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I'll Fix You

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You walked down a familiar street in a familiar way. This was something you did on routine. Every day you would pass by that same oak tree, its leaves just starting to float down and become responsible for more crunching noises under your two left feet. You would turn your head, and look at the same exact empty playground about a block from that tree, watching the swings slowly sway with the gentle, cool breeze.

Something suddenly interrupted that serene escape from reality and you shoot your hand in one of the jean pockets. Taking out a cellular device with an obnoxious ring that looped menacingly, you press ACCEPT and speak into the receiver. “’Sup Egbert.”

“Finally you pick up! I’ve been growing mold over here with the time it took for you to actually answer me.” Your dorky friend complained in a half assed manner on the other end. You could feel that damned buck toothed smile from across the call.

“Impatient are we? Or is it that time of the month again?” You don’t miss a beat.

“Oh shut up. I left my Calculus book over there and I need to study.” Egbert groaned into the phone. You hear a few things fall over on his end and a breathy curse.

“You know if you come over you aren’t going to get any studying done. “ A sigh, “At most you’ll bring your video games over again and play those the entire time…again”.

“Come on Dave, I won’t take up too much time, I swear.” He whined, obviously too stubborn to let this down. Another sigh and you find yourself giving in.

It’s not that you didn’t want to spend some quality time with your bromigo. John Egbert was your friend, best friend in fact. Yet, due to your living conditions, you have to attend work and school and your energy levels were at an all time low. Thank god it was the weekend.

...

The sky seemed to have never held any form of light when John finished his “studying”. Just as you assumed, you two played games the entire time, leaving John with only a few hours to study before he would most likely pass out at his house with the book over his face.

“Well maybe if you let me beat you every now and then I wouldn’t stay over for so long!” John turned the tables. He grabbed his sneakers and lazily slipped each foot in toe-first.

“Says the guy who fell off the map all by himself,” you retorted teasingly. John was so terrible at his own games. The charcoal haired one stood up, giving the shades a quick attempt at a glare.

“Well Mr. I’m-so-amazing-at-everything, why don’t you walk this poor soul to his house. I could get abducted by some crazy homeless person.” John exaggerated, picking up the book that he came here for in the first place.

“I fed you dinner and now you want me to walk you home? Damn, if I knew this was going to be a date I would’ve dressed nicer.” you joke, pushing him out of your apartment and heading for John’s house. John retorted something clever, but your mind wandered.

His house isn’t far, and you two don’t discuss anything important. His father gives you a smile as you leave the premises of the house. If this wasn’t so repetitive, it would be a mystery on how you’re able to walk home in such a pitch black town. Even though it’s dark, it still seems to feel as safe and peaceful as during the day.

That is, until something catches your eye.

You look over to your right, and see a small clearing. There is nothing built there, and all architects refuse to go near that area. In the distance is an old looking building just behind the clearing. A light flickered warningly. The wind seems to pick up around here, as if there was some barrier that caused the weather to rile up. It was almost as if it was pulling you in. You never give in, though, knowing what lies beyond that building past the clearing. But you still feel the desire.

Every instance when you drop Egbert off and head home, you stop in this exact same spot. The clearing that lies near the park uncomfortably close to your house always seems to beckon you. You don’t know what is inside that far off building, but it is the only landmark separating you from those creatures.

Those monsters were known as trolls. You’ve never seen one personally, but from what adults have taught their children, they are nightmares. Trolls are violent, rough, disgusting, blood thirsty beasts. You do not speak about them in public. They live their existence on their side; the humans live on the opposite side. You coexist without actually coexisting and both sides seem to not mind.

Throughout your entire life you have come to ignore them, but that abandoned building still calls out your name like a serenade. Luckily, the only thing scarier than a troll is society. You know what will happen if you cross that building. Once before, a child was curious enough to cross that border. You haven’t seen that child ever since.

Suddenly, a shiver runs down your spine as a small, pathetic cry is heard near the building. Someone was out there. What if it was another kid? Or a small dog? Should you help? Your mind was racing and before you knew it, you took your first step toward the building.

...

Your heart was racing as fast as your legs as you carried yourself into the building. The pain coming from your side was threatening to leave a trail of disgusting red blood behind you. The day you dreaded ever since your wriggling day has finally come, and you were definitely not ready to die yet. You weren’t weak, you refused. You would even consider dying from those goddamn drones compared to this stupid defect. The only thoughts you had were instincts screaming that whatever the hell you do, don’t stop.

...

Two large, wooden doors were located at the front of the building and it took all of your strength to thrust one open. The door swung into the wall heavily, creating a loud, echoed bang. The room was huge, and there were a few, small desks from what you could tell. Everything was dusty and dark and you couldn’t exactly make out what half of anything was.

...

Ducking under the nearest piece of furniture, your hand rested against the burning wound. You took this time to catch up to your breath, your lungs desperately trying to refill and empty itself of oxygen at a continuously fast rate. Your mouth was dry and your throat stung. Clutching carefully, you let out a small whine, looking down to investigate your injured side.

...

Curiosity got the best of you and you wandered deeper into the building. The large desk held a few scattered books. Some were torn and ripped; others were covered in layers of dust as thick as the book itself. You picked one up and tried holding it up to any form of light that you could, but the room was too dark and your shades didn’t exactly help.

Oh right, your shades.

Being the dumbass that you were, you slid your shades out of your face and onto your head. The book’s cover seemed to be decorated with an organized set of designs that you certainly were not familiar with. Before you could investigate further; however, a sad whine startled you and you nearly dropped the dusty book.

...

You heard the scurrying above you and you panicked. Peering above the desk you threw yourself under earlier, you noticed a tall, pale figure standing beside your hiding spot. It was a human. Your panic increased tenfold when his eyes met yours. That is, until you saw the color of his eyes.

...

You were staring dead at one of them. You expected every bone and nerve in your body to scream at you to run, to get away. But that didn’t happen. You took a safe step back, but the lack of danger you felt confused you. His eyes almost glowed majestically in the darkness. He didn’t look in the least bit menacing. If anything, the small troll looked more afraid than you were of him.

A frantic click and hiss was heard from a distance, and the troll jumped, his fright increased as he leaped behind you. Looking around, the small troll was desperate for an escape. You noticed this, and an incredibly dumb idea came to you.

You knew you would regret this in the morning.

Chapter Text

Your name is Dave Strider and you have no idea how the hell you got into this situation.

You are cowering behind one of your wooden dining room chairs, a whisk in hand as your only defense. The troll is across the room, crouching down and letting out a low snarl. You didn’t know how the hell he suddenly got so pissed, but you didn’t want to exactly find out how angry he truly was. When you attempt to get closer in order to try and calm down the situation, his growls only grows more menacing.

It might be easier if we went back an hour.

It was early in the morning, and you were fast asleep on the couch. You made a nice pile on top of your bed for the troll after a lot of communication issues. He didn’t seem to speak English to your knowledge. Either way, he woke up way before you were ready to even open your eyes; that is, if he actually fell asleep (which is still a mystery to you).

When you were startled awake, the troll was staring you down as if he was expecting something. You jumped. You definitely were not used to company in the house ever since the accident with Bro. Plus he seemed a lot more friendly ever since you patched up his side last night.

“You want something?” a yawn interrupted the middle of your sentence. The troll didn’t budge and you looked him over. He looked a little less terrible today yet he still had this odd smell to him. Maybe you’ll be able to get him to be hygienic later. Do trolls even bathe?

His eyes didn’t look away from you, blinking every so often to hydrate his illuminated yellow eyes. Stretching, you move to sit up and scoot so there is a bigger distance between you and the troll. This douche may seem friendly now, but he is still unpredictable and you have no idea how to work their tempers.

“It seems we’re at a stalemate, troll,” Something catches your attention. “Hey, little guy, do you even have a name? Or am I going to have to come up with something fitting?”

He blinks in reply.

“You realize when you stay creepily silent like that it makes me realize how much of a one-sided conversation this really is?”

Another blink and you sigh.

“Fine, let me think about it.” You groggily get up and off the couch and apply your shades. The troll locks eye contact with you and then heads into the kitchen. Taking that as a sign to follow him, you do so at your own pace. He glances at you before opening any and all cabinets, obviously searching for food. A small smirk forms on your face as you watch him explore the kitchen.

“If you were hungry you could have said so instead of prancing around the kitchen and waiting for me to make it like a cat.” You commented, and then an idea hit you,
“Looks like we just found you your name.” He gives you a confused look until you continue with “So what are you in the mood for, Kitten?”

The other’s face immediately goes from confused to incredibly unamused. It’s almost as if he understood the degrading pet name. He scoffs and begins grabbing every type of food that he can from every type of drawer.

You watch him for a moment, looking the troll over considering this was the first time you saw him in daylight. His hair seemed coarse and if flew up in every angle possible, sticking against his face from a few stray beads of sweat. Two small horns that lacked any sharp angles or edges protruded from his head. He was still drowning in some sort of dusty, old looking cloth that draped over his shoulders like a curtain that hasn’t been cleaned for weeks. There seemed to be clothes under the cloth as well, but you didn’t push it. The troll’s height was fairly short and his horns didn’t exactly give him any extra leverage on that. The only thing actually threatening were the rows of sharp teeth in his mouth that seemed like they could chew through flesh fairly easy.

You stop observing when your guest rips an item in his hand. He had successfully grabbed the flour bag and cut it open; a huge cloud of white had coated everything in its path, including the troll’s already dirty face.

“Shit man, stop making a mess. I’ll do it.” You’re already next to him, confiscating the flour and beginning to clean the flour painted counter. A small, animalistic hissing noise vibrates in the shorter one’s throat, but he reluctantly backs off.

You begin making pancakes since the little shit had already ruined your unopened flour package. The troll voiced unappreciative groans and huffs, impatiently waiting for you to finish.

“If you’re that hungry, Kitten, you can snack on this quietly while I work on the actual meal.” You part from the batter you are currently making only to reach up into a cabinet above you and pull out a box of jerky. It’s set next to you as you return your hands to your whisk and bowl.

His movements are slow but sure as he wanders over, inspecting the box of dried meat. He violently digs his nails into the box, trying to create his own opening. You ignore the troll and focus on the batter, letting him do whatever the hell he wants while he was here. It’s not like this was going to be a daily thing. If he doesn’t wander out of the house soon, you’ll have to take action and either return him to his side or turn him in on your side. It’s best to do that before you actually start giving a shit about the creature.

