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==> Enter name.

 

Today, your name is JOHN EGBERT. How did this happen? Weren’t you someone else just a few minutes ago? Is the Internet truly consuming your life so much that now when you read poorly written pieces of fanfiction written in the second tense, you begin to identify as the character? Wow. That is pathetic. You should go outside and play in the front yard, sometimes, John. It’d be good for you. After all, you’re really letting yourself go—your left hand holding your cheek, and your legs are crossed…. Sit up! Put your hand down! Don’t you know what that’s doing to your posture? Surely you must be concerned about the long-term effects of your ridiculous Internet-obsession. You actually read a 6,000+ page webcomic, and not only that, you’re reading fanfiction based off of that webcomic. Don’t you think, John, that you might have a proble—

 

==> Find the narrator.

==> Punch them in the dick.

==> Resume your story.

 

As previously mentioned, your name is JOHN EGBERT. You are currently SIXTEEN EARTH YEARS OLD. The session of Sburb that you played as a 13 year old is long over, and the consequences have been dealt with. After Alternia was thrown into the Green Sun, you, your friends, and all of the trolls crash landed on Earth in a giant pile of limbs and scabbed knees. You landed in a field of corn in the middle of Kansas, however, so the damage was minimal. After some difficulty trying to find your way back to civilization (there’s no such thing as civilization in Kansas, you learned that day), all of you managed to hop on a bus to your respective “homes.” For Rose, that meant she was heading to New York, toting a lesbian vampire troll in her wake. For Dave, that meant he was dragging a very bemused Terezi behind him, while she attempted to lick the ears of corn to find out what they tasted like. Tavros walked beside him, mumbling and wringing at his hands the entire time, casting nervous glances behind him at the bemused red-eyed troll. Jade threw her hands in the air and demanded that any troll left unaccounted for was to come home with her, thanks very much, which left you with a grumpy troll standing a little off to your left with an angry expression and questions practically bursting from his lips. Before he had the chance to ask if he could come live with you, you nodded to him and extended a friendly hand. To your shock, he took it, and the two of you boarded a train to Washington later that evening.

When you arrived in Washington, your Dad hadn’t even asked questions. He had simply baked a Welcome cake for Karkat (who stared at it warily, as if it might attack him) and set Karkat up in the basement.

And everything was good. Great, even. Well—great occasionally. Karkat enrolled in an online high school in an attempt to occupy himself during the days while John was at school. The first few weeks, Karkat was absorbed with trying to control his accent (Whoa, that is a lot of z sounds you had thought the first time Karkat got angry with you and started shouting at you in his native Alternian) so that people not acclimated to his speech could better understand him. He also spent a lot of time trying to figure out where the holes in his education were, exactly. To your surprise, the trolls were incredibly well versed in Earth science and mathematics. Karkat was excellent in physics, to the point where you were positive he would quickly test out of the high school levels (he did). He also had a relatively firm grasp on chemistry, although some elements confused him. He’d often come to you, shouting about the stupidity of radioactive elements, and why are humans trying to harness that energy, didn’t they realize how dangerous it is, are they stupid, they must be stupid, because anyone on Alternia, even fucking grubs could tell you that nuclear energy is difficult to control even if it’s the best source of energy—. You’d stare at him blankly as he went off on these tangents, until you’d meekly take the worksheet from his hands, answer the question, and hand it back to him. Then he’d turn on his heel and stomp out of the room to continue working.

While you were busy trying to master your school assignments, Karkat was busy trying to master the ways of human life. He hated the history classes he was forced to take (often called them shitstory under his breath) and would groan and complain when you dragged him out of the house to buy him shoes or clothes or some sort of necessarily like that. He’d often whine and say he’d rather go naked than wear the itchy things humans called clothes, and you’d ignore him as people pointed and laughed at him, wondering what type of makeup he used to make his skin so grey. If Karkat happened to overhear these people whispering about him, he’d turn around and bare his teeth at them, sometimes even growling or chirping his discontent. They’d run away faster then you could say “Shit, I’m sorry, he’s just an alien from a planet that blew up in a different universe, sorry, he’s not used to Earth life yet, please forgive him.”

Time passed.

Karkat eventually calmed down, although he still has a sour edge to him. He never sleeps enough, so his eyes are always lined with black, as if someone took charcoal to his cheekbones and filled the hollows beneath his eyes with the inky black texture. He managed to wrangle his way out of the history classes and found he had a passion for foreign Earth languages, which he studies primarily with his physics lessons. He really enjoys the native tribal languages of Africa, and forced you to learn some of them with him, so that the two of you could have private conversations that pretty much no other person could understand.

