-- gardenGnostic [GG] began pestering carcinoGeneticist [CG] --
GG: ok, you need to come out of your room
GG: you need to go outside
GG: you cant hide in that blanket nest forever!
CG: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
GG: ill give you the ducky inner tube if you come out?
CG: THAT PITIFUL YET DELIGHTFULLY SQUISHY QUACKBEAST IS NO MATCH FOR MY IRON WILL.
GG: just come out of your room karkat!!!
GG: pleeeeeeaaasseee??? :/
CG: THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO MAKE ME.
CG: I WILL LIVE ON THIS “EASY-MAC” BIRTHED IN THE RADIATION MACHINE FOR THE REST OF MY SWEEPS IF IT MEANS AVOIDING YOUR UNETHICAL LESSONS.
GG: KARKAT VANTAS
GG: I AM COMING UP THERE RIGHT NOW
GG: AND YOU ARE GOING TO LEARN HOW TO SWIM!!!!
-- gardenGnostic [GG] ceased pestering carcinoGeneticist [CG] --
Water wings, donned. Less lovable Squiddles inner-tube, equipped. Manual breathing apparatus complete with underwater oculars, fully fastened. You're missing the subaqua movement and breathing suit you requested, but she said you didn't need that.
“Karkat, you don’t need a diving suit for two feet of ocean.”
“I might get stuck in water quicksand.”
“That doesn't exist.”
“Fuck your knowledge.”
So maybe you're aware water quicksand isn't a thing. But who knows what's lurking in the murky depths of inevitable horrors. Jade taught you about many biological monstrosities as part of your human Earth-learning. Which primordial behemoths could be waiting in the ocean for your defenseless body? Electric eels? Stingrays? Thinkpan crushing sea turtles? Ingestible sea monkeys? The fucking Krakken?
Jade yanks you from your cushy indoor comforts and out to the beach. You're standing a safe lawn ring away from the thundering waves reaching for your ankles. You take a few deep breaths as you prepare to take a step forward. As you begin to shake from the inhospitable beach environment, Jade starts to loop her fingers around your wrist, one at a time. Dammit, you're trying to relax, what is she doing?
Her palm presses against your arm and you look at her. She smiles, and oh fuck, you can't help yourself. You start to smile too-
“Swim Karkat!” she yells, flinging you into the few inches of water that spell out your annihilation. “I believe!”
You're dead, you are dead. You scream in wanton despair as you hit your terrifying salty doom with great force. As you fight frantically for your life, the water seeps up your back and onto your cheeks.
“Karkat,” says Jade. “Stop spasming in the water. You look like a floppy pancake.”
It is too late for that. You lie back, let the waves swallow you, and accept your fate.
“Oh gods of this world,” you yell to the high heavens. “Spirit me away to your golden palaces! Away from this forsaken creature and her beach!”
She lies in the water next to you, getting the front of her aqua movement suit soaked. Propping her chin in her hand, she looks at you, letting her hair float in the ocean. It floats alongside your water wings. You think that makes it makes a great contrast, a perfect juxtaposition: This ugly, hideous ocean and her-
“You doggie paddled yesterday, remember? I was proud,” she sighs. “But then you chickened out when you brushed some seaweed!”
“I still maintain that was a sea monkey,” you say. You're not completely sure what a sea monkey is, but it sounds supremely unpleasant. She rolls onto her back. Her knuckles tap yours. On purpose? Probably not.
“It was seaweed.”
“Fine, fine, I apologize for my ineffable failings,” you roll your head towards Jade. “I will never succeed at learning your beloved sport.”
“Don't think like that,” she looks at you, her glasses covered in little droplets. “Then you'll never get it.”
“Why do you want me to learn the trade of aquatic movement?”
She pauses, opens her lips a little. You probably shouldn't look at them so intently. “Because, it's fun! I want you to have fun on my island too, you know?”
“This isn't my idea of fun.”
“Then what is?”
A deluge of scenarios pop into your mind. Making blanket nests with her, watching movies together, having intense pillow fights, admiring her stuffed animals, napping together-
You shrug. No small feat in the ocean, due to the intense water pressure on the shore.