A sudden yelp is voiced by your house guest as he drops the box and growls violently. You turn around to investigate the scenario, but as you get closer a pair of claws swipe at you. Your heart begins pumping violently and you immediately slap his hand with the whisk to keep it at bay. The troll only howls louder and jumps back. A nearby chair becomes your best friend as you grab it and slide it in front of you, using it to create a barrier between both you and the beast.

You still have no idea how you got in this situation.

The troll is crouching on his side of the chair, his hand against his chest at what appears to be an uncomfortable angle. You’re on the other end, “weapon” in hand and fear flooding your mind. It all seemed to happen in a fraction of a second and you had no time to actually think.

You try and piece things together as he stares you down without blinking. Any false move and the last thing you’ll ever see will be him lunging at your throat. Scanning the box of jerky that is parallel with the chair, you notice a small splotch of fresh red blood on the corner. Then the pieces connect.

“Alright, Kitten, calm down a bit,” You began, voicing every single one of your actions to the other whether he understood or not. Either way it seemed to soothe him if only a little bit. With the whisk put on the counter and yourself slowly backing out of the room, you headed for the bathroom only to return shortly with a small white container. The troll watched you curiously as you opened it from your side of the room.

“See, nothing suspicious here. I just need to see your hand,” Another attempt at consoling the other. The troll watched you, eyebrows furrowed. His eyes never left the bandaid and cream that was in your hand. Voices only spoke quieter, doing its best at a cooing like noise to appease the troll.

His stance loosened as he took a few small steps toward you. “I’m not going to hurt you.” You tried to comfort him, opening the bandaid and using your other hand to encourage the troll closer. Inch by inch the other shuffled closer, cautious but trusting. Once he was in arms reach of you, he extended his forearm, glancing at the cut on his hand and scowling to himself. His dark grey irises glared daggers at the floor, making sure to direct his attention away from the wound.

You tried not to laugh. The small, grey hand only possessed the tiniest cut, but it was deep enough to bead blood at the top. By the look of the trolls face, he wasn’t in pain but disgust. Maybe trolls just experienced hemophobia. You didn’t know and you didn’t exactly want to be associated with this troll long enough to find out.

Moving at half speed, the troll’s cut was disinfected and bandaged successfully. It took longer than it should have, but it was better to take three minutes to stick a bandaid on than get a face full of jagged troll nails.

“I told you you were going to be fine, Kitten,” You smirked, throwing out the wrapper and putting the white container away. The troll reviewed the bandaid, scanning the small prints of colors and pictures on it.

You returned to cooking the pancakes, losing your train of thought and burning a few flapjacks every so often. The other sat patiently at the dining room table, obviously trying to learn from his mistake. You saw this and another subconscious smile crept on your face.

The little asshole was kind of endearing.

Kind of.

Chapter Text

“—ave”

You stirred in your chair, groaning quietly to yourself at the interrupting noise.

“Dave.”

Your eyelids lifted open lazily. Following a pair of delicate hands placed on two slender hips in a sassy manner, your eyes eventually meet your blond friend’s.

“Sup Rose.” Sitting up, you greet her tiredly with a stretch. She looks upset, but far from even remotely pissed. The typical classroom was nearly empty, a few kids piling out as class had recently ended.

“I know this period is quite frankly the least difficult class but it’s considered rude to fall asleep.” Her tone wasn’t threatening nor did it possess any form of anger. There was a slight hint of disappointment, though.

“You’ve got that right; even Egberts got an above average score in this class.”

“I can hear you.” The boy chimed in with a huff.

“Not the point,” Rose continued, her eyebrows furrowing, “You usually don’t fall asleep, is everything alright?”

Ah, now you’ve gone and made her worry. There was no way you were explaining to her you were up the entire night trying to soothe and take care of one of those “menacing” trolls. Speaking of which, you hadn’t seen him when you woke up this morning, but then again, you did fall asleep with your ass on the floor and your head resting on the couch cushion.

You remained expressionless, “You know I run a blog, Lalonde. Gotta keep my followers entertained, even at the latest hours”.

“Yeah, all five of them.” John snorted.

“Zip it, Egbert. I have well over that, and last time I checked, you were one of them.” You retorted.

“Moral support, Dave.” He grinned, jokingly. You gave him a quick, painless kick to the ankle which only made him chuckle.

“Uh huh. And you decided last night of all nights was the perfect opportunity to lose sleep for some ‘followers’?” Dammit, Rose was good.

John raised his index finger in the air. “Maybe he has an internet crush.”

“Bingo. I just can’t keep the online babes off of this choice ass. Someone give this boy a medal.”

You really did love your friends. They have been with you and put up with you even before the accident with Bro. Even after all the trauma, when you decided to wear his sunglasses everywhere you went, they didn’t judge you and they certainly didn’t put up with anyone else calling you out (which happened on numerous occasions). The second a stranger decided to become some annoying, cocky bastard and mess with you because “only freaks wear shades wherever they go”, the small blond and your best friend were at your side. You appreciated them greatly, even if you never showed them.

“Hey, do you guys ever wonder about those troll creatures?” you accidentally blurted, lost in thought. The second your lips spat out the end of that sentence, the room fell heavy with a silence so awkward it could pierce a wall.

John’s expression immediately fell grim and his lips were tightly pressed into a thin line. Rose studied your face after looking around the room to make sure no one was around to hear it.

“Dave, that topic is very… sensitive,” Rose chose her wording carefully, “what suddenly brought the subject into play?” You could tell she was avoiding talking about it and instead talking of it.

“What, oh. Nothing. Someone just mentioned it last night. No biggie.” Your guard immediately shot up. You definitely had said too much, forgetting how taboo the subject was.
Rose frowned, definitely not pleased with your excuse.

“I think you’ve been on the internet too much. Let’s hurry and head home, I am starving!” the boy was quick to change the subject, adjusting his square glasses and hopping off of the desk. You nodded as the three of you shuffled out of the room, eventually parting ways.

You mentally kicked yourself for that slip. Sure, to you trolls didn’t seem as bad as everyone believes and that fact only makes you that much more curious on how they truly are. But you were alone with that, and you weren’t allowed to share this newfound knowledge, which only made your curiosity burn stronger.

The walk home was nerve wrecking. The troll was left alone in your house all day for the first time. A bet was placed in your head guessing how many things would be broken. But that was the least of your worries. You hoped no one found him, or else you wouldn’t see the light of day ever again. And neither would he.

Entering your dwelling, you braced yourself for the damage. To your surprise, everything was perfectly in order, just how you left it. You searched each room, finding everything as still and quiet as ever.

“Kitten?” you called out to no avail. A few more calls and the house remained silent.

You came to the conclusion that the troll left, and decided to plop down onto the couch. This was a good thing; he was out of your hair. There is no longer the risk of being killed for housing a monster. Monster. You quietly laughed to yourself. This was for the best, so why doesn’t it feel like it was a victory? Instead, the house just seems empty and quieter than you remember.

Your curiosity was still haunting your mind and you knew just how to cure it. The best thing to do is to visit where it all started.

Now this was nostalgic, standing in front of the large, wooden doors that led to the inside of the abandoned building. It is strangely easy to visit this building. They had once built a wire fence around it many years ago, but no one bothered to even look in the direction of the building, so fencing was unnecessary. It is so old that most of it is rusting and broken, making it extremely easy to sneak through.

It took a good amount of strength to reopen those doors, but they were heavy last time as well. As you step in, the door slams shut behind you. That wasn’t something you remember happening last time.

Your feet drag you over to the desks you had visited the last time you were here. It was almost like you were retracing your exact steps of that night.

You abruptly halt when you reach the area you met the troll. The memory is still vivid as you see the foot prints and shuffling both your feet had caused on the layer of dust located on the floor. Then your eyes trace the book you had dropped when running out of the building with the troll.

Another step forward and you’re picking the book up, a new thin layer of dust already forming over where you wiped it last time. The symbol was still unrecognizable as you lift your shades and open the book.

It made a noise like the old wooden doors make when forced open. Page by page, more symbols appeared and none of them were any more recognizable than the last.

Your finger gently glides over some of the symbols, and they gradually fade away.

Wait, what.

You stare at the book, squinting and blinking to make sure it wasn’t your eyesight playing tricks on you. The symbols eventually reformed, but in the English language you’re oh so familiar with.

Looking around, you inspect the average looking book. Maybe you’re going insane…

The page of context revealed that it was a history book, and a thick one at that. It looked boring until you read that it wasn’t of your history, but of the trolls.

You lift your vision from the book and to the walls. There were thousands among thousands of books here, were they all on trolls? Were they on humans as well? What exactly was this place before it was abandoned?

A loud bang and you almost jump out of your skin. Shit. You weren’t alone anymore. You quickly close the book, shove it under your arm, and make a speedy escape.

As you make it home, your heart takes its sweet time to stop racing. With the door locked behind you, and yourself being safely locked in the vicinity of your bedroom, you finally call it safe enough to reopen the book and begin discovering a new culture.

Chapter Text

Days passed and you find yourself becoming more engrossed in this newfound knowledge than you would have believed. It has almost become a daily habit for you to visit the old library; taking books back with you and returning them every so often. The visits really have opened up your eyes, and you feel as if you’re seeing the world in a different light or a new world entirely. You grew up believing trolls were savage monsters out for blood and nothing more.

You were gravely wrong.

They are quick, intelligent, and extremely organized. They have been for many decades and you’re only now finding out.

Trolls have an odd system. Or at least it seems extremely odd compared to the human society you’re used to. What you can capture from this poorly translated book is that they are, to put it simply, raising soldiers. These soldiers grow up into adults after two pupations in their lives. The adults are either kept around to enforce rules and train even more soldiers, or they are shipped to other planets to wreak havoc on innocent lives.

Their rank is decided based on how they were hatched. More specifically, what blood color they grew up with after being hatched from some weird giant genetic material container? You still don’t exactly understand that part. There’s some information about a “mother grub” and whatnot, but the translation is sloppy. Even so, they rank the bloods by color, maroon being the lowest and fuchsia being more on the royal side. You wonder where Kitten’s blood would be, considering his blood was too brilliant in color to be considered maroon.

Other books you have taken into custody from the building were stories from both the human and troll side. One was a journal about troll behavior by a human named J. D. English. He said upon his discovery, trolls made many noises to show emotion. Anger usually consisted of snarls, growls, and other animalistic noises. When they were happy or content, they would chirp or let out a low rumble in the back of their throats that resembled something of a purr. Some trolls had special powers, such as manipulating their surroundings with telepathic powers or having a heightened sense.

