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    Default the existentialist {a homestuck/humanstuck fan-fiction}



    "at the same time, i still want to be caught in that childhood memory forever, of running across the canadian border, my older brother at my heels, us laughing and him telling me to slow down before i slipped and fell on the icy roads. but, what can you do? nothing lasts forever, i suppose."



    yes yes hello my name is john this is my fucked up fan-fiction i hope you enjoy it.

    the existentialist

    a story about two boys who fall in love and lose their minds


    chapter;; o1

    The chopsticks snapped cleanly into two halves, the cheap birch wood offering an even eating utensil only just this once.

    His hands curled around them, forming into a position and picking up a piece of sushi. He placed it delicately in his mouth, chewing slowly, the seaweed wrapping the rice and fish together tough and chewy. He swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing slightly.

    “Is the sushi good?” His parental figure was facing him from the other side of the table, pausing while picking up his piece of sashimi style salmon. His sterling gray eyes were inquiring, while the boy's ocean blue eyes remained emotionless, and just a tad bit uncertain.

    “It could be better.” He replied, putting down his chopsticks and taking a sip of the ice-water. He swished it around in his mouth a bit before swallowing, getting the remnants of the sticky rice out of the tightest corners of his teeth and gums. For extra cleaning purposes, he stuck a finger in his mouth, searching around the cracks between his separate teeth and scratching at half-chewed pieces of fish that remained hidden secretly in the nooks. The truth was, he didn't like sushi at all. He hated sushi.

    Accidentally, his finger scraped too hard against the gum line, rupturing the fragile surface and capillaries and causing minor bleeding. He flinched and withdrew his finger, noticing watery blood on the tip. He could taste the scarlet liquid inside his mouth, and he licked his tongue around the sore area to hopefully quell the minor throbbing that ensued.

    He then proceeded to wipe his finger on a napkin but stopped and instead decided to stare at the half-blood half-saliva mixture on his fingernail. He hated the fact that it wasn't pure. It wasn't the actual, noticeable bright red that he found pleasing to the human eye. With a look of slight disgust, he brushed his finger on his pants and picked up the book he was reading before the food arrived. His fingers slipped against the paper uncomfortably and he recoiled, looking at his finger to notice a slight papercut.

    It bled slowly and raggedly, and he was slightly pleased to notice it was the pure substance he was looking for. Red, bright, somewhat enticing. He kept staring at it, staring into the color. His lips turned dry. He licked them.

    What if this red was everywhere? What if it was all over the room? What if he was the one that caused red to be all over the room? He shivered, but out of pleasure or fear? The blood dripped from his finger, in a drop to the ground below. It was so intriguing. He wanted the red to be everywhere.

    “Are you alright?” The parental figure's voice snapped him out of his daydream. He was now shivering in fear.

    “I'm going to go to the restroom.” He changed the subject and sat up abruptly, hurrying along to the back of the restaurant. He was relieved to find it was only a single restroom and not one with multiple stalls. He went to the sink and looked at himself in the mirror. He had bags under his dull blue eyes. They were no longer oceans, just shells amongst the bed of the sea. He looked back at his finger and put it in his mouth, sucking on the metallic and salty tang that blood offered. It felt... Good. He didn't no why. The shaking didn't cease. He felt like he was about to throw up.

    He dropped to his knees, the cold tile floor hardening his fall. There would be bruising. He thought about those bruises, coming in colors of purples, blues, and yellows. His stomach lurched.

    His hands curled around the porcelain rim of the toilet and he began to retch into the bowl. The bile stung against the sides of his throat, adding a sour taste to his mouth and lips. He screwed up his face after the vomiting ceased, shaking even harder than when he started. He let out a choked sob and fell to the floor, grabbing his jet-black hair in his hands and pulling and pulling.

    Every night was just like this. He didn't want this night be a night like the others. He wanted to stop. He wanted to be done. He wanted to disappear. He wanted to be a rotting corpse in the ground, his organs strewn across the grass and blood everywhere, his eyes blank and glazed and staring up at the sky. Flies would dance around his ripped skin and lay their eggs which would hatch into maggots that would wriggle around and burrow deep, eating his dead flesh and- no, no, no. No, he couldn't think about that. His stomach twisted again. He didn't want to throw up the rest of today's meals. The Existentialist opened his mouth in a silent scream and prayed quietly for death.

    ***


    Karkat Vantas awoke in his bed, the daylight from his window already fading. His eyes were dead. His feet and hands dangled on either side of his bed. He stared at the cracks in the ceiling with dulling boredom. Another wasted day. Another wasted fraction of his life.

    But today was different from the other days. Today was Karkat Vantas's lucky day. It was his last day on Earth. And he knew the above statement was true.

    That was his first mistake. The thing was, the above statement was not true. Today wasn't going to be Karkat Vantas's last day on Earth. That day would wait. He was still lucky, however, because that day wasn't far along ahead.

    His limbs seemed to move on their own, while his head remained on the single pillow, unwilling to get up. He had to get up at some point. His last day on Earth wouldn't go out without a bang. He hoisted himself up, laying his bare feet on the cold wooden floor. He drew in his toes and sighed. For a second he thought he would have smiled, being comforted by the thought that this was his last day on Earth. But he didn't. There wasn't a reason to smile, the numbness covered up everything he wanted to show.

    His bed squeaked as he stood. He didn't bother to stretch and yawn and walked right out of his room to the kitchen of his tiny apartment that he shared with his father.

    His stomach growled noisily, and he opened the fridge, shoving his hands around the compartments, scrounging around for anything and everything to quell his hunger. He scarfed down the leftovers from today's lunch: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple. There was a frozen pizza in the freezer, so he brought that out and placed it in the oven, pacing around the small, two-person sized kitchen and anticipating his death like a child's first visit to a theme park. He stared at the ticking clock on the microwave, situated beside the oven on the counter. It was six o'clock in the evening. It wouldn't be long before his life would end and he'd be content, floating along in nothingness, or whatever came afterwards.

    Karkat Vantas wasn't afraid of death. He relished in the idea of it. He didn't believe in Heaven or Hell, and felt no need he had to to have a good afterlife. He believed he'd become nothing, which was exactly what he wished for.

    After an hour, the oven dinged, signaling his pizza was ready. He dragged it out and wolfed it down, not waiting for it to cool. He didn't care. He was going to puke it all up anyway. It was his last day on Earth, he deserved to pig out.

    There was shuffling in his father's room, and some mumbling. Karkat cursed silently to himself, he must've woken up his father during his nap. He finished his pizza and quickly cleaned the pan he put it on, leaving it in the sink. Hurriedly, he walked into his bedroom and shut the door quietly, hoping he hadn't really woken up his father. If he did, there would be hell to pay, and Karkat didn't want this last day to end badly. He wanted to feel good about dying. He wasn't going to cry today. Today wouldn't end the same as the others. He knew it wouldn't. He'd be dead by next morning, and that was all that mattered.

    Karkat sat back down on the bed, staring at his feet. He closed his eyes. He could almost taste death on his tongue. It was sweet and it was the only thing left for him now that his whole life had gone down the drain.

    Clattering was heard in the kitchen as he heard his father prepare dinner. It wouldn't be much, but Karkat didn't care. He was going to be a dead man. His fingers curled and he couldn't stop anticipating death.

    This was Karkat's second mistake. It wasn't a great idea to expect these kinds of things so highly. He hated getting his expectations down, and boy, was he prepared for some disappointment.

    He sat there in his room, not noticing that the sky was getting darker until he was enveloped in the dim light of night. The moon, a full moon, shined down into the window. An array of light was splayed across the small space Karkat's room consisting of a twin-sized bed, a small closet filled with three sweaters and two pairs of jeans, and some clothes to sleep in, and small desk with an ancient looking laptop atop it.

    It was true Karkat didn't live in the best of homes. His father had quit his job a long time ago, causing them to lose more and more money everyday. Now he chose to remain a lazy ass, sitting on the couch all day, watching golf or waking up at some ungodly hour in the morning and then napping for the rest of the day. They rarely had any contact with each other because Karkat had started to sleep in, even if he went to bed early. Any time they did talk to each other, it was usually over dinner, and the conversations were brief until his father would accuse Karkat of doing something he didn't do just for an excuse to start drama and hit him if he back-talked.

    It was also true Karkat had stopped caring for himself a long time ago. He dropped out of high school when he was sixteen and remained home, sleeping until the sun set and regretting everything he had ever done. Most of the time he would stand in front of his bathroom mirror and shout obscenities at his reflection, or he would talk to his past self late at night, saying how much of an idiot he was, even after he just stopped being his past self. Then he'd think about the future and how much of his life he wasted, and how much a waste of space he was himself.

    And this continued until this very day, but today Karkat was going to get rid of all of that. Of all the self-hatred inside of him. Of this whole stupid game of life. People would call him selfish, but he'd just call it a war. Life had stabbed him down. But that's okay, sometimes being a loser can grant you good things. Like death.

    His father yelled his name, shattering Karkat of his thoughts. He grimaced, angry about the fact he had to face his bastard father again. But this was the last day he'd ever see him.

    The above statement is actually true. Though Karkat wouldn't die now, he would certainly not see his father again after this day.

    He opened the door hesitantly and walked through the kitchen to the small dining room consisting of a plastic table and two folding chairs. A single light bulb hung over the table, and Karkat snorted. He always thought this whole set-up was stupid, but what can you do? They were dirt poor and Karkat was even surprised they were able to pay rent for the apartment at all, as well as buy food.

    He sat down stiffly, his movements like a robot. A steaming plate of spaghetti was in front of him. His father sat in front of him, staring him down. Karkat sighed in his mind, for he knew where this was going. He prepared to get yelled at and cautiously began eating his spaghetti in small nibbles.

    A few minutes passed by in silence. His father hadn't touched his food yet and continued to glower at his son in front of him.

    “You woke me up from my nap.” He started. Karkat held back a groan.

    “Sorry.” He mumbled and continued to eat.

    A pause, then, “You're a piece of shit, you know that?”

    Again, Karkat held back a groan. He was doing his particular way of starting a fight with him. Accusing him for some stupid reason, then insulting him until Karkat would fight back and then his father would hit him or abuse him in some way for talking back.

    Karkat, hoping he could avoid a quarrel, stayed quiet, continuing to eat even though his stomach was hurting and even though the spaghetti tasted more unappetizing with every bite.

