Chapter 1: That Man is Screaming at Barney
Karkat sighed loudly, rummaging through his pockets for the change he needed. The cashier narrowed her eyes at him from behind the thick lenses of her glasses. They were so large that she'd probably go blind if she looked into a bright light, no wonder she worked in a cramped, trashy gas station.
No--wait--that was because her personality left much to be desired. Very, very much.
"Sir, hurry up," she hissed, gripping the sides of the counter she stood behind,"there are people waiting."
Karkat fixed her with a withering glare, fished out the two quarters he needed, and slammed them onto the counter, snatching the soda away.
"Thank you for your patronage," The cashier seethed.
Karkat left as quickly as possible in an attempt to avoid the poisonous stares of the other customers who were stuck in line behind him. Popping open the lid, he took a long full, and promptly choked as a man dressed in medieval attire came into view.
Karkat sputtered, desperately trying not to spew Coke everywhere as he watched the albino in the red cape ask the TV behind the window of the shop he was standing in front of directions.
"Dost thou happen to know where the stables are located?" He was demanding, making wild gestures at Barney, with his armor clinking. When the famed purple dinosaur broke into song, the man balled his fists and then cupped his hands around his mouth.
"STABLES?!" He shouted, attracting attention from passerby like a magnet.
Karkat stumbled towards the white-haired loon, gulping."Look," he held his hands out,"we don't appreciate LARPers around here. Seriously--what the fuck?"
The "knight" spun around at inhuman speed, considering the weight his armor probably was."What is...'LARPers?'" He echoed carefully, eyebrows creasing.
"No. No, don't you fucking dare give me that bullshit. I'm tired of the acts, 'specially since most my friends practically killed each other playing that game!"
"Good man, I assure you I am not putting on such an act. It is not in mine conscience, very much so if your comrades were wounded! Sir David Strider at your service." The pale man bowed with a sweep of his crimson cape, almost entangling Karkat in it as he flourished it.
The grumpy man groaned loudly, staring at the "LARPer" with a gaze that spoke "murder."
"I'm done with this intricate fuckery. You keep on screeching at Barney and I'll be on my way," Karkat said sweetly, and strode off.
"P-please wait!" The albino called nervously,"Dost thee happen to possess knowledge regarding the location of any stables or kingdoms? I only wish to return to my homeland. This peculiar town and its magics are too daunting for me..."
"'Sir David,' go get a life!" Karkat sniffed.
It started drizzling when Karkat arrived back at his apartment, and he couldn't help but look out the window and out into the city for David.
"Oh my God..." Karkat breathed.
Sir David was still sitting in front of the TV store out in the now pouring rain, his knees to his chest, trying to use his cape as a cover. He looked absolutely pitiful and Karkat couldn't imagine being so dedicated to a character like that. He never really even heard his LARPer friends using that kind if vocabulary either--he could hardly understand it.
Oh hell no.
He wasn't playing a character, was he.
Filled to the brim with confusion and guilt, Karkat equipped himself with his trusty rain jacket and favored weapon, the mighty umbrella, and rushed back to Sir David.
Chapter 2: Epic Battle
Karkat rushed back to Sir David, careful not to slip on the streets slick with rain. As he sprinted, he opened his umbrella--unfortuately in the same moment the wind decided that would be a perfect moment to blow at full power.
The pessimist in the sweater was dragged backwards and began roaring obscenities as he valiantly fought against the gust.
Sir David noticed and leapt to his feet instantly, concerned. He made his way to the shouting man and grabbed ahold of the umbrella handle, and Karkat fumbled for the lock desperately.
When all else failed, David unsheathed a sword from his belt and swung at the fabric, with the dark-haired shorty yelping and letting it go. The umbrella soared off and away to a better place, where it was sure to torment some other unlucky sucker.
The rain had plastered their hair to their faces and Karkat was muttering and growling under his breath. David was breathing heavily and slid his blade back into its sheath, when Karkat took note that it was cracked, and likely had been for a long time.
"What sort of malevolent beast was that?" Sir David squinted off into the distance, his red eyes searching for the umbrella.
"It's was a fucking umbrella and it was supposed to keep me dry, but you chopped it up with a goddamn sword!" Karkat got to his feet and grabbed the front of David's cloak."You're coming with me before you swing that cheap piece of shit at some other loser." He began dragging the knight away, not caring to ask whether he was alright. The taller man stumbled.
"Does that mean it was not...alive?" He asked sheepishly, his pale face flushing visibly. Karkat almost felt embarrassed for him at this point, especially since David's lack of pigment totally made his face bright crimson.