The journal was loaded with never ending facts. Trolls favorite scents and tastes revolved around their blood color. Higher bloods preferred bitter, stronger smells while lower bloods preferred sweeter, softer smells. Another useful fact was that trolls were repelled by poinsettias due to the smell and diterpene esters in the latex. Apparently that irritated troll skin much more severely than human skin and they steered clear. J. D. also explains that he never found the reason for troll horns, considering they come in so many unique shapes and sizes.

You admit that this has become somewhat of an obsession. Even Lalonde and Egbert noticed your change in mood. Your grades are slowing down to borderline average and your mind is always somewhere else. They probably think you’re distracting yourself with something to avoid your deceased brother’s upcoming birthday, and for all you know that could partially be true. All you know is after years of being isolated in that house the freedom this is allowing your mind is something you consider relieving.

Rose wasn’t aware that you knew the pattern she had set up. Everyday either Rose or John would walk you home and loiter around your house. They were trying to discretely take care of you and doing a shit job at it. It only took you a few days to catch on.

There was finally an opening where both of your friends were too busy to visit, so you took the opportunity to visit the abandoned library once more. On your way out the door, you remember to pocket a few red flowers from your neighbor’s yard you read about in the journal. Better safe than sorry.

Approaching the building, a book in hand you’ve read far too many times, you seemed much more relaxed at taking a trip passed the “NO TRESPASSING” sign. Chills don’t run down your spine when the front door slams behind you after stepping inside.

You look around at the areas with shelves. They are organized into topics, but you can’t read the Alternian that the signs are in.

Walking up the curved staircase, you search around before putting the book in your hand back where you found it a week ago. The tips of your fingers glide across each spine, wiping away a thin layer of dust in the process. You survey the books, taking out a few and reading a small excerpt before returning it to its place on the shelf.

Then a certain book catches your eye.

Taking it out of the shelf, you blow off some of the filth and realize the title is in both English and Alternian. Usually a book is one or the other, and some Alternian books translate by touch. But this book is different.

You carefully open it, and notice how each page is split. The left page is written in English while the right page is translated to Alternian.

The book opens up with similarities and differences between humans and trolls, but it seems much less bias than the other books you’ve read, considering they were all one sided. It talks about how humans are more likely to advance and move on, but they were selfish. Trolls kept tradition and strict ruling, but would also turn their back on another in a second flat.

Flipping through more pages, your eyes skimmed the left pages of the text. The first landing of trolls on the planet was mentioned. The book made them sound much more docile and solicitous: While the newcomers brought odd customs and traditions with them, they were still welcomed. Their presence did not have a negative effect on society like formerly thought. The species’ alikeness with humans caused them to fit into the system easily. Fit into? Does this mean that once humans and trolls actually lived in unison? What stopped the trolls from taking over the planet in the first place if that’s what their society desires?

You flipped quicker, nearing the end of the book. If they were welcomed so easily then something immense must have occurred to turn them into something not worth mentioning.

You scanned the pages again. This new alien race’s instincts of betrayal had blinded their judgment too quickly. Human’s greed for knowledge and power had also driven them to the edge, almost starting something of a civil war. The large misunderstanding drove both species to the brink of their comfort zone and untrustworthiness broke out. The trolls believed huma—

You swear your soul almost jumps out of your skin the second a loud and nearby crash is heard. Blinking rapidly, you eye the floor but see nothing. Looking over the railing cautiously, you noticed three figures in what looks like an intimidating post-fight stance. There are growls and clicks and hisses filling the silence.

Your eyes meet the smallest one’s face.

“Kitten?”

There was the little candy red troll, hissing and snarling while being cornered by two taller trolls. Kitten reminded you of a frightened puppy, tail between his legs but his bark trying—and failing miserably—to ward off predators. His back was up against the shelf still standing, the blue and teal troll on either side of his only escapes. They both snarled and clicked back, but less violently.

Goosebumps rose from your skin when the teal one pulled her cane apart and a hidden blade shone in the small amount of moonlight. The blue one, who was much taller, didn’t seem to have a weapon. Although, looking at the size of his arms through his light armor, he wouldn’t need one.

Kitten’s eyes were frantic, looking for any hope of an escape. He reached around his back to what seemed like the handle of a weapon, but the blue troll was fast. His hand wrapped around Kitten’s neck and held him up. Some sort of insane cackle came from the teal one and her voice softened to a coo. This seemed to only frighten the red troll more.

A blade rose in the air and your eyes widened. Why were they killing their own kind? Was he some sort of criminal? He didn’t seem even remotely like a crook. Kitten’s voice became louder and more desperate sounding, and before you could think, you were on your feet.

“Quick, cover your nose!” You yelled out, jumping off the railing once you were close enough. The teal troll saw you coming a mile away and jumped back, but the blue one was too busy holding Kitten. In a flash you landed on the buff troll, ripping a flower out of your pocket and shoving it in the other’s eye. A deep, bellowing screech erupted from the troll and he threw you off. Your body was flung into another shelf like a ragdoll, tipping it over.

You’re on your feet a second or two after you land, despite the screaming pain in your back. The male troll is still hissing, scratching mercilessly at his eyes as what looks like blue paint drips down his wrists from his sockets.

Kitten is nowhere to be seen but the teal troll is behind you within seconds. She was much faster than the bigger troll. You spin around as her blade thrusts near your stomach, barely missing. She cackles and you know she’s playing with you. You’re quick and you reach for the flowers again, but this time you throw them at the ground near her feet.

She doesn’t flinch from the throw, her red tinted glasses staring at the vicinity of your direction. Though, her nose twitches and she’s howling, covering it almost immediately with her red gloved hand and taking a step back. She backs into another shelf, and you can’t see her eyes but you can feel the menacing glare from behind her shades. As she lifts her blade again, snarling, the shelf to her back rocks before tipping over and onto the teal troll. Kitten is there, his own face shrouded in the cloth draped around his shoulder, only his illuminating eyes peeking out. He’s trying not to breathe in the flower’s scent, and he quickly avoids them, pacing around them.

Before you can say anything, the shelf begins to move and the teal troll’s growls return. You grab Kitten’s hand and abscond as fast as you can. It doesn’t matter if they see you take him to the human side, trolls wouldn’t dare stoop so low to ask any human authority for help let alone cross the border.

You don’t let go of Kitten’s hand until you’re both at your home, the door locked behind you. You’re both panting, the troll having a few bruises and cuts but nothing a few days can’t heal. Your back is still throbbing in pain, but you’ll live.

Turning to the other, you speak between breaths, “They really don’t like you there, huh?”

The troll rolls his eyes at the comment, not making any sign of moving from where he’s standing until his energy and guard is back up. You let him do what he finds comfortable. If those two trolls were that quick, you didn’t want to know what happened if you seriously pissed off Kitten.

“I advise you not to run off tonight, considering they’re probably still out there,” you begin, making your way to the kitchen, “I don’t care if you shack up here again, but if you leave again I’d like a goodbye card or a present or something. I did just save your ass twice.”

The troll watches you. No. He studies you. You’re pouring two glasses of the coldest water you can find, your dry throat burning and your adrenaline still pumping. His lips move incoherently.

“…Thanks.”

You almost spill water everywhere.

Did the troll just speak?

Chapter Text

The silence is so thick you swear you could almost feel it.

“Uh…” is the only syllable you can come up with and the troll is giving you this look between extremely annoyed and slightly confused.

There’s another long silence; Kitten’s face looks as if he’s calculating something.

“Are you just going to stand there awkwardly with the pitcher of cold liquid overflowing the plastic fluid dispenser or am I going to revive my protein chute anytime today?” His voice was hoarse.

It takes you a second to catch up, realizing you’re spilling the precious water you couldn’t live without five minutes ago. You quickly stop pouring and grab the nearest towel to absorb the spill.

“You talk.” Your response sounded less like a question and more like a statement. The troll responded with a nod. He’s eyeing one of the cups as you pass it to him. You both take large, refreshing gulps and the saliva in your mouths build back up.

“Were you able to speak this entire time?” You began.

Kitten pauses again. You can see gears shifting and clicking together in his mind.

“Of course not. Do you really believe I would sit silently while you referred to me as degrading pet names?” He chugged the last of his water and relaxed ever so slightly. You give him a smirk and a shrug.

“I dunno, ‘Kitten’ is a pretty cute name if you ask me.”

“Quiet.” Kitten scowls. The voice was surprisingly fitting for his looks. It wasn’t extremely hoarse, but there was that small hint of it being strained every so often. You didn’t know if this was due to the lack of water he recently had or if it’ll stay like this. But you’re not going to lie, you find it amusing the way his voice is.

You had a million questions piling up, but it’s best to not overexert the troll that just had his life threatened for the second time. “So exactly how did you learn to speak good ole English?” You made your way to the couch but didn’t beckon him to follow. He watched you carefully before slowly making his way closer, still managing to keep a very good distance between the two of you. He didn’t relax or sit down, and his eyes were frantic to look at every moving particle in the damn room.

“There were books on your language in the…” he cut himself off, looking frustrated while trying to come up with the correct word choice.

“Library?” You finished it for him.

“Library,” He parroted.  “I learned the basics.”

“You were gone for like a goddamn week and you learned an entirely new language?”

“Your species’ form of communication is not exactly the most complicated.” His eyes dart around the room, observing everything new that wasn’t there during his last visit: the dirty plates that have piled up, a few scattered swords you never got around to cleaning up, and even the minor things such as the rearrangement of the remotes. It’s almost as if he was mapping out the area. “Your human hives aren’t as different as presumed.”

Presumed? What kind of books was he learning from?

You didn’t realize how quiet you sudden became. Your eyes were on every feature of this troll you could see. His eyebrows were furrowed slightly in worry. His eyes darted around your face, trying to find your own and failed. His nails nervously clawed at the cloak’s hem draped around his shoulders. Then you realized he was twice as filthy as when you first met him.

“Fine. But if you’re crashing here again, I am requiring you to at least be hygienic so you don’t track in whatever dirt you trolls roll in.”

“…Roll in?”

With your beverages put neatly away, you somehow are able to steer Kitten toward the bathroom. You’ve learned he particularly doesn’t like sudden movements or small spaces. Small spaces mean less of an escape which only leads to a jumpy and anxious troll. He is still drowning in a ragged, dusty cape-like cloth draped over the majority of his being. His eyes always observe with fright, but the second he makes eye contact with you there is an angry façade covering it. The troll is shorter than you, but not by a significant amount. Maybe three or four inches.

