How did this happen? How did Jack get here?
The game was won, everyone was supposed to be safe. There wasn’t supposed to be any more deaths. The session…this wasn’t a doomed timeline. No.
A gasp, a choked out strain of your name brought you out from the recesses of your mind. Your legs, quickly giving out, knees hitting the floor and splashing in the candy red blood. You knew it was too late, he knew it was too late. Jack had stabbed him multiple times and there wasn’t anything either of you could do to stop thi-
You didn’t want to believe that.
“Sollux..” His voice was forced, softer than normal, and it simply pulled at your blood pusher in all the wrong ways. You already pitied him so much, and the face he was making now, it almost made you stop breathing. That face, contorted, pained, it didn’t belong on him. It was horrifying, terrible, and yet, because it belonged to him, it was beautiful. One of his hands found it’s way to lightly grip the front of your shirt, his blood now staining the Gemini symbol upon it.
“Karkat, stop talking..” You mutter his real name, given the seriousness of the moment, that damn lisp just having to rear it’s ugly head. It seemed like it had to pop up even during the most crucial of times. Especially now, “Please.. just stop..”
He wouldn’t listen, stupid troll was too stubborn to listen to anything you had to say that might even save his life.
“D-Don’t you fucking tell me when to shut up. I’m trying-“ His eyes clenched as he coughed, the blood coming up and dribbling down his chin before attempting to speak again, “To tell you.. that I pity you more than I thought it was possible. D-Dispite the two of us fucking around, I really would’ve filled all of your quadrants if it was possible. What a dumbass thought, huh? As if it would work that way..”
“Who knows.. it could. Besides, look at everything that has changed, kk. The drones now allow us to raise the stupid little grubs, instead of handing them over to a lusus.”
“Shit, those poor grubs. I feel bad for any that come from Eridan. They’ll be sucked into the science world so fast- ngh!”
His head curled in towards his chest, more blood being coughed up, and there was nothing you could do. Nothing except, “I pity you more, Karkat.”
It falls on deaf ears, his movements had gone still. Air hitched in your throat, you aren’t sure if he got to hear your words. You lightly shake him, muttering his name under your breath while golden tears are streaming down your face.
Jolting up and awake, you nearly fall off the couch. Your cheeks are damp, and it quickly becomes apparent that you were crying in your sleep. This happens almost every single time you try to sleep, which is why you barely sleep anymore. You’ve taken up his old habits.
It’s only understandable. Almost every night, every time you try to fall asleep, you’re haunted by the memories of that day.
Your name is Sollux Captor, you are 14 sweeps old and it was four sweeps ago that you had to watch your matesprit die. You had to watch him be murdered in front of your very eyes, and you were too shocked, too stunned to do anything to stop it. The only thing you were able to do was to be there while he took his last breaths. Truth be told, you hadn’t been the same since that event and there was a time when you were seriously contemplating taking your own life just so you wouldn’t have to deal with the amount of pain you were going through.
The only thing that stopped you?
About a week after his death, one of the drones stopped by your shared hive and dropped off that little fucker.
The grub was bright orange, a perfect combination of your dull honey blood and Karkat’s bright red, mutant blood. He looked much like Karkat, even as a grub, having an angry expression settled on his face. His twinned horns, a trait from you no doubt, weren’t pointy as yours were, but they were on the nubby side, yes another trait from Karkat. The poor thing took your dual mutation to a new level, having two sets of eyes, the smaller being underneath the larger. Black shaggy hair on his head that was a perfect combination of both yourself and of Karkat.
It was almost like the mother grub had mixed the genetic fluid so perfectly. Perfectly to the point where if someone you knew were to look at this little guy, they would’ve know right away exactly which trolls he spawned from.
Just watching the little spit fuck roll around on the floor, it hurt. It hurt because you didn’t have him with you anymore. He couldn’t see this cute little thing that was the product of the two of you. He wasn’t going to be there as the kid grew up. He…
Going to be there.
It hurt because the grub looked so much like him. When the tiny thing looked up at you, eyes wide, mouth slightly open as he stared in aw, you nearly lost it. The expressions, even for a grub, were so reminiscent of Karkat, that you had to bite back a sob that was trying to make itself known.
That night you ended up curling up around the wriggler, trying desperately not to have a violent pole switch and instead simply crying yourself to sleep. The wriggler making small ‘eeps’ and squeaks, unknowingly papping your face, before it dozed off as well.
It took a few days before you were able to properly look at the wriggler again, without having another fit and needing to be alone for hours on end, and it was then you decided to name him. Yes, they were normally supposed to be named when they turned 6 sweeps old, but seeing as things on Alternia were changing, you figured that it would be fine to name him now. Really, it didn’t take you too long to think up a name, and it was mostly from the help of some of the shittiest romcoms that Karkat liked to keep around the hive.
His name was now Zohann Vantor, a perfect combination of each of your last names. You really didn’t care how ‘unoriginal’ it sounded, to you, it was perfect.
Now though, the small troll was 4 sweeps old and, and for being an offspring of the two of you, he was rather calm. The second set of eyes had closed during the time he was in his cocoon, leaving small black scars under his eyes. One could argue that they added character to him, made him look just a bit older than his age. If he were to open his mouth, not only would a soft voice flow from his lips, but it would be accompanied by a lisp.
It really was obvious that he was your grub. Well, yours and Karkat’s.
A few weeks after he had emerged from his cocoon, he was waltzing around the house, calling out, “Dad” whenever you would leave his sight. Every time you couldn’t help but smile. It felt nice, having someone in the hive that wanted, needed and craved your attention so much. He always reminded you of Karkat, and up until now it had never really been an issue. Since the beginning he was so attached, so clingy.
But there was something different about the way he latched onto your side once you got off the couch today, grumbling a good morning (though it was mid-afternoon) and not wanting to let go. Not wanting to be separated from you long enough so that you could even go to the bathroom to clean up.
“Dad. Dad we’re going to be safe. You don’t need to stay up at night and watch over me. And no lying, I know you do.” Zohann said, eyes wide as he rested his chin on your leg to look up at you. He then declared, rather loudly, “Tonight! I am sleeping with you to make sure you sleep!”
It took you a bit off guard. How did he know that you weren’t sleeping? There wasn’t anyway TO know, really. He was asleep whenever you would check on him, and generally the adult trolls are up before the kids. You shrug it off, simply bending down and picking the smaller troll up and setting him on your shoulder.
“Fine. Fine. But you know what that means, right? We’re going to sleep earlier than I normally would. So you,” You poked his nose before walking towards the kitchen, “can get some sleep, got it, brat?”
The orange blood stuck out his tongue, a small arm moving behind your head to support himself, “Yeah yeah. I got it, titsbitch.”
“What did I tell you?”
Day to day life in the hive was pretty simple, albeit repetitive at times.
Mornings began with Zohann being the hyperactive kid that he is, calling out, “Dad. Dad. Dad. Dad. Dad!” Until you would walk his respiteblock, stare at him for a good few minutes while he simply held his arms out, wanting to be lifted out of the slime.
For god’s sake, he was 4 sweeps old already. He needed to start doing things on his own. Little brat wasn’t always going to have you around to baby him, now was he?
And as usual, this morning was no different. Here you were, lifting the little one out of the slime. All because he just looked too damn cute to leave him hanging. Plus, you were pretty sure that if Karkat was here, he would be babying the shit out of Zohann. Not only obliging to all of his silly kid demands, but he would probably be wanting to take the wriggler out for time between the two of them. Damn Vantas would hog Zohann all to himself.
A small smile tugs at the corners of your lips as you lead the small troll to the bathroom, insisting that he clean himself up. He could really do that much on his own.
You bustle around, getting a somewhat decent meal together just in time for Zohann to parade into the kitchen, his hands on his hips. He looked defiant, upset, was that a hint of anger that was flashing in his orange eyes?
“Dad. Why didn’t you wait for me to finish?” Was his grumpy question, eyebrows scrunched together in what was supposed to be a glare. Yes, the kid could glare all he wanted, but in your own opinion he wasn’t intimidating. Not in the least. Now, maybe after some training (god, you didn’t even want to start thinking about training him to fight..) and some more growing up, he might have a good enough look to him that would scare off the people who started fights with him. No, Sollux, stop thinking about if your grub is going to get into fights like a ruffian.
“If I waited for you to finish, I wouldn’t have been able to get the food ready, now could I? And then you’d be whining about being hungry and bugging me more.” You trailed off, loving the way he was puffing out his cheeks, eyes narrowed as he actually did glare at you. Still no real threat. A soft chuckle spilled past your lips before you walked over, a hand coming to rest on Zohann’s head as you knelt down to his height. “I’m jutht teathing you, thquirt. Wath jutht trying to get you thome food..”
You could see how hard he was trying to keep that angry face. How hard he didn’t want to simply forgive you so quickly. No, that would’ve been too easy because that would mean that you won this round. And yet, the corners of his lips were twitching upwards, a toothy grin finally breaking out as he loud out a laugh. This little thing honestly had no idea how cute he could be, without even trying. Just the way an arm was wrapped around his stomach, trying to calm himself from the laughing fit he somehow sent himself into, it was exactly how Karkat used to stop himself from laughing. The same went for the way, instead of simply wiping away any tears that leaked out from laughing, he would almost jam the palm of his hand against his face and roughly wipe them away.
