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Don't Forget the Sun

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Karkat Vantas had long since accepted the fact that he wasn’t going to live past nine sweeps. He knew for as long as he could remember that as soon as he was old enough to leave Alternia his blood color would be found out and he’d be culled. It was just a fact of his sad, miserable life.

It used to freak him the fuck out. When he was young he would try to think of ways he could hide or escape or in his more outlandish dream world, prove his worth enough that maybe they wouldn’t kill him. If he was just that good then maybe they wouldn’t care about his dumb blood.

The older he grew the more he realized just how impossible any of these ideas were, and instead tried to focus on just accepting that this was his fate. He supposed he should have done that whole living the short amount of time he had to the fullest thing, but he had no fucking clue what that would even entail. So instead he just attempted to push it to the back of his mind.

The closer he got to the age when he would have to leave the planet the harder the whole ignore it plan became. When he did end up thinking about it, he forced himself to believe that he was perfectly fucking fine with this. This was just how the world worked and there wasn’t anything he could do about it and he wasn’t going to spend his short life moping over it. He’d been unbelievably fucking lucky that he hadn’t been culled as a wiggler. He should be fucking thankful to get to live this long.

He accepted this a long time ago. It was fine. He was fine.

And then his friends found out.

He’d been talking to Terezi and feeling like absolute shit since his wiggling day had just passed and that meant only one more sweep until he had to leave the planet. Until he was fucking killed.

He slipped up. Dropped one too many hints to someone as smart as her and she figured it out. He didn’t dare respond after she’d guessed he was a mutant, instead just sitting at his husktop staring at her messages saying that she’d suspected this for a while, that he was really fucking bad at keeping secrets and that it was going to be okay.

He didn’t believe her, and he was too fucking scared to reply even after she signed off.

It was several hours of panicked pacing in his respiteblock later when he heard loud banging on his hive door and crabdad started screeching and he swore his bloodpusher stopped.

She told she fucking told he was dead he was so dead oh god.

He’d gotten up to see if there was some way to jump out of his window without anyone noticing when he started to hear yelling over Crabdad.

“KK get the fuck out here I swear if you don’t come down I’m tearing this door off of its swingclamps I did not come all the way out here for you to hide in your fucking block!” Karkat froze at the window when he realized that was Sollux and he officially had no fucking clue what was going on anymore.

Reluctantly he started out of his room, trying to tell himself that if he was going to be culled they’d have no idea to use Sollux as bait. Unless Terezi told them to, but he didn’t want to believe she’d do something like that. He didn’t want to believe that Sollux would go along with it, at least not as willingly as it seemed he was being right now.

“I’m coming you neurotic douche!” he yelled, having to beat crabdad away from the door once he finally reached it. When he opened the door both Sollux and Terezi were standing outside and the two quickly shoved their way into his hive the second they had the chance.

“What are you two doing here?” he asked as he shut the door behind him, still having no idea what was happening. Terezi being here made a bit of sense, although he still wouldn’t know what she’d even want with him anymore. Sollux was just confusing as fuck.

“Why the fuck didn’t you tell us sooner you idiot? We have what, maybe a sweep to figure out how to get you out of here now? What the fuck were you thinking?!” Sollux was yelling at him, and it took a few seconds for Karkat to understand what he was talking about. Once he did however, it was very clear that he could not let them continue down this train of thought.

“Hold the ever loving fuck up for a second! Wherever you’re going with this can stop right in its swollen shitstain tracks! There’s no time to figure out anything because there’s not a god damn thing to figure out. You both can go back to your hives right now and pretend this never happened,” he snapped. He couldn’t do this. He was not letting them get their hopes up.

“No, no, no, no. What the absolute fuck KK? You honestly think we’re just going to sit by and let you walk to your death like an idiot? Fuck, I knew you were a dumbass but even I thought you weren’t that stupid,” Sollux continued to argue. Before Karkat could tell them that they were the ones being a pair of maggot thinkpaned dumbfucks Terezi cut in.

“I’m with Mr. Appleberry Blast, there has to be a way around this. We just have to think,” she told him, starting to pace around his communal block.

“There’s nothing to think about! Don’t you two understand that I’m already fucking dead? Do you think I haven’t been trying to find a way around this my whole shitty life?” he yelled. It didn’t seem to have any effect on the two though, who were almost ignoring him as they continued to speak.

“If we can get everyone on board we might be able to figure something out in time.”

“FF can stall if it comes to it.”

“Hey!”

“Can you build a ship? Maybe Equius can help?”

“Never tried it but it’s worth a shot. EQ knows more about hardware than me so that’ll help. I’m sure he’ll listen if FF or AA or even fucking GZ tells him to.”

“Fuck! Hey!”

“Where would he even go? It has to be out of the empire for him to be safe, and we’ll have to make sure to stockpile enough supplies to last.”

“I can’t believe we have one shitty sweep to figure all of this out. KK you really put us in a spot here.”

“Holy fuck will you two shut up and listen to me!?” he was practically screeching to get them to pay attention to him at this point. It worked, the two turning towards him finally.

“Whoa dude calm the fuck down,” Sollux told him, and Karkat was about ready to claw into his face he was so fucking pissed.

“Stop this. Stop it right the fuck now. It’s not going to work, how can you not see that? No one’s going to want to fucking help and I’m going to be culled! Fuck, I accepted this a long time ago so just give it up!” he snapped, trying not to leave any room for argument in his voice. The two didn’t say anything for a few moments, instead just staring at him and he thought that maybe he actually got through to them.

After a while Terezi sighed, shaking her head sadly.

“Wow you are just… Listen, don’t worry about it. We’ll figure it all out, if no one wants to help then we’ll still think of something, but just let us handle this from now on, okay, You’ve clearly had to deal with this on your own for too long,” she told him, and Karkat didn’t even know what to say at that. They weren’t supposed to actually care.

So instead he just didn’t say anything. Fuck, if they wanted to put effort into a hopeless cause then they were just going to have to deal with the repercussions of everything that came along with that themselves.

He sure as fuck wasn’t going to be around to help them through the disappointment when they failed, after all.

Everything seemed to go way too fucking fast after that day. Karkat knew shit got around their little friend group fast but good lord he was sure that within the hour that Sollux and Terezi left he had over 500 panicked messages on Trollian ranging from pissed and worried to supportive and indifferent.

He didn’t respond to anyone for a day. That was probably a pretty asshole-ish thing to do but this was too much for him to deal with without gathering himself first.

Once he managed to convince himself that he wasn’t going to have a breakdown while talking to someone he managed to contact everyone, having to explain his blood again over and over again. It was easier for some than for others. Kanaya was really understanding and he actually felt a bit calmer after talking to her, but Vriska kept trying and succeeding to rile him up, and even though Terezi insisted that she wasn’t going to tell anyone about his blood, that she would personally make sure Vriska was going to keep her mouth shut it still freaked him the fuck out.

After the first few days of getting everyone caught up on his ‘situation’ the messages decreased rapidly. He could maybe get someone for fifteen minutes before they insisted they had to go.

When he told Terezi they could stop humoring him by trying to act like they weren’t disgusted with his blood she insisted that wasn’t the case. Instead saying that they were all very busy trying to figure out a way to get his ungrateful butt to safety, and that none of them thought his blood was disgusting. Not even Equius, even if he insisted that he did.

Karkat couldn’t give a single fuck what Equius thought as long as he wasn’t running his mouth, and he told Terezi to let him know that.

He was surprised with how fucking fine everyone seemed to be with this thoug. Even the ones who’d been mad at him were only mad that he hadn’t said anything. He’ always imagined that the ones who would be the most alright with it would be his closest friends, like Terezi, Sollux, Kanaya and Gamzee, and he’d been right about that. Not a single one of them seemed bothered for even a second about his blood, just focused on how they could help him.

Nepeta had been just as accepting, although that hadn’t been all too surprising. Aradia had been supportive as well, and even though they’d never been too close Karkat could see why. She might not have been in an instant cull position from her blood like he was, but the fact of the matter was she was going to have to deal with a lot of shit once they got off of the homeworld thanks to her position on the hemospectrum as well.

Tavros had offered his support, Karkat had thanked him and that was about it. The guy was nice and all but they barely talked to begin with. Eridan had been fucking pissed that Karkat hadn’t told him. He swore half of the messages he’d gotten that first day were in his violet douche-y color. Not once did it ever seem to cross his mind to hand Karkat over though. That had really surprised him. He knew they talked a lot and he was pretty fucking sure the ass had a glaringly obvious pale crush on him but he still didn’t expect someone so high on the hemospetrum to just not care.

Gamzee didn’t count. Sure he was a highblood, but he was fucking Gamzee. When Karkat told him what color his blood was he’d just said that the color sounded downright miraculous and he didn’t know how anyone could get their hate on about something that sounded so pretty.

Talking to Feferi about this went similarly to with Tavros. She had also promised however that once she was empress she would personally make sure that these sorts of things weren’t a problem anymore, and they would come get him the second it was safe for him in the empire.

Karkat had told her that he’d probably be dead by then, but the chipper heiress had been no less determined.

After a few perigees things seemed to have settled down to what Karkat was used to as normal for the most part. Everyone was still much busier than they used to, and they also still didn’t bother telling him exactly what their whole plan was.

The most he’d been able to gather was that they seemed to have gone with the plan that involved building a fucking ship. He’d managed to parse this together out of inpatient snips from Sollux and bemoaned complaining from Eridan that no one would listen to him about just finding a way to hide him here. He made sure to let him know that he was pretty fucking sure trying to hide him anywhere would be a death sentence.

He had no idea what they thought they could do once he was in space. Fuck, he didn’t even know how they thought they could get him anywhere with just a ship. He’d need a psionic for a helmsman and like fuck was he going to let Sollux throw his life away for him.

He didn’t have the heart to bring this up to the other troll whenever they talked though. He sounded so freaking exhausted all the time now. Karkat kept telling him to cool it on this whole project, let fucking Equius pick up some of the work if they were so determined, or even Vriska, she kind of knew how to build things. Sollux just told him that this wasn’t something either of them could do, and that the douche was pulling his sweaty weight in other ways.

Terezi told him not to worry about it. Sollux knew what he was doing and was making sure not to overdo it. Karkat wasn’t sure how much he believed that, but he let it go for the most part.

Karkat tried keep himself from being hyperaware of the time, but now that everyone knew they would bring it up in some way or another every few days that was really fucking difficult. He knew they meant well, and it was mostly to give him vague, not-updates on how everything was going.

Other than that though, things went on normally. When they weren’t giving him not-updates his friends were trying to keep his mind off of his impending doom and talk to him like everything was normal. Sometimes it would even work for a while, until they inevitably had to go for some reason or another. Sometimes whoever he was talking with would hint that they had to go take care of something for his survival plan, and that would throw him right back into the thick of it.

Time continued to pass. Soon it was half a sweep until he needed to be off the planet. He told himself he wasn’t panicking, no matter how obvious it was that he was clearly panicking.

They told him they were ahead of schedule. He’d be off the planet in another six perigees. That still gave them a six perigee margin of error.

It would have been reassuring if he actually believed whatever they were doing was going to work.

Five perigees now from their supposed end date. Four. Three.

He heard from his friends less and less. Sollux had pretty much disappeared off the face of the planet, either working on the ship or sleeping off the exhaustion it caused him or now apparently working on some ‘side-project’ no one was telling Karkat shit about.

Two perigees.

He could figure out who was the most and least involved by how much he spoke to them. Gamzee and Kanaya were still around a lot, assuring him that the others wished they could talk more, but wanted him to live even more than that.

He found himself talking with Aradia and Nepeta a lot more too. He felt bad that he’d never bothered to talk much with Aradia beforehand. She wasn’t completely horrible at all, he could see why Sollux cared about her so much. Nepeta wasn’t bad to talk to either, even if it got a bit awkward sometimes. She’d finally confessed to that redcrush she had on him and he had to go through the hell that was rejecting someone.

She said she was fine with it and had just wanted to tell him before he left. He told her he understood. The whole now or never thing, it made sense, and he was glad for her sake that she’d managed to go through with it.

One perigee.

Terezi started talking to him more again. She sounded excited, giving him hints and not so subtle clues on how everything was coming along. He tried to keep telling himself that this still had pretty much zero chance of working. His friends were putting all of their effort and hope into a lost cause and that he better fucking not join them on this road to certain disappointment.

But… fuck, why couldn’t it work?

Sollux was a fucking genius, Equius too, he supposed, despite what a complete tool the guy was. He had no doubt that Terezi could tear through any problem that stood in her way, why not this one? He had the fucking heiress on his side! That had to count for something.

His friends were intelligent and strong and were going to change things in this miserable empire. If there was one thing he was certain of it was that. He didn’t know how he’d been lucky enough to fall into their group or to have them all care about him so much. He was even counting himself lucky to know the assholes.

Tonight was the night.

Terezi and Sollux showed up at his hive door early. Sollux looked like he was about to pass out on the spot, but when Karkat told him this he insisted he was fine. He’d pass out after Karkat was safely off of the planet.

The two led him way out of his neighborhood, out into the barren wasteland that was to the east. They ended up walking for nearly an hour until something started to come into view. Karkat stopped in his tracks when he was able to make out what it was because holy shit they actually built a fucking spaceship.

“What the actual hoofbeast flailing shit guys,” he muttered in disbelief. Terezi just pushed him forward, her already large smiling growing even wider at the look on his face.

“What did I tell you? Just leave all the thinking to us, I believe that’s what I said. Now come on, everyone’s waiting to say goodbye,” she said, and reluctantly Karkat started forward again.

This wasn’t real. He was dreaming or some shit. Or it was real and the second they tried to start the thing it would explode, killing all of them in a gruesome manner.

As they got closer he could see that everyone was indeed waiting to say goodbye. Okay fuck he could not do this. It was one thing to have them all work together to get him off the planet but shit they were all staring at him and they all looked happy for him or sad about this or well whatever it was Vriska looked like. She just looked like Vriska, he supposed.

He had barely managed to reach the group when Gamzee was suddenly in front of him. Before Karkat could even blink the tall troll had wrapped him in a crushing hug that lifted him off of the ground.

“Motherfuck my brother! Seeing you is all up and being the best thing right now,” he said, squeezing tighter the more Karkat squirmed.

“Yeah, great to see you too. Think you could loosen up a bit here before you cause me to fucking suffocate to death and have all this hoofbeast shit mean absolute jack,” he asked, a bit relieved when Gamzee put him down.

“Sorry bro, I’m just so happy for a motherfucker, even if not getting to be having my hang out on with a brother anymore makes me all kinds of sad,” the taller troll said.

Karkat nodded, carefully monitoring his voice when he answered. He was not going to get upset the second someone mentioned that this was the last time he would ever see any of them again. Survive this or not, he highly doubted he would ever be able to come back.

“It’s fine, don’t worry about it,” he muttered, Gamzee nodding at him as if he’d just said something truly groundbreaking.

“Okay, before all the heartwarming goodbyes let’s get the important shit straightened out, because I don’t want you to be crying while I try to explain and then not remember the important stuff,” Sollux started.

“Who the hell said there was going to be any crying?” Karkat snapped, but Sollux ignored him, starting toward the ship and telling them all to follow.

It was definitely tight with all of them in what Karkat supposed was the main control room. Sollux led him towards the front panel.

“Okay, so you won’t have to do much here. Feferi mapped out a course that will keep you out of sight from any imperial forces, and EQ and I have the ship set to autopilot,” he started. Karkat frowned slightly as a thought came to him.

“How the hell is this ship supposed to even get off the ground? Let alone get me out of the empire. Even if you weren’t practically fucking passing out on your feet there’s no god damn way I’m letting you do this shit,” he asked.

“Relax KK we got it all figured out,” Sollux told him, but that did nothing to reassure Karkat.

“Don’t tell me you all got Vriska to mind control some poor fuck into this,” he said, Terezi rolling her eyes at him.

“No! Of course not,” she insisted.

“I did offer though! Don’t make it sound like I didn’t offer to. I thought it would have been a much simpler solution but sadly I was outvoted,” Vriska spoke up. Karkat swore he’d never been more thankful that his sane friends seemed to outnumber his insane ones than in that moment.

“Whatever, that’s not what we did because not all of us are fucking sociopaths. I made a battery for the ship,” Sollux cut in.

“A battery?” Karkat asked, not even sure where to begin with trying to figure out what the fuck that meant.

“Yeah, like a false helmsman. I’ve charged it up with enough of my psionics that it’ll last you plenty long enough to get out of the empire. I have no fucking clue how long it’ll go after that though, so that’s why you’ll need to find a habitable planet as fast as you can,” he explained. Karkat could help but just stare at the other troll for a moment because holy fuck that was impressive.

“Is that why you’re so fucking exhausted?” he asked.

“Yeah no shit, now listen, this is the most important part,” Sollux said, heading towards a small screen.

“This will scan around you once you’ve left the empire for planets you can survive on. You go straight towards the first one it finds, got it? You press this button to home in on the planet, and the ship’ll do the rest. Once it says you are in a close enough distance to begin landing, you need to pull this lever. Other than that, just hope you don’t land in an ocean or some shit since you can’t swim for crap,” Sollux explains. Karkat nodded, making important notes of the devices, even though they were all clearly labeled.

Holy shit this sounded like it could work. This could actually fucking work.

“Okay! Goodbyes and presents time!” Terezi announced.

“Wait what?” Karkat sputtered, turning away from the control panel to face everyone once again.

“What? Did you think we’d really let you go without some parting gifts?” Terezi asked.

“Um, yes?”

“Well too bad because we’re not. Okay who first?” she told him, looking around the room for a volunteer. A bit to Karkat’s horror Equius stepped forward.

“I suppose I will go first and get this over with. I’ll have you know I was encouraged by others to get you something,” he said, and Karkat rolled his eyes. Okay, maybe Equius going first wasn’t such a bad thing. There was no fucking way he’d cry at Equius.

“I think wanting to get this over with is the only fucking thing we’ve ever agreed on,” Karkat said. The other troll pulled out a small book and handed it to Karkat.

“Even if you are a heinous mutant, that does not mean you cannot enjoy our species brilliant culture,” Equius explained as the smaller troll quickly flipped through the booklet of um, ‘art’.

“Wow, you really shouldn’t have,” Karkat muttered, closing the book. Equius simply nodded, stepping back seemingly to let the next person have their turn. Karkat placed the book on the control panel behind him, certain that no matter how fucking bored he would get being stuck alone in his ship, he would never look at its contents again.

“Okay. I’ll go next, since other people with more uh, sentimental gifts, might want to hold off,” Tavros said. It took a bit for the other boy to make it through the dense crowd with his horns, but once he did he handed Karkat several packs of fiduspawn cards.

“So, I know you were never really interested in this game. But I was thinking, with all of the time you’ll spend, alone, you might want something to do. So, I made instructions, to a modified version, that you can play without any Oogonibombs or Host plushes, since you wouldn’t have the supplies to um, care for them. There’s single player, and um, two player, in case you happen upon any particularly friendly aliens, I suppose,” Tavros explained.

“Yeah, I’m sure that’s going to happen,” Karkat muttered, putting the cards down next to the booklet from Equius.

“You think so? Because that was mostly a joke,” Tavros asked.

“What? No I, you know what, just never mind. This is cool, thanks I guess,” Karkat said, not sure how to do this at all. Everyone was so focused on him and he didn’t deserve this shit they could all be killed for what they were doing right now.

“Alright, enough of this boring junk! I know everyone’s excited to see what I’ve so generously gotten so I’ll be kind and won’t leave you all in suspense any longer,” Vriska announced, pushing her way to the front.

“Always thinking of other people, aren’t you,” Terezi muttered.

“Quiet you! Here!” She snapped at the other girl, shoving a large, wow seriously? Some sort of jumbo shitty magic eight ball in his hands.

“Wow Vriska. I am touched. Truly moved by both your thoughtfulness and originality,” Karkat told her in the most deadpanned voice he could manage.

“Okay fuck you! That’s not the whole gift,” she insisted.

“Well then what’s the other part?”

“There’s something inside of it,” she explained, sounding as pleased with herself as one could get. Karkat started shaking the thing before remembering everyone was watching him and forcing himself to stop.

“How do I get it out?” he asked.

“You’ll have plenty of time to figure that out, won’t you?” she said, Karkat rolled his eyes at the answer and placed the ball down at his feet. The control panel was tilted slightly and he didn’t want the thing falling off.

“Whatever, I probably just have to smash the thing like you usually do,” he muttered.

When he looked up again Aradia was now in Vriska’s spot. Okay fuck, this was what, number four? That meant he had seven other friends to go through after this? Oh god, this was just going to get harder and harder, he could already tell.

“Alright, I wasn’t entirely sure what to get you, so I hope this gift isn’t too weird,” she said, pulling out a, alright yep, yeah that was too weird.

“Is that a real skull?” he asked, gingerly taking the thing because oh god it was real there was no way Aradia wouldn’t give him the real thing.

“Yes! Isn’t it great? I know you wouldn’t have much use for it now, but I was going to take the horns and hallow them out for you if you were going to stay and try to hide. Like I said, I wasn’t all that sure what to get you,” Aradia explained. Karkat looked the skull over, particularly at the horns. They were larger than his own, and bent outward on a curve.

“No, this is really thoughtful. Thanks,” he told her.

“Okay, now how about something you’ll really like,” Eridan cut in, nearly tripping when his cape got caught under someone’s foot. The seadweller attempted to act as if nothing happened as he pulled his cape to him and continued his way forward.

“I went through a lot a trouble getting as many as I could so you better be grateful,” Eridan said as he handed Karkat a thin device. When he turned it on he saw that it was an electronic book reader. He flipped over to the menu and holy shit.

“I made sure to get all a your favorites, all a your least favorites since I know you love critiquing the garbage, and a bunch a ones you haven’t read yet,” Eridan explained.

“Holy fuck thank you,” he said without thinking as he quickly scrolled through the first few titles. Buying all of these must have cost a fortune and it wasn’t like Eridan couldn’t afford it but that didn’t matter.

“So, think you might be thankful enough to reconsider this whole leavin deal?” the seadweller asked hesitantly. Before Karkat could even comprehend the question Sollux was slapping the other troll on the back of the head.

“No, because I will personally cull him if I went through all this bullshit just for him to cut out at the last minute because you have issues letting go,” he snapped.

“Maybe I should go before this escalates,” Kanaya said, stepping between the other two trolls.

“Please Kanaya,” Karkat said.

“I’m sorry if I was not as original as some others, but I thought this was a practical use of my skills,” she started. Karkat quickly shook his head, closing his eyes for a second and trying to take a steadying breath. It was starting to hit him that this was the last time he’d ever seen any of them again.

He was not going to fucking cry. He could do plenty of that once he was alone in space and no one could see him.

“I’m sure it’s fine. None of you actually had to get me anything to begin with, seriously,” he told her. Kanaya simply smiled at him, waving away her concern as she handed him an outfit. It wasn’t anything extravagant, and looked pretty similar to what he was wearing now, except a T-shirt instead of a sweater.

“If by some chance you manage to end up on a planet where clothes are readily available, I doubt they’ll have anything with your sign. I made as much as I could in the time frame, including larger items for you to grow into. It’s all in the store room for you to look through later,” she explained.

Karkat nodded, putting the outfit down with the rest of the gifts. Fuck, it was getting hard to speak.

“Thanks Kanaya. It’s, fuck it’s great,” he said.

“Fuck Kar-bro, I ain’t sure my gift is as up to the hells of high standards these motherfuckers be setting,” Gamzee said. Karkat rolled his eyes and attempt to regain some of his composure as he turned towards the other troll.

“As long as you didn’t bake me one of your fucking sopor pies I think we’re good,” he said. Gamzee shook his head, smile widening a bit.

“Nah bother, I know you ain’t never been wanting to eat any of my pies. I got you all these little motherfuckers instead,” Gamzee said, dropping what was probably over 200 horns at Karkat’s feet. He wasn't even sure where he'd pulled them from. No one was able to say anything for a moment over the noise. Once it quieted down, Karkat felt like this should have surprised him, but really, it did not. It didn’t surprise him in the slightest.

“Gamzee, what am I supposed to do with all of this?” he asked, trying to keep his mind on the absurdity of it all and not the goofy smile on the other troll’s face because he’d never be able to see that dumb face again after this and that hurt way too much to think about.

“I thought it could help you get your sleepin on when you run out of slime,” Gamzee explained.

“Yeah sorry that’ll happen. We weren’t able to stockpile enough for your whole trip, let alone for however long you'll be gone,” Sollux explained. Karkat nodded. He hadn’t even considered things like that.

“Oh, that makes sense then. Thanks Gamzee,” he said, looking down at the horns sprawled at his feet and not about to even attempt to move them right now. He tried to tell himself that he wouldn’t end up sleeping in the horn pile but if he lived through this shit there was no way that wasn’t going to happen.

“Well, might as well give you this now,” Sollux said, pulling out a small device. Karkat had no idea what it was, turning it over in his hands. The most he could tell was that it probably was supposed to strap onto his wrist.

“What am I looking at here?” he asked.

“It’s a translator, in case you run into those friendly fiduspawn playing aliens TV was talking about. It’ll probably suck for a while, if you can just let it listen to as much of the language as possible though it might get passible after a while,” Sollux explained.

“I guess this was that side project you were working on?”

“Duh.”

“I don’t think I’ll actually run into any freaking aliens, but thanks. It’s still pretty cool,” Karkat told him.

“Okay me next!” Feferi said, practically bouncing in front of Karkat. “So, mine’s not all that fun, but it’s practical, like Kanaya’s!” she said, pulling out what looked like a very large first aid kit.

“If anything happens there should be something in here to fix it! Everything’s labeled too, so you don’t have to go guessing while suffering from food poisoning or some other silly thing!” the heiress continued.

“Wow, thanks,” Karkat said. He felt like that was all he could say at this point. This was way too fucking much and he was starting to shake trying to keep himself from tearing up at this point.

“I also wanted to make you a promise,” Feferi added. Karkat frowned, nodding to let her know to go on.

“You shouldn’t have to go through this. Once I’m empress I promise to make it safe for you to return, and I will personally lead a mission to find you again,” she said, a serious and conviction to her voice that Karkat hadn’t expected. She’d said things along these lines before, but he hadn’t believed there to be any truth to them. Now, he wasn’t so sure.

“So you better live long enough for that to happen, you hear?” she finished. Slowly Karkat forced himself to nod.

“Yeah sure. If that’s what you all want to do,” he muttered, hating the way his voice was shaking.

“Alright, I guess it’s my turn,” Terezi said, breaking the small silence that had followed. When Karkat turned to face her the smile on her face now was clearly forced. He swore he could feel his digestivesack drop because this was happening and fuck he wasn’t ready.

“So this is probably a pretty lame gift, but you’re pretty lame yourself so it all works out,” she said. “So, yeah, here,” she added on, pushing a stuffed toy into his hands without looking him in the eyes. When he looked down at the scalemate, he instantly recognized with one it was.

“Pyralspite?” he asked, not sure what else to even say at this point.

“Yeah, I know it’s dumb but I didn’t know what to get you and he means a lot to me and you mean a lot to me so I thought it would work and I don’t know I just-” before he could overthink it he pulled the girl into a hug, cutting her off.

“No, fuck it’s great. You’re great, okay? You’re the one who found out and spearheaded this whole thing. I’d be fucking dead if it wasn’t for you,” he rambled. Terezi was laughing when they pulled away, although it was obviously fake and she had to wipe away several tears that had leaked out.

“Yeah, I guess I am pretty great aren’t I?” she said, taking a few more steps back. Karkat thought for a moment that was everyone before he caught Nepeta walking forward shyly.

“I suppurrs that just leaves me,” she said, flipping a book in her hands that Karkat assumed was his gift. Karkat was pretty surprised at how well he’d managed to get through this. He may have shed a few tears when hugging Terezi, but probably nobody saw. He could definitely do this.

“I guess so,” he said, managing to regain a bit of his composure.

“I thought you might want something to remember us all by so I made you this,” she explained as she handed him the book. Up close, Karkat could see that it was a sketchbook. He tucked pyralspite under his arm as he flipped it open and when he saw the first page he felt his bloodpusher stop for a moment because fuck.

As he flipped through the pages he saw that they were all full of pictures of him and his friends. He knew Nepeta was a good artist but he hadn’t realized she was this good and holy fuck he was going to miss these assholes so much!

On the last few pages he could see there were notes from everyone but he couldn’t read them for some reason and it took him a moment to realize it was because he was crying shit.

“I- shit thanks Nepeta its- oh fuck thank you all just fuck,” he said, the words coming out with no thought put into them.

Damn it he’d been doing so well.

It was quiet for a moment while the others waited for Karkat to pull himself together some. He’d nearly managed to when Feferi spoke up.

“Oh shoot it’s almost time,” she said, quickly distracting Karkat enough to get him to manage the last of his tears.

“Almost time for what?” he asked.

“For you to go. We have you on a strict time schedule here to make sure you don’t run into any other ships, sorry dude,” Sollux explained. Karkat felt his digestionsack drop once again because he wasn’t ready!

“Oh fucking fuck are you serious? Why didn’t you tell me this first thing!? I thought we had the rest of the night or something!” He could feel the tears coming back and he wasn’t even trying to stop them this time.

“Sorry man but we didn’t think it would help anything if you knew,” the yellowblood said.

“Well how soon is almost time? Like an hour?”

“More like ten minutes.”

“Are you shitting me right now?!” he yelled. He still hadn’t put down the book or the scalemate, the two things hampering his attempts to hit Sollux.

“Look, this is for your own good, and remember it’s not even goodbye. We’ll come get you as soon as it’s safe,” Sollux assured him. Reluctantly Karkat nodded, but he couldn’t see how this wasn’t goodbye because it would never be safe for him. He believed in them and he knew they could change things, but it would take much longer than his lifespan would allow for him to ever be welcomed back.

“We should start leaving the ship,” Equius spoke up, a few others quietly agreeing.

“We’ll see you again someday Karkat, just hold out for us until then,” Kanaya said.

The group started out of the ship and Karkat followed them because he didn’t know what to do he had to say goodbye somehow but how the fuck could he do that? They were all risking their lives for him and they shouldn’t he was lower than dirt he didn’t deserve them he wasn’t worth it!

When they reached the exit Sollux turned back to him.

“Head back to the main room. You don’t have to do anything to start the thing, we have it on a timer. Just make sure you’re sitting down so you don’t hurt yourself. KN’s gonna take care of Crabdad for you while you’re gone,” the other troll explained. Karkat just nodded. There were things he wanted to say to all of them but they wouldn’t come out his thinkpan was too mushed.

“Alright, thanks,” was all he managed to get out. When the last of them had stepped off of the ship he saw Sollux press something and the door close before anyone could get another word in.

Karkat found himself staring at the door for a few moments before heading back towards the control room. It felt like his body was moving on his own, his thinkpan not caught up with what was happening. The tears had stopped, but he was pretty sure that was due to shock.

What was probably about ten minutes later he felt the ship lurch beneath him as it lifted itself off of the ground. He was sitting like Sollux had told him to, in that dumb uncomfortable horn pile, Terezi’s scalemate tucked under his arm as he flipped through the sketchbook. It was hard to see the pictures through the tears, but it was better than sitting there doing nothing.

Karkat Vantas had always accepted the fact that he was not going to live past nine sweeps.

Now it seemed that he would.

Honestly, he didn’t know if it was worth it.

Chapter Text

That night Karkat ended up passing out in the horn pile before he could manage to get a hold of himself enough to stop crying and look around the place. He wasn’t sure how much later it was when he’d woken up, but he had a feeling that it didn’t matter much. He had no idea how long he would be stuck on this ship for but something told him time was going to lose its meaning very fucking soon.

Whatever time it was having been deemed irrelevant, he managed to push himself into a position where every part of his body wasn’t being jabbed painfully with metal horns. Instead it was only about a third of his body, which he could deal with.

He rubbed at his ganderbulbs, attempting to wake up a bit. They felt crusty and sore from all of that god damn crying earlier, his whole body lethargic.

A jolt ran through when he realized that everyone had probably noticed the freaky color his tears were earlier. Karkat told himself that was the least of his fucking problems. Everyone already knew his blood color and he was off of the planet anyway and for fucks sake they had all been helping him what in the world was he freaking out about.

Logic didn’t seem to be doing anything to make him any less uneasy, so he pushed himself to his feet to try to find something that would distract him.

Looking over the control panels, he decided that he wasn’t going to fuck with any of that shit that Sollux hadn’t specifically told him to touch. He figured they probably wouldn’t let him have access to anything that would screw this up too badly, but right now he wasn’t about to take any god damn chances.

Turning away, he started over to where Kanaya had pointed out a storage room. He figured he could look through the clothes or food or whatever else they’d decided he would need to survive for however long.

The door opened with ease. Karkat had been half expected that he would have to put in some shitty code or solve a dumb ass puzzle or some other menial task in order to get inside, but that wasn’t the case.

Stepping inside, he found himself taken back. When Kanaya had said she’d made as much clothes as she could in the timeframe, she wasn’t joking around. The walls were fucking lined with outfits hanging up, and below those were boxes filled with what Karkat assumed were more god damn clothes. Walking inside, he quickly skimmed passed some of the outfits. Most of them were plain and black, which he liked, and all of them had his sign. The vast majority of the time it was in grey, but every so often he'd find a version of an outfit with it in bright red. He tried not to freak at even the idea of wearing something like that, and he was sure Kanaya meant it as a nice gesture, but he'd pass on those for now.

It took a while for Karkat to notice another door at the back of the room, he was too busy looking through the clothes. When he did spot it out of the corner of his eye, he immediately started over to it. Once again the door opened without any sort of hassle, only this time he found himself hit with a blast of cold from the next room.

Ignoring the temperature Karkat started inside. It didn’t take long for him to realize this was food storage, and he went to peek inside some of the boxes to see what they’d decided he was going to eat for fuck knows how long.

Before he managed to reach the first box he caught sight of a note folded on top of it. Grabbing it, he quickly read it over.

kk there 2hould be enough food two la2t you the triip but ju2t two be careful try two only eat two meal2 a day. ii 2wear ii’m not fucking wiith you wiith the two thiing that2 ju2t how iit worked out.

Karkat could help but roll his eyes at the note some. Even if it was just something to satisfy Sollux’s two fetish he wasn’t going to go and test it like a moron. He was impressed they’d managed to get enough to last him that long, honestly.

Putting the note aside, he opened up the box (actually, it was more like a mini-hunger trunk) it’d been on. Inside was a fuck ton of dried hoofbeat meatstrips. He moved onto the next one, opening it up to find several cans filled with a variety of substances.

He continued until he figured he had a rough idea of what they’d gotten him and the cold was starting to be a bother. He grabbed a dried meatstrip on his way out, closing the door behind him and heading back toward the main room to try to get somewhere a bit warmer.

Looking around the main room a bit more closely, he saw that there was a small offshoot he hadn’t noticed before with a recuperacoon. He half considered getting in it and going to sleep. He probably would have if he hadn’t just woken up less than an hour ago.

Karkat found his attention falling back on the gifts his friends had given him. He’d seen notes from them all at the end of Nepeta’s sketchbook, but he quickly decided against reading those right now. He’d finally managed to get himself calmed down enough where he didn’t feel an inch away from either a full blown panic or bursting into tears again, and he didn’t want to mess with that delicate balance right now.

Instead, he grabbed the electronic reading device Eridan had given him and opened up a random title. He found himself sitting in the uncomfortable horn pile again, chewing absently on the driedmeat stick despite the fact that there was a perfectly useable chair a few steps away.

He just needed to keep distracting himself until he was a bit more stable with the fact that this had happened. He’d been so prepared for this to fail that he was still in shock. That was why it was difficult to focus on reading and his chest still hurt and he could barely taste the food in his mouth. It would sink in soon enough and he could stop feeling like this was all some horrid combination of a dream come true and an absolute nightmare.

He wasn’t sure how long he spent distracting himself. His best guess was around four or five nights. He tried to tell himself it hadn’t actually been that long, but he was probably being a bit stingy with just that. Every time he looked at the sketchbook he managed to come up with an excuse to do something else, which was rather impressive since there wasn’t a plethora of things to do on this hunk of metal.

Well, he wasn’t putting it off any longer. Grabbing the book, he practically crashed into the chair when he sat down, causing it to roll for a bit. Ignoring that, he turned the book over in his hands a few times.

It was just a couple of shitty notes from his asshole friends. It couldn’t be worse than actually saying goodbye to them. He’d already done that, he could do this easy.

He hadn’t though. He never actually managed to say goodbye. He’d just stood there and let the door close without saying a god damn thing. He should have left his own notes for them. He should have done something.

Pushing those thoughts away, he opened the book near the end where he’d first caught sight of the messages. Bracing himself, he started to read them.

:33 nepeta thought it would be a nice idea to give evfurrybody a chance to write a goodbye note to karkat, so this is mine!
:33 i’m supurr glad we got to talk more over this past sweep! I know you never thought of me as a very close furiend, but it was so nice that you let me be a part of this mess with you! Even after telling you how I feel.
:33 you were so nice then, when you really didn’t need to be! I know you’re a great person past your scratchy outside, and I’m really going to miss you.
:33 I really hope we get to see each other again someday! Try to have fun on your new alien planet while you wait for us!

D --> I was told to write a farewell note.
D --> Farewell.
D --> I am now being told that this is not adequate enough.
D --> Well then, I hope you manage to survive in whatever part of the universe you find yourself in.
D --> You should be fine, the ship is built to perfection.

Crabkat! I’m so –EXCIT----ED for you! I’m just so glubbing )(appy we managed to get all of t)(is done in time to actually save you! Don’t go doubting us w)(en we put our minds to somet)(ing! We’re all going to miss your crabby rants, but it’s better for you to be safe. I )(ope you do w)(ale and the planet you end up on doesn’t suck too much. Even if it does remember you won’t be t)(ere forever. We’ll be back for you, I PROMIS------E!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Wish I Knew Quite What I Am Supposed To Be Writing In Here. I Was Told This Is A Goodbye Message And Should Be Suitably Heartfelt And Meaningful And While I Would Like This To Be All Of Those Things It Is Putting Quite A Bit Of Pressure To Get The Words Right And I Can Not Help But Think I am Screwing This Up Already
I Am Taking Up All Of This Space And Not Saying Much Of Anything So I Will Try To Get To The Point Now
Karkat You Are A Very Dear Friend To Me And I Am Going To Miss You Greatly
I Know This Is Most Likely Much Harder For You Than It Is For Any Of Us But I Do Not Want You To Think That You Leaving Is Easy On Any Of Us Especially Me
I Think I Am Going To Try To Work As Hard As Possible To Help Make This Planet Safe For You To Return So That This Rather Shitty Goodbye Message Isnt Actually A Goodbye At All
I Believe That Alternia Is A Better Place With You In It As Well So Getting You Back Is The Goal Now
Stay Safe

Karkat! I’m really s0rry that y0u have t0 g0 thr0ugh this. I kn0w I can’t understand exactly what y0u’re g0ing thr0ugh but I’m glad we were able t0 talk t0 each 0ther this past sweep. Y0u’re a great friend, I d0n’t think y0u understand just h0w imp0rtant y0u are t0 0ur gr0up. It’s g0ing t0 be hard changing this planet f0r the better with0ut y0ur help, but we’ll try 0ur best. I h0pe y0u manage well 0n y0ur trip, and try n0t t0 f0rget ab0ut us while y0u wait!

WhAt Is AlL uP mY mOtHeRfUcKeR? So I kNoW yOu AreT uP rEaDiNg ThIs AnD bEiNg AbLe To Do ThE wHoLe ReSpOnCe ThInG sInCe YoUrE gEtTiNg On YoUr WhOlE mOtHeRfUcKiNg SpAcE eScApE aNd We WoNt AlL Up AnD bE aBlE tO gEt OuR ChIlL oN aNyMorE CaUsE iT aInT sAfE fOr A mUtAnT bRoThEr :o( Id RaThEr HaVe YoU cHilLiN wItH sOmE bItChiN aLiEnS ThAn Up AnD cUlLeD tHoUgH So I aInT gOnNa Be GeTtInG mY uPsEt On
ThAt DoNt MeAn I aInT gOnNa Be MiSsInG a MoThErFuCkEr SoMeThInG fIeRcE ThOuGh. OuR fUcKiN FiSh PrInCeSs AlL wEnT pRoMisInG ThAt WeRe GoInG To Be AbLe To GeT oUr HaNgOuT oN aGaIn SoMeDaY ThOuGh So I CaNt Be MoRe ExCiTeD FoR a ThInG tHaN iF tHe MirThFuL MeSsIaHs CaMe And ToLd Me ThEy WeRe DoWn To Be GeTtInG tHeIr DrInK aNd PiE oN WiTh Me ThEmSelVes
FuCk MaN Im MiSsInG a BrOtHeR aLrEaDy :o( GoNnA Be GeTtInG mY mEsSaGiN oN wItH YoU iN tHe PaSt RiGhT aBoUt NoW

Kaaaaaaaarkat! I’d like to start out 8y letting you know that I really couldn’t 8e 8othered to care a8out whether or not you actually get culled. That’s how life works! The ones too weak to fight for themselves might as well not 8other with even trying and just let the rest of us get on with our lives! I suppose managing to get on the good side of so many people with vastly gr8ter skills than you have is a strength in and of itself though, so congrats on that! Surviving is surviving so at least you can 8e proud of that 8are minimum accomplishment. Keep at it! At the very least, keep living so that all of this wasn’t just a huge waste of everyone’s time.

uM, sO i AM SUPPOSED TO BE, sAYING GOODBYE TO YOU AND SUCH IN THIS LETTER, wHICH i AM DOING, sO GOODBYE,,, wOW OKAY i SHOULD PROBABLY SAY MORE THAN THAT, aLRIGHT, uH, lET’S SEE HERE, i THINK YOU ARE PROBABLY A NICE GUY, uNDER ALL OF THAT YELLING AND MEAN STUFF YOU DO MOST OF THE TIME, tHE YELLING AND MEANESS ACTUALLY MAKES SENSE NOW, i’D BE UPSET A LOT TOO IF i THOUGHT i WAS GOING TO DIE, bUT YOU’RE NOT NOW, aND YOU’VE BEEN A LOT NICER SINCE THEN WHICH i THINK IS A GOOD THING, uNLESS OF COURSE YOU DIE IN SPACE, wHICH IS A POSSIBILITY, uH WOW OKAY, i HOPE THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN TO YOU,,,

alright kar im hopin you wwont actually end up readin this and wwe manage to find another wway to keep you safe wwithout shuffling you off to some unknowwn part of the fuckin cosmos but thats seemin less and less likely evvery day
so youre probably readin this and that means youre gone and it fuckin sucks man this is such hoofbeast shit
you bein a mutant is a fuckin joke of all the garbage in our race of bloody course the univverse had to screww ovver someone actually fuckin wworth havvin good things happen to them
wwere gonna come get you as soon as wwe can man evven if evveryone has a problem wwith it they can take that up wwith the fuckin empress
im not sayin goodbye in this shitty letter i fuckin refuse to believe wwe wwont evver see you again

okay dude thii2 miight not make two much 2en2e 2ince i’m half a2leep wriitiing thii2 but fuck iit thii2 ii2 what youre getting. ii 2tiill wii2h you told u2 2ooner man but ii get why you would try two hiide iit. you’re alway2 2o fucking uptiight you need two relax. iim aware of the hypocrii2y of me telliing you two relax when iim pulling thii2 2hiit but once agaiin fuck iit.
iit2 ju2t fuckiin iin2ane two thiink that whiile you were alway2 tryiing two help everyone el2e you were keepiing thii2 2hiit bottled up. ii hope you can 2pend 2ome of your tiime out in 2pace two not worry a2 much. Mo2tly ii hope all of thii2 doe2n’t blow up in our face2. 2iince you’re readiing thii2 iin the future ii gue22 you know iif iit diid or not, 2o hear2 two you readiing thii2 whiile not on your fuckiing death bed or 2ome other fucked up 2cenariio.

4LR1GHT, SO 1M SUR3 YOUR3 4LR34DY CRY1NG YOUR DUMB L1TTL3 3Y3S OUT 4T TH1S PO1NT SO 1LL TRY TO K33P FROM BR34K1NG YOUR FR4G1L3 H34RT TOO B4DLY
1M GL4D W3 FOUND OUT WH4T W4S GO1NG ON W1TH YOU B3FOR3 1T W4S TOO L4T3
LIK3, R34LLY, R34LLY H4PPY 4BOUT TH4T! 1T WOULD SUCK SO B4D 1F YOU H4D D13D B3C4US3 YOU W3R3 TOO WORR13D 4BOUT HOW W3 WOULD R34CT TO YOUR DUMB BLOOD
L1K3 WOW, 1 C4NT B3L13V3 YOU THOUGHT 1 M1GHT H4V3 4 PROBL3M W1TH R3D! 1 LOV3 R3D! YOU KNOW TH4T, YOU HUG3 DORK
1TS GO1NG TO B3 SO W31RD WH3N YOUR3 NOT 4ROUND 4NYMOR3
1 JUST HOP3 YOUR3 R34D1NG TH1S SOM3WH3R3 S4F3
1 HOP3 TH1S WORKS

Karkat found himself reading the notes over and over again, some more so than others. Terezi was right, although that wasn’t exactly anything new there, she was always right. He was a sobbing mess by the time he’d reached hers at the end, and he had to keep taking breaks in order to wipe his eyes so he could make out the words.

Fuck, it wasn’t even like they were all these overly sentimental passages with sweeping sentences about him and their friendships and all of that jazz. They were pretty short and mostly awkward and god it was all just so them.

He wanted to write back. He wanted to talk to them damn it! He’d barely been out here a god damn week and he was so fucking lonely! He didn’t know if he could do this. God, it would take perigees. It could take sweeps! He had no fucking idea how long it takes to reach the edge of the empire and he’d never bothered to look it up because he didn’t believe he would ever get to this point.

He was here though and there was nothing he could do and he wanted his friends.

Karkat eventually managed to pull himself together enough that night to grab some food out of the storage room and eat before crawling into his recuperacoon and promptly passing the fuck out.

Time seemed to go by slowly, but he didn't have much of a frame of reference anymore. He tried to busy himself with the books Eridan had gotten him or flipping through the sketches or trying to figure out how to play one-troll fiduspawn. It was pretty simple once he got the hang of it, and it helped keep him from clawing his own face off out of boredom.

One time he was bored enough to take a peek inside of the ‘art’ book Equius had given him. He managed to look at about half of one picture before deciding that nope, it still wasn’t worth it. Nothing would ever be worth it.

He attempted to open up the stupid 8-ball Vriska had given him, but he’d yet to figure out how. His first attempt had been to smash it, but after several tries he nearly smashed the very important planet scanner screen thing when it slipped out of his hands and he decided to give that option a rest.

When he went back to it a few days later he tried to see if there was some sort of puzzle he was supposed to be figuring out, but the thing was completely smooth. He couldn’t figure out how the fuck he was supposed to open it, and he was starting to think that this was just some dumb trick. Honestly, he wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case. It’d be more like Vriska to do something like this rather than put an extra present in there.

Time continued to pass. He figured he’d had to have been in here for a long while when the sopor supply finally ran out. He should have asked them how long through the trip that was expected to happen, so that he could at least have a semi-reasonable rough estimate on how long he’d been stuck in this fucking thing. If he had to put a time on it he’d say maybe six perigees.

He probably should have tried to prepare himself for this, but he was already miserable so why the fuck would he exaggerate that any sooner than he had to by not sleeping in sopor so it’d last longer.

Karkat figured what was probably about three weeks after he ran out was the worst of it. He barely slept at all, sticking to the horn pile when he did instead of inside of an empty recuperacoon. When he did manage to sleep he had to deal with the nightmares.

He’s had them before, of course. Everyone has, falling asleep at the husktop or while watching a movie or something, but fuck these seemed worse than any he’d ever had before.

Maybe it was because everything was just so awful, his fucked up thinkpan decided it needed to step it up in order to have anything to really write home about.

After the initial shock to his system of going without the sopor it started to get easier, thankfully. He slept more. Still not very fucking much, but it was enough for him to get by on. The horn pile no longer felt uncomfortable to lay in. The dreams were still just as bad, but they were slightly less frequent.

If there was one thing he was thankful for in all of this, it was that being so completely alone meant no one could ever see him waking up from one of these nightmare, clinging desperately to a stuffed dragon until he managed to stop shaking and get his breathing under control again.

Karkat wasn’t sure how much longer it was after that when one day he’d been rereading one of the more interesting romance books that a loud beeping started emitting from the main panel. The troll fell over himself scrambling out of the pile to see what the ever loving fuck was going on. His heart was going a million miles a minute because oh fuck what if something saw him fuck fuck fuck he didn’t want to have gone through all of this just to die oh please let this be something else.

Scanning the control panel it took a few moments for his ganderbulbs to focus enough for him to notice the message going across the screen Sollux had pointed out to him before.

Scanning for habitable planets. Please stand by.

Karkat couldn’t do anything but stand there for several moments, rereading the message over and over again as it kept running across the top of the screen. He hadn’t even noticed when the beeping came to a stop.

Was that it? He was out of the empire? The idea didn’t seem real in his head. It had to be more complicated than that. Things didn’t work like this for him, that wasn’t how his life was.

He supposed it made sense that this would be almost over. He’d eaten a bit over half of the food storage at this point, and he’d been out of sopor slime for what had to have been perigees now. Fuck, he’d had to have been stuck in this place for a good half a sweep, at the very least.

Slowly a slight giddiness started to spread through him that Karkat tried to quell. He still had no idea how long it would take to find a planet he could actually live on, and the chances of that place still being a hellhole was really god damn high in his opinion.

Even still, the idea that this was almost fucking over was so god damn relieving. Just being able to see something different from the plane grey walls and three small rooms would be a fucking blessing. Shit, he hadn’t exactly gone outside much back on Alternia, but the isolation he put himself through then was nothing compared to this.

He also had his friends to keep him company back then. He’d been getting better at not thinking about that aspect of being stuck out here as much lately though, so he pushed that thought to the back of his mind.

Time still seemed to pass slowly, maybe even more so, but the hopelessness that had taken over him for a long time was starting to wear away ever so slightly. He still was barely sleeping, but that was more due to the fact that he didn’t want to end up missing if the ship detected a planet and screwing up his chances of finding a place to live rather than fear of the nightmares.

When the beeping finally went off again he nearly fell on his face tripping over the skull Aradia had given him running up to the screen again.

Planet detected. Commence lock in?

Karkat quickly pressed the button Sollux had told him to. He’d marked it perigees earlier, and once he did so the beeping stopped, a new message flashing on the screen.

Planet homed in. Estimated time of arrival, 3 nights.

Three nights. Holy fucking shit he only had three more shitty nights on this piece of metal trash ship.

He couldn’t sit still and he had nothing to do so he attempted to clean up the place a bit. It wasn’t much, since he didn’t actually have much so he ended up re-cleaning it over and over again and trying to play fiduspawn or read a book but he couldn’t focus on any of this anymore. He felt like he’d lost any rhyme or reason of what three nights actually meant anymore, but he just knew it was soon and good fuck he wanted to be off of this thing already. He didn’t care where he ended up as long as it was something different.

Apparently not sleeping at all for three days before he was supposed to land on some foreign planet wasn’t a good idea. He ended up passing out some time on that third day. A very fucking loud buzzing woke him up, and Karkat barely managed to even get to his feet before he made his way stumbling over towards the control panel.

Adequate distance for landing start up. Commence landing procedure?

Karkat slowly pulled the lever he’d marked at the same time as he had the button earlier.

Commencing Landing Procedure

Karkat had no idea what he was supposed to do now, staring at the message on the screen for some time. How long would it take to land? Quickly, he ran over to the small as fuck window in the side of the ship. He’d barely looked out of it on the way here, since outside had been nothing but void, but now he wanted to see if he could catch sight of the planet. He could see something blue out of the corner of his eye, but everything else was out of sight from this angle.

Walking back towards the control panel, he found himself starting to pace back and force until the floor below him started to get shaky. Alright, standing up for this was probably the worst fucking idea, and he sat himself down in the horn pile.

His heart felt like it was beating out of his chest and it only got worse as the ship started to shake harder and harder as it got closer to the planet. Karkat was very god damn tempted to go back over the window and see if he could spot anything now, but he just barely managed to keep himself where he was. He’d see it soon enough.

If the whole ship didn’t end up crashing and burning with him in it, he supposed.

Somehow pyralspite ended up in his arms and he was telling himself he wasn’t scared but fuck the ship hadn’t felt even half his unstable leaving Alternia. Oh fuck if he ended up dying after all of this that would just be perfect, wouldn’t it? At the very least, it’d fit with his shitty luck a whole fucking lot more than this whole plan actually working.

“Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck,” he muttered under his breath, any sort of creativity with his swears going out the window in his panic. The ship sounded like it was whining now and his whole body was shaking along with it. He couldn’t tell if the thing was speeding up or slowing down but he really fucking hoped that if he did slam into the surface of the planet hard enough to kill him, the thing went all the way and made it an instantaneous explosion he probably wouldn’t feel.

Something about the ship shifted, sending Karkat barreling across the room, pyralspite flying from his arms and horns going every which way along with him. Before he landed, he just barely managed to notice a hear ducts shattering banging.

He didn’t have time to even think about what that might have been, the troll knocked out cold once he hit the wall.

---

Dave Strider was starting to get the feeling that he should head home soon. The sun had already creeped past the horizon and his shades were making everything look even darker than it already was. He hadn’t meant to come this far out into the desert, but following a lizard for a good near mile with a camera had seemed to be the best idea at the time. He still stood by the opinion that it was a good idea, that had been one freaky fucking lizard.

That lizard was gone for good now though and even if he wasn’t it was getting too dark to take any decent pictures. Slipping the camera into his pocket he turned to start heading back to his house.

Bro had picked them up and moved them from Texas to New Mexico several years ago. Dave had never really questioned it or asked why, instead just glad that they’d moved into an actual house with more than one bedroom so all of Bro’s stuff was just a bit less spewed all over the place. It was still fucking everywhere, but there was like, room in the fridge for food and stuff now. In between the swords.

Dave hadn’t gotten far when something in the sky caught his attention. Squinting, at first it just looked like a comet or some other junk, which was pretty cool actually. He pulled his camera out again to take a picture, but when he looked back up aftr tuning it on there was definitely something not right about this. It had gotten bigger. A lot bigger.

“What the fuck?” he muttered, snapping a few pictures despite his confusion. It took a few more moments for him to realize that whatever this was, it was falling to the ground, very much so in his direction.

When he did realize this, there were a few seconds where he couldn’t decide if he should try to run away from it or to it or just continue standing where he was like an idiot. He ended up with option number three long enough to realize that it didn’t seem to be on a direct collision course with his fucking face.

It wasn’t long before whatever it was got very close and it wasn’t as big as he thought it was but it still seemed god damn huge when it finally flashed by him in a rush of heat. Dave turned with it, continuing to watch the thing until it crashed rather far off from where he was standing. He was still able to hear the loud bang from the impact and see the plume of desert dust that seemed to explode around it.

In short, it was still definitely close enough that he started towards it the second he put his camera away again and deemed that it wasn’t going to explode. Possibly not the smartest decision, but he was pretty sure he just saw a huge fucking meteor or something crash to earth and he was going to get him some smoldering space rock.

He didn’t bother running over, taking his time in order to let the dust settle a bit. When he finally reached the sight, Dave wasn’t quite sure he could understand what it was he was seeing here. In fact he was pretty sure now that whatever was going down happened to be in some sort of dream territory, because what was pretty well jammed into the desert dirt was not, in fact, a smoldering space rock.

It looked much more like smoldering space metal. Metal that had been shaped and constructed into some sort of vessel. Possibly something you could call a ship. A ship that had descended from space. A spaceship, if you will.

Oh hell no. Life did not just get all area 51 on him. Good lord, that place was like, what, probably forty-five, fifty miles from here? There was no way this thing wasn’t a hoax.

Well, that could still be kind of cool, he guessed. Cautiously, he started walking around the thing, because no matter what it was it still seemed like it’d managed to crash pretty damn hard and just standing by it was making him hot.

Eventually he came across something that looked like a door. Luckily, it looked like none of it had ended up embedded in the ground like the front of the ship had. Reaching out to see if he could open it, he drew his hand back the second it brushed against the metal.

“Jesus fuck that’s hot as flaming shit,” he cursed, waving his hand around in an attempt to dispel the pain. Looking over the thing again, this time he noticed some sort of panel next to the door with some buttons on it. Bracing for the pain this time, he quickly reached out to push some of them, not expecting them to actually do anything. He wasn’t even sure what he was doing here, but he was in too deep to just walk away now. If he ended up on some shitty TMZ prank show or whatever maybe he could roll with it and start an acting career.

He jumped back the slightest bit when the door swiped away into the wall. Okay, that was pretty awesome. Whoever made this prank was pulling out all the stops here. Got some major motion picture budget for this thing and dropped it on some random ass kid for the hell of it. He could appreciate this kind of pointless overworked nonsense.

Careful not to touch any of the walls he made his way inside. It was really fucking dark in here, the low lights in the ceiling meaning pretty much nothing with his shades on. It felt like he was going downward, but he figured that when the ship was straight so was the walkway.

It opened up to a larger room with a bit more light allowing him to see, but it was still difficult to make things out at first. One was because it was still dim as shit, and the other reason was because it was an absolute mess that made no fucking sense to his eyes.

The first thing he noticed was that there were bike horns fucking everywhere. It was so god damn unexpected he had to lean over and pick one up just to be sure that was really what these things were.

Letting it fall back to the ground without a word, he started further into the room. Walking over to what looked like some sort of control panel, he kept having to step over horns and these weird playing cards and some jumbo sized magic 8 ball. This was officially the weirdest fucking stocked spaceship in the history of phony crash sites.

Looking over the buttons and screens, he of course didn’t understand the markings on them. It didn’t look like it actually got too banged up from the crash though, so that was impressive.

Unsure what else to do here, he turned to see if there was anything else in the ship. In the other corner of the room, he could see something bunched up in the shadows. It wasn’t until he was much closer and he concentrated on the figure did he feel himself freeze for just a moment because jesus fuck was that a body?

Pulling himself together, he figured it was probably some dummy in here to freak whoever came to see out. Leaning down next to it, he could see now that it was breathing and he was prepared for this guy to jump up and try to scare him or some shit. Reaching out to shake his shoulder, they just slumped further in on themselves, apparently down for the count.

“Yo, you okay dude?” he asked, shifting the person to try to get a better look at them in the darkness. His skin looked weird, grey in the dark. He only just then noticed what looked like small orange horns on his head, but he was distracted from those by the blood that was leaking down his face. He attempted to shake the guy again, still not receiving any sort of response.

There was something really fucking off about this guy but he couldn’t place what it was in the darkness and it didn’t seem like he was about to wake up anytime soon.

“Come on man, if this is some joke I’d like the camera crew to come out right about now just so I know that their fake ass dead alien isn’t actually dead and I don’t need to drag anyone’s ass to the hospital,” he muttered.

Pulling out his phone, he used the light from that to try to get a better look at the guy. He could see now that his skin was definitely grey, and there was something odd about it. It looked stiffer than normal, and when he tried to wipe it away with some of the blood to see if it was paint nothing happened.

He also had fangs hanging out of his mouth, and when he lifted up his dark black lip with his finger to see if it was some sort of fake shit they did indeed seem to be his real teeth. So, either the guy got full grey face and hand tattoos and filed his teeth to points or well, or he wasn’t sure what. Or something, he supposed.

That head injury was starting to worry him though. There was a lot of fucking blood coming out, running down his head and into way too thick to be natural hair and pooling under Mr. Fake Alien. When he touched it, it didn’t feel the right consistency, a bit too watery. That was definitely a real cut though, so he pushed that weirdness to the back of his head for now.

“God fucking damn it. We’re doing this, aren’t we? Alright man, you owe me one,” he told the unconscious body, leaning over to pick the guy up as gently as he could. He was a lot lighter than Dave expected, and he would have rethought his idea that this was a dummy if it wasn’t for the breathing and bleeding and the fact that he was really fucking warm. Much warmer than was normal, and he wondered if he had a fever or had gotten heated up along with the ship when it fell.

As he made his way out of the ship, Dave wondered if he should find something to try to stop the bleeding with or just head straight to his house. The cut didn’t look like it was going to stop anytime soon, but he wasn’t wearing a jacket or anything he could take off to wrap around his head. Instead he just tried to pick up his pace without jostling the guy too much.

The way back seemed even longer than he originally thought, and he could feel blood dripping down his arm pretty steadily at this point. He knew head wounds bleed a lot but this seemed pretty fucking excessive.

As he finally started reaching his house he was glad that Bro had decided to move them to what was essentially the middle of god damn nowhere. There were other houses yeah, but everything was pretty spread out and no one really talked to each other. It was definitely different from the busy city he’d grown up in, but even back then they’d still managed to keep themselves pretty damn isolated.

Shifting the guy in his arms, he managed to open the front door, kicking it shut behind him before walking over and laying him down on the couch. It didn’t seem like Bro was home, which Dave silently counted as a blessing because he didn’t want to have to explain why he had some bleeding grey dude with horns and fangs. He wasn’t even sure what that explanation would be.

He quickly went and grabbed the first aid kit out of the bathroom before heading back to the living room. The fake alien was still out cold, which was a bit worrying. At least it would let him help this guy without him complaining.

Getting close to his face again, he tried to brush some hair away from the cut. From what he could see, it didn’t even look that deep or anything. He shouldn’t even need stitches. Maybe if he just cleaned it and bandaged him up the ridiculous bleeding would decide to chill the fuck out for a second.

His eyes glanced up to the horns on his head. He could see in the light now that they were a bright fucking orange. If they were being held on by a headband or something he didn’t want it to get caught under the bandages. Reaching out, he pulled on one in an attempt to take the bizarre headpieces off.

Instead of that happening however, his hand slipped off and the guy’s face twinged the slightest bit when he’d pulled. Frowning at that, Dave leaned in close to the thing and parted the hair around it to try to see what exactly was going on here.

Dave leaned back on his haunches when he had fully taken in the sight. Well then. It seemed that the horns were legit growing out of his head. That was certainly a thing that could have a number of different implications he wasn’t about to contemplate right now.

Instead he got up once again and grabbed a rag, running it under some water before coming back and wiping the blood away as best as he could. It continued to seem that his skin was really grey. Pulling some antibiotic cream out of the first aid kit he applied it to the cut with as much care as he could manage. It still seemed to be bleeding a bit but it had calmed considerably from when he first found the guy.

Turning back to the first aid kit, he grabbed some bandages. Wrapping the cut, he carefully lifted his head whenever he needed to go around. He’d done this kind of junk a million times, the motions of it was actually helping him calm down some. Once he deemed the bandage job as good as it was going to get he put everything back into the first aid kit.

There was nothing else he could really do now and he found himself just looking the guy over because this was starting to get really fucking weird.

In the light now he could see just how off the guy looked. His skin felt tough and it was fucking grey and those horns were real jesus fuck. Not only that but he could see that his fingers were tipped with claws. Not like his fingernails were just sharp or something like that, but thick orange claws that curved out. His ears were mostly covered by hair, but when he pushed it out of the way he could see that they were strangely shaped, larger than a normal person’s, broad and going back to a point like a god damn enchanted elf.

Reaching out cautiously, he lifted one of his eyelids, the unfocused eye underneath the same orange as his claws and horns. Not the iris, he wasn’t able to see that, but what was supposed to be the whites of his eyes. Letting the eyelid fall shut, Dave sat back once again, just trying his best to take this all in.

This had to some sort of joke or a hoax or something. What the fuck kind of alien first of all, chooses the most ‘here be aliens’ place to crash land, and second, travels probably hundreds of light-years in a super advanced spaceship just to botch the landing and knock itself out.

Dave found himself a bit distracted by the uncomfortable feeling of blood drying on his shirt, and stood up. Taking another glance at the sleeping dude-possible-alien-creature-thing he started towards his room to change his shirt.

He had no fucking idea what he was going to do. Was he supposed to tell someone? No one would believe him. Fuck, he didn’t believe him. Good grief he just hoped the thing woke up soon so that maybe they could talk and figure all of this shit out.

Dave was pretty god damn sure he’d just found an alien. He couldn’t even comprehend the kind of bullshit this was going to cause.

Pulling a new shirt over his head without disturbing his shades at all, a small frown creeped onto his face as a thought came to him.

What the ever loving fuck was that alien doing with all of those god damn bike horns?

Chapter Text

When Dave walked back into the living room the grey dude was still out cold. He briefly considered trying to wake him up again, but ultimately decided against it. He didn’t know how the guy would react, and he’d rather not be all up close and personal if he ended up freaking the fuck out and trying to scratch his face out with his Halloween themed mutant claws.

He figured he should just chill out for a while and wait for him to wake up on his own. Maybe look up some alien facts or if grey skin was a possible thing and whether or not someone could surgically attach horns to their skull.

When he pulled his phone out of his pocket however, he didn’t end up doing any of that. Instead, he found himself snapping a picture of the alien and sending it to the only other person who was online at the moment.

turntechGodhead started pestering ectoBiologist at 9:56pm
TG: this is it my life has entered the spiral
TG: there aint no stopping this runaway space train
TG: next time you see me ill be on ancient aliens letting people in on the TRUTH
TG: but no one will believe it
TG: all they have to do is listen
TG: but they wont
TG: and then bam
TG: grey faced candy corn horned alien overlords
EB: who’s that guy on your couch?
EB: he looks hurt, what did you do?
TG: wow man
TG: no comment on the grey skin and fangs and horns
TG: i know youre pretty unperceptive but i thought at least youd notice that
EB: i did notice all that!
EB: i just
EB: i don’t know
EB: figured it was some weird costume.
TG: alright yeah that would be a pretty normal assumption
EB: wait dave did you make a friend?
EB: are you guys cosplaying or something?
TG: what no
TG: no man it aint a costume
TG: believe me i checked
EB: bullshit!
TG: no dude listen this is a legit alien
TG: i think
TG: as you can see the things passed the fuck out so i havent gotten a chance to ask it yet
EB: do you really think i’ll fall for this?
EB: AGAIN?
TG: wait what
TG: what do you mean again
EB: remember when you first moved?
EB: you tried to convince me that you managed to sneak into area 51 and saw all their secret alien stuff.
TG: oh shit yeah i remember that now
TG: you believed me for months dude
EB: i was 13!
EB: anyway i’m not falling for it this time!
EB: but really who is that guy and how’d you manage to convince him to dress up for you?
TG: aw man fuck 13 year old me
TG: hes screwing up this actual legitimate issue
TG: I swear this is real shit
TG: heres a picture i took of the ship before it crashed
TG: wait a second gotta get it off my camera
TG: okay here
EB: that is a blurry light in the sky that could literally be anything
TG: and one of those things it could be is a spaceship
TG: which it is
EB: dave no.
TG: dave yes
EG: he’s wearing face paint and plastic horns
EG: and i highly doubt aliens would look that human
TG: yeah man thats throwing me off too
TG: maybe hes not an alien but all the weird stuff about him is real
TG: i can send you close ups of his claws and shit i swear
EB: why are you doing this?
TG: because i might possibly be freaking out the slightest bit in like
TG: the chillest way possible
EB: how would you have even found him?
EB: did you just run into an injured guy in some weird makeup?
TG: i was hanging out in the desert because why the fuck not
TG: when this huge ship crashed down near me
TG: i went inside and there were all these fucking bike horns and knock off pokemon cards everywhere
TG: and this guy crumpled in the corner bleeding pretty bad
EB: wait what
EB: bike horns and pokemon cards, seriously?
EB: why would those be in an alien space ship?
TG: i still have no fucking clue about that
TG: but anyway alien dude was bleeding fucking everywhere so i brought him back here
TG: bandaged him up and now here we are
EB: i still don’t know if i believe you.
EB: maybe let me talk to him?
TG: dude hes still out fucking cold
TG: fuck he probably doesnt even speak english
TG: hes a god damn alien
EB: oh yeah.
EB: well, if you went on his ship does that mean it’s still there?
TG: yeah it should be
TG: but im not going out there and leaving him alone in my house
TG: it aint even about him breaking shit
TG: i just dont know when bros gonna get home
TG: and i dont really want to have to come home to whatever fucking ball of mistakes that would take place if i let bro find this guy without anyone to explain whats going on
EB: oh yeah that doesn’t sound like a good idea at all.
EB: i guess just send me some pictures when you get a chance to go back.
EB: i don’t believe you but i am going to reserve judgement for now.
TG: how will i ever accept this gracious offer
TG: truly i am forever in your debt
EB: stop being an ass!
EB: you were the one begging me to believe you after all.

Dave’s head shot up at the sound of something grumbling on the other side of the room. The alien still looked asleep but it was making strange as fuck noises and shifting around slightly.

TG: oh shit i think its waking up
EB: really?
TG: yeah give me a second im gonna see whats up
EB: alright!
EB: keep me posted, okay?
TG: sure thing man

Dave started closer to the alien, unsure what to do. The thing was starting to make more sounds and had turned away from him onto its side. It was, fuck, he wasn’t sure, chirping? It was low and every so often there’d be this strange clicking sound. Whatever it was, it did not sound like something a human mouth could make, especially in its fucking sleep.

“You coming to dude?” he asked, surprised when the creature seemed to jolt at the sound of his voice. It was still turned away from him, but it’d gone stock still and had stopped making those sounds.

“Yo, alien bro, it’s pretty obvious you’re awake. Can you understand me at all?” he asked, about as close to the couch as he was going to dare to get right now. Dave could barely see him breathing at this point, and it seemed intent to continue ignoring him. Maybe it was hoping if he did it long enough Dave would just go away.

---

Karkat couldn’t breathe.

He had no idea what was going on right now. The last thing he remembered was being flung across the ship when it landed. He guessed he’d gotten knocked out or something. That would explain why his head hurt like someone’d gone at it with a manual frozen water drill.

He sure as fuck wasn’t in his ship anymore though. He had no idea where he was but he was on something soft and it smelled strange and there was something behind him making all these weird noises. He could hear it coming closer until it eventually seemed to stop.

Oh fuck what the hell was he supposed to do? If he moved it might attack but he didn’t know how long it would be there or what it wanted with him or where the fuck it’d dragged him off to. If he could just manage to look around maybe he could find some sort of escape route.

It was making more noises now (fuck, was it talking? Did he end up on a planet with intelligent life?) and he could hear it backing away some again. Whatever it was, it seemed to settle slightly now, but that didn’t do much to calm him.

Slowly Karkat attempted to shift some, wanting to get into a position to be able to bolt if he needed to. The thing behind him didn’t seem bothered by his movement at all, or at the very least, it didn’t come back towards him again. Karkat wondered what it looked like. He’d never seen an alien before, but he’d heard that some of them were pretty freaking out there. He also figured it could be dangerous as all fuck. Whatever this was lived outside of the empire, so it’d probably never had any interactions with trolls before.

That meant it didn't know what to expect from him either.

Bracing himself in case the alien freaked out of him, he carefully pushed himself up, still not turning around to actually see the other creature yet. The thing seemed to know he was awake, so playing dead was a no go at this point. It also didn’t help that he was obviously shaking. All he could see was a white wall directly in front of him and the back of the couch he was sitting on. Alright, really likely this was an intelligent species now.

The thing was speaking behind him again and it was hard for Karkat to keep himself from flinching at the sudden noise. God, it sounded so fucking weird. It didn’t sound angry or anything like that to him though. Of course, maybe whatever fucking species it was expressed anger with an unnerving monotone voice, he wouldn’t fucking know.

As slowly as he could manage Karkat started turning around to see his surroundings and whatever was in here with him.

The place was a mess, with what Karkat could assume was food wrappers and strange plush dolls scattered everywhere. Maybe they were modeled after some sort of fur beast that lived on this planet.

Finally he managed to turn enough to see the alien. Instinctually a growl started rumbling in his throat, the alien taking a small step back at the noice. It wasn’t as horrifying as he’d thought it would be at all, actually. That didn’t mean it wasn’t weird as shit looking.

It was really fucking light, pinkish even, with god damn yellow hair. It didn’t have any horns, claws or fangs from what he could see. It didn’t seem like much of a threat at all when you got down to it, but like hell was he going to underestimate it based solely off of that. He had no idea if it had any sort of psychic abilities for one thing. It raised one of its hands, shaking it a little before putting it down at its side again for fuck knows what reason.

It was wearing sunglasses.

“Where am I?” Karkat asked slowly, trying to get his fear under control. He was pretty certain that it wouldn’t be able to understand him, but decided it was worth a try anyway. There was still an underlining growl to his voice and his body was an anxious coil about to go off at any second.

Eyebrows so light Karkat could barely see them shot up over the shades and it started speaking its nonsense language. He wasn’t able to hold back a small groan of frustration as the alien continued chatting away. The chances of this getting anywhere were really fucking slim to none. He needed that translator Sollux had made for him or something if he was even going to attempt to figure out what this thing was going on about.

A shock ran through his body at that thought, and the alien stopped speaking when it noticed the change in Karkat’s behavior.

Karkat’s head quickly started whipping around as he scanned the room. Oh fuck oh hell no. The translator, the ship, everything! Oh god where the fuck was it? Was it destroyed when he landed? No, he’d be way more banged up than this if everything was trashed. Fuck, he’d be dead if that was the case.

“What did you do with my stuff?!” he snapped at the alien, the fear that had been overwhelming him before quickly replaced with anger. The alien put its hands up in front of it as it started speaking again but Karkat couldn’t understand him and he needed to find his shit now!

He jumped up off the couch, still looking around for the way out of this hive. There were several doors leading from this room and he had no idea which one was right. The alien still had its hands up, only now it was coming towards him and one of them was reaching forward. Karkat quickly backed away from the creature, practically snarling at it.

It kept getting closer to him though and Karkat was trying not to freak out because he couldn’t deal with this thing right now he needed to find his ship and make sure nothing else did. Fuck that was all he had left and he needed to go get it.

The alien attempted to grab his arm, and Karkat swiped it away with a hiss, grazing the creature’s skin with his claws. He was surprised at how fast it was. He felt himself jolt to a stop when he saw the small amount of blood leaking from the cut before the creature drew its hand back.

---

Dave watched as the alien slowly pushed itself into a sitting position on his couch, still turned away from him. It seemed skittish as fuck, and he wasn’t entirely sure what to do that wouldn’t cause it to panic or something. It was already shaking like a leaf, he kind of felt bad for it.

“There’s not much to look at that way man,” he said after a moment, the thing still seeming pretty intent on ignoring him. He tried to keep his voice as level as possible, not wanting to freak the thing out any more than it already obviously was. Very fucking slowly it started to turn around and Dave stayed still as it carefully looked the room over.

The look of confusion on the thing’s face was pretty fucking hilarious as it focused on him though, clearly sizing him up. A small grumbling started emitting from the thing, and Dave took a cautious step back. He couldn’t even imagine what it was thinking right now. Maybe the fact that he didn’t have any claws or fangs like it did would calm it down some, make him think he wasn’t a threat.

He very well could be if he wanted to, but he didn’t want the alien knowing that.

He slowly lifted his hand in a halfhearted wave, the confusion on the things face deepening.

It started speaking then, and Dave couldn’t keep his eyebrows from shooting up in surprise at the sound. He supposed he should have had an idea of what it would sound like from the chirps and clicks he’d heard the thing make in its sleep earlier, but god damn it sounded like if a bug had invented its own language.

“Holy shit man I have no fucking idea what you just said but I’m going to go with the conclusion that you’re not human and are probably equally as confused as to what I’m going on about right now,” he started, the alien making a strange churning groan as Dave continued. “I’m not sure how we’re going to do this, I mean, I’d like to be able to figure out a way to speak to you and like, know if you’re planning some sort of alien invasion, so this whole language barrier thing is a bit of an inconvenience, you feel me?”

The alien didn’t seem to be paying any attention to him anymore, but before Dave could say anything else it seemed to freeze again. He stopped speaking, wondering if he’d done something to freak him out. It’d seemed fine with him speaking where he was, it even started growling less, so he wasn’t sure. It started frantically looking around the apartment before snapping his eyes back on Dave.

It yelled something at him and Dave put his hands in front of him, trying to keep the thing from getting any more pissed or freaked out.

“Hey man, just calm down for a second. Are you looking for something? Jesus you can’t understand a word I’m saying I don’t even know why I’m talking at this point,” he felt himself rambling, more to himself than to the alien by the end of it.

It sprung up off of the couch, looking around for something, probably an exit. Dave cautiously started towards him, not sure what he should be doing right now. It freaking growled at him again and took several steps back, and most normal functioning people would have taken that as a clue to back the fuck off, but not Dave Strider. Oh no, Dave Strider took that as a welcome sign to come closer and try to grab the panicking creature. This is probably why Bro never let him have any pets.

It slashed out him but Dave managed to pull back enough that it’d barely scraped him. He was still bleeding though, and he kept his arm close to him so that the thing didn’t think about attacking again.

When he turned his attention back towards the alien though, it didn’t look like it was about to attack again at all. It was staring at the arm it’d scratched as if it was the most mind blowing thing in existence.

“You okay there?” Dave asked after a moment. “What’s the matter, smell of my blood trigger your alien vampire instincts or some other bullshit? If you can keep that part of this thrilling interspecies drama under control that’d be appreciated,” he said, mostly joking and wanting to see if he could distract him some from staring at him like that or remembering whatever it was that had freaked it in the first place.

The alien’s mouth twisted into a frown, and it reached out and pulled Dave’s arm towards him before he could even realize what he was doing. Dave attempted to pull himself free, but the grey creature simply tightened its grip and leaned in closer to the small cut.

“Just letting you know man I ain’t into bloodplay,” he continued to joke, just the slightest bit uncomfortable. The alien continued to stare for a few moments longer before finally letting go of his arm in a huff and taking a step back, a look on his face that Dave couldn’t place. It didn’t seem anywhere near as freaked as it’d been a moment ago though, so he supposed that was a plus.

“Satisfied?” he asked, the alien glaring at him before starting to pace around the room. There was still a panic in its eyes and okay maybe it hadn’t actually calmed down all that much. It didn’t seem as angry anymore at least, just freaked and scared. It turned back towards him and spoke again, and Dave got an idea.

“Wait here a second, I think I know what’s freaking you,” he said, quickly running into his room. He figured the alien would probably want to know where its ship is or where it was, if anything. He’d want to know how to get home if he’d passed out and woke up in some other guy’s house and that other person spoke a language he couldn’t understand. Also if that other guy was actually an alien. Grabbing a piece of paper and a pencil, he headed back into the living room. He didn’t want to leave it alone for too long.

It was staring suspiciously at him when he returned, glancing down at the items in his hands before looking back up at his face. Dave walked over to the table, clearing a space off as best he could (which just entailed pushing a few game cartridges onto the ground) and started drawing the ship to the best of his ability. Which. Honestly wasn’t that good.

Once he’d finished it, he turned back to the alien, which had been hovering around a few feet behind him, clearly confused as to what he was doing. When Dave held up the picture the other guy’s eyes lit up and it started jabbing the paper with its claw while speaking in its weird alien bug language.

“Alright, fucking bingo. I guess you want to go back there? It’s pretty late though, but then again it might not be good for you to head out in plain day. Not that anyone would actually think you’re an alien but still, you could freak and attack someone or some other horrible accident could happen like-” before he could finish the alien grabbed the paper out of his hand. It pointed forcefully at the picture, and then to Dave, and then back to the ship, all the while slowly saying something in a very irritated voice.

Maybe irritated voice. Fuck, that might be what he sounds happy, he had no way of knowing after all.

Dave sighed, giving in to the obvious demand.

“Alright man, I’ll show you where your freaky alien spaceship is,” he said, starting towards the door and motioning for him to follow.

---

Karkat found himself reaching forward and grabbing the alien’s arm, needing to make sure he’d seen that right. When he looked the shallow cut over, it was indeed exactly what he’d thought it had been. That being bright fucking red.

It was just… shit splitting fuck, was that normal for this species? It was probably normal. Of all the god damn colors, why did it have to be red? It was really fucking unnerving.

The alien was mumbling again, but he continued to ignore it. It wasn’t like he could exactly talk back, after all.

Eventually Karkat let its arm go, taking a step back since he still didn’t feel comfortable being that close to this thing anyway.

“Sorry about that,” he muttered, not that it actually mattered seeing as it didn’t understand a thing he was saying. It said something back, but Karkat didn’t pay it any mind, instead starting to pace back and forth as he tried to figure out what he was supposed to do, this time in a slightly more calm manner.

He had to get his stuff back. It was really fucking important because his friends had gone through all of that trouble to get him everything and he was not about to just fucking lose it the second he stepped foot on this planet. He had no idea where he was though, or how far away from his ship he was or if it was even safe for him to go outside right now. This alien hadn’t attacked him yet, but he didn’t trust it in the slightest, and he had no idea how many others would be out there if he left this hive.

The alien said something before running out of the room, coming back a few moments later with a pencil and a tree sliver. Karkat watched him walk over to the table before sitting down and starting to write or draw something. He couldn’t tell from where he was standing, and he wasn’t about to get any closer.

After a few moments it turned back towards him, holding up what it'd made and holy shit Karkat had never been so relieved to see such a crappy drawing. He started pointing at the picture of his ship, wanting to let this thing know that yes that was what he wanted.

“You’ve seen this? Holy fuck where the hell is it come on this not understanding each other is getting ridiculous,” he rambled, mostly to himself. That had become a habit while he was on the ship, and now that there was something to talk to, even if it didn’t know what he was saying, he felt a bit less insane doing it.

It started going off again, saying a bunch of shit Karkat had no fucking way of deciphering. Irritated, Karkat grabbed the paper out of his hand.

“My ship,” he said carefully as he pointed to the picture, “You,” he continued, pointing at the alien, “take me here,” he finished, pointing back at the crappy drawing. The alien seemed amused as it spoke next, starting towards one of the doors in this room and motioning for Karkat to follow him. A bit reluctantly he went along, not seeing anything else he could do if he wanted a chance to find all of his shit.

It seemed to be pretty early in the night, but there was much less of this species out then he would have expected at this time. He’d think that maybe they were more solitary if it wasn’t for the other hives around them.

The alien took something out then, messing around with it until a bright light came on, which it then pointed in front of them before starting to walk. Wait, was it having trouble seeing? Holy shit, was this a diurnal species? Fuck, maybe it was tougher than it looked.

It started leading him away from the communal hive cluster into what looked like some really freaky desert. There were strange spikey vegetation growing in between rocks and every so often he could catch sight of some mini scalebeast skittering across the dirt. It was kind of amusing how small they were. The alien didn’t seem to take any notice of them, either used to the creatures or not able to see them in the darkness.

As they continued to walk Karkat couldn’t help but start getting freaked out. They were going much farther than he would have hoped they would have to, and there was no real way of knowing if he was actually planning on taking him to his ship. This could be a trap and he had no fucking way of knowing.

After what felt like an eternity the ship finally came into view. Karkat sprinted ahead of the alien leading him, into the door that someone had left open. He thought that the alien might have yelled something after him, but he didn’t pay it any mind. It wasn’t until he was back in the main room, looking around to make sure everything was still there, just thrown around a bit from the crash did he start calming down.

He could hear the alien walking down the corridor, but he ignored it, instead trying to pick up some of the fiduspawn cards that had gotten fucking everywhere.

The sound of one of the horns going off caused his head to snap up, looking to see the alien was the one holding it. Growling, he stomped over and slapped it out of the thing’s hand.

“Don’t you touch anything,” he snapped, the alien just staring at him dumbly. After a moment it said something, although it didn’t sound like it even realized how pissed he was. Karkat groaned in frustration, turning away again and trying to clean up more, kicking some of the horns into a small pile. He didn’t even know why the alien was still here, he didn’t need its help anymore. Of course, he had no way of telling it that. Maybe it was just waiting around to make sure before heading off. He hoped that was the case.

Turning to pick up the magic eight ball (of course it hadn’t even got a scratch on it during the crash) he caught sight of the alien leaning over to pick something up again. He felt his bloodpusher stop when he realized what it was.

Running over before it could even think about opening the sketchbook, he yanked it away from the alien, biting down on a hand that happened to get a bit too close to his face.

The alien yelled something, pulling its hand away and Karkat started yelling at him the second his mouth was empty.

“I fucking told you not to touch anything you freakishly pale excuse for an unintelligent lifeform!” he barked. It started yelling something back, but Karkat didn’t bother paying any attention to it, heading back over to where he’d been cleaning before, keeping the book pressed tightly to his chest.

When he stole a glance back at the alien, he was holding his hand to him in much the same way. Well, maybe he’d either get it through his head that he shouldn’t touch his shit or just leave. Either option would be acceptable.

It didn’t leave, instead just pulling that thing it’d used to make a light and messing with it again. Karkat ignored him to go pick up pyralspite from where it’d gotten flung and put it with the rest of his things.

He had no fucking idea what he was supposed to do now though. Just keep living in the ship and hope no hostile aliens came across him? Fuck, he was so out in the open, that didn’t seem like a good idea at all.