Jade seems disappointed and your feelings of self-depreciation inflate ten-fold.
“Look,” she says, throwing her glasses onto the shore and gliding further into the sea. You try to grab her to stop her from drifting out so far, but she escapes your hand. “It's easy.”
You stand up and watch her swim to a moldy rock, gritting your teeth as you expect a tentacle to come up at any minute and latch onto her ankle. It’s leagues away and she’s blind! She is helpless against the creatures in the dark, and you stand there like a fucking idiot.
Sweeps pass before she returns to you, unharmed, and you have reduced to a blubbering mass in her absence. You are not fit to be the shit stain on her shoe.
“Karkat! Calm down! It only took me like, two strokes to get there.”
“No it didn't! You probably used your space powers to decrease the size of the ocean! Now the whales are going to get angry and rise up against you!”
“What? That doesn't even-” she slouches her shoulders and looks towards the sky. “Karkat, I just wanted to show you how easy it was.” She gets quieter. “I just want you to swim with me.”
You can think of about six-thousand safer and preferred activities. Playing Harvest Moon together, reading sexy werewolf novels together, watching-
Wait. You examine her suspiciously. What if Jade just wants to do things with you in the way you want to do things with her? What if this is her way of- No, of course not, she just wants to stick your miserable carcass in the depths of the water, resulting in a gargantuan self-esteem boost for Jade.
“Is there anything I can do get you going?” she asks. She notices that you no longer wear your patented grimace and taps her arm a few times, her smile growing bigger. “Hey, I know. I bet you... that you can't make it out to that rock.”
“I'm not even going to take that bet because-”
“You can't use your inner tube for this ultimate challenge,” she pokes you in the chest. “But water wings and snorkel are a-ok.”
“Why the hell would I accept that?”
“I'll give you something good.”
It's the way she says it that really gets to you. She sounds like she's completing a promise to a grubhood friend, after sweeps and sweeps of separation. You should really say no, she might trap you in this endless spiral of swimming lessons, with no chance of escape.
“Yeah, I'll do it.”
Oh God. Oh Fuck. Oh God. What are you doing? This is a devils threesome between you, Jade, and the ocean. Only one of you is going to be on the bottom of this dogpile, and it's probably going to be Karkat Vantas, gold medal aquatic sport-er in the Alternian Anti-Olympics.
Jade is just as surprised as you. She puts her hand to her ear in a pitiful mocking gesture. “What? What? Did I just hear the great Karkat agree to... submarine frolicking to that rock out there?”
“Jade, you are so bad at Alternian slang. What even is a submarine?”
“Well I don't know, it seemed kind of legi- Okay, no more tangents,” she jumps up and down, shaking the water from the tips of her hair. “You're going to swim, Karkat! You finally grew a backbone!”
You're actually probably going to die. You should just quit right now, just bury yourself in the sand like a pathetic dune grub. But, ugh, her eyes, her laughter, her joy, and her hair- the most beautiful fucking hair you have ever seen- are tempting you like some dark mistress towards that reward. Towards fucking going for it. Hopefully she won't see you shit your pants in the water.
“I've always had a segmented back pole, fucktard,” you bop her on the lobe stem with your inner-tube. She lets out a peep and takes it from you.
“Yeah, right,” she hits you on the arm. Oh shit, was that a kind gesture? “No more stalling!” she says. “Go for it, Karkat!” And suddenly, you are being propelled towards your untimely doom.
Fastening your manual breathing apparatus tightly, you fear for the worst. You shuffle into the deep, making sure stingrays aren't sleeping at your feet. You remind yourself that maybe Jade just wants to spend time with you, doing something she likes (even though she seems to have forgotten that the activity is inherently dangerous). Besides, you get something 'good' from this, although knowing Jade, this could be anything from ice cream to a jousting match in her grandfather's armor suits. You’re hoping for the ice cream.
