-- carcinoGenticist [CG] began trolling gardenGnostic [GG] --
CG: HEY JADE I NEED TO TALK
GG: sure! but can we do the thing first?
CG: FUCK HARLEY, I JUST REALLY NEED TO FUCKING TALK RIGHT NOW, DO WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS?
GG: come on! just play along, you know i love doing it!
CG: FINE, BUT IMAGINE THE FUCKING MOST AGGRAVATED SIGH YOU’VE EVER HEARD, TOWERING FAR ABOVE YOU, THREATENING DESTRUCTION TO ALL THAT YOU HOLD DEAR.
CG: THAT IS THE SIGH I AM LETTING LOOSE RIGHT NOW.
CG: HEY JADE, HOW MUCH LONGER DO WE HAVE TO WAIT?
GG: at the time of the bark, we will have one year, two months, fourteen days, and six hours until we reach the scratched session...
CG: I SWEAR WE CAN’T GET THERE FAST ENOUGH. THESE ASSHOLES ARE GOING TO DRIVE ME TO INSANITY. DAVE WON’T STOP BEING FUCKING “IRONIC” AND CONFUSING ALL THE FUCKING TIME, TEREZI WON’T HANG OUT WITH ME ANYMORE, AND ROSE AND KANAYA HAVEN’T LEFT THEIR ROOM IN DAYS, IT’S FUCKING DISGUSTING.
GG: and and and??
CG: DO I HAVE TO FUCKING SAY IT?
GG: of course! remember what I said? honesty and sharing are important for friendships!
CG: FINE. IT’S PATHETIC, BUT I’M FUCKING LONELY. THIS LAB IS SO FUCKING EMPTY AND QUIET, AND NOBODY WANTS TO HANG OUT WITH ME ANYMORE.
Karkat could feel the tears streaming down his face, and though he hated to admit it, his occasional check-ins with Harley were one of the only things he had to look forward to anymore. Even the dream bubbles had all but fizzled up, and after two years of rewatching every movie he had access to, even that was getting tiresome. Ever so often he would boot up the Trollian memos, just to see if his past or future selves had anything to say, but they never did. Some days he would wake up from his pile in one of the emptier labs, crack open his laptop, and just stare at the screen, feeling unfulfilled and lost. Hours later, he would lie back down and go back to sleep, having exhausted himself so totally by the simple act of doing nothing.
He’s torn out of his somber trance by another Trollian alert.
GG: but karkat you have me to talk to!
Of course he did. Jade who would listen to him bitch and moan for hours and still stay positive. Jade, who would let him know immediately if he got out of control, but wouldn’t hold it against him. It was thinking about her that got him through the long lonely nights on the meteor, and he didn’t know what he would do without her.
CG: YEAH BUT YOU’RE NOT ALWAYS AROUND. SOMETIMES I GO SO LONG WITHOUT TALKING TO ANYONE, EVEN YOU JADE. IT FUCKING SUCKS.
Shit. He hadn’t meant to sound ungrateful, but he was frustrated and angry and lonely and it just came out. He tore his eyes away from his laptop. When he heard Trollian’s alert again, he was afraid of what he would find. Why couldn’t he have let it go, why couldn’t he have just remained satisfied with the way things were?
It felt like hours before he let himself check the computer screen.
GG: about that...i think i have a solution! its really complicated and i cant totally explain it right now, but dont worry, theres hope for you yet!
He couldn’t force himself to believe that it could be true or to believe that the remainder of this flight could be anything other than his own personal hell. But it couldn’t hurt to try, right? What was one more disappointment compared to all that he had already coped with, and all the lost he had felt?
CG: FINE, SO WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?
Jade responded immediately.
GG: not much at all! ive been sending rose and kanaya my plans for a few days now, kind of in the same way I plan to get over to where you are, and so far everything is right on schedule! i didnt want to get your hopes up, but i might as well tell you now...
GG: mr. vantas, you may have a visitor soon!
His heart leapt into his throat. Karkat knew he didn’t have any choice to but to believe her now; he would be far too devastated if she was wrong.
He spent the next few days nervously preparing, making sure his living space was clean and accommodating, that she had a place to rest and live comfortably, and that Rose and Kanaya were still diligently working on their part of the plan. He wasn’t in charge, he knew that much, but the very least he could do was double check that everything was going according to plan.
But something wasn’t entirely right, something always felt just a little bit off. Though Rose and Kanaya were willing to help Karkat out, it was obvious they resented him for some reason, and Dave only became more confrontational and coarse, refusing to even speak to Karkat.
