Karkat walked wearily back to his respiteblock, he had been up late helping Sollux with the new Alchemiter and could use some time to relax. He opened his door and fell onto his bed. The troll really missed his recuperacoon but nothing could be done about that. Karkat had barely drifted off into a shallow sleep when he heard the sound of padded footsteps and the small clicking of claws on the metal floor. A knock sounded on his door, and a frantic voice called from the hall. Karkat shot out of bed quickly realizing it was John. He opened the door and the new troll ran in breathing heavily. "John, what's wrong?" the boy just hugged him close and buried his face in Karkat's chest. "John, you have to tell me something."
"It was horrible, Karkat, horrible." The small boy was shaking, "All this blood, and the screams, why won't the screams go away?!" John was now crying, gasping for air as he remembered the horrible dreams. He would wake up from one, only to be tormented by another. A hand was rubbing his back and Karkat was talking to him a soft voice.
"Shit, John, I'm sorry. I should never have left you to go to sleep on your own. I should have warned you." He watched as John lifted his head to look at Karkat, blue tears all over his face. "All trolls suffer from horrible dreams; it's because we're seeing the visions of the people our ancestors killed. Thousands of years of death and destruction and we get to see it all." Karkat kept hugging John and talking to him. "Also, trolls are a violent race, I'm not going to sugar coat that, our subconscious gets assaulted with aggressive thoughts as well."
"All trolls?" John asked, still scared.
"Yeah. Why the hell didn't I realize you would be no different?" he pushed John's head back into his chest, where he continued to cry. "We usually sleep in spoor slime, it blocks out the dreams and lets us rest in peace, but we have long since run out. I'm really sorry, John, you're going to have to get used to it."
John couldn't stop shaking and crying. The scenes he just saw were too horrific. He just sobbed against Karkat.
"John," he knew his entire explanation was lost on the boy. John let out another wailing sob, "John it's ok, it was just a dream; please calm down." He resumed rubbing the boys back, "You're fine, I have you, it's going to be ok, trust me." He kept reassuring the quivering troll, speaking softly. John didn't seem to be responding, he was almost hyperventilating. It was then Karkat noticed his throat vibrating, he was making a sound, deep in his chest, it sounded like humming growl. The troll blinked a few times and realized his instincts had kicked in, and he was trying to calm John down.
The other troll was still sobbing into his friend's chest when he noticed Karkat making a growling sound. It didn't have a threatening tone, but a soothing one instead. It vibrated his chest and had an odd relaxing effect that he found himself immediately reacting to. His breathing slowed and he stopped crying. Karkat held him in close and never stopped making the sound. John looked up into Karkat's eyes; Karkat was entirely focused on him. "K-Karkat?"
"You feel better?" he said, the sound still resonating from his throat.
"Y-yeah," he said, "I do."
"Good," he replied and led him over to where his bed was. He sat down and John still clung to him.
"W-What did you just do? I felt so calm, all of a sudden."
Karkat looked away, almost embarrassed, "It's a sound that trolls can make, it's supposed to have a calming effect on other trolls. I've never used it, and I've never really heard much about it. But apparently your brain could pick up on what I was trying to do." He laid John down, "I know it's frightening, but you're going to have to try to sleep."
"No, I don't want to."
Karkat sighed softly, "It's ok, I'll be right next to you. If you wake up in a panic again I'll be here." John's eyes were wide and scared; he gripped the blankets and trembled a bit. "John, really, I won't leave. You should at least try to sleep; we have to attempt to work through this."
John nodded and slipped under the covers, closing his eyes wearily. Karkat was right beside him and he attempted sleep. Karkat heard the boy whimper beside him, he turned and rolled into him and resumed the calming noise. He had thought such a sound was pointless for trolls; he never imagined he'd be making it. He also never thought it would be for John, but didn't mind; he could get used to it.
That was, until John woke up screaming every ten minutes and needed to be calmed down. By the time morning came around Karkat felt as if he hadn't gotten any sleep, which was partially true. About halfway through the night Karkat decided to just stay awake and monitor the boy, it was better than sleeping for a short time and waking up. He heard his alarm go off; reaching over John he shut it off. John heard the noise and shot straight snarling at the loud sound. Karkat retracted his arm before it could be shoved in a mouth of sharp teeth. The boy's eyes were unfocused and he was growling. "JOHN," Karkat said loudly and commanding. The troll blinked a few times and looked at Karkat.