Once you’re both in the bathroom, Kitten memorizing every nook and cranny in the room, you speak up again. “You’re going to need to undress yourself,” you lean over the tub and begin messing with the nozzles, “I’m sure you’re smart enough to do that on your own if you can learn a language in a week.”

The troll doesn’t respond vocally, but you’re preoccupied with the tub. Noticing a stray sword you have dumped carelessly on the tile, you reach to pick it up. Just as your finger tip grazes the edge of the handle, you’re thrown to the ground at an incredible speed. Your head crashes into the tile beneath you which rattles your brain in your skull for a moment. Kitten is on top of you, snarling and glaring down at you. His claws are around your neck, but not squeezing. You swear you see your life flash before your eyes and your heart is racing so loudly you can hear it in your ears. All of your thoughts are bashing into each other and you can’t find the knowledge to speak or move.

You’re going to die.

Somehow you managed to piss the troll off and your stupid obsession for the little guy is going to get you mutilated. You’re visibly shaking, staring wide-eyed at the troll about you through tinted shades. His glare looks more defensive than offensive. He looks between you and the sword multiple times, a thought process clearly being planned in his mind.

He doesn’t make a move to finish you off, giving you a brief amount of time to regain your own mind. Then you get a risky idea. Kitten’s growl only increases in volume once you start reaching for the sword at half speed. Grabbing the handle, pale hands bring the sword to the troll handle-first. You offer him the shitty weapon, hoping he’ll feel more comfortable once he realized you were disarmed. Kitten stares down at you, his anger-covering-fear fading from his face and being replaced with confusion.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” You manage to choke out, failing to hide your own fear.

He stares down at you, releasing his grip on your neck. You stare back up at him and notice small specks of red in his eyes. The majority of them were still grey, but the close quarters showed the bright red spots in the iris.

Kitten’s hand takes a hold of the sword handle and he swiftly tosses it out of the room. He opens his mouth to say something, but closes it soon after. You sit up and rub the back of your head once the troll shuffles off of you and to the other side of the room.

Okay so maybe it’s not the best idea to allow a troll to wander in a house full of weapons.

You’re on your feet again, making sure every action you do is slowed and that Kitten can see everything you’re doing to prevent another spook. You open the bathroom cabinet, angling your body so the troll can see all the contents of what’s inside. A rag is pulled out and a bar of soap. You can feel his eyes on you as you empty the tub and start filling the sink with lukewarm soapy water.

“Here, use this cloth to wipe the dirt.” You demonstrate for him, dunking the rag into the full sink, and then mock cleaning your hand. “I’ll bring you new clothes so those don’t get any filthier if that’s even possible.”

He nods and removes the large drape from his shoulder, attempting to fold it but his frustration gets the best of him and he just balls it up and hands it to you. His outfit is much more normal than you’d expect. It was a large black sweater with the zodiac cancer symbol. (Only an idiot would think that symbol is something other than a zodiac sign.) His outfit was completely monochrome with no flashy hues or bright colors. You leave him a pair of your sweatpants and a red record shirt before heading off deeper into your apartment and hiding the rest of your goddamn swords before another accident occurs.

An hour later you return to the bathroom to find a much cleaner troll sitting on the tile. The second your presence is noticed, Kitten is throwing his guard back up and jumping to his feet.

“Well there’s a new face.” You comment. He rolls his eyes at the comment, looking down at the rag in his hands before awkwardly passing it over. He lets out a small “Thanks” in reply.

“Instead of thanking me for every loving deed I do, why don’t you repay me by not trying to kill me every night?” You’re careful when you grab the rag from his hand, making sure not to make any direct contact. For all you know, that can cost you a finger or two.

The troll’s reply is a nod and you can swear you saw a hint of guilt somewhere in his eyes.

“By the way, you missed a spot, Kitten.” You gesture to your forehead. He mirrors you and wipes his grey palm at the skin just under his bangs.

“Karkat.” He corrects.

“Car cat?”

“My name is Karkat.” You can tell from his pauses that he’s having a slightly difficult time translating.

Oh.

“Well, Karkitten, my name is Dave.”

“Don’t you dare call me that.”

“We’ll see.”

A scowl forms on his face but you know it isn’t a serious one. You repeated the steps from the first time he was hiding in your apartment. Creating a pile on the top of the now vacant bedroom’s bed, you show him the area he is allowed to sleep in. There’s not much in Bro’s old room, so it’s isn’t like he’ll break a bunch of your stuff. And you aren’t exactly comfortable with going in the deserted room yourself.

Once everything is set up you head to your own room. You’re trusting enough to not lock your door, but you still keep it shut so in case he does intrude you’ll hear it and hopefully wake up.

The next morning you unfortunately have school. Your mind is on Karkat the entire time, worrying if he’ll get caught or if he’ll break something important. You had brought J.D English’s journal with you, hiding it under your textbook and reviewing his notes for the second time this week. Your attention is so focused on the book that you don’t realize your last period end or John walk up to you.

“Hey dude, mind if I come over today? I just got Assassin’s Deed.” John looks as hyped as ever.

Shit.

You completely forgot how Rose and John have been scheduling daily visits to check up on you.

“Nah, I got a hot date with one of my followers.” Your excuse it poor but knowing your loveable but dumbass of a friend, he’d think you’re just being ironic.

“You are full of shit. Besides, what ever happened to ‘bros before hoes’?” Egbert pouted as his energy decreasing.

“I think in this scenario you’re the ho.” You smirk and he rolls his eyes. The banter continues for a bit more which only helps you shake him off your trail. You luckily head home alone.

Earlier this morning, after exiting your bedroom to get ready for school, Karkat was sitting in the hall next to the door. He didn’t dare enter, but he curled up and waited for you to wake up only to wait for some sort of food to be prepared. Honestly, it made you chuckle. You wonder if he’ll claim that spot as his and when you open your door he’ll be sitting there again.

You shove your keys into the keyhole and hear the gears shift, unlocking the door. Just before you enter the room, someone calls out your name.

“Dave!”

Fuck fuck fuck.

“God you walk so fast.”

You turn your head and see your best friend, catching his breath because of his terrible stamina. Thank god for your shades because you are expressing the most wide-eyed, worried look you can muster up.

Chapter Text

“Why the hell are you here? I told you I was busy.” You’re as blunt about it as you can possibly be.

John’s facial expression turned sheepish. He obviously wasn’t completely at fault. “Well... Rose can be really persuasive and I’m just checking up on you, man! I will only use you for your gaming console I swear. You won’t even notice I’m there.”

Your sigh is tired, and definitely upset. You believe Rose asked John to watch you tonight; you’re pretty sure she had club today and was too busy herself. This is dangerous territory, though. He is only a few feet away from the hidden troll on the other side of the door and holy shit you think you hear footsteps from inside your apartment.

“Alright, listen, I am perfectly fine, ok? One hundred percent running on these batteries like that little pink Energizer bunny. This rabbit ain’t done hopping.” Gesturing to yourself, you speak fast. The footsteps are getting closer to the door and your heart is racing faster. “I really do have plans today and if you’re really going to cream yourself playing that game I suggest you play it at home.” The lock clicks unlocked.

“Fine, fine.” John holds up his hands in defense, completely unoffended by your request, “You’re sure you are going to be alright?” This is a huge reason why you love John as a best bro. He backs off without a hassle when you need him to, but he’s still always there for you. Both him and Rose.

You nod and hear the doorknob twisting. Your hand shoots out and grabs it, gripping it tightly so the troll on the other side has a hard time opening it but still trying to play it off as if you’re just holding it to Egbert. You feel it wiggle and try to break free of your protest, but John is still right fucking there. He’s trying to read your face behind your shades, before he sighs and gives up.

“I’ll get out of your hair. Just take care of yourself, dumbass.”

“Thanks.”

“But I will be back. Expect my company forced upon you in a week, Dave.”

“I’ll mark my calendar.”

Your best friend pauses before turning back and heading to the elevator. You wait until the elevator doors shut before letting go of the handle and letting the troll throw open your door. Karkat blinks in surprise, observing the door and how it suddenly flew open. You swallow a chuckle and proceed in, locking the door tightly behind you.

Trolls are surprisingly hard to train; thank god they’re behaved enough in their society enough to not shit on the carpet. Things that may seem like common sense to a human just ends up making a confused troll even more frustrated. You explain to Karkat why it’s wrong to eat the bird and he gives you a look as if you just told him not all dogs go to heaven. After a ton of communication errors and explaining, he finally lets the poor, annoying crow go. Well at least they won’t fly into your apartment anymore.

Karkat spends most of his time wandering the house, picking up objects and accidentally breaking them. He also tends to watch a lot of television. Thankfully, this boosted his language skills so he actually talks like he’s from this time period, but the amount of vulgar and extended metaphors has increased in his speech. It’s pretty amusing when you come home to a troll who says if you don’t stop picking on him he’ll shove one of your fake swords so far up your “waste chute” you’ll turn into a human shish kabob.

Although, to help him fit in, you tried many menial exercises that might help the troll feel more relaxed and in control or at least a little less jumpy than he already is. If you even sway a centimeter closer to him by accident he jumps to the other side of the room. Washing dishes was the first step. On some weird stroke of luck it worked, and a few broken plates and cups later, Karkat was staring very intently at the dish he was cleaning, trying to be delicate with it. His fingers traced the service, searching for grime he couldn’t visibly see. The look of determination on his face made you snort, which concluded with a growl on his end.

“Is something amusing?” Karkat was not finding the situation as funny as you were.

“It’s nothing Kit—Karkat.” You purposely mess up. It riles him up when you “accidentally” call him Kitten or close to it. But that only makes it all the more fun to do. Besides, it’s not like he ever gets pissed enough to actually hurt you. In fact, he’s more upset with himself when you get hurt.

His eyes directed themselves toward you as he put the fragile plate down. “Metaphorically wipe that grin off your face and cease calling me that shit nickname.” He wasn’t any more intimidating as usual.

“Consider it wiped, Crabcakes.” He jolts from the new nickname and slams a hand on the table, accidentally shattering yet another plate. You sigh and clean up the fifth victim of dishes, but don’t fail to notice the apologetic look on Karkat’s face when he quietly steps away from the mess and glares at the ground in frustration. Trying to help him control his anger and strength is turning out to be definitely hard, but his determination is just as strong. Once something breaks he’s all declawed and closed mouth, retreating to the corner of the room to get out of your way. But he’s still eager to try the next day.

Day after day passed and Karkat finally began warming up to you, even if it was only a little. You were able to be in the same room together without him jumping out of his skin from you coughing or clearing your throat. There was still the casual startle, but his claws stayed firmly at his side and not dangerously near your face.