"Of course not. Did you see any eyes or mouth?" Karkat stopped at the stairs, which were outside the building, with the rooms lining it."Go up and be careful. I'm not stepping until you get there because I don't want you to fucking land on me."
David contemplated ignoring Karkat and just standing there simply to piss him off, but obliged, considering that Karkat was...taking him somewhere, and he had nothing else to do.
He slipped a few times, clumsily, and with great pride got to the second floor of the complex without fatally injuring himself. It was a task for Sir David, with his armor and cape. As he spotted all the ugly muddy smudges on the now-tattered edges of his cloak, he bit his lip.
Karkat easily got up the stairs, have David a questioning look, and yanked on his arm, pointing to Room 413."Go there, dumbass."
The aforementioned "dumbass" glared at the sweater-wearing shorty and cautiously got up to the door, turned the knob, and went in without asking. Karkat had forgotten to lock the door in his panic, and currently he felt regret for "saving" Sir David.
"So what the hell's your story?" Karkat flopped down onto his couch as he slammed the door shut. David was standing awkwardly, glancing around warily.
"Well...I was asleep in mine own quarters, and I awoke in this corrupt town," the knight explained."How do you live in such a place? There are demonic not-alive things attacking people and the dragons behind the magic barriers do not respond!" David huffed and crossed his arms.
Karkat suppressed a snicker and started unbuttoning his soggy rainjacket."I'm afraid there's no such thing as dragons or magic, David. Look, if you really are a knight, you've traveled in time or some bullshit." He leaned forwards."And unless that's something you do when you sleep, you're not going back for a helluva long time. So...get on the Internet and learn your shit." The grump chuckled and Sir David didn't look amused.
"Oh!" David remembered something."I usually inform those not close to me of this. I apologize for the flamboyant charade I put on while out there, for in my kingdom it is not fitting for a knight of honor such as mine to be rude. If I really have leapt forwards in time as you have said, there is no need for such stiff politeness." He started stripping off his armor, and Karkat found his face hot all of a sudden.
"So, in actuality, I am a rude buffoon and shall torment you," Sir David said in a sweet tone, to mock what Karkat had said earlier about him "getting a life."
He laid his dirty cloak and armor down in a messy pile and sat on the seat opposite to Karkat."So...what is this 'Internet' you speak of?...And what kind of things do you have in this wicked area?"
Karkat's face exploded into a mischievous grin."You really wanna know?"
Hours later, newly nick-named Dave Strider sipped a bottle of apple juice from a straw noisily.
Chapter 3: Lightbulb Showdown
I can't handle Old English. Luckily with Dave's Internet exposure he keeps that fancy vocab to a minimum because I want him to.
Please critique and give advice as harshly as possible.
Dave slurped up the rest of his apple juice lazily, blinking his shockingly red eyes just as lazily. Honestly, Karkat was startled with how well the knight was adjusting to modern life, though he still called himself "Sir David," even though he'd been told numerous that everyone everywhere would think that's lame and weird, because that's what he was.
If Dave really were from the past. Karkat didn't know if he fully believed the albino in the first place, even though he told pretty great stories about his homeland. He could just be making it up, but he had promised to get a job and pay Karkat to live with him...partly because the grumpy man had convinced him that nearly everyone else in the area were total barbarians. In fact, he was almost certain Dave was terrified of the woman living next door, and especially so of Terezi and Sollux, as Karkat had taken time to tell his own stories.
The way he'd painted it, Terezi was a psycho who deserved her own throne in hell, and Sollux was the biggest asshole on earth with a boner for everyone. Actually, for the last part, Karkat described all the people he knew that way, mainly because he paid close attention to their behavior.
Sometimes, he'd talk with Nepeta about potential couples, but he'd always complain about it and how she were "forcing" him to do so.
Anyway, Karkat was still denying he found his new roommate smoking hot. There were so many ways that whole concept could go wrong. Wasn't homosexuality a sin, especially in Dave's time? He probably wasn't even gay on the first place.
And what Karkat was getting from the tales the knight wove, he was only alive because the king had spent months confirming with all the subjects and royalty that Dave was not, in fact, the devil's reincarnation.
"Sir David"'s sudden shout and a sound like a bullet going off yanked Karkat out of his thoughts.
"What kind of sorcery is this?" Dave breathed, pressed up against the wall like a horrified cat. There was shattered glass dusting the floor, and when the sweater-wearing asshole's gaze shot up, panicked, he realized that Dave had knocked a lightbulb to the floor. The albino was now examining the lit lamp, narrowing his eyes."Why does an ordinary subject like you possess such powerful weapons?" He mused. His view shot back to the glass on the floor, and then his mind to the jarring noise the bulb had made when it dropped, and he grabbed for the lamp's lightbulb, wrapping his hand around it.