On the day of the event, one year, two months, six days, two hours and forty-five minutes until the meteor lab and battleship arrived in the new session, all the inhabitants of the lab gathered in the central transportalizer hub, gazing expectantly at the central transportalizer, which had been substantially modified over the last few weeks.
And then, in an instant, she was simply there. There was no crash of thunder or flash of bright light, there wasn’t even a slight popping noise. Instead, out of seemingly nowhere, Jade had simply just started being.
And as soon as Karkat was done being stunned by her sudden reappearance, he was utterly stunned by her beauty. She was tall, even taller than Dave now, and she had let her silky dark hair grow along with her, such that it reached past her waist, and flowed behind her as she walked. She was wearing a green and black dress which seemed to flow and move on its own, occasionally twinkling, as if emulating the night sky. He found himself totally mesmerized.
As Karkat stood there, unable to do anything but stare, Dave moved to the transportalizer and gave Jade a subtle nod, which Jade responded to by throwing her arms around him in a massive bear hug. When Jade finally let go, Dave walked out of the room, without saying anything else. Rose came next, then Kanaya, and then finally Terezi, each wordless greeting Jade before exiting the room. She finally turned to Karkat and threw her arms open, and he found himself running into her arms, taking comfort in her soft, warm embrace. They stood there for a moment in silence, until Jade finally spoke up.
And it was that greeting that pushed Karkat over the edge. He began to weep uncontrollably, overwhelmed by how lonely he had been and how grateful he was that Jade had come to see him. Her hands made their way up his back to his neck, and she cradled his head in her arms, drawing him even closer to her. As he finally successfully stopped crying, Jade tousled his hair and massaged the scalp near his horns.
“you dont have to say anything if you dont want to, but i would love a tour of the place!”
Karkat brightened up and took her hand in his. As he moved from room to room, showing Jade all the areas the trolls and humans and converted to their own use, he became cheerier and more excited with each step. He showed her where she would be staying, next door to his own room, and the pile of plushes and squiddles he had alchemized especially for her, he showed her the shooting range and combat gym that he had built to keep everyone in shape, and he finally showed her his own room, which Karkat would be the first to embarrassingly admit was fairly spartan for having been a living space for almost two years.
When he had finished the grand tour, the two of them sat down on one of the couches that Rose and Kanaya had alchemized for the communal living areas throughout the ship. Jade immediately nestled herself in the corner on the left side, and Karkat found himself inching closer and putting his left arm around her, which was a comfortable arrangement for the two of them.
Karkat finally spoke up:
“I DON’T MEAN TO SOUND UNGRATEFUL...BUT HOW DID YOU GET HERE? I THOUGHT YOU WERE TOO FAR OFF TO SEND ANYTHING, AND THAT YOU NEEDED TO DRIVE THE SHIP ANYWAY? AND FOR THAT MATTER, WHY WOULD YOU COME FOR ME ANYWAY? WHAT AM I WORTH TO YOU?!”
Jade’s mood soured just a little, and she turned to look Karkat in the eyes.
“i will have you know that i did all this for you karkat, because i really care about you! because i felt close to you after all we talked about before the scratch, and because i knew you were having a really hard time and needed a friend!! and that is what friends do karkat, they help each other!”
Jade cooled down for a moment when she saw the flash of regret and guilt come over Karkat’s face.
“and as for how i got here, i wont bore you with the details! needless to say i am here now, and i would love to hang out with you!”
That was good enough for Karkat.
““SO HEY, DO YOU LIKE MOVIES?”
Four hours later, the two of them had sat through two of Karkat’s favorite Alternian romances, both of which Jade had declared “boring” and “sucky”.
“SHOWS WHAT YOU KNOW! THESE MOVIES WERE BOTH CONSIDERED CLASSICS ON ALTERNIA, FOR THEIR THRILLING PLOT AND DEVOTION TO AN INCREDIBLY COMPLEX ARRANGEMENT OF QUADRANTS!”
“karkat, i didnt have to know anything about quadrants or alien movie history or even movies in general to know that those were terrible!”
Jade allowed a mischievous smile to spread across her face.
“but that doesnt mean i didnt enjoy watching them...because i was with you!”
Karkat blushed for a minute before regaining his composure.
“WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?”
“it means i really like spending time with you, you nooksucking excuse for a fuckass!”