Having managed to throw pretty much everything into a pile (he was sure there were a few horns left in places he couldn’t see, but he wasn’t in the mood to go crawling around to get them) he picked the chair up from where it’d fallen over and slumped down into it, letting his head fall into his hands.

God he had no idea what he was supposed to do. He was off Alternia but that didn’t mean he was safe here and if more of this alien species came out during the day he had no idea what would happen to him. He still wasn’t sure what the one who was currently here was thinking about doing with him. It’d been helpful so far but he’d probably pissed it off now.

He was so fucking screwed.

---

Dave turned his phone's flashlight on as he started leading the alien back towards the crash site. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do once they got there, and there was no way to ask the dude. Was he going to try to get it up and running again or something like that? Maybe it hadn’t meant to come to Earth at all and holy shit when had he become so convinced that this was an alien?

Neither of them bothered to say anything as they walked, words seeming rather pointless, at least to Dave.

When the ship finally came into view the alien started fucking running towards it, surprising Dave quite a bit.

“Whoa man wait up,” he called, lightly jogging after him. He figured the thing probably wouldn’t hurt itself on its own ship though and let it run off. When Dave reached the ship he brushed the side with the back of his hand, feeling that it had cooled down considerably while they’d been away.

Walking down the corridor, Dave could hear the alien scrambling around in that main room. Once he was in sight, he could see the thing running around, picking up those weird playing cards and kicking some of the horns into a pile. Good fucking god this had to be the strangest first contact in the history of intergalactic meetings.

Leaning over, Dave picked up one of the bike horns by his feet, squeezing the thing to see if alien bike horns made the same sound as human ones. Turns out they did. The alien’s head snapped towards him at the noise, and Dave offered it a smile it didn’t seem to notice, eyes locked on the dumb horn in his hand. It fucking stalked over to him, slapping the horn out of his hands and yelling something .

Dave stared at him for a moment, unable to keep himself from being amused at this. It was just so ridiculous he couldn’t help it.

“Well then, guess the horns are off limits,” he said, the alien just groaning and going back to throwing all of its shit into a heap in the middle of the ship. He supposed cleaning styles in teenager were a universal constant. Unless he wasn’t a teenager. Fuck, for all he knew, this could be like, the biggest and best of the species, god damn front line warrior over here. Oh god that would be fucking amazing.

Looking around some more, he spotted a small book a few steps away from him. The feeling of not wanting to piss the alien off again not quite as strong as not wanting to just stand there doing nothing, he walked over and picked it up.

He didn’t even see the alien running over to his this time before the book was yanked from his grip and the thing snapped down on his hand with its fucking teeth.

“Jesus fuck what the hell?!” he yelled, pulling his hand away and holding it to his chest to try to stop the bleeding. It was yelling something at him now and once it stopped Dave glared back at him.

“That was so fucking unnecessary it’s just some book, calm down,” he snapped back. The alien didn’t even bother waiting for him to finish speaking before walking away and Dave was seriously considering just leaving it here. He’d already been helpful enough bandaging the thing up and them leading it all the way back to its dumb ship.

Watching him, it didn’t dark put the book down for a while, holding it protectively to its chest like it was afraid Dave was going to snatch it up again the second he put it down. Turning back towards his hand, Dave saw that the bite wasn’t actually as bad as it’d felt. It was still bleeding a bit, and he took out his phone to take a picture, sending it to John before messaging the other boy again.

turntechGodhead started pestering ectoBiologist at 10:42pm
TG: alien bit me
EB: holy shit are you okay?
TG: yeah it wasnt actually that bad
TG: apparently the fucking gremlin doesnt like when other people touch its stuff
EB: so he’s awake?
TG: yeah were at the spaceship now
EB: pics or it didn’t happen

Dave took a few pictures of his surroundings, even a few of the alien guy when his back was turned, sending the best ones to John.

TG: bam
TG: hows that for some hardboiled evidence right there
EB: well, it looks real
EB: and you suck at photoshop so…
EB: i don’t know, it still sounds really unbelievable and kind of dumb.
TG: yeah i realize that but that doesnt change the fact that this is a thing
TG: and i have no fucking clue what to do about it
EB: do you have any idea what it wants?
TG: not really
TG: it freaked out wanting to come back here
TG: and now its just piling up all its junk and wont let me touch anything
TG: should i just leave it
EB: well, if i’d found an alien, i definitely wouldn’t just leave it in the middle of a desert where anyone could find it
EB: he could get caught by the government and get experimented on and all kinds of horrible sci-fi scenarios
TG: yeah i guess so
TG: what should i do then
EB: um
EB: try to hide it, i guess?
TG: how this ship is huge
EB: not the ship dummy
EB: the alien
TG: dude i do not think its gonna leave anytime soon
EB: thatd complicate things yeah
TG: oh i think its done cleaning
EB: it was cleaning?
TG: yeah
TG: well like kicking all of its stuff into the middle of the floor
TG: but now its just sitting in a chair
TG: hes not looking at me ill take another picture
TG: here
EB: aw he looks sad
EB: did something happen?
TG: fuck if i know
TG: we cant speak to each other
TG: he sounds like a bug
EB: a bug?
TG: yeah like not all the time
TG: but there are these chirping sounds
TG: like a cicada or something
TG: its freaky as fuck
EB: maybe he misses his home planet.
TG: what would that even be
TG: the land of bike horns and trading cards
EB: yeah okay those things still weird me out
TG: i still dont know what to do about hiding him
EB: just try to figure out a way to let him know you need him to come back with you.
EB: how’d you get him to realize you knew where his ship was?
TG: i drew a crappy picture of the ship
EB: well try something like that
TG: alright fine
TG: if i get bitten again im blaming you
EB: try not to get space rabies!

Dave slipped his phone back in his pocket and took a few cautious steps towards the alien. He made sure to stay out of biting distance, trying to figure out just how he’d try to let him know what was up. He hadn’t brought any paper or anything with him, which was a dumb move on his part.

“Hey, you alright man?” he asked, the alien looking up at him for a moment before putting his head back down without a word. Dave sighed, pulling out his phone and turning on some really shitty drawing notepad app he’d downloaded months ago and ended up only using for like a week.

He sketched out an incredibly crappy picture of a house, two stick figures, and an arrow pointing from them to the house.

“Yo,” he said, getting the grey guy’s attention again as he put the phone in his face. The alien stared at it for a moment, raising an eyebrow after a moment and looking back up at Dave while saying something in what was probably the most unimpressed voice he could manage.

Dave pulled the phone back, adding two little dots on top of one of the stick figures to signal its horns so he’d at least realize he meant them. When he showed him the revised picture it scanned it over before rolling its eyes and saying something. Dave pointed at the house picture as he tried to explain what he meant.

“We should go back dude. It’s like, probably not safe here for you,” he said, tapping on the screen a few times. The alien frowned a bit, pointing at the picture of the house himself, and Dave nodded because yes that was what he was talking about.

It then pointed at the big heap of stuff in the middle of the room, making a remark about it presumably. Dave shrugged before answering.

“We can carry it, I guess? Um, fuck, you know, carry, like this?” he attempted to mime carrying something. It’s frowned deepened, but Dave wasn’t sure if it was because it didn’t understand or just didn’t like the idea.

Before Dave could attempt to elaborate more it stood up, walking to a door Dave hadn’t noticed earlier. He followed it, figuring it was trying to show him something. The door opened, and Dave couldn’t help but be surprised at the amount of fucking clothes in here.

“Dude were clothes really the most important thing you could think to take when coming to a new planet?” he asked. The alien turned back towards him, making a sort of hopeless gesture. Yeah, okay he could see how carrying all this junk could take all night. Dave shrugged, getting his phone back out and starting to draw as he spoke.

“We could get some bags or something back at my house? You know, like this?” he said as he showed him a really fucking wobbly picture of what was supposed to be a shopping bag. The other guy seemed to hesitate for a moment before sighing and heading back towards the pile in the center of the room, picking up a few things to Dave was hoping take back to his house.

Dave hesitated for a moment, not sure if he should help him with anything. When he reached down to try to pick up some weird stuffed doll near the edge of the pile his hand was slapped away and the alien growled at him as it picked it up itself.

“Alright dude, but this is going to take all fucking night if you don’t let me help once we get some bags,” he muttered. Once it had its arms full of a bunch of weird objects (the stuffed doll, several horns, the book from before and another smaller book, two weird electronic looking things he couldn’t place, several horns and cards and holy shit was that a skull? He had to get a closer look at that later) Dave started out of the ship, relieved when the alien followed him.

The walk back to his house was almost as quiet as the wall from it, only now every so often the items in the alien’s arms would shift and one of the horns would go off. Once they reached the house and went inside the alien just stared at him, holding onto his shit tighter and seeming unwilling to put it down.

“Come on man,” he said, motioning him to follow as he started towards his room. He'd rather it not drop all that junk in the middle of the living room where Bro could see it and ask what the fuck was going on anyway.

Once in in his room the alien looked around, seeming a bit unsure about what to do, until it caught sight of his closet. Walking over to it, he shifted the things in his arms in an attempt to open the door without dropping anything. A few horns fell anyway, but he got it open and dropped the rest of it inside.

“Alright then, you do you I guess. I’m gonna grab some bags or something, also fix my hand,” he said, stopping in the living room and quickly bandaging up the cuts before grabbing some old duffle bags out of the attic. When he came back the alien had managed to get everything in his closet and close the door. Dave had managed to find four duffle bags back from when they moved and handed two to the alien.

“This good?” he asked. The alien said something, and Dave wondered vaguely what he should call him besides ‘the alien.’ It had to have a name. Once they’d moved everything he could try to figure that out.

“Alright then, back we go,” he said, starting back out of his room, the alien following once again.

---

Karkat didn’t look up until the alien had started speaking again. He ignored him at first, because if it wanted to get whatever point he was trying to make across it would have to figure out something other than words. It’d managed it before, so whatever this was probably wasn’t as important if it wasn’t willing to put the work in.

When it spoke again, it was holding up that thing it’d used to light their way before. It looked sort of like a handheld husktop, and it had drawn something once again. He couldn’t help but make a face at the picture, because whatever it was trying to depict was a bit lost on him. Was that supposed to be a hive?

“You fucking suck at drawing,” he said, and the alien pulled the handheld device back, making a few changes to the picture. When he showed it to Karkat again, it took a moment for him to even notice the change, rolling his eyes once he did. He’d given one of the people (he supposed that’s what they were supposed to be now) horns. Okay, so it was them, going back to the hive he imagined.

“Do you realize I really have no way to add to this conversation?” he asked. It pointed at the house now, speaking again. Karkat wasn’t sure what else to do but point at the house himself to let it know that he sort of understood what he was getting at here. The alien nodded, and alright, so that confirmed it. There was just one problem with them going back.

He demonstrated this problem by pointing at the large pile in the center of the room. The pale creature started talking some more, making some weird gestures that took a while for Karkat to decipher as meaning to just carry everything. He frowned at that, because yeah, he supposed it could work if he only had the stuff right here. He stood up, starting towards the storage room and the alien following him.

It made some comment when he opened the door, and Karkat turned towards him, throwing his arms up in an attempt to ask ‘and just what do we do about all of this?’

He had no idea why this thing was trying to help him and frankly it was starting to freak him out.

Once again it started drawing something, which turned out to be slightly less shitty than the last one. Sort of. He had context now so he figured it was supposed to be some sort of bag. It was talking the whole time it showed him the picture, but Karkat was starting to get good at tuning him out.

Hesitating a moment, he sighed and started back towards his pile. It wasn’t that he had much of a choice after all. He wasn’t safe here and for some reason this thing seemed to want to help him. If this was some trick he could still probably defeat this thing in a fight, especially since it’d been so easy to injure already. For a diurnal species it seemed pretty weak.

While he was gathering things to take it tried to grab pyralspite and he slapped its hand away once again. Fucking thing didn’t seem to understand the concept of keeping its hands to itself. It seemed to finally get the picture after that though, standing back and letting Karkat get what he could.

It led them back to the house, having to use the light again to make its way through the darkness. He wondered if it was young and that was why it didn’t seem as tough as something that lives in the daylight should be. From looks alone Karkat would guess it was at around the same stage of development as he was, but he really had no way of knowing. If that was the case though, he wondered where its lusus was.

Reaching the hive, he wasn’t sure where he should put his things down. Honestly, he didn’t trust putting it down anywhere out in the open. After a moment the alien motioned him further into the hive, into another room. He wondered if this was his respiteblock or something, although there wasn’t anything that looked like a recuperacoon. There was a shitton of junk he had no way of placing, but he ignored it to try to find a clean spot to place his stuff down.

Catching sight of a door, the alien didn’t seem to mind when he walked over and opened it, only struggling the slightest bit due to the fact that he was carrying his own shitload of junk.

It was surprisingly clean in here compared to the rest of the room, although there was a strange smell unlike the rest of the house. There were clothes hanging on a pole and some strange set up in the corner.

Karkat dropped the contents of his arms to the ground, several horns hocking when they hit the ground. He could hear the alien make some comment before leaving the room, but he ignored him for now to try to get the pile into a slightly more manageable state, with everything inside of the small block.

He’d gotten all of the horns inside by the time the alien came back with some of the same strange bandages Karkat had noticed on his own head wrapping the bite mark as well as several large black satchels. It handed him two while saying something.

“Do you even realize how annoying it is not understanding anything? God I hope that translator works once I get a chance to mess with it,” he said, the alien responding as if he’d just agreed with whatever it’d said beforehand. It started back out of the room though so he figured they were going to get more of his stuff.

God, even with the bags they’d still probably have to make one more trip after this, two if they wanted to get the last of his food as well, which he certainly would like to do. Fuck, the food on this planet could all be highly deadly to him. The scanner had just been looking for habitable atmospheres, not anything else he needed.

This was going to take for fucking ever.

When they reached the ship again Karkat took the alien into the storage room and pointed towards the clothes and then to the bags it was holding. He’d rather not have it touch anything, but if he kept the door open he could keep an eye on it and get the rest of the gifts from everyone else and any stray horns that had gotten under things during the crash.

The alien make some weird gesture, putting its hand up to its head and then jabbing out a bit before getting to work. Karkat had literally no fucking idea how to respond to that, so he didn’t, instead just heading back to the main block and putting more horns into one of the bags.

The first aid kit was too big to fit into one of the bags, without just taking up the whole bag that is, and that was a waste of space in Karkat’s opinion. Opening it, he saw that everything was where he’d left it last.

Fuck he hoped he didn’t end up having some sort of reaction if the alien tried to use weird antibiotics or something when he wrapped his head. He seemed fine so far, but that didn’t mean that couldn’t change later.

Closing the case, he did one last sweep of the main room, pretty sure he’d gotten all of the horns. He still had the second duffle bag the alien had given him left, and he grabbed it and started into the storage block. The alien seemed to have gotten a decent amount done, having filled up one bag and starting on the second. Karkat walked to the other side of the block and started there, turning slightly so he didn’t have his back fully to the alien.

It started speaking again and Karkat rolled his eyes. He had no fucking idea why it kept trying with this, it was pretty god damn obvious that talking wasn’t going to work. Maybe it wasn’t even speaking to him, for all he knew it could be talking to itself.

“I don’t know what you want me to do here, but if you want to talk to nothing like some half thinkpanned creature I’m not going to stop you,” he told it. It answered him of fucking course, but he didn’t say anything back this time.

It finished filling up its second bag faster than Karkat, walking over and hovering around him while he packed up the rest of his. Once he zipped up the bag he stood back up, motioning the alien to follow him towards the food storage block.

Once he’d figured it’d realized they’d have to come back a few more times he went and grabbed two of the bags, attempting to get the first aid kit as well. After struggling for a moment to get his hand around all of it without one of the bags dragging along the ground the alien came over, grabbing one of the clothes bags off of his shoulder, this time without making a single quip.

Karkat briefly considered snipping at him with his teeth again, just to reinforce the message that it was not supposed to be touching his shit without Karkat specifically making it known that he wanted it to.

Before he could decide it started away again and Karkat just huffed to himself. Shifting one last time to get a better handle on the first aid kit, he started after the alien.

When they got back to the hive it was clear that not all of his clothes would fit into the small sideblock, and the alien took it up to some storage block on an upper floor. Karkat would have preferred being able to keep an eye on it, but he’d seen how it’d gotten up there so if he ever felt the need to check on those bags he could.

Going out again Karkat realized he was right about having to take two more trips to be able to get everything, and his feet were starting to get sore. He hadn’t walked this much in a long fucking time, and he tried to keep his weariness hidden from the alien. It didn’t seem bothered at all, which was rather irritating.

From what he'd seen so far this species didn't seem particularly made for combat. It was fast and seemed to have stamina though. Of course, he was going off one here, so he could be horribly fucking off.

This time they had food with them when they came back, and the alien led him into what Karkat assumed was a nutritionblock. He became a bit unsure of this when it opened what he had thought was a thermalhall and started pulling out fucking swords.

Karkat jumped back when he caught sight of the weapons, growling at the alien who seemed surprised by his reaction for some fucking reason. It started speaking again but Karkat didn’t give a single fuck. What the hell was he thinking trusting this thing, it was clearly just using him to get his shit and then off him.

It took a step towards him and Karkat took one back, absently trying to reach for something to fight with. He’d never been very good at fistkind.

The alien then turned, moving to put the blade on the counter and heading back over to the fridge. It continued taking the weapons out and piling them up on the counter. Karkat assumed to make room for the food they’d brought back.

He was right, once everything was out of the thermalhall it turned towards the one bag they’d brought back with food this time and started moving the items inside.

Karkat slowly allowed himself to calm down, realizing that alright, it wasn’t about to attack him. All of those swords were still making him uneasy as fuck, but as long as it didn’t go back over to them he could probably handle himself. From over here at this safe distance.

During the last trip they only needed two of the bags instead of all four, so it didn’t seem to take quite as long as the others.

Karkat let the alien put the last of the food into its thermalhall again, not wanting to risk getting anywhere near the pile of swords still sitting a few feet away from it.

Once it was done it took the empty bags and put them back up in the storage block. Karkat followed it, waiting at the bottom of the ascension rig for it to come back down.

Karkat followed it back into what he was just going to assume was its block afterwards. He immediately went over to where he’d put everything from his pile, opening the door and sitting down in it, facing out towards the alien. He didn’t bother closing the door either, not wanting to take his eyes off of it if he could.

Fuck he was exhausted. He didn’t feel safe sleeping here though, at least not while the alien was awake. He’d pass out once it did.

---

Turns out the alien had a lot more junk than Dave had given him credit for. It took about four trips in total to get everything, and he was just thankful that it’d actually let him help with the clothes and food or else they would have been at it all god damn night.

He hadn’t expected it to have a bunch of food with it, but he supposed it made sense. The thing had to live for however long it’d been on this ship, after all.

It had freaked out a bit when Dave needed to clear the fridge of all the fucking swords so that its shit would actually fit inside, but overall this was going much smoother than he thought it would. Even with it biting him once.

He still wasn’t looking forward to having to explain all this to Bro. Even if he didn’t see the alien right away he would notice that all of the swords were out of the fridge, which was now filled with many questionable substances. Seriously, some of this stuff looked funky as shit. He was kind of tempted to try it if he wasn’t sure the alien would probably bite his tongue off for taking some of its shit. The little thing was possessive man.

They were back in his room now, and the alien was sitting in his closet, in a pile of fucking bike horns and other junk that honked whenever it shifted even the slightest bit. It was also staring at him, and Dave wasn’t entirely sure what to do about that.

Leaning over, he grabbed another piece of paper off of his desk and started drawing a pretty shitty picture of himself. Holding it up so the alien could see once he was finished, he pointed at it as he spoke.

“Dave,” he said, before pointing back to himself and repeating. The alien just frowned again, and so he went thought the motion once again, pointing towards the picture,

“Dave,” and then to himself again “Dave.”

“Drvvv?” it grumbled.

“Well, that’s close, but it’s pronounced more like Dave. Daaave,” he emphasized, the alien rolling its eyes at him.

“Davvv,” it said this time, sounding a bit surer of itself.

Daaaaaave,” he repeated, partially because it still wasn’t quite right, but mainly since this was kind of fun.

“Dav,” it repeated, and Dave shrugged his shoulders.

“Yeah, alright good enough,” he told it. The alien seemed to hesitate for a moment before pointing towards itself and speaking.

“Krk’t,” was what Dave managed to make out, raising an eyebrow as he tried to repeat it.

“Cricket?” he asked, the alien rolling its eyes at him.

“Krrk’t” it repeated.

“Critkat?” he tried, the alien huffing in annoyance. “Come on man at least I was a good sport about you butchering my name, don’t be like that,” he said, just seeming to annoy it even more.

Krrrk’t” it said again.

“Karkat? Sorry man I don’t think my mouth can do that shit,” he apologized. The alien said something else, but it didn’t seem to repeat its name again, so it probably wasn’t going to try anymore.

“Alright then, Karkat it is,” he said decisively. The alien ignored him, instead shifting and pulling out some weird tablet thing and focusing on that. Okay, seems like they were done with that then. Dave pulled out his phone, wanting to message John another update. It was pretty freaking late, so the kid might have fallen asleep by now, but there was no harm in trying.

He couldn’t just go to sleep after all. There was no doubt about it. There was an alien sitting in his closet on a pile of shitty bike horns and playing cards with a stuffed dragon under one of its arms and he couldn’t make this shit up if he tried. It was so fucking ridiculous he almost wanted to laugh.

There was no going back now, they were in it for the long hull.

He was kind of excited to see how it would pan out.

Chapter Text

John wasn’t online when Dave finally got a chance to pull Pesterchum up on his phone again. Glancing at the time, he supposed that made sense, seeing as it was nearly five in the fucking morning at this point. This alien was lucky his sleep schedule was already so fucked up from summer.

There was someone else online though, and he debated on whether or not it’d be a good idea to message her. Before Dave could figure out if it would be worth seeing if she was actually up and willing to talk to him that decision was taken by an incoming message.

tentacleTherapist started pestering turntechGodhead at 4:47am
TT: Well someone’s up early.
TG: wrong
TG: someones up late as fuck
TT: I thought that was a more likely scenario.
TT: Any particular reason this time?
TT: Or has the summer stasis allowed you to fully immerse yourself in becoming a creature of the night?
TG: as a matter of fact yes
TG: to the first thing that is
TG: maybe the second thing too whos really to say
TG: but the important thing here is that there is definitely a reason for me being up at why o clock
TG: and its fucking incredible
TT: I am prepared to be dazzled.
TG: i have a pet alien
TG: his name is karkat and he bit me once
TG: but i think were cool now
TT: I am significantly less dazzled than I thought I would be.
TT: What in the world do you mean by alien?
TG: i mean it came from god damn outer space
TG: heres some of the pics i sent egbert
TT: Dave who is that and where are you?
TT: and what is he covered in?
TG: my alien karkat and those are from in his spaceship
TT: Dave.
TT: No.
TG: why does everyone say that
TG: look hes in my closet right now ill take another picture
TT: What is he sitting on?
TG: bike horns
TG: and a bunch of other stuff
TG: i dont know why we cant really talk
TG: he doesnt speak english
TG: because hes an alien
TT: What in heaven’s name is possessing you to try to pull off this prank?
TT: And how did you manage to convince someone else to go along with it?
TG: okay i get that you dont believe me thats pretty reasonable
TG: but its true
TT: If it can’t talk, how do you know its name is Karkat?
TT: Did you name it that?
TG: no it was like
TG: i drew a picture of me and managed to get him to figure out my name
TG: and then he pointed at himself and said karkat
TG: well actually he said something that kind of sounds like that but more chirpy
TG: but he cant really say dave either so tough luck
TT: I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to be saying here.
TT: You sound oddly sincere, which is throwing me off.
TT: Maybe it’s just too early for me to be dealing with your particular brand of bullshit?
TG: no thats not it
TG: you dont have to believe right away but that doesnt make it any less of a thing
TG: this is so much of a thing now you dont even realise
TT: Well, I might not believe you in the slightest bit, but I suppose I’ll play along for now.
TT: Since you seem so thoroughly immersed in this scenario.
TG: alright cool
TT: So, why does it have bandages on its head?
TG: i think it got hurt when its ship crashed
TG: i found it knocked out in a corner bleeding pretty bad
TG: fixed him up though
TT: How generous and kind of you.
TG: arent i just fucking incredible
TT: Truly wonderful.

He wasn’t sure how much longer he ended up talking to Rose for. At some point she told him to get some sleep and by then he could see that the sun was starting to peak over the horizon. He wasn’t entirely sure if it was safe to pass out with the alien dude still awake in the room, but it hadn’t seemed to pay much attention to him for a while now.

Plus, it would be pretty fucked up for it to try to kill him after he’d helped it all night. He didn’t see that happening though. Honestly, the thing just seemed scared. It had clearly been panicked all night, especially when it first woke up, and ever just sitting in his closet it kept glancing around him and twitching at every small noise and movement. Half of which were from it twitching on a pile of god damn bike horns.

In the end Dave didn’t actually have much of a choice when it came to staying up or not. His body quickly gave out on him and crashed before he even managed to lean over and put his phone on his bedside table.

---

The alien had been sitting on some strange flat pad ever since its last attempt to talk to him, which much to Karkat’s surprise actually managed to get somewhere. At least, he thought it might have. Even if it wasn’t what he meant, he was going to call the alien Dave from now on. He’d given it his name too, but it wasn’t able to pronounce it very well.

It sounded like it was trying to say it with balls of woolbeast fluff in its mouth. It was almost funny.

That had been a while ago now, and every so often Karkat would glance up from his book at him. He'd been messing with the same strange device it had used to light their way to the ship. Karkat was pretty sure it was some sort of handheld husktop at this point. He couldn't tell what it was doing though, since it's face tended to stay the same impassive wall the entire time.

Dave hadn’t moved for quite some time now, and it was sort of slumped over. He couldn’t tell if it was asleep or not though since it's expression hadn't changed for the most part. Those sunglasses weren't helping matters either. It'd be really fucking simple if he could just see if his eyes were closed after all.

He was really hoping it was asleep though, because it was getting hard for Karkat to stay awake at this point. He could see out the window that the sky of this planet was starting to lighten, so it was around the time he would normally go to his recuperacoon anyway. At least it would have been back on Alternia. The fact that he’d barely slept for the three nights before landing just made it worse, and he doubted the small nap and however long he’d been passed out for made up for it. Especially after all of that walking they’d done carrying everything here. Hewas very close to blacking out again, but he didn't want to without having some idea that he was safe.

“Hey, you suspicious as fuck hornless alien, are you awake?” Karkat asked, the thing not moving when he spoke. Alright, so far so good.

“Dav?” he asked after another moment just to make sure and once again it didn’t react. Deciding it was out, Karkat attempted to shift into a better position to sleep. It was difficult without making too much noise with all the horns, but he didn't want to risk waking the alien. Debating a moment, he reached up and closed the door, shutting himself in darkness. He hadn't realized just how bright it had already gotten in that block.

Laying his head down he pulled pyralspite to his chest and closed his eyes.

Good steaming fuck he didn’t want to even begin to think about everything that had happened tonight. He was still alive, on some alien planet in some alien’s hive in a small storage block that smelt weirdly like chemicals on a pile of horns. If he started thinking about it too much he started to shake and that shit needed to fuck off pronto.

Karkat attempted to push all of this out of his mind as best as he could, instead just trying to sleep. He was a bit worried he wouldn’t actually be able to now that he was actually trying.

He didn’t have to worry long, having fallen unconscious about fifteen minutes later.

---

Dave felt himself jolt awake at a strange sound. A really strange, weird as fuck sound that he was not going to deal with. Attempting to roll further into his pillow to block it out, he was stopped by his shades digging painfully in his face. He must have forgotten to take them off again.

What time was it? Jesus, what time had he gone to sleep last night and why did his body feel even worse than usual? He didn’t remember strifing with Bro or anything like that.

The noise that had woken him up came back, and he couldn’t place what sounded like god damn trilling and chirps for a few moments before the events of last night came rushing back to him.

Oh yeah. He found an alien, hadn’t he? For several minutes he tried to convince himself that it had been some weird as fuck dream, but the very not human noises that kept coming from his closet told him that it had definitely happened.

Jesus fuck that had all happened. The spaceship and finding it bleeding and then walking back and forth a million times to get its junk. His hand was still sore from where it’d bit him.

What the hell was he supposed to do now?

Pushing himself up Dave saw that the alien must have closed the closet door sometime after he’d passed out. He debated on whether or not he should go see if it was awake or making those sounds in its sleep. Do aliens talk in their sleep? This was a legitimate question that he very well had the ability to answer once and for all. He had too, for the betterment of science everywhere.

Forcing himself out of bed, Dave quietly started towards the closet door. He knocked softly, waiting for a moment to see if the alien would do anything. When he didn’t hear any changes from the strange chirping noises he opened the door with as much care as he could muster with having just woken up.

That turned out to be enough care, as the alien didn’t move from where it was lying, clearly asleep on top of the jumble of crap they'd brought back last night. So aliens do indeed talk in their sleep. Huh. They also apparently cuddle stuffed animals. God damn he was making all sorts of breathtaking discoveries for science and he hadn’t even eaten yet today.

Not wanting to see what would happen if he tried to wake the thing up, (science wasn't worth any fingers) he closed the door and changed into a new outfit. He wondered how it’d managed to fall asleep on a pile of hundreds of oddly shaped metal chunks with rubber attached that made an ungodly noise whenever you so much as twitched. Maybe he should have offered it a blanket or pillow at least, but to be fair he hadn’t been thinking all too clearly. He’d make sure to get it something a bit more comfortable before tonight.

Now dressed in clothes that weren’t covered in fucking dust from wandering the desert all night he left his room to grab something to eat.

Dave was staring into the fridge trying to figure out how to get to a pack of bagels that were now stuck behind a mountain of weird alien gunk when a shape appeared in the corner of his eye. Turning, Bro was leaning against the kitchen doorframe, his face as impassive as ever.

“Morning,” Dave said, trying to act as natural as possible and like he wasn’t reaching passed a bunch of dried purple meat and some cans with writing that might as well be fucking welsh it was that legible.

“It’s almost three,” Bro answered. Dave shrugged, having finally gotten hold of the bagels and now having to figure out a way to excavate the cream cheese.

“Is it?” he said, not really surprised. It wasn’t the latest he’d ever woken up, so it wasn’t even that big of a deal for him. Bro knew that too, but he figured the adult was just holding off for a moment before asking his real question.

Jesus fuck did they even need to put the cans in the fridge? They’d been kept in someplace cold on the spaceship but weren’t canned things supposed to be like, good wherever? He'd nearly had at least four drop out already, and he did not want to find out what was inside because it was splattered all over the floor.

“So, you go on some late night grocery run? To fucking middle earth?” Bro asked, breaking him out of his thoughts. Yep, there was the real question. He probably should have tried to think of an answer to this inevitability instead of fucking around talking to Rose last night, but that had not happened so he was going to have to go on the fly here.

“Was thinking we could expand our horizons a bit, try something new man. When was the last time you had something that wasn’t put in a microwave or a toaster? Don’t eat this shit though I have no idea what is it and it might be poisonous,” he said, putting the cream cheese on the counter and his bagel in the toaster. Bro raised an eyebrow at him but otherwise did not show any sign of surprise or confusion.

“Where’d you get it all?”

“Outside,” Dave told him with the straightest face he could manage.

“Outside?” Bro repeated, Dave nodding as he went to pour himself a drink while the bagel cooked.

“That was certainly my answer to your question,” Dave said. Bro sighed, shaking his head just the slightest bit. It was pretty obvious that he wasn’t going to push the subject anymore right now though, which Dave was fucking grateful for.

“Alright then, try to cool it on the dumpster diving,” Bro told him before disappearing from the room. Dave finished putting away the cream cheese before taking his breakfast back into his room.

That was one bullet dodged for now. He wasn’t sure what he would tell Bro when he did find out. It was an inevitability, he knew that, he just wanted to put it off for as long as possible. At least long enough for him to start to get a bit of a grasp on the situation himself.

Sitting down at his desk he took a bite of his food while booting up his computer. John was online again and he started messaging the other boy, letting him in on how everything had went down last night after the last time they’d spoke. He still didn’t seem totally convinced, and Dave didn’t blame him for that. If Egbert told him this exact story he would have been hells more skeptical, but John was a bit of a gullible kid like that.

Dave had put headphones on in order to block out the noises from his new alien roommate, which had worked. When he told John about the chirping trilling sounds and how it’d been snuggled up with the weird dragon doll he’d said it sounded cute. Dave told him he wasn’t sure if he would use that word to describe a freaky vaguely humanoid bug alien creature.

Although he guessed the doll thing was a little cute. In like, the way weird animals like a fucking octopus or something hugging a teddy bear would be. Only more human looking. Slightly.

He’d been talking to the other boy for about an hour when he started to hear something over the music blaring in his ears. Taking the headphones off it became clear that it was coming from the closet, a mix of upset clicks and chirps and alien sounds as well as those fucking bike horns. He guessed it’d woken up.

It did not sound happy to be awake. Kind of sounded like it was freaking the fuck out.

Turning back to the computer, he sent John a quick message

TG: yo i think the aliens spooked or something brb

before standing up and starting over to the closet once again. He hesitated for a moment, not sure if he should open the door or not. He had no idea how it would react but he couldn’t just leave it panicking in there. It might mess up all his clothes or end up knocking his dark room supplies over or something like that. It was probably best not to let the alien spill chemicals all over itself.

Opening the door, he was surprised to see that it was still laying down on the jumble of horns. Watching its face twitch and it curl in on itself even further, it took Dave several moments to realize that it was still asleep. Shit, was it having a nightmare? Can aliens have nightmares? It sure seemed that they could.

Dave wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do until he remembered that Bro was home and if he didn’t get it to stop soon he would definitely hear and come see what the fuck was going on.

“Hey, alien bro, come on man wake up. Karkat? Fuck how do you wake up an alien having a nightmare without it trying to claw your face off?” he asked to the empty room. Scanning around him, he caught sight of his tripod shoved halfway under his bed and grabbed it. He could poke it with this from a decent enough distance. He wasn’t going to try to poke it with a sword, not after how it’d reacted last night when he’d been pulling them out of the fridge. Plus he would have to hold the blade if he wanted to poke it with the handle and really the whole idea was a recipe for disaster.

Walking back over, he started by shaking its shoulder with one of the legs, moving to prod at its face when that didn’t work. Its face cringed whenever he did that, and Dave started moving the poles around, poking at its cheeks then forehead then bopping it on the nose. Dave was probably having a bit more fun with this than he should. One of its hands released the death grip it had on the doll and moved to swat at the tripod.

It was still making noises, but they were less panicked sounding and instead more annoyed and grumbly. Some of it sounded like it was talking proper again. It seemed less freaked out too, so he’d probably knocked it out of whatever bad dream it’d been having.

“Come on dude, time to wake up. Can’t have you alerting the whole neighborhood to your presence with you freaky sleep speak. Rise and shine Karkat, the early alien gets the purplemeat,” he said, Karkat now moving his arm to cover up most of his face. Dave moved the tripod down further to poke at its exposed chin, but he only managed to jab him twice before the leg he was using was inside of the alien’s mouth.

Dave flinched at the sudden change from grumbling sleeping alien to sharp teeth nearly biting all the way through the tough plastic.

When it looked up at him it was glaring, although that stopped for a moment into a flash of fear. That expression was even shorter lived, turning into an even more pissed off face.

Dave attempted to pull the tripod back but Karkat wasn’t letting go, instead just growling louder at him.

“Gross man you have no idea where this thing’s been,” he said, the alien staring at him for a moment longer before finally letting go of the tripod. It snapped something at him and Dave just shrugged, walking to go put the tripod back where he’d found it.

“You were making all kinds of noises man didn’t think it’d be a good idea to let you keep sleeping,” he said. The alien just stared at him for a moment before muttering something under its breath and lying back down, not bothering to shut the door this time. When it closed its eyes again Dave was a bit surprised. He’d thought it would at least try to wake up. Grabbing a pillow and blanket off of his bed, he walked back over to the alien.

“Hey,” he said, Karkat barely opening one eye to look at him. Dave dropped the items in front of him. The alien opened both eyes then, glancing down at the pile of fabric and then back up at Dave, confusion on his face clear.

“What, do you not know how to use a blanket? Come on man this is not very advanced tech here,” he said, the alien huffing and closing its eyes again, not even bothering with Dave’s generous gift.

“No come on man there’s no way that doesn’t hurt you,” Dave said, picking up the blanket once again. Karkat didn’t even spare him a glance this time. Just the slightest bit annoyed, he took another step forward and dropped the blanket directly on the alien. Karkat immediately sprung up and threw it off of him, yelling something once it could see Dave again. Even if he could understand the dude he wouldn’t have been able to hear him clearly over all of the fucking horns going off from the movement.

“Dude I am trying to help here,” he said, the alien letting out a clicking groan of frustration. It grabbed the blanket that was still a bit on him, balling it up and chucking it at Dave before closing the closet door.

Well, fuck that then, no blankets for him.

---

Karkat could feel something jabbing repeatedly at his face. Groaning, he attempting to brush the thing away. Holy fuck he felt awful why couldn’t it just let him sleep? He wasn’t sure for a moment if the awful feeling was from something that’d happened to him or just from being jolted out of a nightmare. Karkat couldn't remember the specifics of said nightmare, but that it had been awful as per usual.

He felt the thing tap his cartilagenub and he groaned as he swung an arm over his eyes.

“Taint chaffing fuck Terezi does it look like I’m in the mood for your bullshit right now?” he mumbled sleepily. Someone else was talking and it didn’t sound like anything he’d ever heard before let alone like Terezi but he ignored it because he wanted to sleep damn it. The poking moved close to his mouth and he snipped at what he thought was a cane with his teeth without thinking.

When he moved his arm away he looked up to glare at the one poking him. Karkat expected to see Terezi standing smugly over him, probably laughing her annoying laugh. A shock of fear ran through him at the sight of the unfamiliar pale creature for several seconds before everything rushed back to him.

Oh yeah. Fuck that was right, he wasn’t on Alternia anymore. He hadn’t been for a long fucking time. He was stuck with this strange alien who seemed insistent on both helping and annoying the fuck out of him.

It was saying something and trying to pull the strange pole out of his mouth. Karkat didn’t let it go for a moment, irritated with the creature for waking him up. Waiting a few more seconds he finally let go of the thing.

“What the hell are you waking me up in the middle of the god damn day for?” he asked, having noticed how painstakingly bright it was. Fuck, it was making his eyes hurt and he just wanted to go back to sleep. The alien walked away to go stuff the strange conjoined poles under its sitting pad, saying something to him as it went. Karkat just watched him for a moment, still pissed about being woken up.

“As soon as it’s a reasonable goddamn hour I’m going to start fucking with that translator because this is getting old fast,” he muttered, lying his head back down and closing his eyes. He was too tired to reach up and close the door, the alien could just deal with it.

He could hear it moving around, and attempted to ignore it until it was saying something right in front of him. Opening one eye, it was holding a bundle of fabrics that had been on its pad beforehand. Karkat just frowned, watching as it dropped the materials to the floor. Looking from the pitiful pile back up to the alien, he had no fucking idea what it thought it was doing. Frankly, he didn’t want to know.

Closing his eyes again he continued trying to go to sleep. The alien was talking but fuck it he’d deal with its freaky pale come-ons (which he was trying to pretend did not just happen) later.

He could hear it picking the shit up again and he assumed it was going to take it back to the pad or something. That was not what happened. What happened was the alien dropping it on him and Karkat springing up from where he’d been laying, horns going off as he yelled at the alien.

“What the ever loving fuck was that for?!” he snapped. The alien spoke calmly to him, like this was normal shit. God, he hoped this wasn’t normal for this species, he’d end up praying for something to come along and kill him if he kept getting fucked with like this. Picking up the fabric, he tossed it at the alien before slamming the storageblock door shut. It would have been hard to sleep with the bright light coming in anyway.

He could hear the alien walk away after another moment and only then did Karkat allow himself to lie back down. There was light leaking in from the bottom of the door though, and he pulled one of the hanging outfits down and stuffed it in the crack to block it.

Karkat wasn’t sure how much longer he ended up lying there for, but it was way too long to be lying somewhere and not going back to sleep. He tried to shift around and get into a better position, but nothing seemed to be working. He could hear the alien mutter to itself whenever he moved and one of the horns would end up making noise.

He pulled the fabric (some shirt or something) out of the way of the door crack to see if it had gotten any less bright outside of here. It didn’t seem like it had, but he couldn’t sleep now and he was starting to get hungry and he was definitely getting bored.

He tried to ignore the stinging the light caused and grabbed the translator Sollux had made. Opening the storageblock door, Karkat pulled himself up and out of his pile.

“Dav,” he said as the alien turned towards him. It said something and Karkat walked across the room, holding the translator up for it to speak into. He knew it wouldn’t work right away, but Sollux had told him it would need to hear as much of his hoofbeastshit language as it could before it would even think about translating anything.

The alien looked at it before taking the device and speaking more weird nonsense. Karkat attempted to make a writing motion, hoping Dave would understand what he was asking for. It seemed to, hoping up from its chair and bringing him a piece of treesliver and a pencil.

Fuck he was bad at drawing. He carefully tried to draw the alien speaking into the translator, but even he wouldn’t have any fucking clue what this was supposed to mean if someone had showed it to him.

The alien was still making comments and eventually Karkat just scratched out the drawing and drew a picture of the hungertrunk and a mouth because he was fucking hungry.

When Karkat showed him the drawing Dave nodded, saying something else and standing up. It put the translator back down and held up a hand as if left the room. Karkat wasn’t sure what that meant but he decided to just stay in here and wait for him to hopefully come back with something he could eat. They’d brought all his food back here this shouldn’t be a difficult task.

It came back a few moments later, handing him several strips of dried meat strips and an entire can of grubsause. Yeah alright, he’d ended up with worse combinations on the ship just due to not caring passed a certain point. He walked over to sit on the pad he’d seen the alien use that way earlier, not wanting to sit on the cluttered floor. Opening the can with his claws, he used the meat strips to scoop some out.

Definitely not the intended way to eat either of these things, but it worked.

Dave was talking again but Karkat just pointed towards the translator. There wasn’t much they could do until it started working, and he wasn’t sure where else he could have it listen to this language.

Did this species have TV or movies or something? Maybe he could have it just sitting next to one and have it learn that way. He hadn’t been paying enough attention to things like that the last time he was out of the alien’s block to remember if he’d seen one.

The alien just poked around with the translator for a bit, still speaking. After a while it seemed to have gotten bored with that and turned back towards what Karkat guessed kind of looked like a husktop.

Once he finished eating Karkat wasn’t entirely sure what else to do. He didn’t feel like locking himself back in that small storageblock, but the light was really starting to be a bother at this point. The alien seemed to be doing its own thing, which was a relief honestly. Trying to communicate with it was fucking exhausting.

Walking over to his pile, he grabbed the electronic book reader and started back over to the pad. Sitting down, he grabbed the large swatch of fabric the alien had attempted to give him earlier for whatever reason and pulled it over his head. It managed to block out the light rather nicely, and he turned his attention towards the list of books, trying to find something he hadn’t read a thousand times already. Or at the very least hadn't read recently.

The alien must have noticed him because it started talking again, but Karkat wasn’t about to lift this fabric up and subject his eyes to the light just because it decided to speak even when they both knew they couldn’t understand each other.

He didn’t come out until he could see that it had definitely dimmed around them, although the alien still seemed to want a bunch of irritatingly bright lights on for some reason. Fucking diurnal species.

Untangling himself from the fabric, he started over to one of the lights on the alien’s desk. It made a comment as it looked up at him, seeming a bit surprised that he’d come over here.

“Think we can turn at least one of these things off so I don’t end up going fucking blind after a perigee?” he asked, pointing at the light. The alien looked at the light and then back at him, rambling on, clearly not understanding what Karkat was trying to get across. Groaning in irritation, Karkat tried to avoid looking directly in the thing as he reached around it, trying to figure out how to turn it off.

That seemed to get the alien’s attention, as it reached it and managed to shut it off. Karkat couldn’t help but let out a small sigh of relief at the much darker block. There was still a light on the ceiling, but it was dim and he could deal with that for now.

Dave was saying something and Karkat just pointed at the light and then to his eyes, not sure if that would get the message across or not. It looked like it thought it’d figured out something though, nodding a bit, so hopefully it was the right thing.

Karkat sat back down on the mat, trying to go back to reading his book without a large piece of fabric draped over him.

He’d barely gotten a few lines in when the alien started fucking clicking at him.

“What the hell are you doing?” he found himself asking. Dave just raised an eyebrow before speaking again in these weird slurred chips and trills that Karkat had definitely never heard it use before. Holy shit, was it trying to copy him?

“You sound fucking ridiculous,” he said, and yep, it was definitely trying to copy him. It was nowhere close to being able to say a single word correctly, let alone understand what the hell it all meant, but it was definitely trying to do the speaking thing.

He couldn’t tell if it was the most annoying thing he’d ever heard or the most hilarious.

Probably neither, but it was hard to compare when all other interactions with intelligent beings seemed so long ago.

“Would you stop that? You clearly have no fucking idea what it is you’re saying, which is nothing, by the way. Exactly none of the noises you’ve made have been even close to a word, congratulations. I didn’t realize it was possible to be that incompetent. You think you'd manage to fuck up and say something by now but looks like you're breaking new barriers here,” he said, the alien switching from the meaningless noises back to noises that were just as meaningless to Karkat but what he assumed meant something in his language.

It was smiling the slightest bit, which was the first time Karkat had seen that. Usually it either had close to no expression or seemed a bit disgruntled and annoyed.

“I have no fucking clue what you’re getting out of this, but its keeping me safe I guess,” he said, turning back to his book.

He however was not smiling, not even the smallest amount.

---

Dave went back to his computer once the alien had slammed itself back in his closet. It wasn’t making anymore weird alien noises, but every so often one of those fucking horns would go off, causing him to flinch and curse under his breath. He wasn’t even sure why it kept catching him off guard, but shit was startling as fuck.

Maybe two hours later the closet door opened up and Karkat walked back out.

“Dav,” it said, which was still pretty much the only thing Dave could understand when it spoke.

“What’s up man? Couldn’t sleep on what is literally the worst thing someone could ever think to use as a bed?” he asked. It walked over to him, holding out something Dave hadn’t noticed beforehand. It looked kind of like a watch, but there was definitely nothing on it for telling time, not even alien time.

“And the thing you want me to do with this is?” he asked. Instead of answering him it started to make writing motions with its hand, so Dave got up, grabbing it a piece of paper and a pencil. The thing started drawing, and Dave leaned over to try to watch and see what it was doing.

Jesus Christ it could not draw for shit. It was bent over his desk, it’s face twisted in concentration as it nearly stabbed through the paper with how hard it was pressing the pencil down. At one point Dave thought it might have been drawing him, but he wasn’t too sure before it scratched the picture out.

Eventually it came up with something Dave was pretty sure was a refrigerator and a scribbled mouth. Karkat held up the paper for him to see as if he hadn’t been watching the entire time and Dave nodded.

“I guess this means you want food? Yeah alright just stay in here because I cannot be letting Bro see you,” he said, standing up and starting towards the door. He help his hand up at it before he went out, hoping it would understand not to follow him.

Walking into the kitchen, Dave found himself staring into the fridge for a moment, not entirely sure what he was supposed to get getting here. Figuring he could only fuck up so much, he grabbed some of that weird purple meat and the can closest to him.

When he made his way back towards his room Bro gave him a look from the couch.

“Thought you said not to eat those things?” he asked.

“I’m not going to eat it,” Dave said without looking at the adult, continuing into his room without giving him a chance to get another word in. He was telling the truth. He wasn’t going to eat it. Whatever Bro thought it was going to do with it now was his own issues.

Closing the door behind him he handed Karkat the vaguely food-like substances. It took them without a word, looking around for a moment before moving to go sit on his bed. It managed to open the metal can with its claws, surprising Dave. It was probably a good thing it could do that though, since he’d forgotten to grab a can opener.

“What, no thank you? Rude man,” he joked. The alien pointed towards the strange device it’d left on his desk without a word. A bit hesitantly he picked it up, not sure if the guy would freak if he touched more of his shit, but it seemed like it wanted him to.

Looking the thing over, there were a few buttons and what looked like a speaker or something in it. He pressed the buttons but nothing happened.

“So, what exactly do you want me to do here?” he asked, Karkat continuing to ignore him. Messing with the thing for a few more minutes he eventually just put it down on his desk and turned back to his computer. The alien seemed fine eating on his bed, and if it wanted something else it could get his attention no problem.

A little while later he heard the alien moving around, heading to the closet before returning to his bed. When Dave turned around to look at him, he’d sat back down, the blanket covering him so it was just a vaguely person-shaped mound in the middle of his bed.

“Oh come on man, you totally freaked out when I tried to give you a blanket earlier. What gives?” he asked. It didn’t do anything, and Dave almost wanted to laugh at how ridiculous this was. Instead, he got out his phone and took a picture of the lump.

He was going to document this whole experience with shitty phone photos and anyone who thought he should do otherwise could fight him.

A little after the sun had set the alien made its way out from under his blanket, walking up and standing next to his desk. Dave looked up, not entirely sure what it wanted.

"Sup?" he asked. It said something to him, pointing at his desk lamp as it spoke.

“That’s a lamp buddy. Not sure what else to tell you here,” Dave said. It groaned again before squinting as it turned towards the lamp and scrambled its claw around under the shade. Realizing what it was trying to do, Dave reached over and easily turned the thing off. It seemed to relax at that and Dave wondered if the light bothered it or something. That would explain why the ship was so dim. He’d just thought the lights had gone off when it crashed or something.

“You could have said something about the light earlier instead of hiding under a blanket, you know,” he said. The alien just pointed at the lamp and then to its eyes. Dave nodded, figuring that pretty much confirmed what he’d thought about it hurting its eyes. It didn’t say anything else, just heading back to his bed and looking at its weird alien tablet thing.

Dave watched him for a moment, a bit bored. Everyone else was offline right now for different reasons and he had an alien in his house so there was absolutely no reason for him to be bored.

Getting an idea, he had to suppress a small grin as he started clicking his tongue, trying to get as close to that one sound Karkat would make sometimes. The alien’s head snapped up to look at him, confusion clear on its face.

It said something to him, and Dave did his best to imitate him. He could tell he wasn’t that close, since there were a lot of sounds that Dave was pretty sure humans were straight up incapable of making, but like hell did that mean he wasn’t going to try. Especially since the look on Karkat’s face right now was pretty damn priceless.

Every time it would speak now he’d do his best to repeat it, until it went off on some long rant that Dave had absolutely no chance of remembering let alone recreating.

“Looks like you can be talkative, was wondering about that,” he said, speaking normally once again. It said something back to him before turning back to its tablet but there was definitely a small smile on its face now, which was definitely a first. So far it’d just seemed angry or upset most of the time. Oh hell yeah, he was the fucking alien whisperer, 100% hilarious across all intergalactic forms of humor.

Deciding to leave him alone again for now Dave turned back to his computer. It seemed a lot calmer in the dark (the ceiling light was so close to burning out that it wasn’t doing much light wise. He’d been meaning to replace it but now he was thinking he might hold off for a while longer) and he didn’t want to end up bothering it to the point where it got pissed off again.

That was until something knocked on his door and Dave fell out of his chair trying to turn around to tell it to hide because shit.

“Hold on a sec!” he yelled, frantically gesturing to the closet because Bro did not usually knock so even though he did that did not mean they had a lot of time. Fuck, it was pretty much confirmed Bro knew something was up or else he would have just came in like he normally did. Karkat stood staring at him, frozen in shock for a moment before finally getting what he was trying to say and running and locking itself inside of the closet.

Dave couldn’t help but flinch when it slammed the door.

“Yeah?” he called, letting Bro know it was safe to come in now. The bedroom door was barely opened when a bag of fast food was tossed at him and then closed again. He’d gotten a small glimpse of Bro’s hand by the time he was gone again and there was no doubt he’d done that just because he knew Dave was freaking about something he didn’t want Bro to see.

Putting the McDonalds on his desk he walked back over to the closet. Opening the door he expected to see the alien standing in plain view or crouched over its pile of space shit but that was not the case.

“Karkat?” he called, looking around in the small space for him. A quiet chirp from a dark corner caught his attention, and only when he focused could he manage to make out the shape of the alien among clothes and old mixing equipment.

“Sorry about that man, it’s safe now if you want to come back out,” he said, motioning for him to come back out. The alien hesitated a moment before making its way out, saying something to him as it did.

“That was my bro? Fuck I have absolutely no idea how to convey this to you, just try to stay hidden if you hear anyone else but me around, alright?” Dave tried to tell him, knowing full well that it was pretty much just falling on deaf ears.

Karkat seemed much more on edge after that though, which yeah Dave supposed was pretty reasonable. He was nearly shaking and seemed to be trying to get his breathing to stay clam as he went back over and sat down on Dave's bed again. He wasn’t sure if there was anything he could do about it, or if he should just leave Karkat alone or what.

He decided to just eat his food and let the guy calm down on his own. It seemed to be working for a while, at least until he started to hear some quiet chirps and clicks that sounded suspiciously like whimpering and oh fuck he had not signed up for this.

---

Karkat was finally starting to feel just the slightest bit calm after having been pretty much an even bigger never ending bundle of short-circuited nerves. It just didn't seem like Dave had any interest in attacking him and the fact was he might actually be safe here for the moment.

Those thoughts were immediately knocked from his thinkpan when something knocked on the block door and Dave started freaking the fuck out.

Karkat had no idea what to do, having sprung up off of the pad, dropping his book reader and just staring at the alien as it pulled itself up off of the floor. It was yelling something to whatever was outside and motioning towards the storage block door.

His thinkpan finally deciding to unfreeze Karkat ran into the storage block, shutting the door behind him and squeezing himself into the furthest back corner he could find. He tried to stay as silent as he could, having managed to avoid most of the horns as he scrambled inside.

This species couldn’t see well in the dark. Maybe he would be okay if he just stayed back here and didn’t make a sound. Dave seemed intent on hiding him maybe he could drive whatever it was off.

His bloodpusher was running on overdrive and he could feel himself shaking, his hand kept reaching to grab a weapon that wasn’t there. Fuck he didn’t want to die yet. He’d come all this way and he was not going to die after going through all of this hoofbeast shit.

He couldn’t hear anything going on, and he wondered what it was that had been outside of the block. He’d yet to see Dave’s lusus. He was starting to wonder if he even had one. Maybe it was just a friend or a quadrantmate or something. Even if it wasn’t something that Dav himself would find threatening (which he hoped it was because so far this alien had seemed interested in helping him for god knows what reason) that didn't mean it wouldn't attempt to kill Karkat if it found him.

After a few moments he saw the door to the closet open slowly, Dave sticking his head inside, looking around for him. He didn’t seem to notice Karkat, and he put that fact in the back of his mind.

“Karkat?” he called, and he didn’t move from his spot as he answered.

“Here,” he said quietly, Dave’s head turning towards his voice. He still didn’t seem to notice him for a moment until it started speaking again, motioning him to come back out. Karkat was still very fucking hesitant because he had no clue if whatever it was that had been at the door was still around or not, but eventually he followed the alien back out.

Looking around the block, it was just as empty as when he’d ran into the closet, except there was some bag on the alien’s desk now. Walking back over to the pad, he picked up the electric book reader and sat back down.

Dave pulled some food out of the bag and Karkat tried to get his hands to stop shaking and just focus on reading. It was hard though when he’d ready read all of these over and over again and he was starting to think that this might have been an even worse decision than just staying on Alternia.

At least with that there was some predictability. He had no fucking idea what was on this planet outside of this hive and the walk to his ship, and he had no idea how anything else besides this one particular alien would react to him. He didn't even know for sure how Dave would react for everything. There was still a high fucking chance that he could piss him off and he'd try to throw him out or kill him or something.

He still had to hide here. He would still probably be killed if anything found him. Nothing had fucking changed except now he was alone and he had no idea when he’d be found out and killed. Before it’d been so fucking simple. Nine sweeps and he was done. Culled quick and easy once they got a look at his blood.

He was not stopping the shaking at all. In fact, it was getting worse the more he thought about this but he couldn’t stop thinking. It was too fucking much and he’d barely been here for a proper night. Their nights didn’t even seem as long as they should be and that bothered him damn it.

His breathing was starting to get short and good grief he was the most pathetic piece of shit to ever be launched through space.

Karkat pulled his knees up to his chest and tried to keep any sounds welling up in his proteinchute as quiet as possible. He debated walking over and locking himself back in the storage block but he just didn’t have the energy to.

He let the electronic book reader fall from his hand and instead hugged his knees, trying to bury his head in them as much as he could and not cry damn it all. He’d already cried more than fucking enough he wasn’t going to start on it again.

He could hear the alien muttering something and stand up, taking a few steps towards him. Karkat ignored him because he was not in the fucking mood right now. He just curled even further in on himself, but that only seemed to make it want to come even closer. It was talking quite a bit now, although in a much softer tone than it had used thus far.

Despite how utterly wreaked he was feeling even though nothing had even happened, he was overreacting because something had fucking knocked on a door to give the alien food and he freaked out, he still managed to have quite a bit of bite in his voice as he snapped at Dav.

“Would you fuck off? I know I must be looking pretty god damn pathetic right now but I’m not in the mood to be hit on by a fucking alien,” he didn’t bother looking up as he spoke, but thankfully it seemed to give the alien halt.

Managing to gather himself, Karkat forced himself to stand up, pointedly looking away from Dave and walking straight to the storageblock, locking himself inside and collapsing on the pile of horns. He clung tightly to pyralspite and tried to get his breathing to calm down because he was not going to cry damn it.

At least, he wasn’t going to go full out crying. If a few tears managed to leak their way out of his ganderbulbs, there really wasn’t anything he could do about that.

---

When Dave turned around in his chair he saw that yep, the alien was definitely crying. God damn what happened? Was this because of Bro almost coming in freaking Karkat out or something? Fuck Dave had not signed up for this when he’d jumped face first onto the alien train.

“Oh fuck,” he muttered as he stood up. Hesitating for a moment, he took a few tentative steps towards his bed. He didn’t know if it would freak out or something if he got too close, but it felt kind of like an asshole move to just ignore him.

Karkat just seemed to shrink down even further in on himself, which didn’t seem like a good thing, but it didn’t seem like he’d attack either. Taking another step closer, he tried to speak in a quiet voice. One because he still didn’t want Bro to hear them, and two because he knew Karkat couldn’t understand him so he had to actually try to put some emotion into his voice for him to even begin to understand what he meant.

“Hey, you alright dude? What’s going on?” he asked. He hadn’t expected the alien to answer him, and he most definitely didn’t expect it to sound quite as pissed as it did, snapping at him without even bothering to lift its head.

Before he could figure out what he was supposed to do Karkat suddenly sat up, pushing himself off of the bed and stalking over to the closet. Dave half considered going after him, but it was clear that Karkat was trying his best to ignore him and definitely didn’t seem to be in a mood to be pushed.

So instead of doing anything Dave found himself just standing there, Karkat shutting the door behind him before what Dave was pretty sure collapsing full force on the pile of horns from the ungodly noise that came a few seconds later. He wasn’t able to keep himself from flinching at the noise. He hadn't expected it in the slightest even though he knew the horns were in there and he knew that Karkat slept on them for god knows what reason.

Sighing, Dave sat back down at his desk, figuring it’d probably be best to leave him alone for now. God damn it Bro, he was pretty sure he’d been making progress before he gave them this false alarm freak out.

He didn’t even want to think about what would happen whenever Bro actually did end up finding him. All he knew was that it was 100% crucial that he be there for control or else he was pretty sure either one or both of them would end up dead.

It wasn't that Dave thought they'd kill each other on purpose either. It was just that Karkat pretty much seemed like a scared, cornered animal for the most part, and Bro could be Bro. At the very least, the chances of the adult exasperating the situation would be about as high as they could be.

He’d barely had Karkat for a day now, but the fact that this was all a thing was finally starting to sink in. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do. This was actually a pretty serious issue when you get right down to it. Dave had no idea why Karkat was here and from the weird juxtaposition of how it could go from terrified to relaxed and back to terrified again in a manner of hours, Dave wasn’t even sure if even Karkat knew.

Should he try to teach it English in order to find out? Or fuck, just to make it easier to communicate with him. Shit, how long was he even going to stay here? He didn’t want to kick it out, fuck no. Even if he wasn’t currently feeling bad for Karkat weeping gently in his closet that was still a douchebag thing to do.

He’d have to hide him from people. John had given him this huge spiel earlier about how when you find an alien under absolutely no circumstances do you let world government know you have an alien.

The thing with that was there was only so long he could keep him from Bro and he had no fucking way of controlling what he did. Even if the initial meeting went without any bloodshed, which he doubted would happen, that didn’t mean Bro wouldn’t tell someone afterwards.

It wouldn’t do any good for him to be thinking this far in advanced though. Right now he just needed to focus on keeping Karkat hidden and safe. Also, hopefully keep him from breaking down too much, because that just wasn’t something Dave was qualified to handle.

Jesus fuck he didn’t know if he could do this.

Chapter Text

Dave decided to leave Karkat alone for the next few hours. He had planned to just let him sleep for the rest of the night until he remembered that the alien should probably change the bandages on his head. It'd been about a day and he didn't know what was normal for aliens but he didn't want to chance anything either.

Walking to the bathroom, he grabbed the first aid kit again. Dave managed to make it back to his room before Bro could see him and try to interrogate him more on whatever it was he was very obviously hiding.

He knew Bro could tell something was up, so now he was just banking on Bro waiting for him to say something first.

Getting the bandages out first, he walked over to the closet. Dave quietly knocked, wondering if Karkat actually managed to go to sleep for a second time on that uncomfortable looking torture pile. Waiting a few minutes, Dave was about to knock again when he heard it say something. He still had no idea what it meant, but decided to take it as a ‘come right in’ and opened the door.

Karkat stared up at him, not saying anything. His eyes looked bloodshot and the bags under them even deeper than before, which was kind of impressive, but other than that there were no other signs that he’d been crying.

Dave held up the bandages that were in his hand, pointing to Karkat’s head with his other. The alien nodded, shifting over and opening a large bin that Dave remembered it struggling to carry back from the ship.

Leaning over to see what it was he was doing, Dave saw it grab something that looked pretty similar to the bandages he was holding, as well as a vial of some weird creamy stuff. Alright then, looks like he already had his own medical junk. That might would have been nice to know beforehand so that he wouldn’t have had to risk poisoning him with incompatible antibiotics or something. He supposed it was too late to complain though, instead just motioning for the alien to hand the stuff over so he could change the bandages.

Instead of letting him, the alien shook its head and stood up, walking out of the closet and over to a mirror Dave had hanging up on the back of the door. It placed the supplies down on the desk next to him and started undoing his bandages while muttering something.

“Alright man, your choice. I was just offering to help is all,” Dave said, sitting down at the desk and making like he was paying attention to his computer. He found himself continuing to glance over at the alien every so often however. He just wanting to make sure Karkat was doing this right.

The fact that he was an alien and therefor might treat wounds in a completely different manner than humans was a nonfactor.

One of these glances was apparently a bit longer than necessary since Karkat ended up snapping at him. Dave just shrugged, turning himself back towards the computer screen as he answered.

“Sorry man, but I think an alien just hanging around is well within reasonable excuses to stare,” he told it. Karkat finished up wrapping the bandages around his head (which were almost like normal bandages, but looked shinier and seemed to almost congeal together) before putting everything away again and moving to go sit back on Dave’s bed.

It was muttering under its breath and Dave was pretty sure those sounds would never stop being a weird mix of freaky and amusing. He turned in his chair to speak to him, trying to think of something they could do. He figured Karkat had to be bored or something, since it didn’t seem like there as much he could do around here. It was getting late, but Dave wasn’t exactly tired yet, what with waking up at like 3pm.

“Feeling better?” he asked, Karkat looking up at him before turning away, leaning against the wall and looking back at its tablet.

“Come on dude, you gotta meet me halfway here,” he said, turning back to his desk as he got an idea. Looking around, he picked up several items that he’d left lying around from before he found Karkat. A soda can, a clock, a notebook (that one’ll be useful in the future, he made sure to grab some pencils as well) a deck of playing cards, and a sponge from when he’d spilled the soda that had previously been in the can.

Walking over and climbing on his bed, he sat down facing Karkat and let the items fall onto the blanket. The alien looked down at the pile of junk and then back up to Dave, clearly not amused.

Grabbing the can, Dave held it up so that Karkat could see he was supposed to be paying attention to it and slowly started speaking in a similar manner as when he tried to teach him his name.

“Soda. Or Water. Drink? Shit okay I should have decided on one before speaking, this’ll just confuse you,” he rambled, quickly losing the teaching voice. Karkat raised an eyebrow in question, making some remark and putting his tablet down to focus on him more. Okay, so he had his attention now, that was good, even if his start was not the smoothest in the world.

“Drink. Drink. See, like this,” he said, miming taking a sip of the empty can. The alien looked pretty bored, but he nodded despite this.

“Drrk,” he said, showing that he understood that this was a makeshift English class.

“Yeah almost. Driiiiink,” he said, elongating the word and already having more fun with this than he probably should be.

“Drrnk,” Karkat managed, and okay that was close enough for Dave. He wasn’t sure if it even could manage the correct pronunciation with how it normally talked, and he didn’t actually mind. It was kind of great, honestly. He was Dav and drinks were drrnks.

“Alright good,” he said, giving it a thumbs up. Karkat made a face at that, obviously not understanding the gesture, but Dave decided to just let that slide by for now.

He picked up the clock next, tapping it on the side as he spoke.

“Clock. Clloo- oh shit you know what let’s not go with clock there is like a 100% chance you will mispronounce it and I’ll laugh and you’ll get confused and mad,” Dave interrupted himself. Karkat was giving him another bewildered face and said something. Thinking for a moment, Dave managed to come up with an alternate word for the clock. One that wouldn’t take a nose dive into a pool of Freudian juices.

“Alright, how about this. Time. Time,” he went with. Karkat huffed in annoyance but went along with it.

“Tie,” he said.

“Timmme. There’s an M. Time,” Dave tried to emphasize. Karkat frowned but nodded, trying again.

“Tine?”

“Almost man. Time,” he repeated.

“Tinne? Time?” he tried. Dave gave him a small smile at the success, holding up his hand for a hive five.

“Hell yeah man, give me five,” he said, the alien looking from his hand to his face and back to his hand before saying a single word in its language. If Dave had to guess, he’d be pretty damn confident that what he’d just said would have translated to a single flat ‘what.’

“Come on Karkat, don’t leave me hanging here, that’s rude shit,” he said, reaching over with the hand not currently waiting for a high five and grabbing the alien’s wrist. Moving the arm, Karkat tried to pull back but before he was able to Dave managed to touch their palms in a victory said-a-word-right high five.

Karkat grumbled something as he shielded his arm against his stomach, and it took more than Dave thought it would to keep from laughing at the guy. He just looked so fucking annoyed and confused at a simple high five, it was hilarious.

“Alright, alright don’t worry we can move on now,” he said, moving to pick up the notebook next.

“Book. Book,” he said, Karkat shaking off the utter bewilderment the high five had caused in order to focus on this whole learning thing.

“Buk,” he said, which was pretty damn close in Dave’s opinion. He was getting better at this.

“Book,” he repeated, wanting to see if he could get any closer, as well as wanting him to remember these words. They’d probably have to do this several times, maybe he could test him afterwards or something.

“Buk,” Karkat said again. Dave shrugged and nodded, deciding just to move onto the next item. He pulled the cards out of their cardboard box so that he could see them better when he spoke.

“Cards,” he said, Karkat nodding.

“Crrrds,”he managed. Dave noticed that it managed to pronounce words without Rs a bit better than ones with them. He seemed to draw them out or something, probably because of how his alien language said them.

Before Dave could repeat himself Karkat climbed off the bed, heading to the closet and rummaging around in the horn pile for something. He came back a few moments later with a handful of those weird Pokémon-looking cards.

“Crrrds,” Karkat repeated, holding them up for Dave to see.

“Yeah, those are cards alright. Cards,” he said, almost tempted to reach out and see if Karkat would let him hold them and get a closer look, but he sort of doubted it. Things from his weird horn pile seemed off-limits as fuck, and he wasn’t going to keep testing those limits and lose a finger.

“Crrds,” Karkat said one more time, putting his down next to him. He seemed pretty into this now, and Dave wondered if he should grab some more stuff once they were done. It seemed to have distracted him from his freak out earlier, which had definitely been one of the goals.

Picking up the last item, he wondered if Karkat would even know what it was. He might not have known what the clock was either, come to think of it. Ah well, he’d be able to figure this shit out eventually.

“Sponge. This is a sponge, sponge,” he stated. Karkat’s mouth had twisted into a frown at the sound of the word, and yeah he guessed this was a pretty weird one.

“Ssspug?” he mumbled after a moment. Dave tried not to laugh at the way he’d said it, just barely succeeding. Kind of. Karkat glared at him and he kind of deserved it.

“Sponge dude, sponge,” he managed to get back on track after a moment.

“Sproge?” he tried again.

“Sponnnge.”

“Sproge!” he snapped, and Dave really started to laugh now. Why the fuck was he even trying to teach him the word sponge it was probably one of the least useful things he could choose and it was making how irritated Karkat was getting over it even funnier.

Karkat grabbed the sponge from his hand (god the more he thought sponge the less it sounded like a real word) and started jabbing him in the face with it.

“Sproge Dav, sproge!” he insisted as Dave attempted to push his hand away, as he was getting the thing dangerously close to his mouth.

“No dude, sponges are not for eating. Fuck that thing’s dirty as shit think you could stop trying to get it in my mouth? People won’t even be impressed if I die like this. Well damn he was killed by an alien. And the murder weapon? A sponge, sir, it appears he choked to death in a comical fashion while the alien tried to figure out if turning blue was normal for this species,” he rambled, eventually managing to grab the sponge away from Karkat.

“Alright, let’s not do that again,” Dave said, putting the sponge behind his back where Karkat couldn’t reach it. When he turned back around he could see that Karkat was definitely smiling now. It was still pretty small and looked more like a smirk than anything, but Dave couldn’t help feeling pretty damn proud, especially considered how fucking upset he seemed just a little while ago.

“Let’s see if you can remember this stuff now before I go find some more shit, alright?” he said, reaching for the can again.

He wasn’t sure how this would actually work with teaching him in the long run, especially once they tried to do anything that wasn’t like, a noun. Or even a noun that wasn’t a place or a person. Or a noun that he didn’t have within his possession.

It felt like they were making progress though, and at the very least it seemed to be keeping Karkat’s mind occupied. He’d settle for that for now.

---

Karkat had managed to get himself pretty much under control by the time he heard someone knocking on the storageblock door. Clearing the last of the tears off of his face, he hesitated on whether or not to actually answer. He wasn’t in the mood for putting up with the alien’s bullshit or for something else to come in and freak him out again.

After debating a bit he finally decided that if it started being irritating again he could just come back inside.

“Yeah?” he called, figuring that would be enough for it to open the door and let him know what it wanted. He was right, the alien opening the door, holding up a roll of something that looked like the same weird bandages it’d used to treat his head injury.

Oh. He’d almost forgotten about that since it wasn’t bothering him much anymore. He had mostly been attributing his headache to all the stress and crying and shit. They weren’t anything new to him after all, but that injury probably wasn’t helping at all.

Karkat nodded, turning away from him and starting to dig around in the large first aid kit Feferi had given him. Despite the preposterous amount of shit in here, it didn’t take him long to find some bandages and antibiotics that he knew weren’t going to cause a fucking reaction and kill him.

The alien was watching him and when he realized what Karkat had gotten he motioned for him to hand it over. Karkat just shook his head, because like hell was he going to let this guy treat his wound with supplies he’d never seen before while Karkat was perfectly awake and capable of doing it himself. Even Dave offering felt weird as fuck. Pulling himself up, he started over to a mirror in order to get a better look at what he was doing.

Unwrapping the strange fabric like bandages, he got a look at the injury for the first time. It didn’t seem too bad, a lump where he’d hit the wall and a small gash that appeared to have closed up for the most pair. Any blood that had been here seemed to have been wiped away except for a small bit that had stained the inside of the bandages.

His first instinct was to hide the bandages so no one would see, but he managed to calm himself down enough to just ball them up and place them on the desk. Blood color was the last thing he had to worry about right now. Fuck, this alien's blood was the same, for crying out loud.

“I guess whatever shit you used wasn’t the worst option imaginable,” he muttered, trying to distract himself as he started to spread the antibiotics on just in case. The alien made some remark back to him, but he ignored it as he started pulling the roll of bandages apart.

What was harder to ignore was the way it kept staring at him when he started wrapping the cut again. It was pretty obvious that he was trying to be subtle about it, probably thinking that Karkat couldn’t tell with his glasses on, but it was pretty damn clear what he was doing.

He almost managed to finish up before the stares got a bit too much and he snapped at the alien.

“Would you stop it already?! I know I must look really god damn amusing to you but I can tell what you’re doing,” he said. Dave didn’t seem bothered by the yelling, just shrugging and turning back towards his weird husktop. It was talking and Karkat decided he needed to find something to just let the translator listen to as soon as possible.

Finishing up with the bandages, he went and put everything away before going back over to the alien’s sitting pad. Leaning against the wall Karkat picked up the electronic book reader he’d left when before he shut himself in the storage block last time.

“I still don’t have any idea why you’re so insistent on putting up with me. I would not be putting up with me if I was in your position right now. Are all aliens so obviously seeking to torment themselves as you are?” he muttered. The alien turned around and said something to him, but Karkat just shifted to face the wall more. He would really prefer to be left alone right now.

That wasn’t true he was so fucking tired of being alone but it seemed like the only option here so he might as well embrace it for all it’s worth.

The next thing he knew the alien was sitting across from him and dumping a bunch of junk between them for fuck knows what reason.

Karkat watched from over his reading as he picked up one of the items, what looked like a can of some liquid and started speaking. He wasn’t able to catch what Dave was saying at first, he was talking too fast. Putting the electronic book down, he watched as the alien seemed to come to some decision and started speaking slowly, holding up the can to its lips as he said a single word over and over again.

Oh, he was trying to teach him words for junk? Karkat supposed that had worked for their names, and he wasn’t sure how long it would take to get the translator to start working. Figuring that he had nothing else to do, Karkat decided to play along.

“Drrk,” he said, trying to repeat the strange sound Dave had made to the best of his ability. The alien continued to emphasize the word, and Karkat tried again, getting a bit closer this time. Dave held up one of his touchstubs for some reason at that, and Karkat just gave him a look, because there was no way for him to know what that weird gesture meant.

Dave just moved onto the next item, which Karkat found a bit harder to identify. Two bars inside seemed to move in a circle, and he wasn’t entirely sure what use that could have. If it was entertainment it was pretty damn boring.

After a few tried Karkat was pretty sure he’d managed to get it, and from Dave’s initial excited reaction he figured that confirmed it. Then the alien was holding its hand up for some reason, saying something.

“What,” Karkat said flatly, looking back from the hand to his face, having no fucking clue if he was supposed to do something or just look at it or what. Dave said something else, grabbing Karkat’s wrist before he realized what the alien was doing. Trying to pull away, Dave pressed their hands together for some fucking reason before letting him go again.

“Well that was in the running for most useless thing to ever happen in my life, which is pretty damn impressive. Do you realize I spent half a sweep on a ship doing nothing but useless crap? You managed to top that, just now, with your weird as fuck alien hand pap, so really congratulations are in order here,” he rambled, keeping his arm pressed tight against him in case he tried to do that again. It was clear that Dave was trying not to laugh at him, and he wasn’t doing a very good job of it.

Dave finally said something, grabbing the next item and moving on with their little lesson. It was a notebook, and that one managed to go rather smoothly. The next thing he pulled out caught Karkat’s attention a bit.

“Crrrds,” he repeated, standing up and heading back over to his pile to excavate a few cards from his fiduspawn deck. “Crrds,” he said again once he climbed back onto the mat, showing them to Dave.

It wouldn’t be able to happen anytime soon, but he wondered if he could manage to learn enough of this alien language to teach Dave how to play it. He wasn’t even that into the game despite how much he played it on the trip here, but he’d kind of felt like he had to. Everyone had made too many jokes about playing fiduspawn with aliens for him to not seize the opportunity when he had it.

Dave nodded, leaning forward to get a better look at the cards as he said something.

“Crrds,” Karkat said one last time, placing them down beside him to focus on the next item. Looking it over when Dave held it up, he officially had no idea what the fuck it was. It was green on one side and yellow on the other and the green side looked scratchy while the yellow one was porous.

Karkat felt his face twist into a grimace when Dave spoke, the word for this thing sounding as equally as weird as it looked.

“Ssspug?” he tried, knowing that didn’t sound right at all. He watched as Dave struggled to stifle a laugh, repeating the dumb word over again.

“Sproge?” he went with this time, the alien seeming even more amused now.

“Sponnnge.” Dave drawled out, but there was no fucking way he could make that dumb noise. Fuck, he didn’t even know what this thing was or why he would ever have to say it. By his account this was useless.

“Sproge!” he snapped, Dave out and full on laughing now, which sounded strange in and of itself. It wasn’t like how trolls sounded at all, everything much duller in a way, which made sense with how everything else about him seemed rounded off. Even his teeth and the extremely pathetic excuse for claws he had were blunt as hell.

Irritated with him, Karkat grabbed the sponge from Dave’s hand and started pushing it in his face. He normally wouldn’t try something like this, but the alien was clearly not in a bad mood, and even if he tried to bite him he doubted he would actually manage to do any damage with those teeth.

“Sproge Dav, sproge!” he insisted, Dave pushing his hand away and trying to keep the sproge out of his mouth. He was still laughing, adding its nonsense rambling to the mix as well. Eventually it managed to grab the strange object from him and put it behind his back where Karkat couldn’t reach it without climbing over or around him, and that wasn’t going to happen.

He was talking again and Karkat was trying his best to wipe away the small smile that had managed to worm its way onto his face. It was being fucking stubborn though, and even if it was just the smallest thing it caused a small pain in his bloodpusher.

He shouldn’t be happy right now, or ever fucking again honestly. He didn’t deserve that as well as living on top of all this, and definitely not so soon after leaving everyone behind.

At the same time though it sure as fuck didn’t feel like he’d left recently. It felt like forever since he’d last interacted with someone and even if it was an alien he couldn’t understand a single word from it was so much better than the perigees upon perigees of being alone. Just repeating some nonsense word while shoving a strange feeling square in someone’s face felt like the most fun he’d had in sweeps.

Dave was holding up the can again, pointing towards it and if Karkat had to guess asking him what it was.

“Drrnk,” he said, remembering the word pretty easily. Dave nodded, a small smile still left on his face from all the laughing as well.

They continued like that for a while, Dave testing him on the words he’d taught and picking up more junk and identifying it. Karkat still wasn’t sure what half of the things he showed him even were, but he could sort of remember what most of them were called now.

The weird three legged stand Dave had poked him with to wake him up was called a trripud. His husktop was a k’mputer.

After some time it was pretty clear that Dave was starting to get tired, yawning more and more frequently.

“I’m pretty fucking sure you’re a diurnal species, so why you’re up so far into the night is a mystery to me. Just go get some fucking sleep already,” Karkat told him, aware that he wouldn’t understand. He wasn’t even sure where the thing slept. Last time it seemed to have fallen asleep on the pad they were sitting on now, but that just seemed really god damn uncomfortable to Karkat.

He said something and flopped down on his back. Karkat rolled his eyes and stood up off of the mat, stretching as he did so. Dave made another comment to him, acting like since he know barely understood the names of a few objects talking to him wasn’t a completely meaningless endeavor.

Sitting in his pile, he watched as Dave got up and walked out of the room, coming back a few moments later with some of his food. Karkat took it, a bit surprised since he hadn’t asked for him to get anything. He was saying something and miming something, putting his hands up to one side of his face and pointing towards the mat. Karkat just nodded, not sure what the fuck he was talking about, but figuring it’d be better to just go with it.

Dave left the room once more, this time coming back in another outfit and turning the last remaining light off. He went back over to the mat, lying flat down on it and drawing the swatch of fabric up over his body. He seemed to forget to take the shades off until he shifted onto his side, moving and putting them on the table next to the mat.

Huh, so that really was where he slept. Fucking hell that was weird. Shifting in his pile, he tried to keep himself from making too much noise as he ate. He didn’t want to be an asshole honking horns while Dave was trying to sleep, after all.

\

Once he was finished he considered maybe trying to sleep himself. It was the middle of the night, but he didn’t have anything to do. He hadn’t for a while, and there was no way his sleep schedule actually lined up with what night was on this planet. That didn’t make it feel any less weird though, since he used to barely sleep as it was. Losing access to sopor hadn’t helped with that in the slightest.

It probably would be a good idea to at least try to get on the alien’s sleeping schedule though. Even if he couldn’t go outside in the sun like Dave could, if he was awake at the same time he could get him to help him out more.

It was also a lot less boring having something else alive just doing shit and kind of making an ass of itself most of the time.

He was not sure if it was normal of this species or what, but if he thought too long about how fucking blatantly Dave was pale flirting with him at times he would probably crawl inside of the horn pile and not come out for a perigee.

If this wasn’t normal, and he was having a fucking hard time imagining that this was just how someone acted when finding a stranded alien species, he was probably being kind of an asshole by taking advantage of all the help. He had exactly zero percent interest in a moirallegiance right now, especially with some freaky hornless pink alien who he couldn't even talk to properly.

That didn’t mean he was going to stop. He was kind of an asshole after all, and sorry but he wasn’t above using some dumb crush to stay alive.

Curling up and closing his eyes, he decided on at least trying to get some sleep. He wasn’t sure if it would work, since it felt like he hadn’t woken up all that long ago. He had a feeling that nights went faster on this planet, or maybe he was just out of touch with nights and days being a thing at all.

It turned out that he didn’t have to worry about it all that much though, having fallen asleep about a half an hour later.

---

Dave shot up at the sound of something bursting into his room. He barely had time to grab the shitty sword next to his bed on instinct in order to block the incoming swipe from his brother.

His mind was muddled from being jolted awake, the only thing running through it was ‘fuck no this is not good’ without even remembering why for a moment.

Rolling out of bed to get a better stance, he caught sight of the open closet door. Dave felt his stomach sink into his god damn feet, remembering exactly why this was so fucking bad. Holy shit this was literally worst case scenario right here right now.

“Fuck Bro not now!” he yelled, blocking another swipe and wondering if he could maybe lure Bro out of the room before he caught sight of Karkat.

The adult didn’t say anything, just moving in for another attack. Dave moved his sword to block it, and then another and another. They hadn’t gotten up to strifing in a while but even half asleep Dave’s body fell right back into the motions. Bro didn't even seem to be trying that hard. When he went to block the next blow, his mind couldn’t comprehend what was happening for a moment when it never landed. Dave watched as Bro was thrown off balance for probably the first time in his life.

Okay that was unlikely, but the first time Dave had ever seen.

The sword went flying from the adults hand as he swung his arm, attempting to dislodge the creature that was biting down into his flesh, holding on tight with its claws for good measure.

“Oh fuck, shit Karkat stop!” Dave yelled, letting his sword fall as well.

His words fell on death ears, and he tried to take a step forward before having to jump back again. Bro swung his arm for a second time and finally knocked Karkat loose, the alien sent flying across the room.

He jumped back up the instant he hit the ground. Dave watched as Karkat caught his eyes for a second, and felt himself freeze because Jesus fuck he looked terrifying.

It was hard to see him in the dark, crouched over and growling, his grey skin and black clothes helping him to blend in even further. What he could see were his inhuman eyes blown wide as fuck, small horns peeking out of his hair and blood dripping from his fangs and bright orange claws.

Before Dave could get his brain working again Karkat was running out of the room, Bro not wasting a second in following him, sword back in his hand without Dave ever seeing him go to pick it up.

“Stop! Fuck Bro leave him alone!” he yelled, chasing after the two. He was trying to think of a way to control them both but his mind was too busy freaking out to come up with anything good. Dave made his way into the living room to see Bro blocking the front door. Karkat was scrambling to turn around, having been running full force for the exit.

Oh god just shit Dave didn’t know which one to stop first.

Every time Karkat would run somewhere Bro would flash in front of him to cut him off. The alien was hissing and growling and it didn’t even sound like he was saying words anymore. Even with how inhuman he sounded at times you could still tell he was talking but that was definitely not the case now.

“Bro stop! Fuck Karkat it’s okay calm down,” he yelled, managing to get Bro’s attention enough that Karkat made an escape into the kitchen.

“Dave what the fuck is that?!” Bro yelled, not stopping as he did and following the alien into the kitchen. When Dave ran after them he found that Karkat had somehow managed to make it on top of the refrigerator, a butcher knife in his hand that he jabbed out whenever Bro got close.