He aged well, on top of this. At 13, he had held a boyish, chubby look to his features. His cheeks have thinned out and he grew long and lanky, although he is still considerably short by Earth standards. He’s thin and sometimes you wonder if his legs ever end. His hair is thick and black, spouting out of his head in tufts, to the point where he’s given up trying to control it years ago. The bush is so thick that it successfully hides his horns (most of the time), which enraged him in the beginning but has now become accepted as a basic fact of life and a simple twist of fate. You catch yourself thinking (a lot) that he is handsome, even by human standards, but of course, up until now, you’ve been doing the whole “I am not a homosexual!” bit.

Actually, you started identifying that “love knows no gender!” a few months after that fated conversation with Karkat where you asserted your heterosexuality. Rose had laughed at you and told you that it was only a matter of time until you came to terms with what you are. You had laughed at her, telling her that her silly psychobabble would have no effect on you, but sometimes that statement kept you up at night. You wondered what she meant by it, and whether or not it was true. Were you gay?

By 15 you were pretty sure you’re gay. In the dead of night, when all you could hear was Karkat’s mutterings in his sleep (half Alternian, a quarter English, and a quarter whatever language he was learning at the time—at this point, it was French), you’d look up unsavory things on the Internet…just to test yourself. And. You most certainly did not feel yourself growing hot and bothered, you did not get uncomfortable, you did not touch yourself, you did not do anything like that, how dare anyone accuse you of such things, you are not a terrible pervert, you have standards—okay, you totally beat your meatstick to some pretty wicked gay porn during those nights. So sue you. You’re not perfect. No one ever accused you of being perfect. Something about seeing two guys kissing, making out, having sex just really got you turned on. Which would make sense, because you’re gay.

Now you are 16. It is late at night and you are contemplating your feelings for the grey-skinned troll in the room adjacent to yours.

It’s only natural, you suppose, that you would develop feelings for the troll. You had been living together for three years, and in a lot of ways, he was your safety blanket. After a bad day of school, you’d come home and whine to him about it. He’d listen with an impassive expression, before he’d try comforting you in his usual Karkat-like-ways. Sometimes he’d put a hand on your shoulder and say “there, there,” in a totally non comforting way. Sometimes, he’d get up and sit next to you, placing his head on your shoulder, until the two of you drifted off into sleep (which you enjoyed). Your favorite, though, was when he’d get up and leave the room for what seemed like forever, to the point where you weren’t sure if he was coming back, only to return, toting a blanket, pillows, and a bowl of popcorn. Then, he’d plop himself down next to you, put in a romcom, and he’d make you watch a movie with him.

He also became your best friend. There were too many nights where the both of you would stay up way later than was necessary or acceptable, talking, laughing, sometimes even holding hands in the dark. He’d share with you everything he missed about Alternia, about his other friends, how even though he was angry most of the time, it was just to hide the crushing feelings inside of him that ranged from loneliness to exasperation at the way his life had turned out. In return, you’d tell him about everything you hoped to be, how you had never expected Sburb to end the way it did, how you didn’t really want to marry Rose, how you were pretty sure you liked guys. Karkat hadn’t said anything at that particular confession. His only response was to tighten his grip on your hand, and you knew what the words said behind the gesture: that no matter what, he’d be there for you.

It is the perfect transition into a romantic relationship, really. A transition that’s worthy of one of his romcoms. You just hope that you’re not too late. It’s selfish, you suppose, to hope that he hasn’t moved on from his stupid hate-crush-thing on you after all of these years. But you really can’t help it. One of the greatest tragedies of being a teenager, after all, is loving a person too late.

 

==> Go to Karkat’s room to profess undying and passionate love for the short, angry little man.

 

Isn’t that a little melodrama—

 

==> I SAID GO CONFESS YOUR LOVE FOR THE STUPID ASS TROLL. WHO DO YOU THINK IS CONTROLLING THE STORY HERE? THAT’S RIGHT, ME. Confess your love.

 

You knock on his bedroom door tentatively, receive a “Ouvrir,” so you open the door and walk inside. Karkat looks up at you, muttering, “Que veux-tu? Je suis occupé, branleur.” Basically, it sounds like Ke voo-too? Juh swee okupay, brahnleir. You have no idea what it means, and you’re pretty sure you don’t want to, because you’re pretty sure he just insulted you in French.

“Uh, hi,” you say. He looks at you expectantly. “I wanted to, uh. I wanted to talk to you. About stuff.”

“About stuff,” he says, slowly. He pauses, squinting his eyes at you. “‘Stuff’ sounds like this is going to be a seriously painful discussion.” You shift a little nervously and sit down on his bed. He makes an angry face at you—conveying Oh my God, you stupid human, is this like, normal Earthling courtesy or something? To just sit on someone’s bed without asking? in his facial expression, but you’re so used to it by now that you hardly even notice. He brings his knees up to his chest and hugs them as you try to find ways to occupy yourself other than by looking at him and talking to him and admitting everything you had come to say in one big gush of words in a giant run on sentence.

