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You study your hands, shakingly tracing the outline of congealed blood with your eyes. Your body is so empty.

god fuck kill me kill me please god gore dead fuck just let me die

Everything is empty.

shit I can smell you I can smell you so good fuck me kill me burn me eat me

Everything.

go get the gun

You choke back a sob, involuntarily inhaling the rancid scent of rotting flesh. You roll over your bed and vomit, coating yourself and your belongings in curdled yellow discharge. It seems fitting. It seems beautiful.

You lay in your own filth. You stare at the ceiling. You start crying again.

GET THE GUN GET THE GUN GET THE GUN YOU’RE USELESS YOU’RE HORRIBLE YOU’RE UGLY YOU’RE SHIT BLOW YOUR FUCKING BRAINS OUT YOU FUCKING STUPID WASTE OF AIR GETT H E GU N

You slam both hands on either side of your head and shriek like a beautiful young girl getting her low intestine pulled out, not too fast now don’t you want to see the look on her face as she chokes on her own bile and dies she dies and the last thing she sees is you isn’t that what you want it is so what are you waiting for go get it go get it get it get it GET THE GUN

You sit up abruptly. Everything is quiet. You are in your room. Your room is a good place. It’s your favorite place. All your favorite things are in here. You release a sigh heavily, feeling a lot better all of a sudden. You think it’s about time you got that gun. You stand and walk towards the bathroom, accidentally stepping in the head. A momentary surge of panic takes you and you scream again.

It’s transformed back already.

You know why this happened don’t you you worthless sack of shit you didn’t do it right again aGAIN YOU FUCKING WORTHLESS

Your heart beats faster. On your floor where a young woman had lain, disemboweled and perfect, each organ laid side by side organized in just the right pattern and her face just the right color and her body just the right shape laid

 

 

nothing.

You feel your head smash of its own accord against a wall, your own fist pummeling your face and you don’t even try to stop it because you know you deserve it and, god, there’s blood everywhere again but it’s the wrong fucking one and

GET THE GUN

You’re in the bathroom. You see your own reflection, bleeding and haunted, gushing everywhere is the proof of your own failure, god how you just want it all to end.

You see yourself smile.

Behind its back is the bringer of your retribution, your savior, your hero.

You watch yourself place it in your mouth and you both grin in unison. You chuckle at yourself from behind the mirror, tipping your hat at the person staring back at you. Everything is going to be okay.

You pull the trigger.

----

Your name is Karkat Vantas and you are going to get a fucking bagel.

Karkat does not like bagels. He hates them. Bagels are shit. He wants to personally throttle every bagel in existence for having the audacity to be an actual bagel. He also goes out of his way every day to go to the bagel shop eight blocks away from his house.

“Sup.”

Karkat is kind enough to acknowledge the greeter at the counter with the bird.

This is a fairly new bagel shop. It’s also a fairly small bagel shop, and small is putting it lightly, as it’s only big enough to have two employees, both of which own the thing. One works cash and one bakes. They alternate every other day. He doesn’t know if they are brothers. He really hopes not.

“You ready for another round of order the first thing you see on the menu only to try and can the shit immediately after Mister Vantas,” the ass at the counter says. He’s working cash today. Fuck.

“Shut the fuck up you for one goddamn second you wretched bile sack of a person. Why’s the other guy in the back today? He was in the back yesterday!”

“Sorry bro. Your eye candy got a bit fucked in the head last night by some jackasses who thought it’d be fun to knock around a guy who makes bagels for a living. His face looks like a hamburger. Honest to god he shouldn’t have even come in today, but part of the Egbert charm is being mind-bogglingly stupid. He ain’t even coming to put up fresh bagels for you to not eat, his face is so wrecked. Looks like it’s you and me, buckaroo.”

Karkat opened his mouth. And then he closed it. And then he opened it again.

“So his name is Egbert?”

The self-satisfied smirk fell off of the cashier’s face like a bag of rocks. “Fuck. Great. Now you’re gonna go off and facebook stalk his ass and make versions of you both in The Sims so you both can kiss aren’t you you sick bagel-trashing fuck oh.”

Karkat had already walked briskly out of the store, and was pulling out his phone. He had facebook stalking to do and a livejournal to update.

--

Your name is John Egbert and your hands are shaking. You don’t even like bagels.

Chapter Text

John Egbert woke up on the bathroom floor yesterday, covered in his own blood.

He did not wake up of his own accord.

“God DAMN it, you stupid fuck, wake up wake up wake up! Hey! John! JOHN! Egbert, I swear to christ if you die on me I am going to—“

John’s eyes fluttered open to see his roommate hovering over him, shaking him, teeth gritted, eyebrows drawn tightly into a knot.

“Dave…?”

Dave jumped back, almost frightened, then slunk back down to John’s level. He makes a move as if to touch him, but then pulls his arm back.

“John, what the hell happened to you?”

John blinks. His head hurts. Dave raises his hand and snaps his fingers impatiently in front of John’s face.

“Yo. Egbert. Are you listening to me? Did you get jumped? Fuck, you got jumped, didn’t you? Holy—how many fingers am I holding up?”

John grimaces. “Uh, three?”

Dave’s expression softens and he puts his hand down. “Okay. Good. We need to get you to a hospital.”

“..what?”

“A fucking hospital Egbert, you look like you tried to fight a train with your face and a pack of shitty bubblegum from the Dollar General!”

The throbbing in his head becomes loud enough to drown out Dave’s voice until it sounds like the whole world is underwater. What happened last night? Desaturated images with low opacity float along the top of his memory, each one fuzzier than the last. His head feels bloated and swollen.

“Dave, what time is it?”

“It’s—what? It’s six-thirty. Why?”

“Six—Dave! Shop opens in half an hour!” He tries to stand, clutching the side of a wall for support. His body feels stiff.

“Sho—John, you don’t honestly think we’re going in to work today, do you?” Dave gives him a look like he’s about to make John count his fingers again.

“That’s our only source of income, Dave! Yes, I think we’re going into work! I’m fine, okay?” John starts to leave the bathroom, the world slipping slightly out of focus again. His footsteps echo. Everything feels strange.

this is your fault fix it fix it

The walls all feel like skin, crusted and peeling. The walls are skin. They have always been skin

plunge your fists in deep and fuck the womb with your fingers

“Are you sure you’re okay, dude?” Dave is watching John trace patterns in the wall with his fingers. One eye is swollen shut, and his teeth are stained with blood. He’s grinning.

He doesn’t want to admit it, but this isn’t the first time he’s found John like this.

“I really don’t want you going in to work, dude. Your face is a fucking waffle maker and you shouldn’t have to deal with baking when you look this bad.”

John grimaces at the mention of a waffle maker. He hates waffles. He hates bagels too. He hates bread.

“I’m going in.”

“…okay, but if you pass out on me, I’m calling an ambulance. Deal?”

John smiles. “Deal.”

He doesn’t want to remember.

--

John was in the back today.

Dave decided that it probably wasn’t a good idea for John to work cash, because he might scare the customers. John didn’t mind. He wasn’t feeling well.

He hands slowly kneaded the bread, ghosting over the curvature of the many lines, stretching it slowly. The dough had great elasticity and John watched mesmerized as strands of dough trailed off with his hand. The strands reached their breaking point and dropped on the table. John stared as the stray bread lines entwined within each other, hatching and crossing and hatching impossibly, over and over and spinning and sobbing and crying and laughing

There was a vortex at the end of the tunnel. It was twinkling enticingly up at John. Little beams of light circled around him peacefully, bending to his will. John smiled softly. He pressed a finger up against one. This must be what god feels like.

there is no god

The light was sucking at his finger, pulling at his skin, dissolving the matter around him and folding his bones inside of themselves and god it hurt so bad there was blood dripping down his shirt again and it’s the wrong one

“John. Are you okay?”

John looked up dazedly. “What?”

“You’ve stood there with your finger stuck in the dough for ten minutes.”

John looked down. “Oh.” He took his finger out.

Dave crinkles his face from behind his sunglasses and opens his mouth like he’s about to say something. He doesn’t. He walks away slowly, casting John looks over his shoulder.

