The next day was better for Karkat. He woke up and started packing right away. "Guys, get your lazy asses up we have to keep moving." The lab looked vastly the same. Every corridor was just as dark and poorly lit as the next. It didn't help that any signs were written in a language that was foreign to the trolls. They just had to move in a relatively straight line and hope they ran into something decent.
They really had no clue what they were looking for. New transport pads were what they were hoping for. Or something that could be used to break the game even further than the scratch did.
"What are we doing?" Karkat mumbled half to himself half to the others.
"We're trying to live Karkat. Any way possible."
He sighed and opened the door to another sealed room, and looked inside. Dust was covering everything and even with their enhanced night vision it was hard to make anything out. Karkat shut the door and moved on. "How much food do we have? How long will it last?"
Kanaya responded calmly, "Enough for a week at least. We can make it longer by limiting meals and if we really need to, we can live for a month without any food and probably weeks without water."
Karkat snorted, "For once our race did something good for us. Being stupidly hard to kill is useful when trying to survive on a frozen rock in the middle of a killer game."
Their second day ended with no new discoveries or anything changing in the dull landscape.
The humans were having the same amount of luck.
"Dave, we should take a break, we've been walking all day."
The blond slowed and stopped. "Yeah, that's a good idea." He sat down and produced his headphones and retreated back the world of his beats and remixes.
"Rose, do you think John's ok?" Jade asked pulling out a sandwich to eat.
"I don't know." She replied and opened her computer, "He's not online, and he hasn't shown signs of following us."
"Maybe he went with the other trolls?"
"I don't know. He might of; I would like to think that he would have told us if he was." Rose scribbled down some notes on a piece of paper, directions for what way they decided to go next and how many days it took get to get to this point. "I'll just keep leaving him notes like this, which will have to do until he decides to contact us on his own."
She looked down at her screen and noticed the pesterchum icon was blinking.
-- grimAuxiliatrix [GA] began trolling tentacleTherapist [TT] at 10:32--
GA: How Are You Doing Rose?
TT: I'm very fine, thank you. How are things on your end?
GA: Nothing Spectacularly Amazing Has Transpired. In Fact, Nothing Has Happened.
TT: Have you had any contact from John?
GA: No. I Assume Based On That Previous Statement That You Have Heard Nothing From Him As Well?
TT: Regretfully, we have not.
GA: I'm Sorry.
TT: It is not your fault. Don't apologize.
GA: I Miss Your Company Rose.
TT: I miss yours as well.
-- grimAuxiliatrix [GA] ceased trolling tentacleTherapist [TT] at 10:36--
It was getting to the point where John was imagining his friends when there weren't any. It wasn't because he was delirious or insane, but because he could smell them everywhere. The memories of where they sat day to day coupled with the overwhelming power of their scents would create an illusion so strong he'd have to blink and shake his head to clear the vision from his eyes.
The scents followed him everywhere, he couldn't escape. No room was spared from the memories his nose could pick up on. He missed them. He missed all his friends so much. But as the days drifted by he never left the boundary of the lab, his feet would carry him to the split in the road and he would hesitate and fall to the ground, becoming a pitiful whimpering troll who was afraid of making one decision, of choosing one thing over the other. He thought he was selfish, so many times he would think that as he cried on that cold floor. John believed he was selfish for wanting all his friends, his troll ones, and the human one's he pestered for so long. But he couldn't have both. Having both was impossible. The line that divided them was as clear as the hallway before him. He had to choose or stay here forever.
He decided on staying.
Every night he'd fall asleep and tell himself that tomorrow would be the day he finally made his choice. He had a store of food prepared, and with his windy powers he could probably catch up in no time, but he always made it to that same fork in the path and stopped, his progress halted by the desire to have all his friends. So he'd turn around, curse himself and walk back the lab that held nothing but memories.
John began thinking a lot about Karkat, and what their friendship meant. He was even beginning to see what Rose and Kanaya had been trying to tell him, and what Sollux had been hinting at from the start. Karkat. That one troll would weigh on his mind more than any of the others. It was Karkat he missed the most.