“You’re really weird, you know that? I thought you liked me bugging you all the time!”
“Yeth, especially when I have to piss, because I just love you lurking in the bathroom.” You sarcastically reply, lips in a line, not showing any emotion.
Zohann begins to panic, thinking he actually did something to make you angry. Eyes widening, both of his smaller hands moving up to take yours that was previously resting on his head. “You could tell me when I’m annoying you! I’ll stop! I promi-“
He’s cut off, a laugh, a real laugh, leaving your mouth before you pull him into a hug. “Kid, I’ll let you know when you really start to make me mad, alright? For now just keep being the adorable little spit fuck you are.” You mutter, pulling away a bit and ruffling his hair. You’re surprised to see that he’s grinning again, and god he needs to stop looking so cute. It’s not supposed to be possible for trolls to look ‘cute’.
“And you keep being a douchenozzle!” He retorted, sticking out his tongue before making a dash towards the table, plopping down and digging right into the food in front of him.
Except, he stops shoveling the food in his face, noticing that you didn’t follow him. You were still sitting there, unmoving and making no sounds.
Your hands were clenched so tight, teeth almost grinding together. You couldn’t stop this switch, poles jumping faster than you would’ve imagined possible. What set you off wasn’t the fact that Zohann was using language like that, you knew it was inevitable that he would learn the words. No. It was the fact that ‘douchenozzle’ was one of the nicknames Karkat had decided fit you best. Only Karkat was able to call you that, no one else. Not even this little brat that looked like him, especially not this little look-a-like. You’re on your feet, wheeled around and facing Zohann. Head is tilted upright, in a manner that shows superiority, anger, and god knows what else but it is freaking the troll out.
“Don’t you ever call me that again, do you hear me, Zohann Vantor?” The tone in your voice, it seeps rage, venom, anger, all the negative emotions that it could possibly hold. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you briefly wonder if that was really you speaking, you didn’t even recognize your own voice.
You watch as his head slowly moves up and down, fear almost paralyzing him. Never has he seen you like this. Well, that’s a lie, but never has the rage been directed at him. He was usually the one who had to calm you down from these pole shifts. Being on the receiving end, it hurt. Orange tears welled in the corners of his eyes, but he didn’t want to be caught crying so he quickly jumped down from the seat and ran off, a door slamming from deeper inside the hive.
Usually you were so good about hiding these extreme mood swings, but perhaps the fact that he brought the word up out of nowhere and caught you off guard just set you off. Right now you were so angry. Angry at everything and anything that you could see, and you were about to go ballistic, about to start throwing things like you used to in your youth. Back when you’d have some stupid argument with Karkat and get pissed off at him.
But you stop.
Poles switched back, red to blue. Subconsciously you knew that you had fucked up. You overreacted all because of a word. A damn word that anyone could say, you just chose to make that word ‘special’ for you and Karkat.
4 sweeps and this is the first time Zohann had been the victim of your dumb ass, bipolar rage. Thankfully, you hadn’t gotten too upset, otherwise the small troll might’ve gotten hurt. Might’ve gotten something thrown at him, or something drastic like that. Those things had happened with Karkat, so what makes you think that you could control it for Zohann?
You’re aggravated, a snap of psionic energy cracking above your head in protest. Glasses off, a hand to each temple, yes. This was good, just sit back for a moment, then you can go talk to the kid.
Sure, Zohann had seen you ‘angry’ before. You losing your temper of Eridan being a total prick and shoving the fact that he and Feferi now had a grub of their own down your throat. God, that pissed you off so much to the point where Feferi had to literally drag Eridan off before you culled him on the spot. Well, thinking about it, all the times you had gotten angry, they were all when you were around Eridan. Hm.
You shake your head before putting the glasses back on and heading towards Zohann’s room. Hopefully he won’t be too shaken up for you to simply talk with him.
You rap on the door a few times before slowly opening it. Peering inside you notice that Zohann had moved one of the beanbag like chairs to the corner of his respiteblock, facing away from the door and curled up with a small stuffed bee. It had been a present from John, saying that he would check in on you and the grub. Something about owing it to Karkat or some bull like that.
With your psionics, you drag another chair over next to him, your feet almost heavy as you approach him. There’s a small part of you that’s scared, for a lack of a better term, that you made him upset. It was an extreme way of thinking, but that’s what came with being you. If it wasn’t one extreme it was the other.
Red and Blue.
It was always in two with you. Damn duality, you were really quite relieved that it hadn’t passed onto Zohann otherwise he could’ve snapped right back at you. You simply shudder at the notion of the poor kid being just as fucked up as you are. If Karkat was still around and Zohann was like that, he would not stand for it and but that brat in his proper place. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case, and the orange blood was a lot calmer than you ever had been.
You settle yourself on the chair, lips pursed together and eyes locked on the wriggler from behind the bicoloured lenses. Not sure of what to say, you’re simply afraid of saying the wrong thing and flipping poles again, so you keep quiet for a few minutes. Though, it seemed like Zohann was itching to say something, knowing that you were right there and wanting his attention.
As if it was completely normal, Zohann looks up from hugging his bee and asks, “Hey dad? What was he like?”
Blood pusher clenching in your chest, you let out a shaky breath. More relieved at the fact that he isn’t all that upset about what happened. You know exactly who he’s talking about, and you’re only slightly surprised that it’s took him this long to ask you about him.
“Well… I guess he could be called a total asshole..” You mutter, lips twitching into a small grin, Zohann’s pulling in the same way. He moved over suddenly, bringing the bee with him and settling himself on your lap, turned to an angle where he could look up at you as you spoke.
His eyes were wide once more, eager, waiting, wanting you to continue on. Normally, his eyes were already wide, much like Karkat’s were. Always having that openness about them, always looking like he was either scared or eager all the time. You ruffle his hair, letting your hand stay on his head as you thought of anything and everything to tell him about Karkat.
You started with how the two of you first met, not as grubs of course, that was too far back. No, when you met that you could remember.
You were out taking a walk to get away from biclops dad, he was having a few fits that day and honestly you were just sick of it, and happened to see another troll walking around. He was hunched over a bit, hands shoved in his pockets, and a scowl set upon his features. You weren’t sure why, but you wanted to talk to the kid, so you sped up your pace a bit until you were directly in front of him, gazing with widened eyes.
He was shorter than you, only by a little bit. His eyes looked tired, bags slowly starting to form under them from an obvious lack of sleep. Black, messy hair that surrounded his horns. And gosh, they were the shortest, nubbiest, most pathetic excuse for horns you had ever seen. It slightly made you feel a bit better about having the mutated twin ones.
“What are you doing out here? Where’s your Lusus?” You ask rather quickly, not giving the troll a chance to back away or run. Though, he is momentarily stunned, and you notice that he’s staring at your mouth. Yes, dickhead, you’ve got messed up teeth that give you a lisp, think that has been covered before. Yet, he does reply and to your surprise his voice is rather soft, though it does give off a harsh tone.
“He’s a total asshole! Ambushing me and acting like it’s for training. I got sick of it so here I am, whoop de fucking do.”
You grin. Maybe you could spend time with him and keep yourself distracted from your own douchebag back home.
“Sounds kind of like the shit that goes on at my hive,” You hold out a hand to the other, “Sollux Captor.”
He’s hesitant at first, staring at your hand as though you would break his own if he touched you. None the less, he grabs your hand in such a fashion that one would think he was going to attempt to break your hand.
“I had it in my head that you two didn’t like each other at first!” Zohann states, a grin now fully spread across his lips.
“Eheheh, no, that came later. After we got to know each other more..” You reply to him, thinking back to another time that you could tell him about.
“SOLLUX CAPTOR, I SWEAR TO GOD, I WILL BE THE ONE TO KILL YOU ONE DAY.” Karkat attempts to scream as you simply sit at your desk, typing away with a cocky grin on your lips. It’s been 3 sweeps since the two of you first met, and even though both of you always complain about the other, you like to think of him as your best friend.
This was before SGRUB, before anyone started dying, before anything really bad happened. All you did was send him a code, he chose to run it and it crashed his system. Not your fault, right?
“Eheh, calm down, kk. I’ll fix it up whenever I have time..”
“You never have time, that’s the problem, grub fucker. You’re always on your husktop, typing away, and it takes you forever to reply on stupid trollian. Way to make a troll feel like your best friend.” He growls in reply. In his rage, he had come to your hive, expecting you to get up and help him out with his now crashed system right then and there. Hell no. You were still messing around with some codes, and you were pretty sure that these were going to work and be fantastic.
“Well I’m busy. Obviously.” You reply, turning a bit in your chair to look at him. His eyebrows scrunched together, teeth slightly barred. It was like he was getting ready to snap at you.
