Until you have a reason to - TurkeyCat (2024)

Chapter 1: One

Chapter Text

Until you have a reason to - TurkeyCat (1)

FRIDAY, APRIL 13TH.

“...and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?”

Vincent Willem van Gogh

Your name is Karkat Vantas, and you’ve spent the last hour trying to work up the courage to finally jump. You're standing at the edge of an incomplete viaduct, a construction project that must’ve been tossed in the bin a few years ago. Moss and ferns have reclaimed the old wood and concrete. The earth is still dewy and slick, and you caught yourself before you tripped when your foot slid against a particularly wet patch of moss and wood. It’s kind of ironic how you caught yourself from falling considering what you’re up here to do. You’d laugh if you still had anything left in you. You have walked way past the old weathered warning signs and rusty railing that were placed there to keep people from falling. Or jumping. Now here you are standing at the very edge with your feet half off of the ledge. You lean over to look down, and a pang of fear hits your gut. Yeah, that’s a long way down. A gust of wind blows through your clothes and hair, whistling softly against the shells of your ears.

The air smells like rain and wet earth, and you can see and hear thunder clouds rolling in over the mountains. You breathe in a painful yet fresh breath of air, filling your lungs until they ache and emptying them again. The cold evening air makes the hair on the back of your neck stand, and you still feel chilly despite the layers of clothes you’re wearing. Before you left your apartment you half considered bringing a scarf despite already wearing a shirt, sweater, and hoodie, but there wouldn’t really be any point considering you were going to be dead before sundown today. You won't be around to care about your lack of layers. You know this, but you can’t help but regret not bringing that scarf.

Your attention gets diverted, however, when you feel your phone buzz in your pocket. You fumble around for it, eventually pulling out your old cracked Samsung phone that you’ve had for the last four years. Multiple icons for Pesterchum pull up onto the screen, and after a moment of hesitation you click on the notification. It looks like the group is talking with each other again. They all seem so far away from you now. Like there is a pane of unbreakable glass between the both of you that neither can get through anymore.

You scroll mindlessly through the walls of text, lurking on the conversation like you always do. Terezi and Vriska are trying to recruit others into going Geocaching with them. Gamzee takes the bait, asking the pair endless questions about what it is and how you do it and yadda yadda what-f*cking-ever. It stings considering that Geocaching used to kind of be your and Terezis' thing when you were a thing. That’s how you know about this place, it's one of the Geocaching spots Terezi took you to. It was actually the first ever one she ever took you to. You both drove up here in your sh*tty range rover that was always breaking down, and you even got lost together before you found the actual spot. She was so confident despite not being able to see a damn thing, and you felt like a complete piece of sh*t for leading the two of you astray. Just another f*ck up to add to the insurmountable pile of f*ck-ups that accumulate into the sh*tty humanoid form of Karkat Vantas.

When you and TZ finally got to the viaduct, you’ll admit it was awesome. It was better than any romance novel you’ve ever read, weirdly enough. No grand gestures, no cliches. Just the two of you covered in bug bites and sweat enjoying being together. She had you describe the scenery here multiple times, and you did it gladly. You two found the hidden stash, and low and behold it ended up being two sh*tty little rings. Probably something someone got from one of those crappy capsule toy machines you find in stores. She did a faux proposal and you accepted of course. It was all fun and games, but it honestly meant a lot to you at the time. Your thumb rubs over said sh*tty ring, which you’re currently wearing on your ring finger because you’re a lonely sappy idiot who can’t get over the fact that Terezi dumped you. That day definitely wasn’t the worst day of your life, but you do know that it contributed to you standing here today. You aren’t going to be that asshole that blames everything that happens on her, though. In the end she couldn’t handle…you. You know you’re exhausting to be around. You know that TZ was just trying her best. You killing yourself is just the result of a misfortune series of life events and sh*t genes. You knew how to fix one of those, but chose not to.

Look where that got you.

You know that it probably will be a few days, maybe weeks until someone comes to this spot and finds your suicide letter tucked in the same place as the capsule is hidden. You probably would be found sooner if you just offed yourself in your apartment, but it certainly wouldn’t be by your friends. I’d be by neighbors complaining of a smell or your landlord serving an eviction notice. Whatever. It isn’t like they’re all to blame. You haven’t said anything for the last month and no one has asked you about it. It isn’t like they should care anyways. Why would anyone care about you? You’ve stopped caring for them. Well, mostly. You did really care about them, and they were pretty much the only thing that was keeping you alive. However, that didn’t stop the suicidal thoughts. You hated the way that even on good days out with your friends you were thinking about how much you wanted to die. After a while, your reason for staying alive felt less like an anchor and more like a shackle. So, you started to pull away. You stopped replying to messages, you stopped pretending to seem happy and interested in things, and you let them all see just how much of a sh*tty, selfish person you actually are. You couldn’t even try a little to be happy around them. You just had to go and make everyone uncomfortable. Hopefully when you die they won’t care. The last thing you’d want to do is hurt anyone, but who are you kidding? You’re so narcissistic to think that you matter enough to be cared about.

So, yeah. It isn’t that you stopped caring for them. They just feel so distant now.

You back out of the group chat after lurking for a bit and decide to look over the last text message you received.

GC: 1 L3FT YOUR STUFF 4T SOLLUX’S PL4C3

GC: SO, Y34H

GC: S33 YOU 4ROUND 1 GU3SS. Y0U’R3 ST1LL 1NV1T3D TO DND

GC: 1 UND3RSTAND 1F YOU N33D T1ME, THOUGH

GC: 4NYW4YS, S33 YOU 4ROUND

GC: D0N’T B3 4 STR4NG3R

That’s the last time Terezi texted you after she dumped you. She said that you two could stay friends but you aren’t an idiot. You could see that she was just trying to be nice. She’s probably happy that you never messaged back and stopped hanging out with the group.

That’s the only message you’ve gotten in the last three months. You aren’t close with anyone else in the group anyways. You used to be, but your self isolation has pretty much f*cked up every friendship you had with anyone. No one wants to deal with your constant pity party. You don’t want to deal with your constant pity party, either. If anything, this just makes it easier to do what you’re here for.

You weren’t meant to be alive anyways. Something has always been wrong with you. You weren’t made correctly, you were born wrong and it’s only taken 26 years to realize that you don’t fit into this world's plan. You were a mistake, a flaw. You only found out just recently what that mistake was. So of course it all comes down to two choices: Live and suffer for the rest of your awful life, or correct the world's mistake yourself. A slow breath leaves your lungs, a cloud of condensation swirling in the chilling air in front of you. The breeze carries your breath away and disburses the cloud into nothingness. You lean forward and look over the edge again, staring down into the thick forest that you’ll be throwing yourself down. You hope it’s a long enough drop to kill you on impact. It’d f*cking suck if it didn’t.

Honestly your life has been spent way too much on nothing. Sure, you have an okay job behind a deli at a local mom-and-pop store, and your coworkers are kind enough and the pay isn’t bad. You also write novels in your spare time, and hey- some of the stuff you make you’re proud of. You used to want to pursue a career in it, but your ambition leaves you as fast as it comes. You used to go to college. You’re still enrolled, technically, but it’s been half a year since you’ve attended and your financial aid has dropped you. Somewhere along the way you just busied yourself with a 9-5 job just to not feel like a useless piece of sh*t. But you still are.

You make barely enough money to cover rent, ramen packets, and coffee. When you aren't working your life away, most of it is spent just sitting at your desk staring off into space as a blank word document stares back at you. You used to love writing, but it’s slowly become a chore to you and you find little interest in it anymore. You know that’s textbook depression, but you’re not going to do anything about it. All you do now is go to work, sit and stare into space for hours, and drag yourself back to bed to get as much sleep as you can. You don’t know the last time you got any decent sleep. You’re so damn tired all the f*cking time. Luckily for you, you’re about to finally get that much needed rest. You want to roll your eyes at how emo and cringe your thoughts are sometimes. It’s either edgy thoughts, pathetic wimpy thoughts, or nothing. Today you’re letting yourself partake in a wonderful sh*t concoction of Pathetic and Edgy.

You feel sad that you won’t be around to enjoy the things you used to, like reading or writing. But let’s be real here, the only thing you’ve written lately is the suicide letter tucked under one of the rails by the hidden capsule. And even that piece of work is a mess. You’re going to really miss all the little things in life that you enjoyed. Sadly there aren’t enough little things to make you want to keep breathing. You wish there was. It isn’t like you hate living. You love it when it’s enjoyable, but living is just too hard for you. You should feel angry that you don’t have the will to live in this world, and that there doesn’t seem to be a place for you here, but you don’t. Maybe you were destined to kill yourself. There is a role that everyone plays here, like some people are meant to be the president, or a serial killer. Life is just one big game of Plinko, and this is where your ball dropped.

You don’t feel angry as you used to be. You used to be so, so angry at everything. You detested the ground you walked on, cursing the planet for making you this way. You were angry at your friends, jealous of their success and happiness. You were angry at yourself for not being enough to keep up in this world. You were angry at things that happened to you. Angry for the way you were born. Angry at what you were born with. However, as time went on, that anger fizzled into contempt, and then indifference. Wherever that anger went, you only know that it was replaced by a deep sadness that pulled at your gut everyday. It wasn’t only anger that left you, though. It was every fiery emotion. Passion, motivation, etc. It's all left. You realize now that was probably the first step towards giving up. Whenever something does manage to piss you off, it doesn’t last long. It sizzles out just as fast as it appears, and it leaves you feeling empty. You are used to it by now, but that doesn’t make it bearable. Well, nowadays you only get angry when…

You clench and unclench your fists. Nevermind.

Everyday you live, it feels wrong. It feels like you’re going against your destiny, because where could you possibly fit on this Earth? You’ve tried so hard to fit into it. To make friends, to get a job, to try and finish college. You just don't fit. You never f*cking did and you never will. And now that you are staring at your destiny, you are left with an odd mixture of feelings. Devastation that it had to come to this, nervousness at the fact that you’re about to die, and peace. It’s the most peace you have felt in a long, long time.

At least it’s a nice day to let go. You always enjoyed dreary weather more so than sunshine and all that bullsh*t. Darker weather always felt like a break, like the world was slowed down for that day. Slowed to match your pace for once. The sky is dark with heavy rain clouds now, and the sound of wind blowing air into trees is almost as loud as the sound of your heart in your chest. Okay. f*ck. Maybe you are more scared than you are letting on. Stupid f*cking survival instincts.

Like you said, it isn’t like you don’t like living. You love the rain. You love making a fresh pot of coffee. You love reading a new book you found. You love watching cheesy romcoms. You love all the little things that life has to offer. But life can’t all be little things. You would love nothing more than to just write and read all day and enjoy the weather and small oddities that make you happy, but you’re too weak to work for them. You’ve tried. So f*cking hard. The only thing that was keeping you going for a long while was your cat Charlie and hanging out with your friends and girlfriend. But Charlie passed away last November, your friends stopped calling, and Terezi dumped you. So, destiny is just falling into place. You can’t really be mad at it for doing what it has to do.

At least when you jump you’ll have your cat waiting for you on the other side. Or maybe not. You don’t really believe in anything, but at the same time you don’t believe in nothing. Who knows what’ll be waiting for you when you die. Maybe it’ll be nice. You’re scared of dying, but not death. Dying is the hard, painful part that you’ve always chickened out of. However, what lies afterwards has always kind of made you excited and hopeful. Even if it’s nothing, at least you won’t be around to care. You are staring down into the deep forest, desolate. A thrum of anxiety buzzes in your gut, but your mind feels barren of emotion. Good, you're starting to prepare yourself. It won't take much more until you’re feeling good enough to jump. Or, more like numb enough. Whichever comes first.

A bird flies past you and into the sky, and you watch it in peaceful silence. It soars into the sky, swaying with the pulses of wind before it nestles itself into a nearby tree. You wonder if it’s just taking shelter from the oncoming storm, or if it’s home is there. You’d like to think that it’s going home to wait out the rain with other birds.

You feel the pain of wanting to live again, so you decide to look away before you start getting cold feet. You’ve always loved small moments in time. This moment is pretty nice, and you are grateful that this’ll be the one you leave off on.

Your phone vibrates in your hand, and you hate how disgustingly hopeful you feel for a moment. You’re half tempted to just chuck your phone out into the woods as hard as you can, but curiosity gets the better of you and you end up checking your phone anyways. You’re so weak. Your phone keeps buzzing with new messages as you pull up Pesterchum again, finding that surprisingly it isn’t the group chat.

TG: yo man

TG: you good

TG: i havent seen you hanging out with anyone

TG: or like even talking in chat

TG: or to anyone actually

TG: ive been asking around

TG: like bros do

Okay. Somehow, this pisses you off more than anything else has lately. The guy you barely have ever spoken to since highschool was the only one to notice that you were gone. f*cking wow. Of course Dave f*cking Strider would manage to pull out that missing emotion from you. If anyone could make you pissed, it would be him. Some guy you barley f*cking talk to anymore noticed something was wrong with you before your own f*cking friends. They really do hate you, don’t they? Before you even think, you’re replying to him.

CG: f*ck OFF.

CG: YOU DON’T EVEN LIKE ME.

CG: WHY THE f*ck ARE YOU EVEN ASKING FOR ME?

CG: JUST

CG: LEAVE ME ALONE

The fight in you just sort of sizzles out halfway through texting him. You don’t really have any insults to hurl or tantrums to throw. A deep sigh leaves you as you numbly stare at the screen. You half expect him to give up like you asked him to, but, no. Nothing is ever simple or easy when it comes to Strider. More of his annoying messages start popping up again and you try and fail to suppress the urge to roll your eyes.

TG: what

TG: im just worried about you man

TG: you thought i didnt like you?

TG: nah man thats straight up horse sh*t

CG: f*ck OFF.

CG: SERIOUSLY.

CG: I COULDN’T JUST BE LEFT IN PEACE.

CG: WOW.

CG: BUT, NO.

CG: MY LAST CONVERSATION EVER IS WITH YOU.

CG: f*ckING FANTASTIC.

TG: um

TG: hey are you okay

TG: like real talk here

CG: I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO TRY TO f*ckING PRETEND ANYMORE.

CG: JUST LEAVE ME ALONE YOU f*ckING IDIOT.

TG: yeah you dont sound okay

TG: actually im even more worried now

TG: where are you

CG: f*ck YOU AND f*ck OFF.

You do the thing you should have done earlier, which was to throw your phone as hard as possible off of the ledge. You watch it fly for a few feet before gravity gets its grasp and drags it down into the trees. You don’t hear it hit the bottom.

You were just working yourself up to finally jumping, too. f*cking prick. You dig your hand into your back pocket and pull out a crumpled pack of cigarettes. You’re hoping smoking will help quell your nerves some. You turn the pack over in your hand and flick the lid up. As your other hand digs for a lighter you grab a cigarette out with your teeth. After fumbling with the lighter you put the pack onto the ledge beside you and hold a hand around the small flame of the lighter to protect it from the wind. You push the tip of the cigarette into it, breathing in and letting smoke fill your lungs. For a while you just sit there and enjoy the peace of the woods around you. You listen to the final calls of birds, and the rustling leaves. You blow smoke into the air and watch as the wind carries it to the side. A stray raindrop hits your hand and you look up to watch the dark clouds above roll in miles above you. Your eyes close as more rain starts to fall and you relish in the feeling of the coldness soaking into your clothes and hair. The cold was always pretty great at calming you. You cup your hand over the lit part of the cigarette as the sprinkle turns to drizzle, protecting it from going out. Eventually the cigarette becomes shorter and shorter with each drag you take, and soon enough it’s more ash than cigarette. You take one more puff before letting it extinguish. Your hand extends out over the ledge and you let the remainder of the cigarette slip through your fingers. Your eyes track it as the wind picks it up and carries it away into the trees below. You wonder if it’ll find your phone, and you wonder further if you will find them. The wind is getting stronger as the storm gets worse, pushing and pulling your hair and clothes around in every direction. Between the chilling air and the rain, you’re starting to shiver. Your mind keeps going back to that stupid scarf.

The air is so crisp, it stings your lungs when you breathe in. It’s so beautiful here. It’s a beautiful way for you to go out. Okay. Okay, you bitterly think. You’ve f*cking won, world. You shift your weight, your old converse slowly dragging against the moss and concrete as you start to slip. You feel ready. It’s like the earth around you is watching and waiting, its arms open to you, ready for you to finally fulfill the destiny it made for you. You deserve this. You deserve to feel peace. To go out of your own volition. The world has made you so f*cking tired, and you deserve to finally be able to rest. You’ve earned this.

Your eyes close, every muscle in your body relaxes one by one, and you let your weight shift fully towards the edge.

Until you have a reason to - TurkeyCat (2)

Suddenly there’s a gutted shout behind you that startles you. Your feet slip off the edge but before you fall you feel someone yank hard on the back of your hood. Instead of falling straight down like you had planned, you land hard on your ass due to the mystery person yanking you backwards. Before you even have a chance to do anything you get pulled upwards. An arm wraps tight around your middle and now you feel yourself falling again, just in the wrong f*cking direction. You get yanked hard back over the concrete divider, hitting your hip bone against it pretty rough on the way down. You and who the f*ck knows end up slipping due to the wet ground, and you both end up falling back on your asses. Well, he falls on his ass. Your ass falls on him. Before you can make sense of what happened, the person behind you is already up on their feet and is now dragging you backwards away from the edge. What the f*ck?

“f*ck you! No!-” You thrash your legs and twist your body, your converse dragging and kicking uselessly against the ground as you’re taken away from your only chance at peace. Your hands fist into the shoulder and shirt of the person behind you as you desperately try to wring your way out of his grasp. In turn, their hands dig harder into your underarm. You wince. f*cking sh*t he has a strong hold on you!

No, f*cking asshole- Let me go!” You yell, anger shaking your voice. You were so close. You were so f*cking close. Why? Why did this have to happen? You were finally ready, you were finally brave enough to go through with it. The anger turns inward quickly, and soon you can’t find the energy to struggle or stay mad anymore. A sob shakes your shoulders, tears blurring your vision. You watch helplessly as you get pulled away from the viaduct, past the warning signs, and to the railing. When you get to the railing, you don’t help the asshole who just “saved” you in the slightest. You don't even care how humiliating it is that he has to carry you over that sh*t because you’re too busy feeling f*cking sorry for yourself. If this random jackass gets a say over your life, you get a say in how difficult you’re going to make this whole exchange for the both of you.

Eventually the person sets you back on the ground after struggling with getting you and him over the railing. He lets your feet down first so you can stand on your own. Your legs give out, though, and you let yourself crumple to the ground pitifully. Another Vantas tantrum. You press your forehead into your knee as sobs wrack out of you. You were so f*cking close. Maybe the world just wants to see you suffer. No, you know that it wants to embrace you in death. You just know it. This stranger is to blame for preventing your destiny. You’re so tired of this bullsh*t. God f*cking damn it all to hell. The two of you are drenched, covered in mud and bits of foliage, and tired from the mutual struggle against each other.

You sling your arm over your face and ugly cry into the crook of it. The stranger's hand is tight on your shoulder, keeping you in place. You know that you aren’t going anywhere, though. After a while that hand hesitantly moves away from you and you can hear their footsteps come around between you and the railing.

“Karkat?” The guy speaks softly, sounding almost unsure of himself. You barely recognize who the voice belongs to until you catch a glimpse of his familiar red hoodie, now dirty with mud. You make a sound, be it of humor or horror, it almost resembles a laugh. What the f*ck? HOW the f*ck? Literally, how the f*ck did Dave even get here? Whatever. You don’t respond to him. Maybe if you just sit here and do nothing he will go away, because there’s no f*cking way you’re moving. You don’t even care. A few minutes pass, the only sounds between you two is your pathetic crying and Dave's labored breathing. Eventually you hear Dave crouch down in front of you, a hesitant hand placing itself on your shoulder. He sounds less out of breath when he speaks your name again. And, in return, you don't respond again.

“Karkat.” His voice comes out more stern, and you can’t help but yell.

“LEAVE ME ALONE!” Daves hand flinches off of your shoulder. Your voice comes out from the back of your throat, shaky and raw, and you curl in on yourself like a dying star. Not so much a star. Or dying. You curl in on yourself like a pathetic piece of sh*t that can’t even kill himself right.

Just leave me alone.” You whine, a loud annoying hiccup breaking your speech. You don’t even want to look at him. You don’t want him to look at you.

Dave speaks up, ignoring your pleas, “What the hell are you doing?”

Something snaps in you when you hear this. You look up from your arm to scowl at him. You can see yourself in the reflection of his stupid cool guy shades, and yep. You look like a f*cking mess. Your face is red from crying, tear stains are trailing down your cheeks, and your hair and clothes look disheveled to hell. You look as great as you feel right now. You f*cking hate that out of anyone who noticed how you were doing, and came to f*cking save you nonetheless, it had to be Dave f*cking Strider. You didn’t think it was possible for you to hate anyone more than yourself, but Dave is dangerously close to taking home the gold.

“How the f*ck did you even get here?” You speak, your voice wavering. You break eye contact with your reflection and tilt your head away, disdain evident in your voice and expression. God you’re so miserable right now.

You see Dave struggle with getting his phone out of his skinny jeans before showing the screen to you. On the screen he has Snapchats Snap Map up. Yup, there’s you and Dave's stupid Bitmoji just chilling together like they’re bros. You would laugh at the absurdity of it all, but the laugh dies in your throat. TZ made a groupchat on a different app for some reason for DND and forced you to make an account. The fact that some overrated stupid app saved your life makes you want to kill yourself more. You don’t even have any time for a response because Dave is already filling the silence.

“I saw Vriska, Terezi and Gamzee talking in chat about Geocaching ‘n sh*t and I kinda remember that you and TZ used to do that sh*t a lot as well before you two- uh…anyways, yeah. I got to thinking more about how I never really saw you around lately and your last reply to the chat was, like, a month ago. So I shot you a text and after you started sending those cryptic ass messages n’ sh*t I pulled some real detective sh*t outta my ass- not that I like things in my ass- Okay switching topics. I saw your bitmoji thing on the map and then I just guesstimated on google ma- actually nevermind on that sh*t, seriously Karkat what the hell were you doing out here?”

You shake your head, dragging a hand through your gross greasy and wet hair. You're reminded that you haven't showered in a while. “What the f*ck does it look like? I’m sure you can put two and two together, f*cking idiot. I’m still shocked that you made it to graduation.”

His brows are pinched together and his mouth is set in a straight line. You hate the way he’s looking at you like you’re doing something wrong. f*ck everyone who says that suicide makes you selfish. It’s so f*cking easy to say that, and it’s so f*cking hard to keep going. You’ve spent the last five years trying to not let these thoughts win, dragging yourself through life even though it broke everything in you to try. They aren’t better than you because they don’t have sh*tty lives. You hate how you’re labeled selfish or weak for wanting to finally f*cking get a break for once. f*ck them all.

“f*ck,” He hisses out.

“It looks like your immortally-challenged ass was about to springboard dive into the deep end of the forest.” Dave speaks, keeping his eyes on solely you.

You hate him so freaking much. “Yeah, I f*cking was! Ding ding ding! You won, you stupid c*nt! It would have been amazing, too! Why the f*ck are you doing this to me?! I would have finally gotten one f*cking shred of peace but, noooo, knight in sh*tting armor over here had to come and ruin everything! You think you’re helping? Well you’re not! You wanna help? How about you leave and f*ck off forever!” Great, you’re crying again. You hate crying in front of others. All your life you were always so f*cking emotional, and crying in public wasn’t above you. No matter how hard you tried you could never keep it together. You absolutely hate yourself for it.

Dave stands and crosses his arms over his chest, watching you have your tantrum from above. “That isn’t the answer. Ever. people care about you, man.”

You rest your arms on your knees and let your head dip down between them, trying to hide yourself from everything. He’s wrong, but you don’t feel like arguing with him anymore. “whatever." After a moment of silence you feel Dave's hand grab onto your arm, gingerly tugging at it to pull you up. You shrug him off aggressively and clench further into yourself. “f*ck off, I’m not moving.” You meant to put more venom into your words, but they just come out tired sounding.

A beat of silence goes by before you feel his stupid hand latching onto your arm forcefully, and you’re being dragged up to your feet. You curse and swear all the way down, almost tripping over your own feet trying to keep up with him as he drags you down the trail. You catch glimpses of his sh*tty rusted Toyota truck through the trees as the two of you descend.

You snap at him while trying to keep up with his pace, nearly tripping again. “What the f*ck are you doing?!”

He doesn't stop, pulling you further and further away from your salvation. “I’m not leaving you here, dude. I’m taking you back home.”

“Like hell you are!” Your other hand palms and gropes at the hand gripping your forearm, but Christ, he has an iron grip on you. It probably hasn’t helped that you might be slightly malnourished and very sleep deprived. Or the fact that you don’t exercise. If you recall correctly, you sort of remember Dave saying some sh*t about the gym a while back. You can tell that he’s strong. f*ck, you really aren’t going to break out of this. You aren’t above begging, though. “Please, don’t- just- f*ck! Just let me f*cking do this!”

You curse, yell and beg all the way down the trail, balling your eyes out like a child. Of course Strider doesn’t even respond, he just keeps dragging you towards the car like you weigh absolutely nothing to him. Well, f*cking fine, then. He wants to be stubborn about this? You’ll f*cking show him the definition of stubborn. You unceremoniously go limp until he literally has to drag you down the hill like a sack of sh*t.

“Dude-” Dave looks down at you, annoyed. “Are you f*cking for real right now?”

You are f*cking for real.

Dave lets out a loud sigh, letting go of your arm. Good. Looks like he’s giving up finally. You knew that he would get tired of you eventually and f*ck off. Dave isn’t the good samaritan he thinks he is, he’s just some smug asshole who doesn’t care about you. He just wants to say that he tried and can go home at the end of the day and pat himself on the back for it. Jackass.

Well, that’s what you thought, anyways.

When he dropped you, you were kind of laying on your side from being dragged. So you started to sit up so you could go on your merry way. Before you could sit up fully, though, Strider had made his way around to the front of you. The trail slopes downwards a bit, so he’s currently towering over you with your legs in between his feet. His blank expression always kind of pissed you off, but now it’s pretty unnerving.

You let the silence ruminate before speaking.

“What are you-” Dave leans over, grabs you from under your arms and throws you over his shoulder. The wind gets knocked out of you as your stomach lands hard on his shoulder. His arm wraps around your back while his other arm clamps down onto the backs of your knees to lock you into place. Well. This is far more humiliating than being dragged down the hill.

You f*cking give up. f*ck, whatever, fine. It isn’t like he can keep an eye on you forever. You’ll get back to this trail when he’s done playing hero. You let him carry you down the hill with no further complaint. All the fight has left you.

When you both reach the car, he puts you down to pull his phone out. He’s boxed you in between the car door and his body. He still probably thinks you’re going to try and make a break for it or some stupid sh*t. To be honest you’re not even sure you can run. You’ve exhausted what little energy you had trying to pointlessly struggle against Strider.

“Okay, so, here’s the deal.” Dave starts, holding his phone up.

You glare up at him. You’re not in the mood for whatever stupid sh*t he wants from you, so you smack his hand away.

“f*ck off.” You try to step around Strider, but nothing is f*cking easy. You flinch when Dave's hand comes slamming down against the car next to your face, blocking your escape. You look at his hand and then back up at Dave. He’s got a few inches on you, which is really f*cking intimidating right now in this situation. The two of you lock eyes, trying to size up to one another. You break first.

“What the f*ck do you want?” You growl out.

“Are you going to sit here and be good or am I going to have to put you in a headlock just to get my point across? Because I’m getting real f*cking tired of you struggling against me every second you get. So, do you want to do this the easy way or the hard way? I’d rather go about it the easy way but I have no f*cking issue with getting my hands dirty.” He sounds pissed. You shrink in place and avert your gaze. Seeing Dave get angry isn’t a thing you see often, and you’ve decided that you really aren’t a fan of it. You shrug and shove your hands under your armpits.

“Okay.” Dave huffs, “Listen. You can either deal with me or with the police.”

"What?" You blanch.

"This ain’t my first rodeo. I’m not leaving you alone, but if you’re going to keep being uncooperative with me then I’m going to have to get police involved to make sure you don’t f*cking throw yourself off of a cliff the next chance you get. So, the deal is that either I go with you back to your place or I let the police deal with this situation. I’d rather not choose the ladder." Dave takes on a stern tone of voice, but you don't waver. Is he f*cking serious right now???

"You f*cking asslicker, I'm not letting you do either! I don't need to be f*cking watched like a stupid f*cking baby!" You punch out the words, in absolute disbelief. You are strung tight, shoulders raised into a hunch. You feel like you're going to suffocate. Dave goes to speak, but you talk over him. "What is your f*cking deal!? Who gave you any f*cking authority over what I f*cking do? If I want to f*cking die why can't I!? You're so f*cking awful for making me stay, you know that?? f*ck. You-" Your voice is shaking and your vision blurs with tears. "f*ck you, Strider! I f*cking hate you." You know you're being awful right now, and you hate yourself for it, but you can't stop it. You're just so f*cking…you don't even know what you're feeling. Whatever it is, you hate it.

"I-I-" You clear your throat after you stutter. Keep it together. "I just- f*ck. Why are you-" Your voice cracks. "Please don't call anyone, I'm sorry-" Guilt starts to take over again. You know he genuinely wants to help. You can see that. He has good intentions, but that doesn't stop you from hating them. You just don't want to suffer anymore. You crumble and decide to just shut the f*ck up already. You slouch back against the car and look down at the ground. Tears wet your cheeks and you make annoying ass sounds as you cry. You hate the sounds you’re making.

A hesitant hand places itself on your shoulder, slowly pulling your weight off of the car. Daves hand slides to the nape of your neck while the other holds the small of your back. You still, tensing up at the unexpected contact. He feels warm. Dave seems to pause for a moment, maybe to gauge your reaction, before pulling you tentatively into a hug. His arm is snug around your waist while the other stays firm on the back of your head. You press your face into Dave's shoulder, surely getting his hoodie wet with your gross tears.

This whole situation seems like it’s ripped straight out of one of your favorite romance movies. One main character embracing the other the rain to console them. In this fantasy you can see it ending with the pair passionately sharing a kiss with one another to show their love in the darker arch of the movie. Too bad this isn’t fantasy, though.

The reality is your old highschool acquaintance is awkwardly hugging you in light drizzle while the two of you are covered in mud and grass because you’re a sh*tty little baby who is rage-crying over the fact that Dave wont let you kill yourself. You’ll make sure to add this one to the ever growing collection of “Things that keep me up at night”.

You finally pull yourself together for long enough to lean away from Dave, leaving his warmth. He goes to speak, but you just shake your head and turn towards the passenger side door. He thankfully takes the hint and you clamber into the passenger seat, shutting the door and buckling up. You tilt your body towards the window and stay locked like that. You don’t feel like talking.

Dave gets into the driver's seat and starts up the car. It sputters before roaring to life. He puts it in reverse and backs up down the trail, the car rocking and shaking as it rolls over rocks and uneven ground. Well, today isn’t how you imagined it going at-f*cking-all. You’re still alive. Ugh. And here comes all of the stressful thoughts of life. You quit your job, rent is past due, your apartment is a complete f*cking mess, the list goes on. You thump your head against the glass and curl your knees up to your chest, watching the rain trickle down against the windows. The two of you drive in tense silence, and you don’t care enough to ask him where you guys are going. You just sit and stew over the fact that this all could have been avoided if you hadn’t have replied to his f*cking stupid text. This could have been avoided if you didn’t take a smoke before your jump.

But, no. Here you are crying your eyes out and sniffling like a toddler next to shades mc douchenozzle. You’ve had the displeasure of knowing this dick since sophom*ore year of highschool. You always found him annoying, especially when he started flirting with your girlfriend back in senior year even though he f*cking knew you and TZ were a thing. He just f*cking loved hanging around the two of you, flirting with her and pushing as many of your buttons as he could. He’d even joke-flirt with you, too, since he knew you were bisexual. You wanted to punch him so bad. Now he shows up playing the hero, and you’ve learned that he and Terezi text each other now apparently. This day literally couldn’t get any worse. Did Terezi dump you for him? That would just be the fly on your sh*t, wouldn’t it? He’s probably texting her how much of a loser her ex turned out to be.

“sh*t.” Dave breaks the silence, and you glance over. “Low on gas.” Dave mumbles, looking less tense than before. You look away from him and lean back into the seat, staring out the window. Forest scenery slowly changes into urban scenery. You watch cars pass and rain dribble down the window, numbness and anxiety playing tug-o-war inside of you. You watch blankly as Dave pulls his car into a gas station and parks his car by the gas pumps. The gas cap is on the passenger side door, so you watch Dave get out and walk around to your side. He goes to leave towards the little store but pauses for a moment to look at you again. “Stay here, I’ll just be a minute.” He shuts the doors and locks the car, walking off inside of the station. He looks over his shoulder twice, looking anxious before disappearing into the shop. You wait until he disappears before looking down at the door, checking to see if it has the little lock knob like your car does. Luckily for you, it does. f*ck Strider. You open it and unbuckle your seatbelt, getting out of the car. You slam the door shut behind you and stuff your hands into the pocket of your hoodie, trying to warm them up. f*ck, you’re really cold. You’ve always run cold, but your clothes are wet and caked in mud and you’ve been standing in the cold of the woods for at least an hour. You walk away from the car and head down the sidewalk, not caring where you’re going. You just don’t want to be around anyone right now.

You get all but 20 feet before guilt starts nagging at you. Your feet falter and you stop walking. Dave looked pretty anxious leaving you alone. You know it’s for good reason. You worry your bottom lip. f*ck. You inhale sharply and pinch your eyes shut before exhaling. Hopefully you can get back into the car before Dave realizes you were missing, but nope. Dave exits the shop just as you return. The two of you stare at each other. He looks angry and hurt. You break eye contact and look towards the ground.

You hear Dave's shoes plap against the wet pavement, coming up to you in three long steps. His hand plants itself on your shoulder blade and he guides you towards the car. You expected a lecture, but to your surprise that isn’t what happens.

“The car has been going for long enough so the heater should be ready. Go inside and warm up, I bought you a coffee, too.” He slots a disposable coffee cup into your hand and you wordlessly take it. “I know you like straight black coffee so…yeah, you’re welcome.” Dave removes his hand from your shoulder and places one on the small of your back, guiding you towards the passenger door.