Karkat shifted uncomfortably in his seat, not sure what to do next. Absentmindedly, he began to play with the hair around Jade’s left ear, where his hand remained. Without thinking, he stroked her ear slightly, which immediately caused Jade to shudder. Karkat was about to apologize when Jade turned a little to place both her hands on his scalp, massaging his horns yet again. Though the horns themselves were hard and had no feeling to them, the skin below it was extremely sensitive, and Karkat found himself rubbing his head against Jade’s hands uncontrollably.
Jade was about to giggle again when she was forced to stifle a yawn.
“sorry! the trip really took a lot out of me, and im kinda tired! do you mind if i get to bed early tonight, so we can hang out tomorrow?”
Naturally, Karkat resented the idea of having to stop seeing Jade so soon, but he understood she needed rest. He walked her back to her living quarters, and after making sure everything was to her liking, he retired to the pile in his own room. That night, unlike most of the nights before, he went untormented by the nightmares of his people. Instead, he dreamt only of Jade, so perfect in her elegant dress, so kind, so soft.
Karkat awoke to Jade’s excited shouts that breakfast was almost ready, which took everyone on the meteor by surprise. Both the trolls and the humans had adjusted their sleep cycle a little to come to a comfortable middle ground, but the result was grouchy early mornings and a general lack of breakfast, since no one on the meteor was patient or skilled enough to make anything other than the occasional bowl of cereal. As Karkat sat down to eat, he couldn’t help but notice that even in the morning, wearing a simple t-shirt and a long skirt, Jade was still impossibly beautiful. She moved about the kitchen with a grace and purpose that completely entranced Karkat.
After everyone had eaten their fill of bacon, hash browns, toast, eggs, and everything else Jade could find or alchemize, spirits were higher than they had been in weeks. Even after the boost of morale, however, it seemed to Karkat that Dave, Kanaya, and Rose were all still avoiding him, as if there was something he had done that was terribly wrong.
The two spent the rest of Jade’s second day on the meteor walking and talking about anything that crossed their minds. As their feet dangled off the speeding meteor and they gazed forward to where the lab would be meeting the battleship, Karkat cleared his throat and spoke to Jade.
“SO WHAT’S NEXT ON THE AGENDA?”
Jade thought for a minute before taking Karkat by the hand and leading him back to her room, where she plopped down in a pile of plushes and motioned Karkat to do the same.
“well, you showed me some of your favorite movies, so maybe i could show you some of my favorite tv show!”
She grabbed an alchemized laptop and popped in a DVD she had been keeping in her Sylladex. As the title screen booted up, a host of smiling rainbow octopodes streamed across the laptop, shrilly extolling the benefits of friendship. Karkat winced. This was going to be a long two hours.
It took fifteen minutes for Karkat to fall in love with the Squiddles show, which he would later applaud for its well written plot, complex sixteen fold system of romance, and the constant attempts by the Squiddles to redeem Skipper Plumpthroat, despite his attempts to dispose of them.
He admitted this to Jade between the second and third episode they watched, to which Jade responded by curling up even closer to him on the pile and putting her arms around him. By the end of the fourth episode, just after the Squiddles successfully escaped the Murky Brineswallows with the treasure of friendship, Karkat had something other than the Squiddles’ success on his mind. He shifted himself and turned to Jade, who apparently had a similar idea. She looked into his eyes, and as seriously as she could muster, whispered to him one question.
“karkat vantas, will you be my tangle buddy?”
With that, Jade moved her right hand to cradle one of Karkat’s horns, and moved her left to rub his outer thigh. Immediately overcome by the passion of the moment, Karkat maneuvered himself onto Jade, and kissed her. With one hand he tenderly stroked her ear, and the other he ran along her side. After a few more passionate kisses, he moved his mouth to her neck, which he bit affectionately.
Jade immediately jerked back.
Karkat apologized profusely. How could he be so stupid? Troll teeth were so sharp, of course they would hurt human flesh! He felt his happiness recede again, only to be replaced by more guilt and shame. But when he looked to Jade, he found her shaking her head at him.
“dont worry! i just wasnt expecting that...you should know i certainly dont mind being a little rough...”
Next, Jade stripped off Karkat’s t-shirt, revealing an extremely well muscled chest, resulting in a pleasantly surprised Jade. She ran her hands up and down Karkat’s chest, enjoying as he squirmed with pleasure, before she began kissing his next, peppering her kisses with the occasional bite.
Three hours later, the two would emerge from the den created in Jade’s room in search of some lunch. After a meal of what Karkat promised as an Alternian delicacy but what Jade was pretty sure was just weirdly colored ham and cheese sandwiches, the two toured the meteor again, looking for hidden nooks and crannies to explore.