“I don’t understand why I continue to hang out with you. It’s not like you enjoy my company or whatever. You have your stupid ass bees always buzzing around to keep you company. Fuck this. I’ll just leave and let you form the perfect, fucking relationship with them. They’ll fill every quadrant for you, just watch. We’ll hear about it one day, ‘Did you hear? Sollux finally snapped his fucking think pan and attempted to fill a goddamn bucket with his bees!! How incredibly stupid of him, huh???’”
“Kk, shut the fuck up.”
But now he was looking at you with that face, angry, pissed, upset, all the faces that usually made you grin because you had done your job at pissing him off. Yet today was different, today it slightly upset you to see him making those faces. Eh, must be part of this duality thing, you have to feel bad at some point, since 99% of the time, no 50% of the time, you were a jerk about everything.
“Alright. Alright. Don’t get your fucking panties in a bunch. Give me a few minutes to finish this code..”
“You said that twenty minutes ago, douchenozzle.”
“Well, I’m saying it again.”
“Fuck you too. Now shut the hell up and let me do this.”
It was silent for a few minutes, the only sound in the room was your fingers flying across the keyboard rather quickly as you coded. That was, until Karkat decided to speak up, voice once again lower than he meant it to be.
“We’re… still friends right?”
Your fingers stop and you turn all the way around in your chair to face him. Your face was almost blank, but it one were to look close enough, the corners of your lips were slightly turned up.
“Of course we are, fuck tard.”
As you finished, Zohann’s mouth dropped a bit, eyes following suit as if he realized something sad about your story.
“Please don’t get mad.. but is he why you don’t want me saying that word?” He inquired, hugging his bee closer to him as his head dropped. He was ashamed, upset that he had unknowingly brought back the memories that were locked away in your head.
Your arms snake around him, holding him close against you as you rest your chin on the top of his head. You’re silent for a moment, simply breathing, holding him tightly to remind yourself that you’re not alone through this. You aren’t the only one in this. Zohann is here, he’s had to get by with just having you, not really knowing who Karkat was. Yes, it was different than how you grew up. You technically had no idea who your real parents were, growing up with a Lusus, but since times had changed, most of the grubs these days knew exactly who they came from.
Zohann would never get that chance.
“I’m sorry…” You mutter quietly into his black mop of hair, yellow tears leaking out and staining your face. “I’m so sorry about everything, Zohann. Snapping at you, not always being there, being me..” And what you meant by that was obvious.
You were sorry that he had to grow up with only you. Only you and not the combination of you and Karkat.
You feel him shake for a minute, his tiny arms moving around you and hugging you as tightly as he could. Holding onto you like you were the only thing that could keep him afloat in the tides of all of these emotions. He sniffles against your chest, and it’s quite obvious now that he’s crying as well.
The two of you end up falling asleep on that beanbag, Zohann curled against you as your arms are wrapped around him, holding him in place and never wanting to let go. And for once, you don’t dream about the nightmares that usually plague your mind. No, this time, all you dream about..
The next few days went by rather slowly, more stories of your past being brought to the table. From the start of SGRUB, to the first time that you died. Man, that kid almost threw a bitch fit when he found out that you died and some fishy girl kissed you instead of Karkat. He really was your kid.
You told him how, after the fight with Eridan and you lost your sight, that Karkat was the only one there. He was the only one that mattered anymore. Yes, he knocked your teeth out, but that was okay. You were still alive and kicking. He ended up taking you aside, before anything else went down and told you just how hard it was to watch you die. To watch you die and not be able to do anything about it.
The most interesting part of all of that?
“You know, the only reason I actually agreed to this stupid game... was so I could be your goddamn server.” Karkat mumbled, his hands clenched at his sides, looking away from you and chewing on his lip out of nervousness.
Well, you couldn’t really see his exact movements, obviously from being blind, but you had a pretty good guess at how he was handling all of this.
“Is there an underlying motive, kk?”
You heard his feet shuffle forward, you could feel just how close he was before he wrapped his arms around you, hugging you tightly. His face now buried against your chest and you could feel it slowly becoming damp. He was crying, and you had half a mind to laugh at him, but the other half…
“Fuck, I’m sorry. I screwed everything up. It’s my fault that I had to watch you die once, and when Eridan got you.. I thought I lost you again. I can’t handle the thought of my-“ He stopped, only continuing and sounding as though the words were being forced out, unnatural, “Best friend dying again. It’s my fault you lost your teeth.. and your lisp..”
“Wow, seriously what the fuck is wrong with you? You’re never this sincere and I think you only cussed once during that whole dumb spiel-“
“Captor, shut your goddamn, fucked up mouth for two seconds and attempt to process at least a third of what I’m saying in your stupid think pan. I was your server for a reason.”
You stare, or you would be if you had eyes, at him, your mouth dropping a bit as you attempted to process all the information that he just spilled out. There was a reason that he wanted to be your server player. Your blood pusher swelled, your hands coming up to grasp at his shoulders. God, at the moment you would give anything, anything to see. You wanted to see his face, see the colour of his tears, see him.
“Karkat..” His full name leaving your lips and you felt him shake under your touch. Why did it take so long, why did it take so much to happen for you to realize? Aradia and Feferi were both nice, yes, it was nice having someone not look at you like the bipolar freak you were. But you were forcing yourself with both of them. You were forcing yourself to be someone you weren’t, and yet around Karkat, you didn’t put any fake walls up. You were yourself. And right now, the only thing that you cared about was the fact that you were feeling these extremely red feelings for your best friend.
You had never thought about filling a quadrant with him before, but about now, it seemed like the best thing. It seemed normal. It seemed…
“Fuck, why didn’t you say anything before…”
“Shut up. I just… I didn’t think about it. I don’t think about jack shit until it really comes down to it. And I realized, when Feferi kissed you, that not only was I completely grossed out that she would kiss your ugly, mustard bloodied mug, but that it was her doing that and not me. Wow, okay now I sound like some little fucking wriggler who is getting extremely jealous about shit that happened in the past that I can’t change. And you’re probably getting really annoyed with me but because of the fact that you lost your stupidly coloured ocular orbs, I can’t fucking look at you without thinking that it’s my fault and that you hate me for all of the shit that’s been going down and-“
Your grip on his shoulders tighten, a small grin flashing across your lips. “Hey, kk, if you feel that way... then make it up to me.”
You knew he was now looking up at you, you didn’t know how, but you could simply tell that he was finally looking at you.
“Use your damn think pan for a moment, Vantas.”
It took a few moments of silence for the thing to click in his head, but his grip on you tightens as well as you feel him move. Moving up, slowly, hesitantly, almost shyly. But then his lips are on yours, and your pulling the smaller troll as close to you as possible, not wanting to let go. Everything seems just a little less important compared to this moment right now. Fuck the game, you only wished that you could be like that prick, Strider, and manipulate time if only for a moment, so you could stay like this…
“Eww, okay okay, I think I get it.” Zohann says, sticking out his tongue and shaking his head.
“You’re the one who wanted to know, brat.” You reply, ruffling his hair and urging him towards his respiteblock, “Now go change your clothes, I somehow got it in my brain to promise ff that we’d go see her and ed, and their little brat. So you better play nice.”
“Hey, say that to him! He’s the one who always starts crap with me! And has to blame me for anything and everything that goes wrong!” He quickly replies, making sure to keep up his ‘good troll’ routine.
You watch him walk off, shaking your head. Seriously, for being the offspring of a bipolar nut job, and a crabby little asshole, so far this kid acted nothing like either of you. He didn’t want to fight, unless someone insulted you or Karkat, and he really didn’t see what the point in the whole hemospectrum was. It was just colours in his eyes.
Setting your glasses down on the table, you pinch the bridge of your nose, a headache slowly starting to form. You had a bad feeling about going to spend time with the sea dwellers, mostly for the fact that Eridan was going to be there. Douchebag.
In a matter of minutes, Zohann comes trotting out, ready to go and lips set in a pout. Seems like you’re not the only one that doesn’t want to deal with them today. Glasses sliding back on your face, you stand from the chair and place a hand on top of his head, steering him towards the door.
“Just gotta get this over with and we can come back home and watch thome shitty romcoms, since you got that from stupid kk...” You announce, shutting the door behind the two of you once you exit, leading him towards the designated meeting place. Of course it was by the sea, Eridan not wanting to stray from the ‘royal’ places.
The trip didn’t take too long, because you got extremely impatient and used a bit of your psionics to get the two of you there faster. The quicker you got there, the quicker you could leave, yeah?
“Sollux! It’s so good to see you again!” Feferi’s voice breaks the sounds of the waves smashing against the shorefront, and in an instant, she’s in front of you and then giving you yet another one of her big hugs, Eridan scowling in the background. Just to piss him off, you grin, hugging her back.
“It’s nice to see you too, ff. Not so much ed, but you, yes. How’s cl doing?” You ask, noticing that Zohann is not behind you, as if shielding himself from something- or, that is to say, someone.
Speak of the devil, the little high blood wriggler is walking up. He has his dad’s air about him, that cocky, “I’m better than the rest of you ‘lowwbloods’” look on his face.
