« Fuck! » You mutter. You don’t yell, which is surprising from you, and maybe it’s the reason why Dave’s slowly turning to face you. Usually, he just ignores your swearing.
“Something’s wrong, dude?” he asks.
You shake your head, maybe a bit too fast. “No! I just, uh. I have to see Kanaya today, I just remembered. Do you mind cover up for me?”
“It’s not high school anymore, Karkat. Nobody gives a fuck if you are there at college.” He’s facing you now and he’s frowning. You don’t blame him. You hardly miss a class, let alone willingly skip one, being the anxious perfectionist troll you are. It’s not usual behaviour for you and you guess he knows something’s amiss. You don’t elaborate though, and he doesn’t push it. You are grateful for that.
“Call me when you’re home.” He simply says.
“I will.” You answer, once again unusually softly, with a quick peck on his lips. He’s biting his lower lip when you’re leaving, a disgusting habit he has when he’s nervous. Shit, you hope he isn’t too worried.
You rush in the car and turn the engine on. You remember how laborious it was to learn to drive that thing when you escaped the game. But Dave was patient and didn’t seem to care about your angry rants and colourful insults. No. Stop. Stop thinking about him right now, you scold yourself. But it’s too late, you already feel guilt raising in your chest at the thought of your boyfriend-slash-matesprit-slash-lover.
You make it to Kanaya’s without a scratch and she’s already at her door, waiting for you. She ushers you inside as soon as you’re out of the car.
“Is it true?” She blurts out without so much of a greeting. “Are you really…?”
Wordlessly, you search in your bag and give her a little pad. She stares at it for a long minute and when she looks up back at you, her eyes are wet.
“But…” she begins.
“It’s true.” You cut her, a bit numb. “As a mutant, my results are quite relatable.”
She hugs you and you let yourself crying. It is all so unfair.
You remember two days ago. It was early in the morning and you were alone, feeling discontent for no apparent reason. Maybe because of the weather or your weight. You swore you were gaining weight. That was the most vexing – if petty – thing because he had always been boasting how you’d always stayed fit, no matter what you ate. Plus, it wasn’t as if you were eating a lot these days. For some reason, food didn’t seem so appetizing anymore. You had been eating scarcely, oscillating between feeling ravenous and full after a few bites.
You forced down some bread. You had not eaten since last breakfast and queasy or not, you were not letting yourself fall into bad feeding habits – not that Dave would let you go with that anyway. The urge to retch up came what felt like two seconds later and you hurried to empty your stomach in the toilet.
Were you sick? You believed it for a minute, before remembering you couldn’t get sick here. Nobody knew why but on this new planet, so similar to Earth, trolls seemed resilient to every virus. You didn’t understand what was happening so you did what any sane person would do in this case: you looked it up on Google.
But when you entered the symptoms (‘weight gain’, ‘sickness’, ‘vomiting’), the first result to pop up made you laugh. Then you read. And you started to doubt. Until there was not really room for doubt anymore. And you cried and cried. You kicked every single piece of furniture in the apartment. You swore at the top of your voice like a complete mad man. You ended up curling into a ball under the sheets and when Dave came back and asked you what was wrong, you told him you were just tired.
It had taken almost the whole day for you to gather up the courage to go to the drugstore to ask a pregnancy test. You were still kind of hoping it was all a big mistake and that you could laugh it off later.
You are certainly not laughing now.
“Trolls aren’t even supposed to be mammals.” You sniff on Kanaya’s shoulder. “It’s so unfair.
“How… How is it even possible?”
“Trolls’ organism adapt very fast, according to specialists. We are a very combative and resilient specie after all. Mutation are more common than for humans – I am the living proof of that. It probably helped that I am a mutant myself and that I was used to Dave’s pheromones since before my puberty.”
Kanaya is papping you softly and you began to ramble mindlessly about the stupidity of the situation.
“I didn’t even realise my cycles have stopped, would you believe it? But then again, I didn’t have a reason to care about them. I can take care of my heats alone and I tend to anyway, I don’t want to tire Dave and I know that keeping up with the rhythm of a troll in heat is exhausting for humans. Or maybe I was just in denial? I don’t know, it’s so damn confusing and so unfair. Just now, when I was happy in my life, in my relationship, in everything, I end up with a wriggle who will fucking wreck it all away-“
“Wow wow, Karkat.” Kanaya stopped papping you for a moment. “Why do you thing it will affect the way Dave feels about you? I have seen him around you, and I promise you he does not seem the type to abandon you because of your pregnancy – pregnancy, may I add, he had caused as well as you.”
“We’re way too young for that, Kanaya. There’s no abortion for trolls from what I found out, and anyway I don’t really want to kill the wriggler. I know it’s a bit cheesy and stupid but it is what I feel. And there’s no way Dave will accept to willingly throw his life away to take care of me. Of us. And I won’t let you do it anyway. I will break up with him before he knows so he doesn’t feel uselessly guilty about it.”
“That… does not seem like a good plan, Karkat, I am sorry to say.”
“Of course it’s an awful plan, I’m fucking aware of that. But it’s the best one. Dave is… He deserves to do what he wants and likes. He had always wanted to work in music. He might not be able to do so with… well, with a family to feed. I won’t be able to live with myself if I robbed him of this chance, Kanaya.”
“You deserve happiness too Karkat.” Kanaya murmurs quietly.
You don’t really hear her, her paps have done their job, and you’re now so relaxed you can’t help to fall asleep.