    “You're never going to get anywhere in life, you fucking drop-out. No college would want you, no job would want you... You're going to be a pathetic bum on a street, begging for money.”

    Karkat chewed his spaghetti slowly, swallowing with the slightest bit of hesitation, and then twirling the noodles around his fork in a bored manner. He never unlocked his gaze from the half-eaten plate in front of him.

    “You'll never have a woman. Or, you'll fall in love with a whore, bang her, have children and then be unable to take care of the children because the both of you can't pay for child support. She'll dump your ass, take the kids, and leave you to rot. You'll die alone.”

    Karkat glanced at the clock. It was close to nine o'clock. He knew he wouldn't have to hear anymore of this soon, so it was best to hold all his snark in, but he couldn't help it, “Kinda like you?”

    What did you just say to me?” There was a pause before his father said this. Karkat continued twirling the noodles, acting as if he hadn't said anything. Silence passed between the two and tension crackled above their heads like lightning during a summer storm.

    “I said, what the fuck did you just say to me?”

    The snark level was rising. Karkat was having too much fun, maybe it was best to start a fight with his father. Give him the anger he had long since held in. He put down his fork and faced his father, resting his elbows on the table and staring him in the eyes. They both had the same eyes, bright red ones, as they were an albino family.

    Karkat paused a little bit more before continuing, clearing his throat, and enunciating every word as obnoxiously as he could, “I said, kind. Of. Like. You.”

    His father stood abruptly, the chair screeching as it was pushed back. He looked down on his son as he shrugged and continued to eat.

    “You son of a bitch.” He said. Karkat said nothing again.

    “I hope you fucking rot in a hole alone, you piece of shit. You're nothing compared to me. Absolutely nothing. I wish you were never born. You were a goddamn accident. I can't believe you're my son, I should have kicked you out a long time ago.”

    Karkat could feel the anger bubbling inside him, but he remained silent. He stopped eating his spaghetti, staring intently at his plate as if it was a piece of famous artwork. His father leaned down. He got so close to Karkat's head, that he could feel his father's whiskey smelling breath rustle his white hair.

    “You should be dead already. Your life is a lie, so you might as well just give up.”

    That was it. That was the breaker right there. Karkat glanced quickly at the clock and knew now was the time to get up and get ready to die. He stood up, looking his father dead in the eyes. With absolutely no expression of anger or sadness, he bravely said, “Alright. If that's what you want for your little boy, I'll give you that.” He then turned his back on his father and walked to his bedroom.

    “Where the fuck do you think you're going?” His dad yelled behind him and Karkat turned to face him, glaring.

    “To die. You're welcome in advance, Dad.” And that was that. He left his father in silence and walked into his room, closing the door behind him and being enveloped in darkness again. As calmly as possible he gathered a length of rope from the back of his closet and tied it into noose. He had practiced tying them many times just for this night. And now his efforts were finally coming to fruition.

    He pulled his desk chair, which was just a regular dining chair, out from under his desk and put it underneath his ceiling light. He tied the end of the noose around his ceiling. He tied the knot tight to make sure it wouldn't slip and would hold his weight. He stood on top of his chair, satisfied with his work and proud. This was it. This was his final few moments. It felt good. He was sure no one would disturb him and he would go unnoticed.

    This was his third mistake. Karkat had forgotten his older brother Kankri would be coming to visit that evening. Kankri had arrived right on time, saying hello to his father in the dining room while Karkat did his work in tying his noose and preparing his death.

    Karkat grabbed the noose, feeling the rough and sandpaper texture of the rope before slipping it over his head. Kankri was walking towards his bedroom to say a greeting. Karkat positioned himself and was about to kick the chair from underneath him. Kankri opened his unlocked door.

    “Karkat, I've arriv- oh my goodness, Karkat what do you think you are doing!?” Karkat stumbled, slipping from the noose and crashing down to the floor. He screamed, attempting to drag himself up again only to find Kankri wrapping his arms around him and restraining him from doing anything.

    Karkat yelled, cursed, and flailed wildly, but his brother's grip was like iron. Through all the noises he was making, he could make out Kankri talking aloud to him in fragments.

    “How could you do this to our family-”

    “So selfish-”

    “What would mother and father think-”

    “This is awful-”

    “Didn't you even care to think about your family-”

    “People love you-”

    “You should have gotten help-”

    And then finally, he finished, “Karkat, why, oh why on Earth would you choose to do this?”

    Karkat had gained enough control of his voice to speak normally, “Because... Because I can't do it anymore, Kankri. I just can't do it anymore! I'm done, I'm so done. Please, just fucking take me out of my misery already, let me go, let me die. Let me die, I want to die. I don't deserve anything, I'm such a fucking failure. You can move on, you don't need me in your life. I'm just another waste of space. Please... Please.” He continued to curse as he realized warm tears were trailing down his cheeks. Eventually he managed to wriggle out of Kankri's grasp as it loosened and when he turned around to look at his brother, there was deep hurt in his own bright red eyes.

    “Karkat...” He started. Tears were running down his face as well. Karkat didn't want that. He wanted everyone to be glad he was gone. He didn't want people to have to worry about him anymore, especially his own brother. Kankri worried about him more than he gave him credit for. He always talked to Karkat online, either on Facebook or Skype. Some nights, when Karkat would rant and complain to him about how much he hated himself, Kankri would stay up and try his hardest to help him calm down. Most of the time it was unsuccessful, but he tried so hard to make Karkat feel better. He didn't care if it was a school night for him, or if he had college classes early in the morning, or even if he had to get work done. He would sacrifice all of this just for the sake of the wellbeing of his younger brother.

    There were many times Karkat would complain about his brother. As a matter of fact, he hated him because he always found him such a nuisance to talk to and only used him as a person to rant to just because he had no one else besides his father, who would most likely give two shits about how he felt, and call him a weak pussy or faggot for complaining about his life in the first place.

    This night was different. Karkat looked at Kankri's face, watery-eyed and streaked with tears, “Karkat, please listen to me. I don't want to lose my only brother.” He couldn't take it anymore, he fell right into Kankri's arms and sobbed as loud and hard as he could. He stained his brother's red sweater with tears and he wrapped his arms tightly around him, knowing that this person was the only one that offered a crutch. In that brink moment, drinking in the sharp scent of his brother, he realized how much he didn't want to die. He wasn't brave. He was a coward. He was afraid of death. By God, was he afraid. But he was still disappointed that he couldn't do it. That he ran away from it.

    “It's alright, it'll be alright. Hush.” Kankri rubbed his hands on Karkat's back, trying his best to comfort him and make him stop crying.

    At that moment his father walked in, “I heard shouting, what the hell is going on in here?” He stopped when he noticed the two brothers on the floor, Karkat weeping his heart out. He then noticed the noose swinging just slightly from its hanging position. His bushy eyebrows scrunched together.

    Kankri said nothing for a while, just continued to rub Karkat's back, but then, “I'm going to take Karkat to the hospital. I've decided he can't continue any longer like this. He needs professional help.” With that, Kankri hoisted Karkat up. His legs wobbled underneath him and Kankri took hold of his shoulder, helping him walk past his father and to his car he had parked in the guest parking lot. Karkat lived on the first floor, so it was easy to get out. His steps were slow while Kankri hurried, trying to get Karkat help as soon as possible. There were many times Kankri was dragging Karkat, urging in hushed tones to keep moving.

    Karkat had stopped crying by the time they were in the parking lot, searching for his brother's car. He was now staring ahead of him, his eyes glazed. He didn't know where he was or where he was going. He was still back in his bedroom, tying the noose around his neck. His stomach began to hurt and he felt bile rise in his throat. He stopped abruptly and vomited right where he stood.

    Kankri had gotten out of the way just in time, supporting Karkat as his knees grew even more wobbly, the vomiting continuing until Karkat had gotten everything out of his stomach.

    “Take it easy Karkat, come on.” Kankri said, continuing to move Karkat once he was finished. He didn't cry or anything afterwards and remained blank.

    They got to Kankri's car and he helped him into the passenger seat, putting on his seat belt for him and closing the door. Once he got into the driver's seat, they were off, Kankri going slightly above the speed limit, something he never did.

    The hospital wasn't far away, around five minutes at least, but Kankri rushed anyway. He was afraid Karkat would do something dangerous, such as unbuckle his seatbelt and jump out the car door. But Karkat remained in his position, staring at nothing in particular, his arms like jelly beside him. Kankri took one hand off the wheel and reached it over. He held Karkat's hand, and silently, he prayed for him.

    Kankri knew his brother wasn't religious at all, and he got angry whenever Kankri mentioned praying for his safety and health, but he did it generally in secret. He prayed for Karkat during his nightly prayers. He prayed for Karkat at church. He prayed for him while blessing his food for dinner, he prayed for him whenever he felt like he had to. He wanted Karkat to be safe, and he knew of his father's horrid ways. He knew his father was a terrible man, but he respected and loved him anyway because he was family.

    Once they got to the hospital Kankri quickly found a parking spot in front of the emergency entrance and got out to the passenger side, helping Karkat get out of the car. Again, he hoisted him along to the shortly distanced entrance, a neon side above the sliding doors spelling out “emergency” in big, bulky letters.

    Kankri went to the front desk right when they entered, and talked to a blond haired nurse behind the counter. She showed concern, seeing how distant Karkat looked.

    “Hello. My brother here tried to kill himself. He's suffered from depression in the past but has never gotten help. Is there anyone I can speak to, like right now?” He spoke with urgency, trying hard to act as calm as he could.

    “Is he badly hurt from his suicide attempt?” She asked, glancing at Karkat up and down. Other than the rope burn he had received from the noose, he was alright physically.

    “No. He appears to be unharmed. I just really need some help for him, I'm very frightened.” Kankri said, adding the last part as quickly as he could. If Karkat wasn't stunned at that particular moment, he would have noticed how Kankri openly announced his fear for his brother. He was terrified Karkat would run off to kill himself again, or at least be unable to be helped.

    “Yes, we'll call for someone from our mental ward right away to talk to him. He might be able to be admitted if his condition is severe enough.”

    “Alright, thank you so much, God bless you.” Kankri said, his voice breathy from relief. He would have broken down and cried right there, and almost did, if he wasn't holding Karkat.