When he'd wake up screaming from a nightmare there was no one there. When he'd have a panic attack and hyperventilate in the corner there was no one rubbing his back and calming him down with the mere sound of his voice. The sudden urges to rip something apart where not calmed by his embrace. John couldn't count how many things he'd destroyed since his friends left. There were deep claw marks that ran down the side of the metal walls where he'd take his frustration out. He stopped trimming them down, there wasn't a point, who could he hurt?
He was alone. But opening pesterchum seemed like a nightmare. He wanted to talk to his friends so bad, but he knew that if he opened that program he'd just get asked the questions he couldn't answer. So he avoided the computers like the plague and stuck to watching movies over and over again on Karkat's TV. Some of them were his, but others were Karkat's. The troll couldn't take everything with him; he left behind a rather large collection of films behind. John would watch as many as he could before falling asleep.
He didn't particularly like the movies, but he wasn't watching them for the plot. He was watching them because each one reminded him of Karkat. He would smile and remember the angry troll that would sit beside him and curse at the screen. He would remember all the times Karkat would have to pause the scene and explain it to him. John would grin as he watched those same scenes now and not miss a beat. He didn't even have problems understanding the rough language of Alternian. Eventually his eyes would refuse the order to stay open and he'd fall asleep.
There honestly wasn't much to do in the lab now. He would wake up, shower, stare at his reflection, eat then wander back to bed. Sometimes he would mess with the machines and make really weird stuff, but mostly he'd lie around and think.
Mostly he'd lie around cry.
John hadn't given much thought to the choice he made weeks ago. Now it dawned on him that a life of solitude sucked and he should have just followed someone, he should have gotten up and ran when Karkat screamed his name. Even with his god powers he doubted he could catch up to either group now. He just sulked around the lab and watched movies.
Nights were the hardest. He stopped sleeping in his bed and moved back to Karkat's permanently. He would surround himself in Karkat's scent; it was all over the bed still. He would curl into the blankets and pretend Karkat was next to him, he'd imagine that he was there, ready to calm him down and purr in his ear. But he was never there. Even though Karkat wasn't there, his scent alone was enough to provide comfort to the troll.
He would sleep and occasionally his nightmares would be replaced with the memories he had of his friends. John began to realize that maybe there was more to troll relationships than he thought. But he couldn't tell if that was because of his own inner revelations, the words Rose told him, or the large number of romcoms he'd been watching. He just knew that he missed his friends, and there was a deep ache in his heart that grew stronger with each day that fell away.
-- gardenGnostic [GG] began pestering ectoBiologist [EB] at 18:25 --
GG: john? Are you there?
GG: please answer
GG: you havent replied in a long time im worried :c
-- twinArmageddons [TA] began trolling ectoBiologist [EB] at 8:10 --
TA: john are you there? ii know that ii don't u2ually pe2ter you, but KK's falliing apart over here.
TA: can you at lea2t tell hiim you're aliive? talk two hiim plea2e.
-- tentacleTherapist [TT] began pestering ectoBiologist [EB] at 9:36 --
TT: John I am very concerned about you.
TT: You haven't been online in days.
TT: Please message me and let me know you're ok.
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] began trolling ectoBiologist [EB] at 23:59 --
CG: FUCK, JOHN I CAN'T SLEEP.
CG: I'M WORRIED SICK, MY STUPID STOMACH THROWS UP EVERYTHING I PUT IN IT BECAUSE I'M WORRIED ABOUT YOU.
CG: I JUST WANT TO KNOW IF YOU'RE ALIVE.
CG: AND WHERE YOU ARE.
CG: I KNOW I'M AN ASSHOLE, A HUGE FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT THAT ISN'T EVEN WORTH A MENTION BUT CAN YOU PLEASE JUST SEND ME ONE LITTLE THING?
CG: ONE TINY MINISCULE THING.
CG: IF THAT'S NOT TOO MUCH TO FUCKING ASK.
CG: I DON'T EVEN CARE IF IT'S A STUPID SMILY EMOTICON.