Dave was kind of impressed that in spite of all of the swords lying around he managed somehow to grab a knife instead.

“Bro will you fucking listen to me?! Stop! You’re freaking him out!” he yelled, getting between his brother and the fridge. He could hear Karkat’s yelling get even louder behind him, but didn’t turn around to see why, instead just focusing on trying to calm the one who could at least understand what he was saying down first.

“I’m freaking him out? Do you see this?” the adult snapped, holding up the very bloody arm Karkat had torn into. Dave couldn’t help but flinch at that because okay that looked really bad and was a good point.

“He didn’t mean to,” he tried, Bro looking at him like he was insane. Karkat was still hissing above him, and Dave had no doubt that Bro would jump over him to get to the alien the second he thought he was going to do anything.

“He didn’t mean to attack me from behind?” Bro asked, incredulous.

“He probably thought you were trying to fucking kill me! I mean let’s be real here most people would!” he yelled.

“What the hell is that thing Dave,” Bro demanded, it not even a question at this point. He sounded the most pissed Dave had ever heard him and he couldn’t exactly blame him for that.

“I don’t know,” he blurted out, almost cringing at just how stupid that sounded.

“You don’t know?” Bro asked, not looking like he believed him for a second. Apparently Karkat must have moved a bit too fast for Bro’s liking, as he pointed his sword back towards him. Dave had a feeling that if he moved from his spot the chances of this becoming a bloodbath were way too fucking high.

“I don’t know exactly, okay? His name’s Karkat. I think he’s like, an alien,” he explained. Bro let his eyes drop slightly from the top of the fridge back to Dave.

“An alien?” he asked, sounding like he believed that even less. Dave groaned but nodded.

“I know it sounds fucking stupid but yes. I will take you to the spaceship later, alright. Damn it, can you just put your fucking sword away and leave so I can calm him the fuck down already?” he snapped.

“If you think for a second that I’m leaving you alone with that fucker you have another thing coming,” Bro told him decisively.

“I was alone with him all day! For like, a few days now. We were fine before you barged in like a god damn madman,” Dave argued.

“It looks vicious as shit kid,” Bro said, still not about to give this up.

“Can you at least put the sword down and back away then? We both know it doesn’t matter if you do, you’d be on him before he even touched the ground if he tries to attack, which he won't by the way,” Dave pleaded. Bro hesitated for a moment before dropping his sword and walking to the other side of the room, leaning against the wall and crossing his arms, completely ignoring the fact that it must have been painful as shit to move the one. To be completely honest he almost looked like he was pouting.

Turning around, the hissing turned into a panicked yelling. Dave was pretty sure he heard his name in there.

“Karkat, come on man, just relax. Bro’s a fucking idiot but he’s not going to hurt anyone, alright?” he tried, ignoring Bro's scoffing behind him. Karkat didn't seem to even be paying attention, just yelled more and refusing to take his eyes off of Bro. Dave whipped back around because there was just no way they were going to get anything done if Bro was still here.

“Seriously dude you need to go. Go fix your fucking arm or something you’re bleeding everywhere,” he snapped. Fucking finally Bro conceded, pushing himself off of the wall.

“I’ll be in my room. If I hear fucking anything,” he said, leaving it at that. Dave just nodding and pushed him towards the door.

“Yeah, yeah, just go already” he said, sighing in relief when he heard the door on the other side of the house shut. Turning back towards Karkat, it did not look like he shared the same feeling, still as tightly wound up as when Bro was in the room, holding onto the knife for dear life, grey knuckles a bright white.

“Hey, it’s okay man, he’s gone now. You can put the knife down, no one’s going to attack. Fuck, I know you can’t understand me but just breathe. Come on Karkat, you have to give me something here, this comforting stitch ain’t my strong suit,” he rambled, trying to keep himself from freaking out since that would not help the situation in the slightest. He had no fucking idea what he was supposed to be doing to help him though and good lord he hadn’t realized just how badly Karkat was shaking.

“Shhh, it’s okay dude. I get it, you’re fucking terrified, but I swear it’s safe now, shhh. You’re safe,” he tried, talking to him like he was a frightened animal, since that was the last thing he could think of. He was caught off guard when Karkat snapped at him, the alien then mumbling as he buried his head under one of his arms, the other one still holding tightly to the knife.

“Sorry, sorry Karkat. Look, I’ll just sit right here, okay man? And when you’re ready we can go back to my room,” he told him, sitting down on the cold tile and looking up at the alien.

Karkat glanced at him from over his arm before shifting a bit, seeming to get into a more comfortable position in the cramped space. Well, looked like they were going to be here for a while. He was tempted to see if going and grabbing that stuffed doll or a horn or something from his junk pile would help him feel better, but he didn’t think that leaving Karkat for even a moment right now would be advised.

He also didn’t want to risk Karkat chopping his fingers off for touching his stuff while he was like this. He still had a tight as fuck grip on the butcher knife after all and touching his shit had always been a bad idea.

Dave glanced at the clock above the stove, having to hold in a groan when he saw the time. Really, Bro? Was this so fucking necessary to do at four in the god damn morning? He’d already only gone to sleep at close to two, and he highly doubted he’d be able to get back to bed any time tonight.

“Sorry man, my Bro can be an ass sometimes,” he muttered, Karkat making an irritated chirping sound back. He was still shaking, his breathing uneven and short.

Dave had a feeling it that there wasn’t really anything he could do to calm him down this time. He just had to wait it out.

---

Karkat jolted awake at the sound of metal clashing together. He had almost yelled at it, irritated because he knew he had not gotten much time to sleep yet and whoever was making this noise needed to shut the ever loving fuck up.

The words died in this throat when he looked up to see the source of the sound. Dave was fighting someone, panic clear on the alien’s face. It was so much easier to tell what he was feeling without those dumb shades on. When he turned his focus on the assailant Karkat went stock still, not even daring to breathe.

Oh fuck oh fuck fuck fuck no!

What the hell was an adult doing here?!

Karkat had no fucking idea what to do, barely breathing as he watched Dave manage to block another attack.

He knew that he was nearly an adult himself, and it looked like that was the case for Dave too, but that didn’t change the fact that this thing was clearly much older than both of them and he’d never even seen an adult before and even if it was an alien it was fucking terrifying.

He didn’t even think this species could look this threatening with their lack of sharp claws, teeth or horns, but that fucking sword and its speed was more than making up for it.

He needed to hide. Hide, or run away now while it was distracted with Dave. It didn’t seem to have noticed him yet, but that would change if he waited much longer.

Running away was not what happened.

Instead of doing the fucking smart thing and getting the fuck out of there the second he had a chance, he climbed out of the horn pile as quietly as he could. The next time the adult went in to attack he leaped forward, clamping his teeth down hard on the arm holding its weapon.

He was going to fucking die. He was going to die having just landed on this planet and it was all because he was an idiot and didn’t take the chance to run when he had it.

The alien attempted to throw him off, but Karkat just dug his claws in deeper, starting to panic now.

It flung its arm again, and this time Karkat came loose, flying across the room. He’d barely hit the ground before scrambling back to his feet. He caught Dave’s eyes for a split second.

He looked fucking terrified.

The adult had its sword back in its hand and Karkat wasn’t about to try to fight it again. Even with the two of them, he wasn't dumb enough to go up against an adult without a weapon. There was no more element of surprise and so he just ran as fast as he could out of the room, the alien following.

Hopefully Dave had half a brain and would take the chance to escape.

He wasn’t able to reach the front door before the adult blocked his path, and he turned to try to find another way out of his place. There had to be more than one exit. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Dave run into the room, yelling something.

Karkat let out a curse among all the growling and hissing that was flying from his mouth. That fucking idiot was supposed to leave, not follow them. Well then fuck it. Karkat had more than given him a chance to escape, if that dumb fuck alien went and died now it was his own fault.

The adult was too fucking fast. Holy fuck he couldn't even see it moving at times. He could barely get anywhere without being cut off and having to change direction. Finally he managed to escape into the nutritionblock, grabbing a large knife he spotted on the counter. He sucked at fist or clawkind and he’d never used a sword before in his life. He could hear the alien running in and he leaped on top of the hungertrunk, swinging the knife out in front of him whenever it stepped too close, which really was any way towards him at all.

Dave ran back in and started yelling at the adult again and getting fucking between him and it.

“What the hell are you doing?!” he yelled without thinking. Dave didn’t even have a weapon on him anymore. Karkat wanted to rip his hair out he was so fed up with this fucker but he was still pretty much frozen in place, certain he was about to see Dave get skewered for being such a fucking idiot.

He did not end up seeing that. Instead, the adult stopped its attack, choosing to yell back at Dave, holding up the arm Karkat had managed to mangle pretty well.

The two seemed to start arguing and Karkat didn’t know what the fuck was going on, unable to calm down or even keep himself from hissing every time the adult so much as twitched. The growl in the back of his throat was in involuntary constant at this point.

Somehow Dave managed to get the adult to put down its weapon, it then walking across the room and leaning against a wall. Karkat was nearly impressed for half a second, but then Dave turned around to look at him.

“What the fuck are you doing!? Dav you idiot he’s still right there! Do you have some sort of death wish you unbelievable dunderfuck!?” he yelled, even more panic welling up inside him. Dave started talking then but Karkat didn’t let up, keeping his eyes trained on the adult like a sensible fucking person.

“It already attacked you in your sleep once! Why the fuck do you trust it now?” he yelled.

Finally Dave turned back around, yelling at the adult again. It moved from its spot against the wall, and Karkat felt the growling in this throat raise at the movement. It seemed to be leaving the room though, and Karkat blanched when the younger alien went and fucking pushed it out of the room.

Dave didn’t turn back towards him until the sound of a door closing somewhere else in the hive went off, the alien seeming relieved.

He was speaking to him now but Karkat couldn’t even pretend to focus on him. He felt like he was going to throw up, his head hurt so fucking bad it felt like he really had gotten stabbed during all of this. His grip on the knife still so tight he was making indents in the handle with his claws.

He could hear Dave continuing to ramble away, but it almost seemed far off. His whole body was shaking and he was honestly surprised he hadn’t started crying yet. Maybe he’d already done it so much he’d finally managed to run out. He doubted it though, he wasn’t that fucking lucky.

He had no idea how the fuck he was still alive. He had no idea what was going on and he couldn’t comprehend why the adult would attack them when they were asleep and vulnerable and then just leave it didn’t make any fucking sense!

He felt himself get knocked out of the blind panic at the sound of the alien fucking shooshing him. He was not brought out of it for the normal reasons though, thank fuck. The sound that was supposed to be calming instead just succeeded in pissing him the fuck off.

“Don’t you fucking shoosh me! We’re not moirails!” he snapped, clearly surprising Dave with his outburst. Karkat felt himself deflate afterwards, not even having enough energy to stay angry anymore. Hiding his face under an arm, he still kept a tight grip on the knife with his other hand.

“I don’t understand why you’re so insistent on helping me. You don’t even know me. I don’t get it,” he muttered, feeling even closer to crying than he had before, which was saying something.

Dave was speaking again, quiet and sad sounding, but Karkat had returned to not paying him any attention. When he heard him moving though, he wasn’t able to keep himself from glancing up, seeing that he’d taken a seat on the floor. He probably wasn’t planning on moving until Karkat came down or something for fuck knows what reason. Cautiously Karkat shifted into a less uncomfortable position before hiding his eyes under his arm again.

It was still dark out, but he wasn’t planning on moving anytime soon.

Dave made another remark, Karkat just grumbling at him. He didn’t have the brain power to form actual words anymore. It wasn’t like it even mattered if he did, Dave couldn’t tell the difference.

Karkat could feel his heart rate start to slow from the vicious pounding it’d been at before, although he still felt like an absolute wreak. He couldn’t get a hold of his breath, and the panicked hyperventilating started to shift into small hiccupped sobs. He tried to curl up more, only to end up nearly cutting himself on the knife. He hadn’t even done it, drawing it away the second his skin felt the cool metal, but for some reason it made his tears even worse.

It was too much. All of this was too fucking much.

He wanted to go home.

Chapter Text

Dave had no fucking idea what he was supposed to do now. Once Karkat had started crying he knew he was pretty much lost on how to go about this situation. Karkat seemed to get pissed whenever Dave tried to help so he figured the best thing would be to just let him get it out of his system. At the very least, he didn’t want to try something and have it be the wrong thing with the state the poor guy was in now.

Dave figured if he just stayed on the floor and waited until he was calm again that would be enough.

He wasn’t sure when it happened, well after the sun had risen at least, but he ended up falling asleep on the kitchen floor. The sound of growling jolted him out of his sleep. Dave sprung to his feet in a panic, the only thought running through his head being not this shit again!

Karkat was standing in front of him, that knife still clutched in his hands and when Dave looked passed him he could see Bro leaning against a wall on the other side of the room.

Well, he guessed that confirmed his idea that Karkat had been trying to protect him last night.

“Whoa dude, it’s okay,” he said, making sure to put himself between the two again. From the looks of it Bro wasn’t going to try anything this time, but that didn’t change the fact that Karkat was coiled up like a spring. The alien growled at him when he did so, but from what Dave could tell he didn’t sound too pissed. When Dave turned to look at him the poor guy looked absolutely exhausted. He doubted he slept at all last night.

“Bro, what are you doing out here?” Dave asked, turning back towards the adult.

“I was planning on grabbing some food out of my kitchen. Didn’t think you’d both still be out here,” he explained, and Dave nodded. When he glanced at the stove clock he would see what he meant. It was 2 in the afternoon.

“Yeah alright, I’ll take him back to my room,” Dave said.

When he turned back towards Karkat he seemed to bristle, still keeping his eyes locked on Bro. Dave couldn’t really blame him, especially since he had no context for what was going on. God, this was going to be awkwardness twofold trying to explain to both Karkat and Bro what was the deal with the other, wasn’t it?

Dave was knocked out of his thoughts when he noticed the stains around Karkat’s mouth and claws. He was half tempted to glance back at Bro and see how his arm was, but decided it’d be better to stop wasting time and get Karkat out of there.

“Come on Karkat, we should go back to my room. You can get some sleep on that uncomfortable as fuck horn pile and hug that dragon doll you like so much,” he tried, Bro snorting as he listened in. “Shut up dude,” he snapped, still not bothering to look back at him.

He took a few steps towards the kitchen doorway, stopping to let Karkat know to follow him. The alien seemed to grumble under his breath, but ultimately went along with it. Dave noticed that Karkat made sure to keep him as a barrier in front of Bro.

Once they were in the room and Dave had shut the door Karkat collapsed instantly onto the horn pile, Dave unable to keep himself from flinching at the sound. He saw him going straight for it and he knew it was coming but it still got him.

“You okay dude?” he asked after a moment, watching Karkat shift himself so that he was curled up and practically covered in horns instead of just lying on top of it. Dave still had no fucking clue how he could possibly think that this was comfortable in any way, shape or form, but fuck if that’s what made him happy.

It said something to him, the dragon plush locked in his arms like Dave thought would happen. Hesitating a moment, he started back towards his door, holding his hand up for Karkat to wait a moment. Making sure to be quick since he didn’t want to freak him out, Dave rushed to the bathroom. Grabbing a washrag, he ran it in the sink before heading back to his room.

He could see Karkat’s eyes following him when he came back, unsure what to do with the rag when he held it out for him. Dave pointed to his own face and then to the alien’s, who reluctantly took the cloth. Karkat seemed to understand what to do with it once he felt it was wet, rubbing at his face and then working the blood off of his fingers. When he was finished he just sort of held the washrag out for Dave to take. Dave held it gingerly, not really wanting to touch a bloody rag.

“Any better?” he asked, Karkat just huffing under his breath and somehow burying himself even further into the horns. Dave hesitated for a moment before pointing at the door, not sure how else to ask if he wanted it closed or not. Karkat nodded, and Dave slowly shut it, giving him time to do something if he misinterpreted what he was asking and didn’t actually want it closed. Karkat didn’t interrupt him though, and once the door was shut Dave went and collapsed on his own bed.

He’d wait like an hour to make sure Karkat was asleep before going to talk to Bro about this. He’d been pretty pissed last night, which yeah was understandable. Dave was sure that Bro had thought he was hiding some sort of pet or a friend or something and had done that dumb late night strife shit to just mess with him and find out exactly what it was.

He had gotten much more than he bargained for, and Dave could relate.

It was pretty important that he talk to him as soon as possible though. It was obvious from the attack and noises that Bro could tell Karkat wasn’t human. He didn’t think Bro was the kind of person to turn into some shitty sci-fi villain and try to sell Karkat to science, but it was always good to double check on these kinds of things.

Also at the very least, he needed to know if Karkat was still allowed to stay here.

Needing a way to pass the time he pulled Pesterchum up, sure someone would want to hear about his late night escapade. Before he got a chance to message Rose or John a message alert came up.

gardenGnostic started pestering turntechGodhead at 2:33pm
GG: dave!!!
GG: there you are!
GG: we havent talked in forever
TG: oh sup
TG: yeah my sleep schedule got fucked
TG: freaking pounded into the mattress all night long
TG: so obviously i couldnt sleep until morning
TG: since it was taking up the bed
GG: dave
GG: sleep is important :(
TG: yeah i know dont worry about it
GG: if you say so
GG: oh, but john and rose said that youve been talking about something really weird!
GG: they wont tell me what though
GG: they said itd be better if you explained it
TG: yeah i suppose the situation im in could be described as really weird
TG: also good on them not spoiling this truly magnificent development
TG: even if its starting to get less magnificent and more
TG: i dont know
TG: exhausting
GG: so what is it?
TG: im not sure if i can tell you
TG: youre into science
TG: can i trust you not to become a dumb cartoony villain
GG: of course!
GG: come on dave i want to know!!
TG: alright if you think you can handle it
GG: stop being a dumb cagey dumb and tell me
TG: okay i hear ya
TG: so i found an alien
TG: hes petty cool
TG: his names karkat he attacked my brother last night
TG: but bro was being a fucking psycho like usual so he brought that upon himself really
GG: wow dave
GG: this sounds unlikely :/
TG: yeah i know
TG: but its true
TG: here’s some of the pics of when i first found him and inside the ship and stuff
GG: hmm
GG: I still dont really believe you
GG: so you swear thats an alien?
TG: yeah
TG: its cool if you dont believe right away i cant blame you
GG: i guess its possible
GG: but some more proof besides just pictures would be nice
TG: well youll have to come down here for that
TG: but like i said its cool
GG: hes cute though!
TG: who is
GG: your ‘alien’ friend!
TG: oh
TG: i guess
TG: really hes just kinda freaky
GG: well i think he looks adorable
GG: what did you mean about him attacking your brother?
TG: oh yeah that
TG: bro bust in here at four in the goddamn morning swinging a sword and i think he was trying to protect me or something
TG: other than that though he hasnt done any harm
TG: well he bit me once but that was when we first met and i was touching his shit
GG: this is all really detailed for just a prank
TG: well thats cause its not a prank
TG: im not egbert you know i wouldnt go through the hassle of pulling this kind of elaborate shit
GG: i guess thats true.
GG: i want to believe you dave! this sounds soooo cool
GG: whats he doing now?
TG: sleeping in my closet
TG: he really freaked out last night and we finally got him off of the fridge
GG: :O
TG: oh shit
GG: what?
TG: nothing i just realized i never got that knife away from him
TG: im pretty sure he put it down to hug that dragon doll though so it should be fine
TG: he probably wont stab himself in his sleep at least
GG: he had a knife?
TG: it was a long night
GG: sounds like it!
GG: did you sleep at all?
TG: i think for a couple hours on the kitchen floor yeah
GG: that is not proper sleep dave!
TG: no its cool
TG: ill take a nap or something after i talk to bro about the alien thing
TG: i think I gotta show him the spaceship first though so who knows how long thatll take
GG: was he not happy?
TG: dude was kind of pissed
TG: karkat fucked up his arm a bit
TG: he seemed better this morning though so he probably wont make me get rid of him
GG: i hope not :(
GG: if your bro doesnt let him stay with you guys maybe he can stay with one of us
TG: thatd be an option
TG: itd be a fucking hassle getting him anywhere though so lets hope not
TG: anyway i should probably go talk to him now
TG: back in a bit
GG: good luck!!!
turntechGodhead ceased pestering gardenGnostic at 2:19pm

Dave glanced at the closet door as he got up. He hadn’t actually waited that long, but he was getting impatient. He didn’t know when Bro would decide to fuck off for the day, and he didn’t want to end up missing him.

He tiptoed out of the room, closing the door as quietly as he could behind him before starting back into the living room. He found Bro in the kitchen, making himself a sandwich. When he glanced at his arm he saw that it was wrapped up in bandages. He never got a chance to see just how bad the injury was, but he figured Bro would have been able to tell if he needed stitches or something. Hell, if he did he probably did them himself.

“So…” Dave started, not quite sure how to go about this. Bro didn’t even turn towards him as he started speaking.

“I don’t know what you’ve gotten yourself into kid. I almost don’t want to know,” he said and yeah Dave didn’t blame him for that.

“Is it cool if he stays here for a while?” he asked, figuring it would be best to just cut to the chase and straight up ask Bro. He didn’t say anything for a moment, instead walking over to the fridge to jam the mayonnaise back inside.

“It already is, isn’t it?” he said finally.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Dave said with a shrug. Alright cool, that was pretty much Bro’s version of ‘of course he can! Anything for a friend of little Davie!’

“I’ll try to keep him from attacking you again, but maybe you should lay off the surprise strifes for a while,” Dave added after a moment, Bro nodding.

“Sure thing,” he said, picking up the sandwich and taking a bite. “So, about that spaceship?” Bro asked and Dave barely managed to hold back a sigh.

“It’s like a mile or so into the desert. Karkat’s sleeping if you want to go check it out now," he offered. Bro finished off the rest of his sandwich before nodding. Dave slipped his shoes on, figuring the faster they got this done with the faster he could come back and get some sleep.

Bro followed silently behind him, and the walk to the ship was as long as Dave had remembered it being. Once they finally reached the spot it was just as they’d left it, the hulking thing jutting out of the desert ground. Dave hadn’t realized they never even shut the door, and Bro started ahead of him to walk inside.

“Yeah, like I said, spaceship,” Dave told him, watching as Bro examined the front panel.

“What were you even doing out here kid?” Bro asked, and Dave shrugged, leaning against the wall.

“There was this cool lizard,” he muttered, realizing that it was a pretty dumb thing to kick-start all of this bullshit. Bro seemed to agree with that sentiment, turning and staring at him for a moment.

“A lizard?” he asked, and Dave nodded.

“Yes,” he said simply, not about to try to defend himself. To his surprise Bro just sighed and turned back to continuing checking out the ship.

“You do realize this is a lot to take in?” Bro said after a moment, pressing buttons and turning nobs that were making Dave rather nervous. Nothing was happening, but he would still prefer to be on the safe side and just not touch anything that could end up hurtling them into space.

“Yeah, but uh, don’t worry about it. He shouldn’t attack anymore,” Dave said. Bro scoffed at that but turned away from the panel again. Dave followed him as he started back out of the ship, glancing around in the low light just to make sure there wasn’t anything they’d maybe forgotten the last time.

“If you can keep that thing under control more power to ya, kid,” Bro told him. Dave decided to just let that be it and not push the subject any more. Bro was cool with Karkat staying and seemed to believe that he was an alien and shit. As they started back Dave couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief.

All of that… probably could have gone worse. Somehow. He was sure of it.

The walk back didn’t seem quite as long as to the ship, but this time they were walking directly into the sun. Even with his shades it seemed bright as fuck.

They were nearly home when Dave got an idea. He told Bro to head inside, he was going to stop by the convenience store down the street. Bro made a comment about how he shouldn’t take long in case the rabid bug-man woke up.

It wouldn’t take long though, he just wanted to grab one thing after all. It was pretty clear that the light hurt Karkat’s eyes, so maybe this would help if he wanted to stay up during the day more.

Besides, it was practically mandatory if he wanted to be a part of the Strider clan.

---

Karkat wasn’t sure how long it took him to calm down. Dave had stayed with him, sitting on the floor for some reason. He wouldn’t admit that the fact the alien wasn’t leaving him alone made him feel the slightest bit safer. He knew that adult was still in the hive somewhere and he absolutely refused to get off of the hungertrunk until he was sure it was safe.

After several hours Dave ended up slumped over, having fallen asleep sometime after the sun had risen. That wasn’t all that reassuring but it’d been quite a while since the adult had left. He didn’t want to head back and leave Dave out here defenseless in case something did happen though.

Karkat tried to keep his eyes covered, the light stinging them whenever he looked up too much. It had taken him a while in his panic to notice that Dave’s eyes were bright red, like his blood. This was the first time he'd seen him without those dumb shades. Maybe the eyes of this species changed at a younger age? Or maybe they were just always the same as their blood color.

Even though he wasn’t crying anymore he still felt terrible. His body was sore from being crouched up here and he had a headache and he needed to sleep but he couldn’t out here in the open. Everything was overwhelming and he had barely spent three nights on this miserable planet.

He had nearly fallen asleep when the sound of something moving outside of the room caught his attention. He could feel himself going into alert even with how exhausted he was. He tried to quell the growling in his throat, not wanting to let whatever it was out there realize he was there yet.

The adult from before came into view, stopping when he saw Dave lying on the floor. Karkat grabbed the knife once again, having put it down next to him a while ago.

He didn’t know what he was doing, jumping off of the hungertrunk and standing in between Dave and the adult. He was shaking again as he held the knife in front of him, his growl getting louder.

He felt like an idiot because this thing could probably kill him but he would also feel like a complete ass-hat if he let Dave get offed in his sleep.

He wasn’t being totally selfless here either. Dave seemed to be offering him protection as well for whatever reason, and he didn’t know where he could go if he died. He certainly wouldn’t be able to stay here with this adult just wandering around.

The adult was standing on the other side of the room, not moving. He didn’t have a weapon with him this time, but like hell was Karkat going to put his guard down because of that. It didn't even seem to care that Karkat was threatening him. He could see that it had bandaged the arm he’d torn into last night as well, and he wondered if it wanted to get back at him for that.

It was wearing sunglasses as well, which was irritating as fuck. It was hard enough trying to read an alien species without it covering its eyes all the time.

Before anything could happen Karkat heard Dave fumble awake behind him. He must have noticed Karkat, because he started saying something, pushing himself to his feet and getting in front of him.

He started talking to the adult, who spoke back in a voice just as calm. Fuck he was so confused! Last night it seemed bent on killing them, but then it started listening to Dave and now they seemed perfectly fucking fine with each other.

Dave turned back towards him, and Karkat had half a mind to yell at him about turning his back on an adult for a second time. He was talking and seemed like he was trying to get Karkat to calm down again. The adult made a noise and Dave snapped at him before turning back and motioning Karkat towards his respiteblock. Karkat hesitated a moment, watching the adult closely before sighing and following the younger alien.

“Whatever, better than being out here with that fucking thing,” he muttered, Dave seeming relieved when he followed. He was just too fucking tired to put up a fight right now. Karkat made sure to keep Dave between him and the adult. It didn’t seem like attacking was even on its mind right now, and while that made no fucking sense to him he wasn’t above using that to make sure he was safe.

He blocked Dave from it while he was asleep after all, it was the least the guy could do.

Once they were in his respiteblock and Dave had shut the door Karkat walked straight to his pile and collapsed into it. Fuck he was so tired. And upset. But he was trying to ignore that part of his emotions for now. All emotions actually. If any and all emotions could kindly fuck the hell off and leave him be, that would be really fucking appreciated.

Karkat burrowed into the pile as much as he could, putting the knife he'd taken from the nutritionblock down and grabbing pryalspite instead, holding the doll to his chest. God he wished he had his recuperacoon. He’d gotten used to sleeping without one, but it was taxing and he never felt quite as refreshed as when he did with one, which had never been all that much to begin with.

This planet was so fucking bright too. It was like they were trying to get as much light in from outside as possible. Ugh, what was he thinking, of course that’s what they were doing. Anything to make his life just the slightest bit worse.

Dave said something to him, and Karkat shifted in his pile, starting to get used to just responding with whatever the fuck he felt like when it started making noise at him.

“You really need to stop flirting with me. It’s weird as shit,” he muttered. Dave just held up his hand before leaving the block. He tried not to freak out over Dave leaving him alone when the adult was still around, but thankfully Dave came back a few moments later.

He watched as Dave pointed to his own face and then to Karkat’s before handing him some swatch of cloth. Taking it, he felt it was wet and only then noticed the dried blood on his touchstubs. He figured there was probably some on his face as well from then he'd bitten the adult's arm. He did his best to wipe off his face before cleaning each claw as best as he could. Not sure what else to do, he handed it back to Dave when he finished.

Dave then pointed at the door and Karkat nodded, hoping he would close it for him so that he wouldn’t have to move from the little nest he’d made himself. Thankfully he did and Karkat sighed as the light from outside was shut away as well.

He was utterly exhausted, but even still he hadn’t expected to fall asleep as fast as he had, out cold in only a couple of minutes.

When he woke up, he still didn’t feel like moving from his spot for quite some time. He didn’t want to do anything. There wasn’t anything for him to do. He couldn’t understand anything on this planet and he was bored and upset and he just wanted to stay in the dark in this shitty horn pile and wait until he wasted away like the absolute sack of shit that he was.

He wasn’t able to do that though, a knock coming on his door after about a half an hour. Grumbling, he stretched to open the door, Dave standing outside with food. He was speaking when he held the can out for Karkat, and the troll hesitated a moment before grabbing it.

“I don’t need you to take care of me,” he muttered, opening the can with one of his claws despite his protest. Dave walked back to his desk, leaving the storageblock door open. It wasn’t as bright in the room anymore, the alien not having turned the desk light on once the sun had set.

Karkat slowly ate the canned grubloaf. It would have been better heated up, but he’d been eating it this way for perigees now, so it wasn’t a bother to him. A bit to his surprise Dave started back over, something else in his hands. He didn’t make any move to show he was interested, instead just watching what the alien did.

Dave held out something black and plastic for him, and taking the item he realized what it was as he turned it over in his hands.

What the fuck was with this species and sunglasses?

When he looked up at Dave the alien had the smallest smile on his face as he pointed to his own sunglasses. He was speaking, probably saying why he’d gotten them or something, but it was lost on Karkat. He was sorely tempted to roll his eyes and throw them right back at Dave, but after thinking it over he decided against it.

Even this manageable light was a bit uncomfortable, and these would be helpful. Looking them over once more, they were a bit of a different shape than Dave’s, and certainly different from the adult’s dumbass triangle ones. They were a bit square-ish.

Sighing, he slid them over his eyes. Dave was still speaking, but finally walked back over to his desk before shutting up again.

Karkat turned his attention back to his food, the sunglasses actually helping in taking quite a bit of strain away from his eyes.

Once he was finished eating, he decided to dig the translator out of where it’d gotten buried in his pile, turning it over in his hands as he thought. There had to be something he could put this on and have it listen to the language. A television or radio or something. If he could just communicate with these things maybe everything would get a bit less terrifying.

Pushing himself out of the pile, he walked over to the alien.

“Dav,” he said, getting his attention. When the alien turned around, Karkat pointed at the device in his hand and then towards the respiteblock door, hoping to get his point across. Dave raised an eyebrow, clearly confused as to why Karkat would want out of the room again so soon after everything that had happened the previous night. He didn’t try to argue though, instead just making some small quip as he pulled himself out of his chair and lead Karkat out of the room.

The adult wasn’t still out here, and Karkat started looking around the front room for what was pretty much the first time. Every other time they’d either just been passing through, running from an absolute madman, or having just woken up in an alien hive.

There was a large screen against one of the walls, and although it wasn’t exact Karkat figured if anything was a television in this place that’d be it. Dave watched as he walked over to it, seeming content on letting Karkat try to figure out how to turn it on for a few moments before finally coming over and doing it for him.

Dave was talking again, but Karkat tuned him out in order to focus on figuring out the translator. Turning it on, he set it down next to the television, letting it listen to the loud jumble of noise that was coming out of it.

The alien looked confused, and Karkat frowned as he tried to figure out a way to explain what he was trying to do. ‘Translate’ was not exactly an action he could mime out, after all.

He pointed to the translator and then to the television. Dave nodded but still didn’t seem to have any idea what he was getting at. Karkat tried motioning to his ear and then to Dave’s mouth, and the alien just shrugged, clearly not getting it. Groaning, Karkat waved him away, figuring he could explain it once the translator was up and running.

Karkat went back to his respiteblock and Dave went to grab something out of the nutritionblock. Not sure what to do, Karkat decided to change his bandages again. Looking at the cut, he figured he could probably take the bandages off for good tomorrow and he’d be fine.

Dave came back into the room while he was finishing up wrapping his cut, holding something that looked like it was made of the palest grubloaf Karkat had ever seen. Was everything just bleached on this planet because it all insisted on going out in the sun?

Once he finished with the bandages he put them back in the first aid kit. Instead of sitting in his pile he ended up lying on his back on the strange mat the alien slept on. It felt like lying on a very soft floor, it was fucking weird.

Karkat was coming to realize that when he wasn’t terrified out of his mind, he was bored out of it instead. There was still nothing for him to do, nowhere for him to go and no one for him to talk to. Even if there was, he wasn’t exactly feeling up to it. Sighing, Karkat rolled over onto his stomach, ignoring the way the sunglasses pressed into his face as it was smooshed into the pad. He could practically feel Dave turning to look at him, but he continued his pattern of ignoring the alien.

That translator had better start working soon so he could set some things straight with him.

He heard the alien say his name, and he shifted his head so that he was facing Dave. He was holding something, a weird colorful cube made up of smaller cubes. Karkat watched as he twisted it in his hands, making the smaller colors move until one side was all the same, showing it to him. Dave then shifted it around until it was all messed up again before walking over and handing it to him.

Karkat examined the thing for a moment. It seemed simple enough, obviously some sort of toy. He started by trying to get all of the red cubes to one of the sides.

---

When Dave got back to his house he immediately went to his room to take a nap, setting an alarm for around six. He ended up waking up a bit earlier than that, chirps and clicks from the closet having knocked him out of his sleep. He guessed that guy was still out of it.

Dave decided to let him be for now, figuring he would come out when he was hungry or something. Instead he went and grabbed a bag of chips and a soda from the kitchen, sitting down at his desk and booting up his computer as he started to eat.

This time he managed to catch both Rose and John up on what had happened last night. They were both still pretty skeptical, but were starting to wear down with just how long he was going with this.

At around eight he started glancing towards the closet again. He didn’t know if he should try to wake Karkat up after last night, but he didn’t think it was a good idea for him to stay in there for so long. Really, he should try to clean out the darkroom chemicals soon. He doubted it was good for him to be breathing in that stuff all the time.

It’d have to be when he was distracted with something though. He highly doubted Karkat would like it if he got too close to his weird stuff pile.

Giving in, Dave walked into the kitchen and grabbed one of its cans of food. At the very least, he had to eat, right?

Knocking on the closet door, he could hear horns going off as Karkat shifted until finally the door opened. Dave held the can out where he could grab it.

“I thought you might be hungry dude, you haven’t eaten anything all day,” he explained, still not used to just not speaking to something. He was already a talkative guy, it just didn’t jive with him to not say anything while interacting with a person. Karkat muttered something back to him as he grabbed the can, once again opening it up with his sharp as hell claws.

Damn, those had to fucking hurt when he’d attacked Bro. The guy had been so docile around him since they’d managed to get his stuff, last night had been kind of a shock.

He went back to his computer, intent on just letting Karkat eat. He wasn’t able to wait long until the temptation became too much and he grabbed the shades he’d brought earlier. They were pretty cheap things but he figured they’d work and he doubted Karkat could tell the difference.

The alien watched him as he held out the sunglasses. Karkat took them from his hand before looking back and forth from the item to him. Dave pointed at his own shades as he tried to explain.

“You’re eyes hurt in the sun right? I thought this would be the coolest solution to this whole issue. Plus, if you’re gonna stay here then you gotta get some of the signature Strider shades man, thems the rules,” he rambled. Dave watched as Karkat examined the shades before slowly sliding them onto his face. He’d been a bit worried that he wouldn’t know what to do with them, but either he’d been able to figure out from Dave’s pretty quick or sunglasses were a universal constant.

Dave sort of hoped that it was the second one.

“Hell yeah man, we might actually manage to make you cool yet,” he said, Karkat not saying anything back. Dave went back to his desk, figuring he should finally let the guy eat like he’d meant to. He still seemed pretty out of it from everything that had happened.

After a few minutes of dicking around, Dave could hear him getting out of the horn pile. If there was one thing good about that pile it was that Karkat couldn’t sneak up on him. That was literally the only good thing about that load of bullshit.

Well, he’d managed to sneak up on Bro though, and that was no easy task. So maybe he could and just didn’t care when it was just the two of them.

“Dav,” he said and Dave figured it was cool to turn towards him. He was holding that weird watch-looking thing again for some reason. Dave still had no fucking clue what it was supposed to do. To his surprise, Karkat pointed at it and then at the bedroom door.

He wasn’t all that sure if it was a good idea to let him out of the room right now. Like, Dave was pretty certain Bro wasn’t home right now, but he still wasn’t all that keen on risking it.

It probably also wouldn’t be a good idea to argue with him though, so he decided to just go along with Karkat’s wishes for the time being.

“Yeah sure, whatever you want dude,” he said, leading him out of the room. He stopped once they were in the living room, turning back towards the alien to see if there was anywhere specific he wanted to go. He seemed to be scanning the room until eventually his eyes fell on the TV.

Dave watched as he scanned around the machine, an irritated look on his face. He probably spent a little too long enjoying the absolute confusion in his expression before finally walking over and turning it on. To his credit, Karkat didn’t seem too surprised by what it did.

“I’m not sure what you’re planning on doing with that but go ahead. Are you on some mission to broadcast human television onto your alien world? Fuck, I should have seen this coming. Television is always the root of it all,” he rambled, the alien not paying the least bit of attention to him. Instead he just started messing with that device he’d brought out before setting it down next to the television.

Karkat then pointed at the weird alien speaker watch and then the TV, which yeah did not let Dave in anymore on what he was trying to accomplish here. He then started pointing to his ears and then Dave’s face. He shrugged, because yeah that just made even less sense.

Karkat groaned and waved his hand at him before starting back towards his room. Dave let him go, heading to the kitchen first in order to grab something to eat.

Coming back with a sandwich, Karkat was changing those strange bandages again. He hadn’t come fast enough to get a glance at the wound, so he wasn’t sure how far along it was. He sat down at his desk as Karkat went and put the supplies away again before collapsing onto his bed this time.

Dave let him be until he heard a loud sigh. Turning to look at the guy, he had ended up on his stomach, face straight into the mattress. Dave wasn’t even sure if he could breathe like that, not to mention the fact that he was still wearing the shades and Dave knew from personal experience how much that could hurt. He was becoming more and more certain that whatever alien species this was, they had no fucking idea how to use a bed, and that was kind of hilarious.

Looking around for something he could use to distract him so Karkat could avoid suffocation, Dave caught sight of a Rubik’s cube that had fallen under his desk like a month ago. Picking it up, he called Karkat’s name, just barely getting the alien’s attention.

Demonstrating how it worked, it seemed like Karkat understood when he handed it to him, shifting onto his back again as he started moving the pieces around.

Alien occupied, Dave turned back to his computer. He was drawing a new comic, Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff Fnid the Alen, where Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff find an alien. As they say, art imitates life. Or maybe it was the other way around. Dave didn’t actually care.

Every so often he would hear Karkat grumble to himself as he worked on the cube, sounding increasingly irritated as time went on.

About an hour after Dave had given him the Rubik’s cube something hard hitting him in the back of the head, causing him to yelp in pain.

Swinging around in his chair, he saw a half solved cube a few feet away from him on the floor and a very annoyed looking Karkat glaring at him from the bed.

Dave really tried. He swore it was his best attempt, but he just wasn’t strong enough. He lasted maybe three seconds before bursting out laughing, and the only reason he managed to last that long was before he was still kind of annoyed at being hit in the head with a Rubik’s cube.

Karkat snapped something at him while he laughed, and he slowly managed to get himself under control again. It wasn’t his fault though, but Jesus aliens were supposed to be like, smart as shit. You should be able to hand them a Rubik’s cube and they’d hand it back to you three seconds later completed or some shit like that.

They were not supposed to grumble to themselves for an hour before throwing it at you in a rage quit.

“I’m sorry man but I don’t think you realize how funny this is,” he said at last, Karkat just huffing at him. Some of the irritation seemed to have slipped away though, but that might just be because the cube was out of sight or something.

“I can try to find something else for you to do, since that’s obviously not an option unless I feel like getting pelted again, which sorry man but let’s try to cut back on that,” he said, Karkat just watching him as he stood up. Dave ended up grabbing the notebook and pencil from when he had piled up the ‘Karkat word learning shit’ and handed them to him.

“Go to town,” he said, Karkat frowning as he looked at the items with suspicion. Eventually he took them, curling up in the corner of Dave’s bed where no one could see what he was doing before starting to draw or write or something. It sounded like writing to Dave, but he couldn’t be sure without looking, and he didn’t want to risk that right now.

Dave didn’t end up going to sleep until close to six in the morning, his sleep schedule even more fucked than it’d been beforehand. Karkat seemed to enjoy the notebook, having spent much of the night writing away. It was confirmed for writing when he caught a glimpse of a page when he had Karkat get off his bed so he could sleep.

He had no idea what kind of writing, since yeah alien language.

He wasn’t sure how much longer Karkat stayed up after him, but when he woke up the next day the closet door was shut so he figured he should let him be for now.

When he went out to get something to eat he saw that the TV was still on. Dave decided to put a little note up that read ‘do not turn off- alien experiment'. He wasn’t even sure if it mattered or not, but he’d rather not accidentally piss the little dude off.

A few hours later Karkat emerged from the closet, looking like he’d pretty much just woken up. He was still wearing the shades though, and so he counted that as a victory. Dave had managed to get used to the noises he’d make in his sleep for the most part. He wondered if the guy was even aware that he did that.

Dave was surprised to see him leave the room on his own, returning a few moments later with a stick of purplemeat and that device that had been by the TV. He held it up to him, and Dave glanced at the thing before looking back at Karkat.

“I’m still not sure what you want me to do with this dude,” he said. Karkat took it back once he spoke, and Dave watched in surprise as it started speaking that same buggy language Karkat did. The alien frowned, a look of extreme confusion on his face before sticking it up to Dave once again.

“Uh, Dave to planet alien? We have made first contact,” he said. Karkat replayed it once again, looking even more irritated. He walked back out of the room and when he came back he didn’t have the little device anymore. Probably put it back by the TV.

“Sorry buddy, I guess it doesn’t work yet?” he said, Karkat just grumbling as he sat down on Dave’s bed, grabbing the notebook from off of the floor and starting to write again.

So, was it supposed to be a translator or something? That would be really fucking handy. He didn’t know if it went both ways, but he hoped so.

If they could start talking, they could start figuring this shit out.

---

This toy was absolutely infuriating and whoever made it did with the single intent to torment souls across the cosmos.

He wasn't sure how long he messed with it, but he ended up chucking the thing at the back of Dave's head. he was to blame as well for giving him this torture device, so he deserved it.

The alien squealed and turned towards him. Karkat fixed him with a stern glare to let him know that he was not amused by this in the slightest. He figured it was mostly hidden by the shades, but it was the thought that counts.

Dave just started laughing at him.

“I do not see what’s so funny about this,” he snapped. After a few moments Dave finally stopped laughing, instead talking on and getting up from his seat. He ended up handing him the notebook from the other night and a pencil, and Karkat waited a few moments before taking the items. He did not see how either of these things could backfire on him. As long as he didn't try to draw, and he was able to decide that for himself.

Crawling into the corner of Dave’s sleep pad, Karkat starting to write. He’d read enough romance novels that he could probably write his own at this point. It’d be less boring than reading the same ones over and over again, at least.

Absolutely no one on this planet would ever be able to read it besides him either, which alleviated a lot of nerves.

He ended up getting pretty into it, trying to flesh out the characters and the main plot. Dave ended up having to move him from his pad when he wanted to sleep. It was starting to get light out, but Karkat wasn’t tired yet. The shades were helping him not want to immediately shut himself away either. Even still, he moved to his pile, leaving the notebook on the floor, feeling a bit burned out from writing so much. It was pretty good base so far though, if anyone asked him.

He ended up going to sleep a few hours later, the sun well up by this point. Nights on this planet seemed so short. He guessed maybe this planet moved faster or was smaller or something.

It was almost dark again when he woke up, shambling out of the storageblock. He started out of the room, not wanting to wait for Dave to get him food. He was still cautious about running into the adult, but having Dave wait on him all the time was starting to get a bit uncomfortable.

On the way back he saw the translator still sitting by the television. Grabbing it as well, he figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it out. It had to have been listening for hours, it should have something.

When he walked back into the room Dave was already looking at him, and he held the translator up for him to speak into it. Thankfully he didn’t have to try to explain that to him, since the guy talked without any cues normally.

Pulling it back to him, he hit what he was pretty sure was the playback button.

I do not like people do not know that.

Karkat frowned, having absolutely no fucking clue if that was right. It sure as all hell didn’t sound right. Irritated, he held the translator back up to Dave, the alien speaking once more, although this time sounding a bit uncertain.

The Dave stars apart? We first.

Alright, there was no doubt that this thing was still a hunk of junk at this point. He should have figured that a single night wouldn't have been enough to do anything. Karkat went and put the translator back by the TV, figuring he could mess with it again later, once it listened a bit more.

At the very least it was doing something now, but yeah he sort of doubted this alien was that braindead. Maybe a little, certainly, but he at least seemed competent enough to be able to form basic sentences.

When he came back Dave said something else to him, but there wasn’t any way he could figure out what it was right now.

Instead he grabbed the notebook from where he’d left it on the floor before going to sleep and picked up where he left off.

The rest of the night was rather calm. The only hiccup had been when Karkat could hear something else moving around inside the hive again and Dave went out to talk to it. It had freaked him out a bit, but Dave came back perfectly fine.

The more he thought about it, he couldn’t figure out what that was about. He didn't think it was a quadrantmate or anything like that. He just didn't get that vibe, even for kismesis. So maybe he was just sharing his hive with some strange adult for fuck knows what reason, or this was supposed to be his lusus or something bizarre like that. He’d yet to see one, and he supposed what had happened that night could have actually been a strife.

But why the hell were they the same species? He supposed they were aliens, so that was very well possible, but it still creeped Karkat the fuck out.

He still did not trust that adult. He was not ever going to trust it if he could help it.

He wasn’t sure if he trusted Dave. He wanted to. So far, he’d done nothing but try to help him, which was rather suspicious in its own right.

He didn’t have much of a choice though. He was stuck here, and the only person he could rely on was Dave. He still wasn’t entirely sure what his motivation was for all of this, but maybe once the translator started kicking up again he could figure it out.

In the meantime, maybe he could try to just let whatever happens happen. If Dave was so insistent on helping him, Karkat wasn’t going to stop him.

Hell, maybe one day he could try to enjoy it. That seemed really fucking far off though.

Chapter Text

The next day Karkat came into the room and had Dave speak into his weird translator thing again. Dave could tell that it hadn’t gotten much better over the night. Each time he still seemed frustrated with whatever it was saying to him.

Dave figured he might not have been giving it the easiest task though. The first time he’d come up to him, he’d said “Alright man round two lets go. Testing, testing, Strider in the house.” And when he held it up in frustration a second time Dave decided to go with “How’s this thing even supposed to work man? Television is probably not the best thing to learn English from.”

Karkat put the device back to listen to more TV before curling up in his pile with what was now pretty much his notebook. If he didn’t slow down the guy was going to use the whole thing up in a couple weeks. It seemed to keep him entertained though, so Dave would just buy him a new one when that inevitably happened.

When Dave woke up the next morning, midday, whatever, he went into the kitchen to get something to eat. Pulling some leftover spaghetti out of the fridge (which was starting to smell kind of… weird? Shit, was Karkat’s alien food going bad or something?) a now familiar alien chirping sound nearly made him drop the tupperware.

Spinning around, he could now see that Karkat was sitting on the couch, from what Dave could tell staring at the TV with a look of concentration on his face. Even with the shades on he was still so expressive it wasn’t hard to tell.

“Fuck man, I thought you were asleep. What are you even doing out here? You can’t understand any of that,” he asked, closing the fridge and leaving the spaghetti on the counter for a moment to see just what Karkat was doing.

Glancing at the TV as he walked in, he saw it was on some daytime drama he was pretty sure only stay at homes moms loved to watch. Karkat didn’t bother turning towards him as he came closer, so either he was trying very hard to learn English through osmosis or he was into the show on some level. Frankly, Dave wasn’t sure which one was more likely.

“Dude, what’s with the knife?” he asked, noticing the same knife he’d taken that night with Bro gripped loosely in one of Karkat’s hands. The alien finally took his eyes away from the screen and gave him an annoyed look. Dave was pretty sure he was starting to understand what certain glares meant, and that was definitely the ‘I have no fucking idea what you’re saying’ stare.

He decided to just point at the knife, which seemed to get the point across.

Karkat seemed to try to think over how to explain this before finally putting his fingers up in two V shapes in front of his shades. It took Dave a few moments to piece together what that meant, and when he did he couldn’t help but snicker. He quickly shot the laughter down, nodding and trying to make it so that Karkat didn’t take it as him thinking his fear of Bro was dumb or something.

“Alright man, but Bro ain’t gonna attack you no more,” he said, starting back into the kitchen to heat up his food. There wasn’t any sauce left but he didn’t care.

Taking his plate, he sat down on the other side of the couch, Karkat once again apparently wrapped up in the drama.

“If this is what you’re thing is learning English from that’s pretty hilarious. Everything’s going to sound so dramatic to you,” he said, Karkat not paying any attention. Well, it was good that he wasn’t bored half to death and that he didn’t seem too terrified to leave his room anymore. Sure, he needed a knife to do so, but he didn’t really blame the guy.

Once they could speak to each other and he could explain that Bro was not going to cut his head off he’d probably stop with that.

Dave pulled his phone out of his pocket as he ate. He wasn’t exactly as captured by the drama as Karkat was. It was probably a lot more interesting when you didn’t have any clue what was going on, honestly.

Rose was online, and he shot her a message, along with a strategically angled picture that managed to get both Karkat and the TV in view.

turntechGodhead started pestering tentacleTherapist at 2:37pm

TG: aliens like soap operas
TT: Is that so?
TG: seriously hes so into it
TG: he doesnt even know what theyre saying its fucking adorable
TT: It appears you’ve adjusted well to all of this.
TT: Most people would be more likely to have an existential crisis upon finding an alien lifeform rather than spending time sending their friends pictures of it being ‘adorable.’
TT: And apparently making them wear sunglasses.
TG: technically if were going from a statistical basis it is more likely that people would do exactly as i have
TG: unless you know of a couple other people whove found aliens and just freaked out
TG: instead of doing the cool thing and chilling with it
TT: Of course, what was I thinking?
TT: You’ve bested me with the maths once again.
TG: you cant fight the math man it knows whats up
TG: also the shades besides being amazing help him
TG: light hurts his eyes
TT: It does?
TG: yeah
TG: at least im pretty sure thats what he was trying to get across
TG: but anyway whats up with you
TT: Nothing but the usual.
TT: Mother seems intent on finding new and creative ways to waste my time this summer break.
TG: she making you join a wizards lovers anonymous or something
TG: please help my daughter shes obsessed with bearded old men who love thrusting their rods at each other
TT: I will never ceased to be impressed with how blatant you manage to make your innuendos.
TG: if i ever led you to think anything about me was subtle im sorry
TT: You haven’t, no need to panic.
TG: okay good
TG: you had me worried there for a second
TT: But back to the point, no, that is not the mother induced drain on my time.
TT: She thought it would be a good idea to sign me up for a swim team.
TG: wait do you even know how to swim
TT: I do now.
TG: dont you live in the middle of the fucking woods whered she find a swim team
TT: At a camp not too far from here.
TT: We swim in a lake.
TG: like
TG: a real lake with fish and shit
TT: Yes.
TG: ew
TT: You mean to tell me you do not enjoy the wonders of the great outdoors?
TG: fuck no
TG: literally the only cool thing to ever happen outside was finding an alien
TG: and now he refuses to leave my house because even he knows whats up
TT: Clearly an extraterrestrial creature is the best measure of whether or not outside life on Earth is to be valued.
TG: hell yeah he is
TT: How is all of that going, by the way?
TT: He seems alright, being subdued by the hypnotic magics of daytime television.
TG: yeah its all cool
TG: you cant see it in the pic but hes holding a knife cause hes still scared of bro
TG: but other than that he seems to have chilled
TT: Have you gotten any closer to being able to communicate with it?
TG: hes working on getting that translator to work i think
TG: ive taught him a few more words
TG: but other than that not really
TT: That would probably be a good thing to work on.
TG: hes barely been here a week
TG: learning a language is hard when you have no basis for a translation and you cant even physically make all of the sounds
TG: that shits gonna take time
TT: I suppose you’re right.
TT: I’m just very curious to find out what were the circumstances that led the creature to this point, and what are the chances of more to come.
TG: i dont really think anyone else is on their way
TG: i mean i could be wrong its mostly just a feeling i have
TG: but i think hes on his own here
TT: Even more curious then.
TT: Do you suppose he left on his own accord?
TT: Or perhaps he’s been exiled for some reason.
TG: fuck i dont know
TG: i cant see why anyone would do that
TG: he doesnt exactly seem like a hardened criminal why the fuck would you kick the poor guy out
TT: Well, hopefully someday soon we’ll be able to find the answer to that question.
TT: Now, I’d love to stay but I’m afraid I will be late for swim practice if I wait any longer.
TG: ugh
TG: have fun in your gross fish water
TT: Of course.
tentacleTherapist ceased pestering turntechGodhead at 2:58pm

Dave had finished his spaghetti by the time Rose left. Karkat didn’t bother looking up at him when he went and put his plate in the trash.

He guessed Rose had a bit of a point about how chill everything with this was. It just didn’t seem worth it to freak out about it or try to make it a bigger deal than it already was. It was kind of a huge deal, it didn’t need his help at all. If he freaked then Karkat would probably panic and run off somewhere and end up either terrified or dead.

Stopping by the fridge, he wondered if Karkat had eaten yet. He didn’t know how long his weird shit would last, but he figured if it started going bad he would let Dave know.

“I’ll be in my room dude,” he called as he walked through the living room. Karkat nodded absently and it was so weird seeing him relaxed like that. The closest he’d gotten to that point was either when he was writing or the first time Dave had tried to teach him some words.

Even though he’d told Rose to be patient on Karkat learning to speak, he had to admit he was really hoping that translator thing could speed the whole process up.

Dave hesitated a moment before starting over to his closet. He wasn’t going to mess with any of Karkat’s stuff. He’d just been waiting for a chance to get his darkroom chemicals out of there and maybe up in the attic or something without the guy gnawing his leg off for getting near his bike horns.

Glancing at the bedroom door, he opened the closet as quietly as he could. He didn’t even bother to step inside, not trusting himself to be able to sidestep all the horns and not blow his cover. Instead he leaned over, his body wrapped around the doorframe to get at the foldout table he’d shoved inside years ago.

He managed to get two vials of chemicals before stepping back, not wanting to risk dropping them either. The hardest part would be getting the tray out. He was pretty sure he hadn’t bothered to drain it since his last use and there was a 100% chance that if he spilled it Karkat would notice.

Putting the bottles down on his desk, he started back over to the closet, daring to get inside a bit more this time to grab the tray. He should be pretty good after that. Instead of stepping, he just sort of slid his feet along, since that way he wouldn’t set off any of those fucking horns. Grabbing the tray, he got two hands on it before sliding back out of the closet, shutting the door with his foot and cheering silently to himself.

He headed to the bathroom to dumb the old chemicals out before taking the rest of the stuff into the attic. He wasn’t sure if you were supposed to just dump chemicals like that. Probably not.

---

The rest of the night was rather calm. Dave went to bed earlier than he usually did. Karkat didn’t mind, a bit thankful for the time when the alien would be asleep and he could just lock himself inside of the storageblock.

He’d never been a social person. At least not like, in person. Add not even having internet connection to anyone for about half a sweep and while it was nice finally getting some interaction, being in the same block as someone almost all the time like this could get overwhelming.

Dave didn’t leave much. Karkat wondered if he was normally like that or if he didn’t trust Karkat alone yet. He wouldn’t blame him the slightest if that was the case. He didn’t trust Dave alone yet. He’d been good about leaving his stuff be since they brought it back from the ship, but there was still the chance that his curiosity could get the better of him if Karkat left him alone for too long.

Not like that was even an option. He didn’t have anywhere to go. He’d thought about heading back to check on his ship a few times, but ultimately decided against it for now. One reason was because he didn’t want to go alone, and another was that there was a chance some other aliens had found it and if he went to see it they would catch sight of him.

The next day Karkat attempted to use the translator again. Dave seemed more than willing now to speak into it, having probably figured out what Karkat was trying to do by now. The translations were still just as scrambled. Instead of any kind of discernible sentences, it just ended up with things like

People with a good game. Test, test, Strider hive.

and

Your job is to think about how it works, and even people. TV is better to learn English.

He supposed that last one kind of made sense? If he was guessing that ‘English’ was the name of whatever language Dave spoke, maybe he was suggesting he actually watch the TV to try to learn instead? He wasn’t sure how accurate that was, but fuck he was close to trying it at this point.

As soon as he felt like that adult wouldn’t spring on him if he stayed out in the main part of the hive for too long that was.

The next morning Karkat couldn’t sleep. He was so fucking certain that this planet had pathetically short nights. Dave was still out cold and he didn’t feel like writing or reading or anything like that.

Making his way out of the storageblock as quietly as he could as not to disturb Dave, he grabbed the knife he’d taken before creeping out into the main room. His translator was still sitting by the TV, hopefully becoming less of a piece of shit as it listened.

He supposed he could get something to eat and see if he could figure out whatever was on the TV while he tried to figure out what to do. Opening the hungertrunk, he curled back a bit from the smell. Okay something was going bad in here. Grabbing a stick of the dried hoofbeast meat and tentatively smelling it, he instantly put it back. Yeah that was it. Picking up a can of grubloaf instead he started back over to the living room. He’d have to get rid of that meat soon.

He wasn’t sure what he was going to do when his food ran out. He was pretty sure that Dave wouldn’t mind him eating their food, but he did not want fuck up and poison himself on something stupid.

Karkat told himself he’d deal with that hurdle when it came punching him in the face. Walking into the main room, he sat down on the couch and started eating the grubloaf out of the can. He had no idea what he was looking at when he turned his attention to the television, but maybe this would be a good way to figure out more about this planet. Try to decipher some sort of culture or something.

One of the things that he first noticed was that this species had a million different hair colors. Not all of their skin seemed to be as pale as Dave either.

He wasn’t sure what the fuck was happening on the screen. It sort of looked like a legislacerator block, but there weren’t any weapons and seemed to mostly consist of arguing. In the spot where His Honorable Tyranny should be was some alien woman. She didn’t even look particularly strong. She definitely seemed to be in charge though, so maybe this species was a bit less violent.

Or they based their legal trials on some other merit. Who can yell the loudest is what it looked like.

The next thing to come on was much harder for Karkat to figure out. He was pretty sure it was some series he was probably picking up in the middle of, and not being able to understand a word of it was not helping.

Despite this, it was much more interesting than the weird legislacerator show. He didn’t need to understand the words to understand when shit was going down.

He wasn’t sure how much later it was when Dave walked right past him into the kitchen.

“Hey,” he said without looking from the screen. If he stopped paying attention things started making absolutely no fucking sense again, and he was pretty sure he was starting to figure out a story here.

Dave started talking to him but he couldn’t be bothered to give a fake ass answer to his nonsense. It wasn’t until the alien walked over to him that Karkat reluctantly took his eyes from the screen to look at him. Dave just proceeded to point a the knife still in his hand, a look of confusion on his face.

Karkat frowned as he tried to think of a way to signal ‘that adult is still around here somewhere and like hell am I being caught by it without a weapon’ to him. He ended up making his fingers into two half triangles and holding them up over the shades (as pained as he was to admit it, those were really helping too. By now he would have locked himself away in the dark storageblock from the light if he wasn’t wearing these). Dave didn’t seem to understand what he meant before barley keeping himself from laughing when realization hit him.

Karkat frowned at him but Dave just seemed to wave away his concern before heading back into the nutritionblock to get some food. Karkat just turned back towards the show, trying to piece together what he’d missed along with everything else.

Once Dave had finished getting his food he sat down on the couch with him. He was saying something but Karkat continued to not pay him any mind. His talking had started to become a bit like white noise to him, he muttered and mumbled to himself so much.

He could see that Dave had grabbed his palmhusk out of the corner of his eye. He sure messed around on that thing a lot. Karkat wondered if he was messaging friends or something, that’s mostly what Karkat had done that involved that much typing.

Once Dave finished eating he went back to his block. Karkat decided to stay out here for now. He was starting to get a bit tired, but he would go to sleep once the show was over. He couldn’t tell for sure, but he was pretty sure one episode had stopped and another started up again a few minutes ago.

It wasn’t until that episode finished and some weird thing with an alien who faced the screen to look like they were talking to you came on did Karkat stand up. Stretching, he was careful not to hit anything with the knife before starting back to Dave’s respiteblock.

When he went inside the alien was sitting at his husktop like usual. Karkat ignored the sound he made in greeting and started over to his pile, weariness finally starting to pull at him.

There wasn’t any reason why he couldn’t sit down calmly and minimize the amount of noise the horns made, but every time he did it like that Dave would practically jump out of his skin and it was kind of hilarious.

Yawning, Karkat reached up and shut the storageblock door, blocking out the light and finally taking those shades off.

Shifting around, he tried to get into a good position to sleep. Even though he’d gotten well used to not having a recuperacoon, it still felt wrong every time he tried. He supposed that would go away eventually as well, since he fucking doubted he’d see another one of those in his life. This species certainly didn’t seem to have any.

He knew his friends had promised that they’d come back and get him, but he was sure at this point that had been something to make not only him, but them feel better about this whole thing. Even if Feferi managed to dethrone the Condesce in his lifetime, he couldn’t imagine them still caring about him at that point. He gave it two sweeps, maybe three if he was lucky before they managed to forget about him for good.

He hadn’t meant to fall asleep on that note, but that was what happened.

---

Dave had managed to get rid of all of his more dangerous dark room junk and shut the closet door before Karkat had come back. When he did end up stumbling into the room, he’d barely given him a glance before making his way over to the closet and slamming down on those fucking horns.

He swore the bastard was doing it on purpose.

Karkat closed and door and seemed intent to sleep for a while. Dave figured he hadn’t slept at all last night and so yeah, sleeping now was probably a good idea.

Going about his day, it wasn’t until it had gotten dark that something caught his attention.

Dave had gotten so good at blocking out the strange sleep chittering Karkat did that it took him a while to notice that that sounds were much louder and panicked than normal. There were also much more bike horns going off than from his normal shifting around. Pausing his music, Dave glanced at the door, trying to focus and figure out just how bad was it.

He couldn’t tell if it was worse than the last time Karkat seemed to have a nightmare, but either way he stood up from his desk and walked to grab the tripod. It worked last time, he didn’t see any reason not to wake him up again.

Opening the closet door, Dave saw that he did indeed seem to be having another nightmare, and yeah it was definitely worse this time. Karkat was thrashing about on his pile of shitty horns and grumbling and yelping.

Gently as one could given the circumstances, Dave started prodding his shoulder with one of the tripod’s legs.

Karkat snapped something in his sleep, slashing out at the tripod with his claws. Dave didn’t bother pulling it back, letting Karkat’s hand slip off of it before pressing at him again. He decided that he shouldn’t immediately go poking at his face this time. Not only was one of the legs screwed up now so it wouldn’t stand right anymore, but he seemed pretty freaking upset.

“Hey man, time to wake up,” he said, hoping the noise would jog him out of it. Carefully, he used the tripod to pull the stuffed dragon away from his claws. He just thought it would be a bad idea to let him accidentally tear it to shreds in his sleep. He was kind of impressed that he hadn't ended up doing that already.

Karkat’s grumbles were starting to mix with whimpers and choked sobs and yep okay he needed to wake up like five minutes ago.

“Karkat dude it’s just a dream, wake up,” he said, starting to push at him a bit more roughly. The alien flipped away from him, nearly rolling completely off of his little pile and into the shit Dave had shoved into the back of the closet years ago. He continued to prod at Karkat, watching as the poor guy just seemed to curl in on himself.

“Come on bro,” he muttered, leaning down somewhat in order to get more on his level. Hesitantly he reached out and started shaking his shoulder with his hand instead of with a plastic rod. Probably not the best idea, but nothing seemed to be working. Karkat attempted to flinch away from him but Dave didn’t let go, instead just jostling him even more.

It finally seemed to snap him out of his sleep, the alien jolting away from him as he sat up. He still seemed to be in a bit of a panic and when Karkat spun around to face him, Dave tried to look as nonthreatening as possible.

“Sorry man, you didn’t exactly sound like you were having a good time,” he said softly. Karkat wasn’t wearing the shades, he must have taken them off to sleep. Dave could see weird, red tinted tears in the corners of his eyes that he quickly blinked away. The colored tears were pretty unnerving, since it made him think for a split second that his eyes were bleeding or some shit.

Karkat seemed to get a hold of himself after a moment. Dave watched as he huffed and snatched the dragon doll from where it had rolled near Dave’s feet. Letting the alien decide whether he wanted to head back to sleep he stood up and walked back over to his computer.

He could feel Karkat’s eyes following him, but he ignored it. The alien did that a lot to him, after all.

Plus, he figured he might need a bit to fully pull himself back together after whatever fucked up dream that had been.

After a few moments he could hear Karkat lazily make his way out of the horn pile. When he left the room, Dave wasn’t sure if it was for food or to watch more TV or to grab his little translator.

When the alien came back into the room a few moments later he could see that it was indeed for that last reason. When he held the item up to him this time Dave decided to just say something short and maybe easier for it to figure out. Being a difficult jackass right now wouldn’t help them any, after all.

“What’s up dude?” he said. From the irritated frown that instantly fell over Karkat’s face, he figured that hadn’t gone too well. He held it up to Dave again, always seeming to want to test it out a few times before giving up and putting it back by the TV.

“Still not working?” he asked this time. When Karkat played it back in his own language, he didn’t seem anywhere near as frazzled. Almost hesitantly he held the device up once again, and Dave hoped that if it started mangling his words less then maybe they could get somewhere.

Of course, he’d have to find a way to figure out how Karkat could talk back. Maybe they could set up some sort of English lesson with the translator as an interpreter so they could maybe expand out from just nouns.

“Sup, my name is Dave, but you already know that,” he said into the device. He seemed a bit confused at that, but nowhere near as much as he’d been in previous attempts. He nodded a bit before going to put the device back by the TV. It’d been running for several days now without being turned off, which was pretty impressive.

Karkat started writing after that, and Dave wondered what it was he was writing. Like, was it a diary or a book or what? What kind of book if it was one? What types of books do aliens write? Do they still have sci-fi featuring aliens? All he knew so far was that this one in particular enjoyed daytime dramas. Was he writing a soap opera? That would be fucking incredible.

Later that night Dave decided to put his translator induced English lesson to the test. Walking into the living room, he went and grabbed the device by the TV.

“Yo, Karkat,” he said as he came back into the room, getting the alien’s attention. A small frown appeared on his face at the sight of the translator, but he didn’t seem like he was going to rip it out of Dave’s hand, so he felt it was safe to continue forward and try it out. When he sat on the bed, Karkat closed the notebook and put it down next to him, turning his full attention on Dave.

“Hi,” was all he said, handing the thing to Karkat in order for him to get it to do the weird playback thing. When he listened to it he shot Dave an odd look. Oh come on, there was no way it managed to fuck that up.

“Hello,” he tried again, watching as Karkat rolled his eyes and replayed it back again. This time he didn’t look nearly as irritated.

“Hrro?” he muttered back.

“Heeelllo.”

“Herrro,” he said and Dave shook his head.

“No dude you’re saying hero, that’s a different word. It’s hellllllo,” he explained, Karkat huffing a trying one more time.

“Herrlo,” he said.

“Good enough,” he said, into the speaker this time so that maybe Karkat could get that. The alien actually seemed to smile the slightest bit when he listened to the translation. Alright, awesome, so maybe this could actually work.

“Okay, let’s try like, an introduction or something. That’s like, the first thing people usually learn, right? Alright. My name is,” he said, making sure to only say the last part into the translator. Karkat listened to it, nodding before looking back at Dave.

“My name is,” Dave repeated, not sure if he’d been able to get exactly which part of all that he was supposed to repeat.

“Mur n’me iiis,” he said back.

They continued like that for some time, Dave trying to figure out what things would be easiest and most efficient to teach him first. Yes and No were a must and went rather smoothly. Food, sleep, good, bad, me, you. He just hoped the translator was working right so he actually understood what it was Dave was trying to teach him.

Dave decided not to try much more than that right now, not wanting to give him too much at once and him starting to forget words and mixing them up and such. Once they were done Karkat went and put it back by the TV and then started back at his writing. Dave tried to stay awake for a bit longer, not wanting to have to kick Karkat out of his bed right away.

He ended up lasting about another hour before finally having to hit the hay. Karkat didn’t seem to mind, moving to the closet again without any sort of complaint. He knew the alien wouldn’t be getting to sleep anytime soon, having woken up only a few hours ago after having slept for most of the day. He was pretty sure Karkat was actually nocturnal or something.

It didn't matter much though. He was just glad they were starting to make some progress.

---

They were dying and it was his fault.

Karkat couldn’t process what was going on, it was too bright for him to see anything. He could barely even open his eyes, but he could hear them. Fuck, he could hear them screaming and panicking and there was nothing he could do!

He tried to run towards the sounds, tried yelling out for them. If he could just get to them maybe he could do something. Maybe he could stop being so fucking useless.

He wasn’t able to get two steps before falling on his face, feeling like he was tied down by thick ropes and held completely captive. A voice in his head manages to cut through the guttural cries of his friends.

It was his fault. They had been helping him and this is what happens to traitors who help filth like him.

“Stop, stop, stop, stop, please fuck make it stop,” he muttered through broken sobs, curling up as best he could.

Something started shaking him, and he tried to pull away from the touch, but they wouldn’t give. The more he tried to get away from them the harder the shaking was, until it felt like the whole world was rumbling around him.

Karkat’s eyes flew open and he leapt away from the thing holding onto him. It was only when he turned around and saw it was Dave did everything start to calm down.

It was a nightmare. Just another nightmare. Dave started speaking to him but Karkat was still too shaken up from the nightmare to even pretend to pay attention. It took a second for him to blink away tears and get his breathing back to normal and start to take in everything else around him. One of the first things he saw was Pyralspite, which had somehow managed to get much too close to the alien for Karkat’s liking. He quickly grabbed it before Dave could notice.

Dave got up after that and headed back over to his desk. Karkat stayed where he was for a moment, absently watching him and mainly just squeezing the doll and trying to calm the fuck down.

They were fine. There was no fucking way anyone would ever find out they’d help him. No one would ever know he even existed. It was just a fucked up dream, they were okay.

Putting the doll down, he needed something to distract himself with. Walking out of the block, he went and grabbed the translator. He needed this stupid thing to make some progress if he was ever going to be able to talk to Dave in a way that wasn’t infuriating and full of assumptions on both of their parts.

Holding it up to him, Dave actually said something that wasn’t excruciatingly long this time. When Karkat when to play it back, he wasn’t able to keep the irritation off of his face.

This is the way play boy.

The worse part about all this was that he had no fucking clue how close it was to what he was trying to say. Maybe the alien was just that stupid, or maybe he was fucking with him. Holding the device up again, he figured it wouldn’t hurt to try once more before putting it back.

It still does not work.

That one took Karkat by surprise, because it actually made sense if Dave was talking about the translator. He had no fucking idea how to say yes though. Or if yes was even the right answer anymore if it was starting to get the hang of this. He decided to try it one more time, just to make sure that wasn’t a fluke.

Food, Dave my name but you know.

Alright, it was still not perfect by a long shot, but it did seem to be improving. Karkat went and put the translator to listen to more, hoping that it could hurry up and start being more right than wrong here.

When he came back to Dave’s block he grabbed his notebook and decided to start writing. He just needed to keep his mind busy until he could forget about that shitty dream altogether.

His story was about a yellowblood psionic who was rescued by a highblood with pale feelings for him. The yellowblood’s feelings were anything but pale though, instead black for the highblood. In fact, he already had a moirail, a childhood friend jadeblood he’d been separated from when he was chosen to be a helmsman. Now, the highblood was helping him find his lost moirail despite their own conflicted feelings.

It was a pretty good basic plot, if he was to say so himself.

He’d been in the middle of reworking the scene where the yellow and highblood were nearly captured by imperial forces when Dave got his attention, holding up his translator. Karkat frowned at him but didn’t do anything else, letting Dave come onto the pad. Karkat just put his notebook down and decided to see what he was planning to do now.

He said something into the translator before handing it over to Karkat. When he hit the playback button, he frowned in annoyance.

Ointment.

Really now? Either he was fucking with him or this thing was still shit. Dave seemed to notice his irritation, saying something else into the translator this time. Karkat reluctantly played it back, much less annoyed at this one.

Good day.

Alright, was he trying to teach him how to greet people on this planet? He couldn’t see himself interacting with many of the inhabitants, but it wasn’t a bad thing to know, that was for sure.

“Hrro,” he tried, Dave repeating how it was supposed to sound like afterwards. It took him two more tries, but eventually Dave said something into the translator again.

Very good.

Karkat just managed to keep the small smile that threatened to come out down. He really wouldn’t have said that he’d said it ‘very good’ but at least it was enough for him.

Dave moved onto the next few words, and while Karkat was sure that the translator was far from exact, it was definitely helping. When Dave finally went to sleep Karkat was still trying to rehearse the few words in his head. Even if it was a bit butchered, if he could just start talking enough to get his point across it would be a godsend.

He really missed talking to people. It was so fucking isolating.

The next few days/nights seemed to get a bit of a routine. Karkat found himself ending up in the main block, watching television while Dave slept in the late night/early day. A few times the adult would appear while he was out there by himself and Karkat would end up scurrying back to Dave’s block, knife in hand.

Dave would come out to get something to eat after a while and usually sit with him and watch TV as he ate. Afterwards, Karkat would end up going to sleep, and when he woke up they would use the translator to try to teach Karkat a bit more 'English.'

After about a week of this, Karkat found himself opening the hungertrunk to get something to eat when he realized all of his food was gone. A lot of it had spoiled and they had to throw it away, this hungertrunk apparently not the correct temperature or some shit.

Alright. This was okay. This was a perfectly solvable problem and he was not going to freak the fuck out about it.

He headed back to Dave’s block, not about to just grab some random shit out of there and say ‘fuck it, maybe this won’t kill me.’ He was still asleep, but it was light out so it probably wouldn’t be too bad to wake him up.

He never would have tried to wake up another troll, but from what he’d seen this species did not get seem to get as aggressive. Dave had been smart enough to wake him up the times he had nightmares with a ‘tripud’ for the most part, so he decided to go with that. Picking up the weird stand, he started poking Dave with it.

The alien rolled away from him, curled up in a strange fabric cocoon and grumbling. Frowning, Karkat started jabbing at the back of his neck with the thing as he spoke.

“Dav. Dav,” he said, just repeating his name over and over again. He sounded like an irritating child but Dave needed to wake up now because this was a big problem that had to be solved immediately.

He wasn’t even that hungry but he did not want to end up poisoning himself. Feferi had mentioned there being something for food poisoning in his first aid kit but he’d still rather not go through that experience trying to find something that wouldn’t kill him.

Dave started mumbling something, eventually reaching back and pushing the pole away as he sat up. He said something to him, but the only word Karkat was able to piece out of it was his own name.

“Fud,” he said, trying his best to remember how to say the word for food. Dave stared at him for a moment before muttering something and pulling the blanket back over his head and lying down again.

“Dav! Fud!” he snapped, poking at the alien’s covered form until he sat up again. He was very clearly complaining, but he got out of his weird mat and started following Karkat to the kitchen.

“Bad,” Karkat managed, pointing at the hungertrunk and trying to get his point across. Dave opened it, looking around inside for a few moments before finally seeming to understand what the problem was. He started rambling off about something, but even if he had the translator it still wasn’t able to make heads or tails of what the alien was saying when he got like that.

“Dav. Fud,” he repeated, not sure what else to do. He waved away his concern, starting to grab a few things out of the hungertrunk. Karkat eyed the amount of items he grabbed. He wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to try more than one thing at a time. If he reacted wrong to one of them he wouldn’t be able to figure out which it was.

Dave also grabbed two slices of that weird pale grubloaf looking junk. When he opened up the plastic container of something that looked like sliced meat Karkat grabbed a piece, nibbling on it.

It had been a long as fuck time since he’d eaten meat that wasn’t dried, and the slight wetness of it combined with the odd not-quite-right taste made his face scrunch up slightly.

Dave chuckled at his reaction as he started spearing some white paste on the not-grubloaf. He rolled his eyes when Karkat stuck a finger into the paste to taste that as well and it was only then that Karkat realized Dave had forgotten to grab his shades when he’d come out here. He was wearing his own, it starting to become a habit to put them on before he left the respiteblock. He didn’t see Dave without them very much, and the filled in irises always surprised him.

The paste didn’t actually taste like much of anything, so he let him continue putting it on his food. If anything tasted outright horrible he wasn’t even going to attempt to eat it. The last thing he put on with the meat was some strange, square slices of… something. He pulled a corner off of one and it actually tasted pretty okay.

Dave handed him the strange concoction, and once Karkat took it he bent over in a deep bow. Karkat rolled his eyes at the gesture, trying his best to look as unamused as possible.

Dave started back to his block afterwards, and Karkat took the food and a cup of water into the main block. Even though he had tasted all of the food separately, he was still a bit hesitant to bite into the thing.

Eh, alright definitely not the best thing he’d ever had, but he had to admit that just having something different from the dried and canned food he’d been living off of for over half a sweep now was welcomed.

Dave came back out earlier than usual today, Karkat suspecting that he hadn’t been able to get fully asleep again after Karkat had woken him up for food. He came over eating a few slices of the not-grubloaf that looked like they’d been heated and had something smeared on them.

Was this really going to be his life from now on? It was strange and he’d been trying not to think about it, but there wasn’t anything else for him now, was there? He’d been exceptionally lucky that Dave was pretty much offering him a place to stay and protection for nothing in return.

He had no other options anyway. Holding out hope for his friends to come back and find him one day was a delusional fever dream. He was stuck here.

Karkat was knocked out of his thoughts by Dave calling his name. When he turned to look over the alien had a concerned expression on his face. Karkat frowned and grabbed one of the false grubloaf slices. Debating for a moment, he attempted to stuff it in Dave’s mouth, if just to get him to stop looking at him like that. It didn’t go very well, Dave fighting it and the thing just crumbling all over the alien’s face and Karkat’s hand.

Yeah, something needed to be done about Dave’s weird pale crush on him. He was so not interested. Plus, they were different god damn species and they could barely talk. Karkat still didn’t even know the proper words to turn him down! Which was pretty much the only reason he hadn’t already. There was just nothing about this that was going to work or that he’d even want to work. He was thankful for the help, but that was it.

The alien got up to go wash his face off and Karkat just rubbed his hand on the couch.

It was probably best not to think about any of this for the time being. Just keep taking it one pathetic alien night at a time.

That’s what he’d been doing, and it was working for him so far.

---

Dave was woken up by something prodding him in the stomach. He rolled over, groaning to himself and just hoping whatever it was would take a hint. When the thing started jabbing at his neck and saying his name over and over again he conceded to his fate and sat up, looking at Karkat sleepily.

He seemed have adjusted well over the past week or so. He still had nightmares and such, and Dave kind of wished he could ask what those were about, but he seemed to slowly be getting more comfortable. When Dave glanced at his hand, he saw he’d been poking him with his tripod. Okay, maybe he deserved this with how often he woke Karkat up with the thing.

“Fud,” he said, and it took Dave a moment to realize he was asking for food.

“Go get it yourself man, why’d you have to wake me for that,” he muttered, covering himself back up with his blanket. That did not go over well with Karkat, who started prodding him relentlessly. Groaning, he threw the blanket off of him and figured that the sooner he got the guy his food the sooner he could go back to sleep.

“The things I do for you. You better be grateful,” he mumbled, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.

When they entered the kitchen, he could see that it was seven in the freaking morning and almost felt like snapping at Karkat for waking him up so early. He was pretty sure the guy was still confused about how time worked on earth though so he ultimately held himself back.

“Bad,” Karkat told him as he pointed towards the fridge. Opening it, he looked around to see which of Karkat’s food had gone bad this time, and why the fuck he’d need Dave to throw it out instead of just doing it himself. It took a few seconds of scanning the insides to realize what the actual problem was.

“Well shit man. Okay yeah I guess I get why you woke me up now. Well then, looks like you’re going to have to start experimenting here. A whole new fucking world of flavor, literally in this case. Sorry we don’t have the highest caliber of earth cuisine, you’re going to have to deal with the basics here,” he rambled.

“Dav. Fud,” Karkat told him again, and Dave waved him away as he started pulling some lunch meat and cheese out of the fridge, along with a jar of mayonnaise.

“Don’t worry dude I got you,” he said, putting the stuff down on the counter before getting some bread as well. He started putting a sandwich together for him, figuring since he’d been awake for a while now it was okay that he wasn’t giving him breakfast food.

Karkat kept nabbing pieces of food as he put the thing together, some of his reactions pretty amusing. Once he finished the sandwich he handed it over, taking a large bow afterwards. Karkat didn’t seem very amused, but Dave was so that was all that mattered.

He headed back to his room to try to sleep for a few more hours after putting everything away again. Hopefully Karkat had been paying enough attention to be able to make his own food while Dave was sleeping. Maybe he would show him where a few other things were later today so that he wouldn’t have to be living solely on sandwiches. It sounded better than what he’d been eating, but still. Options were always a good thing.

Dave didn’t end up sleeping for as long as he would have liked, coming back out maybe two hours later. Making some toast, he sat down next to Karkat like he usually did. He wouldn’t admit it, but he was starting to get a bit wrapped up in the soap opera Karkat liked to watch. It was a bit too early for it to be on now, instead just a rerun of Judge Judy.

When he glanced over, Karkat’s face seemed pensive. It was obvious he wasn’t focusing on the show and there was a strange sadness in his posture. Dave hesitated a moment, not entirely sure if he should do anything. He still wasn’t all that there on the comforting people train.

“Karkat?” he asked after a moment, just to see what he would do. The alien looked at him for a moment before grabbing a slice of his toast and shoving it in his face for absolutely no god damn reason. Dave tried to push his hand away, not doing a very good job and ending up with crumbs and butter smeared all over his face.

Karkat seemed to be in a better mood though.

“Dang it man what the hell? I gotta wash this shit off, butter’s gonna make me break out or something. How could you do this to my beautiful face?” he rambled jokingly, standing up and heading to the bathroom to wipe everything off.

Once he’d cleaned his face, Dave stopped before heading back to the living room. Karkat would probably be out there for at least another hour, and there was something he’d wanted to check out for a while now.

Heading to his room instead, he shut the door before walking as silently as he could over to the closet. The door was opened already, so he didn’t have to deal with opening it and having the horns fall out and make noise. Scanning the pile, it took him a moment to spot the item he’d noticed when Karkat was first bringing everything back.

Picking it up while trying to disturb everything else as little as possible, Dave carefully looked over the skull. It seemed real, a pretty decent weight with orange horns curving outward. The rest of the bones were white, and it still seemed to have most of its teeth. Jesus fuck these things have a lot of teeth.

Flipping it over in his hands, he took a look of the bottom of it. He didn’t know much about bones, but there was definitely something weirdly inhuman about all of this. Everything was off from how it would be on a human skull. Eye holes too large, bones too thick, those sorts of things.

Glancing back at the door, Dave figured it’d probably be a good idea to put the thing back before he got caught. He didn’t think Karkat would come back any time soon though, and he wondered if maybe he could take a look at anything else while he was distracted.

Placing the skull down where he’d grabbed it from, his eyes fell on the sketchbook-looking thing that Karkat had bitten him over. That was probably the worst thing he could grab, at least from personal experience, besides maybe the dragon doll since he seemed fucking glued to that thing at times.

He picked up the book.

Opening to the first page, he couldn’t help but be surprised. Did Karkat draw this? He’d seen him trying to draw before so he really fucking doubted it.

The first picture was of a creature similar to Karkat, but it was definitely not him. First of all he was pretty sure it was a girl. If aliens could like, be girls or boys. He should probably try to ask Karkat about that some time.

Focusing on the picture again, her horns were a lot sharper than Karkat's and so were her teeth and just everything about her. She was wearing bright red glasses and it looked like she was laughing.

The next one was of a boy this time, but he had four sharp little horns. He was sitting at some weird alien-computer-thing and looked irritated.