John starts to form the dough into donut shapes, feeling sick. He hates doing the baking. It’s disgusting.

“He isn’t coming back.”

John looks over, startled. Leaning casually against the far kitchen wall was the bagel shop’s best customer: Karkat Vantas.

“How—“

Karkat walks closer, getting in John’s personal space. He leans in, slowly taking a lock of John’s hair and twirling it in his fingers uninterestedly. “He hates you. We all do, you know.”

John shivered, whimpering. He backed up against a wall. “S—stay back—“

Karkat shoved him rulthfully against the cool metal of the wall behind him. His face is impassive. “He told me why, you know. Before he hung himself.” The fingers in John’s hair became a hand and gripped at the back of John’s head lightly. Another hand trailed down John’s stomach and traced the hem of his jeans. “It was because of you.”

“S—stop—I’m n-n-n-not—no—“

“You do everything wrong, John.” Karkat leaned forward and pressed his nose to John’s neck, smelling audibly. “You’re disgusting.”

John started sobbing, his shoulders heaving and shaking with the force of it.

Karkat breathed hotly on John, pulling back to look him in the eyes. “He could never be proud of you, John. He lied. He did it to hurt you.” Karkat placed his fingers gently on John’s lips. Tears were streaming down his face. He could barely see. “He told me to hurt you too, you know. Do you want to know how?”

“N-n-n-n-no p-p-please—“

“By killing you.” He shoved his hand up into his mouth and broke the skull, shattering bits everywhere as his fingered John’s grey matter, pushing and pulling and twisting and another hand reached up to gouge into his eyesockets, letting forth another surge of blood as the fingers fucked his mangled eyes—

 

“JOHN! God, John, oh god, it’s okay I promise, please stop, Jesus, please—“ Arms were cradling him, rocking him back and forth.

He was still screaming fifteen minutes later. It took him three hours to stop crying.

Then he was laughing.

He needed to get the gun.

---

Your name is Karkat Vantas and you are making versions of yourself and Egbert in The Sims so you can kiss.

It was three in the morning. Karkat was maxing out his own muscles in the Sim Creator when “Baby Got Back” sung out from his jacket pocket. Karkat flipped his phone out and answered.

“What.”

“Have you theen Gamthzee lately?”

Karkat groaned and pushed away from his computer.

“No, I haven’t seen Gamzee lately, I’m not his fucking mom. I’m sure he can take care of himself for a couple weeks without kicking the proverbial bucket, Sol.” He still didn’t have enough muscles yet. He’d have to go back and add that custom skin he downloaded with all the pecs.

“Uh, no, he can’t, idiot. That’th why you’re supposed to check up on him!”

Karkat stopped playing his game long enough to glare through the phone. “And since when was I bestowed upon the ever-holy duty of cleaning up a crack addict’s vomit?”

“Thinth you became hith friend, you thelfith fuck! Or can’t you find any time in your bagel-boy-filled theduale anymore to help out your betht friend?!”

Karkat blushed a deep color. “He’s not my best friend, you asslicking fucktard. You are. He’s more like a stoned little brother.”

“Oh, tho you don’t deny that you’ve been vithiting that guy at the bagel thop thtill?”

Karkat blushed, if it was possible, even harder. He had been picking out “Egbert Guy’s” outfit and his mouse had been poised over a sultry maid’s gettup. He hastily moved his mouse somewhere else. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Bullthit. I know you’re obthethed with him, I wath there when we went to the bagel place for the firtht time, remember?”

He remembered.

--
“God fucking damn it Sol, we’re so close to my apartment, I can just get you something to eat there. I don’t want to spend my hard earned money on stupidass shit that I have at home!”

“You don’t have bagelth at your plathe, KK. Bethideth, it’s my birthday.”

Karkat groaned. “Fine. But I’m not having any.”

“Yeth you are.”

“What the fuck, Sollux, why.”

“It’th my birthday. I’m getting you back for forth feeding me when I’m in one of my deprethive thtates.”

“I don’t like bagels.”

“I don’t like thoup.”

“God, I hate you.”

Sollux just chuckled and pushed him inside.

The guy working cash was a guy with a massive overbite and a weak smile. He also had bags under his eyes similar to Karkat’s, he noted mutely. Not that it mattered.

“Yeah, listen, we just want a couple of bagels, okay, and also—do you guys have tea here?”

“Um, we have chai and green.”

“Yeah, I’ll take the chai. What kind of bagel would you like, princess?” He shot Sollux a deadly look.

“Thetheme theed, thweetheart.”

“Okay, that and a—“

Sollux grinned. “And a pumpernickel for grumpy here.”

Karkat was scathing. “Are you fucking kidding me? I hate shit with seeds! I am not eating that!”

“Pumpernickel and a thetheme. That and KK’s chai.”

“No! God! If I’m getting anything, it’s a plain! And that is a HUGE if.”

The cashier looked amused. “Alright, well, there’s a new batch of bagels almost out of the oven, would you want to wait a couple of minutes and get the fresh ones instead of these, Kaykay?”

Karkat gritted his teeth menacingly. “My name is not Kaykay, asshole. It’s Karkat. Karkat Vantas. And no.”

“He meanth yeth.”

“Hehe, alright. Well, we’ve got a couple of seats in the back if you want to sit down.”

Karkat did not need any more persuasion than that. He stomped off before the young man had finished speaking.

After about five minutes of pointless bickering, the cashier walked over with a tray, setting it down.

Karkat could not believe his eyes.

“Holy shit, are you really that stupid? Did I not JUST SAY NO PUMPERNICKEL? Do you even KNOW how to listen? Good GOD, is the wax in your ears so deep seated that it’s reached all the way through your thick skull and coated your brain? NO FUCKING PUMPERNICKEL. HOW HARD IS THAT. HOW. HARD.”

The messy-haired idiot actually had the gumption to snicker at this, glancing slyly at Sollux. Did he—had he really…

“DID YOU FUCKING DO THIS ON PURPOSE?!”

He giggled.

Karkat could not believe what he was hearing. No one had ever purposefully tried to piss him off without knowing him first. No one.

His face heated and his knuckles turned white. “GET. ME. A. PLAIN. BAGEL. YOU. WORTHLESS. SHITSTAIN.”

“My bad! I’ll be right back.”

Karkat watched him go, mesmerized. What had just happened?

“Did he just do what I thought he did?”

“Heheheh. Funny guy.”

Karkat turned his head incredulously, but the cashier had already returned with another bagel.

“Sorry about that, Karkat! I was a little mixed up.”

Karkat was about to roll his eyes and reply scathingly to this when he saw what the guy had placed in front of him. It was the same pumpernickel bagel from before, except it looked like the shaggy haired kid had poured a whole package of raw pumpernickel seeds over the entire thing, to the point of some actually falling over the sides and on to the table. Karkat’s jaw nearly fell clean off his face. He looked up at the cashier, speechless. The guy was clutching his sides and biting his lip, pink in the face, absolutely shaking from poorly concealed mirth.

He had never been more turned on his life.

---

“Whatever. It isn’t like I’m going there every day or something.”

“Bullthit, you totally are, you romantic dweeb. Do you know his name yet?”

Karkat paused. “…Egbert.”

“Egbert? Ith that a firtht or latht name?”

“Uh.” You had searched for an Egbert on facebook in your area, and was lucky enough to only turn up one result. However, upon clicking the name, Karkat was dismayed to find all of his pictures were of overused unfunny internet memes, so there was no way of telling if it was the right Egbert or not. Karkat was warry of friending people he wasn’t sure he knew. He didn’t want those “internet people” getting ahold of his very important personal information and status updates. “…last.”

“Tho you don’t know his first name.”

“Sollux, go the fuck to sleep. I’ll check up on Gamz tomorrow, okay? I promise.”

“You’d better. I’ll know if you didn’t.”

“Go to sleep, stupid.”

“Fine. G’night, KK.”

“Night.”

He hung up the phone.

Karkat hesitated momentarily before choosing the maid’s outfit.

---
Your name is John Egbert and every night you pray for death.

Chapter Text

John did not go into work for three days.

