Karkat woke up to the sound of muffled talking. Actually, he realized the voices weren't muffled he just couldn't hear them clearly at the moment. He leaned up and stretched, wincing at the pain in his shoulder. He looked around and noticed he was on a familiar bed; the humming of computers joined the sounds of people talking. Grumbling he leaned against the wall and rubbed his temples.
"Oh good, Karkat you're awake."
His eyes caught the faces of Kanaya, Sollux and Terezi. They were all seated in a somewhat circle around the bed Karkat was napping on. "What's going on?"
"We need to discuss something," Terezi started. "It's something I've noticed." Karkat looked around again and noted the lack of humans or John. "Something that is troll to troll."
"And that is?"
"The humanth KK." Sollux answered.
Karkat nodded and Terezi took over again. "Sollux and I have been talking, and this recent thing with John really pushed the subject into the forefront of our priorities. I know we all thought that the humans and could get along with us, but," she paused to look at all of them, her sightless eyes seeing more than they'd know, "just look at some of us. The strain is starting to show. Karkat, you're about at the end of your mental capacity with John, and the rest of us are having problems too."
"There'th Dave, the racist asshole too. He's been stressing all of out, I know it. I can feel it."
"Even I am starting to feel the effects of the humans on us. We apparently do not mesh well." Kanaya nodded sadly.
"What are you guys suggesting we do?" Karkat asked, though he already knew the answer.
"Split up," Terezi replied. "The whole point of this was to work together, but it's been months and nothing has happened. Neither of us has accomplished anything besides turning one into the opposite species."
"I'll be sad to lose Rose, she's not that bad, but I'm sure we'll stay in contact, it shouldn't be too hard."
"What about John?"
It seems everyone was waiting for that question. No one seemed to want to answer. "KK, I'm sorry, but chances are he'll go with his friends."
Karkat looked away and clenched his fists. "Fuck."
"Karkat, you're still our leader, we'll follow whatever you decide, but look at us, look at yourself."
He did. He saw the tired faces everyone was wearing. He could feel his own exhaustion and irritation. "But
John and I, we finally sorted our shit out
"I know," Terezi got up and rubbed his back comfortingly. "I'm sorry the troll you picked as your Matesprit is a dumb human."
"Maybe he'll come with us
he is a troll now, he might decide following us is better."
Kanaya said softly, "Or he will decide to go with the friends he's had for years. You have to be ready for that possibility."
Karkat looked down at his lap. "I know." He looked back up and saw his friends, the trolls he'd even begun to think of like family. He saw that they weren't happy. When trolls lived like they did, in close quarters, they become super attune to the emotions of each other. Everybody was feeling the strain that came from merging with the humans and the cultural differences. Their emotions had been spread thin and he could tell they were about dead. Even his Moirail looked worse than normal. "We should split up. You're right." He sighed, "When should we announce our decision?"
"Well, when do you want to tell John? He's going to be the one hardest hit." Kanaya answered.
"Not right this minute. He needs to calm down from the shit I put him through before we assault his thinkpan with more to worry about. I'll tell him in a week, think you guys can hold out until then?" He glanced around at the weary faces, they nodded. "Thank you. I'm sorry this idea turned out so shitty."
"It's not your fault. And honestly, this probably would have gone better if we had been better prepared."
"Also," Terezi cackled, "it probably didn't help that you turned one into a troll."
"That was an accident!" But he smiled because he knew she was joking. "Can't anything in this stupid game work with us for once?" Without waiting for an answer he asked, "So have you guys come up with ideas on after we leave the pink monkeys?"
"I've been thinking about it." Sollux spoke up, "I've basically mastered all the technology of the lab, at leatht for now. I assume either both parties leave this lab or just us. Either way we're going to need a new alchimeter. If we make a bunch of food ahead of time, and captchalogue all of our belongings we should be fine for a while."
"And none of us are in a Kismesis relationship so we don't have to worry about sabotage that way."
Karkat stood up, "We'll live like we always have. We're Alternians, we're tough, we can do this." He gave them all a confident smile even if his own faith was wavering. He left the room but paused at his own door. "Damn it, John's still in there sleeping." He spun around and went back to Sollux's room. He knocked once and entered, "Sol, can I sleep in your room tonight?"