Dave puss*foots around something he wants to say, fidgeting with his hands.

“...Please don’t run.” He mumbles out.

Something in his voice at the end sounded…pitiful. It tugs at your gut, and great. Now somehow you’re the asshole here. You sigh and nod. You get into the car like Dave asked and you turn the heater on, leaning back into the seat. You stare lazily at the cup, tracing your thumb around the rim slowly as you wait for Dave to finish up with the pump. You can see Dave looking back at you from the corner of your eye a few times. You worried him pretty bad.

You don't get why he cares so much. You're you. What does he want from you? Is this blackmail? Is he going to try to…no. You shake your head and glance away, trying to quell your anxieties. No one is going to hurt you again. Still, you aren't sure what Dave's motive is for "saving" you. It isn't like you two know each other very well. You guys kind of hung out in highschool, but he was more of a friend's friend than yours. He came to your birthdays, though, so you guess the two of you were acquaintances bordering on friends. You remember that you had a slight crush on him, but you pushed that aside because one, you were dating Terezi and two, he was straight. You always kind of assumed that Dave didn't really care about you anyways and was just there for other people in your friend group. But now here you are, in Dave Strider's car. He was the only one who noticed something was up with you, and that just confuses the f*ck out of you. Dave couldn't possibly care about you more than your friends, so that probably just means your friends hate you and didn't care if you died or lived. Dave will probably realize soon what a sh*t person you are too here soon.

The car door opens and Dave climbs into the front seat. You turn your head towards the window and watch a stray drop of water streak down the side of the glass. You try to distance yourself from everything, feeling the pull of fading into the quietness of zoning out. You get interrupted, though. Dave clears his throat, obviously trying to get your attention. You sigh and look over in his direction. Dave is already digging his hands into a plastic bag, grabbing something out of it. He turns towards you and holds out a small greasy paper bag of Taquitos from the gas station.

"Um." He speaks, looking a bit nervous. "I remember you eating these like…all the time. In highschool and when you hung out in the group. You like these right? We’d all get down to the local gas station near the school. You know the one. I remember you just going to town on these things all the time.”

You stare down at the food in his hand, stunned slightly. You take it from his hands, wondering why Dave would remember this about you.

“I…” You speak, staring down at the greasy gas station food. You feel the corners of your lips pull tight, and your eyes start to itch with tears again. You crumple in your seat as tears blur your vision. Why is he being so nice to you? You don’t understand. You wipe at your face with your sleeve to pull yourself together. Man, you are a wreck today.

You snivel and nod, keeping your eyes on the food. “Thanks.” You speak quietly, and he nods.

The car shakes as he puts it into drive, and Dave starts taking off down the road again. You let yourself sink into the leather seat to get more comfortable. The snug weight of the seat belt clutches at your chest through the layers of clothes you’re wearing. You’re usually cold most days despite your efforts of keeping warm, however, you feel good now. You feel warm. You close your eyes and listen to the sound of rain pittering against the metal roof of the car and the steady whir of the heater blowing air at your feet. The food Dave bought you is even warmer, and you hold onto it like it’ll disappear if you don’t. Your hands are tucked gently at your chest with food in hand. The radio plays silent in the background. It isn’t a song, just someone talking. It feels good to just listen and feel now. To just be. You feel tired from crying too much today, but it doesn’t feel bad. It’s the good kind of tiredness, the kind that guarantees a restful sleep. A yawn works its way up from the back of your throat and you stretch your legs out. You remember, now. You remember moments like these were the ones that made you enjoy life. So, for now, you let yourself sit there in the silent warm embrace of the car; to just be alive in a moment.

You wish you could only live in moments like these.

You must have dozed off for a moment.

You start at the sound of a car door shutting. The car shakes slightly before you hear another door in the back open. When did you fall asleep? You breathe in deeply through your nose and sit up. Your eyes feel heavy with sleep. What time is it? And where are you? It doesn’t look much later in the day. It’s still raining pretty heavily, so not much time has passed you guess. Your food is still warm, too.

“sh*t, did I wake you up?” Dave speaks out from somewhere behind you. You look in the rear view mirror into the backseat. It takes a moment to find him, but there he is. He’s putting a backpack and a skateboard into the back of the car. You shake your head and sit up.

“Mm-mh.” You swipe your sleeve over your eyes to rub the sleep from them. “‘re good..” You speak with a gravelly voice. Dave huffs a laugh from his nose somewhere behind you before shutting the door. He comes around to the front seat and climbs in just as you start to dig into your food finally. Better eat it before it gets cold. You devour them when you feel how hungry you actually are. God, these things are f*cking great. You could eat, like, ten of them in one sitting. You remember you used to be able to back in highschool. The empty wrapper crumples up in your hand, and you pocket it. You wipe the crumbs and grease off onto your pants.

It’s after your third gulp of luke-warm gas station coffee before you speak again.

“Where are we?” You wipe the corner of your eye with your sleeve, looking at your surroundings. Dave parked his truck in front of a two story building cramped in between a few houses and businesses. It looks kind of old, and it’s painted this weird weathered baby blue color. It seems like there’s only six apartments. You crane your neck to look behind you. You seem to be downtown somewhere. There’s an intersection nearby, so the sound of traffic is constant. Wet cigarette buds and flattened gum sprinkle the sidewalk next to the small parking lot you’re in.

“My place.” Dave starts the car, “Had to grab a few things.”

You don’t like the sound of that. You turn and look at the backpack Dave stored in the back with a critical eye. The f*ck is he planning?

“...I thought you were dropping me off at my house?” You turn back towards Dave.

The car shakes as he shifts gears. Dave turns around in his seat to look behind him as he backs up onto the street before looking back at you. He gives you a look like you’re the unbelievable one.

“Seriously?” He drawls, traces of his Texan accent surfacing. “I’m not an idiot, Vantas.”

He starts driving. "I'm staying with you. At least for a while."

f*cking figures. You should have known.

You just let out a sigh and sink down further into your seat. “f*cking fine.” You grumble before taking another half-hearted sip of your coffee.

You settle into silence and watch outside the window. You aren't paying attention to anything in particular, it's more of an excuse to let yourself zone out. Most of the time it's uncontrollable for you, but it feels nice to let yourself go on purpose; to not have to think. It used to annoy you– sometimes it still does. Like, you'd be walking to the store and get into your head so badly that you'd walk right by it and have to turn around again. sh*t like that. You get lost in your head so often you wonder if one of these days you'll never come back out.

"So…" Dave's voice grounds you. You blink and turn your head in his direction. He's thrumming his fingers against the steering wheel as he speaks. "Remember that time in highschool where we had that project together in English?"

You pick dirt from under your nails. "Uh…yeah?" You lie.

"We couldn't decide on what to write so we kept going back and forth before we started going off into tangent after tangent just wasting the f*ck out of our time. I don't even know how the hell we got there, but oh my god was I glad we did." Dave smiles, "You started talking about shipping–"

You groan. Oh, god. You remember now.

" –all of our friends! Like, holy sh*t, I thought for a second that Nepeta hijacked your body. Well, she was shipping, you were trying to match-make, I think. I'm pretty sure it's because you thought I was going to steal your girl TZ. Like, damn, dude. That girl was f*cking all over you, if anything I was trying to steal you away from her."

"What." What the f*ck?

"Uh–" Dave tenses, "Not that I– I mean, like, for bro time. A bro sesh. Duh. It’s not that deep, bro. Anyways, you started drawing this f*cking grid to pair everyone together with!" The car stops at a red light, so Dave turns to look at you. "It was so jank, and we started arguing and sh*t before we got to the main course of this story. We were practically groping each other for that pen, and that's when–"

"Penis Ouija." You roll your eyes. You remember it very well. It's one of the things you look back on and cringe at.

Dave's face blooms into a very expressive smile. Well, that's new. He usually hides behind this stupid ass ‘Ironic cool-guy’ facade. "f*cking Penis Ouija. You speak about it like it's not a testimony of our friendship."

"...You thought we were friends?" You furrow your brows. You don't want to seem rude, but you don't really remember being his friend.

"Uh, yeah? Dude, I came to like all of your birthday parties and crap. But, back to Penis Ouija. We got so f*cking worked up over these ghoulish dicks that you started yelling and I wouldn't back down because I was a little punk trying to prove a point or some sh*t. We ended up f*cking honest to god wrestling each other over these penises right in the middle of class like some impromptu hormonal wrestling tournament."

"And you f*cking got us sent to the principal's office, jackass." You grumble and take a sip of your cold coffee.

"I still have it." Dave speaks through his growing fit of laughter.

"Have what?"

"Penis Ouija. I still have that page. It's tucked into the notebook I used to write all my sick ass bars back in highschool. You know the one."

"What." You flat.

Dave's face splits into a grin that has your mind stalling over. God, he's always had an attractive smile, unlike you. Your teeth are…yikes. You honestly should have gotten braces as a kid but you didn't want to get made fun of. You know they aren't terrible. Just terrible enough to make you self conscious when you smile.

"Yeah, man. It's a f*cking masterpiece. I kept thinking about getting it laminated and framed. Who am I kidding, I'm still thinking about getting it laminated and framed." The light turns green, but Dave doesn't seem to notice because he's looking at you.

Oh, god. Oh, please god no. You don't need that f*cking shameful piece of garbage to be preserved any longer than it has been.

"No, you f*cking aren't. If I see that thing I'm shredding it and flushing the pieces down the toilet like the piece of sh*t it is." You put your coffee cup in the cupholder and cross your arms over your chest.

"Then I guess you won't see it until it's laminated." Dave grins at you. "One of these days I'm going to come up to you on Christmas or on your birthday or some sh*t and have a perfectly wrapped box pressed right on my pelvis. You're going to be thinking 'wow, a dick in a box, you shouldn't have'. But, nope. No Strider pecker this Christmas. However, you don't know that. You have never wanted a present more than you do now. You open it up and you find the masterpiece that is Penis Ouija. It isn't a dick-in-a-box or some sh*tty ass Hallmark heart shaped jewelry. It's far better. You are so moved that your eyes are leaking a steady stream of tears. Nothing has moved you like this. The only way you could recreate this amount of emotional reaction is if you were blind and had to read braille with your bare eyes, but the braille was scribed on a fresh slab of onion-" Dave jumps a few inches when a car honks at him from behind.

"Oh, sh*t." Dave starts driving again, slipping back into his usual poker face. It makes you kind of sad to see it.

You feel an urge to draw him back out of that shell, but you're too half hearted. You can't muster up anything right now. So, you just sit back and look forward to the road.

"...The penis Ouija was kind of funny. Still f*cking stupid." You admit.

You see Dave crack a smile out of the corner of your eye. "f*ck yeah, it was."

The rest of the car ride Dave just talks while you listen. He tried to get you to engage in conversation once, but when you didn't say anything he thankfully understood that you didn't feel like talking. That's…nice of him. You hate yourself when you can't bring yourself to make conversation with somebody and they go silent as well. It isn't that you don't like them or don't want to hear them talk, it's just difficult for you to use any energy.

You're reminded, though, of why you're here.

Of everything that led up to this moment. You feel your gut slowly sink into its usually perpetual sorrow. You almost feel bad that you're going to upset Dave when you off yourself. You haven't changed your mind on that. Now you just feel even worse because you're hurting someone. You aren't dumb. You know that he does care, you just don't know why. He's made it pretty evident that he isn't going to let you out of his sights. You don't know whether to feel sincere or cornered.

You must have been blanking out for a while. You hardly notice that Dave is now parked in front of your apartment until he starts moving. You perk up and watch Dave as he gets out of the car and unloads his stuff from the back. You remember now, though, of how you left your apartment. sh*t. Embarrassment and shame seeds deep inside of you at the thought of what Dave will say when he walks in.

He follows you as you lead him up to your apartment. You fish your keys out of your pocket and stand in front of the door, hesitating.

"I…" You fidget. "It's not pretty in there…"

"Oh, that's okay dude." Strider speaks, but he really doesn't know how bad it is. You know it's stupid but now you really wish that you cleaned up before leaving. You didn't think he'd have to come back here. You sigh and swallow your shame. "Whatever."

You unlock the door and walk in first, not even bothering with the lights. The lightbulb went out a long time ago and you never bothered to change it. There is just enough light coming through thin curtains to illuminate the room palely. You stand aside and watch Dave walk in. He takes in what he sees quietly.

It's a one bed, one bath open floor apartment. The bathroom door is off to the left, the door left shut. The rest of the apartment is split into two sections, the side you sleep on and the side you eat on. The side you sleep on sports a dirty brown carpet with dirty clothes piled everywhere. You haven't washed them in a long time, admittedly. You just wear what you have for a long time and then when it gets too gross it goes to the top of the pile and you fish out something from the bottom that doesn't smell as bad. You become painfully aware of what you must smell like.

Your bed isn't any better. It's just a bare mattress on the floor with a comforter and a few pillows. There is a bunch of random crap strewn around the floor like empty chip bags, a hair brush, various papers and receipts, etc. Your laptop and a book you finished yesterday is sitting at the edge of your bed. You have various boxes piled up in corners that contain stuff from your last move that you never unpacked. You honestly forget what's in them.

On the eating side of the apartment, there are multiple trash bags piled up in the corner that you never had the energy to take out. The sink is piled with dishes that have long since been forgotten, some housing mold. The only dish that is clean is your favorite black coffee mug that sits on the counter. The floor tile is dirty and unswept, and next to the fridge is a bowl of cat food that you haven't gotten rid of since Charlie died.

You shove your hands into your pockets and stare down at the floor, not wanting to look over at Dave. You know that you're disgusting. That your apartment is disgusting.

"Why don't you take a shower and I'll start cleaning up." You hear Dave speak. You want to move but you feel glued to the floor in shame. You don't want Dave to clean your sh*t up, especially the embarrassing crap like your dirty underwear. You shake your head and start picking up your laundry. "Just…f*ck, sorry. Just let me get this first." You mumble and pile all of your laundry next to your bed. You'll clean those later.

Standing here with someone else evaluating your life is really making you see facts that you don’t want to see. Like the fact that you’re now hyper aware of your greasy hair and oily face. Of your sweaty clothes and body. Of how your teeth feel gross and plaque-covered. Even if you shower, you don’t have any clean clothes to change into. Shame burns in your stomach. No wonder TZ left you. When a hand lands gently on your shoulder you realize that you’ve been staring into space again. You flinch away from Dave, not wanting him to touch your disgusting everything. This whole day he’s been around you and hasn’t said anything about it. He definitely had to have noticed how gross you were by now.

“Sorry.” You mumble and walk around Dave and into the bathroom. You open and shut the door quickly, locking it behind you. Your bathroom matches the apartment in mess, if not worse. The bathroom light works in here but you keep it off. You wait silently against the door and listen to the otherside for a moment before walking towards the shower. The pipes in the walls squeal as you turn the knob. As you wait for the water to heat up you grab the toothbrush from the sink counter and turn the water on. You wet the brush and don’t bother applying any toothpaste– you ran out of that stuff a week or two ago.

You brush the plaque off of your teeth and rinse your mouth out with water, relieved instantly when you swipe your tongue over your clean teeth. You decide to brush a second time just to be sure but flinch in pain when your brush runs over something painful. f*ck. Yeah, definitely a cavity somewhere. Whatever, it isn’t like you can brush it away now. You wish you could do something about your breath, but you make do with what you have. You rinse your mouth out with water until you think it’s cleanish…enough.

When the shower is hot you peel off your muddy clothing and drop them in a pile on the floor. You glance over at your reflection in the mirror, tired eyes finding each other. You’ve lost weight since the last you saw yourself. You look at your upper arm where small round scars are burned into your skin. They look as ugly as the last time you saw them.

You step into your shower and slide down onto the floor, curling your knees up to your chest. You let the hot water stream over your neck and back with bliss. You forget how good showers feel. The warm water blankets your skin, washing muck and grime down the drain.

You tilt your head back into the water, humming when you feel the spray massage your scalp. You spot a bottle of shampoo nearby and grab for it. You turn it over and squeeze, but all that comes out is scented air. That sucks. You’ll have to make do with water.

You don't know how much time has passed since you got into the shower, but eventually when the water goes from hot to luke-warm you turn it off and step out. You don't bother with the clothes on the floor since they are way too dirty to put on, even for your standards. A crumpled towel sits nearby on the floor and you grab it. Better than nothing. The towel is cold against your skin. You dry yourself off before wrapping it around your waist, pausing when you hear a noise outside of the bathroom again.

You heave a sigh.

It's time to go out there. You open the bathroom door and walk out, tightening the towel on your waist. Dave looks up from where he is in the kitchen. Looks like he's washing dishes. When he sees you, he almost drops the plate he's holding onto the floor. "Uh-" Dave coughs and turns his back to you. "I left you one of my shirts and sweatpants on your bed. I took your clothes downstairs to the laundromat."

You glance around the room. Oh. It looks like a completely different place. The floor is cleaned from clutter, your bed is made, the kitchen is looking a thousand times better and all of your laundry is gone. Huh. Wait. Your eyes snap back over to your bed where your laptop and book are sitting, but you now spot a few pill bottles on there as well. sh*t. You should have thrown those away when you…f*ck. Whatever. It's too late now.

You walk over and grab the clothes Dave left for you, picking up the dark red shirt and pulling it over your head. It's a bit baggy on you and smells like Dave, but it's clean. Not that Dave has a bad smell. You grab the black sweatpants and shimmy them on under your towel before letting it drop to the floor.

"Thanks." You mumble.

You walk over to the side of your bed where your floor heater is sitting, cranking it up to max heat. You look over in time to see Dave finishing the dishes. Wow. You really just made him clean up your whole apartment by himself while you took a shower like a lazy piece of sh*t. You sit down on the carpet in front of the heater and rest your head on your knees. You're awful.

A blanket places itself around your shoulders and you look up to see Dave sitting in front of you with two cups of coffee in his hands. He hands one over to you and leans back against the wall.

"So." Dave starts, "Uh…I don't mean to, like, pry or anything." He taps his finger against his mug.

You stay quiet.

Dave nods his head towards the bed but you don't look. You know what he's referring to.

"Are you asking me why I need meds?" You roll your eyes. Like you're going to f*cking tell him that. You set your mug aside and shrug off your blanket before getting up and grabbing the orange bottles off of your mattress. The pills inside shake and clatter before you toss them into an empty trashcan in the kitchen. You stare at them with disdain momentarily before returning back to the floor in front of the heater. You scrunch the blanket around you and tuck your chin over your knees while staring at the floor.

"Nothing important."

Chapter 2: Two

Notes:

TW: Referenced/Mentioned child abuse, Referenced/Mentioned suicide, Referenced/Mentioned self harm.

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”

Vincent Willem van Gogh

Your name is Dave Strider, and today started out pretty good for once. You worked on your music, uploaded a new song to your Youtube, and now you’re kicking back chillaxin on the couch at Jades apartment. It’s been– f*ck– months since you last saw everyone? You missed them all. For the first time in a long time you feel some amount of normalcy after the dumpster fire your life became. It feels good to be in someone else's apartment and to not be alone. You were listening to John and Jade argue back and forth on whether tonight y’all were playing Mario Kart or Mario Party, but your attention was diverted over when you saw your screen light up with multiple messages from Pesterchum. You tuned out the current bitchfest in front of you to grab the phone away from the table, opening the group chat. You skimmed the conversation, only half paying attention to what was being said until your eyes caught Karkat being an idle chum popping up in the memo. He wasn’t typing, just lurking. Probably reading the conversation between Vriska, Gamzee, and– yikes–Terezi.

Terezi and Vriska are trying to get Gamzee into going with them on a Geocaching trip. That’s outta sting for Karkat. Maybe you and Karkat could go Geocaching. Like bros do. Two best bros that haven’t really spoken much since graduation. I mean, you already have the app downloaded…not because you were hoping to go Geocaching with only Karkat tho. Terezis one hot babe. Although she is kind of freaky, when John introduced you two in highschool you tried to show her a meme on your phone and she straight up pressed her tongue flat against the screen and licked it. The look of disgust must’ve been evident on your face cuz her little hot side piece of a boytoy broke out laughing. No hom*o tho. But just saying if Karkat was a chick? Damn. You would tap that in a very heterosexual way. Although if you WERE a hom*osexual then double damn, you’d bend that piece of fine ass over a table in a heartbeat. No hom*o tho.

Ever since Terezi dumped Karkat, Karkat stopped showing up to hang out with everyone. He even stopped texting in the group chat. As far as you know his close friends haven't heard from him in a while…so you’ve heard. You don’t know why you got so excited when TZ finally dumped the poor dude. Maybe it’s cuz you now had a chance with that babe Karkat managed to pull, but tbh you’re not all that into her. You tried hanging out with her a few times but your heart wasn't really in it for some reason.

Also damn, Karkat is still reading their conversation. He’s not even trying to be subtle.

After a while, Karkat seems to lose interest cuz he exits the chat, and he promptly vanishes from the group chat. Maybe you should check in on him. You exit the group as well and slide into Karkats dms.

Your face must have been doing something weird, because suddenly Rose is leaning over to look at what’s on your screen. Her black lips pull into a half smile, and she looks at you like she’s uncovering some big ass secret.

“Finally making a move?” She says with a coy undertone. Her chin finds its way to rest on her palm as she looks you over.

“What?” You say back stupidly, eyebrows raising up over the lenses of your glasses.

“With Karkat. You’re finally making a move on him, no?” Her eyebrows raise as well, but not in shock. She looks way too smug for this conversation to be ironic.

“Why would I do that?” You huff out, feeling your neck heating up. You don’t know why you’re acting like some bashful bimbo who just got pressed up against a wall. Not that you wouldn’t mind that happening. Wait. No. f*ck. Not that you’re imagining Karkat pinning your hands to the wall, his knee between your legs, leaning in to close the space between you both and- Nope nope nope. You shake the thought out of your head because you’re so not indulging in your weird-ass intrusive thoughts. That’s all they are.

“Because of your obvious crush on him.” Rose interrupts your train of thought with something even worse. She said that way too loud. Oh, f*ck. Before you can defend yourself, John speaks up from across the living room.

“What crush? Dave has a crush on someone?” John now has the Nintendo Switch raised above his head, using his couple of inches over Jade to keep it from her. Jade pauses her jumping, turning her head to look over at Dave as well.

“Are we talking about Karkat?” Jade says, raising an eyebrow

Okay, what the f*ck?

“You have a crush on Karkat!? I didn’t know you were gay, dude!” John’s jaw drops, and in his momentary shock Jade manages to swipe the Nintendo switch from him. She grins so wide you can see her mouth full of jagged teeth at war with braces. You’d swear she was half canine with the set of chompers on her. It suits her, though. It’s kind of cute, they remind you a little of Karkats teeth. They arent like super f*cked up, just a bit crooked in some spots and not all perfect and plain.

Back to the present, though.

“I’m not gay, and I don’t have a crush on anyone!” You huff out, annoyance building in your tone. Okay wow. No need to get so emotional. Time to take it back a notch, Strider. You kick your feet up onto the table in front of you and lean back further into the couch. Everything’s chill.

“Even if Karkat was a chick I so wouldn’t hit that. Yeah he’s got pretty lips and a nice ass but no thank you. Every guy has that. I haven’t even thought about him once. Just bro stuff. Very, very PG bro stuff. That’s why I have never even once thought about him or his ass and lips ever.” You can’t shut up. God, someone please make you shut up. You can feel your ears turning red, and now everyone’s staring at you with mixed reactions.

“Dude, you totally do!” John doesn’t even care about the Switch anymore. He’s just staring at you like he’s met you for the first time. sh*t.

“Dave, it is okay if you like Karkat, but I can see this conversation is making you uncomfortable so I will drop it for the time being. But, if you need to talk,” Rose places a hand on your knee. You can feel your friends' eyes boring holes into you. You feel way too exposed. “I will be here.”

You feel yourself nodding even before you mean to. “Yup. Okay. Whatever. I’m not gay, though. So I don’t even know why we would need to talk.” You get up, quickly turning to leave the room. “I need to take a wizz. Start without me.”

Before anyone can get another word in you’ve already shut the bathroom door behind you. You look down at your phone with a set jaw. You aren’t gay, you’re just…concerned. Something just doesn’t sit right in your stomach when it comes to Karkat. You’ve known him off and on again for like over a decade, and seeing his behavior change like this brings up some bad memories. Especially now that he isn’t talking to anyone? Yeah. It doesn’t sit right in your stomach at all. Maybe you’re just looking into it too much because of…

You don’t want to think about that right now. Today was supposed to be a day away from that.

Okay, f*ck it. Your fingers start typing out a message before you can puss* out.

TG: yo man

TG: you good?

TG: i havent seen you hanging out with anyone

TG: or like even talking in chat

TG: or to anyone actually

TG: ive been asking around

sh*t, wait, that sounds kind of creepy.

TG: like bros do

Perfect.

Just a few moments later you see him start typing.

CG: f*ck OFF.

CG: YOU DON’T EVEN LIKE ME.

CG: WHY THE f*ck ARE YOU EVEN ASKING FOR ME?

CG: JUST

CG: LEAVE ME ALONE.

What? Where did he get that idea? Karkat’s literally the funniest person you’ve ever met. This cannot stand uncorrected.

TG: what

TG: im just worried about you man

TG: you thought i didnt like you?

TG: nah man thats straight up horse sh*t

CG: f*ck OFF.

CG: SERIOUSLY.

CG: I COULDN’T JUST BE LEFT IN PEACE.

CG: WOW.

CG: BUT, NO.

CG: MY LAST CONVERSATION EVER IS WITH YOU.

CG: f*ckING FANTASTIC.

TG: um

TG: hey are you okay

TG: like real talk here

CG: I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO TRY TO f*ckING PRETEND ANYMORE.

CG: JUST LEAVE ME ALONE YOU f*ckING IDIOT.

You feel your gut flip. Okay, yeah, you have definitely seen this before. This really doesn’t sit right with you at all.

TG: yeah you dont sound okay

TG: actually im even more worried now

TG: where are you

CG: f*ck YOU AND f*ck OFF.

f*ck. Fuuuuuck.

You quickly pull up Snap-map, zooming out until you can see everyone's stupid Bitmoji on the map.

“Please have kept your location on,” Your eyes scan the page anxiously until you spot him- Thank f*ck- out towards the woods. Okay, that doesn’t look too far from where you are now actually. You surprise yourself with some real slick detective sh*t by cross referencing the bitmoji with Google Maps and you’re out of the door. You walk past the group and grab the car keys on the table, sliding into your shoes.

“Wait- Dave- come on! Don’t leave, I’m sorry about calling you gay if that's what you’re upset about?” John sits up from the couch, watching Dave put all of his things together. The girls start saying something, too, but you don’t have time to chit chat. You leave the door open and run. You run out of the apartment buildings as fast as human feet can go, and even when you’re in your car you barely slow down. You’re pretty sure you ran a few red lights, but f*ck traffic safety.

Everything is a blur, you barely feel yourself as you put the car in park and rush out. You’re running so fast up that trail, feeling more focused than you ever had before. You spot a few warning signs around the bend, and your feet slide against the wet dirt and moss as you come to a halt at the railing. You see him, at the very edge- most importantly alive. You almost feel yourself breathe out in relief, but it doesn’t last long.

A cigarette falls from his hands, and his body relaxes. His shoulders slump, his head lulls, and he begins to tip forward and oh my god, no. He’s slipping, he’s-

Thanks for being there for me. I’m sorry I couldn’t do the same.

“NO!” You vault over the railing and you get there just before he tips fully over. For a moment you worry that the both of you might fall over, but your years at the gym really did pay off. You yank him back hard and he comes fumbling back onto you. The both of you sit for a moment, dazed and shocked at what just happened– and more importantly what didn’t happen. You don’t have time to reflect, though, because you’re already up and dragging him back away from the ledge.

He starts to struggle against you, cursing and hurling insults at you. You feel dreadful just being on this ledge with him trying to wring his way out of your grip, but thankfully he seems to give up on that pretty fast. Actually he seems to have given up on everything. He lets you carry him over the rail and slumps onto the ground when you try to set him on his feet. Your body feels as tight as a bow string, adrenaline still coursing through you as you anxiously keep guard over him. When it looks like he isn’t going to run, you force yourself to calm down. You hardly even care when he starts cursing you out again. He’s safe. He isn’t dead, he’s safe and here and alive and cursing at you.

Is this how Dirk felt? Was he like this when he…

“f*ck,” You have never felt so many emotions all at once. Guilt, anger, sorrow, empathy. All you know is that you just want Karkat to be safe. You can keep him safe. You put up with his bitchfest all the way down the hiking trail and to the car, dragging him along forcefully. You aren’t going to give him a choice in this. Karkats choices are absolute dogsh*t. You’re gonna take all of his ideas into a little plastic grab bag and toss that hot steaming pile right into the trash.

You have Karkat now. Now what? You obviously can’t leave him alone right now.

You pull your phone out with your free hand and text the only person you can think of that most definitely knows where Karkat lives.

TG: hey terezi u there

TG: terezi

TG: terezi come on

GC: 0MG WH4T.

GC: CH1LL D4VE, Y0UR C00L K1D F4C4D3 1S SL1PP1NG.

TG: whats karkats address

GC: ...

GC: 1 SO C4LL3D 1T L0L.

TG: ?

GC: 1 4LW4YS KN3W Y0U 4ND K4RKL3S H4D TH3 H0TS F0R 34CH 0TH3R!

TG: wow

TG: we are so not talking about this right now

TG: or ever actually

TG: we are so way off base of what we are talking about that we’re actually playing tennis right now

GC: TH3N WHY D0 Y0U N33D K4RK4TS 4DDR3SS?

TG: tz please

TG: i will explain sometime else but i really need to stop reading all this back and forth bullsh*t

TG: i need to start reading an address

TG: like

TG: now

CG: C4LM Y0UR H0RS3S, D4VE, CHR1ST.

CG: H1S 4P4RTM3NT NUMB3R 1S 696. H3 L1V3S 4T PR0SP1T 4P4RTM3NTS.

TG: thanks

After that you had threatened to call the cops on Karkat, and he did not like that idea. You hated the idea, too. But if it meant that Karkat was going to stay alive? You would have called them and held Karkat down until they got here in a heartbeat. You’re glad that it didn’t come to that, though. You’d feel pretty sh*tty about handing him off like that. The car ride after that wasn’t great, though.

It was…

Until you have a reason to - TurkeyCat (3)

A bit tense.

You nearly had a f*cking heart attack when you saw that Karkat was missing when you walked out of the gas station store. You were about to call the cops when you saw Karkat walking back to you. You were f*cking furious, but you knew that that anger isn’t what Karkat needed right now. He came back, and that is what mattered to you.

Karkat cried when you gave him food and tired himself out after that. He fell asleep in the car and you took that opportunity to quickly run up and grab your stuff from your apartment before he woke. You feel so f*cking bad for this guy. Like, what the f*ck happened? The last time you remember him was when he was hanging out with everyone a few months ago. He seemed okay. You remember him and TZ had gotten into a huge fight later that night, though. Fair enough, because Karkat was being an ass. He was just brooding by himself and getting snippy and aggressive with anyone who breathed in his direction. You’re not sure what was pissing him off so bad, but it had to be something bad. You kind of thought that maybe he had a hangover or a headache or something, so you stayed out of his way. That’s the last time you saw him before the breakup.

But back then Karkat was fed, clean, and had some level of general capability.

Not…

You glance over from the corner of your eye, watching Karkat stare out of the car window.

Not like this. Not so weak that he barely weighs anything to you. Not so unkempt that you consider rolling down the windows to breathe a little better. Not whoever is sitting next to you. Did the breakup with TZ really set him off this bad? You’ve had bad breakups before, but none like this. They were highschool sweethearts for sure but f*ck, man. He didn’t have to try and throw himself off a ledge over it. Karkat just seems absolutely broken. He fought with you tooth and nail this entire day just because you stepped in to help. You can’t lie, seeing him rejecting your help and cursing you out every chance he got made it very hard to help him. You know, though, that that’s what he wants. He wants to piss you off enough to make you leave. He wants to push you away like he did all of his friends. And you know what? f*ck that. f*ck him and his plan. He isn’t getting rid of you.

You can’t help but wonder if Dirk would have fought you like this, too.

You can tell that Karkat cares to some extent. He isn’t just some angry asshole. You see it at the end of his meltdowns how he crumbles and apologizes for everything. You know a lot of people kind of write him off as a pissy little gremlin but he’s way more than that. He’s super f*cking passionate and empathetic towards people. He cares a lot. You’re glad to see that he still has some resemblance of himself even like this. He still cares for people.

When you got to his apartment you didn’t know what to say. It was awful. Awful everything. He lived in a dump. There was mold in the kitchen, and god, everything smelled. You kept it together, though, because you saw the way Karkat was acting. He looked so embarrassed and small. It broke your heart. It reminded you of the way Dirk's room would look in your apartment. How it still looks.

While Karkat showered, you cleaned the hell out of his apartment. You did a damn good job, too. The first thing you did was gather up the dirty laundry he piled by the bed and took it down to the laundromat attached to the apartments. After that, you gathered up all the trash on the floor and in the kitchen and took those to the dumpsters outside. You opened some windows and febreeze-bombed his apartment. Sadly Karkat didn’t have anything like a vacuum or mop, so you couldn’t do much there. Halfway through cleaning, though, you found something that caught you a little off guard. You found some pill bottles. Now, those aren’t a big deal in and of itself. You know plenty of people that take medication for a variety of reasons. Jade’s diabetic so she takes insulin. Rose takes antidepressants and meds for insomnia. John takes meds for acne. sh*t like that.

But these ones were weird looking. One bottle had little round pink pills, and the other had white shields. They were kind of badass looking. The shields. Not the pink ones. You didn’t google the names for the sake of privacy, though, but you did set them on the bed where they were visible.

When Karkat came back out after his shower he was only wearing a towel. You didn’t get a good enough look at him because you looked away as soon as you saw he was practically naked. So naked. Luckily you set out some clothes for him and he got dressed. After the two of you settled with some coffee down by the heater, you decided to prod a little and ask him what the pills were for. Karkat took that as the opportunity to throw them into the trash.

“Nothing important.” He grumbles and settles back onto the floor.

Nothing important. Yeah, right. You’re glad you’re wearing sunglasses because you could not suppress the eye roll that came from hearing that.