    “Did you hear that, Karkat? You're going to get help. You're going to be just fine.” Kankri said, looking at his brother and hoping for some kind of reaction. Karkat remained transfixed on the fake marble counter in front of him, staring at the tiny white dots that littered the black surface.

    He ushered Karkat over to the waiting area after telling the nurse his name and sat him down in a chair. The place was packed with people, even though it was late at night, some wailing in pain, others silent and probably wishing to not be here. He looked at Karkat to make sure he wasn't going to get up and go anywhere. Out of the corner of his eyes, he noticed a policeman at the counter. The nurse was gesturing towards the both of them and the policeman moved closer to them, not close enough to be uncomfortale, but far away enough to know he was watching them both. Kankri knew it was a safety precaution for Karkat and that the people here were just as scared of him running off to kill himself. Feeling reassured someone else was looking after his younger brother, he closed his eyes, clasped his hands together, and continued to pray for Karkat.

    On the other hand, Karkat sat praying to have anything drastic happen to him, a heart attack, a stroke, a blood clot, anything. He was still back in his room and anticipating death with expecting hands wide open.

    They waited for the whole night. The nurses kept coming to reassure them they'd be receiving assistance soon, it was just the emergency room was busy. Eventually, Kankri had fallen asleep waiting for them while Karkat remained awake.

    Sooner or later, at around six-thirty in the morning, a nurse called for them and Kankri helped Karkat up. He was just starting to get a feel for where he was, but still wasn't quite sure if this was home or not. The only question was why. Why was he here?

    They were taken to a totally different set of rooms isolated from the other areas of the hospital. They looked like prison doors, all held under lock and key. They were led by the nurse to one room where people sat around a table, chatting quietly. They all appeared to be young adults. Most seemed to look normal, others appeared to look downright crazy.

    The nurse urged Karkat to sit somewhere and then left the two alone. Kankri took Karkat to the table and sat him down. Kankri looked around at the others. They stared back at him. Karkat stared at nothing in particular. There was one young man in the group that wasn't looking at the others as well. He was rocking back and forth, his hair matted and dirty. He scratched incessantly at his head. Pitying him, Kankri sent a quick prayer for him and remained next to Karkat, watching him intently. Police officers paced around the halls, sometimes standing around and making sure no one would run away.

    They remained silent as they waited. People shuffled in their seats and coughed seldomly. Nurses came and went inside the rooms, taking people with them. A man in another room was wailing loudly before someone shut him up. The police officer's continued to shuffle their feet as they observed everyone.

    After what seemed like forever, or at least an hour, a nurse arrived to take Karkat and Kankri to yet another room, this one also under lock and key, but with a single stretcher. It looked like a regular examination room. A man arrived in a white coat shortly after. He shook Kankri's hand, introducing himself as Dr. Wilkerson. Then, he looked expectantly over at Karkat who sat expressionless on the edge of the stretcher. Outside, through the squared glass window, you could see the head of a police man as he stood beside the door, making the already secure area even more secure. It made Karkat feel slightly imprisoned, even if his emotions so far were still out of whack.

    “I heard that your brother here tried to commit suicide. He's alright physically, am I correct?”

    Kankri nodded, “Yes you are correct on both terms.”

    Dr. Wilkerson sat down on the circular swivel chair beside the stretcher, looking at Karkat from eye level. Karkat seemed to not notice him, and he left no comments on the glazed look in his eyes.

    “Do you mind if I ask how he tried to kill himself?” Dr. Wilkerson suddenly spoke.

    “Not at all. He tried to hang himself.”

    “I see.” Dr. Wilkerson was now looking at the red mark around Karkat's neck. After a while of analyzing him, he spoke up again, “What's his name again? Carl?”

    “Karkat.” Kankri corrected.

    He nodded and reached out a hand, touching Karkat's shoulder, “Karkat?” He started.

    As if by some miracle, he responded. He sat up a little bit straighter, blinking, and then said in a low and husky voice, “Where am I?”

    Kankri gasped as he heard his brother talk, and Dr. Wilkerson answered him, “You're in the hospital, son. Do you know why you're here?”

    Karkat shook his head no, and he answered him, “You tried to kill yourself. Is there a reason why?”

    His eyes widened as he seemed to remember, “I hate myself.”

    Dr. Wilkerson had grabbed a clipboard from on the small desk beside Karkat and began to jot down some notes while asking more questions, “Why do you hate yourself?”

    Karkat spouted out a list, his voice becoming more audible, “I'm a failure, I'm no good, I'm fat, I'm ugly, I'm alone, Dad hates me, everyone hates me, I dropped out of high school because I couldn't face the stress, I'm a goddamn fucking coward who's afraid of everything. I hate myself. I hate myself!” He yelled his last sentence, but the expression on his face remained blank. However, he had a grip on the sides of the cot.

    Kankri started for him, concerned, but Dr. Wilkerson stopped him as he put down some more notes.

    “Karkat, have you ever participated in self-harm of any kind?”

    He paused for a moment, silent as he sat there, dull eyes showing no emotion of any kind. Kankri held his breath. Suddenly, there was movement, and Karkat's left hand went for his right sleeve of the black turtleneck sweater he was wearing. Slowly, he pulled it up to reveal deep slashes on his wrists and upper arms.

    “There's more.” He said, pointing towards his other arm, his stomach, his thighs, and then he pulled back the collar of his turtleneck to reveal small scars. Kankri covered his hand with his mouth, “Karkat.” He gasped, obviously shocked. Karkat paid no attention to him and continued staring ahead.

    “When did you start doing this?” Dr. Wilkerson asked.

    “Two years ago, and I haven't stopped.”

    “What about your suicidal thoughts? When did those begin, or was this your first time?”

    “Those started two years ago as well, and I've attempted it several times before.” He answered them as if they were no trouble. He was offered questions, he might as well answer them. It didn't matter in the long run. Karkat Vantas was still certain that he'd be sent home and he'd do it then. His fear of death mixed with his desire, however, and he felt conflicted. What was he even doing anymore?

    “Have you ever received or thought about help over this time period?”

    “No.”

    “Why?”

    He sighed, “Because I don't need it, and my dad never cared anyway.”

    “Is your father a major factor in why you feel you're suicidal?”

    “Definitely. He's given me shit for the longest time. There was never a day I went without being insulted or physically beaten.”

    Kankri spoke up again, “Karkat, you should have told someone about this. The police, me, your neighbors, someone. They would have been able to take care of him for you. He would have gotten into a lot of trouble.”

    Karkat would have gritted his teeth, but his face felt numb. Everything inside him felt like Jello. He didn't deserve help. He didn't deserve this. He wanted to go home. He wanted to go somewhere, anywhere but here.

    “I don't care.” Karkat said. He watched his older brother sigh and hang his head.

    “Alright, I think I've gathered all I need for you, Karkat, I'm going to speak with your brother now. Just sit tight and relax for a while, we'll be back shortly.” Dr. Wilkerson stood and ushered Kankri outside. Karkat remained there thinking. He thought about death. He thought about the idea often but now he was as intrigued as ever, hoping and wishing by some miracle he would die right that instant. By his own hand, by someone else's hand, by a force of nature. It didn't matter, just as long as he wouldn't remain living afterwards.

    It was a while before they came back, this time Dr. Wilkerson had some paperwork in his hands, and Kankri seemed a tad distressed, but hopeful. Maybe they were going to put him out of his misery at last.

    The doctor sat down on the swivel chair again, once more facing Karkat in the eyes, “Karkat, would you like to get help?” He asked.

    Karkat blinked. He swallowed. He licked his lips. He cleared his throat, but didn't say anything. Ever so slightly, he nodded yes, but only because he knew if he said no they would force him into this thing he probably didn't want. And maybe the help was actually dying. Maybe they would overdose him on some sort of drug. It was a painless way to go and Karkat supported the idea of morphine overhaul.

    Kankri reacted immediately, “Oh, thank goodness, Karkat!” He wrapped his arms around his brother, crying tears of joy. Karkat wished he could do the same thing, but he just sat there, emotionless and wanting the whole world to go away.

    Dr. Wilkerson handed him a paper to sign, which he did so, all the while Kankri hugging him and blabbering nonsense, “Karkat, you're going to be alright. You're going to get help, I promise. They'll look after you well.” He then continued to babble to God, thanking Him for answering his prayers and looking after his brother. Dr. Wilkerson said a nurse was coming by to get Karkat immediately, and asked Kankri to get a change of clothes for him. Kankri did as he was told and said to Karkat that he would be back soon with a suitcase.

    Karkat didn't understand what he needed clothes for. Was he going to be staying here for a couple nights? What for? What did he get himself into? Anxiety bubbled up in his stomach and he cursed his past self for being an idiot and not saying no. Feeling the anxiety made Karkat notice his numbness was gradually going away. Although he still wanted to be back in his room, it wasn't as bad as before.

    A nurse came, asking him if he was ready, and he just replied that his brother was still getting his clothes. She nodded and waited with him. Twenty minutes passed and he arrived, a tad breathless, but carrying a suitcase. He said he'd carry his stuff for him and the nurse then guided the both of them to an elevator, where she pushed the button for the third floor.

    Once they got there, and the doors to the elevator opened, Karkat saw a circular counter in the middle, with two wings on either side and one behind. Behind them, the elevator closed with a click and he turned around to see a card slot was positioned below the up and down buttons. A hidden stairwell was beside the elevator, bolted heavily. Another policeman stood by it, eying Karkat. When Karkat faced forward and looked around, he noticed security cameras littered nearly every corner of the walls. He felt watched and uncomfortable, his freedom stripped from him.

    She stopped the two in front of the counter and turned to face them. She briefly talked to Kankri about this place, which Karkat paid no mind too as he was looking at his surroundings. There appeared to be rooms down the right and left wings, and even more rooms in the hallway in front of him, but they were sparse and avid chatter was coming from the ones there. There were many nurses walking around, talking to people who seemed to not have a clue as to what was going on. There was one man that sat slouched against the wall, talking to a nurse about how he can see God in patterns on tile floors and Satan in the hearts of everyone in the hospital.

    A light bulb went off in Karkat's head, and he realized he had been placed in a mental ward. His hands began to shake as he was shocked with this revelation. He wasn't crazy, he just wanted to die. Why was he here? How could this place help him? It just might make him hate his life even more, just to realize that he was crazy enough to be placed here with the schizophrenics and psychotically deranged.

