat had to admit. Though, when he found himself licking his thumb to wipe some schmutz off Gamzee’s cheek, he wondered if he should question the nature of the relationship they had. Then decided not to.
They got the bus down to Vagabond’s, Gamzee murmuring all the way about how he was glad he’d come out, because tonight was going to be one of life’s many miracles (“You gotta grab all the miracles life gives you by the horns, and ride ‘em all round and shit.”).
They were, unusually, the first to arrive, barring Kanaya herself, and (Oh for fuck’s sake, thought Karkat) Eric.
That was Kanaya for you, pulling every fucking charity case in to her nurturing, well groomed bosom, like they were particularly delightful, fuzzy kittens.
“Hey Kar…” Eric said, with a coy (desperate) smile, “So you drinkin’ tonight?”
“Not within grabbing distance of you, you whiny fucking-”
Kanaya stepped between them with the speed of… someone who was used to breaking up fights. “Be nice boys.” She said. There was something of an awkward silence, Karkat glaring with Kanaya’s present hidden behind his back, Eric pouting, guiltily, at Kanaya.
“I’ll go sit over here.” He mumbled. Gamzee followed him, and Kanaya said she would get the drinks. Karkat watched Eric and Gamzee select a slightly secluded booth, up a small flight of stairs. Meanwhile, he and Kanaya went to the bar, but found it devoid of a tender. Karkat heard shuffling out back.
“Happy Birthday.” He mumbled. Kanaya smiled.
“Thank you, Karkat.”
“Hey.” He reached out, and gave her a pat on the shoulder. “So, I guess you’re by far one of the least repugnant people I know, so… I’m glad you were born and shit.” He told her… awkwardly. Karkat wasn’t good at things that weren’t yelling at people.
“You’re such a sweetheart.” She said, rolling her eyes.
“Fuck you, and take your present.” Karkat took the book from behind his back, and thrust it at her. She took it, sceptical looking at first. Then her eyes just... lit up, in a way that made Karkat feel a little warm and fuzzy on the inside.
“Oh… Oh Karkat, this is wonderful.” She said. Then setting the book down on the bar, she bent down to kiss him on the cheek, and pulled him into a tight hug from which she released him in a matter of seconds. “Uh… Ha.” She blushed, and smiled, slightly. She changed the subject, then. “I really would avoid Eridan-”
“- Tonight, he’s… well, he’s on form, shall we say.”
“Why do we even hang round with him?”
“He has his good moments. He really can be a lovely person and you know-”
“Remember that time he tried to stab you, and you ran at him with a chainsaw.” Karkat grunted. Kanaya’s green mouth pressed itself into a tight line.
“That was thirteen years ago, Karkat.” She said flatly. “And a horrible, horrible day.”
“I guess.” Karkat felt a sorry bubbling in his throat, but he didn’t quite manage it. “Thanks for the heads up. About Eric.”
Kanaya, Karkat Gamzee and Eric had half-drunk their drinks (An appletini, a Fosters, a Corona and a Sex on the Beach, respectively) by the time Edwin and Nepeta arrived, bringing with them Travis and Teri.
Teri got to Kanaya first, giving her a standard Birthday Face Lick, and dropping a scarf into her lap before bunking up next to Gamzee, and complimenting him on his pleasant scent (“Thanks, I all up and showered.”). Travis began to wheel over, but found the bartender practically vaulting over the bar to offer them a private room, before he could even attempt to climb the small set of stairs to their booth.
When Travis looked… offended, he started to burble about them being his “favourite regulars”, and how it was “this beautiful lady’s birthday” and “a free round of drinks and a the best, most secluded booth in the bar!”
“I didn’t even know this dump had booths like this.” Commented Teri, as they settled themselves around a large, round table.
“Place used to be a motherfuckin titty bar.” Gamzee informed her. “These were the booths for all the private dances and shit, if you catch my drift.”
“A blind, armless child with dyspraxia could catch your drift.” Karkat huffed.
Edwin and Nepeta took the opportunity to present their joint gift – three different bottles of her favourite brand of perfume – which Kanaya was quite delighted with. Travis apologised profusely for not being able to afford a present. She didn’t mind.
Next to make their grand entrance, were Sollux and Aradia, who came, predictably, with a pretty, retro clock.
Music started blaring not too long after that, and the main part of the bar got much busier – Karkat became very glad for their booth, then. They all seemed to separate off into smaller conversations quite quickly. Nepeta and Teri talking about something LARPy and no doubt, retarded; Gamzee and Travis discussing their newest “sick rhymes” while Edwin watched with confusion and disgust. Sollux and Eric began to bicker, and Aradia watched, laughing at them all the while.
Kanaya and Karkat talked about what drinks to get next, and work, until, that is, Spiderbitch and Feferi arrived. Feferi gave a quick hullo, thrusting a Dolphin wind chime at Kanaya before seating herself as far away from Sollux and Eric as possible (With Teri and Nepeta). Vriska, however (looking worn out, in her faded jeans and t-shirt) practically swooped down on Kanaya, in a flurry of tacky birthday confetti and poorly wrapped bottles of wine. She started screeching, ‘You have to tell me about this Pizza girl!’ and sat down with her back to Karkat.
Karkat found himself with no one to talk to. In his own group of friends, he had no one to fucking talk to.
He started his third beer, and sat scowling to himself until Nepeta waved him over.
“Stupid Karkitty, you could have come over earlier you know.” She said, batting him on the shoulder. Karkat set his drink down and went back for his chair.
“So what are we talking about?” Karkat asked, wearily.
“Feferi was telling us about her shitty love life, weren’t you Feferi?” Teri said gleefully. Feferi glubbed into her glass (a vodka and coke, if Karkat remembered her drink of choice correctly).
“Jesus fuck, woman, it has been six months, are you two not over this yet?”
“Oh no, Karkat,” Teri nudged him, shark-ish grin stretching out her face, “This is where you’re wrong.” Karkat looked expectantly at Feferi. She scrunched her eyes shut.
“We may or may not have been having tragic, post-breakup sex for the last six months.”
