Getting the shit to do it was actually the easy part.
There is definitely some irony there, because the reason you and Karkat didn't try to do this sooner is because of the whole "can't godtier without your quest bed" thing. Well, maybe a little because it legit didn't come up. Maybe because he's a little bit afraid of it and you tend to just block out any train of thought that ends with him being dead, even if it's going to definitely be only for a minute.
But Kanaya managed it, you were actually the one who took Roxy back in time to get a look at her quest bed so it'd be easier for her to do the voidy thing and create it, and after that was over Karkat looked at you and you knew. He was thinking about it, and there was no way in hell he was going to stop.
You're so fucking scared. You're standing maybe ten feet back from the platform, watching Kanaya slide a needle into Karkat's arm (and yeah, it's a little less bad because Rose pointed out that it can be fast, there doesn't have to be blood, there's ways to die that don't hurt) and trying not to just fucking jump up there and wrap your arms around him, pull him down and make Jane fix it before it even kicks in all the way. If John and Dirk weren't standing with you, actually holding onto you, you'd be up there with him.
Except in the hours of planning, Karkat insisted that nobody got on the slab with him. You don't know how this shit works, he said. It's less likely to get fucked up if he's the only one up there, he said.
You'd be fucking breaking down if you were any closer to him, he didn't say. That's probably the truest statement, though. You're already gripping John's arm hard enough that he's going to have bruises. (Dirk had enough sense to get ahold of your other hand; you're afraid you're going to break his fingers but realistically you're probably putting him in less pain than you are John.)
Kanaya steps back to stand by Rose.
"It's not going to take that long, right?" Karkat asks, glancing at you for a second and just as quickly focusing back on Kanaya. "I mean, I'd say that the suspense is killing me, but on the other hand even thinking that makes me think Dave and I need to spend some time apart—"
"In your dreams, Kat," you tell him. Damn, you can't keep your voice steady...
Rose shakes her head, offering you a sympathetic look. "Just lie down," she says soothingly. "Ten minutes, maybe. Probably less."
"It isn't going to hurt," Kanaya adds, even though he didn't ask, and even from here you can see a tiny bit of tension go out of Karkat's shoulders.
He nods, glances at you again, and pulls his legs up, lying back. After a couple minutes of shifting and trying to get into a comfortable he huffs, rolling onto his back. You can't see from this angle, but you're willing to bet he's scowling up at the sky. "Hey Dave?" he says after maybe a minute.
"Yeah?" Please, please let him have changed his mind about being up there alone, you want to hold him even if it's going to fuck you up for the next couple months...
No such luck, though, because he just says, "It'll be fine."
"Yeah." And shit, there we go, you can't say one fucking word without your fucking voice breaking. It's not fine, so not fine right now.
Dirk glances at you, reaching over to wrap his free arm around you. On the other side John does the same thing; you know if you turned at all they'd both have you wrapped up in a double embrace, keep you from looking until it was over. But no. You're not doing that. No.
Instead you watch him. You can see the rise and fall of his chest, and you try to calm down a little by timing your breath to that, counting how many seconds between each. He's scared too, you can tell by how fast he's breathing...well, at first.
Then it's slower.
Then he doesn't inhale for long enough that you have to give up and breathe in. And you can't do this any longer—you try to step forward, yank out of Dirk and John's hold and get to Karkat, you need to—
You pull loose from John, but Dirk's another story. He keeps his grip on your hand, getting pulled a reluctant step forward before John actually reacts and wraps his arms around you, holding you still.
You can hear the fucking noises you're making as Dirk tries to calm you down, panting panicked sobs that're more like a hurt animal than anything you should make. If Karkat can hear you at all you've got to be scaring him worse. Even knowing that isn't enough for you to be able to make yourself stop.
After a second Dirk just gives up and opens his arms, nodding at John to let go of you for a second. You stumble forward when he does, crashing into Dirk and driving him another step backward. Then he's got you wrapped up in a hug, not letting you pull your face out of his chest for another look at the guy who means the fucking world to you.
Dirk is saying something to you and John is saying something to you and you can't make sense of either of them. Dirk's not even letting you fight him now, he's capable of holding you still and he's doing it, you can't—you can't see Karkat, what if it's going wrong? It's been fucking forever—
(two minutes, the voice in your head that keeps track of time even when you don't need it to whispers, just barely two minutes and you took longer than that your first time—)
You don't care, you don't fucking care, you want him to be alive. Right now.
Dirk's still trying to get you to stop trying to get away from him, and because you don't know what else to do you just go limp. God, it's the stupidest thing you could possibly do, but you can't help it; you give up and just fucking sob against him. If Dirk and John weren't holding you up you'd be curled up on the ground.
He's dead. He's fucking dead. He's—
"Dave!" It's the loudest Karkat's ever shouted in your presence, and you don't even register tearing yourself out of the still-firm hold of your best friend and your bro, or covering the five feet between you and Karkat. It's more like you blink, and you're on top of him, he's making soothing noises while you just fucking...look.
The outfit's familiar, the wrong shade of red. There's little slits in the hood for his horns. Karkat grins when you put your palms flat against the symbol on his chest, reaching up to wipe your face dry with the corner of his cape.
"That's not wha—what that's for, man," you tell him, and it comes out in a whisper.
"Fuck what it's for, I'd rather use it on you." He shakes his head, wrapping his arms around you and pulling you as close as he can, waiting until you lean your forehead against his. "Shh. It's okay. It's okay, see? I'm right here. I'm okay."
"You better not do that to me again. Not ever." When you wrap your arms around him your hands brush against something surprisingly soft and smooth—wings, you know without seeing them. So much smaller than Kanaya's or Vriska's, but you bet he can fly even so. "You die on me, I'll fucking kill you."
That earns you a snort and a quick, light kiss before he pulls back. "Dumbass."
Oh, you don't have to think about that. Later you're going to wake up from nightmares where he doesn't call for you, but right now? "Fuck yeah I am."
"Good." Karkat gives you an evil grin, tightens his grip on you, and takes off straight up, laughing when you yelp and cling to him. If he drops you you can still fly yourself, but he's not going to drop you.
You're crying again when he finally takes you down to earth again, but this time it's good-tears.
You can't believe this worked. You're so fucking happy this worked.
He deserves this.