“…Hi Ceylon..” Zohann replies, his voice quieter than normal. You really do feel bad for the kid, because you knew exactly how he felt. He didn’t like to go out, he liked to stay inside and simply hang out with you. He was an introvert, and you were pretty sure he didn’t have anyone that he would even consider starting any type of relationship with, red or black. You knew you were going to feel bad for this, but you encouraged him to move, to follow the ‘royal’ troll and attempt to ‘play’ nice. The look he gave you as he was following the other, it caused one of the deepest frowns to cross your lips.
“So, Sol, you still bein’ a fuckin’ wimp about everything?”
Goddamnit you were going to kill him one day.
“Eridan! What did we just talk about? Sorry, Sollux…”
You simply shake your head. Nope. Not going to deal with Eridan’s assholeness today.
“I’m just tellin’ the truth, Fef. Ever since Kar got killed, this guy’s been even more of an ass. Always stayin’ inside, makin’ people like you worry about him? That’s not the nicest thing one could do to the people who say that they fuckin’ care about them. Honestly. I don’t-“
“That’s enough, ed. You speak one more word,” Red and blue sparks were already flickering above your head. He just had to go and bring up Karkat. Sure, you could deal with the normal, stupid fishlips Eridan on a daily basis (albeit, you wanted to cull him a good amount of the time) but the second that he brought Karkat into the matter, you wouldn’t stand for it. Sure, he hadn’t really said anything bad about him, but the fact was that he had the nerve to bring him up, “And I will cull you right here and n-“
A sharp cry causes you to jump, the sparks finally snapping above your head as you quickly turn towards the sound. The only thing your mind registers is that there is orange blood. And you about lose yourself. You’re by Zohann in a second, picking him up as he clutches his bleeding hand, though your eyes are on the other wriggler.
“What the fuck did you do to him?”
“WHAT did you DO?”
You can tell he’s shaking now, his hand dropping a small blade into the sand.
“We were jus’ playin’! An’ I told him that all slaves have to have a mark or somethin’ like that..” He trails off, looking away, afraid of you. And with good reason, the sparks are back, cracking above your head with nothing being held back.
You turn towards Feferi and Eridan, the first of which looking shocked and horrified, the other, well it’s hard to read him. As always.
“You better get your kid in check, ff. Or he’ll just turn into another fucked up troll like ed.” You all but hiss, your grip on Zohann tightening as you spin on your heels, heading back towards your hive.
“I knew this wath a bad idea. I knew it. I knew it..” You keep repeating to yourself, ignoring everything else in the world, even the small troll as he tries to get your attention.
“Dad… dad… Sollux!”
That snaps you out of it, eyes widening behind the bicoloured glasses and your steps stopping.
“You… didn’t have to do that,” he looks away, the light orange tears still brimming in the corners of his eyes. He’s trying so hard not to cry, it’s understandable, he’s not used to pain. “That’s just how he works. Plus, he’s just a wriggler like me. He’s got time to learn…”
Shaking your head, you start up again, your speed faster than before, “Zohann, I don’t want you getting hurt, got it? I don’t want anything bothering or messing with you. I’m not letting something happen to you too…”
No, you weren’t going to let someone else you cared about suddenly be taken away from you all because you weren’t paying attention. Because you weren’t able to protect them.
Zohann looks as though he wants to say more on the matter, but he bites his tongue. There’s a better time, and a better place for this sort of discussion.
But he wasn’t going to wait for too much longer.
It’s quiet around the hive. Zohann keeps to himself mostly, not wanting to disturb you. He thinks that the incident with Ceylon made you upset with him. However, that’s not the case, and you really, really wish that he would disturb you. Mess with you. To simply.
Save you from yourself.
The nightmares, back in full force. Each one reminding you that you failed, each one tearing you apart inside, knowing that you weren’t able to protect him. Almost every time it got harder and harder to wake up from them. It felt as though you were going to be trapped in your own mind, having to relive that day for the rest of your life.
A hand touches your shoulder on this particular nightmare and you shoot up, awake, yellow tears brimming in the corners of your eyes. You glance over, Zohann’s standing there with his wide eyes, hoping he didn’t make you upset. Hoping he’s not the reason for the tears that were now freely falling down your cheeks.
You reach over, grabbing him, and pull him into a tight embrace.
He’s here. He’s real. You haven’t lost him, and goddamnit, you weren’t going to lose him. He’s so small, weak, powerless-he may be a troll, but he didn’t grow up the way you did. He didn’t grow up having to fight to survive, training every day- no, he got to relax. Have a nice life under the care of someone who was actually biologically related to him, not chosen.
You feel his smaller arms wrap around you, and it only causes your blood pusher to swell up more. The feeling of having someone smaller holding onto you- it reminds you of him.
Why can’t you get through one day without being reminded of him? It’s been so long. 4 sweeps is a long time. But apparently it wasn’t long enough.
You shake your head, burying your face in the mop of black hair in front of you. You aren’t going to let anything take away what’s standing in front of you. You love the kid, and you know you always will, for a thousand sweeps or more. Who knows how long you’ll be around, but until the day comes, you were going to stand and fight for him. Fight for the child of you and the one you weren’t able to protect.
Suddenly, his voice cuts through, snapping you out of your thoughts.
“Dad… tell me about.. what happened to him..” Is all the quiet voice says, his grip tightening as if he is afraid that you’re going to disappear on him. It’s heart breaking, and all you want to do is hold him close, tell him everything is going to be alright, that there is no need to bring up the dark past. But you know better. He may be shy at times, quiet, but he’s still got a part of Karkat in him, meaning that he would be the most persistent, annoying asshole to ever walk the planet until he got what he wanted.
You don’t want to tell him. What good is there in telling a young wriggler how one of his parents died? It would just cause him nightmares. God, what if Jack somehow came back? Yes, you had watched as the humans destroyed him for a second time, but it was still a scary thought.
A calming breath.
“You remember me telling you about the game. SGRUB.” You stop, looking at him as he nods, a sign for you to continue, “We won. Everything had gone back to normal. Hell, I got my eyes back and these stupid fangs once the game was over. It was weird, like it just reset everything so we could start up our normal lives once again. 4 sweeps went by, all of us settling into our new lives. Quadrants being filled, culture being changed by the influence from the humans, it was nice.”
You chuckle, it seemed as though the post-game life was much better than the pre-game life. Well, okay, it was. And you really wished that you could just go back to that time, if only to relive those moments that you had with the Cancer.
“One day though, about a week before his wriggling day, things got weird. The sky was changing colours, the entire, mood I guess if could be called, was changing. It felt dark, heavy, like something terrible was going to go wrong. Karkat, being the leader he was, told everyone to stay inside. He wanted them safe, risking himself to find out what was going on.”
“So he was a leader? That’s so cool..” Zohann muttered, his head tilted to the side as he listened to you continue one. Telling him the sad tale, the tale that always made you feel like your blood pusher was pushed out of your chest and stomped on.
“Eheh, yeah. He was a pretty damn good leader-“ You could almost hear the conceited snort he would’ve made, “But, there’s a problem with being the leader. It’s always you that the enemy wants. So when he went out to investigate, I followed. There was no way that I was going to let him deal with this problem on his own, no matter how trivial it might’ve been. I turned my back for a goddamn fucking second..”
You start shaking your head, eyes now down casted and hazed over with a threat of tears. It didn’t take too long, before you even finished your story, for them to be freely falling down your cheeks. And yet, you did nothing to stop them. There was no point, even if you wiped them away, they would only be replaced with more.
“Th-There was a sharp cry, and right when I turned around, I saw him. Jack. Somehow, I don’t.. I don’t know how, but I assume that we hadn’t won the game in the right way? But he was back. And he stabbed Karkat. Not just once, but around 6 or 7 times, I can’t remember. I don’t want to remember. All I know, was Jack ran off and I was left alone with him. He died in my arms, Zohann. He died, and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. I had to watch it happen..”
By this point, there are tears in his eyes as well. His face is buried against your chest as he attempts to shake away the tears. Your arms pull him closer, and you swallow, it almost catches in your throat from the attempts you’re making not to start sobbing.
“Zohann. Zohann do you see why I flip my shit whenever something happens to you? Why I’m so protective of you? I’m scared, god, I’m so deathly scared that if I turn my back on you, something is going to happen. Something I could prevent. I.. no. I’m not letting anything happen to you, I’m not letting another person I love die in front of my eyes.”
He’s hiccupping now, his small fists balled up in your shirt, holding on with no intention of letting go. It’s then you realize that he depends on you more than you realized. He may not say it, but he’s thankful that you’re so protective, want him safe all the time, want only the best for him.
“Don’t be. You’re just a wriggler, like you said before. I need to be more open minded, let you grow and think for yourself. Act on your own. Do what you want to do. Eheh, I think we’ve both got a bit of growing to do, don’t we?”
Zohann shifts, looking up at you, his golden eyes slightly puffy from the tears (and you suspect yours look quite similar) and a small smile on his lips.
“I’m going to try.. to grow into a troll that Dad would be proud of. Both of you.” He replies, nodding as if it affirm to himself that he was going to stick with this plan.