“Oh dear God.” Karkat gawped at her. She blushed. Karkat had never really understood what Feferi saw in Sollux – he figured she must be like Kanaya and her love of charity cases. Feferi was beautiful (in an unconventional sort of way), tall, one of the few of them who actually had a decent job, and a goddamn Princess, yet she was slumming it with some short-ass nut job, who lived in a house made of computers, couldn’t dress for shit and was convinced aliens were spying on him. He really liked Sollux (Karkat considered him one of his best friends), and he felt damn sorry for the poor little guy, but he had no idea why a girl like Feferi would even both with a guy like that. She genuinely seemed to see him as more than a charity case, and this confused the hell out of Karkat. Maybe he was great in bed. Maybe he had a huge dick, or something.
Teri took a long sip of her drink (a Cherry Lips), then spoke. “You know, speaking as someone who has been in a long term relationship-”
“And it was much fucking longer than yours.” Karkat added.
“Yeah, it will be much better if you just had no really contact with each other at all for a while.”
“Me and Teri barely spoke for three months, it really helped us put all our shit behind us -”
“And Karkat took advantage of Nepeta that seemed to help him -” (Nepeta smacked her lips into her cider and blushed furiously)
“Teri started drinking very heavily -”
“So did you!”
“At least I didn’t have a stupid, nonsensical crisis of sexuality-”
“Just because I wanted to get myself some tasty lady action doesn’t mean I had a crisis.”
“Remember when you drunk dialled me bragging about all the ‘delicious cherry lube’ you’d gone through since we broke up.”
“Remember when you drunk dialled me bragging about sleeping with Eric.”
Karkat’s insult stuck in his throat. “… You know what, I’m not even going to fucking attempt to defend that. You win, I’m the most pathetic. I’m so pathetic that when I walk past crowds of people, they all just lie down in the street and stare at the sky, knowing that the existence of someone as pathetic as I am, surely means that there cannot be a God, and that their existence is truly meaningless.”
Teri blinked behind her glasses. “… Good.” She said. Nepeta cleared her throat.
“So, uh, Feferi. How has Eridan been about the whole… thingy.”
“Oh he was such a sweetie at first!” She said with a bright smile, which quickly dissolved into a scowl. “Then I realised he was only trying to get into my glubbing panties again.”
“Maybe… He.” Nepeta furrowed her brow, clearly looking for something conciliatory to say, “I’m sure he wasn’t.” she tried.
“Oh I’m sure he was.” Karkat scoffed. “Nepeta, that man is like a really lame predator. He sits, and waits till you come staggering by him hungry, thirsty, tear stained, with no shoes and covered in your own vomit – then he swoops.” Karkat took a swig of his beer, for dramatic effect. “He’s a vulture. A sex vulture.”
“He smells the stench of vulnerability, then he swoops! Ka-kaw!” Teri batted her arms like wings, then wrapped them around Nepeta.
Feferi sighed. “I have known Eric since we were four years old and I am not even going to begin to argue with that description.”
Karkat and Teri continued to dish out post-breakup advice (between bickering) and Nepeta offered, simple, comforting suggestions. All the while, Feferi mumbled on about how she had no idea why they were so hung up on each other, and how neither of them could just seem to move on.
When she was onto her third drinking, she, slurring, started to berate herself for dragging the mood down, then knocked her drink back in one gulp. Teri applauded, Karkat facepalmed. She then demanded Edwin take her over to dance.
“Please, your Highness, I don’t think this is… proper.” He spluttered. She told him to stop being such a “glubbing pussy”.
Teri gravitated toward Aradia then, taking the chance to berate Sollux for his shitty breakup etiquette.
Karkat and Nepeta were left alone.
“Edwin said he was sorry about your nosey, didn’t he?” She said, having to yell over the music and the extremely busy bar.
“Sort of. He threatened to castrate me.”
“He always does that!” Nepeta huffed. “Want another drink?” She asked - Karkat nodded. Nepeta announced that this round was on her (on Edwin, more like, with her recent firing), and bounced into the main bar.
She came back a few minutes later, with a tray of shots. – then along came the bartender with another.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Karkat snapped. Nepeta just laughed, then elbowed Kanaya, and said something about ‘Birthday Slippery Nipples!’
After indulging in a few shooters, Karkat found himself feeling… just swell. If kind of dizzy. It had been a while since he’d been properly drunk, and, you know, he’d forgotten just how god damn funny Gamzee was! And how good a dancer he was too. He was a super good dancer.
And hey, Eric was a super good dancer too!
At some point, Edwin of all people, pulled him off the dance floor and told him he’d had enough to drink. Nepeta, Gamzee and Eric swooped in, however, protesting.
“Why the motherfuck are you trying to sober up Partykat?” whined Gamzee, twinging his arms around Karkat. And you know Karkat didn’t even mind. Hugs were miracles. Friendship was magic.
“Yeah Edwin, why are you tying to… fucking murder Partykat?” Karkat asked, poking Edwin boldly in the chest.
“The sexy kitty thinks the grumpy, strong designated driver should come dance with her and the Partykat!”
“Nepeta, please, I beg of you-”
“The Strong hunk of man accepted and danced the night away.” Nepeta yelled, then she dragged him by one of his very thick arms back to the dance floor.
Karkat almost tripped on the way back, and Eric swooped down and caught him – he was even nice enough to take him back to their now deserted booth for another drink.
Karkat figured Eric really could be great sometimes – swooping in with his catching arms, and his swoopy drinks and his hand swooping Karkat’s thigh.
“Wait a fucking minute.” Karkat slurred, “Wait just a fucking minute.” He prised Eric’s hand from his thigh, but found it back there within moments.
Karkat didn’t know how really, but he escaped – and the escape involved some swag running and jumping. Super swag.
He hid at another booth, at the legs of a now laughing group of women.
He typed out a text:
HELP I NDEE AM ADULt.
He meant to text Kanaya, but his thumb totally slipped, and totally hit John’s name.
“Oopsy.” Karkat said to… no one.
He received a reply within seconds.
oh christ buddy, where are you?
VAGACONDS. THE SEXVIL TURE IS SWOOPING. HLEP.
i don’t know what that means, but i don’t like the sound of it. i’ll be there in ten minutes, wait outside for me.
THIS CONTSASTHURD DAT.
Everyone is jealous of Karkat's party swag.
AGAIN, THAN YOU FOR KUDOSES AND COMMENTS AND BOOKMARKS AND ANY MANNER YOU WISH TO BESTOW YOUR APPRECIATION UPON ME.