Turning the page was another girl. One of her horns was hooked. She was smiling softly and sewing something.

Did Karkat know these people? They all looked to be around his age. As he continued to flip through the book he noticed just how many there seemed to be. He was starting to think that it was just a whole bunch of random ass alien people until he started realizing it was definitely a certain group, just a large one.

Two of them had these weird fins on their faces. One was a girl who wore a lot of jewelry and another was a boy who also wore a lot of jewelry but also a cape and a scarf for some reason.

There was a kid with huge fucking horns that was playing with some of those cards Karkat had and had a miniature winged bull with him. Which was definitely something.

There was a girl with an eyepatch and a feel about her that just screamed trouble. She seemed to purposefully be posing in the most dramatic way possible.

A kind looking girl with ram horns holding the skull Karkat had so goddamn proudly. Dave would be lying if he didn’t kind of want to meet her.

There was a really fucking hilarious looking dude. His hair was wild, going every which way. If his horns weren’t as tall as they were they would have been completely lost in the chaos. His face had weird markings on it that made him look like a clown and he had the dopiest smile.

A guy with long hair and a horns that looked like it’d been broken off was hunched over some metal contraption with a frown of concentration on his face and cracked glasses. He was also in another picture, this time with a much smaller girl with horns similar to Karkat’s, but larger and a bit more pointed on top. She was smiling with an arm wrapped around the guy’s neck and an arm reaching out like she was taking a picture. The dude did not look amused in the slightest.

There were a bunch of pictures of all these kids interacting and hanging out. A lot of them had pictures of them holding one of the things Karkat now had. He guessed they were gifts from all of them. He knew for certain when he saw a picture of the sharp girl with red glasses holding the dragon doll.

Dave had gotten so caught up in looking the pictures over that he didn’t hear anyone coming until the sound of the door opening alerted him. He dropped the book like it was on fire, spinning towards the door because fuck Karkat was supposed to be watching TV.

The alien just stared at him for a moment, confusion on his face clearly not understanding what was Dave was freaking out about. His gaze dropped to the floor and Dave felt his heart stop when his whole body went rigid.

He wasn’t able to move before Karkat was right in front of him, yelling in his alien language and pushing him back, claws tearing through his shirt and nicking his skin. Dave just tried to back up and get out of his range, which was not going very well. He was not about to start fighting back though, not wanting to rile Karkat up any more than he already was.

Plus, he could admit that he kind of deserved it.

Karkat continued to pound on Dave’s arms and chest with his fists, yelling at him until his words started to get interrupted by small hiccups, red-tinted tears starting to run down his cheeks.

Oh fuck.

Before he could even think about trying to figure out how to fix this or why he was crying why the fuck was he crying Karkat spun away from him, bending over and snatching the book off of the ground. Dave just watched as the alien stomped over to the closet before fucking slamming the door and from the sound of it collapsing into the horn pile.

Dave stood stock still in the center of his room for several minutes, just taking in the whirlwind that was a pissed off Karkat. After a bit he ran a hand through his hair, sighing deeply.

He’d really fucked up this time.

Chapter Text

Karkat wasn’t sure where Dave had gotten off to. He’d assumed he went to go clean his hands and face off, but that had been a little while ago now. The weird legislancerator show had went to marketing propaganda and Karkat decided to go see if Dave was actually mad about the whole shoving food in his face thing. He didn’t seem like he was when he left, but Dave usually said something before going to his block for good.

He didn’t know what he said, but he said something.

When he opened the door, Dave jumped to face him, something dropping from his hands. Well that wasn’t a suspicious reaction at all. It could almost be amusing. Looking down to see what he dropped, Karkat felt his blood run cold at the sight of his sketchbook lying on the ground, still open.

“You motherfucker!” he yelled, rage welling up inside of him. Running over, he pushed Dave away from his book, resisting the urge to fucking tear into him. Karkat just barely managed to keep his hands in fists so he didn’t start clawing the alien to shreds. He could still feel himself tearing at the alien's skin, and frankly he didn't care if he hurt him.

“How fucking dare you?! That’s not for you, you colossal, indescribable douchebag! Don’t you ever lay a single filthy touchstub on it again! You don’t understand how important it is! You don’t! Just fuck you! Fuck you!” he yelled, continuing to hit Dave and scratch up his arms.

A hiccupped sob managed to choke its way out of him, pissing Karkat off even more. He was angry, why the fuck did he feel like crying again? Dave seemed even more freaked out by this and just fuck all of this. Turning away from the alien, Karkat snatched his book up before running into the storage block and slamming the door.

He collapsed onto the horn pile and tried to make his breathing calmer but it wasn’t listening to him. His hands were shaking as he held tight as fuck onto the book and he didn’t even know why he was so fucking pissed it was to the point of crying.

He didn’t want anyone touching his shit. That was normal. It was his and it was important and Dave didn’t understand just how important. This was all he had left of them. It was the only way he’d ever be able to see them again. It was so fucking important. Too important to risk anyone screwing it up.

He knew they would all forget about him eventually but he didn’t want to forget them.

Karkat wasn’t able to keep himself from crying, curling as far up in his pile as he could. He felt so god damn pathetic. He knew it hadn’t been long. He hadn’t even been on this planet for a perigee. He just wished he could get over all of this already.

It was absolutely fucking terrifying to think he might never get passed this. That he might be miserable for the rest of his life, however long that would be. He didn’t know anymore. Everything was so uncertain here. He could die tomorrow or he could die ten sweeps from now.

Karkat swore he never slept this much back on Alternia. He hadn’t cried this much either though, so he supposed that might be a factor. When he woke up, he moved to look through the slit at the bottom of the door. He couldn’t actually see anything, but it seemed like the light out there was dim, so he figured the sun had gone down by now. He wasn’t sure when the shades had fallen off, probably some time when he’d been sleeping. He didn’t remember ever bothering to take them off, at least.

He was hungry but he sure as hell didn’t want to go out and have to face Dave right now. He was still fucking pissed. That douche needed to know that he couldn’t just go through his stuff without permission. He already let him know once that he shouldn’t be touching his shit.

There was also the fact that he was sort of terrified to go out there now.

Dave might be angry about how he reacted. Karkat had been lucky so far that he was letting him stay but there was no telling if Dave would throw him out the next time he saw him. Fuck, he wouldn’t even blame him. He knew he’d been hitting him pretty hard, and it seemed like this species skin was really fucking thin. He’d been scratching him too and he’d been in too much of a rage to remember if any of it had been too deep.

Oh god he’d fucked this up so badly. He didn’t have anywhere to go and Dave was probably tired of his bullshit by now. Karkat wondered why he didn’t have his adult-alien-maybe-lusus-thing grab him and throw him out already.

Or you know, just kill him. That always seemed to be a popular option.

The sound of something lightly knocking on the door caused Karkat to flinch. He didn’t dare move to answer it. If they wanted to get to him they’d have to do it the hard way.

“Karkat?” Dave called through the door. He didn’t sound mad, but it could be a trick or something. Karkat stayed silent, not daring to move and possibly set a horn off letting him know he was awake. Dave was speaking now and Karkat could hear him placing something on the ground by the door before walking away again.

Karkat waited at least an hour before finally opening the door the smallest crack and peeking his head out.

There was a plate of some sort of cooked meat and a fruitliquid box well within arm’s reach. Karkat reached out and grabbed the two things before shutting the door again as quickly as he could. He didn’t bother looking around to see if Dave had noticed him.

Eating the cold meat, it was covered in some crispy coating that wasn’t half bad, although it was all a bit too cooked and dried for his liking, but he was not about to complain. The bones were still pretty good, if a little brittle.

Okay, so maybe Dave wasn’t about to kick him out. There was no need to feed him if he was planning on that, since it would be a lot easier to not give him anything and wait until he was hungry enough to come out on his own and then grab him. He could see it being used as a trap, but nothing had happened when he reached out.

He still had no fucking idea why Dave was being so lenient and patient with him.

Even though the threat of Dave throwing him out or killing him was lessened, Karkat still didn’t have any desire to leave the closet for a while. Just a couple of nights to get himself calmed down and not likely to flip into a frothing rage the next time he sees Dave.

Shifting slightly, he searched around for wherever he’d dropped the sketchbook when he fell asleep. Finding it in about the same place his shades had ended up, he pulled the book into his lap. He hadn’t actually looked through it in quite a while now, at least not since he landed on this planet. Opening it, he started flipping through the pages.

Just like every time before Karkat found it hard getting through the book. It wasn’t that he didn’t like the pictures or anything. He loved them. It just made his chest hurt and his ganderbulbs sting and reminded him that this feeling was probably never going to go away. Reminded him that he was completely and utterly alone out here.

He wondered how much Dave had managed to see before he caught him. He’d been gone for a while before Karkat had come investigating. It was possible that Dave had managed to get through the whole book if he wanted to.

Karkat was just thankful that he wasn’t able to read Alternian. Seeing the pictures was bad enough, but those notes had been for him.

He fucking hated that Dave had seen these. He hated that the alien kept trying to help him when there was no fucking way he could ever understand how he felt. Karkat didn’t want to be here and he was hurt and lost and it was so fucking hard acting like everything was alright when he just wanted to go home.

Putting the book away, he knew he’d only start to tear again up if he looked at it for any longer.

He wasn’t in the mood to do anything. That had happened often on the ship, and it was torture every time. He couldn’t sleep and he couldn’t read or write or play fiduspawn or do anything but sit there and think about things he’d already gone over a million different times.

What if his friends never found out? Would have just accepting his fate been a better option? What if they’d come up with a different plan and he didn’t have to leave? What if he could see them again? What if, what if, what if.

None of it actually mattered.

All he really could do was wait the mood out and try to go back to sleep.

---

Dave decided it would be best to leave Karkat alone until he chose to come back out on his own. Pushing the guy did not seem like a good idea right now. In fact, it seemed like a very bad idea. Dave knew he was walking on thin ice with him at the moment, and he didn’t want to manage to fuck up any more than he already had. If he ended up making Karkat run off there was no way it wouldn’t end badly.

He could easily see Karkat running off and getting hurt or attacked or killed because he had no fucking clue what anything was. He wasn’t about to let that happen.

Changing his shirt into something that was less torn up, Dave cleaned up the cuts along his arms. None of them were actually that bad, but it was something to do while he tried to keep himself from panicking on how much he might have just fucked up.

He just hadn’t realized how personal that book was. He knew Karkat hadn’t wanted him to look at it before, but he thought that might have been because they still hadn’t known anything about each other then. It wasn’t that he didn’t think Karkat wouldn’t be mad if he found out, but he had no idea he’d end up in that teary eyed rage.

Finished bandaging himself, Dave wasn’t sure if he even wanted to go back in his room. He knew Karkat had locked himself in the closet, but he still felt like he should give him some space. Being right outside where he was didn’t seem like a lot of space.

He ended up watching that dumb soap opera, recording it so that Karkat could see it later. After all he had to at least try to make all of this up to him somehow.

He was really starting to like the poor guy. Karkat tried to give off a vibe of this huge threatening creature with all the growling and yelling he did when really he was just like this scared, cornered animal most of the time.

Well no, that wasn't quite right. Most of the time Karkat was like an irritated and sort of sad teenager.

Either way, the fact of the matter was that Dave was getting annoyingly attached to him and he felt sort of like a sack of shit for upsetting him like this. What had actually been in that sketchbook only made it worse, because he had no doubt that those were some really good friends from where he came from and Karkat was probably homesick as fuck.

The next word Dave had to teach him was going to be sorry.

After a few hours of busying himself with nothing around the house Dave made his way back into his room. Karkat was still locked in the closet, but he couldn’t hear any crying, so he either had calmed down enough to stop at this point or had fallen to sleep. Either way, Dave tried to be quiet as he made his way over to his computer.

turntechGodhead started pestering ectoBiologist at 2:36pm

TG: karkats pissed off at me again
EB: what did you do this time?
TG: well damn thanks for assuming the best of me
TG: always know i can count on you man
EB: you’re the one who said he was mad.
EB: you weren’t really defending yourself from the start dude.
TG: true
TG: and yeah i kind of deserve it
TG: i looked through a super personal sketchbook full of pictures of his friends from his alien world and he caught me
EB: dave!
EB: what the hell?
EB: why would you do that?
TG: i know okay it sounds really fucking stupid
TG: it seemed like a good idea at the time
EB: how in the world does that ever seem like a good idea?
TG: i didnt know what was actually inside of it
TG: i just wanted to look at the really fucking cool alien skull he had and got carried away i guess
EB: where’s he now?
TG: locked himself in the closet again
EB: you need to apologize
TG: i will dont worry
TG: im just gonna
TG: you know
TG: give him some space first
EB: hehehe
TG: what
EB: you’re going to give him some
EB: space.
TG: oh goddamn it
TG dude now is not the time for shitty alien puns
EB: you were the one who said it
EB: but i guess letting him cool down a little is a good idea for now.
EB: i’m not sure what else you can do though
TG: me either
TG: i dont want to push him or anything but i want to make it up to him
EB: maybe you can do something cool for him once he comes out again
EB: i’m not sure what an alien would find cool though
TG: same dude
TG: i mean he seems to like to write and he likes soap operas and the word sponge
EB: what?
EB: why the word sponge?
TG: i dont know that one for sure actually
TG: it was one of the first words i taught him and he really can’t pronounce it all that well
TG: or like at all
TG: actually he got pretty annoyed and tried to shove the sponge into my mouth but he was laughing a little so i donno
EB: dave that is really cute.
TG: yeah i guess
EB: i’m not sure how you’d do anything with that though.
EB: you don’t know anything else besides those things?
TG: i donno man its still hard with the whole language barrier and he doesnt exactly have a lot of things either
TG: and all of them seem to be presents from friends now
EB: maybe you can ask him what he’d want
TG: dude how many times do i have to tell you we can’t talk to each other like that
EB: bluh!
EB: that’s so annoying!
TG: youre telling me
EB: maybe you can try anyway.
EB: with that translator and stuff
TG: yeah i guess it wouldnt hurt
EB: yeah, just let him decide what he wants.
EB: so, what was the book like?
TG: it was full of these really good drawling of more aliens
TG: like i said im pretty sure theyre his friends
TG: they all looked pretty cool
EB: that’s so awesome.
EB: even though you really shouldn’t have looked.
TG: it seemed like he had a lot of friends
TG: i wonder why he left
EB: i don’t know.
EB: you don’t think it was some sort of mission?
TG: no
TG: hes not here on some planet conquering scouting mission i can tell you that
TG: the only thing i can think of is that he got lost but even that doesnt make complete sense
TG: since he hasnt even tried to go back to his ship and get it up and running again
EB: maybe he was running away?
EB: or exiled?
TG: why would someone do that
TG: what the hell could he have done to deserve being fucking exiled hes a fucking marshmallow
TG: when hes not like
TG: attacking bro
EB: i don’t know but i’m not sure why else he’d run away.
TG: yeah me either
TG: but theres not really anything for me to do besides wait for him to calm down for now
EB: yeah, hope it doesn’t take too long
TG: thanks
TG: i think im gonna go grab some food or something
TG: maybe i can get him to come out to eat
EB: alright, good luck!
turntechGodhead ceased pestering ectoBiologist at 3:01pm

Dave grabbed him wallet before heading out of his room. He hadn’t gone out much since he found Karkat (not that he was ever out and about that much beforehand anyway but whatever) and so it was probably good to go out if just for that reason.

He was about halfway to the KFC when he found himself passing a shopping center. Maybe he could get something for him to make up for everything? He had no fucking clue what Karkat would like, but he didn’t have much to do to begin with. At the very least, it’d make Dave feel better than not doing anything.

Dave found himself wandering around the toy section of Walmart. It was hard picking out things that didn’t seem super childish and that he’d think Karkat would like. He hadn’t seemed to appreciate the Rubik’s cube very much.

After much consideration he ended up grabbing a packet of Lincoln Logs (because those things were awesome) Jenga, and some animal themed puzzles.

Once he was finished with that he got a bucket of KFC chicken. From Karkat’s teeth he guessed his species ate mostly meat, so hopefully he’d like it.

Setting the bag of toys on his desk for whenever Karkat was willing to come out he started to eat some of the chicken. Dave wasn’t sure if he should offer some to him or wait until he came out himself.

It wasn’t until it was starting to get late (like 9:30ish) and Dave knew that Karkat hadn’t eaten all day did he finally give in. Steeling himself, he knocked on the door gently, not wanting to startle Karkat if he hadn’t heard him coming over. He was holding a plate of the chicken and had a juice box shoved in his elbow.

There was silence, and Dave didn’t know if he didn’t hear him or if he was ignoring him instead.

“Karkat?” he tried, not expecting anything. When he didn’t hear any shifting or show that he was going to open the door, Dave sighed, leaning down and putting the plate and drink by the entrance.

“Well, I’ll just leave this here then,” he muttered, walking back over to his desk afterwards. It wasn’t until over an hour later Dave that heard muffled horns honking and the closet door creaking open ever so slightly. He didn’t bother to turn around, afraid he might make him hide away again. It didn’t seem to matter, within a few seconds he could hear the door closing again.

When he turned around the chicken and juice were gone. He supposed at the very least that was a good thing. He wasn’t going to starve or anything.

After that Dave couldn’t decide if he should stay up late to try to see Karkat if he came out when he was feeling better. He ended up sitting in bed, playing games on his phone until late before finally passing out.

When he woke up the next morning, the closet door was still closed. Walking out into the living room, Karkat wasn’t there, so he was probably still locked away. Dave went and grabbed a couple of pieces left over chicken from last night out of the fridge, heading back to his room and knocking on the door again.

“Hey, Karkat? Figured you’re probably hungry and shit so I brought you some food,” he said, still not receiving any sort of answer. God damn, seems like the dude can hold a grudge. Dave put the food down on the floor before heading back to the kitchen to grab something for himself as well. When he returned the plate was gone and an empty one plus the now crumpled juice box from last night had replaced it.

Dave picked the trash up before he forget about it and threw it into the little trashcan under his desk.

It was about noon now, and when Karkat had yet to come out at six at night Dave found himself knocking on his closet door with a plate of food and drink in his hands once again. Bro had brought home pizza for dinner so he had three slices on a plate since Karkat hadn’t eaten since that chicken this morning.

There was still no answer, and Dave was starting to get a little frustrated. Leaving the plate on the floor he went back to his desk. Fifteen minutes later he heard the closet door open and close and turning around the food was replaced with Karkat’s trash from earlier again. Dave decided to leave it there for now. He’d pick it up next time he went to the bathroom or something.

Rose was online and he really needed to complain to someone.

turntechGodhead started pestering tentacleTherapist at 6:23pm

TG: damn it rose i dont know what to do
TG: i cant apologize if he wont come out
TT: He’s still upset about your little stunt yesterday?
TG: yeah
TG: he wont say anything when i knock and he hasnt come out
TG: he just takes the food i leave at the door and nothing else
TT: It seems like you’ve really hit a nerve with that book of his.
TT: I’d suggest continuing to give him some time.
TG: how do i know if hes okay if he wont talk though
TT: You said he’s taking the food you leave.
TT: That’s plenty of proof that he’s still alive Dave.
TG: i know hes alive
TG: thats not the point
TT: Then what is the point?
TG: i dont know
TG: he wont come out and its annoying
TT: It sounds like you’re worried about him.
TG: well yeah
TG: im pretty much responsible for him and i fucked up
TG: what do
TT: What do indeed.
TG: rose
TT: Just give him time Dave.
TT: We don’t have any idea what he’s been through before you found him.
TT: If I had to guess, I’d imagine whatever this is, it’s bigger than you simply looking through a private book without permission.
TG: alright fine
TG: ill give him a few more days
TT: And if he doesn’t come out in that time?
TG: im gonna complain to you about it some more
TG: duh
TT: Of course.

Dave sighed and glanced over at the silent closet. Rose was right, he just needed to let Karkat work through this on his own. He’d probably fuck it up even more if he tried anything. There was no way for him to make it worse by not doing anything.

Karkat couldn’t stay in there forever, after all.

---

Karkat was going to stay in here forever.

At least, that’s what he was telling himself as he ate some more of that weird meat Dave put by the door. He left the plate from last night out there for him, not wanting to keep it in here and junk up the small block any more than it already was.

When he finished eating Karkat shifted a tad, trying to get into a comfortable position. The pile was fine, but after sitting in it for too long it always started digging painfully into his no matter which way he moved. Eventually he ended up moving off of the horns and into a small space underneath a table that was shoved in the corner. He wasn’t sure why there was a table in here, but of all the things an alien could do that wasn’t too odd.

He was bored, but he was still certain he wasn’t going to leave this block for another sweep at the very least. It wouldn’t be any worse than what he’d already lived with, after all. He had fucking nothing to do, yes, but that wasn’t anything new.

Karkat tried to sleep but he’d been doing it so much he couldn’t anymore. He wasn’t sure how much later it was when Dave knocked on the door again, but he continued to ignore him.

He was still mad at him.

He didn’t wait nearly as long this time to grab the food, even though he could hear that Dave was still in the room. This time when he peaked out he chanced a quick glance at the alien. Dave was stilling at his weird husktop and didn’t seem bothered to turn around. Karkat quickly shut himself back inside, not wanting to chance anything.

He had no fucking clue what he would be chancing though. Dave trying to talk to him again? He didn’t particularly want to deal with that right now. He didn’t think he’d do anything else though, truthfully.

Karkat turned his attention to the food in his hands. It was very odd looking. Triangle shaped and red and white on top. Sniffing it first, he took a cautious bite, face scrunching up at the strange taste. It wasn’t particularly bad though, just nothing like anything he'd ever had before.

Several hours later Karkat could hear Dave moving about the room. It wasn’t long before he seemed to settle down and the small amount of light that had been leaking through the crack in the door shut off.

Hours later and Karkat was starting to get antsy. He at least had room on the ship to get up and walk around when he would get like this. He wondered if Dave was asleep yet.

He was making a point though, and if he came crawling out after two nights Dave wouldn’t learn anything.

He was pretty fucking sure Dave got the point from the way he pretty much attacked him, but that was beside the point. He knew he was just being childish and stubborn deep down, but he didn't care.

He was bored though. So fucking bored he wanted to pull his hair out. He didn’t want to read and he didn’t want to write he just didn’t want to be sitting around alone anymore.

Maybe he’d accidentally latched onto the companionship Dave offered more than he thought.

Moving lightly as not to set off any of the horns, Karkat made his way over to the door. He just needed to stretch his legs. He’d be back in his block before Dave woke up and could realized anything was amiss.

Opening the door a crack, he peeked out first to make sure Dave was asleep. It certainly looked that way, so he took a small step out. Watching the platform, Karkat didn’t see him make any sign of noticing his movement and crept the rest of the way out. Pausing for a moment, Karkat made his way towards Dave instead of straight out of the room. He still couldn’t quite get over just how fucking bizarre this species looked. Even after seeing all the different traits they could have from the ones on TV, it was a little surreal.

Karkat found himself studying the sleeping form for longer than he meant to. He didn’t know why Dave was so trusting. Karkat could actually see where the veins were in his arms and neck. He could easily kill him right now. Just reach over and rip out his throat or some shit. He never would do something that fucked up, but Dave had no way of knowing that.

Maybe this species wasn’t as violent. It would make sense with their apparent lack of any natural weapons. This planet was so close to the edge of the empire. If the Condesce ever found this place she could easily wipe the whole species out. He probably wouldn’t even be noticed in it all, just killed along with everything else.

He trusted that his friends were smart enough to not send him in the direction the Condesce was currently expanding, but that didn’t completely eliminate the possibility.

Beginning to feel restless again, Karkat started out of the room. The adult wasn’t out here thankfully, but Karkat made his way to the nutritionblock to grab a knife anyway. He’d forgotten his in Dave’s block and didn’t feel like heading back to get it.

Decent weapon in hand, he went back to the mainblock. He’d figured out how to turn the television on a while ago, and decided to try to watch something. He hadn’t tried to make sense of any of the shows on at this time of night, and watching it now just seemed to be a bunch of marketing propaganda.

It was probably because this was a diurnal species, no one was awake this late to watch anything. Karkat huffed, flopping down along the couch.

He needed to do something. He needed to move around he was going fucking stir crazy. It probably hadn’t been a good idea to lock himself away like that after experiencing a bit a freedom.

Karkat found his mind drifting to his ship. He wondered if it was still there. Maybe it had been a bad idea leaving it like that. Sollux and everyone had worked so fucking hard on it, he didn’t want some random ass alien species to wreak it.

He tried to fight back to urge to go check on it. That would be a dumb as fuck idea. He could get caught and fucking killed. It was just a hunk of junk at this point, his friends wouldn’t care what happened to it as long as he was safe.

There wouldn’t be enough energy to get him back home. He wouldn’t even know how to start it up if there was.

Despite the rational part of his mind screaming at him to keep his ass put and head back to Dave’s block before he did anything stupid, Karkat pushed himself off of the couch and started towards the main door.

It was late. No one would see him. He’d just check to see if it was still there and then head right back. No one would ever know.

Karkat was just as quiet exiting the hive as he was creeping out of the storageblock. He quickly started in the direction he remembered the ship was in, keeping his eyes out for any sign of movement around him. The only things he saw were a few small scalebeasts scurrying around the dirt every so often, much to his relief.

He’d forgotten just how long it took to get to the ship. It was still dark out when he could finally see it sticking out of the ground in the distance, but he didn’t know how much longer it would stay like that.

This wasn’t a good idea. He needed to head back to Dave’s hive.

Instead of doing that he crossed the final stretch to his ship, carefully looking around the outside before heading in. It didn’t seem like anyone else had been here since he and Dave had, much to his relief.

Walking down the corridor to the main room, Karkat couldn’t help but feel at ease at the familiarity of it all. It wasn’t even that he’d spent so long in here, although that certainly helped. Everything on this planet was so distinctly alien, being back in something purely Alternian felt so fucking great right now.

Pulling the chair they’d left over to the control panel, he began reading over all of the little labels and buttons. He’d done so a million times before, but during the trip he’d been too worried about fucking anything up to mess with it.

Now though, he was finding it hard to care about that.

No matter what he did, he was going to be miserable. If he spent the rest of his life on this planet he’d always be in hiding, alone and fucking terrified of being caught. It was no different from being back on Alternia. At least if he was back home, he could have spent the last of his life with people he actually cared about. It wouldn’t be this prolonged agony. If he had stayed, at least he could have walked to his death with some fucking dignity instead of running away in tears like a god damn wiggler.

Karkat could feel his eyes starting to water, and with that rage building up in his chest. This whole fucking thing was a mistake. They had meant well but he was worse off than he’d ever been before. He should have died back on Alternia. If he had any backbone at all he would have.

Before he could realize what he was doing Karkat slammed a fist into the control panel. He found himself repeating the motion again with both hands and again and again when it didn’t leave any marks. After several hits buttons started flying off and getting jammed, but he didn’t stop. He hadn’t even realized when he started crying as he swiped at a lever, pulling it out of the mainframe with a yell.

Karkat slumped to the ground, a small sob hiccuping out despite his best attempts at keeping it back. His hands were completely covered in small cuts and scrapes and the area around him was littered with bits of metal and plastic. He didn’t even need to raise his head to know that the panel in front of him was completely ruined.

Sinking forward on his knees, Karkat wished he could just stop crying. He hated how weak he was and he hated how his constant fucking sobbing showed that.

When he finally managed to get a hold of himself, he could see light streaming in from the small window. The realization hit him like a punch to the face. Fuck, fuck, fuck, he couldn’t head back out now. He could be seen. He could be caught and killed. He had to stay here until night and hope beyond hope that today wasn’t the day some alien jackass found him ship.

He hadn’t even bothered to put the shades Dave had gotten him on before he left. He could already feel the light starting to sting his eyes. It didn’t help that they were sore from all of that crying just now either.

Pushing himself up, he went over to the storage block where he’d kept all of the clothes, shutting the door behind him. There weren’t any windows back there, so it was nice and dark. Plus, if any aliens came in, maybe he could hide until they left.

It was a dumb as fuck hope, but he was going to hold onto it none the less. He didn’t have much else, after all.

It was better than hoping he was caught and killed.

Just how close he was to wanting that scared the fuck out of him.

---

When Dave woke up the next morning the closet door was still shut. He wasn’t sure what else he was expecting with that. Pushing himself out of bed, he made his way into the kitchen to get himself and Karkat something to eat.

They had eggs, so he decided to scramble some. He wasn't a very good cook, but he could at least do that. He wondered what Karkat thought of the pizza from last night. Dave was a bit disappointed that he didn’t get to see his reaction to it, since sometimes they were pretty damn hilarious. So far it didn’t seem like there was anything he outright hated though, so that was a good thing.

Finishing up his eggs he grabbed the last juicebox for Karkat and poured himself some pink lemonade. It was a bit difficult balancing everything on the way back to his room, but he managed it.

Putting his stuff down on the desk first, he walked over to the closet. Bracing himself to be ignored (but really fucking hoping Karkat would just open the door already. Every day that went by just made him feel shittier and shittier) Dave knocked on the door. After a few moments there was no reply, and he sighed and placed the plate and juicebox on the floor.

“Karkat, got you food,” he said simply before walking back to his desk. Eating his own eggs, he kept glancing back at the door every so often, hoping he might be able to get a peek at Karkat when he reached out to get his breakfast.

After an hour the food was still sitting on the floor, and Dave was starting to get an uneasy feeling in his stomach. Karkat had taken a while to take it the first time, but since then he’d been pretty quick. He was sure he wasn’t sleeping either, since he wasn’t making any of those chirps and clicks he always did.

Even when he was awake he wasn’t this quiet, setting off a horn every ten minutes or so when he shifted around. Dave hadn't heard a single horn go off since he woke up, and that was just wrong. Pushing himself out of his chair, Dave made his way back over to the closet.

“Karkat?” he asked as he knocked again. He knew Rose said to give him some space, but something felt fucking wrong. It was just way too quiet in here.

There was no answer, and Dave could feel something twisting in his gut as he started banging louder against the door.

“Karkat, I got you some food. Please just do something to let me know you’re okay in there. You don’t even need to talk, just honk one of your dumb as fuck horns or something,” he called. He knew he wouldn’t be able to understand what he was saying, but that wasn’t stopping him from trying.

Still nothing. Dave took a deep breath, steeling himself as he placed a hand on the knob.

“Karkat, I’m coming in. Please don’t freak out on me,” he said, opening the door as slowly as he could. If he just said something, yelled at him for butting into his shit again, Dave would leave him be no fucking problem.

Dave felt his heart stop as he scanned the empty closet.

“Oh no. Oh fuck, Karkat?” he called, taking a step forward and looking around to see if he was hiding away in a corner like before. In the light of day it was really fucking clear that there was nothing back there and Dave could feel his stomach drop.

“Karkat!” he yelled, rushing out of his room to look in other parts of the house. He had to be around here somewhere. He wouldn’t have run off just like that. He had to find him.

Dave continued to call out for the alien as he searched his home, no fucking clue where he could have gotten to. He thought maybe he’d be in the attic since they’d put some of his stuff up there, but it was as empty as the closet.

Dave even ended up searching Bro’s room, who didn’t seem to be home right now. He could not imagine a single situation in which Karkat would willingly go into Bro’s room, but fuck he was running out of options.

Heading back to his room still minus one alien, Dave didn’t want to admit that he wasn’t in the house. Checking his closet one last time, he didn’t know what else to do.

Pulling out his phone, Dave paced around his room as he started sending Rose a barrage of messages.

turntechGodhead started pestering tentacleTherapist at 11:43am

TG: your advice fucking sucked
TG: i dont know what the fuck to do im freaking out
TG: why the hell did i look at his fucking book
TG: he could be dead in a ditch somewhere and its all because i couldnt keep my hands to myself
TT: What are you talking about?
TT: Did something happen?
TG: yes something fucking happened
TG: karkats gone
TG: hes not in the closet and i searched everywhere
TT: Are you sure he isn’t somewhere else in the house?
TG: i combed this place from top to bottom
TG: i even looked in bros room even though he wouldnt set foot in there if his life depended on it
TT: Dave, just stay calm and try to think about this rationally.
TG: how the hell am i supposed to do that when he could literally be dead right now
TT: Panicking is not going to help him.
TT: Just think, where could he possibly go?
TG: i dont know
TG: he doesnt have anywhere to go
TG: i brought him straight here from the ship hes never been anywhere else on earth
TT: What about at the ship?
TG: …
TG: fuck
TG: i need to go
TG: thanks
TT: Good luck.
turntechGodhead ceased pestering tentacleTherapist at 11:54pm

Dave slipped his phone into his pocket as he quickly put his shoes on and ran out the front door.

They had no clue if the ship was even safe. Someone could have found it. They could have found Karkat if he went there. Why would he even go back there? They had gotten everything the first night he landed.

Unless he was trying to leave.

Fuck, that didn’t sound like a smart idea. He wouldn’t have any food to last him and the thing was jammed into the fucking ground. How did he even plan to get it out of there? He’d left all of his shit in Dave’s closet too. He couldn’t leave all that, even he could see how important it was to him. Dave would be upset if he left without his little dragon doll at the very least.

When the ship finally started to come into view Dave couldn’t help but sigh in relief. If he was trying to leave, he hadn’t managed to yet.

Dave tried to tell himself he just didn’t want him to go because it would be a bad move and he’d starve to death in space. He knew even more than that though, he would feel like the biggest douche in the universe if he ended up causing Karkat to run off on this note.

He really didn’t want his last memory of Karkat being pissing him off and having him hide in his closet for two days before skipping out on the Earth.

Making his way unto the ship, Dave wondered if Karkat would even want to see him now. Shit, he should have at least grabbed the translator so he could say sorry. There was no fucking way he was heading back now though, so as he came into the main room he called out quietly.

“Karkat?” he said, heart sinking when he didn’t see him anywhere. Fuck, he had nowhere else to look, he had to be here.

“Karkat? Please dude put your rage at me on hold for like five minutes so that I can know you’re okay. I’m really freaking out here,” he said, walking further into the room. It was then that he noticed something had smashed that main panel thing. Oh no. Oh fuck what if something had already found him and dragged him away?

“Oh fuck, oh shit Karkat come on man you’re like a super deadly alien with claws and shit, you wouldn’t just get caught by someone like that, right?” he was rambling to himself now as he made his way over to the panel. It looked really fucking busted up, and there were little splatters of blood on some of the metal pieces and Dave felt like he might throw up.

“Dav?”

Dave spun around at the quiet voice, relief instantly filling him at the sight of Karkat peeping out of the storage room at him. It looked like he’d been crying but Dave ignored that as he bounded over to him.

“Holy fucking shit dude don’t you ever do this shit again, do you realize how fucking worried I was man? You could have been killed or something and I would have felt like the biggest asshole in existence if that happened to you under my watch,” he rambled, Karkat just carefully looking him over. He seemed pretty shocked that Dave was here.

“Wut?” Karkat asked after a moment, not catching a single word he had said. Dave wasn’t able to keep himself from laughing a bit before giving him a small smile and simplifying what he’d been saying majorly.

“You okay?” he asked. Karkat seemed to think the question over before nodding the slightest bit.

“Yes,” he said, but he didn’t sound all that sure of himself. Dave figured he could press him more once they were back at the house and could use the translator. For now though, he pulled out his phone and drew a quick picture of a home, holding it up for Karkat could see once he was done.

Karkat shook his head though, taking a step back into the storage room. Dave frowned. They couldn’t stay here all day. It wasn’t safe for him. He’d definitely rather not go outside with Karkat during the day, but they didn’t have a choice. If they were fast no one would bother them.

“Listen, Karkat we need to go back,” he said slowly, pointing at his crappy picture again. In answer, he pointed at his eyes. Fuck, yeah he’d forgotten to grab Karkat’s shades too.

Pulling his own off, Dave held them out for the other boy to take. Karkat seemed to hesitate a moment before finally grabbing hold of the shades and slipping them over his eyes.

“Awesome, we ready to go now?” Dave asked, pointing towards the exit. He wanted to get a move on before it got much later in the day and even more people were out and about. Karkat was reluctant to come out of the storage room, but thankfully he did.

It was then that Dave felt himself halting, noticing the scratches all over Karkat’s hands.

“Dude, what happened to you?” he asked, pointing to his hands so he would know what he was talking about. It seemed to catch him off guard, and he looked down at his hands as if he’d forgotten all about the shape they were in. After a moment he pointed back towards the trashed control panel and all Dave could do was stare at him.

“You know, I think Rose was right. I have no fucking clue what you’re going through,” he said, even though Karkat couldn’t understand him. He didn’t say anything back, just starting out of the ship. Dave followed close behind, and once they were outside he took the lead. The entire way back though Karkat stayed on his heels, stepping on the back of Dave’s shoes every so often he was sticking so close.

Dave didn’t tell him to cut it out, since he knew he was probably terrified. He was keeping his head down and a hand clenched in Dave's shirt. When he looked back at Karkat, he could see over the shades that his eyes were actually shut most of the time, opening them just enough to peek around before closing them once again.

When they finally made it back to the house Dave could practically feel the tension washing out of Karkat. Dave still led him right back into his room right away, pointing at his hands once again. Karkat nodded, heading into the closet and pulling those weird bandages and some cream stuff out of his first aid kit.

Dave wanted to offer to help, but he remembered the way he reacted the first time he had and decided against it. Karkat could still be mad at him after all. He didn’t want to push anything. Karkat didn’t have any trouble bandaging up the first hand, making quick work of it.

Dave watched as he fumbled with the other, trying to hold the bandages in his mouth as he wrapped them around his palm and fingers. After he dropped it the third time Dave figured it would be alright to offer his assistance.

“Hey,” he said, sitting down across from him and holding out a hand for the bandages. Karkat immediately shot a glare him, but it didn’t last long. Sighing loudly, he handed Dave the bandages without a fuss. He was grumbling the entire time Dave wrapped his hand though, but he was letting him help, so that was all that mattered.

“I’m really sorry about all this,” Dave said as he finished up. Karkat gave him that irritated look he would whenever he would ramble off with no way for the alien to understand, but there was no real malice behind it. He’d need to grab the translator in order to properly apologize, but he was just happy that he would actually get the chance now.

Dave figured he probably shouldn’t have gotten so attached so quickly, but there wasn’t much he could do about that now.

Chapter Text

Karkat hated how fucking relieved he was to be back at Dave’s hive. When he heard someone moving around in the ship he thought he was fucking dead. He was so goddamn sure he was going to die all because he decided to have some pathetic meltdown and run off like a wriggler once again.

Then he recognized Dave’s voice calling out for him and he practically melted as the fear that had built up inside ran out of him. A part of his mind that was still working chastised the reaction because that was way too close to pale for his comfort. He stomped any thoughts pertaining to romance of any kind down and stepped out so Dave could see him.

The fear that had left came back very fucking quickly when Dave insisted they had to head back to the hive. It was broad daylight out. Never mind the chance of getting caught by other aliens, he could go fucking blind. Dave seemed to at least understand that concern though, and just handed him his own sunglasses since he didn’t seem to have Karkat’s on him.

Even still, he kept his head down as they walked, holding onto the back of Dave’s shirt to know where they were going without having to look up too much. When he would chance a glance up it would only be for a few seconds before he was putting his head back down and shutting his eyes again.

Once they got back all Karkat wanted to do was go to sleep and not wake up for several nights. That was his plan before he ran off though, so that didn't seem like a smart idea. Even still, he wanted to sleep for at least a little while. Dave pointed at his hands though and so Karkat went through the motions of bandaging them up. It went pretty well until he was trying to do it one handed with his non-dominant one and kept dropping the fucking bandages.

He didn’t want to accept Dave’s offer to help. He wanted to still be mad at him but he was so fucking exhausted that he just handed the supplies over and let him wrap up the small cuts. He wouldn’t even need bandages if it wasn’t just for the sheer number of them.

When that was over Dave left the room, coming back with the translator before Karkat had a chance to shut himself in the storageblock again. He was tempted to just ignore him. To keep up this silent treatment and pretend that he was much more pissed off than he had the energy or desire to be anymore.

He didn’t though. Instead he stayed seated on the floor and took the translator when Dave handed it to him, turning it on for the other boy to speak into.

Sorry.

Okay, Karkat was kind of glad that he decided not to be a complete asshole here. Before he could figure out what to say Dave was speaking into the translator again.

I do not know what it was. I'm sorry.

Karkat sighed and nodded. Yeah okay, he guessed that was true, Dave had no fucking way of knowing just how important all of his things were to him. That had been one of the reasons he was so mad at first, because he really could have fucked something up with his carelessness, but now it just seemed like a douchey thing to get angry about. Karkat chewed on his lip, trying to figure out just what to say.

“Good,” he settled on, figuring keeping it as simple as possible couldn’t hurt. Dave stared at him for a moment before a smile started to crack on his face and he was trying and failing to hold back laughter. Karkat instantly frowned and crossed his arm, trying to keep from showing just how relieved he was that Dave wasn’t upset anymore.

“Wut?” he asked, trying to sound as annoyed as possible. Dave just smiled and waved his question away.

“Want food?” he asked instead, and it was only then that Karkat realized just how hungry he was and nodded. Dave pushed himself off of the floor and picked up a plate of some strange yellow mush. He guessed he must have left it there for him before he realized he was gone.

He wondered how freaked out Dave had been when he figured out that he wasn’t in the storageblock anymore. If how panicked he sounded in the ship before Karkat showed himself was any indication, probably very fucking freaked out.

Once they were in the nutritionblock Dave threw away the plate of yellow gunk and got out a light blue container from the thermalhull. Karkat was surprised to actually recognize what was inside of it for once. They were pretty small and weird lusus white, but those were definitely eggs.

Dave turned around to grab something out of the washbasin and Karkat plucked one of the eggs out of the container. Poking a hole in the top with a tooth, he quickly drained the inside before sticking the shell in his mouth as well.

When Dave turned around, his eyes flicked from where Karkat was licking a few drips of inside that had gotten on his hand off, over to the crate of eggs and back again. Karkat realized that he was still wearing Dave's shades, but it was still fucking bright out here, even if they were inside now. He would give them back once he grabbed his back out of the storageblock.

Dave started rambling too fast for Karkat to even begin to understand. So he didn’t try, instead just reaching over and grabbing another egg. They were small and he was hungry.

Dave shut up when he started eating the inside of the egg, a look of disgust on his face for some fucking reason. He was the one who got them out, what else was Karkat supposed to do but eat them? That look only got worse when he started eating the shell and Dave began speaking again.

Before Karkat could grab another one Dave snatched the tray away, taking two of the eggs and cracking them open, putting the insides into a bowl and the shells on the counter. Karkat watched as he poured the insides into a cooking apparatus. He guessed that these aliens didn’t eat eggs just as they were for some fucking reason. He'd noticed this species just seemed to want to cook everything but this was ridiculous.

Karkat reached over to the discarded shell. Dave noticed, starting to speak again. Karkat couldn’t understand him though, but he could tell that he was at the very least weirded out by him eating these for whatever dumbfuck reason. Making sure that Dave could tell he was looking him in the eyes even with the shades, Karkat didn’t look away from him as he slowly grabbed one of the shells and put it in his mouth. Dave’s face twisted into a grimace of disgust and Karkat couldn’t keep the amused smile off of his face.

It wasn’t long until Dave’s weird cooked eggs were done, and it looked the same as that yellow mush from earlier. Karkat had no fucking idea why someone could go through with the bother of taking the time to cook them when they were perfectly fine on their own, but eh, aliens.

Dave gave him half of the cooked eggs, keeping half for himself. It was okay, but Karkat still preferred them raw. He also ate the last shell, since he figured Dave was just going to throw it away, which was a complete waste.

Once they finished eating they went back into Dave’s respiteblock and Karkat handed him back his glasses. Stifling a yawn he made his way to the storageblock. Stopping for a moment, Karkat wished he knew how to say thank you or something. He felt like a huge asshole putting Dave through all of this bullshit. Even if he did deserve at least some of it, the fact that he was probably the only reason Karkat was alive right now might sort of outweigh that.

He’d have to fuck around with the translator some more. Now that it was working well from the alien language to Alternian maybe he could figure out if Sollux had put in something to let him reverse the process.

Of course, he’d do that later. Right now he was exhausted and just wanted to sleep. When he went to close the door though, he left it open a crack. The light filtering in was annoying, but it wasn’t anything he couldn’t deal with. He just didn’t want to give Dave the impression that he was locking himself away again.

When he woke up later, he glanced out of the crack and saw that Dave had fallen asleep. It was dark outside again, so he figured he must have slept for a lot longer than he had meant to. It was fucking hard completely flipping what little of a sleeping schedule he had though. If it was light out, his body wanted to sleep.

Noticing Dave had left the translator in the room, Karkat quietly crept out of the storageblock and grabbed it, deciding to head into the mainblock to try to test out reversing the translations.

Grabbing a snack out of the kitchen first, he sat down on the couch. Karkat managed to figure out how to turn the sound down on the television so that it wouldn’t interfere with what he was trying to do. There weren’t that many buttons on this thing, it couldn’t be that hard to figure out if there was a way to switch the languages around.

It took over an hour for him to finally get the right button combination. Of course Sollux couldn’t have made it the tiniest bit easy for him and put a fucking label on at least half of the buttons.

Speaking into the translator now, it spoke back in the weird dull and muffled sounding language Dave used. Pressing a few more buttons allowed it to flip back to translating to Alternian again. Karkat couldn’t help but be the slightest bit excited about this. He could actually have a way to speak back to Dave now. He could fucking speak to someone again.

He also had a way to learn this language on his own now, instead of having to rely on when Dave could.

Karkat wasn’t sure how long he sat there, saying whatever words came into his thinkpan into the device and trying to learn the alien way of saying them. He didn’t have Dave to correct him on his pronunciation, but he tried several times on each one until he thought it sounded the most correct.

Karkat nearly tripped over himself when the adult appeared in the entryway to the block. His first instinct was to run back to Dave’s block as he usually did whenever it decided to appear, but this time he hesitated.

It really hadn’t tried to bother him at all since that first meeting. That didn’t mean he trusted it, but right now it was just watching him from the edge of the room, not bothering to come any closer as Karkat stayed frozen in spot in his indecision.

He didn’t know for sure if the translator was actually working. It might be shouting back gibberish to him that just sounded like Dave’s language after all. He wanted to test it, and he didn’t want to wake Dave up just to do so.

He didn’t want to talk to the adult, but there were several things that would be nice to clear up with it. Maybe from a safe distance. He wasn’t sure if the translator would be able to pick up the alien’s answers from all the way over here though, and reluctantly he inched a few steps closer.

That seemed to get its attention, the adult raising an eyebrow above its ridiculous eyewear. Resisting the urge to step away again and growl (it was an adult and you don’t mess with adults) he lifted the device up to his lips and started to speak.

“Why are you here?” he asked, pressing a button and listening to the translator say something in that strange, dull sounding language. The adult actually looked surprised, its normally straight lips tilting downward into the smallest markings of a frown. Karkat barely managed to get the device switched over again before it started speaking.

If you have something interesting in this case. I do not know if it was OK Kiddo

Karkat tried not to groan in frustration at that botched translation. They usually didn’t happen too much anymore, just when Dave decided to speak using needlessly complicated words. Speaking into the translator again, he hoped it would understand this.

“Stop using big words. It’s not very good,” he said, playing it back for the alien. The thing nodded, speaking in a slower and clearer manner than beforehand.

Afflicted. What do you want?

Karkat hesitated, trying to figure out how to answer that. He wanted to know why the adult was living here, but he’d already asked that and it didn’t seem like it knew what he was talking about. Instead, he decided to see if maybe his theory was true or not. After all, if this wasn’t some sort of weird replacement lusus, he was pretty much lost and certain it had to be some alien concept he’d never understand.

“Are you Dav’s lusus?” the adult frowned slightly at the translation, and Karkat wondered if it had messed up or if it thought the question was strange or any other number of possible scenarios. Karkat quickly replayed its response.

What Dave?

Karkat felt himself frown as well. Okay, either something was getting lost in translation or this adult didn’t know the name of the other being living in the hive with him.

“Are you his caretaker?” he tried this time. Karkat felt himself jolt at the adult’s reaction. It had been so unmoving and serious throughout all of this that he had not expected it to pitch forward in a quickly aborted laugh.

Okay, what the fuck did he just say?

The alien was shaking its head, and Karkat didn’t need the translator to understand it was saying no. Well then, there went that theory out the window given the translator hadn’t fucked up and made him say something totally idiotic.

“What then?” he asked, not sure what else they could be but maybe in a quadrant together. They didn’t seem to even interact much though so that just didn’t seem likely, unless of course it was staying away because of him.

Brothers.

Karkat frowned at the untranslated word. It would do that sometimes, and he wondered if there just wasn’t a word for it that worked or something, or if it still just wasn’t good enough.

“Alright, thanks,” he said into the translator, deciding to just let it go for now. The adult just gave him a small nod. Karkat quickly headed back to Dave’s block afterwards, still pretty unnerved about being in the same place as that thing for very long.

Once he shut the door behind him he went back into the storage block, trying to figure out a way to pass the time until Dave woke up.

---

Once he finished fixing up Karkat’s hand Dave went and grabbed the translator out of the living room. He wanted to hurry and apologize before he put it off any longer and never actually got around to doing it. Which was how he usually dealt when he had to apologize to people. Karkat stayed where he was on the floor, so Dave sat back down across from him, handing the translator over for him to mess with until it was ready to be used.

“Sorry,” he said, not wanting the message to end up getting garbled. Once he was sure that Karkat understood he tried to elaborate a bit. “I didn’t know what it was. I’m sorry,” he said again, not all that good with the whole apologizing thing.

Karkat was quiet for a moment and seemed to be thinking over what he’d said. Which totally wasn't unnerving for Dave at all.

“Good,” he said, and Dave wasn’t able to keep himself from laughing at that most likely a completely unintentional snarky as fuck answer. When he managed to get a hold of himself again he just asked Karkat if he wanted any food, getting up and grabbing the plate of old eggs off the ground when he nodded. Once he was in the kitchen Dave got out some more eggs, walking over to the sink to clean the pan he used earlier.

When he turned back around, Karkat was licking his hand for some reason, and when Dave glanced over at the egg carton there was definitely one less egg in there than he remembered there being.

“Oh no dude, please tell me you did not just do what I think you just did. Oh fuck who am I kidding, you totally just ate a raw egg man. Holy fuck where is the shell? Please tell me you did not literally just pop a whole egg in your mouth like some sort of fucked up snake person,” he rambled.

Karkat didn’t seem to be paying much attention and reached over towards the eggs again, grabbing one and draining the insides out of it like it was a fucking shot. If that wasn’t bad enough he then had to go and pop the shell into his mouth like it was no big deal.

“Oh my fucking god, that is messed up dude. Damn it, you’re gonna get salmonella or some shit, give me those,” Dave said, grabbing the carton of eggs when he started reaching over to grab another. He then started to make some the normal fucking way in a pan and without the god damn shells.

As he was cooking Karkat grabbed one of the shells from where Dave had left them on the counter.

“No, nope dude, don’t you dare,” he said. Karkat just proceeded to stare him straight in the eyes as he carefully put the shell in his mouth and started chewing. Dave wasn’t able to keep the disgust off of his face and from the amused smile that broke out on Karkat’s he knew that he was just doing it at this point to fuck with him.

It was pretty fucking nice to see him smiling again though, even if the rest of it was nauseating as all hell.

Karkat went back into his closet once they were in Dave’s room again, only stopping to give Dave back his shades first. He didn’t shut the door all the way for some reason. Dave was pretty tempted to ask him if he wanted him to close it, but ultimately decided against it. If Karkat wanted it shut, then he would have done it when he had the chance. He didn’t know why he wouldn’t have, but it wasn’t any of his business.

There was a small part of him that was worried if he shut the door Karkat wouldn’t open it again for days, and that was the last thing he wanted.

It was only once he was sure that Karkat was asleep did Dave remember how he’d kind of panicked to Rose and she was probably wondering what the fuck was going on with him.

turntechGodhead started pestering tentacleTherapist at 2:06pm

TG: found him
TG: everythings cool we can all go back to our regularly scheduled programs
TT: Is it now?
TT: You’d think for such dramatics earlier there’d be a bit more to the story than that.
TG: what dramatics everything was perfectly under control
TG: he was at his ship like you said
TG: he like
TG: beat up a hunk of metal and buttons that must have been looking at him all funny and kind of scratched his hands all to hell
TG: but hes fine now
TT: Well that is certainly a relief.
TT: And for a moment I thought you might have actually been worried about him.
TG: oh fuck off
TG: ok i was pretty freaked out
TG: he could have been dead in some ditch for all i knew
TG: but he wasnt and everythings cool now so can we please lay off the oh look at dave he had a feeling
TT: Of course, all you had to do was ask.
TG: yeah bullshit
TT: Really though, how is he?
TT: You said his hands were injured?
TG: nice swerve
TG: but yeah
TG: i dont know what happened but when i got in there one of the panels full of buttons and levers and screens and shit was smashed all to hell
TG: there were little bits on blood on some of it and i thought he might have gotten in a fight with something
TG: but he was just hiding in the storage room
TT: That’s strange.
TT: You have no idea what would make his destroy a part of his own ship?
TG: maybe he was frustrated that it wasnt working
TG: really though i dont have any real clue
TG: he didnt even seem that bothered by it
TT: Where’s he now?
TG: sleeping in the closet again
TG: hes not like locked in though
TT: Another relief.
TT: So he’s not upset anymore?
TG: i dont think so
TG: he seemed better when i made him food
TG: also he kept eating the eggs raw
TG: it was disgusting
TT: He’s an alien Dave.
TG: but he was eating the shells too
TG: you cant tell me thats not fucked up
TT: I’ll admit that does sound pretty gross.

He ended up talking to Rose for a while longer until she had to leave for dinner. Dave also managed to fill John and Jade in on what had happened and that Karkat was talking to him again, possibly downplaying just the slightest bit how worried he’d been.

When he got up to make himself something for dinner, Dave peaked into the closet. Karkat looked pretty damn out of it, so he figured he should just let him sleep for now. He checked again before going to bed himself, and he was tempted to wake him up, but it’d be dumb to do that if he was just to go to sleep right afterwards.

He didn’t know how long Karkat had been out after all, and he might be pretty exhausted. He figured it’d be better to just let him sleep for as long as he wanted and hopefully see him in the morning.

When he woke up the closet door was still cracked open, and that was more of a relief than Dave would like to admit. As soon as Karkat seemed to hear that he was awake he came out, the translator in his hand. He was wearing his own shades again.

It caught Dave off guard when Karkat spoke into the device for once instead of holding it out for him to speak into instead. It was even more of a surprise when it spoke English out when he pressed a button.

Now two modes of operation.

“Oh shit man that’s awesome,” Dave blurted out, an irritated look spreading across Karkat’s face. It wasn’t until he saw him messing with the translator some more and then point it in his face did he realize that he had to do some manual shift to translate back and forth.

“Oh, sorry. It’s cool,” he said into the device this time. It really was though. Like holy crap they could kind of legit talk to each other now. When Karkat replayed it this time it was in his weird buggy language. They could totally work with this.

Karkat seemed to think for a moment before speaking again.

Why do you help me?

Dave couldn’t help but frown at the question, this time remembering to wait as Karkat switch the translator again. He never thought that Karkat would be confused over something like that. That was just like, the not asshole movie villain thing to do, right? At this point he kind of figured Karkat would at least think of them as friends.

“Because I want to,” he settled on, figuring that was the main reason here. He thought Karkat was cool and wanted to help him out. He looked like he was considering the answer for a moment before nodding. Instead of asking another question, Karkat held the translator up for Dave to speak into again, he guessed so that he could be the one to ask a question this time. Sweet.

There was a whole fucking bunch of shit he’d been dying to ask him for a long time now, but he figured he should start off with what was probably the biggest one.

“Why did you come here?”

Karkat was quiet for longer than he thought he would be, and Dave wondered if he was trying to figure out how to say why in a way the translator could understand, or if he just didn’t want to say it at all. He fucking doubted it was his own choice, after all.

I was forced to leave.

Okay, so exile had been one of Dave’s guesses, but he still had no fucking clue how someone like him could end up cast out like that.

“Why?” he asked, not bothering to wait for the translator. He’d already taught him that word so he shouldn't need it. Karkat chewed on his lip a bit as he answered.

My blood.

That was not the kind of answer Dave had expected. He wasn’t even sure what kind of answer that was. Did he mean like, his bloodline? Or was it like, there was blood on his hands because he was actually some cold blooded killer? Or maybe he was being literal and it was his actual blood that was the problem. Maybe it carried some super rare alien disease and hey quarantined him into exile. Before Dave could ask for some kind of clarification Karkat was speaking into the translator again.

I do not want to talk about it.

Okay, Dave couldn’t blame him for not wanting to talk about whatever the issue was that got him kicked off of his home world and landed him living in a closet on another planet.

“Sure, that’s fine,” he said, not needing the translator to but using it anyway. Karkat just nodded, looking relieved that Dave wasn’t pressing him on it.

“Oh hey,” Dave said, standing up from the bed and starting over to his desk. He’d forgotten yesterday what with Karkat disappearing, but he still had to give Karkat those things he brought. Bringing the bag back over with him, he spoke into the translator.

“I got you some things,” he said plainly, still not wanting to push the translator too far, although he did miss being able to ramble. He hoped that this thing kept getting better or that it at least helped Karkat learn English faster so Dave could start talking like himself again.

Karkat seemed surprised for a moment, before an annoyed and exasperated look fell over his face. That was not the reaction Dave had been expecting. He’d kind of been hoping that Karkat would, you know, actually like the gifts. He hadn’t even seen what they were yet. Even still he just seemed to grumble to himself before finally speaking into translator again.

Dav, I'm flattered, but I do not.

Dave found himself frowning at that, not sure what he was getting at in the slightest. He kept nearly forgetting to wait until Karkat had switched the translator over before speaking again.

“Don’t what?” he asked. Karkat sighed when he replayed what he said again. Dave found himself starting to get a bit nervous about where this might be going. Karkat was starting to look pretty embarrassed and if giving someone a box of Lincoln Logs was like, a marriage proposal on planet alien he didn’t know what to do because that was not the message he was trying to send here.

I am not interested in any moirallegiance, understanding?

Dave frowned at the translation, one of the words not rendering in the slightest. Karkat seemed to notice that too, the device suddenly shifting back into his language for a moment before continuing on in English like nothing ever happened.

“Not interested in what?” he asked, hoping maybe Karkat had another word for it or something because that one seemed to be a lost fucking cause. He groaned at the question, before speaking very carefully into the translator.

Stop flirting with me.

Dave felt himself bulk at the accusation, his face possibly getting a few shades darker than it had any right to be. He started shaking his head because holy shit where the hell had he gotten that idea from? He tried to think back to see what in the world could have gotten him to this conclusion, because he doubted just giving him these things would lead him to make that jump. Hell, he’d been pretty sure Karkat hated his guts for a few days there. Like, it was obvious that this was to make up for the shit with the book, right? It was supposed to be a clear, 'sorry I was a douche' gesture.

Karkat seemed just an embarrassed by this, and Dave figured it’d be best for both of their sakes to end this huge misconception now.

This was definitely not how first contact was supposed to go, good fucking God.

“I am not flirting with you,” he tried to say as clearly as possible. Karkat didn’t exactly look like he believed him, and Jesus fuck what was he doing to give off this vibe? He was just trying to be nice! The most he did was hang out with him a bit, get him food and make sure Bro didn’t kill him.

And leave him meals when he locked himself away for days and completely freak the fuck out when there was a chance he’d ran off and gotten himself killed and then help wrap up cuts on his hands, but even still those weren’t exactly huge romantic gestures. How someone could take that as flirting, he had no fucking clue.

Fine.

Dave nodded, not sure what else to say after that. Nothing, honestly. He did not know how to recover from this. It was possible that there was no recovery, and he just had to suffer for the rest of his natural life.

Neither of them said anything for several moments, Dave wondering if he should just get up and go get food or something. Eventually the awkward silence because too much for him (fuck awkward silences man, they were a scourge on society and should be eradicated at the earliest possible moment by any means necessary) and he grabbed the box of Lincoln Logs again, holding them up for Karkat.

“So, you want these or not?” he asked, pretty sure the translator wasn’t even on but not caring. Karkat just stared from him to the box and back again before bending forward into himself, not stopping until his head was pressed into his knees and his hands wrapped around his torso. His shoulders were shaking the slightest bit and Dave wasn’t sure if he was laughing or crying. He hoped it was laughing. He was pretty sure it was laughing.

Dave had to poke him with the corner of the box several time before he eventually took it and leaned back up. Alright, didn’t look like he’d been crying, so laughing it was. The smiling he was failing to fight down kind of gave it away. Karkat made some comment at him and scanned the box cover for a few moments before Dave took it back and opened it up to show him exactly how it worked.

Karkat was rolling his eyes, but he didn’t actually seem annoyed. Awesome, he didn’t hate his guts anymore and things weren’t too terribly awkward.

If Karkat thought this was some sort of elaborate alien flirting ritual which involved just being an awesome bro and taking care of your extraterrestrial houseguest, that was his fault, not Dave’s.

---

It seemed to take forever for Dave to finally wake up. When he did finally hear him moving around enough that he was pretty sure he'd woken up Karkat made sure to slip his shades on before heading out of the storageblock, translator in hand. He’d been messing with it for a while now, and he was pretty sure he’d gotten the hang of switching it back and forth between the two types of translation. He sat down on the edge of Dave’s sleeping mat before speaking into the device.

“It can work two ways now,” he said, Dave instantly blurting something out when he played it back for him in his language, not giving Karkat any time to switch it over. He seemed to realize his mistake rather quickly though, speaking again when it was held up to him properly this time.

Karkat had been thinking for most of the night of what exactly he wanted to ask Dave when he woke up. There was a whole fucking lot of shit, too much to manage in one conversation without completely overwhelming them. He was able to narrow it down to a few of the most urgent things, until he was eventually able to pick what was most on his mind about all of this. He was still a bit uncertain about actually asking though, but that wasn't going to stop him.

“Why are you helping me?” he said, Dave looking rather confused at the question. He wondered if maybe it hadn't translated right, but that thought went out the window when he answered.

Because I want to.

Karkat wasn’t sure how to respond to that. He figured that yeah, he must want to for some reason, but why? He didn’t know if it would be a good idea to press it though and decided to let Dave ask a question now instead.

He ended up asking about why he was here, which yeah, that was something Karkat should have expected. He couldn’t imagine Dave not being curious about that, but that didn’t mean he was all that comfortable talking about it. So he just told him the bare minimum. He was kicked out because of his blood. He doubted that Dave realize anything strange about his blood since it was the same color as his own, and if he did he probably just chalked it up to alien weirdness. He had no fucking idea how bad it was for him on his planet.

It was somewhat comforting to know that if he did end up getting killed here, it wasn’t because of his blood.

Before Karkat could say anything else Dave was getting up, coming over with some bag with a few small boxes inside of it.

I have things for you.

Karkat wasn’t able to keep a frown off of his face at that. Ugh, he really didn’t want to have to deal with this right now, but he told himself that he would nip this shit in the bud as soon as he got a chance. Well, now he had a chance. He didn't want it, but it was there.

“Dave, I’m flattered, but I’m not interested,” he said into the machine, but Dave just looked confused and damn it he was going to have to spell it out for him, wouldn’t he? Karkat wasn’t even sure how he could be much more straightforward than that, but Dave was asking him what he wasn’t and yeah he’d have to be blunt as fuck here.

“I’m not interested in any sort of moirallegiance, understand?” he said, frowning when it wouldn’t translate literally the most important word in the whole sentence. Beside maybe ‘not.’ That was also a very important word here.

Of course Dave asked for a clarification, and even though Karkat couldn’t blame him he was starting to get annoyed. He spoke as clearly and concisely as he could, wanting to get this fucking settled.

“Stop flirting with me,” he said, trying not to look as embarrassed as he was to have to tell him that. No matter how he might have looked though, Dave was ten times worse. Every inch of him was just screaming ‘nope.’ After a few moments he was able to get a hold on himself enough to actually respond to him.

I’m not flirting with you.

Yeah, Karkat wasn’t buying that, but he wasn’t going to go pressing him on it either. He wasn’t a complete douchebag, he could let Dave have some dignity. “Fine,” he said, not sure what else to say. Things had gone from pretty okay to downright awkward as shit real fucking quick. Karkat found himself just fiddling with the translator for a bit, not bothering to speak into it as he tried to figure out if it would be too rude to just get up and go back into the storageblock. It would probably be really fucking rude.

Without any warning Dave pulled one of the boxes out of the bag, holding it out for Karkat to take while saying something he wasn’t able to catch.

It was so fucking stupid and Karkat had been nothing but stressed and upset for fucking nights now that he found himself hunched in on himself, laughing almost silently at the dumb gesture. It was so stupid. He was so stupid. When he started poking his shoulder with the box it only made him laugh harder until he was eventually able to contain himself and sit back up.

“Holy fuck you’re an idiot. What am I even doing with you?” he said as he scanned over the box, although he wasn’t actually annoyed at all. If anything, he was more upset with himself for freaking out so badly over the whole book thing. He still felt like it was rather justified, but maybe not to the degree that he’d taken it.

Of course, a part of him knew it was about a lot more than just Dave looking at the book. Most of it didn’t have to do with Dave at all. The poor bastard was just the only thing around for Karkat to take his frustration out on besides himself. That was what he actually regretted about all this.

Dave took the box back from him, opening it up and pulling out a bunch of little wooden rods. They had these notches in their sides and Dave used those to connect them in order to build a square. Karkat grabbed a few and started messing with them himself. It was a little difficult to get anything too high because the sleeping mat wasn’t the most even or study surface, but it worked well enough.

Dave showed him the other items he’d gotten, another weird stick game (was this like, a common thing on this planet? Playing with sticks?) and some sort of puzzle. The second stick game was actually pretty amusing, although the uneven bed was definitely more hampering to it than to the first one, since it seemed to resolve around taking pieces out of the stack and trying to keep it from falling over. That's what he got from the demonstration at least. Dave kept beating him at it, but he’d gotten pretty close the last few times. He then got Karkat started on the puzzle before getting up to grab something to eat. Karkat had almost forgotten that he’d kind of jumped him as soon as he’d woken up.

The rest of the day went without much incident, which Karkat was all too thankful for. He didn’t think he could handle anything else stressful happening right now. He just messed around with the toys Dave had gotten him and tried to learn more words with the translator.

There was still a bit of awkwardness around that hadn’t been there before. Dave made sure to keep clear of the storageblock and Karkat found it embarrassing as fuck to have to ask him for help changing the bandages on his hands. Thankfully they were healing up well, none of the cuts were all that deep to begin with. It was still a dumb pale thing to have to ask someone to do, especially after finally being able to set straight that he was not interested in that kind of relationship.

When he woke up the next morning, Dave was once again still asleep, but it wasn’t anywhere near as early as the night before. Leaving the respiteblock, Karkat grabbed some food out of the thermalhull and sat down on the couch. He figured he’d probably lost any sense of what the fuck was going on in that show he liked to watch. Maybe he could actually understand a bit more now since he was starting to get a grasp on more words.

It wasn’t on right now though, so that wasn’t something he had to try to figure out yet. The marketing propaganda shifted to the weird thing with the alien who talked directly to the screen about who knows what. Karkat was going to see if he could turn to another channel when the scene switched to another alien standing outside and he felt his bloodpusher stop in his chest.

“Dav!” he called, panic starting to swirl around inside him at the familiar sight on the screen. The aliens were talking and he wasn’t even trying to understand what they were saying, even though it was probably really fucking important. Several thoughts kept replaying in his head like a stuck record.

His ship. His ship he’d just been there he’d literally just went there he could have been found he could have been killed!

“Dav!” he yelled again, tearing his eyes away from the scene and running into Dave’s respiteblock. He didn’t bother trying to wake him up with the tripud, just shaking his shoulder and repeating his name over and over again.

“Dav! Dav bad, no good Dav,” he said, really fucking wishing he knew how to curse in his weird language to get just how god damn terrible this was across. Dave snapped up, looking confused and concerned as he asked Karkat something. He didn’t bother trying to explain, grabbing his arm and dragging him into the mainblock before pointing to the TV. Thankfully it was still focused on his ship.

“I’m an idiot. Holy shit I am the dumbest sack of fucking misery on this planet. Whatever you have to deal with here is absolutely nothing in comparison to the fuckup that is my sorry ass. What the hell was I thinking?! I could have been killed! I should have been killed! I should be dead a million times over but because of dumb assholes like you I just keep scraping by!” he was yelling at nothing, himself, fucking everything. Dave wasn’t actually paying any attention to him, instead just watching the report on his ship until it switched to something else and he turned around to where Karkat had slumped roughly onto the couch.

Karkat glanced up at Dave when he noticed his eyes on him. There was an obvious concern on his face, and Karkat laughed bitterly into his hands.

“Don’t you start with that now. What did I tell you about flirting with me?” he said, even though he knew Dave couldn’t understand him. He didn’t say anything back, instead just leaving and coming back a few moments later with the translator in hand. Karkat took it and made sure it was set for Dave’s use.

It is okay. They thought it was a joke.

Karkat frowned at that, not quite believing that anyone would take a fucking spaceship as a joke. There wasn’t any reason for Dave to lie to him though, so he figured he should just go with it for now. Just be thankful that no one was knocking on Dave’s hive demanding answers.

As long as he stayed in here, he was probably safe.

“Thanks you,” he said, hoping that he was remembering the words right. It was one of the first things he’d tried to figure out how to say with the translator. Dave just offered him a small smile and a nod.

“It’s fine,” he started, and that was all Karkat was able to catch before he started going off on some tangent, but that was probably all he needed to understand. Since Dave wasn’t bothering to use the translator while it was right there he must know it wasn’t all that important.

He was still pretty shaken by the realization that if he had gone on his little tantrum a night later, he would have been found by someone other than Dave. He had no idea what this species reaction would be in general to aliens, and he wasn’t taking Dave’s reaction as a catch all for the whole planet at all. There was the way that the adult had acted to him, after all, and the fact that Dave seemed to be trying to keep him hidden.

He meant it when he said he’d be dead if it wasn’t for assholes like Dave. Like his friends.

He didn’t deserve any of it, but he was so fucking thankful for it.

--- 

Dave felt himself get shaken awake by a very fucking panicked Karkat and he practically shot out of bed. “Whoa, holy shit man where’s the fire at?” he asked, letting Karkat pull him into the living room. He was holding on a bit too tight and his claws were digging uncomfortably into his skin, but it wasn't enough to draw blood and he didn't care right now with how freaked he seemed. When Karkat pointed at the TV screen as the source of his terror Dave found himself staring in confusion for a few moments. His brain still not quite working from being knocked out of sleep so suddenly.

When he finally managed to realize what he was watching here, he could understand why Karkat was so freaked. The poor guy was ranting angrily and loudly behind him, but Dave tried his best to drown that out and listen to the news report.

”…a scene. Police have the area roped off now, but several curious individuals from around the area had gotten a good look inside before authorities arrived. They described a dim hallway leading to a main room matching in style to what we can see from out here. There are also reports of some of the insides being smashed and blood on broken pieces of plastic and metal, but we cannot confirm whether or not that is indeed accurate.

I don’t know about you Jen, but this is probably one of the best hoaxes I’ve seen in my fifteen years in the area!”

“It’s certainly the most elaborate in my lifetime! Whoever is responsible sure did pull out all the stops. Keep us updated on any more otherworldly surprises out there Dale! In other news, route 33 is down due to…”

Dave let out a long sigh of relief. They thought it was fake. Of course they would. No one in their right mind would think that there was an actual spaceship crash landing just sitting out in the edge of the desert. Even if they did, they hadn't seen Karkat. They had no idea he was here.

In the back of his mind, he was freaking out because if someone had seen it just a day earlier he would have definitely lost him. It didn’t matter if they thought Karkat was a real alien or not. He would have freaked out. He would have attacked someone.

If that happened, if he’d seriously hurt someone, even if Dave had managed to get to him before the police did there wouldn’t have been anything he could have done to protect him once they started a search. He could try to hide him all he liked but they would find him eventually. Bro wouldn't let him stay here if he proved himself to be a serious threat to anyone's safety.

That didn’t happen though, so there was no reason to go thinking about it. Karkat looked up at him, letting out a laugh that sounded anything but sincere and said something that Dave couldn’t understand. He looked god damn exhausted, like he was at the fucking end of his rope though and he knew it too. Dave went back to his room to grab the translator. Karkat set it for him when he came back and he tried to explain that he was safe.

“It’s okay. They thought it was a hoax,” Dave told him. Karkat was quiet for a while, seeming to think over what he said. It looked like he didn’t exactly believe him all that much, and he didn't blame him. If Dave was running from the, well, from the fucking world and he saw his getaway car on the news he'd be sure he was done for too. After a few moments though he let out a small sigh and nodded.

“Thanks you,” he said, surprising Dave slightly. He didn’t remember teaching him that. He must have learned it himself with the translator. Dave offered him a smile as he spoke.

“It’s fine. You’re just lucky you managed to land in the middle of Hoax-ville USA, where Aliens land every other week and it’ll take years for anyone to prove for certain that you’re the real deal and even then most people won’t believe shit,” he joked. Karkat still seemed pretty upset about this, and Dave didn’t blame him for being freaked by the close call. Dave was freaked by the close call.

“It’s cool. You’re safe here,” Dave muttered again, Karkat giving him a strange look. He just waved away the curious look though, since it really wasn’t important. Dave might have been saying it more for his own sake than for Karkat’s, and that wasn’t anything he needed to try explaining when he was already getting weird ideas about Dave having a crush on him or some shit.

That wasn’t a thing that was going on, but Dave didn’t want to chance giving Karkat the wrong idea and say anything that might back up that theory.

He just didn’t want his friend getting killed or experimented on, that wasn’t so weird, right?

Yeah, that was all it was.

Definitely.

Chapter Text

A few hours later Karkat seemed to have calmed down enough to go back to his room to take a nap or something. Dave figured he should still try to keep giving him some space.

Sure, he seemed forgiven, and he didn’t feel all too comfortable taking his eye off of Karkat for too long just in case anything happened, but he also didn’t want to push it. He sort of doubted Karkat would risk going out anywhere right now after seeing that news report of course. He didn’t blame him for freaking out over that, he was still kind of reeling from it himself. Even still, he didn’t want to be making him all uncomfortable and wishing he could run off.

Dave was about to head back to his room when Bro walked in through the front door. Before he could go off to do whatever it was he did in his free time Dave waved at him, speaking up.

“Karkat’s spaceship was on the news. They thought it was a hoax though so we should be a okay,” he said, figuring it’d be good for him to know. He didn’t know exactly how they could possibly bring attention to the fact that they had an alien without publicly displaying Karkat for all to see, but it was better safe than sorry. Keep Bro from, fuck who knows, throwing some wild parties? Bro just frowned, stopping and leaning against a wall to look at Dave.

“Surprised it took this long for someone to find that thing,” he said, Dave nodding in agreement.

“Yeah, I mean it’s pretty far out there but still. You'd think someone would have taken their dog out for a walk or gone on some early morning desert jog or some shit. Maybe they did but they just didn’t think to report it, thought it was some fancy art installation or something, took a bunch of pictures and posted them on their facebook,” he said. Bro was quiet for a moment before speaking again.

“Yeah, that could be it,” he said before waiting another moment before speaking again. “Your alien thought I was your mom,” Bro added, no hint of emotion in his voice at all. Dave wasn’t able to keep back a bark of laughter than shot out of him, quickly getting himself back under control and giving Bro a look of confusion. Because um wow, when and how the hell would he know that Karkat would think that and also why the fuck would Karkat think that?

“Uh, care to elaborate on that man? I didn’t even know he was past the running around with a knife in terror stage whenever he saw you,” Dave asked. Bro shrugged just the slightest bit before answering.

“Guess he managed to steel his nerves enough to speak to me instead of falling on his face while running away again. He was using some little device to ask me shit. Wasn’t able to understand most of it but he wanted to know if I was your mom,” Bro explained. Dave chuckled at that, but he figured that wasn’t quite what Karkat had meant to ask. Or at least, not exactly. Do aliens even have moms? He didn't know.

“Something probably got lost in fucking translation there,” Dave told him, Bro nodding in agreement. That was still a pretty hilarious mix up, although he wondered what it was Karkat really meant. It was probably just like a parent or something, which was close enough for the translator to mix up he guessed.

He was glad that it seemed Karkat wasn’t stone cold terrified of Bro anymore though. That would make shit a lot easier. Or at least a lot less nerve wracking than thinking that at any moment Bro could walk in at the wrong time and send Karkat into a panic.

Dave pushed himself off the couch and stretched himself. “Well, speaking of aliens I should probably go make sure he’s not hanging around any open windows for all to see,” he said. Dave knew Karkat wasn’t dumb enough to do that, but he was still fucking worried after that news report and such a close call. Bro just nodded, turning to head into his own room with a slight wave.

When he reached his room Karkat was not hanging out of an open window but instead sitting in the closet with the door open, the notebook Dave had given him in his lap as he wrote. Karkat nodded at him but didn’t bother looking up from his writing. Dave slumped down in his desk chair and jesus fuck this was so much better than the closet being locked shut and knowing that Karkat was pissed at him and there being nothing for him to do about it.

It wasn’t even like they were really doing anything but it was just that Karkat didn’t hate him.

The next few days managed to fall back into that easy sort of routine where he didn’t have to do much of anything. That was the great thing about summer, at least for now he didn’t have any obligations to do shit. Hopefully by the time he did everything would have settled enough that Karkat wouldn’t mind having to be left alone for a few hours every day.

Karkat seemed to be over the whole book incident all things considered. There was still no fucking way Dave was going anywhere near that thing again as long as he could of course. Baring the house catching on fire and picking it up to save it if need be, he was not touching any of Karkat’s shit ever again. Only the translator was exempt from this rule.

Said translator was really helping Karkat learn how to speak too. Dave was starting to think he might have underestimated the likelihood of super intelligent alien species after the whole Rubik’s cube incident. While it wasn’t like, anywhere near a perfect mastery in an hour, Karkat was definitely learning a lot faster than he expected. Way faster than Dave ever could, at least.

They still couldn’t talk about much, and what they did was mostly Dave just explain to Karkat what things were or how they worked. It was a lot better than where they were before though, and if shit kept on at this rate hopefully he could start asking Karkat about himself and where he came from. While he was starting to understand a decent amount of English as long as Dave kept his sentences simple and his words small, Karkat still didn’t seem to know quite how to explain things himself yet. At least not to the detail that Dave was interested in.

“Hey Karkat, I’m going out to get food. Be back soon,” Dave told the alien sitting on the couch, entrenched in an episode of Daytime Soap Extraordinaire. He swore, the more English Karkat learned the more he seemed to fucking love that show. It was amazing and Dave was thinking he’d need to get some super dramatic cheesy chick flicks for him to watch or something.

“Okay,” Karkat said, not looking at him while he left. Once the door was shut Dave let out a sigh of relief, and he wasn’t even sure why. He was just glad that shit seemed to be back to normal. Karkat wasn’t pissed at him anymore and any awkwardness from the fact that he thought Dave was flirting with him had been successfully avoided so far.

He still wasn’t sure what the fuck could have made him come to that conclusion, but hopefully he managed to stomp that idea out pretty quick. He hadn’t changed how he was acting around Karkat, but since nothing was brought up he figured it couldn’t be that bad. He couldn't change what he didn't know he was doing after all, and Karkat didn’t seem like the type it not let him know if something was bothering him.

Dave still didn’t know how this was going to work in the long run. He doubted Karkat wanted to stay in hiding forever after all.

Once Karkat could speak for himself properly they could try to figure it out. From the looks of things it wouldn’t be too much longer now.

Of course, Dave wouldn’t mind if he needed to stay with him for however long he needed to. He liked having him around. He was cool. He was a total dork, but in a cool way.

He’d probably even miss him if he ever went back into space.

---

Karkat couldn’t help but be a bit paranoid for the next few days, certain that at any moment more ‘humans’ as he’d learned they were called would show up and try to cull him. Dave kept reassuring him that this was not going to happen, and he supposed he should trust him. He knew much more about what was happening than Karkat did, but it was still pretty fucking worrying.

Slowly Karkat managed to consider accepting the fact that he might actually be safe here. It still seemed like a ridiculous notion but nothing had happened so far and Dave still seemed as intent on protecting him as he ever was. If something was going to come and try to take him, he was pretty sure Dave would let him know as soon as he found out about it.

Karkat still didn’t quite get that after all of the fucking shit he’d put him through and then flat out telling him he weren’t interested in a moirallegiance on top of that. Fuck though, if he wanted to keep helping Karkat after he set up that boundary he were not about to complain.

Over the past couple of days Karkat had managed to get a hang of teaching himself this language using the translator as well. At the least he could understand what Dave was saying when he’s trying to speak to him most of the time now. There were always a few words Karkat couldn’t understand, but he could parse together what Dave meant well enough if he kept it simple. Which he didn't a lot of the time, but it was still something.

Karkat didn’t bring up anything that had happened during those few disastrous days after Dave had looked at his sketchbook. He honestly just wanted to forget about it. Dave didn’t press him and he was pretty sure it was because he was worried he might set Karkat off again, but that didn’t matter. He didn’t care as long as it was ignored.

Karkat was just glad he hadn’t done anything stupid and completely ruined whatever strange tentative friendship they did have. Dave could have been fucking pissed at him and Karkat wouldn’t have blamed him for kicking him out. At the very least, he wouldn’t have blamed him for not wanting anything to do with Karkat besides offering some basic hospitality.

He still tried to talk to him though and played those dumb stick stacking games with him and watched television with him. It didn’t feel like it was forced either. Dave was awkward and a bit unsure sometimes but he'd been like that before and it still seemed like he genuinely wanted to spend time with him.

It was strange. But it wasn’t bad.

Karkat was watching television when Dave left the hive. He didn’t leave very often, but he said something about getting food and not being gone long, so Karkat wasn’t that concerned. Plus, he figured Dave did actually have a life outside of staying around his hive every hour of every day. He couldn’t stick around making sure Karkat wasn’t getting into trouble all the time. Karkat didn’t even want him to, it was nice when he could just be alone sometimes. He was pretty sure the adult, ‘Bro’ according to Dave, wasn’t even home now.

He waited until the show (he’d yet to find out what the name of it was, he’d have to ask Dave one of these days) went to consumer propaganda before getting up and heading to the nutritionblock. He’d rather not watch those if he had the option. He’d seen quite a few by now and while most of them seemed to be pretty standard, there were a few that were just flat out bizarre.

Dave always seemed to get a kick out of his confusion for the ones that were on the stranger side of things. He never tried to explain or answer any of Karkat’s questions though, not even telling him if any of it was real. Instead Dave would just laugh at him and insist it was ‘better that he not know'. He didn't quite agree with that, but whatever.

Looking around the nutritionblock, Karkat could see why Dave said he was going out to get food. There wasn’t all that much to eat, and pretty much nothing that he’s tried and knows is safe. So far though, there hadn’t been any sort of mishaps when it came to food, although Karkat had let Dave pick out everything he ate still.

Which felt very juvenile when he thought about it, but it wasn’t like he was letting Dave make his food all the time still. He would just only eat things Dave had given him before or that he’s seem him eating as well.

There was a small box out on the counter, and Karkat picked it up. It was already open and when he pulled out the contents it looked like a bunch of individually wrapped candies. A few had already been eaten by someone so he carefully tore at the little casing on one, figuring it was probably safe. They were small enough that he doubted they could do much damage even if they weren’t good for him.

Placing it in his mouth, it tasted a bit odd as it slowly melted on his tongue. Of course, most of the food on this planet tasted strange as fuck. It wasn’t unpleasant at all though, and it wasn’t long before he finished it and popped another in his mouth. He could hear his show come back on and he took the little sheet of candies with him. He wasn’t too hungry, so sucking on these would be more than enough to hold him over until Dave came back.

By the time his show was over Karkat had finished over half of the pack of candies and a headache was starting to form in the back of his head. Shutting his eyes, he rubbed at them under his shades, placing the packet down somewhere off to the side. Ugh, maybe he’d been spending too much time out here when it was so bright. The sunglasses helped, but light could still come in from the sides sometimes.

Standing up to go lock himself in the dark storageblock for a few hours, Karkat fell right back onto the couch, his legs deciding to give out for no apparent reason. Okay, that was not what he meant to do. Taking a deep breath, he forced himself back into his feet and this time managed to stay there, although he could feel himself wavering on his legs.

Once he was sure he could probably walk he went to take a step forward. He managed to get a few more steps before stopping and frowning because he couldn’t remember for a moment where it was he wanted to go.

Right, fuck, the storageblock. God, his head hurt. It was getting really hard to think and he could feel the tips of his fingers starting to shake. Even still, he managed to steal himself to try to get somewhere he could rest.

Taking a few more steps, he had to stop again because everything was fucking spinning now. He tried to close his eyes again to get it to stop but then it just felt like he was spinning and that was even worse.