Specifically, the lamp bulb that had been left on for the past few hours.
Dave made a noise like a dying animal and with a dramatic shout of,"God hath no fury that rivals such hellfire!" Stumbled backwards and plunked himself into the floor, waving his hand to cool it.
Karkat rushed over, crouching beside the knight."A-are you okay? You're such a fucking idiot..." He cringed when Dave shook his head rapidly and his sheet-pale hand started darkening. Karkat lightly touched Dave's thumb, and the albino squealed childishly.
"Ugh. For an honorable knight, you're such a baby." Karkat rolled his eyes,"I have medicine... wow. Just...wow." Dave retorted,"If you had had your hand scorched by the rage of an angel you would have been in pain as well!" He paused, and then, using his newfound knowledge of the present, added,"asshole."
Karkat snorted and left the heroic knight behind to nurse his battle wounds.
Chapter 4: SHOWER UNDER THE UNFORGIVING GLARE OF THE BLAZING SUN FROM HELL
Next chapter reveals more backstory on the both of them, I myself am excited...
Dave turned his hand over, analyzing the bandages his new roommate had wrapped tightly around it."Honestly," he complained,"the mere notion you own so many of these is absolutely preposterous! I--I mean, that really is a sucky idea. Having all those around." He corrected himself, attempting to use "modern slang."
Karkat rolled his eyes."You're so totally such a fucking baby. That was a lightbulb and they make light. You shouldn't have touched one that's been left on for a long time. You shouldn't have knocked one to the floor either!" He crossed his arms and glared at Dave, who returned the expression.
"By the way..." Karkat stared at the knight's freckle-coated face."Do you want to shower or something?"
Ten minutes of loud cursing and shouting, Dave was standing inside the bathroom, embarrassed."I'm sure I don't need a 'shower,'" he protested through the firmly shut door to Karkat,"I got along just fine without it in my homeland."
Karkat hissed a muffled response back."You idiot, idiot moron! People take showers to stay clean--oh my God you haven't ever taken one?! Freakin' turn the knob, burn out your eyes with the soap like I know you will, and get clean!"
"We took baths..."
"THAT DOESN'T FUCKING EXCUSE THAT YOU PROBABLY CARRY RABIES OR SOME SHIT!"
Dave made a few "blabbermouth" gestures behind the door immaturely, opening and closing his hand as his new roommate ranted on.
"Blah blah blah..." He muttered."So I just go in and turn the knob to shower? Is that it?"
A snippy "yes," and then the addition of,"you can't shower in your clothes either, dumbass! It's like a bath, if you've ever actually taken one of those."
Dave, upset he'd likely have to remove his bandages too, groaned, and then minutes later, when he was positive Karkat wasn't still outside, he was in the shower peering at the symbols on the knob. The knight had a hard time choosing between the snowflake and the sun--he had no idea what they did, but they both looked really cool to him. A bit after contemplating the "biggest question of his life," Dave grabbed the handle and twisted it all the way to the blazing red sun.
At first he was a tad bit puzzled as to why it was cold, but then--
Chapter 5: Don't You Dare Hurt Yourself Again, It's Not As Funny As It Was Before
Two chapters in one day?
I'm leaving the party, or just "meet up" for the next chapter.
Karkat jolted as Dave's screech rang throughout the apartment and shoved his face into his hands."Holy. Shit. You fucking injure yourself on everything, don't you. No wonder you were blasted through time or some crap, you'd probably fall through a castle window! Ughhhh."
Karkat heard the intense spray of the shower slow down and a long, quiet sigh of relief. He assumed "Sir David" had come to his senses and was drenching himself in icy water now. At least he wasn't using up the hot water.
The grump's phone vibrated all of a sudden, a certain face popping up onto the screen. Terezi.
"What do you want?" Karkat snapped, swiping his smartphone off the table and answering.
"Oh hey Karkles! I just wanted to see how you were doooiing! I had to get Mr. Appleberry to dial you for me so don't let our struggle go in vain!"
"You're with Sollux? Fucking bullshit. You wouldn't meet up without me."
"Karkat, I'm calling about the party we invited you to. Along with eeeveryone else? Hahah, oh my God, you forgot? You totally said you'd be here! Ten o'clock, Friday night?"
Karkat almost dropped his phone and fumbles for it between his hands."Oh fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck..." He cursed."I did forget. I just. Got caught up in something. Be right over!"
He ended the call before Terezi could respond with a snicker and an off-kilter insult.
There came a knock from behind the bathroom door."I'm coming out now. Don't flip your shit again."
"You'd better have a towel at least."