“Okay…” You drawl. “Do you, uh…”

This is awkward. You didn’t really think of what to do after you got Karkat away from that ledge. You just kind of kept going. But now with no clear path, you’re at a bit of a loss.

“Do you want to talk about it?” You clear your throat.

Karkat stares at you with disdain.

“No.” He takes a sip of coffee. You chew the inside of your cheek. Well, not much you can do there. You get the feeling that if you pry anymore he’s going to shut you out completely.

“Want to play Uno?” You drag your backpack closer to yourself and start rummaging around in it. You brace for Karkat dismissing you again.

“...Sure.”

You look up, surprised. Karkat is looking away from you. You can’t help the smile that spreads across your face. You scoot in closer and start shuffling the cards. Hell yeah. The two of you play Uno and talk for hours. You can tell that Karkat is still tired and depressed, but he’s coming out of his shell little by little. You’re equally surprised and happy to see it. When Dirk got into a mood like this there was practically nothing you could do to get him out of it. You wonder what’s different here. You both go back and forth on things you did in highschool, funny stories, and you even get Karkat to talk about some of his writing.

“Oh my god.” You laugh. “Do you still have Summer Teen Romance?”

Karkat visibly cringes. “No. God, never.”

“Dude, Summer Teen Romance was so f*cking amazing. I can’t believe you wrote fanfiction-”

“It was an AU.” Karkat corrects, hiding his face in his hands.

“Whatever, you wrote an AU about all of us and then you f*cking wrote me in as the villain. Dude you gave me a f*cking pencil mustache, too.” You will never forget it. At the time it was cringey and stupid as hell, Karkat even wrote a scene about you rapping and it was so bad. You wish you still had a copy. It had horrible tropes and you could tell that he had put so much effort into it. Like, an ungodly amount. He was writing that screenplay all the way through freshman to junior year before he let you read it. You still can't believe that he wrote you in as a villain and then had you read it. Honestly what a f*cking boss move. “And you wrote my guardian at the time as the f*cking camp leader or whatever it’s called.”

“Counselor.” Karkat peeks through his fingers at you.

“God.” You drawl. “I thought he was so cool.”

Karkat rolls his eyes. “f*cking duh, you talked about him like all the f*cking time. Like how cool he was at making weird unsettling ironic comics, how he had a bunch of sharp anime-esq weapons, or all of his weird f*cking puppets…Actually none of that is cool. Well, maybe the weapons”. Karkat drops his hands from his face.

“Yeah.” You flip another card down onto the pile. “Too bad he was a huge POS.”

“...What?” Karkats face pinches in confusion.

Bro wasn’t great. Actually, he was the f*cking worst. The moment you and Dirk both hit 18 you left and never f*cking came back.

“Yeah. It took me a long time to realize that he wasn’t as cool as I thought. I tried to convince myself that he was “mysterious” or “stern” or “aloof”. But that was just me trying to rationalize all the bullsh*t that went down. I remember hearing my friends complain bitterly about their parents doing things that were so foreign to me. Like grounding you over finding cigarettes or beer in your room. I thought my bro was the coolest because he let me do whatever the f*ck I wanted. I dunno. I didn’t have any frame of reference.” Your thumb swipes over the sensitive scar on your ring finger. “Me and Dirk had to learn domestic sh*t on our own after we left. Like laundry, or doing the dishes. Hell, we didn’t even know what the real use for a refrigerator was until we got into highschool. He didn’t teach us anything except…”

You still remember it. You don’t remember the atmosphere ever not being nerve wracking. Having to sneak around so you didn’t run into Bro. All of your sh*tty childhood spider senses are tingling just thinking about it. All Bro taught you was fear.

“What f*cking gets me is how long it took me to put it all together.” Your eyebrows pinch together. “To stop seeing it as some rough and manly lifestyle. It took years to deconstruct it and put it back together to understand how f*cking mad I should have been.” You glance up from your cards towards Karkat, realizing that you’re f*cking dumping all your sh*tty issues onto him. f*ck.

And Karkats looking at you like he just met you all over again. There is sorrow in his eyes, but it isn’t for himself.

“Dave…I’m…” He worries his hands. “I never knew-”

“It’s chill.” You shrug. “I didn’t even know. How could anyone else?”

You wish someone knew. You wish your f*cking teachers didn’t just write you off as some problem child, or how no one questioned you any further on how you got bruises and cuts. You wish that someone saw through your act of having it all together. Actually…

You remember someone did see through it once when you were hanging out with the whole group. Everyone was dicking around on the track field after school. Dirk was out of highschool at this time and was at work, so it was Bros turn to pick you up. You were talking with Arida and Sollux when you heard your bros car horn go off. You felt anxiety just knowing that he was here and you had to get into the car with him, but you were used to that. No one noticed your poker face falter when you looked back at Bro. That’s what you thought, anyways. When you went to grab your backpack from the pile on the ground that Feferi and Nepeta were watching you had passed Karkat on the way there. Karkat was the only one to ask you what was wrong and that…that really messed you up. You were scared but pushed it down and Karkat dragged that thought right up to the surface. The fact that you were scared and someone else saw that. And, f*ck, Karkat looked worried for you, too. You felt like he saw right through your bullsh*t cool guy act. It became too much for you to handle when Karkat seemingly put some pieces together and shot a glare at Bro. You just told him that things were fine and left before he could get a word in. When you got into the car the tense silence felt heavier than it ever did.

“Uno.” You clear your throat. Karkat stares at you like he sees right through you again. You hope he doesn’t prod further into this because honestly you’ve spoken too much and you’re being selfish. Karkat literally tried to kill himself today and you’re dumping all of your sh*tty childhood issues onto him.

“...Do you remember that scene in Summer Teen Romance where you started mulling over all of the characters on Camp Sgrub and you came to Terezi and me?” Karkat flips a draw 2 card onto the pile.

You look up at him again and go through all of your memories of reading that horribly funny screenplay. Oh, yeah. You smile humorously. You draw two cards from the deck.

“You mean the passage where I said something like, “That babe who’s totally out of my league” and then followed it up by saying that you were much better boyfriend material? I thought you were crushing on me hard back then.” Back then you had gotten really uncomfortable because that sentence could have gone either way. He was either talking about how he was better for TZ or you. Karkat was quick to say that it was for TZ but you were so hung up on it since you knew Karkat swung both ways. You feel bad that you reacted so negatively to it now. When your brother came out as gay to you, you got slapped with reality pretty f*cking hard. You had to reevaluate your whole life view on queer stuff. Bro was really anti-gay and all that sh*t and you reflected it. He threw around the word ‘fa*ggot’ like it was a common curse word.

“Yeah.” Karkat sets another draw-two card down. He pinches his lips together and flicks his finger over the side of his card a few times. He’s looking at his cards, but you can tell that his mind is elsewhere. You lean over to draw two from the deck, but your hand freezes at what Karkat says next.

“It’s because I did.”

“...What?” You ask stupidly.

“I had a crush on you.”

Your heart kicks up a notch.

“I don’t even know what I was doing putting that in the screenplay. I guess I was sort of just gauging your reaction or something. It wasn’t even one of those things that, like, entirely f*cking sunk in for me or whatever. It was just a side thought I guess.” Karkat shrugs, eyes on his cards.

“Oh.” You mumble. Why is the thought of Karkat being into you so exciting to you?

“What did you like about me?” You blurt out without thinking.

Karkat finally makes eye contact with you. His eyebrows raise and he stares at you like you just asked him if he wanted to go out on a date or something. f*ck, why did you say that? He’s going to think you’re so f*cking weird now.

“Um.” Karkat starts, “Well…First it was just, uh…” He flusters, “...physical attraction.”

You feel heat rise up your neck. Karkat had a crush on you. And he thought you were hot.

“But then I started to just enjoy being around you, I guess?” His voice rises at the end. “I mean you were f*cking annoying, but still. Your rapping wasn’t half bad and you could do cool tricks on a skateboard.” He shrugs. “Guess that’s all that was needed to win a teen boy's heart.”

“And now?” What. The f*ck. Are you saying????

Karkat looks like a deer in headlights, and you bet you do too. Oh my god, your stupid f*cking no-filter mouth. What the f*ck is wrong with you? Why did you ask him that??

Karkat is the first to break eye contact. Be it briefly, Karkat definitely just checked you out. You feel hot all over. He gave your body a full once over. You thought that Karkat would brush you off or change the subject like you would have, but that is not what happens. Karkat considers his words before speaking.

“And now…I’m not sure.” You feel your gut sink a little. “I haven’t really, like, gotten to know you. I mean…You are more attractive than you were in highschool. So there’s that.” He chews on his lip. “But…I think I like the new you better than the one in highschool.” You don’t ignore how Karkat wipes his palms down his legs to dry them. “You’re a lot more…you. Not, like, buried beneath piles of irony and dudebro bullsh*t. If you were like this in highschool I’d probably be scribbling ‘Karkat Strider/Dave Vantas’ in my notebook instead of it being what it was.”

Your jaw drops a little. Wait, is he saying he…

“f*ck, not that like- not that I have a crush on you now.” Karkat blurts, “I know you’re straight so you don’t- well- f*ck. You get the f*cking point.”

Pause.

“Oh. Dope.” You scream internally at yourself. Dope. Dope? Karkat’s being so f*cking earnest and you can’t get out of your old cool-guy shtick that he was literally just talking about. Katkat looks at you with a pinch of annoyance but just sighs and gives you a sympathetic look. You can’t save the conversation now because Karkat has already moved on. He starts talking about something that doesn’t really matter compared to the topic beforehand. Karkat was into you. That sentence is burned into your brain like a sunspot. And Karkat admitted in a round-about-way that he likes you even more than he did back then. You are thinking about that the normal amount. A timer goes off on your phone halfway into the next game telling you that Karkats laundry is done and the two of you go down to collect it. Karkat doesn’t change out of your borrowed clothes and you don’t ask him to. You’re grateful that you threw Karkats comforter in there as well because damn this thing is soft as f*ck. After that the two of you chit-chat back and forth and eventually come to your conclusion of Uno.

“f*ck, dude. Why are you so good at this?” You take the deck in your hand and shuffle them up for the next time you pull them out.

Karkat shrugs. “I don’t know. Maybe you just suck at Uno.”

You crack a smile, feeling a little egged on by that. God, you miss that. How bitchy and snarky Karkat could be. It made it 1000% more fun to mess with him. He had all these glorious shiny buttons that you couldn’t resist pressing. He had a limit, though. You never wanted to make him actually upset so you knew where his limit was.

You check your phone to look at the time. It’s 11:03. Oh, sh*t, you got some messages. You open pesterchum and cringe a little. Oh, yeah. You did kind of just f*cking run out of Jades apartment without saying sh*t. Whoops.

TT: I apologize if I made you uncomfortable, Dave.

TT: That was not my intention.

TT: It was a gripe, although I do think that you have some self exploration it was uncouth of me to approach you like that.

TT: I hope you can forgive my rudeness. I know you have been dealing with a lot.

GT: hey man, are you okay?

GT: did you run out like that because i thought you were a hom*osexual?

GT: i’m sorry.

GT: do you want to hang out later one-on-one?

GT: just shoot me a text.

GT: love you, man.

GT: not in a gay way, though, lol. :B

GG: hey dave!!

GG: you okay? D:

GG: everyone is worried about you!

f*ck. You feel guilty now. You send them all a text that you’re good and an emergency had come up.

“We should get some sleep.” You stand and look around the apartment. Hm. “I uh…Kind of thought you had a couch or something.”

Karkat stands and takes the laptop and book off of his bed on the floor before flopping down on it, pulling the covers over him. “You can sleep in the bed. I don’t care.” He rolls over and turns his back to you. You should have figured. You knew in the back of your mind that you two would probably have to share the bed. It wasn’t a big deal to you back then, but now? You stand glued to the floor, anxiety and excitement pooling in your gut. Your thoughts migrate back to the conversation the two of you had where Karkat admitted he had a crush on you back in highschool. And also how he checked you out and told you that he liked you better than he did then. God, don’t make this weird.

“Ahaha okay um. Sounds good, dude. This is just like a sleepover in one of those chick flicks you watch. Just two bimb- girls hanging out and doing girly things like braiding each other's hair and telling each other secrets ‘n sh*t. Cool. So f*cking cool. I’m going to brush my teeth.” You grab your bag and rush into the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind you. You lean back against the door.

You made it so f*cking weird.

Okay. You’re just sleeping with Karkat- NEXT TO KARKAT. Oh my god you need to shut your brain up for just a second. You drag your hands up your face, pushing up on your sunglasses.

“Get it together.” You whine under your breath and bump your head back onto the door.

You quickly brush your teeth and change into sweats and a shirt and head back out. You shut off the bathroom light and stand by the bed awkwardly. You wait and watch like some creeper to see if Karkat will do anything like change his mind or tell you to f*ck off, but he doesn’t. So, with courage, you slide into the covers next to him and stare up at the ceiling. You take your sunglasses off and set them down onto the floor next to you.

Eventually after an hour of your brain never shutting up, you’re able to fall asleep.

Even in your sleep, though, your thoughts follow you. Your thoughts about being a teenager again living with bro, all the times you had to literally fight for your life, or…or more recent events. You don’t sleep well.

-

The sound of light rain and high winds is what you wake to. The room is mutely lit with dim morning light obscured by clouds. You breathe in slowly and open your eyes blearily. The unsettling fear of a bad dream sits on your chest, heavy and unignorable. You’re used to bad dreams now. You have multiple in a week and they definitely f*ck up your sleep schedule but you can’t do much about it.

You go to sit up but pause when you feel a weight on your chest. You look downwards and spot a hand laid across your chest. You follow it up the arm and to Karkat, observing him with mild awe. He’s laying on his stomach with his arm spread across your chest. One of his legs is off the bed and the other is hooked at the ankle with your shin. f*ck, his feet are cold. His face is pressed against his pillow and he’s drooling and snoring. The blanket that the both of you shared is somehow spooled around his waist. You don’t find yourself thinking about that dream anymore. You snort and rub your hand over your eyes, a tired grin working your features.

“Cute.” You murmur.

A knock on the door draws your attention. You look over and stay quiet, waiting for a second knock. When only silence follows you carefully move out from under Karkat and off of the bed. You look back down at Karkat, your mouth going dry when you stare at his ass. It’s a good ass. In your clothes, nonetheless. sh*t, you should not be ogling your friend's butt. You turn towards the door robotically and resist the urge to look back. You cannot look back. You will not repeat the same mistake as that dumbass who couldn't trust that his wife was behind him or something. You’re the dumbass and the wife is your straightness. You look back at Karkat and you can kiss your wife goodbye. You unlock it and push it open, leaning out to look into the hall. Nothing. You move to close the door but the sound of paper rustling catches your attention. You walk out and look around to the other side of the door, spotting an eviction notice. Oh, sh*t.

You stare at it in shock before reaching out and grabbing it in your hand. Karkats getting evicted?

You guess that you aren’t entirely surprised when you think about it. If you were in Karkats shoes you doubt you’d be paying any bills, either.

What now?

You look over back to Karkat where he sleeps. Where can he go? Does he have a family? Or anyone to help him? No, you don’t think so. If that were the case he wouldn’t be living like this, right? You sigh and card your hands through your hair. You…well you know that Dirk had you. Dirk had you and he still lived like this when you weren’t there to clean his room for him or help him out. You hated it. All the quiet days, the occasional trip to the hospital, the self harm. You hated it all. He had you and for him it wasn’t enough, apparently. You remember the days leading up that he was…he was peaceful. He wasn’t super happy like the warnings tell you. He didn’t give any of his belongings away, unbeknownst to you he had already gotten a will notarized behind your back. You didn’t know that he called a funeral home months before and saved up enough money from work to cover the cremation costs. He acted better, but not suspiciously better. He kept his self destructive behaviors up until the very end, though, like drinking and cutting. You knew him better than anyone else. You knew his problems better than anyone else. That didn’t help, though.

He had everything planned out and you couldn’t change his mind.

You shut the door and walk over to the counter, setting the eviction notice down onto the surface. You feel your eyes itch a little.

When the both of you moved away from Bro and got an apartment together, it finally felt like you had a home. It was a weird feeling to you. It was open and scary but exciting. The stupid comics drawn on post-it-notes on the fridge, the half folded laundry by the couch, the sink full of dishes that was his turn to clean and yours to dry, the jar of change by the door for shared coffee funds. It felt nothing like being in the same home as Bro. However, you learned that home wasn’t a place. Once Dirk was gone, so was home.

You sniffle, your eyes blurring little by little. A deep ache cuts through you. It’s an indescribable pain. The best you can describe it is pure unfiltered emotion, raw and human. Emotion that makes you feel like a child. Tears roll down your cheeks and form puddles under your chin. You miss him. God, you miss him so much. You felt so lucky to have someone in your life to look after you and you tried so f*cking hard to look after him when he needed it. You hate your apartment now. You feel like you’re walking on eggshells in there. It’s left in a stagnant time-capsule of the day everything changed. You know that’s unhealthy as f*ck but you can’t bring yourself to do anything in that house. Too afraid to rustle the sticky notes on the fridge. Too sad to fold the rest of the laundry that has his dumbass MLP merch in it. Too guilty to use the coffee fund change that was mostly his contributions. You haven’t had friends over after what happened because you’re too afraid that they’ll move something accidentally. Last week you had a panic attack because you saw that you were vacuuming up strands of Dirk's hair in the living room. You haven’t emptied the dust bag. One of the worst feelings to you were the times where you were reminded that he was really gone. Things that couldn’t be ignored as seasons changed. Things that you had forgotten up until then. Like how you couldn’t hear the sound of the dryer in the early winter mornings that Dirk used to warm up his clothes before work. Or how he hadn’t set out ant traps in the summer by the window in the kitchen. How his shoes were always in the same place now when you checked. How there weren’t any random-ass electronics laying around the kitchen or the sound of MLP playing on the TV. Everytime one of those moments happened, and they always happened, it felt like a punch in the gut. You want them back. Even the annoying ones that you would do anything to experience again.

You miss him so much. You’re so angry and hurt that he would leave you like this, but all you want to do is hold him right now. To hold him and tell him that you’re there and everything will be fine.

Your hand trembles as you wipe at your eyes. You release a raw breath you didn’t know you were holding and take in a deep, shuddering breath in to replace it.

“Dave?” You freeze. You don’t turn around, too mortified to face Karkat. When you stay with your back to him it’s Karkat who moves in front of you. You let out a choked laugh when you see Karkats bed head. It's f*cking everywhere. He’s staring at you with these wide, sympathetic eyes. They look around as if trying to search for what hurt you before just landing back to you. Then you realize that you don’t have your shades on. Great. Now he’s looking at your gross red eyes and the scar in the space between your eye and nose that you hate. You squeeze them shut and shake your head. “-’Orry.” You choke.

A long moment passes and you feel like disappearing.

You feel arms slot around your sides and suddenly there is pressure on your front. Your hands stick out inches from Karkats sides, hovering in surprise. His hand smoothes up and down your back and he squeezes you a little. A sob wracks out of you and you’re gone from there. You haven’t cried in front of anyone after Dirk died. You always did that alone. You dip your head down and bury your nose into his shoulder and hug him back tight. You cry into his shoulder, your own shaking from hiccups and odd breaths. He rocks you both gently side-to-side and keeps you close. You wish you could say that you let everything out here. That almost a year of sadness is finally released, but it isn’t. You’ve just tapped a well that you aren’t sure of its depth. You hold each other until you're ready to let go.

You hesitantly pull yourself away from him and wipe the wetness away from under your chin. He follows you when you walk back to the bed and collect your shades. When you sit you feel Karkat do the same next to you. You stare at the carpet and listen to the loud silence in the room. You can see out of the corner of your eye Karkat trying to figure out what to do or how to address you.

He doesn’t speak, though. He just scoots in closer and rests his head against your shoulder. A gentle, warm pressure. Minutes pass by before you speak.

“My brother died.” The words bleed out of you. Your mind goes back to a year ago. The letter, the comedic timing of the police calling after Dirk had written that they’d find his body so you didn’t have to worry about that, the f*cking funeral and everyones sympathy.

You feel Karkat still.

"Oh."

You nod absentmindedly. "Yeah." You sigh and lay back onto the bed. Karkat watches you from above. sh*t. You keep muddying the water with your sh*t. No need to throw a bitch-fit, Strider.

"How-" Karkat starts, his voice soft.

Nope.

"Let's go out for breakfast." You rock up onto your feet and head over to the counter where your keys are. You really, really don't want to have that conversation with Karkat. You’ve had this conversation with so many people and you don’t need to make Karkat feel even worse than he already does. Karkat watches you from the bed, his eyes still searching. You act like you don’t notice.

So, the two of you get dressed and go out to breakfast. You had watched Karkat pull on a long sleeved shirt, a short sleeved shirt, and then a hoodie. It’s a bit ridiculous even considering the cool weather outside. You’re fine with just rocking a hoodie and some jeans, but Karkat is gearing up like he’s about to haul ass to the arctic.

You watch him from across the counter as he nurses his cup of coffee. Karkat said he wasn't hungry, but you know the depression language well. He has no appetite but his body has got to be starving. You order two plates of bacon and eggs with the goal of getting Karkat to eat just a little. You remember how f*cking light Karkat felt, and how unhealthily thin he looked when he got out of the shower. He’s nowhere near death but you could see the faint outline of ribs under his skin. Even if he has no appetite or feels sick eating you just want to get something in him. Eggs have a lot of good fats and proteins.

"Are you really that cold?" You take a sip from your mug. "You're always wearing like a billion layers, dude."

"I'm always cold." Karkat mumbles.

You two are sitting in a booth by the window, so Karkat's eyes naturally gravitate towards it. Pale light illuminates his features. He looks much better than yesterday. His hair is clean looking, a little frizzy but clean. He doesn’t smell horrible either. He’s wearing clean clothing and thankfully that shower really helped him. His face is better, too. It’s not oily and the dark circles under his eyes are a little bit less dark. His teeth are stained a little more yellow than they should be and he has red blotchy acne from not washing his face, and you’re certain that he doesn’t own any toothpaste or deodorant on the occasional whiff you get from him but he’s looking ten times better. You’ll help him with that, though. You’ll buy him everything he needs. Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, facewash, deodorant. Everything. Hopefully he’ll let you help him. You’ve gotten your foot in the door at the very least.

"...So, hey, I gotta tell you something." You sit back, fidgeting. You wonder how he's going to take the whole 'you're getting evicted' thing. You wonder further on how he’s going to take your offer after that.

"...Yeah?" He drawls, eyes still focused out the window.

The waitress comes by and sets down both of your plates in front of you. Karkat gets pulled out of wherever he is to look down at his plate. He stares at it in mild disgust before you see a hint of hunger pull him in. Thank god.

"So, uh…" You wait until the waitress is out of earshot, "I saw an eviction notice on your door this morning."

That draws his attention to you finally. Karkat stares at you with a blank but searching expression. He glances down to his eggs and rakes a fork over the thin white layer over the yolk. "Yeah, well that's what happens when you skip out on rent." He digs his fork into the yellow and splits it open.

"...Yeah." You frown. "So, I was thinking-"

Karkat interrupts. He dips his toast angrily into the egg yolk. "Yeah, you’re free to leave, I promise I won’t kill myself. Thanks for breakfast.”

“Fat chance.” You deadpan. “Do you want to move in with me?”

Karkat pauses mid bite, staring at you perplexed. The question left you before you really had time to think about it. When Karkat says nothing you stuff a piece of bacon in your mouth and pretend to be casual about what you just offered. You eat a second piece of bacon before Karkat replies.

“...What if I say no?” Karkat's voice is filled with tension.

f*cking seriously??

You didn’t realize that you’ve been bouncing your leg until you lean forward to rest your elbows onto the counter. Your jaw is set tight and you try to not let Karkats aggression get to you. You reach a hand up to your glasses, hesitating for a moment. It’s time to get real here. You take off your shades, fold them onto the table and stare Karkat in the eyes. You ignore the uncomfort you’re feeling for the sake of being earnest.

Karkats passive-aggressive features drop into surprise. His gaze flick around your face, mostly staying on your eyes, though. You can feel him looking at your scar, which makes you itch all over. That seemed to shake him up, though. No one gets a free peep show of Strider eyes for nothing. Time to get earnest and real as f*ck.

“I’m not saying this to like f*cking entrap you or whatever but dude I am not letting you kill yourself. So here’s my f*cking rules and they aren’t going to ever change. Like I said yesterday, you either deal with me or the cops.” You still your shaking hand. “I’m not an idiot, Karkat. I don’t know why you would ever want to do what you attempted or what you were thinking to lead yourself up to that point but I want to f*cking help, man. I want to help you and if helping you looks like calling the cops I will do that.” Karkat shakes his head, anxiety flashing in his eyes. You keep speaking. “But I would much rather help you. Killing yourself is not an option, okay? So…” Your lips press into a line and your eyebrows furrow. You speak against the tightness of your throat. “So just f*cking let me help you, dude. Please.”

You see Karkat filter through a dozen responses in head. After a moment he shuts his eyes and heaves a breath from his lungs. He slumps down into the booth enough to where his converse slot next to your shoes.

“...Fine. But I’m f*cking a lot to deal with. You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.” He crosses his arms over his chest. “Don’t blame me when you realize that.”

You nod and slot your glasses back onto your face. You can’t wait to prove Karkat wrong. You kick his shoe and nod to his plate. “Cool. Eat up, man, sh*t’s getting cold.” Karkat rolls his eyes so hard that his head tilts with it and he scoots back up to eat. He takes small, disgusted bites at first, but hunger quickly latches onto him and he ends up wolfing down his whole plate in less than a minute.

You slide your plate towards him with a smile. “Here. I’m not that hungry.”

-

Moving Karkat to your apartment was surprisingly easy. You guys went through some of his stuff but ended up just taking most of it to the dump or Goodwill. In the end, what Karkat had was a suitcase filled with clothes, his laptop, favorite mug, and a few books. The two of you stopped by a store and you got Karkat a bunch of hygiene stuff that he needed before getting to your apartment. As the two of you ascend the creaky wooden stairs and head towards the door at the end of the second floor you start to get nervous.

No one else has been in your apartment since almost a year ago. Oh, f*ck, and Dirks room. There is no way you’re cleaning it out and the only other room in the house is yours. Karkat staying in Dirk's room isn’t an option ever. You’ve spent…an unhealthy amount of time in his room. Anything that didn’t stink you left untouched. You sometimes sit there in his room and look at things that he left lying around trying to guess what he was doing the last time he was in here. Like why is there a screwdriver on his bed, or why his Rainbow Dash plushie is sat next to the computer, or what was the weird robotic mess he was working on in the closet? Things he last moved and touched. You know that’s unhealthy as f*ck but god damn it, can’t you have one f*cking thing? Why are you expected to be strong?

There is going to be another person in the apartment now that doesn’t know the unspoken rules that you made. Like how you open the fridge carefully or don’t vacuum the living room or fold the laundry by the couch. How you don’t go in Dirk's room and mess with anything or move anything that was Dirks.

“…Dave?” You hear a voice from behind you. f*ck, you just stopped and stood at the stairs. You breathe through your oncoming panic, not feeling ready for this. Not ready for change. You turn and face Karkat, going to offer that maybe he should stay at Johns or Roses, but you stall. You see Karkat staring up at you with these patient and caring eyes and…f*ck. You draw in a breath, hold it, and release.

“sh*t.” You card your fingers through your hair. “Okay, sorry. I’m being weird.” Your hands are shaking, so you keep one on your head and with the other grip the railing. You feel stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. You want to help Karkat but you don’t want to tell Karkat what’s wrong and why you’re hesitating.

Karkat fidgets with the ends of his sleeves. He’s giving you that same look all those years ago back in highschool. Like he sees right into you. His cold hand rests gently on top of yours and he squeezes it a little. “...Do you want to sit on the stairs and talk?” Your heart is thumping in your chest a little bit faster than it should. Sitting down would be nice. You nod and sit with Karkat on the stairs. You guys are so close that sometimes your thighs brush against each other.

You rest your elbows on your knees and pick at your fingernails nervously. You’re mulling through all of the things you could say, your mind racing a little. You draw your hands up and down your thigh and shift in your seat. When you start bouncing your leg Karkat sets his hand on your knee. You still at the touch.

“...I don’t want to talk about it, actually, but can we just sit here for a minute?” Your voice shakes.

Karkat nods and places his hand on your shoulder, resting his cheek down against it.

“As long as you need to, Dave.”

The two of you stare outwards into town. Not much is facing this way, just the side of a convenience store. Sometimes someone walks around the side to do something like flick a cigarette on the ground or take a phone call. The sounds of cars and wind take over the silence between you two. Five minutes of quiet pass before you break it.

You sigh until your lungs empty and let your head droop a little.

“You’re going to think I’m f*cked up and weird.”

“...Dave.” Karkat deadpans. “We’re both f*cked up and weird, so your normal is mine. I’m not going to give a flying f*ck.”

You huff a laugh through your nose.

“Okay. My brother's room is still there, so we’re going to have to share a room. Or I can sleep on the couch or something.” You wring your hands tight. “And there are things that I don’t want you to touch, okay? Like the laundry basket, or the orange shoes by the door. And be careful when opening the fridge so the sticky notes don’t fall off.” You can feel Karkat nodding his head against your shoulder. “And don’t go in Dirk's room, please. I know you won't but I still gotta say it.”

“I won't. I promise.”

“Thank you.” Karkat doesn’t move and neither did you. “I wish you could have met him. Well, you did kind of, but not really. He’d pick me up from school a lot and you were there being all emo and crap.” Karkat smacks his knee into yours. You act like his boney ass knee didn’t totally just bruise you. “Dirk was a pretentious blowhard for sure, but he knew that and let me give him sh*t for it. Which I did. It was cool to just chill with him and shoot the sh*t freestyle or debate about dumb crap without it being a federal f*cking issue.” A smile ghosts your lips. “Despite him being a f*cking brony I…I looked up to him. The way I always felt I should have been looking up to my Bro.” Saying his name puts a foul taste in your mouth. Always does. “The way I wanted to look up to my Bro but couldn’t. Dirk taught me so much sh*t I didn’t know I needed from him.”

A laugh sputters from you. “I mean picking up Dirks opinions was unavoidable if you ever hung out with him considering he never shut his f*cking mouth. But I’m glad he didn’t.”

“He sounds nice.” Karkat speaks beside you. “I’m sorry you couldn’t get that from Bro. Makes me want to rewrite Summer Teen Romance and write him out of the script. You’d still be the villain, though.”

It’s your turn to smack him with your knee.

“Yeah…Bro was something else.” You’re suddenly hyper aware of the scar on your face. You always are when you start thinking about Bro too deeply. Well, not deeply. More like when those thoughts latch onto you and refuse to shake off. You can think about what happened sometimes and be fine. But there’s these days where what happened to you absolutely f*cks you up for days. You feel light headed and nauseous in those moods. Sometimes you’d puke. It’s not a great feeling. “Looking back on it now, the only sense I can get from it is this insane impression that I was raised by someone who f*cking hated me. I can’t even imagine there was any other emotion towards me other than loathing. I only started getting it when I started hanging out with other people that actually cared about me more and I could start feeling, like, actually somewhat human for once.” The weird transition from thinking everything is fine to realizing everything is actually super f*cked up happened after Karkat gave you that worried look. You don’t tell him that, though. “Instead of some runty afterthought to a household of smutty puppets.”

“...Puppets??” Karkat's voice raises a little.

You turn towards him finally and he pulls away from you.

“The f*cking puppets!” You exasperate. “I know how it sounds but I am not joking and there is no shred of doubt in my mind that he loved all those puppets more than me.” You laugh, and Karkat gives you a tentative smile.

“Honestly it’s very possible that he was just insane and that’s that.” When you say that, Karkat visibly retracts mentally from you. His half smile fades away and there’s guilt in his eyes. What did you say wrong? You falter.

Karkat shifts his body away from you and towards the side of the store, watching nothing in particular. He sets his elbows on his knees and rests his chin in hand. He looks distant from not just you, but everything. Whatever you said, it scared Karkat back into his head.

“Yeah. Maybe he was.” He murmurs, forlorn.

Notes:

Working on the third chapter. Hope y'all enjoy. Kudos and Comments keep me fed! :]

Chapter 3: Three

Notes:

A bit of a longer chapter for you all :) It's about 16k words lol. I hope y'all enjoy.

CW: Referenced/acted upon/implied self harm, Suicidal thoughts/ideation, Injury

Also I made a playlist to listen to while I write this. Give it a look if you want :) : https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6uckqThAlfNqblVu8az6Nx?si=EwL2hUuiQr2B8-IM6Zt88A

Shout-out to Delicatelygay on Tumblr for supplying me with their story for a certain part of this fic (I'll say more at the bottom)

Big shout out to fou-and-foue for going above and beyond with their beta read. My lord.

And shout-out to intravi for doing a beta read as well!

You all helped me a lot :) <3

Also lol, the song I was listening the most to was "It's alright by mother mother" for this fic. Cried several times. Alrighty, enjoy!

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

Vincent Willem van Gogh

10 Years ago.

Your name is Karkat Vantas, and you just got the worst f*cking news of your entire life yesterday. Being 16 f*cking sucks already, but somehow your dad’s genes made it worse. Your genes, now. You miss the problems that you had last week. Like how you were breaking out again, or that midterms were coming up, or even the big one, like your dad spending rent again, and you’re pretty certain that it isn’t because he’s just feeling impulsive. His issues are coming back; they always do.

School is over, but you don’t want to go home yet. No one will be there anyways. Well, your hermit crabs will be there, but they’re already fed, so they don’t really need your attention. When you’re bored, you like sitting and watching the crabs, and making pretend stories in your head as though they’re the cast of a telenovela, but today, you aren’t feeling it. Home doesn’t feel like home right now. You know when you go home, you’ll find a few twenties on the counter with a note from your dad saying that he’ll be back later. “Later” could be anywhere from a couple hours to a couple days. You have a feeling this is going to be one of those ‘couple of days’ type of later.

You play with the house key on your keychain mindlessly as you become lost in your own head. It’s nice outside today. It’s chilly, but you have a few layers on to combat the cold. The sky is a soft blue with pinkish-orange clouds, lit up by the oncoming sunset. The air smells like wet earth from the earlier shower of rain, which is unfortunate, since the cold metal bench you’re sitting on is still kind of wet. You still like the smell of the earth, though. The track field at school was always a nice place to be when you got out of classes. It has a great view of the sky. Not a lot of buildings or power lines obscuring it,

just sky.