Opening them everything was blurry and he couldn’t tell where he was. Fuck. Fuck he just… he just needed to go home. It couldn’t be far he just needed to get out of here and get to his hive and crawl into his coon and not come out for a week. Two weeks. A perigee.

Karkat wasn’t sure if he was moving or if the block around him was moving but he sure felt like he was going somewhere. This was good moving was good.

“Karkat!”

He flinched at the voice and turned as fast as his body would allow him to the source. A smile broke out across his face and he didn’t know why it was such a relief but it felt like it had been so long, way too fucking long. Just how much time had passed since he’s last seen her? He couldn’t remember.

“Terezi! I… shit…” he muttered, not able to form words very well, let alone coherent sentences. His tastesponge felt too large for his mouth and his mind was a foggy mess of relief and confusion. He tried to take a few steps towards her but his legs were still hardly listening to him at all. Terezi was laughing at him though so it couldn’t be anything that serious and she looked so happy. Fuck he missed her why did he miss her so much?

Taking a step forward this time when he stopped it wasn’t because of anything happening to him this time. A large figure was looming over her and she didn’t notice. She just kept laughing at him as the figure raised a huge dark arm up behind her.

“Wait! Wait, wait no, no Terezi fuck no,” he wasn’t even sure if he had managed to actually get those words out correctly but even if he did it hadn’t helped. The hand came down hard and there was an explosion of teal when the claws hit her. Karkat didn’t register dropping to his knees but he was crawling over to where her body should be but the space was empty.

He felt like he was going to throw up, his head pressed to the floor and he might have been crying but it was hard to notice anything at this point.

“Karkat?”

Pushing himself up Karkat turned, Kanaya standing a few feet away from him. He tried to call out to her but all he could manage was a choked sob. She was smiling sadly at him and he wanted to go over to her and cry about Terezi and let her help him because she was always the one who could help him. The one who could cut through his bullshit and help him actually calm down once in a while.

This time he wasn’t able to see the figure that had thrust a sword through her torso, instead just watching as the jade splattered on the ground in front of him and her body slumped lifelessly to the floor as he let out a pained scream.

He needed to get out of here he needed to warn the others he couldn’t lose anyone else like this he couldn’t!

Somehow managing to push himself to his feet he nearly fell right back on his face after a few steps. He couldn’t figure out where he was going and it didn’t matter because soon he was coming to a stumbling halt once again.

“KK what’s the hurry?”

No. no no no no no. He couldn’t even form words this time when he turned towards Sollux. He needed to tell him to get the fuck out of here but he couldn’t he couldn’t he was fucking useless! They were all going to die because of him and he couldn’t do anything about it but watch!

Sollux looked like he was about to say something but before he could the same hand that had killed Terezi smashed into the side of his head.

This couldn’t be happening it couldn’t please fuck he just wanted it to stop!

“What is up Karbro?”

“No, no, no,” he muttered, trying to get away like the coward he was instead of trying to save them. He couldn’t even do that right, falling to the ground once again. It was suddenly too bright and he covered his head to block out the light and just barely managed to miss seeing the exact fate for Gamzee. Instead he just heard the sounds of bones crunching and felt himself start to dry heave.

“Kaaaaaaaarkat!”

“Stop!” he begged, pressing his hands over his ears but he could still hear what was going on.

“Hey Kar!”

“Fuck please!” It was useless it wouldn’t stop why wouldn’t it stop?!

“Karkitty?”

“No no no.”

“Uh, Karkat?”

“Crabkat!”

“Stop fuck!”

“Vantas.”

“Oh Karkat!”

“Stop, stop, STOP!”

Lifting his head up everything was awash in colors to the point that he couldn’t even tell what was under it all. He felt sick his whole body was numb this couldn’t be real please let this not be real!

He was breathing heavily and his hands were shaking hard as he forced himself back to his feet. He didn’t even know why he was trying anymore they were dead they were all fucking dead. It was his fault it was always his fault. They were better off without him. Everyone was better off without him it wasn’t fair why did they always have to take the fall for him?

“Karkat?”

Karkat froze, turning towards the new voice slowly. It wasn’t one of his friends, but it was so close to being familiar it itched under his skin and at his thinkpan. What he could see past the coatings of blood was a figure standing in more burning light. It was coming towards him and Karkat felt a growl rising in his throat.

He didn’t know who or what this was, its form flickering in between the dark figure that had killed his friends to the mangled forms of their dead bodies to some strange being with pale skin and yellow hair.

It was the dark creature now and it was reaching out to him and Karkat snapped, leaping forward and tackling it to the ground.

---

Dave was attempting to unlock the front door while carrying two handfuls of groceries when he heard a very alien sounding scream from inside. Dropping the bags without a second thought he quickly managed to force the lock open and slam the door aside.

Karkat was crouched on the floor, his shades knocked a few feet away from him and he was shaking fucking hard. Dave couldn’t form words for a moment, shocked and confused as he watched Karkat forced himself to his feet with deep shuddering breaths. He wasn’t looking at Dave and it didn’t even look like he even realized he was there. He didn't seem like he was focusing on anything at all, his eyes locked on something a million miles away.

“Karkat?” he asked, very fucking concerned about what the hell was going on. As he turned towards Dave it looked like he’d been sobbing his eyes out and his grey skin managed to look even more ashy and lifeless somehow. When he finally seemed to focus on Dave there wasn't a single hint of recognition in his eyes and it was so fucking unsettling. Stepping into the house, Dave shut the door behind him without looking away from Karkat.

“Hey man, what’s wrong?” he asked softly, it not even looking like Karkat had heard him. As he continued to make his way towards him Karkat started growling and Dave had no fucking clue what he was supposed to do. Glancing around the room he tried to see what could have fucking set him off like this. His eyes widened when he caught sight of an empty packet of some kind of pills on the couch and Dave felt his stomach drop.

“Oh fuck, did you eat all of those? Shit, okay come on now. Let’s go look through your alien aid kit, it might have something to help you,” Dave said as gently as he could, reaching out towards Karkat to try to lead him back to his room despite the growling increasing in volume. He could have seriously poisoned himself Dave wasn’t going to chance shit.

Before he managed to touch him something snapped in Karkat and Dave was on the ground, claws digging painfully into his shoulders. He’d barely managed to get an arm up in front of him at the last second to block Karkat from tearing into his fucking neck with his sharp as hell teeth.

“Karkat! Fuck Karkat stop!” Dave yelled, trying to use the arm he was biting down on as leverage to push him off. It didn’t work, Karkat just digging claws and teeth deeper into him and Dave wasn’t able to hold back a loud hiss of pain.

“Get off!” he snapped, kneeing Karkat in the stomach and managing to flip them around so that he was on top. Karkat was fucking shrieking at him, slashing out at Dave before he could get a good grasp on him and crawling away. When he got back to his feet he looked wobbly as fuck and he was rambling in his alien language, panic and fear in his unfocused eyes. Dave pushed himself back up, not wanting to be sitting helpless on the ground while he was like this.

Karkat's yelling started to falter and his eyes began watering until he was crying again for some reason.

“Karkat, please listen to me. It’s okay, just take deep breaths,” he tried, this time staying where he was. He didn’t want to attempt touching him again and end up being a second too slow to protect himself this time. Karkat just responded with another deep growl.

The threatening sound was cut off by Karkat squeezing his eyes shut tight and covering his ears for some reason. He was breathing really fucking hard again and fuck Dave didn’t know what he should do! Karkat looked like he’d been put through his own personal seven layers of hell and Dave had managed to catch him at the deepest one.

Karkat shouted something again out of the blue, startling Dave and making him flinch back. He starting looking around the room like he expected something else beside them to be there and fuck this was so bad.

“Karkat, Karkat look at me. There’s no one else here. It’s just us, you’re safe,” he tried, taking a tentative step forward. Karkat didn’t growl at him this time, instead he just looked confused and so god damn scared.

“It’s okay man. Nothing’s coming after you. You’re okay,” he continued, taking another small step. This time Karkat stepped back, his fear still very much evident. Dave didn’t chance moving forward for another minute or so, Karkat slowly seeming to ease down from the panic to a shaky confusion.

“You okay?” he asked, feeling like the answer was obviously fucking no but if he could get an answer at all it would help. Karkat tore his eyes away from him, turning away and doubling over, breathing roughly again. Dave took another step forward, mainly because Karkat wasn’t looking at him so he felt like he could get away with it.

The next thing he knew Karkat was on his knees, arms wrapped around his stomach and his forehead pressed into the carpet.

“Karkat?” he asked, not able to hold back a grimace when he started dry heaving, throwing up a few moments later. That was probably a good thing through. Get all this bullshit out of his system.

Dave didn’t want to take his eyes off of him but he took the moment to run to the kitchen and grab a water bottle for once he calmed down. When he came back into the room Karkat was sitting up slightly, his eyes still unfocused but most of the fight looking drained out of him.

Ignoring the sharp stinging in his shoulders and arms Dave started towards him, eventually chancing sitting down next to him (making sure to keep a bit of distance between him and the pile of sickness because gross.)

“Karkat? You okay?” he asked again. This time when he turned towards him, Dave couldn’t see any of the fear and hatred that had been there before. He still couldn’t tell if Karkat knew exactly who he was either, but it was way better than nothing.

Before Dave could offer him the water Karkat leaned forward, slumping against him without any warning and burying his face in Dave’s neck. Which considering what he’d just tried to do a few moments ago, was pretty fucking terrifying because there was no way he could stop him if he went berserk again and tried to bite his fucking throat out.

“Uh, Karkat? Maybe we should get you back to the closet so that you can get all this shit out of your system,” he suggested, attempting to pull away. When he inched back Karkat just came with him, seeming really intent on using Dave as a nice little base to lean on and catch his breath.

“If you throw up on me dude I swear to god,” Dave tried to joke, not sure what else to do. Karkat was still shaking and now that he could feel him he was way colder than Dave ever remembered him being.

“But yeah okay, we can do this until you get a hold of yourself, sure thing man,” he said, Karkat chirping against him. He figured that Karkat would be pissed about this one he did manage to pull himself together, but fuck there wasn’t anything Dave could do about that. It wasn’t his fault that Karkat could apparently go from murderhappy to cuddly in a couple of minutes.

He just needed him to hopefully get some control back soon, just enough to get him back to his room so that Dave could bandage up his cuts. Under any other circumstances he'd be fine letting him stay like this until he was feeling like himself again, but right now he sort of needed to speed that process up a bit.

He'd still let him have few minutes though.

---

Karkat knocked the creature down and nearly managed to tear into its throat. It blocked him and it kept changing and it was pissing Karkat off! He wanted it to stay as the dark figure so he didn’t have to keep seeing it as his friends or as the panicked yellowed hair creature. It kept shouting something and trying to push him off but Karkat couldn’t understand it, could barely hear it and he wasn’t going to let go.

It managed to jab him hard in the stomach and Karkat let go of its arm in pain. That hurt, fuck that hurt way more than it had any business hurting. The room was spinning fast again and the creature managed to flip them, getting Karkat on his back and trying to hold him down.

“Get off get off get off!” he yelled, panic gripping him because no he didn’t want to die too please fuck he didn’t want to die. He knew he deserved it but he was so fucking scared he just kept slashing at the thing frantically until he somehow managed to get out from under it.

“Don’t touch me! I’ll kill you I’ll fucking kill you for hurting them! Why did you do that fuck why did you…” he trailed off as the creature got to its feet. It was the dark mass less and less and was instead shifting between the forms of his friends and he couldn’t stop the tears that started to come back. Fuck. Fuck everything hurt and he didn’t want to do this he couldn’t he was so confused and so god damn terrified he hated this he absolutely hated it!

It was talking again now but even with the faces of his friends Karkat couldn’t understand it. He started to growl at it in a desperate attempt to keep some control of the situation. To keep it from thinking it had gotten the best of him, to let it know that he could still tear its god damn throat out if he wanted to.

He was cut off by a sudden scream and Karkat tried to cover his ears to block it out, shutting his eyes so that he maybe couldn’t see whatever it was that was happening. He could feel himself losing it, his breath coming in uneven heaves and his thinkpan feeling like it was being scooped out with a rusty foodrake.

“Stop! Fuck please just stop already!” he shouted, it actually seeming to work for once. The sounds of his friend’s screams dying down ever so slowly until he finally couldn’t hear them anymore. When he opened his eyes he looked around, not seeing anything around him besides the creature.

It seemed to have settled its form as the yellow haired being. It was speaking to him again and took the smallest step forward. Karkat couldn’t move. He wanted to run away or he wanted to fight but his body felt like there were weights tied to every inch of him and as it continued to come close all he managed to do was take a step back. It stopped at that though, not pressing at him and while Karkat was still terrified it helped. It helped that it could tell he was scared and wasn't trying to make it worse.

He tried to breathe deeply, to get some semblance of control back into him but it was hard when everything felt like it was trying to do backflips inside his body and he was so fucking cold.

The creature, the… fuck, there was something familiar about it, started speaking again and before he could try to figure out just what it was that made him think like he should know it he felt a lurch through his whole body, turning away and doubling over.

He wasn’t able to focus on the other being as he fell to his knees, holding tightly onto his stomach. Fuck, his stomach felt like it was full of fucking knives. He could feel himself start to dry heave for a few moments, his head pressed into the ground until he managed to empty his digestionsac.

Karkat lifted his head as soon as he was capable, instincts more than any real thoughts making him want to get away from that as quick as possible. His eyes were still unfocused but there wasn’t blood covering every surface anymore, even if everything continued to be blurry as fuck. He was shaking and he was so fucking cold he just wanted to get somewhere warm.

His thinkpan wasn’t working right either, but he could tell it wasn’t working right now. He could tell that he had no fucking idea what was going on and that he felt fucking sick as shit and that he could barely think anything more complicated than two words strung together.

Something was speaking next to him and Karkat turned his head very slowly, everything still feeling like it was moving even after he stopped. It wasn’t as bad as the spinning before though, so it was better. Not good, but better.

It still took him several long seconds of staring to even begin to try to figure out what it was he was looking at. Right. Right fuck, that was… someone. Someone he knew and who looked really fucking worried about him and who most importantly looked really fucking warm.

Karkat didn’t think twice, slumping forward and leaning against him. He buried his face in his neck and he was not moving from this spot because he was just as warm as he looked and supporting your own body weight was a dumb idea and he was way too fucking tired for that shit.

He started speaking again and tried to pull away but Karkat just inched himself forward to close the gap he made. He seemed to get the picture at that, still speaking all softly but not bothering trying to move away again. Karkat let out a small chirp, not having the brain power or desire to form actual words right now.

They stayed like that for several minutes, and Karkat had nearly managed to fall asleep when he started pulling away again. He wasn’t able to hold back a groan of annoyance, reaching up and clinging to him to keep him from leaving. He started speaking again and Karkat tried to listen to it, to figure out just what the fuck it was saying and after a few moments he managed to piece together something that he remembered meant ‘hurt.’

He clearly wasn’t speaking Alternian though and after a few more strenuous moments of thinking it over everything seemed to hit him like a fucking train.

Karkat snapped away from Dave, instantly regretting moving so fast and feeling like he was about to vomit all over again. Closing his eyes and taking a few steadying breaths he managed to get himself back under some relative control to actually look and see what the fuck he’d done.

The top of Dave’s shirt was drenched in red from where Karkat had clawed into his shoulders and one of his arms had a deep bite mark in it. That had nearly been his neck and suddenly Karkat felt like throwing up for a very different reason. Lifting his hand up and wiping the side of his face blood came away from where he’d been leaning against Dave and he was shaking again.

“Sorry. Sorry, sorry very sorry,” he said, feeling his eyes start to water and fuck he needed more ways to say sorry in this crummy language. Dave didn’t even look angry at him and that was so fucking wrong why couldn’t he just hate him and make this easy? He’d nearly killed him and Dave wasn’t even batting an eyelash.

“It’s okay. I’m okay,” Dave insisted but Karkat just shook his head and fuck he was not going to cry again. Or maybe he was. He still felt so awful and the realization of what had just happened felt like the final fucking straw. Dave was speaking again though and Karkat managed to piece together something about going back to his block and he nodded feebly. Dave stood up, holding a hand out to help Karkat.

He tried to get up on his own, not because he was annoyed with the offer (he did not fucking care what might be construed as pale right now. He was so past caring future him could deal with whatever fucking shitty choices he made in his apathy) but because he didn’t want to put any more stress on Dave’s shoulders. When he just ended up falling right back on his fucking ass however he gave in and let Dave pull him to his feet. He saw the flinch of pain that crossed over his face as he did and he felt like such shit.

Before they went back to his block Dave walked away for a moment, bending over and picking something up. Karkat had no fucking clue what he was doing until he came back and handed him his shades that must have fallen off sometime during his panic. Karkat slipped them back onto his face, tension he hadn’t even realized was there melting away when the strain on his eyes left.

Dave led him to his block before leaving, probably to fix up the gashes Karkat had given him.

God, how could he possibly fuck up that much? What had even happened to him? He was still having a hard time thinking and his head still felt like it was cracked open and his digestionsac on the verge of expelling itself again.

Karkat figured he should go rest in his pile. He didn’t know what was wrong with him but fuck maybe he could just sleep it off.

He didn’t want to go in there though. He just. He didn’t want to be surrounded by all of those reminders of his friends right now. Not with the images of their corpses and the sounds of their tortured screams still so fresh in his mind. He kept telling himself that it hadn’t been real, some fucked up hallucination caused by who knows fucking what, but it wasn’t helping any. Just glancing over and seeing a few horns spilling out sent a sharp pain through his bloodpusher.

Walking over to Dave’s sleeping mat, he took his sunglasses off carefully and curled up as tight as he could on the end of it, in case Dave wanted to rest himself after what Karkat had done to him. He’d move if Dave wanted him to, go sleep on the couch or something, but he just. He’d rather not be alone right now, if he had the choice.

Closing his eyes, he figured that maybe if he went to sleep before Dave got back he wouldn’t force him to leave. It was probably a selfish thing to do after what he’d just put him through, but fuck he already knew he was selfish and useless and a complete waste of time and space.

He wasn’t sure when everyone else was going to wise up and realize that, but until then he’d take what they could give him.

---

Dave waited for as long as he could before deciding that he needed to get himself bandaged up. He’d probably need some stitches too, but right now he was just focusing on stopping the bleeding so that he could take care of Karkat. He seemed much worse off than Dave was right now after all. Once he was sure he was alright he could fix himself up properly.

He tried to pull away again and once again Karkat just came with him, even reaching up and clinging to his shirt with one claw. Dave knew he probably didn’t even realize wat he was doing and considering how fucking terrifying he’d been a moment ago it was all surprisingly cute but cute was not going to stop the bleeding.

“Karkat, I need to get up. I’m hurt, it’s not bad but it still hurts okay? I need to fix myself up. If you’re still insistent on using me as a pillow once I’m not hurt anymore then fine,” he said. He was trying to emphasis the fact that he was hurt just because he knew he’d taught Karkat that word. He didn't know if he was coherent enough to understand Dave still but it was worth a try.

Karkat didn’t move for a few long seconds and Dave was about to try to pull away again when he fucking jumped out of his lap.

It took a little while for him to calm himself after that, and Dave was afraid he was going to throw up again. It seemed like Karkat managed to control it after a few moments, opening his eyes and looking him over.

Dave could see the realization dawn on his face as he seemed to put together what had just happened. He looked absolutely horrified at the realization, wiping a bit of Dave’s blood that had gotten on his face off. He could see tears starting to well up in Karkat’s eyes and he started apologizing over and over again, his voice wavering and hoarse.

Dave figured he should probably be a lot more pissed than he was. Karkat had been this fucking close to killing him and anyone with half a mind would realize that the alien was at least a bit of a menace after that.

He looked so fucking devastated though and it was obvious that he hadn’t meant to. He hadn’t realized what was going on and seemed terrified even as he’d attacked Dave.

“It’s okay. I’m okay,” he tried to reassure him. Karkat just shook his head and Dave wasn’t too sure if he should be doing that with how nauseous he seemed. “Come on man, let’s go back to my room. Go rest in my room,” he said, figuring that as soon as he got Karkat somewhere he could try to rest off the side effects of the pills he could bandage himself up.

Thankfully Karkat nodded at that and Dave pushed himself to his feet. He had to help Karkat get up as well, since he was still weak from all of that. He didn’t mind though, baring the sharp pain that shot through his shoulder as he pulled him up. Before leading him back to his room Dave quickly went and grabbed his shades from where they were on the floor, handing them over to Karkat. He seemed to relax a bit once they were back on and Dave gave him a small smile before going back to his room.

Once he had Karkat there he quickly went and pulled the first aid kit out of the bathroom. Taking off his shirt he tried not to aggravate the cuts on his shoulders any more than they already were. It still stung a bit but once that was off he started to wipe away the excess blood, trying to figure out what to take care of first.

He settled on the bite on his arm, since that would be the easiest of all the gashes. It looked the deepest too, so there was that. Dave had been planning on putting off giving himself the needed stitches but he figured Karkat was just going to pass out anyway and decided to just go through all the motions right now. That way it would all healed faster and maybe he wouldn’t have Bro getting too pissed at him for all this.

Or more specifically, not have him get pissed at Karkat. Dave forgave him because he knew he didn’t know what he was doing but Bro might not be as understanding. He was not about to let him try to kick him out though, with how fucking dangerous if could be for him out where with people potentially on the lookout for an alien.

After he finished up with the bite on his arm he moved to treating the cuts on his shoulders, which were not quite as easy to bandage up. After some fumbling around he finally managed it, although it was all a bit uncomfortable. Before heading back to his room Dave went and grabbed another shirt out of the dryer, pulling it on.

He was planning on checking on Karkat and then going to pass out himself, but when he went into his room instead of Karkat being huddled up under a million horns hugging the dragon doll in the closet like he expected, he was curled up as small as could be on the end of his bed. The shades were carefully placed next to his head so that they weren’t jamming into his face as he tried to sleep.

“Karkat?” he asked, unsure if he was awake or not. From the tiniest flinch at him name he figured he was, but he kept his eyes shut and made no other movement to show he was awake and okay. Dave was pretty sure he was trying to pretend to sleep for whatever reason. He almost laughed at that, sitting down a distance away from Karkat on his bed.

“Karkat, dude. You can sleep there if you want to, it’s okay,” he said. Karkat continued to breathe too evenly to be natural before ever so slightly opening one eye the tiniest bit to look at him. The second he saw that Dave was looking at him he shut it again and okay that did manage to draw a laugh out of him. Karkat frowned at that, still refusing to open his eyes as if there was any hope that Dave didn’t know he was awake still.

“Okay man, but if you’re gonna sleep on a bed you’re doing it fucking wrong,” Dave said, reaching over and grabbing the shades, placing them on the table next to the bed so that they wouldn't end up getting rolled on and crushed. Standing up, he saw Karkat peak an eye open as Dave quickly left the room, coming back with an extra pillow. He looked uncomfortable as fuck with nothing supporting his head.

Karkat seemed to give up the charade, watching him as he held the pillow out for him to take. It was pretty clear that he wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it, and once he took it Dave motioned for him to put it under his head. It seemed to work, Karkat shifting until he managed to put the pillow down and rest his head on it.

“Hell yeah man, look at you, halfway there,” Dave said, trying to keep the situation light after everything that just happened. Telling himself that he didn’t need to be afraid of Karkat because Karkat would never intentionally try to hurt him.

Unintentionally, he very well could hurt him. Could probably kill him but he hadn't. Dave managed to stop him though and Karkat was back to being his normal uncertain upset adorable self and nothing like that was going to happen again.

Dave tried to distract himself from that line of thought by grabbing his blanket and holding it up for Karkat to see. Unlike the first time he tried to give it to him and just tossed it on his head he held it out for him to grab. Karkat seemed to hesitate a moment before taking a corner and pulling it up over himself.

“Congratulations, you have now mastered the art of sleeping in a bed. Such a technological feat has only been conquered by a few, day old babies, dogs and several types of birds among them,” Dave told him. Karkat grumbled something in his own language before sighing heavily.

“Thanks you,” he muttered, his voice sounding weak and raw. Dave wondered for just how long he’d been freaking out before he’d come home.

It didn’t matter. Once they were both rested up he’d have a talk with Karkat about not eating sheets of fucking medicine and then they could put all this behind them.

“No problem,” he said, sitting down on the bed as well. Karkat was still trying to take up as little space as possible. A medium sized dog spreading out would have posed a bigger problem than Karkat was. Dave stifled a yawn, taking his shades off and placing them next to where he’d put the other boy’s before lifting the rest of the blanket that Karkat wasn’t using and crawling under it.

He tried to lay on his side but that aggravated his shoulder. It was hard to curl up on his back though, so he just tried his best to keep from kicking Karkat. He guessed he could just go sleep on the couch or something but fuck that he was already here and he was too fucking exhausted to move.

It took much longer than he thought it would to fall asleep, his mind replaying the fight over and over again in his head.

He trusted Karkat. He really fucking liked him and he didn’t think that was going to stop anytime soon.

He believed Karkat didn’t have a malicious bone in his body and had gotten the short end of the stick and been exiled for something out of his control and that he didn’t mean any harm and that he wasn’t planning anything or wanted to hurt Dave or use him.

He just really fucking hoped he wasn’t being played a fool.

Chapter Text

They did it.

He was gone.

Once the ship was out of sight everyone went back to their hives without much fanfare. After the constant rushing around these last few perigees it wasn’t a surprise. Everyone was beyond exhausted, both physically and mentally. It felt insane that it was all over at last.

There wasn’t anything else left to do, Karkat was on his own now. Hopefully he’d end up somewhere safe. Hopefully everything they’d done wouldn’t go to waste.

Hopefully everything that was still left to do wouldn’t be a waste either.

---

Terezi collapsed the second she was back in her hive. She hadn’t shown just how exhausted she was around Karkat, but she felt worn to her calciumrods.

She was also crying, but that wasn’t the point.

She wasn’t sure how long she stayed on the floor for, too caught up in her tears to even drag herself over to her recuperacoon. Eventually she managed to get a hold of herself enough to do just that, and then it wasn’t long before she managed to fall into a fitful sleep. Even in the slime she kept having nightmares, but it never took long before she was asleep again.

The next night she didn’t bother getting out of her coon other than to use the loadgaper and shove a few slices of grubloaf into her mouth.

The next night was the same.

And the next.

And the next.

If anyone was trying to contact her she didn’t know and she didn’t much care either. She’d turned her husktop off before she went to lead Karkat to the ship. She wasn't sure why and she hadn’t exactly been in the mood to turn it back on since then. She didn’t know if she could stand talking to anyone right now.

The fifth night after Karkat had left (after they got Karkat to safety this was a good thing what was wrong with her?) Terezi heard someone outside of her hive. She didn’t have time to get completely out of her coon and see who it was before Vriska was breaking her door down.

“Wake up!!!!!!!! Holy fuck Terezi what the hell!? Do you have any idea how boooooooored I’ve been?! No one is doing anything! You won’t answer anyone! Kanaya won’t talk to me! Even fucking Eridan has been all quiet and mopey! I’ve had to hang out with Tavros and Equius of all people! And even they are ignoring me half the time because they have to go comfort some other sadsacks!” she yelled as she stormed around the room, barely even looking around her and just kicking out at anything that got in her way.

Terezi slowly pulled herself the rest of the way out of her coon, not bothering to wipe off any of the slime as she sat on the edge. She intended to get right back in the second she got the chance anyway, so it didn’t matter.

“Ugh, go home Vriska. You think that maybe, there might be a reason why everyone is trying to mind their own business right now?” she said. Vriska kicked a scalemate so hard it slammed against the opposite wall with a squeak before she turned back towards her, hands on her hips.

“Oh noooooooo! Karkat’s gone and now I’m gonna cry for a sweep! What ever will we do without all his bitching and moaning!? He wasn’t even culled! What’s your problem!?” she snapped. Terezi just huffed, not even in the mood to get angry with the other girl.

“You weren’t close with him, you wouldn’t understand,” she argued. Vriska rolled her eyes in a very dramatic fashion at that.

“Hey! I was plenty close with him! Just in our own way. You know, in a way that doesn’t involve turning into some complete waste of space the second he’s out of my sight!” she said.

“I said go home,” Terezi repeated, moving to crawl back into her recuperacoon. Vriska stomped over before she could and grabbed the back of her slime covered shirt, pulling her completely out of the coon and onto the floor.

“Oh no you don’t! I’m tired of your little pity party! None of you were even in any quadrants with him, what’s the big fucking idea? This was the plan, remember? To get him to safety! We should be celebrating!” she said. Terezi quickly pulled out of her grasp, shooting her a glare.

“I know, okay! I know we weren’t in a quadrant and I know it was the plan and I know I should be happy but I’m not! I’m not and I don’t know why and I just… I…” she trailed off, starting to feel tears well up in her eyes. Vriska’s face fell the second she noticed them, much of the fight dropping out of her.

“Hey now! Come on don’t actually cry over this!” she said, seeming uncertain about whether she wanted to move towards Terezi or back away, instead just sort of swaying back and forth in her spot. “Look, I’m really bad at this shit, you know that. You don’t even want me doing this kind of comforting stuff anyway,” she insisted. Terezi wiped at her tears and nodded.

“You’re right, I don’t,” she said. Vriska frowned again at that.

“Hey! Don’t try to spare my feelings now, tell me how you really feel,” she grumbled, crossing her arms. Terezi took a deep breath, trying to get a hold of herself again. It sort of worked, she could speak evenly and the tears had stopped almost completely. It was good enough for her, at least.

“Listen. Just give everyone a bit more time. We’ll all come to our senses soon enough,” she said. Vriska didn’t make any more to leave, instead just giving her a look of stern disbelief.

“But I haven’t even gotten to tell you why I came here yet!” she said, catching Terezi a bit off guard.

“It wasn’t just to yell at me for ignoring you?” she asked, sounding genuinely surprised at that.

“That was a big part of it, don’t get me wrong here, but no, it wasn’t,” Vriska told her. “I wanted to tell you what I put in the 8ball I gave Karkat,” she added. Terezi rolled her eyes, leaning back against the side of her recuperacoon.

“I don’t care about whatever dumb gift you gave him, okay?” she insisted. Vriska didn’t pay her any heed though, continuing on like she hadn’t said anything.

“The amazing gift I gave him wasn’t really a gift for him at all. He won’t even be able to get it out! I’d like to see him try honestly, it’d probably be hilariously pathetic,” she said. Terezi cleared her throat, glaring at Vriska as a sign for her to get to the point already.

“I put a tracker in the ball. He’ll never get rid of any of our gifts because the loser is so dumbly sentimental about everything. If the ball’s ever destroyed it’ll send a message back to us and we can just, you know, get on with our lives, because whatever can destroy that he’s not gonna survive. If it’s not though, then we know where to go to find him when we go to bring him back. You know, like we plan to. Like how that plan will never happen if everyone just keeps moping around until the drones come to pick you all off like the worthless grubs you’re acting like!”

Terezi couldn’t do anything but stare at her in surprise for several moments. Eventually she managed to get a hold of her words again to actually speak.

“Why didn’t you tell any of us sooner?!” she asked.

“Because no one would listen to me! I tried to tell you all before he left but it was all ‘oh Vriska, we’re too busy! Vriska, we need to focus on saving Karkat. Vriska, go screw this piece of metal into a wall, and then go screw yourself because no one wants you here!” she snapped. Terezi sighed deeply, shaking her head.

“We didn’t mean it like that, we were just all really stressed okay? We had to get everything done before we missed the opening Feferi got for us,” she tried to explain.

“I know that! I was there too, remember?” Vriska said.

“Yes! Look, Vriska, it’s great. You’re right, that tracker will help big time when we go to get him. You should tell Sollux about it, make sure he can back up the program you’re using to receive any messages and stuff,” she said. Vriska’s mood seemed to noticeably improve at the praise.

“Yes, it is great. Which is why you all should have let me tell you before, but I guess it’s just another case of all my hard work going unnoticed,” she said. Terezi rolled her eyes at the boasting, the ghost of a smile starting to pull at her lips again. Before she could say anything else Vriska started up again.

“But bluh, can’t I just send you the file and have you send it to him? I’m so tired of listening to him complain and groan over every little thing! Working with him on that ship was a nightmare,” she said.

“Fine, I’ll tell Sollux,” Terezi conceded. It wasn't that big of a deal, she probably needed to talk to him anyway.

“Good. I’ll send you the files but your husktop needs to be on to get them, just in case you happened to forget that fact,” Vriska said.

“I did not forget,” Terezi reassured her.

“Yeah well, I’ll let you get back to your oh so important moping. Just remember, the longer we wait to get a move on things the longer it’ll be until we can bring that dork back,” Vriska said, turning to leave Terezi’s hive.

“I know, it won’t be much longer,” Terezi said as she left. Vriska was right after all. They promised they would make it safe for Karkat to come back, and that’s what they were going to do. Once Vriska was gone Terezi forced herself to get into the ablutiontrap, washing all of the drying slime off of her before putting on a fresh outfit. She was still very tempted to head right back into her coon once she was done, but instead she made herself sit down at her husktop.

Vriska hadn’t gotten back to her hive to send her the file yet, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t start setting things into motion.

It didn’t say that Sollux was online, but she was sure he was close enough to his husktop to see her message. He probably really was online and had just made the program show him as offline so that no one would bother him.

Terezi started quickly typing up a few messages to him.

GC: H3Y MR 4PPL3B3RRY BL4ST
GC: 1TS T1M3 W3 STOP CRY1NG 1NTO OUR PLUSH H34D HOLD3RS 4ND G3T TO WORK
GC: W3R3 NOT DON3 W1TH K4RK4T Y3T
GC: W3 ST1LL H4V3 4 LONG W4Y TO GO
GC: 4ND 1M NOT STOPP1NG UNT1L H3S B4CK W1TH US

---

Sollux had gone straight back to his hive the second he had the chance. He hadn’t let himself sleep for the entire week leading up to the takeoff date, because he needed to make sure everything was ready. It always seemed like new problems kept popping up everywhere he looked. It had paid off though, everything had gone as smooth as it could have when the time came and they were sending him off.

Now that it was over though and he got the chance to crawl into his recuperacoon, he could barely believe he'd managed to push himself that far. Once he finally let himself pass out, he ended up sleeping straight through four nights.

When he finally woke up he was fucking starving. Pulling himself out of his coon, he went straight to his nutrition block to stuff his face. No real thoughts could go through his pan during this process besides the ones required for shoving slop into his mouth. Once he was done with that and he was now rested and fed he could actually think about everything that had just happened.

Jesus fuck what had just happened?

He pulled himself up to his husktop and checked on the progress of the ship. He’d be able to monitor it as it traveled until it left the empire, but there wasn’t actually anything he could do if something went wrong now. He didn't actually have any way to interact with it anymore. It shouldn’t be a problem though. Getting him out of the empire was the easy part. The hard part was if he found a planet he could live on and then the douchelord figuring out how to survive on his own in whatever place that was.

After being so consumed by that project for so long though, Sollux had no fucking idea what it was he was supposed to be doing now. He tried to write a few mindless codes but found himself bored and not focusing within seconds. He went back to watching the tiny dot move across the screen but that was even worse.

He could feel himself getting increasingly irritated as he couldn’t figure out anything to do. He didn’t want to talk to anyone because chances were they were all still crying about Karkat and he wasn’t about to go on comfort duty for a bunch of assholes.

As far as he was concerned, there wasn’t anything to be upset about. They managed to give him a chance, which was way more than anything he had before. It was up to him now if he was going to survive long enough for them to get him back.

If they could, that is. He knew they’d all been promising up and down that they’d get him back, but fuck if they could actually do it. It seemed pretty god damn unlikely to him, all things considered. If FF could somehow manage to overthrow the Condesce, then yeah, maybe they could bring him back, but that was sweeps away from now. They didn’t even know if KK would still be alive by then. Fuck, Sollux didn’t know if he’d still be alive by then. Probably not, if he was being honest.

He guessed he should feel like an asshole for giving him all that false hope, but fuck, he was an asshole. It doesn’t matter much, KK didn’t seem to believe that they could get him back anyway, he wouldn’t be that disappointed. If he did have any hope for that it would probably die pretty fast, if he didn’t first.

There wasn't anything for him to do about it anymore so there wasn’t fucking shit to be upset about. He wasn’t going to be either he was just pissed the fuck off because he had nothing to do and didn’t want to talk to anyone but he didn’t want to do fucking nothing either.

His computer pinged, alerting him to an incoming message. He didn’t have himself marked as online and he hadn’t been for a while, not wanting to have KK messaging him while he was working on the ship and distract him. He still had it so that he would know when someone was trying to get in contact with him though so that he could decide if they were worth the effort. Right fucking now he doubted anyone would be.

He sighed in annoyance when he saw AAs handle lit up and messaging him.

AA: s0llux are y0u awake yet?
AA: its been f0ur days
AA: if y0ure n0t i may have t0 c0me wake y0u myself
TA: iim awake.
TA: what do you want?
AA: ive just been w0rried ab0ut y0u is all
TA: well no need.
TA: ii wa2 fuckiing exhau2ted but iim good now
TA: 2lept for liike four day2 apparently
TA: and iif that2 all then a very merry fuck off to you
AA: y0u kn0w its 0kay if y0ure upset ab0ut this
AA: we all miss him
TA: ye2, iit would be okay iif ii wa2 up2et, but wouldnt you fuckiing know iit?
TA: iim not.
TA: we diid iit, he2 2afe
TA: good game everyone go back to your hive2.
AA: are y0u sure ab0ut that?
AA: just because we managed t0 d0 what we wanted d0esnt mean it cant be bittersweet
TA: AA iif anyone can appreciiate the dualiity of a 2iituatiion iit2 me
TA: ii ju2t couldnt giive a shiit
TA: ii wa2 tiired a2 fuck
TA: 2o let2 plea2e move on
AA: if thats what y0u want
AA: just kn0w that y0u can always talk t0 me
TA: yeah yeah whatever

The rest of the day Sollux still felt just as fitful and irritated with every god damn thing. He was irritated with himself, although that wasn’t anything all that new. He fucking hated himself half of the time and this was definitely one of those halves.

He kept trying to think if he’d left anything out. Did he give Karkat the right instructions? He was so fucking tired he could have screwed it up. EQ or TZ would have said something if he got it wrong though, and he didn’t remember that happening. He hadn’t thought to explain how to switch the translator between languages though. He probably wouldn’t ever get the chance to use it but if he needed it what if he couldn’t figure it out?

What if he ran out of food before he found a planet, or what if he just didn’t end up finding one before the ship ran out of fuel? His calculations could have been off, or his battery might not actually be as efficient as he thought. There were so many fucking things that could go wrong and he’d never know. It was always going to be this question over his head and that was what pissed him off the most.

If he died, he just wanted to know he was dead so he could move on.

The next night Sollux got another message and he almost didn’t bother looking to see who it was. Probably just AA trying to check in on him again, but he didn’t need it. He was perfectly fucking fine, just going through one of his moods and it would pass, they always fucking passed.

When he saw the messages from TZ on his screen, he didn’t know if he was relieved or even more annoyed. She was just as determined as she ever was. He didn't know how she did it.

He really didn’t think they could ever get him back.

But she wanted to try, and like fuck was he going to say no.

---

Kanaya did not go straight back to her hive when the ship took off. She had volunteered to be the one to take care of Karkat’s lusus while he was away, and she intended to fulfill that promise. She wasn’t sure if she would use volunteer as the correct word though. There had not been many options and they weren’t going to just let him starve to death with Karkat gone.

When the ship was out of their sights she started walking away, not about to waste any time in getting the crabbeast back to her hive. It was already late in the night and she'd rather not be cause in the desert at day.

“Tavros, if I could use your assistance,” she asked, turning back towards the other boy. He’d been the only other real option in taking the lusus, but Crabdad was very large and wouldn’t have fit comfortably in his hive.

“Oh, of course,” he said, starting over to her from where he’d been standing around with some of the others who weren’t quite sure if it was alright to leave yet. He seemed thankful for the excuse to get out of there, and while it wasn’t a long walk to Karkat’s hive it would be to get all the way back to Kanaya’s. She’d have to let him stay the day before he went home. It wasn't a bother, Tavros was a delightful fellow.

Karkat’s lusus started screeching at them when they entered the hive, but it stopped without the need for a strife thanks to Tavros. It was very strange being in Karkat’s hive after what had just happened. It still looked as if any minute he would come bounding angrily down the stairs and demand what they were doing just showing up out of the blue. Without that, it felt much too quiet.

Kanaya told Tavros to wait downstairs with Crabdad and she quickly made her way up to Karkat’s block. It felt even odder being in there without him, but she gathered up as many of his belongings that she could carry. The movies and posters she knew he loved the most, the hardback copy of some of his books. Anything else that stood out to her that he might want back someday. If they left it all here it would get snatched up by his neighbors the second they realized neither he nor his lusus were around anymore and they assumed him culled.

They managed to get back to Kanaya’s right around sunrise, crabdad docile the entire journey. Kanaya was sure that would change once Tavros went back to his hive and couldn’t commune with him any longer, but the ease was welcomed for now.

When Tavros left the next night and the large lusus immediately started tearing anything within reach of its claws to shreds, that was welcomed as well.

Any distractions she could have right now were good things, even if they did end up leaving her with a very torn up hive.

Those first few days were so hectic that she couldn’t answer Vriska’s many incessant messages, or that’s what she told herself at least. She probably could have found the time in between patching snuggleplains and getting crabdad to sleep. That had been getting harder and harder the more nights it went without seeing Karkat. She didn’t feel particularly up to listening to whatever problems she was facing though.

When she received a barrage of messages from Eridan in the middle of the day that looked like they had been written without looking at the keys she ignored those as well. She had skimmed over them enough to get the main idea through all of the typos and whining. He missed Karkat and thought they were all idiots for not being able to find a way to keep him with them. She could understand that he was upset about this, they all were, but that didn’t mean she wanted to be a shoulder to cry on.

It was difficult, but she’s managed to keep her own tears to a minimum. She continued to reassure herself that this was for the best, that this was the only way for him to live and that this wasn’t the end, either.

Everyone just needed a bit of time to gather themselves before starting the next stage.

It seemed that they were nearing the end of that time when Terezi started messaging her one night.

GC: HOWS 1T GO1NG W1TH CR4BD4D?
GA: It Is Certainly Going
GA: He Is Starting To Calm Down Slightly
GA: Or At Least He Is Starting To Understand That Tearing Apart All Of My Drapes Will Not Bring Karkat Back
GA: And Instead Only Result In A Few Gentle But Firm Hits From My Chainsaw
GA: I Do Not Turn It On While I Am Hitting Him By The Way
GA: I Feel Like I Should Make That Clear
GC: TH4TS GOOD
GC: DONT N33D K4RK4T COM1NG B4CK 4ND F1ND1NG H1S D34R SW33T LUSUS M1SS1NG 4 F3W CL4WS
GC: BUT L1ST3N
GC: 1 N33D YOUR H3LP W1TH SOM3TH1NG
GA: It Does Not Have To Do With Shuffling Another Dear Friend Off Of The Planet Does It
GA: Im Not Sure I Could Go Through This Twice
GC: NO 1T DO3S NOT
GC: 1T H4S TO DO W1TH G3TT1NG H1M B4CK
GA: That I Can Help With
GC: 1 THOUGHT YOU WOULD S4Y TH4T
GC: 1V3 B33N TH1NK1NG 4ND W3 N33D MOR3 TH4N JUST G3TT1NG F3F3R1 4S 3MPR3SS
GC: H3 WOULD ST1LL B3 K1LL3D 1F H3 W3NT 4NYWH3R3 W1THOUT H3R PROT3CT1ON
GA: That Would Indeed Be The Case
GA: Do You Happen To Have A Remedy For This Problem
GA: Or Did You Expect Me To Be Able To Come Up With The Answer
GC: NO
GC: 1 WOULDNT PUT TH4T K1ND OF PR3SSUR3 ON YOU
GA: Oh Thank Fuck
GC: 1V3 B33N R34D1NG
GC: NORM4LLY 1 WOULD NOT PUT MUCH STOCK 1N VR1SK4S OLD BOOKS
GC: D3SP1T3 HOW GR34T TH3Y 4R3 FOR ROL3PL4Y1NG D3S1GNS
GC: BUT 4S 1 K33P LOOK1NG 1NTO 1T 4LL
GC: TH3Y M1GHT B3 ON TO SOM3TH1NG
GA: Do You Plan On Telling Me What This Something Is
GA: Not That All Of This Isn’t Fascinating In Its Own Right
GC: OF COURS3
GC: 1 W1LL G3T TO TH3 PO1NT
GC: W3 4R3 GO1NG TO DO 3X4CTLY WH4T W3 S41D W3 WOULD DO
GC: W3 4R3 GO1NG TO M4K3 1T S4F3 FOR H1M
GC: 4ND 1 W4NT3D TO KNOW 1F YOU COULD M4K3 M3 SOM3TH1NG

Everything seemed to spiral just as fast as when they first found out about Karkat after that. Truthfully, Kanaya wasn’t all that sure if there really was much of a plan when they got down to it. They had to be careful. Anything too noticeable and there wasn’t a doubt that their tiny group would be stomped out without a second thought.

They already had to be worried about that for Feferi. She was in constant danger from the Condesce already, but she was also one of their single more important pieces in all this. She was also their friend and no one could deal with much more loss right now.

Kanaya ended up making the item Terezi had requested, and then went and made enough for everyone to have one. While jewelry wasn’t her forte, it was a simple enough design that she’d gotten very used to creating while making all of those outfits for Karkat.

She could only imagine just how uncomfortable he would be with them using his symbol as if he was some martyr for their mission.

It did help though, and besides.

It was much easier to get others to rally around you when you had something to embody your cause.

---

Eridan was fucking pissed that it had to have come to this utter shit of a plan. No one would even look at the obvious fucking flaws in it, like the fact that there was no way for any of them to even be sure that Kar was getting somewhere safe. The planet he landed on could end up being even worse than Alternia, if he even ends up lucky enough to land on a planet at all. The ship could get found or it could crash or run outta fuel or anything.

No one had listened to him though and now he was gone and probably as good as dead. Feferi tried to comfort him as they made their way back to their individual hives but he wasn’t having it. He didn’t give a flying fuck that they thought this was his best chance, it was a dumb as fuck chance and not one he ever wanted to take.

He found himself moping in his room for several nights, no one bothering to check in on him. Not his moirail (although he had asked her to give him some space). Even that miserable clown didn’t seem to give two shits.

When he did finally get a message, it was Vris yelling at him to get over himself and to stop crying over his shitty pale crush. He already had a moirail after all, he was going to break Feferi’s poor diamond if he kept this up.

He blocked her, not in any kinda mood to be dealing with her taunts.

When he tried to sleep that day though he couldn’t, just like he hadn't been for that past couple of days. After several of hours of tossing in his recuperacoon and telling himself that he was better than this he found himself at his husktop. The room was much too bright for him to be up and he might have been a few tears but he didn’t care as he slammed out tired delirious message after message.

CA: ivve had it kan
CA: this is such fuckin shit you dont even know
CA: no one knowws none a you understand shit
CA: wwe shouldnt a semt him awway
CA: wwhy did i let you fuckers convvince me this wwas tha only wway
CA: fuckin hell
CA: for shits sake vvris wwont leavve me alone
CA: i wwasny pale for im
CA: i swwear
CA: im not that much trash
CA: he could be dead an none of you care
CA: dont evven care enough ta answwer me
CA: not evven the cloun wwill answwer me
CA: fuck im fuckin pathetic arent i
CA: just a huge piece a shit no wwonder it nevver wwoulda wworked
CA: too pathetic to evven pitty
CA: it aint fair
CA: kan fuck you there
CA: wwhat if wwe dont get him bakc
CA: servves us right for not lookin out for him wwhen wwe could
CA: kan
CA: kan wwhere are you?

Eventually he got tired enough to crawl back into his coon and pass out. When he saw the messages he sent the next day he couldn’t help but cringe at just how pathetic he was. No fucking wonder Kan hasn’t answered him, he wouldn’t have answered him if he was going on and on like he was.

His shame from that fiasco kept him from messaging anyone else for another day. By the time he was about ready to attempt to show his face again (not that anyone seemed all that interested in seeing it) he had figured it there was anyone he should talk to it was Fef.

She had been sweet and understanding and supportive. They were going to get Karkat back and nothing was going to stop them. He fucking wanted to believe her, but it seemed like fool’s hope to him. Sure, they could get him back when Fef became empress, if he was still fucking alive to be got.

He tried his best not to complain and argue too much though. It probably didn’t seem like it to her but he really had. It wouldn’t do anything being some hopeless sadsack all the god damn time after all.

It was about another week later when Fef actually messaged him first for a change.

CC: ----ERIDAN!!!!
CC: great news 38D
CA: somehoww I doubt that
CC: )(mp
CC: you are so lame
CC: i’ll )(ave you know t)(at t)(is is definitely some great news
CA: alright then, provve me wwrong
CC: we’re going to get started on getting crabkat back!
CA: wwhat
CA: howw exactly are wwe gonna be doin that
CA: he cant havve evven gotten outta the empire yet
CC: were going to start a revolution!
CA: excuse me
CC: terezi is dealing with the details
CC: i just wanted to tell you aboat it
CA: you just cant ‘start’ a fuckin revvolution
CA: unless theyre talkin about you takin the throne
CA: wwhich you cant do yet anywway
CC: no!
CC: i am going to do that but youre rig)(t, not yet
CC: but we need to make it safe for him besides t)(at
CA: that doesn’t make a lick of sense
CA: youll be the fucking empress
CA: wwhatevver you say goes
CC: that doesnt mean people wouldn’t still try to )(urt )(im
CC: we want to change t)(ings for the better
CA: i still think this is some dumbfuck shit
CC: well glub on you!
CC: are you going to )(elp us or not?
CA: yeah ill fuckin help
CA: wwhat do you take me for
CC: t)(ats w)(at I t)(oug)(t

Start a fucking revolution, what a load of shit.

He wasn’t going to go put up a fight against it though. Sure, he’d been all about killing the landdwellers and that junk for a while, but those desires had started to die out in recent years. Or at least, he was losing the ability to care. If Feferi wanted to do a big revolution to help with her take over from the current Condesce and try to bring Karkat back sooner, he wasn’t going to be fucking that up.

Did he still think he was better than them? Yes.

But did he think that someone like Karkat deserved to die because his blood was a bit too bright to be rust? Fuck no.

Trying to create a revolution was probably going to backfire spectacularly, but he didn’t give a single fuck about that. They’d deal with it when they got there, and if it distracted the Condesce enough then maybe Fef could take the opportunity to go in for the kill. He’d heard of worse plans, after all.

If they were going to revolt though, they needed to be serious about this. If anyone could help steer this obvious train-wreak into something manageable, it was him.

Eridan walked over to one of his many bookshelves, getting out every book he had that dealt with a revolution in some way. He quickly started reading over them, taking notes on what worked, what failed, what could suite their needs and what they could do with the minuscule numbers they had right now.

They were going to do this, and they were going to do it right.

---

Nepeta curled up in her hive with Pounce, trying and failing to keep herself from crying. The sweet big kitty pressed at her face and licked away her tears, which did some to cheer her up, but not much. It was enough to get her to stop crying and instead just lie there and think about what had happened. Everyone was just so sad and Karkat was gone and she wanted to be happy because he was safe but it still seemed so bad.

Once she had calmed down enough she tried to talk to Equius about it, but this was one thing he wasn’t doing a very good job of helping her with. He just didn’t understand what was wrong. The big dummy had never liked Karkat, and he didn’t see how making sure that he was still alive could be anything but a good thing.

It was, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t still miss him.

The next day she attempted to message Terezi, to have someone to talk to about this who missed Karkat just as much as she did. Possibly more, she wasn’t going to lie. As much as she cared about him, she knew those two had always been so much closer than she could have ever been with him.

She didn’t answer her though, and she supposed that made sense. If she still wasn’t feeling up to talking to anyone, Nepeta wasn’t going to force her. She certainly wasn't going to keep sending message after message just to be ignored.

It didn’t take her long to realize that it seemed like almost no one felt like talking. Well, Aradia, Tavros and Feferi were all still around, and Equius of course. None of them had been in Karkat’s inner circle though, and she supposed she was a part of that outside group as well.

It wasn’t a very fun feeling, knowing that she didn’t really belong in that group, as much as she wanted to. She didn't know if that was her own fault or theirs, or just how things were with nothing to blame at all.

It wasn’t for about another week until she heard from any of them. She was doing better, still sad at times, but after a while Equius had started to understand just how much this was affecting her and had stopped being such a dumb head. He was still very much a dummy, but he was trying, and she supposed it did help a little. He was trying hard not to say bad things about Karkat anymore, which was much better.

GC: SORRY FOR 1GNOR1NG YOUR M3SS4G3S
GC: HOW 4R3 YOU F33L1NG?
AC: :33 ac is still feeline a bit blue
AC: :33 but she will be okay
AC: :33 how are you doing?
GC: UGH, 1V3 B33N B3TT3R
GC: 1 JUST W4NT3D TO CH3CK UP ON YOU
GC: 4ND TO L3T YOU KNOW W3R3 GO1NG TO G3T H1M B4CK
AC: :33 do you really think so?
AC: :33 it seems pretty impawsible
GC: OH 1T PROB4BLY 1S
GC: 1T WOULD H4V3 TO 1NVOLV3 4 TOT4L R3WORK1NG OF OUR 3NT1R3 SOC1ETY
GC: 1F YOU DON’T W4NT TO PUT YOUR L1F3 4T R1SK 1 WOULDNT BL4M3 YOU
GC: YOU W3R3 4 B1G H3LP G3TT1NG SO MUCH FOOD STOR3D 4W4Y SO H3 WONT ST4RV3 TO D34TH
GC: SO 1F YOU W4NT TO PULL OUT YOU 4LW4YS C4N
AC: :33 I want to help though!
AC: :33 in any way I can
GC: 3XC3LLENT
GC: TH3R3S NOT 3NOUGH OF 4 PL4N TO F1LL YOU 1N ON Y3T
GC: BUT 1TS GOOD TO KNOW W3 C4N COUNT ON YOU
AC: :33 of course!

Nepeta wasn’t entirely sure what it was she’d gotten herself into, but she didn’t care. She cared about her friends and she cared about Karkat and if they were all going to risk their lives to change this place for the better and bring him back, then she was going to be right by their side.

Equius had not liked the idea, but he could also tell that this wasn’t something he could talk her out of this time. He could go on and on about dumb blood color all he wanted, but she knew he didn’t really believe all that junk. If he did, he would have told on Karkat the second he found out that he was a mutant, it wouldn’t have mattered who told him not to.

When push came to shove, he’d help. She was certain about that.

It wasn’t until for a few more weeks that anyone contacted her again with information about this plan to save Karkat. She wasn’t sure if she could call it a plan, because she was pretty sure plans didn’t sound so vague and crazy. It was something though, and she was willing to give it her best shot.

AT: uH, nEPETA?
AT: aRE YOU THERE?
AC: :33 oh yes!
AC: :33 how are you doing?
AT: iM GOOD.
AT: i WAS TOLD TO TELL YOU SOMETHING THOUGH,
AC: :33 you were?
AT: yES,
AT: aND THEN,
AT: iM GOING TO GO CHECK ON GAMZEE, sINCE NO ONE HAS HEARD FROM HIM,
AT: fOR A PERIGEE,
AC: :33 oh no!
AC: :33 do you think he’s okay?
AT: i DON’T KNOW,
AT: tHAT IS WHY, iM GOING TO CHECK,,,
AC: :33 oh right, that makes sense
AC: :33 well what is it you needed to tell me?
AT: uH, i WAS TOLD TO TELL YOU,
AT: tHAT KANAYA MADE US ALL THESE, UM, PENDANTS?
AT: wITH KARKAT’S SIGN ON THEM,,,
AT: wHICH AT LEAST TO ME, iS A LITTLE WEIRD,
AC: :33 oh!
AC: :33 I think that sounds sweet!
AT: sO YES,
AT: eQUIUS HAS YOURS,
AC: :33 thank you!
AT: aLSO,
AT: i WANTED TO KNOW,
AT: iF YOU REALLY THINK, tHAT THIS WILL WORK,
AC: :33 im not sure
AC: :33 I want it to
AC: :33 and im going to help as best as I can!
AT: aLRIGHT, tHAT IS FAIR
AT: wELL,
AT: i BETTER GO SEE, IF GAMZEE IS STILL, yOU KNOW
AT: aLIVE,
AC: :33 goodluck!

Nepeta would have to go get that pendant from Equius the next chance she got. She could understand how Tavros thought the whole thing might be a little bit weird, but she liked it. Even if it was just as something to remember him by. He’d gotten a bunch of presents to remember them, so surely it wouldn’t hurt for them to have a little bit of him as well.

At least, until they got him back for real.

---

He knew it was going to hurt like a nasty motherfucker, but the pain was still stinging harder than he thought was being possible for pain. He’d call it a miracle if it wasn’t making everything so damn devoid of the joy and mirth his miracles were supposed to be bringing him.

Gamzee’s best bro in all of the planets making their ways around all those little pinpoints of stars, too many to count and too many to even fucking see, was gone and he didn’t know how he was going to be handling such hurtful truths. His first action was to be eating up slime by the frondfull, not bothering to bake it and keeping his brain in such a buzz that thinking wasn’t even an option.

If he couldn’t be thinking he couldn’t be settling on how much his chest ached when he thought about a brother, or how he kept getting up trollian and clicking on a name like there was actually anyone left to be answering him. If he couldn’t think he couldn’t be bothering to get himself up to his husktop to talk to any motherfuckers at all.

He wasn’t in a state to be figuring out how much time he spent like that, drifting in and out of pleasant sleep and his thinkpan feeling hallow as the empty faygo bottle around him. At one point he heard knocking on his door but his walkstubs seemed to want to keep him on the floor. He didn’t have any objections to this, the floor feeling as good to him now as any coon ever had.

It took a while for him to recognize Tavbro when he came into the room, looking skittish as a tiny little squeekbeast that got a meowbeast at his neck trying to decide if it was hungry enough to eat. Some of that fear went and melted away when he noticed Gamzee sprawled out on the floor, one of his arms stretched out into a pile of horns like he’d meant to get in it but the rest of his body wasn’t on board for that plan.

“Oh! Gamzee, you’re uh, not dead. We thought you might not be. It’s been, um, over a perigee now? We were, well, I was starting to get, worried, I suppose,” he said. A loopy smile managed to make its way onto Gamzee’s face as he forced himself up on wobbly arms. He couldn’t quite be understanding everything Tav was saying but motherfuck it was good seeing a brother. Felt like ages since he last saw anyone and not a thought could rightfully tell him why.

“Tavbro! I’m all bein as alive as a motherfucker ever was. Ain’t no brother need to be getting his worry on for me,” he said, his voice still slurred from all the slime. He could feel some dried all along his touchstubs and up his arm, but it didn’t bother him none.

“Are you sure about that? Not about being alive, I mean. You are clearly alive, sort of. It’s just, you seem um, even more out of it, than you usually are,” Tavros said. Gamzee nodded before letting his body drop back down to the floor. Sitting up like that was an effort he couldn’t be doing, his body feeling wicked kinds of heavy.

“Hell yeah man, I’m feeling, fuck, I’m feeling amazing. Tired. Might be taking a snooze if a brother don’t mind it,” he said.

“Oh, no, I wouldn’t mind. You’re not um, upset though? About what happened?” Tav asked. Gamzee frowned, unsure of what it was he meant.

“What would be makin me shades of motherfucking upset, brother?” he asked.

“Uh, Karkat? It’s been over a perigee since he left, and no one’s heard from you, um, since then, so we thought you might not have been taking it all that, uh, well,” Tavros explained. Gamzee felt his frown deepen, a bit of clarity and a bit of the memories coming back to him and he wanted to shove more slime into him to make them all leave him fucking be but he kept himself from doing so right away. Tavros was trying to make a conversation with him after all.

“Yeah, yeah I guess that is all making me the slightest bit of motherfucking upset,” he said, letting out a deep sigh. “Fuuuck man, you all sayin it’s been a perigee?” he asked. Didn’t fucking feel like a perigee. Didn’t fucking feel like any time had gone and went at all.

“Yes. But um, besides making sure that you’re alive, there’s something, I wanted to talk to you about,” Tavros said. Gamzee tried to focus on his words instead of the pain starting to gnaw away at him from the inside out like the sickest of diseases.

“And what’s all that being?” he asked.

“I haven’t been too involved, I don’t think, there’s much someone like me can do to help, but the others, they’ve been trying to figure out a way to make it safe for Karkat to come back. They said they need all the help they can get. So I thought, you might be um, interested, since you were so close to him,” Tavros explained. It was almost too many words for Gamzee to understand with his mind as clouded as it was, but he managed to get the gist.

“And just what’s a group of fuckers planning to do to make it safe for such a miracle?” he asked. His miracle of a mutant brother wasn’t safe nowhere. As much as Gamzee would have straight up crushed an unlucky motherfucker who tried to hurt him for no reason but his blood, he couldn’t be protecting him from the whole of the empire.

He woulda tried something fierce, but it wasn’t all being up to him.

“This is um, according to Vriska, so take it with a grain of seasoningrocks, but they want to start a revolution, and um, overthrow the Condesce,” Tavros said, lowering his voice to a whisper at the end. Before Gamzee could quite process the sentence he continued. "They also made these weird um, necklace things, if you want it," he said. Gamzee managed to push his head up enough to see what a brother was talking about.

He was holding up a pretty little symbol made of shiny silver. Gamzee forced himself to sit up, grabbing the necklace in clumsy hands and tracing a slow finger around its curves. He tried to get his brain thinking on what it was Tav had said, and it took more work than was normal but the words finally made sense in his head and he bellowed out a loud laugh.

“Motherfuck brother, if that ain’t being the most trashpanned, motherfucking set up of failure for a plan I’ve ever had the blessing of hearing uttered,” he said, that large lopped smile back on his face. Slowly the laughing eased away and his smile fell into something less uncontrolled.

Tavros looked confused as confused could be, and fuck, maybe it was the sopor talking for this next part, but he didn’t rightfully care. It didn’t matter if it was the grand highblood himself possessing Gamzee to speak, cause he was agreeing with every word.

“You let every single one of those fuckers know that a mirthful brother is definitely being motherfucking interested.”

Chapter Text

Dave felt someone grab his shoulder, and he winced in pain as they tried to shake him awake. Opening his eyes, his first thought was that maybe there was something wrong with Karkat again. To his relief it was just Bro (which really wasn't too much of a relief at all), who let go of him after a moment. He was staring down at Dave and he looked pissed. Somehow not pissed enough to wake him up with a strife instead of like this, but still pretty damn pissed.

Dave managed to almost keep himself from showing any of the pain when he pushed himself up. He couldn’t move his legs and it turned out that was because Karkat was lying on top of them.

“Sup?” he asked Bro, trying to appear as casual about this as he could. Maybe he didn’t know Karkat had nearly killed him and waking him up like this was for some totally unrelated thing.

“You let it sleep with you?” Bro asked, and Dave’s eyes flickered towards Karkat again. He was spread out a bit more than he had been when they went to sleep, lying across the mattress horizontally so that his legs were hanging off the end. Dave’s own legs had somehow managed to get caught under him but that wasn’t the biggest issue right now. If anything, it let him know that Karkat wasn’t quite as cold and clammy as he’d been earlier, which was a good thing.

“No, this is new. He wasn’t feeling good so he wanted to sleep on a bed for a change,” Dave told him, hoping that maybe Bro wouldn’t press him on this. He scoffed and yeah, Dave didn’t think that was going to be the case but it was worth a shot.

“What the fuck happened? You left food outside and there’s blood and vomit all over the living room,” Bro asked and fuck, yeah Dave forgot to clean up, didn’t he?

“Karkat ate a bunch of Dayquil or some shit while I was getting groceries. He was kind of freaked when I came back but it’s out of his system now,” Dave tried, because that was pretty much the truth here. To say he was ‘kind of freaked’ might be a bit of an understatement, but it was still a pretty accurate description.

“What do you mean, he freaked out?” Bro pressed, and Dave was sure by now that he could see the bandages on his arm and poking out from under his shirt on his shoulders. He did not want Bro getting pissed at Karkat for this though. Like yeah, it was pretty terrifying and he nearly died but Karkat hadn’t meant it. That was clear enough with how upset he was when he realized what happened afterwards.

“He didn’t know who I was and thought I was gonna hurt him or something, he was really fucked up from the medicine,” Dave said, starting to feel Karkat shifting around on his legs some. He didn’t bring any attention to it though because he didn’t want to have Karkat wake up while Bro was here if he still wasn’t all there yet. Hopefully by now he should be done with the worst of it, but he was already scared of Bro and he didn’t want to chance anything. There was no way Bro would be cool with Karkat if he went and attacked him a second time.

“You let it sleep with you after it went on some drug induced rampage and did all that?” Bro asked, incredulous as he motioned towards Dave’s arms. Which, yeah when you put it that way it does sound pretty dumb, but it wasn’t like that. Or it was but that wasn’t the whole thing.

“He calmed down, it’s fine,” Dave insisted, even though he highly doubted Bro would take that as an answer. He could feel Karkat moving around even more now, and before Bro could say anything else the alien pushed himself up. He looked tired and confused and still a much paler grey than Dave was used to. Bro turned to look at him and for a second Dave was worried he might freak Karkat out again. He didn’t even seem to notice the adult though, instead just staring off at nothing while he held his stomach.

“Uh, Karkat? How you feeling?” Dave asked, starting to get concerned. Instead of answering him, Karkat scrambled off of the bed, actually going so far as to push Bro out of the way before running out of the room. Dave could see him run into the bathroom and he guessed it wasn’t all out of his system after all.

Dave got up to go after him, wanting to make sure that he was okay. Before he could leave the room as well Bro stepped in the way, blocking his path.

“I don’t fucking trust that thing,” he said, the first real time he’d had any major objections about Karkat since that first night he found out about him. There had been many major objections then, but it had seemed liked they were past that now.

Dave huffed in annoyance, because while he could understand where he was coming from he really didn’t need Bro telling him not to trust Karkat right now. He was already a little freaked after what happened and he didn’t need any reminders from someone who had no idea how bad it had even been.

“Well that sucks, because he’s not going anywhere,” Dave said, making his way around Bro and starting down the hallway. When he got to the bathroom the door was still open and Karkat was kneeling on the floor, his head hanging above the toilet. Dave wasn’t sure what to do, because he sure as fuck didn’t want to try to give him any medicine to calm his stomach. Medicine was what got them into this mess.

Out of the corner of his eye Dave saw Bro appear and he was about to tell him to fuck off for a minute when a water bottle was flung at him. Dave managed to grab it before it hit anything, and thankfully the lid was still on so water didn’t fly fucking everywhere. He really wouldn’t have put it past Bro to do that at all.

He’d forgotten he’d grabbed some water for Karkat earlier. Bro left with that, not looking like he was going to press on this anymore. For now, at least. Dave was sure that he’d want to talk about it later and try to convince him that Karkat was too dangerous to keep around.

There weren’t any other options though, and Dave didn’t even want there to be. He still didn’t think Karkat would hurt him on purpose, and as long as he made sure he didn’t eat anymore weird shit they should be fine.

Karkat dry heaved a few more times and Dave sat down next to him, moving to awkwardly pat at his back a bit. He didn’t know what else to do for someone who was feeling all sick and shit. He didn’t expect Karkat to flinch away like he did, but maybe he should have. Karkat tended to get irritated when Dave touched him and things like that, so he probably should stop pushing his boundaries.

“Gone, please,” he muttered out, still not looking up at Dave. He frowned at that, not quite understanding what he meant.

“What’s gone?” Dave asked, trying to figure out if maybe he thought he lost something or what.

“You, gone,” Karkat told him.

“No, I’m still here man,” Dave tried to reassure him. He didn’t know if Karkat was still under the effect of the meds and was thinking he’d actually killed him or something. Karkat shook his head though, taking a deep breath and pulling back from the top of the toilet.

“No, gone, leaf?” Karkat said, sounding a bit confused at the end there. It took Dave a moment to figure out what he meant.

“Oh, shit you want me to leave?” he asked, feeling kind of dumb for not getting that sooner. He didn’t want to be annoying Karkat while he was all sick and miserable, he just didn’t want to seem like he didn’t care while he was sick and shit either.

“Yes, gone please,” Karkat repeated, turning back towards the toilet again. Dave nodded, about to go when he remembered the water bottle in his hand.

“Water?” he asked, holding out the bottle for him to take. Karkat frowned, glancing from the bottle to Dave before grabbing the water. He took a small sip of it, and Dave figured it was probably a good idea for him to not try to push himself too much, even with something as simple as water.

He wanted to wait around and make sure he was okay, but Karkat told him to get lost (as well as he could) so he went back to his room. As he waited he heard the shower turn on and he guessed Karkat was feeling good enough to wash himself off some. It was little while later when Dave saw him come back into his room, still looking rather wobbly. His hair was all wet, and he’d just thrown the clothes he’d been wearing before back on, but he figured he’d change later. Instead of going to the bed Karkat headed back to his closet.

Dave thought for a moment that he was planning to get more sleep, but instead he pulled out the large alien first aid kit and started rummaging around inside. It didn’t take long for him to find whatever it was he wanted, grabbing two little packets of something. He ripped them open and downed the insides with the water Dave had given him.

“Feeling better?” he asked, Karkat nodding slightly. Dave watched as he shoved the first aid kit back into the closet. When he came back out he sat down on the end of Dave’s bed again, leaning against the wall behind him and closing his eyes. Dave could only imagine how fucking awful he must be feeling right now after all that bullshit he went through. He had no idea what it was that was making him freak out like he had but it must have been bad.

“Sorry,” Karkat muttered after a moment, surprising him. He guessed it made sense that he was still feeling bad about this, but he’d already apologized a million times so Dave didn’t expect him to do it again. He just nodded, sitting down on the bed as well. He was still kind of tired, but not enough to go back to sleep.

“It’s okay,” he reassured Karkat. It was after all, as long as it didn’t happen again of course. A thought came to Dave and he pushed himself back off the bed. “Be right back,” he told Karkat before leaving the room. When he went into the living room all of the blood and mess from earlier was gone. Huh, Bro must have cleaned it up or something. That was fast. Or maybe he did it before waking them up.

Walking over to the couch, he picked up the empty packet of Dayquil and went back to his room. Sitting down next to Karkat again, he held up the bit of torn up plastic for him to see.

“Very fucking bad, don’t eat, okay? Like, horrible bad,” he said, because yeah, it might have been smart to let Karkat know what was not safe for him to eat a while ago. Everything had been going well though and Karkat had just been having whatever it was Dave gave him. He didn’t think he’d somehow get into some meds that could seriously fuck him up.

Karkat seemed confused for a few moments, until it clicked for him and he started muttering in his alien language. It looked like he hadn’t realized the medicine had anything to do with what had happened to him up until that point. Damn, it had already looked freaking terrifying. Dave could barely imagine how much more so it must have been if he had no idea why it was happening in the first place.

“Don’t eat, very, very bad,” Karkat agreed once he stopped mumbling to himself. He took another couple of sips from the water bottle Dave had given him, keeping his eyes closed. It was only then that Dave realized he hadn’t bothered to give Karkat back his shades (or even put his own on, for that matter.) Reaching over to his side table, he grabbed both pairs, slipping his on before poking Karkat in the arm with the other. He peeked an eye open, looking down to see the sunglasses before taking them and putting them on as well.

Dave was starting to get hungry, but he figured Karkat wouldn’t really be up to eating right now. Even still, as he stood up he asked just in case. Karkat quickly shook his head at the offer of food, just taking another sip of water and seeming content to sit on the bed and let his body calm down for now.

Heading into the kitchen, it looked like Bro had managed to grab the groceries off of the doorstep where Dave had left them and put them away as well. Dave quickly grabbed a hotpocket out of the freezer and put it in the microwave before pouring himself a drink. Maybe he’d make some soup or something for Karkat later when his stomach was feeling up to it. That was supposed to be good for when you’re sick and stuff. He was pretty sure they had a can or two in the back of the cabinet.

Dave ate the hotpocket in the kitchen, not wanting to have the smell upset Karkat’s stomach again. On his way back to his room he stopped by the TV, picking up the translator from where they pretty much made a permanent spot for it. They’ve been trying to use it less as Karkat’s vocab increased, but it was still needed quite a bit if they wanted to have any kind of slightly substantial conversations. This was one of those times.

At some point while Dave was gone Karkat must have went and grabbed his notebook out of the closet, because it was in his lap and he was writing away in it.

“How are you feeling?” Dave asked, sitting down at his desk instead of going back over to the bed again. He turned his chair around so that he could face him while they spoke though.

“Okay, not bad anymore,” Karkat told him, not looking up from his book. Dave wished he could read his alien language so that he could have some sort of idea about what it was he was writing about. Not that he’d go searching through any more secret personal books. He’d just, you know, casually read over his shoulder or something to get a feel of the subject matter.

“Alright, cool,” Dave said, pulling the translator out. “Karkat?” he asked, getting his attention. He frowned when he saw the machine but put his book aside to pay attention. Dave wasn’t even too sure what he wanted to say, but he didn’t want Karkat feeling all guilty about tearing his arms up and shit.

“Don’t worry about the cuts, I’ve had worse,” he said, playing it back in Karkat’s language. He’d seen the alien do it enough times that he just sort of picked it up. Karkat frowned even deeper at that though, and Dave wasn’t sure if he believed him.

“How?” he asked, which yeah, that would be a good question.

“Fighting with Bro,” Dave said, because it was true. He didn’t really want to put into Karkat’s head that Bro randomly attacking him was still a thing, but he was trying to figure out the lesser of two evils here. Karkat was quiet for a long moment, seeming to think it over.

“You true?” he asked, and even though Dave had pretty much gotten used to the hodgepodge way he spoke, it was still pretty cute. In like, an amusing way.

“Yes, I’m telling the truth,” he said, and Karkat still seemed pretty hesitant but after a moment nodded, moving to grab his book again.

“Okay. Sorry still,” he said, and Dave could deal with that.

Dave put the translator down at that and turned back around to his computer. There wasn’t anything he wanted to do right now, but he didn’t want to sit around and keep bothering Karkat while he was still not feeling all that good. Dave considered signing into Pesterchum and telling the others about what had happened, but after thinking about it he decided against that for now.

He didn’t want anyone thinking Karkat was super dangerous or anything like that. Sure, he was much more powerful than he looked, or well, how he looked once you’d gotten used to the teeth and claws, but Dave still stood by the fact that he didn’t think Karkat was bad.

Maybe once a little more time has passed he’d talk to them about it. It just wasn’t something he felt like diving into and having to defend himself for. It was already bad enough with Bro thinking he could be some kind of killer.

There was a nagging voice in his head telling him that he didn’t really know Karkat at all. He could be a killer.

That voice needed to shut the fuck up.

---

Karkat was barely conscious when he found himself running to the ablutionblock. He thought he might have heard Dave say something to him before he ran off, but it didn’t quite register in his thinkpan. He also might have pushed the adult out of the way when he got up, but he didn’t want to think that he had done something that stupid

He nearly fell on his face as he ran inside. When he looked down to see what he’d slipped on he saw a smear of blood on the ground. Fuck.

He wasn’t able to think any other clear thought before he was heaving into the loadgaper, shaking and still feeling colder than normal. Damn it, he’d really fucked up this time. Even though Dave had forgiven him he’d almost killed him and there was blood on the ground to prove it and he’d done something that fucking poisoned him or some shit and everything was awful forever.

After a little while he heard Dave come into the room, and Karkat was surprised when he sat down next to him and started patting his back. He instantly flinched away from him, and there was a part of him that was recoiling from the comforting act in and of itself. For once though, that was the smaller part. The main thing that made him pull back was fear that he’d fuck up again.

He was pretty sure his mind was clear right now, but he didn’t know what had set him off in the first place. He didn’t want to risk something going wrong and him attacking Dave again. If he was just a bit faster, if he wasn’t feeling as sick and dizzy as he had been he probably would have managed to kill him. The thought made the sick feeling even worse.

He tried to tell Dave to go, but it didn’t seem like he was saying it right or something. That, or Dave was just being frustratingly stubborn and refusing to listen to him. Eventually though, he seemed to get it, and looked about to leave when Karkat turned back to the loadgaper.

Before he did however, Dave held out some water for him and Karkat hesitated a moment before taking it, not sure if his stomach could handle anything right now. He ended up giving in, at least thankful to be able to rinse the nasty taste out of his mouth. Dave did leave after that, and it took a while for Karkat’s stomach to calm down enough for him to lean back from the loadgaper and catch his breath.

Once he was able to he shakily got to his feet, trying to tell himself that he was under control again. He had no idea what the fuck had just happened but he wasn’t going to attack anybody. Maybe sleep for a fucking perigee, but not kill anyone.

Before he went back to Dave's room he rinsed himself off in the ablutiontrap. He felt disgusting and sore and it helped some. When he went back to Dave’s room he rummaged through his first aid kit until he found something that said it would calm his stomach down. Thankfully it seemed like those god awful hallucinations were done with, and while he still had a headache it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it had been before.

Dave was hovering around him, asking if he was okay and showing him what had probably caused it (those fucking candies, god damn it. He was an idiot, why didn’t he just wait until Dave came back before eating anything?) and asking if he wanted anything to eat and giving him his sunglasses back and asking if he was okay again and insisting that the cuts weren’t that bad, he’d gotten worse strifing with his ‘Bro’ and just being genuinely concerned about Karkat’s well being.

It was very sweet and very pale and Karkat didn’t even have the heart to tell him to stop it anymore.

Or, he did, he just didn’t have the energy to right now. He was still feeling pretty fucking awful after all, and he might just go back to sleep. He was trying to keep himself away with some writing, but it wasn’t going all that well. He could barely understand what he was getting down and he was pretty sure he’d written the same sentence three times in a row now.

It was starting to get night again (they’d passed out in the middle of the day, and Karkat was pretty relieved that he was still tired despite the nap, because it was so fucking hard to flip his schedule whenever it changed opposite of Dave’s) and he considered going back into the storageblock to sleep.

The ‘bed’ Dave slept on was actually more comfortable than he’d expected it to be though. It still felt much too flat for his liking personally, but it was nice and soft. Walking over to his stuff, he decided to just grab pyralspite before heading back to the bed and curling up on the end again. He would go back to sleeping in his pile again soon, once he could look at those horns without thinking of the sound of Gamzee’s bones being smashed.

Even holding the scalemate was a bit hard, but it was harder to go without it, so he’d take the lesser pain for now.

He set himself up like Dave had showed him before. He figured this was what Dave had wanted him to do all that time ago when he’d thrown the snuggleplane at him. He guessed it made sense for warmth or something, but it wasn’t particularly cold in this hive, so he wasn’t entirely sure why Dave slept with it every night.

He stole a glance to where Dave was sitting at his husktop. He could always move him if he wanted to. He’d been fine with it earlier though, so hopefully he wouldn’t mind right now.

He should mind. He should not be fucking comfortable with having Karkat so close while he sleeps of all things after he’d come this close to tearing his throat out. It didn’t make any fucking sense that he’d be so fine with this. Even with this whole pale crush, it should not translate to this level of trust.

Dave was fine with it though, and Karkat supposed he should be thankful for that.

Well, thankful or frustrated. Either way was good, and truthfully it was most likely a bit of both.

He managed to fall asleep rather quickly. He woke up a smidgen when Dave tried to pull the shades Karkat had forgotten about off of his face without him noticing before getting into the bed as well. Karkat didn’t make any move to let him know he was up then though, and he went back to sleep very soon afterwards.

He probably should have expected having nightmares after what had happened. Even still, when he woke up he was clinging to Pyralspite like his life depended on it and Dave was awake and shaking one of his shoulders gently. At some point in the night Karkat’s legs had fallen off the edge again and he’d somehow managed to roll on top of the lower half of Dave’s body.

Curling himself back up again he moved off of Dave as well, since that was probably pretty uncomfortable for him.

“Sorry,” he said, trying to push the memories of his nightmare into the back of his mind. It was just a lot of bullshit he’d seen a million times in his dreams already. All of them dying a bunch of horrible deaths and it was all his fault and there was nothing he could do to stop it. Seriously, it was starting to get boring at this point. His thinkpan needed to start stepping it up if it wanted to keep fucking with him.

“That’s okay,” Dave told him, it obvious in his voice that he’d just woken up, probably due to some noises Karkat had made or him thrashing around or something. Karkat nodded and laid back down with a yawn.

It looked very early in the day, and he was still tired. He was also fucking hungry, because he hadn’t eaten hardly at all yesterday because of that shit. He didn’t feel like getting up enough to get something to eat though (or more likely, get Dave to get him something to eat because he wasn’t going to trust himself to pick out his own food for a while now) so sleeping would be good for now.

Dave seemed to have the same idea, lying back down as well a few moments after Karkat had. The sleeping mat wasn’t all that big and it was hard for the both of them to be on here without something of Dave brushing up against him now and then. It was pretty much just his feet, but sometimes it’d be more of his legs until he’d scrunch himself back up again in an effort to not kick Karkat.

After a few more hours of sleep Karkat was finally too hungry to not wake up. Pushing himself into a sitting position, he kept pyralspite in his lap as he reached over and started nudging Dave slightly. It was hard to understand what he was saying when his words were all slurred from sleep, but he managed to make out something about the lines of wanting to know what he wanted.

“Dav, food please,” he asked, hoping he would understand why Karkat wasn’t feeling all too keen on getting it himself right now. Dave pushed himself up with a yawn and nodded, not putting up any sort of fight, thankfully. Karkat followed him to the nutritionblock, grabbing his shades after seeing Dave do the same and slipping them on. Once they were in the right block Dave started rummaging through the shelves until he pulled out a little can of something.

Karkat wasn’t quite sure how much he wanted to try something new after what had happened, but Dave already started heating it up on the stove. It wasn’t long at all before he was pouring the yellow contents into a bowl and handing it to Karkat.

“It’s good for you, should help,” he said and Karkat nodded, making sure none of it spilled as he headed into the mainblock. Tasting a small spoonful, it was pretty bland save for some saltiness, but that was probably all his stomach could handle for now.

Dave sat down next to him, looking exhausted still and Karkat wondered just how badly he’d managed to hurt him yesterday. He hadn’t gotten a good look before Dave had bandaged himself up, but he remembered tearing into him and being so fucking scared and just wanting to absolutely destroy the thing he was fighting.

The fact that the thing turned out to be Dave just made the whole memory all the more terrifying.

The rest of the day was pretty quiet, which Karkat was thankful for. Dave changed his bandages and he’d managed to sneak a look at the damage, which, fuck. He’d known it had been bad but he didn’t realize just how bad. Dave didn’t make any sort of deal about it though, just acting like it was totally fine that Karkat had torn his arms to shreds.

That night he forced himself to sleep in the horn pile again. There was a part of him that thought it was nice to be surrounded by the gifts from his friends, even if he was still feeling uneasy about everything. There was another part of him that liked sleeping on the mat with Dave but he could ignore that part for now.

All the reminders of his friends were getting easier to deal with though. There was something about having freaked out like he had that made it seem more real. Maybe they weren’t dead, but they might as well be to him. He wasn’t getting back, and he had to get on with whatever the fuck his life had become.

He still missed them more than anything, but maybe he could do more than just wallow in his sorrow now.

If there was actually anything to do, that is. The next few days passed without anything really going on. It was nice to be able to relax and recover from that, and Karkat tried to think about what it would be like if he just kept up like this for the rest of his life.

It wouldn’t be the worst thing to ever happen. Dave was pleasant enough, and every day Karkat felt like he was learning more words to help facilitate the haphazard communication they had going on. He was still being pretty pale at him, but Karkat had stopped protesting it. That didn’t mean he welcomed it but…

It was helping him get through this, and even he could admit that he needed that right now.

---

The next few days after Karkat’s meltdown passed about as smoothly as they could. Karkat still seemed pretty out of it and sick for a little while, so Dave did his best to make shit comfortable for him. He had no idea what the Dayquil had done to him after all, and he didn’t want there to be any irreversible damage happening because they just let the shit run its course without making him have any kind of rest.

Bro tried to talk to him about Karkat a few times, but Dave just kept insisting that it wouldn’t happen again. The cuts weren’t even that bad (that was a lie, they were pretty fucking bad but he didn’t let Bro get a good enough look at them to see) and Karkat felt horrible about what he did. He wasn’t going to be eating any other fucking strange substances any time soon either. Eventually he let it go and said that he didn’t feel like having to deal with the government enough to report an alien anyway.

The fact that Bro had actually been considering that was pretty fucking terrifying, but he’d managed to convince him otherwise so that was all that mattered. Dave did not let Karkat know about this of course, because yeah, he wasn’t going to freak out the guy saying he could have gotten thrown out and caught.

He’d promised him he was safe here after all, and he wasn’t going to start going back on that now.

