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You are beginning to acknowledge your own freakish proclivity for expending large amounts of energy over a long period of time. Which is funny, because like an hour ago, you'd thoroughly convinced yourself that everything you touched was shit, and that you had absolutely no redeeming qualities. Wrong. Redeeming traits are as follows: You can walk for a long time, it seems. You can drive yourself months without sleep, if that even counts as a good thing. You can scream like a wriggler suffocating under one of the fat folds of the mother grub, scream so loud that no one can ignore you. You can... vaguely read and decipher the cartographic equivalent of a kaleidoscopic puke bomb as rendered by a two-sweep old. You can entertain yourself with your own flippant ramblings for hours on end. And you can make an ass of yourself better than anyone else can.

 

You, KARKAT VANTAS, are one talented troll.


It's really a wonder you fuck up as much as you do.

You have been reflecting on this, and countless other ridiculous things, for the last two nights, although, those nights are really days, and they are shorter than how you remember Alternia's. Despite all your unexpected association with it, you are not some kind of expert on celestial bodies, even celestial bodies that you assisted in the creation of. Then again, this sun and this moon and this planet have existed for a little under a month now, so most likely, no one was an expert on them yet, though through observation it had been universally noted that A, the sun's rays were safe, B, the day was not that bright, a sort of midground between human and troll needs, and C, the daily cycles were short. For the life of you, you cannot properly compare the new planet to Alternia, because fuck, you don't remember Alternia except in dream pieces and snippets of memories and stupid feelings you've forgotten the reasons for. It's maybe better to forget.

You are tired, and you are growing up, though cultural muddling and cosmic antics and the impossible schematics of reality have fucked you up far past the point of growing up properly. Granted, you have always been a little fucked up. That was the universe's great design for you, after all; it is your solemn duty and divine purpose to serve as the hapless load gaper that the universe takes its triumphant, smug shits on.


Here's a doozy: You beat the game, you get cheated out of your rightful prize, you help the humans cheat the game as a big fuck you to the cosmic forces of asshole, you rot on a meteor for a sweep and a half, you play the game again (what an obnoxiously recurring theme this is), you take on a time-traveling omnipotent demon. Along the way, friends die, terror remains an ever-vigilant and ever-present dickwad, and somehow, in some way, the progression of events latch onto the possibility of it being all. your. fault. These are all things you have dealt with, things you will not get over any time soon, but things you have dealt with.


The doozy is that, after all of this uncertainty, stress and terror, you are finally awarded your final destination, your beautiful, spectacular patchwork planet, with your alpha-timeline friends' lives restored, with your hives restored as they were during the first round of the ostensibly endless clusterfuck game, and everyone checks in with you through a stable internet connection, and everything seems peachy fucking keen with one apparent problem.

Your hives are scattered across a continent.

You are separated from all of your friends, and even though you thought that the solitude would bring you some kind of relief, it really just drives you bugfuck insane. What worsens the situation is that the majority of your friends are stunningly okay with it, though you shouldn't be surprised. Trolls are not communal, or so they tell you. This is how it was back on Alternia.

Meanwhile John and Jade and Rose and Dave are scrambling across their respective corners of the new planet to live together. You begrudge them that. You would not want to live with Vriska Serket and Equius Zahhak. You may even resent living with Sollux or Gamzee. But in your head, which is a godforsaken morass of negativity and baseless idealism, you at least live in the same general area. Maybe you make a little self-sufficient town, and dare you say, you have a good fucking go as leader again.


That is a joke.


Ha ha.


Redeeming quality number seven, you are a constant beacon of hilarity, even in the midst of delirious exhaustion, since you have been trudging along for like two days at Terezi's behest. Or yours. Whichever, you are always and forever in murky waters with Terezi. In the time since you all found yourselves stuck on this nameless planet that John has countless retarded monikers for, you have gone to the beach to meet up with Eridan once, been to Gamzee's hive twice and Sollux has come to yours once-- it's easy for him to just float over like he's so naturally used to being some kind of ghost, which is infuriating, but whatever. There were other, smaller reunions that didn't involve you, but everyone's too far away and unmotivated to relent to even having one big giddy 12-troll meet-up. You talked to your friends, who could probably see right through you and knew the foolish desires of your romanticist bloodpusher-- that stupid town, and that stupid 12-troll victory party you'd most likely hate anyways-- and they told you, maybe, with time. Maybe, but we need our "alone time" first.

