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It Started Out as a Feeling

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March 8th, 2012. Thursday.


==> Karkat: Wake up already.
       The incessant beeping of your alarm clock drives nails into your already pounding skull. Damn, you feel like shit. What were you thinking, staying up so late last night? Stupid.
       With a not-so-subtle groan, you drunkenly flail your arm in the general direction of the noise. Fuck. Where is it? You refuse to remove your face from the genial embrace of your pillow. Disgruntled and disheveled, you shimmy a bit further to the left to try and grab your phone and turn off your alarm. You fail. Miserably.
       As you lean farther to the side, you find yourself struggling to maintain your balance. All of a sudden, you capsize and slump off of the bed with a dignified "shit!", successfully smacking your head on the end table during your descent. Congratulations. You're now sitting on the floor of your shared bedroom with your stupid crab pajamas on and looking like you just barely escaped a category five hurricane. What will you do now?
==> Karkat: Turn off your alarm.
       Excuse you, what do you think this is? Some kind of interactive medium in which you can relay commands to the main character and they'll just follow along willingly? You are fully capable of performing your own actions, thank you very much.
       Now then, you crawl on your knees like you lost your glasses, squinting into the blinding sunlight emanating from the curtain-less window. What the hell did you do with your phone?
       Finally, in a moment of pure genius, you reach under your bed and nab your device. Nice going. With a satisfied grunt, you switch off the alarm and yawn audibly. God. It's too early for this shit. As you reach up to put your phone on your end table, the screen lights up with a new message. You unlock your phone and open Pesterchum.


grimAuxiliatrix [GA] began pestering carcinoGeneticist [CG]
GA: Good Morning Karkat
GA: Im Assuming That You Are Awake
GA: Mostly Because I Heard A Loud Thump A Second Ago That Sounded Like You
GA: Are You Alright
CG: YEAH I'M FINE. JUST FELL OUT OF BED TRYING TO FIND MY STUPID PHONE.
CG: BUSINESS AS PER FUCKING USUAL.
CG: WHAT'S UP?
GA: Not Much Just Eating Breakfast
GA: Are You Planning On Coming Downstairs Anytime Soon Because I Really Dont Feel Like Missing The Bus Today
CG: YEAH, YEAH. I'M WORKING ON IT.
CG: GIVE ME A MINUTE.