Karkat pumped his fist vigorously, a catastrophe averted.
By the time Dave had gotten into the clothes Karkat had supplied for him (very big shirts and pants that his friends had given to him as a joke on his birthday), Karkat himself was ready to leave for Terezi and...Gamzee's... party.
Honestly, Karkat didn't know what Terezi was doing, dating that absolute piss stain. It was going to end up abusive or just plain badly some time.
"I'm leaving, don't kill yourself with an oven-microwaveable bread stick," He said, opening the front door.
Dave was sprawled out on the couch lazily.
"I assure you I won't injure myself with whatever kind of bread stick that may be. Can you at least get me back onto the computer? I won't try and talk to it again, it just looked so lifelike..."
Karkat snorted,"You're supposed to ask me where I'm going so I can take you with me without changing the subject myself, you're actually coming with me to meet my friends and I don't give a fuck about your feelings about that." He went over to the couch and tugged at Dave's sleeve."I'm not going to stop bugging you until you comply, so just come on or I'll be late!"
Once outside, the sweater-covered man opened up his phone and checked the address."Let's walk."
The knight shrugged and started off without waiting for his roommate, easily taking long strides, and easily pissing Karkat off as he hurried to catch up.
"I'll ask you now, because for all I know you are taking me to a criminal hideout," Dave sniffed,"where are we going?"
"A party. So you can meet my friends. Terezi, Sollux, Kanaya, y'know."
"Y-you mean the dragon woman, the 'nerd,' and the vampire?"
Karkat suppressed a snicker and nodded.
Dave shuddered and put his hands into his pockets.
"Hey. You know what I haven't asked you?" Karkat said suddenly."What's your life like? With your friends and family. You only told stories about fighting and shit."
Dave hastily replied,"Nothing really, I'm just a knight. You know." He received a death glare from below and sighed dramatically.
"My brother is the heir to the throne. I'm a knight because not only am I incredible--"(Karkat snorted)"--but because my father is the king."
"So really my new roommate is royalty. I wonder if we can still bribe people with something like that. Probably not. Well, now that you've told me about you, I guess I'll do the same. I am almost poor as shit, even though everyone tells me I'm exaggerating, and I'm an orphan. Doesn't bring up the prettiest image in your mind, does it." Karkat yawned, bored. He could see the bar coming into view.
Surpisingly, Dave was quiet for the rest of the short walk.
Chapter 6: BAR PARTY
Sorry for the late chapter! I hope I've portrayed everyone well ;m;
Karkat flung open the doors to the bar, and was instantly greeted by shouts of "Hi man!" and "Sup"s. Dave, nervous, rubbed the back of his neck, but concealed his anxiety with an impeccable poker-face.
"Hey Karkles!" A girl with red, sharp glasses, a dragon-shaped cane, and ginger hair made her way over to the duo."I smell a new guy!" She giggled, and Dave chewed his lip.
"Yeah right. Stop being so weird, Terezi--someone's told you." Karkat responded. Terezi whacked him with her cane, and then tapped his guest's shoe with it."So who're you? You're a dude nerd with big feet, so you're prob'ly tall." She said suddenly.
"I...I'm Karkat's roommate?" Dave swallowed. His new friend's description of all his buddies didn't help. Honestly, he was worried that the girl with freckles more than he had would breathe fire or take a big bite out of his arm or something.
"Karkitty!" A blur sped through the edges of the knight's vision and tackled Karkat. Fearing for his roommate's life, he stumbled over to the heap of gray sweater and green trench coat on the floor. There was a tiny girl with shiny brown hair and a kitty beanie squeezing Karkat tight."Oww! Nepeta, get the hell off," "Karkitty" complained. A muscular, dark-skinned man had to pry her off him and dragged Nepeta away, where he quietly scolded her.
"Tho KK, who'th thith?"
"Oh yeah Karkat! He looks pretty interesting!"
There were a few more seated at a group of smaller tables, and a boyish man in a deep blue hoodie and a painfully thin one with tufty blonde hair were the ones that had called to him.
"He's my roommate! Terezi should've told you two losers by now!" Karkat groaned.
"I thee he'th wearing the clotheth we got you," The one with the strange blue and red tinted glasses commented through a heavy lisp,"that clothe already?"
The short girl with thick, goggle-like glasses chuckled to herself.
"No, he just didn't have anything else--"
"I am here, you know, and am perfectly capable of speaking for myself," Dave interrupted.
The childish-looking one with the large, square glasses gave him a beaming smile."What's your name? I'm John!" He enthusiastically held out a hand, and when the albino took it, he shook vigorously.
Karkat walked off with the taller one, talking, saying something along the lines of,"You asshole, you should never have done that!"
