Her voice was quiet; he wasn’t sure if he was even actually hearing it or if he was imagining it.
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine……You make me happy when skies are gray….”
This song…it was one that she had taught him. He couldn’t recall exactly when she taught him it, or who had been the one to teach her it. He was positive it was one of the humans, either John or Jade. It seemed like a song that they would know, sappy and cheesy. It was probably John that taught her it.
Either way it didn’t matter who had shown her it, but she sang it all the time. She sang it to him, for him, and she was always requesting for him to sing it with her. She seemed to want nothing more than to duet with him.
“You’ll never know dear….how much I love you……”
Naturally every single time she asked he had refused. Why would ever sing, especially with her, or such a lame song? What a fucking stupid idea. Where did she even think of it? Did somebody suggest it to her? If it had been a suggestion then it was probably John, the boy seemed to be behind everything that bothered Karkat.
“Please don’t take my sunshine away.”
As his gaze was glued to the young troll lying on the floor, in a pool of her own olive blood, he couldn’t help but feel crushed by guilt. This was his fault. That girl he had known, one of his closest friends – not that he was willing to admit it – was only a shadow of who she had once been.
“The other night dear, as I lay sleeping.”
Her pain was clear in her voice. How was she even singing at this point? It didn’t matter. He moved slowly, or at least it seemed slow to him. Kneeling beside her small form he reached out and grabbed hers, holding it tight with his and interlacing their fingers.
“I dreamed I held you in my arms…”
He slowly moved to lay down beside her, smearing the image she had painted with her own blood. It was better to have the real him laying here next to her instead of that painting….right?
As he stared at her, he didn’t know which was worse; the fact that he couldn’t help her, or the fact that if she survived this she would never be the same again. Would it be worse if she lived? There was no way that she could function to the same degree as before, not with the injury she had received. Even now her voice held a different sound to it.
Was it better if she died?
“Nepeta….” He started, but was interrupted by her small, broken voice.
“But when I awoke…dear……….I was mistaken…”
This entire thing was his fault, he couldn’t protect her. What was he supposed to do now? How could he possibly save her? He had absolutely no idea. His gaze was drawn away to the prone form laying just a few feet away from them. He wanted to call out to him, to ask him what he was supposed to do. How the fuck he was supposed to handle this, but he knew that there was no use in doing so. Equius was ever going to say a thing, he was never going to get up again.
“So I hung my head and I cried.”
Regret hit him like a brick wall. . He was such a fuckass. Before this he couldn’t even take the time to sing a stupid song with her. How could he have been so terrible to her? He pushed her away at every chance he had. He hurt her over and over, rejected her, and tore down her ideas. How could he have continuously done so? Each time seeing how much pain he caused, never allowing himself to regret it.
His grip on her hand tightened and he let out a slow breath. He would do right by her at least once.
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.”
His voice rang out beside hers, or rather over hers. His was far louder and much stronger. He could feel the blood on the ground seeping through his clothing but his didn’t care, at least not at the moment. He needed to make for being so rotten to her. He needed to make her happy for the last few moments that he was actually able to.
“You make me happy when skies are gray.”
Still holding her hand tight, he reached out with his right and hook his arm around her back before tugging Nepeta into his arms. Her voice skipped dipped, she skipped a word in the line, the pain of being moved clearly great. She didn’t react otherwise though. She didn’t look at him, she didn’t cling to him. She just continued to sing.
He doubted she even realized that he was there, that he was holding her against him.
“You’ll never know dear, how much I love you”
He clutched her tight against his chest, his grip becoming a steel beam around her. That time she reacted, her arm twitched, moving up a bit. His mind took it as a sign, a good sign. She was still registering her surroundings. She knew he was there. He refused to believe the logical part of his brain, the part telling him that it was an involuntary reflex. That it had nothing to do with her registering him being next to her.
It didn’t matter, he was going to believe what he wanted to and at that moment he wanted to believe that there was hope for her. He grabbed her arm gently, the one that had twitched, and lifted it up. He hooked it around his neck, listening to her breath hitch at the movement. He took the sound as her not wanting him to let go, not the fact that she was in pain.
His eyes shut tight, blocking out the olive that surrounded them, blocking out the tragedy. With his eyes shut he could pretend that they were just lying next to each other on the floor, laying on spilled faygo. That there was nothing wrong, that they were both fine.
Or…at least he could try to pretend that.
“Please don’t take my sunshine away.”
He refused to acknowledge the fact that her voice was fading ever so slowly. That with every passing moment she become quieter. He wanted to remain ignorant for as long as possible. She was tired, she just needed a break from singing. That’s all that it was. After she had a moments rest she would be perfectly fine. She would look and him and smile wide. She would pounce on him and exclaim in her happy little voice ‘Karkitty! You sang with me!’. He would grumble and deny it. She would giggle and then she would insist that they sing again. And…that would be alright. If she wanted to sing the song again that would be perfectly fine with him.