And so, the next few months were of a great delight to both Jade and Karkat, who spent their time exploring the meals, culture, and anatomy of the opposite species. And though those months were the happiest months of Karkat’s life, he could not quash the fear that something was wrong, that he had missed something terrible or forgotten something important.
So finally, after a particularly enjoyable “tangle session”, as the two were oft to call their adventures in inter-species sloppy makeouts, Karkat revealed his fears to Jade.
“JADE, I NEED TO KNOW IF ANYTHING IS WRONG, I NEED TO KNOW THE TRUTH.”
“WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR DOG EARS, AND YOUR SPRITE POWERS? HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO GET TO THE METEOR, ESPECIALLY SO LATE IN THE JOURNEY? IS THE BATTLESHIP STILL ON COURSE, AND IF SO, WHO IS STEERING IT?”
Jade’s mood continued to sour.
“karkat, im sorry, but i can’t tell you those things, for a number of reasons! i just need you to trust me that everything is going to be okay! im here for you karkat, because you needed me!”
Though Karkat hated the answer she gave, he respected Jade enough not to pester her anymore about it.
A month later, Karkat still couldn’t let his questions go. Something was gravely wrong here, and he cared about Jade too much to let it go on any longer. When she came to visit him that morning, he gestured for her to sit down.
“JADE, YOU’VE TOTALLY TURNED MY LIFE AROUND, AND FOR THAT I WILL ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL. BUT IF YOU’VE TAUGHT ME ANYTHING IT’S THAT SOMETIMES OTHER PEOPLE’S HAPPINESS MATTERS MORE THAN YOUR OWN.
He took a big gulp and swallowed his nervousness.
“SO I NEED TO KNOW IF YOU’RE IN DANGER. WHY DOES EVERYONE AVOID YOU? WHY IS EVERYONE MAD AT ME? DID YOU PUT YOURSELF IN DANGER COMING TO SEE ME? ARE YOU STILL IN DANGER?”
Jade gazed off into the distance.
“i cant tell you karkat! if you knew the truth, it would ruin everything, and as much as i hate myself for that...”
She couldn’t even finish her sentence, the tears that were now streaming down her face were too much. Karkat put an arm around her and just sat, letting her cry into his shoulder. When Jade finally stopped herself from crying, she locked eyes with Karkat and said what she had been waiting to say for months.
“i love you more! i love and pity and cherish and care for you so fucking much karkat that it makes me a fool, and damn the consequences!! these months have been the best months of my entire life! youve shown me so much and to be honest i would rather die than forget them!”
In an instant, Karkat was angry. He grabbed Jade by the shoulders and shook her slightly.
“WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN?”
Jade just started crying again and shook her head.
“FUCKING TELL ME WHAT THAT MEANS JADE! I NEED TO KNOW!”
Jade only shrugged off her hands and ran away, locking herself in her own room.
As the next few weeks flew by, Karkat returned to his old self, pre-Jade. He left his room only for the occasional meal, and found himself sleeping more often than ever, overwhelmed by his fears and doubts and regrets. Even when he left his room, he didn’t bump into Jade, which made him even more loney. What if Jade’s time here really was limited? How the hell could he justify making her feel this way, and wasting that time?
He finally worked up the courage to knock on her door after a full month of seeing none of her. When she finally answered, her face was wet and her eyes were red, and it tore up Karkat even more to see that she had been crying. He wrapped her up in his arms as tight as he could, as if promising that he would never let go. When he finally drew back from the embrace, he saw a smile on her face, and a part of him surged with confidence at the thought of finally having done something right.
But he couldn’t stop there.
He started kissing her everywhere he could, first on her hand, then working his way up her arm, to her neck, and then all across her face, stopping not even when she started to giggle. Between kisses, he whispered to her quietly.
“I AM SO SO SO SO SORRY, I AM SO FUCKING SORRY...”
When he had kissed every part of her face but her lips, he looked into her eyes for a moment and she whispered back.
“karkat you are the most miserable excuse for a wriggler i have ever met, but i still love you and pity you and want you so bad it hurts, and i forgive you...i totally and absolutely forgive you!”
Karkat was overjoyed, and without thinking, he leaped at her, knocking the two of them into a conveniently placed pile of plushes. The next few hours were a blur of giggles and moans of satisfaction, and when the two had finally snapped out of it, they both felt as if nothing had ever gone wrong at all. As Karkat was replacing his shirt, Jade rested a hand on his chest and whispered to him:
“not yet...can you stay with me a while longer?”
Of course he didn’t object, so he just lay there with her, feeling her soft warm skin against his, confident that with enough interspecies sloppy make-outs, no problem would go unsolved.