The newly blinded troll didn't even look his way; he just nodded and motioned toward the bed. "Sure thing KK, I'll probably be up all night with this anyway."
"Thanks," he said gratefully. "John was in my room again, I didn't feel like waking him up or anything."
"I understand, just thleep."
"You should to," Karkat moved closer to Sollux and took off his glasses. Underneath the red and blue lenses were the dark black orbs that used to hold so much light and color. And underneath those were bags that may have been worse than his own. "Sollux you barely sleep anymore. It's going to kill you."
"I'm fine KK."
"Sollux, I'm worried about you."
The other troll sighed, "KK, goddamn it." He got up and tossed his shirt to the floor. "Fine, I'll fucking go to sleep like you asked." He collapsed on the bed and rolled to the wall. Karkat followed him. "It's not like you have to worry about being useful or anything."
"Not this again. Sollux you're useful, you do more than even my lazy ass." He could feel the other troll laugh shallowly, "You need to eat more too."
"I'm not just being a worried Moirail. Sollux I can see all your fucking ribs. That's not healthy."
"I know." he rolled over and 'looked' in Karkat's direction. "You have too much to worry about, forget me, I'll live. I've been doing just fine up till now."
Karkat sighed and nodded, even though he knew Sollux couldn't see. His eyes used to bother him, but now they're just like anything else the game had ruined, they had become normal. "Just try to take better care of yourself."
"Yeah sure thing KK." He yawned and pulled a blanket over his head.
"Told you, you needed sleep."
"Thut up athhole."
"Sure thing Thollukth," he joked back and closed his eyes, not before getting a boney elbow to the rib.
The next morning Karkat ran into John while getting breakfast. John was right; he wasn't going to just get over what happened. As soon as the new troll picked up on Karkat's presence the growling started. His eyes looked surprised and sad. "I-I'm sorry Karkat, I don't mean it! I don't!"
"I know. Don't apologize. I basically trained you to respond like that." He moved by and grabbed food and sat down. John followed him the whole time the boy was trying hard to suppress the growls that kept vibrating in his throat. "John it's fine, don't try so hard, if you feel like you have to growl at me go for it. It's better to work this all out of your system."
John nodded sadly. "I'm not mad at you ok?"
"Yeah I know." Throughout the rest of the day Karkat ignored the way that John would bristle and growl when he passed.
Later that night John wandered into Karkat's room. "Should I
uh, sleep somewhere else? I've been staying with you so much, but if you don't want me here anymore I can leave. I'll take a new room or something."
"You idiot, of course it's still fine." He flipped on his TV and put on a movie.
John settled in next to Karkat. "Do you really think I'll get over this aggression?"
Karkat was silent for a bit, the movie playing in the background, the trolls on screen were arguing about something trivial. John watched Karkat's hand twist the remote around and his eyes seemed distant. Finally he spoke; each word was deliberate and well thought out. "I don't know John." Ok, so maybe it wasn't so deliberate or well thought out. He rested his head against the wall. "I'm just not sure. I don't have much experience with high bloods, and I know I messed with your head. I really am sorry about that."
John inched a bit closer. "I know you are."
"I'm sorry I fuck with your emotions and hurt you." Karkat admitted again. "And, I'm sorry for when I do it later too."
he told me to be careful of the feelings of the trolls around me. But I'm not doing a very good job at it."
"John you've been a troll for a little over a month. You're doing fine." Karkat slumped forward, "It's me that's fucking up, and I'm not saying that just because I blame myself for everything." He turned to face John, his head resting on drawn up knees. "I should back the fuck off, because at this rate we're both going to get hurt."
John wanted to reach over and put a hand on Karkat, but he didn't. Instead he opted for just nodding and facing the movie again.
"I don't think I'll be able to back off though."
John remained silent and didn't saying anything else. He was still battling the aggressive impulses the next day, and the day after. Karkat would become scarce around him and the troll thought maybe their friendship was done for after all. But eventually enough time passed to where they could both be comfortably around each other again. "Karkat, I was really worried," John started while grabbing lunch. "I was worried that we wouldn't be friends anymore. I was worried the damage had done too much." He looked up his eyes bright and hopeful again, "But, I think it's ok." He sat next to Karkat and smiled, "I don't feel like ripping your throat out and tossing it across the room now!"