It’s been a few hours since school has ended. You were supposed to head to the pharmacy after school. Now, there’s the headache of today. Your new psychiatrist had you pick which one you wanted to fill your meds at, and you picked the one on the way to your house because it was convenient. You’re now regretting that decision. Because if you walk home, you walk by the pharmacy, and you would have to go out of your way not to pick up your prescriptions. And if you pick up your prescriptions, then that means everything that happened yesterday was real. That your psychiatrist pulling up your genetic test information, and telling you that you had a genetic marker for what your dad has was real. Your dad was there with you when you were told the news. He was distraught, and you were in shock. Your dad doesn’t enjoy his illness, but he also doesn’t take medication for it. He tells you that it’s poison. You’d rather drink poison than go through what you saw him go through, though. You two fought about you taking medication or not. He told you that while he was upset for you, you didn’t have to feel ashamed and hide your illness behind brain fog and cotton mouth to fit in with society. You told him to go f*ck himself, and that you had every right to be ashamed of your shared genes. That you wish he wasn’t your dad. He had this hurt look in his eyes, but after that, he backed down and helped you fill out the necessary things needed to get you medication. You haven’t spoken to him since, and you don’t know if you’ll see him again tonight. Or tomorrow. You know that you made him really upset and he tends to go awol when that happens. You really f*cked up. You would text him, but you prefer to save your apologies for when you see him in person.

You pull out your phone and click the messaging app, staring at the texts you received from the pharmacy.

1/2 Grocers Rx: RX READY

KARKAT, Rx QUETIAPINE 50 MG TAB

TAB NORT is filled and ready for pick-up at

CVS PHARMACY #5579, 413 W

PROSPIT LN, Ph: (301) 705-891X

Amount due is $0.00

2/2 Grocers Rx: RX READY

KARKAT, Rx LAMOTRIGINE 100 MG TAB

ASCE is filled and ready for pick-up at

CVS PHARMACY #5579, 413 W

PROSPIT LN, Ph: (301) 705-891X

Amount due is $0.00

You got what you wanted and hurt your dads feelings. Now you can’t even get your ass up off a bench to get up from to go get your meds. You can’t even say that it’s too comfortable to get up from, either.

You made your dad upset and caused him to leave again because you wanted these. You told him that you were ashamed of him. You’re such a piece of sh*t. What if you send him into an episode? Or what if he’s already in one and you’ve made it worse? Worry fills you as you think about where your dad could be and if he’s okay. If he ends up in the hospital again, that means that you’re going to have to go into another f*cking group home. f*ck, this isn’t about you. This is about your dad. You don’t want to see him in another ward.

You wish you could head over to Terezis, but you guys are kind of on the rocks right now since you’re an asshole who doesn’t know when to f*cking stop being so clingy. You told her you’d give her, space.

So, you text your best friend instead.

CG: KANAYA?

GA: Hello Karkat

Your thumbs hover over the keypad. Do you want to tell Kanaya? You know she’d understand but…no, she wouldn’t. You’ve told her so many times how afraid and angry you are of your dad when he gets weird and she’s agreed with you every single time. What if you tell her that you’re the same as your dad and she becomes afraid of you? And what if she doesn’t keep that a secret, either? Your friends would think you’re a freak if your secret got out. So it has to remain that way. A secret.

CG: MY LIFE GOT f*ckING WORSE BUT HONESTLY I’M NOT EVEN THAT SHOCKED ANYMORE.

GA: Oh So Nepeta Did Show You That Art She Made Of You

CG: ...

CG: WHAT.

GA: ...

GA: Never Mind

GA: So Tell Me How Your Life Got Worse

CG: SOMETHING REALLY sh*tTY HAPPENED TO ME YESTERDAY AND I CAN’T GO HOME. MY DAD IS UPSET WITH ME AND I’M CERTAIN THAT HE ISN’T HOME EITHER BUT STILL.

CG: SO DO YOU WANT TO HANG OUT? I CAN HEAD OVER TO YOURS NOW.

GA: Im Sorry Karkat

GA: Im Not Home Right Now Im Actually On My Way To A Date With Rose

GA: If Its Important Though I Can Reschedule

sh*t. You sigh and lean back against the damp bench. You know that Kanaya has been waiting forever to ask out Rose. You aren’t going to f*ck that up for her. It wasn’t like you were going to vent to her, you just wanted an excuse to go anywhere but the pharmacy and then to an empty home.

CG: NO IT’S OKAY.

CG: HAVE FUN ON YOUR DATE.

CG: WE CAN HANG OUT LATER, OR SOMETHING.

CG: BYE.

You turn off your screen and pocket your phone before you can see another text of hers pop up. Your ass and back feel cold and wet and uncomfortable but you still don’t want to get up. You’ll probably get up when it starts to get dark. So, you sit and watch the sky and think your stupid self-pitying monologue about what a huge piece of sh*t you were to your dad. You’re lost in your thoughts for all but 15 minutes when the tense atmosphere around you is broken.

“You’re going to hurt yourself.”

“So what? I’m not a puss*, dude.”

“If you get hurt, I’m not letting you use my first aid kit.”

You look over your shoulder to see the Strider brothers walking their way towards you. You want to bury your head into the dirt and scream. You haven’t seen Dave since last week after he got the two of you sent to the f*cking principles office over ‘Penis Ouija’. You’re guessing that they’re cutting through on their way to the skatepark a block down the road. For some f*cking anine reason Dave is carrying three skateboards with him. You have the thought to turn and pull your hood up, but Dave already has his sights set on you. His pace falters as he passes by when he realizes who you are. He gives you this slight grin and you roll your eyes so hard that your head follows. Oh, here we f*cking go.

“Sup, Karkitty?”

You simmer.

“Don’t f*cking call me that, sh*t head. I’m not in the f*cking mood today, man!” Ever since Dave found out that you let Nepeta call you that, he’s been teasing you about it every f*cking time he sees you. It wasn’t funny the first time.

“Dude you’re never in the f*cking mood. Full offense but the only moods you have are all on a sliding scale between disgust and anger.”

“Ha-Ha.” You dryly laugh. Your eyes drift down to the skateboards tucked under his arms. You would assume that maybe one of those is Dirks, but Dirk has his own MLP themed one hanging by his side loosely in his hand.

“What the f*ck are you two idiots doing? Actually, idiot, singular. At least Dirk can pass his classes without stealing glances from my tests. You’re lucky that school allows you to wear your shades because of your medical condition or you’d still be tracing your name with this year's class of kindergarteners, you incompetent douchesquatting bucket of steaming sh*t.” You grit out.

“Damn. I see why you wont shut up about h–” Dirk speaks, but then Dave elbows him in the stomach before he can get the rest out.

One of the skateboards clatter out from under Dave's arm, rolling towards you noisily. You stop it with your foot.

“Us idiots are going to go skate and take some videos for my Youtube.” Dave speaks over Dirks coughing. “Why, you want to come?”

You’re about to tell him to f*ck off and that you have better things to do, but you stall. It’s like the universe has presented you with two, equally sh*tty options: Skatepark with Dave or pharmacy and an empty home. You mull over your limited options before heaving a sigh and rolling the skateboard back to Dave. He kicks up the board and grabs it in his free hand.

“Sure.”

Daves eyebrows raise above his glasses. After a moment of awkward silence he nods and clears his throat.

“Dope. Here. You can be the camera crew.” Before you have any say Dave hands you a camera and walks away. You scrunch your nose at him and stand up.

“f*cking fine. Don’t complain if it comes out looking like sh*t, which is inevitable since you’re the subject.”

Dave walks away like he didn’t hear you, but you saw the smirk tugging at his lips.

You sigh, and mumble under your breath about what a prick he is. After slinging your backpack over your shoulders you follow the Striders from a few feet behind, listening them go on about sh*t you normally wouldn’t care about if you weren’t so f*cking eager to do anything else than go home. You guys walk across the track and onto the sidewalk.

“Did you text Bro that we were going to stay out late?” Dave falls into pace with Dirk.

“Yeah, I shot him a text a bit ago.”

“Oh. Did he say anything?”

Dirk fishes his phone out of his pocket and puts in a ridiculously long password before pulling up a messaging app. He pauses and looks over his phone before showing Dave the screen.

“He read it.”

The two of them fall silent. Dave nods and Dirk puts his phone away. There is a heaviness in the air now and you feel like you’re intruding on something private.

When you guys get to the skatepark, you’re a little surprised that it’s empty. It isn’t anything too fancy anyways. Dave immediately puts you to work as his cameraman. He tosses the extra skateboards aside and tells you where to stand and what shots to get. You do it begrudgingly at first with little heart or thought put into filming, but seeing Dave in action kind of puts you in awe. You’ll admit it, you guess. He’s actually not terrible. Dave does this f*cking cool drift thing on a rail– you don’t know skateboard terminology. Whatever it is it’s pretty f*cking cool. You feel your heart pick up pace, but you tell yourself it's from how much you have to move around to get the shots you’re taking of him. An hour into it you’re starting to really enjoy being the cameraman. You start directing Dave into doing tricks, or redoing shots until they’re on point. You’re proud to say that you’re really capturing Dave's skill. You guess that it doesn’t hurt to have some cameraman/director experience under your belt since you’re aiming at being a screenwriter. A professional one. You’re currently cooking up a masterpiece of literature called ‘Summer Teen Romance’.

You all start to wrap it up when the streetlights come on. You and Dave are both slightly out of breath and sweaty, and when he offers you a high five you take it. When you smile at him, he surprisingly smiles back.

“Nice work everyone.” Dirk speaks off from the stairs a few feet away where he’s deconstructing a gameboy.

“All you did was sit on your ass.” Dave flips him off, which Dirk returns with a grin.

You hand Dave back his camera and take out your phone to check the time.

10:25.

You breathe out a sigh. The pharmacy closes at nine. Looks like you won’t have to go to it until tomorrow. Oh, well. You turn towards Dave, figuring that you should probably get home anyways. It isn’t that you want to go, you just want to leave before Dave inevitably loses interest in you and tells you to f*ck off. He got what he wanted, and so did you. You push down the urge to stay. You open your mouth, but someone’s voice sounds off over yours. You and Dave look over towards the front entrance to the skatepark and spot Dave's friends making their way over here. John and Jade are wearing paper party hats and Rose is walking by them with a small stack of party hats in his hands. Looks like Rose and Kanayas date is over. You aren’t surprised, you’ve been out here for a couple hours now.

When John blows into a noise maker, Dave grimaces.

“Happy birthday, dude!” John gives Dave a hug, which is not reciprocated but Dave doesn’t shrug him off either. You don’t think he can even if he wanted to since John hugs him so tight that he lifts Dave off of the ground a little.

“I thought I said not to make a big deal out of it.” Dave squeezes out in John's tight bear hug. When John puts him down, Dave steps back and pockets his hands. You can see him blushing a little. Huh.

“If I were making a big deal out of it I wouldn’t be throwing you a sort-of party in a skate park.” John deadpans.

“Omg, Dirk, hi!” Jade smiles and grabs a party hat from Rose's hands. “We have a hat with your name on it!”

“I’d rather kill myself.” Dirk says flatly.

Daves friends start handing out gifts and snacks. They start chatting and laughing, continuously threatening Dave with the Happy Birthday song. Despite all of the birthday boys protests, Dave definitely is smiling. It’s nice to see even if he is a total jerkwad. You stare at them all from the side. You aren’t sure where to go from here. You guess that this is the part where you exit stage left. Dave’s people are here. You were distracted for a good few hours and put off the pharmacy, so you got what you wanted anyways…but now that your mind isn’t being distracted and has a chance to think all of your stressors are back. You are reminded sunkenly that your life is going to be a lot different now. It was already with your dad being what he is, but now that you’re like him? Very different. It’s harder now. You feel like life has drawn a deep clean line between you and everyone else. You’re different and if they know what you are they are going to look at you’re some kind of mutant freak. Because you are.

You walk over towards where Dirk and the backpacks are, giving him a nod before picking up yours by the strap. You sling it over your shoulder and spare a glance back to Dave. Jade is handing him a jug of apple juice in exchange that Dave wears a party hat, too. They laugh about some joke that you're too far away to hear and you feel your chest ache. It's time to leave.

You are just walking out of the skatepark and onto the sidewalk when you hear the familiar sound of a skateboard coming towards you. You move to the side to let the person behind you go ahead, but when they don’t pass you look back. Dave gets off of his skateboard a few feet behind you, picks it up, and jogs to catch up to you. You stop. You raise an eyebrow and look him over.

Dave stops a few steps away from you and goes to speak, but something stops him. He sits and chews on his words, awkwardly standing and staring at you. Uhhh…

“Happy birthday?” You scratch your nail against your backpack strap nervously.

“Oh.” Dave finally graces you with noise. f*ck, that’s probably the first and only time that thought will ever be made.

“Thanks.” Dave looks off to the side and purses his lips together. “...Sooo, where are you going?”

“...Home?” Suspicion raises your voice.

“Oh.” He digs the heel of his shoe into the pavement absentmindedly. “Do you have a curfew or some sh*t?”

“Uh. No??” Your voice cracks and you clear your throat in embarrassment. “Why?”

Dave shrugs and luckily lets your puberty plip slide. “It’d be cool if you stuck around. If that’s what you wanted. Cool if you wanna ditch tho.”

You consider him. You would be kind of a jerk to say no since it’s Dave's birthday. Even though he was a jerk first. Plus, he is inviting you, and this is another excuse to not return home yet.

“I’ll stay, I guess. I want to know what you were going to use three skateboards for anyways.”

“Hell yeah, follow me.” Dave smiles and you follow him.

The two of you walk back to the skatepark where everyone else is. Dave does indeed show you what he needed three skateboards for. It’s as stupid as you hoped for. Dave stacked the skateboards on top of each other and with the help of Dirk he is currently standing on them, only wobbling slightly. You're thinking the only reason why it's staying together is thanks to the amount of duct tape they've wrapped around it. Dave thankfully puts a helmet on for this overly stupid trick as he shakily skates his way towards the bowl. You were given the task to shoot the video for his youtube again. To everyones disbelief, he actually f*cking makes it down without his triskate falling apart, but the momentum is what got him. You aren’t the best camera man right now given that you start shaking with laughter the second Dave eats sh*t.

You’re laughing so hard that you can’t move, so John ends up taking the camera from you to go down there and film, his own face split into a grin. You eventually get yourself under control again just in time to see them all assembling the triple decker board again for another go. Dave catches your eye and gives you a thumbs up. You stare at him with a fondness that you don’t entirely acknowledge.

“You know,” Dirk startles you.

You turn your head over your shoulder to look at him. There’s Dirk with a party hat on. He’s holding a whole carton of orange juice that has “BRIBE” written on it in green sharpie. He takes a drink from it. “If it weren’t you laughing he probably would have gotten all pissy and embarrassed.” He closes the carton and wipes at his mouth.

“...Huh?” You turn on your heel to face him more.

“Usually if he does something “uncool” it’s hard for him to brush off. He’ll be stewing over it for a long ass time. He’s always trying to be like Bro. With you, though, that doesn’t seem like the case. It's odd seeing Dave be more of himself when he talks about you. It’s even weirder seeing it in person.” Dirk shrugs. “Just thinking out loud here but I think that you two make a good pair.”

What??? Your heart leaps into your throat.

“Uh, I have a f*cking girlfriend.” You grimace.

“Calm down, I didn’t mean it like that.”

The two of you look over in time for Jade to try out Daves skateboard trick. She even brought her own helmet and joint pads. She’s holding onto John and Dave's shoulders as they slowly walk her over towards the bowl.

“He’s always trying to either prove himself or stick it to someone. Bro, his teachers, his friends. Even you last week with the f*cking paper pricks. He always talks smack with me and tells me about how he’s sticking it to people and making them all pissy, but not with you. He enjoys your company.”

You’re not sure what to make of what Dirk just told you. You’re half expecting for him to go ‘syke’ and start laughing at you, but that doesn’t happen. “Just don’t tell him I said any of this. His brain can't handle sincerity.”

“Ah…Alright.” Is all you can say.

“Yeah. Food for thought.”

You look back over when you see Dave making his way towards you with a helmet and knee pads in his hands. He has a smirk on his face and John is following close behind with a camera.

“Yo, Karkitty. You wanna get Youtube famous?”

“Get that sh*t away from me, douchesh*t!” You smile despite yourself.

Dirk takes that as his opportunity to go back to where he was working on his weird little project. As you’re dodging Dave's attempts at getting the helmet on you Dirk watches, his eyes mostly on his younger brother. You get the sense that Dave is the most important person to him. You’re envious that he has someone in his life that cares so much about him, but mostly glad.

Dave has someone who loves him.

Present day.

Dave’s apartment is…a lot.

It’s tidy, but when you look close you can see things that suffocate you. His apartment contains a living room with a counter separating the kitchen, two bedrooms, and one bathroom. You take off your shoes and set them far away from the orange ones that Dave was talking about. They look haphazardly kicked off, stuck in time with thin dust layered over them. Your gut sinks at the sight of how sad that is, but mostly because…it creeps you out. You notice that some places are more clean than others. Like the kitchen is pretty clean with normal clutter, but the sticky notes on the fridge have layered dirty tape keeping them in place. You’re in absolute disbelief with how Dave is…coping? Can you even call this coping? You don’t know anyone that has lost somebody or how they react to a loss so big, but you feel like this is just…not normal. You understand to an extent, and that understanding is very, very loose. You didn’t throw out Charlie's food or the bowl because you were sad to let go, but this? What Dave has been doing? This environment feels absolutely suffocating. This is bordering on delusion. You stare at the back of his head with worry. You thought he was…well, you knew he was a mess after you found him crying and he revealed that Dirk had died, but you didn’t know that he was living like this. You aren’t sure what you were expecting.

You feel horrible. Especially now that you know that Dave wasn’t okay even before Dirk passed away. You always kind of felt like something was up with him. You noticed the way he’d look at his guardian at times with anxiety, but he’d always brush you off and convince you that things were fine. You always felt the urge to look a little harder, but you were too busy dealing with your sh*tty life to look at his. Things were hectic as f*ck in highschool for you and it makes you feel deeply sad and compassionate towards Dave knowing that he was going through something similar. You were an only child and you would have killed to have someone else there with you to suffer though the same bullsh*t your dad dragged you through. At least back then Dave had his older brother, but he’s lost that now. You still can’t believe that Dirk is gone. Dave definitely needed his older brother to get through what little you’ve heard about Dave’s childhood.

You had a sh*t childhood, but at least you never got the sense that your dad hated you. Your dad never abused you, either. You’re looking back on all the memories of Dave in highschool that you can in a new light. You really thought he had it together, but when you look now it’s so painfully obvious that he was never okay. That he was lost and scared and didn’t know how to reach out to anyone. Your chest aches.

You follow Dave past the living room with the unvacuumed carpet and the stale laundry. Your eyes linger on it until they’re out of sight. He shows you the bathroom and sets the hygiene stuff he bought for you in various spots next to his own. Your toothbrush next to his, your deodorant and toothpaste in an empty drawer, the shampoo and conditioner on the shelf below his in the shower.

Yesterday when you realized how f*cking gross you were you wanted to scrub off your skin. You would have killed back then to get your hands on this stuff. Not now, though. The depression has its grip on you again and you’re not willing or able to shake it. You feel indifferent towards the hygiene products even though a small part of you is grateful, be it gray and muted.

But then Dave gives you this f*cking look, this hopeful look that you’ll use the sh*t he gave you and god f*cking damn it. f*ck him and his puppy-dog charm. You keep in the sigh aching to escape in your throat and nod. You’ll use the stuff if it makes him happy. When Dave leaves you alone in the bathroom and tells you that he’ll get started on dinner, you shut the door behind you.

You hate this apartment already. Not particularly because it’s creepy or that you’re only here because Dave is making you stay here. Well, those two things definitely don’t help. It’s because seeing Dave like this is making you want to console him. To comfort and help him. You feel the urge to let him cry on your shoulder when he needs it, to pull him out of a bad space by indulging in his stupid stories, to stay until he’s okay. You always looked for a reason to live when you still had hope for yourself, but those hopes and reasons flittered through your fingers when you grasped. Charlie? Dead. Terezi? Dumped you. Your dad? Who knows where he is. You’re frankly pissed off that Dave somehow became a reason to live.

You rub your sleeves up over and down your face harshly, grinding the heels of your palms into the bones of your face. Suicide didn’t make you selfish before because you f*cking…you f*cking did everything to make it okay in your head. You let yourself become a miserable piece of sh*t with no friends so you had the excuse. So you could say that it was okay because no one cared about you. And it was true. However, some-f*cking-how Strider just ruined that all. You aren’t going to try and guess what’ll happen to Dave if you kill yourself. He might be f*cked up for a while and have to go to therapy or some sh*t, or…or something worse. You don’t know. People are unpredictable, but you know that you don’t want to hurt Dave. You don’t want to do what Dirk did to him. Not that you’re saying Dirk killed himself or anything, just that you don’t want to hurt him like his death did. You aren’t sure how Dirk died. You wish you could ask someone how it happened, but you sort of threw your phone off of the viaduct.

But why is this on you? Like how the f*ck did that happen? You just wanted to leave quietly out of the back door, but Dave dragged you back into the house and now you know his life story and want to f*cking stay. This is f*cking bullsh*t.

You shoulder yourself up off of the door and walk sullenly over to the shower. This is so f*cking unfair. What right does he have to stop you from what you deserve and then set up some f*cked up guilt-inducing life insurance to keep you trapped? You yank back the shower curtains with more grip than you mean to and turn the water on. He doesn’t even f*cking know what you’re going through– what you’ll continue going through if you live. The sh*tty part of living is honestly the least of your f*cking worries. You don’t go off of your f*cking meds because you think that you’re still going to be alive.

You yank off your hoodie and toss it to the ground. When your short sleeve shirt grips onto your long sleeve under it you feel a surge of anger. You wrestle off the shirts with more effort than needed and throw them onto the floor with the hoodie so hard that they make a sound. God, you’re so f*cking mad right now. You had everything planned out and he f*cking ruined it. You start rapping your fist against your hip in restless irritation. You screw your eyes shut and set your jaw. He’s so f*cking selfish. He knows what he’s doing. Your head bows and you drag your hands up to the back of your neck, rubbing, gripping, scraping and pulling at any purchase it finds. You tear out a few hairs but it isn’t enough. You feel so f*cking restless still. A tiny part of you is screaming at you that of f*cking course you’re being the unreasonable one here and Dave is doing this not because he’s trying to guilt trip you, but because he’s someone who is trying to help while also happening to be someone in need of help. But the you now doesn’t want to listen to that part. The sounds of the water running fade into the background for you and all you can hear is your breathing.

You let out a distressed breath. Your mind feels everywhere and nowhere right now. You want out. God you want out right now.

You turn towards the door and grip the handle, your mind urging you to say f*ck it and run. But that f*cking guilt glues you to the ground. Your mind goes to when you found Dave crying this morning. It was the first time your suspicions were confirmed that Dave wasn’t as okay as he always said he was. f*ck. f*ck f*ck f*ck.

f*ck.” Your voice quakes.

Your hand lets go of the handle and you clench them at your sides, thumping your forehead against the door. You thump it silently, once, twice, thrice.

You need something to f*cking pull you out of this mood.

You f*cking hate moods like these. The only times you get like this are usually out of your f*cking control, but even then you still had something to help, be it fleeting.

Why are you like this? You were f*cking fine five minutes ago. Your body is holding your breath hostage in your chest and you are having to actively pull air into your lungs. Your mind feels like it’s trying to find anything to escape but there is nothing to escape from. You’re everywhere and nowhere and you want it all to stop. If you had f*cking something like a cig to smoke or to burn into your skin at this point this would be over with but you don’t f*cking have one, you don’t have anything. God. f*cking–

You snap and punch your fist into the wall next to you. The wall makes a crack sound and f*ck. You immediately regret it and recoil from pain, but that’s what you wanted. The pain brings you back and makes you feel so much f*cking better. Your voice stutters out of you as you exhale roughly. The sound of the running water returns and you feel present again. You swallow a breath down and work yourself through the pain. Your hand is unfurled and shaking. It stings and the bones in your hand hurts. You look down to see that the skin on your first two knuckles are skinned. Ouch. You quickly notice to your worry that your hand has started to swell and you can’t move your pointer finger anymore. Then you look up to see that where you thought would be drywall with the ghost of your fist punched into it, you instead see that the wall is still there and firm.

Good f*cking going, Karkat.

You realize that the crack you heard from punching the wall was not the wall. Your hand is swelling and tingling and in horrible f*cking pain. You kneel down onto your feet and let out a sound somewhere in between a groan and a whine. Oh, f*ck, why did you do that? It’s f*cking hurts. You hold your arm close to your chest as you stand and shut off the water and collect your shirt from the ground. With tremendous effort you’re able to get it on and you unlock the door with a shaky hand. You feel ashamed right now, honestly. You’ve never been the type to lash out like that. Even when you were at your angriest you never got violent. You know you wont hurt anyone, but that thought scares you. You’re glad that you didn’t break Dave's wall.

You don’t want to be like your dad.

You walk out into the hall and through the living room, spotting Dave at the stove. His back is turned to you and he’s boiling something in water on the stove. Dave has his phone set next to him and it’s playing California Love by Tupac and he’s rapping/vocalizing broken verses. His head bobs leisurely to the beat as he cracks an egg into the pot of noodles. You feel like you’re interrupting a good moment, so you just stand there like some kind of creeper. You’re a bit surprised at Daves voice. You’ve only ever heard him rap in highschool and he was decent at it, but here it’s…well, there are a lot of vocals in the song and he sounds f*cking amazing. His vocal range is absolutely impressive and he’s keeping up with the verses with ease. Dave gets really into the song halfway through and you find that his skills do not transfer over to dancing. He is a horrible dancer. Your heart squeezes and you feel a pull of attraction towards him. f*ck. He’s so f*cking charming.

You hate to ruin the moment, but you hand is starting to f*cking throb with pain and its quickly becoming unbearable. You clear your throat.

Dave jumps and turns towards you, eyebrows raised over his glasses. “Oh, uh-” Dave turns back quickly and pauses the song. You can see a blush creeping up his neck before he turns back to you and looks you over. “You didn’t shower?” He’s slipping back into his cool-guy facade and you feel mournful. You really loved seeing Dave as he was before the moment was interrupted. You glance away and press your lips into a line.

“I broke my hand.”

Daves face pinches into confusion, and then explodes into shock when you raise your f*cked up hand for him to see. He turns off the stovetop and makes it to you in three steps. He gently grabs your arm by the elbow and checks over your hand like a worried mother.

“Wh- How??” He exasperates.

Shame pools in your gut and you just shrug. You don’t want to tell him that you got so angry that you punched a wall. You’ll sound like such an asshole. You are an asshole. You broke your hand because you thought Dave was being selfish for keeping you alive. You were acting like a f*cking tweaker in there.

“ ‘m sorry.” You whisper, your breath shuddering out of you.

"Why are you sorry for–" Dave sighs. "sh*t. Okay." Dave leaves your side and you stare at the ground, too ashamed to do anything else. When he returns he hands you over a pack of frozen–

"...Hotdogs?"

"Yeah, we don't have any peas…" Dave looks antsy.

“Thanks.” You mumble. You should have just taken a shower and ate dinner.

You press the pack of hotdogs to your injury and cringe as pain makes your hand tremble. Why did you punch a wall? You're so f*cking stupid.

Dave grabs his wallet, keys and phone and the two of you are out of the apartment and into his car. The drive to the hospital is tense. Not because Dave is mad at you, but because how worried he is. You really f*cked up and it doesn’t help that your hand feels like its on fire.

You barely speak when doctors or Dave talk to you. You just answer basic information and let them do their sh*t like X-rays and crap. It took them f*cking hours to get you in so your hand had swelled up twice the f*cking size it was and turned a concerning color of purple. You’re really f*cking regretting punching that wall. When they ask you what color cast you want you just shrug. It hasn’t really fully set in for you that you broke your hand. They had given you the basic blue and told you that you fractured your pointer metacarpal bone.

By the time you both get home, it’s nearly two in the morning.

Dave locks the door behind the two of you and tosses the keys in a bowl. He starts taking off his coat. The two of you haven’t spoken much since the hospital.

Why are you like this? You completely ruined this night. You can’t imagine your life here with Dave. What are you going to do? f*cking get a job, pay rent, and go back to your normal routine of self-loathing but this time in another persons apartment? You’re obviously f*cking unfit for that. One hour into being in the same apartment with someone and you broke your f*cking hand and had to ruin the whole day. Dave lost somebody close to him, and now he’s trying to take care of you when it’s evident that he’s barely taking care of himself. You’re not good for him. You’re just living on borrowed time, and when you die it’s going to bring Dave down with you. You slowly fall inside of yourself. Your eyes naturally drift downwards towards the floor and all you want to do is sit down. The urge is so strong to just sit and lay for hours. The only thing keeping you from it is the fact that Dave is standing behind you watching you. God, you can’t even f*cking pretend to be okay. You know that your behavior affects others, too. It brings their mood down and just ruins absolutely f*cking everything. You’re just like that. Your hand stills down at your side and you feel yourself pulling inwards slowly. Dissociation. You have a love-hate relationship with it.

“-arkat?” You physically flinch, snapping out of it for a moment. Dave is beside you now with a worried expression.

“What do you need?” The question throws you off a bit. It isn’t what you expected. No, ‘what's the matter?’ or ‘Are you okay?’s.

“...Sit down.” You mumble. You can’t even f*cking speak correctly. Why are you like this?

“Okay, yeah, we can do that, man.” Dave speaks in a reassuring tone.

Dave leads you from the door and into the living room. His hand is on your back and you follow his lead. A problem presents itself, though. The laundry basket sits on the couch, taking up the other half of the space. There are no other seats in the living room. Dave stares down at it for a tense moment. He looks to you from the corner of his eye and back to the basket, resolve taking over the anxiety in his features. To your muted awe, he takes the basket off of the couch and lays it aside. You see his hand shaking a little when he removes it.

He guides you to sit by him on the couch and turns on the TV.

You settle down on the spot where the laundry basket used to be, leaning back into the couch. You’re too tired to fully comprehend what Dave just did. Dave turns on Netflix and filters through a few movies before settling on Overboard. You feel muted humor for a brief moment. Dave apparently remembers that you like romance films.

Dave drapes a blanket over your lap and the two of you sit in silence and watch the TV.

-

Wind nips at your skin. The air feels cold in your lungs as you breathe. You find yourself standing at the edge of the viaduct again, the tips of your socked feet poking over the edge. Where did your shoes go? You work your eyes up your body, spotting clothes that don’t belong to you. They’re Daves. Your arm is also in a cast and a sling. Oh, right. You broke your arm. You exhale and watch the condensation float in front of you. The wind is slowly getting louder in your ears and the storm has started to pick up, only this time it’s coming from behind you. The wind is pushing at your back and rain is hailing in painful drops. A roll of thunder draws your eyes to the sky. Large dark clouds loom miles above you. You stare at it for a while, but something else draws your attention away. A cigarette flies past you and gets carried downwards over the edge. You follow it with your eyes and lean over slightly. You still when you see what’s at the bottom.

You wake up, pulling in a small gasp of air.

The “are you still watching?” pop-up is on the screen of the TV. You stare at it and breathe through the unsettling fear of a nightmare. You’re used to them. You breathe in deep and press your face further into the warmth resonating at your side. You’re lying weirdly. You must have slumped over in your sleep. Whatever is next to you feels warm, so you maneuver yourself into a more comfortable position while being mindful of your hand. You press your head down against something firm but soft and lay your casted hand over the side of it. You freeze when you feel the thing you’re hugging flinch. You open your eyes again and stare at the fabric of clothing. Dave's clothing.

Oh, god.

You stay frozen in place, too mortified to move. The way Dave is breathing makes you think that he’s awake. At some point in the night you moved to lay on your side, taking up pretty much the whole couch with your legs at the side you were on and your face pressed against Daves f*cking leg and you’re hugging his hip oh my f*cking god. You were always a bed hog and a cuddler. Terezi always made sure to complain about it, mostly jokingly. This is a horrible moment for that unfortunate mixture of traits. You are frozen in place, unable to move. Maybe he will move you off of him and you can just pretend to be asleep and not remember any of this. That isn’t what happens, though. Dave slowly relaxes, waiting for a few long moments before grabbing the remote and lowering the volume on the TV. He flicks through different movies before landing on one that you don’t really care about because he’s not f*cking moving you off of him????? Your mind goes blank when you feel his hand come down gently against your shoulder. His thumb absentmindedly rubs against you as he watches the movie he picked out.

You’d like to say that you were strong enough to “wake up” and end what's happening or literally anything else, but you aren’t. You’re so f*cking touch starved and honestly at this point you don’t care enough to move. Someone who cares about you is letting you sleep against them and it’s making that sh*tty aftertaste of a nightmare go away. You relax and selfishly enjoy that your straight friend is cuddling with you. You close your eyes slowly and steady your breathing. Daves hand bravely runs up from your shoulder and nestles on your head, fingers carding through your hair. It feels great. You quietly sigh and melt into his hand. Your scalp tingles wherever his fingers go. It’s been a long time since you’ve felt cared for. Since Terezi held you like this. You can hate yourself for this later. Right now you just live in the moment and fall back asleep.

Until you have a reason to - TurkeyCat (4)

When you wake up you are alone on the couch. You breathe in slowly and open your eyes into slits. Where Daves leg was, there’s now a pillow. You hear the sounds of cooking and music coming from the kitchen nearby. Dave is quietly singing to the song, his voice raspy but talented nonetheless. The room is glowing with morning light from the windows. A ray of light is stripped across the Tv in front of you. You notice that Dave has draped two blankets over you, which makes your heart squeeze a little.. You stare at the Tv with groggy and barely open eyes. Dave is so nice to you. He’s funny, and kind, and so talented and wonderful in every way and…oh no. Your face flushes as you realize with increasing dread that you are starting to have feelings for Dave again. Dave, your straight friend. You can hate yourself now.

