AN: Thank you so so much guys! You are the absolute BEST and i love you all very dearly 3
which means new chapter. yay!
SHIT GON GO DOWN

There's a warning for this chapter! Things are getting a bit more graphic(and i'm not talking sex) and like while they're still not really graphic it's worse than the earlier chapters have been. Enjoy! ;)

-x-x-x-

They haven't gotten far, but Dave is feeling extremely uncomfortable. Zach's behaviour hasn't changed in the least, but nonetheless, something is different.

On one hand, there are less demons around. On the other, there must be a reason for that, Dave's body is giving him hell and is, you know, actually aching pretty badly, and to top it all off, there's also less people around than before, which is a decidedly bad thing under the circumstances.

"Hey," he says, interrupting Zach's little monologue about… something, whatever, "Where did you say your apartment was?"

Zach makes a noncommital gesture. "We're almost there. You'll see." and then he keeps talking, swiftly changing the subject.

Dave is keeping a pretty good eye on him after that, which is why he sees the punch coming. He ducks under Zach's arm and runs a few steps forwards before turning around to face him again and, oh.

"Dude, what the shit?" He looks around for a way out - the alley they're at doesn't look like it'll lead to a dead-end, but it's unfamiliar territory and he's not sure where he'd end up if he ran.

Looks like he might have to do that either way, though. Zach's eyes are-

they don't look all that human anymore.

So. Either psychopathic human out to fucking murder him or psychopathic demon, also out to fucking murder him. This is great.

There's a strange creaking sound from Zach's direction and he smiles, the corners of his lips stretching in a way that's actually pretty disturbing when paired up with the staring. "Dave," he says(and really, fucking really, is he actually going to do the face-heel-turn plus complete-personality-switch right now when did dave's life turn into a shitty movie), "what do you think you're doing?"

Zach steps forward, and Dave runs.

...fuck. fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck he should've seen this coming(why didn't he see this coming? - yeah, yeah, slight head trauma and shock but still) he knew everyone was out to get him and he still followed a stranger home, what made him be so stupid, he knew not all demons looked particularly much like demons(but zach didn't look demony at all, what the hell) this is fucking insane-

He stumbles over the curb and keeps running as fast as he can, but his hip is still aching from the fall earlier(it feels like so long ago, all of a sudden), and he knows he won't be able to outrun a demon.

Well, then. If he'll have to fight either way, he might as well save his energy.

He runs around the next corner and then stops, fumbling with the zipper on his backpack. He should call Jade, he knows he should, but they'd never get there in time, so instead, he reaches into his bag and brings out the knife, takes a deep breath and steadies himself against the wall so that when Zach comes, he's ready.

When he rounds the corner Dave pushes off the wall with everything he's got and drives the point of the knife into Zach's stomach as hard as he can with a low grunt as the air is punched out of his stomach. Zach freezes up and exhales - it's a whining, abnormal sound and Dave wonders if he managed to puncture a lung - and Dave lets go of the knife, backing away. He's breathing rapidly, calculating his next step - will it be enough to stop him? to slow him down? if he ran now, how far could he go?

He's torn from his panicked planning when Zach opens his mouth to cough up blood(and it isn't red, it's black or something, looking more like oil than blood and Dave thinks he might throw up if he keeps looking so he tears his gaze away and focuses on breathing). "Now, Dave," he says, voice scratchy and definitely not sounding very human anymore, fuck, "that wasn't very polite. Is that how you normally greet new friends?"

"Wasn't planning to be your friend," Dave mumbles, still backing away but he knows he's screwed now, Zach is- is changing, there's a cracking sound as it looks like his arms are popping out of their sockets and he rips the knife out of his stomach with a sickening squelch. Blood splatters on the pavement.

"Oh, really?" says the- the thing, Dave can't even call it a person anymore, it looks like something out of a shitty horror movie, all disjointed limbs and stary eyes and are those teeth, jesus fucking christ why him and then he keeps talking and why won't it just stop, "Because I wanted to be your friend, Dave. Be your friend forever and ever. It's such a shame." He sounds almost regretful. "You could've lasted for weeks, Dave, if you hadn't made it necessary for me to kill you."

Had he heard this speech in a movie, he would have laughed and joked about how the script writers should be fired. But now, actually directed at him, it's nothing short of terrifying. His breath is coming in short gasps but the adrenaline is pumping through his entire body and he can barely even feel the aching anymore.