Everything seemed to start going well, until the fourth day of your “training” became rather frustrating.

“Get the fuck out of my house.” You spat at the screen, pressing buttons on your console remote rather swiftly.

“No, asshole, allow him inside. He’s almost dead!” His hands were clumsily moving the remote’s knobs. His grip held the remote upside down, but when you tried teaching him the correct way, he only became more confused. The television you two were both staring at showed a character trying to open the front door, Karkat pressed a few buttons and the door flung open.

You jerked your character up the stairs as another character runs into the room; animated zombies begin pouring in right after him. “Your tactic is pretty much shit. He’s an NPC and even if he doesn’t die from this horde he’ll probably be brutally murdered by the next one.”

“We shouldn’t abandon him...” Karkat mumbled. The troll’s character goes trigger happy, knocking down a good amount of zombies but mostly putting bullet holes in the ceiling. He was just about to save the NPC when a special infected pounces from out of nowhere and tackles Karkat to the ground. “Fuck, fuck, FUCK.”

You’re about to help up Karkat when another special infected charges right into you. He grabs you by your pink shirt and begins bashing you into the ground. You drop your remote and wait for the game to show the mocking letters “GAME OVER”.

“Why do you do that every round?”

“What?”

“Save the crappy computer. They’re not very good and the game ends if we all die.” You keep your cool, but it’s pretty frustrating trying to play a game with someone who keeps sacrificing themselves for shittier characters. “Just fight your way through so we don’t lose every three seconds.”

“That’s selfish. Why would I leave Nick behind to save my own posterior?” He asks, completely serious.

“Whatever. This game is getting kind of old anyway.” A sigh leaves your lungs and you begin turning off the system.

Karkat does his trademark apologetic frown. He doesn’t make any motion to verbally apologize, but instead glares at the ground, trying to comprehend everything he doesn’t understand. Great, now you feel guilty. The only thing to make you feel any guiltier was if he could fold his ears back like a kicked puppy.

You keep the television running once the console is off. Karkat likes to watch television for some reason, and he relaxed after awhile. You figured it was your best bet at repairing the situation.

Just as usual, the tensed troll is curling into a ball in the very depths of the corner of the couch, clinging to the gaming remote. The creases in his face slowly fade away yet his shoulders don’t slump. It’s hard to get him to relax fully, but at least he looks less troubled. Sadly enough, your inner jackass has the urge to ruin this moment.

“I’m gonna need that remote back, Kitten.” You say, standing near the console. The troll perks his head up with a glare, chucking the remote toward your face. You casually dodge the flying electronic, sending it off behind you and bashing into something on the shelf above the television. The victim of the crash fell to the floor and something that sounded like glass breaking shattered.

Karkat jumped to his feet, brows furrowing. You could see him mentally kick himself just by his gesture. You look down and see a framed pictured lying face down.

“Cool down, it’s only a…” You stop yourself once you pick it up and flip it over. It’s a picture of you when you were younger, Bro carrying you as you try out his pointed shades. His eyes are squinted a bit due to the harsh light, but he was smiling. There was a large crack in the glass between you two from when it fell. Your heart sank.

Karkat noticed your reaction immediately, backing up as if you were going to beat him for breaking it. “Who is that?”

“He was my bro.” You shrug lightly, carefully putting the picture back on the shelf. Looking back at Karkat, you realize he didn’t understand what that meant at all. “A caretaker, a guardian?”

“Lusus.”

“Of course.”

He frowned, staring at the ground while thinking up how to form the sentence. “What happened to him?”

You clench your teeth, trying to keep up a façade. You didn’t want to talk about it, but then again, everyone made sure to change the subject or avoid it. “He died in a car crash,” You dragged your feet to the couch and sat down slowly, “He was speeding to pick me up from school because I was running a high fever. He was really protective.” You chuckled lowly for a moment, replaying the day in your head.

The troll frowned again, taking a few small steps toward the couch. “My lusus died protecting me, too.” You look over at him, and he’s staring back. “They were hunting for me due to my…difference. He fought back.” You didn’t know what to say, falling silent while Karkat opened his mouth again to talk. “It means they… platonically love you.”

Your eyes meet your lap again, voice going low. “At least yours died heroically. Mine is just an idiot, leaving me broken in a shitty apartment living off of my grandparent’s pity money.”

Eyes darted, inspecting you carefully as the troll made another step forward. “Broken?”

“It’s complicated.” You want to end this conversation. How can a troll even relate to this?

Shifting awkwardly, Karkat walked in front of you, making sure your attention was on him. This was the closest he’s ever been to you, even if you had a good foot or two separating you both. Thank god for your shades because you were on the verge of crying and he was staring down at you intently. Karkat looked frustrated because of this. His hand reached out and then you realized he was reaching for the shades you were so used to hiding behind. Once his hand got too close, you slapped it away violently.

“Don’t touch those! He gave them to me.” Your voice cracked and it was game over. Your façade was gone. Karkat looked sad, but he didn’t frown. Instead he leaned in closer, keeping his hands far away from your shades. You didn’t know if it was because you were scared or because he’s never been this close before but your heart decided to race. His face was close enough to see details you couldn’t quite see from across the room, like the faint freckles sprinkled across the apple of his cheeks.

The next thing you knew, his eyes drifted closed and his forehead gently came in contact with yours. It was the only skin on skin contact, both pairs of arms at each other’s sides. There was an odd feeling of comfort being branched out from the troll. You felt safe, secure. It was different, but not unwelcomed. It explained that he understood you, and that he wanted to help.

The moment was cut short when the troll pulled away just as slowly as he came in contact. His eyes drifted back open, staring at your shades expressionless before disappearing off deeper in the house. You figured he went back to his pile.

You sat dazed for a brief amount of time before a small smile spread across your face. As much as you didn’t want to admit it, the little shit was growing onto you. Your hand lifted to your bangs, the only thing that was separating you from direct skin contact with him. There was still a feeling of sensation from where he was, and you found yourself missing the real thing.

Chapter Text

You went to bed shortly after your moment with the troll. Ever since then your mind has been on five energy drinks, zipping through thoughts and emotions that had only tired you out even more. Sure, you haven’t cried yet, but you were so borderline and it’s been a long fucking time since you’ve talked to anyone about your Bro.

This was the train of thought that was haunting you until you decided to call it a day.

A small thud awoke you in the middle of the night. You felt like your eyes were closed for mere seconds, but the clock proved otherwise. Looking straight up, a pair of illuminated eyes stared down at you. In the few seconds it took for your eyes to adjust to the darkness, you found Karkat perched above you. His body was sitting on the bedside table, back slouched forward and lamp broken on the floor. Great.

“I know my sleeping face is probably the c…” you were cut off by an annoyed noise. “Anyway, did you need something?” You asked tiredly. The troll’s claws were gripping the edge of the table like his balance depended on it.

“Yes.” Karkat said before straightening his back enough to give you more personal space. In the short amount of time that you rubbed your eyes, Karkat had left the room, signaling you to follow him. You were about to reach for your shades when you noticed that none of the streetlights were on, making your apartment that much darker.

Fumbling around, you managed to make it out of your bedroom. Karkat was staring at the television which remained off. Seriously, when the fuck did it get so dark in here?

“What’s wrong this time, Crabby? A man needs his beauty sleep.”

“It’s disabled.”

“What is?”

“Everything.”

You look confused at what you can make out of the troll’s outline.  The only visible thing is his eyes, which stare at you for moments and then back at the black screen. Reaching for a light switch, you flip it upwards. No light. You try again and the same outcome occurs.

“It’s probably just a power outage. Give it an hour or so and it’ll be back up.” You reassure the troll, but he doesn’t budge.

“It’s boring, fix it.” His sentences remain choppy. Your eyes drift to the window, and the neighboring buildings seem to have the same power trouble. Good.  You search and find a flashlight, shaking it briefly before turning it on. Karkat perks up and stares at it.

He follows you throughout the dark house until you throw one of your hoodies at him. “Here, put this on.”

Karkat gives you a questioning look but struggles to put the hooded jacket on anyway. You help him drape the hood to cover the majority of his face, turning the flashlight off and leaving the apartment.

Grumbling erupts from the troll’s throat as you deny his request on knowing where you two are both headed. You smirk to yourself with the coverage of the dark. Karkat lags behind cautiously.

You use all of your weight to throw open the heavy door which leads to the roof. A gust of chilly air rushes at the both of you. Before you can step all the way outside, Karkat sprints past you and scurries around the roof. He stops only to sniff the air then continues running around moments later. You never realized how cramped he must feel locked in your apartment all day.

“Slow down there, champ, I didn’t bring you out here so you can inhale the various lethal fumes of the city.” You chuckle quietly. You swear he acts like every house pet combined into one deadly but adorable little flea bag.

“Then why did we journey up here?” You motion for him to return to your side and he hesitates, but returns nonetheless.

“I thought you might enjoy a little star searchin’.”

He looked up at the sky as you placed yourself sitting on the dirty roof.

“You humans have stars? I never noticed them before.” Karkat carefully sat down near you but with a comfortable distance. He clawed at the hood of his sweatshirt until his head was free.

“Yeah man. You can only see them when the sky isn’t blinded by a ton of desperate advertisement signs begging for your attention.”

Karkat doesn’t respond to your humor, his eyes glued to the sky.

“I’m assuming trolls have stars.” That was a dumb statement.

“Of course, idiot.” He said half-assed.

“What about constellations?”

“Constewhat?”

“You know: Gemini, Virgo, Capricorn, any of these ringing a bell?”

He froze, his eyes moving from the stars to you. They weren’t as brilliantly lit as they were inside, but it was still fascinating how incredibly bright they could shine in the dark. “Yes. But we have a tale about their origins.”

“Oh? Humor me.”

Karkat didn’t respond.

“It means ‘inform me of your people’s tale’.” You sounded as if you were one of those douches in a lounge chair, smoking a pipe and wearing an overly thick robe. You’re pretty sure Karkat rolled his eyes.

“When I was a wiggler, my lus—uh, guardian told me that each color of the Hemospectrum was based off of one of your ‘constellations’.” Karkat curled in on himself comfortably. His hands rested on the ground, knees to his chest, back hunched over as he balanced all of his weight on his two feet. “When we die, one of the stars that form our sign burns brighter, making it easier to see from other planets.”

You stare at Karkat throughout his story. He’s concentrated on the stars and his tale. “That’s interesting. So which constellation are you?”

“Cancer.”

