Finally, grade 9 was over, and Dave Strider was both relieved and slightly nervous.
Yes, school was out, and instead of having increasingly frequent strifes from Bro, who was actually his dad, he’d be chilling with his brother, Dirk.
Dirk was pretty cool about most things, he worked at a repair shop for anything and everything electronic, and he frequently bought food. As a matter of fact, Dirk bought food so frequently, that Dave had only needed to go out and buy stuff himself three times! And each time, Dirk had given Dave the money himself, but not before offering to go instead.
It was good, yes, but weird.
Dave… really only had one friend, who actually didn’t even consider Dave to be his friend until recently. Dave was a little upset about this, since he had been referring to this guy as his friend for months to Dirk.
Dirk often joked about Dave liking this guy, but Dave simply said that the only reason that they were so close was because John had ditched them both for his girlfriend. Also, Dave wasn’t gay. Not that being gay was bad, Dirk has a boyfriend and they’re both cool, but Dave just, wasn’t gay.
Still, Dave only had one friend to hang out with. Maybe they’d watch more movies? Who the fuck knows, Dave just hopes he doesn’t come off as clingy or needy.
Well, there’s nothing else to do, might as well see if the guy wants to hang out.
turntechGodhead [ TG ] began pestering carcinoGeneticist [ CG ]
TG: yo karkat
TG: karcrabby pants
TG: Car cat
TG: omg dude if you dont answer imma draw a car as a cat
TG: or a cat as a car
TG: i fucking will and i will post it on my blog itll be a new character in my comic
TG: wont that be badass youll be able to brag about having a character based off of you in the most ironic comic to ever exist arent you hyped
TG: oh shit youre not answering so ill go draw
TG: sick tactics bro
TG: seriously your tactics are so sick were gonna need to send them to the hospital asap
TG: doctors will ask us what happened and well have to tell them that you made youre tactics so sick theyve gone terminal and need a life saving operation that doesnt even exist yet thats how sick they are
TG: fuck dude your tactics are almost sicker than my beats
TG: do you know how sick my beats are bro
CG: IF YOU START FUCKING RAPPING I *WILL* TEAR YOU INTO FIFTY FUCKING PIECES.
CG: SHUT THE FUCK UP.
CG: THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A THREAT.
TG: lmao how can it be threatening when i know youre not even 5 feet tall
CG: FUCK YOU, I’M 5”1’.
CG: AND SO WHAT IF I'M SHORT? I’M SURE I’LL HIT A GROWTH SPURT SOON.
CG: AND EVEN IF I DON’T, IT’S NOT LIKE YOU’RE ALL THAT TALL EITHER.
CG: THERE’S NO WAY YOU PASS 5”10’.
CG: NO FUCKING WAY.
TG: ok you got me there
TG: 5 and a half feet tall
CG: I FUCKING KNEW IT.
TG: im still taller than you
CG: FUCK OFF AND DIE IN PIT THE SIZE OF YOUR EGO.
TG: what no bro
TG: then id never be able to make your character
CG: MY WHAT?
TG: did you not read what i sent you
TG: i thought we were friends
TG: i thought we were bros
TG: how am i supposed to know youre serious about this relationship if you dont read what i send you
TG: not cool dude
CG: FUCK YOU AND YOUR COOL.
CG: YOU AREN’T COOL, NOT EVEN CLOSE.
CG: WHAT DID YOU EVEN ORIGINALLY WANT TO TALK TO ME ABOUT?
CG: BEFORE YOU WENT OFF ON AN IDIOTIC TANGENT.
TG: shit i forgot
CG: YOU ARE A FUCKING IDIOT, STRIDER.
CG: IT IS YOU.
TG: wait i think i was just gonna ask to hang out
TG: without school there is jack shit to do and dirk is usually at work
TG: youre currently the only friend i have that isnt smooching his girlfriend all the time or on the other side of the country or on a remote island
CG: YOU HAVE THE WEIRDEST FRIENDS.
CG: BUT FINE, YEAH, COME OVER TO MY APARTMENT. MY DICK BREATH OF A BROTHER WANTS TO MEET YOU, AND I DONT WANT HIM KNOWING WHERE YOU LIVE. I’M NOT THAT CRUEL.