Ah, also, if any one could help me with colour coding text message/chat logs. I made an attempt to do this, and it showed perfectly in the rich text editor, but not on the fic itself. I HTMLed like a big girl I was so proud then it failed *sobs*
Chapter 10: Be Seductionkat/ Be Harassed Live on Air
“Okay. So you just gotta be cool, okay?” Karkat muttered to himself. He’d managed to slink out of Vagabond’s, un-swooped upon, with a quick good bye to Kanaya, and an intention to swoop upon someone himself. Leaning up against a lamp post, he stuffed his hands in his pockets, and tried to look cool. He slouched. But then he started to slide down toward the floor, and that couldn’t look very cool or sexy, could it?
Maybe it did. Who knows, John clearly had fucking weird taste in men any way, maybe a little drunk leaning on Karkat’s part would have him swooning and falling backward onto a bed with a second thought.
College boys were slutty, weren’t they? Karkat has certainly seen some videos online which gave evidence to this. Karkat, dully aware that he’d just made a noise not entirely dissimilar to “Hurrr”, smirked to himself, and tried his obviously sexy, super cool, leany slouchy hands in pockets thing again.
Just as Karkat was beginning to wonder if he should have showered, or worn tighter pants, or done something with his hair, John appeared from out of a battered looking car with a dent in the hood. He sighed, and rubbed a hand over his face, as he jogged toward Karkat, offering his arm.
“Oh my God, Karkat”, are you okay? You look...” He paused, for a moment to consider the rest of his sentence – Karkat gave a wry smile.
John appeared to cringe… cringe with AROUSAL. “Shit faced.”
“Close enough.” Karkat took John’s arm (stumbled onto it, and then held on for dear life). “So… where are we going? Another bar?” Karkat could tell he was slurring. But that’s okay, because slurring is considered sexy in some cultures that Karkat had just invented in his head right there.
“I think you’re going home.” Said John, as he placed Karkat in the passenger’s seat.
“No, we can’t go to my apartment… it smells like cat piss and clowns.” Karkat grumbled as he struggled with his seatbelt. Complicated little bitch. He saw John roll his eyes (with ANTICIPATION, no doubt) as he slammed the door shut.
“… Well I guess Dave and Rose are working.” He sighed, climbing into the driver’s seat with a look of faint annoyance. He yawned, and looked at Karkat with a smile. Perhaps, not quite the come hither smile Karkat was hoping for. “You can meet Jade - my sister. If she’s not asleep.” And now he was talking about his family. Families aren’t sexy. Well, Gamzee’s Dad kind of was, in a bastardy kind of way. And so was Nepeta’s Mom, actually.
“Yeah, sure, whatever.” Grunted Karkat. John yawned again, and started his car – Karkat stared at the ceiling for a while (it was spinning like a motherfucker) before remembering that his intention here was to obtain some Barely Legal Egbutt. His brain had absconded – his morals, also, and he found himself leaning back in the seat of John’s car, with an attempt at a lazy smile on his face. “So… how you doing?” He asked. He purred. He totally purred. That was a thing he could do, because his voice was low and sexy, not high pitched and nasal.
John snorted at him. Snorted because he was OVER POWERED BY KARKAT’S SHEER EROTICISM.
“You are such a weird drunk. You’re worse than Dave. You’re worse than Dave, and Dave sings anime theme songs when he’s drunk.” John shook his head, still smiling.
“Ooo, hoo hoo, you’re not old enough to drink… I’m telling.” Karkat… sort of attempted a giggle. Then he reached over and poked John on the arm. “I’m totally telling… Ha… Ha.” He… He felt a bit sick, actually.
“Are you trying to be cute?” John asked, brow furred.
“I don’t know, I think so.”
“You’re going to be so pissed at yourself tomorrow.”
“Future me is sober and sober me is a purr-rick.” Karkat said, nodding. “I’m Partykat. I’m fun. Fun as balls.”
John gave a nervous laugh. “How can balls be fun!?” He squeaked. Karkat gave him a look, which, hopefully, was as contemptuous as it was SEDUCTIVE. Maybe he was no longer Partykat. Maybe he’d evolved into… Sedctionkat.
John seemed to balk under his gaze. “Aah ah haha?” He screwed up his face, and kept his eyes on the road. Karkat smirked to himself.
“You’re a virgin aren’t you?”
“Uh. No.” John scoffed. Karkat narrowed his eyes.
“Really?” He asked. “Really really?”
“Yes, really really!” John said and the car jerked indignantly as he did. Karkat pulled a face. ”Why is that such a surprise? I’ve has sex like… three whole times.” He protested. Karkat hadn’t actually meant to laugh, but, apparently he couldn’t help himself. “Quit it!”
He took a moment to compose himself. He might as well press the sexy angle of the conversation. Everyone loved sexy conversational angles. “When’d you lose it?”
“Like… a couple of months ago, or something.” John was blushing, and shrugging and blushing some more.
“God, you’re young.” Karkat sighed.
“I’m only like… eight years younger than you are.” John said. His face flickered, and he took his eyes off the road for a moment to give Karkat a nervous smile. “Okay, that sounds like a lot when I say it like that, but it’s not.” His eyes dropped, then widened. “Oh, dude! What did you do to your knee?”
“Huh?” Karkat looked down and saw that his jeans were a little ripped at the knee, and spotted with blood that had soaked through them. “Oh. I dunno.” He pulled up his jeans, and found a nasty looking, bloody mess on his knee, which appeared to originate from a small gash. It was about an inch across, and it looked pretty deep.
“We’re almost there; I’ll look at it when we’re inside.”
When they pulled up at John’s house, he hurried Karkat inside, and, now he’d pointed it out, Karkat’s knee really did smart something awful. John pushed Karkat in to the kitchen, his hands on Karkat’s shoulders, pulled a chair out from a table, and sat Karkat down on it. Karkat felt himself flushing a little with anticipation, as John rolled up the leg of his jeans. This was it. He time to make his move was nigh. Karkat would dazzle the practically virginal John with the sloppiest of make outs (maybe not sloppy, sloppy wasn’t sexy) and have him biting his pillows within the hour. This was a thing that was totally about to happen.
“Dude, I think there’s glass in this.” John said, his face twisting in sympathetic pain.
“Aw crap…” Sighed Karkat. John went to a drawer, muttering something about always keeping a first aid kit ready and stocked, and Karkat took the opportunity to comb his fingers through his hair, and straighten his shirt out. A moment later, John was kneeling between his thighs (aww yeah) pouring antiseptic onto a cotton swab, and wielding a pair of tweezers.