"Well that's a relief. I enjoy my throat where it is, attached to me." He reached over and pulled John closer, "Glad you got it out of your system."
John growled at the sudden movement Karkat made, the other troll released him and backed off. John started giggling, "I was joking, Karkat." He smiled wide and pushed the other troll gently. "Seriously, I think I'm over the worst of it. I'm so glad this didn't turn into something permanent. Gosh that would have sucked." He ate a few bites of his food and turned back to Karkat. "I really hope you don't try that whole blackrom thing with me again. Or anybody for that matter. Hate isn't something to base a relationship off of."
"I'm not going to argue with you about the finer points of troll romance, but
I guess you have a point. Blackrom isn't something I find all that satisfying. I would make it work, if I had to." He assured John, "I'm not in a big hurry to try it again. I still have bruises that haven't healed from last time."
"Speaking of bruises, are you going to tell them your blood color ever?"
Karkat dropped his fork and his eyes widened in shock, "Shut the fuck up about that John." He looked around hastily to make sure no one was around. "I'm content to never tell them anything. Ever."
"Karkat that can't be healthy."
"Don't tell me what to do regarding that issue of my life." He picked up his fork and shoveled food into his mouth quickly and left the room. A few minutes later he came back and sat across from John. "Sorry for going off on you again. Just, I don't like to talk about it ok?"
John nodded and dropped the subject. At least, until later that night. The two were in Karkat's bed again, the lights were off and they were just about to sleep. "Hey Karkat," John asked softly, "why are you so paranoid about your blood color? You never really explained to me."
Karkat was too tired to growl and put up protest. Instead he gave in and started talking slowly, "I told you its mutated right? Well, on Alternia it's very bad to have anything wrong with you. To be blind, deaf, mute, paralyzed, it doesn't matter; all those are sure fire ways to get your ass on the culling block. The hemospectrum is an even bigger deal. My blood isn't on it. I'm not even sure how I managed to live this long without anyone figuring it out. Probably my biggest paranoia and constant worry is my blood color getting out."
"But, these are our friends. They'll understand right?"
"I can't take that risk John. There's a part of every troll that might be disgusted at me, a part in every troll that would want to kill me on sight. So I'm going to hide myself forever if I can."
John looked at the unmoving mound under the blankets next to him. "But I don't feel like that," he whispered.
"I know. But I'm worried you might. When all your instincts kick in, and you see me for the first time as a troll, well
" he took a shaky breath, "you might have that urge."
"Karkat, I won't, I promise."
Karkat laughed harshly, "You can't promise stuff like that Egbert. Just like I can't promise my feelings for you away."
John was going to press him for more, but he stopped and let his eyes close.
Karkat still hadn't told John about the plan they had come up with. He was still putting it off, still trying to think his own thoughts through. It wasn't working, but that wasn't a shocker to Karkat. He was sure John could take it now, but he wasn't so sure about himself. He still wanted John to know how he felt, for real this time. Not just half jokes or suggestions. He decided that today was going to be the day he came clean, about everything.
He cornered John in their room after he came back from showering. "Hey Karkat!" He said with the same happy smiling face he always had.
"Listen, John, can I talk to you?"
"Yeah sure!" he walked over tossing his towel aside.
Up close Karkat could see his hair was still wet and dripping making little puddles of water on his white slime ghost tee. He could see grey skin show through and his face was slightly flushed from the hot water. He shook his head to clear those thoughts, "I
I've been hiding stuff from you Egbert. I didn't mean to, I just wanted to make sure you were ready." John nodded slowly and allowed Karkat to continue. "The other trolls, well, we've come up with a plan recently. And it's uh
not that great for campaign 'troll-human teamwork'."
"What are you saying?"
"They proposed we split up and go our separate ways." John's eyes widened and he took a step back. "Now, before you say anything you should know that the choice to come with us or stay with your friends is up to you. We just have to leave."
"Why Karkat? I don't understand." He was hurt and lost. Karkat hated seeing him look like that.
"We're stressed, John. All of the trolls are. Our species don't mix as well as it seems on the outside. There's been a lot of anxiety and stress put on us. We hide it well, but it's been brought to my attention that some of us are nearing their breaking point. We're leaving in a few days."