LET ME KNOW YOU'RE OK.
-- gallowsCalibrator [GC] began trolling ectoBiologist [EB] at 1:50 --
GC: H3Y JOHN 1 KNOW YOU H4V3NT B33N 4NSW3R1NG 4NYON3 BUT 1 THOUGHT 1D TRY MY LUCK
GC: 1 DONT KNOW WH3R3 YOU W3NT BUT YOUR3 WORRY1NG 3V3RYBODY
GC: 1F YOU W4NT YOU C4N JUST P3ST3R M3 1 WONT T3LL 4NYON3 >:]
-- grimAuxiliatrix [GA] began trolling ectoBiologist [EB] at 21:34 --
GA: John You Have Given All Of Us Quite A Good Scare.
GA: It Would Be Much To Our Relief If You Gave Us A Sign Of Life Soon.
-- turntechGodhead [TG] began pestering ectoBiologist [EB] at 5:13 --
TG: hey bro
TG: it's cool if you dont want to talk to me
TG: i totally get it
TG: ive been a huge ass lately
TG: and frankly i dont think ill stop being that ass
TG: but youre my friend egderp
TG: even if your skin is all grey and you want you sound more like an animal than a human
TG: and even if i say horrible godawful things to you
TG: im worried about you
TG: and you should say something soon
TG: or ill start believing my bro died for a second time
-- gardenGnostic [GG] began pestering ectoBiologist [EB] at 7:55 --
GG: this stopped being funny a long time ago!
GG: please tell your sister youre ok
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] began trolling ectoBiologist [EB] at 6:12 --
CG: I'M COMING TO GET YOU.
The rest of the building, as it turned out, was filled with countless empty chambers and void halls. The trolls had no clue what half the rooms were even used for. Very few of them had any markings or visual cues to allude to what they were for. It was now day three since the split and everyone was nervous.
"KK we haven't found anything yet-"
"Shut up I know."
"I'm jutht thtarting to worry ith all."
Karkat could tell he was worried too. The psionic was usually more careful about his lisp and embarrassed when it got that bad, but his mind was elsewhere and he allowed more slips than usual. "I'm worried to." He put a comforting arm around the skinny troll; it was tough being a Moirail when his own mind was so troubled.
"I wonder if the humanth have had any luck
"No fucking clue."
Karkat pulled out a tiny phone-like device and opened trollian.
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] began trolling turntechGodhead [TG] at 8:59 --
CG: ARE YOU THE LEADER NOW?
CG: OR DID JOHN COME BACK?
CG: FUCK, THAT DOESN'T MATTER. ANYWAY, STRIDER, WE WERE JUST WONDERING IF YOU GUYS HAVE HAD ANY LUCK YET.
CG: WE'VE FOUND NOTHING BUT DUST HERE.
CG: REPLY BACK IF YOU'RE FEELING LIKE LESS OF A DOUCHE.
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] ceased trolling turntechGodhead [TG] at 9:01 --
"There, all we can do now is wait for a reply."
As they were walking Kanaya brought up a question that was weighing on probably everyone's mind. "Why did they make so many empty rooms?"
"I have no fucking clue. But it's starting to weird me out. We've opened countless numbers of chambers and found jack shit." To prove his point he opened another door and then froze. "Damn."
"KK what ith it?" Sollux was standing next to him but couldn't figure out what the big deal was.
"Guys, there's actually something in this room." Karkat started to walk in slowly.
"What ith in there KK? Half of uth are blind!"
equipment." He walked further in and fumbled for a light switch. "It's so fucking dark in here." He decided to forget the damn light and move deeper into the room. "Remember all that shit we had in the basement of our part of the lab?
"Yeah the place directly beneath our transport pads, back when we still segregated the lab into different rooms."
"Well there's more of it. A lot more." They continued on moving past dusty control pads and large glass tubes. "This place isn't that old, it shouldn't be covered in dust like this." Karkat wiped some of it off and glanced at long vacant screens. "Half of this shit has to have a purpose. But what the hell is it?"