"Wow, Karkat you look terrible." He commented, returning to normal.
"I always look terrible," he said climbing out of bed. "Come on, let's get something to eat."
John scrambled out of bed grabbing his glasses, "Wait, Karkat!" he caught up to the other troll, "Karkat were you up all night?"
"Yeah, what of it?"
"It was because of me, right?" he sounded apologetic.
"Yes, it was." Karkat said, opening the door. "But you can't really sleep on your own right now, the humans don't know what to do, and I doubt any of the other trolls would want to deal with it, so it's up to me."
"But I feel so bad
"Don't. It's normal troll behavior; you just have never experienced it before." They entered the main area where Jade was sitting brushing her hair; she looked up as they approached.
"Hey Jade!" John said brightly entering the room. "Do you know if the Alchemiter is ready yet? I'm starving!"
"I haven't seen Sollux around, so I really don't know."
"I just talked to him," Rose said walking up, "he said to give it another hour, then things should be ready." Dave appeared silently and wordlessly sat down. "John," Rose turned her attention to her friend, "I did not see you this morning, where did you go?"
"Oh," he paused, "I, uh, stayed with Karkat last night."
"Why'd you do that?" She asked.
Dave replied instead, "Obviously because we're not good enough anymore."
"Dave!" John exclaimed, still hurt.
A growl rose up in Karkat's chest, "Shut the fuck up Strider. John had to go through something truly terrifying last night, something you stupid humans could never understand, and I'm the only one who could fucking help him. So get the idea out of your head that he was 'abandoning' you guys or some shit like that. He had no choice."
" John said softly.
"And if you don't like it, tough, because he's going to be staying with me for a while."
"Why are you staying with Karkat, John? What's wrong?" asked Jade.
"Well I, gosh, this is embarrassing." He struggled to find the right words without making himself sound completely stupid. "Trolls have these, um really bad nightmares I guess, and before you laugh, I mean really bad. Horrible things happen, and I'm forced to see it all. Karkat says it's normal, but I can't really deal with it, but he can help, so I'm going to stay with him until it gets better." He sighed, "It sucks we can't all be together, but it's not like it's going to be forever, so that's something to look forward to."
Jade was going to protest, but she saw the bags under his eyes and the tired strain on his voice. She nodded sympathetically and said, "Whatever makes you feel better you do!" She turned to Karkat, "and if you really think this is going to help him, I trust you."
"Thanks Jade," John hugged his sister. She giggled and hugged him back. He sat next to her.
"Just remember no sloppy interspecies make outs Karkles!" Terezi said walking into the room.
Karkat groaned, "Oh god, Terezi shut up!"
John was laughing and reminded the room he wasn't a homosexual. Suddenly the conversation switched to Alternian and John was thoroughly lost.
"Karkat, you're not flushing for him are you?" she said slyly in their native tongue.
"Hell no," he spat back. "I just feel responsible for him is all."
She dropped her voice lower, even though they knew the humans couldn't understand them. "How bad was it last night?"
"Remember our first night without sopor slime?" She nodded. "Worse."
"Worse?" She glanced at John, "aw dude that sucks." She said sympathetically to the boy.
"You know he can't fucking understand you, right?"
"Yeah I know, hey, he should learn Alternian." Terezi suggested. "He is a troll; he should know his own language."
Karkat sighed, "Yeah I'll ask him about it later." He paused, "who's going to teach him?" another pause, Terezi's smiled, "oh no, fuck no! I'm not doing it!"
"But you have to! Think any of us could teach him?"
"Kanaya could. She could probably do a better job at it then I could."
Terezi shook her head, "Nope, she's busy helping me with Sollux, speaking of which," she added, "I was going to go find him. See you later Karkat!" she wandered off in the direction of the electronics room.
John watched Karkat swear and sit down next to him. "You need to learn Alternian."
"What? Why?" John asked.
"Because, idiot, you're a troll now. You should know your own fucking language."
