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What Even is Sleep

Chapter Text

She checked the calendar again. Four days, it had been. Four days since that asshole who was too proud for his own good had last came out of his respiteblock on the meteor. Now, she knew he liked his silence. He liked the quiet and the solitude that came from being a recluse. But she also knew he wouldn’t be able to take it for much longer, that someone who was born to scream at the world until it did what he told it to do wouldn’t stay hidden forever. He was a born leader.

So why was he hiding? Rolling back over on the floor where she was laying, head angled towards the ceiling, Terezi hummed to herself in the silence of what she thought was the night. Not that it really mattered. Her head rolled to one side, she had been trying to sleep for hours but never really got comfortable. 

Instead, she continued her thinking. She wasn’t one to care for people who treated her like Karkat did. There were times where he could be awful to her. Nobody really understood why she kept worrying about him, wondering where he was, if he had abandoned them. It was a long story for her, and one that was not understandable by most everyone else. 

In the game, she was flushed for him. She openly admitted that, and she wasn’t sure he ever reacted or even saw the message for him. It was a bit childish, honestly, she recalled with a slight grin. Then, killing Vriska for the sake of their own lives. Almost, she almost couldn’t do it. The pain of having to take one life for your own is unforgettable, and she continued to have nightmares of Vriska, making fun of her for her hesitation. Only because it still showed that Terezi cared. They worked alongside each other for a long time. It wasn’t easy for her, no.

Of course, Karkat did not know that. Once they began their endless three years journey, he took to the liberty of holing himself up in his respiteblock, coming out only when necessary. Terezi wasn’t even sure if anyone else considered him leader. She still did. No matter how conflicted she felt about him, he was a genuinely good leader to the group.

Once more attempting sleep, she shut her eyes tightly before visions of Jack stabbing her, and Karkat lying on the ground next to her made her open them once more. Sure, they passed through dreambubbles every so often, but the nightmares occurred more often than that.

Terezi grabbed her husktop from where it was lying a few feet away. Opening it, it made a quiet noise as Trollian started up. Not so surprisingly, he was online. She snorted. Surprisingly easy access to one who didn’t want to be bothered.


-- gallowsCalibrator [GC] began trolling carcinoGeneticist[CG] --
GC: OH M4J3ST1C L34D3R, M4Y 1 4PPRO4CH YOU HUMBLY 1N HOP3S TH4T YOU M4Y SP34K TO M3?
CG: DON’T BE SO FUCKING KIND. YOU KNOW I AM NOT THE LEADER ANYMORE.

So he didn’t consider himself Mr. High and Mighty anymore.

GC: WHO C4R3S? 4R3 YOU GO1NG TO T4LK OR 4R3 YOU GO1NG TO JUST CLOS3 OUT OF TH1S CH4T W1NDOW B3C4US3 YOU H4V3 B3TT3R TH1NGS TO DO?
CG: I HAVE PERFECTLY IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. LIKE SLEEPING. WHY DON’T YOU RUN ON YOUR WAY AND FUCK OFF SO I CAN GET SOME PEACE?
GC: OH, L1K3 YOU R34LLY TH1NK TH4T’S GO1NG TO H4PP3N. >:/
GC: YOU’R3 TH3 WORST SL33P3R OUT OF 4LL OF US.

CG: GOOD TO KNOW YOU MONITOR MY SLEEPING HABITS. NOW CAN YOU LEAVE ME ALONE?
CG: SERIOUSLY. ALL I ASK FOR IS SOME SILENCE, FOR ONCE CAN I JUST GET WHAT I DAMN WANT?

GC: YOU SOUND L1K3 4 WR1GGL3R.
GC: 4ND YOU’R3 NOT GO1NG TO G3T 4NY S1L3NC3.
GC: OR 4NY P34C3 4ND QU13T.
GC: NON3 OF TH4T NONS3NS3 >:P
GC: OHHH NO, YOU’R3 GO1NG TO G3T TH3 T3RR1FY1NG N1GHTM4R3S TH4T H4V3 YOU B3GG1NG TO ST4Y 4W4K3 FOR D4YS UPON 3ND.
GC: YOU KNOW TH3 ON3S.
GC: W1TH YOUR WORST DOUBTS 4ND F34RS 4ND N1GHTM4R3S 4LL JUMBL3D 1NTO ON3?
GC: 4BSOLUT3LY R3FR3SH1NG SL33P YOU’R3 GONN4 G3T, K4RKL3S!