Though he muttered, “I’ll have to tell him next time I see him. See what he thinks..”
“See what who thinks, Zohann?”
“Oh no one! Just my friend, heheh!”
Zohann didn’t have many friends, meaning he must’ve been making some up in his head. The poor thing.
“Ah, well let him know that your dad already thinks it’s a good idea.”
“You got it!”
Zohann retreats to his respiteblock, a bounce in his step and a renewed happiness to his smile. It was as if finally knowing why he didn’t have both parents made him feel relief. Made him understand you and your actions a little bit more.
You, in fact, felt a little better simply from sharing the story. You never talked about Karkat’s death with anyone else. There was a part of you that didn’t want to talk about it, fearing the pain that would be brought up with it, all the reminders. And yet, sharing it with someone that was made from you, and him, seemed easy. It had the soft undertones that you were partially talking with Karkat about the matter, almost as if he had pulled a you, died and then come back.
Retreating back to your own respiteblock, you settle yourself in front of your monitor, turning it on and signing onto Trollian for the first time in months. Of course your eyes skim over the offline contacts, seeing his handle.
It might’ve seemed weird, but you didn’t care, even in death he was still important to you. Even if he couldn’t see it, you wanted to keep him informed on the things that were happening. It had been four sweeps since his account had been touched, and it was saddening to know that the handle, carcinoGeneticist, was never going to be used again.
twinArmageddons [TA] began trolling carcinoGeneticist [CG]
[TA]: hey a22munch iit2 been a whiile ha2nt iit?
[TA]: what the hell am ii 2ayiing of cour2e iit ha2. four fuckiing 2weep2.
[TA]: you went and pulled 2omethiing wed 2ee iin one of your dumb romcom2. leaviing me alone wiith the grub whiile you go 2omewhere that ii2 2uppo2ed two be 2o much better than here.
[TA]: 2peakiing of he2 been a2kiing me about you lately. iit2 pretty niice beiing able two talk about you agaiin. ii couldnt talk two anyone el2e about you iit ju2t felt wrong.
[TA]: anyway ii told hiim about how the two of u2 met and all the thiing2 that happened duriing the 2tupiid game.
[TA]: you 2houldve 2een hii2 face when ii told hiim about when you all but confe22ed two me. iit wa2 liike the iidea of u2 mackiing on one another wa2 the gro22e2t thiing2 he ever had two hear. eheh iim pretty 2ure that you wouldve made iit much more unbearable for the poor thiing.
[TA]: he remiind2 me of you not ju2t hii2 look2 but the way he hold2 hiim2elf.
[TA]: he ju2t want2 all the troll2 two get along and triie2 two watch out for anyone that he come2 iin contact wiith. he2 2o cute.
[TA]: he even triie2 to back up the other wriiggler2 that piick on hiim liike eds kiid.
[TA]: he got your 2hiity ta2te iin moviie2 though and oh my god ii even have two watch them becau2e he 2ay2 that and ii quote “GOOD MOVIIE2 2HOULD BE 2HARED”
[TA]: how the hell can you have 2uch an iinfluence on our kiid when youre not even here. explaiin iit two me why dont you.
[TA]: iit2 okay though. he2 got my lii2p 2o you would probably get up2et about that and throw 2ome dumb biitch fiit about how retarded he 2ound2 or 2omethiing.
[TA]: eheh he would be 2o much diifferent iif you were here. ii thiink hed be more angry iin2tead of how laiid back and calm he ii2.
[TA]: and holy 2hiit doe2 he 2leep a lot. he fall2 a2leep 2o fa2t both of u2 would be 2o jealou2 of hiim. but then agaiin he ii2 2tiill a wriiggler and they u2ually need theiir 2leep two grow.
You lean back in your chair, staring at the wall of text you were leaving in this chat. The chat that would never be read by another. Your eyes start to sting, and you attempt to blink away the tears that were surfacing. God, when did you become such a crybaby, such an emotional wreck? Wasn’t Karkat the one who cried about everything? Shit, you felt so pathetic.
[TA]: kk ii mii22 you.
[TA]: god ii mii22 you 2o much.
[TA]: iive triied 2o hard two not thiink about you. two thiink about zn er zohann iin2tead of you. iit ju2t doe2nt work.
[TA]: iim 2o 2orry ii wa2nt able to protect you.
[TA]: iim 2o 2orry ii wa2nt the one to kiill jack iin your name. dv beat me two iit. 2tupiid priick.
[TA]: iim 2orry.
[TA]: iim 2orry.
[TA]: iim 2orry.
[TA]: kk where ever you are plea2e forgiive me.
[TA]: what am ii doiing?
twinArmageddons [TA] ceased trolling carcinoGeneticist [CG]
twinArmageddons [TA] began trolling carcinoGeneticist [CG]
[TA]: iim 2orry.
[TA]: ii mii22 you.
[TA]: ii love you.
twinArmageddons [TA] ceased trolling carcinoGeneticist [CG]
Quickly, you sign out of Trollian, push away from your husktop and get the hell out of that room. That was a terrible idea, why did you even think opening Trollian would have been a good idea? Of course he wasn’t going to be on there, and even more so, of course he wasn’t going to respond to you even if you did message him.
You need something to distract you, anything. Alright, need to get Zohann and possibly the two of you could go out and do something. There was a new stupid film out that you were almost positive he would like, and would want to see. Yes. That seemed like a perfectly good idea, especially now that you were standing outside his respiteblock, reading to knock on his door when-
“Hahah! And he kept calling you kk! Why would he even do that? It’s part of the whole duality thing, isn’t it? But whatever, he still misses you and whenever he talks about you he gets this look on his face. It’s sad, but comforting at the same time.” You hear him say, your eyebrows rising in utter shock.
Who the hell was he talking to?
“I wish you could talk to him. Things would be so different if you were here… Dad.”
Your heart clenches in your chest, what was he doing? Sure it was normal to have imaginary friends, but an imaginary friend that was your dead dad? That was a little more than fucked up if you had to say something about it.
Not even bothering to knock, you opened the door and strolled inside, only to see Zohann at his window and waving.
“Bye! Come back soon, I’ll miss you!”
He turns around, jumping upon seeing that you had invaded in his room, though his eyes were wide and that same smile was on his lips. “Dad! Dad, did you see him?” He questions, pointing to the window like a crazy troll that went off the edge of sanity.
Who in the hell was he talking about? There was no way that you were able to see his imaginary friends. Though, if his friend was of a likeness to Karkat, you might’ve wanted to see him. Then again, you might not. You weren’t too sure if you would be able to handle your emotions upon seeing his face again. No, you’d probably break down, a sobbing, undignified mess of a troll all because of something imaginary that your kid thought up.
“Did I see who, Zohann?”
“Dad! He was just here!” His reply is one of those matter of fact tones.
You really wish you could believe him. You wanted to believe that Karkat was still alive and has simply been trolling you these past four sweeps. But, even though that Karkat was an asshole at times, he wouldn’t drag out a prank for this long. He’d feel even worse than the days when the two of you would fuck each other’s shit up so bad, you’d have to spend days cleaning up. Your kid was just hoping for him to be there, imagining that he was there.
“I didn’t see him, Zohann..” You started, deciding to continue on with, “And I won’t see him. He’s your friend, you know. I can’t see anyone that you think up-“
“NO.” He yells. Zohann doesn’t yell. Ever. So this takes you completely by surprise, even causing you to back up a little and you almost brought your hands up in a defensive reflex. “I’ve been talking to him since I was just 2 sweeps old! So you should be able to see him! He may be my imaginary friend, but it’s not fair that you can’t see him too. He says that he misses you too, that he wants to come back and be with you, with us again.”
How many times are you going to cry this evening? You want to just kick yourself and then maybe smack your head against the keyboard of your husktop, just for a bit more emphasis.
“Zohann, please. Karkat’s gone, he’s not coming back. I wish I could see him again. I have so much that I want to say to him, so much that I never got to tell him while he was alive. But, things don’t always work out the way you want them to. He’s not coming back, and that’s something I.. we.. have to live with every day. I’m glad that you have him as an imaginary friend, though I doubt you’ve got his personality down right. After all, there really is only one Karkat Vantas.. well, therewas.” A hand reaches up and you rub your temples, the start of a headache slowly making it’s presence known.
He looks defeated, sad, upset, and it all but hurts even more that you just uttered those words to him. After all, he really is just a wriggler, a fact that you seem to forget on many occasions. A puff of air leaves your lips, as you kneel down to his level, letting your hand now rest on the top of that black mop of hair.
“Sorry. I’ve just had a bad day, I didn’t mean to take it out on you.” You assure him, leaning forward just enough to place a kiss to his forehead. “So here, I’ll make it up to you. Want to tell me some of the things that he’s said to you?”
His face brightens and he nods enthusiastically. He reaches up, grabbing the hand you placed there and dragging you over to the twin bean bag chairs in the corner of his room. All but pushing you down, he scrambles to grab the other bean bag, pulling it closer to yours before plopping down in it. “Okay! Where to start!”
