concept: it’s karkats first wriggling day in the new universe. he’s surrounded by his best friends and cherished loved ones. he’s sacrificed so much to get here, changed fundamentally as a person, stressed and feared. this is the first wriggling day he’s had where he isn’t afraid of dying. today is the first wriggling day where he feels safe. and he’s happy.
Your name is Dave Strider, and you are NOT in love with him.
You aren’t even gay for that matter.
You’ve been stuck on this meteor for six months, and for lack of anything else, spend your days with a troll named Karkat Vantas.
“HEY STRIDER, ARE WE GONNA FINISH THIS OR ARE YOU JUST GOING TO SIT THERE WITH THAT STUPID LOOK ON YOUR FACE ALL DAY?”
In fact, there he is now. You look at him, shaking your head slightly to bring yourself out of your thoughts.
“Yeah man let’s get to it,” you reply, “This town isn’t gonna build itself.”
You kneel down near the troll, picking up one of the cans near you. The two of you had been working on an expansion of Can Town for the Mayor, and though the project had started out as more a way of staving off boredom than anything else, you had to admit it had turned out pretty nice. You quickly fell into the rhythm that had become so familiar to you over the past few months, and when you took a step back a little while later to check your work, you couldn’t help but feel a certain sense of pride.
Your pride is interrupted by a sudden stream of swears, accompanied by the sound of crashing metal. You whip your head to the sound, fighting back a small smile. Karkat was sitting not far away, brows drawn together in a pile of cans where the new bank was supposed to go. This had become a common occurrence, and with your days work done, you walked over to the angry troll.
As you approached, Karkat drew a breath, seemingly to give you a long-winded “Fuck off”. As he did so, his eyes fell on the pile around him, and appeared to resign himself to your assistance. He shifted slightly as to give you room, and you both began forming foundation of the building. With the rhythmic clanking of the process resumed, you glance over at Karkat, who was focused intently on the job at hand. His brows were knitted together in concentration, rather than his usual anger, and the tip of his tongue had slightly protruded from his mouth. In this state he almost looked…
God damn he’s cute.
You freeze in surprise of your own thoughts. Did you really just think that? Why would you? I mean you’re just two bros who hang out for lack of anything else to do. It’s not like you’re even into guys.
He’s so perfect.
What? No he’s just a friend the friendliest of friends and you are BY NO MEANS attracted to your friend even if he is…
You are pulled from your small internal crisis by shouted words.
“WELL ARE YOU JUST GONNA STAND THERE WITH THAT CAN ALL DAY OR ARE YOU GOING TO USE IT?”
You turn to him, quickly recovering your cool-kid composure.
“Hey man, you can’t rush perfection,” you say, making a big show of inspecting the area where the can was to be placed.
“AND WHY THE EVERLOVING FUCK IS YOUR FACE SO RED?”
“It gets pretty hot in here when you’re wearing this plush ass cape around dude.”
“THEN WHY DON’T YOU JUST TAKE IT OFF? OR CAN YOUR INCOMPETENT HUMAN BRAIN NOT HANDLE THAT SOLUTION?”
For you? Gladly.
Your blush deepens at the thought, and you attempt, poorly, to cover it by throwing up your hood and whipping your cape dramatically to your face, as though you were a classic vampire.
“This cape holds great symbolism my gray friend.” You turn around, throwing it over your shoulder as you do.
“I can’t just take it off for no reason, you gotta take pride in this shit.”
“YOU’VE SAID A LOT OF STUPID THINGS DAVE, BUT I THINK THAT TAKES THE CAKE.”
Karkat rolls his eyes and focuses his attention back to the nearly-finished bank, saying a little softer,
“WELL ARE YOU GOING TO HELP OR WHAT?”
You kneel down and work as quickly as you can without knocking over the building, hoping that the sooner you finish the sooner you can get away from him, to be alone with your traitorous thoughts.
It had been a month since the Can Town incident, and you had been systematically avoiding Karkat ever since. It had been difficult at first, as he had tried to contact you incessantly for nearly a week after he figured out that you were trying to keep away from him. Even the few times he had managed to talk to you, you had kept it brief, cold even. You felt bad, but what could you do when every time you were around him your mind betrayed you? When every time you thought of him, your heart beat a little faster, and your stomach felt it was twisting itself in knots. Rose had tried to talk to you when she got wind of the situation, finally tearing herself away from her books and Kanaya. You had told her a little bit, but had quickly absconded when she had suggested that you had romantic feelings for the troll. You spent most of your days in some remote part of the meteor or another now, not really speaking to anybody out of shame and awkwardness.
Rose was right you know.
You wanted to argue, but you had given up. You knew in some part of you, that it was true. You didn’t want to admit it, but there was nothing you could do. You couldn’t tell anybody. Hell, you didn’t even want to tell yourself.
Even if I did tell him, what would happen?
What if he didn’t feel the same way?
What if he hated me for it?
What if he told all the others?
What WOULD he tell all the others?
What if they all turned against me for it?
In the back of your mind, you knew the last part was ridiculous. But to your paranoia fueled thoughts, it seemed to make sense. You picked up a stray rock from the floor of one of the seemingly endless hallways you had inhabited for the past weeks, throwing it has hard as you could into the blackness. The rock quickly bounced out of sight, although you had no way of telling whether it went very far, as it was abysmally dark in the hall. You had even discarded your ever-present shades as to hopefully see a little better, as there was nobody around to hide from. You lean your back against one of the walls and slowly slide down, propping your elbows on your knees and burying your face in them. You’ve grown accustomed to this sort of self-pity, and hated yourself all the more for it. You stayed like that for you don’t know how long, whether it was minutes, hours, even days.
