-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] began trolling ectoBiologist [EB] --
CG: ALRIGHT, YOU FESTERING SHITWHIFF.
CG: IT IS THE EVENING OF THE THIRD DAY WE HAVE BEEN OUT OF THAT HELL-FORGED GAME.
CG: AND THE THIRD DAY YOUR FREAKISH BROWN MUG HAS BEEN CONSIDERABLY IMPROVED, BY THE BY.
CG: YOU GOT ONLINE. YOU WERE THEREFORE NOT DEAD ON ARRIVAL.
CG: AFTER DUE PRESSURE VRISKA TELLS ME YOU HAVE BEEN COMMUNICATING WITH HER. YOU THEREFORE DID NOT DIE AFTERWARDS IN SOME LUDICROUS PAIL-RELATED INCIDENT.
CG: HAVING ESTABLISHED THAT YOU ARE ALIVE AND IN POSSESSION OF UNBROKEN KEY-POKING FRONDS, *WHY HAVE YOU NOT BEEN TO ANY OF THE FUCKING CHATROOMS*, JOHN ASSHAT WHINEBUTT EGBERT.
CG: IF ONLY TO SAY HI AND ASK WHAT WAS THE PLAN? GET SOME NEWS ABOUT YOUR FELLOW HUMANS? EVERYONE'S FINE, BY THE WAY. SINCE YOU SEEMED SO WORRIED ABOUT THAT.
CG: ROXY AND JANE ARE STILL OUT OF REACH. BUT THEY AT LEAST HAVE SEEN FIT TO SHARE WITH US THEIR FOOD AND AMENITIES SITUATION, SO WE MAY NOT WORRY THEY ARE STARVING BECAUSE THEY CAN'T FIND THE DELIVERY DROP-POINT OR THE DISTRIBUTION CENTER WHEN THEIR ALLOWANCE COMES AROUND.
CG: DID YOU KNOW ROSE HAS NEIGHBORS WHO ARE TRYING TO RUN HER OFF INTO THE SEA? SEEING AS HER GILLS ARE NON-FUNCTIONAL THAT MIGHT PROVE TO BE AN ISSUE, BUT SO FAR SHE IS HANDLING THE CONFLICT LIKE A CHAMP. I BELIEVE SHE WILL SOON BE IN POSSESSION OF TWO MORE HIVES.
CG: DIRK AND DAVE ARE NEIGHBORS WITH SOLLUX. STROKE OF PURE LUCK.
CG: AND YOU MISSED JADE LIVEBLOGGING HER HUNT THROUGH RAINFORESTS AND SEVERAL CHOLERBEARS FOR JAKE, GONE GALLIVANTING WITHOUT BRINGING A MAP.
CG: I CAN KEEP TYPING ALL NIGHT.
CG: HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT LITTLE NEW MESSAGE PING?
CG: YOU WILL HAVE TO ANSWER AT SOME POINT.
EB: fuck off, karkat.
-- ectoBiologist [EB] blocked carcinoGeneticist [CG] ! --
CG: WHAT THE TENDER HEINOUS DONKEYFUCK.
-- ectoBiologist [EB] did not receive this message! --
"So this is where you holed up."
John's new hive has three kitchens. One of them right toward the top tower, where the delivery ladybug drops food. One of them more toward the middle, a short flight of stairs down from his bedroom. And then there's the kitchen all the way down in the root of his hive that looks exactly like home, apart from being dusty and empty and still tar-marked. His bedroom is three times as big as it was, suddenly several floors' worth of stairs separate his upstairs and downstairs rooms, he has four living rooms and a treasure room. (It's mostly empty.)
And there's a laundry room, where a chute brings dirty clothes straight in the insect-looking machine for it to chew up and spit out clean.
He's been staying here, dozing sitting up against the rumbling shell. Nothing bad can happen in a laundry room, it's against the rules.
Also it's too dark to see any colors properly.