Their conflict forgiven, and perhaps forgotten, the two resumed their schedule of being absorbed in one another, becoming inseparable once again. As the days turned to week and the weeks turned to their final months on the meteor, their passion for one another only grew.
But all things must end.
One day before the arrival of the meteor lab and the battleship in the scratched session, after yet another “tangle session”, Jade and Karkat looked solemnly at one another, knowing that the time for truth had finally come.
“i am so sorry it has to be this way karkat...”
Karkat didn’t respond, his face betrayed every dark emotion that had begun to consume him.
“i did not transfer myself to this lab, at least not totally...the reason that i was able to continue flying the battleship while coming to see you is that i fragmented myself, which is why this form has no sprite powers or dog ears...”
Jade allowed herself a small laugh.
“to be honest i missed the dog ears a little, getting scratched on them felt amazing!
but not as amazing as youve made me feel...
anyway, the transfer was only possible because of my many selves that had been combined into one, and only because the yellow yard was a completely different reality from this one!
so when the battleship enters this reality and everyone is in the scratched session, the universe will have to deal with the fact that there are two jades...
which is a serious problem!”
Jade wanted to stop there, she wanted to forget all that she had said and just go back to the way things were, as if somehow forgetting that her time with Karkat would end would be enough to make it last forever. But of course it wouldn’t, so she pressed on.
“ even i dont know what will happen! the research i had done suggests ill merge into one person again, but i dont know how much ill remember of us, or how much of this form will stick around!”
Karkat remained completely silent. All of his fears were being validated, and he had no idea what he could do, or how he could help.
“but that doesnt matter to me karkat! and i dont think it should matter to you either! i came to you because you needed me, and i think this part of me needed you! the time we spent was absolutely perfect, and ive experienced so much that i never would have gotten to otherwise!
so what im trying to say is that i need you to be strong karkat! i need you to be able to remember for the both of us, just in case i cant! i what we did here to matter, because what we are together is far too powerful to let go!”
Karkat rolled over in the pile and hugged Jade as tightly as he could. He remained wordless, but his look to her told her more than words ever could.
They stayed like that, with only the occasional kiss and scratch between them, waiting out the rest of their time together. Together, they silently counted down the time they had remaining, until the hours dwindled to minutes and the minutes became just mere seconds.
And in the final ten seconds they had together, they pressed their lips together more passionately than they ever had before, their mouths moving in utter harmony, their souls consumed with perfect happiness.
When the kiss ended, Karkat saw Jade begin to fade out, first becoming partially transparent before she started to become incorporeal as well. Karkat couldn’t help himself from crying, his red tears streaking down his face, staining the plushies and floor beneath him, some of them dripping right through Jade’s quickly disappearing body.
When she was finally gone, Karkat stood up and walked out of the room, locking it behind him. When he looked up, he saw the other inhabitants of the meteor, looking at him. He was tired of their judgements and disapproving looks, so he panned across their faces and gathered his strength.
“WHAT SHE DID SHE DID FOR ME, KNOWING FULL WELL THE CONSEQUENCES INVOLVED. HER SACRIFICE WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN, AT LEAST NOT BY ME. WE BOTH KNEW DEEP DOWN THAT IT WOULD END, AND YOU KNOW WHAT? THAT’S O-FUCKING-KAY IN MY BOOK. SO GET YOUR NOSEY NOOK-SNIFFERS OUT OF MY BUSINESS, BECAUSE WHAT WE HAD WAS FOR US AND US ALONE TO JUDGE.”
Everyone remained silent, and together they walked out of the meteor’s lab and into the daylight of Earth’s sun, where the battleship was waiting. The two groups of kids and trolls stood in the field where the two vehicles had been parked, facing another. Jade and Karkat stepped foward and walked to the center of the field, where they embraced one another. Karkat’s hands quickly moved to Jade’s ears, which he scratched. Jade couldn’t help but release a small bark, which delighted Karkat to no end.
He whispered to her.
“JADE I KNOW YOU DON’T REMEMBER, BUT I WANTED TO THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING, YOU’VE DONE MORE THAN SAVE MY LIFE, AND I WILL ALWAYS BE IN DEBT TO YOU FOR THAT.”
Jade’s tail wagged slightly and moved her mouth down until it was almost touching his and finally spoke up.
“i remember everything!”
She immediately pressed her lips against his, and though they felt slightly different, Karkat could tell immediately that this was still Jade kissing him. He kissed back with the same passion and love that he had kissed her just moments before in their final moment on the meteor.