"Well I have always wanted to know what you guys are saying, and it does sound pretty cool, but last time I tried it didn't sound right. It just sounded stupid."
"That's because you were speaking with your human mouth, and human vocal cords. You couldn't even make the sounds needed for proper Alternian."
John asked, "So now I can?"
"Obviously. You've probably already made new sounds you weren't aware of already."
John nodded, remembering the feral growl he let out at Dave earlier, "But who's going to teach me?" He looked over at Karkat, "you all seem pretty busy."
"Oh, this should be good." John groaned. His stomach groaned as well. "Is Sollux done yet?"
"We could go check, though he's probably getting pissed at the amount of people bugging him." Karkat moved to get up, "But I should at least look at his progress, I'm still leader of this shit heap."
"Palhoncho," John corrected.
They both got up and proceeded down the hall. Karkat could hear John following him as he went to check in on Sollux. The boy hadn't bothered throwing on shoes and he could hear the soft clinking sound of his claws on metal. "We should probably trim you claws, on your feet and hands."
John looked at Karkat's hand as it swung back and forth, "But you don't cut your claws, why do I have to?"
"Because idiot, you don't realize you have them yet." He reached the room, "It's better if you don't accidently scratch someone." He walked in through the doorway, "Sollux is that thing working yet?"
"Yeth KK, it'th finithed." He stepped away from the monitor and sat down massaging his temples. "I'm going to go path out now, you can thank me for thtaying up all damn night to finith thith."
"Thanks Sollux! You're like the best blind computer hacking troll I know!" John said happily, he moved over to the machine and entered the code for his favorite cereal that he knew by heart. It materialized and in no time John was retreating to their eating area. Karkat sighed and punched in a code that was similar but different; he grabbed a bowl of food, thanked Sollux for everything he does around the lab, and started after John. He sat down and took a mouthful, watching the troll eat. He almost laughed when he saw what a hard time he was having.
"How do you guys eat with these stupid teeth?" he complained, taking small bites and chewing slowly. The pointy troll teeth were nothing like his old flat human ones.
"I don't know," he shrugged, "we just do." Karkat heard him grumble and continue eating. "You know, you're pretty lucky that human food and troll food are almost the same, you won't need to adopt a new diet."
John looked up, "Oh, yeah that is pretty nice." He glanced back at his food, "I don't know if I could have handled that on top of everything else."
"What do you mean?"
"Well," John paused, "I mean, I'd feel like I changed too much, like none of me is the same anymore. Although, my mind is still me, I guess, so maybe I wouldn't have cared
" he trailed off.
"I understand." Karkat took a few more bites, "you're still upset over Dave right?"
"I thought so. Look, John, just try not to think about it."
"How can I not? He is my best friend
" John picked at his cereal. "I wish there was something I could do, you know, to convince him I'm still me
"Just keep doing what you're doing. If you try to act like you're the same it will only look like you've changed more."
John tried to keep that in mind when he was sitting with his friends in the main room again. He was chatting and being the same overly-hyper kid he always was, but something just seemed different. The boy couldn't place it; he looked at his friends, trying to figure out what was off. He noticed the slight pauses in their responses; he became hyperaware, noticing every single movement, or tiny falter in voice. He couldn't stand it, he felt too out of place. Standing up he excused himself from the group. He wandered around until he found Kanaya and Karkat sitting another part of the lab. They were talking about something, John didn't notice what; he just sat down next to them and pulled his legs up to his chest. Karkat gave him a worried glance, but John smiled, assuring him he was ok. He listened to them discuss everything from life on Alternia to things that happened during their session. Terezi walked in followed by Sollux and soon were joining in the conversation as well. Terezi's laugh and Karkat's angry g
rowls filled the room. John was too preoccupied with his own thoughts to notice that the conversation had grown silent; he looked up to see that all eyes were him. "W-What?" he asked, almost shyly.
"What was it like to be god tier?" Kanaya asked again.
"Oh, it is really fun!" he answered.
"Is? You're still god tier?"
"I think so, I don't think it just stopped, I mean, why would it?"
"Can you still control the wind?"