Looking up at the sky, you search the many stars that you can see. You’ve never been good with pointing out the constellations. They all just look like bright dots to you anyway.

“Is that one apart of the Cancer constellation?” You point.

“Not even similar. That’s Virgo.” Karkat corrects you.

“Cool, I think that’s Rose’s constellation.”

“Your friend is up there too?” He frowns.

“Oh no, she’s still alive and healthy, we just have this whole superstitious thing about constellations, that’s all.” You add on before dwelling on what Karkat said a second time. “Wait, you have a friend up there?”

Karkat nodded. “She was culled. Took care of the mother grub when it hatched a limeblood. She refused to tell authorities, when it came to she was destroyed with the grub.” He shifted awkwardly. “We were almost moirails. She was overly protective and took care of me.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” You bit the inside of your cheek. This became depressing fast. “What was her name?”

“Kanaya.”

You opened your mouth to say something, but the buildings began to light up again. The stars were becoming harder and harder to see, fading away as if they burnt out like a dim light. Karkat kept his eyes on the stars as if he thought the longer he stared the more they would return to the sky.

“We should go back inside.” You got to your feet. Karkat watched you before mimicking your movements quietly. He pulled the hood back over his face, his feet right behind yours as you both returned to the apartment.

The second the door was open Karkat leaped into his own room. You traced his animalistic steps and peeked inside. He was already curled up on the window sill, staring down at the streets. Tired, you returned to your room to finish your night’s rest.

The next day everything seemed to mellow out once more, but in the littlest ways Karkat warmed up to you. When he was hungry he stuck by your side, glancing at the kitchen every few seconds because he was too stubborn to ask for you to help him require food since he couldn’t on his own. When he wanted to watch television he sat behind the couch and peered over the top with his chin resting on it.

Earlier you realized that suddenly all of the utensils you owned had randomly disappeared. Karkat was also gone. You searched the house and found Karkat rolling around happily on top of your entire supply of spoons and forks and butter knives. A small rumble that sounded identical to a purr was emanating from Karkat as he scratched the part of his back he couldn’t reach with a pile of your utensils. You couldn’t help but laugh, and the flustered troll hid himself out of embarrassment for the next few hours.

By dinner time you made yourself a gourmet bowl of mac and cheese. You recalled reading how the redder side of the troll blood-thing preferred sweeter scents and tastes in J. D. English’s book. So you fed Karkat a few brownies you were able to make and gummi bears that were sitting in your pantry. You know feeding the troll only sweets would end with malnutrition, but you don’t exactly have a fridge full of raw meat. You made a mental note to try and pick some up tomorrow.

“You have such a bad sweet tooth it’s scary how thin you’re able to stay.” You commented as Karkat shoved a third brownie un-charismatically down his throat.

“How the hell would you have knowledge whether my fangs were sweet or not?” He responded in confusion on how that’s even possible.

“We’re going to need to work on what to take literally and what not to.” Another spoonful of cheesy noodles arrived in your mouth. Karkat ignored you, biting at a tiny yellow bear. It almost looked like he was teething on it, testing out his fang strength on the gooey snack. It ended abruptly when his head shot out and his eyes widened in alertness.  

“Is there something wrong?” You lowered your spoon cautiously. Karkat’s grayish-red pupils shrunk into slits. Your heart raced. He hadn’t looked this frightening in awhile.

“Intruder.” He whispered, hopping off the table’s edge and crouching on all fours. He took an attentive step forward, head outstretched as he observed the living room and the front door. His ear twitched and he sped.

You jumped to your feet when the couch was flipped over and something crashed. “Karkat?” You called out to him, rushing into the front room.

The troll looked over the edge of the tipped sofa and at you; his eyes were their original roundness. He seemed to be pinning something to the carpet, but the couch blocked your vision. You wandered closer and saw exactly what Karkat had captured.

“I apprehended the intruder.” He sounded almost proud of himself. The so-called intruder was just a filthy rat. It was squeaking in terror and trying to scurry away, but Karkat’s nails dug into its flesh until it stopped moving.

“Oh my god, Karkat it’s just a rat. They appear frequently in this topnotch apartm—DUDE DON’T EAT IT.” But as you scolded him the rat was already chewed up and being swallowed. Your hand met your face in a tired fashion and Karkat didn’t see the problem in his actions.

“You have no idea where that little guy has been or what diseases it holds. Just don’t eat everything that moves.” The couch was brought back to its pegs no thanks to Karkat. “And wash your hands before you return to the kitchen. I don’t need your mouseingitus near my food.”

Karkat frowned like he did something wrong and headed for the bathroom as you returned to your dinner, using a wooden spoon to eat since you still haven’t gotten around to washing all of your utensils yet.

Chapter Text

I know I promised sketches awhile back, but my tablet broke. A good friend of mine let me borrow hers so here they are.

Thanks so much for all the hits, Kudos, comments, etc. it really does mean a ton and I didn't expect so many people to like this fic!

Chapter Text

A few nights later came one of the worst nightmares ever. When you were younger, nightmares were a frequent thing, especially after Bro died. It was to the point where you didn't even sleep. So when a glimpse of a normal-looking dream began emerging during your slumber, you were all too eager.

The room was dark. If anything you could only see your outstretched arm. Everything was blurry. Fuzzy. Your senses weren’t all there, but you came to slowly.

It took a few moments to realize you were sitting down on some sort of firm tile. The room was still dark, and it looked as if you were just curled up in a black abyss. But then the next thing that entered was a figure clinging to you. Out of the corner of your eye you witness a nubby horn and assume its Karkat. With a tight grip, his arms are wrapped around you protectively. His face is pressed into your chest at an angle as if he’s trying to look behind himself.

You follow his gaze with your own and there’s another figure standing in front of you both. There’s a sinister smile and you can feel the look the troll is giving you from behind her red-tinted shades. Oh, now you remember. She was the one from the library when you saved Karkat’s life. Her cane came in sight and she spoke in another language you didn’t quite understand. Then you noticed Karkat was shaking.

For some reason, you couldn’t speak. You couldn’t move. You were stuck on the ground, Karkat scared and mumbling sentences to you that had more grammatical errors than usual. The cane’s head was pulled off, revealing her gleaming sword that seemed to be as sharp as her shark-like teeth. Karkat flinches and hugged you tighter, his voice sounded desperate. No, this isn’t supposed to happen. Why is she so stubborn on killing Karkat?

Another voice is heard and out of the shrouded darkness comes another troll. It’s a blue one, but not the same blue one that was with the teal one from before. This blue one was a female. Her left eye had six smaller pupils surrounding her primary one. Her outfit had complicated appliqué and almost resembled a pirate. She communicated with the teal one, voice sly and low. The teal troll put the sword away and took a step back, but weirdly enough you felt more afraid of the blue than the teal.

You want to move, you want to scream. You can’t do anything but watch. You can’t even pull Karkat closer and it’s killing you. The pirate smiles from ear to ear and before her claws could reach you and Karkat

Your eyes shoot open.

It’s morning. There’s an obnoxious bright light coming from your window and shining straight onto your face and bed. Your clock blinks that it’s around noon, and you’re silently praying how glad you are you had the day off from school.

Once you sit up, you realize how heavy you’re breathing and there’s sweat on the back of your neck. The dream is still haunting you, but who was that blue troll? You’ve never seen her before, is it even possible to dream of someone you’ve never met? The fright was unbelievable too, almost like you were actually there. But for all you know, you could’ve made her up just because your mind is masochistic and wants you to suffer that much more. You have this undying urge to check up on Karkat and do so.

Karkat is perched on the couch. Surprisingly enough, he’s actually sitting on it like a normal human being. His slouch is still there, plus there’s the fact that his feet are curled in on himself, but it’s still progress.

“Hey, when did you wake up?” You ask, peering over at the television station he’s occupying himself with. It’s in Spanish, but you don’t think Karkat noticed.

The troll only responds with a shrug. “I don’t understand this. I think my communication skills are lacking.”

“That’s because it’s a whole new language.” A few steps later and you’re next to the couch, grabbing the remote and switching it to an English channel. Karkat blinks and looks a little relieved at the fact that he’s not getting dumber.

Your eyes wander his face. “But seriously, did you even sleep last night? The bags under your eyes are only getting worse.”

“No.” He didn’t look away from the screen.

With a sigh, you seat yourself next to him, a small gap between you two. He doesn’t flinch or move away, obviously getting more comfortable around you.

“Answer me honestly. When was the last time you slept?”

Karkat didn’t answer and you frowned.

“Ugh, alright. That’s okay. Man, I have some great bedtime stories that can help you with that. I’m talking Dr. Seuss and Judy Moody.” You reassured him. He looked over at you and nodded before returning his gaze to the program.

“If it helps.”

“Oh, it will. I knocked out like a motherfucker after those when I was a kid.” You chuckled and patted his head. Expecting a flinch or a snarl, Karkat instead leaned into your hand.

Quirking an eyebrow, you experimented a little, carefully drawing small circles in the troll’s hair. It was much softer than you’d first thought. Then again, it was a shitton thicker than normal hair. Kind of like when you pet a well-groomed dog that sheds hair like a cumulonimbus produces rain.

“What are you doing?” The troll almost protests, but only leans closer.

“You seem to be enjoying yourself.” You state matter-of-factly. Your hand glides and massages at his skull, the pads of your fingers tracing the little indents and bumps. You keep your hand near the top of his head, though.

“Only slightly.” He’s full of bullshit because his throat begins rumbling again and if that isn’t the cutest goddamn thing you’ve heard.

The gap between you two is long gone with all this leaning. Shoulders are barely touching and skin contact is at its minimum. Your fingers drift to the skin around his horns and you swear the purring noise gets louder, his eyes lidded. You allow yourself to grin like an idiot because this is more amusing than the television currently playing.

Suddenly, you remove your hand, letting it drop onto your lap. Karkat’s eyes pop back open and look over to you in question. You want to laugh at how pathetic he looks right now but that’ll only lead to him isolating himself in embarrassment.

“You were the one who said it was only ‘slightly’ enjoyable. ‘Didn’t seem like a big deal to stop.” Your voice was teasing which earned you a glare.

The troll’s body shifted to face you. His glare didn’t cease as he grabbed your hand and placed it back on his head. That’s it; you couldn’t hold it in and began quietly laughing at him. He waited and you rewarded him with another light scratch to his scalp. The noise came back and his eyes blinked in slow motion.

Before you could comment, a door was pushed open and a voice was heard. And before you could turn and see who walked in, something swung in front of you and Karkat was thrown off with sheer force.