You last about ten seconds.

“Karkat okay so I came in here to tell you that well you know how you used to have a hate crush on me like forever ago? well I think I have a crush on you, like a real crush on you, like red romance or whatever you’d call it, and I feel terrible because it’s been so long since I turned you down but I was a stupid 13 year old and well yeah I really like you and I came in here to tell you that because I really like you I think I might even love you and, uh.” Your face burns red with embarrassment. Why can’t you ever do anything cool? Why can’t you, like, channel your inner Strider and put the moves on Karkat as opposed to making him pity you or whatever? This is ridiculous. Abort mission!

 

==> Don’t you want to hear what the troll has to say?

 

No. No! Abort mission. You could not care less right now. All you want to do is hide in a corner and pretend that you don’t exist. Because you are so embarrassed, you are sure satellites can pick up the energy coming off of you in waves right now. This is maximum embarrassment. This is awful. You want to move to one of the obscure areas in Africa where you speak their language and live there for the rest of your life in a mud hut. Surely it will be better than having to deal with this embarrassment.

 

==> Now you’re just being offensive, John. Get your ass up off the floor and listen to what the troll is saying.

 

When did you wind up on the floor?

Oh. Karkat pushed you off the bed with his foot.

“You stupid fuckass,” he’s saying, and he’s hovering over you, all angry and rough and beautiful, you think, which doesn’t really fit in with that list of adjectives but works just fine, you suppose. It’s true, after all. “I’ve waited for three fucking years for you to say something, anything, constantly pining after you, and this is how you tell me that you finally reciprocate my feelings? You—I am beyond words. Your stupidity has really astounded me this time, John fucking Egbert, in ways that I would never have imagined possible. Thank you. You have officially confirmed that the human race is the stupidest race, all because of the fact that you are apart of it. How does it feel?”

It is obviously a rhetorical question, so you choose not to respond. Instead, you look up at him—where he has you pinned, one hand pressing down on your shoulder, the other resting on the bed. His legs are straddling your middle and you are still relatively bewildered as to how you got in this position.

Your bewilderment does not slow down Karkat. Not by a long shot. He is still running his mouth, even after you have zoned out in order to attempt to understand your surroundings.

“—It was to the point where I actually asked that stupid Strider dick for advice, and he just laughed at me, and then I told him to fuck off and he stopped helping me. I actually asked the insufferable prick for help, can you even begin to fathom—”

He shuts up suddenly, his facial features smoothing out as he looks down at you. This is when you start to get a little scared—because, to be quite honest, a calm Karkat is a terrifying Karkat. “How long have you liked me?” he asks.

“Uh,” you say. “Uh. I’ve known for a few months.”

“Why are you just telling me now?”

“Because, uh. Because. I was gripped by a moment of stupidity.”

Karkat looks at you calculatingly. Then he nods, more to himself than to you, and says something very simple. “Kiss me.”

You almost burst out laughing right into his face, until you realize that, oh, uh, he’s actually being serious, and it’s all you can do not to laugh nervously. Instead, you run a hand through your messy crop of hair, fixing your eyes pointedly in a different direction while mumbling. “Whoa, hey, I just wanted to, like, confess my love to you or something like that. I wasn’t, uhm, I wasn’t expecting—”

Having an angry troll sit on top of anyone while growling would be disconcerting. It’s especially disconcerting when said angry troll has his hands fisted in your shirt, right beneath the collarbone, until you are bent at an awkward angle. There is troll butt on your thighs, but he is pulling you up by the collar to face him. It is making your back hurt, and you open your mouth to tell him this, but he places a hand over your mouth before you’re able to even get a peep out. “No. Fuck no. Egbert, shut the fuck up for once in your life, and kiss me. If you mean it, kiss me.”

And now you are left in an awkward position—wanting desperately to kiss the troll, whose cheeks are flushed the most beautiful red, the grey pigment of his skin causing the color to look deep, and you think absently that his cheeks look like raspberries. You think back to Terezi telling you that Karkat tasted like cherries, and you wonder if she even knows what a cherry is, because you’re definitely sensing some raspberry in there, and oh, shit, Karkat just let go of you and you hit your head against the floor from the shock of losing his support. “I won’t believe it until you kiss me. I’ve been waiting too fucking long to get my hopes up over something that might be nothing.”

 

==> Yes, you want him, look at him, you know you do. You’re pretty sure he wants you, too—there’s only one way to be sure. It don’t take a word, not a single word, go on and kiss the troll. Sing with me now, Sha-la-la-la-la-la, my, oh, my! Look at the derp, too shy, he ain’t gonna kiss the troll. Sha-la-la-la-la-la, ain’t that sad, ain’t it a shame, too bad, you’re gonna miss the troll.