John smiled big; a slight breeze came in out of nowhere and whipped around Karkat, blowing his hair all over his face. "Stop that fuckass," John continued, "ok, ok, we know you can still do the damn windy thing, now stop it!"
The others laughed and John stopped the wind. He stretched out his legs and proceeded to talk with the others. He found himself jumping up and acting out all of the fun things he did during his session. John noticed that the trolls were behaving as if he had never changed, Terezi and Sollux couldn't even see him, so I guess they'd have no reason to act differently and Kanaya and Karkat didn't seem to care at all. He lost track of time just talking with the trolls, he loved hearing their stories about their session, and he was even more interested in stories about Alternia. "Did you really have red clouds? That is so cool!"
"Yes we did," Terezi was telling him all about her home in the forest, "It was so nice there, and the trees were so pretty when they were in bloom. It was really something. I wish you guys all could have seen it," she concluded.
They all agreed. "Where did you live Sollux?"
"Oh, me? I lived in a communal hive thythtem. I think humanth call it an apartment building. It wathn't anything thpectacular."
"I didn't even know you guys had big cities, I was under the impression that you'd all try to fight each other."
"Well, most trolls do live apart from each other." Kanaya spoke up, "I'm not going to try to tell you that we aren't violent, but we are also not wild beasts. We are very civilized and, as you can see, good with technology."
"Ekthept for KK, he thuckth." Sollux laughed. "But theriouthly we may have violent thtreaks but our race is very thimilar to yourth. I mean we grow up a bit different, but we are much the thame."
"Kanaya, where did you live?" He asked the faintly glowing troll.
"I was a bit special; I lived in an oasis in a desert. I could also walk around freely in the sunlight. It is a rare trait among trolls, we usually cannot stand the rays of the sun, and if stared upon, blindness occurs."
" He glanced at Terezi who just sat there with her huge grin on her face.
"Of course, as you may have noticed, we are sensitive to light; it is because we're nocturnal, although, that might be hard to catch due to the fact that we all sleep on the same schedule here on the asteroid."
John sat there absorbing all the information he was getting, "wow, compared to you guys, my life was boring," he laughed, "I can't believe you watched the whole thing Karkat."
"It's not like I enjoyed it," he grumbled. "I just wanted to know what kind of idiot was responsible for fucking up our lives." They continued to talk deep into the day, none of them seeming to care that they hadn't eaten.
Elsewhere in the lab Jade and Rose were talking. "John seemed different today," Jade said, watching Rose knit.
"He seemed preoccupied with other thoughts."
"You think it's Dave? I heard they had an argument yesterday."
Rose nodded, "That is most likely the cause. He is still shocked; he could possibly have a fear of trolls we didn't know about, or something similarly stupid."
Jade laughed, "No way! Dave's too cool to be afraid of trolls! Besides, what have they done to be so scary?" her smile fell, "I hope they become friends again soon. I can't stand to see my friends act this way. It hurts."
Rose agreed. "It would be ideal if Sollux could get that machine working again, then John could be returned to normal."
Jade spoke up, "I thought you didn't mind him as a troll?"
"I don't. I just think he does. More than he'll admit. John might actually be afraid of himself, I think he's scared that he be won't accepted by us anymore, and this nonsense with Dave isn't helping. It's only reinforcing the idea that John cannot be John unless he's human, and he's picking up on that."
"What should we do? How can we help?"
"Simple, we have to do nothing." Jade tilted her head a bit confused, "You see, if we try too hard to make it seem like nothing is bothering us it'll be obvious that we're trying to make him feel wanted. We don't want it to seem like we're forcing ourselves to be around him. So just react naturally, if he does something that bothers you or he acts a bit differently don't hide your reaction. Laugh or smile, let him know we're ok with how he is now, that he doesn't have to be ashamed of being different."
"I can do that!" She laughed and asked Rose, "Where is John, anyway? He just sorta disappeared on us."
"I'm not sure, though I'm certain we can find him easily." She stood up, "would you like to come with?"
"Of course!" And they went off looking for their friend.