You have a feeling his stories are going to go on for a while. 2 sweeps is still a while, and if the ‘two’ of them talked every day, that was a lot of different stories that could’ve been shared. Then again, since it wasn’t really Karkat, what all could Zohann say about him?
“First off, he told me that I need to keep an eye on you! Because you’re a dumbbutt who forgets to eat sometimes and gets weirdly obsessed with your silly codes and all that good stuff. And then, hm.. let’s see. He also said that even though you won’t ever eat the mind honey, you can handle like.. like… hard versions of it. Like candy or something! Also, you liked to scratch his belly! I already could tell that though because it’s how you put me to sleep sometimes, heheh..” He began rambling.
It wasn’t as though any of the things he said surprised you. Most of them were fairly obvious if you were to just look at yourself or if someone were to live with you for a while. Hell, even Eridan knew about how much you would zone out whenever you were coding or even playing a video game. You couldn’t help it, electronics were one of your weaknesses and something that you enjoyed, so of course you were going to try and enjoy yourself to the max while you were on them.
“Oh! He told me something really cute, dad.” He started, leaning over and grabbing a hair brush from a small pile of junk. “He said, that whenever you would brush his hair, not only would he purr, but you would too. And it was almost a daily thing! Kind of like a ritual that the two of you did, even after fights or something silly like that, you would almost always patch things up and just have you time.”
All other thoughts stop. How in the hell did he know something like that? You never said anything about it, damn, you’ve never even purred around the kid. Sure, you’ve brushed his hair a few times, but there wasn’t any purring or.. Karkat-like about it. It wasn’t a daily thing, just an occasional one that you’d really only do if his hair looked like some type of squawking beast had made the wriggler’s hair it’s new home.
You shake your head. Maybe you did slip up once and tell him? No. There was no way. That was a secret that you wanted to keep to yourself. Wanting to keep the thought of Karkat purring to yourself, not wanting any of the other trolls to know.
“Zohann. I never told you any of that…”
“Well DUH. I just said that dad told me. Of course he would know the same things you would.”
You bite back the urge to snap out how ‘dad’ is imaginary and there must be something Zohann isn’t telling you. Instead though, you stand up, stretching your arms above your head and feigning fatigue.
“Alright then, brat. Why don’t you tell your friend that your dad says hi, alright? I’m going to turn in for the night, you’ll have to tell me more of what he said at another time.” You manage to say in an even tone, ruffling his hair.
He simply nods in response, lunging out to hug onto your leg. “G’night dad. See you tomorrow.” He lets go, slumping back down in his bean bag and turning to look out the window, like he’s waiting.
You glance at the window yourself as you head out the door, deciding right then and there. There was something Zohann wasn’t telling you, and if he wasn’t going to be forward about it, you’d just have to catch him in the act the next time any of this happens.
The following day, you couldn’t get the night’s events out of your head. You needed answers and there was someone you could turn to. You hadn’t really talked to her since Karkat’s passing, and honestly, you felt bad that you were all but using her to get answers. But you were desperate. Wanting to get to the bottom of this and she might have something that you wanted to hear.
Sign into Trollian.
Oh thank god.
— twinArmageddons [TA] began trolling apocalypseArisen [AA] —
[TA]: hey aa
[AA]: s0llux w0w its been quite a while since the tw0 0f us have talked
[AA]: h0w have y0u been h0lding y0urself up?
[TA]: cut the bull2hiit aa you know damn well how iive been.
[AA]: im just attempting s0me c0nversati0n s0llux
[AA]: after all
[AA]: im n0t in the state i was in during the game
[AA]: i feel s0 much m0re alive
[TA]: aa ju2t 2top plea2e.
[TA]: ii dont want two deal wiith thii2 riight now.
[TA]: ii ju2t have a que2tiion that you 2hould already know.
[TA]: and then iim gettiing the hell off trolliian.
[AA]: g0 right ahead and ask away
[TA]: ii2 iit po22iible for the dead to appear iin front of other2?
[TA]: 2ay ju2t a gho2t of them.
[TA]: but they are talkiing two 2omeone el2e?
[AA]: y0ure talking ab0ut the situati0n with z0hann c0rrect
You audibly let out a scoff. Why did you think that after all these sweeps that she would be any different in the way she addressed things? It was always the same. Just had to point out that she was psychic. You loved her, yes, but come on Aradia. Just straight forward answers would be nice every once in a while instead of questions about your own questions.
Half contemplating to simply sign out right then and there, you decide against it. You really would like to know what was going on before barging in on Zohann again.
[TA]: iim talkiing about zohann.
[TA]: 2o are you goiing two giive me a 2traiight an2wer or do ii have two try and deciipher 2ome completely iin2ane 2tatement that you are about two 2piill on me?
[AA]: im g0ing t0 be h0nest with you s0llux
[TA]: whoa 2traiightforward. thii2 ii2 a VERY NIICE CHANGE AA.
[AA]: calm d0wn w0nt y0u
[AA]: i cant answer y0ur questi0n because i d0 n0t have an answer f0r y0u
[TA]: what the hell ii2 that 2uppo2ed two mean?
[AA]: i cant see whats g0ing 0n f0r 0nce
[AA]: all I kn0w is that z0hann is making friends with s0mething that is bey0nd me
[AA]: s0 I cann0t tell y0u whether y0u sh0uld feel c0mf0rtable 0r scared
[AA]: y0u just need t0 watch him cl0sely
[TA]: well no 2hiit thank2 for telliing me 2omethiing ii dont know.
[TA]: 2orry aa iive ju2t been really 2tre22ed lately and up2et. ii diidnt mean two take iit out on you.
[AA]: thats 0k s0llux
[AA]: i kn0w that things must be t0ugh f0r y0u but i am glad that y0u are hanging in there
[AA]: d0nt be a stranger get 0nline m0re and we can talk and catch up
[AA]: y0u can tell me all ab0ut z0hann and what hes like
[AA]: that will be f0r a later time
[AA]: right n0w i think y0u and i b0th kn0w that there is s0mething that y0u need t0 d0
[TA]: yeah there ii2.
[TA]: thank2 for at lea2t lii2teniing
[TA]: at lea2t ii know now that there ii2 2omethiing goiing on and iim goiing to fiind out exactly what iit ii2
[AA]: i wish y0u the best 0f luck
— twinArmageddons [TA] ceased trolling apocalypseArisen [AA] –
Logging off takes more time than necessary, your eyes once more lingering on Karkat’s handle. Holy shit, why won’t it stop flashing? It’s like the trollian system was telling you that your dead matesprit was online and replying to you or something.
His name was flashing. What.
You quickly open up the chat, skimming down the still present wall of mustard yellow that you had left behind the previous day. There was a change though, at the very bottom…
— carcinoGeneticist [CG] began trolling twinArmageddons [TA] —
[CG]: IT’S OKAY.
— carcinoGeneticist [CG] ceased trolling twinArmageddons [TA] —
Your hands are shaking. No, you’re shaking, your entire body is shaking from.. what? Fear? Excitement? You honestly couldn’t tell what you were feeling.
What the hell was going on? There was no way that he was able to reply. Where ever the hell he was now, there was absolutely no way that he was able to have access to Trollian. If he did, why in the ever loving fuck did it take so long for him to message you? Why didn’t he tell you the day after, the day of?
Fuck. No, stop. You were over reacting, over thinking this whole damn thing. Someone must have hacked into his account. Probably that bitch Vriska. Then again, she was on Earth now, living with that John human. And he took up a good amount of her time. Maybe it was Eridan? You wouldn’t put it past him to do it just to piss you off. It wasn’t really pissing you off though, it was more, making you upset, sad, more alone than ever. There might have been a small part of you that wished that it was really from him, that somehow Karkat had managed to message you from beyond death.
Your hands, still shaking just as much as the rest of you, return to the keyboard, slowly typing in the chat box.
— twinArmageddons [TA] began trolling carcinoGeneticist [CG] –
[TA]: oh god plea2e dont let thii2 be 2omeone2 cruel iidea of a joke.
[TA]: ii wiill 2eriiou2ly fliip all of my 2hiit.
[TA]: are you there kk?
That’s all you can bring yourself to type, pushing yourself away from the open husktop and striding out of the room. You don’t even bother to sign out of the stupid messaging system, instead leaving your status to, well whatever the fuck it was when you last signed in all those sweeps ago. You’re frustrated with Trollian, frustrated with the fact that you let yourself believe for one goddamn second that there might be some magic out there that could let you communicate with your dead matesprit.
No. There’s a better thing to do. You’re going to get answers from Zohann, even if you have to slowly start taking away anything and everything that he likes and cares about. That message only showed up after the talk the two of you had, so there was a small part of you that believed he was the one responsible for it, somehow hacking into Karkat’s account and messaging you so you wouldn’t feel left out from his ‘friends’ visits.
However, you reach his room, and once again hear him talking to his friend and it takes a good amount of will power to wait, listen to what he was saying. Though your brain was screaming at you to knock down that door and see just what kind of freak what talking to your kid, you held back. Maybe you could get a bit more information on the situation before busting in, making accusations and pointing fingers.
