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“John, I’m home!”

Dave had picked up some groceries on the way over from work. He thought maybe John would like some ice cream, specifically Rocky Road, his favorite. He set them down next to the still-open hallway door before yawning and clicking it shut.

“John?”

No response.

Dave stood silently for another second, waiting for John to make some sort of recognizable noise. The door to John’s room hung open slightly. Dave blinked. Dave stopped breathing.

please be here please be here please be here

There was broken glass sprinkled all along the floor of John’s room. The window was specked with blood. A lone hammer lay on its side next to the shattered makeshift exit.

There was a knock on the front door.

Dave jumped, twisting around. The knock came again, louder this time.

He approached the door cautiously. Dave cracks his knuckles before opening it.

“Hello! I was wondering if you’ve seen my cat around here? I’m afuraid she didn’t come back home last night, and I’m a little worried, so—“

Dave slammed the door, his heart beating a thousand beats a minute.--

John was humming brightly, strumming his fingers against the window of the car. He looked over at Karkat and grinned.

Karkat did not respond.

His face was contorted strangely and his eyes did not leave the road. He had been playing the same Katy Perry song on repeat for the past ten minutes.

Earlier after Karkat had decided that John had seen enough of Gamzee, he mumbled something about it having gotten dark and asked if John needed a ride home. John was confused at first, but then obliged, after asking for a pen to write down Gamzee’s address.

Karkat gave it to him.

Now he was driving, his face perpetually scrunched up in what could only be properly described as some sort of abdominal pain.

John tried to remember what he did wrong.

“Thank you, by the way.”

“Mm.”

“For… everything.”

“Mm.”

Karkat turns towards him, looking like he’s about to say something, but he just turns right back around, shrinking into himself.

Karkat did not appear to be mad at John. This was a plus. However, he also did not appear to be happy with him. Fear slowly curdled in John’s stomach, as an unhappy Karkat has proved never been a good thing. His brain wracked itself looking for ways to eradicate this.

“I liked…” he waved his hand, searching for the right word. “hanging out with you today.”

Karkat looked over his shoulder at John, his face unreadable. “..hanging out.”

“Yeah. Outside of the bakery, y’know, not doing anything. We should do more of this.”

Karkat blinked. “We should?”

“Yeah! Especially once we’re done with this, this collecting thing. This thing with the colors.”

Karkat is facing him fully now. The car is parked, when John doesn’t remember. Karkat’s face is strange. John can feel the fear turning in his organs once again, and he panics.

“I really like hanging out with you! You’re a great guy!” John’s muscles are tense and he’s squeezing the sides of the seat.

Karkat opens his mouth. He closes his mouth. He opens it again, and turns away, biting his lip. Then he turns back, looking fiercely determined all of a sudden and asks in an unnecessarily loud voice, “Can I have your number?”

John is confused, as Karkat has never seemed to need John’s number before in terms of contact. Regardless, he hesitantly gets out a pen from his pocket, determined not to anger him. “Do you have a piece of paper?”

Karkat looks like he’s trying exceptionally hard not to smile. “Oh, um—“ he giddily reaches around the car, looking for something that isn’t McDonald’s cheeseburger rappers, and comes up empty. “Shit—“

John sighs and grabs his arm. They were wasting time. “Do you have any problem with me just writing it on your arm?”

Karkat was red. “Oh, um, no, no I don’t think… no, not really. Yeah, you can do that, if you want, I mean. If you want to.” He gulped. John wrote it.

“I’ll see you later.”

Karkat’s face was frozen in perpetual disbelief when he slammed the car door shut.


----

Dave is waiting for him in the living room.

His face is in his hands and he looks like a broken doll, the strings tangled within each other, their damp skin stretching against each other into a weave. John sniffed the air.

“JOHN! John, what the fuck did you do?! What is this? John, what the fuck, John—“ His arm was being held gruffly and the address on his arm was being read.

“211 Parkway Dr-- What is this? What is this supposed to be? Fuck, John, what are you—“

A fist flies through the air, contacting with the bridge of Dave’s nose, an explosion of blood. Dave falls back with a choked sob, covering his face. Karkat grabs a lampshade and swings it John watches, horrified, as the lamp comes in contact with Dave’s head in a burst of red. He flumps forward and hits the ground, silent.

red

Red cauterizes the floor, seeping into wood panels and then rises again, glowing with an infernal flame and John can feel his eyeballs sucked back into his eye sockets, his fingers pet and scratch his face as his fissures become cracked with eczema and his brain becomes edaphic and his teeth are saccharose sucrose saccharine glucose and lined in just the right way to make his gums feel wrong and face too tight

Karkat is grinning. The walls are red.

Dave.

“John.”

He’s okay.

“He’s just fine.”

The floor is a whirlpool and skin is a wanton virgin pluck for the fucking

“You look so pretty in that color, John.”

But Dave

He can feel his muscles rearranging themselves in his body and his bones bending to accommodate, the harsh twang of tendon sounding loudly as John watches his epidermal blanket fluctuate around him, lobes flip-flopping and fingers hemorrhaging and the worm inside him shifting to lean on Karkat as he loses his balance and catches it again to see everything was just right after all, now wasn’t it little boy I can see cle a r l y no w t he r ai n is go n e I’m so proud of you son and Karkat is screeching and shaking him and there’s just all this red

“YES! FUCK, yes, John, don’t you get it? It was you all along, fuck, you disgusting piece of shit, god, we were always the same, weren’t we, the same sugar, the same shade of secretion the same static

I can see all obstacles in my way

“You’re going to kill him. You’re going to kill him and you’re going to fuck his dead body and you’re going to love it, you sick sack of flesh, you disgusting rotting corpse of a man, look at yourself, you’re a disgrace to everyone who sees you, son of a bitch,

John had never felt so giddy in his life, there was something sticky in his hair and his clothes had changed colors, the world was spinning as Karkat grabbed him, growling and spouting horns, fangs extending as he took one long, languid lick of John’s waiting flesh, John giggling and shrieked with laughter, He was sucking at him, pushing him up against a desk, punching him in the stomach and biting his intestines, he was knocking at a door.

“Shit little man, ain’t it a bit late for visitors?”

--
Your name is Gamzee Makara and you are about to wish you had never been born.