TG: shit dude you make it sound like your brother is a murderer
TG: ready to torture and kill literally anyone and everyone
CG: I THINK I’D PREFER THAT, HONESTLY.
TG: holy shit i have to see what the fuck is up with your brother
TG: be there soon
turntechGodhead [ TG ] ceased pestering carcinoGeneticist [ CG ]
As it turns out, Karkat’s brother, Kankri, would indeed be much better if he were a murderer. Dave was extensively lectured on not wearing shades indoors, as it could be considered rude or impolite. However, after Dave told Kankri that his shades were prescribed by a doctor, the lecture stopped.
Karkat and Dave ended up watching movies in Karkat’s room, pointing out bad acting, continuity errors, plot holes, and dumb actions made by the characters. Later, Karkat asked if Dave’s shades were really prescribed. Dave said yes.
Dave did not say that they were for highly light sensitive eyes, nor did he mention that they were a comfort. That even if they weren’t prescribed, he’d still need to wear them for his own sanity.
Dirk called Dave much later, and asked if Dave was going to stay the night there, or if he wanted a ride home. Karkat insisted that Kankri would be extremely nosey if Karkat had anyone over, and urged Dave to just get a ride home. After a moment's consideration, Dave asked Dirk for a ride home.
The rest of summer was mostly spent like that, a few short texts, then at one of their houses watching movies. Dave never slept the night at Karkat’s, but Karkat did occasionally spend the night at Dave’s. Dave found that the nights Karkat stayed over, were the nights he slept best.
Occasionally, they’d go out to a park or something similar. After all, they needed to spend more time outside than just going to each other’s apartments. However, they never went to the movie theatre. You weren’t supposed to talk, and it was far too date-like.
Dirk teased Dave more than ever about Karkat, but Dave would constantly say that they were just friends. Even when Dirk caught them snuggling together while watching movies, Dave still claimed that they were only friends.
All in all, it was a good summer.
School was back, eventually, and this first semester, Dave and Karkat had a class together. Dave was unusually happy about this, but brushed it off as being happy about having a class with his only friend.
When hallowe’en came around, Dave dressed up as a stereotypical bedsheet ghost, with, of course, his shades on top of the bedsheets. It’s ironic. Karkat was the grim reaper. He berated Dave for putting no effort into his costume, but Dave simply said that it was ironic.
Vriska was throwing a hallowe’en party, which both boys agreed to not go to, and instead spent the entire night at Dave’s watching movies and eating candy. The next morning was hell, as there was school, and Karkat had never gotten ready for school at Dave’s apartment.
Dave realized his birthday was in a little over a month. Karkat, after being informed of this, did not seem to care. Dave pretended to be immensely upset over this, claiming that his best bro didn’t care about him. Karkat told him that Dave didn’t have to stick around if he really felt uncared for, but Dave stayed.
When Dave’s birthday finally does come around, he’s greeted at school by Karkat handing him a thin, square-shaped, neatly wrapped present. After Dave took it, Karkat dashed away. Dave contemplated following, but the bell rang before he could decide.
During their shared period, Karkat ignored Dave, sending him highly threatening glares whenever he came near. Dave had no idea what was going on with Karkat. Had Dave pissed him off, and Karkat had only given Dave the present because he already bought it? Or was the present going to be like the ones he used to receive? Dave didn’t think Karkat would do that, but it was hard to know the intentions of others.
Karkat’s behaviour carried over to lunch as well, he had headphones on, and ignored Dave whenever he spoke. Dave figured it was best not to sit where he wasn’t welcome. He considered instead sitting with John and Terezi, both cool people, and Aradia and Tavros weren’t that bad either. However, Vriska was there too, and Dave really didn’t like Vriska.
Dave ended up sitting alone, and was pretty sure this was going to be the new norm for him. When he saw Terezi approach him, he was quite surprised. She handed him a box, saying it was from John, and then handed him a paper, saying it was from her.
There was a drawing on the paper, it was of Dave and Terezi. It was absolutely beautiful, Dave expressed this as sincerely as he could. Without showing any emotion, of course.