    Kankri and the nurse finished talking and he handed Karkat his suitcase, “You be well, Karkat. I know you'll receive help and feel better in no time.” He hugged him tightly while Karkat stood there with his arms side by side, one holding the suitcase, “The Lord and I will be looking after you, and I'll pray for you everyday, even though I know you don't want me too. I really feel it helps. I'll be checking up on you whenever I can, alright? Maybe I can make Father pitch in as well.” He stopped hugging him and kissed his forehead in a friendly manner. Finally, he stepped back, sighed, and waved farewell before the policeman helped him open the elevator door with his own card, and he disappeared behind the elevator doors.

    The nurse ushered Karkat along as she showed him around the place. She first told him where everything was in the north wing, which was where the cafeteria and activity room were located. She explained that in the activity room, you could read, draw, write, play music-as there was musical instruments in there-, do arts and crafts, and pretty much other sedentary hobbies. It was also where most people hung out to talk to one another and make friends.

    While she explained all this, Karkat stared at two teenagers, the first ones he had seen here besides himself, talk together. There was a short blond boy wearing aviator sunglasses and a tall and very skinny black-haired boy with dichromatic eyes and oval framed glasses. They spoke in hushed tones, the blond boy sometimes making quick glances and slight gestures of his shoulders at Karkat. He narrowed his eyes. The nurse then urged him onwards towards the west wing, where she told him his room would be.

    As they stopped by his room, the nurse explained to him the rules of his room, which were no electronics, which he was searched for before he came here, no locked doors, lights off at ten, and to always answer the door if it is knocked on.

    Karkat was barely listening, as he was looking straight past the nurse to a boy with messy black hair and large square glasses, possibly younger than him, hiding half his face behind the wall that connected the north wing to the west wing, and staring intently at Karkat. His eyes were the most striking feature and contrasted greatly with his pale skin. His eyes were literally oceans, and Karkat found himself swimming in their depths as they locked gazes. They burned into him, piercing. The nurse turned when she figured out Karkat wasn't listening to her and the boy looked like he was about to disappear, when she noticed him.

    “Ah, there he is!” She smiled and ushered him over and he slowly walked with stiff legs towards them. Though he was younger than Karkat, he was certainly taller than him. At least by three inches. The nurse placed a hand on his shoulder as she introduced him, “Karkat, this is John Egbert! He'll be your roommate during your stay here. John, this is Karkat Vantas. Say hello you two!” She stepped back and John immediately grinned the widest and toothiest smile Karkat had ever seen. His eyes instantly brightened, and he grabbed Karkat's hand, shaking fiercely in an iron grip, “Hi Karkat! I'm John, but I guess you already know that because the nurse told you.” He then proceeded to laugh the most obnoxious giggle ever. Karkat would have plugged his ears, if John had let go of his hand.

    Karkat didn't know why, but that smile was, quite frankly, disturbing. It was such an odd and out of place thing to see, especially in a place like this. Finally, he let go of Karkat's hand, and stood there bouncing on his heels and just being overly excited. Karkat looked at him, wondering why the fuck he was dancing around and being happy. He looked like an idiot. Either that, or he was so crazy, that he had snapped and turned into... This. Karkat hoped he would never get that far into insanity because of this dump.

    “I'll leave you two alone. Karkat, if you need anything, don't be afraid to come to the main counter and ask for help.” She left them to talk and Karkat silently wished she would come back and save him from this weirdo. His head began to hurt at the thought of him being his roommate. Hopefully he wouldn't be this ecstatic during the night.

    “Well, I gotta put my stuff up.” Karkat said, opening the door to a white-walled room with two twin-sized beds on either side. A window was in the middle of the two beds, a small wooden desk beneath it. A bathroom was situated on the other side, providing a toilet, a sink with a mirror, and a shower. It was rather cozy for a mental ward, except for the fact that there were prison bars over the window, and a security camera hidden in the corner of one one of the walls.

    “That's alright, I'll just hang around while you're doing that!” John said, following Karkat inside, and then flopping on the bed on the right, bouncing up and down before sitting still and dangling his legs over the edge. Karkat rolled his eyes, wished he would go and do something else, and placed his suitcase on the bed on the left, guessing it was his if John had taken the other one.

    He unpacked his other three black sweaters and two pairs of jeans. He only had one pair of shoes, which were the ones he was currently wearing.

    “You can put your clothes underneath the bed to store!” John suggested just as Karkat was doing the same thing. He glared annoyingly at John, “Don't you see me fucking bending down and reaching underneath the bed? You should get stronger glasses.”

    Instead of getting offended, he seemed totally oblivious to the fact that Karkat had made fun of him, and he laughed that same obnoxious, loud laugh. Karkat grumbled, closing his empty suitcase and placing it on the floor beside his bed.

    Once John had gotten a hold of himself he spoke up, “Hey Karkat, do you arm wrestle?” He cracked his knuckles as Karkat faced him to answer. Every crack made him flinch, and slightly annoyed him to the point where he wanted to ask John to stop.

    “Does it look like I fucking arm wrestle? I'm a fat piece of shit.” He motioned towards his body, pointing out the obvious chubbiness he possessed.

    “Oh, want to arm wrestle with me anyway? It's fun even if you don't have skill. Who knows, maybe you have a hidden talent for it!” He giggled, thankfully not as loud as the ones before, and looked at Karkat pleadingly.

    Karkat sighed, “Fine. Just one time, though, okay?” Truth was, Karkat hated arm wrestling just because his father would arm wrestle with him all the time and laugh in his face and make him feel bad whenever he lost. It brought bad memories generally and Karkat didn't want to embarrass himself in front of this person he just met.

    “Yay!” John said and motioned for Karkat to sit across from him and lay his arm of choice on the bedside table. John laid his left hand on the table, Karkat laid his right one. They grasped hands, John's palms surprisingly very cold. Though he was pale, it contrasted against Karkat's even paler skin. John seemed to notice this and smiled, “Oh cool! You're an albino!”

    Karkat sighed, “Yes, wow, I'm so incredible. I get sunburns easier than you and sometimes have to wear sunglasses outside to protect my sensitive as fuck eyes. It's a very nice life, I must admit.”

    “It's so awesome, I think! My friend here wears sunglasses, but I don't think he's an albino. He just wears them because he thinks he's cool.” Karkat raised an eyebrow, wondering if John was talking about the guy he had seen on the tour.

    “Anyway! I'm going to count to three and then we're both gonna start, okay?” John instructed. Karkat nodded.

    “Okay... One, two-” John didn't even say three before he pushed down with all his strength on Karkat's unsuspecting hand and it was immediately slammed down on the table before Karkat could even utter an expletive of some sort.

    “Yes! I won! I am the champion of arm wrestling, it is me!” John congratulated himself, throwing his hands up in the air and smirking slyly. Karkat wanted to rip that look off of his face. His boiling rage spilled out and he began to scream at John.

    YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT, JOHN. YOU CHEATED, I CALL A GODDAMN RE-MATCH YOU SON OF A BITCH.” He was red in the face from humiliation and John only started to laugh, his obnoxious howls bouncing off the walls of the room. He was having some sort of laughing fit on the bed, rolling around and trying to breathe in a gulp of air.

    “Oh my God, I can't breathe! I can't breathe! Ah, my stomach hurts!” He continued to laugh anyway, no matter how much pain he was in.

    “Goddammit, Egbert! I'm being fucking serious! You better stop laughing before I shove my foot up your ass!”

    John wiped his tears of laughter away and began to waggle his eyebrows at him, “Oh, Karkat, I'm not really into that kind of stuff.” He smirked and Karkat was so close to actually physically punching him.

    Karkat sighed, wondering how on Earth this stupid, dorky kid would land himself in such a serious place as this mental ward. He looked completely normal, at least a little bit. As Karkat watched him try to gain back his breath, he couldn't help but feel... Odd. About this guy. There was just something off about him, and it made Karkat uneasy. It also made him wonder what the fuck must have happened to him to make him arrive here.

    However much he thought about him, Karkat was oblivious to the fact that this kid would eventually destroy his life for good.

    it gets more interesting i promis e

    chapters will be updated weekly usually on weekends
    Last edited by an illegible mess.; 16th October 2013 at 06:01 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: the existentialist {a homestuck/humanstuck fan-fiction}

    im s o SORRY I VE BEEN PUTTING THIS ON ARCHIVEOFOUROWN AND NOT ON HERE I AM SORR Y okay i am back i will post this regularly i am up to chapter four rn

    im not even gonna bother with italics this time around too lazy



    chapter;; o2

    He craved blood.

    He craved it so bad.

    Why was it so hard to just plunge the knife in and do it? Why was he hesitating? Why?

    “It's right there you fucking moron, fucking do it you piece of shit.” He was whining to himself through clenched teeth, tears streaming down his face. The knife was poised above his wrists. If he just moved it, just moved the serrated edge across his delicate flesh he could release what he wanted.

    But he sat there.

    And he couldn't fucking do it.

    “Whiny crybaby piece of shit fucking dumbass fuck.” He hissed, his hands shaking, yelling at himself. He was scared of himself. A side of him was telling him to calm down, to not act this way. He had to stop being violent. They'd take him away. He knew that. He'd seen it on television. People like him were monsters, he was a monster.

    “Do it you piece of shit, fucking do it.” His knees got wobbly, threatening to fall to the tile floor in a knocking, shivering mess. He couldn't do that again, he was done with it. Done. He just had to get this out, had to receive it, had to feel it. Pain felt so good. It felt so good... Fuck why was he doing this to himself oh my God, please stop, just stop please please please.

    “No.” The knife was placed on his upturned wrist. It was cold and pricked slightly. He could see his blue veins bulge just slightly. He hated the color blue. He hated how his father bought him blue shirts and blue furniture and blue everything. He hated his blue eyes. He hated everything about himself. He wanted to see himself covered in red from head to toe, bleeding out from every slashing wound on his body, intestines spilling, brains splattered all over the ground, teeth knocked out, limbs broken in two. He shivered. It was pleasurable. He was scared. He didn't know why.

    He would have stopped himself, but he wasn't a coward. He did it. He pierced his skin and let the blood wash over his arm. He screamed, liking the pain. Embracing it. It felt so good. He did another mark, and another, and another. He was thankful his parent wasn't around, otherwise they'd find out. People like him get taken away for things like this.