He cleaned Karkat’s knee a little (“Ouch!”) then looked up at him with a sheepish smile.
“Uh… it looks like it’s stuck in there kind of deep so… Brace yourself.”
“I’m not fuckin’ eight John, I-“ John gripped the glass with the tweezers, and gave it a gentle twist – testing just how deep it was. Karkat had never experienced a worse pain. “Holy cheeto dusted mantitties ow, ow, mother fucking ow!”
“Told you.” Then John yanked the glass out with all the gentleness of a [think of something clever to put here] and Karkat had to bite his fist to stop himself from howling. “Sorry dude.” John said, then, very tenderly, he dabbed at Karkat’s cut with the antiseptic.
“Sting’s like a bitch.” Karkat slurred.
“This is what happens when you get drunk and ask people who are doing you a favour at 2 AM personal questions. You get glass in your knee. You deserve this, every last shard of this.” John said, with a small smile. He grabbed a damp cloth, and started cleaning the blood off Karkat’s leg – with such a gentleness that Karkat felt kind of bad about spending the whole car ride, and the last ten minutes or so, thinking about pounding his cute little butt into a bed, or a sofa – whatever surface was readily available.
But, anyway, it had been a while since anyone had really shown him any real physical tenderness. There was something so genuinely sweet about John, and his unrelenting cheer, and kindness, that Karkat felt his heart swell in his chest.
“Hey.” Karkat said, and John looked up, expectantly.
“What?” He asked. Karkat slipped his fingers under John’s chin, and brushed his thumb over John’s jawline. It was rough, like he hadn’t shaved in a few days. “Oh.” He said. His face turned red, and Karkat actually felt the heat of John’s blood beneath his fingertips. He guided John’s face up to his, and he leaned down, meeting him in the middle. “Uh.“ Said John. Karkat pulled John’s glasses off and placed them on the nearby table. He wet his lips, and brushed them gently against John’s. “Um!” Went John. Karkat caught John’s bottom lip between his, sucking it into his mouth as carefully as he could, brushing his tongue against it, then nibbling it just a little. “Uh… Karkat?” John squeaked. Karkat answered this by brushing his cheek, and kissing him again. John, very very tentatively responded. There was something so awkward and schoolyard about the way John kissed that made him seem even younger than he already was. Karkat tried to deepen the kiss a little, slipping his tongue between John’s lips. John pulled away suddenly. “Could you maybe-” He began.
“Shh! Only makeouts now.” He whispered, pecking the sides of John’s mouth before going for it again.
“Well… okay?” John squeaked. Karkat’s tongue worked its way, quite quickly into John’s mouth, and he shuddered as it traced the rounded outline of John’s stupid/cute, overbitten teeth. But when he actually brushed his tongue against John’s, he was pulling away again. He looked freaked out. He looked really fucking freaked out.
Karkat cringed. “You’re… not into this, are you?” He asked.
John’s shoulder’s shot up, and he went even redder, and then he went: “Ah…?” and Karkat buried his face in his palms.
“Oh my God. I am such an idiot.” He was. He really was. “I hate myself . I hate Partykat. And Seductionkat. They’re both ten times worse than sober me, and I fucking hate that cunt. So much so, I’m gonna fucking vomit. Please direct me to a bathroom so I don’t get any of my disgusting, unworthy stomach bile on your dishes.”
“Oh come on, Karkat, I-”
“No, I mean I’m literally going to vomit.”
“First door on your left.”
Karkat spent the next forty minutes being violently sick into John’s tiny downstairs bathroom. The shots were a mistake. Shots always made him throw up, almost without fail.
He contemplated the logistics of flushing himself down the toilet. Drowning himself in the water. At least giving himself a swirly as punishment for his moronic behaviour. He settled himself between the toilet and the radiator, and rested his head on his knees. He heard a tentative knock at the door.
“Karkat?” John asked. “Is it safe?”
“Is by ‘is it safe’ do you mean ’are you going to stick your tongue down my throat again?’” Karkat snarled. “The answer to that is a big fat fucking no; I’m at least 30% more sober than I was twenty minutes ago, so it’s not bloody likely.”
John entered, holding a glass of water, still sporting a blush. “I brought you this.” He said, sitting down as he handed it over to Karkat. Karkat rinsed out his mouth, then took several large gulps. He’d probably just be throwing up water in a minute, but it was worth it. He was sure he’d never been so fucking thirsty in his life.
John, leant up against the door, poked him with his foot.
“Hey…” He said. Karkat couldn’t quite muster up the balls to look him in the eye. “Hey… I.” John began. Apparently Karkat was the only one having trouble with eye contact.
“It’s not like I’m not into it. You.” John said. “I. I just wasn’t expecting it… I mean, I kind of forgot that you’re like… a real grown up, who actually has sex regularly and stuff and it makes sense that. You’d expect a little more of me than I’m expecting from you.” He cleared his throat. “I’ve never been with another guy before either. So. Um.”
“Look, John. Listen up, because I’m only going to make this horribly embarrassing speech once. I’m sorry. You’re right, but I just want you to know that I only did that because it’s been a while. A really log fucking while. I’m not in the habit of molesting college freshman. I’m a little desperate, and when I get desperate I get stupid.” Karkat grumbled – mostly toward his knees, like he was apologising to them rather than John. “No offence.” He added, hastily.
“None taken.” John said, snorting a laugh.
“And you should at least know that I kind of had a drinking problem for a while. And I don’t really drink now, but when I do, I overdo it and get absolutely, totally and completely retarded. And, again, I’m sorry.”
“Apology accepted. I mean, not that you have much to apologise for, though. It’s. I guess it’s just that the age gap is bigger than I thought it was.” John sighed then, and shuffled a little closer to Karkat. “I’m pretty new to all of this grown up romantic, sexy gay crap. And... Well, you’ve known me for what, five days?” John said. Karkat… Karkat was tempted to slap himself about the face and neck for being such a moron. “Just. Hold your horny horses there… fella.” John said.
“I… I will, if we’re going to be. A thing, I mean. Not a thing. A thing that is just building up to being a thing.” Karkat yawned, and rested his head against the toilet seat, letting his eyes slide shut.