When Dave got back to his apartment, Dirk was waiting there with a few presents on the table, and was smiling. Dave, however, was not smiling.
“What’s up?” Dirk asked.
“I think…” Dave started, “I think Karkat hates me.”
“What? Why would you say that?”
“He just seemed… mad at me today. Didn’t talk to me, only glared.”
“Hmm…” Dirk paused, “Didn’t he say he hated birthdays? Maybe he’s just grumpy that you like ‘em.”
Dave only shrugged.
“C’mon, you got presents here from Rose, Roxy, Jade, Jake, and me.”
“Your boyfriend got me a present?” Dave asked. He’d only spoken to Jake once.
“Yeah, he hadn’t seen much of you, but I have spoken about you to him. He’s also Jade and John’s cousin, so he already knew you,” Dirk explained. “So yeah, he got you something. Looks like you got something from school friends, too.”
“Yeah, the box is from John, and Terezi drew me a drawing,” Dave replied, putting the box and drawing on the table.
“What about that other one?” Dirk asked.
Dave shrugged again, and set it down on the floor. He didn’t know what to think of a present from Karkat, especially considering how he had been acting.
“Is it from Karkat?” Dirk guessed.
“Do you want me to call his dad? See what this is all about?” Dirk suggested.
Dave hesitated to answer. “I don’t wanna bother him, make him hate me more.”
“Listen, I’ve spoken to his dad on occasion. You seemed to be Karkat’s only friend, so a sudden change is definitely something worth worrying over.”
Dave nodded, and Dirk pulled out his cell phone from his pant pocket and dialed a number.
“Hi, Mr. Vantas, it’s Dirk, Dave’s older brother.”
“A little worried, actually, Karkat was apparently ignoring Dave today, and we were wondering if he’s okay.”
Another pause. This one was a bit longer.
“Ah, okay, well we hope he feels better soon. Talk to you later,” Dirk finished, and hung up.
Dave looked at him expectantly.
“Apparently he’s just in a pissy mood today. Everything was irritating him, so he just wanted to be alone,” Dirk said, and Dave was relieved to know Karkat wasn’t mad at him, “apparently this is also kind of normal? It happens every few months or so. Usually not to this degree, but it does happen. He should be better either tomorrow, or the day after.”
Dave nodded in response.
“Now c’mon, you got presents to open.”
Jade drew Dave a drawing of their animal characters, a dog and a crow respectively. It was always fun to mess around with those.
Rose got Dave a rainbow t-shirt. Dirk laughed a little, while Dave was quite confused.
When Roxy’s presents revealed a pair of rainbow pants, Dave threw them at Dirk, claiming they had gotten the wrong birthday. Dirk only laughed.
Jake got Dave a fossilized lemur skull, one he had dug up on an expedition, and had been allowed to keep. Jake may have strange movie tastes, but he does give good presents.
John got Dave a box of gushers. Dave recognized the box as the one Dave had pretended to accidentally send John a little before he moved. It was the perfect irony.
Dave opened Dirks present next, which revealed a new drawing tablet. Dave’s old one had gotten destroyed before he moved, and Dirk wasn’t exactly rich enough to buy a new one immediately. Dirk was the only one who knew that Dave could draw very well with his left hand.
Last was Karkat’s present, and despite being reassured that he wasn’t angry, and therefore the present wasn’t a trap, Dave was still nervous. Slowly, he tore the wrapping paper off to reveal the record sleeve of the last record Dave needed to complete his “Best of the 70’s” collection.
“Holy shit,” Dave said, “I have looked everywhere for one of these, how the fuck did Karkat find one?”
“Well hey, clearly you’re important to him,” Dirk noted.
“Yeah, no kidding.”
Despite not talking to Karkat much, this birthday had been the best Dave had ever had. No newer, bigger bruises, no push to be stronger simply because he’s a year older, really it was awesome. Another one of Dirk’s friends, Jane, had even made Dave a cake, which had been taken out of the fridge after opening presents. It was strawberry shortcake.
Before going to sleep, Dave listened to the vinyl Karkat had given him. It was definitely one of Dave’s favourite playlists, and while he did own digital renditions of it, vinyls were much better in his opinion.