“I really wish dad could see you. I bet he would be so happy, just to see you! Not even talk, just seeing your face again. Maybe he wouldn’t be so depressed and upset all the time.” His voice is lowering in pitch as he speaks and you close your eyes. You could almost picture the look on his face. His eyes were probably narrowed to the point where they looked closed. His lips, set in a deep frown that you would rather now see on him, not at his age. Shoulders hunched, his head slowly lowering in a somewhat defeated matter.
Just as soon as you apply a small bit of pressure on the door you hear a voice. Not Zohann’s, there was no way that it could be his even if he attempted to change his voice. No. This voice was deeper, smoother and yet had a slight hint of a rasp to it. It brought back so many memories, so many feelings that you didn’t want to feel right now.
“Trust me, little fucker, it’s better this way. He’s not getting hurt anymore…”
So many thoughts were swirling around in your think pan and you could swear that your blood pusher stopped. That it stopped and you died, simply keeled over right outside the door to your little wriggler. Your body however, moved forward and pushed the door open with you having almost no say in the matter what so ever. Your eyes, locked on the window, widened, burned and watered.
[CG]: I’VE BEEN HERE THIS WHOLE TIME, FUCKNUBS.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“So we had those stupid titles in the game. Okay, I can go with that.” Karkat grumbled, turning his sickle around in his hand as he sits on a chair in your respiteblock. It wasn’t too long after the game had ended, your eyes being returned as a partial reward, same with your dumb teeth. Yep, the annoying lisp was a reward as well. He continued, “What I can’t go with is the fact that I’m the fucking Knight of Blood. Blood, Sollux. Just had to jab me in the one place that I can’t really accept about myself.”
“Did you ever stop and think that maybe that’s the reason you were the Hero of Blood? Because your blood is so different from everyone else’s? It’s a good thing, kk, trust me. At least you didn’t get a pansy title like Prince of Blood or something lame like that.” No, of course that wasn’t an indirect jab at that hipster fishlips, not at all.
He rolled his eyes, captchaloguing his sickle and turning around to face you at your desk. His eyes were locked with yours and you could see the small traces of red that were filling in as the two of you continued to grow. To grow, not just physically, but mentally as well- you, slowly starting to get a hold of the many mood swings that you had. Attempting to control the amount of bipolar freak outs that you would have. While Karkat was trying to open up more, accept more about himself and share all the fears that he had through the game with you.
“Whatever. It’s too bad though, since the game is done and everything. There’s no way that we can really reach god tier. I was ready to bash your stupid outfit as a mage and all that shit. And you couldn’t bash mine because Strider had the exact same title with the whole Knight thing. Wait. That doesn’t fucking help oh my god. He looked like some bulge licker with his hood up. Shit, I’m glad I didn’t get god tier, that would’ve sucked so damn much.” Yet another Karkat ramble, about the dumbest shit that you could even think of.
A low chuckle spills from your lips, feet moving to strider over and in front of the shorter troll. You kneel down and lean forward, flicking his forehead instead of the kiss that he was expecting.
“If you want my honest opinion, I would’ve loved to see your god tier. I bet you would’ve pulled it off twice as good as Strider.” You state, watching his eyes widen a bit as he gawks at you.
“So you think he looks good in it?”
“C’mon, kk, it’s Strider, when isn’t that prick hot?”
He stares for a moment, a grin curling on your lips as you expect an outburst of anger from him. Yet it doesn’t come.
“Sollux you are a complete asshole. An asshole who speaks the truth, but an asshole none the less. I might start getting jealous here..”
“Aw, that’s so sweet, kk. But I think I’m going to stick with one of you. I have my own personal knight, a knight for the doomed.”
“That was the lamest thing you’ve ever said, you pitiable fuckwad.”
“Pity you too, assmunch.”
“Karkat..” Your voice doesn’t even should like it belongs to you. It’s strained, forced, and weak, and you can feel small tremors rippling through your entire body. There’s no way this could be happening right now, there was no way that this waspossible.
You force your feet to move forward, farther into the room and closer to the window. He wasn’t moving, it was almost as if seeing you stopped everything in him just like it did to you. Zohann was frantically looking back and forth, an expression of worry present on his face.
It was him, there was no doubt about it. Karkat Vantas was perched on the windowsill to your kid’s room like some squawk beast ready to take flight. His attire was changed completely from what you last remember, that being the normal long sleeved black shirt with the Cancer symbol on it, black pants and black shoes. Now though, the one colour that could describe him would be brown.
His outfit was much like Dave’s, brown pants with a red stripe down each side, a long sleeved shirt with what looked like an open wound on his chest, and a cloak. He still looked the same, despite the change in clothes. Shaggy, curly hair, his cute little nubby horns, his face. There was only one explanation for his appearance, but it still didn’t make one bit of sense.
Steps faltering, you have to push yourself towards him, reaching out and grabbing his hand. Shit, it was warm, he was here, he was real. A surge of so many emotions ran through you.
Relief, he was back, alive in a sense, and was able to be touched, and in turn touch you as well. Anger, where had he been all of these sweeps? Why did he think that things would be better if he stayed hidden? Sadness, he had been talking with Zohann, but not you, his own goddamn matesprit. Fear, what if this was still some cruel joke? You wanted to believe that he was back, that there was nothing going to get in the way of having him back with you. But the second you pulled on his hand and he moved forward, your arms wrapping around him, his wrapping around yours in turn, all your emotions went into a frenzy. The only thing that you could do was cry.
You squeezed your arms tightly around his (still) shorter form, holding onto him as if he were a life preserver in the middle of the ocean. You were so afraid that if you let go he would disappear again, leave you. The tears were falling freely from your eyes, and it was slowly becoming harder and harder to calmly breathe, your shaking form not helping that cause.
“Kk.. kk… Karkat. Wh-What the actual FUCK?” You manage to spit out, gripping his shoulder tightly as you pull away from him.
His face is soft, the usual presence of anger faded out from the sweeps of being.. whatever it was that he was, because he obviously wasn’t dead. He does look upset though, sad, guilty (as well as he should!) and anything else that could describe how terrible he looked.
“Sollux-“ His voice, oh my god his voice. You had missed it so much, it’s rough yet surprisingly smooth feel to it. And he was saying your name. Your name. More tears fell, his hands coming up to rest on either side of your face, wiping at the yellow drops that were staining your cheeks. God how you missed his touch, how you simply missed everything that was Karkat Vantas.
“Sollux. I’m sorry..”
“Don’t you fucking say that you’re sorry, you wretched piece of shit. What happened? You were dead, I saw you die, you died in my arms.” You quickly return, almost ready to start on a ramble until he leans up, lips covering yours for only a moment. A moment that you wish had lasted seconds, minutes, even sweeps longer. With your emotions everywhere, you couldn’t decide if you were upset about the fact that the kiss didn’t last longer, or if you were extremely happy that you had finally gotten a kiss from him once again.
“I was dead, and holy shit it was the scariest thing I have ever experience. Here’s what happened, and I’m only going to say this once, so you better listen and not start sobbing uncontrollably because I don’t think I can handle you doing that right now.” He took a deep breath in, looking up at you as if he needed encouragement to continue on.
“I remember wandering around some dream bubbles for a while, trying to find somewhere I could stay. Somewhere I could lie to myself and say that I was happy while I waited for your sorry ass to join me. But then, I felt something pulling me away from the bubbles. You left me on my quest cocoon, Sollux. You’re the reason I’m standing in front of you right now, the reason why I’ve been able to talk with Zohann all these sweeps-“
You have to cut him off, “But our dreamselves were all dead, there was no way for any of us to reach god tier!”
“We won the game, remember? It’s how you got your eyes and teeth back. When that happened, it caused a reset, everything went back to the way it was originally, before all that shit went down, before we started SGRUB. I didn’t realize this until after I had died, but our dream selves were back, and I still can’t see how we weren’t able to feel them. Unless it had something to do with some complicated shit that we could only really feel them while we were in the game, otherwise we just continued on as though life hadn’t been any different.” He explained, a hand moving down from your cheek to rest on top of Zohann’s head, who had decided to attach himself to his dad’s leg.
“It’s weird, and I don’t understand it all myself, but all I know is I’ve been like this since you placed me there, Sollux.”
“And why haven’t you revealed yourself sooner? Don’t you dare give me that bull shit that you were trying to protect me. You could’ve explained, you could’ve donesomething and come back to me!” It sounds like you’re shouting, fuck you don’t want to be shouting. Not when he was back, he was all but safe now and you had him again.
“You want the simple fucking answer? I was scared. Sollux, it took me two sweeps to gather up enough grit to talk to Zohann. I had every intention of coming back, telling you everything. But every time that there was a chance for me to do it, I chickened out. I was so goddamn scared that you wouldn’t believe I was here, or that.. maybe.. you wouldn’t be able to see me. So I let Zohann carry on, thinking that I was his imaginary friend that visited him every once in a while. Someone that could be there in place of his missing dad, as he would call us. His friend that knew stories of his dads. It was perfect. I could watch over both of you without you knowing that I was here. ” He was running his fingers through the small troll’s hair, eyes still locked on you.