You sit up, allowing the blankets to slide off of you. This isn’t good. You close your eyes completely, not used to the sunlight in the room yet. f*ck, you’re too tired to have a crisis right now. You wipe the drool from your cheek and will yourself to get up. You stumble off to the bathroom and do your business and brush your teeth before coming back out again. You’re busy rubbing gunk from your eye when Dave speaks up.

“Oh, sup man. I made you a plate.” Suddenly there’s a plate of bacon and eggs in your hands. You stare at it with an addled glare. You get the sense that this isn’t an offer, but an order to eat.

Dave snorts. “You aren’t a morning person, huh?” He reaches out and drops his hand onto your head, ruffling your hair. You both freeze.

“Uh.” Dave retracts his hand like it was burned. “You got crazy bed head.” He laughs awkwardly and moves to the couch. You follow after a few seconds. Your brain is still trying to catch up to you. The two of you sit down and eat breakfast after Dave puts on The Simpsons.

You set the plate in your lap and awkwardly eat it with one hand. Everyday you find a new reason to regret punching that wall. You can see Dave from the corner of you eye sneaking glances at you like he wants to help, but f*ck no. You would die if Dave helped you with this. You and Dave finish eating and you take his plate from him, which he thanks you for, and set them into the kitchen sink. See? You can be f*cking useful. You return back to the couch and sit as far away from him as possible, pushing your back into the corner of the couch and drawing your knees closer to your chest.

Halfway through the third episode you guys are watching, Dave pauses the show. You glance over and see that he’s facing you now. You look him up and down. What does he want?

“So…” Dave speaks, wringing his hands. sh*t. Your brain starts to run different outcomes of this conversation. Did he know you were awake? Is he going to call you out for being weird? Or is this the conversation where he tells you that you are, indeed, too much to handle and kicks you out? No, Dave wouldn’t do the last one. You feel an unexpected flush of relief at the thought.

“What was that last night?” f*ck. f*cking sh*t.

You bite your cheek and avert your eyes. Your gut sinks and guilt overwhelms you. So he did realize you were awake. You shouldn’t be surprised, you weren’t exactly subtle. f*ck. You heave a sigh from your lungs and curl in on yourself a little.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know. It won’t happen again, okay?” You pick at your fingernails, your heart picking up its pace.

“Yeah, man, I hope it doesn’t happen again. What do you mean you don’t know?” Daves voice has some edge in it.

You wince.

“I- f*ck- I do know but I’m not the only f*cking guilty one here, okay! It wasn’t like you were f*cking complaining or anything. You’re the f*cking straight person here.” You harsh out, because it’s true. You immediately regret your words, though.

Dave stares at you, looking perplexed. The f*ck? Why is he looking at you like that? It isn’t like he didn’t f*cking realize that he wasn’t cuddling with you. You know he was…awake…

No.

No.

Your eyes go wide and your lips press into a thin line. Oh my god no. You hear the viaduct calling to you like a siren in the night.

You, in intense horror, see Dave slowly come to a startled realization of what your misconstrued one-sided conversation has been about.

The two of you stare at each other, neither knowing what to do. After the longest f*cking pause you have ever been witness to and apart of, Dave speaks with a tightness in his voice.

“You were awake?” You want to die.

This is so f*cking awkward. You do not want to address this now or ever. “Um-” Your voice shakes. “Sorry- I gotta piss?” You stand instantly and move to speed walk to the bathroom but the world hates you and you either move too quickly or step wrong because you trip and fall– thankfully– on your left side. Your stupid f*cking balance is off because your hand is in a sling. You groan and roll on your back, the leg tangled in a blanket up on the couch. Dave is halfway standing up, staring down at you looking like he doesn’t know what to do. You failed to escape this conversation. It’ll just be more awkward if you try that again. You slap a hand over your face and drag it down, groaning. Staring at the ceiling is a lot better than staring at Dave.

“It was an accident. I didn’t f*cking mean to end up like that.” You squeeze your words out, voice cracking once.

You were awake.” He says that more to himself than you. Holy sh*t his face is, like, super pink. It’s his turn to be embarrassed. He slaps a hand over his forehead and stands. He gets all of two steps of pacing in before turning back to you, biting one of his knuckles anxiously. “Why didn’t you tell me you were awake???” His brows are pinched and his voice comes out tight.

“What were you even asking about??” Great f*cking work, Karkat. You made things so awkward. It could have just been your little secret that you could hate yourself over but now Dave can hate you, too.

“I was asking about your hand, dude! You know, the one that you freaking broke in the ten minutes that you left my sight!” Dave gestures to your cast.

You stare at it stupidly. Oh, god f*cking damn it all. You groan and yank your leg free from a stray blanket wrapped around your ankle. You roll up on your hip and sit upright finally.

“I punched a f*cking wall.” You grumble out.

Dave looks like he has a million questions, but in the end he swallows them and sighs. His fingers pinch the bridge of his nose before sliding his fingers under his glasses and pushing them up onto his forehead. You bounce your good fist against your knee anxiously.

After way too long, Dave finally speaks up.

“Let’s just not talk about this ever again?” He sounds strained.

Oh, thank god. You nod hurriedly.

“Agreed.” You grumble out. Dave offers a hand and hauls you up to your feet.

You two settle into awkward silence after that. Eventually Dave pulls out some controllers and turns on his Xbox. He offered for the two of you to play videogames together, but the both of you looked to your f*cked up hand and realized pretty fast that that probably wasnt possible. You’d probably be more upset about that if you played enough video games to care. You had Stardew Valley on your phone, and we all know where that is right now. So, you just watch him play and supply the occasional comment. Little by little the atmosphere between you two turns back to normal. You’re more than happy about that. Hours go by and the two of you conversate, but as lunch rolls around you both get hungry. Dave didn’t feel like cooking so he ordered takeout.

“‘ou fuh ah vif.” You try to speak with your mouth full of orange chicken. Dave is sitting at his side of the couch, hunched over in concentration as he stares at the screen. He’s biting his tongue. You’re laying down with your head against the headrest; legs curled up with your feet a few inches away from Daves legs. This couch isn’t exactly spacious enough for you to get comfortable. You shift to try and find a less cramped position.

Dave flicks a piece of vegetable at you and it misses you completely.

“I don’t suck at this, I’m just having a bad streak.” He glances at you, to the screen, and back at you. “You look cramped as hell, dude.”

You swallow what's in your mouth finally. “Whatever. It’s your fault for having such a small f*cking couch.”

“Says the guy that didn’t even have a couch.” Dave leans back against the cushions. “Just put your legs over mine.” He lifts his elbows up a little, making space for your legs.

You stare at him, pausing. “...Are you sure?” You speak warily. You didn’t think that Dave would want to be near you let alone touch you after your conversation earlier.

“Yeah? Limited time offer bro, you gonna relent those legs to me or you just gonna sit there and keep shifting uncomfortably like you got the world's worst wedgie?”

You roll your eyes and unfurl your legs and plop them over Dave's lap. He puts his arms back down, wrists laying down against your knees. Wow. This really isn’t helping the crush you shouldn’t be having on Dave right now.

“Hey, so, it’s Roxys birthday in a few days.” Dave speaks without pause.

You find yourself even less comfortable than before. Not because this isn’t comfy, but because you can’t relax now. You are trying so hard not to think about the fact that your legs are over Daves. Or especially how much physical contact is going on right now. Is this normal for him or something??

“Okay?” You keep your focus on the Tv.

“So are you okay with going?” Dave clears his throat a little. “To the party. With me.”

“...Who’s going to be there?” You speak cautiously. You don’t exactly want to run into all of your old friends after you were a dick to them.

“Uhhh,” Dave takes a moment to finish something up in the game before speaking again, “John’s gonna be there if I go. Well, tbh he would go if I wasn’t there anyways. Him and Roxy have this weird chemistry going on. I’m pretty sure Jake is going to be a no-show again. Jade is coming because her and Roxy have been pretty tight lately. Rose is going since Kanaya is going, too. Oh, and Jane. So, like, six or seven people besides us. It won’t be a big party.” He shrugs, “All we’re going to do is play dumb party games and drink probably.”

Kanaya. You find yourself already cringing. It isn’t like you did anything dramatic to get her to stop talking with her, you just fell out of touch like you did with everyone. However, there were like ten unread messages of hers that you never opened out of anxiety. Seeing her is going to be awkward but you’re banking on the fact that she probably doesn’t care about you like everyone else. Well, everyone but Dave, apparently.

“...I guess.” You mumble. You’ll just be a wallflower until you can go home with Dave.

“Cool.” Dave smiles out of the corner of your eye.

A few minutes into Dave's game you grow bored and decide to bump your knee up into his controller and get him killed. His jaw drops and you look away just as he looks your way. You can see a smile growing on his face.

“That’s how we’re gonna play it, motherf*cker?” You pinch your lips to hide your smirk. Dave sets the controller to the side, gripping onto the undersides of your knees and yanking your legs further over his lap until your thighs are where your knees used to be. Your head falls off of the headrest as you get yanked forward, now laying on your back with your hips raised awkwardly. He laughs and reaches for his controller, aiming to box you in like that, but you nudge the controller off of the couch with your leg as he goes to grab it. From thereon it’s chaos. The two of you wrestle each other while being mindful of your hand. The both of you laugh and curse at each other, limbs and pillows being tossed around. When the two of you eventually settle Dave speaks up.

“I like your teeth.” Dave smiles, his perfect teeth peeking out from his lips.

That catches you off guard. Your smile falters and you feel the urge to cover your mouth.

“My teeth are f*cked up.”

“Nah, man, you don’t get it. You got like the sharpest canines I’ve ever seen. It’s cool as f*ck. Like yeah some of your teeth aren’t like perfectly centered or whatever and some are crooked if you look hard enough- not that I’ve been taking extensive time looking at your mouth- they all fit you very well. You have cool teeth.” Your face flushes, and Daves perfect smile widens at that.

“Are you f*cking blushing right now, dude??” He grins. “Oh, how cute–”

You interrupt his mockery by throwing a pillow at him, which he f*cking catches. Uh oh. He gives you this evil smile and towers over you a bit. You f*cked up.

Dave throws a pillow at your face, which you deflect with your forearm. It bounces off to the side and ends up spilling some chinese food off of the table and splats face down onto the carpet.

Dave’s smile fades quickly as he stares down at the food. You sit up. Dave looks like he’s locked in time right now.

“f*ck, sorry.” You look back to Dave, wondering why he’s just staring at it.

“Um.” He speaks after a moment. “Can…can you like help me with some sh*t real quick?” Daves eyebrows are set low in a pinch. He looks tense.

“...Yeah, what do you need?”

You stand off to the side as Dave moves the coffee table and throws away the food that got thrown on the floor. Well, the food that touched the floor. He kept half of the food that stayed in the box. He pushes the couch back and walks off somewhere else in the apartment before returning with a vacuum cleaner. He plugs it in and stares at it, looking anxious. You remember him saying something about the carpet being important. You gently walk to his side after a few seconds of watching his internal debate.

“...Whatever it is, and I really can’t say that i know what the f*ck is going on, but regardless I will be here to, uh…”

You stare down at the vacuum quizzically. “Vacuum?

Dave sighs and stuffs his hands in his pockets, staring down at the pieces of food that couldn't be picked up on the carpet. “Thanks, man. This is just a hella weird time for me. Y’know? I can’t help but feel like that chow mein was some metaphor for how sh*ts going for me. Like god damn. This mess is teaching me some sh*t.” You stay silent and stare at the stain as well. “Like, Okay now here me out cuz I’m about to get all metaphorical n sh*t and kind of weird–”

“Just spit it out, Dave.”

“Okay so like this carpet has not been vacuumed in a long ass time and I keep tiptoeing around that sh*t not wanting to stir the dust– or hair tbh. But I don’t even f*cking think Dirks hair is on this carpet anymore. That sh*ts been gone a long time but I still have this bullsh*t hangup that vacuuming this rug means that I’m throwing him away, or, like disrespecting him by tossing what remains of him in a dust bag and dunking it into the trash.”

“You aren’t.” You look up from the stain. Dave looks focused.

“I know. I do, but it feels like I am. The laundry basket was different– way f*cking easier– because his sh*t was still in it, but this is way different.” Dave pulls his hand out of his pocket to gesture downwards.

“It is.” You agree.

“The other part of it is that I…I just really don’t want to let him…” He chokes up a bit, but recovers by clearing his throat loudly and shaking his head. “...let him go.

“I know this apartment makes me look f*cking insane.” He laughs dryly. “But I just…I’m so sick of it. I talk to him a lot, y’know. Not, like, actually. I just talk to him like he’s there and it really really does feel like that. I tell him everything. When I talked about my apartment and how sh*t was, you know what I could just hear him saying?” Dave smiles sadly. “He– well, first the f*ck of all, he called me a f*cking moron for not vaccuming for nine f*cking months. He used to get so god damned pressed if sh*t were not clean. I could hear him saying that I needed to pull my head out of my ass and that what I was doing was doing jacksh*t but living in filth.”

You nod quietly.

“Now there’s a mess on the carpet that’s too big to ignore and I gotta finally f*cking clean it. I should be mad, I really should have been. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I f*cking love chow mien just not on my carpet you hear? However, It spills all over my carpet and I can’t help but feel f*cking relieved.” He breathes out. “Like, f*cking finally. I can clean this goddamn carpet now because this chow mein is giving me an out or some sh*t. The other shoe dropped on this whole sh*tstorm and it was f*cking chow mein. I don’t have to hold onto literal strands anymore. I can just suck this sh*t up and finally have a clean carpet again…” He pauses. “Like when Dirk was still here. Like how he’d want it.”

He drops his arms down on top of his head, staring at the vacuum cleaner.

“So yeah.” Dave bites his lip, eyes trained on the vacuum. “f*ck. I can’t. I want to.”

You set a hand on his shoulder. He looks at you and you can see his eyes through the tint of his glasses. He’s hurt. He lost his brother, the only person in his life he felt safe around. You have no clue what it’s like to lose someone to death, but you understand the feeling of your only lifeline leaving you. For you that was your dad. You honestly have no f*cking clue where he is and you know you shouldn’t give a f*ck about him, but if he came back you’d forgive him. Dave lost something more than that, though. He lost someone who cared for him and he lost him for good. You squeeze his shoulder a little.

“Do you want me to?”

Dave lets out a shaky breath like he’s been holding it. He nods and covers his mouth with his hand, folding his other into the crook of his arm. He looks stressed out, but that’s okay. You’ll be patient with him.

“I’m sorry I’m being so weird over a carpet.” He speaks through his hand, voice tight.

“It’s alright. You aren’t weird for grieving.” Dave nods, keeping his hand pressed to his face. When he sniffles you realize that he’s crying. He tries to fight it at first,swiping stray tears away quickly. He sits frozen, his shoulders and throat bobbing with barely-concealed sobs. His voice comes up his throat as he hiccups. You move around to the front of him and gently put your hand against his shoulder. He’s staring at you with a deep ache that almost brings you to tears as well. Your throat itches as you speak, “I…” I’ll be here for you for good. You feel yourself tear up a little. You want to say it, but you don’t entirely believe it yourself and you don’t want to bring Dave's hopes up on you. “I’m here. I’m here and I will help you, okay? You aren’t alone.”

Dave squeezes his eyes shut and nods.

“If you want me to stop, tell me and I’ll turn off the vacuum immediately.” Dave nods again and covers his mouth with a fist.

You watch Dave from the corner of your eye as you clean the carpet, waiting for him to tell you to stop, but he doesn’t. When you’re finished and turn it off you look back to Dave where he’s standing. He doesn’t have his glasses on. His eyes are red and puffy as he wipes at them. He sniffs and cards his hands through his hair, staring down at the clean carpet. You drag the vacuum to the side, your back turned to Dave for just a moment. When you turn to look at him, you startle when you see that he’s standing right there. He has his fists at his sides and he looks like he’s trying to initiate something, but you understand what he wants. What he needs right now. You carefully slot your arms around his sides and hug him, which he returns immediately. You gently tuck your chin over his shoulder and rub your arm up his back.

“Thank you.” He hushes out.

“No problem, Dave.”

You both stand on the clean carpet like that for a while, listening to the sounds of each other's breathing and the gentle whirring of the AC. Your mind wanders and finds the memories you have of Dirk. You didn’t interact with him much, but you feel sadness towards his loss. You’re curious as to how he passed away. Was it an accident? Like a car crash or a fatal injury? Or was it something biological like cancer? You’re hoping that whatever it is, he didn’t suffer.

After that, Dave ends up bouncing back pretty quick. You can tell he’s sad somewhere in his head, but you can’t deny that he feels better. He’s back to making jokes and telling stories. You can tell that a huge weight has been lifted off of him.

“Now for the house tour– directors cut–” He flicks on the lights and shows you his room. “Hi, I’m Dave and welcome to my crib.” You huff out a laugh. It’s…uh. Okay wow. It isn’t messy, it’s just…chaotic. There is music equipment absolutely everywhere and the walls are filled with different posters from music artists, graffiti art, and–

“Is that f*cking Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff?” You’re staring at a full spread of one of his comics on the wall. Full spread is an understatement. It’s one of his longer comics that start on the ceiling and end at the floor. It’s f*cking ridiculous. You’re wondering how much it cost to print this ridiculous piece of sh*t.

“You remember?” Dave sets your luggage down next to his desk– which is, by the way, literal plywood held up by cinder blocks. You guess that you are moving into the bedroom with him. Your eyes drift over to the bed which thankfully is a queen.

“Yeah. How could I forget? Your comics were f*cking stupid.” You cringe. sh*t, you shouldn’t be calling him stupid after what happened today. Actually what happened since you got pulled from that ledge. Dave has clearly been living in some horribly depressing lifestyle and you’re not even trying to be sensitive. You’re such an asshole. You already feel yourself sinking into a pit of wallow. You need to get a filter.

To your surprise, he isn’t upset.

Dave laughs. “Yeah, they are, but don’t even try and deny that you didn’t get a chuckle out of them.”

Dave walks up to you and stuffs his hands in his pockets, leaning in towards you with a sly grin. You hold your ground. The smug look he bares boils your blood just like it did back in highschool, only this time it feels much, much different. A type of different that you are too ashamed to admit.

“Yeah, right.” You deadpan. “I had to block your f*cking number because you wouldn’t stop sending me those f*cking eye-bleeding strips of nonsensical, yammer-tawting–” You pull out the finger quotes and speak in a nasally tone, “–ironic amalgamation of sh*t-brained jargon you loosely attempted to pull off as humor. I was always flabbergasted by what your insipid blithering sh*tmouth was holding back considering the vulgarity of your comics.”

Daves jaw drops.

Oh, f*ck. You cringe again. You’re about to apologize when Dave doubles down.

“Oh, really?” Something in his tone gave you goosebumps. “Have you been eating bullsh*t recently, Vantas? Because I smell a lot coming from your lips right now.” His grin returns. He takes a step into your space and you take a step back. You feel excitement lick up your spine. “You always loved telling me to f*ck off but I could see right through your little tsundere-esq act. I’d show you my music and you’d pretend to hate it–” One step forward, one step back. “–but I’d see you tapping your foot to the beat. You think I didn’t see the grins you suppressed when I let you peep at my sweet ‘mics?” Your lower back hits a dresser behind you. Your good hand braces back against it in surprise.

“‘Mics??” You breathe.

“Comics, bro.” Dave is so close to you that you have to look more up than forward to meet his eyes. Shades. Whatever. All the layers you’re wearing are starting to make you feel hot. You wet your lips.

“You had to find them funny if you let me show you them all the damn time, Karkitty.” That f*cking nickname makes a return. As Dave speaks, you glance down to see that one of Dave's legs is literally in between yours. They're not by any means touching but they’re close.

Maybe.” You squeak uncharacteristically. sh*t. You’re not going to lie– you’re like really f*cking attracted to Dave right now. Physically. Your heart still belongs to TZ even though you know she doesn’t want it. You can’t wash down f*cking eight years because someone else is– you swallow– so close. Okay, eight years is generous. You guys were like on and off again over an eight year period. The longest you two lasted was three years straight. And honestly the whole physical-only attraction is a lie. This is so so so bad. Why is he so close??? Dave boxes you in by pressing his hands down against the dresser at your sides. You lean backwards and hope to god you aren’t as red as you feel. You know you are, though. You were always a blusher.

Maybe?” Dave's southern drawl returns.

Okay. You know that Dave is straight but this does not feel platonic. As much as your libido makes you want to drop to your knees right now you absolutely cannot. First of all, Dave is straight and you’re probably just starved for affection, there is no way Dave is making you feel like this on purpose. Secondly, even if there was a miniscule chance that this was anything other than platonic you still wouldn’t pursue it. You’re a mess of a person and Dave doesn’t need more things to clean. You need to get out of this.

“I only laughed because they were idiotic at best.” You press a hand to his chest and push. Thankfully Dave gets the hint and backs off. You walk around him, finally able to breathe. Good god.

You walk over to your luggage and start unpacking. You just assume that Dave will let you settle in, so f*ck it, that’s what you do. You open up his closet and push aside a bunch of his shirts to make room for your own. You grab some spare hangers and awkwardly loop them into the headhole of your sweater. You kind of have to use the crook of your arm to get it on, but you do it. You go for a second shirt but you slow for a moment.

“What's up?” Dave speaks from behind you, sounding worried. sh*t.

You hang up the shirt and turn towards him. You open your mouth, pause, and then shut it again. You press your tongue to the corner of your mouth as you mull over your thoughts. You don’t know if you should say what you’re about to say, but f*ck it.

“My dad…” You start slow. Your eyes find Daves and you can tell that he’s already interested in what you have to say. He straightens his back a little and waits. You sigh and rub your hand up your forehead to push your hair up out of your eyes. “My dad was nothing like Bro, but he was still pretty sh*tty.” You shrug.

“He…” You don’t want to out yourself, so you’re trying to find out the best way to say this. “He had problems. sh*tty f*cking genes. He was in and out of hospitals and when he wasn’t in hospitals he got so engrossed in literally anything other than me. I was definitely a latchkey kid, and when I wasn’t I was in the system. Foster system. I think the only thing keeping him shackled down with me was legal obligations but he did care about me, like I said he had problems, though.”

When you moved in at 20 with Terezi that’s when your Dad decided to take off and leave you behind. He texts you on your birthdays and always says that he’s going to visit, but he doesn’t. It gets your hopes up every f*cking time, but the last birthday text you got from him was a few years ago and you’re pretty sure that means he’s in jail again. He was always too mayrtic to ask anyone for bail, so you don’t know where the hell he could be.

“Once it got really f*cking bad. His issues, I mean. Something really stressful happened in his life and it was too much for him. We never went to church or anything but suddenly he was this HUGE advocate of christianity and human rights and all that kind of sh*t. Which, whatever, good for you I guess. But he had gotten so completely and suffocatingly engrossed in this that it was bordering on cultism.” You pick at the edge of your cast mindlessly. “It was the worst I’ve ever seen him.” You mumble out. It was always so stressful having to be around him when he went off the handle. You f*cking hated having to be the one to call the cops on him when the occasional episode snowballed out of control. It didn’t happen often. You only had to call the cops on him three times, but that still feels like a big number.

“By the way, I had no other f*cking family than him. No aunts or uncles or grandparents. Just him. So around this time I was like 13. His ideals and religion had grown into something that I don’t think he had intended for it to grow. He was taken away after he lit a car on fire for some f*cking reason, I don’t even think he knew why he did it. It wasn’t anyone's car, it was one that had been abandoned and stripped for parts down the road but I guess he had some paranoid fixation on it. Thought it was sent to watch him. I don’t know. Since I had no family I had to go into foster care for longer than I had ever been while still attending school which was weird as f*ck because instead of walking home I’d be taking a bus to a home that wasn’t mine. Six months, two homes. Stressful as f*ck.”

You bite the inside of your cheek, pausing for a few seconds. “I don’t really know where I was f*cking going with this, but, I guess what I wanted to say was…”

You look back up to him. His attention is on you, brows pinched in concern.

“That I understand to an extent what it was like growing up with a sh*tty guardian.” You shrug again and glance to the floor. “I know that our lives were very f*cking different but…I don’t know. Same studio, different shows.”

Dave nods. “What was up with him?”

“Huh?” You meet his eyes again, your brain stalling.

“His issues, I mean. What was wrong with him?” His voice is full of sympathy, but you feel like you’re being attacked.

Wrong with. You feel your gut sink a little. This is why you don’t talk about this sh*t. You guess it’s warranted given what he did, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt by proxy. You worry a wire on the ground with your foot. That’s all the two of you were. Wrong. Just because of stupid f*cking mutated genes. Your dad was loud about it and look where that got him.

“I’m not sure. I was too young and no one told me.” You lie. You knew since you were ten.

“Oh.” Dave crosses his arms over his chest. You nod. You return to putting your clothes up, but you start struggling again because of your f*cking hand that you broke. Dave takes this chance to shoo you aside and start doing the work for you. You huff out in irritation but let him help you. You aren’t going to fight him over this.

You decide that you can help by handing him shirts to hang.

“So…” He loops a hanger into a sweater of yours.

“So…” You parrot, feeling anxious at his start. You’re a little on edge from earlier. “Are you going to get to the f*cking point or…?” Your voice comes out guarded, and it makes Dave turn towards you in slight surprise. sh*t. You draw back.

“Sorry.” The corner of your lip pulls to the side awkwardly.

Dave shakes his head a little and smiles, returning to his chore. “How did you break your hand? I know you punched a wall, but why?”

sh*t. You were hoping that you could avoid this question. You punched the wall because you convinced yourself Dave was selfish. Because you felt trapped and cornered. Because you didn’t have anything else to escape what you were feeling. f*cking whatever.

“Because you’re making my life f*cking complicated.” You grit out. You immediately regret speaking. God, what is the matter with you? Why are you irritated right now?

Dave stops completely this time, turning to face you. “At least it’s complicated.” He racks the shirt and leans against the edge of the closet. “Listen, I think I need to set down some ground rules here.”

“You already-” You start, but Dave cuts you off.

“I don’t care. Karkat, I want you to f*cking live. I don’t care if you see me as selfish or as some monster but I will be anything if that means at the end of the day you’re still breathing. You’re mad stupid to think that I haven’t dealt with your brand of sh*t before.” He shoulders himself off of the closet and makes his way to you. He stops when his feet find yours. “So here’s my rules. Ground f*cking zero, these are absolutely unbreakable and will have consequences if you do.”

You hold his gaze, but find yourself wavering. It’s hard to be so stubborn and brazen towards a guy who you f*cking care about somewhat. f*ck. You should have just made up some bullsh*t excuse instead of letting your mouth run like it did.

“You can still talk to me about how sh*tty life is and anything else. I want to hear about that. I want to help you. However, the main difference here is intention. If I see or hear or even suspect any intentions that result in your harm, I will call the cops and 5150 your ass.”

You feel your stomach drop. Dread sends sharp and slow pains throughout your entire body. You shake your head slowly, keeping eye contact with Dave.

“Y-You-” Your voice hitches, “You will not-” Why is Dave using that code? How does he know it?

“You will not f*cking do that to me-” You grit your words out. “You do not get to f*cking- there are so many f*cking things that you have done to me already but you do not get to call the cops on me and lock me up like I’m some kind of crazy person!”

Your mind keeps going back to your dad. You aren’t like him. You never got out of control or so delusional that you were a danger to others. You were always, always careful. You took your medication, even if the side effects were absolute dogsh*t. You didn’t go down the same path as your father. The second you started showing symptoms of his sh*tty disease you controlled and concealed that sh*t because you never wanted to copy his lifestyle. It was so f*cking hard. He always told you that the meds were poison and wanted you to see life his way, but life his way was filled with hospitals and episodes. A handful of your friends knew about your father. Terezi, Gamzee, and Kanaya. None of them knew that you were like him, though. None of them knew you went to weekly counseling sessions, monthly psychiatric visits, or took pills daily. You feel guilty to say that you took advantage of the fact that Terezi couldn’t see to your advantage. Clarity slaps you in the face, though.

You went off your meds and here you are being erratic as f*ck. You’re not a danger to others, but Dave sees that you are to yourself. You’re worrying Dave. Turns out you are just like your dad, you’re just on the other side of the coin. You shake that train of thought out of your head. No. No, this isn’t your fault. You weren’t planning on sticking around. You weren’t going to get better. You didn’t want to get better. This is Dave's fault for making you stay, and now he’s threatening you with an involuntary hospitalization?

“T-This isn’t f*cking fair.” Your voice comes out high at the end when your throat closes on you.

Your breath comes out uneven and you squeeze your eyes shut. You don’t understand why this is happening to you. Your life has just been tiring. You had to deal with your father’s illness and the repercussions of it. All the hospital visits, group homes, episodes. And then his illness became yours. The medication, the self-hatred, the secrets. You hated it all. You thought that you would feel better that your dad left and was out of your life but it just left you feeling more alone than you had ever been. Even when you were with Terezi you felt alone. Your mind always goes to the what-ifs. Like what your life would have been like if your dad hadn’t had his illness and you didn’t inherit it. Would he have loved you more? Would he have stayed? Would you be happy right now somewhere else in life? Maybe with Terezi and a job. You probably would have graduated college by now, too. Maybe you would never have stepped onto the viaduct.

In all honesty, you stopped taking your medication because you knew it would lead up to you standing on that viaduct.

You were too chicken sh*t yourself to do what you so desperately wanted, but you knew that if you went off the meds you would start to self isolate and burn bridges. You aren’t in one now, you know what they feel like. You went up there fully knowing what you were doing and why. You just let your life become sh*tty enough to where you couldn’t see any other way out because you hate yourself so much. So when you started showing symptoms people got uncomfortable just like you wanted. Terezi broke up with you, your friends let you go into isolation, and you were finally free.

You don’t feel free, though.

All of these thoughts are absolutely consuming you and you really, really cannot dump them all onto Dave. That is out of the f*cking question. But, f*ck, you need to talk to someone. If you’re going to be alive you want medication. But, f*ck, you really don’t want to be alive.

Your vision blurs.

“K-Kanaya-” You choke out, a few tears slipping from your squeezed eyes. “I-I want to-” You dip your head so Dave can’t see you crying, but you know he sees the tears pooling and dripping off of your nose. “I want to- I want to speak to Kanaya please.” Your voice wavers.

Kanaya knew about your dad the most before you started dating Terezi. You can’t talk to Dave about your issues because you’re worried what he might think about you, and you definitely can’t talk to Terezi. Gamzee is off the table because he’s Gamzee. You just need to f*cking talk to someone.

You can’t see or hear Dave. You feel his hand ghost your shoulder briefly before pulling away. There is a long pause of silence. You’re guessing that Dave is trying to guess what’s going on with you. Luckily he doesn’t pry.

“Yeah…yeah, okay man. No problem. Anything you want.” From there he pulls his phone out and calls Kanaya. You can feel him staring at you as he talks to her over the phone. He sounds worried for you, which just makes you feel more guilty. She’s here in less than 15 minutes. Dave does his best to comfort you, but you don’t feel like talking right now. Not to him, at least. So when the doorbell rings he walks away and you feel like you can breathe again. You listen, but you’re kind of having an anxiety attack so it’s difficult to focus. The front door opens, two voices talk to one another, and footsteps come your way.

You look up when you see Dave and Kanaya walk in. Dave has his brows pinched in worry and his mouth is set in a line. Kanaya is staring at you with concern and confusion, but most importantly compassion.

“Karkat?” Her voice sounds distant and your heart feels loud.

You missed her so much. You probably look ridiculous right now. You snivel and cover your face with a hand. Your chest feels tight and you’re having a difficult time getting air into your lungs. Why did Dave have to corner you? Kanaya walks up to you quickly and wraps her arms around you, holding you firm but gentle. You grip onto her shirt with your good hand and press your forehead to her shoulder. God, you missed her. Why did you push her away? You feel her turn to look over her shoulder to look at Dave.

“Will you give us a moment? And can you shut the door?” Her thumb rubs gently against the nape of your neck.

“Yeah. No problem.” Dave speaks, and a few moments later the door clicks shut. She gently lowers the two of you until you’re sitting on the floor together. She squeezes you a little harder and presses the side of her head to the top of yours. You snivel and try to steady your breathing, but you can’t. She doesn’t ask anything from you, but you can tell that she wants to. She does what she can to comfort you just like all those times before in highschool whenever things would get rocky at home. There were many days that she would let you crash at her place. Kanaya works you through a breathing exercise to ground you since you’re unable to calm down on your own. Four seconds in, hold, four seconds out, hold. Your mind starts to clear and your heartbeat slows on the sixth round.

“Karkat? What happened?” She pulls away a little and grabs your cheek in her hand. She worries the hair out of your face and wipes the tears from your puffy eyes. You almost laugh. You have no clue where to start with that one. There are too many heavy topics here and you aren’t sure how to go about it. So, you guess you’ll just go with the blunt route.

You start with the viaduct.

Notes:

Thank you for reading another chapter! I am very glad to see people liking my work and leaving comments. It gives me a lot of love and makes my day a thousand times better :)

And shout-out again to Delicatelygay for supplying me with details on their broken hand story lol.

Chapter 4: four

Summary:

CW: Sexual content, depression, past/referenced abuse, past/referenced suicide

Notes:

Hiii i am back. Things have been wild. I realized recently that one of my meds was just completely f*cking up my dopamine receptors/sedating me. So every time i tried drawing or writing I just felt hella disinterested because my brains reward system was being suppressed. I'm back tho better than ever! :) So yeah lets freaking do this. Hope y'all enjoy xoxo

Also no chapter art this time, I apologize! :( xoxoxox

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

“I wish they would only take me as I am.”

Vincent Willem van Gogh

“...Okay? Can I come-”

“No.” Karkat interjects.

You sit in the living room a bit stunned. Karkat holds your eyes for less than two seconds before they plant themselves to the ground. His hands are busy with each other, fidgeting restlessly. When Karkat doesn’t continue further you look towards Kanaya. She stands behind his shoulder, looking lost like you but you know she’s caught up to speed with whatever Karkat’s going through. You keep seeing her sneaking these observant looks at Karkat and from the looks of it it seems like she’s been crying as well. The two of them have matching puffy eyes. What weirds you out is the outright mournful look she has on her face. Like, what the f*ck is that? Why is she looking at Karkat like that? What the hell was he talking about in there? Why are you the one out of the loop here?