Every night Dave would come home to find John staring at himself in the bathroom, covered in new bruises and scratches. Dave would sit with him in their living room and talk to him about his day, talk about how some hot chick came in an ordered a big-ass bagel, talk about how shitty the music on the radio was, talk about how hungry he is and order a pizza, watch John not eat the pizza, order Chinese and watch John not eat that either, talk about anything to fill the silence that is John sitting there, wordlessly, looking like death and quietly getting thinner.

The next day is different.

John sits in a corner in his room, picking at the slashes on his wrist while watching the blood pool around his feet. God, it’s so red. It looks like ribbons and raspberries. He picks up the knife, slightly dizzy from the blood loss, and readies himself to hack again.

dripping milked whore useless dirty fuck harder harder kill death bleed

“What exactly do you think you’re trying to pull here?”

Karkat steps closer and bends himself down to be face-to-face with John. John avoids his gaze. Karkat slaps him and forces his head up so he’s looking him straight in the eyes.

“The fuck. Are you trying. To pull.”

Karkat leans back and swipes a finger in the blood, and then holds the bloodied finger in John’s face.

“Did you really think this would fool me?”

John whimpers, cowering. Karkat responds by roughly shoving the finger on John’s eye socket and rubbing. John yelps and tries to weakly shove him off.

“It isn’t even the right color, you disgusting idiot.”

He roughly punches John in the face, busting his lip and spurting more blood.

Karkat gets up and the whole world bends. The floor twists and cracks and folds, people are screaming and a man smiles at him from across the room before stepping up on a high stool and swinging from a children are laughing but their tongues are too long and their legs are on a little boy with too many arms and a baby with too many heads and one of them is made of tumors pulsating in the belly of a mucus filled KILL ME PLEASE KILL ME

“Look what I brought you, Egbert.”

John looks up. Karkat is dangling a headless woman over him. Her blood is dripping on his face, over his body.

“Do you see now?”

God, yes.

“Do you see why your blood could never be a substitute?”

John’s hand hovers above the naked flesh. He sees.

“Touch it, John.”

He does.

“Deeper.”

John presses his fingers into her stomach and watches as the skin unfolds and uncoils around his hand, the perfect red reaching up to cover and eradicate his imperfect imitation. He can feel the muscle. His fingers are twitching, following the curves, he’s dipping his hands, exploring and ripping and bleeding as one.

all you have to do is kill the broken ones and see them fixed maybe we won’t even have to see you anymore wouldn’t that be just glorious wouldn’t that be glorious if you were dead and bloated and gone

“Deeper.”

John pulls out the tissue and places it next to him as he shoves both his hands inside, tears sliding down his face. He yanks out intestines and organs. He scratches his nails against the inside of her hollow torso, getting her color underneath his nails. How could he ever compare to this? He sobs and warps his fingers around the entrails, splitting holes further to expose the pockets of bile. He wanted to cut off her legs.

cut her legs off cut her legs off cut her arms off I’m so proud of you son

“Look at this, John. Look at her. Do you see how awful you are now? Even this headless whore is better than you. Everyone can smell your stink from a mile away.”

He leaned down closer again, his voice warped and beautiful and broken. He cupped John’s face and ran his fingers through his hair.

“I need you to do this, John. It’s the only way.”

John felt empty. The blood was starting to sear through his flesh.

“Everyone hates you. Everyone.”

The pain was unbearable, he could feel his bones cauterizing from the heat of it. He just wanted it all to end.

everyone

 

The apartment smelled funny. Dave hung up his keys and crinkled his nose, looking for the source. He walked towards John’s room.

“Hey I’m—John, what the FUCK DID YOU DO?!” John was sitting alone in the corner of the room, hands at his sides, covered in blood. In front of him were pieces of an intricately disemboweled cat, intestines wrapped around John’s fingers. Dave gagged. He turned to screech at John again when he saw the cuts on his wrists.

He rushed over, his heart beating a mile a minute and pulled John’s hands free from the gore. “Oh god, John, you wouldn’t—“ John’s chest rose and fell.

He was still breathing.

His eyes, however, remained dull.

Dave felt the blood leave his face. “John, please, what happened?

John didn’t turn towards him. “Claim freedom persecuted pump tongue terseuck.”

Dave crinkled his eyebrows. “What?”

John looked at him. “Deragin james key asintrack ex.”

Dave looked worried. “John, asintrack isn’t even a word.”

“Withdrew space regular rule.”

Dave couldn’t stand the smell. He picked John up and took him out into the bathroom and placed him in the bathtub, lifting his shirt off for him and turning the water on. John’s head lolled against the back of the tub. He was so pale, the splattered blood a sharp contrast to his withering frame. He looked dead. Dave choked back a sob as he bandaged John’s wrists, forcing himself to look away. He couldn’t take much more of this.
--

“He’s doing that thing again.”

“I’m afraid I have no idea what you’re talking about, as you haven’t used a single proper noun.”

“I’m not in the mood for fucking games, Lalonde.”

“What exactly did you expect from housing with a schizophrenic Dave, hm? That his sanity would bend to your will and convenience? This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.” Rose knitted causally in her den. “How bad is it?”

“He’s saying random words and—fuck—“ Dave’s voice fizzled out at the receiver. The sound of splashing water could be heard.

“Hm.” Rose continued her knitting. “I believe that’s known as ‘word salad’ among casual diagnosticians of schizophrenia.”

The splashing stopped. After a few moments, there was the sound of a door closing. “I—it just, it feels like I’m making him worse, I—“ Silence. “I came here to make him better, and I’m making it worse and I don’t know what I did and he’s, god, Rose, I don’t know what I did.” Muffled sounds.

Rose stops knitting. “Dave. It’s alright. Tell me what he did.”

“He… He’s hurting himself, he’s fucking hurting himself. God, Rose, he’s… h—he’s hurting… other things.”

Rose sat up in her chair. “Dave? What exactly did he do?”

“He—God, this is all my fault.” There’s a dull thud accompanied by more muffled noises.

Rose puts her needles away completely. “Dave, this is serious. He needs to be hospitalized immediately.”

The end of the receiver is quiet.

“Dave. Listen to me. This is not normal schizophrenic behavior, despite what horror movies might tell you. He needs to be hospitalized. Perhaps permanently.”

“Lalonde, what the fuck are you saying?”

“This is not up for discussion. He is dangerous and cannot be reasoned with in this state.”

The silence at the end of the phone drags on for what seems like forever.

“Listen… I know you aren’t fond of the idea Dave, but he isn’t your best friend right now. He’s someone else, and this someone’s biochemistry isn’t susceptible to medication. You don’t have any other choice.”

Silence again.

The phone clicks.

Rose puts her face in her hands, sighing.

He isn’t going to call the hospital.

-----
Your name is Karkat Vantas and you haven’t seen Egbert at the bagel shop in a while.

Chapter Text

Karkat didn’t sleep very often. Despite this, he still had an alarm clock that went off at 6:30 every morning to notify him of the opening of a certain shop that sold food he didn’t like. Karkat yawned, taking off his headset and pausing his game. He’d gotten pretty far, he had successfully married Egbert Guy and currently had four beautiful adopted baby boys with him. They had woohoo’d about 48 times already. It was obviously a sign.

Then his phone rang. Karkat groaned, flipping it to see who it was. Wow, great. Sollux had texted him, lovely.

kk don’t you fucking dare god
check up on gamz right now you fucking dip2hit 2lutbag

Karkat turned off his phone.

--

Half an hour later he was pushing open the doors of the bagel shop, prepared with numerous snarky comments to shoot at the attractive ca—oh.

“What? Again? Don’t you even fucking tell me that—“

“Get out.”
The cocky asshole that worked with Egbert was working cash again today. He had his head in his hands and his shoulders were slumped, his shades pushed off his face.

“Are you seriously going to—“

“Get out of my store, Vantas. I’m not in the mood for your shit today.” He stands up slowly, placing his shades back on his face. He points to the exit. “Get out of my store or I’m calling the cops.”

Karkat just stands there, his mouth hanging open. He tiptoes his way out the store.

His phone is ringing again.

kk are you fucking 2eriiou2 i just texted gamz and you 2tiill arent fuckiing there with him.
am ii goiing two have two kiick your a22 two get you two actually do 2hiit.
ii know youre awake an2wer me.