“And… It does feel like I’ve known you a lot longer than five days. Kind of. It’s like… You know how you… I have these dreams sometimes. These… really strange dreams. They seem familiar to me some times.” Karkat yawns again, too tired to care how crazy he sounds. And to be fair, this is John, who could well be a crazy stalker and may well be plotting to take his skin. “Aliens and planets and shit. They’re familiar to me kind of how you seem familiar to me.” Karkat finished, then laughed at himself. “Jesus, this is so fucking stupid.” He shook his head, and conked it against the wall and the toilet. “I’m probably going to go to sleep here now.”
“Uh… We have a couch.”
“I’ve acted like fucking pond scum tonight. You don’t want that shit on your couch, it stains.”
John didn’t argue, he just sighed heavily. “I’m banking on you being too drunk to remember this tomorrow, but a lot of this crap… like, whatever shitty stuff is wrong with you, or your life… a lot of it is probably my fault. And I’m really sorry.”
Karkat lifted his head, and narrowed his eyes, “How could it possibly be your fault”
“It’s a long story.”
“Oh Jesus Christ. I am too tired for this shit.” He sighed, and dropped his head back against the toilet seat.
John got up, and his knees popped when he did. “I’ll put a blanket on the couch for when you give up sleeping in here.”
Some people might think working the all night call in show was kind of a shitty job. Dave, however, would disagree. He got to talk to weirdoes, he got to play whatever the fuck he wanted, he could swear, the pay was good, and it meant he got to be nocturnal. Being nocturnal was cool.
The show was based around ranting. People could call in and whine about anything, since that’s all people seem to do when they’ve been up all night.
“Okay, that was Nick from the Bakery over on Twelfth, telling us about his various bread problems. Fascinating shit there, Nick.” Dave sighed. “Now we’ll take another-” He stopped when he felt his phone buzzing in his pocket. It was John. John at 3 AM. And John wasn’t nocturnal “Record request from the texts.” This was a lie. No one ever texted. Dave took a second to think of the longest song he possibly could. “Hey, well, will you look at that, we have a request for Purple Rain by Prince and the Revolution. I wonder what ever happened to the Revolution – Wendy and Lisa and all those other crazy fuckers.”
Dave quickly selected the song from the station’s music library, and let it play.
began pestering turntechGodhead
at 03:14 --
TG: you have the length of purple rain to tell me whats wrong then im ignoring you
TG: radios not all fun and games
TG: i have serious calls to take cant be all at your beck and call 24 hours a day
EB: i kissed karkat
TG: okay you now have the length of the of purple rain and landslide
TG: first of all
TG: second of all
EB: he made me come pick him up from some bar, i still can’t really decipher the texts but there was something about needing an adult, and a sex vulture
EB: i figured as much
EB: any way, he wanted to go to another bar, but he was wasted and his knee was bleeding like woah, so i took him back to our place cleaned it out.
EB: there was glass in there
EB: it would have gotten nasty if i’d left it
TG: ill give you your first aid badge when i get home
TG: well get that shit sewn to your sash
TG: we can put it right next to your homo badge
EB: ha fucking ha.
TG: but then what
TG: did you kiss his knee better then just work your way up
EB: well no, actually. he kissed me.
EB: it was okay
EB: well, it was really okay
TG: you kissed a boy and you liked it
TG: please tell me he wears cherry chapstick
TG: actually dont i dont wanna know
TG: so what happened then
TG: are you pestering me from betwixt his legs
TG: dave how is blow job formed
TG: how john get semen
EB: god no!!!! i freaked out a little when he stuck his tongue in my mouth
EB: i know
TG: so youve spent five years looking for this guy with the intention of getting your mack on with him
TG: and when he provides you a window
TG: you ‘freak out a little’
EB: i wasn’t expecting him to try anything after five freaking days! i thought i’d get a chance to settle into the gay stuff
TG: dude all he did was kiss you
EB: yeah but, you didn’t feel the intent behind it
TG: purple rain is now over you have only the length of landslide
TG: well i guess if youre not ready
TG: if youve been fraid of changing
TG: cause you built your life around trolls
TG: but time makes you bolder
TG: even children get older
EB: and i’m getting older too
TG: *slide guitar solo*
EB: uuuu uuuu take my love, take it down
TG: uh huuuh climb a mountain and i turn around
EB: and if you seeeee my reflection in the snoooow covered hiiiiills
TG: where the land slidell bring you down
EB: and if you seeeee my reflection in the snoooow covered hiiiiills
TG: where the land slidell bring you down
EB: ooooh hoooo the land slide’ll bring you down
TG: ooooh hoooo the land slidell bring you down
EB: i love you, man
TG: i love you too
Dave put his phone down, and went back to his mic.
“Sorry about that extra song there, I… had to take a leak.” Dave, whose thoughts were a little occupied with the process of scrubbing the image of Ginger Karkat and John kissing from his mind, was thankful for the fact one of the buttons on his switchboard began to flash.
“Looks like we have a caller – caller, what’s your name and what’s your problem?”
“Uh… Travis.” Squeaked the called. “Uh, my problem is uh. Well, I’m uh. I’m hopelessly in love with you, DJ Strider.”
“What.” He’d had one or two of these before. Maybe it was because he laid the Southern Gentleman radio persona on too thick, or because people could just feel the sexy radiating through their speakers.
“Uh, your voice, fills me with… Desire and… uh, the. Uh. I like to touch… myself, while I Uh. Okay I. No. Aradia, I don’t want to uh, do this.” There was a fumbling sound, and the protest of a female voice. Dave rolled his eyes. “No, I. I’m embarrassed now, you talk to him.”
“Hi Dave!” Chirped Aradia.
“Very original.” Said Dave, “Listeners, for those of you who aren’t in the know, I hit this lady with my car on Wednesday morning, how are you doing, sweetheart?” he drawled, lazily.
“Wow, you’re really different on the radio, it’s a little creepy.”
“It’s 100% persona, listeners, in real life I’m incredibly antisocial and difficult to speak to.” He said. “It’s like trying to converse with Rainman.”
Aradia chuckled, “I’m good, Dave! Still on crutches, but it doesn’t hurt too much.”
“How are you? Also, do you happen to know where Karkat went, we think he might be with John, but I we can’t find him. And I lost one of my shoes, but I don’t expect you to know where that is.”
“Karkat is with John, he’s at our house.” Dave said. He was tempted to announce John’s new found homo to all seven of his listeners, but he decided against it.