Your heart picks up speed. What the fuck is going on? You looked toward Karkat, who’s on the ground, clutching the side of his head. There’s blood pouring out. He’s hissing under his breath.

“Dave, hurry!” For some reason John was here. He grabs your upper arm and starts tugging you. “Quickly, before that thing gets back up!” You realize he’s holding a new hammer from his collection and there’s a small hint of candy red blood on it.

You open your mouth to say something, but nothing comes out. It’s all happening too fast to register. The troll is picking himself back up and John is still pulling at you. There’s blood trickling down gray skin.

Karkat makes an inhumane, frightening growl. He looks up, his eyes back in slits. The slits look to John’s hand tugging forcefully on your arm, and he gets the wrong impression. He snarls and gets into an offensive position.

“Wait—Karkat—WAIT—STOP.” You start screaming as he lunges at your best friend. It happens so quickly that you stand up by the time John gets another swing in. He’s got a few deep scratch marks on his face and arms, ones that will probably need stitches. But Karkat was knocked back again; the claw of the hammer was thrust into his cheek, knocking out a good chunk of gray skin. John looked so scared it was almost like he went on instinct-primal-mode. He held up the hammer again like he was ready to swing the second Karkat moved again.

“Don’t hurt him!” You yelled and moved quickly in between the human and troll.  By the time John opened his mouth to speak, you were already kneeling next to Karkat.

“Dave, what are you doing?! We have to call the—“ He stopped talking when he realized you weren’t listening. You were inspecting Karkat, hoping he wasn’t seriously hurt.

“Shit, hey, you’re going to be alright, okay?” You mothered Karkat. The second the dizziness passed, Karkat was crouching like he wasn’t bleeding from various areas of his face. But instead of attacking again, he crawled on all fours in between you and John, protectively separating you from the threat in the room. A low hiss erupted again and John looked in shock and (you think) disgust.

“John, fuck… please, listen when I say you gotta trust me. He’s not going to hurt anyone.” That isn’t exactly the best argument considering the scratches and blood. It at least calmed John down enough, but the stare he was giving you hurt. The room filled with silence; the only noise was the heavy breathing and the television.

With furrowed eyebrows, John shook his head once and bolted out of the apartment. The close of the door behind him made you jolt, and you frowned at the carpet. Karkat peered back over to you, and when he realized you were upset, his head nudged you in a comforting gesture.

“Are you hurt?” He asked, his voice filled with worry.

You nodded.

Chapter Text

You dreaded going to school the next day. You weren’t sure if the police would be waiting for you there or if they’d investigate your apartment when you were out. Plus, being absent would only make anyone who knew suspicious of your whereabouts.

After eventually making a decision, you left Karkat home alone. He wasn’t comfortable with you leaving, and you’re pretty sure he ducked hiding under the table when you closed the door.

Walking in through the front doors, you eyed the police that are usually stationed at your school. They didn’t seem to pay any attention to you. You kept going on your way.

The classroom was filled with students. There was a ton of commotion as each teenager talked about some event that occurred over the long weekend. You looked over to your desk, which was placed right behind John’s. Oddly enough, both seats were empty. You scanned the room to see a certain blond and black haired kid chatting near Rose’s desk in the front of the room. Rose was the first of the two to spot you, and when she did her delicate hand raised to give you a wave. You gave her a small wave back but John didn’t turn around, his back still toward you. You quietly turned to your seat, ignoring the worried expression Rose wore.

John eventually found his seat, never once turning around to directly speak to you. The closest he got to any communication was when the row had to pass papers down. He handed you them over his shoulder without even turning his torso.

As the clock ticked away, your anxiety increased. The longer you were in school, the more of a chance that Karkat was caught and captured. Maybe he would hide well enough to get away? Whatever it was, you were nervous. The clock seemed to go in slow motion, taunting you. But once the second hand hit the twelve, you bolted out of your seat a millisecond before the bell rang to assure that the day was over.

Right before you reached the classroom door, a slender figure blocked your way. You stopped dead in your tracks.

“Rose, I’m glad you wanna have an enthralling psychoanalysis session right now but I’m kinda in a rush.” Your voice is quick and you try to step around her, but she takes another step in front of you.

“As much as I appreciate the offer, I’m more concerned with what’s going on with you and John currently.”

“Yeah, okay, I promise to fill you in on all the steamy deets and shit later but I really need to go.” You hurry and pass her before she can say anything. Even though you feel kind of bad for blowing her off like that, you really want to make sure Karkat is okay first. Besides, you’re sure she’ll stop Egbert at the door as well as get more information out of him than you’d like. Whatever, you’ll deal with that tomorrow.

The second you arrive at your apartment, you hesitate at the door and make sure you open it slowly and cautiously. Whether someone was searching inside or not, running indoors will either scare Karkat or convince him that something went wrong. When you glance around, it seems nothing has been touched since you left. That’s pretty weird, because usually Karkat fucks around with everything in sight. You take a few cautious steps inside and shut the door.

“Karkat?”

A loud thud is heard, followed by an angry hiss. Your eyes widen behind your shades and you rush over to the noise.

You skid into the kitchen, not bothering to do anything but throw your bag off on the way there. The first thing you see is Karkat splayed on his back. From the position Karkat is on the floor and the open cabinets, you realize he probably fell from the counter. Again.

Sighing, you assist Karkat back up to his feet. He looks embarrassed, but hides it through a glare directed at you.

“I’m ok.” He speaks up before you say anything, making sure you don’t assume he hurt himself from such a menial height.

“I’m sure you are, but maybe your wounds should be redressed.” You gesture to the bandages that were carefully wrapped where the hammer connected to his face from the earlier night. He scoffs, but doesn’t object, sluggishly finding his way to the bathroom. You follow close behind.

The next morning is just as nerve-wracking as yesterday’s. You make your way to school, anxious of what may await you. It all seems to go okay; no one sends you any funny looks and John is ignoring you just as obviously as the day prior.

You plan on rushing out of class until Rose blocks you before you can even begin to stand up.

“Hey, Rose.” You sputter, looking for a quick escape.

“I’m glad you’re still up for polite greetings and all, but I would prefer having an actual discussion with you today.” Her thin arms wrap around her chest.

“Make it quick, Lalonde. I got another hot internet date.” You wave her off.

“Something has clearly happened between you and John. Before, you were both attached at the hip. As a concerned friend and relative, I would like to seek out more information on the topic.”

You stare back at your distant relative. Her deep purple eyes are watching your every move and expression. Gotta give the girl props for being able to read you even with your shades on.

“Have you talked to John yet?” You adjust the bag slung around your right shoulder into a more comfortable position.

“No, that was next on my agenda.” Rose states, “This fight doesn’t happen to correspond with this stranger you’ve been spending all your time with, does it?”

Your Adam’s apple rises and falls when you gulp. Shit, did John tell her about Karkat? “Uh, what do you mean by stranger?”

“Your ‘hot internet dates’ is what you called it.” Her light brown eyebrow rises, realizing she is onto something. You take an internal sigh of relief.

“Oh, right.” You don’t start out as smooth as you’d like to, “Let’s just say Egbert doesn’t approve of one of my newly found friend.” The look on her face makes you continue. “No, Rose, stop that. I’m not macking with some online pedophile, okay?”

“Very well. I won’t waste anymore of your time; you’re off the hook.” She smirks as she responds, “Now, I have a very jumpy John Egbert to catch up with.” You nod at her and leave, giving John a silent “good luck” for what he may be up against. Then again, you need more luck in case he actually does rat you out.

It not more than thirty minutes after you arrive home before your phone goes off. Your hand finds its way into your pocket when you read the text message. The message shows a familiar blue text that reads “come downstairs.”

Confused, you didn’t know if this was really John waiting downstairs or if you were dreaming. Usually he lets himself in your house, so not even coming up to your floor is really odd. Nevertheless, you decide to leave the room to obey the command, promising Karkat you’ll be back in a few.

One you fly down the staircase to the first floor, not bothering to take a break whenever you fumbled slightly, you’re stopped by none other than your best friend. He doesn’t have that goofy grin spread across his face, but he didn’t look angry either.

“Rose convinced me to talk to you,” John began, furrowing his eyebrows slightly, “And no, I didn’t tell her what you were doing.” You try not to sigh happily, but that is a lot of weight off your shoulders.

“Okay, let’s talk.” It’s relieving that John is actually willing to speak to you, but honestly you haven’t thought about what you’d say to him when you got the chance. I know, it’s like hoarding a dangerous alien Anne Frank in the middle of the Holocaust, but you gotta trust me. Yeah, like that will work.

Silence looms overhead before Egbert speaks up again. “As much as I do not agree with what you’re doing, let alone it seems like the dumbest thing you’ve ever done, you’re still my best friend. And even when you do really dumb things, I won’t be the jackass who turns you in.”

Your eyes meet his as blue irises watch you like he’s practiced this speech a million times.

“Just please tell me you have some sort of reason to be doing this that isn’t completely insane and I guess I’ll be onboard.”

You nod in reply, but tell the boy that it’s something he needs to see instead of hear about.

You bring John up to your apartment, holding the doorknob hesitantly before opening it slowly. Freaking out Karkat any earlier than he is about to is never a good idea.

“Dave, I…” Karkat stops midsentence as his eyes meet John’s. He looks between you two frantically, and when you gesture to him that everything is okay, he jumps off the couch and crouches away from you both.

“It’s alright; John just wants to meet you. He’s not here to hurt you again.” You really should’ve left off the “again” because Karkat is cowering under the coffee table, his shoulders are hunched over more. He looks so small like that, and you realize maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

“It lets you talk to it like that?” Egbert whispers from behind you and you tell him to shut up. Karkat’s eyes are still flicking from one human to the next. Thankfully they’re not slits, but they’re not their full roundness either.

“Come on Karkat, trust me.” You walk in slow motion toward the coffee table, an arm outstretched. John stays close to the doorway in case he needs to make a quick break for it.

It only takes a few moments and more comforting gestures to coax Karkat out from under the table. He stands near you and John, but still keeps a safe distance away. Greyish-red eyes looking up, you realize that Karkat is somewhat intimidated by John’s height, but that shouldn’t matter since John was barely an inch taller than yourself.

You opened your mouth to say something but Karkat mumbled under his breath before you had the chance. Both you and Egbert look at the troll as his illuminated eyes meet the floor.

“What?”

“I said…” Karkat’s voice dripped into a quieter volume, too silent for either human to hear.