SOLLUX I THINK THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH EGBERT
I MEAN HE SAID THERE WAS BUT I MEAN COME ON WHEN HAS HE EVER SAID ANYTHING SERIOUSLY?
BESIDES HE’S SAID SHIT LIKE THIS BEFORE JUST TO GET A REACTION OUT OF ME SO HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW IT WAS FOR REAL
WOW I’M SUCH AN IDIOT.

kk what the fuck are you even talkiing about.
ii2 thii2 relevant two what were talkiing about right now no.
no iit ii2nt.

Karkat hurriedly remembered that time the douchebag cashier guy had pretended Egbert was dead to see if there were any similarities between then and now.

--

“Hey! Where’s the other guy? You worked cash yesterday, you fucking--”

“He… he died, bro.”

Karkat’s heart stopped. “What?”

The guy has his feet up on the table and is flipping through some porno mag. He puts the thing down for a minute and turned to Karkat. “Yup. Got hit but a truck going 220. Shit happens.” He picks the magazine back up. “Sorry you weren’t invited to the funeral, bro. I just don’t think the rest of the guests would have appreciated you pretending to eat the circular corpse-oeuvres while letting a load of spunk out on John’s sorry sack of a solidifying body.” He flipped a page.

This was, of course, bullshit. There was no way that happened, Karkat thought as he made a mild choking noise and his vision started to blur.

Karkat was just about to start screaming about how insensitive he was being about his beautiful partner’s death when John opened the door from the kitchen holding a new bath of bagels.

“Hey, coolkid! You mind giving me a hand over here? Oh, hi, Karkat. I’ll be with you in a minute.”

Karkat ran out screaming.

--

He decided after much thought that perhaps these events were dissimilar. This was discouraging.

I’M REALLY FUCKING SERIOUS HERE, DOUCHEHOLE. THIS IS A BIG DEAL.
WHAT IF HE’S HURT? LIKE, BADLY HURT?
FUCK, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

here2 a 2uggestiion.
how about you worry about the people that you actually fuckiing know.
liike.
oh.
ii dunno.
gamzee makara you piece of 2hiit.

Karkat Vantas spent the next couple of minutes thinking about what he could do to alleviate the obviously excruciating pain of Egbert. Oh god, what if he was really hurt? What if

kk oh my fuckiing GOD JU2T GO.

Karkat supposed he could mull over this at Gamzee’s apartment.


--

It took him approximately fifteen minutes to get there on his bike. He knocked on the door.

First there was silence and Karkat’s heart jumped. Maybe he wasn’t even here? However, this was soon followed by a muffled honk which was a clear indicator of the otherwise. The door opened.

“Heeeeeeeeeey, motherfucker!” A gangly man with a grease-painted face leaned on the doorway grinning listlessly at the furious man beneath him, the faint smell of pot, confectionaries, and bad hygiene wafted in from behind him. Karkat wrinkled his nose. “Haven’t seen you around here in a while! How’re you doing, best friend?”

“Ugh. Whatever.” Karkat pushed past him in order to survey the state of the apartment. He stepped in a pie.

“What—What the fuck is this?!” He shrieked, shaking his leg vehemently. The thing was green.

Gamzee chuckled casually and went to go get a towel. “Pies, motherfucker. Slime pies. That right there is the most righteous motherfuckin’ shit I have ever made. I can get so many wicked miracles into those things, you wouldn’t even believe.” Karkat looked at him incredulously.

“Wait, are you honest to god cooking pot into these things? Gamzee, how—“

“Miracles, motherfucker.” He then proceded to stick his head into one that was sitting alone on a counter.

“You—Gamzee, get your fucking head out of there you stoned, brainless, ballsack-headed cock; you look like you’re trying to snort a pustule off of someone’s face and it is causing me to be ten seconds away from killing you and hiding the body in the most horrid of dumpsters in the least civilized of countries, I swear to god.”

Gamzee honked a horn nonchalantly.

Karkat gritted his teeth, trying desperately not to pull a gun out from the depths of the cosmos and shoot himself. This was going to be a long visit. The delicate smell of week-old laundry drafted up to his nose, reminding him he had a job to do.


“How the hell do you even live in this pigsty without suffocating under the weight of your own stench? Can’t you even—Gamzee you fucking—Give me that!” He swatted the pie away, not even turning to watch it splatter across the floor. Gamzee looked down at him guiltily as Karkat’s screeching reached critical levels, wringing his hands. “How am I supposed to—I don’t give a fuck about your self-medicating bullshit right now, okay? Do you fucking see what this place looks like? This is not normal. Damn it, Gamzee, it isn’t healthy and you’re not helping yourself by wallowing in your own filth. You’re going to get off your ass right now and you’re going to help me with this, and we’ll deal with…” he gestured scathingly at the pie on the floor, “…later. You got that?”

Gamzee didn’t say anything for a long time. When he did, it held the vague aura of intoxicated concern. “What’s wrong, motherfucker?”

Karkat made a series of bizarre hissing and spitting cat noises before he remembered how to speak coherently. “What? What’s wrong? I’ll tell you what’s wrong. What’s WRONG is you deciding that—“

“Nah, that ain’t it.” Gamzee leaned in, scrutinizing his face in concentration. “You ain’t even motherfucking here, are you? You’re all up in your own head, swimming in your own motherfuckin’ miracles.” He pressed a single finger onto Karkat’s head to emphasize the location of said motherfucking miracles. Karkat blinked stupidly.

“Wh—“

“Shoosh, bro,” Gamzee said kindly, patting the side of Karkat’s face. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

Karkat blinked again. Then he sighed, pushing Gamzee’s hand away. “God, I’m sorry. There’s just— a lot on my mind right now.”

“It’s chill, bro. Whatever it is, it’ll work out. Listen—I don’t want you all up and coming here if you don’t feel like it, aight? You obviously got some serious motherfucking shit up in that head of yours and you obviously gotta get that sorted out before you all up and start hangin’ with me again. You got that?”

Karkat looked away, rubbing his arm. “Gamzee, I—“

“No. Shoosh. I want you to all go and get yourself to that wicked park up on Eighth Avenue and walk around until you got your shit straight. You got that? Then you can come back.” He grinned lazily. “It ain’t a thing, bro.”

Karkat looked up at Gamzee again, and then over to the door. He paused, and then gave him a rough hug before going to leave. “I promise I’ll be back soon, okay? I just--?”

“Motherfucker, not another word. I’ll just be sittin’ here with my miracle pies ‘til you all up and get back here.”

--

Your name is Karkat Vantas and you are going for a walk in the park to clear your head.

--

Your name is John Egbert and you are going for a walk in the park to clear your head.

--


--

John is sobbing and babbling incoherently, following Dave around the apartment and grasping at him pathetically. Dave does not change his mind.

“D—Dave… y—you don’t understand… W—wh—Dave, please-!” John is crying harder now, trying to grab at the keys desperately. Dave shoves him off.

“John, don’t do this, I was up all night long bleaching the apartment and burning cat hairs, there is no way in fuck I am doing that again, Egbert, it’s only until you feel better, John, fuck, John, get off of me—“ Dave shoves a bit harder than he intended and locks another window. John falls over and lays there, crying helplessly. Dave draws his eyebrows together, testing the lock on the window and trying desperately not to turn around and give in. He does not succeed.

“John, shh, John look at me,” John shakes vehemently, becoming hysterical while Dave attempts unsuccessfully to pry John’s hands from his face. “I promise when I get back I’ll unlock them, okay? This is only for a little while. This is because I messed up, alright? John, this isn’t permanent, this is only for a little while, John, please, calm the fuck down!

John Egbert is hyperventilating and babbling vapidly while shaking his head so fast Dave thinks he’s going to break his neck.

Guilt consumes him.

“Th..there’s some pizza in the fridge if you get—“

John is clawing at the carpet, back on the ground, looking frantic and desperate and broken and god

Dave Strider leaves the apartment, trying desperately to think about bagels.


John crawls his way back to his bedroom, his entire body wracked with sobs. Dave just didn’t understand, why didn’t he understand, this was dire, this was the most important thing in the world, god, now what was he going to do, if Karkat finds out he is going to

“John.”