 

NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BE SINGING A TERRIBLY RENDERED VERSION OF THE DISNEY CLASSIC “KISS THE GIRL” TO MAKE IT APPROPRIATE FOR YOUR SITUATION. IN CASE THE NARRATOR HASN’T NOTICED, YOU’RE SORT OF IN A PREDICAMENT.

 

==> You’ve got to kiss the troll, why don’t you kiss the troll, you gotta kiss the troll, go on and kiss the troll! Goddamn it Egbert, what’s wrong with you? Isn’t Sebastian the Crab’s soothing voice serenading you in your head enough to make you pucker your lips and lean forward? Are you broken or something?

 

Alright, alright. You get it. You’ll admit it. Wow, no one’s gonna get off your case today, are they?

“I’m afraid, Karkat…I’ve never been kissed.”

That makes Karkat stop in his tracks. He pauses, mid-grimace, and you know that you’ve stunned him. There is something inherently pathetic about being a 16-year-old boy living in modern America who has never been kissed. It’s even worse when it’s not by choice—when it’s by an honest-to-God lack of requited romantic interest.

Then, suddenly, Karkat snaps out of whatever reverie he had temporarily visited. He stands up and scrambles up onto his bed, grabs a pillow, and then plops himself down in front of you. There’s a mischievous grin twinkling in his eyes, and you’re not sure whether to be excited, curious, or, quite frankly, fucking terrified.

“Alright. I know how we’re going to do this, nooksniffer,” he says, in a voice so calm that you decide it’s time to be terrified. “If you’re serious that you like me, but that you’re afraid to kiss me, then this should help. I’m going to put the pillow in front of my face. You’ll kiss in the general direction of my lips. Then we’ll remove the pillow and try without it.

“If you aren’t serious…,” his voice trails off. He purses his lips, thinking, and you know that if he were 13 again, he’d be listing off a string of very colorful curses and insults in the wake of your imagined betrayal. “Are you ready?” he asks, and now you’re flustered again, because this isn’t what you had wanted.

Abort mission?

No. You’re going to do this. You’re going to make this happen.

You don’t quite trust your vocal chords, though. They seem to have constricted, and you’re pretty sure that even if you tried to say something, the only thing that would come out would be a pathetic little squeak. Instead, you nod at Karkat, casting your eyes down at your hands (which have now become about 75% more interesting than they were two seconds before—hey, is that a nail on that finger? How fascinating!) as Karkat puts the pillow in front of his face.

You lean forward, eyes suddenly locked on the expanse of white in front of you.

This is ridiculous. Yet somehow it’s a completely reasonable response to your irrationality, and you will have to thank Karkat for this, someday, when both of you are older and you aren’t so afraid of kissing him. You continue leaning forward, breathing through your nose, and you plant your lips in the general direction of where you imagine Karkat’s lips to be.

It’s basically like a pre-teen girl practicing kissing on her pillow. Yet, you can feel the faint outline of Karkat’s face through the packaged fluff. After a few seconds, you pull your face away from the pillow. Karkat pulls the pillow off his face and casts it aside haphazardly. He has a strange look in his face—half excitement, half fear. You can tell that he’s worried you won’t be able to follow through with the final “act” to prove your crush on him.

So, you refuse to let yourself think. You close your eyes and lean forward until your lips meet something. Unsurprisingly, they meet the side of his face, and it takes awkward fumbling and confused maneuvering until your lips are pressed against his.

His lips are rough and chapped, but there is a warmth that courses beneath the skin that you are surprised to feel. It feels good. Everything about Karkat is so overwhelmingly warm and inviting, suddenly, and you feel no qualms about bringing a hand around to hold the back of his neck.

And then your lips are working together, and he’s kissing you back. Your lips move together and after a while, Karkat’s tongue brushes against your bottom lip, and you part your lips the slightest bit in order to let him in. The kiss deepens and you’re trying to think back to all of the fanfiction you’ve read over the years. You’re trying to remember how writers wrote kissing--are you doing it right, come on, remember! Then Karkat sighs into your mouth and a bolt of electricity jolts down your spine, and all you can think of, really, is oh and the wonderful feeling of his lips pressed against yours.

He pulls away from you shortly after, and you leave your hand on the back of his neck. He’s not smiling, but he’s the closest to it that you’ve ever seen. He looks at you before he gestures a little towards the bed.

“…Well? It’s not like I haven’t been waiting for this day for three fucking years.”

And then you laugh, because what else is there to do? Both of you stand up and then you’re latched onto each other again, tumbling down onto the soft comforters, holding each other, kissing, sighing, and touching, everything you have dreamed of, and more. No matter how dorky the avenue may have been, the outcome is definitely worth it, you decide. You throw any other thoughts away and throw yourself into the moment, because this is as close to perfection as you’ve ever been.