CG: HOLY SHIT JUST SHUT UP.
CG: SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.
CG: I DON’T NEED YOU TELLING ME HOW TO SLEEP.
CG: I NEED YOU TO GO OFF AND DRAW ON SOME MORE CANS AND DICK AROUND IN THE MEADOW OF HAPPINESS AND FRALALA.

GC: >:?
GC: SO YOU H4V3 B33N H4V1NG DR34MS L1K3 TH4T?

CG: IT’S NOT LIKE IT IS A FUCKING FEDERAL ISSUE OR ANYTHING.
CG: ALL OF US CAN’T SLEEP. WHATEVER. BIG WHOOP.

GC: BUT YOU’R3 TH3 L34D3R. YOU SHOULD B3 SL33P1NG.
CG: I TOLD YOU I’M NOT THE LEADER ANYMORE!
GC: OH MY GOD K4RK4T STOP T4LK1NG.
GC: YOU 4R3 TH3 L34D3R, YOU’V3 B33N TH3 L34D3R 3V3R S1NC3 YOU TOOK MY PL4C3 4S TH3 STUP1D R3D T34M L34D3R.
GC: 1T 1S 4 B1G 1SSU3 1F YOU 4R3N’T SL33P1NG.
GC: NON3 OF US 4R3.
GC: SO SHUT TH3 H3LL UP 4ND UNLOCK YOUR DOOR, 1’M COM1NG UPST41RS.

CG: WHAT THE HELL?
CG: NO, TEREZI THIS WAS NOT A FUCKING SLEEPOVER INVITE.
CG: NO LAME MOVIES OR BRAIDING HAIR TEREZI I SWEAR TO GOD.
CG: DON’T YOU DARE COME UP HERE. I DON’T WANT YOU HERE.
CG: I’M NOT GOING TO SLEEP ANYWAYS, JUST GIVE UP.
CG: THIS IS ALL SO STUPID, WHY DON’T YOU EVER LISTEN?
CG: ...TEREZI?
CG: ADJSFKLAJDFKASDFADF

-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] ceased trolling gallowsCalibrator[CG] --

Chapter Text

“But then if I go up there I know he’s just going to yell at me and I don’t want to deal with his pissy self.” She blurted out in front of Rose as Terezi blocked her way to discuss her issues.

 

“Erm. Okay. It seems you have a problem here, Terezi. Exactly why are you asking me for advice?” Rose questioned, yawning and looking impatiently at how she was obnoxiously blocking the hallway, stretching out her legs and waving her arms above her head. “Because Dave would just be an ass about it, and you are the therapist.” She pointed out, giving an annoyed shake of her head. “And everyone thinks I am flushed for Dave. Which I’m not. Or atleast I’M not.” She groaned, and Rose’s face froze up. 

 

“What?” She questioned, raising an eyebrow and Rose shook her head, suddenly flustered. “I um, don’t think Dave’s quadrants are any of your worries, Terezi.” Rose said, suddenly interested in her shoelaces. “And that means...” She questioned, prodding her shoulder and Rose rolled her eyes, waving her off and pushing through Terezi blocking the hallway.

 

“I do not have time for this, I really am sorry Terezi. Maybe because you’re putting so much energy into worrying about this, you may as well go up and bother him about your frustrations.” She said, walking off the other direction with a slight wave. 

 

Terezi turned around, crossing her arms and huffing a bit. After she had closed her husktop, she sat down for a few moments contemplating pros and cons of this entire situation. She really wanted to go up, honestly, because she was really worried about him. He didn’t act like his old self, and she really missed him. But she also didn’t want to go up there with her hopes high, only for him to yell at her and turn her away.

 

Stomping the ground, she groaned in frustration, inwardly telling herself to suck it up. If he was going to be a dick and turn her away, his loss. She was only trying to help, and for that, she decided to make her way up the stairwell to where his room was.