The two of them are going to the hospital for some reason that you can’t wrap your head around. Karkat wasn’t even crying ten minutes ago because you threatened him with hospitalization. You feel like a jackass for making him cry. That’s kind of the f*cking opposite thing you’ve been trying accomplish. It still had to be said, though. You don’t want Karkat breaking his f*cking bones because he’s upset again. It’s pretty obvious that Karkat needs help. Probably more help than you could provide. Would Karkat get offended if you recommended therapy? You know you got offended when Rose recommended you to a therapist after Dirk had passed. You get that he’s disturbed, it isn’t something that you aren’t accustomed to, though. The first time Dirk started self harming without any regards to how you felt it made you really uncomfortable. It was hard not to be uncomfortable around that kind of stuff. It isn’t something you’re used to seeing, it’s always stomach dropping and unsettling being around someone who is unstable. You’re probably more accustomed to it than most people, though, growing up with Bro and all.

“...When will you be back?” You try not to sound like a needy bitch, but you do. Karkat meets your eyes again. He looks sorry, but not for himself. You feel like he’s seeing right into you and you have to resist the itching urge to fill the silence.

“In a few hours…” Karkat glances over at Kanaya, and then back to you. “I promise.”

You hate how much that promise grips at your heart. He keeps eye contact with you this time, an intense sincerity grounding you with him. Even after everything he’s still trying to comfort you when it should be the opposite.

You keep your jaw shut tight and nod.

You don’t look back when Karkat and Kanaya pass you. You get the feeling that Karkat is looking at you, but you never confirm your suspicions. You listen to the groan of hinges and the click of the door as it shuts.

When he leaves, the apartment becomes just an apartment again.

You try to busy yourself with things to do after that. You know that if you stay still things will just get worse. You go off to your room to work on another layer for a song you’re making. No matter what you do, though, the song feels empty and tired. You end up sitting there making and erasing a few notes over and over again and soon enough you’re doing nothing at all. The sound of the fan in the room is louder than the music in your mind. Okay, you don’t feel like making music. That’s fine, sometimes you just need to recharge and today has been pretty sh*tty. After taking way too much time and mental effort to move, you walk across the room to sit down in the chair at your desk. You pull up your drawing application and pull up the newest page of your webcomic. Despite your many ideas for this particular comic, none of them are appealing to you anymore. Your work doesn’t feel like yours anymore. It feels far from you. Your eyes are glued to the screen but you aren’t looking at anything. So much for distracting yourself.

Does Karkat hate you?

You physically shake that thought out of your head.

What? That’s a weird ass thought to have. He doesn’t…

You feel your breath shallow out, slowing as a curling depression grips at your chest.

What if he does? He’s said it a lot, that’s for sure. He’s been trying to get away from you, but you just thought that was because he was trying to kill himself and, like, not because he hated you or something. Back in high school the two of you got along pretty well. Did he not see it that way?

"f*cking Penis Ouija. You speak about it like it's not a testimony of our friendship."

"...You thought we were friends?"

"Uh, yeah? Dude, I came to like all of your birthday parties and crap. But, back to Penis Ouija…”

oh

Maybe he didn’t see you as a friend. Maybe he just put up with you.

…I’ll stay, I guess…

…Don’t f*cking call me that, sh*t head. I’m not in the f*cking mood today, man…

…And you f*cking got us sent to the principal's office, jackass…

...The penis Ouija was kind of funny. Still f*cking stupid...

…Just leave me alone…

Karkat left as soon as the opportunity arose. Your mind looks over the earnest and kind look Karkat gave you before he left, and his promise, and how happy the both of you were today when you were just hanging out today. Your mind ignores it all because you’re alone again and there is nothing to fill that space but you and your sh*tty thoughts.

You sit uncomfortably in your chair until you break your catatonic state to wiggle the mouse when the screen goes blank. You don’t know how long it is before you get up again, only to make your way over to your bed and climb in. You don’t bother with the covers. Your arm is going a bit numb and your glasses are pushing uncomfortably into the side of your face but you don’t have it in you to move. What if Karkat lied? What if he doesn’t come back. Is Kanaya able to keep him from killing himself if he tries again? What will you do if he does. You close your eyes and do the only thing you can when you get like this.

You sleep.

-

Click

In your half asleep state, your mind vaguely registers the sound of the front door opening. You ignore it in favor of sleep. However, when you hear the soft pads of socked feet and the creak of your door open from ajar to wide your eyes blink open. Your breath traps itself in your chest. Karkat is standing at the door to your room with a brown CVS bag in his hand. The light from the hall is still on, casting his front in shade.

He came back.

You’re glad that your sunglasses are hiding your state of consciousness. Karkat stares at you, an unreadable expression on his face. He keeps the side of his body close to the door, his elbow nudging the spot just above the doorknob whilst the other loosely grips the folded lip of the bag. He lets out a long, shuddering sigh and leans his head against the side of the door with a silent thump. His features are pinched up into thought, eyes never leaving your form. Karkat mumbles something low under his breath before he turns and walks out of the room. You hear the sounds of footsteps, the bathroom door being opened, and a few indecipherable sounds. After what feels like forever, Karkat returns. Your heart seizes when you spot a blanket tucked into his arm. He walks up to you– quietly to not rouse you– and gently drapes it over your form. He smoothes out the folds and watches you, hesitance taking over his features. You feel weird for watching him like this, but that quickly changes. When his hand raises towards your face you force your eyes to shut and relax. Then you feel your glasses slot off of your face, the gentle clack and tick of them being folded, and a small thump as they get placed elsewhere.

He really came back? Even after you made him cry? Maybe he just feels bad for…you…

A cold finger gently brushes up the crook of your nose, tracing the ugly scar in the crease of your eye that you had forgotten about until now, and over your eyebrow before disappearing. Your breath feels like it’s been stolen from you.

Why did he do that?

A long pause goes by, but sound enters the room again, be it soft. You hear the sound of socked feet padding against the carpet away from you. You feel your anxiety spike. Where is he going? Your eyes open to see Karkats back and a strong pain of longing pulls you towards him. Before you can think of what you’re doing, your hand reaches out and grabs the lip of Karkats sleeve. Karkat flinches and looks back at you, startled. You can see your name forming on his lips, but he goes quiet. Neither of you break the silence. You feel a laugh in your chest at the look on Karkats face. He looks guilty, like he got caught doing something he shouldn’t.

This is a moment where you could say something like, ‘when did you get back?’. Those words die in your throat. You stare up at Karkat, head raised slightly above your pillow and body still tucked under the blanket he covered you in. Your heart is beating in your chest so loud you’re worried that he can hear it.

Karkat watches you and keeps your eye contact, stealing a glance down at your hand before looking back at you again.

You push the fragile, unspoken boundary between you two an inch.

You draw your hand back, pulling Karkats sleeve with. It’s not a demand, but a question. A silent question that is left in the air. You feel faint at the idea of rejection. Karkat is looking at you with wide, hesitant eyes. Your hand stills when he doesn’t move and you start to doubt yourself. His hand is closer to you than to him now. He gives a long look down at your hand again, eyebrows pinched thoughtfully. Now that you look at him, you realize he looks just as nervous as you do. When his eyes meet yours again they’re filled with a soft resolve. Karkat swallows and nods his chin once.

You scoot backwards to make room for him and he follows. He lays his head where yours once was and when you open up the blanket for him he finds a spot under it. It’s cold where you’re lying but you don’t care. You know Karkat must be freezing, he always is. He can take the spot you warmed up for him. After Karkat settles in he looks to you again, questions morphing his expression.

As you lay here with Karkat you forget all the reasons why you thought Karkat hated you easily.

Karkat is looking at you again like he sees right into you, and you know he does. That he can see your anxieties at being left here in this desolate apartment. That he can see how upset you were. That he can see how much his presence affects you. He can see that his promise on coming back meant a lot to you. You find that this time, though it is frightening, you don’t mind him seeing you.

Karkats hand slowly smoothes across the bed in the space between the two of you before raising towards you again. When his hand meets your shoulder his touch is feather light. You shut your eyes so he doesn’t see the anxiety flash through you. You don’t want him to pull away. His hand becomes more brave as it plants on your shoulder and slides up your neck. He cups it there and rubs his thumb at the loose hairs at the base of your neck. You feel chills where his touch lingers.

And that’s how the two of you fall asleep.

-

When you wake, you’re surprised and unsurprised to see that Karkat is still asleep next to you.

Unsurprised because Karkat was never really a morning person, but surprised to see that he is in the exact same position that he fell asleep in. He’s lying uncomfortably on his side with his casted arm awkwardly crooked so he’s resting his head on the space below his shoulder and his other hand is stretched out to your neck. You’ve seen him asleep a handful of times and it’s never peaceful looking. He’s always sprawled out, snoring and drooling. You sit up slowly and gently take his hand off of your neck, watching him in silence.

“...arkat?” Your voice crackles roughly from sleep.

You stare at his casted arm. That sh*t has to be numb.

You gently shake him.

“Yo, dude, I know your arm kills you and tylenol can only go so far but making it go numb like this can not be helping.” You crack a smile.

Karkat remains as is.

So, anxiously, you move him to lay on his back and prop a pillow under his casted arm. Karkat moved like a ragdoll in your hands. You can see that he’s breathing, so that’s good. Damn. Karkat is in a straight up coma, you guess. It isn’t the worst thing since you can prolong having to talk or awkwardly not talk about what went down between you two last night. You were being pretty f*cking needy, you’re shocked that Karkat didn’t just dip when you fell asleep. You’re glad he didn’t, though.

You grab the blanket on the bed, but pause when you see that Karkat is still in his jeans. Damn, that’s gotta be uncomfortable. You’ve slept in jeans and it isn’t the worst thing ever but it’s still unpleasant. You do the guy a solid and go to unbutton his pants-

What are you doing.

You quickly extract your hand and toss the blanket over him.

You speed out of the room and go about your morning as usual. No need to think about whatever possessed you back in that room. You take a shower, eat some cereal, and throw away the trash. When you’ve run out of tasks to do, you find yourself standing at the doorway to your brother's room.

You’d think that Dirk would be happy if you dusted and vacuumed in there. So, with some hesitance, you go in and clean his room finally. You feel anxious throughout it, but not as bad as you thought you would. It almost feels nice. Almost like nothing ever happened, but you know that it did. You feel a sadness nagging at your chest when you realize that after this the room will be clean forever with no mess to replace it. You pick up discarded laundry and pile it into a clothes basket, you organize his desk and work space and wipe down the dusty surfaces and you vacuum up the floor. Finally you open the window to let it air out in here. You let out a sigh and look over Dirks room again, watching the late morning sun cast beams of light on the floor. It makes you remember the times where Dirk would lay in bed silently as you cleaned his room for him, almost just as tense as he. The room was usually cast in darkness per his request, so it’s nice to see it this way finally. You walk over to his bed and sit on the edge of it, glancing over to find one of his MLP plushies on the side of the bed. You pick it up and roll it over in your hands.

“...Looks like I'm picking up your room for you. Again.

And for the last time. That should at least make you kind of happy. You can almost hear him say.

“Yeah,” You sigh, “Yeah, man. I guess so.”

You should clean up your room, too. I know you haven’t done laundry in at least a week.

You huff a laugh from your nose. “I’ll do my laundry whenever I f*cking want, dude.” You run your thumb over the eye of flutter-dash-whatever.

It’s fluttershy.

“Right.” You remember now. “Sorry I can’t keep track of all your weird ass pony names.”

If you watched the show with me you wouldn’t have to “keep track of them”.

“I’m not going to watch your dumbass pony show.” You smile despite yourself, “You-”

The sound of a groan catches your attention. Just like that, you feel Dirk's presence leave. You gently set aside fluttershy and walk out of Dirk's room, shutting the door behind you. You poke your head into your room to find that it’s empty, looking over to the bathroom just in time to see it shut. You check your phone to see that it’s nearly noon. You should make food for Karkat. Hopefully he won’t put up much of a fight there. He’s been eating, thankfully, but you know that he doesn’t always finish his food. The guy eats like a bird sometimes.

You’re cooking up bacon when Karkat comes out 30 minutes later. You look over to see Karkat skulking his way towards you, eyes barely open and hair as wild as always.

“Oh, hey, dude. You up for-”

“I’m f*cking starving.” Karkat mumbles and sits himself down at the counter. As soon as he gets in the chair his head is against the countertop. His frizzy and curly hair spills out onto the marble.

“Water.” He demands, his good hand held out loosely.

“Oh…Yeah, man. Of course.” You walk over to a case of water bottles you got on the floor by the fridge. After grabbing one, you hand it to Karkat, who chugs the whole thing down in less than a minute. You watch his throat bob and track a stray droplet of water glide down from the corner of his mouth to his collarbone. It’s hard to ignore the feeling in your stomach you get from watching that.

“Another.” He speaks, his voice crackling.

After handing him another one, you speak.

“...You good, man? Did you just come back from the Sahara or something? Okay no that was lame. Though for real, I feel like a bartender nursing an addiction here with how you're just demanding drinks.”

Karkat puts the bottle down after getting halfway through, practically ignoring you the entire time. He opens his mouth to speak, but thinks differently and just shakes his head. He rests his forehead down against the countertop again and lets out a sigh that borders on a whine. You crack a smile because he’s always been melodramatic. It’s even worse in the mornings you’re coming to learn.

“Aight, dude. Just chill there a sec while I cook us up the best f*cking breakfast ever.”

You’re feeling a little inspired now that you know Karkat really wants to eat, and not just because you’re making him. So you pull out all the stops. Bacon, eggs, sausage, AND toast. It’s like a motherf*cking Dennys up in this bitch. You turn around and slide a plate stacked with an abhorrent amount of fat and calories. Finally, you grab two empty glasses and set them between you two.

“You want milk, orange juice, or– a fan favorite– apple juice. You’re pretty lucky that I’m willing to share my AJ with you, be thankful because that sh*t is milked straight from the teat of god.”

You turn your back to Karkat and open the fridge, waiting for an answer. After a long pause, you turn to look at your roommate. He’s dead silent, left in the position he was in after he downed one and a half water bottles.

“...Karkitty? You there?” You grab your apple juice from the fridge and head over. When you listen closely you can hear the sound of Karkat deeply breathing.

Holy sh*t.

“No f*cking way you fell asleep.” You set the AJ down on the counter and lean over, gently nudging his shoulder with your hand. It takes three pushes, but you hear his distinctive whine and Karkat is lifting his head up. You’re not even sure if he sees you with how squinted his eyes are right now. However, when Karkat gets a whiff of the food right in front of him, he wakes up pretty quick. He starts eating like he’s going to die if he doesn’t. Your mouth goes slack as you watch him absolutely wolf down the plate of food you made him, and you’re glad you went overboard because he’s already asking for seconds. You give him that and a glass of milk as requested. He’s working on his second plate when you dig into your first.

This is the most food you’ve seen Karkat eat, like, ever. Well, except that time in highschool where you watched him down like a dozen of those greasy gas station snacks he likes before throwing up. You’re thinking about sneaking some fruit onto his plate, but when Karkat finishes his food and drink he slurs out what you think is a ‘Thank you’, caps his water bottle, and walks back off down the hall. When you don’t hear anything you get up. He isn’t in the bathroom like you thought, but instead in your room.

Passed out on your bed again.

Alright, what the f*ck is going on.

Your mind travels back to the CVS bag he was holding. You stare at Karkat, who is starfishing on your bed with his face stuffed into your pillow, no doubt getting drool all over it. You wouldn’t have it any other way, but he’s definitely going to be keeping that pillow. With a soft sigh you walk off to the kitchen and grab the pack of water, bringing it over to the bedside if he needs it. Then you go to the bathroom and open Karkat’s drawer. And behold– two pill bottles. You recognize the little pink pills, but you find to your disappointment that the shields have been replaced with boring little white pills that are roughly the same size as the pink ones. Is this why Karkat is acting so weird this morning? You pick them up and examine them. Karkat has thoughtfully peeled the labels off of both of them, which should be your first big sign saying “Don’t snoop”, but at this point you just want to know what the f*ck is going on. You set the pill bottles on the counter and take one more look into your room to make sure that Karkat is asleep before doing some searching on the internet.

You type into the search bar ‘Little white pills tired hungry’. You get a lot of results for speed and a drug for anorexia. Okay…Well, despite how little Karkat eats, he isn’t anorexic. You can’t find much there, so you move onto the same search but with the pink pills. This one yields some purchase. There is a site that identifies pills, and you see the exact pink pill on the website alongside a link.

Quetiapine Fumarate.

You ignore the guilt nagging at you before you click it.

Quetiapine (Seroquel, Seroquel XR) is a second-generation or atypical antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression.

Your eyebrows raise.

You re-read it a few times just to make sure that you’re reading it correctly. Well…You shouldn’t jump to conclusions. It’s pretty obvious that Karkat is depressed. He doesn’t seem like…the type. You guess. He just seems depressed. So, it’s an antidepressant. Rose takes those. You turn off your screen and put the pill bottles back inside of the drawer. Mystery solved.

It’s a few hours into the afternoon before Karkat wakes up again, but when he does an idea strikes you.

Karkat stumbles out of your room and into the bathroom again, probably to take the longest piss of his life. You are super pleased to hear the sound of a shower running, though. He’s taking care of himself. Karkat walks out with his hair towel-dried and crazy as ever. He’s about to walk to the couch to presumably merge with it for the rest of the day when you stop him.

“Hey, so, we’re getting kinda low on food in the kitchen and I was gonna pop on over to the grocery store. Wanna come with?”

“No.” Karkat grumbles. He walks around you and is about to fall into the loving arms of your old sofa when you grab his good arm and pull him towards the door. Karkat lets out a groan.

“You need hella vitamin D bro.” You can’t hide the amusem*nt in your voice.

“Says the albino white guy.” He deadpans.

“Shut up and put on your shoes.”

-

Y’know, when you jokingly asked Karkat if he wanted to ride in the shopping cart because he was complaining about how tired he was, you didn’t think he’d take the offer seriously.

Well, maybe not seriously. He got this look of spite in his eyes before crawling in shakily to nestle his ass uncomfortably inside of the cart. He is currently slouching with his front towards you, knees tucked up to his middle as he stares irritably out into space.

“You know you could walk instead of sulking like an overgrown toddler.”

“Shove it.” Karkat grumbles out.

You snort, pushing the cart with your feet before standing up on the ledge to ride it down the aisle. Karkat closes his eyes and folds his arms over his chest, sinking down further into the cart. You stroll into the cereal aisle and start picking through the boxes.

“Hmmm.” You grab a box of coco puffs and toss it in there with Karkat. The edge of the box hits Karkat right on his knee, causing him to jolt.

“Ow! That has f*cking corners, asswipe!” Karkat kicks at the cart close to where your hands are.

You smirk and turn to the cereal again, grabbing another box to throw into the cart. And then another. And another. And another. You keep tossing in different cereal boxes, your smile growing with each curse and complaint coming from the cart.

“You discarded sh*t wipe, f*cking f*ck off!!!” Karkat starts kicking around in the cart, cereal boxes rattling and falling out of the cart. “Do you even need this much cereal!?”

“Nope.” You pop the P.

You’re pretty sure that you don’t need like twenty boxes of squished and punched cereal but you’re sure two full grown men can slam through that sh*t in no time. You push down the cart through several different aisles, adding more and more sh*t on top of Karkat as you go. Karkat stopped punching the groceries after a while, instead getting annoyed at the fact that you aren’t using the space in the cart efficiently. So now instead of complaining that the groceries are hurting him, he’s now bitching that Dave is crushing the groceries under each other like Karkat isn’t also a part of the problem by being inside of the cart.

By the time you get to the checkout, the only thing you can see of Karkat is his head and knees poking out from the ocean of food. It’s easy enough to check out and bag the groceries, setting them back all on top of Karkat again. You stuff the receipt into a bag mindlessly and push the cart towards the exit. You purse your lips, though, when you see Karkat take the receipt out of the bag to look at it. Karkat looks at it before his jaw promptly drops, eyebrows raising high.

“What the f*ck, where do you get that kind of money? Actually, where do you even f*cking get your money? I haven’t seen you go to a job, like, f*cking once since I moved in.” Karkat stares down at the receipt like it’s personally offending him.

Yow swallow, feeling a blush creep up over your neck. “Uh…” You don’t exactly like telling people your profession just due to how embarrassing it sounds to say that you’re a Youtuber. You’ve been living off of some good royalties here for a while now. You’re convinced that if you didn’t have that already set up you would have ended up crashing at one of your friends' homes.

“It’s…not important.” You mumble out, your face getting all warbly.

Karkat gives you a suspicious stare, but doesn’t push the issue after that. You’re pretty thankful for that.

The next few days pass by mostly uneventfully. The side effects of Karkats medication seem to be getting better. Karkat is sleeping better (a lot), he’s also eating better (also a lot, which you are more than happy to feed his appetite).

However, progress isn’t a linear path.

It’s the day before Roxy's party before you run into a problem.

You look up from the couch to the window, pausing your video game when you see what time of day it is. You get the sense that Karkat should have been up by now. You pull out your phone and check the time, seeing that it’s 2:19 PM. Karkat usually doesn’t sleep in this late. So, you get up off of the couch and go to the bedroom to check on him.

“...Karkat?” You stand in the doorway, watching Karkat's form under the blanket. You check your phone again, noting that it’s a little after three in the afternoon. Karkat hasn’t gotten out of bed since last night when he went to sleep with you. Sleep beside you, you mean.

You speak his name again, a little louder, but you get no response. You hate this feeling that you get. It’s the same kind you got with Dirk when he got into his moods. You can’t help the anxiety you get from seeing Karkat like this.

You creep up until your feet are a few inches away from the bed, anxiously hovering there. Karkat likes taking the side on the wall, so he’s further away. You’re pretty sure he’s facing you, though. You can see the tip of his ear poking out from the top of the blanket. You wonder if he’s asleep due to his meds, but he hasn’t slept in past noon lately. You clench and unclench your fists and dig the tips of your fingers into your palm. When the sound of the AC becomes too loud for you, you reach out and gently slide the blanket down.

Karkat is awake, staring into space.

He doesn’t look at you when you take the blanket away from his face. He has this muted look of upset on his face that has your heart clenching.

sh*t.

You feel a hopeless despair in your chest at the sight of it. It’s hard not to when you’ve been faced with this problem plenty of times in the past. Although, Karkats downs are a lot different than Dirks. You’ve noticed that Karkat just folds into himself mostly and lashes out when he’s stressed or pushed. Dirk was often very irritable and a jerk when he got down. You sigh softly. You sternly remind yourself that progress isn’t linear. You know this. But that reminder doesn’t bring your dead brother back to life.

So, you crawl into bed with him and move under the covers. You move into the space where Karkat's eyes were staring at, but he diverts them elsewhere. You’re glad that he’s moving a little. You watch him, you can’t help it. His features are just slightly creased with displeasure, but his eyes are dead. He doesn’t look like he’s been crying, which seems like a good thing but it isn’t. Not usually when it comes to this. Crying means you still have something in you…Karkat looks like he’s giving up, which doesn’t sit well in your stomach.

“Hey.” You whisper out, so soft you wonder if Karkat even heard it. “C’mere.” You lift your arm a little.

Karkat blinks once, eyebrows furrowing a little. When he blinks again, he’s looking at your arm. There is a long moment between the two of you. Neither of you move, but you keep your arm up in invitation. You hear Karkat inhale softly. Karkat reaches out to you a little and you get closer, closing the space between the two of you. He rests his casted arm over your side and you smooth your hand up the nape of his neck to card your hands through his hair. You still when Karkat gets closer until there is practically no space between the two of you. Your mind drifts back to that night Karkat cuddled with you on the couch. You wonder if he’s thinking of the same.

You inhale a little, catching his scent in your nose. He doesn’t smell bad, he just smells like himself. It’s nice. Your hand moves lower to rub circles into his back, which makes him melt further into you. You start to fill the silence with talking about some bunk ass drama that's going online for you right now. You haven’t told Karkat about you being a Youtuber outright yet, but you think it’s been funny to drop random drama online that you face that he won’t understand. Right now you’re telling him about how you’re getting canceled because some people dug through an older youtube channel of yours and found you saying the N word in a music video you made when you were 13. Fair enough. You’ll make sure to make an apology SBHJ comic about it later. You’re going over the different comic ideas in your head when Karkat interrupts you.

“...why are you so nice to me?” His voice is so small that you almost don’t hear it.

You pause, not sure how to answer that. Your hand only stops rubbing his back for a moment before it starts up again.

You swallow, and you know he hears it with him being so close.

“...Does there have to be a reason?” Your voice lits up into a nervous, but quiet laugh. You dip your chin down so it’s resting in his hair. “I mean I have reasons, obviously. It’s not like I just do something like this every year. Like I have to meet some good samaritan quota to keep up my moral boner. Keep popping human Advil to keep my pecker throbbing or else I’ll become ethically impotent. We were pretty good friends in highschool so I wasn’t exactly keen on seeing one of my best bros die. I also just like you. I think you’re funny as f*ck even if you can be a f*cking dickwad at times-” You freeze when you feel Karkats cold hand slide up a little under your shirt. He takes a moment of pause before sliding it up so his hand is resting on the space above your hip. He slides his face closer to you until you can feel his breath on your neck and you become terribly aware of your own breathing.

When you hear Karkat breathe you in you almost forget to breathe as well.

Well this certainly isn’t a very heterosexual thing people do.

You hug him a little tighter, your nose resting in his hair. In times like these, you wish for things you can’t accomplish. Like how you wish you could just make him feel happier, or instantly cure him of all of his issues. But, you can’t. You hope, though, that this time it will be different. That this time you can help him and make him feel better. You don’t want your friend to die.

“...I’m sorry.” Karkat mumbles into your chest.

You take off your glasses and set them aside behind him. “For what?”

“For taking advantage of you. You’re feeding me and letting me crash here and…and I can’t even f*cking get my lazy ass up to get a job…and I don’t have money to help out with bills or expenses.” You hear Karkat's voice lift at the end before he sniffles. “I-I’m just f*cking leeching off of you.”

You snort and lean back, giving him a lopsided smile. “Dude, don’t talk like that.” You pinch his nose between your thumb and finger, wiggling your hand. “You’re fine staying here, man. Honestly I’ve had more fun than I’ve had in a long time since…”

Karkat finally looks at you with his red puffy eyes. “Since Dirk passed?” His voice comes out nasally between your pinched fingers.

You smile, a bit sad at the mention, but mostly amused at how ridiculous Karkat sounds and looks right now. His face is all red from crying and it’s kind of cute. You huff out a laugh and nod. You retract your hand and get up off of the bed, watching Karkat as he stared at you with confusion and disappointment. He thinks you’re leaving him, which is far from true. You round the bed so you’re at his feet, grabbing his ankles and yanking him downwards towards the edge of the bed. He lets out a squawk before you pick him up off of the bed and carry him in your arms like the big baby he is.

“Come on, stop moping. Let’s go play that sh*tty Tony Hawk game I bought.”

Karkats face lights on fire, eyes going wide. “Wha-What the f*ck are you doing!?” Karkat practically yells, squirming around in your arms.

“Taking you to the couch to play Tony Hawk's Underground, duh.” As you walk out of the bedroom, you do a spin to make Karkat scream just because. By the time you get to the couch, Karkat is already clawing at you to get down, but you can tell that he’s in a better mood than he was before. Mission accomplished.

-

“What’s that scar near your eye?”

You almost run a stop sign. “Uh…” You draw out.

Your hands tighten on the steering wheel a bit more than before. The ten minute drive to Roxys now feels like ten hours. You’re not sure how to answer that without making sh*t awkward and sad. You glance over to the corner of your eye where you can see Karkat. He’s fidgeting nervously with the string on his hoodie, staring down at the floor of the car.

Your eyes gravitate towards the road again and you have to will yourself to actually stay present. You have a bad habit of blanking out whenever you think too much about Bro. Well, you have a hard time not blanking out a lot of the time. It’s easy to do.

“You mean the badass one I got from surviving a tussle with my Bro?” Your mouth twitches into what doesn’t feel like a smile. It’s bitter. Fearful. You don’t like how your voice sounds right now.

“Um.” You clear your throat, willing your voice to work.

“Well, it’s kind of a funny story.” It’s not.

“I was, like, 13 years old? I got off the bus from school and Dirk had something going on. I can’t remember what it was, but it was just me and Bro. So I was walking up to my complex and I could hear music playing from my apartment. It was loud, loud enough that there would definitely be noise complaints later. I was honestly shocked that our neighbors didn’t pound on our door, but I got the sense that they were kinda scared by my Bro, too.” You smile but there isn’t anything behind it. “So from where I was standing I could see the window to my apartment. There was a window to my room and one to the living room. The thing was, though, I couldn’t see inside of the windows even though all we had were some sh*tty white blinds. I realized that for some f*cking reason Bro had spray painted black paint over the windows. I dunno why. He never explained himself. He never really f*cking explained any of the reasons why he did anything anyways. So, I haul my tween ass up those stairs and get to my door. As I’m walking past, our neighbors across the hall are just staring at me like ‘The f*cks going on?’ and all I can offer is a pitiful side shrug before I unlock the door and walk in. Usually the apartment is, like, dead quiet. So I was also like, ‘the f*cks going on?’. I walk out through the kitchen and to the living room where It’s empty. I sat there for a good five minutes debating whether or not I should touch his speaker. It was Bros, which meant it was off limits. But I had a headache and I didn’t want to get kicked out of the apartment because Bro was definitely racking up those complaints. So, I made a judgement call and lowered the volume down from the doctor's visit for hearing aids to your cousin's 8th birthday party.”

Your palms feel sweaty,

“The overwhelming scent of fresh spray paint certainly wasn’t nursing my headache. Bro sh*ttily and haphazardly laid out a piece of cardboard out under the window before spray painting the whole thing black. He only used, like, one coat, though, cuz’ it was still letting in light. With the summer sun the paint looked more brown than black. So I opened up the window and got black paint all over my f*cking hands but the cleaner air was a lot better than huffing paint fumes.”

You still hate the smell of spray paint. “I guess I broke too many unspoken rules, or something.” You shrug curtly.

“S-So-” You clear your throat again, this time rougher. “So. I turned around and he was just standing there behind me. For who knows how long like some creep.” You feel dread pooling in your stomach, but it isn’t as powerful as it used to be. It’s muted.

“And then, bam.” You thump your knuckles against the steering wheel.

“He decked me right in the face. Split my sunglasses and busted my nose.” You don’t tell him about how you were scared that you’d fall out of the window. Or how almost excited Bro looked the second before he punched you. You don’t tell him that afterwards you just sat on the floor of the living room frozen while he played his stupid Xbox in the same room as you. You don’t tell him that you sat there long enough to where Bro made his daily commute up onto the roof to finally move and call Dirk back from whatever he was doing. Or how you were too stunned to move so you let the blood pour down your face and let it soak into your shirt until it crusted over by itself. You don’t tell him any of that because your funny story already f*cking sucks.

You don’t know why you feel so anxious over this story again. It used to be a thing that just happened. A sh*tty thing, but you haven’t felt this nervous for a while. Ever since Dirk died all of the bad memories you had just felt worse. Dirk was always there to help you through those tough times, but now that he’s gone…

The car is quiet for far too long to be comfortable. You swallow and shrug again. “Sorry, I made it weir-”

“If I ever see him I’ll f*cking kill that asshole.” You hear Karkat grumble out. You glance over for a moment to look at Karkat, shocked. He looks pissed.

“...Yeah, so long as you let me join in.” You smile for real this time.

You pull your car on the street next to Roxy's house because the driveway is already filled with cars. Someone's car is even parked in the yard. Party music and cheers are coming from the house, just bordering on loud. You turn off the ignition and look to Karkat, giving him a lopsided smile. You know he was nervous about this party. Even if he didn’t tell you, it was pretty obvious.

“Ready?” You gesture to the house.

Karkat sucks his cheek in and stares over your shoulder at the party, hands gripping at his knees. He breathes in deeply and opens his side of the car, hopping out. You smile and get out as well, glad to see Karkat so animated.

When you get inside, it’s not as crazy of a party as you thought it would be. Rose already seems to be tipsy, hanging off of Kanaya's side while whispering things into her ear with a grin. Her black eyeshadow is put on thick, as well as her black lipstick. She looks as stunning as always. Currently she’s wearing an orange dress, probably stitched by Kanaya herself. You also noticed that she got a haircut. Instead of her normal shirt bob, it looks like she got it cut shorter in the back and longer in the front. It looks nice, not that you’ll tell her, though.

John is already next to Roxy, smiling shyly as he holds her in conversation. Roxy has this sly grin on her face, holding two solo cups in her hands. She looks like she was on her way to speak with Jane when John stopped her. It doesn’t look like she minds, though. They’re cute together. You’re rooting for him.

You’re looking around the party when you notice Jade approach you, smiling wide as her crazy hair bounces when she approaches. She looks like she has something to say, but she stops short when she sees Karkat. She gasps, jaw dropping, as if having a revelation.

Oh, boy.

She looks back between you and Karkat three times before bouncing up on her heels, clapping her hands together excitedly.

“Oh my gosh, I so called it!!!” She steps aside to get closer to Karkat, who is currently using you as a shield. You crack a small smile at the realization. Karkat is looking at her, eyebrows pinched together and his mouth pulled tight. He looks from you to her, and then back at you again as if to say, ‘What's her deal?’. You shrug lazily.

“Hi, I’m Jade! You’re Karkat, right? I think I met you a few times in highschool.” She reaches her hand out to him expectantly.

“Hi…” Karkat hesitantly shakes her hand limply.

“So, when did you two start dating?” That sentence punches you in the gut like a freight train. Jade looks back and forth between you and Karkat, all smiles.

You feel the color drain from your face. When you look to Karkat, he’s staring at her with wide eyes, mouth pulled into a thin line. “U-UH.” He squawks out, looking very clammy and nervous all of a sudden. You come to the rescue, whether it's yours or his doesn’t matter to you right now.

“Uh, no, Jade, we aren’t like…we aren’t like that?” Your voice raises into a question.

Wrong move, because now both Karkat and Jade are staring at you. Karkat's eyes are wide, lips slightly parted. You can just see the gears turning in his head at the accidental insinuation you just made. You freeze up, feeling clammy and awkward now. f*ck f*ck f*ck. “We’re uh…we’re just friends.” You say, curt. You think you saved it, but you’re too chicken sh*t to actually look to see if anyones buying it. You hope to god you’re not as red as you feel.

