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The Language of Karkat

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"Karkat will you be ok?"

CG: YES.

"Karkles you'll have to tell them."

CG: SHUT UP.

"KK, pleath, don't make thith harder for you. You thould tell them now."

CG: I SAID.
CG: SHUT.
CG: THE.
CG: FUCK.
CG: UP.

---

The veil is much different from what you imagined, it is dark, and cold, but none of that mattered because you were finally getting to meet your awesome troll friends!

Your name is John Egbert and you can hardly contain yourself.

The trolls meet you, shortly after you appear in the lab. They look just like you, except for the horns, and the grey skin, and the claws, and the teeth, or eyes, or...…ok, maybe they're really similar to you but still pretty different! You notice there aren't that many, only four of them. You see a tall graceful girl walk over to Rose, they start talking quickly, that must be Kanaya. You assume the troll girl licking Dave's face is Terezi, there is a quiet boy in the corner, he's tall and lanky and has weird two colored lenses, like 3D glasses, neat! You don't know him, and your eye's move to the last troll in the room. "Karkat!" you exclaim and drift over to him, hugging him tightly, you've been dying to meet your co-friendleader. He makes a face and tries to push you off. "Karkat, who's that?" you say pointed to the tall troll.

"That's Sollux," Kanaya answers. "He's never spoken to you before."

"Hi Sollux!" you leave Karkat briefly and introduce yourself; "I'm John Egbert! It's nice to meet you!"

"Thollukth Captor, thame." You smile, not because of his horrible lisp, but because you have finally met your troll buddies, and it is so cool.

You run back to Karkat and bear hug him again. Everyone around you is talking and getting to know each other. "Wow Karkat, this is soooo cool. You have no idea!" your grin must be all the way across your face. "You really have grey skin, and horns, oh wow! Yours are really tiny!" you see him turn red and glance away. He's wearing a long sleeved turtle neck, with his symbol on it.

Kanaya steps forward, "Why don't we all sit down and talk?" She suggests, it's easier to get to know one another in a comfortable place."

Everyone seems to nod in agreement. You glance over at Karkat, the color from the blush disappeared from his face and now he seemed pale, if that was possible for trolls, you walk over and ask, "Hey is everything ok? You don't look so good." He shoves past you and proceeds down the hall; you ask again, "Is he ok? Did I do something?"

The glowing trolls replies calmly, "He's fine, you haven't done anything wrong."

You realize something, "But he hasn't said a word, are you sure?"

Kanaya's smile fades, suddenly everyone's phone or computer beeps.

CG: I HAVEN'T SAID ANYTHING BECAUSE I CAN'T.

You read the grey text and ask, "Why? Didn't you learn English? Do you have a really bad accent or something?" you giggle and put an arm around the shorter boy, "It's ok, I can help you-" you're cut off as your pda beeps again.

CG: I'M MUTE.

"What?" you stop and look at Karkat, not believing his sentence. "Are you serious? Or pranking me?"

CG: NO, IDIOT, WHY WOULD I JOKE ABOUT SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

"You really can't talk?"

CG: THAT'S WHAT MUTE MEANS, YEAH.

You catch back up with him and return your arm around his shoulder, "That's ok, you're still Karkat!" Everyone else falls silent, your friends seem surprised, you're surprised. You never would have guessed that the troll who wrote walls of text and swore more than a hundred sailors all mushed together wouldn't be able talk. You follow Kanaya and the others into a big open room, it has furniture and computers, and everyone sits down. You decide to sit next to Karkat. The conversation turns away from introductions and more towards planning how you're all going to survive and escape Bec Noir. Everyone seems to have ideas; you chime in every once in a while, Karkat sits and listens. Eventually it's decided that you and your friends will stay with the trolls from now on. You have merged your sessions, but Bec Noir is still out there. The Veil will serve as a hiding place for a while; eventually you will all have to move on.

You stand up and stretch. The trolls all decided it would be best if each human chose a troll to accompany while in the veil. It would reduce the possibility of wandering off and getting lost, as well as add an extra layer of security. Without hesitation you decided on staying with Karkat. Rose would go with Kanaya, Terezi and Dave, and Sollux and Jade. Karkat got up and left in the direction of his room without you. "Is he really ok?"