"Karkles I wouldn't go around touching stuff," she cackled and started wandering from the group. "All this stuff is the same gross grey color, like cement."
Sollux stayed by Kanaya and Karkat even with his cane he was pretty useless. "If you guyth see anything particularly useful describe it to me. I thtill want to know about the technology here."
"Sure thing Sollux," Karkat moved from machine to machine. "Do you think if we hadn't overthrown the queen Derse would have won?"
"What do you mean Karkat?"
"Look at all this stuff; it's all things to produce weapons for the battlefield. They must have been able to produce vast amounts of warriors."
"That could explain the many empty chambers we've found." Kanaya looked at all the screens and long dead components. "This would have been a rather large facility, able to transport large amounts of troops and weapons to the battlefield."
"If that's the case," Karkat asked, "Then where the hell are all the transport pads. So far it's just production equipment and briefing rooms."
"Karkat," Terezi called from across the room, "come look at this."
They started walking in her direction, "KK, think of it like an assembly line. Thith is the thtart. The product gets made and labeled, then it needs to move to a different part of the line for quality control and shipping."
"So the stuff to ship it might be in another area."
"Shit, Terezi what the fuck is that?" Karkat broke from the other two and ran towards it.
"I don't know, I was hoping you could tell me."
"Holy shit, it looks like an experiment gone horribly wrong." There was a huge glass container; easily spanning thirty feet across and forty feet tall. The sheer size of it reminded everyone how large the lab complex really was. Inside was a monster suspended in still glowing liquid. "It's like
a hoofbeast got smashed together with several pawbeasts and half a featherbeast. Fuck."
"Is that a snake tail I see?" Kanaya asked examining it more.
"So this is some of the stuff they were producing." Terezi walked around the large capsule sniffing and grinning ear to ear. "Think if this thing was let loose, that would be a sight to see." She tapped the glass with her cane, "Think it's still alive?"
"I have no clue." The monster filled the majority of the tank. The liquid it was suspended in was green and the base still emitted light. "The whole thing looks like it's turned on, but I wonder why it's the only one left?"
"Perhaps the battle ended before it could be deployed?"
" Karkat got a really unnerving feeling around it. "We should probably leave the fucking thing alone." He stared up one last time before turning around and walking away, "This room seems to be filled production equipment, nothing we can use here, let's move on."
They all agreed and started walking back towards the door. Karkat froze when his ears picked up the small sound of cracking glass. He faced the giant beast again. "Run."
"What?" Confused voices asked as Karkat repeated himself.
"God damn it now is not the time to question me. Run!" Karkat pulled his sickles out and shouted at his teammates. The glass behind him completely shattered and liquid poured out covering the floor in the water like substance quickly. Karkat sprinted for the door grabbing Sollux and pulling him along.
"There's no way we'll make it!" Terezi shouted back to them. The beast roared in the background.
Sollux keep moving, Terezi keep an eye on him!" He saw her nod and run towards the psionic. Karkat turned back around and caught Kanaya's arm. "We're going to have to fight it." She nodded and uncapped her lipstick transforming it into a chainsaw.
"How did it get out?"
"I have no idea, maybe it sensed us." He raised his sickles, "Get ready."
The monster climbed out of the shattered remains of its tank and started walking towards them. It roared and lunged in their direction its clawed and hoofed feet stumbling over each and smashing the smaller containers sending more glass and liquid to the floor.
"Ugh my skirt is going to get soaked. I hope this comes out."
"Kanaya can you please worry about something other than your skirt? Like, maybe for instance the huge ass monster charging towards us? Just an idea."
She revved her chainsaw in an answer. The monster finally reached them and struck out with a clawed paw; the two trolls each dodged in a different direction and started their attack. Kanaya was able to cut a rather impressive chunk out of its side while she ran by. Karkat jumped up and landed a few quick blows on its back and side before being tossed off. The beast howled and clutched it's side, dull green blood pouring from the gash left by Kanaya's chainsaw. It was times like these Karkat wished he had made a chainsaw-sickle or something. He got up and charged again, there was no clear weakness on the monster so he struck at the standard vulnerable points. The throat was out of the question, it was too high, the only other options were organs and maybe a neck vein.
