Karkat read through a scroll. He was at his desk, the shelves of scrolls behind him. He finished the scroll, set aside and turned to give the shade the judgement. It disappeared. Karkat picked up another scroll and started reading. There was a line of souls to be judged and his work was never done. Time walked on. There was no day and no night in this realm but he didn't mind. There was a sundial who turned because of magic but he didn't know where it was. He couldn't be bothered to look for it.

Karkat made his way down the line of souls. He was reading a scroll. He stopped. Karkat frowned. Something felt different. He put the scroll down. He stood up and stepped away from the desk. One of the dog's heads looked at him. 'Going out for walk,' Karkat muttered. He walked out of the hall.

He couldn't explain it but something really did feel different. Karkat had been in the Underworld for so long that Rose had wondered if his connection to it had changed. Karkat didn't know the answer to that and didn't really care. He looked around, searching. The souls parted for him. Some bowed while some hissed. They all feared them. He kept walking until finally he could hear something that sounded like whispering. The servants had seen something and the souls had overheard. They were talking to each other. Karkat followed it. Someone had come into the Underworld, some beautifully *alive*. Karkat scowled. Mortals could find the door but they couldn't get in. Who did?

There was strange light up ahead. Karkat went to it, weaving through the crowd of souls. He managed to get to the front. The floor ended here and there was dark earth sprawling around the palace. He stumbled to a stop, eyes widening and mouth falling open. In front of him was a fellow god. Glowing, pale-haired, and bare foot. They were wearing a short yellow chiton and there was grass and flowers under their feet. Karkat stepped forward. 'Hey!' he shouted. The god turned to him. Amber eyes held up the light of a fire. 'What are you doing here!' Karkat asked.

The fellow god looked at Karkat. Karkat waited. They took him in, looking him up and down. Their eyes slid away. 'Hey!' Karkat barked, 'who are you and what are you doing here?!'

The god looked at him. 'I am a god,' they said.

'So am I,' Karkat spread out his arms, 'surprise!'

The god looked surprised. 'You live here?'

'Yes,' Karkat replied.

'It looks terrible,' the god said.

Karkat scowled at them. 'I am fucking busy *working* so I apologize that I couldn't make it beautiful for you.'

'Don't be sarcastic with me,' the god said.

'I can be sarcastic with you as much as I want, *godling*,' Karkat sneered. He lifted his chin. 'You have no power here.'

'Don't call me godling. You will listen to me,' the god said.

'I can call you whatever I want,' Karkat said, 'be glad I don't call you "peasant". And I don't have to listen to you at all. I am the King of this world.'

'You are?' the god asked.

'Yes! Who do you think keeps this place in order?!' Karkat asked.

'You weren't here when I came in,' the god said.

'Because I was *working*,' Karkat said, 'and I don't who you are. Why would I be here to see you?'

'You don't who I am?' the god said.

'Do *you* know who I am?' Karkat asked.

'Yes,' the god said. Karkat gave them an unimpressed look. He walked away. The god looked at him surprised then went after him, jogging to catch up. They stopped in front of Karkat. 'Where are you going?'

'Going back to work,' Karkat said brusquely. He stepped sideways. The god blocked him. He stepped to the other side. The god blocked his way. Karkat scowled up at him. 'What are you doing?' he snapped.

'I want a room,' the god declared.

'*Why* would you want one! This place is terrible. If you could kindly get your ass up the stairs you went down, you can be free from this terrible place and look at something much nicer!' Karkat stepped around the god and continued walking. They followed.

'I want a room,' the god said.

'No!' Karkat said offended, 'I'm not giving you one! And you can't demand *anything*! If you want one ask nicely!' They walked through the halls. The souls parted for them. Some bowed while some whispered praise. Karkat rolled his eyes. Whoever this god was, they admired them.

Karkat stepped through a tall doorway. They arrived in his room. Karkat went to his desk and sat down. The god sat down on the floor. Karkat glowered at them then looked down at his desk. He looked through the papers, finding the scroll he was reading. 'It's cold here,' the god said.

'The souls have no need for warmth,' Karkat replied distractedly. And, well, he forgot. He had forgotten to light the furnace once, he bore with it and had simply gotten used to the cold. 'If you want to be warm, you can leave.'

'No,' the god said.

'Then deal with the cold,' Karkat said. He went back to work. He read scrolls, judges the souls and gave them their places. He worked until he had enough. There was no end to work but he had to stop sometime. He set a scroll aside then laid his head on the desk. Karkat closed his eyes. He opened them blearily. He lifted his head. The god was right by his desk, elbow on it and chin resting on their palm.

Karkat scowled up at them. 'My name is Dirk,' the god said.

Karkat looked at them. 'My name is Karkat,' he managed to say.

'Karkat,' the god named Dirk said, testing out his name.

Karkat's scowl deepened. 'Don't be so familiar with me,' he growled, 'it's *Lord* Karkat to you and you will call me "my lord".' They stared at each other.

'My lord,' the god named Dirk said.

'Good,' Karkat rasped. He laid his head on the desk again. He waved his hand. 'Go away,' he said. He went back to sleep. When Karkat woke up, he looked around. Dirk was sleeping on the floor. Karkat scowled. He stood up and went to find a servant. He told them to prepare a room for his "guest" and to stoke the furnace. He returned to his desk and continued working.

When Dirk woke up, he resumed looking at Karkat. Karkat frowned. He could feel eyes on him. 'You have a room. Go sleep there,' he said. He didn't look up from the scroll.

'I don't want a room,' Dirk replied. Karkat looked up from the scroll. He looked at Dirk.

'You asked for one!' Karkat barked.

'I don't want it anymore,' Dirk said easily, 'I'm sleeping here.'

'Why?' Karkat snapped.

'You're cute,' Dirk said. Karkat's face turned red. He sputtered. He quickly stood up and marched out the room. Dirk stood up and jogged after him. Karkat found a servant. He told them to bring cushions and carpets.

Karkat whirled to face Dirk. 'Go home!'

'No,' Dirk said, 'I like it here.' Karkat marched back to his desk and continued working, this time furiously. The cushions and carpets arrived. Dirk watched the servants lay them down. He sat down in the middle. He looked at Karkat. His lord now. 'It's warmer,' Dirk said.

Karkat grunted. 'I can turn it off,' he said.

'No, this is nice,' Dirk said. Karkat nodded stiffly. It never occurred to either of them that Dirk didn't ask nicely for a room but Karkat gave him one anyway.