Kanaya replied, "Karkat will be fine."

You nod and run after your co-friendleader. "Karkat!" you call, he turns around and glares. "You can't leave without me! How else would I find your room?"

He rolls his eyes and continues walking forward. You smile and trail behind him. He stops by a door marked with his symbol and opens it. He gestures around and sits on his bed.

"This room is huge!" you notice there's a second bed, you flop down on it. "Are all the rooms this big?"

Karkat pulled out his computer and typed rapidly.

CG: I DON'T KNOW. I DON'T CARE EITHER.

You get up and sit on Karkat's bed. You speak, hesitating a bit, "So, um...…have you always been mute?"

He looks at you, then turns to his computer.

CG: I WASN'T BORN MUTE IF THAT'S WHAT YOU MEAN.

"Then how did it happen?" he doesn't type back, "I mean, if that's ok to ask, I don't mean to pry." He pulled down the corner of his turtle neck exposing his neck. You gasp, there were scars running across his throat, most small, but one large one caught your eye. "I'm sorry...…did it hurt?" Karkat returned to his computer.

CG: I DON'T REMEMBER. IT HAPPENED WHEN I WAS REALLY YOUNG.
CG: YOU DON'T HAVE TO FEEL BAD FOR ME, OR PITY ME OR SOME SHIT LIKE THAT. I NEVER HAD A VOICE SO I HAVEN'T "LOST" ANYTHING.

"Karkat…..." You found yourself hugging him again. "I'm not doing this because I feel bad for you, I just… I dunno, you always seemed agitated and angry. You don't have to be angry."

CG: JOHN GET OFF ME YOU HUGE WASTE OF SPACE.

You laugh and lay next to him. He watched you with observing eyes. It was odd, how silent it was. You always imagined he'd be loud, and flailing, spitting rants and rage at you for failing at everything. But the troll beside you was calm; he turned back to his computer and typed something out. You heard him hit enter, but your pda didn't ding so it must not have been for you. You don't remember falling asleep, but when you woke up the next day Karkat was on the other bed, sleeping peacefully.

The next days were pretty boring, but still sorta fun! You got to learn about all sorts of neat troll stuff. Like you're not supposed to wake sleeping trolls, and that you can't understand Alternian, and troll food tastes funny. Even though you were supposed to stay together, you didn't see much Karkat. He showed you around the first day then disappeared. You still see him every night, but he never wants to talk. Your pda sits quiet. You wonder if he's embarrassed or maybe he just doesn't like you.

You look across at him and send him a quick message, it's late, and you're tired, but you have to know.

EB: karkat do you hate me?
CG: YOU'RE RIGHT ACROSS FROM ME, WHY BOTHER MESSAGING?
CG: NO I DON'T HATE YOU. DON'T BE AN IDIOT.
EB: then why don't you ever talk to me?
CG: I WOULD COMMENT ON YOUR CHOICE OF WORDS, BUT I'M SURE THAT WAS THE ONLY FUCKING WAY YOU KNOW TO DESCRIBE WHAT WE'RE DOING RIGHT NOW.
EB: are you embarrassed?
CG: FUCK NO. AND I TOLD YOU, YOU ARE ALLOWED TO SPEAK. JUST BECAUSE I CAN'T DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN'T EITHER.

"Karkat..." you say quietly. "It must be so hard." Your voice trails and you're aware he's staring at you again.

CG: JOHN I ALREADY TOLD YOU NOT TO FEEL BAD FOR ME.
CG: DON'T FUCKING START.

You watch him type more, then look at you and never send it. Something falls on your hand, tears? When did that happen? Suddenly he's beside you, and pulling you in. Something is held in front of your eyes; you rub tears away and try to read the screen.

CG: IDIOT, DON'T CRY OVER ME.

You cling a bit harder.

CG: I KNOW I'M NOT WHAT YOU WERE EXPECTING, BUT I'M OK. SO STOP THIS AND SMILE LIKE AN IDIOT AGAIN.

You read the grey text and chuckle; you look up at Karkat. He has an awkward smile on his face. You nod and grin yourself, "yeah, of course Karkat." You hug him and tell him, "But could you please talk to me more? It's kinda quiet just sitting here until we sleep."