John gasped and scrambled backwards. Karkat stepped forward.

The silence that bled through Karkat’s eyes was thick like lead, holding down John violently and dangerously, thick like lead and knives and nails. Karkat stared down at him. He knew.

“What are you doing.”

“I—I—I—Dave—he—“

Karkat took one step closer. His eyes were two glinting orbs, sitting wetly inside his skull. Two orbs, safely enclosed within a cage of flesh, two circles, two pin points, two dots lines arms reaching out to pull John up to face Karkat one inch away

“Speak up, John.”

John shook. “I—he—D-dave locked the windows, I can’t—“

Karkat wrapped an arm around him, his fingers petting John’s hair, casually intertwining themselves between the locks. “He locked you in, did he?”

“Y-y-yes—“

“Is that so?” Karkat asked this quietly. His fingers winded around a particularly thick patch. John whimpered helplessly.

“I—he—he did—“

Karkat fisted his hand and pulled, slamming John’s face into the window pane. The window cracked in a violent propulsion of blood while John screamed, holding his ruined face.

“WELL THAT’S JUST TOO FUCKING BAD, NOW ISN’T IT, JOHN?

SLAM.

“LOOKS LIKE YOU HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO GIVE UP, NOW THAT DAVE LOCKED A WINDOW, YOU DEGENERATE IDIOT!

John shrieked, arms flailing trying to grasp on to some sort of handle, mouth begging Karkat to stop, tears running down his face. Karkat didn’t listen.

“DON’T YOU DARE EVER SAY THAT TO ME AGAIN, YOU WORTHLESS PIECE SHIT, YOU JUST GO AND FUCKING FIND ONE.

SLAM.

John screamed and screamed, blood gushing from every orifice, unable to see because of the congealed blood on his face running down his body

worthless fucking shitbag cant do anything better off dead better off gone

“Karkat, p-please—how do I even know w-which ones--!

Karkat smashed his head through the window.


--

The instant he arrived at his destination he started to question why he was there.

Karkat never really found any enjoyment in parks, due to the people that often inhabited them. During his few visits he rarely came across anyone he knew, and yet every person he walked near insisted on striking up an increasingly obnoxious and awkward conversation, leaving Karkat with an intense feeling of dread, praying to god he would never come across that person again.

This was about to change.

On a bench, next to the park walkway, on the far left, sat none other than Egbert himself.

Karkat made a loud squawking noise and jumped behind a tree.

OH GOD OH GOD HE CAN’T BE HERE WHY IS HE HERE I’M NOT EVEN DRESSED

NO SHUT UP YOU IDIOT CAN’T YOU SEE THIS IS YOUR CHANCE YOU FINALLY GET TO TALK TO HIM WITHOUT HAVING TO SMELL ANY BAGELS GO GO GO

Karkat watched him. He couldn’t get that good of a view from this far away, but there was no mistaking it. There was no other person in the entirety of the cosmos with hair that stuck up that way. He took deep breaths, steadying himself.

SUP EGBERT YOU MIGHT REMEMBER ME FROM THAT BAGEL SHOP YOU WORK AT I’M THE ONE THAT YELLS AT YOU SOMETIMES AND ALSO CAN I BUY YOU A COFFEE ONE OF THESE DAYS WHAT IS YOUR FIRST NAME IT ISN’T ACTUALLY EGBERT RIGHT BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE WEIRD

Karkat was suddenly hyper aware of how very red his face was. No, that was horrible and stupid and this was horrible and stupid. He could do this. He would just have to walk over there and do it. He was in control.

Karkat jumped out from his hiding place, feeling very much in control. He stomped over to Egbert, hands clenched into fists.

He should have realized there was something off the closer he got to the bench, however he was way too in control at the moment to think about much of anything besides butterflies gnawing at the insides of his stomach.

“HEY,” he barked.

Egbert positively jumped out of his seat at the noise, and when he looked up, he looked absolutely terrified. Karkat’s stomach sunk. He shouldn’t have been so forceful. He’d barely opened his mouth and he’d already messed up, damn him. Wait what was wrong with his face oh god what the fuck happened to his face

“Oh god, please, I’m sorry, please, Karkat, I just, I don’t know who, they all look the same to me and please, why won’t you help me Karkat, please I can’t do this by myself!

Karkat didn’t hear a word of this. He was staring at his face. It was cut and bruised badly, the bruises turning different shades of yellow and purple and his arms what the fuck happened oh my god

His stomach churned, he’d never seen anything so pitiful in his entire life. He wanted to hold Egbert forever and keep anything else from ever happening to him ever again while simultaneously gutting the perpetrator of the wounds. How sick and horrible do you even have to be to do this to someone like Egbert he was so

“What happened to you?” he demanded. Karkat could already feel the rage bubbling in his veins.

This demanded vengeance. NO ONE touches his Egbert, despite the fact that he did not actually hold any claim to Egbert whatsoever.

Egbert looked at him.

He looked confused.

He opened his mouth slightly, eyebrows drawn together. “But…”

“…don’t you remember?”


Karkat blinked, trying to decipher this. Remember? Remember what? Had he been there when this had happened? Had Egbert already told—oh. Dave. Dave had already told him what happened, he just hadn’t believed him at the time. Great, now he looks like a jerk for forgetting. This was already going horribly. He had to fix this, and fast.

“Of course I remember. I was just… testing you.”

Egbert looked at him.

Now it was going even worse.

Karkat needed help, and fast. He wondered if he could discretely text Sollux and ask him for help, he was always so good at picking up girls. He fisted his front pocket, looking for his phone.

Wait.

What.

The pocket was empty. Karkat’s nerves reached new, unpredicted levels of terror. Where had his phone gone? What had he done with it? He had gotten up in the morning, he had his phone then, gone to the bagel shop, he had his phone then too, gone to check on Gamzee, he had—

Oh.

Suddenly an idea hit him. Karkat cleared his throat. “Do you want to meet a friend of mine?” he asked, quietly resisting the urge to bash his own face into the pavement and leave himself to die. “I mean, you know, if—“

To Karkat’s astonishment, Egbert looked positively delighted at this. Perhaps it wasn’t a lost cause after all?

“You mean it? You’re going to help me?”

Karkat drew his eyebrows together, not really understanding. “Well, actually you’re kind of helping me because—“ he started, trying to explain the cellphone.

“Well, yes, of course, that’s what I meant,” Egbert looked terrified again. Karkat had obviously missed an important part of the conversation while he was daydreaming, and now he was paying for it. God, he was so bad at talking to guys.

“Um. Yes. Are you coming?” Egbert nodded vigorously. Karkat tried not to grin. If Egbert saw how awful Gamzee was, he’d obviously think better of Karkat, thinking of him as some sort of charitable hero and fall in love with him, romcom style. Perhaps this was going to turn out well after all.

--

Egbert did not seem to think Gamzee was awful. Egbert seemed to think Gamzee was some kind of angel.

Whatever Gamzee said or did Egbert looked on with awed reverence, his eyes following him everywhere. This was discouraging.

It was even more discouraging when he walked in with him and Gamzee gave him this too-knowing look and it made him blush harder than he’d blushed in a while.

It was even more discouraging than that when Egbert introduced himself (he introduced himself as JOHN Egbert, John) he asked Karkat if Gamzee was special, and Gamzee replied that he was a motherfucking miracle, and Egbert (John) seemed to think that that was a completely respectable response.

It was the most discouraging of all the way John motherfucking Egbert smiled at him.

He smiled at him like he’d found peace with the world, like everything, everything after all, was going to be okay.

He smiled at him the way Karkat smiled when he was alone and there was no one to laugh at him and his stupid, stupid crush on the bagel boy who obviously had just fallen for someone else.

Karkat wanted to put his face in his hands and cry.

--

Your name is John Egbert and tonight you are going to kill Gamzee Makara.

Chapter Text

“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.

Chapter Text

The skinny guy from before is standing on the doorstep and smiling up at him. His face is so lit up that Gamzee swears he can hear it snap crackle pop like a motherfucking breakfast cereal.

“You alright?”

The kid looks different from before.