John stared at Dave, almost in awe."Sorry," he said sheepishly, noticing Dave shifting on his feet awkwardly."You're just so...interesting. I don't know what it's like to be you, everyone must stare like me and stuff, but you look seriously cool."
Back in Dave's homeland (and time), no one had thought or said that to him. Pretty much everyone except his own family had believed he had the devil inside him due to his lack of pigment and bright red eyes. He felt a smile creep onto his face."That's because I am cool."
The duo stayed at the party for hours more, chatting up a storm. Dave became great friends with six others--John, Jade, Rose, Jane, Jake, and Roxy. Karkat kept up with Terezi, Gamzee, Nepeta, and all the others. They got to watch the lispy one (who was apparently named Sollux) and Eridan take shots against each other to settle a dispute, and end up drunk as Gamzee himself. Or at least, as sober as the clown. Which was hardly sober.
They got to watch Aradia and Tavros sing a peppy duet in karaoke, and Vriska convincing her "Scourge Sister" from back in the day to join her in singing the same song. It escalated to an all-out karaoke brawl, and Dave eventually convinced John and Roxy to get up on the stage with their friend Callie.
It was an awful lot of fun, and just spectating on the whole mess made Dave relieved he hadn't had anything but glasses of apple juice.
Terezi and Gamzee were nowhere to be found.
As everyone started saying or slurring their intoxicated goodbyes, John stopped by Dave."Hey man! Before I go, take these." The prankster took a pair of aviators out of his hoodie pocket, and Jade, who had come up behind them, gasped."Wow, John! You don't even let me touch those!" John grinned."Dave, these are my prized possessions. The actual shades from a movie. And I want you to have them. Also, because I don't really use them," he added.
"You're lucky." Jade took the aviators, examined them, and with an overbite-graced smile, handed them to Dave."He realllllly loves those. This is special then! Well, you are a coolkid!"
The knight held the shades carefully, his own grin widening."Thanks John." Without caring about the darkened surroundings, he put them on.
A blonde girl with hair that curled at the ends stepped up to the small group."Ayyyyyyyy--ay, those are John's shades man! Wooooah, did 'ee give 'em to you? Good job Dave!" Roxy was obviously drunk, and Rose, her sister, had to guide her away, but not before giving "Sir David" an approving thumbs-up.
The bar filled out, and Karkat magically reappeared with a drink in hand."Nice night? You better have had one. Also, good job getting the Con Air glasses. About fucking time that idiot gave them up."
And with a final smile from the albino, they went back to their apartment.
Chapter 7: Get a Job and a History Lesson
Late update once more, I hope I haven't warded everyone away.
Also, sorry about the short chapter.
[crosses fingers] pleasegetthepunwithDirkpleaseplease
Weeks later, and Dave had settled into a new life surprisingly well. He'd told Karkat that he had gotten a new job, new opportunity, and nothing else. Karkat hadn't known he actually worked at McDonald's for a while until he spewed soda all over the counter with Dave behind it, in a dashing red and yellow uniform.
Once the knight had earned enough, he moved on to try and be a DJ, despite Karkat telling him that that was a "fucking shitty" idea.
Sometimes, they both forgot that "Sir David" was from long ago, in a galaxy not nearly far away.
"Hey Dave, what was the name of your homeland again?"
Dave rushed into the room, eyes wide behind his shades, which he just about never took off.
Karkat was in front of his laptop on his desk, and had seemingly shot to his feet, with the chair tipped over onto the floor behind him and the cords down there with it.
"...Hart? Before you make some pissy comment about the creativity of my dad I'll have to inform you that he wasn't the one who named it. And we weren't the first people there, of fucking course."
"I'm searching it up. Be thankful for the genius bestowed upon me," was the snippy retort.
Dave immediately leaned in beside Karkat as the shorter one pulled his seat back up and slammed fingers down on the keys, and hit "enter."
"Hart, or the Kingdom of Hart. Ancient kingdom hundreds years old, known among historians for being 'unusual' in general.
The last of the king and his descendants mysteriously vanished, all from the heir to the throne to the youngest son.
Click here for more."
Chapter 8: History Lesson
ARE YOU PLEASED WITH ME
"The old kingdom of Hart has always been a mystery. Not only has it seemed to have 'evolved' faster than the rest of its time in technology, religion and more, all history starting seemingly right before all members of its current royalty vanished had been recorded. Occasionally, the author used modern words and slang. The only reason archaeologists and other various scientists are certain the records are not mere fakes are due to the paper used, the faint ink, and some forms of carbon dating.
