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Just Hold Me Close and Say Tomorrow Will Be Better

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It is taking every ounce of self-control Karkat has for him to not flip his shit right now. It isn't enough that somehow this new paradise universe is in fact not a paradise -- it's just more of what he's always known except poorly mixed in with human shit -- oh no; the new planet has to full of fucking idiots too. Karkat thought he could handle the stupidity of others by now; he had been trapped on a meteor with Strider after all. Before that all the time trapped with his friends in the veil before everything went to shit (and he doesn't look back at that time with any bittersweet fondness that would be dumb). However this new universe seems to hate him as much as any of the others before it, so not only is it full of stupid people, but he actually has to deal with them in person.

 

Every. Fucking. Day.

 

If it wasn't at his job at the bakery Jane owned, then it was at college. If it wasn't at college then it was while he was getting groceries or even just out on the street. Some days he really missed being on Alternia where he could just stay in his hive all the time. The near total isolation and underlying fear that someone would discover his secret and use it as an excuse to murder him were worth it. Really.

 

Today was one of those days. It started with school. He only had one class today but it was biology, the class Karkat hates the most. One would think that being the ectobiologist of his session biology would come easily to him. Turns out there is a big difference between stumbling upon a machine and pushing buttons on it and actually knowing how any of it works. Not that biology and ectobiology have much in common to begin with. The real problem Karkat has with this class though, is the professor teaching it and his classmates. The reason for that can exemplified by today, where the professor thought it would be a great idea to assign a group project and then not let them pick their own groups. That led to Karkat being stuck with what have to be two of the dumbest assholes in the whole class. He swears that at some point in their lives they must have had their think sponges sucked out and replaced with confetti.

 

Of course, dooming Karkat to having to do all of the work on this assignment wasn't enough. The professor had to follow that up with rambling on so long that class was let out late. This led to Karkat being late for work. Thank god he works for Jane who has near endless resources of patience and understanding. This is a double edged sword however because while it means that he didn't get in any trouble for being late it did result in him feeling like shit. One of the other employees had called out sick, leaving Jane by herself to run things nearly all day. Her look of relief when Karkat finally walked in made him feel like someone stabbed him in the gut with a knife made of guilt and shame. Karkat vowed he would make it up to her somehow, never mind that it wasn't his fault in the first place.

 

His torment did not stop there. Never before has the universe given him just a shit day when it could go all out and make it a miserable one, why the hell would it start now? Jane, saint that she is, offered to stay until the other person scheduled for the day came in but Karkat turned her down. He only had to wait an hour before his coworker arrived. Or so he thought. An hour and a half later Karkat answered the store phone and wouldn't you know it, his coworker was on the other end. She wasn't able to come in due to a family emergency. Somehow Karkat had managed to be polite and even sympathetic until he could hang up.

 

That left Karkat completely by himself for the entirety of his shift. So of course this would be the day when not one, not two, but three separate people came in and asked the usual stupid questions. How much does this cost? (The prices were in the display with the food in plain view.) What is the nutritional value of your cakes? (It's fucking cake.) Is anything here vegan friendly? (There was a sign in front of the registers that listed what few vegan friendly food they sold.) Karkat is honestly not sure how he managed to get through it without going off on anyone. He closed the store 20 minutes early but Jane would understand.

 

After all of this, all Karkat wants is to curl up somewhere with his moirail and try to pretend this day never happened. Except he can't do that. Today is Thursday and that means Bro Night. John will be over at his and Dave's shared hive watching dumb movies, eating junk food, and playing videos games. Karkat could probably join them but the idea of dealing with Strider on top of everything else is about as appealing as stapling his own bulge to a bus and letting it drag his body around town. Or watch human 50 First Dates again. So he'll just have to suck it up. Karkat is an adult; he doesn't need to run to his moirail every time he has a bad day. No matter how desperately he wants to.

 

The universe apparently feels the need to rub this in his face because just as Karkat is walking through the door to his hive he hears John's ringtone from his pocket. He takes a deep breath and tells himself he will not beg John to come over before answering.

 

"Aren't you supposed to be attempting to eat your way into a grease and sugar induced coma while watching Strider fail at Call of Duty right now?"

 

"Hehe, well hello to you too." John says. In the background Karkat can in fact hear Strider swearing and the faint sound of gun fire. "We got Chinese this week so no grease comas. At least I don't there's a lot of grease in Chinese food, I've actually never thought about it before-"

 

"What do you want Egbert?"

 

"Wow, you sound grouchy. I just looked at the clock and realized you should be home from work by now and decided to call." Despite his terrible mood Karkat can't help but smile a little at that. Even a year later he is still amazed at how wonderful a moirail John can be without even trying.

 

"While I appreciate the sentiment John you should be enjoying Bro Night. I don't want Strider complaining tomorrow that I'm getting in the way of "the most sacred of broships"." While Karkat is talking he wanders into his nutrition block to see about making himself dinner. Just talking to John like this is making him feel a tiny bit better. As John starts talking about how Dave is too busy getting his ass kicked by 14 year olds to even notice John is on the phone, Karkat muses that maybe he can still end the day on a decent note. Until he opens his thermal hull to find it's almost completely empty. He was supposed to get groceries on his way home from work.

 

It's too much. Not a single fucking thing has gone right since Karkat left his hive this morning and adult or not it's just too damn much. Karkat can feel his throat close up and his eyes start to water before he even closes the thermal hull door.

 

"Karkat? Are you still there?" Oh fuck. He can't let John know that's he's crying like a god damn wriggler over not having food. It's too embarrassing and John would just get worried like the great moirail dumbass that he is and want to come over and then Karkat would have ruined Bro Night because he can’t handle a crappy day. "Karkat?"

 

"Y-yeah. I'm here but um, I n-need to go. I'll call you tomorrow." His voice breaks midway through the last word. Of all the times John could be an oblivious moron Karkat prayed that this would be one of them.

 

"Are you alright? What's going on?" John asks. Damn it.

 

"It's n-nothing. Go have fun with Strider. I’ll talk to you tomorrow."

 

"Karkat wait-" He hangs up before John can finish. So much for not letting him get worried. Now all Karkat can do is hope that Strider pitches a big enough fit that John decides it would be better to stay there. It would be better. Karkat doesn't need him right now. He keeps telling himself that over and over as he sits down in the middle of his nutrition block and sobs. He doesn't know how long he stays there crying; a few minutes, an hour, who even cared? Suddenly he was being pulled into someone's arms. Karkat doesn't need to look to know that it's John. Who the hell else would go anywhere near him when he's a mess like this?

 

For a while nothing is heard except for Karkat's slowly dying down sobbing and the occasional shoosh from John. When Karkat finally stops crying John pulls back enough to look at him, but it's Karkat who speaks first.

 

"I'm sorry. I ruined Bro Night didn't I?" John smiles softly and runs a hand through Karkat's hair.

 

"You didn't ruin Bro Night." He says.

 

He stands up, pulling Karkat with him, and leads the way to Karkat's respiteblock to lie down on the pile set up in one corner across from his recupracoon, Karkat's tucks his head under John's chin and basks in the warmsafe feeling of being in his moirail’s arms. This time it's John who speaks first.

 

"So, how about I order us some pizza and you can tell me what's wrong while we wait for it to get here. Does that sound ok?"

 

"Sounds perfect."