Partway through the second side of the vinyl, Dave’s phone dinged. It was a notification from SoundCloud, someone had commented on one of his songs. When Dave looked to see who it was, he smiled. Whoever they were, they had commented on every single one of Dave’s songs, multiple times. Whoever you are, crabbyGraphics, Dave will find out, and thank you for supporting his music.
Once the vinyl played the last song, Dave spoke to Rose and Jade for a little, but only after considering texting Karkat. Dave had no idea how Karkat would react to Dave texting him, yet felt bad about not talking to him all day. Eventually, he decided that he would just talk to Karkat tomorrow, and went to sleep for the night.
Sleep, however, betrayed Dave.
He woke up panting. This was one of the rare and unfortunate nights Dave remembered part of the nightmare, and he didn’t like what he remembered. It was just like all the others, except this time, Karkat was there.
And not two minutes into the dream, Karkat had been decapitated. Really, the rest was a blur of fighting, Dave couldn’t even recall if Karkat was even fighting, never mind who’s side.
Of course, the shock of just remembering Karkat dying is enough to send Dave panicking. Frantically grabbing at his nightstand, Dave managed to grab his phone to text Karkat.
turntechGodhead [ TG ] began pestering carcinoGeneticist [ CG ]
TG: shit cmon i know your up
TG: karkat please answer
TG: karkat please
TG: fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck
TG: seriously answer
TG: shit shit shit shit
TG: karkat answer me please
CG: HOLY SHIT ARE YOU OKAY???
TG: thank fuck
TG: shit i think im ok now
TG: are you ok
TG: are safe
TG: this is important
CG: IS THIS ABOUT HOW I WAS ACTING TODAY?
CG: BECAUSE I’M FINE, WHAT HAPPENED WAS NORMAL AND IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
TG: i mean
TG: i dunno
TG: its dumb
CG: IF IT’S BOTHERING YOU IT’S NOT DUMB.
TG: dream shit
TG: you should sleep
TG: i hear it’s good for when youre sick or whatever
CG: HONESTLY I WASN’T EXPECTING TO SLEEP TONIGHT AT FUCKING ALL.
CG: AND HOW THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO SLEEP IF I KNOW YOU WERE FUCKING PANICKING?
TG: aw look you care about me
TG: next thing you know we’ll be getting married
TG: buying a suburban house with a white picket fence
TG: raising 10 kids and driving them to soccer practice
TG: dont forget those damn pta meetings
TG: you can yell at brenda for bringing the
oatmeal raisin cookies because seriously fuck brenda and her oatmeal raisin cookies nobody likes them or her
TG: i bet you could make the better cookies
TG: fuck dude you’d probably actually make chocolate chip cookies
TG: everyone would tell brenda to go home she lost the baking contest to karkat fucking vantas
TG: our kids will be so fucking happy that your baking isn’t like fucking brendas
TG: youll be the new pta baker
TG: karkat how do you feel about being the official pta meeting baker
TG: dont worry ill bake you breakfast every morning in return
TG: itll be that domestic as fuck shit you like in your rom coms
TG: our kids will be spoiled as fuck with my sick beats and your sick looks
TG: and by sick i mean dope as fuck
CG: DEAR GOD SHUT UP YOU ASS BREATH.
CG: I’M SORRY I CARE ABOUT THE ONLY PERSON I SPEAK TO ON A REGULAR FUCKING BASIS, AND NOT EVEN ONLY OVER THE SHIT FACED INTERNET.
CG: GOD FUCKING FORBID I HAVE *EMOTIONS*.
TG: sorry dude you just always had this tone of
TG: i don’t fucking give a shit
TG: for so long that i thought you legitimately did not care about anything except maybe rom coms
CG: OH FUCK YOU.
CG: BUT SERIOUSLY, ARE YOU OKAY?
CG: ACTUALLY NO, I CHANGED MY QUESTION.
CG: WHAT THE FUCK MADE YOU TEXT ME AT 1 AM TO ASK IF I WAS OKAY?