 

***

 

She wasn’t really going to come up, was she?

 

She wasn’t that stupid.

 

Was she?

 

Karkat groaned and reread the chatlog, eyes skimming over the teal and grey text. He couldn’t decipher what she meant. Because that’s all Terezi was. That 1000 piece puzzle that you buy and you get all excited over and then you give up because it’s too hard? Yeah. Terezi.

 

He wasn’t really sure if he wanted to give up on her though. That was stupid, of course he did not. But why should he even bother? According to most everyone, she had something going on with Strider. He tried not to interfere, of course he wanted her to be happy. But then, sometimes just randomly, she would message him, asking him where he had been, trying to strike up conversation. And every time, Karkat would strike her down, ignoring her messages or saying he was busy and logging off. And every time, he would feel worse than before.

 

But he wanted her to be happy. She didn’t deserve someone who couldn’t even decide what quadrant he was waxing for her in. Black, red, sometimes they all just mesh together. After watching the clock for close to ten minutes, he shrugged and assumed she lied about coming up.

 

***

“Karkaaaaaaat.” She knocked her cane against the door a few times. No response. “KARRRKAAAAT.” She shouted, rapping her cane a few more times. She heard a grumble from inside, and she smiled, satisfied. “KARKLEEEES.” She said, just to fuck with him, when the door opened to a very disheveled Karkat.

 

“How many times do I have to tell you not to tell me that?” He muttered, and she realized with a quick intake of breath that his irises were beginning to change, just barely. Taking a step closer, she ignored his confused (and slightly frightened) expression, concentrating, and yes that was candy red. Score. She knew it.

 

Stepping away and ignoring the annoyed look on his face, she threw her arms up. “Well are you going to be a gentleman and invite me in?” He rolled his eyes dramatically, moving aside and letting her walk in. 

 

“Not to be rude-” He began but she laughed. “When have you ever started a sentence with THAT?” She laughed and he chewed his lip in frustration. “Holy shit, fine. Now I mean to be rude. What the fuck are you doing here?” He shoved his hands in his pockets and Terezi raised one eyebrow.

 

“Whatcha mean? You’re the one who said you couldn’t sleep. I’m here to make sure you do that, because it’s really bad if you don’t.” She pointed out, uncaptchaloging some pillows and blankets that she had grabbed from the lab earlier. “Look. I brought supplies.” She smiled slightly and he stared at the mess of colourful pillows and fluffy comforters. 

 

“Terezi listen this is pretty...useless.” Her smile faultered. “I’m not going to sleep. Give it up, feel free to leave.”

 

“No! Listen, I’m just trying to help.” She insisted, slightly annoyed, and she threw the pillows on the floor and organized them, presenting proudly her makeshift sleeping area. “There. Now sleep.” She said.

 

Karkat was beyond annoyed at this point. Who did she think she was, walking in here like she owned the place and trying to make him sleep? “Besides, aren’t you supposed to go to sleep? I’m not letting you fucking get out of this whole thing. You need to sleep too.”

 

She shrugged. “Fine. I’ll go back to my block whenever I’m positive you’re asleep. But you’re not going to be any help laying around exhausted.” 

 

His eye twitched and he kicked one of the pillows, grabbing her by the shoulders. “Listen to me and listen to me closely. I do not want, nor do I need your help. I can sleep perfectly well on my own terms, I do not need you meddling and sticking your fucking magnificent nose in places where it should not be. Deal with your own shit, I can deal with mine.” He stormed, opening the door and waving his arm obnoxiously to usher her out, but she didn’t move.

 

A few seconds passed by, and Karkat looked exasperated, as well as embarrassed. She walked outside the doorway, face flushed. “Geez, I was trying to help you. It’s not my fault you can’t sleep. I didn’t have to come up here!” Annoyed, she tapped her foot.

 

“Exactly! You didn’t have to! So why the hell are you here?” He yelled, throwing his arms up in surrender. She stared at the ground for a few minutes, not responding, biting on her cheek to prevent her from saying anything. After a bit, she shook her head and made an exasperated sound.