Karkat's red eyes are bright enough they cut right through the shadows, even though he has the corridor lamp straight at his back and is haloed in light.
John growls. The sound comes easy, rattling up from his chest and out. (He's blocking his way out.) "What are you doing here."
"Take a guess! So many possibilities. I could be visiting Equius, only, whoops, Aradia dropped me off too early. I could be visiting Vriska. The myriad of times I have visited Vriska before, I tell you, it's incredible, we're the best bulge buddies."
John hisses. He tries to stop hissing and he can't, he tries to stop being angry and he can't.
"Shut up about Vriska! You know jack shit about her, you're always on about all the bad things she's done and you don't care about any of the good, like it doesn't even count!"
Karkat's eyes narrow, and he steps in; the door swings mostly closed behind him and then they're two people in too small a room and John can't stay on his ass anymore.
"That's because, surprisingly enough, it doesn't. You can't erase murder and maiming with backhanded, strings-attached charity and being allowed to admire her grandstanding as she does shit she wanted to do for herself anyway."
John is half on his feet, pressing hard against the dryer-bug, and he thinks maybe he shouldn't stand. Because if he stands and Karkat keeps badmouthing Vriska, he -- he doesn't know what will happen.
Vriska talked him down over Trollian, Vriska laughed at things until he could laugh too, and made bad jokes and groaned about never having thought she'd ever be anyone's pacificator but then she did it anyway. He feels calmer when he's talking to her, he feels almost right when he's talking to her. She came by and she smelled right, she felt safe and like nothing would ever get through her, and she let him hug her and cry in her shirt even when her ribs cracked under his hug.
He just... He can't take Karkat sneering at her right now. He can't.
"I need you to stop there and go away, Karkat," he says, trying for light. His jaw is too tense, it doesn't come out right at all. "I need you to shut up, like, right now. I'm fine, you're fine, everyone's fine, now go away."
Karkat (the intruder) takes a few steps further in. Takes the center of the room (blocks all escapes, claims the room, no, fuck him, mine.)
"You are so far past fine it's not even funny. It wouldn't get a laugh out of Gamzee fucking Makara is how unfunny it is, and that asshole would laugh at empty rooms."
Oh hey John is on his feet.
Karkat watches him, hands on his hips and eyes narrowed in suspicion, irritation, whatever, it's haughty and demanding and John doesn't like it. (Who does he think he is? He gave up being a leader years ago, and he's never been John's, they've never met as equals and now he wants to meet as John's superior? Seriously?)
(Trespassing.) John takes a step forward. (Stranger.) He's taller than Karkat; Karkat is wider-shouldered but like John cares, now that he can punch through rock.
He clenches his fists.
"In a garment washing block? Seriously? This is where the mighty friendleader is hiding like a lost wiggler, and whining about stuff no one else can understand -- except those other seven people who went through the exact same fucking thing? Avoiding those people who might perhaps have a fucking idea what he's going through?"
In mid-swing the intruder's eyes go wide and he throws himself to the side; John stumbles forward, and straightens up, and they knock into each other. He hooks his (claws) fingers in the intruder's sleeve, tries to yank him back into grabbing position.
A fist buries itself in his stomach; he wheezes, gasps for breath, stumbling until his weight is caught by a furnace-hot body, his face mashed against -- oh.
It smells... (right.) (not good.)
He bites down on Karkat's shoulder, a burst of madness he can't stop, doesn't want to stop (should, no, shouldn't, stop, oh the taste.)
(Karkat.) (No. Yes.)
He swings again and knocks Karkat on his ass; he doesn't kick at his face -- that'd break his nose, maybe his head, even when you're angry at your (friends?) you don't break bones, scuffling is -- his dad taught him, even back in kindergarten, scuffling happens but no big wounds, none.
(There's a drop of not-his-blood on his lips. Oh.)