TG: its nothing
TG: clearly youre ok
TG: and tbh it was stupid that i even checked
TG: goddamnit im a fucking idiot
TG: jesus fuck what was i thinking
TG: sorry i bothered you
TG: ill let you sleep now
CG: DAVE, WAIT.
turntechGodhead [ TG ] ceased pestering carcinoGeneticist [ CG ]
Dave didn’t sleep that night, he was far too busy hoping not to get another nightmare.
The next morning was slow, Dave didn’t really want to go to school. Dirk noticed, and tried to joke around, but it was useless.
When Dave got to school, he was expecting Karkat to ignore him today. Surprisingly, that was not the case.
“Hey, ass face,” Dave heard Karkat say. He still didn’t look or sound too happy.
“Hey,” Dave replied, “you feeling better from yesterday?”
“Not really, but I’m not gonna be an ass about it.”
“What about you? Are you okay?” Karkat asked.
Before Dave could answer, the bell for first period went off.
“Well, gotta go,” Dave ended up saying as he left for class.
Karkat was still rather grumpy that day, but he did make an effort to actually talk to Dave. Dave was very grateful for this, he didn’t know what he’d do if he didn’t have any friends again, like at his old school.
Karkat didn’t ask his question again, and Dave was relieved. He didn’t want to admit that the nightmares were still that bad, that they only went away when Karkat was sleeping with him. Teenagers aren’t supposed to get nightmares, that’s for little kids who are scared of make-believe monsters.
After that day, things went back to normal. Well, except for Christmas fast approaching. Neither Karkat nor Dave celebrated it however, and agreed that it was nothing more than a capitalistic cash grab.
Instead, they spent most of the winter break at each other’s apartments, watching movies or just hanging out. It was basically summer, but colder.
This time, however, Dave was really trying to make music Karkat would like. The moment he had enough of a sample made to show Karkat, he would. Each song was met with essentially the same reaction, Karkat would call it dumb and stupid and an assault on his ears. Nonetheless, Dave still tried, he really tried.
The day before New Years Eve, Karkat’s dad asked if both Dirk and Dave wanted to head down to the lake with them. Of course, Dave was happy to spend any time with Karkat, and Dirk had never really been able to celebrate these things, so the offer was accepted.
This New Years was the best Dave had ever experienced. He got to see the fireworks while sitting next to his best friend instead of while fighting, and he got to laugh and make jokes with his best friend instead of patching up wounds.
Dirk yelled at Karkat and Dave that they were supposed to have kissed at midnight. Dave flipped him off, while Karkat covered his face. Dirk only laughed in response.
When school was back in, things were back to normal. Occasionally, Terezi would talk to Karkat and Dave, but usually she hung out with Vriska, whom Karkat and Dave didn’t really like. John never spoke to them.
John’s birthday party this year was being held at Vriska’s house. Posters were all over the school advertising it, and Karkat and Dave decided not to attend the massive party. Too many people, too high a chance of alcohol, and when was the last time they even spoke to John?
Dave still did try to make music that Karkat would like, but he never did like it. However, whoever crabbyGraphics was, that person was absolutely adoring Dave’s new songs.
By May, Dave realized he didn’t have a present for Karkat yet. With help from Karkat’s dad, he managed to get Karkat a few rom coms he didn’t have yet, and even a good romance novel. Later, Dave suggested doing a surprise party for Karkat. It was all planned in a week.
On Karkat’s birthday, Dave took him to the park after school. Karkat frequently said that he should probably get home soon, but Dave reassured him that it was fine. At 5pm, they finally went to Karkat’s house, and when Karkat opened the door, everything was decorated in birthday decorations, and Karkat’s dad, Kankri, Dirk, and Dave all shouted “Happy Birthday!”
But for some unknown reason, Karkat had completely forgotten that it was his birthday. Still, he claimed later, while eating cake, that this birthday wasn’t that bad.
Dave stayed overnight at Karkat’s apartment for the first time. They watched the rom coms Dave had given Karkat, and surprisingly it was Karkat who fell asleep first. He was honestly adorable, leaning against Dave, soft lips barely parted. Dave really wanted to kiss him.
That thought hit Dave like a trainwreck. He wanted to kiss Karkat? Yeah, he did. Did Dave consider Karkat to look absolutely amazing? Hell yeah. Was the stuff they were doing even considered platonic? Shit, probably not. Does Dave have a crush on Karkat? Fuck, yeah he does.