Karkat growled in frustration when he couldn't seem to land a solid blow. The monster seemed to be more interested in Kanaya. Whether that was because she was causing it more pain, or because she glowed white like a soldier of Prospit didn't matter. It meant that the beast was open to attacks from all other sides. Karkat would slash and cut at any opening he found. The foe was just too big for his attacks to mean anything. He snarled again when the tail whipped around and sent him flying.
Terezi watched her friends fight anxiously. "Sollux
they need help."
"Go. I'll be fine." He clutched his cane tightly and hid the fear in his voice. "They need you more than me."
"I know that's a lie, thanks for trying." Sollux pushed her forward a bit.
"Go. Make sure KK doesn't end up dead."
"I can do that!" She pulled Karkat up and charged over to the beast the blade from her own cane already removed.
"Terezi you're supposed to be with Sollux!"
The troll girl grinned and hacked at the monster's leg. "He'll be fine! Let's kill this thing before it becomes a problem!"
Karkat looked at Sollux and then to the thing before him. "Sollux!" He called, "Watch your scrawny ass!"
"You watch your'th firtht KK!"
With the added help of Terezi the beast was confused even further. It couldn't focus on one target when so many were attacking from different angles. Thanks to Kanaya it was no sporting a missing wing and useless leg. She sawed through one of its thick tendons rendering the rear left leg useless. It would roar in pain and thrash trying desperately to shake them. The backside drooped down due to the useless leg, Karkat took advantage of that and hastily climbed up getting onto its back. He removed one sickle so he'd a have a free hand to hold on with. Quickly he discarded his shoes so he could grip with the claws on his feet as well. The others kept it distracted enough for him to reach the neck. Karkat plunged his blade deep into the creature's spine and held on as it shook and tried to throw him off.
The beast suddenly took off running towards the exit. Towards Sollux. Karkat was still gripping the blade lodged in its neck. "Sollux move!" He shouted.
Sollux couldn't see a thing, which, was normal by now. But he could hear, and he what he heard filled him with fear. The monster was running, and each splashing step got closer and closer to him. He heard Karkat shout for him to run, so he did, he ran to the side as fast as he could, but in his haste he slipped and landing in the water. The sudden movement and noise drew the monster's attention to Sollux. It wasn't stupid; it knew that Sollux was the most vulnerable of the group. It lunged at him jaw snapping.
"Sollux!" Karkat screamed even louder.
Captor panicked, he didn't know what to do. He picked himself up and started running again. "Fuck, shit, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck," he cursed while he ran. Sollux really wished his psionics were in working order, he wished he wasn't fucking blind and he wished he could do something useful instead of die in a stain of mustard yellow. He spun around to face the unknown danger and screamed back. He willed everything he had into using the once familiar psionic energy he had.
Karkat was trying to rip his blade free from the monster but wasn't having any luck. They were closing in on Sollux and Karkat wasn't going to stand by and watch as his Moirail died, not this time. He was about to ditch the sickle when the beast ground to a halt. Karkat fell forward a bit and caught himself. "What the fuck?" He heard a sickening snap and watched as blue and red surrounded the monster, the beast's neck twisted around and it dropped to the ground taking Karkat with it.
Sollux meanwhile was standing just a few feet away shaking. "Holy
Karkat ran over to him, his dark blank eyes were glowing faintly with blue and red. "Sollux are you ok?"
I can thee." He mumbled.
"What? Sollux are you crazy?"
He stepped forward a bit, "No, KK. I can thee. My eyeth, my eyeth work."
"Sollux?" The other troll was still shaking.
"I mean, they don't, but they do. I can thee
I can thee the shapes and outlines of you guyth." He moved to Karkat and hugged him. "I can thee you KK."
"Sollux, this is insane. I can't believe it."