Karkat tackles him, catches him in the thighs, he goes down, they roll on the floor, shoving and scratching, he sucks at scratching, that was always a girl thing (but now he kind of is a --)
He gets on top. He grabs a stupid turtleneck collar with both hands, claws anchored in. He... what now? Can't kill Karkat, he's. He's Karkat. (why did he forget Karkat was Karkat, that was stupid, of course he's not really an intruder.) Can't kill him but so angry at him, so angry at his words and at his little irritated judgmental sneers and his nosy prodding, and he's trying to talk again!
It makes sense to bite his chin.
It makes sense to bite his mouth, but by then Karkat is biting John's mouth already so he's really just counterattacking.
It stings, it burns. The taste explodes in his mouth, the -- the awareness of -- he can't think. He can't. It explodes, fierce and startled and ferociously happy, and John can't. Can't. He just, he, yes, this, Karkat isn't running away, he can take it, he's not scared of John at all (John is terrified of John.) It feels so good, the way strong hands squeeze his upper arms, knead roughly at his back, the way a tongue, oh, they're kissing, wow. He's kissing someone who is not dead at the time. It's nothing like any movie ever.
He doesn't even have to think about the strange weight of (his horns) those things attached to his skull or his -- anything at all, he just has to keep pressing down on Karkat with all his weight and the full boniness of his hipbones, press so so so tight like some huge angry full-body hug.
Hands running down his back. It tingles, makes his body clench, go yes, yes.
Makes things squelch down there.
Down where he has a -- a gap, a rift, a -- some absence he doesn't want, something that should never have been there, something gross and horrible and terrifying.
He throws himself off the other boy, crawls back on hands and feet until he hits a wall, two walls, curls up so tight in the corner. He hugs his knees, and feels it opening wider, feels the -- the other thing wriggle like a gross snake-slug thing, making his pants disgusting, and he can't get away from it.
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] began trolling arachnidsGrip [AG] --
CG: I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I'M EVEN TALKING TO YOU, SAVE THAT
CG: I, UH.
CG: MAY HAVE INADVERTENTLY BROKEN JOHN.
AG: What the heck, Vantas.
AG: W8, are you at his hive right now????????
CG: YES. ACTUALLY.
CG: SO WHAT? HE WAS GIVING ZERO NEWS AND YOU WERE BEING RIDICULOUSLY SECRETIVE. IT'S MY JOB TO KEEP TRACK OF YOU ASSHOLES, ESPECIALLY THE HUMANS. I DIDN'T EXPECT HIM TO GO ALL HIGHBLOOD RAGEGASM ON ME.
AG: How are you even alive, is what I'd like to know... If I gave a shit!
AG: I s8d I had it under control f8r a REASON!!!!!!!!
AG: What did you do?
CG: ME? NOTHING. HE STARTED IT.
CG: I JUST KISSED BACK. FUCK. I SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT COMING.
CG: I KISSED BACK, AND NOW HE'S *CRYING.*
CG: I DON'T KNOW WHY I EVEN CARESS THE SICKLY, MANGY HOPE THAT YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO, BUT WHEN I GET CLOSER HE JUST STARTS TO CRY HARDER AND TRIES TO CRAWL AWAY FROM ME, IT'S HORRIBLE. AND THE ONLY PEOPLE NEARBY ARE STIFF-NECKED MUSCLE FREAK AND NO MORE WORRIES DEATH FANGIRL, AND EVEN IF THEY COULD HELP THEY'RE PROBABLY BUSY FILLING PAILS RIGHT NOW IN ANY CASE.
CG: HE'S THROWN UP TWICE. THIS IS DOING WONDERS FOR MY SELF-ESTEEM, I AM TELLING YOU.
AG: OH MY G8G WHAT DID YOU DO, HE'S 8EEN FREAKING OUT A8OUT HIS JUNK EVER SINCE HE 8ECAME A TR8LL!!!!!!!!
AG: Shit. Once again Vriska Serket needs to come and fix your stupid mistakes, and what will she get in return? A 8ig fat glo8 of nothingness and scorn! Awesome, it's not like I was 8usy or anything today!