This realization was going to be the end of Dave. Starting with the loss of sleep, of course.
When summer finally came around again, Dave was both excited, and a little scared. What if he accidentally told Karkat during a ramble? That could be absolutely devastating.
The summer turned out to be almost identical to the previous one, except during the second summer Dave stayed overnight at Karkat’s occasionally, and Karkat had a part time job at a coffee shop. Sometimes, despite Karkat’s protests, Dave would visit the coffee shop while Karkat was working.
About halfway through the summer, Dave accidentally admitted to Dirk that he had a crush on Karkat. Dirk simply smiled, and said that Karkat was a good kid.
Dave had still showed Karkat all his music, and Karkat still hated it. Multiple times, Dave asked Karkat what he was listening to when he wore headphones, and Karkat never gave him a proper answer. It was infuriating. Was Dave just supposed to assume that Karkat only listened to rom com soundtracks? Apparently.
School was back in no almost no time at all, and with it came the heavy duties of eleventh grade. Their shared period, math, was extremely difficult. Luckily for Dave, his music had really started taking off over the summer, so much so that he could probably make a decent amount of money with it by the time he graduated.
Hallowe’en was basically forgotten by most grade 11 students, as studying took priority. Karkat was no exception, and while Dave did his best to help, it wasn’t always enough.
Stress was eating away at him alive, and he freaked out over Dave’s fast approaching birthday. Dave reassured Karkat that he didn’t need a present, but Karkat insisted he would get something.
It really hurt Dave to see Karkat in such stress.
When Dave came to school on his birthday, he noticed the deep bags under Karkat’s eyes, his dishevelled hair, and empty expression.
“Dude, you look like death itself,” Dave said.
Karkat flipped him off.
“Is this gonna be a repeat of last year? Because seriously, I’m gonna have to like, just expect you to look like shit on my birthday. What even happened?”
“This isn’t jack shit like last year. Last year what happened was completely involuntary, and I could not stop it. This year, what has happened to me is my fault, and mine alone,” Karkat replied.
“Well what the fuck did you do then?” Dave asked.
Karkat handed him a USB stick, then walked off to class.
When Dave went to eat lunch, he was quite afraid that Karkat wouldn’t come sit with him. However, Karkat did come sit next to him, and promptly fell asleep. Dave was happy to let him sleep, he did look very cute when doing so.
Their math teacher was very excited to learn that Dave’s birthday was today, and made the whole class sing “happy birthday”. It was horribly off-key, and Dave loved it. What he was a little disappointed in, was the fact that Karkat didn’t sing.
When the school day ended, Karkat and Dave hung out at the park for a little while, before Dave insisted that Karkat went home and slept.
When Dave got back to his own apartment, he dashed into his room to look at what was on the USB. His brother asked Dave if he was alright, most likely concerned with Dave not even acknowledging him. Dave simply replied by saying his present from Karkat was on a USB.
Turning on his computer as fast as possible and plugging in the USB, Dave was very impatient. The moment the USB file opened, Dave clicked on the only thing in it.
It was a video.
And not just any video either, it was a compilation of all the scenes Dave and Karkat had critiqued to the point of laughing because what was happening was so stupid. Sometimes that meant continuity errors, or dumb lines, or dumb choices, or just plain and simple dumb scenarios. The whole video, simply put, was fucking beautiful.
The whole video was about ten minutes long, and Dave ended up laughing so hard, there were tears. Karkat was honestly the best at gift giving, and Dave needed to thank him right now.
turntechGodhead [ TG ] began pestering carcinoGeneticist [ CG ]
TG: ok first of all dont answer right now go the fuck to sleep
TG: when you wake up you can read this and respond
TG: second of all holy fucking shit you are amazing
TG: the compilation video was hilarious i love it
TG: i am going to watch it a billion times
TG: eventually ill be quoting this shit like my life depends on it and everyone will be pissed that there are now two fuckers quoting god damn rom coms at any given opportunity
TG: ok before i ramble into the fucking void ill go
TG: hope your actually sleeping dude
turntechGodhead [ TG ] ceased pestering carcinoGeneticist [ CG ]
Christmas was fast approaching once more, and this year Jake had invited Dirk and Dave to spend Christmas with him and his family. Jake’s family was big and sort of complicated, but not as complicated as Dirk and Dave’s. However, John was Jake's cousin of some sort, and that meant he would be there, and that would be awkward for Dave, who hadn’t spoken to John in quite some time.