    Blood was spilling all over the ground. It was so pretty. He loved it. He wanted to continue but he was getting woozy. He had already made multiple slices across his wrists, it was time to stop. He put the knife in the sink beside him and washed his wounds, letting it sting. He climbed into the bathtub and laid there, his wrist continuing to bleed. He smiled. And then frowned.

    He was conflicted.

    He didn't like this, not really. He didn't want this. Why did he just do that?

    “Oh my God, I'm so fucked up.” He mumbled. Ocean blue eyes dull, but wide. The bags under them seemed to be deeper. They stared at nothing in front of him. He felt sick. He wanted to vomit.

    He did eventually, leaning forward and vomiting into the bathtub drain. He felt tired. He needed to rest. A nagging feeling kept tugging him in the side and he didn't know what it was. But he was frightened. He was so frightened. He laid back against the cool porcelain and closed his somber eyes.

    The Existentialist slept uneasy that night.

    ***


    The sheets underneath Karkat were stained dirty with cold sweat. He tossed back and forth in his sheets, the smell of cheap lavender detergent tickling his nose and irritating the insides. His fingers scrabbled on the sheets in frantic flurries of jerky movements. Karkat Vantas was having one rough night.

    He didn't know why he had woken up in tears, screaming quietly and wishing he was back home. He didn't like being here. Something nagged at him to run away, but it was impossible in this state of imprisonment.

    He hated this place. He hated the people, even John, who just pestered him all day about hanging out with him in the activity room, in which he declined every time.

    He had taken a shower a bit before the lights were off at ten in the ward. He stood there, sifting in the aroma of hospital soap smelling of nursing homes. He would watch the steam rise to the top, curl around, become wisps of gas. The water burned hot at his back, enough to make him feel sticky and gross even if he was clean.

    The best part about being in the shower, was that no one could see or hear him cry.

    And he knew in the shower that someday he would die. But, of course, everyone dies. The thing is, not everyone dies by their own hands.

    He had no hope. No optimism. No faith. He was going to die by his own hands someday.

    And just the thought of it now, conflicted as to why he couldn't just get it over with already, made him angrier and angrier as he shifted the sheets and kicked and punched at invisible enemies, wishing they were all images of himself to beat bloody.

    Why was he so fearful of death when it itself was what he wished for throughout his whole life?

    “Someone please help me... Please just take me out of my misery, please... Oh my God, I can't do it. I can't do it. I just can't.” He started to curse in mumbles as he realized tears were rolling down his cheeks and he was talking out loud, his voice reaching just above a choking, quivering whimper.

    While he was sleeping he had a nightmare. It had Kankri in it, and Kankri was taken away by someone or something... On the crest of a wave, through a crack in the earth, a current in a river. All Karkat knew was that he was gone and it was the worst part. He hated these dreams. He had them all the time about the people he really cherished in his life. Most of the time, the people involved in these dreams did leave eventually.

    He cried louder at this thought and sank underneath the covers hoping to muffle his sobs. It didn't work. There was rustling on the other side of the room.

    “... Karkat?” John's delirious slur of words made Karkat immediately turn quiet and sink even further into his bed.

    He uttered no sound, but John continued, “Is everything okay? You sounded like you were crying.” He sounded very concerned. Not normal concern, but it was like Karkat was his long time friend or family member.

    Why did he even talk in the first place? Why did he utter anything from his mouth? Once he started, he couldn't stop, and before he knew it he was uncovering himself and babbling nonsense into his pillow already stained wet with his tears, “I just... I just can't take it anymore. I don't want to be here, I don't want to be anywhere. I want to go away somewhere and just never come back. I want to die, John. I wish I was dead. I wish I hadn't been a fucking coward and just tied that rope around my neck right when shit started to go downhill. I fucking hate myself. I'm a stupid fucking coward who deserves to die. I didn't even deserve to be born, I was a goddamn accident anyway. Fuck, I hate myself. Fuck me. Fuck everyone. Fuck the whole world. Fuck, fuck, fuck!”

    Karkat beat against his pillow, fists balled up tight, whitening his knuckles. He let out racking sobs that shook his whole body and his eyes were waterfalls. He stomach twisted and turned with anxiety and he soon began to hyperventilate. He didn't understand. He was confused. He just didn't know what to do anymore.

    Violent rustling began on the opposite side, and feet landed on the floorboards. Quick light footsteps made their way towards Karkat's bed, and all of a sudden his mattress sagged on the side facing John. Arms wrapped around him, a head was placed on his shoulder. He was squeezed against John's chest tightly as he murmured words of encouragement in his ear.

    “Please don't feel this way, Karkat. You're gonna feel better someday, you'll see! I know it may not seem like the people here will help you, but they will! Including me. I'm always here for you if you need anything, okay? I just... I really hate seeing people upset because it makes me upset and then I end up feeling bad too. Everyone deserves to be happy, because happiness is what makes life worth living, you know?”

    Gradually, as Karkat listened, he felt himself calming down just a smidgen. He continued to cry into John's shoulder as he rubbed his back and shushed him. Just the fact that someone was here, close to Karkat, and touching him, reassuring him physically, made him feel a lot better. It was something he never really got besides with Kankri, who just hugged him every now and then and was away because of college most of the time. John was gentle enough to not scare Karkat even more, and distanced enough to not really invading personal space. Besides his chest and arms, his legs and lower torso was not brushed against Karkat at all. And it was nice. It made Karkat know someone was still there to catch him and comfort him.

    The sobs turned into sniffles as fifteen minutes rolled by. Karkat's head was pounding and his throat was sore from all the crying. The exhaustion from tossing and turning and finally crying made him sleepy, and his eyelids began to droop. Slowly, John unraveled his hands from Karkat's back and began to rise to return to his bed, but Karkat grabbed his wrist in a weak and shaky grip.

    He was half asleep by then, mumbling through the haze of sleep and semi-consciousness. His words were barely audible and raised above a whisper, and most of the time he was mouthing them through chapped and tired lips.

    “John... Don't go... Stay... Everyone leaves me...” His eyes were hardly even open and blinked lazily, looking somewhat glassy. John stared straight at him, ocean eyes glinting with a faint, yet mysterious light. He nodded his head and laid back down beside Karkat who was snoring in a couple minutes. John smiled faintly and fell asleep soon after.

    By morning's light, the two would both choose to forget this night ever even happened.

    ***


    Karkat stood by himself in the cafeteria, his eyes glancing around at the others sitting before him. He didn't know where he belonged here.

    It was a place where you could sit anywhere, which was a major problem for Karkat, always liking the idea of assigned seats so you knew where you sat and you could ignore the people you sat with either way. There were no conflicted emotions, no fear of someone noticing you eat alone.

    In truth, he was probably just waiting for John to get out of the line, which stretched out of the doorway leading to the kitchen, smelling of gross slop and nearly inedible hospital food.

    As he looked around, his eyes locked with the teenage boy he had seen before with bright blond hair. His shades held back any kind of emotion he was trying to convey in his eyes, but one of his fingers drew up and he beckoned for Karkat to come closer.

    He was hesitant at first, untrustworthy after all the bully shit he faced in middle and parts of high school. He shuffled forward a couple inches. The kid beckoned even more, now using his whole hand to push Karkat over to where he sat.

    Putting his fears away, Karkat walked all the way over to him, stopping next to him, hands in his jeans pockets and averting his eyes. He was sitting with the other kid Karkat had seen him talking to. They both didn't have food trays in front of them, and just seemed to be sitting around and enjoying themselves.

    “Um...” Karkat stumbled. He didn't know what to say. What was a good greeting? A good conversation starter?

    “Yo, hey, so uh, I saw you standing over there by yourself and you seemed pretty chill so that's why I invited you over here. You're new to this place, right?” The boy had started the conversation and Karkat felt slight relief at the fact.

    “Yeah, I'm new...” He trailed off. He hated conversations. He hated talking to people. He was going to slip up, he knew it.

    “Sit down, there's no use standing.” The boy pointed to the seat across from him and Karkat obediently did as he was told.

    Sitting across from him was just as awkward as standing up next to him. His hands remained in his pockets and his eyes stared straight at the fake wood surface of the table.

    “So, what brings you here? Not everyone gets to the crazy house in their lifetime, haha.” He chuckled a bit. Karkat was a bit confused. He didn't even know his name, but he wanted to know his story?

    “I tried to kill myself.” He replied bluntly. He looked up to see the boy was nodding.

    “Yeah, that can get you here in a flash. My bro found my stash of razors and here I am.” He didn't even seemed bothered by the fact he was spilling out something meant as a secret.

    Karkat looked at the other kid who was looking at his lap. He then realized he was fiddling with something underneath the table. Sounds of grainy, 8-bit noises were heard over the silence of a dying conversation.

    “They don't allow you to play video games or have electronics here, you know.” Karkat said. He didn't mean to bust the boy, he was just saying it in a matter-of-fact manner. The kid looked up at him, his dichromatic eyes shining with irritation behind the oval lenses of his glasses.

    “Oh WOW, obviously I am playing a video game and obviously they're not allowed. Woops, I'm doing something wrong, I feel bad. Wrong, I don't give a shit.” He spoke with a slight lisp and Karkat had to refrain from laughing. He put a hand over his mouth and looked away. The lisping kid only seemed to get angrier.

    “Oh, so you think my lisp is fucking funny? You want to go?” Karkat could feel his eyes burn into him and he eventually gained control. The other kid stepped in.

    “Whoa, whoa, Sollux, calm down, man.” He placed a hand on his friend's shoulder, who looked back at his game, apologizing immediately.

    “Fuck, sorry.” His thumbs beat against the buttons of his gaming system fiercely.

    Karkat spotted John out of the corner of his eye. He headed towards the table. Sollux moved one seat over from Dave and John sat between them, placing his tray on the table and digging his spork into whatever glob of food he had on the white styrofoam.

    “Hi!” He said before shoveling a mouthful of the mysterious substance into his mouth. He chewed rather slowly, swallowing carefully.

    “Yo, John. How's it going?” Dave raised his hand for a high-five, which John returned right away.

    “Wait, John, you know this guy?” Karkat asked, raising an eyebrow, then feeling stupid because he realized John had talked about “a friend with shades” the other day.