AG: I'll 8e right there. Try not to mol8st him any more in the meantime.
-- arachnidsGrip [AG] ceased trolling carcinoGeneticist [CG] --
-- arachnidsGrip [AG] began trolling carcinoGeneticist [CG] --
AG: Flush or pitch?
Vriska finds them still in the laundry room. Karkat has retreated to the opposite corner of the room from John, too guilty to leave and too miserable to get any closer. John isn't really sobbing anymore, but his head is between his knees and from time to time he'll let out one of those wretched little gasps that make Karkat's bloodpusher spurt out globs of entirely unwanted pity.
He just... When John wasn't holding back on him, that was so perfect.
It's not like it was his first kiss, but it was his first caliginous one. Not a kiddie black kiss, there, either, just fire and hunger, something he hadn't even truly visualized back when he got that ill-advised, short-lasting little hatecrush on John.
Humans don't feel caliginous hate, Karkat knows that. (Human boys don't kiss other boys. Even though girls will sometimes kiss girls, what the fuck is that double standard.)
Karkat should have guessed it would fuck him up. He should have thought. He wasn't thinking at all, he was just thinking about how irritated John's selfish whining made him. Everyone has been fretting about him, and he just --
Vriska sits on her haunches beside John and pats his head between his spades-shaped horns, brisk, lips pursed in annoyance; John crumbles against her chest and starts crying anew. Karkat looks away, embarrassed.
She's shooshing him. She's matter of fact and possibly embarrassed, too; it makes her a little curt, it makes Karkat frown, but John's fisted hands are loosening and besides Karkat has already showed how much he helped there, so he shuts up.
"... Why are you wearing makeup," John asks, voice scratchy and strangely small.
"No reason," Vriska replies. "Shoosh already." Karkat can hear the pout in her voice.
It's true, she's in low heels and a spiderweb-patterned dress, what the heck did she -- oh. Oooh. Karkat bets she was planning to camp all night at her window so she could seductively recline on what the fuck ever she has up there just as Aradia happened to fly back from Equius' hive. Boy is she barking up the wrong tree. Ever since Aradia came back to life she doesn't give a flying crap about her old grudges anymore, wow. Besides Karkat is pretty sure Aradia and Equius have gone right back to flipping like a shoddily secured door in a hurricane, so if Vriska thinks she can seem in any way appealing to a girl who goes hot and angry for haughty, stiff, musclebound douches...
She's whispering now, all quietly, and it takes him a minute before he realizes he should really get the fuck out of this room.
"Joooohn, we talked about this! There is nothing wrong with your junk. You have it, Karkat has it, I have it, all your other ex-human hatefriends have it."
At the same time it seems John is calming down now, and if he gets reminded Karkat is here he might jump straight on the express back to freakoutville.
"That's not what makes you a guy at all, what a dumb idea! Seriously, it is dumb and you should feel dumb for having it."
How does this style of "reassurance" even fucking work, is what Karkat wonders. It's so full of backhands they start looking like paps. And it pretty much dismisses all his issues instead of addressing -- shit, none of Karkat's business, he's not judging. It works. Karkat slowly, cautiously shifts on his feet and pads as silently as he can toward the door, slips sideways out.
He doesn't go too far, finds a corner of corridor to sit in and wait.
What a mess.
What if John didn't mean it at all, not even a little bit? Karkat can take him being confused between his new troll desires and his old experience, he supposes there's a lot he has to get used to. But what if it was just his body, and random violence, and wires crossed and a switch tripped that shouldn't have been -- what if it was utterly meaningless?
He'll just deal with it, he guesses. He's getting ahead of himself again. He did the whole pinning all his dreams and expectations on what he hoped his relationship with Terezi would be like, tried to force it in, and instead ruined the shit out of it forever. He's just...
He's eight sweeps old, and he doesn't have a kismesis, he doesn't have any concupiscent quadrant, and it was hot as fuck.