It’s the evening. You taste bile in your mouth and feel tears in your eyes but you don’t allow yourself to flinch or cry.
“It’s over, Dave.”
He doesn’t understand. You can read it on his face. He’s trying though. He’s looking hurt, and sad, and shocked, and worried – still – about you and he’s moving toward you, as if he was hoping to reach you, but you recoil and he stops and to anyone else, he could look indifferent but you’re seeing his betrayed and fucking pained expression and it’s killing you.
“Why?” He simply said.
“It’s. Just. It doesn’t matter. It wouldn’t have worked out. I can’t kid myself anymore to think that and if you grew the hell up, you’d realise it too.”
He’s opening and closing his mouth wordlessly. It’s an old subject, this one, how you are the most unlikely match for each other. It used to be a joke. You wonder why you used to find it so funny.
“I don’t care, Karkat. I don’t care that we’re the weirdest pair the world had seen. I don’t care that we’re not even from the same species. I fucking need you, man. I won’t let you go. Not like that.”
Dave has never been one for romance but, of fucking course, he chooses the day you dump him to be the most romantic fuckward of the universe.
“I never told you that, I know. I know I can’t stay serious enough for two fucking seconds to tell you how much you matter to me, Karkat. But you do. Matter to me, I mean. A freaking lot, and sometimes I’m downright terrified of how much I rely on you. You’re keeping me sane, and happy. You make me a better person. That’s why you can’t leave. You can’t.”
Maybe another day, these words would have moved you. Or maybe if he chose his words more carefully, you would have listened. But at his last words, you snap.
“Oh, I can’t, can I?” You snarl. “Watch me.”
And you’re out.
It’s been two months. Your belly is considerably bigger. You’re at Kanaya’s. You hesitated to come but decided for it in the end. It has been a while after all. You missed your moirail but her girlfriend was the sister of your ex and oh god, you really need to find a circle of friends with less drama.
“I missed you too, you stupid nubby-horned idiot.” Kanaya says, grinning. “How are you?”
“Fine.” You say and you’re nowhere near ‘fine’ but you are able to get up in the morning without collapsing in sobs so there’s that.
“And how is my little niece?”
You smile and for once, it’s a genuine one, so different from the one you put up for the clients of the fast-food chain you have been working in since you dropped out of college.
“She’s good too. She wriggle around sometimes.” You answered, putting a hand on your tummy. “She’ll be strong one day. Just like her dad.” You know it is true.
“Which one of her dads?” Kanaya says and it’s so quiet human ears would probably not have been able to pick it up but you do.
“Fuck you, that was low. And if you should know, both of her dads.” You answer defiantly.
The door behind you suddenly swings open and a voice you had hoped to hear and not to hear at the same time rises, a bit breathless.
The hope would have broken your heart if it wasn’t already. You scowl at Kanaya.
At least, she has the decency to look guilty. You don’t stay to hear her feeble excuses. You bolt forward in the kitchen and, fuck, you’re not quick enough to lock the door and Dave is already in with you and all you can do is to present your back, hoping he will not try to turn you around.
Fortunately, he doesn’t, he doesn’t even try to touch you.
“I’m sorry.” He says and it’s fucking ridiculous, he has nothing to be sorry for, if anyone should be sorry, it’s you. And you are. Gog have mercy, you are.
“I would have told you on the phone, but you kept not answering my calls.”
“I broke my phone.” You mumble in the most pitiful lie you ever told.
“Right.” He’s close and all you want is to hug him and to kiss him, but you mustn’t. “I… It’s maybe stupid of me to have come but I couldn’t help myself when Rose told me… I. I wanted to say that I’m sorry and I shouldn’t… I’m not good with words, okay? I rap all right but my lyrics are always shitty. I shouldn’t have told you… I mean, you must have had your reasons to break up, I guess? I just… I didn’t understand and I… I went a bit crazy when I thought I’ll lose you. I said that you can’t but it was actually me who couldn’t deal with the idea of you leaving. But of course, I couldn’t say that. Oh no. Not Dave fucking cool Strider. Too cool to say he – I – can’t be happy without you. Fuck, I can’t even function when you’re not here, it’s freaking pathetic. I just…”
You know what he’s going to say before he says it, and it terrifies you because he has never actually said it and you’re not sure you can stand your ground if he does.
“I wish I told you sooner, and maybe it’s too late, maybe you’ve moved on, but. I love you, Karkat. I fucking love you.”
“I love you too.” You utter without thinking and your voice breaks, the traitor. You’re crying, and you’re not sure if it’s out of sadness or happiness, but it’s so strong it hurts.
“Karkat?” The hope is back in his voice and it’s fucking unbearable.
“I love you, you prick.” You sob, and fuck, it feels good to admit it after two months in denial.
He’s on your back in a blink and he’s hugging you from behind and everything is perfect.
“… Karkat?” And you know by his tone that he sees it now, your abnormally plumb abdomen and he’s slowly turning you around to face him. You close your eyes.
His tone is even and reassuring enough for you to crackle your lids open. His face seems still but you can almost see the swirl of thoughts in his head. He understands now. He understand everything and more, and he’s a bit petrified, and all you can think is how much you love him.
You’re an idiot.
But he sinks to his knees and carefully – oh so, carefully – he enlaces your middle.
“Hello, little one.” He says, and his voice has never been softer.
He gets up and wipe a red tear away from your face.
“I love you.” He says.
And you understand that he means you both.