He’s wearing an oversized, washed out pink hoodie and all his muscles are clenched tightly, wound and rewound around himself as he grins, hands behind his back and grinning oh so painfully up at Gamzee. He giggles.

Gamzee furrows his brow and looks over his shoulder, trying to find the joke. “Shit, what you all up and laughin’ about, Johnny boy? You’re at my doorstep at one in the morning and you ain’t even got no jacket.” John stops giggling, and leans against the doorframe, still grinning up at him. He doesn’t say anything. Gamzee blinks and crinkles his nose, checking over his shoulder again, then after a second thought, over John’s for good measure. “M’ best bro Karkat ain’t with you, huh?”

John’s grin spits his face at this, revealing both sets of projections, and his sullen eyes swell. Gamzee can hear the wind outside blowing.

And then it stops blowing, because John has removed one hand from behind his back and stepped inside clicking the door shut in one step. Gamzee’s feet step backwards of their own accord.

“Shit.”

John is walking forwards towards him, ever so quietly, one hand grazing a lopsided table and the other still hidden discretely behind an ever-clenched back. He bites his lip and looks adoringly up at Gamzee, like he never wants to look away.

Gamzee hits a wall in his efforts to back away further.

“Uh, you forget something bro?”

John tilts his head, nerve endings firing and eyes twitching. He reaches up and caresses Gamzee’s face lovingly, eyes lulled in reverence. “Spectrum runselling breakage.”

Gamzee narrows his eyes slightly. “…runselling? Is this some kind of a prank?”

John shakes his head, chuckling slightly. He pats Gamzee’s face.

“Trick,” he says.

Then he slams a hammer straight into Gamzee’s eye.

--

The shrieking echoes off the wall, he’s howling, there’s blood splattered on the wall behind him. John takes a step back and hacks again. God, it’s so wonderful. God, it’s so beautiful. He’s moaning and sobbing and scratching the walls and John is grabbing his hair and shoving his face into the carpet and the only thing John wants right now is gorgeous fucking red red red

smash his face in

He raises his hammer and strikes again again and giggles. There are portions of pink flesh flying through the air and John gazes down in bubbling adulation at the brand new holes streaming gushing Red but

why won’t he stop making all that noise

He’s still crying.

He’s still crying, and he’s shivering, clutching himself. He gapes at John with crimson sockets and a ruined face, shrinking into himself as if to hide, babbling noises that sound similar to prayers.

The noise rings and bounces off of the inside of John’s skull, and he grasps it, hissing.

A single hand wraps around his waist as a head slinks up and rests itself on his shoulder, nuzzling into his warmth. John shivers.

“Johnny.”

“Johnny.”

“Johnny, rip out his tongue.”

He’s standing over him now, shoving the hammer in his mouth, listening idly to the hollow crack of bone, sobs screaming scratching at his leg, and John has never felt so full in his life, so fucking full.

full of shit

“You’re doing it wrong.”

There are fingers in his face and legs in his arms, a whole ocean of liquids rushing and gushing and gurgling while Karkat rips with nails sharpened like knives dive deep into the esophagus, clawing at the membrane and resurfacing with a fist full of dead cells rearranged like brand new furniture

Karkat’s face is disfigured and lacking in chroma, his eyes demonic and wide. His teeth are weaponry. He grabs the man on the floor.

His face is splitting, a Glasgow grin made of fucking sugar, chthonian protrusions escaping the skull in candy-colored formation as he sticks his tongue down his throat and hums.

His fist contacts with the abdominal sack of meat and sinks through to the cardinal blancmange coiled snake bleeding red soft tissue His hand engrosses and welcomes the repugnant slime, it welcomes it deferentially and God why won’t he shut up

John tightens his handle and pulls, cracking the ribcage open wide, blood speckling his face, laughing, laughing, screaming, shrieking

Karkat’s claws are piercing into John’s shoulders, drawing blood as he presses against him, purring lowly. He leans forward, slowly licking an ear.

“Good boy,” he whispers.

John shoves both hands into the man’s chest.

Karkat sighs against his skin, a hand in his hair and teeth tracing his neck.

“Such a good boy.”

John methodically removes the organs from their casing. He sticks his fingers in the eye sockets. He wants to stretch him out and break him. He wants to see just how far he can go.

Karkat chuckles and wraps his legs around John, slinking a hand under his shirt.

“Do you know what good boys get?”

John has his mouth on the inside of the man’s cheek, teeth pulling in an attempt to get it to tear. He tastes red for the very first time.

“They get fucked."

Karkat grabs him by the neck and pushes him down, cackling, smearing his face in the heavily gored carcass. John chokes, clawing his way around the body, reaching back around at Karkat, blood and extraneous tissue going up his nose and mouth.

“You’re such a little piece of shit,” Karkat chuckles, flipping him over and scratching his face. “Do you really think everything is fine now? Do you think everything is okay, just because you got a bit of cherry red?”

John’s babbling again, trying to push himself up. Karkat pushes him back down. He bites his neck.

He’s fighting with him, wresting him to the ground

He’s clutching a bloodied eye socket, screaming, crawling away on hands and knees

He’s coming back from the kitchen, chuckling

He’s approaching the sobbing mess on the ground

And now he’s laughing

“Do you even know what you did? What happened here?”

He’s coming home from school

He’s opening the door

He’s saying hi to dad

He’s eating cake

And now he’s covered in blood

“You’re a monster. And you should feel like a monster.”

he needed to get the gun

“N-no, Karkat, no, sto—“

Karkat’s lips crash into his own, growling. John pushes against him, gasping for air, but Karkat just pushes him back down

intestines turning inside out opening wide skeletal system contracting to accommodate for all this fucking blood

Karkat puts a hand over John’s mouth and watches as tears start to stream down his face, rocking against him and purring lowly.

his flesh is burning twisting and hardening in the flame breaking into a million pieces as the skin on his face is ripped from his skull i’m so proud of you son so proud of you son so proud of you son

Karkat leaned down again and aligns his face with John Egbert’s ear, whispering darkly.

“Good boy.”

--

Your name is Dave Strider and you have a massive headache.

Chapter Text

Dave groaned, rubbing his forehead.

The world spun and faded periodically. He felt hungover.

Then he looked around his trashed apartment and remembered that he wasn’t hungover.

Next to him lay a broken lamp. His closet appeared to have been completely emptied, its contents strewn along the floor of the living room. Dave squinted, rubbing his eyes. His head throbbed. He vaguely remembered John coming in and flipping out and oh sweet Jesus Christ where was John where was he where was he where was he

Dave’s heart throbbed painfully, jumping out of his chest as he staggered around, trying desperately to remember where John went. He grasped his head, messaging his temples. He came in… yelling smash.. lamp..s hade.. arm 211 Parkway—

Dave stood up suddenly, his vision blurred but his mind clear.

He knew where John was.

---

The car hummed passively as it drove up in front of the apartment. Dave looked up from his hand-written directions towards his destination. He placed his head down on the steering wheel and inhaled deeply through his nose, steadying himself. He could do this. He turned off the gas.
He got out of the car and stepped heavily towards his objective. The door read its number, heavily scarred with age and lack of care. There wasn’t any noise coming from within.

Dave’s hand was poised above the door prepared to knock. There still wasn’t any noise coming from the room behind it.

Dave knocked.

There still wasn’t any noise.

Dave knock again.

No noise.

Dave shivered, checking the quickly scrawled noted from within his hand. Right address. He clicked his tongue, wondering if the owner within would charge him with breaking and entering if he tried to force his way inside. Only if he got caught, he supposed. Only if. ..the owner. Caught.

The door, it turns out, wasn’t locked.

And when Dave stepped inside he couldn’t stop himself from screaming.

“GOD, FUCK! GOD, GOD, FUCK, GOD, JESUS CHRIST FUCK!!” Dave leaned to the side and hurled.

John was laying serenely on top of a dead body.

Said dead body seemed to have diffused itself all over the room.

All over. The room.

There was so much blood.

Dave was covered in vomit, and he started to cry. He hobbled towards his friend and shook him, screaming words he didn’t understand. There was just so much blood. There was just so much—

John snapped out of his glazed state, eyes resurfacing from wherever they were. He looked scared. Dave screamed and punched him, screaming and screaming and screaming. No, John, he couldn’t be the victim here, look what you’ve done, you fucking monster, you monster, seeing things he couldn’t see, haunted by things he didn’t know, John, whose father died a horrible death, who trusted him, was entrusted to him, and look at him, he failed.