-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] began trolling arsenicCatnip [AC] --
CG: SO WHAT ARE THE ODDS ON JOHN<>VRISKA.
AC: :33 < !!!!!!
AC: :33 < *bookie clawshanks straightens her ledger and says shell n33d to s33 some purroof of your allegations, gentleman*
CG: WITNESSED: SEVERAL PAPS AND THE BRUTAL CESSATION OF A FREAK-OUT OF HIGHBLOOD MAGNITUDE.
CG: WHY ARE THOSE HOITY-TOITY TURDFUCKERS SO *TOUCHY*, SERIOUSLY? SUPERIOR BREEDING, MY WELL-TONED GLUTES.
AC: :33 < h33h33h33
AC: :33 < your odds are alas a mere thr33 to one, im furry sorry to say
CG: DID I MENTION VRISKA WAS THE ONE WHO SHOOSHED HIM.
AC: :33 < ... welp, you just broke the bank :((
Vriska comes out of the garment washing block, alone; Karkat tries not to shrink. He pulls himself up. He doesn't like being on the floor when she's standing, just feels unsafe.
Hands on her hips, she tosses her hair over her shoulder imperiously. "Alright, Vantas, this is how it's going to go. You're going to shove your bulge back where it came from, and then you're going to go tell John you're still friends and this changed nothing, do you hear me."
Karkat opens his mouth. He's not even sure what he should say -- he's being out-snarled by Vriska, no one out-snarls him but right now nothing comes. He can't help but feel he deserves the tongue-lashing.
"I don't care if you have to lie, you're still going to say it, or I'm going to make you."
He can feel her cold claws easing their way around his brain. He hisses. "Keep your caustic slurry of a mind out of my mind, I don't need it. I was going to do that anyway."
He'd known he would have to, didn't he? Even as he'd stupidly tried to convince himself there was a smidgen of a chance. So pathetic.
He shoulders his way past her, pushes the door open. John is sitting against the dryergrub, head tilted back, the points of his horns resting against its quivering surface. He still looks small, fragile. He looks up at Karkat and his eyes flick away, back, there's something that's almost a smile trying to form on his face, it's -- it aches.
Karkat goes to sit beside him, not touching, elbows loosely resting on his knees.
"Sorry," they both say together. John lets out a little nervous laugh.
"Sorry, I'm still. Kind of, uh." John gestures, a wave of his hand that comes out utterly meaningless. Karkat isn't sure what he was supposed to glean from it. The enormity of his 'uh,' perhaps?
"Freaked out," Karkat suggests, neutral as he can be.
"Yeah. That. I was -- I mean, I was totally -- I have no clue what even happened there, it just -- I have no clue. None of the clues."
"If you start throwing asinine memes at me I am going to miraculously force-evolve my deficient genome into granting me the gift of teleportation just so I can go throw myself into the sea and drown."
John giggles, a bit wetly. "Maybe I should keep going then, we'd get Jade to get you out of the water. You'd be the magic troll, it would be you."
Karkat groans. John turns on a knee to face him, grinning.
"I would do it for you, buddy! Yeah, let's do it. Let's give you all the powers."
"Which I will then promptly use to wipe myself and my whole species off the face of the universe, to the detriment of exactly no one, at the rate you're going. No, John. No."
They stare at each other, grin against longsuffering (secretly fond) look. It feels strange to Karkat, fragile and bittersweet. He can at least have this. It's good too. Yeah.
John is too pathetic to hate anyway.
"... So why do you smell good anyway! I thought it was just Vriska, are all trolls going to smell like that? It's really weird, okay!"
Karkat is glad his knees are in reach of his forehead.
"No, all trolls are not going to smell good. Why do I have to explain again? I made three memos about this in the last day alone. Three, John. Where were you? Sulking."
John purses his lips and looks at him like Karkat is unreasonable and weird. Argh. "Yeah but you're right here, and my computers are all the way up in my room."