You hear a strange sorta strangled gasping noise, you pull back and realize he's laughing, or at least trying to.

CG: WANT TO WATCH A MOVIE OR SOMETHING?

You nod and find yourself on Karkat's bed again. You're wrapped up in blankets because it's still really cold in the veil. He's next to you typing out plot points you might not get because the movie's in Alternian. Somewhere near the end of the movie you fall asleep and wake up alone, Karkat is an unmoving lump in your bed. You get up and throw on some new clothes, "Karkat," you call across the room. He doesn't move, you've been instructed to never touch a sleeping troll and you're not sure if you should even wake him. He looks peaceful and the bags under his eyes tell you he doesn't sleep much. Your brain can't help but think of him, and how hard his life must have been. You can't imagine not being able to speak, but he does it every day. You end up sitting down beside the bed and watching him. 'He's so brave,' you think, and you wonder if he'll ever open up to you. 'There has to be something I can do for him, something to help…'

The troll stirred and opened his eyes rolling to side; he sees you and suddenly becomes alert. "Karkat, hey, good morning," you say backing up a bit in case he strikes out, you were told that trolls sometimes attack when they first wake up. He frowns and grabs for his portable trollian device.

CG: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING EGBERT?

"I was waiting for you to wake up; I thought we could get breakfast together." You are glad he's not attacking; instead he gets up, stretches and walks towards the dresser discarding his shirt on the way. Your eyes quickly travel to the scars on his neck before they were covered by a new turtleneck. You meet him by the door, "Do you want to eat with me?"

He shrugs giving you a look that could be either "fuck you go away," or "I don't care". You hope for 'I don't care' and move alongside him. There's one thing you've noticed about Karkat that bothers you. The troll is very solitary. You know that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's sad. His friends are all around him yet he prefers to eat alone, sit alone, and be alone. You don't want that for your friend. After grabbing food in the kitchen you move to the dining area. Karkat sits down and looks around scanning for people. You sit across from him. "Are you ok?" he nods but continues to look around. You could tell he was nervous about something; he looked like he was ready to jump and abscond at the slightest sound.

Terezi and Dave walk in after a few minutes. She spots Karkat and walks over, "Hey Karkles, I haven't seen you around much. How have you been?"

He looks up and glares, pulling out his phone.

CG: FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC. NEVER BETTER. NOW GO AWAY.

"Karkat, don't be like that," she teased. "We barely ever get to talk anymore."

Karkat glares again and types more. Dave walks over, "sup," he says sitting next to you.

"Hi Dave, good morning." You turn to face him. "How have you been?"

"You know me Egbert, super cool, making all the ladies swoon." You eye Terezi, he laughs, "She's an interesting case."

"Do you like living with her? It's not too awkward is it?"

"Nah, Rezi's cool. We get along great." He says a bit quieter, "How are things with Vantas?"

"Good, he's really nice."

Dave chuckles, "Nice? Really? I never would have guessed."

You glance back at the troll who is still smashing keys furiously at Terezi. "They get along great," you comment.

"I guess it helps that they've known each other for a while." Dave continued, "Well it's good that you and Karkat are getting along, I still can't get over the fact that he's a nice, he was such an ass over pesterchum."

"There's more to Karkat than most people think," you reply not really looking at anyone. Your voice seems a bit distant and you're vaguely aware of the Strider beside you. Your eyes decide to latch onto Karkat and follow his flailing movements and wild eyes. You're pretty sure he'd be growling if he could.

"Egbert, you alive in there bro?"

You wonder briefly if maybe he can growl. You've never asked, you just know he can't speak.

"Egbert?"

'Have his eyes always been so big?'

"John."

Finally you seem to snap to attention, "Huh? Oh, hi Dave."

"Jegus fuck Egbert, where'd you go?"

"Hahahaha, nowhere Dave, I've been here."

"Physically yeah, but mentally no. You too busy admiring Rezi's ass?" he jokes, "Or maybe you're more into Vant-ASS"

"DAVE!" you laugh and push a bit. "I'm NOT a homosexual."

"So it was TZ. Sorry man, there's something you should know, she only goes for unbelievably cool kids."

"Looks like both of us shouldn't stare then," you joke and watch for an expression. As usual you get zero from Dave. But you've noticed something else; Terezi and Karkat stopped flailing at each other. They have taken to looking at the two of you.