“I knew some day that you would find out, and I’ve still been scared to think about that day. Sollux, I never wanted to hurt you, you should know that. I just wanted to watch out for you, make you happy from afar. Hell, I think that message that I sent you on Trollian was an incredibly huge ass step for me. But I couldn’t just leave you, not after reading those messages. Even in ‘death’, I wanted you to be comforted by me.”
God. You couldn’t deny that you really did have the best matesprit, moirail and kismesis bundled all into one perfect troll.
Your voice is still shaking, hoping and praying that this was real and you never had to go another day without him. After all, without him, it felt like a huge chunk of you was missing, you weren’t whole. “So, after all of this, all this hiding and random adventures, are you going to stay with us now? You know that I want you home.We want you home.”
He was silent for a few moments, eyes flickering down to the troll attached to his legs and then back up to you. He bit his lip, yes another habit that you missed about the troll. Biting his lip whenever he was concentrating on something, or was stressing out about something. It just made him, him.
A Knight for the Doomed is actually a FST that I am in the midst of making, so look out for that!
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The single word echoed in your think pan over, and over, and over again. You didn’t want to believe that’s what you just heard, you didn’t trust your hearing for once. It must’ve been the voices that were saying that. Of course, they had been extremely quiet as of late, but they could’ve come back now, when you finally had a thought that you might be happy again. They usually liked to do that, to fuck you over whenever you had a good day or some shit like that.
The look that Karkat was giving you though, it was one where you knew that he had said something he might regret later. It cleared the air, and almost made you flip your shit.
“What? Karkat, why? Why would you say no? You can’t leave now.” You quickly force out, not wanting your voice to fail on it. You didn’t trust it, you didn’t trust much of anything right now. Not with your, back from the dead, matesprit saying that he can’t be with you and your wriggler. He was going to leave, and things were supposed to go right back to the usual routine of just you and Zohann. It was like a stab to the heart that you didn’t want to believe was real.
Zohann detaches himself from the troll, moving and making his way to stand by your side, looking up at you and fuck why does he have to look so much like Karkat?
“I can’t stay. Sollux, I’m dead. Well, partially, even though.. I’m god tier.” Karkat was almost muttering by the time he finished his thought and you hoped to whatever god there was that he was seeing how stupid he was being. Who cares if he was god tier? He could go right ahead and change his clothes and go back to living his old life with you and Zohann. He was given a second chance! Why in the hell would he say no to that?
“So what?! You’re here now. You’re real, I can see you, I can touch you, fuck, I can smell you. You’re real, alive, and yet you’re saying that you can’t stay with the two trolls that want you the most? You cannot be serious, kk.” Right, maybe bringing back the ol’ nickname will convince him to stay.
“You know, even in death, I’m still a shitfucking mutant. I can’t be seen, I can’t. I don’t have any wings, I still have this ugly, horrendous blood flowing through my veins. It’s better if I’m in the shadows, watching you guys, making sure that nothing happens to you. I wasn’t able to stop Eridan’s wriggler from hurting you, Zohann, but I was there. I wanted to help, but there was four too many trolls there than I was comfortable with knowing that I was still around.” Karkat rambled, his eyes darting down to the orange blood who had decided that your leg was now the best place to cling to.
He continued on, “If I came back, everyone would start asking questions and think that something was wrong, and I would still be a mutant-“
“NO YOU WOULDN’T.” You cut him off with a yell, sick and tired of all the bull shit that he was spouting, and you could feel Zohann jump at the harshness of your voice. All these reasons why he couldn’t stay, and none of them seemed to make any sense. It was almost as if he didn’t want to be with you or Zohann, he wanted to be alone for the rest of, well, forever.
“You listen to me, Karkat Vantas. You’ve been floating along in god tier for how long now? Four sweeps? Have you not seen how much our planet has changed? Do you really think that your red fucking blood matters anymore? No one cares. Karkat, we haven’t cared about your blood colour since the day that we all found out. As for your wings, that doesn’t matter either. Remember when Aradia got god tier? How she was able to fold them flat against her back? Well, if you’re really insecure about not having them, you can always lie to people, tell them that you keep them retracted or some stupid bullshit like that. I don’t give a flying fuck. You just have to stay.” You have to take a breath in, spilling everything at once and in one go wasn’t the smart idea, but you needed to get your point across to him asap. That way he knew that he was fine, he didn’t need to leave and no one was going to care about such trivial things anymore.
“Don’t you say you can’t. You can.” Yellow tears are building in the corners of your eyes, Zohann noticing and hugging onto your leg tightly as he set his eyes on his other dad. “Do you have any idea how much of a hell these past four sweeps have been without you, Karkat? To be honest, after you died, I almost gave up. I was ready to cull myself and find you in a dream bubble. But then..”
You move your hand to rest on Zohann’s head as he looks back up at you. He still looks as cute, perfect and innocent as he did the first day that you got your hands on him. Sure, he still had a lot of growing to do, but you were almost positive that he was going to turn out alright. He’d turn out even better… if he had Karkat in his life, to teach him how to protect himself with his fists.
“This little brat changed everything. That first night, after I got him, I broke down. I looked at him, and I saw you, I didn’t think I had it in me to bring him up. I thought for sure that I was going to royally fuck up, and he would turn out to be a type of troll that I wasn’t proud of. After a while though, it was easier albeit, it was still hard knowing that I was going to have to do it on my own the entire time he was growing up. You’ve missed so much of his life, so much that you haven’t been there to experience. I don’t care if you were watching in the background, that is not the same as being there and living it.”
It’s his turn to interject, and he’s shaking his head, still fighting against everything that you’re saying. “Exactly. I’ve already missed so much, so there’s no point in trying to butt in now. That would be a completely assholish thing of me to do.”
You can’t help but choke out a small laugh, “You’re being an asshole right now by trying to abandon us! I never knew how cowardly and selfish you are. But you know something, I can be that way too. Karkat, if I have to keep going, knowing that you’re out there, that I could have you in my arms every night, but I don’t, I think I’ll lose it. More so than I ever have. I can’t stand the thought of not having you with me if you’re alive.”
Honesty hour and you, Sollux Captor, are the main fucking attraction. Bearing everything that’s been building up this entire time. Only him, only Karkat, could do this to you, cause your emotions to go spiraling out of control, because now you’re crying and you can’t stop and shit, Zohann’s crying because you’re crying. The whole fucked up family was slowly becoming like some reality show being shown to thousands of trolls, this being the breaking point where the audience has to choose whose side they were on: yours and Zohann’s or Karkat’s.
God, you hoped they were on your side.
But now, Karkat’s not talking, not moving, not doing anything. You can’t read him, you can’t tell what’s going through his head and holy jesus are you scared. What if he simply ignores everything you’ve said? What if he just leaves, hops right out that open window (you have half a mind to close it to make it harder for him) and floats on off like the fucked up little shitstain that he is. You want to say more, having all of these other thoughts swimming around in your head, but you can’t form any words together to properly express what you’re thinking.
He’s still not moving. You’re still standing there, staring at him with a desperate look in your eyes and you don’t even notice when Zohann detaches himself from your leg. The wriggler walked the short distance between the two of you, standing in front of Karkat and looking up at him. Once you notice, you can only imagine what the look on his face must be.
“Karkat Vantas, if you leave your matesprit that you haven’t seen in sweeps then I think you’re going to have your kid as an enemy. That’s just rude.” Zohann states, his hands now on his hips in a defiant way.
For the seriousness of the moment, both you and Karkat break out into a laugh. Just the tone of the brat’s voice, it’s completely different, breaking the tense air that had been looming in the room.
You look at Karkat in time to see a real smile on his lips as he looks down at Zohann, “Well, I wouldn’t want that, would I? I..” You lean forward, hanging onto his every word, wanting to hear exactly what he was going to say next, “I guess I have no choice but to stay then. If my own kid hates me th-oof!”
You didn’t let him finish before maneuvering around Zohann, throwing all of your weight against Karkat and hugging him tightly, more tears cascading down your cheeks. A huge weight had been lifted off you chest, and now your emotions were getting the best of you and you couldn’t care less.
Of course, all it took was Zohann. It just took that kid saying something to him, wanting him to stay. You’d have to do something nice for him, maybe build him a new husktop or show him how to build his own as a way to say thanks. For making the only other troll on Alternia that could make you happy stay.
“Thank you. Kk, thank you so much.”
He shifts awkwardly, attempting to now hold both you and Zohann (who decided that he needed to be a part of this ‘family’ hug), “You’re welcome, nookwiff. And.. I’m sorry. Sorry I was so difficult and stupid as I always am. I seriously don’t see how you’re putting up with me even after all this ti-“
“Shut up and kiss me.”
All too quickly he obliged, leaning up to meld his lips with yours, attempting to get as close as possible and completely disregarding the fact that there was still another troll in the room.
Goodness. Finally ending this thing! Fist multi-chapter fic that I've ever completed. uvu
Thank you guys for sticking with me through this, and I really do hope that you've enjoy it. <3