For a Knight of Time you sure can’t keep track of it very well.
You had a short, bitter laugh at that. Then, rage overtook your cynical enjoyment and you grabbed handfuls of your hair, pulling at it as though it were the awful feelings you were trying so hard to run away from. You banged the back of your head against the wall, letting your hands drop between your knees, and muttered to yourself,
“What is wrong with me?”
“I was hoping you could answer that for me.”
You jump at the sudden voice, and for a moment wonder if the constant isolation as finally made you crack. This fear is dispelled though, when a familiar figure walks out of the darkness.
“Karkat,” you say, your mouth going dry, “what are you doing here?”
He shakes his head and sighs in exasperation.
“I don’t know Dave, what reason could I possibly have for hunting you down?”
His voice is quieter than normal, and if you wouldn’t see him standing right in front of you, you wouldn’t have recognized him. However, he makes up for the volume in the anger he laces his voice in, and if you didn’t know better, you’d say there was a hint of… sadness?
When you don’t respond, Karkat continues,
“Let’s cut to the chase Dave. You’ve been avoiding me, and you know what? I want to know why.”
He steps closer to you, squaring his shoulders. He’s angry, and not the normal angry he always is. Karkat, your former friend, is absolutely livid. You slowly stand up, pulling your shades from a stray pocket in your cape. At least with those, you can face him with some dignity left. As you move them towards your face, the troll makes a sound that almost resembles a growl, and you freeze.
“GOD DAMN IT DAVE,” Karkat seems to explode, “I HUNTED YOU DOWN THROUGH WHO KNOWS HOW MANY MILES OF METEOR AND NOW YOU AREN’T EVEN GOING TO LOOK ME IN THE EYE?”
You shrug slightly, and resign yourself to your fate.
Well, I tried.
You square your shoulders, looking Karkat straight in the eye, preparing yourself for the verbal beating of a lifetime. Karkat wastes no time delivering it to you.
“YOU JUST ONE DAY LEAVE AND EXPECT ME TO JUST ACCEPT IT? YOU EXPECT ME TO JUST LEAVE YOU ALONE? IT WAS ONE THING WHEN YOU SUDDENLY DECIDED I WASN’T WORTHY TO BREATHE THE SAME AIR AS YOU AND REFUSED TO SPEAK TO ME WITH MORE THAN THREE WORD SENTENCES BUT NOW YOU JUST RUN OFF? WHAT THE FUCK STRIDER? NOW I WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS SO FUCKING BAD ABOUT ME THAT YOU FIGURED THAT THIS DARK HALLWAY WAS SO MUCH FUCKING BETTER THAN MY GODDAMN COMPANY. WHAT DID I DO THAT WAS SO TERRIBLE THAT YOU SPEND YOUR TIME SO FAR REMOVED FROM EVERYBODY ELSE THAT NOT EVEN GAMZEE KNEW WHERE YOU WERE? WHAT WAS SOOOO BAD…”
Karkat was going red in the face, waving his arms with the passion and anger that he spoke his words. He continued his rant, but you stopped listening. Not because you didn’t care, but because he had it all wrong.
What did I do?
Did I ruin everything?
Is this really what he thinks?
I ruined everything before it even began.
What have I done?
He’s got it all wrong.
I don’t hate him.
I could never hate him.
“Karkat,” you say, so softly you can barely hear yourself.
“AND THEN ALL YOU DO IS…”
He doesn’t hear you, just continues his tirade.
“Karkat,” you say a little louder.
“AND NOW I FIND OUT THAT YOU…”
“KARKAT!” You finally shout.
He stops, surprised at the interruption. You take the moment to walk quickly over to him, and he braces himself as if you were going to fight. Just as he was drawing breath to say, or rather, shout, something else, you grab his face in both of your hands, and kiss him. You feel him tense up in surprise, and suddenly you feel hands on your chest, forcefully pushing you away. You stagger slightly, tripping over your own feet, as the realization of what you just did hits you.
What have I done?
You see his face contorting in confusion.
I’ve ruined everything.
Your face reddens in embarrassment and shame. Tears prick your eyes, and you wish you had your shades to hide behind.
He hates me now.
The confusion on the trolls face turns to anger.
Nonononono this can’t be real this can’t be happening.
He starts striding towards you, and you step backwards, trying once again to run away from what you’ve done.
“I’m sorr…” you start to say, desperately, but you’re stopped by a Karkat’s harsh voice ordering you to shut up.
He grabs the front of your shirt, pulling you to him and leaving you no chance to run. You tense, waiting for the punch the you’re sure will follow.
But it doesn’t.
Instead, you feel soft lips against yours, angry but sweet. They pull away, leaving you shocked. Karkat bangs his head softly into your chest, and you hear him mutter softly,
“God damn it Dave.”
His hand drops from your shirt, and he leans against you. Tentatively, you say
“So does that mean you…?”
You feel a faint increase and decrease of pressure on your chest, consistent with a small nod.
You breathe a heavy sigh of relief, and wrap your arms around the troll, resting your head on top of his. A small smile touches your lips and you feel what seems to be a crushing amount of weight lifted from your shoulders.