"It's my psionics, I'm sure of it. I'm using them to thee. I can spread them out and feel with them." Sollux sudden put all his weight on Karkat, "Fuck, that really drains my energy."
Karkat helped lower to the ground that was still covered in a foot of green liquid. The other troll's eyes stopped glowing and he clutched Karkat. "Sollux, this is great news."
"I know. If I practice
I won't be the weak link anymore." A small grin was tugging at his lip. "Fuck, KK, I haven't actually felt good like this in a long time."
Karkat helped him up and shouldered his weight, grabbing his cane and moving towards the exit. Terezi managed to wrench his sickle free and hand it to him. "Sollux can use his psionics again."
"That much was obvious; I can smell Mr. Apple-berry blast anywhere." She helped Karkat support him and they sloshed through the room and opened the door leading to the hall.
"It gets better TZ, I can use them to sense everything around me. I can see again when I use them."
"Sollux, that's great! I'm really glad something is working after failing to teach you to smell and taste colors."
Kanaya sealed the door shut and they continue on for a while. "Hey guys, note for future fucking reference, if we see any more creepy monsters in huge ass containers, we leave the room immediately. We do not need to deal with that shit every day." There were no objections to that idea.
When they settled down for the night their clothes were still damp, "We should all change, it would be problematic if one of us were to freeze."
Karkat did so and turned on his husktop briefly to troll some people. Dave got back to him; it appeared that the humans had no luck either. He trolled John again, but the kid wasn't replying. It was really bothering him. "I hope he's ok
" Karkat muttered to himself and prepared the usual nest of blankets that he would sleep in. Sollux took his place right next to him.
"KK." He whispered. "I could see
"I know," he gave him a quick smile and then told said, "now go to sleep idiot."
The trolls began to notice something as the days went on. They started to realize that they had grown closer than most trolls ever would. They would walk closer, sleep closer, and vocalize more than they ever did in the lab. Eventually the pile of blankets stretched in a straight line with each troll more or less sleeping back to back. It was something none of them had ever expected to happen. Karkat came to the conclusion that the violence that was bred into them was slowly being overridden.
Everyone would talk before bed. They would discuss everything they wanted in the new world.
"I just want a place where it's finally peaceful." Kanaya said.
"One where there isn't a caste system based on blood." Karkat added.
Terezi cackled, "And a true form of justice."
Sollux smiled and added, "And maybe one where being a mutant freak didn't mean a damn thing. And of course, lots of technology."
Each troll would laugh and joke, they talked about their dreams and aspirations for the new world well into the night. Eventually everyone did fall asleep in the same close-knit group that was quickly becoming habit.
They continued to find nothing until one day one they stumbled upon the end of their hallway. It dropped off to an open room that had a staircase that led down to a bridge. Everyone stopped at the top and gazed out across the asteroid that was visible through thick glass paneling that stretched across the whole wall. "So, that leads to a new lab complex right?" Terezi asked.
"I think so." Karkat said sitting down. He unpacked his computer again and sent a few quick pesters to the humans before looking back across.
"So," Kanaya asked, "do we cross it?"
"I don't know. It seems like our best bet by now." He glanced nervously down at the name that was still blanked out on his trollian, ectoBiologist. "Let's rest here for the night and decide what to do next." There weren't any complaints about the idea and they settled down. Their food supply was now gone, but there wasn't any fear of starving. They were all tough and confident that they would survive.
"Karkat," Terezi sat next to him. "You don't want to leave do you?"
He stared out over the expanse of grey craters and black space. "No."
"Not without him, right?"
Kanaya joined them. "He still hasn't replied?" Karkat shook his head. "The humans haven't heard from him either?" He shook his head again.
"Then let's go back for him KK."
Karkat's eyes widened, "Really? You guys would be ok with that?"
"To be honest, we're worried too. And it's pretty clear that you'd be regretting it forever if you left him behind." Terezi added.
"We'll follow whatever you decide, Karkat, you are our leader."
"Thanks guys." He shot one last message to John. "We'll leave in the morning."