"Aaaaargh." Karkat grabs a hank of his own hair, tugs. It helps, a tiny little bit. He sits back up straight, sighs long and loud as he regards that obnoxious asshole. If he didn't want to kis-- uh, didn't like John, he would storm off and never come back. Yes, he would.
No he wouldn't. Bluh.
"Come here," he says, voice rough, and wraps an arm around John's shoulders to pull him close, looking away. If his eyes fall on John's bitten lips he is going to flip all manners of lids. "Breathe in. Usually this shit should happen over the course of several perigees to a couple of sweeps as we get used to trusting each other, it's just weird because it's hitting you all at once. Happens in smaller degrees to people meeting off the internet for the first time, too. Or doesn't happen, which is worse when you get used to thinking of someone like that and then it turns out they don't click at all. I'm babbling. Why am I babbling. Are you done yet?"
John knocks the outer curve of his horn against Karkat's nubbly round tip, light and teasing, and then draws back. His eyes are a little overbright.
"Whoops, wasn't listening, can you explain again?"
Karkat is turned around and reaching for John's scrawny neck in the next second. The asshole is laughing.
Vriska will kill him if he starts hatemacking on John again, and Karkat will let her. He regretfully drops his hands, reminds himself that John is not flirting, he's just being a hatefriendly ass. It doesn't count as flirting. It really doesn't.
"Mnrgh. Alright. The small words explanation. Is your thinksponge ready to sustain the traumatic, violating assault of knowledge trying to make itself a place in it?"
"My thinksponge can take anything you can throw at it!"
Not flirting. Not flirting. Bad Karkat.
"Okay. Trolls are not raised with other trolls. Trolls are raised alone with nice monsters and there's bad monsters around who they need to run really fast from. Bigger trolls also count as bad monsters. When trolls are big, trolls need to mate to make more little trolls. When troll meets troll, troll sometimes kills troll, so trolls are wary of other trolls. Whoops, wary was a little complicated for you, wasn't it."
John elbows him in the ribs. "Yeah, what's the one syllable version?"
"There isn't one. You'll just have to suffer. Anyway. When troll gets to know other troll and starts thinking other troll might not want to kill troll, hormonal and subconscious psychic thingamajigs happen. It's magic. That's why the words are long."
John is laughing in his hand and rolling his eyes like he doesn't want to admit it.
"The magic things say, yes, this is a person I don't need to kill dead if they come up from behind, or if I'm hungry this person might help feed me a bit, or this person is important to the people who are important to me so I should protect them if I can so my important people won't be sad. Still with me?"
John waves him ahead, making a face. "Yeah, yeah."
"So eventually you end up with this bunch of hatefriends, half of them introduced by people you trust so you trust them a little by proxy, even when you don't actually like them. Which explains how we ended up saddled with--" John tenses; Karkat arches an eyebrow. "Equius or Eridan."
Or Vriska. But it's not like she's the only murderous psychopath in their party. See also Eridan, or Gamzee, who are even traitors on top.
Equius is just naturally gross, or something.
John lets out a little half-hearted chuckle. "Dunno, I don't really know them yet."
"You will." Karkat stretches a leg before him, looks down at it, thoughtful. "Used to be called a cluster, and you'll still see the word in snooty blueblood-oriented magazines, but nowadays in the space age it's called a crew, on account of when conscription day comes you can make a request to be berthed on the same ship. It's not always granted, but they try. In the majority of cases your quadrants and quadrant-corners are part of your crew, so it's easier on everyone than trying to shove hostile assholes together at random and hoping they'll have sorted their romantic shit in time for the next drone season. There's still friction between various crews, but it's not the brooding caverns all over again."
John is relaxed now, a little bored with the lesson, and he rotates his feet from side to side like a wiggler hoping to go running soon. It's so much better than him hiding and brooding in here; Karkat will take it.
"How come I never heard that word before?"