Dave Strider was used to the feeling of being alone. Bro had always left him alone for long periods of time, he was ok with that. He knew that it was hard taking care of a small child when he barely qualified as an adult. He was fine with not having friends at school, with being the cool kid, all alone and strong. He was ok with all of this because he had his friends waiting for him back home. He could accept anything bad that happened as long as he could chat with one of them. They made his life better; they made it so he wouldn't need anyone else's comfort. "So why am I pushing John away?" he asked himself quietly while taking a walk through the stark halls.
He searched his brain for the answer, but couldn't find it. The only thing he could he could think of was his fear of trolls. 'It's not like I'm afraid of John, I'm just afraid of what he could do.' He thought back to when Terezi had told him how she went blind, he remembered that she said they were violent and that thought scared him, they looked so normal. Dave couldn't stop seeing the pointed teeth and claws that adorned each of the trolls, he could only see their yellow eyes and think 'predator', and he was glad they couldn't see his own eyes behind his shades.
He rounded the corner and found John's voice greeting his ear. What he did not expect was to find the other trolls sitting next to him. He stood by the doorway watching them, seeing John talk animatedly and watching as he listened to what the others had to say. Dave couldn't stop the feeling of bile rising in his throat when he saw John smile with those large sharp fangs, or how easily he was conversing with the others. He made himself more visible to others and Karkat finally spoke up.
"Hey Strider," he said casually.
"Dave?" John's head whipped around, "Dave! Want to talk with us?" John's voice had a hopeful sound to it.
Dave felt almost no remorse in crushing it. "No John. Why would I want to talk to the aliens that ruined your life? Why would I want to sit here talking to them, when they could be figuring out how to get you back to normal, or how we're going to leave this damn asteroid?"
"Because, they're our friends?" he said quietly. "And because what happened to me was an accident, and they're not that different from us, and "
Dave interrupted him, "Of course they don't seem that different to you, you are one now."
"Dave," Terezi stood up, staring in his direction, her sightless eyes looking directly at him. "cut this bullshit, I know you. This isn't you Dave. This isn't YOU."
"Oh? And what IS me, Pyrope?"
"Dave Strider is a friend, and he's certainly not this pansy ass douche standing in front of me right now. He's calm and cool and understands. He's one of the best friends I've ever had. So when you're ready to be Dave Strider you can come back, but until then, I don't want to hear your voice, or even so much as smell you." Her voice was firm and cold. Dave turned to leave but was stopped by her voice again, "Oh and Dave, you can leave John alone too. You stupid humans might not get it, but your friend hasn't changed. I don't need sight to tell me that."
Dave just flicked them off and continued walking.
"Terezi, are you ok?" Karkat said watching his friend very carefully.
"Yes, I'm fine, just disappointed." She said sitting back down. "I really thought Strider and I had something." A small tear fell from behind her glasses but she wiped it away as fast as it appeared. "I didn't think being different species mattered to him, apparently I was wrong."
"Thtrider didn't theem thure of himthelf." Sollux spoke slowly.
"What do you mean?"
"I've been lithtening to hith thpeech a lot rethently. I've notithed that he'th not the thame. He ithn't confident, he'th thcared." He turned his sightless eyes to John, staring at him through different colored lenses, "I've notithed the thame about you. You're thcared too, maybe more tho than Thtrider." John didn't look, he only nodded.
"You don't need to be afraid," Kanaya said, "nothing is going to happen to you."
"You are a blue blood," Karkat told him, "but you don't seem to be too violent, you shouldn't have anything to worry about." He wrapped an awkward arm around John, "I'll make sure nothing happens to you."
"Thanks, I guess. What does my blood color have to do with anything?"
Kanaya answered, "Traditionally the higher on the hemospectrum you are the more aggressive you are. You know the hemosectum right?" John nodded, "So Karkat was just saying that you don't appear to be affected by that yet. But you have only been a troll for a little over a day; your instincts might kick in soon."
"W-will I still be the same?" He remembered how easily he snapped at Dave the night before.
"Yeah, I don't see why not. You find yourself quicker to anger, but other than that, nothing should change."
He let out a sigh, "that's good." He looked up, "So, do you think Dave will come around, I mean eventually?"
"Yes." Terezi spoke up, "But I'm not sure how many of us will be welcoming." John heard the pain in her voice. "He can't say things like that and expect us to just welcome him back in, like none of it mattered."