       You stand woozily, planting a hand on your bedpost to keep from falling over again. Man, one would think you’d get a concussion from a hit like that. Good thing your head is so thick. With the threat of a migraine looming ominously in the distance, you rub your eyes to look around your bedroom.
       You share this bedroom with Kanaya. It's a small-ish space with those weird neutral carpeted floors. Her side of the room is predictably immaculate. Her bed is made, all of her clothes are in hampers, and the area is clear of any trash and litter. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for your side of the room.
       You like to refer to your side as an "organized mess". Sure, you have trash and dirty garments thrown around semi-randomly, but it makes it that much easier to find your shit instead of wasting precious seconds searching through a drawer or closet. You're a busy guy!
       You have two windows on one wall facing the front of the house. At some point, you two thought to put curtains up, but since you couldn't agree on a style ("It doesn't HAVE to look 'elegant' or 'fancy', it's just an apparatus to keep creepers from scoping you out!"), you just agreed to put up some blinds.
       Currently, a pale early-morning light is peeking through the open window, and your ceiling fan is whirling full-blast. You sigh and commence the daily ritual of getting ready for school.
       You grab a random pair of jeans lying on the floor, a super old gray t-shirt you've had since like 7th grade, and your cherished too-big hoodie that you haven't washed in a month. Grab some torn socks and that should do the trick. You grabbed your phone and stumbled into the hall past your brother's room and into the bathroom. You locked the door and glared at yourself in the bathroom mirror.
       When it came to your appearance, you would call yourself nothing short of abnormal. You had bronze skin with strange lighter patches littering your face and body that kind of looked like somebody accidentally dumped paint on you as a baby. Your eyes were a grayish color that one would probably describe as "metal" or maybe "cement". As for your body type, you were often described as short and pudgy (you preferred the term "sturdy"). Your eyebrows were thick and out of control, and your acne was starting to become a problem. Obviously, you hated how you looked, but you simply can't bring yourself to tell anyone that.
       You grimaced at your reflection before averting your eyes and focusing on getting ready to go.
       Like you, your brother Kankri shares a room with one of the Maryams. Though it can be awkward sometimes listening to two kids in high school bickering like toddlers over something or another, you can't complain. Well, technically you could, but honestly what would be the point? Your roommate’s mother, Ms. Maryam, has a bedroom all to herself.
       After some self-care, you enter the dining room, groggy and hungry (mostly groggy) as all hell. Kanaya and Kankri are already at the table, the former eating some toast and what looked (and smelled) like scorched scrambled eggs, and the latter munching on a healthy meal of Poptarts and Froot Loops.
       "Ah, good morning Karkat," Your brother said with his mouth full. "We were just discussing you."
       Despite the obvious differences (of which there are quite a few), it is easy to tell that you two are siblings. He had meticulously brushed brown hair, amber-ish eyes, and bronze skin like yours (sans awkward vitiligo patches). He was a bit short for his age (still taller than you, though) and was as skinny as a wire. He wore his bright red sweater almost every day (Porrim has to coerce him into washing it every few weeks), and his nails were painted the same color.
       "Uh, okay? Anything I should be concerned about?" You ask, taking your usual seat at the head of the table.
       Kanaya smiled at you with her usual poise. "Not really, just some plans that involve you," she said dubiously, stabbing some of her maltreated eggs. "Anyways, How did you sleep?"
       Kanaya was sort of your 'adopted sister', but you both preferred to just be called close friends. She was pretty tall, towering at least 8 inches above you, and always dressed to impress (impress who, you didn't really know). She had skin just a touch darker than you and your brother's, and her eyes were a striking dark green. Her black hair was shoulder-length, but she had been thinking about cutting it shorter soon.
       "Like shit. I stayed up too late and then woke up at like two due to the whims of a total jackass." you complained, grabbing the cereal box that Kankri was reading from and going to the kitchen to grab a spoon.
       "Karkat, you know that using terminology such as that can be triggering to some people, so I would appreciate it if you didn't utilize them as such," Kankri protested loudly. You rolled your eyes and poured yourself the last of the Froot Loops.
       After retreating back to the dining room, you heard the front door open and close. Porrim came in hurriedly and nabbed an apple before running upstairs, presumably to get ready for the day. This was a surprisingly common occurrence, so you didn’t pay it any mind.
       Porrim was pretty dissimilar to her half-sister. She had lighter skin, for one, and her eyes were more of a lime color. She had a starkly different fashion sense, leaning more towards a gothic style than towards Kanaya's colorful apparel. Her hair was dark and wavy and long, and she had been perfectly content with keeping it that way. She was also very proud of the plethora of piercings adorning her ears, eyebrows, lips, and nose and her numerous tattoos she got on her 16th birthday.
       "Slept at Latula's place again, huh?" Kanaya called down the hall. Porrim didn't reply, but you all pretty much already knew the answer.
       You made a low grumbling noise and started shoveling cereal in your mouth. By the time you and Kanaya had finished up your breakfast, it was already 7 (for convenient reference, the school bus comes at around 7:10). You resolved to leave your bowl on the table and clean it up when you got home. You scampered down to the mudroom, hastily pulled on your scuffed sneakers, clutched your backpack, and fidgeted impatiently as Kanaya took her sweet time getting her bag.
       The two of you finally left the house at about 7:03, and since it took about ten minutes to get to the bus stop -- seven if you ran -- you would be cutting it pretty close. Kanaya, already one step ahead of you, took off down the suburban sidewalk.
       "Shit!" you hissed, mostly to yourself, as you absolutely despised exercise of any sort, and trotted meekly along behind her. One embarrassing running montage later, the two of you made it to the bus stop seconds before the bus pulled up.
       Momentarily, you collapsed into a seat towards the front, panting. Kanaya took the seat across the isle from you and immediately took out her phone, presumably to contact one of her friends. Somehow, she didn't seem winded or anything. Following suit, you wrestled your old iPhone 5 from your pocket and opened up Pesterchum. You decided to bother your weird 'biphillic' (haha.) friend and see what he was up to.