You think that is utter bull shit, because you know for a fact that romantic scrambles are happening all over.

But clearly, that's not why you're going to Terezi's insipid, archaic tree-hive. It took long enough to settle this. You did not want to play the assuming dickheap and invite yourself over, or cave in first and invite her over, so even though you talked constantly over the last month while trying to orchestrate the making of a proper map or the gathering of twelve motley morons, you both played the spastic ballerina and skirted around the issue at hand, as usual. For some reason, you figured it was some kind of game or challenge that you did not plan on losing.

And then out of the blue, she ribbed you into walking through the wilderness to come over. It did not even sound like a welcoming invitation, really, more like a dare. There were promises of climbing trees involved, but you do not give a decimal value of a shit about that. She drew you a sorry map, and you packed up hardly enough food to make the trip, and you went, and you don't regret it just yet. You hate being alone, as aforementioned, especially without distraction, because your mind runs away with itself, and further proves all of the glistening ways you are a total idiot.


As it happens, Terezi is a huge fucking distraction, though. And if you said that you weren't looking forward to seeing her again, you'd be lying. (You did do that, though. Wrongs to right. )

With that, you are at the beginning of a pink forest. You shift uncomfortably, furrow your eyebrows, uncaptchalogue a portable computer. This. This is awkward. You walk and text her at the same time, head down.


carcinoGeneticist [CG] began trolling gallowsCalibrator [GC]

CG: I'D LIKE TO ANNOUNCE THAT IT HAS FINALLY HAPPENED.

CG: I HAVE KEELED OVER EN ROUTE TO YOUR FRIVOLOUS FUCKING TREEHIVE, AND AM NOW GOING TO DIE OF EXPOSURE TO THE UNKNOWN ELEMENTS.

CG: WHAT A WAY TO GO, I THINK I WOULD HAVE PREFERRED DEATH BY FIERY GREEN INCINERATION. THAT WOULD BE THE CLASSY WAY TO DO THIS.

GC: WOW, WH4T 4N UNORTHODOX W4Y TO S4Y H1.

GC: 4ND M3LODR4M4T1C, TOO.

CG: WHATEVER.

CG: I'M HERE.

CG: LIKE, I CAN SEE YOUR HIVE IF I CRANE MY NECK UP.

CG: IT DOES NOT LOOK ANY MORE IMPRESSIVE THAN I'VE EXPECTED IT WOULD.

GC: YOU 4R3 NOT 3X4CTLY 4N 1D34L H1V3GU3ST!

GC: TH3R3 1S 4 N34T S3T OF WOOD3N BO4RDS N41L3D TO TH3 TR33.

CG: YOU ARE NOT SERIOUSLY EXPECTING ME TO CLIMB UP ALL THE WAY TO YOUR HIVE.

GC: OH, BUT 1 4M! >:]

GC: 4FR41D OF SPL1NT3RS?

CG: NO. BUT I JUST WALKED FOR HOURS STRAIGHT THROUGH UNCHARTED TERRAIN, FENDING OFF WILD BEASTS AND SHIT.

GC: OH.

GC: 1N TH4T C4S3 YOU 4R3 W3LCOM3 TO GO R1GHT B4CK

GC: 4SSUM1NG TH4T G3TT1NG OV3R YOURS3LF 4ND CL1MB1NG UP TH3 D4MN L4DD3R 1S OUT OF TH3 QU3ST1ON?

CG: OKAY, I'LL BE UP IN LIKE FIVE SECONDS, JUST TO SMACK YOU SIDEWAYS FOR EVEN SUGGESTING THAT.

GC: CH4RM1NG 4S 4LW4YS!

 

You feel strangely at home with this.