The new world is beautiful. Beautiful and strange.
It feels like a warm seat by the fire after living a lifetime in a frozen wasteland, perfect and bizarre and amazingly surreal. The beach he's stumbled upon is particularly stunning. Even though Karkat's never been to a beach, he's seen them in the movies and knows they aren't like this, with soft sand that looks red under the light of the opalescent moon and a deep green sea that laps as his feet. The air is heavy enough with heat that he almost wants to dive in even though he's never swam a day in his life. That's a highblood thing, but in this world blood is nothing.
Fireflies skim the surface of the water as if they somehow belonged there, and there's a symphony of soft sounds in the forest behind him that feels harmonious.
Karkat can't help but think that he's never been more relaxed in his whole life as when he bends down to feel the cool green sea against his fingertips. Maybe they really have succeeded in making a paradise.
A strong wind blows against him, refreshing and warm and bringing with it the smell of salt and lavender. He can't believe their oceans smell like lavender. He isn't sure if Lalonde or Terezi is to blame for that one. The wind scatters the fireflies, but they settle back down soon enough.
"Karkat!" He gets up and turns around at the shout to see John standing at the edge of the woods, just before where the sand starts. He is in his silly look-at-me-I'm-a-fucking-god pajamas, less obnoxiously blue with only the moon and the rainbow array of stars for lighting. The wind has concentrated on him, putting him in breathtaking disarray.
Karkat doesn't have the energy to be angry tonight, on the first night of this calm new planet where sleep comes so easy and no one wants him dead, so he is silent as John charges down to meet him, sand scattering behind him and feet never touching the ground. He stops almost right in front of Karkat, his smile lopsided and casual.
"Everyone was worried when you disappeared!" Karkat has found that in real life John is both more and less obnoxious than he is behind a screen. He isn't as overtly rude, but he teases more. Still, he's as nice as anyone Karkat's ever known. He's grown handsome as well, in a non-spectacular way. "Okay, not really. I mean Terezi was like 'bluh don't worry he'll be back' but you know I think there's predators out here so I decided to look for you."
"I can deal with them." Karkat looks back out at the sea, at this perfect place they really managed to create. He really wants this to be the one thing in his life that he hadn't fucked up. It's not a hope he often allows himself, but this time he wants to. "My fighting skills didn't just vanish in a puff of idiocy and incompetence because we've won, nookcrust." He doesn't bother putting any real venom behind his words, more fascinated by the way the refection of the sky ripples in the waves than in having any real argument.
"Ha!" John's gaze follows his out to the where the emerald waves are cresting and falling. "I never pegged you for a nature guy."
"Well I pegged you for the perpetual vomit stain on my carpet, so I guess I win the game again." He can sense it when John stands even closer to him by the way the wind swirls tighter around them, still soft enough that it does little more than cool the air and muss their hair. "What do I get this time, an eternity of self loathing?"
John's laugh is surprisingly deep and hearty for someone so scrawny. "That's a shitty prize. You should probably go for what's behind the mystery door instead."
Karkat turns to look at him, sees the way his eyes crinkle at the corners as he grins. It's a smile with too much gums and too much teeth, but Karkat can still appreciate it's dubious charms. "What's behind that door?" He asks before he can stop himself.
John leans in towards him and waggles his fingers stupidly, his voice wavering on purpose. "It's a mystery! Ooooooh!"
"I think I'll stick with the self loathing."
"That's boring." John rolls his eyes and huffs without any real annoyance. But the strangest thing is that for once Karkat is inclined to agree with him. He isn't sure if it's just the novelty of the new world, if he'll feel the same way tomorrow, or the day after that, but at the moment he is, in fact, tired of hating himself. Of hating in general. It does feel boring, tiring. As though all of a sudden someone flipped a switch and now it's just too much effort for too little return. "Come on," John bounces back on air, filled with energy as always. It's not as tiresome as when Karkat first met him. "If you're that big on nature I'll show you the grotto Jade found, I think she was planning on showing you anyways."
John grabs his hand, human skin was colder than his own, tugging him towards the forest. His cool skin is was refreshing in the heat, and the softness is always surprising. Even the finest troll clothes aren't that soft, made to withstand claws and years of abuse.
It feels nice.
It makes him think that maybe he wants to try out what's behind the mystery door.