Dave was sitting with Karkat in the living room. He seemed a bit better now, his stomach ache pretty much gone. The only thing was that he’d been acting weird since then though. He couldn’t figure out quite what was wrong with him though. Karkat wouldn’t, or maybe couldn’t, talk about what had happened to him during the whole breakdown, but he’d been all quiet and subdued since then. Which was definitely unnerving. He wanted to help him but he wasn’t sure how.

Even just the thought of trying to help him was a bit weird, mainly because Karkat always seemed to get weird about being helped. He would give Dave looks and snap at him and tell him he could do it himself, or at least, that’s how he normally acted. Ever since he got sick, he wasn’t and that was possibly even more concerning.

“Hey,” Dave said, looking over at the alien, who was sitting there watching TV, but he didn’t look like he was paying all that much attention. He was leaning his head on his hand and looked bored, not how he usually was when he was trying to focus on the soap opera.

“Yes?” he asked, and Dave could see his eyes flicker over at him underneath the shades, but other than that he didn’t really move.

“You okay?” he asked, not sure how to approach this. Karkat turned a bit more towards him at that, a frown on his face now.

“Yes. Why?” he said, and Dave shrugged.

“You seem sad? I don’t know,” Dave told him, and he knew Karkat was learning English fast but he still wished it was a bit faster. Trying to keep his sentences short and understandable was hard. He didn’t mind if that’s what Karkat needed, but he missed being able to do all those long extended metaphors. Just saying ‘you seem sad’ felt weird as shit.

Karkat didn’t say anything for a moment, looking like he was trying to figure out what even to say.

“I fine,” he said at last and yeah okay, maybe he really was okay and he was just feeling worn out from being sick for like a week straight. Dave wouldn’t blame him for that, it made perfect sense.

“Okay,” he said, leaning back into the couch again. It felt quiet with only the TV making any noise now and Dave couldn’t shake the feeling that something was fucking wrong. Did Karkat still feel guilty about hurting him? He’d tried to tell him that they weren’t that bad, but who fucking knows.

Or maybe it was something else? He was pretty sure he’d been yelling stuff during his breakdown, and he kept looking around like he could see things that weren’t there. He had no clue what it was, but it was pretty fucking worrying.

“Karkat,” Dave said again, Karkat huffing and turning to glare at him.

“What?” he snapped, and yeah okay, there was definitely something wrong with him.

“Sorry,” Dave said, because yeah okay, now was clearly not the time to be pressing him on shit. The angry look instantly left Karkat’s face at that and he started shaking his head.

“No. No, no, sorry, what?” he asked again, this time seeming to want to actually know what it was Dave wanted, and it was kind of sweet how he would get all upset whenever he ended up being snippy with Dave. He didn’t need to be so apologetic, but it was still kind of nice.

“It’s okay,” Dave reassured him, because he was pretty sure Karkat was scared that if he did something wrong, well, Dave didn’t know what he thought he’d do to him, but he definitely thought something would happen. He still wasn’t sure about asking Karkat this, but he could always not answer him if it was a problem.

“What happened? When you were sick?” he asked, keeping his words slow so that Karat could understand. Karkat’s frown came back full force at the question, and Dave supposed he shouldn’t be surprised. He couldn’t imagine that whatever it was had been pleasant.

“No thing,” Karkat said, tracing a random pattern on the couch with his claws and avoiding Dave’s eyes.

“It’s nothing,” Dave corrected, Karkat raising an eyebrow at that.

“No thing,” he repeated, still not quite getting it right.

“Nothing dude, all one word,” Dave said, Karkat huffing at him in annoyance.

“No. Thing,” he insisted, and yeah okay, this one was a losing battle. It was close enough anyway, it didn’t really bother him.

“Alright then, that works too,” Dave said. The only issue here was that he didn’t fucking believe him on that for a second. “You sure?” he asked, Karkat sending him another glare. It faded after a few seconds though and he simply shrugged, much of the fight looking completely sapped out of him.

“No,” he said simply. Dave didn’t know if he should push, but he was really fucking bad at knowing when to quit.

“What happened?” he asked again.

“Bad things. Hurt you. Friends hurt also. It dumb,” Karkat muttered, tracing his claw even harder into the arm of the couch. Dave thought he might end up tearing through it if he kept that up, but didn’t bother to say anything about it. Instead he tried to focus on what Karkat had just told him. The only thing he’d told him that he didn’t already know was that his friends were hurt. Maybe that was what he saw.

“What friends?” Dave asked. Karkat hesitated a bit before answering him.

“Friends from book,” he said. It took Dave a second to realize what he meant. The aliens he’d seen drawn in the sketchbook. Okay, so it had been like a hallucination or some shit. That sounded fucking horrible. From how panicked and upset Karkat had been, ‘friends hurt’ was probably a huge god damn understatement too.

“Sorry,” Dave said, not sure what else he was supposed to say. Karkat just shrugged, turning back towards the television, which probably meant that this conversation was about over. He wanted to know more, but if he wasn’t comfortable with telling him he wasn’t going to force shit.

“It okay,” Karat muttered. Dave figured it was probably best to just let it be for now.

If Karkat ever wanted to talk, he could always come to Dave himself after all. He wouldn't mind one bit.

---

Karkat was starting to think that he might have a slight problem.

It was just a small thing, no real need to worry about it. He’d just been through a lot these past few perigees, and it wasn’t like he was actually considering anything serious. He wasn't considering anything at all. He’d already shut that down and he wasn’t about to go back on that for something that he didn’t even want, really. It was just.

It wasn’t Dave, okay? It was just the situation as a whole. It was pretty damn perfect to foster the idea of feelings that weren’t actually there. Anyone in his position would have to consider it, at the very least. When you really fucking need something and someone is just offering it like it’s no big deal it’s hard to say no. Which led him to his current problem.

That problem being that he was not being as against all the pale advances Dave kept throwing at him as he should be. Which was really fucking bad and something he needed to put a stop to real fucking soon.

It was probably that fucking horrible reaction he had from those weird candies that did it. Dave had been treading with a lot of pale flirting before then, of course, but Karkat had been able to brush it off rather easily. He could deal with all of his problems before then on his own (he didn’t fucking want to, he wanted help and someone to talk to this about and be comforted by) and so it wasn’t a big deal.

That fucking attack though had left him physically sick and tired on top of the metal exhaustion and Dave was not fucking easing up on him any. In fact he was being even more kind and patient than ever. Karkat was sure Dave would stop if he said anything to him, he didn’t seem like the type to keep pushing like an asshole when told no (yeah Karkat had kind of done that already, but that had been back when they could barely understand each other. The more Karkat looked at it the more he was sure that Dave might not have any idea what he was actually doing or what Karkat was trying to get him to stop).

The point of the matter here was that he wasn’t telling him to stop. Which he really needed to fucking do before Dave got the wrong idea. He didn't want to lead him on any like a complete douche. He didn’t even have the excuse of him not being able to understand anymore. Karkat knew his speaking wasn’t perfect and Dave didn’t understand what he was trying to say half the time, but it was much better than it’d been before.

Which might be one of the reasons as to why this was getting worse and also why he needed to fucking end it soon. If Karkat let himself keep going down this path once they had a handle on the whole talking thing, he might let some things slip that he really shouldn’t. He was willing to tell Dave some things, of course. Fuck, he owned him some explanations after all the bullshit he’d put him through, but just simple explanations. The whos and the whats and shit like that.

He didn’t need to be telling him anything about his feelings or how fucking upset he was still or how much he missed his friends and how much he hated it here and how Dave was making being here just a little bit less awful.

If he didn't get a handle on himself soon, he was pretty sure he would start telling him these things once he was able to.

The worst part was, he was sure that Dave could tell something was up. And that worried him. And because of that worry, he kept asking if Karkat was okay and about what had happened when he was sick and it was not making it any easier to shut down these pale feelings at all.

He wasn't pale for Dave though. He was just taking advantage of the fact that Dave was pale for him.

He really needed to end this.

“Dav?” he asked. They were in the kitchen now, Karkat sitting on a stool at the counter while Dave flipped over some weird brow nuggets before putting them back into the oven to cookalize for another ten minutes. Karkat had his head resting on the counter and he tried to look bored out of his skull instead of all scrambled up inside emotionally.

“What’s up man?” Dave asked, leaning against the counter. Karkat wasn’t sure how to say what he wanted to. Fuck, he didn’t even know how to say it in Alternian. So, I’m definitely not pale for you despite the fact that I am not exactly turning you down anymore. Sorry about being a piece of shit, but I probably won't even stop you despite the fact that the feelings aren't mutual.

“No thing,” he said after a moment. Fuck, yeah he didn’t know what to do about this. Or he did know what to do, but not how to do it. Dave gave him a strange look, clearly concerned but he didn’t say anything.

He’d figure out what to do soon.

Until then he just had to keep this to himself.

---

Dave was making chicken nuggets for him and Karkat, and Karkat was acting really weird again. He’d been like this for a while now and Dave couldn’t figure out what was wrong or what he could do to help. Karkat had almost said something, but then stopped himself at the last minute. Dave was so fucking tempted to try to press him, but he didn't want to seem like a complete pushy douchebag. If he'd come close to telling him what it was, then he'd eventually come around once he was ready.

Once the food was done he gave Karkat a plate. He’d been trying to stick to giving him meat because he seemed to like that the best and it looked like that was the kind of shit he was supposed to eat with his teeth and all. Didn't want to mess around too much after what had happened. Karkat followed Dave back to his room, sitting down on the bed to eat. He’d been hanging out on there more often lately, which was fine by Dave. He hadn't slept there again yet, which was also fine by him. Whatever made him more comfortable and all that junk.

Going over to his computer with his own plate of chicken nuggets and fries, Dave was surprised when he saw a barrage of messages for him from John. He hadn’t even been gone all that long for him to have much time to send that many. Usually the guy wasn’t all about blowing up his chat, that was more Dave’s style.

Pulling up the chat window, he quickly read over the messages. They mostly consisted of his name and telling him to answer already and that he was making this exciting thing not as exciting by being an ass and not getting on his computer and answering him already.

TG: yo dude wheres the fucking fire
TG: you know i cant help you if your house is on fire
TG: a bit too far away to be any use
EB: finally!
EB: dave i’ve been trying to get a hold of you!
TG: yeah i can see that
TG: whats going on
TG: i imagine it must be of the utmost importance for you to interrupt chicken nuggets
EB: it’s definitely more important than chicken nuggets.
TG: id call out blasphemy on that but ill give you a chance to elaborate
EB: so you know my cousin jake?
TG: yes
TG: why do you need to even ask that of course i know him
EB: oh bluh you know what i mean!
EB: anyway!
EB: so he knows we’re friends and he wants to go down to new mexico soon
EB: and he said i could come too.
TG: wait what
TG: i didnt even know jake was coming
TG: has he told bro yet
EB: I donno.
TG: whys he coming down
EB: I donno!
EB: he just called me up today and asked if i wanted to come down with him.
EB: dad said it was okay so its happening
TG: wait do we get a say in this
EB: no.
TG: thanks man
EB: don’t pretend you’re not excited
TG: oh no man im totally fucking excited
TG: this is awesome
TG: i dont know why we havent used jake as your ticket here before
TG: seems like the pretty obvious solution now that i think about it
EB: because he travels all over the place and dad hadn’t really trusted me alone with him before
EB: like, for longer than a day i mean.
EB: but i guess he feels like i’m old enough now
EB: and maybe he feels like i won’t be totally alone since you’ll be there.
TG: wait so are you gonna stay here
EB: I don’t know!
TG: because thatd be awesome
TG: but like
TG: karkat
EB: oh yeah karkat!
EB: oh shit i get to meet your alien boyfriend this is so awesome!
TG: yes it is but wait what
TG: boyfriend
TG: dude no what the hell
EB: i don't know, you're always talking about how cute he is and stuff.
TG: what no im not
EB: you kind of are
EB: like, half the pictures of him you send me have cute somewhere in the caption.
TG: okay but its not like that kind of cute
TG: do you even look at the pictures it should be clear that i mean that in like
TG: a puppy or a kitten or a strange insect based alien life form way
EB: if you say so
TG: i do say so
TG: and i was also gonna say that itll be awesome if you could stay here
TG: but like
TG: jake
TG: nothing against him but
TG: probably best not to let him know about this
EB: no you’re right about that
EB: i’ll let you if know where we're staying when i find out more.
EB: does he usually stay at your place?
TG: yeah
TG: i should probably let bro know that youre coming
TG: if he doesnt know already
EB: yeah, that might be a good idea
TG: did he say when
EB: next week?
EB: i think we’re coming in on tuesday.
TG: holy fuck
TG: thanks for the heads up man my house totally isn’t a complete mess
EB: blame jake not me on this one.
EB: i was taken just as off guard as you
EB: ive never even been on a plane before.
TG: eh this is more of a warning than he usually gives
TG: thank fuck
TG: if he just burst in like he normally does while karkat was on the couch or something i dont know what would happen
EB: you think he’ll be okay with us being there?
TG: ill explain it to him beforehand
TG: and keep him under lock while jakes around
EB: that’s probably for the best

They ended up talking for quite a while longer, about what they would do while John was here, how long he was going to stay and things like that. Dave was actually very fucking excited for this, since he’d never actually met John in person before. They’d talked about it happening before but he hadn’t thought it would any time soon.

Eventually John had to go eat dinner and Dave figured he should go let Bro know what was happening. He’d also have to clean this place up before they got here. There were still some bloodstains on the carpet in the living room, but those weren’t going away without some serious scrubbing and quite a bit of bleach. If they could at all. It'd been a while now, they might be stuck there for good.

Before doing that he turned to where Karkat was sitting on his bed, having finished up eating a while ago. It didn’t look like he was actually doing much, peaking between the blinds to look outside. Dave wondered if he was starting to get stir-crazy or something. He wouldn’t blame him with how long he’d been stuck inside, but going outside was definitely not a good idea.

Maybe he could take him walking around at night or something though. He didn’t want Karkat thinking he was trapped here. Well, he kind of was, but it wasn’t because Dave wanted him to be, he was just trying to keep him safe.

Bluh. Aliens are hard.

“Hey, Karkat?” he said, catching his attention. Karkat pulled away from the blinds, turning towards him, but didn’t say anything, just waiting for Dave to speak up instead. He wondered if he should grab the translator, but he figured he could do that if he started getting confused.

“A friend is coming over. Uh, not right now, but soon,” he said, Karkat frowning slightly.

“What?” he asked, and yeah he might need to explain this a few times.

“A friend will be here. It’s okay, you’re still safe,” he said, figuring that he should emphasize that part. It looked like Karkat was starting to understand what he was talking about, but Dave could not be sure if he liked the idea. Probably not, he didn’t exactly seem all that excited.

“Promise?” he asked, sounding uncertain. Dave guessed the idea of anyone else coming around would be pretty fucking unnerving for him while he was still hiding and shit. It’d probably be good for him to have more interactions with people though, and John was friendly and shit. He was sure he’d end up liking him.

“Yeah, of course,” he said. Karkat seemed to hesitate another moment before speaking again.

“When?” he asked, and that was a very good question. If Karkat thought they were coming like, right now, he could imagine how freaked he might be feeling.

“Five days,” he said, watching as Karkat visibly relaxed at that before nodding. He pushed his own shades up before turning to keep looking back out the window. Dave figured that was his cue to go about his own business again.

Standing up, he figured he should go talk to Bro about this now. He’d be thankful for the heads up for once.

He also had to make sure Bro was still good on not telling anyone about Karkat. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Jake, but yeah actually you know what? He didn’t quite trust Jake to keep this to himself. It wouldn’t be anything malicious, but the dude was just way too excitable about this kind of stuff, even more so than John was. He'd probably think Karkat would want to talk to like, the president of the United States or some shit and share a peaceful message from across the cosmos. Dave couldn't exactly see that happening though.

He couldn’t risk anything happening to Karkat now, and with how Bro had apparently been thinking about talking after the whole incident with the Dayquil, he wasn’t chancing shit.

Still though, this could be fun. Karkat needed exposure to more people besides just him and Bro, after all. Fuck, lord knows they weren’t exactly a very good representation of the human race as a whole. Who knows how many misconceptions he’d gotten from watching them? God, combined with the soap operas, his idea of people must be fucking hilarious.

They could make this work though. He just had to make sure nothing went wrong.

God, something was going to go fucking horribly wrong, wasn’t it?

Chapter Text

Dave had just told Karkat that there was a ‘friend’ coming to the hive soon, and Karkat was not entirely sure how he felt about that. A not so vague sense of horror at first, if he was being honest with himself. When he made it clear that this ‘friend’ wasn’t showing up for five more days that helped to curb some of the initial panic. Dave had said soon and Karkat thought he meant anywhere between within the hour to the next day. Springing that shit on him last minute was not going to go well, but having at least a few days warning gave him some time to prepare mentally. Still probably wouldn’t go well, but hey, it was a tiny bit better.

Besides, he doubted Dave would let someone come if they were a direct danger to him. He seemed responsible with that if nothing else. Maybe a little too responsible in that way, but Karkat was trying not to think about that mess too much.

He’d gone back to looking out of the fenestration plane once Dave left the block. He didn’t look out much, because one, it was usually bright as fuck out there (the sunglasses helped but he’d still rather not chance it) and two, he didn’t want to risk anyone seeing him.

The sun was starting to move below the horizon now though, so the light wasn’t any worse than it was inside with the shades. As long as he didn’t look directly at it of course, which was such a stupid decision no matter how much protective eye wear one had on. There also seemed to be fewer aliens out and about at this time of day, so he didn’t have to worry as much about one looking inside. Even still, he tended to pull back a bit whenever he’d see one coming down the street.

This planet was so strange. He couldn’t be sure just how accurate of a picture he was getting from the TV (Alternian television certainly liked to exaggerate and skew reality and just straight up make shit up for drama, as well as not touch on other aspects of life all together) but it definitely seemed very fucking different from home.

He couldn’t pinpoint all of the exact differences though, since he couldn’t understand half the shit he was seeing. Aesthetically, it was all very alien and strange. Bright fucking colors everywhere and everything seemed to be all geometric and weird.

When it came to the culture though, that was harder to tease apart. He was pretty fucking sure there were a lot of differences though. It definitely seemed that the young living with adults was just a thing that’s considered normal, even going as young as for what passes for wigglers for this species. That was probably one of the weirdest things for him to take in. There also weren’t any symbols for anyone, which felt really odd. Did Dave think the fact that he had the same design on all his shirts was weird?

By the time Dave came back the sun had finished setting, and Karkat glanced away from where he was watching the weird pale moon of this planet to check that he was okay. Dave glanced over at him and smiled, but didn’t say anything. Karkat just nodded before turning back towards the window.

That was starting to become a bit of a habit, the whole making sure what he still had all of his limbs and such whenever he went off somewhere Karkat couldn’t see him. He just didn’t trust that adult, even if that seemed to be the norm here. He’d yet to see many incidents of these adults strifing with their charges on the TV, so he felt like he was still a bit justified in being worried.

Of course, there was still the fact that he was worried about him at all. Karkat tried to tell himself it was simply because there was no way for him to survive on this planet if he went and got himself killed. Or at least, surviving would be much more difficult, but even then it didn’t feel like that was wholly the cause. Which… was something.

Ugh, maybe he’d just wait until after this whole visit business was over before talking to Dave about all this pale hoofbeast shit. If he talked to him about it at all. It was very possible that he was just looking for an excuse to put it off because these kinds of conversations were always awkward and he wasn’t even certain just how he wanted this to go yet, but that didn’t matter. It was just better to try and prepare himself for whatever shenanigans might come along with meeting another alien.

Dave stayed on his husktop a lot later into the night than he usually did, and Karkat wondered if he was talking to his ‘friend’. That was a word he didn’t quite get a clear translation of, or at least, not a very specific one. The best the translator could get was like, acquaintance, and Dave had called him it before so he guessed that made sense.

Eventually Dave slumped out of his chair and collapsed into his sleeping mat, and Karkat drew the door close so that it was only opened a small crack. He didn’t like closing it all the way since his freak out about his sketchbook. He knew it made Dave kind of nervous and he didn’t like being closed up like that anymore. It felt less comforting and more suffocating.

Karkat found that he couldn’t sleep. This was pretty much 100% due to the fact that there was someone coming to this hive that he didn’t know and that could end up wrecking everything. He wasn’t completely happy with how his life was going right now, but the fact of the matter was that his life was still going.

And even if maybe there were times when he wasn’t too fucking happy about this fact, he didn’t want to just throw away everything his friends had risked their own god damn skin for. If he didn’t feel like doing it for himself he would always be willing to do it for them.

And honestly, as of right now at least he kind of wanted to do it for himself too. It wasn’t the best but it was something and that was good enough for him.

This alien who was coming could completely fuck any chances he had though. He didn’t know what would happen if anyone outside of this hive found out about him, and he didn’t want to find out. Dave didn’t seem too worried though, he actually seemed pretty excited if anything. While that was a little bit comforting, it really didn’t help him all that much.

When he did manage to fall asleep it was fitful at best, and he didn’t bother getting out of his pile until Dave knocked on the door to let him know he had food. He ate slowly and tried not to show how fucking nervous he was about all of this. Maybe it would make Dave reconsider letting someone come, but he also didn’t want Dave worrying about him, because that just made shit way too fucking confusing. Sure, all of that junk was kind of always in the back of his mind, but it was nice when he could at least pretend to ignore it for a bit.

It didn’t seem to fucking work, because Dave was asking if he was okay and Karkat just sighed and nodded. Of course he was fine, only god knows what would happen to him if he was ever found on this shitty planet, why the fuck wouldn’t he be fine?

Yeah, Dave did not seem to believe him in the slightest, but thankfully he didn’t press him on it. Which was very much appreciated because Karkat did not know how many shitty pale advances he could stand right now without exploding.

Or completely giving in, but that was another thing entirely that he did not want to think about right now. Or ever, if he could manage. Never thinking about it would be nice.

He would take just right now though, and Dave seemed to get sucked into whatever was on his husktop. He was typing a whole lot, so maybe he was talking to the person what was coming here. Whatever it was, it didn’t really matter to Karkat any.

He just continued to eat the food Dave had made him and tried very hard not to think on anything in particular, confusing feelings or rapidly approaching sources of dread at the top of the list.

---

Dave walked into the living room and bro wasn’t there, but he didn’t expect him to be. He was never all that easy to find when you wanted him, as much as he was around just when you wished he wasn’t.

Deciding to try his room, Dave knocked on the door and then took a few steps back. Luckily a few seconds later the door opened and closed in a flash and Bro was standing outside of his room, leaning against the door.

“Sup?” he asked, since it wasn’t often that Dave came calling on him.

“Jake’s coming in five days. He’s bringing John along this time, thought you’d want the heads up,” Dave told him, getting straight to the point, since it was a pretty important. Bro actually seemed surprised by the news, and taking this guy off guard was not an easy thing to accomplish. Dave had tried many a times only to fail in many spectacular ways.

“A heads up would definitely be appreciated,” he said a bit absently. Dave figured he was thinking of all the shit he needed to get done by the time they got here and of all the shit that he would need to put on hold while they visited.

“Yeah, and there’s another thing related to this thing,” Dave said, because he needed to get this across as soon as humanly possible. No one could figure out about Karkat. Jake was awesome, and he loved it when the dude would drop by, but it would be way too fucking dangerous if he knew. Dave was sure he would never mean to hurt Karkat but he knew the excited doofus wouldn’t be able to resist telling the fucking world. One of the only reasons Dave felt so comfortable telling John was because he knew no one would ever believe the kid.

Jake, they might, especially with how they’d found the crash site so recently.

“And what’s that?” Bro asked, but even as he did Dave had a feeling that he already had a pretty good idea as to what the answer would be.

“He can’t know about Karkat. Please man, I’m being like, 100% serious here, not 90% or even that 99.9% crap they slap on all the soaps like that even means anything to anyone. I know you don’t like or trust him but you’re gonna just have to trust me on this,” Dave said, and he was practically begging but he didn’t rightfully care right now. If it kept Bro from spilling the beans it was worth it.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t tell for crap if the dude gave a single shit. He was being purposefully impassive and not letting anything show and Dave knew it. He fucking hated it when he pulled this junk because it made arguing with the dude so much harder.

“Don’t know kid, ain’t like we know what’s best for the thing. Already gone batshit crazy a couple times. Jake’s got connections, could probably get it someplace where it couldn’t hurt anyone,” he said, but Dave had already started shaking his head before he could finish.

“No, no listen, fuck he’s really sorry about attacking me, that wasn’t his fault. He’s not going to eat anymore fucking medicine, it’ll be fine,” Dave argued.

“Don’t got to be medicine. We don’t got the slightest fucking idea what the fuck will set it off Dave. If that thing can go into some fucking blind rage from eating the wrong kind of cereal I’d rather have it some place where they can test for that shit and where it can’t be tearing you to shreds, and how ‘sorry’ it is afterwards ain’t gonna fix shit,” Bro insisted.

Fuck, fucking hell this wasn’t going well at all. Dave could tell John not to come but he couldn’t get Jake to stay away and he was the problem here.

“Please, I will fucking beg you. I’m not above begging right now,” Dave tried. Bro just raised an eyebrow at him, not looking very moved. “Come on, I never ask you for shit can’t you just do this one thing for me?”

“Why do you want to protect the gremlin so much anyway?” Bro asked and okay, that was actually a pretty good question. Because he wasn’t a total douchebag was the obvious answer, but still, good enough question to actually warrant thinking about for more than half a second.

“Because he’s actually a pretty decent guy if you get to know him? Or like, if he’s not stone cold terrified of you. Sorry dude, not sure there’s much to get him to change his feelings on that front. But yeah, he’s really not the horror inducing killer you seem intent on making him out to be, and chances are the rest of the world ain’t gonna see that either and just use him to experiment on or try to get answers from him or fucking dissect him or some shit,” Dave said.

“This isn’t some heartwarming movie Dave, a buncha guys in black suits ain’t gonna come in here and take away your little pet, and that thing ain’t no innocent glowy-fingered lost soul. I really don’t think you know as much about it as you think you do, and I can just see all this blind trust you’re putting into it backfiring spectacularly.”

Dave opened his mouth to argue, but Bro held up his hand, signaling that he wasn’t done yet. Dave shut up, figuring that interrupting him right now might be the best thing to help convince him to let Karkat stay.

“But I’ll keep my mouth shut. But if that fucker has another ‘episode’ or whatever, gives me one more reason to think something’ll go wrong and I won’t just tell Jake, understand?”

“Yes, fuck thank you. I swear he’s not gonna cause any more trouble. Even if Jake gets suspicious you can’t let him know, okay?” Dave said, surprised as fuck that Bro was actually going along with this but he didn’t care as long as he kept his word.

“Can’t do anything if he sees the freak, but baring that I’ll try to keep him away,” he says, and okay, Dave can deal with that. That’s good enough for him.

“I swear he won’t do shit, he’ll be the most perfect little gremlin angle you ever did see,” you say and you actually kind of mean it. He was being honest when he said he didn’t think Karkat ever meant to hurt him just because he was malicious. It was either when he was terrified out of his alien skull after landing on another planet or he was hurt and confused.

Or Dave had been a total jackass, but Bro didn’t need to know about that time.

“Well then, I guess I’ll go and let you prepare for an incoming Jake. I’m sure you’re thankful for the opportunity,” Dave said before ducking out of the hallway. Bro threw a bolt or some shit and managed to hit him square in the back of the head, but it wasn’t all that hard. Dave didn’t give a fuck even if it was, as long as he kept to his promise of not ratting out Karkat. The dude was pretty good with his word, so he wasn’t too worried.

When he got back into his room Karkat glanced at him, and Dave just smiled before sitting down at his computer. He wanted to tell him that Bro promised to keep him a secret, but he was kind of worried that might scare him. He didn’t seem all that excited about the whole idea of someone coming over to begin with, no reason to make him even more freaked.

He’d let him know about staying hidden from Jake as it got closer to their arrival. No need to let him think about it for too long and work himself up.

After a few minutes John came back from dinner and Dave instantly sent him a message.

TG: yo
TG: so i talked to bro
TG: he aint gonna say anything about karkat
EB: oh that’s great!
EB: i was kind of worried about that.
TG: yeah it took some convincing since he doesnt really like him
TG: but he promised he wouldnt so we should be good to go
EB: sweet!
EB: this is going to be so awesome man.
EB: my dad said that if it goes well maybe i can come down with jake more often.
TG: that would definitely be pretty fucking sweet if you asked me
TG: so if this goes horribly were gonna lie and tell your dad it was great right
EB: of course
TG: cool
TG: just makin sure were on the same page here

Dave ended up talking to John and making plans for when he arrived until pretty late into the night, and he could have gone longer if the dork would stop falling asleep on his keyboard. It was getting pretty hard to read through all the typos, so he told him to go to sleep and figured he might as well try to do the same.

When he woke up the next morning he peaked inside the cracked of his closet, and Karkat was still asleep inside. He was doing his weird alien chittering thing, but it didn’t seem like he was having bad enough dreams to warrant waking up, so Dave left him be.

Getting on his computer, John wasn’t online yet. He didn’t expect him to be, kid would probably sleep until like two in the afternoon his time after last night. Jade was though, so he started messaging her.

TG: so
TG: party at my house
TG: egberts bringing the booze
TG: you and rose can come and supply the hot chicks
TG: wait dont tell rose that
TG: shell like
TG: actually bring a couple of hot girls
TG: and probably end up making out with one by the end of the night
TG: which i mean i dont think anyone would be complaining about
TG: but should still probably be avoided
GG: too late :)
GG: already screencapped and sent to rose to be seen when she returns!
TG: what no fair
TG: jade why
TG: you used to be my favorite how could you
GG: used to be?
GG: and what happened?
TG: you betrayed by trust with shitty screencaps is what
TG: this was a private conversation how could you
GG: stop being such a baby!
GG: also tell me what you mean by party.
TG: okay
TG: johns coming to my house for a week
TG: hes coming with jake
GG: oh my god!
GG: that’s so awesome!!
GG: :D
TG: yeah its pretty great
TG: i mean if you and rose could come too that would turn it up into straight up unbelievable levels of cool
TG: but i dont like
TG: actually have room for all of you
TG: were gonna have to have the big meet up at one of your guys houses
GG: yeah that would be pretty impractical
GG: still would be realllly cool though
TG: fuck yeah it would be
TG: its gonna be a thing someday
TG: just not like
TG: in five days from now
TG: which is when johns coming
GG: that’s still so amazing that you two get to meet in person!
GG: make sure to take pictures!
TG: of fucking course im gonna take pictures
TG: what do you take me for
TG: shit i forgot i kinda moved my darkroom up to the attic since karkat is staying in the closet
TG: might be able to set something up in there
TG: with some thick blankets or something
GG: just use a digital camera you dummy!
GG: or your phone!
TG: yeah theyre just gonna be crappy selfies most of the time
TG: probably not worth getting all artsy about
TG: don’t think john would sit still long enough to find a good angle for his dorky mug anyway
GG: probably not
TG: oh yeah
TG: speaking of shitty pictures
TG: do i call karkat cute in the pictures I send you guys
GG: yes you do
GG: and yes he is
TG: in like a weird kinda animal or teddy bear way right
GG: you could say it like that.
TG: because thats how i mean it
TG: not in like
TG: id hit that
GG: dave…
TG: whatever youre going to say don’t
GG: do you have a crush on your alien friend?
TG: oh my god
TG: no holy fuck
TG: that is the exact opposite of what im trying to express here
GG: :/
TG: dont you make that face
TG: hes an alien thatd be weird
GG: well then what brought this on all of a sudden?
TG: john called him my alien boyfriend and said the proof was that i call him cute all the time
GG: but you do call him cute all the time!
TG: but i dont mean it like that you freaks
TG: hes a cool dude even being an alien and all but i aint interested
TG: like at all
TG: and in complete seriousness
GG: if you say so
GG: and yeah that probably would be a little weird
TG: yeah like i dont think of him as like a pet or anything
TG: cause hes clearly as smart as a person and thatd be demeaning as shit
TG: but hes just human looking enough to be a sort of ugly cute
GG: oh i’m not going to argue with you on that
GG: i still think he’s absolutely adorable
TG: yeah see
TG: and no one calls you gay for him
GG: is it gay if he’s an alien?
TG: these are the real questions that must be answered
TG: jade you are a philosophical genius
GG: i try :)

Dave continued to talk to Jade until he started getting hungry as shit and figured he should make some breakfast or something. Karkat was still asleep and he figured he’d make something for him too and see if he’d wake up for that. Dave just made a couple of poptarts for the both of them, putting a couple on a plate and grabbing a juice box for Karkat.

He did wake up for food, but he didn’t seem all that happy as he ate. Well, he never seemed super happy or anything, but he definitely seemed more down than usual. When Dave asked him what was wrong though, he wouldn’t say anything. It wasn’t all that hard to guess what the problem was though.

Yeah, he was probably freaked about people coming. Dave couldn't blame him for that, and it was just all the more reason as to why he needed to make sure everything went as smooth as possible. Karkat was putting a lot of trust in him to just accept that someone he had no way to know wouldn’t hurt him was going to show up and he didn’t want to screw this up.

He would definitely talk to him about all of this later, but for right now Dave felt that the best decision was to just let the information sink in for him.

They still had time to prepare everything, they’d figure it out.

---

The next few days passed without any real incidents. Karkat couldn’t get his mind off of the fact that more ‘humans’ were coming sooner and sooner however. Dave didn’t bring it up much, but throughout the week he had continued to assure Karkat that it was okay. That he would still be safe. The way he kept promising to protect him and letting him know there wasn’t any need to worry kept causing unwanted but not entirely unpleasant feelings in his chest. It also actually helped calm him down, which was the most concerning thing about all of this.

He tried not to think about it too much though. Just push it back to deal with later.

Dave had also found time to clean up most of the hive. It was cleaner then Karkat had ever seen it, actually. He wondered if whoever was coming was important or something.

There were still bloodstains in the main block, and Karkat felt his stomach turn whenever he had to walk past them. He couldn’t believe what an idiot he’d been to try to kill Dave. He couldn’t believe what an idiot Dave was being by letting him continuing to stay here.

That was his choice though, there wasn’t anything Karkat could do about that but be thankful.

As far as he could tell, the ‘friend’ was coming tomorrow and Dave seemed to be setting up the last of the things he needed to for the visit. Karkat had no idea how long this person was going to stay here for, and he wanted to ask, but he didn’t want to seem like he was trying to force the visit to be quick. He really fucking hoped it’d be quick though, he wasn’t going to lie.

Dave was putting some strange mat on the floor by his bed (the floor wasn’t covered in random little items that Karkat still didn’t know the uses for anymore) and Karkat watched him from his spot in his horn pile. He’d gotten so used to everything littered around it was weird to see the room without it. He wasn’t even sure where Dave had put it all, since he couldn’t put it in the storage block.

Once Dave was done he stood where he was, looking over the block. After a moment he turned towards Karkat. He looked like he wanted to say something, and Karkat was pretty sure he could guess just what that was. Or at the very least, he could guess the main topic.

“Hey Karkat?” he asked. It was still hard to understand him sometimes, but there was certainly progress. They could have simple conversations without the help of the translator, but when Karkat said simple he fucking meant simple.

“Yes?” Karkat asked back. Dave walked over and sat down on the floor right outside of the storageblock. This was the closest he’d gotten to all of Karkat’s stuff since that incident with his book, but since Karkat was literally sitting right fucking there, he doubted it would be a problem.

He kind of didn’t mind him being this close. If he touched anything yeah, that would cause some issues, but just him sitting there was fine.

Dave said something that Karkat could just barely manage to figure out meant something along the lines of needing him to stay in this block tomorrow. He wasn’t planning to leave until Dave told him it was safe with this new person coming, but he supposed there was no way for Dave to know he was going to do that.

“Stay here,” he repeated, so that Dave knew he understood what he meant. Also just in case he’d totally got it wrong and Dave could correct him. He didn’t do that though, just nodding and flashing him a small smile before standing up again to head back over to his husktop.

He wondered if this friend of Dave’s even knew about him. Really, had Dave told anyone about him? Besides his ‘Bro’ that is. He had no way of knowing. Dave was always on his husktop, he could have told any number of people. The thought was pretty unnerving now that he had it.

“Dave?” he asked, trying to figure out how to ask what he wanted. Dave turned back towards him, looking a bit surprised that he’d called out to him. It wasn’t normally Karkat who started off their conversations, after all.

“Sup?” he said, and Karkat didn’t know all the differences between the multitude of greetings he seemed to have, so he just responded to all of them the same. It could mean nothing at all and he wouldn’t care, it just let him know that Dave was listening to him.

“You talking me friend?” he tried, knowing that wasn’t what he wanted at all, but all those little words that helped clarify shit all sounded the same to him and were hard to remember. Dave didn’t seem to quite understand what he was getting at though.

“What?” he asked. Karkat huffed and tried to figure out another way to say what he meant.

“The friend, know me?” he went with. Dave frowned for a moment before it seemed to click in his head and he nodded.

“Oh yeah, he knows about you,” Dave said, which Karkat could just about understand. Alright, so he had been talking about him to at least one other person. He supposed it might have just been to let them know before they showed up and had no idea what the fuck he was. Karkat didn’t want some misunderstanding to happen that could end up seriously fucking him over.

“Okay, good,” he settled on. It was more of a good thing than a bad thing at least, as long as he could trust this person not to try to get him killed or anything. Which, yeah, there was no fucking way to trust him on that besides from trusting Dave, which was definitely unnerving.

He did trust Dave though. He was sure he wouldn’t let anyone over if he didn’t think he could keep Karkat safe. So while he was nervous and just the slightest bit terrified out of his skull, he could still do this. It’d be alright. Dave had promised it would be.

The fact that the promises were so reassuring left a knot in Karkat’s chest that he’d told himself he wasn’t going to examine until all of this was done with.

Dave went to bed earlier than he normally did, which probably had something to do with the friend arriving. He wondered if they were going to show up in the morning rather than later in the day. Karkat wasn’t sure which one he’d prefer, because while he’d like to put this off as long as possible, he also couldn’t leave the room until he knew they were here and it was safe for him to.

His anxiousness about the whole thing left him not being able to get to sleep until he could near about see sunlight seeping into the room. He shut the storageblock door to keep it out and in case he fell asleep and people showed up and saw him before they were supposed to. Eventually he managed to pass out, exhaustion winning out over his nerves.

Karkat was woken up by the sound of voices outside of the storage block. They didn’t sound like they were in Dave’s block yet, but they were much louder than he’d ever heard Dave or the adult speak in regular conversation before and too fast and muffled for him to make any sense of.

He didn’t dare move, too freaked out by the fact that there were other aliens here and Dave promised he’d be safe but now they were here and his instinct and fears were starting to take over.

Karkat froze when he heard the door to Dave’s block open and the voices getting much louder than they already were. Or maybe it was just clearer, either way it was unnerving as fuck and he didn’t dare move for fear of setting off a horn and bringing attention to himself.

He continued to stay stock still as he listened in on Dave and the ‘friend’ talking. Dave was speaking much faster and more than he ever did with him, but that was probably because if he spoke like he was now Karkat couldn’t understand a single fucking thing. The other human was speaking a lot as well, and there was a clear difference in the voices that Karkat could easily tell which one is Dave.

They were speaking low and hurried and Karkat didn’t know what was going on but it didn’t sound good and fuck he didn’t know if he could do this anymore. Especially when their voices started getting louder and Dave didn’t fucking sound happy at all. Shit, shit what if something went wrong?

Every so often he thought he could hear more aliens speaking still outside of Dave’s block, which was really starting to freak him out. Dave had only said one person (he hadn’t specifically said any number of people actually, but that didn’t excuse the fact that if there was going to be more than one he should have fucking told him there would be more than one damn it).

Karkat had stopped trying to parse any sort of meaning out of the jumble of noise that was two aliens speaking to each other when he heard his name in there. It obviously wasn’t directed at him, but he knew they were talking about him now. He tried to figure out what it was they were saying but it was lost of him. He could piece out a few words here and there, but nothing to get any kind of big picture.

Karkat could feel his legs starting to go numb underneath him, and he wanted to shift around some but he couldn’t without making noise. Fucking hell, Gamzee meant well and Karkat could not bring himself to even be the slightest bit mad at him right now, but damn were these things inconvenient as hell sometimes.

Slowly, he tried very carefully to move a leg out from under him, but the movement set a horn off and he froze once again, this new position even more uncomfortable.

The voices outside the block stopped for a moment and Karkat didn’t dare to even breathe. They started up again, although they were a bit quieter now. Even though he didn’t hear his name again, Karkat was sure that they were still talking about him. Fuck, what if this person wasn’t as trustworthy as Dave thought? What would happen if he was caught?

After a while their voices got quiet and stopped again for several long moments, and Karkat could hear someone opening the block door before closing it again.

“Karkat?” okay, that was definitely directed at him that time, or at least said in a way that he was supposed to hear. He didn’t move to leave the storageblock though. If Dave thought it was safe then he could come open the door himself.

It turns out he did think it was safe, because he ended up doing just that. The door opened slowly, probably his attempt to keep him calm, and Karkat allowed himself to shift into a better position. He glanced around Dave to see the other person standing a bit further back in the block, bouncing on his feet.

He looked very different from how Dave did, but with all the strange aliens he’d seen on the TV thus far it wasn’t too surprising. His hair wasn’t as unusual as Dave’s, black instead of the weird as fuck yellow. His skin was darker than Dave’s as well, and he wasn't wearing any annoying shades (not that he could talk much anymore, but at least his served a purpose. This was a diurnal species, he should be fucking fine with the sun) but he was wearing a pair of regular glasses.

“Karkat, John,” Dave said, motioning towards the other human. “John, Karkat,” he added, pointing back towards him.

“Hi Karkat!” this ‘John’ said, coming a bit closer and smiling widely. Karkat’s first instinct was to back up and growl, but he forced himself to stay calm. This was someone Dave trusted. He seemed harmless enough. Attacking him would literally get them all nowhere. It’d probably be a pretty horrible idea, all things considered. Dave had seemed like he wanted them to get along.

“Hi,” he said back, his eyes narrow and not leaving the alien for a second. There was still a grumbling in his voice as he spoke, showing just how freaked out he was. The new human didn’t seem to have that same concern, turning towards Dave almost as soon as the word had left his mouth and starting to speak a mile a minute once again. Which was very fucking annoying. Dave starting speaking back nearly as fast and while it was a bit easier to figure out words from him since he’d been listening to him talk for much longer, it was still a confusing jumble that he could make no real sense out of.

“Dav,” he cut in. Karkat had yet to move from his spot on the horn pile because he didn’t want to move too much and chance upsetting this John human. The more he watched him however, the less likely that seemed. He was all smiles and excitement as far as Karkat could tell, which despite being irritating was better than if he was being cold and suspicious.

“Yeah?” Dave asked, turning back towards him again.

“Slow please,” Karkat said, hoping he realized what he meant and that he wouldn’t get upset that Karkat was trying to understand them. It seemed only far after all that if they were talking in front of him, and most likely fucking about him, that he at least get the chance to kind of understand what it was they were saying.

“Oh, sorry,” Dave said, only then seeming to realize that they were speaking at the speed of fucking light and there was no way for Karkat to even try to begin them. “Okay, will do,” he added on, Karkat nodding.

John spoke again then, and it did seem slower but it was still pretty incomprehensible. Dave scoffed at him though, and Karkat would be lying if he said he wasn’t interested in whatever it was they were saying. While he could now understand bits and pieces here and there, especially from Dave, it wasn’t all that much.

He wasn’t instantly killed though. The human didn’t seem interested in killing him at all, if he was being honest. Which was a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one. Karkat still didn’t take his eyes off of the new human for long though. He just couldn’t trust it yet.

It was possible that he would have some time to get used to it at the very least though, and that was enough for now.

---

Dave woke up early the morning John and Jake were set to arrive, although there still wasn’t a lot of time left before they got there. Karkat was asleep in the closet and the door was closed. As much as it worried him whenever he would see it shut after what had happened, that was probably for the best today. Just in case Jake wanted to see his room or something. He could let him in real quick and not risk Karkat being caught right off the fucking bat.

He’d told him not to come out until Dave said he could either, so it should be safe. That was all he told him though. He just didn’t want to freak him out any more than necessary. It wouldn’t matter what he did or didn’t know if he just stayed hidden.

There wasn’t much to set up before they got there, and it was less than an hour later when Dave heard knocking on the front door.

By the time he made it to the living room Bro was already there. Jake immediately started speaking a mile a minute, pulling Bro into a quick side hug before going on about the flight and how excited he was to see him again and how lucky he was that his best bro happened to live so close to his current inquiry.

John came in right after him, looking around and lugging a suitcase behind him. As soon as he caught sight of Dave a large smile lit up his face as well and he rushed over. Dave held up his hand in a first for him to bump, which he did with a laugh.

“Holy shit I can’t believe we’re actually meeting in person!” John said excitedly, Dave nodding in agreement.

“Was I worth the wait man?” he asked, John rolling his eyes and punching him in the shoulder. Dave might have flinched a bit more than he’d expected. He was still recovering from the pretty harsh beat down Karkat had given him, but John didn’t comment on it, instead just smiling sheepishly at him in a silent apology.

“Not at all, I want a refund,” he joked.

“Too bad this is 100 percent nonrefundable Strider goodness, what you see is what you get, please take all complaints to the help desk, it’s located back in Washington by the way,” Dave said. Before John could say anything back Jake had come over to them, ruffing up Dave’s hair.

“Well, haven’t you gotten a smidgen taller than the last time I saw you. How’ve you been Davey boy?” he asked. Dave tried to smooth his hair back down as he answered, but it didn’t help all that much.

“Pretty good. Bro ain’t putting any of your cooking lessons to use though, you might want to get on him about that,” you say, Jake quickly rounding on your brother with mock anger.

“Dirk! You all can’t be eating nothing but those lousy microwave dinners and take out all the time, do you want to live past fifty?” he asked.

“You mean he hasn’t already?” Dave cut in, something flying at his head without Bro even seeming to have to move.

“Not just microwavable shit, sometimes you can put it in the oven too. It just takes longer, we’re busy people man,” he defended.

“Oh bullshit Strider, I know for a fact that you aren’t busy enough to take an hour out of your day to make a half decent meal at least once a week,” Jake chastised.

“You don’t know that. I’ve been up to a lot of shit lately, some of it you probably wouldn’t believe,” he said, quickly getting Dave’s attention. They talked about this, no one was saying anything to Jake about Karkat, but that idea of Bro doing so was still a very scary and very real possibility.

“I doubt that! You know I’ll believe you!” Jake insisted.

“Yeah, you’ll believe anything,” Bro said, Jake huffing at that.

“You know I don’t mean it like that!” he said. “Anyway! You’re living so close I take it you must have heard of that whole extraterrestrial spacecraft that crash landed out in the desert.”

Shit.

“Dude, there’s an alien landing like, every Thursday between six and nine pm at the crab shack on main street. Fun for the kids you know? I’m not saying that whatever you heard about is definitely a hoax, but have you considered that it’s most likely definitely a fucking hoax? I didn’t actually mean it when I said you would believe anything, you know,” Bro said, and Dave couldn’t help but be relieved by the fact that he wasn’t instantly spilling the beans here.

“Oh hush you sour sport! I’ll have you know that they haven’t been able to find any sign that this ship is from anywhere on this earth! Not only that but they think they found signs of alien blood in some places,” Jake said, obviously excited about this. Dave could see John biting the inside of his cheek in worry and okay they needed to talk about this. Like right the fuck now. Seriously, John couldn’t have taken the time to mention a bit earlier that the whole reason they came to visit in the first place was because his cousin was on a hunt for the alien hiding in his closet? That might have been nice to know.

“Dude, are you gonna just lug around that huge fucking suitcase all day? Want to put your shit in my room or something?” he asked, just trying to think of a way to get them out of there.

“Oh! Yeah, sure thing!” John said, quickly following Dave into his room. Once the door was shut Dave rounded on him, trying to keep his voice down enough that Jake wouldn’t overhear them.

“What the actual fuck man?!” he snapped, John giving him an exaggerated shrug and dropping his suitcase to the floor.

“I didn’t know! He didn’t tell me!” he insisted.

“And you never actually fucking asked why he was coming down? Like seriously, how fucking long were you on that plane for and it never crossed your mind to ask what the reason for the trip was?” Dave asked. Okay, no need to freak out about this. It wasn’t that bad. He was only explicitly looking for Karkat, what was so bad about that?

People were looking for Karkat and doing tests on the blood that had been dried up there and would figure out that it really was alien blood and they’d come take him away fuck oh fuck what was he going to do?

“I just thought he wanted to see your bother or something! Don’t they like, have something going on between them?” he said, sort of twiddling his fingers around as he did.

“Dude that is not the topic at hand or a topic I ever want to think about,” Dave said, starting to pace around the room. “It’s okay, we just need to make sure he doesn’t find Karkat. That was already the plan, so it’s no big deal. Bro promised he won’t say shit, it’ll be fine,” he tried to reassure himself. John nodded in agreement, moving to sit on the bed.

“Yeah, don’t worry about it, I mean, this is probably the last place he’d ever think to look, you know?” he said, trying to reassure him.

“That’s true I guess, right under your nose and shit,” Dave said. He could still hear Bro and Jake talking outside and he wondered if they were going to go somewhere or something. Jake would obviously want to go check out the spaceship if that was the whole reason for his visit. Hopefully they would leave soon so that Dave could try to figure out just how to go about this without worrying that they’d come in at any second and overhear.

Karkat was being deathly quiet in the closet, and there was a part of Dave that was worried, wanted to check on him and make sure he was still there. He had to hold back on that though, because the last thing he needed was Jake coming in here to tell them they were heading out or something and catching sight of him. It was even more crucial now that he doesn’t find him.

“So, how was the flight and shit, since that’s a thing that did come up I guess,” Dave said, suddenly not all that sure what to actually talk about. He didn’t want to bring up Karkat too much while Jake was still in the house, but pretty much anything interesting that had happened to him recently had to do with Karkat, so it was best to just ask about John.

“Oh, it was good. You know, I thought airport security would be a much bigger hassle than it was, but apparently Jake’s learned to ship most of his stuff ahead of time now,” John told him.

“That dude is crazy in the weirdest fucking ways. No wonder him and Bro are like, whatever,” Dave said, just kind of waving one of his hands around.

“I thought you didn’t want to talk about that?”

“I don’t, let’s talk about something else. How long are you all staying again?” Dave asked, because yeah, he didn’t have a problem with it, he’d just rather not think about whatever Bro could pass off as a weird maybe on again off again long distance relationship thing.

“My return flight is in ten days, but I don’t know when Jake’s leaving. I didn’t see his ticket. Come to think of it the whole spaceship thing might be why he’s staying a bit longer,” John told him.

“Oh, you think? Well god damn, you know I never would have imagined but you might be onto something here,” Dave mocked, John tossing a pillow at him. Okay, worry about Karkat aside this was pretty awesome. They’ve wanted to meet up for years now, and it was actually happening.

“Oh bluh bluh, I was excited okay? I wasn’t thinking about why Jake wanted to be here, I get to meet my best bro and his totally awesome alien all at once,” John said.

“Okay, I can’t blame you for losing your head over meeting me. I’m pretty fucking amazing,” Dave joked. This time John threw the pillow that Dave had been keeping at the end of his bed in case Karkat ever wanted to sleep there again. He’d been staying in his horn pile for the most part these past couple of days, but he didn’t want him to think the option wasn’t there.

“Sorry, but I haven’t even met him yet but I’m pretty sure Karkat beats you on every possible level of amazing there is,” John said. Dave scoffed and rolled his eyes.

“No fucking way man, he’s a total dork. Like, the least cool alien you could possibly meet. He likes daytime soaps and eating eggshells,” Dave said.

“Don’t you watch those with him now though?” John asked.

“Yeah, but like, in a so bad it’s good kind of way, plus he gets super into them and now he’s always asking me what stuff means so it’s like, impromptu English class,” Dave defended. Before John could say anything back a soft honk went off in the closet, causing them both to be quiet for a few moments.

“He’s really in there, huh?” John said after a moment. “I mean, I know you’ve been talking about him and sending pictures and stuff all this time but it’s still so crazy to think he’s actually real and not some dumb huge elaborate prank.”

“Dude, I still can’t believe it myself sometimes, but yeah, he’s definitely real,” Dave told him. It was true, even after all this time he was kind of reeling from it, and he wasn’t sure if it was even just the fact that he was an alien. He was just so fucking unlike anything Dave could have imagined an alien being like, there were still things that would take him by surprise all over again.

“Hehe, you know, if someday years down the line Jake does find out about this, he’s going to be so upset we kept this from him, like so mad man,” John said.

“We have no choice, he’ll try to put him up on TV or some shit and trust me on this, that is the last thing he can handle right now. He ain’t exactly the biggest people person ya know?” Dave said, John nodding in agreement.

“Oh yeah, that’d be a super bad idea, don’t get me wrong here, it’ll just be funny if he ever does find out,” he said, which yeah, Dave could agree with that. The two talked for a bit longer, basically just trying to buy time until Jake and Bro left. After what feels like an eternity, but probably wasn’t actually all that long at all Dave finally heard the front door shut. They waited a few more moments just in case, and Dave poked his head out before finally deciding it was safe for Karkat to come out.

“Karkat?” he called, but there wasn’t any response. Walking over to the closet, he slowly opened the door, not wanting to freak him out any more than he already was. He’d tried to prepare him for this, but it was still better to be safe than sorry.

Karkat shifted around as he opened the door, moving to look past him at John. He seemed to take a good while just examining him and probably trying to make sure he wasn’t about to attack him with a razor blade or some shit.

“Karkat, John,” he said, not sure if he ever actually told Karkat was his name was. “John, Karkat,” he added, figuring that it’d be best to just finish off the introductions like a good host.

“Hi Karkat!” John said, his excitement clear as he practically bounced in place. Karkat was much more hesitant about all of this, but he was doing better than Dave thought he might.

“Hi,” he said, his voice all growly like when Dave had first found him. If it was possible for John to get more hyped, he did.

“Oh my god Dave he sounds so weird! Like, I don’t know, it’s just weird, but awesome. He’s seriously an alien?” John asked, talking a mile a minute.

“Yes man, I’ve been saying that this whole time. He’s really an alien, and if you think that’s weird you should see hear him when he speaks his own language. Like I said, he sounds like a bug,” Dave told him.

“Dav,” Karkat cut in, surprising Dave. He didn’t expect him to be too talkative with anyone else around, but this was the first time he’d seen him interacting with anyone, so there was no way for him to know for sure. He hasn’t been all that talkative with Dave at first, so he was just going off of that.

“Slow please,” he said, which oh yeah, he might not be all that comfortable not having any fucking idea what it was they were saying. Dave hadn’t even realized if he’d been speaking fast, but he wasn’t purposefully slowing down for Karkat to understand, so it probably did seem fast for him.

“Okay, sorry,” Dave said, making sure Karkat could actually understand him this time. "Yeah, will do," he added.

“Dave this is so cool,” John said, also slowing down his speech some. It wasn’t anywhere to the point that Dave usually did, more just normal speaking rate and not the mile a minute he was going at before. Which was probably helpful, but Dave had no idea just how much.

“I told you man, didn’t I tell you?” he asked, John laughing and rolling his eyes.

“Yeah, yeah, you told me,” he said, reaching over and punching Dave’s shoulder. It wasn’t anywhere near as hard as he had before, since he seemed to realize that yeah, he was still hurt up there, and this time Dave didn’t flinch. Karkat was frowning the slightest bit, looking them over. Dave could only imagine what it was he was thinking right now, just trying to figure out this whole human thing probably.

“Hungry?” Dave asked, turning towards Karkat. It was a good idea to grab him something to eat now while Bro and Jake were out. They shouldn’t wait too long either, didn’t want to have them come back while they were still out in the kitchen or something.

“Yes,” Karkat answered, looking between the two one last time.

“Alright cool. Hey John, you want anything?” Dave asked as he started out of the room. John followed him, Karkat seeming to hesitate before coming along as well.

“Sure, we ate a little in the airport but food would be nice,” John said. Once they were in the kitchen Dave started rummaging around until he found a frozen pizza they could throw in the oven. He noticed Karkat would stay back a bit from wherever John was, keeping a careful eye on him, but it wasn't all that bad all things considered. He’d be fucking cautious too if he was in Karkat’s shoes.

“Hey Karkat,” John said, speaking slowly. Probably much slower than was needed for such a simple sentence, most of which included his name.

“Hey?” Karkat said back, confusion clear in his voice.

“Do you like earth?” he asked. Karkat frowned at the question, glancing over at Dave and raising an eyebrow.

“Earf?” he asked, and oh yeah, Dave hadn’t ever actually told him where he was, did he?

“Here, this place,” Dave tried to explain, Karkat nodding and seeming to think over the question now. Dave was a bit curious to hear his answer.

“It not bad,” he said, shrugging slightly. Dave wondered if he realized he meant the whole planet or just like, here in this house, but either way that was actually pretty nice to hear. He knew Karkat was upset a whole fucking lot, so knowing that he didn’t absolutely hate being here was a bit of a relief.

“Yeah, Earth is cool,” John agreed, still talking super slow. Dave let him do that while he put the pizza on a pan and preheated the oven. “What was your planet like?” he asked, leaning across the counter towards Karkat. Once again Karkat didn’t answer right away, and Dave wasn’t sure if that was because he didn’t understand the question or because he didn’t want to answer it. When Dave turned back towards them he was frowning and glanced up at Dave again. He didn't ask for any clarification though, so he didn't say anything.

“Bad,” he said finally, surprising both boys. Dave hadn’t ever managed to get much out of Karkat about his home, but then again, he also hadn’t pressed him on it any. Or ask about it at all. Didn’t want to upset him or anything. John seemed just fine with straight up asking him about it though.

“Oh? Sorry,” John said after a moment.

“You’re safe now,” Dave muttered, not sure if Karkat could understand him but not feeling like speaking clearly on that. It didn’t seem to matter, because John was nodding enthusiastically.

“Right! You’re safe, don’t worry,” he repeated. Karkat frowned at him a bit but nodded nonetheless.

The pizza finished cooking after about fifteen minutes and Dave had them all go back into his room to eat, not wanting to spend any more time than necessary out in the open. He wasn’t surprised that they hadn’t gotten back yet, since the spaceship was pretty far, and Jake probably wanted to explore every inch of it. Thinking about it, they might not be back until late, which would definitely be a relief.

Karkat eating pizza was funny. Dave hadn’t gotten a chance to see his first attempt at it, but he folded it up like a taco for some reason, and ate it horizontally like a sandwich.

Well, John and Jake hadn’t exactly been here long, but so far all things considered it wasn’t completely horrible yet. Sure, Jake was fucking looking for Karkat, but they could still make this work. He’d figure it out, and he didn’t care what he had to do to keep him safe.

The fact that his old planet had been bad enough that he had to run or was exiled or something just made him even more determined. If this was supposed to be some place he was escaping to, Dave wanted to make sure that it was an actual escape. Not just running away from one horrible situation to end up somewhere even worse.

And maybe it was a little weird that he cared this much, but that was probably best not to think about.

Chapter Text

“So, what do we want to do? I mean, I know we always said all this stuff we would do when we finally got to meet up but now it’s happening and I can’t really remember any of it,” John asked. Dave shrugged, finishing off a slice of pizza and grabbing another. They’d taken the whole thing into his room, because why the fuck not. Bro and Jake could get their own food. They were adults. Fuck, Jake would probably cook something when they got back and they would all go eat that too because it’d be way fucking better than frozen pizza.

Plus there was the fact that they didn’t want anyone coming in and catching sight of the alien currently tearing apart the crust with his sharp alien teeth.

“I don’t know man, anything we want, I guess. Besides leave the house right now, I’d rather not leave Karkat alone when I don’t know when Jake and Bro will be back,” Dave said. He’d rather not leave him alone much at all if he could. They couldn’t afford having a repeat of the Dayquil incident.

“We could always take him with us,” John suggested. Dave raised an eyebrow at that because yeah no.

“Uh, no we fucking couldn’t. In case you haven’t noticed, he’s a fucking alien. There are like, so many fucking reasons we can’t take him outside I can’t even start listing them off right now,” he argued. John swallowed the pizza in his mouth before speaking again.

“We could dress him up! Like, put a hat and a scarf on him and maybe some makeup and show him around the town. Does your brother have any makeup?” John asked.

“It’s hot as fuck outside. That would literally draw more attention than the grey skin and horns man. At least then most people would just think he’s an anime nerd or some shit if they don’t get a good look. And no, why the hell would he have any makeup? Not judging or anything if he did but just because he’s gay doesn’t mean he would,” Dave said.

“I didn’t mean it like that! I was just asking, your brother’s weird for totally different reasons,” he said. Dave rolled his eyes at that but John was a pretty god damn sheltered little suburban boy, he couldn’t really hold it against him.

“Yeah okay, I can’t argue with that,” he said with a shrug. Karkat mostly just glanced between them as they talked, and Dave was pretty sure he couldn’t understand much of anything they were saying. He wasn’t complaining or asking for them to slow down again though, so maybe he wasn’t interested right now and was just focusing on eating his pizza.

“Bottom line though, we aren’t bringing him outside. He doesn’t even want to go outside, I don’t think at least. He was pretty freaked out when I had to bring him back from the ship during the day, I’m not putting him through that on purpose,” Dave said. John looked visibly disappointed at that, but he wasn’t going to risk Karkat’s safety any more than he already was. Going outside was definitely a risk and an easily avoidable one at that.

“Oh fine. Maybe at night? You know, when Dirk and Jake are asleep we can sneak out, he’s got to be bored cramped up in here all the time,” John suggested. Dave found himself hesitating at that. Yeah, he was very against taking him out during the day, but at night had been something he’d actually thought about doing himself.

“Only if he’s okay with it,” Dave said after a moment. “Really though, sneaking out? I don’t know if your dad would be too proud of that,” he added. John huffed and rolled his eyes.

“It’s not that bad, he told me to have fun. I’m having fun!” he argued.

Once they had finished up the last of the pizza (which was a pretty easy feat with the three of them) the only thing Dave and John could think of to do while in Dave’s room for now was watch a movie. Dave figured he should have brought popcorn because movies were an inevitability, but they just ate a whole pizza anyway so it wouldn’t be that much of a problem. Either way, Dave still managed to dig around a bit and come up with a couple of bags of candies.

“Hey Karkat, wanna watch?” Dave asked, scrolling through the selections of movies on John’s laptop. Karkat seemed to hesitate a moment before shrugging and climbing up on the bed as well. It took a bit of adjustment before Dave was sure that both of them could see the screen. John told him which movie to pick, which Dave had expected to happen, so he didn’t much mind it.

Karkat was quiet throughout the movie, looking pretty focused as he probably tried to figure out what the fuck was going on. He was a bit hesitant to eat some of the candy, since the last time he ate small colorful things it didn’t end all that well. He seemed to like the gummy worms pretty good though (where the fuck did they get gummy worms from? Dave was half sure that Bro had specifically bought this junk because he knew John was coming over).

Dave wondered what type of movie Karkat would like, if he had to pick one. If it was anything like his taste in television it would be fucking glorious. John, on the other hand, pretty much talked the entire way though, which was also something Dave had seen coming.

“Dude, Karkat’s trying to watch, be quiet,” Dave chastised.

“Dave, you don’t have to blame it on the alien, I know you want to hear the movie. It’s okay, you can admit it,” John joked. Dave rolled his eyes and threw a couple of M&Ms at him. Which probably didn’t do much to stop distracting Karkat, but eh, it was a crappy movie anyway. Dave should have picked a better one for his first human movie, but there was nothing he could do about that now.

“Man I’m trying to not hear this movie. I’d say I wish I didn’t let you pick but since all the movies were on your computer this outcome was inevitable. I thought that it would be better watching the things for myself instead of just having to hear you explain them peripherally but nope, somehow this is even worse. It’s attacking all of my senses at once, the very core of my being. I’m being changed John, and not for the better. Look at what you’ve done to me, are you hap-"

“Shhhhh! Movie now, rambling about being forever altered later,” John said, pressing a figure up to Dave’s mouth. He rolled his eyes but yeah he could shut up. He didn’t care much about the movie at this point but once John took his hand away Dave didn’t start up again. Instead he simply leaned back a bit and tried to figure out what he missed.

---

Karkat frowned as he watched the two humans. There wasn’t any reason for him to care, of course Dave'd had friends and a life before he showed up. And of course he wouldn’t be as excited or friendly to him as he was to those friends. They could barely speak and hadn’t known each other for very long when you got down to it and there were just a whole slew of issues that made it so that they were hardly even friends at all.

It had just been such a long time since he’d had anyone he could be any kinds of close with that maybe he’d gone a bit overboard. Dave’s treatment of him didn’t help the situation either. He’d told him to stop and he hadn’t in the least all things considered and maybe Karkat liked the attention more than he would admit. As long as he kept it to himself it should be fine.

It wasn’t a big deal though. Dave could still have his own friends and life and it was fine. It was kind of nice seeing him this happy actually. This ‘John’ guy didn’t even seem that bad either when he got right down to it. Very excitable and sort of loud but he didn’t seem like a threat, which was all Karkat cared about at the end of the day. He could survive the couple of days with him around well enough.

They were sitting on Dave’s sleeping mat now and Karkat would just look up at them every so often from his spot. They were watching something on the husktop but Karkat couldn’t really figure out what was going on. It didn’t help that John kept talking and there seemed to be some needless explosion every five minutes. Dave had given him some strange sour things that were all colorful to eat that were pretty damn good, so he mostly just nibbled on those.

Karkat wasn’t sure what set him off but Dave had started talking and he would not shut up. It wasn’t like Karkat had any hope of understanding the movie at this point but it was still a little annoying and did John just shoosh pap him?

It was a bit strange looking, putting a touchstub up to his mouth and pressing there as he shooshed, but you know, fucking aliens. He couldn't expect them to do everything the same. Dave instantly shut up and didn’t make any move to push John away, just sitting back against the wall when John pulled away and there was a small smile on his face and. Fuck.

Okay. Okay, this was fine. Perfectly fucking fine. Sure, maybe he would have liked it if Dave had bothered to let him know that this was his fucking moirail, but it. Was fine. He wasn’t actually pale for him. He wasn’t. Fuck what the pain in his chest was saying.

Hell, you know what, maybe this was a good thing. Just great! Maybe Dave would finally stop fucking hitting on him what with what was apparently his moirail around.

He shouldn’t have been doing that shit while he was gone either though. Holy fuck, did this guy even know? He didn’t seem to have a single problem with Karkat, so it was quite possible that he didn’t have a fucking clue. It was also possible that they might not be all that serious or something. Or maybe aliens didn’t care as much about commitment? Dave had been very fucking quick to start trying to pacify him.

Quick to pacify him and quick to comfort him and quick to be nice and gentle and caring and real fucking quick to fucking promise to protect him over and over again.

He must have had some strange look on his face or had been staring at them for too long, because Dave frowned and looked over at him all concerned and he wasn’t supposed to be doing that shit damn it. Why the fuck did he keep doing that?! It wasn't helping this revelation at all.

“Karkat, you okay?” he asked, and Karkat could feel the angry frown on his face as he forced himself to nod, it coming out much sharper than he would have liked, but he didn’t care anymore. Anger was a whole fucking lot better than tears; if he started crying Dave would definitely know something was wrong. The fact that crying was even an option made him want to scream because he should not fucking cry over this. It was stupid he was so fucking stupid.

“Fine,” he snarled, climbing off of the sleeping mat. He headed straight for his pile, reaching over and closing the storageblock door with what was definitely more force than necessary. There was nothing but silence from the two aliens for a few moments, before they started whispering to each other again. They stayed like that for a while, their voices ended up growing louder. Maybe they were fighting over something but Karkat couldn’t give a single fuck right now.

Okay, maybe his exit had been a bit more dramatic than Karkat would have liked. But. Fuck. Just fuck him and his insistence on being as pale as all possible in Karkat’s direction since he landed on this rock and act like he had no idea why the fuck Karkat was upset when he suddenly brought his god damn moirail over.

He tried to tell himself that he wasn’t actually upset by this. Or okay, that was dumb as shit since he definitely was, but not for any reasons that one would normally be upset by. He was happy that he knew that this wasn’t a serious thing for Dave when he hit on him. Right, happy. He wasn’t pale for him. He wasn’t. It was a little crush that wouldn’t last. He didn’t want to break Dave’s diamond, after all, because yeah he liked him, but not like that. Or at least that’s what he kept telling himself.

But that didn’t change the fact that he had continued to hit on him over and over again. Didn’t change the fact that even if Karkat wasn’t pale for him he’d seriously gone and played with his emotions.

And he’d done all of this when he was already in a relationship.

And his moirail probably didn’t know.

And that was a really fucking shitty thing to do to someone, and Karkat wanted no fucking part in it. That was the only reason he was upset.

Definitely.

---

“Uh, what just happened?” John asked, still staring at the closet door that Karkat had just slammed for who knows what reason.

“How should I know? I just asked if he was okay, he looked pretty upset all of a sudden,” Dave said, frowning as he waited to see if maybe Karkat would say anything or come back out or just anything to give them some sort of clue about whatever it was that was about. He’d been fine two minutes ago. Dave had thought the worst part of introducing him to John was over. It even seemed like he kind of liked him. Dave had no clue where this had come from.

“I don’t know, you’re his friend, right? Has he ever done anything like that before?” John pressed, and Dave just threw his arms up in defeat. He was confused as fuck and worried because he had no idea what he had done wrong this time but apparently it was something big enough for him to storm away out of the blue.

“Not really? I mean, yeah he’s thrown little temper tantrums like that, but never for no reason. Usually I’ve done something, even if it’s just like, something I don’t understand but was like deeply offensive to an alien,” he said, finally turning to look away from the door.

“You think it’s because of me?” John asked after a moment.

“What? Why would it be because of you?” If it was when John had first shown up yeah that would make sense, but he’d been getting along just fine with him.

“I’m the only new thing here, maybe I did something that pissed him off without realizing it,” John guessed. Okay, as much as Dave didn’t want to put the blame on him, especially since they hadn’t been doing anything, just joking around and watching a movie. They weren't even talking about Karkat, but it was the only thing that made any sense. He’d been worried that Karkat might not have taken well to John, so maybe some of that was coming out. Just like, delayed or something? He didn’t know.

“I don’t know man, you think he would have done something before now if that was it. I mean, he was totally fine with you when you first got here, and when we all eating pizza together and stuff. I thought it was going pretty good,” Dave said, John nodding in agreement.

“I know, I did too,” he said, disappointment clear in his voice.

“Look, I’ll talk to him when he comes out and ask what’s up. Once he’s cooled down I’m sure he’ll say what’s wrong,” Dave tried to reassure him. Karkat could be weird but he wouldn’t just randomly decide to hate someone for the fun of it.

“If you say so, just make sure to let him know that I really didn’t mean to do anything to make him mad. I want to be friends with the awesome alien too,” John said.

“More like the small angry alien teenager nerd, still not sure when you’re getting awesome from there,” Dave said. John’s smile came back a bit at that, rolling his eyes and punching Dave lightly in the arm where he knew no injuries were.

“Stop denying it man, you totally like him,” John joked. Dave froze up more than he should have at the dumb accusation, especially since he knew John didn’t even mean it like that. It was probably just because Karkat had had that whole thing with telling him to stop flirting, so that was where his mind instantly went. He hadn’t been flirting though and he still wasn’t and then there was John calling him his alien boyfriend and oh god damn it John was giving him a look.

“Dave? What’s the look for?” he asked.

“What look? You’re the one giving me a look,” Dave argued, and damn it he was totally going to get the wrong idea here.

“I’m only giving you a look because you gave me one first!” John defended, a look of contemplation on his face as his eyes flickered between Dave and the closet door. “Wait a minute…”

“No.”

“Oh my god, Dave, I was joking before.”

“No, no let me fucking explain.” Dave tried to stop this but it was too fucking late. John had the idea in his head and couldn't be stopped.

“Dave, he’s an alien.”

“It’s not like that holy shit!”

“He can’t consent Dave!”

“What?!”

“He’s an alien! He doesn’t understand what’s going on!”

“Oh. My. God.”

“Don’t be that guy Dave, don’t take advantage of his naïvety.”

“I’m not taking advantage of anything! I don’t like him like that or whatever the fuck you think is going on!” Dave yelled, before sighing heavily and running a hand through his hair.

“Okay, what exactly is going on then?” John asked, and Dave was so fucking thankful that he’d dropped it at least the tiniest bit. Or at least stopped just running away with the idea like it was true.

“Well, first of all, I highly fucking doubt Karkat is naïve like you said, if anyone’s bringing up weird romance shit, it’s him, not me,” Dave said. John’s eyebrows raised in surprise and fuck he just kept saying the wrong thing didn't he?

“Wait, has Karkat been hitting on you?” he asked, sounding like he was trying very hard to hold back laughter.

“What? No, he’s just brought up shit like that before. I don’t know, he’s an alien, for some reason for a little while there he thought I was flirting with him or something, but we got that all straightened out. No one’s flirting with anybody,” Dave explained. John still wasn’t doing a very good job of holding back his laughter any.

“Will you cut that out?” Dave snapped, John waving him away and managing to quell the last of his snickering.

“I’m sorry, but you gotta admit that’s like, really funny. Why in the world did he think you were flirting with him?” he asked, and Dave gave an exaggerated shrug.

“Fuck if I know, he brought it up after he ran off because I looked at his book and all that junk. Remember how I got him those puzzles and shit to try to cheer him up and apologize?” Dave asked, John nodding. “Well, when I tried to give them to him he told me to stop flirting with him. Maybe you don’t give gifts to friends or something unless it’s like some super important event or some shit back on planet alien, I didn’t really get a chance to clarify,” Dave explained.

“Oh, yeah, maybe,” John said, sounding almost disappointed at the thought. Less to tease him about. “Still funny,” he added on quickly, and Dave rolled his eyes. He reached over and punched the other boy in the shoulder.

“Whatever man, point is, I am not trying to fucking seduce my alien friend. I am not, and I quote, ‘that guy’ okay?” Dave said. John punched him right back, but nodded.

“Yeah, I didn’t think you’d be that guy, but I just had to make sure, can’t have you stealing the poor alien’s virtue,” he joked. “Still though, really confused about what set him off like that,” he added after a moment, switching back to the topic that started all of this.

“Right, same here,” Dave agreed. A smile started to spread out on John’s face and god damn it, Dave did not like that look one bit either.

“Maybe he’s jealous that I’m stealing you away.”

“Nope, no dude, we’re done with that topic. There will be no more discussions on possible interspecies crushes, it’s over,” Dave said, pushing himself up off of the bed.

“Aw, come on I was just joking,” John pouted. Dave just ignored him, walking over to the closet and knocking lightly.

“Karkat?” he asked, wondering if maybe they could get something out of him.

“No,” Karkat replied, and yeah okay definitely not time for that yet apparently. Dave just shrugged and headed back over to his bed.

“Yeah, should probably let him calm down for now,” Dave said, although John still looked worried. “He’ll come around,” he tried to reassure him, even if he was feeling pretty uncertain himself. He had no fucking clue what had gotten Karkat like this, or how long it would take him to chill out or anything.

He would come around though. This was Karkat after all, Dave liked to think that they were pretty good friends at this point. It would be fine.

---

Karkat stayed in the storageblock for a few hours, only reluctantly coming out when Dave knocked on his door and said something about food. He wasn’t even hungry but he didn’t want to keep moping over something that wasn’t even that big of a deal for him. It would be much worse for his actual moirail if that guy ever found out. He was the one being almost cheated on.

Dave seemed surprised when he actually opened the door, smiling at him and offering him a plate of food like there was nothing wrong at all. Karkat just fixed him with a glare as he took it, and he considered slamming the door again, but he didn’t want to show that this was getting to him. Or at least, not how badly it was getting to him. Instead he just avoided eye contact with him, and the smile quickly fell off of Dave’s face.

“Uh, everything okay Karkat?” he asked, sounding worried and upset. Like he had a right to be either of those things.

“Everything fine,” he said, and Dave just nodded before heading back over to where his moirail was.

“If you say so,” he said, a hesitation clear in his voice and Dave and his moirail spoke a bit as they all ate, but Karkat didn’t even bother trying to listen in on the conversation. He didn’t rightfully care. He was pretty much done with his food when he heard the hivedoor open and felt himself freeze up.

“Karkat, door,” Dave whispered at him, and Karkat put aside his anger for a moment and nodded, reaching out and grabbing the door, closing himself inside. Dave and John talked some more, and after a few minutes Karkat heard the respiteblock door open and the two leave. Other voices in the hive got louder after that, and he guessed whoever else was here was talking to them now. He supposed that was who he was hiding from.

There wasn’t much to do in the storageblock besides think and the more he thought about this shit the more upset he got. He shouldn’t be. He shouldn’t fucking care but he did because damn it as much as he tried to deny it, Karkat had a small pale crush on him. And he thought Dave had felt the same way, maybe even more so. Even if it wasn’t something he wanted to pursue in the long run, it was still…

It was nice.

And now he knew it was actually fucking nothing. And that hurt more than he would have liked it to.

Karkat wasn’t sure how long it was later when he heard the block door open again. He didn’t hear Dave talking to his palemate though or any of the other aliens. He was surprised when there was a knock on his block door, and not even caring at this point he opened it. It was Dave, who looked all concerned and sat down in front of him.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, and it was only then that Karkat noticed he had the translator as well, shifting it from one hand to another nervously.

“No thing,” Karkat insisted, although he knew that was a fucking lie and he knew Dave could tell that as well.

“No, what’s wrong Karkat? Is it John?” he asked again, and Karkat swore he wanted to fucking punch him in his weird, dull-teethed mouth. ‘Was it John?’ Of fucking course it was John how the fuck did he think Karkat would react to this? Did he expect him to just be totally fucking okay with it? No warning needed sorry Karkat I'm just going to flirt with you constantly before bringing my moirail over hope you don't mind.

Instead of answering he reached out to shut the door again, but Dave grabbed it as well, stopping his motion. Karkat growled at him and attempted to yank the door out of his grip, but Dave wasn’t letting go.

“What’s wrong?” Dave repeated, and it barely even sounded like a question and fuck Karkat didn’t want to talk about this. It was so fucking stupid and he shouldn’t be as upset as he was and Dave was going to take it the wrong (right?) way if he said why he was bothered. He was not ready for that humiliation just yet.

“No thing. Forget it. Please,” he tried, but it didn’t look like Dave was going to stop.

“Are you mad at John?” he asked and Karkat quickly started shaking his head. Wasn’t that dude’s fault.

“No, not mad.” That was a lie but he tried to calm himself down some so that it was less so. He was starting to feel pretty mad at himself when it got right down to it. This shouldn’t matter to him.

“Are you mad at me?” Dave asked this time and Karkat shook his head almost as fast. He didn’t want to be mad at Dave, at the very least. He liked him. More than he should, and that was the real dilemma here.

“No, I just. I bad with new things. Sorry,” he said, really fucking hoping that Dave would believe him and give it a rest. There was a large portion of him that was just freaked out about the fact that he had to deal with a new alien and all of that (it was currently being overshadowed by the part of him that wanted to mope in his pile like some idiotic diamond-broken pupa, but that didn’t matter).

Dave was frowning at him but it looked more concerned (god why) than angry or anything like that. “You sure?” he asked and Karkat came this close to sighing in relief when it seemed like he was going to stop pressing this. He still wasn’t sure what to do with the fact that he kept acting pale towards him but he could deal with that later. Once the moirail was gone he could talk to Dave and let him know that this was not fucking okay.

“Very sure yes,” he said. Dave didn’t look entirely convinced but it was better than having to talk about this now. Or ever. If he could never talk about this that would be great.

“Okay…” Dave said, a clear reluctance in his voice. “John won’t hurt you,” he added on. Karkat nodded, since so far from what he’d seen of John he didn’t seem like a horrible being. Karkat was still going to be cautious around him, but it could have been worse (figuring out he was Dave’s palemate notwithstanding).

“It fine,” he said and Dave gave him a small smile and this...

This fucking sucked.

“Awesome,” Dave said and Karkat just nodded in agreement, although he wasn’t entirely sure what that word meant. He said it like a good thing though so it probably was. “You good here for now?” he asked and yeah, Karkat didn’t feel up to going out there and having to interact with them right now.

“Yes,” he said, and Dave stood up at that. He was probably going out there to go hang out with his moirail and god that was going to take some getting used to. He’d get used to it though, it would just be a lot more helpful if Dave could fucking stop flirting all of the time.

“Later man,” Dave said before moving the door until it was just open a crack. Better than being completely closed in, although Karkat was still feeling rather trapped. Whatever, it was a good thing right now. Once he heard the respiteblock door close he huffed and fell back onto his pile.

It was pretty god damn pathetic, but Karkat felt he deserved some more time to sulk.

---

Welp, that just happened. Dave left his room and John was sitting in the kitchen where he’d left him. Bro and Jake weren’t back yet, but he wanted Karkat to stay in the room since they would be soon. John perked up when he saw Dave come back out.

“So, what happened? Does he hate me?” he asked, and Dave shook his head.

“Nah man he doesn’t hate you. I’m still not entirely sure what set him off,” he said. He knew Karkat wasn’t telling him something but he didn’t want to push him too much if he wasn’t feeling up to talking.

“Are you sure? He seemed pretty mad,” John asked.

“Yeah, he said he wasn’t mad at you. All of this might have been a bit too much for him or something. He said he wasn’t good at new things,” Dave told him. Maybe it was something in the movie? He wasn’t paying attention but something there could have upset him he guessed.

John didn’t look very convinced and honestly Dave wasn’t either, but if that was all Karkat was willing to tell him that was all he was going to get. He was pretty sure as Karkat relaxed more he’d let him know what the real problem was. And if he didn’t then there wasn’t anything Dave could do about that. He’d learned not to go prying into his business.

“If you say so,” John said after a moment.

Bro and Jake ended up finally coming a little bit later. Apparently they had gone to take a look at the spaceship like Dave had thought. That wasn’t worrying at all. Jake kept going on and on about it too, talking about what a marvel it was and how some of the technology seemed almost biological and how some of the parts looked like they had gotten busted up on purpose. It was hard enough for Dave to keep a straight face during all of this, he swore John was going to ruin it for them at some points.

Luckily, Jake at his best was pretty bad at picking up on things, let alone when he was all wrapped up and excited about something like this. Still, didn’t keep Dave from silently panicking for well over an hour as he kept going on about the ship. According to Jake they were doing tests on the blood samples they had found too, so it would be confirmed pretty fucking soon that whatever had been in it wasn’t from this world.

That was probably the most terrifying thing. If it was confirmed, then they’d really start a search for him. What if someone had seen them leaving the ship that day and just hasn’t said anything yet? If they started looking people might come forward. Fuck, they could make one wrong move and Jake could be the one telling every major news source in the country.

It was pretty fucking scary. Dave really, really didn’t want to lose Karkat. Sure things got weird sometimes, and he’d even hurt him but that didn’t change the fact that he did think of him as a friend, and didn’t want any bad shit to happen to him. He didn’t seem like he would do well if anyone found out about him at all.

He was just so fucking skittish sometimes. Dave wasn’t sure if it was possible for aliens to have panic attacks, but if it was he had no doubt that would be what would happen to him.

Eventually Dave managed to drag himself and John back to his room, promising Jake that they would come and see the ship with him tomorrow. Dave didn’t feel good about leaving Karkat home alone for too long, but no one would notice if they took a bunch of food to his room. Jake would just think they were having some slumber party or something. That wasn’t even entirely untrue, either.

They checked on Karkat when they got back in the room, and he seemed mostly better from before. Dave still wasn’t quite sure what that was all about, but he figured that if he needed to talk about it, they could do that after John and Jake left.

Karkat was a bit more manageable the rest of the night. It still seemed like something was off with him, but he wasn’t getting upset and slamming doors so that was a good thing. When they finally decided to get some sleep he just slowly shut the closet door and that was a lot better than what he could have done.

Dave wasn’t actually that tired and honestly the only reason why he’d even managed to get John to try to sleep tonight was because he thought he might be exhausted from all the traveling, but it didn’t seem like that was the case. Either way Dave eventually managed to pass out.

It was late at night when Dave felt someone nudging him awake. He was confused for a second when he saw John, before his brain remembered that, oh yeah, he was here, wasn’t he? “What’s up man?” Dave asked, rubbing sleep from his eyes before sliding his shades back on.

“Does he always make those noises when he sleeps?” John asked, and Dave wasn’t sure what he was talking about until he noticed the soft chirps and clicks coming from his closet. He nodded, shrugging and yawning.

“Yeah, you get used to it though, don’t worry about it,” he said, moving to lie back down and go back to sleep. Before he could John was speaking again, and from the sound of it he was wide awake.

“We should wake him up,” he said, and Dave quickly sat up again, because yeah, sometimes Karkat was okay with being woken up. Sometimes he snapped his teeth at the first thing that touched him and Dave did not want to have to try to explain to Jake where the teeth marks on John’s hand came from. From the volatile way he’d been acting during the day it was best not to chance it.