Dave asked Karkat if he could stay over at his place instead, and was extremely grateful when Karkat’s dad said yes. Dirk teased that they were both going over to their respective boyfriends’ houses for the holiday. Dave threw a pillow at him.
When Dave got to Karkat’s apartment, Kankri asked to speak to Dave in private. Dave was confused, and really didn’t want a lecture, but went along with it.
“You and Karkat are very close,” Kankri said.
“Uhm, yeah, that’s what happens when you have no other friends. Get close to the one, uh, the one you have,” Dave replied. It was strange that Kankri wasn’t lecturing him. Scary, even.
“Hmm,” Kankri started, “and what exactly are your intentions with this… friendship?”
“Uhhh,” Dave was very confused. Did Kankri know he had a crush on Karkat? “To make sure he’s as happy as possible?”
“Hm. Okay, you may go.”
That was the strangest encounter Dave ever had with Kankri, and probably ever would have. Dave told Karkat about the conversation, and Karkat was equally confused.
Deciding that Kankri was not going to be a relevant topic over the break, Dave and Karkat started watching movings. Dave, however, was having a little bit of trouble watching the movie. Karkat’s adorable facial expression were far more interesting than a movie he’d seen a million times, and thanks to his shades, Karkat would have no idea Dave was watching him.
Dave noticed that occasionally Karkat would look over at him, and sometimes his gaze would linger, and he’d get this dreamy expression. Dave figured he was just imagining the expression, and attempted to focus on the movie as to not have any… thoughts.
They had almost fallen asleep like that, leaning against one another, when Karkat’s dad called them out for dinner. Both were paying too much attention to the movie though, and didn’t hear. So, Karkat’s dad entered the room, only to see Dave and Karkat snuggling.
“Alright you two, enough snuggling, dinners ready,” He said, startling both Dave and Karkat.
“Dad what the fuck! Knock maybe?” Karkat yelled.
“Yeah, and we weren’t ‘snuggling’, it’s cold here, okay?” Dave argued.
“Yeah,” Karkat agreed.
“The heater is turned on, Kankri even took off his sweater,” Karkat’s dad countered.
“Well, fuck you!” Karkat said, and got up to head over to the dining room, Dave not far behind.
The rest of the break was filled with movie watching, the occasional snowball fights, lectures on the harmfulness of snowball fights, the occasional visit to a cafe, and pretending that it’s not awkward to spend two weeks sleeping in the same bed as your crush. Not even if Dave started to develop a habit of sorts.
It started off with just an arm, or occasionally a leg, laid across Karkat. That could be played off as just taking up a lot of space while sleeping. Clinging to Karkat in his sleep, however, was entirely different. That was certainly awkward. A few times after the habit had developed, Karkat woke up first, and complained to Dave that he had an iron grip and would not let go.
Dave apologised profusely, and really just wanted to go home, be alone, and scream into a pillow. This friendship was running on thin fucking ice. Karkat said it was fine, Dave was warm and it felt nice. But Dave could hear his voice straining, like he wanted to say something else, like he wanted to say it was awkward and fucking up their friendship.
Dave decided to sleep on the floor, but when Karkat ended up pulling him on to the bed, he decided that it was probably better for his back to sleep on a mattress. Any clinging that could potentially occur was something that would just have to be dealt with.
New years came quickly, and Dave couldn’t help but remember what Dirk had said last year. His eyes lingered on Karkat’s lips. They looked soft, and very kissable, and with the light from the TV shining on Karkat’s face, everything seemed perfect. Just grab his chin gently, turn him so he’s facing Dave, and kiss him. Simple.
The clock counts down. Dave ready’s himself.
The ball drops, everyone cheers.
Dave doesn’t kiss Karkat.