    “Yeah, this is Dave Strider! He's really cool. I'm glad you guys are talking to each other! Dave, this is Karkat Vantas, he's my new roommate.” He gestured towards Dave and then continued to chow down on his food. Karkat and Dave stared at each other. Dave was smiling, Karkat was frowning.

    Dave then turned to John, “What the hell is that?” He pointed towards the slop on John's plate. He paused for a moment, chewing thoughtfully before answering, “I think it's supposed to be grits? It's pretty good.”

    Dave's face twisted in disgust, “Your taste in food is just as worse as your taste in movies, dude.”

    “It is not! You're just jealous of Nic Cage's fine acting skills.” John retorted with a smug grin. Dave scoffed.

    “Sure, okay. Who even introduced you to Cage movies anyway? That guy is a massive douche, in my opinion.”
    “Oh! My-” John paused in his response, spork raised midway to his mouth. He seemed to be frozen for a second, staring at the pile of food shoveled onto the curve in the the spork, “My... Dad...” He was quiet in his response, as if he was indecisive about the fact.

    “Wow. Your dad has horrible taste as well. Like father, like son I suppose.” He tapped his fingers against the table, smirking to himself. John fidgeted restlessly beside him, already putting down his eating utensil and gripping his knees under the table.

    “Did your old man happen to be cuckoo as well? I mean I'm not trying to be offensive, but you know what TV can do to you.” Karkat was stunned at all of Dave's taunting. If he was his friend, why was he being such an asshole? He himself was offended, even if his father was an idiot and hated him, he'd protect his family's name. He looked over at John and sank a bit in his seat out of fear.

    John's hands were on the table, balled into tight fists. He was still averting his gaze from Dave, but from what Karkat could see, his eyes were wide open, pupils dilated. He was shaking. He abruptly stood from his seat.

    “Dave, don't you dare talk about my father like that.” Normally, John's voice had a hint of bubbliness to it, but this time, it was close to a growl. There was no squeakiness, no hint of a giggle. It was sincere, cold, and intimidating.

    Dave laughed. He laughed like John was telling a joke, “Come on, John! I'm not being serious, lighten up a little!” He slapped his hand down on his knees and cackled some more.

    John turned and grabbed Dave by the collar of his shirt. He stopped laughing. John was staring straight at him, and even though Dave's eyes were covered, Karkat could sense the fear coming from him. John looked absolutely unlike himself. He was so angry it was scary. His eyes were still wide, and his jaw was locked, lip slightly moving as if to part in a snarl.

    “Shut up.” He hissed towards Dave, who struggled in John's grip.

    “Come on, John. Let me go, please. I-I'm sorry, okay! We're all friends here, alright?” John didn't seem to be listening to Dave's pleas for peace in the cafeteria. His other hand began to raise, still balled up into a fist.

    “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Karkat stood up, bumping his knee on the table in his haste to get out of his seat and stop John from starting a fist-fight. He grabbed John from behind, trying to pry him off. The minute he touched John, he screamed, letting go of Dave and now struggling against Karkat, who had to dodge his arms as they flailed around wildly. Sollux stood up and helped him out as well. A nurse heard the commotion and ran over, taking John from Sollux and Karkat's hands.

    “Come on, John, let's go to your room. You haven't taken your medication today, have you?” She coaxed John as she dragged him by one arm. He screamed and jerked against her grip, yelling out things that didn't make a lick of sense to Karkat, and yelling apologies for some reason. He didn't know if he was saying sorry for starting the fight, or if he was saying it because of something else. Karkat felt himself shiver, and not because it was cold in the cafeteria.

    He looked back at Dave, who was being looked over by Sollux, “You okay Strider?” He asked, placing his hand on his shoulder and looking at him directly in his shaded eyes. He nodded, and added shakily, “Yeah, I'm fine.”

    They both got up and retreated out of the cafeteria. Karkat had hardly noticed it had grown quiet inside because of the tension stirred up by John. Gradually, the chatter of conversation started up again as he stood there, furrowing his brow. His curiosity about John had grown stronger.

    He finally walked out of the cafeteria, heading to his room. The same nurse that had taken John back to their room passed by him as he entered the left wing. She stopped him for a moment.

    “Karkat, I want you to watch John for me, alright? I've managed to calm him down but I just need someone to make sure he stays calm. If he does act up again and you can't control him, please call for help, alright?”

    Karkat nodded and she smiled at him, patting him on the right shoulder and then continuing to walk to the nurses desk. He went down the hall and stopped at his room, opening it slowly.

    “John?” He called, looking into the room. He wasn't on either of the beds. However, the bathroom door was closed and light was emanating from the crack between the floor and the door. He went towards it and opened the door slowly, peering in to find John at the edge of the far wall, curled up into a ball.

    He didn't look up when Karkat entered and closed the door behind him. He sat there, not making a sound.

    “Are you alright?” Karkat asked. He knelt down on the floor, letting his knees rest against the cool tile. John said nothing, but shook his head no.

    After several minutes of silence passed, he looked up at Karkat. He stared back, noticing for the first time the bags under John's eyes; how tired and defeated his eyes looked, ocean blue dulled to the deepest parts of the sea. In that moment, Karkat could point out the other things about John; the healed scars on his wrists and arms, white lines not hiding the secret behind how they got there. His hair was disheveled not just because of the multiple cowlicks he had, but because he didn't seem to care, because his life was a whirlwind of problems. In this one, particular second Karkat felt a spark inside of him.

    “Are you here to make fun of Daddy too?” He asked. Karkat's eyes widened slightly. He didn't say father, he didn't say dad, he didn't even say papa. He called his male guardian daddy. It was such an innocent, childlike title and it made Karkat realize how defiled this kid must be. He was still a kid, no matter if he was an older teenager. As he continued to stare into his eyes he could see the anger, the guilt bunched up inside there, wanting to spill out. Something horrible must have happened to make a boy as cheerful as him to land here.

    “No, no. I'm not, I promise. I just wanted to ask what happened back there. You just seemed really troubled and I wanted to know why.”

    John remained blank and emotionless, his mouth just one thin line on his face. He seemed to be processing the information he was just asked. Instead of answering, however, he dug his face back into his folded arms.

    “Piss off.” He whispered. Karkat remained. John grabbed at the fabric of his shorts.

    “Well, what are you still here for? Go away!” Even if his voice was muffled, the anger was still present. Karkat nodded and stood up, apologizing with the outstretch of his hands.

    “Alright, I'm leaving.” He backed out of the room, closing the door.

    After a couple minutes of staring at the bad paint job, he leaned his ear against the door and listened intently. He scrunched up his face in frustration as he heard quiet sobs come from inside. He didn't know why he felt angry about the fact that John was sad. Actually, he was pretty pissed at Dave in the long run for making John react like that. He felt as if he was John's parent, looking after him and protecting him, and he had just met him a day ago.

    It wasn't as if he liked the guy. He could hardly stand him most of the time. All he would talk about was Ghostbusters, Nicolas Cage, bad video games, and how much he hated Betty Crocker brand name items. He was a huge dork. He hated him.

    … Did he really hate him?

    A knock on the door alerted him from his thoughts, “Who is it?” He called.

    “Ah yes I'm looking for a Kitkat Vantese. Is he here?” The obvious slaughter of his name and fast-paced way of talking instantly made Karkat know that it was Dave at the door. He sighed and opened it up, holding back the urge to blow up in his face about John.

    “What?” He asked. Dave was smiling, already seeming to forget his ordeal with John earlier.

    “Yo, hey, how are you and John doing?” He asked. Something else other than that was on his mind. Karkat narrowed his eyes.

    “John's kind of... Well, let's just say he's probably not fit for talking with you just yet. He doesn't want anyone to bother him right now, not even me.”

    “Oh, really? That's too bad.” Dave was only half-smiling now, and Karkat sighed.

    “You know, you were a huge asshole back there. I bet he won't talk to you for a couple days at least. You made fun of his father, which is a huge sore subject for him, obviously. I only met the guy yesterday and I knew that the minute he looked troubled that he brought up his dad.”

    Dave rubbed the nape of his neck, looking sideways, “Yeah, I was being a dick back there, wasn't I? I'll apologize to him later. Give him some space, like he probably wants right now. Hey, you want to hang in my room with Sollux? We're kinda bored.”

    Karkat blinked. This was the first time he had been invited to anything, even if it was just a room in the mental ward. He nodded in acceptance and Dave's smile returned. He dragged Karkat down the hall to the right wing, who yelled at him to let go of his hand the whole way. He thought Dave was a huge douche, but he was interesting all the same.

    They arrived at a room near the beginning of the hallway in the right wing. Dave opened the door and pushed Karkat, who stood hesitantly at the entrance, inside. He shot a glance at Dave who just shrugged.

    Immediately when he stepped in, he tripped over a huge cord on the ground. Cursing, he managed to stay on his feet and look around. The whole floor was strewn with black wires, crisscrossing this way and that. Carefully, he tiptoed across the room, not wanting to step on a major wire that if messed with could cause this whole side of town to lose power.

    The man in charge of these cords, was Sollux, who was laying on his bed, typing furiously away on a laptop computer. Karkat didn't realize his mouth was open in shock until Dave came up behind him and tapped his chin, forcing him to close his mouth.

    “How...” He gasped. He didn't even know where to begin.

    Sollux looked up as he heard him, smiling, “Oh, I've got multiple tricks up my sleeves.”

    “But... What if the nurses... I mean, those people that come in our rooms to draw blood everyday-”

    “Their problem is using an electronic system to see which patients they have checked and haven't checked. I hacked into the system they use to mark our room as already seen.”

    Karkat pointed towards the security camera in the corner of the room, “The security cameras-”

    Sollux laughed, rather loudly, “Oh that's easy! I hacked the security camera for our room to change it to different past intervals of either no occupancy, or the both of us,” he nodded to Dave, “sleeping.” He grinned, seeming proud of himself, “Why, you want me to hack yours?”

    “No, I-”

    “On it.” The furious typing ensued, and in just a few minutes, Sollux started talking again, “Okay, I only have one clip of the both of you sleeping because you arrived yesterday, I'll just use-” Some clicking ensued, “And done! Now you can successfully jerk off without anyone watching you. Well, I guess you could do it in the shower or something... But when you gotta do it, you gotta do it I suppose.” He placed his laptop off his lap and swung his legs over the edge of the bed watching Dave and Karkat.