John looked devastated; he didn't know what to think. "K-Karkat, this is all so fast. I mean
shit, Karkat are you really going to leave?"
"Yes." He confirmed sadly. "There's
one more thing I have to tell you."
"I don't know if I can handle any more bad news."
Karkat glanced away, John could spot a bit of red creeping across his cheeks, "This
isn't really bad news." He thought in his head, 'yet'. He approached John and pulled him close. "Listen, there's something I wanted to tell you before we left. Something that I want to make clear to you." He paused and taking a few deep breaths. "I'm flushed for you John Egbert. Really, really flushed. I care a lot about you, so much it hurts. I want to protect and watch over you forever. There's nothing I want more than for you to be in a quadrant with me John, I was even willing to ruin our friendship for a chance." The troll searched John's face for his response, John was still blank, "I wanted you to know, before we leave. I would never forgive myself; I know you have to feel something back John. I can see it. You are closer to me than any other troll I've ever known, you show your vulnerable side to me, and I share mine, John I know there's something there."
"K-Karkat, I don't know what to say, I just
Fear struck Karkat quickly and he panicked briefly, he had to make John understand, he had to show him. The troll pulled John closer and kissed him. His arms wrapped around his side and he pulled him in deepen the kiss. The other troll froze at first, and then seemed to melt in his arms. Karkat felt overwhelming joy when he heard John chirp and kiss back. Karkat moved a hand up his side and gradually worked it through his hair. John was trying to desperately get more from Karkat his hands gripping tightly onto Karkat's and he made needy noises.
This was exactly the response Karkat wanted, it was the response he knew John would have. He smiled and rested his forehead on John's. When he broke the kiss John made a protesting growl. But when Karkat went to kiss him again and John chirped for the second time that day he froze. Karkat froze too. The sudden realization of what was happening hit John and he was scared. Too many thoughts were going through his head and none of them made any sense.
He pushed Karkat away and curled into a ball facing away.
"John?" Karkat went to put a hand on His shoulder.
"Don't touch me!" He shouted. "Don't. I'm confused, Karkat I'm not a homosexual. I'm not. I'm not
" His voice fell away and hugged his knees tightly.
"But you were responding positively to it, I know you were! Those sounds, that was a troll enjoying himself, John you have to admit that felt right."
"No!" He started shaking, "That was you taking advantage of me again! That was you using me! It wasn't me, it wasn't my feelings."
"Karkat go away, turn around and leave. Please." He heard Karkat whine and step back.
He gave a warning growl, "Karkat
" Karkat whimpered and retreated out of the room. He left John alone and afraid. John touched his lips and could only remember the feeling of Karkat's against his. "Fuck
Karkat what are you doing to me?" Hot tears slid down his face as he sat confused and alone. 'Karkat was right; deep down a part of me did enjoy that. But
I'm not, I'm not attracted to guys, I know this. I'm not attracted to Dave or Sollux
' his thoughts trailed off. He remembered the way Karkat sounded when he told him to leave, the pathetic whimpers and disappointment. Then there was the way he reacted, sounds he never thought he'd make suddenly bubbled from his throat. He thought about the way Karkat felt, the way their bodies seemed to match up perfectly and how he felt against him. He knew he was blushing and it disgusted him. "F-Fuck
" he got up and sought out someone to help.
can I maybe talk to you? I need your help with something
" He knocked quietly on the door of the room he used to share with his friends.
It opened and Rose appeared, "Sure thing John, what's bothering you?"
"Can we maybe talk about it inside? Alone? Are you alone?" He tried to peek inside the room.
"Yes John of course." She let him in and he sat down on his old bed while Rose sat across from him.
The lights were bright and John covered his eyes a bit. "I
I'm really confused Rose, and I thought maybe you could help. You're good at that psycho stuff right?"
She nodded and got up and turned the light off completely. "What was it that you wanted to talk about John?"
The darkness made him feel instantly a million times better. "It's about Karkat
"I pretty much knew that John. What about Karkat? I assume he's finally made a move on you?"
John froze and laughed a bit hesitantly. "Y-Yeah you could say that."