“Please don’t take…. my sunshine away.”
His voice wavered, it wobbled. The pitched falling in and out of tune, it echoed in the room. The only sound. His mind registered that there was only his voice now, that Nepeta had fallen silent but he didn’t take it into account. She just needed a small break. She would join in once more on the final line. She wouldn’t let him sing it on his own.
“Please don’t take my sunshine away…….”
He whispered the last note, the song was over. Nepeta hadn’t rejoined in singing. It took him several moments to open his eyes; afraid to see what awaited, what he would need to face. The colors around him were tinted red, his vision blurring. He could feel moist tracks down his cheeks, the realization that he was crying didn’t hit him. He dragged his gaze to Nepeta. He stared at the young troll in his arms. He looked so peaceful, as if she were just sleeping, her eyes were even shut. He kept his fingers tightly intertwined with hers as he lifted her free hand up and brushed the bangs from her eyes. Her skin was still warm. The image was almost perfect; he could nearly convince himself truly that she was just sleeping except for the olive that stained her features. There was far too much.
Her forehead was sticky, trail of olive blood flowing down it, already starting to dry slowly. A sad, small smile cracked his features, she looked so restful.
He leaned forward and kissed her gently on the forehead.
“Nepeta, get up. It’s time to wake up,” he spoke gently, out of character for himself but he was terrified that he could break her with his words. “Come on, we can even sing that stupid song again if you want. I know how much you love it…” He nudged her gently, “come on. We can even roleplay if you want. I’ll do it seriously this time, I won’t make fun of you…You just need to get up”
There was no response from the cat troll, she remained as silent and still as ever.
“Nepeta, seriously. Stop acting like this. It’s time to get up.” The silence continued. “…no? Well…I guess we can lie here, only for a bit longer, but you have to look at me…alright? Or at least say something.” He pulled her prone form closer to him.
“KK pulls AC closer to him, wanting to keep her warm, not wanting her to get cold. KK just wanted to keep AC happy and safe.” He looked at her, eyes scanning her face, looking for any recognition. “Nep…did I do it right…?”
Silence, of course, was his only answer.
“Come on, give something. Give some feedback! Say something! Jut fucking say anything, Jesus fuck Nepeta. JUST FUCKING SAY SOMETHING!”
In his mind, he could clearly see how she would react. He thought so hard on the mental image it was almost real. That slight flinch back that she would do, the olive green tears gathering in her eyes. The way her voice would get tight and waver slightly as she attempted to hide how hurt she felt.
“Oh….Oh fuck. Nep I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to snap at you….I just…” His voice grew tight, closing off. It cut off all the words that he couldn’t find, killing them before they were even thought up. “Oh god. I failed you. Fuck…FUCK. I’m a terrible leader. I led you all to death…I led you to death…Fuck. Nepeta…I…i’m so sorry….
I knew how you felt…I mean it was pretty fucking obvious. If any idiot had eyes they could see….but I hid from it. I made you believe that I didn’t feel jack shit towards you….when I was just afraid. How was I supposed to react to the red feelings you had, to that love you were showing…? I pushed you away…because… I couldn’t find any words at all to tell you how I felt…”
Gently, he placed a hand behind her head and pulled her close. He rested her head against his shoulder, placing his chin on top of it before wrapping his arm around her once more. He began to rub her back softly, hoping to comfort her.
“Let’s just rest, for now okay? Just…just sleep. That way, maybe this will all be a bad dream. We’ll wake up, happy of course. Well…Equius won’t be happy. He’ll probably be fucking pissed that we were lying so close. I’ll end up yelling at him and we’ll argue and you’ll do something irritatingly cute to shut us both up. Everybody will be okay, the others will wonder where we had gone but screw them they can wonder. We’ll all be together again, we’ll all be friends…. We’ll all be happy.
Alright? Does that sound good to you?’
He murmured the last words softly before shutting his eyes slowly. All he wanted in that moment was sleep. He didn’t care that the psychotic juggalo was still wandering around and that he could happen to come back and find them at any moment. He didn’t care that he could wake up dead. He just wanted to fall into sleeps embrace, even though he had specifically ordered everybody to stay awake. That sleeping would only end badly for them all. He didn’t care. At least if he went to sleep, he could wake up to find that this was all a terrible dream.
“I’ll stay with you for now Nepeta, alright? But you have to promise me that you’ll do the same. That you’ll stay with me, no matter what. You need to promise me that you won’t go away….ever….okay…?” He let the question trail off, expecting no answer. She was already asleep after all. Already asleep…. He knew that when he woke he would have to come to terms with what happened. He would need to deal with the fact that she was gone, forever. But not now, dealing with his emotions and the events of today would be for later. Right now he just wanted, no, needed to spend these last few moments with his sunshine.
“Please don’t take my sunshine away…..” He whispered softly, to the only thing listening to him; himself.