Hart was nestled away from many other kingdoms and towns, and it relied only upon itself. It seemed as if the royal family had just settled into their roles. Strangely, the king had no queen, and he, the heir to the throne, and the younger prince, were brothers. The peculiar system has not been explained in the records. It seemed as if a mere 3-4 years after the King came into power, they all disappeared into thin air, leaving no trace (at least none found).
The kingdom fell into immediate panic, and Hart crumbled as men struggled for newfound power.
At least, that is what the records state."
Dave's arm shot over Karkat's shoulder and he slammed fingers down on the keys, command-Q-ing out of the window before his roommate could scroll further.
"Hey--what the hell was that?" Karat spun around in his chair, eyes narrowed. David took a long, drawn-out sip of the glass of apple juice in his hand. He'd left to retrieve it and, with rusty reading skill, sped through the snippy paragraphs of the slightly ambiguous article.
"I don't know what you mean," Dave drawled, and took another sip. The golden liquid reached the bottom and his straw made an irritating, audible slurping noise. The knight saw Karat cringe, and made point to suck louder.
"What, you just upset your story doesn't end with a 'happily ever after?'" Karkat spat insensitively, crossing his arms tightly in from this chest.
"Still don't know what you're talking about."
"Don't play this fucking game with me, Strider."
"Hey, look at the time--"--Dave tapped the invisible watch on his sleeve-covered arm--"time for another gag of mine, DJ-ing doesn't DJ itself..."
"Time for another gig. Later Vantas."
Dave left the empty glass on the table carelessly, and somewhat hastily, got up and shut the door behind him as he left the apartment, almost snapping his fingers. Karat glared in the direction of the exit for a solid minute or two, decided being angry for nothing wouldn't do any good for him (not while the target of his rage was gone, anyways), and settled on pretending to hold a grudge when Dave came back.
Karat knew Dave was only going to crash at John or Jade or Rose or Jane's place to ironically post some memes and fake being okay, or sit at a table at the McDonald's he used to work at and tell his ex-coworkers he'd order something soon. He just knew. Just like he knew all his friends so well--he paid closer attention to them than they thought. It was only natural for him to actually care about them. He could deny it all he wanted but he knew himself well too.
Karkat went into the search history, cleared it with a click of the mouse, and put his head down on the small desk.
Dave should come back soon.
Chapter 9: A Coolkid's Escape
A few blocks walked and several impatient rings of a doorbell later, Dave was snugly seated inside John's living room, resisting the urge to flat out nap on his friend's couch. The room was a combination of cozy and nerdy, with warm lighting and a decently-sized TV on the wall, placed above a gaming system and movies in their boxes. Just from where he sat, Dave could see Ghostbusters, a bent copy of Con Air in the trash bin, and a seemingly brand-new game in a paper cover with a symbol of a lime-green house on it and the words "SBURB" hastily scrawled across it.
He'd have to ask John about it later.
Speaking of John, he'd just come back into the room, skillfully balancing several played of cookies in his hands. If Dave didn't know him better he would've look extremely irritated at the quantity of baked goods he had to deal with, and though he was, he loved his grandmother. Ever since his Nanna almost got killed by a heavy copy of a prank book, John had become protective and borderline-phobic of losing her. The knight couldn't blame him, though since he'd never been close to his oldest brother, he wouldn't know. The closest thing Dave ever had to a guardian was Rose, primarily because she was always looking out for him. And he hadn't even known her for more than a year.
"Nanna almost murdered me with another avalanche of cookies," John said sheepishly, spreading the plates out along the arms of the couch,"I was thinking that since you know how sick I am of baked things you could take them for me? You could share 'em with Karkat."
Dave sampled some of the chocolate chip confections and immediately took the platter into his lap."I dunno man, if you're lucky there'll be some left after I leave your place."
John snickered, and then eyed the snickerdoodles with faint disgust."Good. I've had enough Betty Crocker and such products for a lifetime." As Dave wolfed down some more greedily (there weren't many sweet treats like sugar cookies and red velvet cake back in Hart) John yawned and grabbed for the TV remote."Wanna watch some Ghostbusters?"
"Sure... I've got a lot of time to burn."
Hours later, with the marshmallow menace and the other antagonists defeated, and with many slices of cake and cookies devoured, Dave felt better.
While he did immensely enjoy hanging out with John, sometimes it was just to help him calm down, and it was nice to know the bespectacled other would always be there for him. He felt like he could rely on John.
"You wanna stay for a while longer, or...?" Came Dave's friend's voice from beside him.
"Only if you're okay with it."
Karkat could wait.
For now...at least.