"How do you feel about it?"
"Confused. Really confused." He found himself walking across the room and sitting next to Rose. "I, I just don't know what to think." He could feel tears at his eyes again, "I'm not a homosexual Rose, I'm not. But I liked that, what Karkat did." He sniffed and wiped his eyes with his hand. "This doesn't make any sense."
"Shhhh, John it's ok." She moved closer and put an arm around his shoulder. "It's ok."
"Why can't this be simple? Why can't we just ignore these feelings and focus on something more important, we should be working on escaping, not
"Love?" She felt him nod. "John, it's ok to be confused. This is a time in your life where you are allowed that sort of freedom. It's perfectly normal to second guess and doubt yourself."
"I just want things the way they were." He fell back on the bed and felt Rose's hand brush the hair from his face. "I don't want to think about loving someone, or pitying, or whatever the fuck this is. I just want to worry about growing up and doing the windy thing and beating Bec."
Rose was quiet and pet John's head softly. "So he came clean right?" He nodded. "And how did you feel?"
"I was ok with it at first; I was just going to turn him down but then he
"He kissed me." John tensed and shut his eyes tight.
"How did you feel after that?"
"Good, really good. But, it wasn't me; it was the troll in me that wanted more. I freaked out and pushed him away. Then I yelled at him." John sniffed a bit and felt more tears on his face. "I hurt him Rose. Again. I hurt Karkat. I don't want to hurt Karkat."
"I know you don't."
"I don't like being a troll Rose." He expressed suddenly.
"What's so bad about it?"
"All these stupid feelings and emotions! I hate them. They mess with who I am."
Rose got into a more comfortable position and continued talking calmly to John. "Did you ever think that maybe it's ok to think new things? That perhaps it's ok to embrace new feelings, even if the come in conflict with old beliefs?"
"I don't know Rose, it's all so fast."
"You do know there's nothing wrong with liking someone of the same gender right?"
"You're only saying that because I'm a troll. Trolls aren't supposed to care about that stuff, it's not a thing."
Rose admitted quietly, "John did you know I happen to fancy Kanaya quite a bit?"
He looked up at her, his glowing eyes wide, "Really?"
"Yes John, really. I'm pretty sure she believes the same. There is nothing wrong with your feelings; they are just new and different. None of us are going to judge you."
John nodded and relaxed a bit. "But I still think it's too fast. I need time to adjust to the idea. I'm not sure if I'm entirely ok with this yet."
"Take as much time as you need, there is never a rush. We are all still young John; we have our whole lives ahead of us. You should trust yourself though, follow what you feel is right. It doesn't matter if that feeling comes from a troll part of you, or a human part. Just make sure it's right."
"What should I tell Karkat? I hurt him pretty bad, I told him to leave and I growled at him again."
"Just tell him what you told me. Make sure he knows you're confused and need time to accept new feelings. He should understand."
He bit his bottom lip and asked a new question, "I'm sorry that I'm changing subjects but
do you mind that I'm a troll? Are you bothered by it?"
"Not at all. The differences between how you were and how you are now are minuscule. You have a temper, but you're obviously still the John who is deeply concerned about his friends. There is no hiding that. While Dave sees something else in you I do not. Neither does Jade." She ran a hand over one of his curvy horns, "Your appearance certainly does not bother me." There was a small knock at the door. "Kanaya is that you?"
"Yes, may I come in?"
Rose looked to John who nodded; he was too emotionally drained to care about much at the moment. "Yes Kanaya we don't have a problem with that."
"We?" She asked opening the door. "Oh, John, hello."
"He was having some problems; we just talked about them a bit." Rose said as Kanaya shut the door. Her glowing figure sat next to Rose.
"Hey Kanaya, is it true? Are you guys really leaving?"
She looked down at him, "Yes, John, but how did you find out? Did Karkat finally tell you?"
"Kanaya what is he talking about?"
She sighed, "We have decided to split up. We will go our own ways. Well, technically just the trolls decided to leave. It was actually what I came here to discuss with you."
"Kanaya you can't
It's much too soon."
She looked away sadly, "I know. I wasn't happy about it, but I agreed. I'm sure the others wouldn't mind if you accompanied us."
"I couldn't leave Dave and Jade alone like that."