Giving Karkat a dumbfounded look was all it took for the troll to speak up. “I said I broke another fucking spoon, okay?” He grumbled, holding out a hand that contained a spoon that somehow had a clean cut down the middle of the handle.

A small smile tug on John’s lips and you let out a snort. Thank god. Shuffling around, you find and then present a roll of duct tape to the troll.

“Lesson number one, duct tape fixes anything that’s broken.” You state as if it’s a code of law before showing Karkat how to tape the spoon back together. You hear John mumble some snarky reply but you refuse to acknowledge it.

“Anything that’s broken?” Karkat parrots you and you give him a reassuring “yes” before handing over the duct tape roll. He stares at it for a handful of moments and then proceeds to rip off a piece. You expect him to fix another knickknack or tool he may have broke but instead you find yourself with a long piece of duct tape being pressed against your face.

“Goddammit. What the hell Karkat?” The troll frowns once the tape is slowly peeled from your face and shades. He looks as if he believed that’s exactly what he was supposed to do.

“You said it fixed anything broken.” Karkat repeated your rule. At first you don’t get it, readying yourself with another condescending question. But then you remember when the picture of Bro fell. Karkat had questioned about him and you had told the troll it left you metaphorically broken. It takes you a second to realize this, but in all honestly it’s extremely flattering that Karkat remembered that. Is he really worried about you?

You were lost in thought for awhile, watching Karkat from behind your shades. It was kind of endearing that he remembered that. He even intended on fixing you with duct tape. The action made your stomach flutter the more you thought about it. The small troll only glanced around the room nervously, like he had done something wrong. Thank god he couldn’t see your expression.

“You need industrial glue to fix someone as hard-headed as this one.” John piped in, and your face immediately heated up. You hadn’t realized how embarrassing that was until John broke it with a joke. Hopefully he didn’t get the wrong impression. “But, what was your name? Cart-cash? You really bring out the dork in Dave.”

Karkat scowled. “It’s Karkat.”

“Car-cat? Like an automobile and a kitty? Beep beep meow?”

“Stop referring to words with no correlation to the origin of my name you insufferable, vomit-inducing grubfondler.”

“Hehe, oh god did Dave teach you to talk like that? What even is a grub?”

Their bickering seems to lighten the tension, especially since neither of them attacks each other. Egbert is grinning like the doofus he is and Karkat’s face is red in anger and probably embarrassment. Luckily enough, the two end up becoming more comfortable around each other. It’s not perfect, however. When John sneezes, Karkat jumps like someone threw a refrigerator at him. When Karkat fidgets, John flinches incase it’s directed at him. Yet when they’re at a comfortable distance away from each other, all of the horror stories humans give trolls just seem to fly out the window. Maybe that’s only with Karkat, but it’s a nice wake up call.

You were really excited that you wouldn’t have to hide Karkat from your best bro. John just needs to understand that Karkat isn’t truly dangerous unless something threatening is in proximity. But, from what you’re seeing, that doesn’t seem to be too long from now. John already looks like he’s taking a liking to Karkat, and Karkat is protesting everything John claims, but he definitely is enjoying himself.

Now that you think about it, John and Karkat have gotten along a lot quicker than you and Karkat ever did. This causes a short, almost nonexistent sinking feeling in your stomach and you bite the inside of your cheek. The plan was to ignore the dumb feeling in the pit of your stomach, but when Karkat allowed John to see one of his smirks he always tries to hide with a glare, the sinking feeling grew tighter and harder to ignore.

Chapter Text

In only a week does your schedule start to settle down once more. Now that John had gotten what you’d like to call “used to” Karkat, you began hanging out frequently again. Not only did you have a lot to fill John in on, but you also trusted Karkat to stay home alone. John would invite you out to do something and you’d inform Karkat before leaving. Karkat never complained, but sometimes you were hesitant to leave when he stopped asking you where you were going or how he never said anything to you as you put your sneakers on.

This particular time you announced you were off. It had crossed your mind to show John the library a few times now, and today was the day you decided to initiate the plan.

“I’ll see you later, Kitten. Gotta give Egbert the grand tour.” You say, slipping your feet into your pre-tied shoes.  You didn’t get a reply; not even a complaint about the nickname. Karkat sat quietly in the kitchen, picking at the meal placed in front of him. You wanted to talk or ask why he seems pissed, but maybe it was all in your head. He did seem lost in thought. You decided it was only one more day and left without another word.

 

After a stressful hour of coaxing John, you finally manage to get him to follow you toward the abandoned building. You almost forget to snatch a few poinsettias before heading off.

It’s a long, dreary walk there, and John attempts to opt out a few times.

“This still doesn’t seem like a good idea.” He says for the fifteenth time.

“I’ve done this like a million times. Don’t worry, I can protect you.” You respond jokingly, splitting his caution into light-hearted bickering. It seems to work enough, because before both of you know it, you’ve reached the gate. You show Egbert the easiest way to squeeze through the breaks in the gate and he proceeds warily.

The double doors are as heavy as usual but it doesn’t take a huge portion out of your strength to throw them open anymore. You look over and see John, mouth agape as he stares at the scenery in front of him. His eyes shift from every shelf to each stack of books as his feet carry him to the circular desk in the middle of the room. “Is this all…”

“Yep.” You respond almost proudly, leaving John’s side to glide up one of the staircases. He follows suit, not taking his eyes away from the shelves. You check a few dusty corners before giving John an “OK” signal that it’s safe to roam around. The human immediately begins wandering. “There is a shitton of information about a history we didn’t even know existed.”

“This is incredible.” He breathes from a few shelves away. You hear rummaging and figure its John skimming through books. “Holy shit, what kind of language is this?”

“It’s their language, Alternian. Some of their books translate by t—“ You stop once a small, surprised gasp escapes John’s mouth. Well, you guess it’s easier to show than tell.

“Okay, you were right; this is the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen.” Egbert announces and you chuckle.

The jumbled symbols fade off the page without a trace. You stare in disbelief as the blank page looks untouched. But only a few moments after Dave starts talking, the symbols return as words from the language you’re so familiar with. You speak of your amazement and your best friend chuckles quietly a few shelves away. This new discovery intrigues you in moments, and you find yourself shifting through each shelf and observing the binding.

Both Dave and you are quiet, but you can hear the small noises he’s making from his side of the room. Your eyes are still trained on the unfamiliar language that decorates each book. A quick movement from between two hardcover books peels your eyes away. You almost jolt in your skin and stare through the gap from where you removed a book. Something blue flashes by once more and you find yourself taking out a few more books to get a better look.

You blink, and she blinks right back.

Well, you think it’s a she. There’s long, charcoal-colored hair cascading down her head and framing the shape of her face. Her perfectly curled eyelashes bring attention to the bright blue eyes that are drowning in a sea of yellow. For some reason only her left eye contained what looked like seven smaller pupils compared to her average right eye. Unlike Karkat, her horns were much longer, one tapered sharply while the other kind of looked similar to a lego arm.

She begins hissing and clicking through a devious smirk, which grabs your attention. You have no idea what she just said, but you feel a goofy grin tug at your lips. Her eyes watch the grin form and she looks confused. It could be that hanging near Karkat has desensitized your fear of trolls, but you can’t bring yourself to be afraid of this one. She seems too delicate, too intelligent to be intimidating.

A click is heard again, and you turn your head slightly to imply that you can’t understand her. Eyebrows furrowing, she opens her painted blue lips to speak once more, but a squeakier hiss is heard throughout the library. Her eyes shoot up and she glances at her surroundings. It kind of reminds you of when a dog hears something interesting and stops at nothing to find the source. Heavy footsteps approach you, and a human voice is heard.

“Dude, we have to go. Now.” Dave speaks quickly, one hand on the flowers in his pocket and another hand tugging at your shirt sleeve. The blue troll glances at Dave, and her eyes beautiful blue irises shrink into menacing slits as a growl erupts from the back of her throat. In seconds she’s gone, but you’re also racing to leave the building.

Your legs are moving as swiftly as possible as you aim both you and John toward the double doors. It only takes him a second to realize that you’re in a hurry, the dumb shit that he is, and he’s running past you.

The blue troll that John was having a staring contest with is at the door only seconds after you both left it. A tight rope is wrapped around her thin hand and connects to a smaller troll with horns that almost look like cat ears. She hisses at the green troll and lets the rope go. The smaller troll bounds off after you both as fast as she can.

You keep your attention on the gate only a handful of feet away from you before a sharp, excruciating pain shoots up your leg. Ungracefully, your face meets the ground and you scramble to pull away. The feline troll is snarling at you as her metal claws that are attached bruisingly to her hand sink in through your skin and bone. Tears well at the edge of your eyes as the metal blades tear ribbons of your skin. You let out a yelp as John stops running to turn back to you.

With impossible speed, your hand digs deep into your jean’s pocket and pulls out as much of the poinsettias as physically possible. The troll’s earthly eyes meet the poinsettias in a sudden fearful realization, almost like she’s afraid of what may occur if you get away. Nonetheless, your hand thrusts the flowers towards her and she struggles to get away. John doesn’t stall to help you to your feet and assist you through the gate. You ignore the frequent pain from each individual nerve in your leg as you limp to safety. With a momentary glance, you can barely make out the furious blue troll growling and the green troll hesitating with anxiety to return to the blue one.

 

John doesn’t take any breaks and rushes you back into your apartment. Once the door opens, you spot Karkat curled up in the corner of the couch. His content expression turns south the second he notices your leg. “Dave, are… what happened?” he jumps to his feet and sprints towards the both of you. He stops halfway when John motions for him to get out of the way. With the majority of your body weight being leaned against the other human, he leads you to the couch and helps you settle down. Karkat is at your side even before your ass touches the couch.

“Is he okay?” Karkat mumbled, reaching for the hem of your jeans and tugging gently at them. The edge of his nail uncomfortably jabs your torn flesh and you wince in pain.

“Oh my god. I’m sorry Karkat but back the fuck off. I need to stop the bleeding and your claws are going to get in the way.” Egbert is talking hurriedly as he fumbles around with your first aid kit. Karkat opens his mouth to talk, but closes it wordlessly and obeys. He scrunches his entire body away at the other end of the couch, eyebrows furrowed as he watches John work at your leg.

Ignoring the pain, you turn to Karkat and say reassuringly “It’s just a little scratch.” He looks up at you, his face still caked with worry but nods anyway. You reach out to give him a helpful pat on the head but soon realize he’s sitting too far away. He doesn’t move closer, only shrinking farther into the couch, his claws staying at bay. You lower your hand and try not to frown.