The sea is level with your digestion sac now. This is the farthest you've been and you stop. The next step is to leap forward, and oh shit, what's lurking at the bottom? You can’t do this. Why is Jade forcing your poor Trollian body into this hostile environment? What if she just enjoys seeing you suffer? What if she doesn’t want to be with you?
“Remember, something good!” she yells to you. Her voice shakes on the 'good,' putting a pause before the word, tasting it before it leaves. It sticks in your auricular sponge clots. You continue on.
Now, the sea laps against your shoulders all the way up the back of your neck, oozing against the bottom of your chin. You don't remember being this low before, but you press forward. You paddle like the best barkbeast, keeping your breathing as constant as possible. If you were in a wiggler pool right now, you would be the champion of barkbeast paddlers.
Just when you’re thinking that maybe this isn’t so bad after all, you bump into the rock.
“You did it Karkat!” you can almost feel her pound her feet against the sand. “You almost won! Now come on back!”
You smile, and push off the rock. You're paddling back, but the water is oozing between your fangs and you stop and spurt it out. “What the fu-”
You choke on straight terror. Your dependable water wings have lost their air, you're sinking. The salt seeps into your sniffnodes and before your globulars sting with the darkness, you see Jade sprinting into the ocean.
You flail your arms, trying to get the last taste of precious oxygen from your fingertips. Well, you lost, you grubscum of the Earth, you. Jade's going to reach you before your breath gives out, but not before you see the infinite expanse of death surrounding your body. What a disappointment, you couldn't even win a simple bet. You threw the wrong cards, buddy. You accept sweet defeat.
ill give you
You think of your Witch of Space.
You bring your arms towards your chest, and fucking paddle your heart out. You hope to sweet Earth Jesus you picked the right direction. Your mouth opens and a few bubbles escape, and you can’t hold it any fucking longer.
She pulls you from the dark clutches of the ocean, grabbing your waist and almost hefting you over her shoulders before you beg her to let you walk back by yourself. She's a frenzy of activity, trying to apologize, help you, and accuse the cheap pool toy industry all at once. You squeeze her arm a bit, and she gets a little quieter. Collapsing into the soft sand with Jade at your side, you cough up salty brine, and pull off your useless water equipment.
Once your protein chute is cleared, you lie back, basking in the sweetest sunshine you have ever felt. Turning, and looking at her beside you on the ground, you're as nervous as a wriggler at its first culling reenactment performance.
“Did I win?” you say.
“Something good,” she says.
She leans over you, her hair brushing your shoulders. Her wrist shakes a little next to your upper arm, and maybe... maybe she's feeling the same as you too.
So you gamble.
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] began trolling gardenGnostic [GG] --
CG: HEY, YOU SHOULD COME BACK INSIDE.
CG: IT IS TOO DARK FOR YOUR WEAK GLOBULARS.
GG: you cant make me
CG: WE WILL VIEW YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE.
CG: THE AWFUL ONE WITH THE YOUNG HUMAN PLAYING A BALL TOUCHING GAME BUT WHO IS ACTUALLY A HAIRY ABOMINATION.
GG: that is completely different from what the title is
GG: also no way!!!!
CG: JADE YOU ARE A WEAKLING WHO CANNOT LIVE OUTSIDE HER NATURAL HABITAT AND ADAPT TO OTHER ENVIRONMENTS.
CG: YOU ARE THE LESS EVOLVED SPECIES.
GG: im still not coming inside!!!
CG: YOU ARE SO WEAK THAT YOU CANNOT EVEN SIT THROUGH A SINGLE ONE OF YOUR SHAMELESS HUMAN MOVIES.
GG: am not! i am so skilled at movie watching
CG: FINE YOU WANT TO PUT YOUR BOONDOLLARS WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS?
CG: THEN I BET YOU CAN'T SIT THROUGH THREE NICHOLAS SPARKS FILMS WITHOUT GAGGING AND JUMPING OUT THE WINDOW.
GG: ..... OH ITS ON NOW KARKAT
CG: SEE YOU INSIDE, WITCH OF WEAKNESS.
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] ceased trolling gardenGnostic [GG] --
GG: you pooper!!!!