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Blood and Rose Petals

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Karkat woke up in the hospital again. In all the years that the trolls had been trying to assimilate into human society this still wasn't a new occurrence. His wrists were bandaged again. Someone probably found him in the tub. Fuck. Dave was sat in the hospital waiting room, it was 4am and there was no way he was sleeping. His arms were covered in red flowers, seeping from his veins and muscles. Damn he hated it here, he hated always ending up here. Fuck. A nurse notices Karkat has regained consciousness. After checking he was okay she went out and informed Dave.

"The patient you admitted has regained consciousness. Would you like to see him?"


"If you would follow me, please." The nurse waits for Dave to get up before leading him outside the hospital room door. Dave stands outside the door, even though he's been here so many times before it never dawns on him that it's happened until he's about to see Karkat. They were really doing this again, he takes a breathe to compose himself and then follows the nurse into the room. The nurse's beeper goes off just as she leads him into the room and she excuses herself quickly having been called to another urgent matter. Karkat can't stop looking at Dave's arms; sprouting flowers in the exact track of the razor and it's clear he doesn't know what to say.

"Hey" Dave manages to choke out, the silence between them quickly returning, the whir of the fan the only noise in the room. Dave feels at a loss looking at Karkat, how could he possibly say all he needs and wants to when Karkat lying in a hospital bed with the skin of his arms stapled and sewn together. Karkat's voice is raw from the stomach pump.

"Hi." He looks at Dave with a sad smile. He wishes that things were different. That he wasn't this much of a fuck up and could just be there for Dave like he needs. It's fucking shameful that he can't, is what he thinks.

"How're you feeling" Dave says, then immediately wishes he hadn't. He gives Karkat a look that says 'you don't have to answer that' and he sighs, taking a few steps forwards from the door to the side of the bed, resting his hands on the rail the bed has. "Rough night" he mutters, again hoping Karkat hadn't heard that.

"Yeah, I guess you could say that." Karkat avoids Dave's gaze slowly edging his hand towards Dave's. Somehow, not looking at him or his hands makes it easier to take Dave's hand. Karkat's hand is freezing, and Dave isn't very good at hiding his concern because as soon as Karkat's hand touches Dave's he takes it properly and starts to massage the skin gently. It's almost a reflex now; desperately trying to rub warmth into Karkat's weak body. He's glaring at Karkat's hand because he can't bare to meet his eyes. God knows where he put his shades. He wishes he had them because he feels like he's about to break apart and if he cries in front of Karkat now, how will he know Dave can look after him without fucking himself up in the process?

"I'm sorry. I should have called you." Karkat squeezes his hand and looks pointedly at a crack in the ceiling- forcing himself to scowl instead of sob like he wants to. He can't do that to Dave, he's already put him through so much tonight and he thinks he owes it to him to at least have one thing under control for once. Dave manages to look back at Karkat and try to give him a reassuring smile, but he has no idea if it even looked remotely like a smile.

"Has a doctor spoken to you yet," he asks. He didn't want to bring it up but he needs to.

"Yeah, same old shit. Gonna have more circulation issues in my arms because of how much of the blood vessels there are just scar tissue now. They don't think the pills did anything lasting." He rubs a circle into Dave's hand trying to help. Karkat thinks this is his fault. He should have called Dave and fought it. He had just been so tired of fighting when he doesn't even think he's worth the fight. But he hates watching how much it hurts Dave.

"Did they say when you could go home?" He's not even sure if he wants Karkat to go home. He can't always be there to make sure he doesn't try again- even though he wants to be. Karkat had been more distant recently and Dave should've known this would happen again; he should've seen the signs but he had no idea until the flowers were blooming across his skin and he had to run to Karkat's house from work. He's so scared that one day he won't make it in time.

"They don't think I should go home. They want me put into an asylum but I have to sign off on it. You know you're a fuck up when the medical stance is you need an extended period in the loony bin." He smiles bitterly at Dave. He knows it's probably for the best but he'd rather eat shit than admit it. Dave isn't quite sure if he schooled his features fast enough not react visibly to that. He needs to find his shades. He knew they wouldn't let this go on for much longer but he didn't imagine that would be their idea of helping Karkat. It's selfish of him to not want this for Karkat. They could help him but Dave wants Karkat where he can see him, where he can physically see that Karkat is okay. But he's clearly not okay. Dave realizes he's been staring at Karkat with what he hoped was a blank expression for a little too long.

"What are you thinking? Are you gonna go?" He doesn't even know what he's asking anymore. Asking if he wants to be put in an asylum? Who asks that?

"I can't. The charge is more than I can afford and I'm not paying for them to stick me into a room to forget I exist and check under my tongue to make sure I've taken meds that don't even fucking work. They said they can eventually sign me off if I get extra therapy." He squeezes Dave's hand again. The look on Dave's face spoke volumes. Karkat knows he hates how vulnerable not having his shades on makes him feel but in these moments it always feels easier for Karkat when he can see Dave's eyes.

"So you can't do that... therapy is too expensive... the meds don't work" Dave sighs and leans down onto the rail with most of his weight, rubbing his eyes with one hand. He gently squeezes Karkat's hand, just enough to feel his pulse, he's so grateful it's still there. He take a few more breaths just thinking hard about the options they don't have.

"They're willing to provide a therapist. They're gonna sign off on it so we get a discount at least." Karkat entwines his fingers with Dave's. The flowers catch his eye again and he feels sick to his stomach. Those flowers are like physical proof of how much Karkat has hurt Dave and he almost wishes that Dave didn't love him just so this wouldn't hurt him.

"That's something then" Dave says quietly as he watches Karkat's thin fingers wrap around his own. Karkat's skin is a little warmer but not by much. Dave is debating with himself to bring up something He's wanted to for a while. His heart rate picks up. Why is he so nervous to just suggest this? He tries to hide another sigh. Karkat wants to ask what's wrong but there is so much wrong with this situation that he can't bring himself to ask. He's too scared of what the answer could be. Instead, he bites his lip and prepares for the worst.