“Oh great! Just as long as we know he’s alright.” Aradia said. Then there was a squeak, and crash. “I fell down.”
“… Are you drunk?”
“I’m tipsy.” She protested. “Hang on.” She said, talking to someone else. A man’s voice. “Yes, it is? Oh Gamzee, no-”
“Motherfuckin DJ Strider.” Came the low, furious rumble from the phone. Uh oh.
“… That’s me.” Dave swallowed. He hadn’t been looking forward to this day.
“Motherfuckin ‘let’s play ICP every fuckin day’ Motherfuckin ‘let’s turn the magic of Miracles into a Motherfuckin laughing stock.’” Dave could practically feel the spit landing on him through the phone. “The meme was dead Strider. It was dead like a moterfuckin… corpse and shit. And you brought it back, if I ever meet you Strider, Imma all, fuckin come at you with club and-” Dave decided, at that point, to hang up the phone.
“Okay, that’s enough of that call. Full moon brings out all the crazies, huh.” He chuckled. “I’ll be back after this little number from everyone’s favourite clown based rappers, the ICP.”
Now, if Dave had been on the other side of town, he undoubtedly would have heard the all mighty roar, that came from an inebriated, outraged clown. For it was such a mighty roar, that was then followed by the smashing of a car windshield, that the police had to be called.
AAAH IT'S BEEN A WHILE. My laptop died again. I had to get it replaced and stuff. Sob. But it's all cool. Updates... well, they'll be ready when they're ready, I wanted to keep a regular schedule but that might just not be possible. But they'll keep coming, you might just have to wait a while.
Chapter 11: Have a hangover/Be the Birthday girl
He was on… a beach? Is that what that was? But any way, it was sunset. Sort of – maybe the sky was just always pink here.
Karkat walked along the shore line (the sea was very distinctly green) and he wasn’t wearing shoes – not that he’d usually wear shoes at the beach. He was alone, sort of. There were two people a little further down the beach, and instead of being polite, and staying away, he went over to see them because, hey, apparently he didn’t think that was rude at all?
They were two boys, of about the same age, one had grey skin and horns (okay nothing unusual about that) and the other was human, and clad in blue pyjamas with an elaborate hood attachment. In fact, pyjama boy, on closer inspection, appeared to be a younger version of John.
The grey boy was bent over, sucking laboured breaths through his wonky fangs, and little John was panicking. He seemed on the verge of tears, and when the little grey boy vomited bright red, he squeaked, and grabbed him, forcing him to the ground, where he lay with his back against a tree Karkat had only just become aware of.
John smacked the Grey Boy’s hands away, and rucked up his black shirt, which was soaked through with something that obviously wasn’t water. John rubbed his eyes and said, “Oh man. Oh God, oh man!” and Karkat saw what he was panicking about. The Grey Boy had a six inch long stab wound in his belly, that was gushing a virtual fountain of extraordinarily red blood.
“Oh man!” John pulled off his ridiculous hood, balled it up and pressed it to the Grey Boy’s wound.
The Boy hissed. “John!” He wriggled weakly, and John shook his head fervently, pressing the hood to his side a little more firmly. “Don’t bother!” protested the Grey Boy. He spoke in a gruff voice, strange and heavily accented. Familiar, none the less. “Egbert!” He whined. “Goddamnit you’re killing me Egbert!”
“Karkat!” John snapped.
“Well obviously not literally, I’ve got a fucking stab wound that’s got that covered.” The blue of the hood was turning an unnaturally bright red, and Karkat just felt like he was interrupting something terribly private. “Fuck, this hurts.” John seemed to pressed own even harder, then, and the Grey Boy ground his teeth, and kicked at him. “You’re making it worse, fuckass, get off!” And John did, bitterly releasing the hood, and flopping down next to his pissy little alien.
“You’re an idiot.” He huffed, bright red, and making no effort to disguise the fact he was bubbling up.
“Has to happen.” Said Grey Boy. And as he did, John’s face scrunched up, and he just lost it. Now Karkat started to feel really awkward. Little John wasn’t crying the tears of a pubescent boy, but the tears of a grown man. Exhausted, defeated, and utterly dejected. Grey Boy pinched the bridge of his nose with a blood coated hand. “We’re going to see each other again, calm the fuck down.” He snarled.
“But what if we don’t?” said John, rather pathetically. Karkat kind of wanted to scoop him up, and pat his head, or something else super out of character for him. He didn’t deal with crying people well though, he never had.
“Then… I don’t know, you’ll get over it, I guess.” Snapped the Grey Boy. He really needed to stop yelling.
“But I don’t wanna!” John picked up a handful of sand, and hurled it at no one. “This fucking sucks!”
Karkat woke up then, squinting into a bright light, with his face stuck to the toilet seat.
“You must be Karkat.” Said a female voice. It had a cheerful quality to it, despite the fact that it must be offensively early.
“I am going to go ahead and guess… Jade.” Karkat grunted. It came out a lot less coherent than he’d hoped it might.
She nodded. “Gee, it smells like shame and vomit in here.” She said. “D’you want a coffee?” Karkat squinted to get a better look at her, but the light behind her was too strong for him to make anything out.
“Yes please.” He replied.
“Well you’ve got to stand your sorry ass up to get it.” She told him, then left. Karkat physically recoiled from the light that hit him when her body moved.
He hacked up something that was a little bit too thick to be phlegm, but a little too gelatinous to be vomit, and basically crawled out of the bathroom, into the kitchen.
It was a beautiful kitchen, now he was sober enough to appreciate the simple, white walls, and the pretty cups and crockery that hung around the place. The little checked curtains were simply to die for.
Okay, he’d obviously been spending far too much time with Kanaya of late.
Jade was messing around with the kettle, and Karkat stood up, and fell into a nearby chair. Had it not been there, he imagined he would have been flat on his ass. Coolly, he put his elbow on the kitchen table, and rested his cheek in his hand. No one would ever know.
“So I heard you had a pretty good night last night, huh?” Jade said. She still didn’t turn around. Karkat remembered her pictures, sort of, but not really. With her back to him, all he could tell was that she was pretty tall for a girl (taller than he was, certainly), had hair that came most of the way down her back, and was inexplicably wearing a beanie hat indoors.
“Good. Faintly humiliating. Same difference.”
She laughed then. “Oh my God, you’re from Jersey, aren’t you?”