"That's what I thought you'd say. It's ok Rose, we'll still talk daily through our computers."
John listened to them talk; he could hear the strain in Kanaya's usually calm voice. This was hard on all of them he realized. Then something else struck him that he hadn't had time to think about before. "What," he started weakly, "what will I do?"
They both looked down at him, the boy who was a troll, yet not quite. "I cannot answer that for you John. Sorry."
They walked in silence to the split in the hallway. John was trailing behind everyone else, his feet having no desire to carry him to the decision he hadn't made and probably wouldn't make. The tone was very somber; it was like the choice to split groups didn't seem real until now. Closer and closer the time ticked by. John realized, choking back a sob that this might be the last time the group was all in one place. The last time he would be able to look from Dave or Rose to Kanaya and Sollux. The last time trolls and humans would be together.
He didn't want this to be the last.
John moved beside Karkat and pressed his forehead to his back. He whimpered quietly. "John
" Karkat murmured to the other boy quietly, trying to reassure him. He didn't know what to tell him though; he knew John valued his friends more than anything. He was the one under the most stress. Karkat was fairly certain that John hadn't chosen to go with the trolls; he knew that he probably wanted to go with his friends. For the most part, Karkat was ok with it. He had always known that he would never have a Matesprit, even as a little kid he knew that. Karkat was just glad he got the chance to know what it felt like to care about another troll like he cared for John.
The other humans were nervous too. John had yet to tell them his choice, and the idea of losing their friend as well as another member of their group was devastating. Rose was unsure about how Dave would feel about John's presence with them, but she hoped he'd be ok with it. It was John after all.
Everyone seemed to hold their breath when they entered the circular room and the break from one hallway into two. "Well," Karkat said turning around to face everyone, "this is it." He motioned to the right hall, "We'll be going this way." Sollux and Terezi had already stared down the path. "We're not forsaking anybody, if you guys run into trouble contact us, we'll try to help. We'll do the same to you."
John was still standing with the humans, more behind them than with them. He watched Kanaya hug Rose tightly before she departed to. She waited at the entrance to the hallway while Karkat said goodbye to John. He pulled the other troll forward and clung tightly. "I knew you would choose them over us. I don't blame you."
Egbert could feel Karkat's claws digging into him as he trembled. He heard him say, "I know I've said this before, but I want you to know. I chose you as my Matesprit, I know you don't know the full extent of what that means, but I wanted to make sure you knew." He gave John one last deep purr-growl before letting go and joining the other trolls.
John watched them leave then waited while his own friends started moving down their hallway. Rose looked back when she noticed John had stayed in place. "John, what's wrong?"
He hesitated; looking from their hallway to the one Karkat went down. "I-I'm not actually going with you guys."
"Are you going with them?" Rose asked. Dave snorted.
"No. I'm not."
He stepped back, ears flattening, "I'm staying here."
"I can't decide what I want." He rubbed his arm nervously, "I want to go with both of you guys but I can't. So I'm going to stay here until I decide."
Jade ran up and hugged him, "John no! You have to come with us! You're my brother
I'm sorry; I'm just so confused right now." He pulled her away and looked down at her, "Can you give me some time?" She nodded silently and stepped away.
Rose hugged him and said quietly, "I'm sorry, I really want you with us John, you're a good friend. I'll leave notes for you to follow if you do decide to come with us. Let us know, we all have computers still."
John nodded and sat down. "Just
no matter what, keep walking. Please leave me here." He could feel tears start to form in his eyes. They left and John watched as they disappeared down the hall and into darkness. When they were completely out of sight he broke down. He screamed and cried and sobbed out loud. He curled into a ball on the floor and just shook.
Karkat froze. His ears picked up the sound of John whimpering and crying through the hall. He spun around and started walking back without even realizing it. A firm hand grabbed his arm. "No, KK."
The other troll struggled and snarled, "That's John! He didn't go with them! He's crying, that's my Matesprit let me go!" He pulled free but then felt Terezi grab him too.
"Karkat, I know it's hard, but you have to let him make his own choice."
"No fuck you, he needs me!" He growled and snarled at his friends trying to get back down the hallway. "I have to help him. He's in pain, he's crying out. Guys please!"