 

“Fine. You don’t have to sleep. I brought all these pillows up here, I’m happy to sleep up here.” She said, ignoring his open mouth. “Why the hell would you do that? I don’t WANT you here, Terezi.” He shouted, outraged. His face was flushed and he had a glare directed right at her.

 

She had it. “Fine! Fine, have it your way! But you know what, I can’t sleep without someone! So hell if you like it or not, I’m staying up here because I’m damn terrified of sleeping by myself in a room all by myself, you can either suck it up and let me lay on your floor or we can strife and you can kick me out. Because no way am I sitting down in my block another night waking up every hour because all my nightmares are trying to kill me!” She shouted, walking back inside the room to cross her arms and glare at him.

 

He didn’t say anything, just reached down and tossed her one of the multicoloured pillows that was near his feet, and shut the door.

Chapter Text

After fumbling around to catch the pillow that he tossed her, she took off her boots and sat on the ground, leaning against the couch. Gently, she slid her red glasses off and folded them, placing them neatly next to her boots. After giving a small shiver because of the fact that it was freezing in here, she laid on top of one blanket with another one pulled up to her chin on the floor. Karkat didn't say anything; she heard him shuffling awkwardly around her. Once he asked her if she cared if the light was on, and she sat up and gave him a look that clearly said: You cannot be that much of an idiot come on. Embarrassed, he flipped it off anyways and sat at his computer desk. 

***

He watched her curled up the blankets for a good amount of time. She sometimes would make a small noise, sighing, or just something to break the barrier of silence in the room. They both knew she wasn't asleep. Karkat waited a record breaking amount of three minutes before interrupting the terrible silence again.

 

" Rezi?' He mumbled, eyes not moving from his computer screen.

"Mmhmm?"

"You're not even asleep, you idiot."

She sat up, shaking the hair out of her eyes. "Thank you for stating the obvious." She muttered, opening her eyes. Not that it mattered, of course. 

"Then why are you here?" He asked.

"Karkat, maybe I'll be able to sleep if you stop talking. Besides, aren't you going to try to sleep?" She said sarcastically, and he realized she was still pretty upset. He shut up again after that.

 

***

About an hour passed, and no progress was made either in Karkat's coding or Terezi's attempt to doze off. He assumed she was asleep; he had never heard her this quiet ever before. Maybe she was right. Maybe getting a bit of sleep was not that bad of an idea. Reluctantly, he stood up and stretched his legs, before slipping off his sneakers and sitting beside the pile of blankets and pillows littering his floor. Without reconsidering it, he slipped in under one of the blankets, pulling his knees to his chest and having his back to Terezi. 


She moved a bit closer to him, she claims just because he was warm. He sighed, annoyed. 

 

"Can you just fucking move over? It's the least you could do here." He grumbled and she giggled halfheartedly.

"I knew you would find something to complain about! Heh, I was counting how long it took you." She joked, moving away from him, her back now cold.

 

He wouldn't admit it, but he himself shivered from the cool air. 

 

Shutting his eyes, it was only moments before sleep came to him. The darkness engulfed him, and he was lost in a sea of nightmares for about a grand total of five minutes before jerking awake in fear, only to have Terezi staring at him.

 

"Told you!" She sang, turning to face him. 

"Told me what." He grumbled, still a little shaken from actually falling asleep. It was so relieving and his body craved more. But he couldn't sleep. It was too terrifying.

 

"Told you that you would get nightmares, Karkles. And guess what? They stick with you. The worst ones; you'll even have flashbacks of them while you're awake." She said bitterly, chewing on her bottom lip. 

 

"Oh? And what are your nightmares about? Hanging another stupid scalemate from a tree, and the rope snaps? What a tragedy!" He growled, turning away from her again. 

 

"Or, maybe, that one scene where I killed Vriska over and over again. And then that Jack could have killed both of us if I didn't do it. Or that I knew my lusus for not even a day. What about that most of our friends are dead, huh Karkat? That's a little more serious than a scalemate, don't be ridiculous."

 

"..."

***

"So what even is a homosexual?"

 

Shut up.

 

"Why did you even try to touch Dave's cape that was stupid."