“Uh… Yeah?” He said. She placed a coffee in front of him – it was black, and smelt like it had a mountain of sugar in it. “That’s funny to you?”
“Yeah, it kind of is.” She said, settling herself in a chair across from him. She was… strange looking. Not unattractive by any means but…
She was essentially a female version of John. She had his eyes, only rounder, his face shape, only with a softer, narrower jaw, and his lips, only a little fuller, and pinker.
“Don’t ask me if I know Snooki.” Karkat snapped.
“It suits you. The accent.”
“Thanks, I guess.” Karkat took a sip of his coffee and burnt his tongue. Cryptic bullshit was a family trait, apparently. “Where are you from?” He sighed. He was too tired to question cryptic bullshit.
“Me? Oh, my Grandpa had his own island. I don’t really know where it was, exactly.” She shrugged. “We’re not even sure if I’m technically a US citizen, so shhh!”
Karkat just stared at her, and took another sip of his coffee. “Okey dokey.”
“So… are you and John like… dating?” She asked. Karkat coughed into his coffee a little.
“Uh… Kind of?” Karkat could only really shrug. “I guess we’re building up to it. I’ve only known the fucker for five days. And he’s like 12, and I’m like… old, I guess.”
“You’re not old!”
“Compared to you and him, I’m a little old.”
“How old are you, exactly? John never said. I mean, you’re older than us, but I don’t think you’re as old as you’re making out with yourself to be.”
Karkat snorted into his coffee. “Excuse me?”
“Damn! Sorry, what a weird slip of the tongue, I don’t suppose it happened to ring any bells?” Jade leant toward him, eyebrows so high that they disappeared up into her beanie hat.
“Um… No.” Karkat cleared his throat. They then sat in an uncomfortable silence, and Karkat took a few large glugs of his too-hoot coffee, till the mug was drained. “I’d better be going back home.” He said, standing, and staggering rather than walking.
“No! Stay till John gets up, you have to go to the petting zoo!” She said, with a slightly demented air.
“I can meet him in the afternoon.”
“But-” Jade began, then deflated. “I. Oh never mind, you leave.” She had the same kicked puppy look as John did. “It was nice talking to you.” She said.
“Yeah. See you.” Karkat grunted. He stumbled toward the door, still a tad drunk, and very hung over, with absolutely no idea what time it is.
He pulled out his phone, only to discover the fact it was 8AM, and that he had seven unread texts.
There were three from Kanaya:
Karkat You Are Drunk
Karkat Where Are You Even Gone You Crazy Bitch
You Are A Free Spirit Karkat I Have Always Loved That About You Also I Am Going To Go Hit On The Hot Barely Legal Rump At The Pizza Place Wish Me Luck
Karkat sighed, and made a simple, one word reply:
There was also a text from John (please don’t choke to death on your own vomit!) and two from Sollux:
help me eriic wont leave me alone and feferii 2aiid we cant be 2ex buddiie2 any more why ii2 thii2 happeniing.
liife i2 hard.
And the final text was from Travis:
aRADIA AND gAMZEE GOT ARRESTED,,, cOULD YOU COME TO THE POLICE STATION PLEASE,,,
Kanaya awoke, and found herself achy, unrested and twenty six. She’d slept in till noon – unusual for her – and spent at least an hour staring at the ceiling.
She was cold. She was alone. Her bed was too wide.
So she’d managed another whole year without finding anyone. She had a pathetic crush on some girl at a pizza parlour she’d spoken to once. She’d just give up and get a cat if her building allowed pets. She sighed.
“Life could be worse.” She told herself, quietly. With another sigh, she dragged herself out of bed and into the bath, snapping on her radio (Somewhere Over The Rainbow – by the guy whose name she couldn’t remember was playing) before she got in.
The water was a little cold, and she rested her chin on her knees and gazed at her distorted reflection in the polished silver metal of her taps. She was uncomfortably aware of the bags beneath her eyes, the worry lines slowly carving their way into her forehead, and the thin lines that cracked around her eyes when she squinted.
She got out of the bath after washing her hair, and set about the task of styling it just how she liked. She could have easily stayed in bed all day, that day, but she didn’t. She had her party to go to, at least, in the evening.
When she checked her phone, she found she’d received twenty “Happy Birthday” texts, from her usual circle of friends, as well as a few of her work colleagues, old school friends, and, of course, her foster mother.
Happy Birthday Sweetheart. Your Present Is In The Mail - Anne. It read. Kanaya smiled, and replied with a simple thank you, and a promise to write to her.
The others received thank yous, and, for the most part, she received no reply. Vriska did however, promising to buy her a stripper, or a pizza girl, and Kanaya instantly regretted telling her about the Pizza Girl yesterday.
She put on a clean pair of pyjamas, and laid out her clothes for later. She collected her mail from downstairs, finding a small clump of cards, and a tiny parcel from Anne. She waited till she was upstairs to open it, and was unsurprised to find that she’d been bought jewellery. Anne always bought her jewellery.
It was a small jade pendant, hung on a silver chain. Simple and tasteful – Kanaya clipped it around her neck, smiling at the way the pendant rested in the dip of her collar bone.
She fixed lunch, then toyed idly with her necklace as she read one of her many atrociously wonderful vampire novels. Anyone who said they didn’t enjoy a good dark romance was simply a big fat liar, as far as Kanaya was concerned.
Someone knocked on her door at three, and she rolled her eyes, and dropped her book. “Just a second!” she called, as she scrambled across the room to grab a bra, and put on at least the base of her makeup.
“It’s me.” Said her door, in a voice rather like Eridan’s. Perhaps she wouldn’t bother with her makeup.
Bra in place, she answered the door to see Eridan, pouting and brandishing a poorly wrapped gift.
“Happy Birthday Kan.” He said, as he thrust the present at her, and stepped into the apartment. It was a slim, square rattling package. “Open it!” He said, with some impatience, as he settled himself on a chair at one of her sewing machines.
She kicked the door shut, gave him a small frown, and sat on her bed. The wrapping came away easily, and revealed a large set of rather expensive colouring pencils, which you’d been toying with buying the last time you went to the art supply store together. Oh Eridan really could be a sweetheart when he wanted to be.
“Oh Eridan, really, these were extortionately priced.” She told him. “Thank you so much.”
“Yeah, w-well I figure since you’re always so fucking patient w-with me, an’ the ones you got are w-worn down to fuckin’ nubs. Figured I treat you.” He said, with an air of… far too much sincerity.