Jade looks at the both of you with a calculating gaze, eyes squinting behind her large circular glasses. “Um. Okaaay…Well, it’s good to see you, Dave. It’s been a while!” She playfully punches your shoulder, her grin coming back tenfold. “Don’t be a stranger again! C’mon, they’re hooking up Mario Party. They’re making it a drinking game, too.” She turns on her heels, casting a glance over her shoulder before she walks off, “Bye, Karkat! Good seeing you!” She waves, and then she’s skipping off to go help set things up.

When you feel like you can finally breathe, you look down towards Karkat, who is now staring at the couch where the others are setting up for Mario Party. He looks pretty interested, actually, so you go with that because you’d rather have him focus on anything else but what you said earlier.

“You wanna go?” You nudge him and nod over to the couch.

Karkat jolted, stirred out of wherever he was in his mind. You hadn’t even realized that he was blanking out until then. He looks up at you, blinking. To your surprise, Karkat smiles a little at you. “No, I want to sit here with my dick in my hand. Hurry the f*ck up before all the good seats get taken, jackass.” Karkat bumps you with his shoulder as he passess.

Oh, you’re so going to kick his ass in Mario Party.

Everyone gets settled in on the couch quickly. It’s a big couch, but not big enough for seven people. From left to right, Rose is sitting on the arm rest with her legs resting across Kanaya's lap. Next to them is John, who is sitting down normally, then Jane who is on the floor, then Roxy who is sitting up on the head rest with her legs next to John, and then finally Karkat and you. The two are pressed up shoulder to shoulder against one another. A few of you are given beers, one of them being Karkat who starts immediately working on his.

“So, what will I get when get first place?” You smirk, going through the character selections.

“Pff. If you win first place.” Karkat rolls his eyes.

You see Karkat go for Princess Peach, and because you feel like being a jackass tonight you snatch it from him before he can get to it. Karkat snaps his head towards you, shooting you a nasty glare that has you reeling.

Oh, this is going to be way too much fun.

Ten minutes later, everyone is on the couch screaming at each other and the screen. It’s you, Karkat, Roxy and John playing. You’re surprised that Karkat is even able to play one handed, but you suppose it helps when he’s so stubborn and the controller is so small.

Karkat chose Goomba begrudgingly, Roxy chose Shy Guy, John chose Mario and you are playing Peach. 30 minutes into the game things have delved into chaos for the most part. Roxy keeps taking shots even when she doesn’t need to, getting more and more drunk by the second. John has decided against participating in the drinking game, so he’s just playing the game normally. You and Karkat have been in a pissing match against each other for the whole match, going back and forth to cause each other to lose. Karkat first tried to ignore it and just play the game, but when you stole a second star from him he focused all of his efforts against you. So, as it stands, Roxy is in first place even though she is the drunkest and somehow you and Karkat are a perfect tie for last. It’s poetic in a way. You and Karkat are about on the same level of intoxication. Karkat, a bit more so due to him being smaller than you and having knocked down a few beers. When Roxy steals a star from you, Karkat laughs harder than he normally would, nearly doubling over. His whole face is lit up and you are enamored by it. You wish you could see him smile like this everyday.

You see that Karkat and Kanaya meet eyes, the two of them instantly smiling the moment they see each other. You’re glad that Karkat has started to rekindle some friendships.

At the end of it all, due to some weird bullsh*t mechanic at the end of the game Karkat ended up getting third place. Karkat threw his hands up in the air, standing on the couch triumphantly. He looked down at you with a wide, prideful smile and pointed in your face.

“Suck my dick, Strider!” He stumbles, trying to shove his hand in your face as he flips you off. It’s a bit awkward since he’s trying to flip you off with the same hand that's holding the Joycon, but he nearly makes it work. He’s definitely somewhere above tipsy because he stumbles and lands down across your lap, his foot missing Roxy thankfully. You’re met with the picture of Karkat bent over your knee and you still at the mental image that suddenly plays in your head at the sight of his ass. You have to suppress the urge to grab a handful. Oh, that’s not good. Maybe you’re more drunk than you thought.

However, the moment is short lived when you hear a gag off to your left. You look over just in time to see Roxy cover her mouth with a hand, almost spilling her guts out. John stands immediately, and like the knight in shining armor that he is, quickly gathers her aside.

“Oh, jeez. C’mon, Roxy.” John says calmly, leading her down the hallway out of sight.

By the time they’re around the corner, Karkat has already pulled himself up off of you. You swallow the lump in your throat and straighten yourself up onto the couch again. The two of you watch as the rest of the group get their controllers ready, queuing up for their turns. You hear a groan off to your left, so you look over to find the source of it being– unsurprisingly– Karkat.

Karkat looks down to the nearly empty beer in his hand, pouting a bit at it. You snort and get up, holding out a hand. “C’mon, let’s go get another from the fridge.”

Karkat takes your hand and you heft him up, momentarily stumbling backwards as Karkat thumps into you. The both of you laugh like idiots, both a little too drunk. Karkat lets out a snort, which just makes the two of you ugly laugh even more. You both stumble off to the kitchen together, you making jokes that are hardly funny and Karkat laughing at them like they’re the best thing he’s ever heard. You both are feeding off of each other's energy and it's only going to get worse from here. f*ck, you love seeing him this way.

His smile is as amazing as always. You find yourself staring at his mouth a little too long a few times as Karkat laughs and conversates. There is this one tooth you like of his, it’s a canine tooth that is more pointy than the other, sticking out oh so slightly, It’s charming and you wonder what it’d feel like against your tongue- woah. What?

The thought makes you physically pause. Karkat nearly takes off without you, so you stumble to match his pace again. You shake the earlier thought out of your head and keep walking. You shouldn’t be thinking about Karkat that way.

You have Karkat under your arm, the two of you trying to move as one to the kitchen together. You both walk around the corner, but one of you trips– you aren’t sure who honestly, and it ends with the both of you slamming against the wall with a hard ‘DOOF’. Karkats back hits the wall with a thump and you land right over him, your hand braced by his head just above his shoulder. You’re pretty sure a picture frame just fell off of the wall, but you don’t really give a f*ck.

The both of you sit there dazed for a moment, staring at the both of each other with surprised expressions. After a second of staring you two burst out into drunken laughter. You dip your head down into the crest of his shoulder, your own shaking with broken chuckles. Karkat dips his head back to encompass you, his arm raised to hold you in a soft hug. Karkat laughs a bit louder than you do, but you don’t mind it. He can laugh as loud as he wants as long as he’s doing just that.

Both of your laughs and giggles slowly die down at the proximity of how close the two of you are to each other. You pull back away from him, realizing how you’re kind of putting on your weight against him. Karkat stares up at you, lips parting as he breathes, slightly winded still. His smile slowly fades at realizing how close the two of you are as well. Karkats gaze is soft as he stares up at you, head tilted back against the wall to meet your eyes. Wow, Karkat looks…

Your hand seemingly on its own finds its place on Karkats hip, making him suck in a breath of air. You flinch when you realize what you just did, but before you can move Karkat looks to you and slowly pushes your glasses up off of your face, staring right into your eyes before looking down at your lips. He doesn’t even try to hide it, either. It’s your turn to feel breathless.

You then recall the night Karkat had confessed to you that he found you physically attractive and knowing that in this moment has your heart rate go up. You swallow and watch Karkat's eyes track the movement.

Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to just…see if you’ll like this. It isn’t like Bro is around to beat the sh*t out of Dirk for being gay anymore, so you aren’t in any danger, too. And this is just…an experiment. That’s what this is.

Your hand travels upwards, winding around to rest on his mid back and you find yourself leaning in. You get closer, feeling Karkats hand brush up your chest and over your shoulder. Your nose lightly brushes his and Karkat tenses, eyes so wide that you can see how blown his pupils are. Okay, you know, you were kind of planning on taking a slower approach actually but you’re thinking with your dick right now tbh. But you’re already in sh*ts creek, might as well hope there is gold where you’re digging your grave.

You hold your breath, waiting almost anxiously to see if Karkat will react or not.

Slowly, Karkats tension dissipates in stages. His stiff shoulders drop, his guarded expression laxes, and his eyelids droop to half lid as he stares down at your mouth again. You can feel Karkats breath on your mouth, breathing out slowly but harshly. His breath smells of booze, but you’re sure that yours does, too. It’s driving you a bit crazy how close Karkats lips are to yours.

A song starts up in the other room, the music being muffled through the walls. You can hear your friends drunkenly laughing and screaming over something that had just happened, but you couldn’t care less. Your entire focus is on the way Karkat feels pressed up against you. The way your feet are twined together. The way Karkat is looking at you with infatuation. You’re nervous at this point, now questioning why you started this. You have no clue what to do, you feel so out of your element. Do you just go for it?

Karkats hand finds the back of your neck, and he gently urges you forward. Your breath shakes out from you, relieved and terrified all the same. That’s all the encouragement you need from him.

You jolt forward and kiss him, pulling harsh breaths from the both of you as you both make out and mash and grate your bodies together. Karkat's lips feel wonderful against your own. The kiss is fast and full of drunken passion. Karkat wraps his arm over your shoulder and you pull him closer, licking into his mouth. Karkat groans into the kiss, biting down on your lip momentarily before falling back into rhythm with you. You realize that you don’t ever want to stop doing this for the rest of your life because holy f*ck, this is so hot. One of your hands find their way into his hair, tugging at the base of it to lean his head back so you could hear the way he groans because of it. Your other hand travels to his lower waist, but when Karkat grinds up against your leg your hand gains the courage to delve further. Karkat moans into your mouth as you grab a handful of his ass, feeling him up through his pants. He grinds his erection into your leg again, letting out a breathy moan that has your head spinning.

And holy sh*t, you’re making out with Karkat.

That thought doesn’t stop you, though. You find to your shock and pleasure that it only encourages you. You really like this. Holy f*ck. Karkat detaches from your mouth and works his way downwards, latching onto your neck to suck bruises into it. You groan, which encourages him. He licks a hot stripe from your collarbone up to kiss your jaw and it’s probably one of the sexiest things someone has done to you. Definitely top five, and Karkat is already filling that entire bar himself. You pull his face back up and kiss him again, quickly finding that you are becoming addicted to him. You feel starved and you’ve only gotten a taste.

You aren’t accustomed to doing this with another guy, so you’re a bit out of touch at how to handle him besides copping a feel of his ass. It’s an amazing f*cking ass, though, so you aren’t going to complain. However, Karkat is much braver and impatient than you here. His hand finds its way downwards, brazenly grabbing your co*ck through your pants. When you hum a moan against his lips, Karkat suddenly takes control. He pushes the both of you away from the wall, leading you backwards into you hit a door frame to something. Karkat pushes you in demandingly until you find yourself crowded up against a bathroom sink. Karkat kicks the door shut behind him and locks it, going right back to hungrily kissing you. You love how overwhelming Karkat is right now. Your hands work back up his tight little body, breathing out heavily when your hands find his ass again. You give his cheeks a hard knead, fondling them through his jeans almost violently. Karkat has worked himself up, breathing hard against your mouth and sliding up against every inch of you he can. His hand palms your growing erection again, and you really enjoy that. You grind your hips up into his hand, letting out a broken moan at the feeling.

You have a feeling that Karkat has been wanting to do this for a while. You smile into the kiss at the revelation.

Suddenly, without warning, Karkat drops down onto his knees in front of you. You stare at him confusedly, but when you see Karkat go for your belt you feel a pang of arousal so heavy it almost hurts.

Oh f*ck yes,” You breathe.

Karkat sinks to his knees fully, staring at your crotch with an unreadable expression. He looks completely focused, though. Your hands grip the bathroom sink as you watch him between your legs. Karkat runs his hand up the length in your pants to rub at it again, and you can’t help but notice the growing tent in Karkats sweat pants from above. You are so, so f*cking greatful that Karkat is wearing sweat pants because holy f*ck. He looks so f*cking hot from up here.

You watch with arousal and slight amusem*nt as Karkat tries to undo your buckle one handed and tipsy, getting more and more frustrated as he fails. You consider letting him struggle for a bit longer because it’d be funny, but you want this blowj*b as much as Karkat does. So, with a grin you reach down to help him, but a sound catches your attention away from him.

Your stomach drops suddenly.

Oh,

f*ck.

You look over to your left to see Roxy curled over the toilet, puking her guts out as John kneels beside her holding her hair back like the gentleman he is. He’s staring at the two of you with wide eyes and a slack jaw, and being that John is the only sober person in this room he’s definitely going to remember this. Oh, fuuuuck.

You tap on Karkat's head several times, trying to get his attention.

“Karkat. Karkat. Karkat.” You speak harshly, tapping his head harder and harder. Eventually Karkat stops and looks up at you with irritation, a question forming on his mouth when suddenly he hears Roxy empty out her guts again. His head snaps over and now everyone is caught up to speed. Everyone is staring at each other with varying degrees and types of horror and this is probably your worst nightmare.

You get the urge to run and isolate because this is just absolutely f*cking mortified, but you can’t leave Karkat alone. You don’t want Karkat to get the wrong idea, either. You do, however, want to get the f*ck out of this room away from John.

f*ck it.

“We have our socks on.” Is what slurs out of your stupid mouth before you push away from the counter.

You get Karkat up onto his feet again, unlock the door, and head back out into the hallway with him in toe. Karkat struggles to keep up with you, feet stumbling.

“D-Dave, I’m sorry- sh*t- I didn’t know-” His voice wavers. It sounds like he’s about to cry.

Karkat's voice dies off as you quickly pull him into a closet down the hall, shutting the door behind you. His look of confusion shatters into surprise when you grab his jaw, rubbing your thumb over his lips and teeth with heated desire. He stares up at you, his eyes almost shimmering with hope and surprise. Your feet stumble into boxes and random crap on the floor as you both stumble deeper into the closet. You crowd Karkat against the wall and kiss him again like you’ll die if you don’t.

You can worry about John later.

-

Your name is Bro Strider, and you just caught wind of your little brother's death. It’s easy enough to track down Dave's address through his Youtube channel. You find it retarded that he can’t even f*cking hide his identity. You’d think Dirk would be smart enough to install at least a f*cking VPN on Dave's computer. Guess not. With an address in hand, you start your car and get on the road. You have a long drive ahead of you.

Notes:

Hope y'all liked it. Lmk what you think, I always love to read your thoughts and opinions. It makes my day every time!

Chapter 5: Five

Notes:

Hello! :) content warning, there is nsfw. No chapter art this time either. I apologize, I have schoolwork and other things and I've been a bit drained lately. Regardless, I hope you enjoy! We are nearing the end of this story :')

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”

Vincent Van Gogh

A few months ago…

Terezi tugs on your sleeve, dragging you in towards the party inside.

The party started out fine.

Everyone was having a good time, talking, laughing, etc.

Everything was fine. You were fine.

You aren’t sure where it went wrong, though. You had a suspicion about how you were feeling since you stopped taking your meds a few months ago. You knew why you did it, but that doesn’t mean the process to your slow suicide didn’t hurt. It started with this party.

You felt an episode coming. You saw the signs you were always so vigilant about. The ones you saw in yourself medicated, and your dad unmedicated. The elated mood, the hyper productivity, poor decision making. However, that always turns into something worse. You get overstimulated, agitated, and short tempered. More so than usual. However, you have been on medication a long time, so you never really knew just how bad they could get for you.

The party is starting to get on your nerves. The music never ends and the songs playing always unwantedly tug at your attention. You can’t f*cking focus on anything but the f*cking music and someones conversation from somewhere else. The lights are too bright and you keep trying to get away from it, but there isn’t anywhere to go. You end up giving everyone who talks to you a death stare, even though in the back of your mind you feel horrible about it. They’re just talking to you. They’re being nice. Everything slowly is taking apart your already limited patience and social battery.

You were worse when you were younger. You were always getting in everyone's sh*t and trying to piss everyone off. You took things personally all of the time and would be a huge f*cking douchebag about it. You would probably punch the younger version of yourself in the face if you could.

You’re older, though. You’re supposed to keep yourself in check. You don't outlash at people like you used to.

You were expecting this, though. Even though in the moment you don’t realize what’s happening. Right now you’re just wondering Why is everything so loud? Why is everyone so f*cking annoying? Why do I hang out with any of them? What the f*ck is wrong with me right now?

You yank your hand away from where Terezi has been holding it. You can feel yourself smoldering. The feeling of her hand is taking up too much space in your mind right now.

“Just f*cking shut up.” You choke out, your attention staying solely on the floor. The floor is uninteresting and bland. It’s all you can take right now.

You don’t want to look at anyone. Everyone is so f*cking loud and annoying and you hate them all, even if a small voice in the back of your mind says you don’t.

“...Excuse me?” Terezi turns her body towards you, sounding angry. She should be.

You take in a deep breath, trying to ground yourself. Everyone close to you has gone silent. You try to speak, but another disgustingly catchy song steals your attention again from your train of thought or whatever someone is trying to say and it throws you over the edge.

Everything is too loud.

Everyone is looking at you too hard.

Everyone and everything needs to f*ck off forever.

You can’t think straight.

You don’t want to explain yourself. You just want to leave.

“Find your own f*cking way home.” You bite out. You hate yourself for being so venomous. You hate yourself even more for ditching your blind girlfriend at a party surrounded by all of your friends.

You try to leave, but Terezi catches you outside in an argument.

Your guilt plays tug-o-war with whatever emotion you were feeling back inside. So all you do is sit and listen to her, not putting any input into anything she says or asks of you. After she is met with consistent silence she scoffs,

“f*ck you, Karkat.” And leaves back inside.

This is what you wanted.

Currently…

You can hardly believe what’s going on right now.

Your hand runs up and bunches the fabric at the nape of Daves neck, keeping him close as he pushes you further into the closet with him. The two of you are stumbling over unknown items, various clutter stored away in this closet, creating a small path of destruction in your wake. You can hear Dave's breathing, soft but loud in the small distance between you two. Dave has your jaw in his hand possessively– no– this isn’t possessive. It’s something deeper than that. Something that scares you just as much as it excites you. It’s desirous in nature. Every grasp and touch is fueled by a yearning need and you’re seeing it pour out all at once. The sole target of his affections.

Daves thumb swipes over your agape mouth, smudging your bottom lip and sliding wetly across your teeth. You look up at him, wondering if this is really happening. If this means what it means and it isn’t just because the two of you have been drinking too much. God, you really hope not. Your heart hurts at the thought of that. The possibility of this ruining the only good thing you have going for you in your life.

You feel a sudden pang of…what, guilt? Sorrow? Mourning? You aren’t sure if you want to keep going in life. You’re having fun, yeah, but fun doesn’t fix you. You feel guilty that your mind keeps wandering back to that viaduct, but you can’t help it. You keep thinking about it even on good days. It feels like it’s still waiting for you with open, understanding arms. You feel an ache being away from it.

If you’re feeling guilty, that means you are more leaning towards living. If you feel mourning, you’re already accepting that you’ve lost something. Living with Dave has shown you the full spectrum of those emotions in you. It’s always back and forth, and both ways have their own pains.

You stopped self harming, you started back up on medication, you are taking steps towards living everyday because Dave wants it.

But is that what you want?

Your eyes meet Daves. You hope your pain doesn’t get reflected.

Daves glasses have been discarded somewhere that you can’t recall. Good, because you’ve always loved seeing his eyes. Even in the dim light of the closet you can see his expression. You don’t know what to call it, but whatever it is, it’s filled with something soft but all consuming.

“Unf!” Your back hits the wall with a thud, and soon Dave is on you again. His hands glide up your neck and to your face, holding your jaw softly but firmly in place as he sucks the breath from you again and again. You close your eyes and hum into the kiss, your hand still bunched into the back of his shirt. The kiss is messy, teeth clicking and breaths exchanged.

You know that this isn’t healthy. Probably. You’re getting swept up into something powerful, you just hope that it’s the good kind. For the longest time you thought that you weren’t made for love in both the metaphorical and literal sense. You and Terezi were a mess with hardly any good days to count. No, Terezi was fine. You were the mess. You were needy and possessive. That was even before you were diagnosed. After that happened, you had realized something about yourself that you didn’t want to accept– that there was something corrupt about you. Something wrong and disturbing to others. Even medicated you had issues. Medication doesn’t fix your abandonment issues from your dad, or your sh*t self esteem. You were f*cked from the very start when it came to love. You didn’t even have a f*cking chance.

After Terezi broke up with you for good, and you were happy about it. Because finally. Finally she could find someone, anyone better than you. You were consistently a f*cking mess and you still cringe whenever you think about your behavior with her. So, yeah. You’re scared right now. You really like Dave, and you really like what’s happening right now. However, you’re so scared that you’re going to f*ck this up. Being in a relationship with you is always destined to end badly. You don’t want to f*ck this up.

Please don’t f*ck this up.

Dave, please don’t make me f*ck this up, you think to yourself. Don’t make me f*ck up this because you want me to live.

Your hand goes downwards to grab at Daves crotch, but you get interrupted when Dave speaks. Even though the two of you have been making a lot of noise, his voice still startles you with its proximity.

“Turn around.” Dave breathes out. It doesn’t sound like a command, but a beseeching need.

You turn around as quickly as you can, more than eager to oblige. You lean your weight back against his chest, watching with heated desire as his hands appear at your front. You feel Dave press his chin against the crook of your neck as he watches where he’s touching and groping you. One of Dave's hands runs under the lip of your hoodie, sliding under it and under the shirt you’re wearing underneath. His hand is warm against your skin as it slides upwards, pushing your shirt up over your stomach. You swallow, feeling a bit self conscious even though you know that Dave doesn’t judge you. You’re slim, but not fit. There is a trail of hair that starts below your navel that bleeds downwards to your crotch. You’ve always been self conscious about it.

Daves hand travels further up your shirt, grazing over your nipple. When you don’t react to it, Dave does it again almost expectantly. You’ve come to learn that sensitivity in those areas are a hit or miss for people. For you it’s a miss.

“Man, this is nothing like Yaoi.” Dave suddenly says out of the blue.

You guffaw, almost smiling in disbelief at what he just said. You punch him in the leg with your good hand, earning a laugh from him and suddenly the intense atmosphere that the two of you have been breathing dissipates.

“You’re such a f*cking idiot.” You try to not sound like you’re smiling.

“That’s fair.” Dave speaks softly into your ear, his voice bleeding into a soft desire. He takes your earlobe into his mouth and scrapes it gently with his teeth, which makes your dick visibly twitch in your sweatpants. You’re so f*cked and far gone now.

Dave takes notice of this and blows a breath against your ear before going to your neck. You melt into him further, vision growing hazy and your breaths coming out broken as he sucks bruises into your skin. You can tell that Dave isn’t inexperienced. He’s probably been with a few people, definitely all girls. He was a lot less confident when he first kissed you even though he started it. Well, confident isn’t the word. He looked like he knew what he wanted, but he didn’t know what that meant with a guy. You feel a flutter in your heart at the thought of him leaving such a huge comfort zone for you.

And then guilt at the thoughts you’ve been having.

The guilt furthers when you wonder if he really wants this or not. Maybe you tricked him into liking you.

Daves hand keeps your shirt up while the other slides downwards. His fingers glide over the dip of your navel and into the wispy, scattered hairs leading downwards. His fingertips dip just under the band of your sweat pants and boxers. You expect him to dip his hand into your pants but instead Dave hooks his thumb into the band and stretches it out, staring down directly into your pants. You feel your face light on fire. Dave detached his mouth from your neck, speaking in a voice that is far too casual for what’s happening right now.

“You came to this party circumcised, too?”

You are at your wits end with him.

“Let it be known that you are terrible at foreplay. I am absolutely sympathetic towards any poor woman you get into the pants of because jesus f*cking christ that is the least sexy thing that anyone has ever said-”

“Damn, that upset about us matching, huh? I can’t exactly change into a different outfit with this one, sweetheart.” You can feel Dave smiling against the shell of your ear, his voice coming out soft and husky. You hate that it’s doing something for you.

“You better not be f*cking Pavlov dogging me into getting hard at the idiotic bullsh*t you spew everyday.” You grit out.

Dave hums against your ear, “So it’s working?” He mouths a kiss at the spot just below your ear at the same time he pulls your waist band down to rest under your balls. His hand wraps against your length and you’re thankful that Dave is supporting your weight because you think your knees just gave out a little. Your hand comes up to your mouth to bite at your thumb, watching as Daves hand strokes up your length experimentally before gliding back down. He goes slow, giving gentle squeezes and strokes. Occasionally he slides his thumb over the head of your dick, making you huff against your finger.

“You know when I envisioned this there were a lot more shimmering eyes and sparkles, but this is pretty f*cking great, too.” Dave, once again, tests your libidos strength in prevailing whatever stupid sh*t Dave keeps saying.

“W-Wow, you really are like this at all times.” Your voice raises at the end a little as Dave strokes his hand over your length entirely, your co*ckhead disappearing into his hand. “Nothing can truly shut you up, and honestly I shouldn’t be shoooock-” Your voice trails off into a moan as Dave picks his pace up, putting a gentle pressure on your dick as he strokes you off with intention now.

You think about how he has you backed into the deep end of the closet, pressed fully against you. You think about how tall he is over you and how much that is turning you on. Oh, you are so, so, so unbelievably f*cked. You’re so attracted to Dave it's almost unfair.

Dave makes his way down your neck, teeth scraping your skin before he sucks on the sensitive part that makes your knees weak. They aren’t hard sucks now, just shallow and slow with kisses mixed in. He drags his tongue over your pulse and you shiver. Your head relaxes back against his shoulder in compliance. You close your eyes and let a breathy moan leave your mouth, letting yourself enjoy the pleasure. It’s been a while since you’ve been with someone else like this.

Daves other hand comes down to hold your thigh, keeping it flushed against him so that you stop jerking and twitching away from him when his strokes pick up. You can feel the strength he has and how easy it is for him to hold you there.

The noises you make slowly become more frequent and raised as you start to come to your climax. You half-whimper, half-moan, gripping onto Dave's forearm. Dave strokes you off at a steady and unhurried pace, making your pleasure rise slowly and rapturously.

“S-sh*t-” You whisper out, your hips jolting before you climax. You cum on the wall in front of you, Dave slowly stroking you off through it. You feel Dave kissing your neck and mumbling praises against your skin and it makes you feel warm all over. You’re not used to this kind of treatment.

You feel Dave shuffle around behind you and you lean forward to take your weight off of him. When you look over your shoulder you see Dave taking off his shoe before slipping a sock off. He slips his foot back into his shoe and turns the sock inside out on his hand, reaching around you to clean up the mess on the wall. When he’s finished, he turns the sock outside in and pockets it to wash later.

By the time he’s finished, you’re already turned around to face him. You reach out and take the nape of his neck into the palm of your hand, urging him forward. He cracks a smile and leans forward into you, falling into the kiss easier than before.

The closet is quiet and muted, a song from outside muffled through the wall. In here, it’s just the two of you and everything you’ve both been through. All the sorrow, the camaraderie, and melancholy. He’s over you, holding you so close yet so gentle. It’s enough to make you melt into him again and again.

You pull away, though, staring up at him with a vulnerable hesitance. You bite the inside of your cheek and furrow your brows, just wanting to make sure of something.

“Um…Hey.” You murmur.

You see anxiety taking over Dave's features slowly, his insecurities rising to the surface. You pat his cheek with your hand and crack a half smile. You hate seeing Dave get like that.

“Are you still drunk?” You swallow, feeling nervous at this.

You’ve sobered up almost completely, the alcohol had worn off a bit ago. However, a huge part of you feels anxious over the idea of Dave only doing this because he was drunk, and maybe if it wears off he wouldn’t want to have anything to do with you anymore. Another awful part of you kind of hopes that he pushes you away to make it easier for you to leave.

“Uh…No.” Dave speaks, “Are you?” His voice neutrals out to a monotonous tone, which tells you that he’s pulling back. He’s probably worried about the same thing that you are. You shake your head and roll your eyes.

“No...” You slide your hand down his neck to his chest, dipping it lower as you speak, "We have to talk about…all of this later." You have a lot to talk about.

"Later, though." You murmur, desire creeping back up your spine.

You sink down to your knees and the anxious expression from Dave's face disappears completely. You haven't done this kind of thing in a long time, so right now you're actually pretty excited. You were never the kind of guy to use sex to cope, but you won't lie, it does definitely get some good chemicals going. It feels nice to do something like this rather than just feeling sh*tty all of the f*cking time. This is especially true considering that it's Dave you're doing this with.

Dave is unfairly attractive. He has perfect teeth and a broad, sexy smile, he has a very appealing body and a great ass. The list goes on and you're honestly a bit jealous. However, the fact that he wants you? That is f*cking unbelievable, but you'll enjoy that right now. You're still half convinced that you aren't sticking around. So if you destroy what you have with Dave from this, you definitely could say you had some fun before you left, as much as that thought hurts.

"If you stay stupid sh*t while I'm sucking your dick I'll bite you." You start to unbutton his pants, but Dave stops you.

“Hey, are you okay?” Dave speaks and you feel alarmed by the question.

“...Huh?” You look up at him from where you’re at. You don’t like the look of concern on his face. That’s the opposite look that you’d want to see from someone who is about to get their dick sucked. Your confidence is starting to flee.

You’re fine, you’re functioning. Why does he have to say that?

“You just…seem upset. I dunno.” Dave shrugs. You see his arms twitch like he wants to cross them or pocket his hands, but he restrains himself.

Your first instinct is to immediately lie. It’s something that you can’t control anymore. Whenever someone ever asked you if you were alright, it’s like your mouth answered before your head did. Afterwards you were always left with a bitter regret that you could never tell the truth even if you wanted to, because then the moment had passed and you felt like you couldn’t bring it up again. You didn’t want to anyways, you guess. Talking things out never leads anywhere for you.

With Dave, though, the lie dies in your throat. You’re stunned at both the question and at your own reaction. When you don’t answer, Dave pulls you up onto your feet and adjusts himself. You make a sound of disagreement, but Dave flicks you on the forehead.

“Tell me if you’re feeling bad, but I also just need a minute to process some sh*t. I haven’t…like, been with a guy so this is kind of a lot for me right now.” Dave glances away shamefully like he’s afraid he’ll insult you, but you’re still processing things, too. Taking a breather might be a good idea.

“Alright, yeah.” You nod your head, glancing away.

“...”

“...”

“Now what?” You look up at Dave with an inquisitive look.

Dave hums, making a show out of thinking before he cracks a smile. His eyes lock with yours and you feel a flutter in your chest at the look he gives you.

“Follow me and find out.” Dave turns and starts walking out of the closet. You stand there a bit stupid before rolling your eyes and trotting off after him.

“It better not be some dumbass sh*t.” You grumble.

10 years ago…

“...Dad?” You hang in the doorway of his bedroom, holding a CVS bag in your hand.

The inside of his room is dark, and you can see the silhouette of your dad laying in bed. You look to the bedside table, spotting a few empty beer cans. It’s been a few days since you two had that fight. You stare at the lump under the covers, guilt tugging at you. Did you cause this?

“...I’m sorry.” You speak weakly. “For what I said the other day…I didn’t mean it.” You clutch at the bag a bit harder, the paper crumpling under your fingers.

Your dad doesn’t answer. He never really does when he gets like this. You hate seeing him like this. He’s a good dad when he’s your dad. Not…not this.

“Dad, if you just…can you just try medication?” You furrow your brows. “Please?”

“...”

“It’s not that bad when you get used to it-”

When you hear your dad speak, you pause. His voice sounds low and soft, so much so that you couldn’t make anything out. After a moment, you get your hopes up. He never really responds, so, maybe it’s something good? You could have gotten through to him, or he’s feeling better.

“What?” You take a step forward.

Your dad turns under the covers an inch, the side of his stubbled face being lit up by the light in the hallway. His hair looks unkempt and a bit greasy. You wonder when he’s showered last. Or ate last. Whenever you try to give him any food he doesn’t eat it unless he has to. Or unless you threaten to call someone.

He turns his head just enough, speaking an octave louder, though his voice sounds no less gloomy.

“I’m tired.” Then, he goes back under the covers.

You stare at his figure in silence. Why won't he just try? Not even for you? Is he mad because of your argument? Did you do this? The bag crinkles loudly under your tight grip.

You simmer. “Yeah. Me too, Dad.”

You flip him off and slam his door shut before storming off to your own. You suck in a breath and fling your door open, slamming it shut behind you as well for good measure. It shakes the sh*tty mobile home you live in. You fall face first into your bed, clutching a pillow to your face before screaming into it as loud as you can.

Then tears come to you. You suck in a shaky breath, your body trembling as you delve into misery. Why won't he just get better? What did you do to deserve this sh*t? Is that how you’re going to turn out? You don’t want to. You really, really don’t want to. He won't even comfort you, either. Why can’t you have a dad like you see on TV?

“I-It’s not fair…” You sob into the pillow, feeling helpless and scared. “I don’t…” You hiccup. Will you even realize it happening to you? Your dad never does. What if you lose it at school around your friends? Your teachers?

You hear your phone buzz. You try to ignore it, but after a few more buzzes you sigh deeply into your pillow and turn your head. You don’t bother to wipe your face as a tear rolls down it. Your phone buzzes once more, plugged into the wall by your hermit crab tank. After staring at it numbly for a moment you roll out of bed and grab it. You sit down on the floor next to the tank, looking inside for a moment.

You sniffle, but let out a small laugh when you see one of the smaller crabs on top of the big one. You rub at your eyes and crack a smile. You take a moment to check the humidifier and if they still have food left. After that, you check your phone notifications.

TG: you dude you home

TG: i see your light on

TG: karkat

TG: karkat i know your ass is home rn

TG: stop ignoring my texts

Just then, you hear a pebble hit your window. It’s hard not to roll your eyes. You stand up and walk over, drawing back the curtains to see Dave literally standing a few meters away with another pebble in his hand. The two of you make eye contact, a moment of silence passing.

He throws the pebble at the window again anyways.

You roll your eyes and open the window. “What?”

Dave nods his head back down the driveway. “Wanna hang?”

You stare at him for a moment before looking back into your room at your door. You sigh deeply and walk over, putting your shoes on and dragging a hoodie over your back. Then, a moment later, you climb out of your window and shut it behind you.

“Why not.” You grumble.

Dave quirks a small smile, already walking backwards. “Cool.”