 

Seriously shut up.

 

"Now I understand why you wear all those stupid turtlenecks. It's too cold in here!"

 

Karkat's temper wasn't going to last much longer. All he wanted was for her to stop talking, as he had voiced many times. It was ignored and then random thoughts running through her head would pop out of her mouth like some lottery game. Except he wasn't winning. Karkat was drowning in frustration.

 

"Terezi, can I ask you in the nicest way possible for you to just shut the hell up?"

 

"Sure."

 

"Are you going to?"

 

"It depends. Would you rather sleep and deal with the nightmares, or just have me talk your ear off until you pass out? Because, frankly, I would prefer drowning in my sleep to be a lot less pleasant than the latter, wouldn't you Karkat?"

 

"..."

 

"...What about Lalonde do you think she's one of those human lesbians?"

 

"Oh my god."

 

***

 

Terezi eventually stopped talking, her face smushed into one of the pillows on the ground while Karkat stared up at the bolts on the ceiling. He wasn't really infuriated anymore.

 

"Ter."

 

"Hmm?"

 

"I'm sorry for being an asswipe."

 

"Mmmhmm."

 

That seemed to be good enough for him. The guilt wasn't racking his chest anymore. 

 

"Remember that time you sent me the heart thing in the game? The little fucking less than sign, and then the number three?" 

 

Whoa. Where did that come from? 

 

Terezi didn't respond for a minute, and Karkat was still processing what just came out of his mouth. "Yeah." She eventually replied, her voice muffled from the pillow her face was smushed in. "What was it for?" He asked, trying to be as nonchalant as he could be on the outside, while he was dying internally. Oops goodbye Karkat Vantas' pride. Nice knowing you.

 

Propping herself up on an elbow, she turned her head towards him. "What, you thought that was a joke?" She said, a hint of bitterness in her tone. Karkat was silent for a few minutes, thinking out his next move so he didn't find himself kicked outside on his ass. "No. I just didn't think you took it...as seriously as I did I suppose." He sighed in defeat.

 

She chuckled.

She actually chuckled, in probably the worst conversation they could be having right now, and it was all his fault. 

 

"Karkat you are, in the least colourful words possible, an idiot."

 

"Wow thanks, and you're the sane one here."

 

Terezi sighed and sat up, crossing her legs in her lap. "You're actually going to make me say it. Fine. Bluh. I still have feelings for you, if that's what you're asking by bringing...that...up altogether. I care about you, and dammit I missed you. So I'm sorry if this is weird, or just awkward or whatever. But it's better than you sulking around, prying for information from Dave and avoiding me like I'm some sort of disease. I'm not that scary, you know." She said, crossing her arms.

 

It took him a few minutes to process that information. It didn't register at first, her cryptic puzzle standing in the way of what was the truth and what was just fucking with his head. Quietly, he reached for her hand. He didn't say anything, just took her hand and ran his fingers over her palm while she sat there in silence. Laying back down, she looked at him curiously.

 

"What quadrant?"

"What?"

"I said what quadrant?" Terezi clarified, remembering the ordeal that Dave had told her about a few weeks earlier. Karkat sighed, pulling his hand away.

 

"I don't know." He mumbled into his pillow.

 

She sat there for a minute, when a smile graced her lips just for a moment. She reached up to grab his hand that he pulled away, lacing their fingers together.

 

Besides. The hemospectrum did not even matter anymore. Does that mean that quadrants don't either?

Chapter Text

They stayed there for a long time. Karkat eventually shut his eyes, and Terezi could hear his breathing getting deeper as he drifted off to sleep. Their fingers were still laced together, and it felt strange to be lying next to someone. She could smell the slight blush on his face, and she buried her face deeper in her pillow when she realized he was completely asleep. It calmed her down, a lot. He just seemed peaceful, like he didn't have any worries. Karkat's eyebrows weren't creased in frustration, his hands balled up in rage, and his expression was just that. Peaceful.