John was in the living room when he heard them. The sounds of people. Actual voices, not just the projections of his mind. There wasn't a time when he'd left a couch so fast and ran down a hall. Their scents were becoming clearer as well. It was the other trolls. He was sure of it.
Karkat on the other side could hear John's footsteps and smell the familiar troll. He broke into a run and sped down the corridor leaving the others behind.
John could see him now. He chirped and hugged him tightly feeling the other troll bury his head in his neck. "You came back for me." He whispered almost crying. "You came back."
Karkat was busy purring and nuzzling the boy, he couldn't hold him closer but he wanted to. "Of course I did, I couldn't leave you behind. I just couldn't." His voice dissipated to more purring and chirping.
"Karkat I missed you so much. I was so lonely. You have no idea." He clung to Karkat and cried on his shirt. He was smiling and so happy, he couldn't believe this real. He half expected to wake up alone and realize it was all a dream. But it wasn't, it was real and Karkat was holding him close and he didn't think he'd ever get to feel this again.
"I missed you too idiot." He pulled himself away and looked into John's eyes, "Don't do that to me again." John shook his head and smiled wider. "Why did you stay here?"
John didn't answer, he didn't want to answer. His reply didn't matter, Karkat was here and he was holding him. Suddenly everything felt like it was going to be ok again. His friend examined his shirt, "Someone was busy making stuff."
John laughed, "Yeah I made myself a troll shirt, to match you guys, it's even in my blood color." He pressed his face into Karat and rested against him. "I'm so happy, you have no idea."
"I think I have an idea, you did chirp when you saw me, that's rare for you." He watched the blush spread across his face.
"I've had a lot of time to think. And I was so tired of being alone. I guess I couldn't stop myself."
"It's not a bad thing, John, it's actually a good reaction."
The others caught up and saw that Karkat was already embracing John tightly. The boy looked and noticed the other trolls. "You all came?"
"Of course, we follow where Karkat goes, and we decided that you were an important friend. We couldn't leave you alone like this."
John found himself in the middle of a troll reunion hug party. He was amazed at how friendly everyone was; he always thought trolls were standoffish and solitary. But the group embrace he was now in the middle of was nothing like he'd ever experienced before. He could hear Karkat's purring in his ear and the other trolls all had similar noises. He noticed that he was producing a low humming buzz sound deep within his chest, Kanaya was also humming while Terezi had a low growl and Sollux made a rumbling buzz. John was fast to notice that he felt safe and like he belonged. Finally something felt completely right.
Karkat was overcome with emotions as well. He couldn't believe that all his friends were together and happy. The sounds that rose up from the group were amazing. He'd never witnessed anything that felt so peaceful before in his life. The dangerous race of Alternian Trolls, the very same who raided planets and killed millions were all contently happy. It had to be nothing short of a miracle. Deep down he hoped that the new world they made would be filled with peace just like this.
Eventually they broke apart and went back to the lab. John was still firmly clutching Karkat while they walked. He was so glad he wasn't alone. They ate together and John got to hear all about what happened. He didn't care that all the food served was Alternian, or that the language used was Alternian as well. There was a joy he hadn't felt in a long time.
Karkat informed him that he told the humans where they went as well, he was expecting that they'd arrive soon. Possibly even within a few days. Instead of retreated to their single rooms all the trolls gathered for one last blanket pile.
"Since when do trolls sleep in groups?" John asked settling in next to Karkat.
Karkat laughed, "I have no fucking clue. It's something that just sort of happened when we were out there together. We've grown so close, it's insane. Never in my life did I dream this would be possible."
John didn't complain, he just curled in closer to Karkat. "I missed this the most." Karkat wrapped a comforting arm around him, "I missed the safety I felt when you slept next to me."
Karkat fell asleep with his potential Matesprit wrapped in his arms. He knew right there that his decision to go back was worth it. The weeks they spent walking the halls wasn't for nothing. They'd found their new lead, now they just had to take the big step and cross that bridge. He smiled and pressed his face into John's hair. He didn't regret for a second coming back for him. He was sure he'd make the same choice over and over again.