Present

The two of you ended up ditching the party. You both snuck out of the closet to grab your shoes and ditch, luckily not running into John on the way there. You are beyond relieved. You feel like a f*cking idiot for not checking the bathroom first. Everyone even saw them go that direction, so why couldn’t you put two-and-two together? You’re still mortified and you barely know John. You have no clue what Dave feels like and how he’s handling it so well.

f*ck, you were shocked that Dave still wanted anything to do with you after that. You smile a little bit to yourself.

Dave unlocks his car and you hop into the passenger seat quickly, slouching down a bit in your seat as you stare at the house anxiously. You’re paranoid that John is going to come out or something, but he never does.

Dave pulls off of the street and drives, hands gripping the wheel a bit. The further you guys go from the house, the more Dave visibly relaxes. A good five minutes into the drive go by before Dave speaks.

“Hey, what time is it?”

You look up, staring at him with a deadpan expression. “I don’t know. I don’t have a phone.”

“What? Yes you do.” Dave raises an eyebrow, glancing over at you for a moment before his eyes go back to the road. “I was texting you that day I came to save your ass.”

You punch him in the shoulder. “f*ckass.” You grumble out. “Shut up. I had a phone, then.”

Dave cracks a smile and snorts. “What? Did you lose it when I had to f*cking carry you down that hill?”

You guess Dave feels comfortable enough about the whole situation to joke about it. You aren’t sure how you feel about that. On one hand it’s nice to just move past it, but on the other hand you don’t want to move past it. You want to move right back to it.

“No, I threw it off the viaduct when you wouldn’t stop f*cking messageing me.” You draw your knees up, letting the heels of your feet rest on the sh*tty leather seat. “It was annoying and I didn’t think I really needed my phone.”

“Oh.” Dave speaks, pausing for a moment. “...I have an old phone you could use if you want? It’s just, uh…not a smart phone. A flip phone.” He shrugs. “It was Dirks.”

You look over to read his face, but the two of you are passing under a bridge. It’s dark, so you can’t see much. It’s now, though, that you realize the two of you forgot Dave's sunglasses. You’ll bring it up later. A selfish part of you likes to see him without them.

“Oh. Your brother used a flip phone?” You snort.

“Yeah, man. He f*cking loved technology but he liked using a flip phone because it was “Harder to track” or whatever.” Dave shrugs. “It is unfortunately coded with a bunch of MLP sh*t, though. Like, I’m not sure if you could change his ring tone or the background because I kept sneaking onto his phone and changing all his sh*t when he wasn’t looking, so eventually he just said f*ck it, i guess, and did something to his phone to perma-change the background and ring tone to what he had it. Like, he f*cking coded out the feature to change those.”

Dave huffs out a laugh. “Like, okay, it’s not like the ringtone is exactly MLP themed but it’s a song he picked from a MLP AMV he found online that he really liked…Do you like Airplanes by B.o.B?”

“You’re really selling this to me.” You deadpan.

Dave cracks a grin so wide that it looks like it hurts. You can’t help but reflect half of that back.

Dave pulls into the parking lot to the apartment, getting out without turning the car off. You sit up in your seat a little, raising an eyebrow as he shuts his door.

“Be right back, stay here.” And then, Dave is gone.

You realize now that Dave trusts you by yourself. At least for a little. You don’t know why that scares you so much. No, you do. Because if you are in a worse mood than you are now and he does this again, will you be strong enough to stay until he comes back?

It’s a weird feeling.

Dave comes back out from the apartment with a few things tucked into his arm. He gets into the car with you and settles in his seat. He turns and sets a jar of change and loose bills onto the dash. It has a sticker label with orange handwriting on it that reads, “Coffee Funds”. You raise an eyebrow, looking towards Dave. You glance down at his extended hand, eyebrows raising a little. Oh. It’s your pill bottles. You take them away from Dave, leaning back into your seat a little.

“Uh…Thanks?” You rake your thumb nail across the ribbed white cap, listening mindlessly to the sound it makes. “I need food to eat it with.”

“Well, good thing food and coffee is on Dirk tonight.” Dave gestures to the change jar. “This motherf*cker is bursting with a miniscule fortune. Let’s see what we can get with this.”

Turns out a full change jar can get you a pack of filtered Marlboros, four taquitos, two large cups of old coffee, and a sigh from the employee at the counter who had to count all the cash.

The two of you leave the store, the two-note chime ringing softly above your heads as the door shuts behind. Dave leads the two of you towards his car, but stops a few feet away to sit down on the curb by the sidewalk. You sit down next to him, your knees bumping together gently. You lean over and rifle your hand through the plastic bag, finding the cigarettes and taquitos. You turn the pack upside down in your hand and tap it against your knee a few times before bringing it back up to open. You flick the top open and bring the pack close to your mouth, sticking your tongue to the edge of a cigarette to pull it out. You maneuver it into your mouth and look around for the lighter, spotting it in Dave's hand. He lights it and holds it out towards you. You push the tip of the cigarette into the flame, letting it burn a bit before pulling away.

The tip is aflame, the orange flitting around with the slightest hint of wind. When you inhale, the flame disappears inwards and is replaced with embers and smoke. It’s been a while since you’ve smoked, so the resulting cough that follows forces you to double over and take a few swallows of coffee. The coffee isn’t as bad as you thought it’d be, and you’re glad you added milk this time.

You swallow the excess saliva in your mouth and take another smoke, breathing it in a little lighter than the last time. Just then, though, you remember that you’re a dipsh*t who didn’t even ask if it was okay to smoke.

“f*ck.” You hiss out, pinching your brows together. “Are you okay with me smoking near you? I can smoke it somewhere else if you’re repulsed by it.”

“Naw, man. ‘S cool. Bro used to smoke a lot so I’m kind of used to the smell.” Dave shrugs and steals one of your taquitos, leaning back on his hand. “I smoke sometimes.” He shrugs.

You hum and take another smoke, watching the burn swallow the cigarette slowly. You flick it a little, the ash falling off of the tip. “What brand?”

“Huh?” Dave speaks through a mouthful. He swallows. “Oh, no, I meant weed.”

“Oh.” You pause. “I’ve never tried that before.”

“What? Seriously? You smoke cigarettes but not weed?” You hear the smile in his voice and you roll your eyes.

"Whatever." A drop of rain hits the ground in front of you, causing you to look up. It's overcast outside, dark clouds slowly being pushed by the wind. You wonder if it's going to rain heavily or not. You decide not to mention it.

“I was never really interested, I guess.” You shrug.

“Oh.” Dave takes a drink of his coffee. “Yeah, it’s not for everyone.” He shrugs back.

A lull of silence passed over you both. It isn’t exactly comfortable, given all that you both need to talk about. Still, you let the silence linger on anyways. You’ve been sitting long enough on the curb for your hip bone to start protesting with a dull pain, but you ignore it in favor of watching the street. Cars come and go at the intersection, the quiet drawl of traffic creating a strangely soft atmosphere. You finish up your cig and snuff out the end before flicking it to join other discarded butts. Your ass is starting to hurt now, so you shift a little. Your shoes drag against the concrete and your clothes ruffle a little.

Finally, you breathe in a breath of fresh air before speaking,

“We…” Your throat threatens to constrict, but you work your way through it. “We need to talk about some…things.” You steal a glance towards Dave, seeing that his attention is on you. He looks nervous.

“It’s–” You sigh and pinch the bridge of your nose. “It’s nothing…bad.” You try to reassure him. If only you could do the same for yourself. “I just need to tell you something.” Your voice sounds weak.

Dave straightens up a little beside you. It looks like he wants to move closer, but he doesn’t. That’s okay. You aren’t sure you’d be able to take it if he pulled away from you after what you have to say.

“...Okay?” He sounds less nervous, just more curious now.

You knit your eyebrows together and train your eyes down at the cigarette butt you flicked away. You’re able to discern the one that was yours from the rest. It’s all you can look at.

You know it should be easy to say. It’s just a few words. But those words feel like they’re wrapped in barbed wire, trapped deep down in your throat. You swallow around them.

“I-I…” Your voice sounds tense. Your fingernails scrape the concrete below harshly.

Why is everything so complicated? Does it ever stop being this way? You don’t think so. You certainly don’t want to live in it, but…

You squeeze your eyes shut painfully.

But.

There’s always that f*cking but that ruins it for you. You worked so hard to erase that word from your life so you could finally just let go. No more, but your dad will be sad. But no one will look after Charlie when If I’m gone. But Terezi will be distraught if you die. So many things that either left on their own, or you encouraged. Your dad left, Charlie died, and you caused Terezi to leave. Because you’re selfish and wanted to die without feeling guilty.

You still want to die. It isn’t something that just leaves you because you’re feeling better. Once you open that door, it never closes. Once you open up your mind to the idea that that is something you can do, it never leaves you. Even on your good days it’ll be there lurking in the background in the corner of the room where it’s easy to ignore. But on hard days, it’s almost natural how your attention is drawn to its presence. It gets easier to let it sit with you. To let it comfort you.

You want so badly to let it take you back to that viaduct again.

But then Dave will be alone again.

You swallow and take your cup of coffee in hand, raising it to your lips before putting it back down into your lap without taking a drink. Your thumb nail flicks against the plastic lip rhythmically. You can do this. If you tell him he’ll leave, right? You’ve been so afraid of telling everyone for this reason, but you could use this. This is a good thing.

So why doesn’t it feel that way?

You hate the way everything in you plays a constant tug-o-war of wanting to live and die. It’s exhausting.

If you tell Dave, whatever happens will be a good and bad outcome. He’ll accept you, you’ll have to stay. He’ll reject you, you’ll get to leave. Why do both options feel so scary?

You open your mouth again to speak, but your voice catches and your throat squeezes shut. You actually start shaking. You hunch your shoulders and try to make yourself smaller. God, why are you acting like this? Why do you sound so weird? You can barely get anything out of your throat.

What if Dave thinks you’re a freak? What if he hates you? You know how he spoke about his bro. The guy definitely sounded like he had something going on with him, whatever it was. What if when he finds out that you’re like him he wants nothing to do with you anymore? What if you scare him?

“I-It’s-s-s…” Your breath hitches in your throat and you see the world blur slightly as your eyes start to fill with tears. There goes any semblance of collectiveness you envisioned yourself to have through this conversation.

Why do you get like this every time you try to talk about something hard?

You feel Dave scoot closer to you, and soon the heavy weight of a hand plants itself on your back. Your frown wobbles and you selfishly lean in towards him, resting your weight slightly against Dave's side. You’re disgusting. You want something you can’t have.

Dave doesn’t speak. You know you’re being f*cking weird and it’s probably freaking him out. You just have to f*cking get. It. out. So why can’t you?

“I-I’m–” The word tears out of your throat in a loud whine. God, you’re embarrassing. You hunch in further on yourself as you feel Dave's hand slowly draw circles into your back. He’s trying to comfort you. You don’t deserve it.

Please- Please don’t leave me.”

The words come out of your mouth before you have a chance to process them in your head. What the f*ck did you just say? “I-I mean…” There is no going back on that one. Ever. And you don’t mean that just for Dave, but yourself as well. You are so utterly f*cked, you worthless piece of sh*t. Now you don’t want to leave. Now you don’t want him to reject you. f*ck.

Daves hand stills on the small of your back. Before you can apologize your voice gets cut off when Dave pulls you up to hug you. It’s tight and warm and it makes you cry all over again. Your body pitifully leans in towards him until you can stuff your nose against his shoulder. You snuffle and sob, discarding the coffee to clutch onto him instead. He tucks his chin on top of your head and squeezes you a little.

“Never planned on it.” His voice is a little tight, as if he’s trying to keep his own emotions in check. God forbid two assholes start breaking down in the sh*tty gas station parking lot.

You nod mindlessly, your cheeks wet with tears. They won’t stop.

“M’ sorry…” You whisper into his shoulder. “I’m- I’m su-uch a f*cking baby–”

Dave drags you closer to fit against him, pulling you up into his lap with more ease than you’re willing to acknowledge right now. He hugs both arms snug around your waist, squeezing a bit before relaxing.

“Yes you are.” He gives a loud and obnoxiously wet kiss to your forehead that tears a wet laugh from you.

You didn’t expect it to be this hard to talk, but having Dave here with you makes it feel less sh*tty.

"What did you want to talk about?" Dave speaks, his smile softening.

All of the bravery you previously had leaked from you a while ago. You don't think you could tell him even if you wanted. So, instead, you part yourself from him and wipe at your cheeks.

"I…I don't…" You mumble, suddenly feeling embarrassed. "I…what…"

You sigh and take a deep breath, rubbing your hands over your face. You can't talk about your illness. It's too much right now. You don’t want to ruin what's between you both. So, you decide to change the subject to something less intense.

"What are we?"

The silence that follows is deafening.

That's definitely less intense.

“I mean…I know that you’re…You have a hard time being into dudes.” You clear the silence anxiously, looking pointedly at a crack in the ground. “...I made this weird.”

Dave snorts. “Nah, man. I get you.” He ruffles your hair. “I’m not some teen boy who can’t deal with some internalized sh*t.”

You give him an incredulous look.

“...As much.” He smiles wryly. “I’m practically in my late 20’s now. I can handle it better. It’s just…a lot to process right now.” He shrugs.

“Yeah, I assumed so.” You give him an open look.

“So…” Dave drawls, looking a bit nervous.

“No labels?” You give a half smile. “Just something more than friends.”

Dave smiles back. “Yeah, man. Let’s go with that. Something more than friends.”

“So is this a date?” You gesture around.

“Wasn’t it always?”

You smile and get back to eating your gas station food. “Sure.”

You chow down on a few taquitos before taking out your bottle of pills. You unscrew the cap and thumb out a tiny flat white pill, swallowing it down with coffee. The taste has you cringe visibly. You don’t miss that.

“Did they switch your meds?” Dave speaks.

“What?” You give him a glance before tucking the bottle back inside of your jacket.

“The ones I found in your old apartment looked like shields. They were pretty cool looking.”

“Oh.” You snort. “No, they just started me off at a low dosage. I have to work my way back up to the big ‘shields’ slowly or else I could get shingles.”

“That’s f*cked.”

“Very f*cked.”

You silently hope that they’ll kick in and balance your brain before it decides to throw you into another episode. The idea of getting that way around Dave makes your skin crawl. Your thoughts drift back to your dad subconsciously. You wonder where he’s at now.

You flinch when a fat drop of rain hits your head. You wipe at your hair and look up, blinking.

Then, it starts to rain. Hard.

“What the hell-” Dave gets up, throwing his arms over his head.

You stay sat where you are, watching fat raindrops hit the ground. The dry concrete slowly gets painted black with wetness. It feels nice, so you let it wash over you.

“Let’s go back to the car.” Dave turns to leave, but stops when he sees you lay back against the sidewalk.

“Oh my god.” Dave groans. “You’re so dramatic.”

You hear Dave walk over, and you think for a moment that he’s going to haul you up. You crack a smile when he instead lays down next to you.

The next day.

You aren’t sure when you realized what was happening, but you’re starting to get suspicious. The morning started off normal. You woke up next to Dave and the two of you chatted back and forth about things, deciding silently that today was already going to be a lazy day. Dave had a minor hangover and decided to stay in bed a little longer than you.

Wanting coffee, you left bed first. You grabbed your medications from out of the drawer in the bathroom on the way, taking out the white pills. You shook two into your hand and stuck them onto your tongue as you grabbed a handful of water from the sink to swallow them down.

As you were making coffee, you weren’t exactly in a bad mood. Shockingly. So, eventually when you started to feel anxious you thought little of it at first. You always feel like that. However, it got to the point where the anxiety felt almost unbearable. You sat and stared at the trickling coffee pot, your train of thought stalling as you processed this sudden bout of anxiety. What was happening?

Your breath came out in a stutter. Were you holding it?

When a sudden wave of dizziness came, you had to plant your good hand onto the counter to ground yourself. You felt shaky and strange. That’s when you noticed your heart beating weirdly in your chest. It was quick and fluttery.

You gasped in a breath of air, slowly hunching down until your forehead met with the cool counter beside your hand. Your hand gripped onto the counter hard enough to make the tips of your fingers and knuckles white.

When it only persisted, you slowly slid down until you were kneeling onto the floor. The constant beeping of the coffee maker didn’t register to you. All you can focus on now are your disquited thoughts of panic and the feeling of your own heart beat. You feel so anxious it’s unbearable.

You think you know what this is.

“Karkat?” You hear a voice call out to you, but you don’t answer. You’re in too much…something to answer. Everything is bad.

You rest your head against the cabinets in front of you. After a moment, you sit down fully, becoming disoriented quickly. Everything feels faint. Or maybe that’s just you? Oh, god, you hate this.

“Karkat?” Dave asks again, his voice closer. You hear him walk around the island, stopping when he sees you. There is a slight pause before he asks, “Are you okay, dude?”

You slowly shake your head.

Dave quickly comes to your side, kneeling down besides you. You probably look stupid right now, but you’re too scared to really care. Your breathing is unsteady and all you can focus on is the ground right now.

A hand places itself on your back, rubbing patterns into your skin through your shirt.

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t feel good.” You grit out, squeezing your eyes shut.

“Well, duh.” Dave huffs. “Do…Do we need to go to the hospital? What’s happening?” He says in a slightly more worried voice.

You shake your head again. “No…I…get me some white bread.” Your voice trembles.

Dave stares at you for a moment before getting up wordlessly and rifling around through the kitchen. He quickly comes back and hands you two pieces of white bread and a few pieces of chocolate. You send him a questioning look before eating the bread first.

“Jade has diabetes.” Dave grabs a bottle of water and cracks it open. He turns you around so your back is to the cabinets. You quickly wash the bread down with the bottle of water handed to you, and then you start on the second piece of bread. “I’m guessing this is a blood sugar thing? She’s asked for sugary things before, and white bread is like…it has a lot of glucose in it, yeah? Or sugar, or something.”

You nod and eat one of the candies and wait for your blood sugar to rise.

The two of you sit in silence. Thankfully, like you suspected, you start to feel better after eating. You let out a sigh and sag back against the counter. “Sorry.” You take another few hearty chugs of water.

“It’s no problem. Do you have diabetes?” Dave shuffles into a more comfortable position besides you.

“No,” You shake your head. “It’s a side effect of my medications. I sort of forgot about it. It didn’t happen often when I was taking it regularly because I took it with food, but I was a dumbass and forgot.” You huff through your nose irritatedly.

“Hm. Jades never asked for bread, though.”

You shrug. “I dunno. I’m not diabetic. Ask her or something.” You take an even breath before standing up. “You want coffee?”

“Yeah, sure. Thanks.”

Dave sits down at the counter, and you busy yourself with making two mugs of coffee as Dave chit-chats with you back and forth. You smile mindlessly and laugh occasionally as Dave tells stories about some weird internet drama he’s apparently caught up in lately. You’re starting to suspect that Dave has a following online or something. You go to ask about it, but you find yourself stalling for a moment.

Would it be so bad?

You thumb the handle of Daves mug before setting it in front of him. He's busy talking about something while your mind derails away from the conversation. You feel this weirdness in your chest, and you don’t know what to make of it. Dave has treated you kinder than anyone else ever has…

So would it be so bad to tell him?

You turn towards him, leaning your hip against the counter as you sneak a glance at Dave. He’s smiling and babbling on. The morning light is cast against his back, making him look warm. Dave is really, really nice, and you just…

You think it might be okay if you trusted him.

You stand where you are, hands wrapped tightly around your own mug. You haul in a deep breath and shut your eyes tight. Then you blurt out,

“I’m bipolar.”

Dave goes quiet, and that raises some anxiety within you. You hate the silence, so you keep talking.

“Like, actually.” You’re too scared to look over. What if Dave looks scared? You’re a freak, of course he’d be afraid of you. The way he spoke about his bro that one time when he got abused…that really reminded you of the way your dad would behave. Not the abuse, but the weird mannerisms part.

“U-Um…” You whisper out, everything feeling awful now. “I just…I’m not like going to snap or…” Your voice sounds tight. “Y’know, I just. I understand if, like, you don’twanttoseeme…” Your words melt together as a flood of anxiety takes over you completely. Why did you tell him? It’s so quiet and he hates you he thinks you're wrong you’re a freak and- and he’s- what will you do now? You don’t have anywhere to go, you don’t want to die- If he kicks you out you’ll definitely…

You smile despite yourself. It’s not a good smile. It’s nervous and bereft. You feel the sting of tears, but they don’t come. You’re too anxious to cry. It’s out now. It isn’t a secret. You’re f*cking crazy, and now Dave knows. He’s probably going to see you differently now and tell everyone. Then you’ll truly be alone. When you looked back on it, you hated your dad because of his illness. You know you shouldn't, but you did. He didn’t want to get better.

Everyone leaves you. What if Dave does, too? Of course he would. He’s probably rethinking everything now and it’ll be over. Or what if he tries to put up with you but he now has the excuse to admit you to a hospital if you get bad again? You don’t want to go. Your dad always f*cking hated it and it only ever ended up bad for you. You know that other people who are admitted say they’re grateful for it, and that it helps them, but you’re scared. You’re so scared of it all. You don’t like to think about it and you don’t want to go, which is why you always took your meds, but you’re just getting on them again. What if it gets bad again before they’re able to kick in fully? What if you end up like your dad, laying in bed unable to get up. Unable to eat or respond. Unable to comfort Dave when he needs it.

Of course Dave’ll hate you, too.

Why didn’t you jump sooner? Why did you take a cigarette break? Why didn’t you just ignore his texts? Why didn’t you jump? Why did you have to be a puss* about it? You bow your head in shame and hug yourself tightly.

When you hear the stool Dave was sitting on drag against the floor, you flinch out of your thoughts. Dave got up from his seat. You aren’t sure what you’re expecting, but when he comes around the island you tentatively glance up from the floor to look at him.

Your eyes widen when you see him smiling. Without his glasses on, he looks at you with…with something warm and soft in his eyes. You draw a breath in, your chin lifting up a bit to keep eye contact as he gets closer.

Then, suddenly, he’s hugging you. He does it so tight that your breath leaves you all at once. After a moment, you relax into it. You hug your arm around his waist slowly as he rubs his hand up your neck and down your shoulders over and over again.

You stare with wide eyes over his shoulder, watching as spots of dust catch sunlight and disappear around you. Dave shifts a little, pressing the side of his head to yours. His hair smells good. You swallow, your throat bobbing against his shoulder.

You feel so open and raw and terrified.

“Please…” You plead softly for nothing in particular, your voice a hush.

Dave rocks the both of you side-to-side, his hand rubbing soothing circles into your back.

“Dude, I wouldn’t leave you over something like that…” He speaks around a smile. “You think I’d really kick you out…?” He astonishes.

He pulls back slightly, cupping his hands over your neck and jaw. When you look at him, he’s staring down at you with vulnerable, gentle eyes. He is smiling softly, but there is a sadness to it.

“Why would I?”

You shrug jerkily, still a little high strung. “Because…” Your words stall. “I-I don’t know, I just…”

“Why would that change anything?” Daves thumb rubs over your cheek.

You squeeze your eyes shut. “It will. When I get bad again, you’ll hate me.”

“No, I won’t.” He speaks confidently.

“You don’t know that…” You inhale shakily. “It- It gets bad sometimes and you’ll get tired and I don’t want to do that to you…” You could hardly stand yourself. Your episodes weren’t always bad on meds, but there were a few times over the years where it got pretty awful.

“You aren’t doing anything to me. I’ll be here for you, man.”

“Even when I get bad?” You look up at him, your words coming out unsure. “I-I don’t-” You start to shake your head. “I don’t want to be a burden-”

“I’ll take care of you.” Dave speaks so softly.

You smile sardonically, glancing away. “It’s rotten work.”

“Not to me. Not if it’s you.” Dave speaks so wholeheartedly that it forces you to look at him again.

The two of you sit there in shared silence, staring back at each other with different emotions. You feel in disbelief and almost denial. Does he really feel that way? Does he…

You try to swallow whatever emotion you’re feeling in your chest now, but it’s too much. It’s all encompassing, dissolving your insides. Dave cares about you. Are you allowed to think that? It’s a scary thought, because you might care about him a lot, too. Staring at each other, something in the air has changed. The hand cupping your neck slowly works its way to your jaw, tilting it back an inch. Your eyelids drop a little and you let yourself relax.

His lips brush against yours and he kisses you slowly, breathing against your lips.

Are you allowed to have this?

Your lower back stays firmly placed back against the counter as Daves hands run down your sides and back up again gently like you’re something fragile. You draw your arm around his neck, pulling him in closer. The two of you stay like that, leisurely but passionately kissing one another. He cards one of his hands through your hair, pulling gently to tug your head back. You go easily, letting him set the pace.

You don’t want to lose this.

God, please don’t f*ck this up…

-

Later in the day, when emotions have settled down, you decide to answer some of Daves questions. You guess it’s better if he knows what he’s getting into.

You wring your hands together, thinking about how you can talk about this.

“It isn’t like one day I wake up and I’m different. It’s…slow. And painful.” Your mind goes back to a particularly cruel episode. The thought of it brings up a lot of emotions.

“You don’t even realize that you’ve changed until it’s too late. You wake up and realize that you haven’t taken a shower or brushed your teeth in weeks. That you haven’t eaten in days until you wake up dizzy…” Your mind goes back to your dad again. “Or you realize that you can’t fake being okay anymore. I get so scared that one day–” You hesitate, “Because it will happen– that when I wake up I will start to lose who I am again and I won’t even realize it until I’m…just too far down the sh*t hole.”

“And the hypomania, it’s awful, too. I see a lot of people say that it’s euphoric for them, but it’s never that way for me. I just get overstimulated and irritated usually. I start blowing up on people and I cant even f*cking help it. It’s like I have to watch myself hate others for no f*cking reason.”

You grimace as your mind pulls up several embarrassing memories.

“My life was never fantastic, and I’ve had plenty of sh*tty moments, but I never wanted to die. However, when it starts, it’s like it just latches onto any and every reason you’ve ever been unhappy and amplifies those issues importance in your mind. And nobody ever tells you how bad it gets. You can’t possibly prepare for how it feels. You’re so sad that it physically hurts. Your chest aches and you can’t do sh*t about it but sit there and think about why you’re such an awful person and how horrible your life is. It erodes away at you until you only see death as your escape. Just knowing that now there is this part of yourself that will someday activate, and you’ll slip back into that neverending depression is terrifying when you don’t want to die.”

And it feels comfortable when you do want to die. Like you don’t have the guts now…but you will then. All you have to do is wait. You don’t share that, though. As a teen, you were scared sh*tless about how one day you would want to kill yourself. It was out of your control. You guess you were right to be scared, now that you think of it. You wonder what your teen self would say to you now if he saw what a big mess you became.

You find yourself wishing that you were kinder to your dad.

“I just…I don’t want you to deal with that.” You avert your eyes. “Especially after everything you’ve told me about bro.” Your voice lowers into a hush. Before Dave interjects, you talk. “And it isn’t just me being sad, either. When I’m hypo, I’m a f*cking dick. More so than f*cking usual.”

“...Okay, we’ll come back to the bro thing here in a sec, but was that what that was at the party with everyone a few months back?” Dave questions.

You nod. “Yeah. I’m pretty sure. I was a real dick to her, man.” You sigh. “And It is my fault because I knew something would happen if I quit my meds.”

“Well, you can be a dick to me. It’s pretty hot, actually.”

That forces a laugh out of you. You stare at him incredulously, but with humor. “You’re so f*cking weird.”

Dave smiles and half-heartedly punches your shoulder. “Back to the bro thing, though.” He sobers up a bit. “You are nothing like him. Okay? Me calling him crazy back there was…a poor choice of words. I honestly don’t know what was up with him. Even if he did have something similar going on, that doesn’t make you a piece of sh*t suddenly.”

You glance away, picking at some frayed string on your cast.

“He was a piece of sh*t, and that’s that.” Dave huffs out. He leans over and places his hand on your knee, causing you to glance up. “You’re you…and I…” Dave chews on his lip. “I really like you, Karkat.”

You look at him fully, a warm feeling encompassing you. You smile unsurely, but lovingly. That’s what it is, right? “I…” Then, slowly, you frown when something comes to your mind.

“Oh, sh*t.”

Dave blinks. “What?”

You stand. “Oh, f*ck. You need to take me back to the viaduct.”

Dave's face screws up incredulously. He’s already opening his mouth to speak, but you interrupt.

“No- Not like that, sorry. I mean I…” You sigh and drag a hand over your face. “I left a letter there…I don’t want the f*cking cops to get called over it.”

Oh.” Dave stands, looking alarmed. “Yeah, okay, let’s go get that.”

-

You can tell that being here is making Dave nervous, so when the two of you trek up the trail, you wait by the railing while he goes to fetch the letter. You tell him where it is, and you watch as he walks to the spot. After fishing around for it, he’s able to find a small zip lock bag with a few folded sheets of notebook paper in it.

You take a look around, noting that it’s a much better day than the last you saw it. It’s sunny, golden rays floating through swaying trees. The hush of leaves rustle in the trees and birds chirp softly all around. The foliage has started to turn orange here and there as autumn takes its hold. A few stray leaves float past as they’re carried by wind.

You’re glad that you stayed to see today.

The wind picks up here, running cool air through you. You shiver and hug yourself, downcasting your gaze to the ground. You keep your gaze away from the viaduct entirely. You feel ashamed just being near it. Everything feels a little too fresh.

You hear Dave approach, and when he vaults over the metal railing, you turn your gaze to him. He holds the letter up between you two like he isn’t sure what to do with it. You give him an awkward but sure smile before taking the plastic baggie from him, your thumb swiping over the dew speckled plastic.

“Wanna burn it?” Dave suggests with a shrug before shoving his hands into his pockets.

You glance up and smile. “f*ck yeah.”

-

That night the two of you get the letter and put it on the ground. You light a match and toss it gently on top of the folded pieces of paper, taking a step back to fall into line with Dave. The pieces of paper light slowly, but when the fire gets its hold, it quickly engulfs it. The paper browns and eventually blackens as the flames spread. Soon it’s nothing but ash and stray pieces of paper with edges of embers. Dave steps forward and tamps out the remaining flames with his shoe until it dies out.

You stare at it with mixed feelings, but for now they’re mostly good. So, for now, you’ll let yourself feel that. When the both of you return inside, you take off your hoodie. You look to your left a little, spotting a small closet.

Thinking it's for coats, you open it. Dave lets out a noise and tries to stop you, but it’s too late. You dodge the literal mound of weapons that are held in the small closet.

“???” You stare down at it in utter befuddlement before looking at Dave.

Dave stands there awkwardly, looking down at the mess. “Uh…” He drawls. “I’ll explain this whole thing…some other time.”

“...Do you just…” You gesture downwards in a circular motion. “...keep these for fun or something?”

“No. Sort of, but mostly no.” Dave bends down and starts putting the weapons away. You help him very carefully. Eventually when most of the weapons are put away, Dave stops for a moment. He looks down at the orange shoes by the door, only taking a short moment before bending down to pick them up. He runs a thumb over the lip with a thoughtful look in his eyes. He puts them back down next to the door neatly and grabs a bat from the mass of weapons, putting it by the door next to the shoes before shutting the closet.

You stare at the bat, raising an eyebrow.

Dave smiles down at you. “It’s Dirks killing bat. I’m sure he’d like to have it out here with him.” He shrugs, then turns in towards the apartment.

You watch him go. When he goes into the kitchen and turns the lights on to start on dinner, you look back down to the shoes and bat.

“...Thanks, Dirk.” You whisper softly. “You were a good brother.”

-

This morning started off a lot better than most. In fact, it was one of the best mornings you had in years. Dave is awesome to be around when you’re not always being such a f*cking dick to him. The two of you chide each other while watching a romcom he let you pick out.

“Shut up-” You smack his shoulder. “It’s about to get good.”

Dave groans. “You said that like ten minutes ago, dude!”

“That’s because there is buildup! The buildup is important! You have to watch- ugh, I’m rewinding.” You go for the remote, but Dave snatches it from you.

“No way, man. You already did that once.” Dave hides the remote under his pillow. You’re about to argue back when something interrupts the both of you.

Someone knocks on the door, and Dave stares at it anxiously. “sh*t.” He sighs deeply, melting into the couch. “That’s John. He was going to come over today to talk n’ sh*t…” You says forlornly. You snort and kick his foot.

“Are you going to be okay?” You sit up.

Dave keeps his eyes on the door. “Yeah. It’s just going to be awkward as f*ck.” He lets out a long sigh again, his body language sagging further. You snort and push his shoulder, urging him to get up.

“Just don’t make any blow j*b jokes and I’m sure you’ll be fine?”

“With my mouth?”

“Oh my f*cking god.” You groan. “Go answer the door, numb nuts.”

Dave flashes a smile and walks off to the door. He looks a little nervous as he approaches it, but there is a readiness in his eyes. You’re nervous, too, honestly. It was pretty f*cking awkward. Yet another thing to add to the still growing list of things to keep you up at night. You aren’t sure how you’ve been able to sleep so peacefully lately after Daves friend witnessed firsthand you trying to give a blowj*b.

Dave shakes off his nerves, flicking his hands. He then opens the door, pulling it open fully.

“H…” Dave freezes. He looks upwards, too much for it to be John. Dave's face drops from awkward to fearful quickly. His hand is clutching tightly onto the doorknob now, his knuckles white. He looks like he’s stopped breathing.

Concern washes over you, and you get up from the couch. “Dave?” You call out hesitantly, walking forward. When you make your way behind him, you see an older man, maybe mid forties, standing at the door. He looks kind of like Dave, but older and stronger. He turns his attention away from Dave to look at you, and you suddenly get a horrible feeling.

You look back to Dave, who hasn’t moved an inch since opening the door. Now that you’re closer you can see that the hand on the doorknob is trembling.

He’s terrified.

You meet the man's stare over Dave's shoulder.

Then, slowly,

you glare.

You’re pretty sure you know who this is. You were kind of hoping that your hand would have healed for this, but f*ck it. With intention, you walk in front of Dave, pushing him back a little with your hand. You stare up at Bro with nothing short of loathing. You must look venomous, because it catches the sh*t head off guard a little.

You’re going to make word on what you told Dave a few days ago.

You grab Dirk's killing bat.

Notes:

I hoped you liked it! :) If you did, lmk what you think because comments always make me really, really happy. Ty for reading xoxo.

Until you have a reason to - TurkeyCat (2024)

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