Briefly at a loss, Karkat blinks. "Because -- because! Usually you just need to mention it out loud to someone who's not in, and even back when we started playing we all more or less were. The twelve of us. It was embarrassing. And then all that stopped you guys from being in was that you weren't trolls. Bam, obstacle removed, have some pent-up oxytoxin."
He shrugs. It aches a little, thinking of Meenah, Latula even. (Kankri, as little as he wants to admit it; the guy was unbelievably insufferable, but... But.)
"I guess the Beforans, too, if they'd ended up here with us, though we might have had to graduate to a full-on swarm."
John groans. "No, no more weird alien words, I am done with alien words for now, also a swarm sounds gross or maybe like we're locusts or something, are trolls locust people?"
"What the fuck is a locust."
John is getting up, though, so Karkat isn't entirely sorry that apparently discussion time is over. He's not curling up in his corner again. It's great. Karkat pushes himself up against the vibrating dryergrub, dusts himself off.
They stare at each other, briefly at a loss, but fuck awkward silences and fuck those parted lips with the mark of his teeth on them in dark blue.
Okay, no, the point is don't fuck those lips. Um. Urgharhghg.
"We're going upstairs to get your computer," he decides, imperious, "and then we're setting up this memo I keep promising the other guys about organizing a real-life reunion. Come on."
Vriska is still waiting outside, arms crossed, and she looks irritated enough that Karkat has no doubt she spent the time with her ear to the door being bored to tears by the conversation. She looks the both of them up and down, mouth pursed, and then she takes a sudden, jaunty step forward and punches John in the biceps. John goes ow around a laugh.
Takes all kinds, Karkat reminds himself.
"Alright! Since everything is once again well in hand here, I'm going back home to do that thing I put off especially for you, John." He smiles a little, embarrassed; Karkat has the awkward displeasure of seeing Vriska briefly look almost nice. Disturbing shit. "But if you really truly need me, you can call me over again and I guess I'll just have to ditch that super important thing."
"But you'll be owing me!"
"Hehe, of course."
They do not, thankfully, hug or anything. Vriska just gives John another half-hearted shoulder punch and saunters off, short dress swinging against her bare thighs, waving over her shoulder without looking back.
Karkat herds John to the upstairs-going staircase.
"So. You and Vriska."
John sputters. "What me and Vriska! We haven't done anything, you put that eyebrow down! She's just been a really great friend, okay?"
"What, haven't even had your first pile yet?"
John pauses on a step to stare back at him. "Huh?"
Irritated, Karkat prods him in the back. "Move, move. Moirallegiance, John."
"--Oh. That's the buddy quadrant, right?"
Karkat facepalms mightily. "Let's... just... yes. The buddy-style human girlfriend type quadrant." It hurts physically to say.
"Uh, I dunno, apparently she dated a doomed me a ways back and it didn't work out, like, at all, I was kind of bummed about it."
Speaking of bums, John has gotten a little ahead of Karkat on the stairs. It takes a second for him to drag his eyes away from the perfectly positioned rump and focus on what John actually said. Then he wishes he hadn't. John has to mean to miss the point entirely, does he? He has to. Yes. Karkat allows himself a tiny growl. "Right here, right now. Do you want to kiss her? With tongue?"
John considers it, humming quietly, mouth pursed quizzically. "Iunno."
"Ffff." Karkat shoos him with his hand, nudges him to go faster on the shitton of stairs. He wants to be stealing John's snacks as he forces him to get online already.
In non-flirting ways. Flirting pitch with John is doomed to failure and eternal shame.
"The answer is no! No, John, it is as visible as Tavros' humongous horns that you do not! Any paler and you'll be puking out fresh snow! Also your bile-bleached endoskeleton, polished to a lustrous shine."
"Hehe, if you say so, mister romance specialist! Maybe I'm going to kiss her tomorrow, huh?"
"Yeah, and then I'll find a message in my tray about the most mortifying awkwardness a troll has ever felt. Fix this for us, Master Vantas, for we hath assfucked it into terrible ruination."
"Haha, fuck you."