karkat lets his hair grow out- dave notices. of course dave notices, who wouldn't, he ties it up too. it's nothing serious. right? dave doesn't see karkat often now.
dave guesses karkat's busy leading a revolution. karkat guesses dave doesn't care.
dave thinks about his life. he thinks about (jesus) his wife and his bro and what he's done. dave tries not to think about his life.
he thinks of how he spent so much time waiting to grow up that he missed the growing up part of it.
dave decides he doesn't just want to think anymore. dave decides he wants to feel.
he (thinks, decides, feels,) that he messed up.
he loves his wife. more than anything in anything in anything- loves is a heavy word. yes, he loves his wife. yes, he misses karkat, and they can exist as entities together and separately.
for a man who spends a lot of time thinking, he doesn't come to conclusions easily. in fact, dave does not decide that he loves karkat. he knows it, feels it, in the parts of him that he does not allow to see the sun and instead the moon.
to say dave knows timelines is an understatement. he feels the threads of time pulled through him as if he is a fine marionette. every disturbance is calculated and every deviation is intentional. and he feels a branch in the timelines here, a careful choice to be made. every puppet is an allusion, every marionette is fake. they must eventually break free of their connections. to lead the life he wants, dave may disturb some things.
if his life is weighed against something else, he is always a sacrifice, a martyr. if his constructed life is weighted against his wanted one, he knows what he will disturb.
jade is sweet- she is wonderful, fun, she doesn't deserve to be the sacrificial lamb here. and she won't be. he'll just talk about it. so much easier said than done, is the thing, to face jade and see her face drop and her demeanor change.
dave thinks. this is the hardest thing dave has had to do for a while. but he tells jade, and she takes it- taking it well is another thing entirely, but she takes it. jade is understandably angry. she has so much of a right to be angry, dave thinks.
they both move on. it takes time, of course it takes time, and sometimes dave hates himself for it. hates himself for the way he didn’t think. it takes him two years before he can finally get it up to talk to karkat.
dave feels time as a tapestry- threads interwoven and carefully undisturbed. as he steps into the commander’s office, he feels a thread pulled, carefully tucked and rewoven somewhere.
he closes the door behind him, sits in the chair in front of karkat’s (quite intimidating) desk, and does not look at the commander. if he looked at karkat, it would be too visceral for him to continue.
“dave,” karkat says,”how have you been? i haven’t heard from the best member of the resistance lately.” and dave laughs, replies, “it hasn’t been so long, still, commander- you look older,”(he looks pretty too- not a lie, an ommission).
karkat smiles. his eyes crinkle around the edges when he smiles now. god, isn’t this just peachy, dave thinks.
“leading a resistance, as i may remind you, dave, is not easy. It certainly hasn't exactly been kind to any of us.”
dave inhales. grabs for the strings he is so desperately holding on to. exhales. comes to peace with the fact he is changing and he is okay with it.
“karkat, i-” careful pause. “rushed into some things when i was younger, when i was just a kid, but living with you, in our apartment, was one of the best thing i’ve done with my miserable semblance of a life. kar, i. fuck.” make careful eye contact. “karkat, you’re so… amazing, leading all this, like you were born to do it.” he’s messing this up, oh god, “and you’re strong, karkat, a good leader.”
“this is so incredibly fucking unlike you i have to stop you there,” karkat says, and he’s still smiling, walking straight into the trap dave has set for himself, one of feeling better somehow. “dave, i know this was probably going somewhere, but sometimes i just need to give the horse leading your obnoxious train, or in this case carriage, of thought a firm slap on the ass to get it going again.”
that’s the karkat that dave knows and loves.
“kar, i, want to tell you something.” karkat looks up, and there is something so fragile between them, an unseen energy on the verge of breaking, “i want to tell you that,” you can’t chicken out now, this is like pulling teeth, “i want to tell you that i love you, karkat.” this is happening, oh god. “i think i’m in love with you. i think i have been for a long time.”
things are silent. dave can’t bear to look up, he couldn’t. this is scarier than a lot of things. but, he does- jesus christ, karkat’s scowling. fuck, he’s messed everything up, shit, but then, karkat opens his mouth-
“dave, you fucking idiot, why didn’t you just TELL me? jesus fucking christ,” is he angry, dave thinks, or just frustrated, or even, worse, dissapointed? “i mean, how long has it been, too goddamn long, you fucking imbecile,” yes, okay. karkat’s off an a rant. this is familiar territory.
“we were such stupid kids, dave. we were always such stupid kids- if we had talked about this, what, years! years ago, maybe we could have avoided this whole thing. god. can you believe us?” oh, fuck, he’s almost laughing now, with this terribly fond expression on his face.
karkat’s still behind his stupid big desk, but at least now he’s standing up, and dave feels his body move not of his own violition to stand up as well, move closer to karkat-
he’s so close now. so close dave can see the blood rising to his cheeks, and dave’s sure karkat can see him blushing too, he’s a mess. and then, their lips brush- as brief as it is, dave needs more, more, and he’s kissing karkat over the big, intimidating mahogany desk.
god, this is good. this feels better, substantial, like it means something. here, in their moment, and dave pulls away because he has to get closer. practically jumps over the desk, and there’s a soft noise from karkat. he’s in front of karkat now, sitting on the desk, nearly pressing their bodies together. karkat’s chair has been pushed aside.
karkat’s watch beeps.
“fuck,” he mumbles almost into dave’s mouth, i’ve got a meeting.” dave groans- he can’t leave now, they were just starting, damn.
“stay,” dave replies, moving past how needy he sounds.
“i can’t, business, you know.” and it’s dave’s turn to throw a fit, but he reels it in. “i’ll find you,” karkat says, places his hand gently on the side of his face. “i’ll find you. i’ll always find you.”
karkat shifts in a feeble attempt to separate himself from dave, ending up near the door. he grabs a coat draped over a chair, makes his way out. halfway through the door, he stops. turns back to dave, gets a soft expression again.
“love you, dave. i’ll see you.”
dave is still pulled by the wants of time- but every marionette has the potential for life, every tapestry needs thousands of strings.
for once, he believes his life will make a beautiful tapestry.