John thought about that, he knew Dave was being a jerk, he knew what he was saying was harsh. John also knew he wasn't just joking. That thought scared him; he didn't want to think about the fact that his best bro could easily become the outsider. "Will you give him one more chance?" he asked. "I mean, after he's done being scared or whatever, will you give him a chance to apologize?"
The other trolls looked at him, understanding. "Yeah, we will give him time, and when he stops acting foolish he can ask for our forgiveness."
John sighed, "Thanks," he said quietly.
Dave found himself alone again, this time he was trailing the halls looking for something, anything to distract himself with. He found Jade and Rose wandering the cold steel lab as well. They greeted him to which he replied with a "sup," before moving on.
"Dave," his sister called out to him, "have you seen John? We've been looking for him."
"Yeah, he's with the rest of his kind up ahead."
"Dave," Rose called again, "you can't keep this up. John is your friend, I know he is. Stop this stupidity before it goes too far to repair."
"I'll do whatever the hell I want, Lalonde, you know that." He continued walking not stopping when Jade's voice sounded with Rose's. He knew he was being a huge dick, but he couldn't stop himself. He couldn't stop himself from pushing his friends away. The thought alone made him sick, but he couldn't help it; it frustrated him and just angered him more. "God. Fucking. Damn. It."
John was talking with Karkat again when he heard Rose and Jade approach. "Rose! Jade!" he called happily, thankful for someone other than Dave to talk to. "Wanna talk with us?"
"Yeah, that's why we were looking for you." Jade sat down between John and Sollux. Rose sat alongside Kanaya. "What were you guys talking about?" Jade asked the group.
"Nothing much, we were talking about our adventures, our game sessions." Terezi replied, "and we were telling John a bit about Alternia."
"Alternia, that's your home planet right?" Jade asked again.
"Yeah, it's where all trolls are from." Karkat explained, "It's where we're all born, then we move to other planets as adults to help our elders conquer." He lowered his voice, "it's the only home we'd known."
"I miss Earth too," John spoke up, "It was a nice planet, I'm sure you would have liked it too." John was overwhelmed with pleasure when the conversation moved on as normal. He was so relieved when everyone was just talking, talking like nothing had ever happened between them. The new troll frowned when his stomach growled, not wanting to break the feeling of familiarity that had settled over the group. He glanced to the side, feeling himself blush a bit at his stomach's noisy outburst. "I guess I'm hungry." He laughed, "Anyone else?" he asked reluctantly.
The others agreed and they made their way to the newly operational Alchemiter. They each made a plate of food and sat down to dinner. John was still having trouble eating and Karkat watched amused. "You know, those fangs work better on meat." John nodded and kept at his bowl of soup, determined to eat the bits of vegetables. Karkat leaned against an arm and continued talking, "you should probably grab whatever stuff you need to sleep after dinner. You'll be staying with me anyways."
John looked up; his eyes widened a bit at the thought of having to try to sleep again, but he sighed and nodded. "I just need some clothes, that's all."
"Should we move your bed? Or do you want a new one?" he asked, picking up on John's unease. He hated bringing up this topic, especially when the boy had looked so happy, but it had to be done.
John glanced up at Karkat, "Can't I just sleep with you? Like last night?"
Karkat was a bit embarrassed by the question but he heard the innocence in John's voice and couldn't say no. "Yeah, that's fine, I guess. As long as you don't fucking mind, it's ok with me." They excused themselves and left, Karkat waited outside John's respiteblock while he grabbed some stuff. They walked to Karkat's and he opened the door. Karkat watched the boy look around again, the new troll seemed to be trying to find somewhere to put his stuff. "Hey, you put your clothes in here." Karkat opened an extra drawer in his dresser. John put his stuff down and sat on the bed.
He smiled a bit nervously, "What should we do? I don't really feel like sleeping right now."
Karkat pulled a movie out of a pile and put it in. "Feel like a movie?" he asked, though he was already pushing play so John didn't have much of a choice. "It's a rom-com, don't laugh."
John didn't laugh, he was just thankful that Karkat was able to provide a distraction from his worries, although he would have preferred to be watching Con Air. Karkat sat next to him and leaned against the wall. John watched as the movie started, after a few minutes he glanced up at Karkat questioning. "Karkat, this um, movie, it's in Alternian."