She could hear voices faintly outside in the hallway, and also the coffee maker from the lab going off. It was almost frustrating, when all she wanted was dead silence. That would never happen, however. Right now, Terezi was happy exactly where she was. Unlacing her fingers from Karkat's, she turned over on her side as slow as possible, uncomfortable from laying on the floor. Despite all the pillows, blanket, and other troll surrounding her, it was still cold. Stupid Karkat and his temperature demands.

Turning over, Terezi heard a muffled groan from the other troll, and sighed as he blinked his eyes open slowly. "Bluh...where are you going?" Karkat mumbled while turning towards her slightly. Smiling, Terezi shook her head and turned to shift on her back. "Jeesh, Karkat I was just turning over. The floor isn't that comfortable!" She insisted, propping her head up with her elbow. "Just go back to sleep. I told you that you could fall asleep, silly!" Terezi smirked.

"Mmphhf, I can't." He mumbled, his own voice muffled by his pillow. Terezi raised an eyebrow in question and he rolled his eyes. "Seriously, I don't want to." He said, hesitantly reaching for her hand again, much to her surprise. They sat there again with their fingers intertwined, Karkat watching her carefully. "You haven't slept either. Don't think I didn't notice." He accused, and she snorted. Really?

"Well, I did for a few minutes. But then you had to drag your butt over here, and you woke me up!" She teased gently and Karkat rolled his eyes, annoyed. "Oh come on." 

"What?"

"You did not wake up because of me, might I add, quietly, coming over here. Quietly." Karkat dragged out the syllables, and she giggled.

"Karkat since when have you ever done anything quietly?" She asked. He huffed, running his fingers over the palm of her hand. She stiffened and turned her head towards his, confused, when he just shrugged.

"Well, that's true..." The ends of his lips twitching up in a small smile, and she couldn't help but grin as he sat up, until he frowned and his face suddenly turned serious. Shit.

"Fuck, what now?" She asked, pulling herself to sit up too. Karkat opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again. Lost for words. He looked like a gaping fish, and she giggled. 

"You look like a fi-"

"I didn't say I'm sorr-"

They both started at the same time, blushing and abruptly ending their sentences, but not before Terezi raised her eyebrows. "You didn't say what?" She prodded him, and he glared at her.

"I just didn't say I was sorry. Okay? I just wanted to, uh, formerly apologize I guess. It was stupid. I was stupid. I guess you were kind of stupid too, but I don't want you to hit me, so I was stupid. Are you happy? Can I stop feeling guilty now?" He sputtered out, his hands flying along with his words as he spoke. She listened with open ears, with a blank expression on her face until he finally finished and she nodded. 

Moving closer to him, she wrapped him in a hug, ignoring the fact he immediately stiffened at the contact, and laughed under her breath. "Bluuuh. Karkat hush! I'm not mad anymore, I promise." Terezi exclaimed, shaking her head. After what seemed like forever, his arms went around her too, and she laughed. "Seriously. Everything's fine now." She said, reassuring the both of them before pulling back and turning her head towards his. 

His face was burning red and she turned her head questioningly before he stared at the ground, suddenly interested with his shoelaces. "What?" Terezi asked, agitated before Karkat met her gaze and pressed his lips against hers quickly, pulling back shy. Terezi's own face burned, and she grinned, crossing her arms over her chest. "Took you long enough." She smirked, and he stared out her in outrage.

"What? Are you fucking kidding, do you know how long it took me to d-"

Karkat was cut off by Terezi flying into his arms and crashing her lips against his again. He sputtered, until her hands went around his neck. Suddenly, he wasn't so tense. Sliding his arms back around her, he almost laughed as their lips came together again and again, before she pulled back and pressed her forehead to his.

"Hm...okay. Okay I can go to sleep now." She said, a grin spreading on her face and Karkat took a few seconds to process what just happened, and what she just said. Terezi fell down and snuggled against the blankets, cackling as Karkat grumbled.

"You've got to be kidding me. You have seriously. Got. To be kidding me. " He mumbled, his cheeks still red as he watched her pull the blankets up to her chin. Sighing, he fell back against the makeshift bed beside her, this time pressing close to her and wrapping an arm around her side, pulling her to him.

She just laughed, eyes drooping and her breathing becoming deep as the both of them fell asleep, quickly.