“What do you want?” Kanaya asked, suspicious.
“Can’t a guy give one of his closest friends a w-well-deserved gift on her birthday?” His arms folded defiantly, and he puffed out his chest.
“A guy can. You can’t.”
Eridan’s arms went slack. “I totally had the gift for you before this happened.” He sighed.
“What is it?”
“Okay, so the guy who hit Aradia with his car – Dave. He got a ride w-with Fef and me, and he w-was so fucking hot. I tried to give him my number and stuff, but he hasn’t called and I think I came on a little strong.”
“Coming on a little strong? But that’s so unlike you.”
“I know-w right?” Eridan pouted. Kanaya rolled her eyes, and began fiddling with her new pencils as he spoke. “Any w-way, his name is Dave and w-we need to Facebook stalk him so I can casually bump into him at his w-work.”
“Why can’t you do that on your own?”
“My internet is dow-wn and Fef says she’s not going to enable me anymore.”
Kanaya… Well, Kanaya was in no mood to argue. She retrieved her laptop from under her bed, and handed it to Eridan.
They discovered, after a good hour of Facebook-stalking, that Dave was, in fact, a very good friend of John’s. John as in Karkat’s John. Pizza Coupons John.
John was listed as his wife (just hilarious), and Kanaya had to assure Eridan that, no, they were not actually gay married.
Eridan checked out the girl listed as Dave’s Expected child (again, hilarious) a plain sort of girl, with glasses, and dark hair. He checked out his sister as well (assuming she was actually his sister).
“Sister’s cute too.” He said. “I w-wonder what their Mom looks like.”
“Let me see.” Kanaya said, and Eridan turned the screen so she could see. Her heart leapt into her mouth. “Well fuck.”
Kanaya snatched the laptop.
Pizza girl’s name was Rose Lalonde, she spoke American English, she was “married” to Jade Harley, she was from a town in Upstate New York (a pathetic voice in Kanaya’s head piped ‘Me too look we have something else in common’) and she was born December 4th, 1995. Kanaya was definitely cradle robbing a little, there. But so was Karkat, so what could you do.
Her profile picture was a tasteful black and white picture of her with an oversized sweater pulled over her knees. Upon further investigation, it had turned out to be something for her brother’s college work.
“Do you know-w her, or something?”
“No, not really.” Said Kanaya. “But I will.”
“And people say I’m creepy.” Eridan shook his head. “Now-w gimme it back, I need to look through Dave’s likes.”
“It’s my birthday!”
“I was usin’ it first!”
“My laptop, my Wi-fi, my apartment, my birthday.”
Eridan conceded only when she promised to do his hair for him. Somehow, she always ended up with the bum end of the deal.
They got ready to go out not too long after, Kanaya, in her humble opinion, had done a beautiful job of Eridan’s hair, and he seemed to agree. Their friends could laugh at it all they wanted, but the dry textured quiff was a timeless look, that genuinely suited Eridan and who cared what the rest of them thought, because they knew nothing. Nothing.
After she’d gotten her makeup immaculate, donned her fourth best dress (deep green, scoop necked, nipped in at the waist with a purple bow, from which hung a see-through Maxi-skirt Kanaya had added on herself, as the original skirt of the dress was a tad short for her liking) and leant Eridan a t-shirt before they’d left. Really, the shirt was much too tight for him, but he liked to neck line and she supposed hardly wore it any more (screen printed band shirts were a bit last year, and not due to make a comeback till fall of next year). Plus, he’d complimented the stitching on the extra skirt she’d added to her dress.
They arrived before everyone else, though not too long before Karkat and Gamzee. Kanaya quashed a brewing (most likely, one sided) fight between Karkat and Eridan, before receiving a wonderfully thoughtful gift from Karkat, which she stowed in a bag she’d brought for this purpose.
Her friends started to trickle through the door, and after they were moved to a more private booth (thanks to the barkeep’s accidental insensitivity and Travis’ wheelchair) the “fun” could truly begin.
Vriska was the last to come, hurtling through the door, screeching about the Pizza Girl and making Kanaya slop some of her drink down her chest with the force of her hug.
Karkat who she had been talking to, sneered, and Vriska fell casually into his seat.
“Dish.” She commanded. Kanaya, who was wiping fruitlessly at her chest, obeyed.
“Me and Eridan-”
“Eric.” She sneered, holding almost as much derision for his, admittedly, stupid nickname as Karkat did.
“Me and Eridan were Facebooking his latest fancy man, and it turned out Pizza Girl was his sister.”
“No!” Vriska said, her mouth falling open.
“Aah… Yes.” Kanaya cleared her throat, “Any way, her name is Rose Lalonde and she’s 18.”
“Wow! She’s a little young for you, isn’t she?” Vriska snorted.
“Well, Karkat is actually trying to get into one of her friend’s pants, so it’s not just me.”
“An eight year age gap though! I’d never thought you’d have it in you.” Vriska smirked that smirk that made Kanaya want to punch her, sometimes. “Oh wow, you’ll have to buy her drinks for her and help her with her homework.”
“Eighteen is not that young. Plus, she’s almost nineteen; her birthday is early on December.”
“Pff, fine. Whatever finally gets you laid Fussy.”
“Remember that Vriska is always here for you.” She leaned over and patted Kanaya’s knee before grinning. “Hey, what was the name of the Pizza place she works at?”
“… Why.” Kanaya narrowed her eyes.
“Just because.” Vriska shrugged.
“I’m not telling you.”
“Why not? Don’t you trust me?”
“Fine, be a bitch.” Vriska huffed. There was a slightly awkward silence, before Vriska elbowed her, smirking. “Why don’t I buy you another drink, huh?”
Mostly, Kanaya blamed the Birthday Slippery Nipples Nepeta had made her do. She found herself, rather inebriated, hanging off of a slightly dejected Eridan’s arm, in the middle of the street at God knows what time in the morning.
“I’m most sure that this place is open all night.” Kanaya said, stumbling. Eridan’s grip on her arm became vice like.
“So… So you’re gonna ask her out. I’m gonna get her brother’s number.”
“Yes. That is exactly what we are doing.” Kanaya told him, with a determined nod.
Nothing could go wrong.
tune in next time to see what could go wrong.
Thanks for reading you're all beautiful rainbow dream children.