Dave doesn’t sleep that night, neither does Karkat. They attempted to make the other listen to music. Karkat plays his vinyls, and Dave plays the songs on his SoundCloud. Rom com soundtracks aren’t terrible, but they aren’t that good either. Dave says they’re tolerable, and occasionally good.
For some reason, Karkat looks guilty. Dave doesn’t know why.
Dirk came back later that day, and Dave headed home as well. Almost immediately, he screamed into his pillow. What a fucking idiot he is, kissing Karkat would most certainly have ended terribly. His family was right there beside them!
Luckily, things were normal when school started back up again. Dave tried to spend fewer nights sleeping in the same bed as Karkat, but Karkat appears to want more sleepovers. Dave is confused, and slightly embarrassed when every time he wakes up clinging to Karkat.
They both realize John’s birthday is coming up, and try to forget it, but it’s hard to forget about the person who introduced them to each other. Dave and Karkat initially planned on doing nothing for John’s birthday, but plans changed after Karkat accidentally witnessed something major.
Karkat knocked frantically on Dave’s door, and was extremely glad when Dave opened it.
“Oh my god you will not believe what I just fucking saw,” Karkat said as he walked into Dave’s apartment.
“Sounds interesting,” Dave replied, closing the door.
“So for starters,” Karkat began as he sat down on Dave’s couch, “Vriska almost killed John, then broke up with him, then got arrested.”
“What the fuck? What happened?” Dave asked in shock, sitting next to Karkat.
“So basically, I still had a movie John lent me im grade 9, so I went over to his house to return it. I was about to knock on the front door, when I heard yelling from the backyard. I listen, and John and Vriska are arguing! Apparently they had some sort of fucking, prank shit going on? And Vriska’s most recent prank was a fucking bomb,” Karkat explained.
“Anyway, John was yelling, telling her pranks aren’t supposed to be deadly, or some shit like that, and Vriska says that if he can’t handle her, maybe they shouldn’t be together. Of course, John pleads for her to come back, but she just walks out. I hid on the porch, and she was still carrying the bomb!” Karkat pauses, taking a breath. Dave puts a hand on his shoulder to comfort him. “I returned the movie to John’s dad, and while I was walking home, I saw Vriska throw the bomb into some random persons backyard!”
“What the fuck? I take it you called the police, right?”
“Obviously, and when the police got there and questioned her about it, saying exactly, ‘did you throw a bomb into that backyard’ she responded ‘uh, obviously, who else would do it?’ Like, she admitted to it! She’s insane!” By the end of it, Karkat was almost hyperventilating.
“So I’m assuming we’re gonna let John back in to our friend ‘group’? Which isn’t really much of group, since there’s only two of us…” Dave trails off as Karkat leans against him, making the butterflies in Dave’s stomach go crazy.
“We’re probably going to have all of Vriska’s friend group join us, she was the only reason I didn’t hang out with them,” Karkat replied, “that and Terezi is my ex.”
“You dated Terezi?” Now even if Dave did somehow manage to date Karkat, he’d have an expectation to exceed.
“Shush, I don’t wanna talk about that shit, I just wanna watch like twenty movies then maybe go to sleep.”
Sure enough, when they went to school the next day, Terezi, Tavros, and Aradia joined them for lunch. John joined later, a somber look on his face, but refused to explain what had happened.
Terezi tried to fake flirt with Dave again, or at least Dave thought it was fake flirting, but Dave didn’t play along. It felt wrong to even pretend to flirt with somebody else while he had a crush. Terezi seemed mildly disappointed, but ultimately was fine with just normal joking around.
For John’s birthday, Dave, Karkat, Terezi, Tavros, and Aradia, planned with John’s dad what to do, especially considering John’s recent break up. The party was fun, they played all John’s favourite games, and even sat through his favourite movies without complaining. Of course, with the party being a sleepover, everyone teased Dave and Karkat about sleeping together, as Dave did end up clinging to Karkat. At least John laughed, though.
When Dave got back to his apartment, it hit him exactly what he needed to do to make a song Karkat would like. He had taken to listening to a few rom com soundtracks, at least the few that were good, and obviously Karkat liked them a lot.
A song based on Karkat’s rom coms. Dave could totally do it.