When John first moved in with Vriska, Karkat had been bitterly sure they were a “thing”. John had the same opinion of Kanaya and Karkat, although Karkat would have been viscerally offended at the idea. Karkat didn’t date classy Asian lesbians.
Or any lesbians.
John knew Karkat’s name only because Vriska used to date Kanaya and Kanaya and Karkat had some sort of “special relationship” that involved a lot of tea and blankets, according to Vriska. John was pretty sure that was one of Vriska’s weird metaphors, but as he’d find out months later this wasn’t the case. Karkat Vantas could only be calmed from his frequent man-child meltdowns by Vietnamese tea therapy. John is still sure this isn’t an actual therapeutic method.
It works, though.
Karkat never used to use the elevator, being mildly claustrophobic and also due to the huge events that always seemed to take place there. However, once John moved in, Karkat was made aware of the amazing convenience of the elevator. There was no way he still refers to it as a death shaft to this day. Nope.
Apparently they’d moved in overnight, because Sunday the apartment next door was unoccupied and Monday there was a stack of shredded cardboard in the hallway, two idiots knocking on the door with a casserole, and muddy footprints on the living room carpet.
By Tuesday the fridge was stripped down to a Tupperware of canh and six bottles of Arnold Palmer, which neither of the new neighbors liked, as evidenced by the fact that in the twelve times Vriska had let herself in for food she left the drinks and soup there. Karkat supposed he should be thankful for this courtesy. Tuesday night there was a sticky note on the door-
Karkat wasn't entirely sure he would have counted their encounter at 7:23am in the elevator as an actual meeting but if John said it was, then well, who was he to argue? They had exchanged exactly fifteen words, most of them John, because Karkat was still offended that Vriska had stolen all his fucking food and also John was roughly nine hundred percent friendlier.
One suspicious look, no words, check.
"I'm John, from 6b. You're Karkat, right?"
"Oh, well, sorry about that, then."
One wretchedly beautiful neighbor looking vaguely disappointed, check.
John found himself pleasantly surprised to find himself waiting for the elevator at the same time as Karkat the next morning. He had figured out he had been lying because he asked the old lady in 6d if that was Karkat. And it was! John was ecstatic to meet another trickster and couldn't wait to discuss pranking techniques and advice!
Apparently Karkat wasn't a morning person because when John greeted the scarf-swathed man, he just received another angry once over. John didn't get the hint however because he tried to continue the conversation the entire ride down to the lobby with no luck. For the entire day John was afraid Karkat may be a mute and he was just horribly offending him!
"Oh my gosh!" Karkat couldn't tell if it was cute or just plain dumb that a grown ass man was still using the phrase gosh and he couldn't help but lean toward the cute end of the spectrum. "You're not mute are you? Vriska didn't say you were but she has a tendency to sometimes forget things like that..."
Karkat almost spit his tea out. "What the fuck? No! I can talk just fine, dick." His glare was so fierce John couldn't bring himself to apologize, he was so scared. And John didn't often fear people more than a foot shorter than him. Except Vriska because she's bat shit insane. Vriska was so pretty. Pretty fucking scary.
Karkat moved his tea thermos up under his chin like it was a fucking battle axe or something, hoping the smell of Kanaya's perfume and black tea would calm him. The smell did nothing for his mingled rage and jumpy nerves.
"What's in your cup?" John asked after a few seconds of flat silence and a rustling noise, wondering if that sound was static or Karkat's cup. Neither of them turned to face the other. The doors pinged and opened; as Karkat stepped out, he said only "Piss."
John snorted the rest of the way down.