"He's not your Matesprit Karkat, he never returned the feeling. I know it's hard, we need you too. We're your friends Karkat, and we need you."
Karkat slumped to the floor, he could hear his Matesprit crying, whimpering, and he couldn't do anything to help. His heart was tearing in two. "John!" He screamed back to where the other troll was. "John!" His voice broke and he punched the floor a few times before standing up and charging past his teammates so they couldn't see his tears.
The humans could hear him too. They could hear John cry and scream and then his voice drop to a pitiful whimper and eventually they couldn't hear a thing. Dave made sure they all kept moving and kept covering more distance.
John heard Karkat say his name back. He heard him scream then fade into silence. John stayed curled up in a ball for a long time, long enough for the cold to settle in and he started shiver. His tears stopped and he slowly pushed himself up and wandered back to the quiet lab. He fell onto his bed and let nightmares take him from reality.
"Karkat, you know you had to right?"
"No," he replied quietly, "I didn't have to do that. I could have gone back for him, convinced him."
Kanaya settled next to him and wrapped a comforting arm around him, "And what if he wouldn't come with? What then?"
"Fuck, I don't know."
"KK he needs do make up his own mind, you can't make all his decisions for him. It would only hurt him more."
Karkat pushed Kanaya off and grabbed a blanket and headed for the wall where he curled up and went to sleep. Only, he wasn't really sleeping, the others could hear his muffled sobs.
" Sollux stood and followed him kneeling beside him and petting his head softly. "KK, it'll be ok. Thomehow." The yellow blood grabbed his own blanket and slept next to Karkat, giving the other troll something to cling to and cry on. "You mithth him tho much already, and it'th only been a few hourth."
Karkat whispered to his Moirail, "He was my Matesprit Sollux. He was the one I picked." Sollux nodded and held the other troll while he cried softly, "I won't get over this."
"Shhh, sure you will." Sollux tried to calm him down, but he was almost certain that he was lying.
On the other side of the small room they were using as a camp Kanaya and Terezi sat silently. "Do you think Karkat will be ok?" Kanaya asked.
"I'm not sure. It was his Matesprit, not just anyone. He'll pull himself together for us, but I'm not sure he'll ever be as strong. Sollux will help him through a lot of this."
"Do you think we made the right choice? Leaving the humans?"
Terezi leaned back on her hands. "I think so. We might actually get some work done now. Move forward and maybe even find a home."
"I'd like to get off this asteroid and out of the veil. It's so depressing."
"I just want a place that isn't cold and grey."
John woke up to an empty bedroom filled with silence. He glanced around and remembered that his friends wouldn't be here anymore, he won't wake up and find them sleeping in the other beds. Wearily he pulled himself out of bed and wandered around the lab. They hadn't taken any of the equipment when they left, everything was still here. He made a bowl of food but it didn't taste like anything when he ate it. He moved to the bathroom to take a shower, he didn't want to leave, even when the water ran cold. He stared at his reflection in the mirror for a long time. His wet black hair fell over new yellow eyes and grey skin. "Though, this isn't really new. Not anymore. It's been way over a month. This shouldn't be surprising or new." He ran a hand over one of his horns, feeling how smooth it was, how natural it felt to have them. He growled a bit and brushed his teeth before moving back to the room that used to be the main living room. It was so odd having no one around.
Even when he was gripped with the aggressive impulses from a few days ago there were always people around. Now there was nobody. He sat down on a couch and leaned back, "Why couldn't I have just chosen?" He rubbed his eyes and rolled in facing the cushions. "I wish it was simpler. Why did I have to choose between friends? It wasn't fair. Everyone else just had to follow their own stupid kind. And I couldn't, because
because." He trailed off and mumbled into the couch. It wasn't easy for him; he didn't see trolls or humans, maybe because he had a foot in with both. He didn't blame the others for the choice. When he looked back at the months they spent together, even before he was a troll, he noticed that they kept their distance from each other. They didn't mingle as well as he had hoped.
"And I just got the fucking short end of the stick." He growled again low in his throat. He just sat there growling. He let the sound take over his voice and he let all his frustration out. It felt good to sit and snarl at the cushions, he growled at the choice that was made, he growled at himself, and he growled at the game that started it all.