carcinoGeneticist [CG] began pestering twinArmageddons [TA]

CG: WHAT'S UP MAN. YOU ONLINE?
CG: HELLOOO? EARTH TO DIPSHIT, THIS IS COMMANDER VANTAS, REQUESTING PERMISSION TO CONVERSATE IN A CORDIAL MANNER.
CG: URGH, FORGET THAT I SAID THAT. JUST TYPING THAT MADE ME WANT TO DIE JUST A LITTLE MORE.
CG: JUST WANTED TO DROP THE FUCK IN AND SAY HI, BUT YOU’RE NOT ONLINE, SO I'LL JUST TALK TO YOU LATER, I GUESS.
CG: LET ME KNOW.
carcinoGeneticist [CG] ceased pestering twinArmageddons [TA]


       Well that got you nowhere. And you still have like fifteen minutes until the bus gets to school. I mean, you could probably just hit up one of your other friends, but you don't really feel like it right now. Besides, you were still recovering from the unusual feeling of running. You recline and run a hand through your unkempt hair. You really should have brushed, but you knew that no matter what you did, it would spring right back into this mop of shit like a... spring? You pause your mental spiel as the hair on the back of your neck stands up. Someone's watching you. You just know it.
       Acting as casual as possible, you take a quick gander around the bus to see if you can catch someone in the act. Kanaya was preoccupied in whatever was on her phone, so it probably wasn't her. There was a kid in blue just within viewing distance, but he was similarly distracted by his computer. You marked it up as irrationality and decided to pass out for a few minutes.
       Kanaya roused you from your brief doze just as the school bus pulled up to Anura Coast High. Blinking the sleepiness from your eye, you hoist your 10lb bag over your shoulder and head down the stairs to hell school.
       "I'll talk to you later, Karkat. See you at lunch," Kanaya waved goodbye and started down the hall to her homeroom. You offered a little wave and tromped up to your own.
       You had homeroom with Ms. Paint, who understandably taught about traditional art and some art history. Homeroom had a total of two people that you knew: Vriska and Eridan. Coincidentally, those two just happen to be tied for last when it comes to desired friendships. Not to mention that, after their semi-recent breakup, the two have been at each other's throats (by recent, you mean at least three months ago). You did NOT want to be caught up in that mess again, so you pretty much tried to stay as far away from them as possible. Right now, they were arguing unabashedly in the center of the room, causing a scene. You squinted at them before sitting at the table farthest away from them; towards the corner of the classroom.
       The only other person at the mini-table was a quiet kid you didn't know wearing ridiculous aviators who was completely engrossed in his book. As you sat down, he looked up at you and stiffened a bit.
       "Hey," you said. He hesitantly offered you a fingergun and went back to his novel. "Photography for Idiots" read the cover. You yawned a bit and leaned super far back in your chair. You're pretty sure he was still looking at you now and then. Not that you weren't used to the feeling. You brought out your phone once more to scroll through some old Pesterchum conversations until the first bell rang. You hefted your bag and hurried off to your first period: Biology 10.
       The walk was uneventful. You entered the classroom and took the corner desk at the way-back so it would be less likely for the teacher to call on you. Everyone in this class knew better than to sit next to you. I mean, you weren't exactly a superstar, but from experience, these kids kind of understood on some level that sitting next to Karkat Vantas could cause some... let’s call them “unfortunate encounters”. You grabbed your phone and scrolled through Instagram until the bell rang for class.
       Or you would have, if the unexpected sound of a chair scraping against ceramic next to you hadn't spooked you enough to drop your phone onto the desk with a “thunk!”.
       "Hi there!" An infuriatingly chipper voice said, successfully interrupting your poorly-contained rage. "Is this seat taken?"
       You whipped around to face your assailant, a lecture of cosmic proportions ready and prepared. Before you sat a tall Vietnamese boy with wild black hair, thick geeky glasses, and vibrant blue eyes. He wore what looked like a vintage Star Wars t-shirt, sweatpants, a stupid blue flannel tied around his waist, and a buck-toothed grin that would put the most optimistic rich white cheerleader to shame. It was the kid from the bus.
       Almost instantly, you realized that this was going to be a hell of a conversation.