He failed.

John was whimpering.

“No, shh, shh, I’m sorry, please, I wasn’t thinking, don’t cry—“ Dave scooped him up, bloodied and horrible smelling and carried him out. “No, shh, please, stop, John--”

He smelled like death, and less than twelve feet away was a body. He knew what he had to do.

Dave started up the car again and got out his phone. But before he typed those three numbers, those three numbers that would change everything forever, those numbers that were proof of his failure, his broken promise, his regrets, he looked over at John.

John, who was looking out the window, his face streaked with tears.

John, who was silently hugging himself, shivering.

John.

And Dave made the worst decision of his life.

 

As he opened the bottom cabinet in Gamzee’s house, he was glad the man owned so much carbon peroxide.

--

Your name is Karkat Vantas and you are absolutely giddy.

Chapter Text

He was sitting in front of the television, bawling his eyes out about just how perfect Elizabeth Bennet was with her darling Mr. Darcy, the dashingly handsome yet outwardly cruel young man. He identified with him. John was his Elizabeth, both a tad bizarre and both with brown hair. Karkat then started to cry about John’s silky locks, shoveling another tub of chocolate icecream into his mouth.

Then the phone rang.

Karkat groaned audibly, flipping open his phone in irritation and pausing the movie. Sollux. He would go out of his way to interrupt Karkat on movie night.

“WHAT?” He barked.

The other end was silent.

Karkat toyed with the remote scathingly, glaring straight ahead. Typical.

“If you haven’t got anything to say, d—“

“Have you theen the newth yet, kk?”

The news? The news? Why would he-“

“Why would I-“

“You might wanna check the newth.

Just…

I’m thorry, Karkat. I’m really thorry.”

He hung up, leaving Karkat to the silence. He felt his back shiver. Calling him by his full name was rare, and only saved for the most serious of situations. He looked down at the remote in his hand, quitely considering the options.

 

The agonizing wail could be heard throughout the entire complex.

--

The funeral was next week, closed casket. All of his friends were there, hanging his head. Karkat couldn’t stop crying.

“I-it was my job! To protect him! Mine! Fuck! FUCK! IT WAS MY JOB! He let out another moan, slumping against Kanaya, hiding his sobs against her dress. Kanaya pet his hair and whispered soothing things to him, rocking him slightly. Sollux and Terezi stood slightly apart from the others, glaring into the distance as the man read the eulogy.

Terezi was the first to speak.

“He was murdered.”

Sollux hissed, shielding his eyes crossly. “Yeth he wath murdered. We all know thith. It is a fact. Good for you.”

“He was murdered and he needs justice. This wasn’t an accident. This was someone he knew.”

“Yeth, the polithe already figured that out, you—who’th that talking to kk?”

They simultaneously turned their heads to the left, ogling the short young man who had joined their group, looking around at the festivities interestingly.

“I’ve never theen him before.”

“He might be the murderer then. Someone Gamzee knew that we didn’t, that—“

Terezi! Thtop. Jutht thtop it, ok? Thtop. I’m gonna go find out who he is.” And with that Sollux walked off, shoulders hunched. Terezi was quick to follow.

“Hey. Who’th this?” Sollux jerked his head at the young man, not looking at him. Karkat was still shaking.

“A friend of Karkat’s, apparently. He saw the procession from his house, which is seemingly nearby, and decided to join us.” Kanaya went back to petting Karkat’s hair.

“I—I’m sorry , you had to see me like this. I’m not usually like this,” Karkat lied into Kanaya’s cloth.

“I know,” the man replied. He appeared to have gotten into a fight recently. Terezi was sniffing suspiciously.

“J-John, this is Sollux and Terezi, friends of mine.” He desperately tried to wipe his eyes.

“Are they special?”

Karkat crinkled his face. “Uh, well, Terezi is an ex of mine, Sollux is just kind of an a-a-asshat.”

“Ex? So she’s special?”

“Uh, yeah, I guess you, um, c-could say that. She’s also blind, so like,” Terezi sniffed again, “Yeah.”

“I see.”

Terezi gave the most deadly serious look slightly to the left of John she could muster.

Your name is John Egbert and you are going to kill Terezi Pyrope.

Chapter Text

 

--

 

Terezi sniffed her way up the stairs to her apartment, tapping her dragon adorned cane along the railing. Despite being blind, Terezi was highly perceptive in matters of her relativity to her surroundings, and yet despite this she was still unfortunate enough to lose her footing one night after a couple drinks at a neighbor’s house, even after her friend had warned her to be careful. The result was an anonymous petition started to create an added railing for the helpless blind girl, as well as a less than anonymous lawsuit.

 

Terezi smirked silently at the memory, feeling around for the door. She stepped inside easily, quietly noting the slight jam as she closed it.

 

She wiped her feet on the mat. She hung up her coat in the corner. She sat down on the couch.

 

“I know you’re there, Johnny-poo,” Terezi sang, smirking.

 

Silence.

 

Terezi got up slowly, wetting her lips. “Hm? Nothing to say?”

 

Silence.

She tapped her cane impatiently, clicking her tongue. “You’re trespassing, you know. That’s against the law. I could have you persecuted.”  Terezi snapped her feet forward, grinning a challenge into the darkness. “But I’ll make you a deal.” She removed a hand from a pocket, revealing a coin. “Heads, you turn yourself in for murder and I completely forget about the trespassing. Tails, I kill you, blame it on self-defense for said trespassing, and forget all about about the murder. How’s that sound?”

 

Terezi could barely hear the breathing in front of her.

 

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

 

She flipped the coin.

 

The quarter hit the ground with a clang that rang throughout the room.

 

Terezi stood noiselessly and listened to the awkward shuffling.

 

“Well, Johnny-boy? Are you going to tell me what it was or not? I’m blind.”

 

There was slight shift as John bent down, and a louder one as Terezi slammed her cane on John’s neck.

 

--

 

The world swung and screamed and John saw stars as Karkat shrieked and shrieked and shrieked

 

“I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL GOOD SIR”

 

“FIGHT ME”

 

“FIGHT ME”

 

Karkat was kicking at him and howling “GET UP YOU USELESS FUCKER KILL HER KILL HER FUCK KILL KILL”

 

Two hands reach and grab and bend at him, pulling him up, vermillion eyes cackling with inversed teeth spiraling into hell.

 

Pink flecks of disillusionment shot and twisted the scene caught swiftly by a peppermint smirks congealed blood and her eyes twinkled the most perfect color to reveal the most perfect teeth

 

Her blood slipped through invisible veins that blasted through the air, penetrating his every vessel. Karkat licked a long line down John’s back.

 

“Duck,” he whispered.

 

Suddenly there was blood. John saw red stars and was consumed by chitterling, howling laughter from every angle. She was a grey mass of flesh, a horned demon, a God of the Underworld.  Karkat was a siren.

 

john

 

The sticky wet scent of flesh being pounded by a fist, the taste of blood in his mouth. Liquorish lips grinned mockingly from the ground as a hand slipped inside of the John’s transparent bone casing of a sack, gripped him, gripped him and killed.

 

john

 

A neck twists and bites and John groans in pain, Karkat shaking him and hollering and howling obscenities. Eyes caked in blood glimmer and snicker and sneer.  John raises his hands.

 

john

 

Thumbs press downwards, inwards, sideways, the beautiful hackings and slashing and wickedness of blood. The scratch of nails. The sound of Karkat cutting her in half.

 

john

 

“John.”

 

fuck her eyes out john

 

“Fuck them until her skull breaks.”

 

He’d never seen such perfect red before. He groaned, pushing her head back. Blood streamed like ribbons. Pink melted and sloshed like cookies and cream. Her eyeglasses lay broken besides him.

 

do it now

 

She was so beautiful like this, so broken and jeweled and wretched and wretched. Her face was a ruby of gore.

