"Your girlfriend was messaging me again!" He yells by way of greeting as he pushes past the unlocked door. He grimaces when he brushes against a black trash bag haphazardly lying in the middle of the kitchen. Looks like he hasn't been outside again. "Hey, Sollux?"
Karkat reaches the banister and turns up towards the second floor.
"You're going to make me come to you, aren't you?" He grumbles to himself, resigned as he trudges up the stairs. "Yo, Earth to moron. Command Center needs you back to base."
Sollux jolts in his computer chair at the squeak of the door when Karkat walks into the room. He turns around to face him, expression managing to look both blank and surprised.
"KK," He says, working his throat. He blinks at the rusty sound of his own voice, glances briefly back to the computer and then to Karkat again.
Karkat scowls at him, hand still resting on the doorknob.
"You've missed two days of school. No one has seen you since Saturday. Feferi is freaking out about not hearing from you and she won't. Stop. Messaging. Me."
He doesn't bother asking if Sollux has been at his computer the entire time. The sallowness of his face answers that well enough.
"Shit," Sollux says, because this is probably all news to him. For all he is aware it is still Saturday and he has a scheduled long-distance call with Feferi tomorrow. He slides a hand over his face and under his glasses, tweaking the bridge of his nose. His fingers end up carding through his greasy hair. "Thith program wath really coming along. I mutht have lotht track of time. Shit. I'm thorry, KK."
Karkat deflates. Every time Sollux pulls one of his benders, he whole-heartedly intends to hold onto his irritation, but he always finds that it just drifts away from him.
"When was the last time you ate?" He asks instead.
Sollux bites the corner of his mouth with a jagged tooth. It's sad that he actually has to consciously call to memory when he last had food.
"Well," Sollux begins and picks up a chip bag from the side of his desk. "I thnacked thometime in there, but...I'm not sure." He admits, grinning self-consciously. "I know; I'm an idiot."
"The biggest," Karkat agrees, bumping his chin against the top of Sollux's head. Karkat is barely over five feet tall. It's nice to be able to do this, but Sollux needs to get his sorry ass in gear and feed himself.
"C'mon," He says, tugging at the neck of Sollux's shirt. "First, you're going to shower. Then we'll go to my house and you'll eat something." He walks over to one of the dressers and pulls out a clean set of clothes while the other boy wobbles to his feet and stretches his back. He hands the clothes over and points to the adjoined bathroom. "Go."
Sollux's parents are on a three-week holiday in Israel. It's a religious thing, and because they are careful to let him make his own decisions--he's adopted and they have always gone out of their way making sure they never pushed any of their beliefs on him, afraid he might come to resent them--he decided to stay home. He's a brilliant kid and he has plenty of friends, so they couldn't have imagined that he would pull this shit again.
"Idiot," Karkat hisses, a rush of anger filling his cheeks pink. He should not have to worry about him the way he does. Sollux has a good six or seven inches of height on him and yet they weigh about the same. And that's when he's eating properly, not forgoing food for his work.
Sollux's girlfriend lives in India. Maybe if she were closer, this would be her problem.
He thinks he'd probably worry anyway.
Karkat presses his forehead to the bathroom door, listening to make sure the other boy hasn't passed out. The water shuts off shortly after and he wanders over to the bed, content that his friend can handle the rest himself.
There are photos on the shelf across the room and on a corkboard over the bed. Because there are so many computer parts on the desk, there would be no room for them there. One depicts the day his parents finally got to take him home from the adoption agency in China. From there they go on up until the picture of the homecoming dance that was only last month. He looks at the one of Sollux and him waiting at the bus stop on their first day of school. His own father has a similar one set up on the mantelpiece at home. In both of them, he is scowling at the camera, clutching his Men in Black lunchbox. Sollux is just laughing. His glasses look too big for his face.
Karkat risks a small smile at it because no one is looking. That was the day they met their friends Gamzee and Terezi. Karkat had gotten nervous when they began to talk to him (he never really liked people he didn't already know) and reacted the way he usually does to any other situation; he became angry. He had bitten Gamzee on the arm. Terezi forced him to apologize, and Gamzee had just patted his head.
At the time, Sollux has been having a conversation with their new teacher about the advantages of educational video games in a grade school setting. When he heard the commotion, he had made his way back over to them to see what had happened. He thought it was funny. He and Terezi had a good laugh about it. If he ever brought it up, they would probably have a good laugh all over again. Gamzee most certainly would give a large, sloppy smile and site it as a work of the Miracle of Friendship. He is kind of a sappy idiot.
When Sollux finishes up and walks into the room, Karkat gets up.
"Ready to go?" He asks.
"Mhmm. Jutht give me one thec."
He goes over to the computer (Karkat rolls his eyes) and pulls up an email. He types a quick message and sends it.
"Don't want you to have to keep getting methageth from Feferi, right? I told her I wath okay; I wath jutht a little caught up in the new program," He smiles as he says this and points both his index fingers at Karkat. "Let'th get a move on."
His dad will have lunch waiting for him at home. And since he knows Karkat, and therefore Sollux, he will probably already have intuitively known to put out a second plate.
They get a move on.