    “So, why'd you bring this guy, Dave?” He asked, now eying Dave more than Karkat.

    “I have a fucking name, you know.” Karkat hissed before Dave could answer. Sollux shot him a look.

    “Alright, KK.” He answered and Dave laughed in the background. Karkat ignored him and glowered at Sollux for the pet name he had received.

    Once Dave had quit his chuckling, which took several minutes of Karkat passing aggravated glares at both of the boys, he spoke up, “I was thinking maybe we could eat at Sushi Joe's tonight or something? Man, I've got a feeling that that crazy clown might be there.”

    Now instead of looking pissed off at the both of them, Karkat was switching looks of sheer confusion between them, “You mean, get out of the mental ward? Are you guys fucking insane? How is that even possible, it's secure on all angles!”

    Sollux didn't even consider Karkat's words and looked thoughtful, “Sure, we can go to Sushi Joe's. Last time GZ said he'd be there, so.” He stood up and stretched.

    “Wait, you guys are serious? We're actually sneaking out.”

    Dave crossed his arms, “You don't have to come if you don't want to. Besides, it's not like this is our first time getting out of here. Yo, anyway, you wanna ask John real quick if he wants to come along? I know he probably won't but I just want to make sure.”

    Karkat rolled his eyes, “Alright, fine. I'm still coming, but mostly just to make sure you dumb fucks don't get caught and bail you out when you do.”

    He left the room without another sound and walked quickly down the hall, his movements brisk, back straightened. Slowly, he opened the door to his room, stepping inside. The lights were off and John was sleeping in his bed, a couple tufts of black hair just sticking out from underneath the covers.

    “John? I don't know if you're awake, and I'm sorry for disturbing you, but Strider was wondering if you would like to come along with Sollux and I to a sushi place tonight?” Karkat expected John to be asleep, but there was movement as John slowly pulled the covers over him, concealing every inch of his body.

    “I'll... Take that as a no then. Sorry for bothering you.” Karkat turned to leave before he realized soft sniffles and whimpers were coming from underneath the covers. He grabbed the handle on the door, gripping it tight to hopefully quell his anger. He didn't like seeing John this way, because he had met him as a happy kid, not this sad, pathetic, broken boy.

    Sighing, he stepped outside and walked glumly back to Dave's room, entering without knocking. They were both sitting on their beds, Sollux back on the computer and Dave laying back on his pillow, arms behind his head, headphones blasting some rap song that Karkat was surprised hadn't blown out Dave's ears yet.

    “John said no.” He said loudly, making sure Dave would be able to hear it. He didn't.

    But Sollux did, and he looked up, “Oh, really? That sucks. It's generally fun with Egbert because he cracks jokes and is the life of the party. Once the lights go out at ten, we'll be knocking on your door, so be ready by then.”

    Karkat just nodded, leaving the room and shambling aimlessly down the halls, wondering what he could do in the span of time. He walked around so much, staring at the ground that he hadn't realized John and walked out of his room and was heading towards the activity room.

    He stopped when he heard a tune playing. A sound of a piano was coming from the distance. Curious, he walked towards the activity room at the end of the north wing. It was a room walled by Plexiglas, so you could see inside if you wanted to. Karkat could just see the end of the baby grand piano as he came up to the glass. He walked inside, being blasted with violent strikes of the keyboard. Whoever was playing sounded damn angry.

    It was no surprise to him to find it was John.

    John's long, slender fingers were banging on the keys, plucking out a fast-paced, demented tune. His eyes, though hollow and clouded, were focused on the instrument he was playing. Karkat was mesmerized, even though he flinched every time John brought his fingers down. He didn't know John was filled with this much talent, more or less, this much anger. He stood quietly from a distance. There was no one else in the activity room, either they were all still sleeping or just remaining in the cafeteria. It was just John, doing this performance to an invisible audience, that was, if you didn't count Karkat.

    John finished with a bang, slamming his fists on the keyboard as if he didn't know how to finish the piece. Karkat would have clapped, but he quickly fled after John looked up. He didn't want to anger John any more, thinking it was best to leave him in peace for a while. More angry music started up as Karkat walked to his room.

    Deep down, Karkat felt conflicted. Inside of him he was torn between being scared for John and being scared of John.

    ***


    Three shapes darted from underneath the neon glow of the hospital's emergency entrance sign. They whispered sharply to each other, sometimes grabbing hands and leading each other away and out of sight.

    Once out of the harsh, unnatural light, they stopped to catch their breath. Karkat's hands gripped his knees, panting. He looked up to find Dave and Sollux also catching their breaths, but smiling nonetheless, the exhilaration from the escape making adrenaline pump into their system and give them a boost of energy. Dave patted Karkat on the back and he stood upright, smiling back with his mouth closed, but it was a smile nonetheless.

    “Damn, you know, I've never seen you smile before.” Dave said, watching his lips as they jerked up into an unfamiliar stretch on his face. Immediately, it vanished, him placing his hands over his mouth and apologizing abruptly.

    Before Dave could say anything more, he ushered the both of them to lead the way to the restaurant and they complied with raised eyebrows.

    The streetlights that lit the way faded and dimmed as if in unison. They huddled close together, eying down dark alleyways. While Brooklyn was a nice town in the daytime, it was sometimes harsh at night.

    “The restaurant is just a few blocks up. We should get there pretty quickly.” Dave whispered. Karkat nodded behind them and glanced around, watching two shady people as they traded illegal substances. He shivered and walked a little closer to Sollux and Dave who stood in two-person line at the front.

    The turned down one of the alleyways, being as quiet as possible as they passed two-story apartments and complexes. There was an opening at the other end, but towards it shined light and laughter rang all around.

    “Ah, there it is.” Dave and Sollux quickened their paces, and Karkat had no choice but to stumble afterwards, cursing quietly under his breath for not being able to keep up the whole time.

    Outside on the porch, couples laughed as they snapped at the food on their table with chopsticks. The early families of the evening had left and now the young adults were present, drinking well into the night, cracking jokes and most likely going to regret the hangover they would have in the morning.

    Dave opened the door inside, and it was a little bit quieter. Soft mumbles and clanks of silverware were heard all around. A man stood behind a bar, his hands tirelessly working as he folded and cut up rolls of sushi. Sollux picked a table on the far side of the restaurant, beside a wall that divided them from the entranceway.

    A waitress approached them soon after, handing them menus. She smiled at Dave, “Welcome back, Mr. Strider. Are you going to have your usual drink?”

    “Oh, you know me too well!” Dave smirked, sunglasses glinting in the low amber light of the restaurant. She jotted down whatever his usual was on her pad and looked towards Sollux who was shaking his head.

    “I'll just have some water to drink, thanks.”

    “And for you, dearie?” Her bright eyes merrily glowed down on Karkat.

    “I'll have the same as Sollux.” He said, averting his gaze to look at the menu. She walked away, leaving all of them to flip through the menu.

    “I think I'm just gonna get a rainbow roll or something, man.” Dave slapped down his menu, leaning back against his chair. Sollux sighed.

    “You better not drink yourself to sleep again tonight, Dave. The last time you did that it was a fucking disaster and we were almost caught.”

    Dave waved a hand in the air, “Oh, please! I know what I'm doing.” Sollux rolled his eyes, mumbling a “Yeah, sure,” underneath his breath.

    “Wait, did you just-” Karkat pointed a finger at Dave, looking entirely confused.

    “What? Order alcohol? Yeah, I did. Don't worry, I've got an I.D and everything, and I promise I'll be light with it tonight. I had to admit, I had a terrible hangover the last time that happened. Puking everywhere. Head feeling like it was on fire, the like.”

    Karkat understood Sollux's aggravation and couldn't help but sigh as well. It was like this guy just wanted to attract trouble, or was just trying his hardest to be cool by drinking underage and breaking all the rules.

    Once the waitress came back, bringing drinks, Dave's smile brightened even more. He rubbed his hands together excitedly, taking the amber glass of beer he had received and pouring it into the frosted mug the waitress had given him.

    Once the drinks were passed out, they all gave the waitress their orders and she promptly picked up their menus, “The food should come pretty quickly since it's late and no one's around.” Dave said as she disappeared out of sight. He sipped his beer calmly, hoisting his legs up on the table. Sollux continued to frown, unfolding and refolding his napkin.

    “You know, we should like go to Times Square sometime, even though we've all seen it like ten billion times in our years of living here.” Dave said, his smile just short of smug.

    Karkat fidgeted a bit in his seat, feeling left out and awkward for saying what he had to say, “I've... Never seen Times Square before.”

    Dave's legs retreated back underneath the table and he stared dumbfounded at Karkat, “You've never seen Times Square? Wow, man, you're missing out.” He shook his head. Karkat felt himself sink lower into his chair.

    “Well what am I supposed to do? I've only just moved here two years ago, and my dad never really cared to take me out to see the sights.”

    “We need to take you someday. It's absolutely incredible, stuns me every time.” He seemed to look up at the ceiling as he sipped his beverage.

    “Describe it to me.” Karkat asked. He had seen Times Square before, on TV and some movies. A lot of people would say that places like that were not like they were on the big screen.

    “Well, it's like... Man, I can't even describe it. Imagine a city full of lights, all flashing and blinking repetitively. There are crowds of people all around you, laughing and just having a good time. There are performers on the street, making more laughs fill the air all around you. When you gaze around its just lights on display, and you feel like a kid again. It's just that incredible.”

    Karkat closed his eyes as Dave described the scene, captured in that childlike moment. All of a sudden, it grew nostalgic.

    “You're smiling again, dude.” Karkat was snapped out of his thoughts, and the frown returned. He truly did miss his childhood, and couldn't help but feel an instant drop in his mood from realizing that he was growing up and it was hard. It was hard for him to understand reality, and he quietly wished for that innocence back.

    “So, you moved here two years ago? Where'd you come from? I came from Houston. It wasn't too big of a change, the summers there and here are nearly identical. Dry heat, hot pavement, sticky skin, all of that.” Dave spoke up as Karkat's smile disappeared.