Chapter 10: Breakup
Karkat drummed his fingers on his desk impatiently. Without Dave around, there was plenty to do. He... he could watch pointless cat videos. Or send out a link to "Never Gonna Give You Up" or "What is Love?" everyone via a group chat and watch his phone explode with texts. Karat could...could... unironically watch that one anime Nepeta had gotten him hooked on. It'd be easier without "Sir David" around to tease him. Truthfully, it was both embarrassing and sinful to be watching anime with anyone else around.
Hell, it was sinful no matter what.
But Karat didn't have a shit to give.
He'd made his way to his couch after five solid minutes of psyching himself up to get back up from his chair, and was reaching for his TV remote when:
Karkat was immediately at the door, and practically flung it open."What are you doing here?" He demanded,"you never visit!"
The ginger-haired, freckle-caked woman averted her gaze and rubbed her arm, almost ashamedly."Can I crash here for the night? May...maybe just a few hours?" She whispered, keeping her eyes pinned to the floor.
"Terezi is there something wrong?" Karkat was taken aback with his friend's sudden muted personality. It was like someone had put a stomped the feist out of her. He scanned her, and narrowed his eyes."You're wearing long sleeves and a turtleneck. It's summer and at least 80 fucking degrees out. You have a bruise on your cheek. You've never been good with concealer, have you," Karat hissed. Terezi's clouded-over eyes widened and her face lit up red."It's nothing."
Karkat's arm shot out and he yanked up her sleeve. Crying out, Terezi pulled away, shocked and looking betrayed.
Ugly bruises and red cuts spotted her arm, clumsily applied, "skin color" makeup vainly attempting to do its job. Karkat let out a loud wheeze, likely audible from across the state.
"Holy shit," he breathed,"you. Your. This was Gamzee wasn't it. He fucking did this to--"
"I broke up with him. I don't know why I ever dated him. I even thought that maybe we could've been a real thing one day. It was a huge fucking mistake and it totally blew up in my face and I don't know why I didn't see it coming." Terezi hugged her sides."I never even had a real relationship before him. I was just so eager, so, so desperate that I fell for him. He did all this fucking awful shit to me and made me feel like crap and I didn't realize that wasn't how it worked until it was too late and I couldn't say no and end my connection to him. It never even occurred to me at first that maybe I shouldn't be getting cuts and slaps from a boyfriend. I couldn't tell anyone. I don't know why, a...a honor thing...? I... I didn't want Gamzee hurt or, or charged. I don't know why. But... yesterday I, I finally told him to leave me alone." Terezi's eyes brimmed with tears,"But he got worse. I had to run I had to literally run and I'm scared, Karkat."
For a moment she did look truly, truly terrified, and then truly ashamed."I didn't. Mean to tell you all that...!" Her voice broke. Karat stood rigid, still as a statue."Oh my God. You, you stay here as long as you want. Take Dave's room for all I care, I..." He trailed off."I'm so sorry."
Chapter 11: The Homeless Sword Chap with the Hat Thing
"Oh, okay. See you next time, I guess." John waved from his porch as his close friend, Dave, left, carrying a near-overwhelming amount of baked confections in bags with an expression behind his shades that john could only describe as smug. John had given Dave those aviators himself and it felt nice to know that they were being put to good use--even at night. The black-haired man tilted his head upwards to observe the sky and its stars, and try and guess what time it was. Probably around three in the morning, but he could always be wrong.
Not wanting to let bugs (or ghosts, he joked to himself childishly) in, he shut the door carefully and stretched back out onto his couch. John had watched too many movies to fall asleep, so he just lounged there for a solid five minutes before he jolted back up. He been planning to call his sister Jade lately--and she was out on a trip in some other part of the world (He thought it was Australia. Didn't she say it was some kind of secluded island?) and wherever she was, it was day. He grabbed for his phone and dialed, waiting for her to pick up anxiously.
"...Hello? Oh wait, caller ID--hi John!"
"Hi Jade! What time is it, I hope I'm not waking you up or something."
John could tell Jade sounded quite awake and bright, but he asked to be cautious and to be polite.
"No it's totally fine! How're you doing?"
He filled her in on how he was finally able to get rid of all the cakes and cookies, and complained good-naturedly about how his Nanna was giving him Jade's sweets too and how he couldn't stand all of it. She giggled.
"Oh--by the way-- how's Jake," John asked, what with his older brother not picking up,"Is he off doing stuff with Jane and Roxy again? How's Jane, too?" Jane was an excellent cousin, John knew it.
Jade squealed."Oh my God! The most hilarious thing's happened to him. He picked up this homeless guy who talked like he'd been playing RPGs too long, like a wizard! He looked like he was trying to steal a katana from this store that Jake was passing on the way to the airport and when Jake offered to help him he started spouting this stuff about this one puppet store (honestly, puppets?). He had no idea where he was, but he had a hat he said he took from some other person."