“What, no. Why would we do that?” he asked, John grinning at him in the darkness. Dave could barely see it with his shades on and he was starting to think it might have been a dumb move to put them on. It was a reflex though and he’d feel even dumber somehow if he took them off.

“You said we could take him outside at night!” John said, somehow managing to whisper and sound loud at the same time.

“Hey, I never said that. I said maybe, if Karkat was down for it. It’s too freaking dangerous though man, if Jake or fucking anyone finds him we’re screwed,” Dave insisted. John huffed, shoulders slumping in disappointment.

“No one will find him! Come on, did you even ask him if he wants to? We should at least do that,” John argued. Dave was still shaking his head though because he was just too worried right now with everything going on to want to risk something like that.

“No, we shouldn’t wake him up for just that. We can ask him tomorrow, okay? Get back to sleep,” Dave said, hoping that he sounded final enough that John would actually listen to him.

“Kaaaarkaaaat, do you wanna go outside?” John asked, his voice still a whisper, but possibly loud enough for the alien to hear.

“Shhh, dude I said no. Also don’t talk to him like that, he’s not a dog,” Dave said, John rolling his eyes.

“I’m not talking to him like a dog, he just doesn’t understand English well, right?” he said, and Dave shrugged.

“Still sounded like you were talking to an animal to me,” he said. Before John could respond Dave heard more than saw the closet door crack open the slightest bit. Fuck, Dave was hoping that he hadn't actually woken him up. He didn’t think Karkat would go along with going outside, but there was no way to know for sure. Karkat didn’t realize just how dangerous everything was right now. He should probably tell him, but he didn’t want to scare him.

“Why talking?” he asked, and he sounded all tired which was kind of adorable. Before Dave could tell him it was nothing and to go back to sleep John butted in.

“Karkat!” he said, doing that same weird yell-whisper. “Karkat, want to go outside?” he asked, speaking slowly and clearly so that he could understand. Dave watched as he frowned, seeming to process the question before turning towards him.

“Outside?” he asked, and Dave wasn’t sure if he was asking what it meant or if that was actually a thing they could do. Dave figured he should clear up the first thing just in case.

“Outside,” he said, pointing out towards the window. Karkat nodded, a look of thought on his face and fuck, was he actually considering it? If he really wanted to, Dave couldn’t bring himself to say no (he didn’t want to be trapping him here) but he still fucking hoped he said no.

“Is okay?” he asked, and oh damn it he wanted to go outside. With how upset he’d been earlier Dave fucking knew he’d have to go along with it too.

“We have to be sneaky,” John said, and Dave was pretty sure Karkat didn’t know that word yet, especially with the way Karkat barely glanced at John before looking back over at him, still very much asking if going outside was something they could do.

Dave sighed, running a hand through his already messed up hair. He was such a god damn pushover.

“Yeah, it’s okay,” he said, pushing himself out of bed. Karkat seemed more excited for this than Dave had thought he would be, and he guessed he really was starting to feel a bit stir crazy or something. Maybe that was a part of the reason for him freaking out some.

“But,” Dave added on before John could start celebrating, “quiet, no one can see you, okay?” he said, Karkat nodding.

“Okay,” he said. John almost immediately jumped off of the ground, throwing on his shoes and not bothering to change out of his pajamas. Dave decided not to either, since eh, they wouldn’t be going far. Karkat had a lot of clothes, but Dave wasn’t sure if any were actually for like, sleeping in. He tended to wear the same stuff he had worn during the day and just change in the morning.

Quietly opening the door to his room, Dave looked around to make sure there wasn’t anyone out there. He didn’t know what either Jake or his bro would be up to at this time of night, but honestly, if they were up to anything, he didn’t want to know. Once he saw that the coast was clear he started out, John and Karkat following him, one much more quiet than the other.

Hint. John was not the quiet one.

“Shush man, you’re gonna get us caught,” Dave said, noticing the way Karkat seemed to almost flinch for some reason. He wasn’t sure what that was about, but John apologized and stopped his giggling. Slipping out the front door, Dave wasn’t actually all that worried about Bro finding out. The main concern was just not waking Jake up.

Once they were outside Dave let out a small sigh of relief. That was quickly taken away by the fact that Karkat was outside and anyone who decided to take some late night stroll could see him.

“Okay, we’re outside. Can we go back in now?” Dave asked.

“No way, we haven’t even shown him anything yet,” John argued.

“It’s a desert. He’s seen it already. I’m not taking him down to the movies if that’s what you’re thinking,” Dave said, John scoffing and starting out into the yard. Dave followed and because of that Karkat followed him.

“That was not what I was thinking, but we definitely do need to show him more movies,” he said. “Hey, Karkat. That’s the moon,” John said, calling the alien over and pointing up at the moon. Karkat nodded, looking up at the thing.

“Only one?” he asked, which okay, that was a bit strange. At least he was talking to them again though.

“Um, yes. Was there more than one on your planet?” John asked, and Dave wasn’t too sure if he understood the question or if he just took a lucky guess.

“Two moons,” he said, John nodding intently as he listened to him. Yeah, that was pretty interesting actually. Dave hadn’t asked much about where Karkat was from. He didn’t want to accidentally upset him or bring back bad memories or push too far after the whole sketchbook incident. He didn’t seem to mind answering questions about it though, so maybe he would try a bit more. It would be nice to actually learn a bit about an alien world, after all.

They started walking aimlessly down the street, since John was the one leading and he had no idea where anything was. Karkat was sticking close to Dave, which he was thankful for at the very least. Maybe they should have put a hat on him or something to hide the horns? He wasn’t sure how Karkat would feel about that.

Ugh, he needed to stop being so paranoid. No one would ever think the alien would look like Karkat. They’d be looking for something with like, twelve different orifices made 90% out of jelly.

“Which way is the spaceship?” John asked after a few moments.

“Back that way, but we’re going there tomorrow anyway. I’m not bringing him back there since it’s been found man, do you want him to get caught?” Dave asked, John quickly shaking his head.

“Of course not! I just wanted to make sure we were staying away from it, actually. I have some sensibility, you know?” he said, and Dave shrugged in a noncommittal way.

“I don’t know man, you can do some pretty airheaded shit sometimes,” Dave said. “Like you know, taking an alien outside where he could be seen by anyone.” Okay, maybe he should let that go already, but fuck he was just worried for Karkat’s sake. He didn’t want anything to happen to him.

“Relax, I won’t let anything happen to your alien boyfriend,” John teased, which, really? After all the weird awkward shit they had to go through he was still being like that. He was surprised (and horrified, thanks a lot John) when Karkat turned towards him, a frown on his face.

“Boyfriend?” he asked and god fucking damn it John. Said fucking douche was currently trying and failing to hide his laughter.

“It’s nothing,” he told Karkat, whose frown only deepened.

“Know what means,” he said, which huh, Dave wasn’t expecting that. He hadn’t exactly taught him that word, after all. John started laughing even more, turning away and covering his mouth with both hands.

“You do?” Dave asked, Karkat just nodding. Okay then, Dave wasn’t all too sure what Karkat wanted to know about that particular word then. Or, maybe he kind of did, he’d want to know why he was being accused of dating someone when he wasn’t after all.

“I don’t have one,” Dave said at last, not sure what else to say about that, and John just continued to crack up. “Dude, shut up you caused this,” Dave snapped, turning back around towards him. John just barely managed to contain his laughter and nod.

“Sorry, sorry, it’s just pretty funny you have to admit,” John said.

“I don’t have to admit shit man,” Dave argued. Karkat didn’t seem as weirded out anymore and just nodded and god why did Karkat seem to care so much about Dave’s romantic life. Like, he didn’t think that Karkat had a crush on him, but the guy was not helping his case any with all this shit.

The three continued walking down the street in relative silence after that, John asking Karkat questions every so often that Dave would then have to re-ask or explain some part of so that he could understand the questions. Dave wondered how far out John wanted to go. Karkat was being pretty quiet when John wasn’t asking him shit, just looking around and seeming to take it all in. It was just a neighborhood, nothing all that exciting at all, but it was also a totally alien world to Karkat.

Fuck, he probably had been bored shitless stuck inside all the time. Dave still didn’t like the idea of having him out in the open, but maybe they could go on walks like this sometimes at night, especially once people started settling down from finding the spaceship. With how fast news moved nowadays, most people would forget all about it in like six months or so tops.

Dave was about to suggest they maybe start heading back when a dog ran up to the fence of one of the houses they were passing, barking loudly. Karkat fucking jumped, bristling and hissing at the animal as he ran to hide behind Dave.

“Relax bro, it’s just a dog. Let’s get out of here,” Dave said, not wanting the owners to get suspicious and come see what was bothering the pet. John nodded in agreement, already turning to start back towards the house.

“Okay, fuck,” Karkat mumbled, and Dave didn’t even notice the new word for a second. Once he did, he turned back towards Karkat. They were far enough away that the dog had stopped barking, so he figured it was fine.

“Did your translator teach you that?” he asked, although it probably wasn’t the translator. It was probably him. John had started snickering again, and Dave couldn’t be as mad at him this time.

“Dave, you’re a bad influence,” he joked, and Dave just rolled his eyes at him because he was so not a bad influence. Karkat was like, their age, he could curse if he wanted to. Or he was pretty sure he was around their age. If he wasn't, whoops. Oh well.

“No?” Karkat answered, but it didn’t seem like he quite understood what they were talking about. Dave didn’t blame him for that, he might not understand what the word means. Or he did understand, and he just didn’t give a single fuck. There was something about it that made it seem like that was the more likely option. John snickered even more at his answer, and yeah okay he really had been where he picked it up from.

“Oh? What did?” he asked, starting to walk back towards the house again. Karkat just shrugged, not seeming like he was all that bothered by this. He was still looking back to where the dog was every couple of minutes, but other than that he seemed less freaked.

“You,” he answered without any sort of blame in his voice.

“Do you know what it means?” Dave asked, and he figured Karkat didn’t know at least one of the things it referred to, and he wasn’t going to be the one to tell him. Once again the alien just shrugged, not seeming like he cared all that much.

“Mad, surprise word?” he guessed, and yeah, okay that was certainly a way to put it.

“That’s right,” John cut in again, seeming to have managed to control all of his laughing for now. Dave figured it was best not to try to explain curse words to Karkat. Eh, he might not even need to, and it wasn’t like he minded at all. It was kind of funny actually. What if Karkat was cussing up a storm all the time and he had no fucking idea? That seemed pretty damn likely now that he thought about it.

They were almost back to the house and Karkat seemed to have started to relax some about being outside. Dave was still a bit on edge, he didn’t want to get too at ease and have something happen. Plus, there was still getting back into the house without Jake noticing. He should still be asleep, but fuck you never knew.

Much to Dave’s surprise it actually went off without any sort of hitch. They got inside and back into his room without anyone seeing and Dave even managed to resist the urge to flop down on his bed dramatically. Karkat definitely seemed calmer once they were inside, but his mood also seemed to be lifted some.

That was good. With how he’d been all weird and upset earlier Dave wanted to try to make this visit as fun for him as possible. Sure, the whole Jake looking for him complicated things, but Dave tried to tell himself that it would be fine.

Everything was going to be fine.

---

Karkat was very annoyed when he was knocked out of his light sleep by the sound of Dave whispering with his friend. Palemate. Whatever. He tried to ignore them until he heard John call out his name all long and quiet and ask something. He didn’t know what the fuck he was saying but he didn’t think twice about going to see what was up. He didn’t know what they were up to but the fact that they were trying to bring him into it was concerning enough for Karkat to investigate.

What they were talking about definitely took him by surprise. They wanted to go outside? By all accounts, that was probably a dumb as fuck idea. He could get caught and culled or who knew what.

But. It was more tempting than it had any right to be. He was just so bored stuck in here sometimes. Especially being stuck just in the little storage block. He hadn't gone out much on Alternia, but he had had shit to entertain himself with. He'd had eleven friends to keep up with and manage. Here he only had Dave and jack all to actually do.

He wasn’t going to just take this John guy’s word on it though, so he asked Dave if it was okay. Karkat was still upset from earlier but he trusted Dave to know what was safe or not. He seemed just as apprehensive, but he didn’t take long to give in and say it was okay. Yeah, Karkat was more excited about this than he should be, but fuck it would be nice to stretch his legs and walk around in a place that didn’t smell so weird all the time. Or at least smelt weird in a different way.

And just have something to distract himself from the hurt and disappointment that continued to bubble around inside of him.

Dave was still acting very nervous though as they left the hive, and Karkat was trying his best to be as quiet as fucking possible. He didn’t want to get caught any more than Dave wanted him to. Probably more than, if he were being completely honest, because fuck did he not want to be caught.

Dave’s moirail was not being as careful, and at one point Dave snapped something and shooshed him. Which… might have damped Karkat’s mood a bit. Ugh, he shouldn’t care, it was never going to work out he didn’t want it to work out. It was just…

Fuck he really needed to get over this dumb crush.

Once they were outside it was easy to distract himself (mostly. At the very least it was easier than distracting himself inside), and Karkat was worried that maybe this wasn’t the best idea. He could be killed. Dave’s palemate seemed calm though and Dave wouldn’t let him just walk into his own death (any weird feeling that may or may not exist aside, he could say that with confidence).

Nothing actually happened though. John started talking about the moon and they began walking around and it wasn’t that bad. Karkat wasn’t sure what he had expected. It did seem like this species was pretty diurnal, but he didn’t want to chance anything happening upon him even with that. He was chancing it though, so he supposed he couldn’t actually be that opposed to the idea of coming out here.

The only real incident was when some strange barkbeast tried to get to them through a fence. It didn’t though, and no one seemed to notice it.

There was the fact that he was pretty sure John had called him Dave's 'boyfriend.' He'd gotten by now that 'alien' meant him. He was also pretty sure that boyfriend was a term for matesprit. That was as close as he could get to really translating any of the quadrants.

They were not fucking matesprits though. They weren't anything but if they could it wouldn't be in that quadrant. Maybe that was what Dave had told him though to throw him off his trail. He didn't want to fucking think about it, and Dave had said he didn't have one anyway so that didn't matter.

They went back to his hive after that and once they were back in Dave’s block Karkat sat down in his pile. He was tired as shit since he hadn’t gotten much sleep before they had woken him up, but he was feeling a lot less jittery than he had been before.

That wasn’t even just talking about the last day but instead he’d been feeling like that for a while now. Everything had just started to feel like he was never going to ever fucking leave this place and it was reminding him a bit too much of the spaceship. He was still aware that there was a possibility that he would always be trapped, but it was nice to pretend that there was some semblance of freedom there.

Dave and his moirail ended up falling asleep pretty fast after they got back, and Karkat quickly tried to follow their lead. It was still a bit difficult for him to sleep. He wasn’t feeling as closed in even with the door shut, but that didn’t change the fact that he still felt like an absolute idiot over the moirail thing.

He wanted to tell himself that it would be fine and he’d be over Dave in a fucking week, tops. By the time John was leaving he’d have accepted it and things could go back to normal.

He didn’t know if that was true though. It wasn’t like there was anything he could do about it though.

Eventually Karkat managed to fall into a fitful sleep, not quite able to completely ignore the pain in his chest.

Chapter Text

When Dave woke up the next morning it was not of his own choosing. If he had the option he would have continued to sleep for several more hours at the least, maybe another day or two. Who’s to say for sure? He was exhausted from staying up for that little late night excursion, and sleep was just an overall wonderful thing.

Unfortunately it wasn’t his choice, and once again John was poking him awake. When he tried the grumble and roll over the other boy wouldn't let him, just continuing to poke at him even more insistently.

“Dave, we need to wake up. Jake’ll want to go to the ship soon and you need to feed the Karkat,” he said. Dave lifted his head up, frowning at the other boy.

“The Karkat? Dude it’s just Karkat. It’s his name not like, what his species or whatever the fuck is called,” Dave explained. Or at least, he was pretty sure it was. He was pretty sure Karkat wouldn't be happy about being called the alien equivalent of 'human' all the time. Pushing himself off of the bed, Dave stretched and tried to wake himself up. John was rolling his eyes when he looked at him again.

“I know that, okay? I’m gonna keep Jake outside while you grab him some food real quick. Okay?” John said, and Dave nodded, because yeah that was a good idea. Once John was outside Dave went into the kitchen, grabbing up some pizza and a couple of eggs. It was still pretty disgusting the way he would just eat them like that, but he really seemed to like them, and they hadn’t made him sick yet. If they were going to, they would have by now.

He also was hoping to find something to help cheer Karkat up after having pissed him off yesterday. He still wasn’t too sure what that was all about but he wanted to try to make it better somehow. Knocking on the door, it opened after a moment. Karkat stared up at him wordlessly, which wasn’t too unusual, but still didn’t make him feel like he forgave him for whatever he’d done. Dave crouched down a bit as he handed him the plate.

“We’re going out for a while, stay in here,” he said. Karkat just nodded, still not speaking to him. Damn it, Dave really fucking hated it when he was like this. He didn’t know what to do to make it better, and last time when he tried to just give him space it had ended kind of horribly. At least then he knew what the problem was though, he still didn’t know what it was he did to set him off this time.

“Everything okay?” Dave decided asked. Karkat gave him a look, seeming to think the question over before nodding. Ugh, that was such a fucking lie but he didn’t know what else to say and he had to go before Jake decided to come and get him.

“We’ll talk later? Okay?” Dave asked, and Karkat nodded once again, looking a bit reluctant that time. Dave didn’t have time to question him about that now, and quickly shut the door, threw some clothes and shoes on and went out to join John and Jake.

“So, we getting our spaceship hunting on or what?” he asked, trying to sound excited for this and not fucking terrified. It seemed to work, that or Jake just didn’t notice any nervousness as the dude excitedly nodded and started off in the direction of the ship.

“That we are! You two are going to have a crackerjack time, it’s a true marvel,” he said, and Dave just nodded along.

The walk to the ship was filled with Jake explaining everything they knew about it already and Dave and John trying to appear interested. That wasn’t too hard, since they were both actually pretty damn interested, but not quite for the reason Jake thought. Dave figured it was a good idea to find out how much they knew though, so that he could be prepared if they started to figure out where Karkat might be.

It still seemed to take forever to get to the ship, since Jake seemed fine with just taking his sweet time. Once they finally made it Dave was pretty surprised by the looks of everything. There were these metal fences put up around it now and a few vans parked inside of the blocked off area and Dave wasn’t even sure how they got there. There weren’t really any good paths to drive out here.

Seeing all of this was starting to make it sink in. This was a real thing that was happening. People knew Karkat was out there somewhere and they wanted to find him. What if they searched the place and found finger prints or something?

What if they found out Dave had been there?

“Come on now fellas, it’s even dandier on the inside,” Jake said, opening the fence and starting towards the ship. Dave couldn’t help but share a look with John before following after him. The ship was still stuck in the ground at an awkward angle, but Dave could see as they walked up a few people digging around it to get it out.

Walking down the familiar hallway, Dave tried to look interested, but not too interested. Because Jake might find that suspicious? Or something? God he had no idea what he was doing and was silently freaking out because people could find out.

He just had to keep it cool.

“Well, this is what we think was the main control room, pretty spiffy huh?” Jake said. Dave nodded absently, walking around and trying to see if anything had been messed with since the last time he was here. There didn’t seem to be all that much, besides tape and shit blocking off the areas where Karkat had smashed up the mainframe thing, as well as the spot Dave had first found him bleeding out.

That felt like such a long time ago now, even though Dave knew that it wasn’t really. It was just so fucking weird how attached he’d gotten to the little dude and he was fucking worried about how horrible it would be if he was found out now.

Never mind the fact that Karkat was all pissed at him again for some reason and how much Dave hated the idea of getting separated from him while he was mad. He just knew how fucking afraid Karkat would be. He didn’t want that to happen to him.

“Yeah, it’s awesome Jake!” John said, his enthusiasm sounding very genuine, and it probably was. John was excited to see the ship after all, and Dave doubted he was as worried about Karkat getting caught. It wasn’t that he wouldn’t care if he was, he just thought Karkat was safe hiding out back at his house or something.

“They really think this shit is real?” Dave asked, walking over to the corner that had some weird buggy bubble looking thing. He hadn’t bothered looking at it much the last few times he was here, since Karkat didn’t like him snooping around in his shit. When he glanced inside of the hole on top there was something dried to the sides, a weird iridescent green color. He didn’t have any idea what it might have been used for though. Karkat hadn’t seemed to care about it at all when they were packing up.

“So far there isn’t a dang thing to prove otherwise. The sand where it crashed had been superheated by the impact, not to mention these technologies don’t match up with anything we have on Earth. They’re doing tests on the dried substances here, what looks like blood over in the corner and on those metal pieces, to see if they really did come from an alien. They’re also testing some of that green stuff in that big old tub you’re checking out,” Jake explained.

Dave nodded, pulling away from the ‘tub’ and walking to look at the mainframe again. He still wasn’t sure what had possessed Karkat to destroy it like this, but it wasn’t any of his business to ask. He was really fucking upset and he probably wanted to go home and he took all of that frustration out on it.

“Do they have any idea what happened to the alien?” John asked, and Dave was fucking thankful that he did. It just seemed more like something John would do, instantly believe that all this is real and wanting to know where the mysterious alien had scampered off to.

“Not yet I’m afraid, but we’ll catch the bugger,” he said and fuck it was hard keeping a straight face at that. He knew Jake wanted to catch Karkat, of fucking course he did. He wasn’t even mad at Jake for it because the dude just sounded so excited, but that didn’t change the fact that the idea of Karkat getting caught was absolutely terrifying.

He couldn’t lose Karkat. He promised to protect him and he was fucking worried about what might happen if he ended up getting found. He was already so scared. Dave could easily see him freaking out, attacking to try to get away. Hurting someone or getting himself hurt and being seen as a danger or some wild animal or the precursor to a larger invasion and being locked up for the rest of his life. Or worse.

“So, what kinda alien we dealing with here? Are we talking the tall and skinny greys kind or like, the kind that are actually just like, sentient plants?” Dave asked, trying to sound like he didn’t truly believe all this. He figured that his one saving grace in all this was that people wouldn’t expect an alien to look like how Karkat did. Hopefully that would be enough to protect him for now.

“Either way would be mighty interesting, but we don’t have much of a way to figure that out. It must at least have a type of appendage to press buttons and pull levels, as well as a way to build this ship,” Jake said, and Dave nodded. Okay, those were both pretty logical conclusions that told them basically nothing about Karkat. Dave wasn’t even sure if Karkat had built the ship himself. He kind of doubted it to be honest. Karkat didn’t seem like the ‘buildy’ type.

He wondered who did actually build this ship though. Did Karkat know them or did he buy it or was it just given to him when he was forced to leave? That seemed like the most likely scenario if he thought about it. Maybe he would ask Karkat about it sometime, but right now it really wasn’t all that important.

“Do you even think it’s still alive? That looks like a lot of blood in the corner over there. Do aliens even bleed? What if it’s not blood but like, creepy alien secretions or vomit or something?” Dave asks, even though he knows for a fact that it is definitely blood. He doesn’t want to seem like he’s jumping to conclusions though.

God he was over thinking this shit, but Jake hadn’t caught on yet so fuck it.

“I sure do hope it is, but it seems like the ship had been here for a while. It could have died in the desert if it was injured so severely. It seems to me that there should be more blood leading out of the ship if it had to drag itself out without patching itself up first though, so you never know!” Jake said.

There would have been a lot more blood if he dragged himself out, but most of that had gotten on Dave’s clothes instead.

They looked around the ship a bit more after that, Jake showing them the two other rooms, one he wasn’t sure what for, possibly storage (Dave would have liked to tell him that it was just a giant walk in closet, and that the alien wore maybe five percent of the clothes he bought with him, but he didn’t want to blow Karkat’s cover even more) and the other one most likely for food. Well, they had gotten that one right at least.

They ended up staying for longer than Dave would have liked, because he didn’t want to leave Karkat alone for so long. Of course he couldn’t be insisting to leave for not good reason either. Instead he just tried to appear interested and took a bunch of different pictures and wondered if showing them to Karkat would make him feel better or worse.

Once they were finally done they started heading back. It looked like the people trying to dig out the ship had started making some decent headway, and Dave wondered what they planned to do with it once they got it out completely. Take it to some government facility for testing? Take it to some non-government controlled facility for testing? Leave it here and bring more people out to it for testing?

The only thing Dave was really certain on was that they would probably do more testing.

When they got back home Dave wanted to head straight back to his room to check on Karkat, but that might end up looking odd, or at the very least rude so he stayed out with them. Jake offered to cook dinner and Dave silently cursed not hording more food in his room to give Karkat. Dude was probably hungry as shit by now and who knows when he’d be able to get him something to eat.

Dave tried his best to relax and just enjoy being able to hang out with John and Jake for a bit. This was not something that he got to do often, or like, ever. Karkat would be fine. As long as he didn’t do anything stupid, he would be fine.

It wasn’t until Bro came home that Dave was able to snatch an extra plate of food without Jake noticing and bring it to his room. Knocking on the closet door, Karkat looked like he’d just woken up when he looked up at him. Whoops. Didn’t mean to wake the poor dude.

“Got you food,” Dave explained, kneeling down to hand him the plate. Karkat fought back a yawn and nodded, taking the food from him and Dave wasn’t sure if he wasn’t all that upset with him anymore or if he was just too tired to be right now. Glancing back toward his bedroom door, Dave figured he should probably get back to everyone soon.

“I’ll be back soon, later,” he said, Karkat nodding and shutting the door. Dave realized he still hadn’t said a word to him at all, and ugh, he was probably still upset. Damn it, he wanted to fix this but he didn’t know how with having to balance keeping Jake clueless and not wanting to talk about whatever was wrong in front of John.

It wasn't too much longer before Dave and John were able to go back to his room without any fear of Jake following. Dave decided to wait a bit longer before he went and told Karkat that he could come out of the closet. Thankfully he did end up coming out, and he was more awake now. Unfortunately, he still didn’t seem all that happy with Dave.

It wasn’t even like he was sending him death glares or any of that shit. He just wasn’t really looking at him and he seemed pretty fucking down and the slightest bit upset on top of it all.

“You okay?” Dave found himself asking once again, partially because he was genuinely worried and partially because he just wanted to make sure that he was fine after leaving him alone all day.

“I fine,” Karkat said, and Dave just nodded, not sure what else to say. God, he knew things were weirdly awkward between them for some reason and he was sure John was just thinking of all sorts of explanations for that.

Karkat seemed to pace around the room a bit, stretching himself out from being cooped up in the little closest all day. Dave still felt pretty bad for that. After a few moments he headed back to the closet, pulling out and holding up that notebook Dave had given him what felt like forever ago.

“New book please?” he asked, and Dave was so surprised that he was speaking to him after getting the silent treatment all day that it took him a moment to realize just what it was he said. Oh, he must have finally used up all the pages. To be fair it wasn’t actually that long to fill up an entire book like that. Dave nodded at his request.

Maybe if he just got him things and acted like everything was okay he would eventually forgive him for whatever blunder he made. Of course last time he tried to get him something he took it as flirting so maybe it was best to just get him stuff when he asked for it.

Or maybe once John and Jake left things would go back to normal. He was hoping that he wasn’t just upset about John though, as much as he didn’t want Karkat mad at him at either.

“Sure thing. I’ll get you a new book tomorrow, okay?” he said, because yeah, it’d be a good thing for Karkat to have as many things to keep himself amused while locked away as he could.

“Hey Karkat,” John started, Karkat looking over at him having been turned back towards the closet to put the notebook away.

“Yes?” he asked, sounding confused but not particularly annoyed or anything like that.

“Can I see your book?” he asked, and Dave couldn’t help but quickly shoot a glare at him, even though it was mostly covered by his shades. He had told John about how he looked through one of Karkat’s books and it was pretty much one of the worst thing he could have done. Of course, he had looked without asking. John just asked like a normal person would and Karkat could say no if he wanted to. Which is what Dave should have done to see the skull in the first place, but he was a fucking idiot sometimes.

He seemed to be thinking it over before shrugging and holding it out for him.

“Can’t read it,” he said as John started flipping through the pages. Dave couldn’t help but look as well and yep, definitely can’t read it. Damn that looked like a lot of writing though. He was pretty curious as to what it just was. He sort of doubted that Karkat would have just handed it over if they could read whatever it was.

“What’s it about?” John asked, and Karkat huffed at that question. Yeah, Dave had a feeling he wouldn’t want to say. Even though there was no way Dave could ever read the language, he still tended to hunch over and write in corners or in the closet when he did, as if wanting to make absolute sure that Dave wouldn’t be able to sneak a peek.

“Nothing. It dumb. Give back now,” he said, and John sighed but handed over the book, clearly disappointed. Karkat quickly went and hid it away in the closet again like he was worried they would find a way to decipher the language and read through his little alien diary.

“Aw, I’m sure it’s not dumb. Please? Is it a story?” John asked. Dave punched him in the arm.

“Dude, if he doesn’t want to talk about it he doesn’t have to,” he said, even though he wanted to know just as much, if not more since he was always seeing Karkat scribble down in it.

“Fiiiiiiiine,” John whined, and Karkat gave him an odd look at that. Dave tried to offer him a smile to let him know that they weren’t gonna pressure him into telling them anything he didn’t want to.

“You don’t have to tell us, it’s okay,” he said, Karkat nodding again. He was still giving John a weird little look, but he stopped after another moment. At least he didn’t seem pissed with John or anything like that anymore. Still didn’t know what the fuck the deal was with all of that, but maybe it would be best to just ignore it until he and Karkat could get a chance to talk alone.

As of right now Karkat seemed okay with doing just that, so Dave was too.

---

Dave and his moirail ended up falling asleep pretty fast after they got back, and Karkat quickly followed their lead. Getting out for a bit had helped him feel just a little less trapped, but he was still tired. He wasn’t sure if he was quite used to this diurnal sleeping schedule yet, and every time he fucked with it his body seemed to get pissed at him.

Karkat wasn’t sure what time it was when he heard a light knock on the storageblock door waking him up. Whatever time it was though, he was not happy about it. Groaning a bit, he pushed himself up enough to open the door, finding Dave standing outside.

He didn’t say anything as he crouched down and handed Karkat a plate of some of the left over ‘pizza’ from last night, as well as two uncooked eggs. He still made weird faces whenever Karkat ate them, but he’d seemed to come to accept that this was just how it was.

Karkat just stifling a yawn as he took the plate of food and the little boxdrink Dave handed him. He didn’t see Dave’s moirail anywhere, but he might be eating his own food in the nutritionblock or something.

“Going out for a while, stay in here, okay?” Dave told him, and Karkat nodded. He was tired and wasn’t really sure how up he was to talking to Dave after everything that had happened yesterday. Which was dumb as fuck because nothing had happened, he was being a complete idiot about it.

Still, he could listen to what Dave was telling him to do no problem. He wasn’t going to chance shit without him around while some other aliens might be crawling all over the place.

Dave didn’t seem all that happy, and Karkat was a bit surprised when he asked if he was okay. Karkat thought it over a bit before nodding. He wasn’t ready to talk about this shit yet, but he was fine. When the very next words out of Dave’s mouth were about talking later, he just agreed. He’d have to get it over with eventually after all.

Dave left after that and Karkat started eating the food he’d left, the eggs first since they were the closest to anything he could find back on Alternia, then the weird ‘pizza’ shit. It wasn’t actually that bad, just different tastes from anything he was used to. He wasn’t even sure what all of the red stuff on it was, but he had to admit it was kind of unnerving. Totally the wrong texture for blood, but he supposed it could be mixed with something.

It didn’t taste like blood but he had no clue what alien blood tasted like and he wasn’t interested in finding out. (Or actually, he did know what alien blood tasted like. He’d bitten both Dave and his weird Bro more times than he would have liked. He preferred not to think about the details of all that though.)

Karkat tried to get back to sleep after he finished eating. After trying and failing for about an hour he decided to give up for a bit, since sleep wasn’t happening. He wasn’t going to leave the storageblock until Dave came back, but he didn’t have much to do in here.

He grabbed his notebook, which only had a few pages left. He’d have to ask Dave to get him a new one. He was barely even a quarter into what he had planned for his story now, which would not fit in those last few pieces of treeslivers. Hell, he wasn’t even sure if he could fit the end of the current chapter. Shifting off of his pile of horns to try to keep himself as quiet as possible, he tried to write to keep himself occupied.

Unlike a lot of times he tried recently, he didn’t have any problem actually getting some words down. It was something to distract him from this whole mess of Dave having his moirail over and all the confusion he was feeling about it.

It shouldn’t be confusing. It should be a perfectly okay thing, if a little terrifying for his safety.

Karkat had really started to get into it went to flip to another page of his notebook and found that there wasn’t any more left. Huffing in annoyance, he leaned back against the wall behind him and stared upwards. Some of Dave’s clothes were still hanging up, but he didn’t seem to wear the ones in here much. That or he didn’t want to bother Karkat to get at them.

Looking around, he had brought the translator in here before Dave’s friend arrived. He didn’t want anyone messing with it besides him and Dave. If they broke it he had no fucking clue how to fix the thing, and he couldn’t exactly get a hold of Sollux anymore. Holding it close to him and turning the volume down low, Karkat flipped to the first page of his story and started slowly reading into it.

If there was one way to try to figure out as many words as possible, this would be a good way to start.

Karkat was asleep when he heard a knock on his door. He wasn’t entirely sure when he fell asleep, but his notebook was opened up to about a quarter into the story. He guessed he’d managed to pass out again while reading to himself. Closing the book and shoving it a bit further into his pile Karkat leaned over to open the storageblock door.

It was Dave bringing him food again, and he couldn’t help but be thankful for that. He hadn’t noticed it while he was asleep but he was fucking starving. He guessed it had been a while since he last ate. It did seem like Dave had been gone for much longer than he ever was normally, even before he’d fallen asleep. Karkat would have been worried about that if he didn’t already know Dave was just hanging out with his moirail.

Which he was perfectly fucking fine with. Really.

Dave left almost immediately after leaving him the food, not giving Karkat any time to decide if he felt like talking to him again. He guessed he was still busy. Karkat finished the food, trying to wake up some as he did. He was bored again as soon as he was done, but there wasn’t anything for him to do. It definitely wasn’t safe for him to leave the closet now, or else Dave probably would have let him. He could hear Dave and the other aliens all talking in the other part of the hive, and while he didn’t exactly want to be out there with them, he would like to be out of here.

Just with Dave would be nice, but only because he knew he could trust Dave. If he must be, that John guy could be there too, but shit just seemed as awkward as Tavros and Equius left in a room together when he was there sometimes. John of course seemed blissfully unaware of this though, so maybe it was just Karkat who thought that.

Or maybe he was just jealous.

Damn it, he didn’t want to be fucking jealous. This was so fucking stupid. He was so fucking stupid. And holy shit Dave was so fucking stupid.

It was a little while later when Karkat heard both of them finally come back into the block, but he didn’t leave the closet until Dave said he could. He tried to distract himself by paying around the block to get the feeling back into his walkstubs. Eventually he remembered that he needed to tell Dave he needed a new book to write in, so he headed back to the storageblock to show him what exactly it was he wanted.

Dave said he would get him one tomorrow, which was a bit of a relief. He wasn’t sure what he would do being stuck in there for so long with nothing to occupy himself with again. Die of boredom or chew his own touchstubs off, most likely.

Karkat was surprised when Dave’s moirail had asked to see the book, and then wanted to know what he was writing about. Which ugh, he did not have enough confidence in his writing to even begin to try to explain to his nearest and dearest friends, let alone this guy. Plus, on top of that there was the whole issue that he still didn’t know how to translate most of the words for quadrants and shit was just not something he wanted to do.

They didn’t make him though, and Karkat was fine to leave it at that. Karkat was about to put the book back when John said something that made him stop. He actually understood the word, it was just ‘fine’ but that wasn’t what surprised him.

John had sounded like fucking Vriska for a second and it threw him so fucking off guard. He hadn’t been expecting it in the slightest. He guessed it wasn’t that bit of a deal, people could elongate words and shit if they wanted to. Vriska didn’t have a fucking patent on that shit.

He’d just gotten used to how Dave talks he supposed, which wasn’t dramatic or theatrical in the slightest. It was pretty monotone at times and it didn’t sound much like any of his friends. That strange little reminder of fucking Vriska of all fucking people was just so weird. He didn’t particularly like it, and he tried to just forget about it for a while. He didn’t need to be thinking about home right now with how screwed up he was already feeling. No need to add anymore unnecessary torment.

Karkat went back into the storageblock, although this time he didn’t close the door. As uncomfortable as shit was he was so tired of being locked up in the tiny block. He was still upset about this weird pale thing but right now he just wanted to ignore it. He didn’t want to keep ignoring Dave though, so he figured that he could try to be tolerable until he got a chance to talk to him about it.

He didn’t want to fucking talk about it, but it was probably an important thing to do.

Dave and his moirail were talking again but he couldn’t be bothered to try and figure out what about. Karkat was pretty sure that reading his book through the translator was helping a bit, but it was also a lot to take in at once and try to remember. He couldn’t be one hundred percent sure that it was totally accurate either. Still, it was better than nothing, he supposed.

The rest of the day went without any trouble, much to Karkat’s relief. Dave and his moirail pretty much just stayed in the block, talked and watched things on the husktop. Karkat didn’t feel all that up to joining them, but he did walk around a bit, going to look out the fenestrated plane at one point. He kind of wanted to go outside again, but he doubted that would be a smart thing to chance two nights in a row.

Dave and his moirail seemed to go to sleep at an earlier time than he usually did, but he guessed they did a lot to day. He couldn’t know for sure, since he wasn’t around during most of it, but they had been out a lot. Karkat went to lock himself back up in the storageblock once they were heading to sleep, not wanting to but not having anything else to do. Best not to be up and around when Dave couldn’t be there to decide if it was safe or not.

When he woke up the next morning, Dave and John were already awake as well. Dave left the block only to come back a few minutes later with some food, and he didn’t shut Karkat away when he handed him it. Karkat could definitely say that he appreciated that. Even still he stayed close to the storage block. He didn't want to risk being too far away from being able to hide unless Dave explicitly said it was okay.

Once he had finished eating John had come over to him for some reason. He was trying really fucking hard not to be rude to him. None of this was his fault after all, and he was trying to be friendly enough. He started talking to Karkat, and he had some small device in his hand. Karkat could make out that it was a game, but that was pretty much it.

He let John try to explain it to him or whatever it was he was trying to do though, occasionally trying to ask for clarification. He was using so many words Karkat had never heard of before though it was pretty much a lost cause. He supposed that watching the little person move around the screen and randomly shift to these other little scenes was kind of amusing? Not really but it was better than doing nothing.

He didn’t want to be mean to this guy just because of Dave either. He’d told himself before all of this that he would try to get along with him, so he was still going to do that. Sure, it was still pretty god damn awkward, but John didn’t seem to notice that, so Karkat could work with it.

Or at the very least, he could try to.

---

Dave figured that he should try to go buy Karkat a new notebook like he told him he’d do today. He just didn’t quite know when he could get out and do that. It was still early in the day though, and he was pretty sure Jake would want to go back to the spaceship or wherever they were testing the junk they got from it. That was the whole reason he was staying here after all. Jake was super excited about it too, so Dave was sure that the majority of his time here would be spent out of the house, which was just what he needed.

Right now Dave was in his room. John sitting next to the closet and trying to explain the Pokémon game he was playing on his DS to Karkat. Dave wasn’t too sure how well that was actually going, especially since most of everything Karkat was saying was just ‘what’ and ‘why’ over and over again.

He didn’t seem upset or anything like that though. Dave wasn’t sure what had gotten him acting like that before, but maybe it really was just him needing a bit of time to adjust. At the very least maybe John would stop thinking that Karkat hated him.

Someone knocked on the door and Dave immediately shot up from where he’d been lying on his bed. Karkat was frozen in place and John scrambled to his feet, shutting the closet door not quite as quietly as Dave would have appreciated.

“Uh, what’s up?” Dave asked, trying to sound casual. When the door opened he couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief at seeing Bro there instead of Jake.

“We’re going out for a few hours, don’t get into trouble,” he said, Dave nodding. Okay, this was pretty good to know. He guessed Bro wanted to give them a heads up to know it was safe to move about the house for a little while.

“Oh hey, you gonna stop by a store or something?” Dave asked, Bro just raising an eyebrow in question. “Think you could pick up a notebook for me?” he said, figuring it’d be easier to just get Bro to do it while he was out if he could. Thankfully he just nodded before stepping back out and shutting the door again. John seemed to wait until he heard the front door open and close again before letting Karkat back out.

Karkat hadn’t moved from his spot on his weird horn pile, and Dave didn’t blame him for that. In fact he was pretty thankful what with the fact that if he did he probably would have made so much fucking noise.

“We can go out now,” Dave said, pushing himself off of the bed and starting towards the door. Karkat still seemed reluctant to follow, but he still did without any sort of protest. He did seem relieved once they were out of the room and could see that it was safe. Yeah, he was probably not all that pleased still about having to be all cramped up in the closet most of the time.

Dave wasn’t all that pleased with it either, but it was for his own safety.

“So, what do you want to do while they’re out and we have the house to ourselves?” John asked, and Dave just shrugged, not knowing the answer to that question. Now that he had a friend over, he wasn’t entirely sure what to like, do with it. With Karkat he just sort of did his own thing and when they did hang out it was still a lot of figuring things out and helping Karkat learn about the planet.

It was almost that there were so many things he wanted to do with John he wasn’t sure where to start first. Plus there was also the fact that he wanted to make sure Karkat was happy too. He didn’t want to go out too much because that meant leaving Karkat here alone when he was already being stuffed in a closet most of the time, and he didn’t want to do too many thing that would make him bored as shit. He was sure Karkat could find ways to amuse himself but still, that was rude.

It was all very annoying and confusing and Dave felt like he was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“I don’t know man, you’re the guest. What do you want to do?” he asked, figuring that John had a fucking truckload of ideas about what he wanted to do while he was here.

“We can’t take Karkat outside during the day?” John asked, a hopeful tone to his voice that shouldn’t be there at all.

“Fuck no,” Dave shot down, John pouting without any hesitation. He didn’t try to argue with him though, which Dave figured he should be thankful for. Karkat seemed to perk up and look over at them at the mention of his name, but he didn’t say anything. Dave still wasn’t sure entirely how comfortable he was when he talked with John about him, but he hadn’t been making any protests about it in a while.

John flopped down on the couch dramatically, like Dave had ruined every single one of his plans by telling him that they couldn’t take Karkat outside right now.

“No fun. You’re no fun Dave,” John complained. Dave rolled his eyes, sitting down next to him, kicking his feet up so that they were resting on the other boy’s stomach.

“I know, I’m a boring asshole for not wanting to put his life at risk. Sorry for spoiling all of the wacky hijinks you had planned with my boring rules and shit. I'm sure they would have been of the highest caliber of hilarity,” Dave said. John made to push Dave’s feet off of him, but Dave refused to budge. John grumbled a bit before accepting his fate as a footstool for the rest of eternity.

“Such an asshole man. You are literally the worst. I wouldn’t let anyone steal your alien boyfriend, why won’t you trust me?” John whined. Dave lifted one of his feet up, letting it drop back down hard on John’s stomach.

“Why do you keep calling him my boyfriend? Seriously man what the fuck?” Dave asked, trying to glance over at Karkat without it being too noticeable. His shades definitely helped with that, and Karkat didn’t seem to be paying them too much attention. He was sitting by the wall, looking like he was debating whether or not to go through the bag that was sitting there. It looked like it was one of Jake’s. Dave figured he couldn’t do that much harm. Or he could but he was tired of restricting what Karkat could or could not do.

“Because you get all embarrassed and stuff, it’s really funny,” John told him like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Dave repeated the same motion as before with his foot, and John tried again to get them off. Once it didn’t work and he huffed in annoyance.

“I ain’t embarrassed it’s just wrong on so many levels I don’t even know where to start correcting you. He’s just my cool alien bro,” Dave insisted. Any weirdness with Karkat was just because of dumb cultural confusions or something. By all human standards he was not interested in boning an alien. He didn’t know the alien standards, but he was pretty sure even if he was giving off some signals stating otherwise, his decision was still the same.

“If you say so man, I’m just saying, you get pretty flustered about it sometimes,” John said. Maybe if Dave was being honest he could admit that yeah, he did get flustered the first couple of times. That was just because he hadn’t expected it was all though. That and because Karkat had to go insinuating some things as well. Kind of hard not to get confused as to what impression you were giving off when more than one person noted it.

“What if I implied you wanted to suck alien dick man, how would you react?” Dave asked, and that actually did seem to fluster John some.

"Ew no Dave, gross,” he said, and this time when he tried to push Dave’s feet off of him Dave let him, his feet hitting the floor with a small thump. “Do aliens even… huh,” John trailed off, and Dave couldn’t help but raise his eyebrows in question at that.

“Do aliens even what now?” Dave asked back, sure he would just love where this conversation was heading. John frowned and turned to glare at him.

“I mean like, do you think he’s actually even like, a he?” John asked. Dave couldn't help but roll his eyes at that, because yeah there was a lot of shit wrong with that question.

“Dude. He’s an alien. Why would an alien be a boy or a girl or whatever? I fucking doubt the concept of gender is a thing for him, and if it is it’s not anything like human gender or sex or whatever you wanna call it,” Dave said. He’d thought about this some before actually but he came to the conclusion that trying to ask Karkat if he was a boy or a girl or neither or both or whatever would just end up in a lot of confusion and that ultimately it wasn’t even important.

“Yeah, you’re probably right. Like, I know he’s an alien, but it’s so weird to think that sometimes because he acts really human,” John said. Dave nodded in agreement at that, chancing another glance over at Karkat. Looks like he’d given into the temptation and was rifling through Jake’s bag. Dave couldn’t see what was in there from his angle, but he figured it wasn’t anything important if Jake had decided to leave it out in the open like this.

“Yeah, it’s kind of awesome, but kind of weird, ya know?” Dave said. When he turned to look back over at John the asshole was giving him another look. “What the fuck man?”

“Nothing, nothing. You’re right, it is awesome,” he said, and god damn it Dave didn’t even want to know. Or well, he kind of did, because he knew he must be doing something to get John to keep acting like that, but he also just did not want to put in the effort. Karkat was awesome and his friend and John could think whatever he wanted.

Before he could decide if he wanted to press this or not he was distracted by Karkat again. He’d made a surprised sound and was holding up a little plastic baggy. When Dave got up to get a closer look he could see why he’d acted like that. Inside of the bag were a couple of small pieces of paper with strange markings on them. Dave instantly recognized the marking as those same strange letters and shit Karkat wrote in.

“What this?” Karkat snapped after a moment, holding the bag close to his chest and fucking glaring at Dave. “Where you find this?” he asked and Dave had no fucking clue where the hell Jake might have gotten those things.

“I don’t know,” Dave told him honestly, even though that just made Karkat glare even harder at him. John was sitting up more as well, trying to get a better look at what Karkat was holding.

“Did he find something from the ship?” he asked, and Dave shrugged.

“Probably, I don’t remember seeing any notes when we were on there before though,” he said before turning back towards Karkat. Fuck, he should have told him sooner that someone was looking through his ship.

“Karkat, stay calm,” Dave started, not wanting him to freak out when he told him. It didn’t seem to make him calm at all, but he didn’t snap at him again, so Dave figured it was safe enough to continue trying to explain.

“People found your ship, remember?” he said, and a bit hesitantly Karkat nodded. He still looked suspicious and took another glance down at the bag. Fuck, Dave didn’t want to have to tell him this next part. He really, really didn’t want to make Karkat worry, but maybe it would be better if he knew. Or at least he hoped it would.

“They are looking for you,” he said, trying to keep his voice slow and calm. Dave could fucking see the dread that fell over Karkat’s face as the realization dawned on him. He was crushing those little notes his hands were clenched so tightly, and damn, Dave doubted Jake would like that.

“No, no, no,” he muttered, shaking his head. “Fuck. Fuck, can’t find me. Please Dav, can’t find me,” he was begging now and Dave didn’t waste any time nodding his head.

“No one will find you. Just need to keep hiding. You’re safe,” Dave tried to reassure him. Karkat seemed to take a few steadying breaths before nodding the slightest bit.

“Promise?” he asked quietly, and once again Dave nodded without hesitation.

“Yeah, of course,” he said.

“Right, we won’t let anyone get you,” John added. Dave was a bit surprised to see Karkat shoot a glare at John for a second before stopping himself. Karkat pushed himself to his feet, not bothering to put back anything he’d sort of pushed out of the bag.

“Going to sleep,” he muttered. Dave was about to let him when he saw that Karkat was still holding the baggy with the notes inside.

“Wait,” he said, pushing instead off of the couch and starting over to Karkat. The alien stopped, giving him a confused look when Dave held his hand out.

“Need to put those back,” he said, gesturing towards the bag. Karkat scowled at him and held it even closer to his chest than before.

“It mine,” he snapped, and Dave sighed, running a hand through his hair as he nodded.

“I know, but they can’t know. Will look for it if it goes missing,” he said. Karkat hesitated slightly, glancing down at the baggy and crumpled up notes before giving in and handing them over.

“Going sleep,” he repeated, starting back over to Dave’s room, and this time Dave didn’t stop him. Instead, he just went back over to Jake’s bag, trying to smooth out the notes as best as he could before putting them back in the bag, stuffing everything in again and zipping it shut.

“I should go make sure he’s okay,” Dave said once that was done. John nodded, but he looked pretty confused.

“Yeah, you go do that,” was all he said though, and Dave figured he could ask him what was up once he got back from checking on Karkat. When he got in his room the closet door was closed and Dave walked over, knocking lightly.

“What?” Karkat asked, and he was so obviously pouting, it was kind of adora- hilarious. It was kind of hilarious. Except nothing about this was hilarious because Karkat was upset and in danger.

“Want to talk?” he asked, and he could fucking hear Karkat sighing before he opened the door.

“No,” Karkat said as he stared up at him. Dave figured if he really didn’t want to talk he could shut the door and sat down right outside of the entryway.

“It’ll be okay,” Dave said, because he could tell that he was low key freaking out here.

“Stop,” Karkat said, glaring at Dave. It didn’t last longer for a few seconds before he was sighing again, letting his head fall into his hands. “Please stop. Dumb. So fuck dumb,” he muttered. It was very hard for Dave not to laugh at that last thing. Nothing about this was funny but there wasn’t much else for him to do at this point.

“Fucking,” he corrected. Karkat did not look happy at all as he peaked up at him over his shades and between his fingers. Dave could only imagine how badly he was smudging them up letting his hands touch all over them like that. Actually, he didn’t need to imagine, he’d done it before and the amount of smudging could be categorized as a ‘fuckton.’

“What?” he asked, sounding a few ticks away from completely fucking out of patience.

“So fucking dumb,” Dave clarified. Karkat rolled his eyes and huffed at that.

“You so fucking dumb,” he said. Dave just sort of smiled at him and Karkat let his head fall back into his hands. Yeah, he was still upset. Not a very good time for jokes and shit.

“Stop what?” Dave asked, figuring that he should try to figure that out before getting sidetracked by correct cursing grammar again. Karkat seemed confused for a moment before he realized what it was he was talking about. The alien sighed again and Dave wondered if this had to do with whatever had upset him the other day. He couldn’t be completely sure, but if they could talk about that too it’d be killing two birds with one stone.

“No thing. All things,” Karkat said, falling back into the jumble of horns and creating a fucking ungodly sound. Dave swore he would never, not in a thousand years, ever get used to that. Once he figured he could be heard again and not drowned out by the sound of a clown’s wet dream Dave tried again, because yeah that answered precisely nothing.

“Can’t stop everything,” Dave said, watching Karkat shift so that he could still look at him some. It looked like it required him to crane his neck in an uncomfortable position, but he didn’t comment on it.

“Stop be nice,” Karkat said this time, and Dave wasn’t too sure what he meant by that.

“You want me to stop being nice?” he asked, and Karkat let his head fall back down again. That didn’t make quite as much horrible noise but a few horns did go off again.

“Yes,” he said, sounding relieved that Dave understood and that he was dumb for not getting it before now.

“What, no,” Dave said, because he did not want to start being mean to Karkat if that’s what he was implying. He also didn’t want to just leave him here to freak out about getting caught and shit either. He wanted to be nice to Karkat and didn’t have any idea why he would tell him to stop. Or, maybe he had a bit of an idea, but he was kind of hoping that it wasn’t anything like that.

Karkat lifted his head once again just to glare at him and set it back down. “Yes, stop it,” he said, and ugh Dave didn’t know how to even respond to that.

“Why? We’re friends, right?” he asked, because this was starting to confuse the shit out of him. What the fuck did being friends consist of to an alien if being nice was off the table. Karkat groaned in frustration, rubbing at his eyes underneath his shades.

“Yes! Only friends,” he said. Damn it, so this did have something to do with the weird romance thing, didn’t it? He figured he needed to figure this shit out but he’d rather not try to while John was still here and he was still freaked out about people finding Karkat.

“Good,” Dave said, because he didn’t want Karkat thinking he was disappointed by the ‘only’ precursor to friends. He was the opposite of disappointed, he was fucking relieved. The last thing he wanted was for Karkat to have actually thought they were in some weird alien relationship and upset him by having to explain that no, they were not. Karkat was quiet for a few moments, and Dave was starting to get worried that maybe he was upset by all of this. It would certainly explain a lot.

“So fucking dumb,” Karkat muttered again, and yeah he was definitely not happy about something and it was making Dave feel like a huge fucking dick.

“Sorry,” he said, not sure what else to do. Karkat started shaking his head, staring up at the ceiling and not looking back over to Dave. Maybe it was just because he didn’t want to strain his neck again, but Dave was pretty sure that wasn’t the whole reason.

“No, no sorry. You fine. I the fucking dumb,” Karkat insisted, and Dave wasn’t too sure about that. There was no doubt that he was doing something to fuck up what should be a nice normal interspecies friendship.

"You sure?” Dave asked, Karkat nodding once again.

“Yes,” he said, certainty in his voice that Dave wasn’t sure he believed. He wasn’t going to call him out on that now though. If they could just maybe get through this until John and Jake left then they could try to figure out exactly what was going on between them.

“Okay then,” was all Dave said. It was quiet for a moment and Dave wondered if he should go and check on John when Karkat spoke up again.

“Promise I safe?” he asked again, and fuck Dave hated how uncertain and small he sounded just then. He couldn’t imagine how terrifying this all was for him.

“Yes, promise,” he said. Karkat still seemed uneasy though and Dave didn’t exactly blame him for that. He wasn’t sure if keeping what was going on vague was going to help him with his fear or just make it worse at that point. It might be better for him to have a full idea what was going on so he knew just who to avoid and such though.

“John’s…” Dave trailed off for a moment, not sure how to explain the concept of a cousin when Karkat still didn’t seem to understand what the fuck a brother is. “Friend,” he decided to just go with, “is here. Looking at your ship, he can’t see you, okay?” he finished. Karkat pushed himself up so that he was looking at Dave again and nodded gravely. He opened his mouth to say something, before stopping and seeming to think for a moment.

“Thanks,” he muttered after a moment. Dave figured that yeah, he shouldn’t press him right now. He still looked a bit uncertain and upset and that made sense even without the weird shit going on between them. He could be caught and killed or fucking worse somehow. Of course he was upset and uncertain. Dave kind of wanted to give him a hug but he wasn’t too sure how well that would go over. He figured it was best not to chance making him mad again.

“No problem,” Dave said. Karkat gave him a small, not all that convincing smile, but it was better than nothing. Karkat reached up towards the door handle, but he couldn’t close it until Dave moved out of the way.

“Going sleep,” Karkat said, and Dave nodded, quickly getting up to get out of the way. He hesitated for a moment, because Karkat hadn’t ever wanted one before, but there was just something so down trodden about him right now and thinking about him sleeping on all those cold hard fucking bike horns just didn’t sit right with Dave at all.

“Want a blanket?” he asked, pointing towards the bed. Karkat seemed a bit surprised by the question, going to answer but then stopping himself once again before any words came out.

“Yes,” he said quietly, which was definitely not what Dave thought he would say. He just offered him another smile before walking over to his bed and grabbing one off of it.

“Here,” he said, handing it over and this time not throwing it on top of him like the first time he tried to give Karkat a blanket while he was in his pile.

Karkat took it, wrapping it around him a clumsily. Once he was sure he was good Dave shut the door for him. He could still hear him shifting around a bit, and he waited until the noises stopped for the most part before leaving his room. While still in the hallway where John couldn’t see him Dave sighed heavily, leaning against the wall.

Well, all of that happened. Dave wasn’t even sure what to think about it. Like seriously, did he just turn Karkat down or something? He fucked hoped that wasn’t what had just happened.

God, aliens were so fucking confusing.

Chapter Text

Karkat didn’t understand what the fuck Dave’s friend was trying to explain to him. It was some sort of video game, but like fuck could he understand what the point of it was. It didn’t help that he couldn’t understand over half of the words John was saying either, and not because he was speaking too fast or anything. Karkat swore that he was just making up words to fuck with him or something. Dave wasn’t bothering to help out any, just letting his moirail ramble on complete nonsense while Karkat tried to watch what was happening on the tiny screens.

At least it was something for him to focus on for a while instead of everything else that had been going on recently.

When something knocked on the door to Dave’s block Karkat froze up. Dave’s moirail got up and closed the storageblock for him. That made it so that Karkat didn’t need to move around and have those fucking horns make any more unnecessary noise thankfully.

It wasn’t all that long before they were opening the door again and Dave was saying they could leave the room. Karkat was glad to be able to stretch his legs some, even if he was wary about going out into the rest of the hive when someone had just been out there. It didn’t seem to bother Dave any though, so he supposed they must be out. Or it was just his weird adult alien about now. Karkat still wasn’t sure who else was around, but he knew that he heard someone every so often.

Dave and his friend were talking and went to sit on the couch, and Karkat might have still been leaving some space between him and those two. Everything was just very awkward and confusing and he’d rather not think about it if he didn’t have to.

He noticed a bag that looked a bit like the ones he and Dave had used to bring all his stuff back from the ship and walked over to it to get a better look. It didn’t seem to be one of them from what he could remember. He was pretty sure all of them were still up in the extra storage unit. He would go up there to rummage through some of his clothes sometimes, but mainly he kept to wearing the same few things. Dave would take them sometimes to wash them he supposed, so it wasn’t like they were all that dirty.

Karkat was pretty sure Dave and his moirail were talking about him right now, although he wasn’t paying them too much attention. Dave would use the word ‘alien’ a lot in reference to him, which he supposed was true. As far as Karkat was concerned though, it was Dave and everyone else on this miserable planet were the alien.

He didn’t know what they were talking about though, and if they wanted to talk about him without him understanding then he wouldn’t try to figure it out. Attempting to distract himself some more, he gave into the temptation to start looking through the bag. He was sure that if he wasn’t supposed to Dave would tell him to cut it out after all.

Rummaging through, it looked like it was mostly clothes. Maybe it belonged to his moirail? That would make sense, he had a couple of others in Dave’s block. There were a few other trinkets he didn’t recognize and Karkat was just about bored enough to stop and shove everything back in. Before he could something in a little plastic baggy caught his eye and he felt his bloodpusher fucking stop and he couldn’t stop the little noise of surprise that escaped him.

The notes Sollux had left for him on the ship. The notes Karkat had wrote himself to make sure he remembered which lever did what. Why were they in here? What the fuck were they doing in here?

He could hear Dave get and start walking over to him. “What this?” he asked, looking up to glare at Dave. Karkat held the little bag close to him, worried that Dave might try to take it away for some reason. He'd been good about not taking anything of Karkat's since that huge incident with his sketchbook, but that didn’t explain why these were in here. “Where you find this?” he added.

Dave said he didn’t know, but that didn’t make any fucking sense. Karkat had forgotten about these things while they were packing all his shit up. They must have flown behind some machinery when he crashed or something. Someone had to have gone back to the ship and purposefully looked around to get them.

Dave’s friend was speaking now too and he said something about his ship and that didn’t make Karkat any less fucking suspicious. Was he the one who’d found these?

Dave told him to stay calm and Karkat didn’t need his pseudo-pale hoofbeast shit right now. He didn’t say anything though, because it was clear that Dace wasn’t done talking and Karkat needed to know what the fuck was going on more than he needed to try to figure out the clusterfuck that was his feelings.

Karkat could feel himself freaking out when Dave said that there were aliens looking for him. Fuck, oh fuck. What the hell was he going to do? He knew his ship had been found but he’d been trying not to think about it. He couldn’t when it was straight up confirmed that they knew he was out there they wanted to find him and god what would they do if they did find him? Or when they found him more like it. He was no safer here than he’d be on Alternia. He was going to be found he was going to be killed.

Despite all of this Dave didn’t seem too worried. Or he did, but he kept saying that it was going to be okay. No one was going to find him he was going to keep Karkat safe.

“Promise?” Karkat found himself asking quietly, not looking up at him as he did. He was being such an idiot why did he keep asking Dave to promise him, promises didn’t mean shit. It helped though, and it shouldn’t it really fucking shouldn't have.

Dave’s moirail (god he’d just made Dave promise to protect him in front of his moirail was the fuck was wrong with him?) jumped in all cheerful like this couldn’t result in him fucking dying and Karkat couldn’t keep himself from glaring at him. He stopped himself after a moment, climbing to his feet and telling them he was going to go sleep. He wasn’t actually tired but he just needed to not be around anyone right now.

Dave made him give the notes back and Karkat was too fucking freaked right now to argue with him all that much. He didn’t want to let go of anything from his planet, but half of these notes he’d written himself, and a little note from Sollux telling him how much to eat a night didn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things he supposed. It still felt fucking wrong to hand them over, but he did.

Locking himself in the storageblock, Karkat just wanted to be left alone right now. Or maybe that wasn’t what he wanted, but what he did want was so fucking idiotic and he already knew that it wouldn’t work out and damn it he really fucking hated himself sometimes.

When a small knock came from outside of the storageblock Karkat considered for about half a second to ignore him, but he didn’t want to.

He didn’t want to talk to Dave either, but that didn’t stop him from opening the door and talking. It was so dumb and Dave just kept insisting on being nice to him and it was just not what he fucking needed to get over this shit.

Karkat figured that Dave didn’t actually come back here to talk about whatever it was Karkat was talking about. When he said that they were just friends (of course they were just friends that was all he wanted to be right?) Dave just said good and fuck.

Fuck he was pale for this douchebag what the fuck was wrong with him?

Dave did not help at all with this revelation. He just kept being sweet and trying not to upset him and promising again that Karkat was safe and he wouldn’t let anything happen to him.

When he went to leave he just had to ask Karkat if he wanted some of his dumb snuggle planes and he should have said no. He almost did but then he hesitated and he’d liked how it felt being wrapped up with one and ugh, he was too stressed right now to have any real control over himself. Or at least that’s what he told himself.

“Yes,” he said quietly. Dave didn’t make any comment, just bringing one over and handing it to him. Karkat wrapped it around his shoulders and Dave shut the storageblock door for him.

Shifting around a bit more, Karkat managed to get into a more comfortable position, the snuggleplane wrapped around him and even covering up the lower half of his face.

God, he was such a fucking idiot. He couldn’t repeat that enough times. He was an idiot and probably going to die and he was upset about a fucking pale crush of all things instead of being worried for his life. He was worried for his life too, but he was almost numb to it at this point. He was so used to being scared it was almost like background noise to everything else ago on.

So he was just… upset. About a lot of things. About fucking everything.

He didn’t want to stay holed up in the storageblock right now but he didn’t think he could be around Dave now either. He also was actually fucking terrified about getting caught, no matter what the majority of his thinkpan decided to fixate on.

Karkat pulled the snuggleplane even tighter around himself and squeezed his eyes shut. He hadn’t bothered to take his sunglasses off, but they weren’t bothering him enough for him to untangle his arms so he could take them off. It wasn’t like he wasn’t already lying on a large pile of hard objects. The snuggleplane did dull some of the sharp edges he’d gotten used to though.

God he was such a fuck up. He just felt like such an idiot. Why the fuck did he have to get a crush of all things like all this was going down? His fucked up thinkpan couldn’t hold off for just a few more perigees maybe? Or you know, it could be real kind and never do this shit. He couldn’t expect himself to have that much luck though, he probably wouldn’t even last a couple more perigees anyway. The most he could hope for was just putting off the worst case scenario for as long as possible.

It was just. If he could just figure out what the fuck was with this species and its flagrant pale advances at every vaguely pitiful creature that crossed its path then maybe he could figure out what was going on here. Maybe he could figure out if maybe he had any sort of chance.

Ugh, no he could not start going down that path. Down that path led false hopes and disappointment and somehow managing to feel like an even bigger dumbass that he already did because Dave already had a fucking moirail. He did not need any of that.

The fact that it was so tempting was just something he was going to have to deal with. Not now though, right now all he wanted to do was try to sleep.

--- 

When Dave got back to the living room John was where he’d left him. He still looked pretty worried, and Dave couldn’t blame him for that, with how Karkat was acting. He couldn’t even tell if this was normal for him or not like Dave could. Before he could say anything to let him know that Karkat was going to be fine John cut him off.

“Karkat totally hates me, doesn’t he?” he asked, surprising Dave, who quickly shook his head. He was almost positive that John wasn’t the main problem here.

“What? No man, Karkat doesn’t hate you, that’s just how he is,” he said, but it didn’t seem to convince the other boy any. Dave supposed it wasn’t all that true either. Karkat could relax and chill sometimes, but when it came to the notion of new things or being found he freaked out, and probably for good reason.

“I don’t know, did you see how he glared at me just now? He was all fine when you were the one comforting him and junk. It just seemed like he doesn’t like me,” John explained. Okay yeah, Dave had noticed that, and it was a little strange. He supposed he could see where John was coming from, but that was still so not right.

“He was like that with me at first too. Actually, he was worse. Like, he fucking hated it whenever I tried to be nice to him. He still tells me to stop all the time. I don’t know if it’s just him or his weird alien culture, but he doesn’t like people trying to help him out. He keeps thinking it means more than it does or I don’t know,” Dave tried to explain. That was what he was getting from the way Karkat acted at least. He’d chalk it up as maybe all alien’s being jerks or something, but Karkat didn’t seem that way.

Dave really needed to sit down with him and try to iron out all the interspecies living kinks, but that could come later when things seemed safe again. Right now he had to focus on just keeping Karkat hidden.

“If you say so,” John gave in, although he still didn’t sound completely convinced. Which yeah, Dave guessed he couldn’t blame him too much for that. Karkat was a weird dude to try to understand, and something told him that it wasn’t just because he was an alien, although that definitely didn’t help at all.

“Seriously dude, I’m pretty sure he actually likes you well enough with the fact that he didn’t yell at you at all,” Dave said.

“Alright, alright, if you say Karkat doesn’t hate me then you probably know best,” John relented. This time he didn’t sound as upset, which was a relief. It was bad enough knowing that Karkat was all out of sorts because of this whole visit thing, or at least, more so than he normally was. He didn’t want it to be horrible for John on top of everything. This was supposed to be fun, after all. Sure, kind of lost track of all of that with how serious the situation with Karkat seemed to be getting, but it was still true.

“And I guess since you’re the expert on him, you would know how he’s doing? He wasn’t too upset that some people found his ship and junk?” John asked, changing the topic.

“I am far from being a fucking expert on that dude, just for the record. But yeah, I think he’s okay, or he’s gonna be okay. I don’t think he ever understands what’s going on completely and so it just makes it fucking terrifying for the poor guy,” Dave said, and John nodded at that explanation. Of course, there was also the fact that Karkat seemed upset for totally different reasons that had nothing to do with being caught, but that wasn’t as important right now.

It was important in the long run though, he could admit that. He didn’t want Karkat being upset at all, but it was just something he was pretty sure they could deal with once John and Jake went home.

“That makes sense, especially since his only real experience with humans is you and your crazy bro. He must think this entire planet is utterly insane,” John said, a joking tone obvious in his voice. Dave rolled his eyes and punched him in the shoulder. John punched him back, and this time the cuts in his arms from Karkat’s last freak out were healed enough that he didn’t end up flinching or anything.

It was still a little bit sore and quite a big reminder of the fact that Karkat could do some serious damage if he wanted to. Dave just needed to make sure he kept him out of any situations where he felt like that was the only option. Sure, easier said than done, but it never hurt to try.

---

Eventually Karkat did manage to get into a light sleep, and when he woke up he must have kicked the snuggleplane off of himself or something. It was only covering the lower half of his legs now, mostly heaped up at the foot of his pile. Reaching down to grab it Karkat covered himself up again, sighing as he shifted to smother his face in the horns underneath him.

He couldn’t even leave the stupid storageblock now until Dave came and decided to check on him. He didn’t know how long he’d been asleep and if it was still safe to go out there, and like hell was he going to chance it with what he knew now. People were after him. Dave said he would protect him, but he couldn’t do that if Karkat was blatantly putting himself in danger.

Still, it was so fucking frustrating having to be stuck in here all of the time. He didn’t have all that many places to go to but fuck he was already starting to feel closed in back when he had free range of the hive. He could barely move around in here and it didn’t help that every time he did he set off obnoxiously loud honks and damn it this was too much.

He didn’t know what to do, he felt trapped. He couldn’t get rid of the horns though, that wasn’t even close to being an option. He’d have nowhere else to sleep for one thing, but more importantly Gamzee gave them to him. They were just as idiotic as he is sometimes and nothing but a nuisance right now but he couldn’t bear to go without them. He couldn’t get rid of anything his friends had given him.

Reaching around him, Karkat managed to grab a hold of a pair of pants that weren’t his. He started tearing at the end of one of the legs, ripping off little strips of fabric and string. He needed something to do but he couldn’t concentrate enough to read or write or any of his other normal distractions. He just felt too twitchy and closed in. He needed something though and if he couldn’t pace around like he used to do on the ship it was going to be shredding the first thing he could get his hands on that he probably wouldn’t regret tearing to pieces too badly.

It didn’t actually help all that much with the twitchiness he was feeling, but it did help him not focus so much on just how long he was stuck in there for. Just keep picking away at the fabric with his claws. Tiny little rips as string fell all over his lap, the snuggleplane draped over his shoulders.

He’d managed to turn one pant leg into nothing but scraps and was a third of the way up the second one when someone knocked on the door.

“Hmm?” he said, not feeling much like talking right now. Dave opened the door, a plate of food in his hand. He didn’t say anything like he normally did, and Karkat glanced up after a moment to see what was wrong. It was then that he realized the fact that he was absolutely destroying an item of his clothes might be the problem. Glancing down at himself again he saw that he was fucking covered in little bits of string and when he attempted to brush them away they just went everywhere, sticking to everything.

“Uh, you okay?” Dave finally asked, concern in his voice. Karkat sighed loudly, because fuck, it was very clear that he was not okay right now. Even as he tried to brush the bits of string off of him he was still scratching away at the pants with his other hand, just making more.

“Sorry,” he said, because yeah, Dave might not be too happy about this. Dave just shook his head though, handing Karkat the plate of food and oh so carefully pulled what remained of the pants out of his hand, like he was afraid the troll would attack him if he moved too fast. Maybe he was, Karkat couldn’t even blame him if he thought something like that.

“It’s cool,” he said, looking over the shredded remains. “What’s wrong?” he asked after a moment. Karkat rolled his eyes, taking a bite of food because what wasn’t wrong right now and why did Dave even have to act like he cared so god damn much. Karkat wanted to tell him that it was nothing and that asking him was just making one of those nothings even worse, but he stopped himself. Getting all frustrated with Dave again wouldn’t solve anything. If he could ignore that one problem maybe he could let Dave help him with some of the others.

“Feels small,” he mumbled, gesturing towards the storageblock around him. That was one of the main issues right now after all, at least it was the one that got him twitchy like this. Dave frowned at that, and it looked like he was trying to think of a way to fix it so Karkat just shook his head.

“It fine,” he insisted. This was the safest place for him to hide, as far as he knew at least. He wasn’t going to risk his life just because shit felt a little too closed in and just the slightest bit suffocating sometimes.

“No, no, it’s okay. I’ll figure out something,” Dave told him. Ugh, the fact that he was still trying to help was annoying, but also appreciated despite it all.

“Thank,” Karkat muttered, turning his focus to eating so that he wasn’t paying attention to the desire to grab those pants back from Dave and continue tearing at them. He couldn’t even put the plate down in his lap without the chance of string getting in his food.

“Hold out a bit longer, okay?” Dave said, and Karkat just nodded, pretty sure he understood the basic idea of what he said. He wanted to tell him to leave the door open when he started to close it, but he just barely managed to resist the urge. To his surprise Dave left it cracked open just the slightest bit, probably because he could tell how much being stuck in this little hole in the wall was affecting him.

More unnecessary kindness and sweet little gestures and just ugh. Why did he have to keep doing that over and over again?

Karkat finished his food rather fast, and he didn’t have anything to do with his hands anymore. Damn it, why did he let Dave take those pants? They were fucking useless at this point, it wasn’t like he could salvage them. He didn’t want to tear apart another article of Dave’s clothes, he was trying so hard not to be an asshole here. Like fuck was he ruining any of his stuff. He only had a limited supply, and while he supposed it was possible for Dave to get him some more Kanaya had made him these clothes and they had his sign and it just wasn’t an option.

He couldn’t fucking destroy anything they had made for him.

Karkat slowly shifted himself so that he could reach the wall, not wanting to set off too many horns with the door open now on top of everything else. He started just picking at that instead, and it wasn’t long before he managed to make a tiny hole. It didn’t look like it led anywhere, just a hallow area between two rooms. Damn, these walls were fragile as fuck though. He did not think that it would be that easy to break one. He hadn’t even been stabbing with his claw hard, just more scraping away at it than anything. Who the hell builds a hive that god damn flimsy?

He started shaving away at the edges of the hole he made, and it wasn’t quite as good as destroying the pants, he couldn’t use both hands, it was still something. Karkat wasn’t sure how to was going to last these next however long until Dave’s moirail left though.

He didn’t even know if him leaving would help anymore, but that was the only thing he had to go on at this point. There wasn’t anything for him to do about any of this though, so he just kept picking at the wall and tried his best to block out any unwanted thoughts as best as he could.

---

Dave wasn’t sure if Karkat was actually going to sleep right now, but he waited a while to try to give him some time if he wanted to try. Once he and John got hungry enough to make some lunch he decided to go see if he wanted something to eat as well, fixing him up a plate and bringing it to him. John stayed out in the living room, still convinced that he should probably give Karkat some space.

When Dave saw what Karkat had been up to while left to his own devices he thought that maybe that was actually a good idea. He wasn’t even sure what was all over his lap at first, little black and white strings. It was only when he saw the tattered remains of what seemed to be an old pair of skinny jeans did it click.

Fuck, Dave hadn’t realized just how badly all of this was fucking with him. Like, he knew he was upset and didn’t want to be stuck in the little room, but he didn’t even stop shredding the jeans as he apologized. Dave told him that they would figure out something so that he wouldn’t have to stay locked up in there all the time, although he had no fucking clue what the hell he was supposed to do.

Not just leave him locked up in there to slowly dismantle Dave’s entire wardrobe, that was for sure.

Leaving Karkat with his food, Dave brought the mangled pair of pants (it was more like booty shorts on one side and capris on the other now) to show John so that they could maybe brainstorm this shit.

“Well, I think Karkat might be more upset than I originally gave him credit for,” Dave said. John snorted out a laugh at the sight of the pants, nearly choking on his food before he managed to get a handle on himself.

“What happened?” he asked after a moment. Dave just shrugged, flopping down on the couch and letting the pants-shorts-capris-disaster fall on the floor.

“Nothing, he’s just all freaked out about being caught I think. Nervous habit maybe, pretty easy to accidentally rip things to shreds with those claws, trust me,” Dave said, reaching over and taking a bit of his food. Might as well eat as they figured this junk out.

“Oh, that sucks. Do you think there’s anything we can do to make him feel better?” John asked and Dave shrugged.

“I don’t know man. I don’t think being stuck in that fucking closet is helping him any. Not sure where else to put him where Jake wouldn’t be able to find him,” he said, John humming in thought.

“Yeah, being stuck in there doesn’t sound pleasant at all. Didn’t you use to keep chemicals in there? Are you sure we can’t just have him in your room? If we lock the door everything should be okay,” John suggested. Dave thought about it, but that didn’t sound much better.

“Well yeah, but that’s besides the point. Also the door only locks from the inside. We’d have to knock every time we’d want to get in and what if Karkat opened the door for someone other than us? I don’t know man it just seems too risky to me,” Dave said. John frowned, leaning back further on the couch.

“You guys don’t have like, a guest room or something?” he asked.

“Oh yeah man, that’s why you’re staying on my floor and Jake always stays in bro’s room,” Dave said, sarcasm clear in his voice.

“I have a feeling that Jake would stay in your bro’s room even if there was a guest room,” John joked. Dave slammed his hands down over his ears, closing his eyes, even if John couldn’t see that under his shades.

“Nope. No not listening we’re not talking about that,” Dave said. John was laughing at him and Dave huffed in annoyance. After a few moments John managed to pull himself together enough to stop laughing, although there was still a larger than necessary smile splitting his face.

“Fiiiine, we’ll stop talking about yucky relationships, will that make you happy Dave?” he asked.

“Yes, as a matter of fact, it would,” Dave said, no shame in his voice. John still snickered a bit at that, but he mostly ignored it. “Anyway man, focus here. Gotta figure out a solution for this Karkat problem or else I’m gonna start losing my clothes at an alarming rate,” he said, trying to get them back on track.

“Right, finding a place bigger than the closet for Karkat to stay in, don’t worry I’m on it,” John said, leaning back further into the couch with a thoughtful expression on his face. Dave wasn’t quite sure that he believed all that, but hey he was sure he was trying.

“Hmm, where’d you put all of his stuff that you said he had? I mean, there’s a lot in the closet, but those storage rooms were way too big for you to have fit all of it in there,” John asked.

“Up in the attic,” Dave said, and he almost felt like slapping himself afterwards. “Oh shit, maybe we can put him up there. It’s dirty as shit but it’s definitely bigger than the closet,” he said.

“Glad I could help,” John said, beaming smugly. Dave rolled his eyes at that, but he had to admit that yeah, it was a good idea.

“We can go check it out after we eat and see. I’m kind of worried about him being heard walking around or something. Plus we’d have to move all his shit and there’s the fact that like I said, it’s a fucking mess up there,” Dave said. John nodded, stuffing the last of his food in his mouth. Once Dave finished as well they walked over to where the entrance was, pulling the ladder down and starting up.

It was just as they’d left it the last time Karkat had come up here to grab some clothes, dark and dusty and full of broken and useless shit. Dave didn’t particularly like the idea of Karkat being all on his own up here, or really off on his own anywhere. He might have developed some weird protective thing for him and the thought that he wouldn’t be around to make sure he was okay or that Karkat couldn’t just pop out to let him know he was hungry or something did not sit all that well with him.

Karkat was really fucking unhappy stuck in such a cramped place though, and ultimately he’d do whatever it was that would make him feel better. It would just be for a little over a week now anyway. Once they left they could bring Karkat back down and things could go back to the little routine that had somehow become normal life for them.

Plus, they hadn’t even asked Karkat if he wanted to stay up here yet, he could always end up saying no.

--- 

By the time Dave was back and opening the door Karkat had somehow managed to make a hole a little bigger twice the size of his fist. He wasn’t far away from being able to fit his head in it, if he tried hard enough. Not that he was going to, because that idea was too stupid even more him.

“Dude,” Dave said when he saw the hole. Karkat quickly moved away from it, like that would make him not know who made it. Dave just shook his head, but he didn’t actually seem all that upset with him. More just exasperated than anything else.

“Sorry,” Karkat said, glancing over at the pile of white shavings at the bottom of the wall. He was kind of glad Dave had come and stopped him now before he managed to make it even worse. If it got big enough he might have started to try to scrape away at the other side, and he had no idea what room that would open up to. You think he could be smarted that possible digging himself right into being found, but apparently he wasn’t.

“It’s cool,” Dave said, adding something else that Karkat didn’t quite understand. It was definitely about him though, and yeah he really hoped he wasn’t too upset by this. He didn’t seem like he was, but he fucking never seemed to lose his patience no matter how many idiotic things Karkat did. It was fucking infuriating.

“Come on,” Dave told him after a moment, motioning for Karkat to follow him. He supposed it was safe to come out now, so Karkat stood up, brushing bits of wall and a million little strings off of his lap before walking out. There were still some sticking to him and little streaks of white on his pants now, but he tried to just ignore them. Pretend they weren’t there and that he hadn’t just been tearing anything he could get his hands on to shreds because he felt closed in and like he was suffocating and more trapped than he’d even been on the ship and it was awful.

Dave’s moirail was still out here and smiled at Karkat as he came out, and Karkat wasn’t quite able to bring himself to smile back. He watched as Dave stopped at the place that led up to the spare storageblock upstairs and started pulling down the elevatingrods.

“More space up there. Would you feel better here?” he asked, pointing towards the entrance. Karkat frowned as he tried to figure out if he would feel better up there. He would have more room to walk around, even though from what he remembered it was full of junk. It was new shit to look at though, and that might be interesting.

The downside was that he was further away from Dave. If someone came up he wouldn’t have Dave to protect him right away. He wouldn’t be able to hear him moving about right on the other side of the door. He wouldn’t be there to wake him up from nightmares and make sure he was okay and leave food outside of the door if he was being idiotic and throwing a tantrum.

“Yes,” he said, nodding with certainty. It would be better if he could extract himself from all that for a little while. It was starting to get to him and he just needed some time to himself to sort out what was real and what was bullshit.

Karkat quickly realizes that he needs to move all of his shit up there if that’s where he was staying now. It wasn’t even a manner of trusting Dave, it was just that he wanted his stuff. And he didn’t entirely trust Dave. He was pretty sure that he wouldn’t look again, but he couldn’t be certain if he wasn’t around. He supposed he didn’t mind if he just fucked around with the horns or the eight ball or skull, things like that, since he couldn’t hurt them all that much.

The sketchbook was so fucking off limits though it wasn’t even funny.

“Uh, my pile,” he said, hoping that he was saying that right. It was one of the words he was learning by translating his book, so he hadn’t said it to Dave yet. Thankfully it looked like Dave understood.

Dave led him back to his block, just sort of standing next to the storage block. John had trailed along as well, but didn’t come fully into the room.

Karkat would have liked to carry it all himself, but he didn’t know how long they would be alone for and he wanted to get his stuff up there as fast as possible. He walked over and picked up an armful of the horns before going over to Dave and holding them out for him.

“Only touch horns,” he said, Dave nodding and starting back out of the room to take them up to the extra block. Karkat picked up the sketchbook first, not wanting to have a chance that anything could happen to it. He picked up some of the other presents as well, pyralspite, the skull, the other book from Equius. He tried to grab the eight ball as well but it just ended up rolling out of his arms and he figured he could grab that when he came back.

Turning around, John wasn’t standing by the door anymore, and Karkat figured he must have gone with Dave. He hoped he wouldn’t try to touch anything just because he’d given Dave permission to. He trusted Dave, he didn’t rightfully trust his moirail. It wasn't because of any complicated feelings either, he just didn't know the guy very well.

It was difficult coming up the elavationrod with everything in his arms, but he managed it. Dave was standing at the top, and pointed Karkat over to where they dropped the horns. He’d been right, John had followed him up, and from what he could tell he hadn’t touched anything.

They’d put the horns down in a little corner half hidden by boxes of junk, a tiny, dusty as fuck window up above him. It wasn’t actually that bad, and it was much dimmer up here than it was in Dave’s room normally. He wouldn’t even need his sunglasses, but he decided to still keep them on for now.

Setting his stuff down, it was much faster going back than it was coming up. Dave was picking up some horns and Karkat moved around him so that he could get to some of the other things. He picked up the eight ball first so that it couldn’t roll away again, grabbing fiduspawn cards whenever he saw them. He’d have to come back to grab the first aid kit, it was too big, he’d have to take it up on its own. Shoving his electronic reading device under his arm, he made sure to get the translator as well as a few horns before he decided that he should head up again.

After hauling up the first aid kit it was just horns and fiduspawn cards left. Those took a while but eventually Karkat was satisfied that they had managed to gather up all of them. He’d had to rearrange his pile in order to get it into something comfortable to sleep in again, as well as unbury everything under the horns now, but he could do that while he was stuck up here.

“Sure you’ll be okay?” Dave asked once they managed to finish up. As they worked he and John had been speaking a bit, but Karkat was too focused on trying to make sure no horns or cards were left in the closet to pay attention. He nodded at that question though, it clear that he’d been addressing him this time.

“Be fine,” he tried to reassure him. He did think he’d be better up here, at least until it was safe for him to roam around the hive without any restraints again. Maybe it would just be better to stay up here indefinitely though. He was sure Dave would like some privacy back. He would like some too, if he was being honest. He didn’t actually enjoy being stuck up in the little storageblock after all, this would be better.