"I, um, can't understand Alternian."
"I know, is there a problem? You should be able to figure out what's going on from body language; I'll narrate parts that are really important, just watch the movie fuckass."
John nodded and tried to watch the movie, the characters seemed simple enough, and the plot seemed easy to follow. Until the other quadrants started coming in. "Uh, Karkat, I thought those, other trolls were a thing? Why is this new one
"he paused trying to understand and not sound like an idiot. He heard Karkat chuckle.
"Quadrants, Egbert, quadrants. Those two are matesprits, but the new troll is going for a kismesis relationship, which is totally fine. They're two different quadrants and two different types of what humans would say "love." I guess. I told you; trolls have more complicated relationships than humans. Don't hurt your thinkpan too much, you'll get it eventually." Karkat looked at John and was surprised to see him actually paying attention to everything he was saying and watching the movie intently. The troll couldn't help the small smile that crept across his face, he was glad John seemed to be enjoying the movie.
John was fascinated at the movie; he was more interested in the fact that he could understand most of what was happening rather than the plot itself. The growls and clicks of the Alternian language were lost on him, but Karkat was right, he could tell by body language what was being felt. He focused in on the softer growls given by matesprits and the harsher snarls of kismesis. Other noises were apparent too, that somehow he instinctively knew how to interpret. Soon he was leaning against Karkat his head resting on the other troll's shoulder. He made it to the credits before his eyes shut wearily and sleep over took him.
Karkat felt the weight on his shoulder and looked down to see John close his heavy lids. He stopped the movie and laid John down on the bed, pulling the covers over the boy. Karkat slid in beside him and waited for inevitable screams of terror to escape John's mouth. He had his full attention on John, ready to comfort him. It was faster this night; Karkat had barely had time to get comfortable before the troll next to him started shaking and whining, his breath coming out in quick shallow gasps. Karkat knew better than to wake a sleeping troll, he knew that John's instincts weren't as strong, but they were there. Karkat waited patiently for the other troll to shoot straight up in bed and scream.
John wasn't aware he was awake until he heard Karkat beside him, talking calmly, reassuring that he was ok. His heart was still pounding and his eyes darted across the room but eventually he was able to focus in on what Karkat was saying. "S-sorry," he mumbled.
"Don't apologize, you have nothing to apologize for, this is normal, remember?" he felt John shiver and Karkat held him a bit closer, "Just relax, ok?" John tried but he couldn't, it was too much.
"W-why is there always so much blood?" He whispered to Karkat.
"I don't know," he answered.
"It's so horrible, Karkat, why did they do things like this? Is this how all trolls think when they grow up?" John could feel himself shake harder. "I-I don't want to end up like that, Karkat I'm scared! Dave's right, we are nothing but a bunch of violent monster!" John found himself being tightly hugged by his friend.
Karkat pressed John's head against his chest and made the same low humming growl he used the night before. The effects were almost immediate, he felt John relax and breathe easy. "You won't end up like that. Neither will I." He told John, confidently. "What they did was horrible, and It's not how I'm going to live. I promise it won't be how you'll live either." He rubbed the boys back, "when this stupid fucking game is over everything will be ok. You'll see. You don't have to be afraid
" he trailed off when his voice was overcome by the growling noise. He was almost embarrassed at the inability to talk while doing it, but John didn't seem to mind; or notice, in fact he seemed almost peaceful. It was only when John was in his arms; pulled tightly against him did Karkat realize that he might have been wrong when he told Terezi he didn't pity John. 'I might fucking pity him a lot.' "You know, you're the only troll I'll ever do this for." He whispered into John's ear, the hum never breaking.
John focused on Karkat's words, Karkat's promise. He felt himself react to Karkat's calming growl, he let his eyes close. John was amazed at how much a simple noise could affect him so. It was as if his whole body went into a trance, he relaxed and allowed Karkat to hold him tighter. The troll focused on the noise that almost seemed like a purr. He found he only woke up twice more that night; both times Karkat was able to get him calmed down and asleep within minutes. That night they both got more sleep than the first.