"Are you guys talking about our asses?" Terezi starts cackling and turns around shaking it a bit, "I know it's hard to resist."

Dave gets up and spins the troll girl, dipping her, and says in a straight voice, "I can't help it TZ, your ass makes me swoon."

"Dave," she starts, "Let's get waffles."

They walked off towards the kitchen leaving you and Karkat alone again. "Hey Karkat," you ask, "How long have you known Terezi?"

He glares at you, then his food, then back at you, down to his phone and types quickly.

CG: LONG ENOUGH.

Silence creeps in again, "So, uh, it seems she gets along well with Dave." He glares at you. "That's good, right? I mean, we're all getting along, aren't we?" You laugh nervously, suddenly you realize that maybe Karkat liked Terezi, and them being close might threaten his chances, "Oh, uh, Karkat...…did you, you know, like Terezi or something? Maybe I should warn Da-"

CG: EGBERT SHUT YOUR IDIOTIC MOUTH RIGHT NOW BEFORE I SHOVE SOMETHING DOWN YOUR PROTEINCHUTE.

"So you do like Terezi…"

CG: EGBERT I AM NOT JOKING. DROP IT NOW. I DON'T LIKE TERZI; I COULDN'T CARE LESS ABOUT WHAT SHE DOES WITH HER LIFE. SO PLEASE, JUST STOP FUCKING TALKING.

You shut up and drop the subject. The troll in front of you looks like he wants to rip your face off, and he might. Your food suddenly seems not as interesting or appealing anymore. You slide it to the side and rest your head on your arm. You thought for sure you were getting somewhere with Karkat. He seemed to like you more. One nice thing you note is that he hasn't absconded yet; he's still chomping on food and looking around. When he's finished he stands up and looks at you, you stare back. He rolls his eyes and motions for you to follow. A smile creeps over your face and spring up to walk with him. You make a note to self:

Terezi Pyrope is a sore subject.
Karkat Vantas isn't really mad at you.

You invite the troll many more group breakfast opportunities and he declined less and less. The other trolls are starting to take notice and you feel a bit of pride in knowing you helped. He still doesn't talk much to anyone and sits by himself but at least he's in the same room as other people, it's a start you think. You also begin to notice that he seeks you out instead of the other way around. There are increasing moments when you're reading, or talking to someone and find a nubby horned troll leaning against you or sitting at your side. The nights in your room are nicer too. They are usually filled with movies and playful arguing over which is better, troll or human cinema.

You realize that it is in these moments that you can see Karkat the best. When he's silently laughing and you can see the brief flash of teeth in a quick smile. You notice that Karkat Vantas is an amazing person, and maybe there's more to feelings than homosexual or not homosexual. But those thoughts get confusing so you usually push them to the side. Much like you're pushing Karkat to the side now. He flails a bit catching his balance. The troll chucks a pillow you and glares. You recently asked him if he could growl, he said he couldn't. He told you that pretty much every sound needed to convey Alternian was lost to him.

After your brief pillow fight you come up with an idea. "Hey Karkat?" He looks over at you, one eyebrow raised. "Do trolls have sign language?" This time he had to find the portable trollian. He shuffles around under blankets and pillows, eventually finding it. He types quickly and shows you the text.

CG: WHAT THE FUCK IS SIGN LANGUAGE?

You move so he's in front and you can read over his shoulder. "It's a way of communicating with your hands. Deaf and mute people use it on Earth. Do trolls have something similar?"

He snorts and gives another silent chuckle.

CG: DEAF OR MUTE TROLLS ARE CULLED ON ALTERNIA. THERE WOULDN'T BE A POINT IN TEACHING SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

"Oh," you say simply. "Well, maybe we should learn human sign language."

CG: WHY THE FUCK WOULD WE DO THAT?

"I dunno, I think it would be fun. It'd also give us another way to communicate with each other."

CG: WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS?

"Nothing, but what if you forgot your trollian, or lost it or something. We'd have a backup way to talk!" You're smiling now because this is the best idea you've ever had.

CG: EGBERT THIS IS THE DUMBEST IDEA YOU'VE EVER HAD.

The next day you were both sitting next to each other with your computer open to sign language websites.