“Okay, cool,” Dave said. Something seemed to come to him, and he held up his hand in a motion Karkat had come to recognize as ‘wait here’. John also waited, walking around and peaking inside boxes. Karkat didn’t care as long as he wasn’t messing with his shit, he was going to do the same thing once he was alone.

Dave came back after a few moments, carrying the snuggle plane he’d given him. When he dropped it Karkat saw a bunch of food packages and drinks in there as well.

“If you get hungry and can’t come down,” Dave explained. Karkat nodded, and he wanted to ask him about the snuggleplane, but decide against it. There was no way that it wouldn’t just end up getting awkward.

“Thanks,” he said, not sure what else to do now. Thankfully Dave nodded and started looking around like he was checking to make sure they had everything.

“I’ll come up and bring food before going to sleep, alright?” Dave said and Karkat nodded. Okay, that was good to know. He had an approximate idea of what time Dave usually went to bed, and that was he could keep from eating some of these snacks if he knew Dave was going to be up with food in a few minutes.

“Okay, good,” he said.

“Try to stay quiet still, okay?” Dave added, and once again he nodded.

“Okay,” Karkat repeated, because yeah, that kind of went without saying. It was still dangerous and this hive still had thin as fuck walls, and he knew just how thin now. He could say that with certainty, like god fucking damn these walls were shit. Who the fuck had decided to build such a cheap hive? The thing would fucking fall down at a strong wind from the looks of it.

“You’ll be safe up here,” Dave said after a moment and Karkat didn’t know what he wanted to say to that. Nothing. A lot of things. Before he could say anything John had come up again and started pulling Dave towards the exit, saying something that Karkat couldn’t understand all that much. Dave argued back before turning back toward Karkat, still being pulled away by John.

“See ya,” was all he ended up saying though, and Karkat couldn’t help but crack a smile at that. Ugh, he was just. So fucking dumb.

“Bye,” Karkat told him, turning away and making to mess around with his pile as they climbed down and shut the hatch. Once he was alone Karkat sighed heavily. Okay, so he was staying up here now. It was a lot better, and he wondered why Dave hadn’t thought to put him up here to begin with. Eh, it didn’t matter all that much. He never minded staying in Dave’s block until he was forced to be hiding in there all the time.

He couldn’t focus on fixing his pile right now and walked over to the tiny window instead. It was still pretty bright out, but he hadn’t taken his shades off, so it wasn’t bad looking out. It was difficult seeing anything with how dusty it was though, and Karkat used his sleeve to try to wipe some of it away. That let a bit more light in, but it was still comfortably dim in the room, even looking over his sunglasses.

This window was facing out at a different area from the one in Dave’s block, and all he could see was the side of the hive next door, as well as a bit of the road if he angled himself enough. Not anything that interesting, but that meant that nothing interesting could see him either.

Walking further into the room, Karkat tried to keep his footsteps light, not wanting anyone below him to hear him walking around. This block was actually much larger than most of the other ones in this whole hive. It was just hard to tell with how everything was stacked up, sectioning it off into smaller blocks with little pathways between them. If he ever heard someone come up he could hide in the very back and not be found for a while. At least long enough for him to either try to slip out while they were looking or think of a way to fight back.

There was too much stuff to take it all in and figure out what it was. He was right though, it would give him something to do while stuck up here, at least more than shredding Dave’s clothes and his wall. He didn't feel quite so twitchy as to need to do that anymore though, so there was already some improvement.

Karkat tripped over some random wire sticking out of a pile of boxes, and just barely managed to keep himself from falling on his face. Cursing under his breath, he stayed still for a few moments, worried that someone below might have heard him. After a few minutes passed and nothing happened Karkat figured he was safe. Dave and his friend were probably the only ones still around anyway. It was just better for him to be up here in case whoever it was staying here as well came back soon.

God, it was nice just being able to stretch his legs a bit and not have to sit scrunched up in his pile if he didn’t want to. Just having the option was doing wonders to make him not as fucking anxious and twitchy. He was still pretty god damn anxious and twitchy, but fuck it was still a lot better.

Karkat spent a few hours exploring the block and looking through some of the junk that was heaped up near his pile. A lot of the shit he couldn’t make rhyme or reason of. There were a whole bunch of those strange little stuffed creatures, packed away and covered in dust. There were a bunch of weapons, swords and other assortments of blades, and Karkat tried to stay fucking away from those.

Eventually he got hungry enough and figured that Dave wasn't coming up any time soon. He opened one of the snack packages and ate some of those strange chip things, not minding the flavor. Karkat halfheartedly rearranged his pile somewhat so that he could sleep on it without fear of breaking anything caught underneath it later.

He tried to listen down below him to figure out if anyone was up and about. At one point he thought he heard two people talking who didn’t sound too familiar, although he was pretty sure one was Dave’s ‘bro'. They seemed to leave pretty quickly though, and Karkat laid back into his pile slowly, trying not to make too much noise. If someone caught him up here Dave couldn’t protect him right away.

He tried not to think about how Dave was still insisting on being so sweet and protective of him despite the fact that he already had a moirail and therefore should definitely not be interested in anything pale. That was hard to keep out of his head when he was wrapped up in the snuggleplane he’d left him and he was so focused on not thinking about it that it went right around to being the only thing he could think about.

Whatever. He’d figure it out. This time to himself was a good thing in the long run. If he could just get separated from the issue a bit maybe he could start to see what a horrible fucking idea it was.

At least, that’s what he hoped

---

It turns out that Karkat didn’t say no. When they asked him he hadn’t taken long to agree to move up there, and it was for the best. Karkat had somehow (used his sharp fucking claws, duh) managed to chisel away a large hole in the back of the closet wall in the time Dave had left him alone.

Yeah, if they didn’t get him out of here soon he was going to end up completely wrecking the place. Which honestly Dave didn’t mind, but he was only doing this because he was so freaked out and that was something he did mind. Poor guy was on his last nerve, there was no way Dave was letting him stay in that little closet anymore.

He was a bit surprised that Karkat let him carry some of the bike horns up, since he hadn’t wanted Dave touching the things when he first got there. He guessed it was either because he didn’t want it to take forever or he trusted him a bit more. Dave definitely hoped that maybe it was the second thing, at least a little bit. He’d like it if he trusted him more now than he did five minutes after they met.

Karkat didn’t make any motion to let John help, so Dave told him that it was probably a good idea for him not to touch anything. When they climbed up into the attic while Karkat was still grabbing more stuff, John did clear out a space sort of tucked away to put it down. It was under the dirty old window that was up here for some reason, but Dave didn’t think that would be a problem. Karkat didn’t seem to mind a little bit of light, especially since he has his shades.

Once they finish and all of Karkat’s alien junk is up in the attic Dave brings him the blanket and some food in case he ends up getting hungry. He was trying to reassure him that he’d be safe up here and not to make too much noise and that he’d come up and check on him and let him come down stairs as often as possible when John started dragging him away.

“He’s going to be fine Dave. Stop freaking out you sound like a mom leaving her kid at summer camp,” he said, not letting go as he brought Dave over to the ladder. He was smart thinking they should get downstairs. Bro and Jake would be home soon. He was so not a mom though, he was just trying to make sure he didn’t literally die here. There was a big difference.

“Later Karkat,” he still called out to him before going down the ladder and closing up the hatch.

“Well, hopefully that helps some. I think he would have destroyed your closet if we didn’t move him,” John said, and Dave couldn't help but nod in agreement.

“Yeah, just hope Jake doesn’t get confused and decides to go investigate if he heard a few stray honks coming out of the ventilation shafts,” he said. Dave was pretty sure that wouldn't happen though. Like, 95% certain. Mostly not uncertain.

“He’s not hanging around here a lot anyway, I’m sure it’ll be fine,” John said, and he guessed he was right. Jake was spending most of his time checking out the alien ship and trying to figure out where said alien went off to.

He wouldn’t ever think to look here, that would just be crazy. Why the fuck would it be right under his nose? Or well, right over his nose now.

Even still, Dave couldn't help but be nervous as fuck when they did end up coming home a little while later. He didn't hear anything from up in the attic, so Karkat was either looking at shit that didn’t require him sitting on a pile of loud noise generating bullshit, or he was asleep.

Jake had gone off to the bathroom when Bro pulled Dave aside for a moment, handing him a notebook wordlessly.

“Thanks,” Dave said, figuring he’d bring it up for Karkat the next time he got a chance. “By the way, we moved him to the attic. He was getting antsy being stuck in the closet all day. Thought it’d be better for him to have more space and shit,” Dave said, keeping his voice low in case Jake came back. Bro nodded, not seeming upset with this decision.

“Good to know,” was all he said before walking away again, heading to the living room. Dave went and put the notebook in his room, reminding himself not to forget it when he went to check on Karkat later.

Dave ended up having to wait until Jake and Bro had gone to bed before getting the chance to go check on him, and he was glad as fuck that he thought to bring Karkat some food before leaving him up there for that long. It wasn’t even that long if he thought about it, but still, he didn’t like not being able to check on Karkat when he knew he might still be upset.

He was careful to be quiet while pulling the ladder down, John offering to stay down in case someone came so he could close them in. Dave hadn’t even thought about that, so he was thankful as fuck that someone did. The last thing he needed was Jake to come out to get a glass of fucking orange juice or something and ruin everything.

“Psst, hey Karkat?” he asked as he got up into the attic, it a bit difficult to have climbed a ladder while carrying a plate of spaghetti and a juice box. Once he managed to get up there and stand, he saw Karkat’s head peak up from behind the pile of boxes blocking the view of most of his pile.

“Hey,” he said, and he didn’t sound anywhere near as upset as he did earlier, so Dave guessed that the extra space did help some. Careful not to trip on anything, Dave made his way over to the alien, handing him the food. “Wait right here,” he said, Karkat nodding. Dave went back down and grabbed the notebook from where he’d brought it out on the kitchen counter before heading back up. Karkat had started eating the spaghetti and looked up when Dave came back.

“Here,” Dave said, holding out the notebook for him. Karkat took it, flipping through the blank pages before shutting it and putting it down next to him.

“Thanks,” he said, and Dave wondered if he should head back down now that he’d gotten him food and gave him the notebook and shit. Jake was asleep though, so it wouldn’t hurt too much to make sure he was doing alright. John was keeping watch anyway, so if worst came to worst he would just be stuck up here with him for a little while, which wasn't a bad thing. Staying up for a little bit wouldn't hurt any.

“No problem,” Dave answered automatically, kicking away some old Christmas decorations that had somehow gotten thrown out of place in order to clear a spot to sit down. “You doing okay?” he asked. Karkat sighed between bites of food, but he nodded none the less.

“Yes. Doing fine,” he said, and Dave wasn’t too sure how much he believed him. He did seem better than before though, so that was something.

“Good. It’s okay up here?” he asked, Karkat nodding once again. He didn’t seem too bothered by Dave asking him this stuff, more just resigned to it for some reason. Dave wanted to ask why, but it would probably be best not to open that can or worms while John was waiting for him to come back down.

“Yes. Lots better. Thanks,” he said, and Dave wasn’t too sure what else to say. He wanted to keep talking to him though, but that wasn’t working all that well. Karkat didn’t seem much in the talking mood, and Dave wondered if he was still mad at him about something. He wouldn’t be all that surprised if that was the case.

“You okay?” Karkat asked after a moment, his voice quiet and he wasn’t looking at Dave even after he spoke. It had certainly taken Dave quite a bit off guard, not expecting Karkat to initiate any sort of conversation, let alone think there was something wrong with him enough to try to make sure he was okay.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Dave tried to reassure him. Karkat just nodded, continuing to eat his food without another word this time. Ugh, Dave fucking hated that shit seemed to be all awkward between them. Karkat looked up at him a few times, seeming almost like he was about to say something before stopping at the last minute. They ended up sitting in what was probably not the most comfortable silence until Karkat finished eating.

“Well, later, I guess,” Dave said, taking Karkat’s plate from him so that he wasn’t stuck with even more trash up here than he normally was. Karkat nodded after a moment, shifting some so that he was further back in his heap of junk.

“Bye,” he said, and Dave started back down the ladder. It still felt weird leaving Karkat all alone up here, but it was the best option for now. Just a little bit longer and they could get out of the woods, and well, Dave wasn’t sure what they would do after that. Karkat still wouldn’t be able to go anywhere without risking being caught.

They’d figure it out when they got there though. Right now they just needed to take one thing at a time.

Chapter Text

Karkat didn’t know what he was doing, but he should fucking stop before he made an even bigger ass of himself than he already was.

On the upside, it was kind of nice that Dave had come up to see him without dragging his moirail along as well. Of course, it was probably a good idea for the moirail to be around just so Karkat wouldn’t do anything inadvisable. He really hadn’t done anything though. Or at least, he hadn't done anything compared to everything Dave had done so far. He was just trying to make sure he was okay because he was being polite. Dave was always checking up on him, the least he could do was return the favor a bit.

Or at least, that’s what he was telling himself.

It wasn’t like it mattered, since Dave left again soon enough anyway. All he did was stay while he ate, but that was still pretty nice. It wasn’t like Karkat thought Dave would just shove him up here and forget about him, but it was a little unnerving being cut off and alone again.

It was still better than being stuck in the tiny storageblock though, so he’d be fine.

Once Dave had left though, there wasn’t much to do. He supposed he could look through some of the boxes up here and try to figure out what the uses were for the junk he found, but he didn’t particularly feel like that right now. He could write in the new notebook Dave had gotten him too, but instead he just added it to his pile before carefully curling up on it as well. He didn’t know how well people could hear things from up here down below, but he didn’t want to risk getting found.

He was still very goddamn freaked out about that, even having been moved to what seemed to be a better location all things considered. He guessed he could understand why Dave hadn’t told him that there were people in this fucking hive who wanted to find him and do he didn’t know what when they did. It still would have been pretty damn nice to know though.

Dave didn’t want to worry him about it he supposed, but that hadn’t worked all that well. It was just delaying the inevitable, because sooner or later Karkat was going to worry. Holy shit could he worry.

Even unnerved like he was, it was quite a bit easier to all asleep up here than it had been the last few days in Dave’s storageblock. The knowledge that Dave wasn’t just a few feet away did hamper the ease just the slightest bit however, but he tried not to think about that.

The sound of someone pulling the elevationrung down knocked Karkat out of his sleep. He couldn’t help but quickly shift so that he was hidden behind his pile and some of the other junk in the room, peaking around to see who was coming up. Relief rushed through him when he caught sight of Dave and he moved out from his hiding spot. At least he knew now that even if he was asleep that thing made such a racket that he’d have enough time to hide if someone other than Dave came up here.

“Sup Karkat,” Dave said once he was fully in the block. Karkat just shrugged, since there wasn’t exactly anything he was up to recently since he'd only just woken up.

“Sleeping,” he told him honestly, rubbing at his eye some as he started to wake up past the panic that had driven him before. A sorry little look crossed Dave’s face at that, and Karkat guessed he hadn’t meant to actually wake him up.

“Sorry, you can come down now if you want,” he said, and Karkat nodded. This place wasn’t as bad as the storageblock for sure, but that didn’t change the fact that he was still pretty damn alone up here and he would much prefer being around other people if he had the choice.

Following Dave down, his moirail was waiting for them and that only dampened Karkat’s mood the slightest bit. He was trying to like him, he seemed nice enough and didn’t deserve any kind of hostility so far. It was just a little hard for Karkat to keep that in mind. It also didn’t help that he just wasn’t all that comfortable around him yet. Now that he knew that there were people looking for him didn't help things either, and the only reason he had to trust John wouldn't tell anyone about him was Dave’s word.

He guessed Dave’s word was as good as he was going to get on anything though, so he just had to go with it.

Karkat figured that they already ate or something, because when Dave offered him food he ended up just making something for him and not for either of them, which was fine. They went back to Dave’s block once he had food, and it was a bit strange to be in here now without having his pile to go straight to. He guessed he could sit back in the storageblock, but that seemed kind of pointless without his pile in there. It was no different than just sitting on the floor now. He just had a door to close on them if he really wanted to get away.

He’d like to only have to do that if there was an emergency though, and decided to just stick clear of the storageblock for now and go sit on the sleeping platform. John joined him on there, but Dave pulled up his chair instead so that it wasn’t too crowded. It wasn’t like there wasn’t enough room for all three of them, but this did make it a bit easier.

Karkat wasn’t sure what they actually wanted to do. Usually when it used to be just him and Dave they mostly did their own things. They did try to talk sometimes or Dave would try to explain something about this planet, but it was just all uncertain with this new person in the mix.

He guessed it wasn’t entirely bad though, since John had showed up Karkat had gotten to go outside for the first time in a non-crisis situation and they had watched one of those weird movies. Sure, he didn’t understand what the fuck was going on in said movie, but it had been kind of fun.

Or at least it was until he realized that they were pale but that was another issue all together.

Karkat tried to push that out of his mind as John started talking to him. It took a bit of concentration to actually figure out what he was saying, but that was more of a good thing than a bad one. That meant his mind couldn’t wander to other things it had no business going on about.

He was pretty sure the moirail had just asked him how he was doing, which was simple enough. “Fine,” Karkat told him, actually pretty glad that for once he could only give a short simple answer. He couldn’t go into detail about how he was very much not completely fine even if he wanted to.

“Cool, cool,” John said, which Karkat had managed to gather was a general good response. “So how old are you?” he asked after that, and Karkat actually understood that question for the most part. He was also pretty sure he could answer it without much difficulty, numbers hadn’t been that hard to learn.

"Eight?” he said, pretty sure he had the number right but not sure if he was quite pronouncing it the correct way. From the surprised look on John’s face and the way Dave sort of snapped to attention, he still had no clue. He must have said something though, although he wasn’t sure if it was worth that reaction.

“Eight?” the moirail echoed back, and Karkat nodded, although not feeling quite as confident now. He held up the number of fingers he was pretty sure was the right number he was looking for.

“Eight,” he repeated again, and this time John just nodded a bit. “What age you?” Karkat asked back after a moment, figuring that was a thing he could actually know now. He just hadn't thought to ask before, he figured that Dave looked similar enough in age to him that it wasn't a big deal. He'd seen what adults and children looked like on TV after all, so he was pretty sure he had a good rough idea.

“Uh, sixteen,” John said, and it took Karkat a moment to parse exactly what that meant. When he did he couldn’t help the look of disbelief that crossed over his face.

“No,” Karkat said, because holy shit there was no way he got that right. He thought they were around his age, not practically double what he was. He guessed that explained the look of surprise they had given him. “You too?” he asked Dave who also nodded. “Weird,” he muttered after a moment, not sure what to do with this information. At least they also seemed a bit freaked out by it.

The next few hours passed much the same, with John asking him a barrage of questions that Karkat could only answer about halfway most of the time. At least it was kind of informative and it was a good idea to practice this language with the creatures that actually spoke it instead of just talking into the translator all the time. He didn’t learn anything quite as interesting as the actual age of Dave and his moirail (fucking twice as old as he was, that wasn’t something he was coming) but it was still some useful things. A few more words, that the moirail liked movies, and some other inane things. Mostly John just seemed interested in him, and while normally Karkat wouldn’t understand why he guessed being an alien at least masked how completely dull he was a bit.

Dave made sure to make him some more food before putting him back up into the extra storage unit. Karkat wasn’t too hungry yet but he appreciated it none the less, especially since he wasn’t too sure when he would be allowed to come back out again. He’d rather be safe and stay up there more than necessary than push his luck with possibly being seen. Hopefully Dave felt the same and wasn’t keeping him out till the last minute. Karkat didn’t have much of a way of knowing.

Once he was back up in the storage block Karkat went through exploring some of the area like he had planned to do. It mostly consisted of a lot of junk that he couldn’t make much rhyme or reason of, but that was about what he expected. He guessed that it was a bunch of things that they didn’t need often, since it didn’t seem like they came up here much.

There were several nice little areas between and under piles of junk that Karkat figured he could fit in and hide if anything ever went wrong. He would much rather that nothing require him to hide any more than he already was, but he couldn’t help but have those thoughts pop into his head as he looked around. Just back up plans and back up plans to those plans. Knowing that he could be found, which seemed like such a terrifying thing had set his mind back into survival mode. He wasn’t sure it ever completely turned off from that though. Maybe while he was bored out of his mind on the ship for a couple perigees, but definitely not since he landed on this planet.

The next two days went by with a surprising lack of chaos. It really was a good idea moving him up here. Karkat still tensed when he heard that strange alien he didn’t recognize as Dave or his ‘bro’ or the moirail walking around and talking below him, but there hadn’t been any sort of close calls.

He was starting to get a bit more at ease around the moirail too. He had to keep referring to him as that in his head to remind himself, but Karkat felt that he was doing rather well on that front all things considered. He wasn’t being a total jackass to him, at any rate. Dave seemed to appreciate that as well, and Karkat figured that was a good thing.

Something in the back of his mind told him that he would still need to talk about this with Dave later, but that part could shut up for now. He was doing his best with what he had and he didn’t have jack shit so just managing with the bare minimum about of bitterness was a victory in his book.

He just needed to last the last few days, and then John and hopefully that other alien that was wandering around the hive would leave and things could go back to normal. Or maybe not normal, because there was a lot of shit he knew now that he didn’t before, but at least maybe back to being a bit like it was before all of this and he could relax a bit.

He could do a few more days.

---

It turned out that moving Karkat to the attic was just about the best move Dave could have made. Honestly, he should have thought of that before John and Jake even showed up, but there didn’t seem to be a need to. At least, Karkat didn’t seem bothered by sleeping in the closet. Still, he definitely seemed more relaxed when Dave would bring him down while Jake was out now.

Sure, Dave couldn't help but still be stressed when he heard people walking around, especially in the kitchen. Dave knew though that the likelihood of Jake going up into the attic out of the blue was a hell of a lot lower than him just bursting into his room. He did actually end up doing that several times, and while Dave was pretty sure that bro would have made some sort of excuse if he didn’t know they moved Karkat already, it was a relief none the less.

The next few days managed to be pretty fun even. Sure, Dave still felt a little weirded out by the fact that Karkat was apparently like, eight years old. He guessed aliens aged different, because he sure as fuck didn’t look eight. Dave still figured he should stop cursing so much in front of him either way though. It wasn’t like it mattered much in the grand scheme of things, but he could be polite.

It was nice getting to hang out with Jake without having to worry about Karkat being left stuffed in a small as fuck space for hours on end though. He couldn’t quite get his mind completely off of him, but it helped.

Of course, one of the reasons he couldn’t get his mind off of him was because Jake tended to talk about the spaceship near constantly. It wasn’t like Dave blamed him, it was pretty awesome from an objective standpoint. Still, he was glad as fuck for his poker face doing him a world of good.

Dave didn’t think that John would be a good liar, but his enthusiasm for the whole alien thing was apparently good enough to fall back on that Jake didn’t notice anything strange. Jake wasn’t the most perceptive person in the world either though, which definitely helped.

When Jake was out at the spaceship or bro had him off somewhere doing whatever Dave didn’t want to think about, they were able to have Karkat out of the attic and hanging around. Dave still didn’t know quite what was up with him before but he seemed to be getting over whatever his thing with John was. Dave was still determined to ask him just what was up with that once they left, but for now the progress was definitely good to see.

It made hanging out with the two of them a lot easier. Dave was pretty sure that Karkat liked having someone else to talk to. At the very least, he didn’t seem bothered by all the questions John asked him. He thought that maybe he wouldn’t want to talk about whatever it was he went through that made him end up here, but while he didn’t answer some questions, it seemed that more often it was just because he didn’t know the words to and not that he didn’t want to.

That said, Dave still had little to no clue about why exactly he ended up stranded on Earth. He did feel that maybe if he asked once Karkat had a larger vocabulary though he might actually give him a straight answer.

As it was, the questions John asked him had to do with what he thought about different earth things and the like. It was all interesting, and Karkat seemed willing enough to talk.

Other than that, all of them hanging out consisted of watching bad movies and playing video games and trying to fill Karkat in on what was happening in said things. That was much easier said than done when John kept trying to teach Karkat the wrong words for everything. Normally Dave would be down for something like that, but he actually wanted to be able to have conversations with the dude later that he could understand.

He might have let a few words here and there go uncorrected though. Hey, it was important research for the future and mankind as a whole. They needed to know if aliens could take a joke when he inevitably figured out what was going on later.

It’d been two days since they moved Karkat up to the attic now, and Jake and bro were out of the house. Dave had brought Karkat down from the attic to have lunch with them, and right now the three of them were flipping through TV channels as they ate. They had a bunch of soap opera episodes recorded for Karkat to watch once John and Jake left.

One reason why Dave could always be thankful that his bro was a fucking weirdo was that Jake had not batted a single eyelash when he saw them all backed up in the recordings. Hell even if he did get confused over them it wouldn’t have been hard in the slightest to say they were either his or bro’s. They had both watched weirder shit.

It was pretty relaxed right now though, and Dave was starting to think that just maybe they could get through the rest of this visit. Sure there was always the chance that Jake would stay a bit longer than John was planning to keep working on the spaceship but they had a pretty good system down. Bro tended to text him if they were coming back before they said they would, and they tended to stay out pretty late most days.

Dave didn’t have to feel guilty about stuffing Karkat somewhere he wouldn’t be comfortable. He usually only had to be up there at night and in the morning anyway. This could actually work.

“So, how long until Jake and your bro come back?” John asked, and Dave shrugged at the question.

“We still have a couple hours, if they come home early bro’ll text me,” he said. John just nodded before reaching over and grabbing the translator from where it was sitting on the coffee table. Karkat tended to carry it around with him just in case something came up that they couldn’t quite get across with the words he knew yet. That was happening less and less, but it was still used a lot. It just made everything a hell of a lot easier.

“It okay if I look at this?” John asked Karkat. The alien didn’t seem too happy with him just grabbing his thing, but he was still a lot more okay with it than Dave had expected him to be. Karkat was pretty damn protective over his shit, he barely let anyone else touch anything. Dave supposed the translator was a bit of an exception though, he let Dave mess with it pretty early on after all. It was probably more of a practical tool than any of the sentimental junk he would bite you for touching.

“Careful please,” Karkat said after a moment, still not looking all too comfortable with it but it was definitely progress.

“Sure thing!” John assured him, starting to look over the little watch like device. “This is so cool, Jake would die if he saw it,” he said, pressing a couple of buttons. It didn’t seem to do anything, but Dave wasn’t sure what all of them did anyway. He kind of got the feeling that Karkat didn’t know what they all did either half the time.

“If the spaceship didn’t kill him I think he’d manage to survive seeing this, but yeah he’d definitely flip his shit,” Dave agreed. John seemed to figure out how to get it to translate into Karkat’s language. He started saying random words into it and listen to them getting played back in the weird click-clacky bug language.

Karkat was watching him out of the corner of his eyes, pretending like he was paying attention to the TV. There was definitely a bit of amusement leaking through his expression though, and Dave figured that John probably sounded like a fucking idiot.

“Do you think we could learn his language?” he asked, having stopped babbling nonsense into the translator and going back to pressing random buttons again. Dave shrugged, it wasn’t like the idea hadn’t crossed his mind, but it seemed a bit more practical for Karkat to learn English so that everyone could understand him. Not that he had a lot of people to speak to, but Dave hoped that maybe that number would grow over time. It'd have to be people they trusted, but he didn't want Karkat all sealed away forever.

“I mean maybe? I don’t even think we pronounce his name right though, pretty sure we’d butcher the thing with all the clicks and trills and stuff it uses,” Dave said. John looked disappointed at that but nodded in agreement.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right, it’d be super cool though,” John said, finally putting the translator back down. Dave wasn’t paying much attention, so he didn’t realize what happened at first when John started cursing loudly and jumped up. Then Karkat was snapping something in his alien language and snatching the translator away from where John was trying to frantically dry it off.

“Holy shit John did you seriously just spill coke all over the fucking translator?!” Dave asked in disbelief.

“Maybe,” John answered, sounding a bit shocked himself. Karkat was letting out a steady stream of angry alien words at this point, patting the thing down on his shirt to attempt to dry it off while pressing buttons.

“Let me see,” Dave said, hoping that the thing wasn’t completely busted. Karkat shot a glare at him and held it so that Dave couldn’t even attempt to get at it.

“No, fucking dumb bad,” he grumbled, shaking the device and pressing at the buttons again. Yeah okay, Dave could understand him getting all possessive over his shit again. He kind of had a feeling that Karkat’s tolerance for John just got shot with this, which fucking sucked because they were doing so well.

“Please dude? I might be able to fix it,” Dave tried. Sure he knew absolutely fucking nothing about the alien technology and shit, but he’d spilled enough drinks on his phones before that it wouldn’t hurt to make an attempt. Karkat glared at him again, seeming to think it over before handing it over to him.

“Only you touch,” he said, giving John a dirty look. Yeah, definitely shot his patience with John. Thankfully he was staying out of the way, busying himself with cleaning up the spilled drink and wallowing in his shame.

“Will do man,” Dave said, heading into the kitchen and looking through the cabinets. Karkat followed after him, still looking annoyed but also a bit curious. Once John was finished with the drink he came as well, staying a few more steps away from Karkat than he would normally. Dave didn’t blame him for that at all.

“Come on, don’t tell me we don’t have any,” Dave grumbled, moving old boxes of chips and cans of chef boyardee out of the way until he eventually found what he was looking for. “Jackpot,” he said, pulling the bag of rice out of the back corner and setting it down on the counter. Opening it he stuck the translator inside, making sure it was completely covered.

“Okay, now we just wait and hope it dries out,” Dave told Karkat. The alien looked from the bag of rice to Dave and back again several times before groaning and saying something no one but he could understand.

“This is stupid,” Karkat added after a moment and okay, Dave supposed that from an outside point of view, this did look insanely idiotic. Hell, it even looked pretty goddamn dumb from his point of view, but it was the only thing he could think of.

“Sorry man, it’s the best I got,” Dave said. Karkat sighed, grabbing the bag of rice off the counter and opening the hatch up to the attic.

“Going sleep,” he muttered, climbing up the ladder and shutting himself in with a louder bang than was probably necessary.

“Okay, now you have to admit that he hates me,” John said after a long moment of silence, interrupted only by a loud blast of what must have been Karkat collapsing onto all of those fucking horns. Dave couldn’t keep himself from cringing a bit at that, because he had a point. Karkat was pretty fucking pissed, and it wasn’t like he was all that fond of John to begin with. On the other hand though, John didn’t have a scratch or bite mark on him.

“He’s just pissed man, he’s kind of possessive of his shit. He did tell you to be careful,” Dave told him. John groaned, letting his head fall into his hands, shame coming off of him in waves.

“I knoooow! I’m such an idiot,” he moaned.

“It was just an accident. Who knows, maybe rice works for advanced alien technology the same way it works for phones,” Dave said. John shrugged a little at that, not looking like he thought it would work. “Hey, even if it doesn’t, he’s learned enough of a base that we can make it work,” he added. Sure, it’d be a hell of a lot more difficult, but it was still manageable.

“I guess so,” John sighed. “That doesn’t stop him from hating me though. Ugh, I thought we were finally making progress too!”

“Dude, he doesn’t hate you,” Dave insisted. John gave him the most disbelieving look he could manage, and yeah okay he could understand why. “I mean, yeah I don’t think he likes you all that much right now, but that was still a way better reaction than I could have ever imagined. Do I need to remind you that he tried to fucking shred the upper half of my body to pieces when I looked through his sketchbook?” Dave said.

“Not immediately attacking me seems like a pretty lenient way to gauge on whether or not he hates me,” John grumbled.

“Maybe, but hey you gotta admit it’s a pretty good one considering his past record,” Dave said.

“I guess so,” he muttered as they started heading to Dave’s room. There wasn’t any reason to hang out in the living room anymore. John kind of looked like he just wanted to sit around and mope for a bit anyway. Dave made a mental note to try to talk to Karkat later. He knew John had been excited as fuck to meet him, he’d hate it if he ended up heading back home still convinced Karkat didn’t like him at all.

He guessed there was nothing he could do if Karkat actually did hate him, but it would be good to figure that out for certain first. Dave was pretty sure that Karkat was trying to like him though, and that was all he could ask for.

For now though, the plan was to let Karkat cool down in the attic and distract John with a couple movies. After that, Dave wasn’t sure, but for now he’d just play it by ear.

---

Karkat didn’t know why he ever thought that every little thing that could go wrong wouldn’t. His life was literally nothing but bad incident after bad incident, there was no reason at all why it wouldn’t keep up that way.

He didn’t even want to let the moirail mess around with his translator, but he hadn’t seen the harm in it either. He let Dave use it all the time, and he was trying not to be an asshole to John. Not letting him see it would be unfair and likely the result of a few biases he was trying to ignore. So sure, fuck with it if he wanted, just be goddamn careful.

Well he wasn’t careful, and he spilled a goddamn drink on it of all the shitty, innocuous things to happen. Karkat tried frantically to dry it off to try to prevent as much damage as possible, cursing the entire time because the shitty thing wouldn’t turn on when he tried it. He knew the thing was banged up and fragile to begin with. It was something experimental after all, but he was hoping that maybe it could stand a little bit of sticky sweet liquid.

He almost didn’t give the translator to Dave when he asked for it. He already let one person mess with it and this was the result. Dave said something about fixing it though, and at least he had proven before that he could handle the thing without completely ruining it. Karkat supposed that there wasn’t any way he could fuck it up worse than it was anyway.

Well, he didn’t fuck it up any worse, but Karkat had no fucking idea what he thought he was doing. He put it in a bag of something, fuck if he knew what. Maybe they were absorbent? When Karkat felt one though they were hard as shit. Definitely not something that seemed like it could get liquid out of goddamn delicate machinery.

He didn’t know if the other aliens were coming back anytime soon, but Karkat didn’t care, going up into the storage unit as soon as he could. He was trying very fucking hard not to hate Dave’s moirail, and right now he was pretty damn sure that if he spent much more time around him he’d end up blowing up on the fucker. It wasn’t that Karkat didn’t think he deserved it right now, but he promised Dave he’d be good or whatever while he was here.

Karkat set the bag with the translator in it down next to his pile before flopping onto it, not caring about the blaring sound that came from all of the stupid horns. The aliens he was hiding from weren’t back yet anyway, so it didn’t actually matter. Once the noise settled down Karkat sighed heavily, shifting himself so that he was a bit more curled up and comfortable. Maybe he should have asked Dave how long he was supposed to leave the translator in the bag. Whatever, he’d just wait a while and test it out. If it still didn’t work he could just stick it back in.

There wasn’t much for him to do up here now, or at least not much that he was in a mood to do. Sure there wasn’t much to do down in the rest of the hive either, but it still always managed to seem a little less boring than being stuck up here alone. He said something about sleeping to Dave, but he wasn’t actually tired.

He could have read more of his story out to his translator, since he wasn’t feeling much like writing right now, but there was a very real possibility that he wouldn’t be able to do that ever again.

Fuck, and now he was getting upset. Why couldn’t he ever keep things nice and simple with just anger? No, that would be too easy for him. He always had to get a bunch of other shitty emotions involved with it all.

It was just, he didn’t exactly have a lot of shit left. He fucking knew how much work Sollux had put into the translator too, on top of building the ship and charging up some weird false helmsman battery. And here Karkat just went and let some careless alien fucking destroy the thing. That didn’t even take into account just how fucking useful it had been. Sure, he could get along kind of okay now without it, but it made learning this shitty language so much easier and it was impossible not to feel just that much more cut off from this strange planet with it broken.

At least he hadn’t started to cry over the thing yet. There was still a chance it could get fixed after all, and Karkat was just not in the fucking mood to cry right now. He was so goddamn tired of crying, he just wanted to do something else.

There wasn’t anything fucking for him to do though. He was annoyed and upset and bored as shit. Searching around his pile a bit he found his reading tablet and picked a book at random. It ended up being one he hadn’t read in a while, which helped a bit to quell his boredom at the very least.

It didn’t take him long to finish the book, maybe two hours. It wasn’t a particularly long one, and even if he hadn’t read it too recently he’d still done it enough times that it was pretty much memorized at this point. When he finished reading that book he halfheartedly considered reading another, but he just wasn’t feeling it.

Karkat figured been long enough that whatever the fuck Dave thought sticking the translator in the bag of hard little speck things would do had probably been done. Reaching over, Karkat dug around in the bag until he could grab the machine and pull it out. He brushed off little bits of whatever the fuck off of it, and it didn't seem wet anymore. A little sticky, but that wasn't too bad. Trying not to get his hopes up, Karkat attempted to turn the translator on.

Despite his best attempts at not getting any hopes up, they still somehow manages to get dashed when the damn thing didn’t show any signs of working in the slightest. Banging it a bit he hoped maybe he could knock something into place, but instead it just continued to stay as dead as could be. Karkat shoved it back into the bag before he got too frustrated and ending up snapping the damn thing in half trying to fix it.

Karkat didn’t know what the fuck to do, but he was frustrated as fuck now and twitchy and he did not want to continue sitting still. Climbing out of his pile, he started over to one of the boxes that were strewn about the block. He actually hadn’t spent as much time as he thought he would going through all of this junk yet, so now was as good a time as any to start.

As he expected, Karkat didn’t have any fucking clue what the majority of the things he was looking at were. He found one box of things that were mostly black and orange, another of things that were all light colored, another of red and green. He’d think that someone organized them by colors if anything else in this place followed that rule. And if the color combinations weren’t so fucking arbitrary.

Karkat walked around the block, just sort of going through boxes whenever something caught his eye. It was a pretty good method of distracting himself. He’d have to ask Dave later to explain what some of these things were. Of course, there was no way he could be entirely sure he’d understand whatever he tried to explain now that the translator was broken.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t that good of a method of distraction, but it was the best he had.

Karkat was pretty deep into the block when he heard the entrance open behind him. He couldn’t help the annoyed sigh that he let out. He wasn’t in the mood to deal with Dave right now, especially since he was sure he was going to try to cheer him up about the translator. Sure he was pretty pissed at his moirail still, but Karkat would never be enough of an asshole to try to fuck up someone’s relationship like that.

Sure, Dave seemed pretty damn determined to fuck up that relationship himself, but Karkat wasn’t about to go helping him achieve his goal.

Even still, Karkat put down the weird contraption he was inspecting, some sort of old light fixture from what he could tell, and started towards the front of the block as he heard him coming up the elevationrung.

Karkat wasn’t quite completely out in the open when he froze in his tracks. The person standing at the edge of the entryway, eyes locked on him was not Dave. It wasn’t his ‘bro’ or his shitty fucking moirail either, and Karkat felt his bloodpusher stop.

He had no idea how long the two of them stood staring at each other, neither daring to move an inch. Eventually the alien started taking the slowest step forward, and that broke Karkat out of the fear that kept him bound to his spot.

Karkat didn’t think, letting out a threatening hiss as he bared his teeth. The alien back up in fear, nearly falling down the entrance behind him. Turning on his heels, Karkat started running further back into the block, knocking over as much shit as he could as he did. He was shaking with fear and sure he’d ended up cutting himself on some of the crap that he pushed out of his way.

When he reached as far back in the block as he could get Karkat had no idea what to do. He was trapped he was so fucking trapped. Crawling between some boxes, he let some of the shit fall around him and block most of his body. He could still peek out to see anyone approaching him. He could still fight, he didn’t see a weapon on this one like he had when he first met Dave’s bro after all.

As much as he tried to tell himself that it was okay, it didn’t change the fact that he was terrified out of his skull. He could hear the alien moving around out there, and he knew it must have seen where he ran off to. It was only a matter of time before it picked its way back here and found him.

He should have fucking known that he was going to end up crying sometime today.

---

Movies seemed to work pretty well in cheering John up. Sure it meant letting him pick the movie, but Dave was a good enough friend to endure that struggle. Besides, he could make any movie fucking hilarious with his commentary, no matter how much John protested that he was just ruining it. He couldn’t be fucking it up that bad if he was laughing after all.

Dave was pretty sure they were nearing the end of the three hour explosion fest that tried to fool watchers into thinking it had a coherent story line. As soon as they were done with this Dave planned to check if bro and Jake had come home yet. If they hadn’t he was going to check up on Karkat real quick. It’d probably been long enough that he wasn’t quite so pissed off anymore.

When a crashing sound started, there was a split second where Dave wasn’t sure if it was from the movie or not. The realization that it wasn’t hit him square in the chest, and Dave shoved the laptop off of him and scrambled out of bed. John nearly tripped over himself as he followed after him, the two of them running out of the room.

He hadn’t heard bro and Jake come home. Maybe Karkat just tripped and knocked something over. Knocked a lot of somethings over because the cacophony of banging and clattering wouldn’t fucking stop.

Dave felt his stomach drop when he saw the ladder to the attic pulled down. “Fuck, fuck, oh fuck,” he cursed, climbing up as fast as he could because oh god he fucked up. He should have been paying more attention. He just thought, he thought Bro was supposed to be watching him. He didn’t even know they were home yet. This wasn't supposed to happen, things had been going so well.

He couldn’t see Karkat when he got to the top of the ladder, but Jake was there and he didn’t look like he’d been attacked. So it wasn’t quite worst case scenario yet. He was trying to make his way further back into the attic though, and Dave quickly ran up to stop him.

“Dave! John!” Jake said, catching sight of the two. “Get back, there’s something up here, it looked mighty dangerous,” he said, eyes looked on a back corner of the attic, and Dave figured that’s where Karkat must have ran off to.

“Fuck, no Jake get the hell out of here,” Dave said, grabbing his arm and trying to pull him out of the attic. Maybe he hadn’t gotten a good look at Karkat yet. They could pass it off as a wild animal or something, whatever the fuck they could do to keep him safe.

Jake pulled his arm away from him and continued trying to get further into the attic. “I’ll be fine, go call Dirk and tell him to get home right away,” he insisted.

“No Jake you don’t understand!” John argued, and Dave quickly nodded in agreement. Fuck, he had no idea how they could convince him not to just leave without getting a closer look at the alien. He had to though, if he ended up cornering Karkat there was no way he wouldn't fight back. Dave knew just how dangerous of a fighter he could be when he was freaked out too.

“John, get back downstairs. Your father will have my head if I let that thing get its teeth into you,” Jake said.

“He’s not going to hurt anyone. Fuck, you just freaked him out,” Dave said, moving past Jake to try and get back to wherever Karkat had hidden himself. God this was bad, this was so fucking bad. If he could just get to Karkat first though he could make sure no one got hurt.

“Wait just a moment, what do you mean by that? Do you know what that terrifying creature is?” Jake asked, and Dave groaned. He didn’t even know what he was doing anymore. Fucking everything up, probably.

“Yes, fuck, is there any way that maybe we could pretend all this never happened?” Dave asked, knowing it was hopeless.

“I’m afraid not Dave, just what in blazes was that? I thought it was a person until it went and showed me its fangs,” Jake asked. He was still trying to get back there, no matter how much Dave would put himself in the way.

“I mean, I don’t know exactly, but he’s not dangerous. I mean he can be but he doesn’t just attack people. Like I said you just freaked him out,” Dave explained, hoping that Jake wouldn’t ask him to clarify too much. He knew he would though. There was no way he was going to let all of this just get swept under the rug.

“Dave I’m hopelessly confused right now. Can you please sit still and explain to me what’s going on? Does Dirk know about this?”

“Fuck, can you go downstairs? I’ll explain everyone once I make sure Karkat’s okay,” Dave tried. Part of him just wanted to make sure he was alright, and part of him was looking for an excuse to put off telling Jake what was going on for a few more minutes so that he could formulate some sort of plan.

“I’m not going to leave you alone with that creature!” Jake said, and Dave couldn’t help but groan. This was Bro finding out about Karkat all over again, but somehow even worse.

“Jake, it’s fine! Karkat’s really nice, he won’t hurt Dave,” John said, giving his own attempt to pull Jake towards the exit now. Jake made a face at that, but this time his arguing didn’t sound quite as convincing.

“It certainly didn’t look friendly. You’re both positive this, what did you call it, Karkat? Won’t hurt anyone?” he asked and the two started nodding.

“Promise. He’s been living here for a while now, he’s just really fucking skittish man, but he won’t hurt anyone,” Dave said. Sure, that wasn’t entirely true. He was certain that if Jake managed to make him way back there without either of them interfering Karkat would attack in a heartbeat, but Jake didn’t need to know that right now.

“If you’re absolutely certain,” Jake said, hesitation still clear in his voice, “and Dirk knows about this?” he asked.

“Yeah, you can go call and ask him about the attic goblin right now if you need confirmation on that,” Dave said. This time when John started to pull Jake toward the exit he actually went along with him a bit. He still didn’t seem quite like he wanted to leave just yet, but he was moving further away from where Karkat had hidden himself, which was good enough for now.

“Alright, I’ll leave you to take care of the beast, but I would greatly appreciate some sort of explanation once you’ve gotten that all squared away,” Jake said, and Dave figured that was fair enough. At least it didn’t seem like he connected Karkat to the spaceship yet, maybe they could figure out a way to keep his mind from going there.

It probably wasn’t likely, but hey he’d take any bit of hope he could get right now.

“Yeah okay, didn’t really expect you to just let this go,” Dave said. John had managed to pull him the rest of the way over to the exit now, although Jake kept looking back at the corner where Karkat was hidden away.

“If that fellow tries anything funny just yell and we’ll be right up,” he said and Dave just nodded, already starting to climb over boxes and crates. God damn Karkat did a number on this place. Dave supposed he should have figured with all of that crashing earlier, but it was still hard as shit to get through.

“Sure thing man,” Dave said, even though he really doubted he would do that. Even if Karkat was still freaked out and tried to attack him, bringing Jake back up would just make the situation worse.

Once Jake and John were out of the attic Dave put his full focus on getting back to where Karkat was and figuring out how to fix this. There was an easier path if he didn’t go the exact way it looked like Karkat had. Everything was trashed in that direction, it was a lost cause. It still left him having to climb over and squeeze between a few boxes, but it wasn’t the most difficult thing he’d ever done.

“Karkat? Karkat, hey it’s okay, you can come out now. It’s just us, you’re safe,” Dave called as he made his way over. It’d be a lot easier if he could get him to come out after all, since he wasn’t entirely sure just where in the back corner he was hiding. There was no sign of movement or any sort of acknowledgement though, so Dave just sighed and kept moving forward.

“Come on buddy, it’s okay. Karkat, where you hiding at?” Dave asked, having gotten as far back in the attic as he could. There were boxes and what looked like some old furniture stacked up against the wall, but there was definitely not space for Karkat to squeeze behind all that stuff.

“Karkat?” Dave continued to try, crouching down to try and look between the boxes and old fold up chairs. He almost missed Karkat’s bright eyes staring out at him through a crack. It looking like he dumped a box of old machinery down in front of him after he crawled in there to keep hidden, and it did a pretty good job.

“Hey, you okay?” Dave asked, clearing a small area in front of Karkat’s hiding spot and sitting down. Karkat wasn’t trying to attack him or anything, and all he did was run away and hide from Jake, so it seemed like at least on this front the whole thing was going okay. Overall it was a fucking mess, but Dave was trying to focus on the good. Karkat wasn’t freaked out to the point of attacking like he’d been with bro. Dave was starting to think that was probably a fluke, with Karkat still not understanding everything and seeing someone swinging around a weapon.

It was a relief figuring that he wouldn’t attack anything except in self-defense. Or anger at people looking through his personal shit, but hey, everyone has their boundaries.

Karkat didn’t answer his question, just shifting a little further back into the little hole he made himself.

“You’re not hurt are you?” Dave figured it would be good to get that out of the way first. He couldn’t see anything but a bit of his face, and scrambling through the attic of all places like he’d been probably wasn’t too safe. Dave knew there were a bunch of weapons packed away in here.

“Not hurt,” Karkat muttered. Okay, he was talking now, and wasn’t hurt, all good things.

“You wanna come out?” he asked. Karkat didn’t speak again, but he did shake his head no, so at least he was still answering. From what Dave could see he looked really fucking freaked out, so he didn’t blame him for wanting to stay hidden back here.

“Alright that’s fine, we can just stay here for a bit,” he said. He guessed he could just leave Karkat back here and go deal with Jake, but honestly he would like a bit of a breather to clear his head and figure out just what he was going to tell him. John could keep him occupied for the time being.

“Not safe now?” Karkat asked after a small moment of silence, his voice quiet and uncertain. Fuck, he was really freaked out. It was so dark and he was hidden away as best as he could manage, so Dave couldn’t be certain if he was crying or not, but he was pretty sure he was.

“No, no Karkat it’s okay, you’re still safe. Don’t worry,” Dave tried to reassure him. He didn’t know exactly how true that was, because if Jake decided to tell people he had no idea what would happen. He didn’t need to freak out Karkat any more than he already was though. He’d figure out some way to keep Jake from telling anyone. He didn’t know how, but he would.

“Promise?” Karkat asked, and Dave nodded his head without thinking twice. He fucking hoped he wasn’t making one he couldn’t keep.

“Promise,” he repeated so that Karkat knew for sure. Dave figured that he wouldn’t be getting Karkat out from his little hiding spot right now, so he should head downstairs and start doing some damage control on Jake. Before he could make sure that Karkat was okay one last time and that he was good with Dave leaving he heard him shift around a bit before sighing heavily.

“Bad day,” he muttered under his breath, almost too quiet for Dave to hear.

“Yeah, really bad day.”

Chapter Text

Karkat tried to calm down as he stayed in his little hiding space, Dave sitting just outside of it. He tried to keep the noises of sniffling and crying as low as he could, wishing he could get his fucking ganderbulbs to just stop altogether. Neither of them had spoken for a few minutes and Karkat couldn’t tell if he was thankful for the silence or fucking hated it. Either way, it wasn’t too much longer before Dave broke it with a long sigh.

“Should probably head down soon,” he said, and Karkat’s first instinct was to protest. He did not want to be left alone right now. He’d like for Dave to stay with him and make sure that no one came in unexpectedly again, or just to be there in case they did.

He wasn’t in a position to ask that of him though. He wasn't in a position to ask anything of him, so instead he just nodded the slightest bit. He wasn’t even sure if Dave could even make it out in the dark. He knew this species eyesight didn’t seem to be as capable as troll’s in the low light, but Karkat didn’t know how bad it actually was.

“I’ll be right back, okay?” Dave said, a calmness to his voice that did not match the situation. How the fuck could he be so certain what things were going to be alright? It was stupid, there was no way he could know if things would work out.

“Okay,” Karkat answered quietly, almost afraid to speak for fear that the alien from before would hear him and come back. He knew it was useless trying to hide at this point, but that didn’t stop him from wanting to. All he ever fucking did in his miserable fucking life was hide. It was all he was good at.

“You’ll be okay,” Dave assured him one final time, and Karkat both welcomed and hated the fact that he believed him. Or at the very least, believed he was going to try his best to make it okay. With that, Dave pushed himself to his feet and started making his way back through the piles of junk. Karkat listened intently, not wanting to move out from his spot. It wasn’t until he heard Dave head down and close the latch behind him did he let out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.

God fucking damn it, he couldn’t believe that just happened. He was such a fucking idiot! Going out there without a care in the world, like there wasn’t shit hiding behind every corner just waiting for its chance to make his life a living hell. Now someone knew he was here and who fucking knows what was going to happen. Dave had said he was safe, but Karkat just didn’t know how much he could actually trust him on that. It wasn’t that he didn’t think Dave would try to protect him, he just had no idea how effective he could be. There was only so much one person could do against a whole planet after all. That he knew from experience.

It seemed like every time he felt like he was getting a bit better, something else came and knocked him twenty steps back. Karkat was so fucking tired of this. He just wanted to be better already.

That was probably asking too much of the goddamn universe at this point, though.

Karkat wiped away the tears on his face, having forgotten for a bit that they were even there. At least he’d stopped crying finally. The time seemed to go so fucking slow now, but even still he didn’t move out from his hiding space for maybe another twenty minutes. He made sure to go a hell of a lot slower than he did the first time. That way he didn't make as much noise and managed to keep from hurting himself even worse than he already was. It took a lot longer than it should have, but eventually he made it back to the front of the block.

There wasn’t much he could do right now, so he went over to the first aid kit he had shoved against the wall and started treating the little cuts and bruises he got from tearing through the storageblock the first time. None of it actually bothered him that much, but it was just something for to do.

Once he had bandaged up everything there was to bandage, Karkat once again didn’t know what the fuck to do. He just hated being so goddamn powerless like this. Sure, he knew that at the end of the day he had no real say in how his life on this planet went, but being so starkly reminded of that was fucking awful.

Karkat tried to see if he could hear anything through the hatch. It was pretty fucking unnerving being this close to the exit when anyone could just pull it down and see him, but he managed to gather up enough courage to go over and press his ear against the crack in the floor.

He could make out voices but only the occasional word, which by themselves made no fucking sense to him. From the sound of it Dave and his moirail were down there, and so was the person Karkat figured had seen him. After a few minutes of struggling to make out what they were saying, Karkat sighed and gave up. He was relieved to be able to get away from the door again, but he still had no fucking clue what was actually going on.

Dave had said there were people after him. People who'd been looking through his ship, and wanted who knows what with him. Alien species were not treated well under the Alternian empire, there was no reason why it wouldn't be the same here. If this person wanted something done to him, he has nowhere left to hide.

There wasn’t a single goddamn thing left for him to do about it though. Karkat curled up in his pile, not caring about the slight noise it made as he buried himself in it a bit so that it would be difficult for anyone to see him at first. It wasn’t like it mattered at this point, but it made him feel just the littlest bit safer.

For now, that was all he could ask for.

---

“Okay now, could one of you please be kind enough to explain what the devil fucking dickens is going on here?”

Dave figured that was a fair enough question. He still didn’t want to answer it but fair question none the less.

“Only if you tell us why you decided to go up into the attic in the first place?” Dave tried, knowing he couldn't deflect forever, but any little bit helped. He wanted to ask where the fuck Bro was at too, but he didn’t want to make Jake think that he had been under watch or something so that he didn’t find Karkat. Even if that was pretty much exactly what had been going on.

“I suppose that’s fair enough. I had heard some movement coming from up there and I thought some sort of wild critter had found its way inside. I must say the critter I found was much more wild than I imagined,” Jake explained. Okay, that actually sounded like a reasonable thing to do. Dave was kind of curious about what the fuck Karkat had been doing, but he guessed even sleeping would have made some noises that could have caught Jake’s attention if he ended up rolling over on all those goddamn horns.

“Okay, well the ‘critter’ was Karkat. He’s just a friend,” Dave said, knowing that wouldn’t be enough to satisfy Jake but hoping none the less that maybe it would work.

“Yes, yes, you said such already, but what is he?” he asked. Yeah, no fucking way it was working. Jake could be a bit scatterbrained and absentminded sometimes, but he wasn’t an idiot.

“Well, I haven’t actually asked what his species is called yet so I’m not sure myself?” Dave said. It was technically the truth after all. He didn’t know what Karkat’s species was called. That would be a good thing to ask him some time if he could get the question across without help from the translator. And if they got out of this mess, of course.

“You must have some idea! Where did you even find the beast? Are you quite certain on your claim that it’s not dangerous?” Jake continued to question.

“We promise, he gets mad sometimes but he doesn’t actually try to hurt anyone,” John spoke up, and Dave nodded in agreement. Still not the entire truth, but it was close enough. Self defense didn't count as attacking, sort of.

“He’s not a beast, and I found him a little while ago. In the desert,” Dave said, just fucking hoping that he wouldn’t pry. He was still trying to think of ways to keep Jake from telling anyone, and if he put two and two together he wasn’t sure if he could stop him from blabbing.

“Do you regularly bring strange otherworldly creatures back to your home?” Jake asked, sounding genuinely concerned at this, which Dave supposed was reasonable enough. Before he could answer Jake’s question a look of realization came over him and Dave could feel his stomach sinking.

“Now wait just a half a tick…”

“No, fuck dude Jake whatever you’re thinking do you think you could maybe put it on hold real quick?” Dave tried desperately to get him off of the train of thought he was currently going down. It was pretty obvious that this was a hopeless battle though.

“That thing didn’t perhaps come from…”

“Oh fuck no.”

“There’s no way, but…”

“Please stop.”

“You two have been keeping an alien in this house and you didn’t tell me?!”

“God damn it,” Dave whined into his hands. He knew it wouldn’t take him long to figure out, but he’d still hoped that maybe he could have come up with a convincing enough lie beforehand. He couldn’t even try and deny it by saying the idea was ridiculous or absurd, because Jake was 100% all in on shit like this. With the spaceship there to back up the claim, there was no way they were going to convince him he was wrong.

“You have to keep this a secret, please Jake,” John begged. Right, no going back on Jake knowing. The only option left was to do the next best thing and convince him not to tell. Dave had a feeling that would be easier said than done.

“I can’t keep this a secret! Do you know how important this is?” Jake said. Yeah, definitely easier said than done.

“We know it’s important man, but Karkat is really freaked out by people. You saw him, you think someone like that would do good in a lab getting poked and prodded by a bunch of scientists and shit?” Dave asked. God, he could imagine how hard it would be just to get him into a place like that. They’d have to sedate him or something because there was no goddamn way he would just go calmly.

Considering the effect a couple of misplaced cold meds had on him, Dave shuddered thinking of all the ways that could go south. There was no fucking way he was about to let something like that happen. It would kill Karkat.

“I can’t just pretend I never saw this,” Jake argued.

“Yes you can,” John said matter-of-factly, causing Jake to frown at him.

“Well, yes if we were being literal I could technically, but you know what I mean,” he said. Dave sighed, trying to think of some way to change Jake’s mind on this. Before he could say anything there was the muffled sound of bike horns from up above, and Dave figured Karkat must have left his hiding place.

“Uh, what manner of noise was that?” Jake asked. Dave sighed, running a hand down his face as he tried to figure out a way to say this that didn’t sound completely idiotic.

“Bike horns. Karkat likes to sleep on them,” he explained. Jake looked like he was about to start questioning him about alien sleeping habits. Dave could understand why after a statement like that, but they needed to get back on track here.

“Listen dude, I know you’re excited and want to tell the whole world that there’s now confirmation of intelligent life in other parts of the cosmos and shit,” okay he wasn’t doing too good of a job lowering the hype so far, “but you seriously can’t tell anyone.”

“Dave, I can understand that you just want to protect this creature. What did you call him, Karkat? But this is bigger than that. Do you have any ideas how many questions it could answer? How many people have spent their entire lives trying to find some sort of proof like this? That being up there could change the entire world,” Jake said, and Dave knew he had a point. Maybe if it had been when he first found the dude he could have been convinced to let whatever was going to happen, happen for the greater good or whatever, but that wasn’t going to fly now.

Karkat trusted him, and he wasn’t a big enough asshole to go back on that trust.

“Come on Jake, do you really want Karkat to get tested on by some shady government agency Area 51 style?” John asked.

“Of course not! I’m sure nothing quite so drastic would happen,” Jake said. Dave was sure he believed it too, he tended to think the best of people.

“Even if it ain’t like that, which I don’t think you can promise since as soon as word gets out he’s gonna be snatched up by NASA or some shit, it’ll still be really fucking bad for him,” Dave said. Jake actually seemed to be thinking over what he was saying for a moment, so Dave took the opportunity to keep talking. “He’s fucking terrified about getting caught man. I promised him he was safe here.”

“Perhaps if you just explained how important this is to him,” Jake tried, but Dave started shaking his head before he even finished.

“It took weeks just to get him to trust me, and he’s still super skittish around Bro. Even if I explained it to him he’s still going to freak out and think I betrayed him. He's not going to let himself get taken by some guys in suits, and we still don't know what is poisonous for him on this planet. If shit goes wrong, he'll end up fucking dead.”

It was quiet for a moment, Dave just hoping that Jake would pull through here and listen to them. He knew it was asking a lot, but there wasn’t anything else he could do.

“Okay,” Jake said at last.

“Yes!” John cheered, and Dave couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief.

“Wait just a moment now, I’m not quite done yet,” Jake said, cutting the celebration short. “I’m still not entirely comfortable with keeping all of this a secret,” he continued. Okay, Dave supposed he could understand that. So far this was going a hell of a lot better than he thought it might, so hopefully he could keep it that way.

“What if I talked to Karkat about it and let him decide when it’s okay? Like, I don’t think it’d be anytime soon, but once he gets comfortable and shit he could come forward himself instead of being forced to?” Dave suggested. Honestly he wasn’t all too comfortable with the idea of Karkat ever becoming a public thing to be studied and shit, but if he was doing it on his own terms Dave could at least deal with it.

“Yes, alright then, that sounds like a fair situation for everyone,” Jake said, nodding. Dave really felt relieved at that. Holy shit, he hadn’t realized just how freaked out he was before now. He knew he didn’t want Karkat to get caught and put in some lab or whatever the fuck, but he didn’t know just how much he hated the prospect until it was staring him in the face.

“Okay, awesome. I’ll go let Karkat know, poor fucker’s probably had a stroke with worry at this point,” Dave said, moving to pull down the ladder for the attic.

“Oh wait Dave, just one question before you go,” Jake spoke up, stopping Dave before he could leave.

“Yeah?”

“You keep saying you’ll talk to him, does that mean you can really speak to the alien? He understands you?” Jake asked. Right, Dave supposed that could be something that was pretty confusing. He also figured that now that Jake knew about Karkat, he would be answering a heck of a lot of questions about him.

“For the most part yeah, we’ve been teaching him English. He’s got, or well, he used to have this translator thing, but it broke. He’s picked up a lot though, so he can manage simple conversations pretty well,” Dave explained. Jake’s eyes were practically sparkling as he listened.

“I suppose it wouldn’t be too much trouble to get a chance to speak to him later on and ask a few questions? As long as it stays between us?” Jake asked. Yeah, this was definitely as good as it was going to get with him.

“Might take him a few days to trust you enough for that, but I’ll talk to him about it,” Dave said.

“Splendid!”

Dave just nodded, moving to pull down the ladder to actually go talk to Karkat already and let him know everything was going to be okay. Thankfully, it seemed like both Jake and John knew not to follow him up without Dave having to say so. When he looked around the attic, he didn’t see Karkat in his pile at first. It wasn’t the most surprising thing, but he’d been hoping since he heard the horns going off he would have come out of his hiding spot by now.

“Karkat? You here man?” he asked, speaking loud enough that if he was still holed up in the back he’d be able to hear him. Dave nearly jumped when he noticed the pair of eyes staring out at him from the pile of horns and junk. Goddamn was he good at hiding sometimes.

“Hey, you okay in there?” Dave asked. He could just make out the barest hint of a nod, and he took that as permission to come a bit closer, sitting down a foot or so away from where he was hiding in the bike horns.

“So, I talked to Jake,” he started, only to get a confused and suspicious looking stare. “The person you saw,” he explained. Another little nod. “He’s not going to tell anyone about you. You’re safe,” Dave told him, trying to be as clear and concise as possible so that he would understand.

Karkat didn’t say anything for a few moments. Dave didn’t say anything, just letting him take the information in. He couldn’t quite figure out what was going though his mind right now.

“Okay,” he said at last. It didn’t sound like he was very convinced, and Dave couldn’t blame him for that.

“It’s okay now,” he tried to reassure him, “I promise.” Karkat liked promises, and it seemed to work for a moment from the little flash of relief on his face.

“Thank,” he muttered, shifting so that he was huddled up even more into his pile. Everything about him just seemed closed off and guarded, and it wasn’t hard to figure out why. Poor guy had a really fucking shitty day, and there was only so much reassurance Dave could give him.

That didn’t stop him from wanting to help though.

“You can come down whenever you want now,” Dave said, after all there was no point in stuffing Karkat up here anymore. He answered him with a little nod again, not actually speaking. “Want anything to eat?” A shake of his head. “Want me to stay or be alone?”

Karkat seemed to hesitate before answering that question. Usually it was so easy to figure out what was running through his head, or at least get a general idea, but right now Dave didn’t have a clue.

“Alone. Please,” he said at last. Dave nodded, pushing himself to his feet.

“Alright, whatever you want man,” he said, starting towards the exit. Before actually heading down he turned back to him again. “Want this opened or closed?” he asked. After all, there was no reason to hide him anymore, so if Karkat wanted it open he could have that.

“Closed,” he said. Dave expected as such, but he still thought it would be a good idea just to offer.

“Okay, later,” he said as he started down the ladder.

“Later,” Karkat echoed quietly. Shutting the hatch up above him, Dave figured that he’d give Karkat a couple more hours to decompress before heading back up with food or something. He figured it wouldn’t be hard to pass the time with Jake wanting to know everything he could about Karkat.

Dave just hoped Karkat was feeling a bit better later on. Watching him like that was much harder than he ever thought it would be.

---

Karkat sighed heavily once Dave left, wishing he knew what to think about all of this. He said he was safe. He had no reason not to believe Dave, so he should be relieved. Hell, he should be fucking ecstatic. He wasn’t going to get captured or killed or whatever the fuck would happen if the wrong people found him. This was good news.

He just couldn’t shake the feeling telling him that this wasn’t over though. There was no way it was that easy. Nothing was ever that easy for him.

Fuck, he wished he hadn’t told Dave to leave.

There wasn’t shit he could do about that now though, unless he wanted to risk actually leaving the block and finding Dave. Not to mention how fucking idiotic he’d feel asking Dave to come sit with him but not actually do shit immediately after telling him to go. There was no way he was going down that fucking path, so he’d just have to make do by himself.

Trying to sleep turned out to be a pretty fruitless endeavor. Not the most shocking thing in the world. Every so often he would hear voices or movement down below, and he couldn’t help but tense up until everything went quiet again.

He’d almost managed to fall asleep when someone pulled the hatch down, jolting him awake and aware again. “Karkat? It’s just me,” Dave called out as he climbed up, and that helped him relax just the slightest bit. He tried to tell himself not to freak out so much, but there was no way for him to know now exactly who was coming up to see him. That other person knew he was up here now. Karkat didn’t know what he might want with him.

Sure, he didn't think Dave would let him up here on his own, but he could always do it when he wasn't looking.

“Hey, brought you some food,” Dave said once he was fully into the block. Karkat forced himself to sit up, not bothering with the horns that went tumbling around him making little honks when they hit the floor.

“Thank,” he muttered, taking the plate and starting to eat whatever concoction Dave had brought him. Karkat thought that he might just leave after giving him the food, but instead he sat down a few feet away from him once again. Karkat had no idea how he could both be so thankful and so annoyed with a person over such a small thing.

Dave didn’t say anything for a while, and Karkat wondered if maybe he wanted him to break the silence instead for once. Or maybe he could tell that he just wasn’t much in the mood for talking right now. Karkat wasn’t even sure if that was true though. He was pretty much done with his food when Dave finally spoke up.

“Hey, want to come down with me?” he asked. Karkat didn’t answer right away. His first instinct was to say no, he was fine up here, but maybe continuing to close himself off wasn’t a good idea. Locking himself up before just make him freak out more after all. Before he could decide Dave continued. “Jake is still here, but it’s safe.”

“Okay,” Karkat said at last. He didn’t want to be anywhere near that person, but he was so fucking tired of hiding and cowering. Dave seemed surprised by his answer for a moment, but then he was smiling the slightest bit.

“Oh, for real? Awesome, let’s go,” he said, pushing himself to his feet. Karkat handed him his empty plate before standing up as well. Looking through his pile, he found his sunglasses, slipping them on before following Dave out of the storageblock.

The other person wasn’t waiting for them or anything, which was a relief. He didn’t think that Dave would lead him into some sort of trap, but the thought had come into his mind none the less. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, and everything was normal as Dave led him back to his block.

The moirail was in there, smiling as cheery as always. It seemed just the slightest bit forced though, and Karkat figured he wasn’t quite immune to the stress of everything going on either. That, or he still felt guilty about breaking the translator a few hours ago. Karkat wouldn't be too upset if that was the case. Sure, he had more important things to focus on right now, but he was still pretty upset about that.

Karkat tried to relax when they sat down and Dave and John started bickering over the husktop, but he couldn’t quite get himself at ease. He was pretty sure Dave could tell too, with the occasional glances he would send his way. He didn’t say anything though, which Karkat was thankful for. He couldn’t deal with more prying concerned questions right now.

Eventually the two seemed to reach some sort of agreement and started playing something. Karkat had assumed it was a movie, since they seemed to watch those a lot, until it ended a lot sooner than he expected and he realized it was some sort of television show. He hadn’t been able to pay much attention, so he couldn’t tell you a single thing that might have happened.

“Hey Karkat?” Dave asked, surprising him. He hadn’t been talking to him much, and Karkat figured that was because of how freaked out and shit he’d been. Or maybe there was just nothing to say for now.

“Yes?” he said, having absolutely no idea where Dave might be taking this.

“You know Jake? The one who saw you before?” Okay, he didn’t like where this was going. At fucking all. A bit reluctantly he nodded, not able to stop the little scowl that came across his face. Dave seemed to notice it, a worried look crossing his face before he could continue.

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to, it’s totally up to you, okay? Don’t feel like you gotta or anything like that. We'll only do whatever you're comfortable with,” Dave rambled and Karkat sighed.

“Dav,” he cut him off, surprising Dave.

“Sup?”

“Simple, please,” Karkat told him. Dave seemed to forget that he needed to shorten things sometimes, and it wasn’t too annoying most of the time. Dave's voice wasn't the worst thing to listen to, as strange and alien as it was, but right now Karkat wasn’t in the mood. John was laughing at them a bit, and Karkat could understand that from the sheepish little look on Dave’s face.

Karkat wondered if he realized just how amazing of a moirail he had in Dave.

He quickly shoved that thought aside. Now was not the fucking time to go down that road.

“Right, sorry,” Dave said before actually getting to what he was trying to say. “Jake wants to talk to you. Just a few questions. You don’t have to.”

Karkat felt his bloodpusher stop for what felt like a few long seconds. He almost immediately snapped no right when he heard that person’s name, not caring what the actual request was. He knew there was no real basis for why he was so against him, but Dave had to of been hiding him for a reason. He said there were people looking for him.

When he forced himself to hesitate though, it left him rethinking it. He still didn’t want to be anywhere near this person, no matter how safe Dave said it was. He was an adult and had been after him and there was no fucking reason why he should trust him at all. He looked through his ship and would have taken everything if they hadn’t brought it back before he found it.

Dave said he didn’t have to. There was no reason to put himself through this.

He was just so fucking tired of hiding though. Either hiding his blood back on Alternia or hiding his entire existence here on this planet. There was no goddamn end to it.

“Okay,” Karkat said, sure that this was a huge fucking mistake, but he honestly didn’t give a fuck right now. It was stupid, but it was something to feel like he wasn’t hiding, even if just a little bit. Both Dave and John looked taken aback by his answer. Karkat got the feeling that Dave didn’t expect him to ever say yes, and was just offering because he said he would or something.

“What, really?” Dave asked, and Karkat forced himself to nod. He was definitely starting to feel like he’d made the wrong decision, but he wasn’t going to let himself back out of it.

“Yes. Now?” he asked, because if he put this off then he would definitely talk some sense into himself. Dave shared a look of confusion with his moirail, before slowly nodding.

“Yeah, we can do it now if you want,” he said. It wasn’t what Karkat wanted, but after every fucking thing that happened today, he just needed to feel in control of something for once. Just in control of one thing.

“Yes please,” he said. Dave nodded once again, pushing the husktop to the side before standing up. Karkat followed him into the mainblock, wanting the entire time to tell Dave that fuck no, he didn’t want to do this, please stop him from making a huge fucking mistake. Instead of doing any of that, he just sat on the couch and nodded when Dave said to wait here.

“Jake’s really nice, it’ll be okay,” John said, having stayed behind with him for some reason. Karkat didn’t particularly care why. All he could do was nod, trying to keep himself from completely flipping his shit before anything even happened.

God, he was such an idiot.

---

The next couple of hours hadn’t gone quite how Dave thought they would, but it was still pretty damn close. It turned out that Jake and John hadn’t called Bro or anything when Dave had been up in the attic trying to calm Karkat down like he though. So when he did come home they had to explain to him that the jig was up and Jake knew about the alien.

Bro had been pretty goddamn frustrated about ‘not being able to leave any of ya’ll alone for five fucking minutes’ which Dave could understand. Apparently he’d been out getting Chinese food. Dave had never been more annoyed with takeout in his life. Jake was pretty frustrated with Bro keeping this from him, but they could have that argument on their own time.

What did go exactly like Dave had thought it would was Jake asking him a million and one questions about Karkat. He couldn’t exactly blame him for that. The dude had been studying the ship and making all these guesses about what the creature who’d came in it was like and now he just found out it was staying up in the attic. Of course he’d want to know what it was like and everything.

He asked how he’d managed to get him back to the house from the ship (dude was unconscious and light as fuck so I just carried him). What kind of things did he eat (pretty much whatever you give him, but he seems to like meat the best). What sorts of activities he did (there’s not much he can do, but he likes to read and write and watch tv and stuff), and so on and so forth. Dave tried to answer everything as best as he could, but Jake still made him promise that he would just bring up the idea to Karkat about talking to him in person.

When it finally felt like enough time had passed Dave piled up some of the noodles and chicken from the dinner Bro had brought and took it up to Karkat. He still didn’t seem much better than he’d been before, but he didn’t stay huddled up in his pile, actually coming out to eat. Dave waited until he was almost done before asking again if he wanted to leave the attic. To his surprise Karkat actually agreed to come down.

Dave tried to see if maybe just acting like everything was normal would get him out of it, but that didn’t seem to do much. He didn't know why he thought it would. He’d already been upset before this happened after all, he wasn’t sure what he expected. There was no way he was going to just get over this like that. Maybe after a good night’s sleep or something he’d start to feel better.

He wasn’t sure why he decided to bring it up now. Best just to get it out of the way instead of telling Jake over and over again that he’d ask. He hadn’t been expecting anything besides a no when he asked Karkat if it’d be cool to talk to Jake sometime.

A no was not what he got, and Dave wasn’t sure how to handle that. He really didn’t know what to do when Karkat said he wanted to talk to him now besides nod and go get Jake. Thankfully John stayed in the living room with Karkat just in case he decided to get up and hide back upstairs or something someone would know where he went.

“Hey Jake?” Dave called into his brother’s room, knocking on the closed door. He knew they must be in there, because he told them both to get out of sight while he tried to bring Karkat down from the attic just in case. It was possible that they left the house while they were in Dave’s room, but he kind of figured Jake wanted to stick around for now.

“Yes my boy?” Jake asked, opening the door.

“So, I talked to Karkat about you maybe asking him some questions and shit,” Dave started. Jake gave him a little reassuring smile as he cut in.

“It’s quite alright Dave. I can understand if the feller isn’t feeling up to having a conversation just yet,” he said, which yeah, would be the reasonable thing to assume here.

“Actually, he said it was fine,” Dave explained, clearly surprising Jake. “He’s waiting out in the living room right now if you wanna ask a couple questions.” All Jake could do was stare at him for a moment, before smiling like Dave had told him he could meet any and all movie stars of his choosing.

“Oh! Well then of course! Let me just grab something to write on,” Jake said, running back into the room. Dave could see his bro sitting at his computer, not even sparing a glance as Jake rummaged through his stuff. He was probably used to that by now.

“Dude, just try to be chill or you’ll scare him off,” Dave warned. He was positive if he went in there jumping around like he was now there was no way Karkat wasn’t hightailing it right back up into the attic. Jake nodded as he came back, notebook and pen in hand.

“Yes, yes of course,” Jake said, and when he followed Dave back out into the living room he actually managed to keep himself looking as calm as possible. He was still smiling from ear to ear, but he wasn’t running around or jumping or anything like that.

Dave could still see Karkat tense up when they came into the room, but he didn’t try to run off or hiss at Jake or anything like that. He was watching him very cautiously, but that was to be expected.

“Hey man, Jake just wants to ask a couple questions, okay?” Dave said. He could just barely see the little nod Karkat gave him, and he wondered if maybe this was a bad idea. If Karkat was okay and wanted to do this though, then Dave guessed it would be alright. Even still, Dave sat down next to him, wanting to reassure him but not having any real idea how. John watched from a spot he cleared off on the coffee table.

“Hello there, I’m quite sorry if I had scared you earlier,” Jake said, speaking clearly and Dave could tell that he was trying to keep what he was saying simple. Dave was glad he remembered that he told him Karkat was still learning. Jake’s way of speaking could be kind of convoluted and confusing to someone who fully understood the language sometimes.

Karkat just nodded, not actually answering him. Still, it was better than Dave thought it might have gone so far.

“Dave said light hurts your eyes?” Jake asked, pointing to his own eyes as he did, and that seemed like a good place to start off. Something simple and easy for him to answer. Karkat was wearing his shades right now, so that was probably why it came to Jake's mind.

“Yes,” Karkat muttered and okay, actual talking was definitely a step up, even if it was only one word. It was pretty clear that he was still freaked out, but he was trying, so Dave wasn’t going to say anything.

“And you’re eight?” he asked next, once again just getting a simple nod from Karkat.

“Did you come to this planet on purpose?” That was something he hadn’t been able to tell Jake for certain. It was also kind of a leap, but Dave had a feeling it took everything he had not to just jump right out with that one.

“No,” Karkat answered after a moment, seeming to take some time to think the question over. Okay, Dave figured he was right about Karkat not being the first in some sort of malicious takeover of the planet, but that wasn’t a surprise at this point. One traumatized looking kid was not exactly a fearsome invasion force.

“So coming here was an accident?” Jake pressed. Karkat frowned a bit at that, shaking his head.

“No,” he repeated, and Dave was glad Jake was sticking with yes or no questions, because he didn’t think Karkat was up for much more than that.

“It wasn’t on purpose but it wasn’t an accident? What exactly do you mean by that?” Well, never mind then. Karkat stole a little glance his way, looking like he didn’t know how to answer the question. Before Dave could try to explain what Jake meant he was looking away, just staring at his feet while he shrugged.

“Only leaving. Not matter where,” he said. Dave was pretty sure he could explain a bit better than that if he wanted to. From how much he looked like he didn’t want to be there though, that was more than enough. Dave wasn’t too sure what to make of his actual answer. It still could have been some sort of banishment he supposed, but it almost sounded like he was running from something. Jake was nodding enthusiastically, jotting something down on his notebook before asking the next question.

“Why were you leaving?” Karkat shrunk down even further at that question, and yeah, Dave was pretty sure this wasn’t exactly something he liked to talk about. When he'd asked before, Karkat just said something about blood, which still didn't make much sense.

“Dav?” he asked quietly, looking like he was just searching for some way to get out of answering that question.

“Hey, I don’t think Karkat wants to talk about that right now, think we could move onto something else instead?” Dave asked. Sure, he wanted to know the answer too, but Karkat looked a step away from just running off.

“Oh of course, whatever he’s comfortable with is fine. This isn’t some sort of interrogation, he only has to answer what he wants” Jake said, and Dave was pretty sure Karkat didn’t get all that. “Dave said you had a translator?” he asked, switching topics. Dave could practically feel the relief coming off of Karkat at the change of topic.

“Yes,” he answered simply.

“Is that something common on your planet?”

“No,” Karkat said, and yeah, yes or no questions definitely seemed to be better for this. Also, turns out that translator had been something special, or at least hard to get. Dave could see the look of guilt that flashed across John’s face at that revelation.

“You like bike horns?” Jake asked next. Karkat frowned a bit at the question, and Dave thought he might not know exactly what he meant for a moment.

“No, stupid,” he mumbled, surprising Dave quite a bit. Karkat was protective as fuck of those buggers and insisted on sleeping on them of all things.

“Er, is he calling me stupid, or the horns?” Jake asked as he turned towards Dave, and that was actually a pretty good question.

“No idea,” he said.

They continued on like that for a while, Jake asking questions that Karkat would answer with one or two words. They mostly stuck to yes or no ones, which Karkat seemed to like the best. Every so often Jake would slip in something that would require a bit more to answer and Karkat would answer those about half the time. The other half of the time he would turn to Dave like he was asking if he needed to answer that or not. All in all it actually seemed to be going pretty well, or at least, quite a bit better than Dave had expected by a long shot.

“Okay so just a few more questions and I think we’re done here, sounds good?” Jake said. Karkat just nodded, looking like the stress of all of this was starting to get to him. Dave figured he could get through a couple more questions though.

“Did you have a family?” Dave was actually surprised by that question. It was a good one, yeah, but he wasn’t sure if that was the best thing to ask. Jake always did have a bit of a problem with tact though, especially when he’s excited or distracted.

The look on Karkat’s face wasn’t upset or anything like that, but instead just confusion.

“Famly?” he asked Dave quietly, clearly just having no idea what the word meant. Dave hadn’t realized he’d never used that word with him before, but it made sense. He didn’t want to bring up the topic in case it upset Karkat, and all he had was bro so it was easier just saying that.

“Uh, family is like, Bro? People you live with, and take care of you?” Dave tried to explain.

“Lusus?” Karkat asked, and all Dave could do was shrug, since he didn’t exactly know what that word meant. “Yes?” he answered hesitantly, looking back over at Jake.

“What were they like?” Jake pressed. Karkat still didn’t seem to have much of a clue what to say to that.

“Loud?” he said, making this little motion with his hands, touching his thumbs to the rest of his fingers. Dave had no clue what that was supposed to mean, and he was pretty sure Jake didn’t either. Before he could ask another question Karkat sighed and turned towards Dave again. “Done now?” he asked, sounding exhausted. Dave quickly nodded, because yeah this was over whenever Karkat said it was.

“Sure thing man, that cool with you Jake?” Dave asked, the older man quickly nodding.

“Of course! Thank you so much for speaking with me,” he said. Karkat just shrugged, still looking pretty unnerved by him. Dave reached out and put a hand on his shoulder, startling him a bit.

“Hey, wanna relax back upstairs?” he asked. Karkat just stared at him for a moment before slowly nodding.

“Yes please,” he said. Dave led him back up into the attic, almost managing not to flinch when he flopped down in a heap onto the horns. Someday he would get used to that fucking noise, but today was not that day. He doubted it would be anytime soon, either.

“You feeling okay?” Dave asked, Karkat nodding, before righting himself and turning to look at Dave.

“’m fine,” he said. Dave wasn’t sure how much he believed that, but he figured the last thing Karkat wanted right now was more prying questions.

“Thanks for doing that,” he said instead. Karkat just shrugged again, not really saying anything. “It’ll be okay man, I promise.” Dave wasn’t sure why he kept wanting to assure Karkat of that, but it seemed to help him relax just the slightest bit.

“Gonna go sleep,” Karkat said, and Dave nodded. Dude did look pretty tired, and it had been a long as fuck day.

“Alright man, get some rest,” he said, starting back towards the ladder. “Open or closed?” he asked, wanting Karkat to remember that he was free to come down whenever he wanted now.

“Closed please,” he said, and Dave nodded.

“Goodnight man.”

“Goodnight,” Karkat echoed back as Dave closed the hatch.

Dave sighed as he stood alone in the kitchen. He was pretty damn tired too, but he probably wouldn’t be able to get to sleep for a few more hours. He was sure that Jake would want to go over everything Karkat had said, and he wanted to make sure Jake remembered that he couldn’t actually tell anyone about this.

All in all, he couldn’t complain. Things had gone way fucking better than he thought they would, even with Jake finding out. Sure, watching Karkat struggle with the fear that something was going to go wrong and not being able to do anything sucked, but in comparison to what could have happened, it was as good as it was going to get.

---

Once Dave left the storageblock Karkat fucking deflated into his pile with an exhausted huff. God, somehow that was both so much worse than and also not as bad as he thought it would be. Seeing the adult up close, he didn’t seem quite as threatening as Dave’s bro did at first. He wasn’t as tall, but he was a bit bigger. He had the same near constant smile as the moirail had, which made him seem not quite as terrifying as he probably could be.

Karkat still had no idea why he decided to fucking talk to him. He could barely understand half the questions, the alien spoke so strange. Karkat didn’t know why he’d been writing shit down, and he didn’t like the feeling of being fucking examined, and it was fucking awful.

Having Dave sitting there with him the whole time, making sure he didn’t have to answer anything he didn’t understand or didn’t want to definitely helped him though. It shouldn’t have been so comforting just to know he was close by. His bloodpusher shouldn’t have fucking fluttered from a hand on his shoulder.

Karkat groaned into pyralspite. He fucking had to put an end to this already. Dave had a goddamn moirail. It was going to end badly and he’d been through so fucking much already he didn’t know how he would deal with this blowing up in his face too. Somehow Dave managed to be so goddamn clueless throughout all of this too and it was so pathetic.

Karkat just needed to keep his space for a while. This was happening because he was stressed and had nowhere else to turn to. He'd told himself this s many times already. If he could just get himself under control, keep his space from Dave and try to relax for once, it would pass. The worst that could have happened had happened, and he was still here and okay. There was no one else in this hive to hide him from. He was safe.

Karkat tried to get some sleep, shifting around in his pile and laying in silence for a couple of hours. He was so fucking tired, but of course he couldn’t actually get himself to pass out. No, that would be too simple. After everything that happened today, he couldn’t have something nice and easy for once.

A thought came into his head, and he quickly tried to push it aside. He was fine up here. If that person did have some nefarious pl