    “I came from Buffalo. We had the coldest winters up there, and I enjoyed the snow and the frost, and just playing in that powdery substance. We lived near the Canadian border, you know, Niagara Falls and all that? It's so much prettier on the Canadian side, let me tell you that. I remember my brother Kankri and I, before 9/11 happened, we would walk across the border and visit Canadian stores, bring home trinkets and souveneirs. I still have a collection of them back home, even if it is boxed up somewhere in my closet. It was... Probably the best time of my life. My dad wasn't angry then. He actually would give me piggy-back rides whenever I got tired of walking. We'd play guns out in the yard, pointing sticks at each other and shooting each other dead. Back then I didn't have a clue about dying, and I never even thought about it. But now it's on my mind everyday and I can never get it out of my head. After 9/11, things changed. They didn't allow us across the border without passports, even if we had done it thousands of times before. Kankri and I kind of drifted apart after that. My mom died of ovarian cancer and my dad's heart grew colder. I think he was just disappointed about where his life was turning. He counted on Kankri and I to keep going, to not end up like him. He always liked Kankri more because he was so interested in learning, not that I was too, it's just that I was often caught up in my own world, the imaginary world, and thinking about different circumstances. A world without work, all freedom, no hardship or pain. I always dreamed of it as a child. My dad would tell me too often to get my head out of my ass, but I never cared. I wanted to be an inventor. I wanted to invent a machine that could teleport you to anywhere you wanted, but stop time just for a moment so you could be caught in that place for forever and not change the world around you.

    “Once Kankri left for college, I kind of just became a recluse, not wanting to do work and facing the harsh reality of life everyday. My dad stopped caring, torn by the fact that one of his sons was turning out to be just like him. I really wish I could go back in time and change that. To tell my younger self to stop dreaming and wake up. Maybe I wouldn't be as fucked up as I am now. Maybe I would actually have a life, be doing good in school and having friends all around me. At the same time, I still want to be caught in that childhood memory forever, of running across the Canadian border, my older brother at my heels, us laughing and him telling me to slow down before I slipped and fell on the icy roads. But, what can you do? Nothing lasts forever, I suppose.” Karkat stopped, wiping away his tears that managed to fall, “Sorry.” He whispered.

    Dave's face had softened. His beer remained still and not drunk from on the table. Sollux was giving Karkat a sincere look, and before he knew it, he had reached out a bony hand to touch Karkat's half-balled up fist on the table. They both smiled at him, understanding his pain. They were all in this together, no matter what. Even John would have understood if he was here. Four broken children, stumbling on the path that life gave them and wishing they could turn back but being unable to.

    The food arrived and they ate quietly, all wallowing in their own emotions. Beside them, other waitresses were wiping tables and putting up chairs, closing for the night. By the time they were done they were all wiping away stray tears. As the check arrived and Dave was looking over it, the door opened. A man came around the corner. He was scruffy in appearance, dark brown hair wild and curly. He had a knitted beanie on his head, yellow, black, and red striped. He was wearing baggy everything, and his purple shoes looked like they hardly fit.

    Sollux nudged Dave on the side and he looked up, smiling as he saw the man saunter up to them, droopy eyes calm and mouth twisted into a smug, careless grin.

    “Hey, Gamzee, how are you?” Dave said, waving a hand. The kid laughed, and Karkat scrunched up his nose as he could smell the smoke and liquor waft off of him. He smelled and looked like he hadn't taken a bath in weeks.

    “I'm doing good, motherfucker. How's it going for you?”

    “Good, good.” Dave pulled back his chair, standing up and giving Gamzee a hug. His scent was smeared all over Dave's and Karkat could feel the bile rise up in his throat.

    “I'm guessing Sollux is well too and... Who is this motherfucker?” He pointed towards Karkat who averted eye contact from Gamzee's tired looking, royal purple eyes.

    “This is Karkat. He's new to the Swag Pack, haha.” He came over and tapped Karkat on the shoulder who had no choice but to stand up and face Gamzee. He crossed his arms over his chest, sometimes giving Gamzee quick glances but mostly staring at his shoes. He didn't seem to see Karkat was closed to conversation and gave him a big hug, squeezing him so hard Karkat thought he would suffocate.

    “Hey! Welcome, man. Aw, wow, we're gonna have so much fun together. You're my new motherfuckin' best friend!” Finally, he released him from his spine-cracking grasp and looked back at Dave.

    “You comin' to the party in two weeks? I wouldn't want Tavbro and I to be alone for it. You just know how awesome my party's are, right?”

    Dave laughed, “Of course, man. I wouldn't dare miss it. Hey, you wanna talk outside for a bit?” He looked over at Sollux, giving him a gesture of some sort. He rolled his eyes and pulled out a five-dollar bill which Dave quickly snatched up and placed in his pocket. Gamzee eyed the money carefully, his grin seeming to turn a tad bit darker.

    Both walked outside, talking the whole way there, Dave placing a hand on Gamzee's shoulder. Sollux watched them go, rubbing his temples the whole time, “I swear to God, those two...” He groaned.

    Karkat blinked, “Who was that guy, anyway?”

    “An old time friend of ours. He used to be a patient of the ward but was discharged a while back. He got pretty addicted to his drugs, to the point where he got violent when he was sober and didn't have anything to relieve him around. He still does them though, no matter how more violent he's going to get in the future.”

    “Oh, that's unfortunate.” Karkat mumbled. It was kind of a waste in his mind, to throw away a perfectly healthy brain for something that made you feel good chemically.

    Dave came back, Gamzee at his heels, “It was nice doing business with you again. You take care, alright?” The two exchanged fist bumps and Gamzee sauntered off. Dave seemed even happier than when he got his beer.

    “Did you have a nice talk about getting stoned with your boyfriend?” Sollux spat, frowning at Dave.

    “Oh, come on. Lighten up a little, it's just a small pinch.”

    “Yeah, a small pinch of your brain that's growing dumber and dumber as we speak. It's ruining your mind and you know it. You're addicted to that shit, Dave.”

    Dave sighed, “We're not having this speech right now, Sollux. Just calm down, alright? Stop getting all into my business all the fucking time, Jesus, you're a party pooper.”

    “Whatever.” Sollux sighed. Karkat sat there without a word, watching the two as they argued like a couple. He couldn't help but find it a tad bit funny.

    They paid the bill with Dave's credit card, who promised to both Sollux and Karkat that it was his own and he hadn't stolen it, and the two walked back outside. The air had grown a tad bit cooler, sky dimmer. Karkat guessed that it was about midnight already.

    As they stayed close in their tight-knit group, Karkat couldn't help but ask a question about John, “Do you guys even know why John is in the mental ward in the first place?”

    Beside him, Dave shook his head, “Nah. He's never told us anything about his whereabouts, just where he grew up in Seattle. Although, I have heard rumors. I'm pretty sure they're fake, but, you never know.”

    “Really? What are the rumors?”

    Dave chuckled, “Well, they say he murdered his father in cold blood.”

    “Wait, what!?” Karkat gulped. He knew he shouldn't believe that, but it almost made too much sense. Him getting all defensive about his father, then screaming apologies as he was dragged away.

    Dave shrugged, “Yeah, it's kind of stupid, in my opinion. But, you know how he always appears happy and cheerful? Well, he was never really like that, especially when he first arrived. He arrived about a day after I did several months ago. I had heard from the nurses that it was his fourth time being admitted. His skin was pale, he was dreadfully skinny, his eyes were dull and they seemed to never blink. Every time he walked, he would trip over nothing. He just acted weird and disturbed in general. One time I caught him staring at a wall, then reaching out to stroke it. He started crying for some reason and then a nurse redirected him back to his room. Eventually he started to act a little normally. He would come and play the piano everyday in the activity room which attracted attention from other people including me.”

    Dave kicked a few stones that littered the sidewalk out of his way before continuing, “We started talking and I realized he was actually a really nice person, he was just conflicted about something. Whenever I asked him about his past, he would shy away and say it wasn't something I'd like to hear, but he'd tell me whenever he knew I was ready. Whatever that meant.” He laughed, “Man, we had a lot of fun together. After Sollux arrived we were this pack of rotten teenagers, escaping every night just to have some fun and enjoy life. We kinda messed around a little bit, actually. John and I, I mean. We'd kind of... I don't know, I guess we were friends-with-benefits for a while.”

    Karkat felt a hint of jealousy flare up inside him, but he didn't really understand where it came from and why. Dave was still talking, “I mean, we never had sex or anything, he would just jerk me off if I needed help. He never let me touch him, though. He was very defensive and respectful of his body. I guess he just didn't want to lose his virginity to a friend. When I suggested going out with him, he turned me down, saying he wasn't ready. Ah, I would have loved to be with him, I mean he really is a spectacular kid. Whatever, I guess.”

    Karkat nodded, even more intrigued about John. He really wanted to be close enough to him, even more than Dave was, to be able to talk to him freely about his past. There was so much about him he wanted to know. This kid attracted Karkat's attention since the get-go. A warm feeling sprouted up in his chest and he tried his best to ignore it, but ended up smiling. At least Sollux or Dave didn't notice this time.

    “So, have you ever had anyone crush on you, Karkat?” Dave asked.

    Karkat scoffed, “Yeah, once, by this one crazy cat lady named Nepeta. She stalked me up until I dropped out of high school. Now she was one person that deserved to have a title in the mental ward.” He laughed and Dave chuckled beside him.

    “What about love? Have you ever been in love, Karkat?”

    He sighed, his smile growing brighter, John's ocean eyes meeting his, and exchanging inner pain with his own bright red ones, “I think so.”

    ***


    Karkat entered his room, darkened except only by the sliver of moonlight that shined on the floor. He shimmied out of his clothes and went to his suitcase, pulling over some soft night clothes to sleep in. He looked over at John, who laid in his bed, sleeping quietly, or so it seemed.

    As Karkat turned over on his side, facing the wall, he heard John say something, “Karkat?” He asked.

    “Yeah?”

    “Do you have a daddy?” He asked, his voice sounding even more innocent the minute he spoke that childish word.

    Karkat chuckled, “Yeah, but he doesn't love me.”

    “Oh...” Silence.

    “I'm sorry.” John spoke up again. Karkat raised an eyebrow.

    “What is there to be sorry for? Sometimes it just happens. People drift apart. It's a fucking harsh world out there and I'm just one of the people out there to face the sharp end of it.”

    “I don't know...” John mumbled, his voice now drowsy. Pretty soon, his breathing became heavier and Karkat was alone for the most part.



    i tS GETTING INTERESTING OK AY GIVE IT TIME .,,.....,
    Last edited by an illegible mess.; 16th October 2013 at 05:10 PM.

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