 

DO IT NOW FUCKER

 

To be able to imagine the flushed coarseness of a hollow skull. John moaned, his head lulling to the side. Hands were all around him. Faces were watching. Deeper harder fuck fucK FUCK

 

A final splatter of blood.

 

“Do you feel better now?” Karkat whispered, caressing him. “Do you feel better now that you fucked that whore’s face?” what would your father say what would your father say wipe that blood off your dick you slut can you taste her brains splattered on the wall

 

“Look behind you.”

 

John looked.

 

On the left wall, behind the carcass of a red peppermint girl, was a list in brightly colored arrangements.

The list said, “FR13NDS”. Below were addresses.

 

It wasn’t hard to find a pen.

 

--

 

Your name is Karkat Vantas and all hope is lost.

Chapter Text

Karkat is crying.

 

He hasn’t gotten out of bed. He hasn’t turned on the TV. He hasn’t taken a shower.

 

What Karkat has done for the past three days has consisted solely of staring at the ceiling and sobbing.

 

He needed to eat.

 

But Karkat was crying.

 

Karkat fisted the sheets and hissed, drawing the covers over his face and hoping that maybe, this time, if he held them over his face long enough, he would die. He would suffocate and die and cease to exist, and he wouldn’t have to feel the pain in his lungs and throat from retching and screaming and howling and crying, crying, crying. Karkat closed his eyes and hoped he won’t open them ever again.

 

Two of Karkat’s friends died recently within one day of each other. They were both murdered. Karkat doesn’t know why, and he doesn’t know how, but he does know one thing: that it was his fault. It was his job to protect them, both of them, and he failed. He failed everyone. And there was nothing he could do to fix it. He screwed his eyes shut and prayed for death. He didn’t hear the door open.

 

“Which one of your friends are special?”

 

Karkat could feel his eyes begin to wet again and he couldn’t find it in himself to open them. He didn’t deserve it.

 

All of them,” he hissed, his voice gravel. “Fuck. All of them. All of them are special. Jesus, I can’t… I fucking—God, I did this. I did this to them, I murdered them because I didn’t realize, Terezi…” Karkat’s entire body shook. He didn’t want to live. The door clicked shut.

 

--

Your name is John Egbert and you’re almost done.

Chapter Text

Dave stripped himself of his clothing and set it aside, shaking uncontrollably. He turned the knob on the shower and stepped inside. He could hear the muffled drawl of the TV in the other room that he had been too lazy to turn off and unconsciously listened in the back of his mind. He regrets this now.

 

“…and that concludes today’s special report on the president’s new stand on the conflict in Serbia, next up being an update on the new gruesome series of deaths in Essburb County.”

 

“Gruesome is right, Sarah. Police aren’t releasing any information on the current suspect, however, we do have the list of the new victims as of this morning and there are nine, that’s right, nine new homicides reported ladies and gentlemen. Police are baffled at the apparent speed and thoroughness of the killer on the run, and are still without leads.”

 

Dave shivers. He scrubs at his skin, trying to get the red off. Blood all over the floor the ceiling the walls smiling at him grinning god don’t you even know what you did what you’ve done here Dave scratched at himself, nails against skin, and turned up the water.

 

“Gruesome murders. Just gruesome. The bodies were decapitated and disemboweled—“

 

John is grinning at him, grinning malevolently and swinging a head by the hair in front of him. Swingling and cackling as intestines writhe like worms beneath him. There is no god

 

“—dismembered—“

 

John was playing with him, the face of a boy so scared and so lost replaced by sadism and obsession and lunacy and Dave’s own failure

 

“--penetrated and sexually befouled--”

 

Still faces and bodies spiderwebbed in white liquid, John was still smiling

 

“—molested—“

 

John was still smiling

 

Dave choked back a noise and slammed his fist against the shower wall, repulsed at the red that trailed behind it, screaming and pulling his hair to remove the mental images linked by association. He hated that color.

 

He hated himself.

 

One day before John’s father died, before John broke down, before John Needed Him, before they moved in together and Dave watched over him and they started a business and the world fell apart,

Dave received a letter.

 

Dear Mr. Dave Strider,

 

He stepped out of the shower.

 

I am so sorry for putting all of this upon you.

 

He got dressed. He hung the rope. He got the chair.

 

Make sure John is okay.

 

He failed.

 

Dave and John’s father swung together in the silence.

 

--

 

Your name is Karkat Vantas and there is someone at the door.

Chapter Text

Karkat Vantas stared at the ceiling, barely acknowledging the sound of a creaking door hinge and footsteps.

 

He could hear the soft waves of movement and breathing from across the room. He couldn’t even begin to care.

 

“Karkat?”

 

Shock and recognition flowed through him at the sound of the voice. He almost opened his eyes.

 

“…John?”

 

“Yes, Karkat. It’s me.”

 

A hand grazed itself through Karkat’s hair and over his face, comforting him. Karkat shuddered.

 

He wanted to get up and look at him, and he wanted to sink into the covers and become invisible in wretched horro. He was capable of neither due to the lack of nutrition he’d allowed himself to have in the past week. So Karkat lay there, unmoving, pathetic, and useless. He screwed his eyes shut further.

 

“Shh. It’s ok.” John lightly caressed his face and smoothed his hair. Karkat shivered. He felt fingers ghost themselves over his arms and lightly raise them above his head. “It’s ok now, Karkat. Everything’s fine.” One arm was raised to the left side of the headboard and the other to the right. Karkat felt himself breathe in a shaky breath as he sensed the coarseness of twine around his wrists. Pleated fingertips rested themselves on his lips and teeth made their way to his ear. “You’re so wonderful, Karkat. I’m so thankful. For everything.”

 

And then he was gone.

 

Karkat still couldn’t open his eyes. He felt an invisible force, a ton of bricks and a cold snake slithering in his intestines. He couldn’t open his eyes. He wouldn’t dare, and he didn’t know why.

 

His legs were carefully lifted and placed at the respective sides of the bed, twine attaching them to the excursions at the bottom footrest. There was a sudden shift of weight around him and he could feel the pressure of legs around his middle.

 

“You’re so fantastic, Karkat.”

 

He opened his eyes.

 

John Egbert hovered above him, eyes dulled and smile soft and kind. His body was framed by bones and sharp angles, highlighted by a plethora of bruises and cuts. The skin on his hands were raw and his eyes sunk deep into the back of his skull as he looked at him with diluted admiration.

 

“Thank you Karkat,” John whispered.  Karkat found himself incapable of breathing, his organs suddenly stone. John reached a hand above Karkat and hovered his palm above his neck, lightly pulling at the cloth coving his chest before undoing the buttons that held it together. Something was horribly wrong.

 

That’s when the gag was placed in his mouth.

 

Karkat heard himself start to squeak and pull against the binds, but John just shushed him and reached for something out of view.

 

“You’re the best, Karkat.”

 

“I love you, Karkat.”

 

A hand played with his hair and stroked him. “I have to do this. You were on the list. It’s the only way I can complete the circle, Karkat. Karkat, I love you. You’re so special.”

 

Karkat could feel himself scream.

 

“I wanted to thank you,” John said, rummaging for something. “If you hadn’t told me about Gamzee I would have had no idea where to start.”

 

Wait, wha—

“MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMF!”

 

Karkat felt his intestines being ripped apart as he watched his own red blood gush from his chest in unimaginable horror. John didn’t seem all that phased.

 

“I did a good job. I liked it,” he said, twisting the knife in Karkat’s insides, “when I killed him. When you told me to kill him.”

 

Tears streamed down his face and he thrashed against the binds and John, screeching and screeching and screeching.

 

“And then when you told me to kill Terezi. And everyone else. All of your friends. All of the special ones.” John lifted the knife and thrust it down again and again, hacking him. “I liked it when I killed them. I liked it.”

 

He stabbed Karkat’s chest again. “Thank you.” He shoved his hand inside the gaping wound in Karkat’s stomach, digging with his fingernails. “There was so much red.”

 

Karkat could see spots of light flashing above him as he struggled. He could feel his bones breaking and his spine shattering. He could feel himself die.

 

“Thank you.”

 

John kissed him.

 

He listened to Karkat bleed in silence.

 

Your name is Karkat Vantas and you’ve killed everyone you’ve ever known.