"What?" John cried through snorts of laughter,"You're pulling my leg! You're picking stuff up from Dad!"
"No I swear! Jake was going to take a flight back to see you guys that's why he was going to the airport!" As Jade paused, John could practically hear her smile stretch across her face as she tried not to burst into giggles."But later the guy--the guy demolished Jake's phone with the same fucking katana!" There was a long pause, like Jade was stunned that she had swore."Well anyways, he's trying to take care of the bloke. That's why he hasn't called yet."
"No way is that true."
"No I swear! I'm not joking! But it's awful funny to laugh at. I'd be surprised if that homeless dude didn't go and steal a puppet, too. When Jake gets back you can ask him. Also, I think the guy's name was...Dick? Dick Strudel. No--no of course not, that can't be it..." She fumbled around for the correct name for a few more seconds, the sound of snapping fingers echoing into the phone."Well, his name was definitely Dick. Or maybe... Oops! Sorry John I have to go! Bec just ran off and I have to go back to my stuff! It's very important stuff. Bye!"
She hung up.
How...odd, John thought. He couldn't wait to tell Dave and everyone else, though--he'd definitely think he was lying.
Chapter 12: Freaking Clíches
Let's flip our flips over this together
Terezi, despite Karkat's insists, didn't want to take Dave's bed, because she thought it wouldn't be fair, especially since Dave himself was absent. She and Karkat argued for a long half hour over her taking the couch (Terezi wanted it, Karkat was determined to get her a bed) but this was fine, since they argued normally and they both knew they were trying to do the "right thing," in their eyes. In the end, Karkat made Terezi take his bed, and he took extra time to replace all the sheets, pillowcases, and the comforter, for which Terezi teased him for.
It was quite late by then, and both of them were exhausted. Karkat shuffled across the room, yawning like he hadn't slept in years, making for the couch; he then realized the primary reason for his not wanting Terezi to use it-- it was stained with something unidentifiable, but of which Karkat was entirely sure he didn't want to know what it was, and that desire magnified when he touched it and some came off, sticky, onto his fingers. He swore under his breath, and spent another five minutes trying to wash it and its horrifying smell off. By then he was ready to murder a man for a nap, and then the slightly faded red sheets of his roommate's bed caught his eye.
Well... he was the one who got Dave the bed and...well...Dave wasn't coming back anytime soon, right?
Karkat burrowed under the sheets, fully clothed (with the childish reasoning of Dave's sheets containing something akin to cooties) and pulled the blankets over his head.
Dave shut the door behind him as cautiously as possible, and it closed with a muffled click. He could barely see through his aviators and tired gaze, and he could still see the outlines of the Ghostbusters characters when he shut his eyes. He felt like vomiting, now severely regretting the sheer amount of cookies he had consumed and swallowed hard. Only now did he feel soul-consumingly tired. The door to Karkat's own room was shut, with his "Don't Fucking Disturb Me, Strider" sign hanging from the doorknob, which could only mean he was either asleep, or pretending to be asleep while watching rom-coms under the covers with his phone.
Dave half-stumbled into his own room (admittedly much, much smaller than most of the others in the apartment) and for a second reminisced on how the first time he got in he put his sword in the closet and then attempted, in vain, to stuff armor inside too. He thrashed out of his pants, gave up when he remembered he was too sleepy to remove his shirt, and collapsed onto the bed.
Dave awoke in the morning when the buzz of his silenced phone (oh dear phone, how hard he'd strived to buy it) rang into his ears. He sat up groggily, his shades tumbling off his chest. He'd gone to sleep with them on his face...?
He reached for his phone, which rest on the floor, fumbling to grasp it in his hand firmly, and pulled it up close to his face so he could read it better. John had texted him.
"Hey Dave! I waited until morning because I didn't want to bother you. But this is too good not to share, Jake picked up this homeless guy..."
It then went on to tell the entire story of Jake's misfortune, and Dave read it with red eyes as wide as saucers. It ended on:
"Jade says his name was Dick Strudel or something like that."
Dave sat up, now wide awake, like he was shocked. Then, almost like he believed John could hear his outrage, he shouted,"What?!"
Karkat yelped and jolted awake, shooting up in bed--Dave, startled, cried out as he made to jump out of the bed, got tangled in the sheets, and came crashing to the floor.
"What the fuck were you doing in my bed--?!" He demanded, now incredibly aware that he was in nothing but a shirt with a meme on it and red boxers. His face lit up just as red.
Karkat did nothing but stare, opening and closing his mouth like a fish out of water, his own features just as flushed. He seemed unable to speak