He's going to die. He's going to die, and-

You know what? No, fuck that shit, he is not going to get killed by a werewolf wannabe just because he took a god damned walk. He is not going to die today.

He is going to motherfucking survive this and go back home so that he and Rose can laugh together at Zach's shitty lines. He's doing this, he's fucking making this happen, just watch him.

When Zach pounces at him he's ready, throwing himself to the side and rolling, getting back to his feet in the middle of the street. Easier to move out here. Zach snarls and jumps at him again, but he dodges and-

and this won't work for long. He already knows he can't run, so that option's out, and while he's pretty damn skilled at dodging he kind of gets the feeling he will grow tired before Zach will. He needs to be able to get in a good hit.

Next time he doesn't dodge. He ducks down instead, punching upwards with his entire body, aiming for the knife wound from earlier. He hits. He knows he does, because Zach makes the same whining sound as earlier and Dave's hand comes away covered in the black goo.

This time there isn't time to dodge as teeth dig into his shoulder and he screams.

The pain shoots through his body and he tears himself away from Zach's grasp, still screaming. Holy fuck that was painful, he's-

He can't-

His left arm hangs uselessly at his side as he gasps for breath and tries not to jostle it too badly. Fucking useless, what's he supposed to-

The knife. He needs to get the knife, and then he needs to slice its fucking throat open, because this isn't working(and Zach is straightening up again because wow guess what superspecial magical blood which gives energy and all that shit meaning that not only does he get hurt but Zach gets stronger and all of this is such fucking bullshit how are these odds fair in any sense of the word?).

He takes a deep breath, ignoring the pain from his shoulder(just a bit longer, just until he can cut him down) and feints to the left before making a run for it. There's a frustrated growl from behind him and he speeds up, just a little bit longer, just a few more steps(don't think about how it's getting closer, don't think about what happens if he misses), just a-

His fingers close around the handle and he spins, slashing backwards with a frustrated scream.

Everything… stops. For a few seconds he just stands there, breathing heavily with the knife buried in the side of the demon's neck, it's eyes staring at him but not really seeing, and then he rips the blade out, staggering backwards.

Despite all his determination, he didn't expect that to actually work.

Zach hisses(and then splutters, black goo dripping from his lips) and brings his hand up to press against the wound. "You," he snarls, but weakly, stuttering, "you fucking vermin, how dare you-"

And then it comes to a stop as Dave kicks him as hard as he can in the stomach. Zack falls to the ground with a low thump and Dave slumps against the wall, trying to get his breathing back under control.

"Well," he mutters to himself. "That could've gone worse."

He leans his head against the wall, closing his eyes, just for a short while. He just needs to- just needs to catch his breath, and then he'll call someone, and they'll bring him back home and fix his fucking shoulder, and everything will be fucking fine(and he does not look at the body at his feet and he does not look at the knife and he has not committed murder today because it doesn't count if it's in self-defence).

Someone else comes around the corner. She's tiny, wearing a blue dress, and her hair is put up in a braid. Dave swears under his breath. "Listen, I know what it looks like," he starts, but the moment she sees the body she stops and shrieks.

"Hey hey hey," and fuck what if she calls the police on him how is he supposed to explain this, "just calm down, okay, hear me out here-"

"You killed him," she snarls, and he realises.

"You have got to be fucking kidding me."

She's not, and he barely has time to push away from the wall when she comes at him, still screaming. "You killed him, you fucking murderer, he was mine and you killed him-" and after that things only get worse. He still can't move his left arm without it hurting like he'll and he's exhausted.

He's not-

He can't-

She slams him against the wall and he's not even sure when he started screaming again, but everything hurts and he is bleeding, her nails tearing into his chest and he's really going to die this time, john doesn't know where he is jade doesn't know where he is no one will be coming for him he's going to die

his vision is going blurry and he can't even scream anymore, not enough air to make any sounds at all except for the dry sobbing as he gasps for breath

he tries to struggle but she digs her fingers into his shoulder and it hurts everything hurts

a dark shape tears her away from him with a snarl and he slumps to the ground, not having enough energy to keep himself upright. There's a sound like something breaking(her neck?) and this is his chance to get away, to run, but he still can't move and he still can't see and there's nowhere to go. today is the worst fucking day.

there are footsteps coming closer and then someone crouches next to him, touching his shoulder and brushing their hands over his chest lightly, almost tenderly. he tenses up automatically, flinching away from the touch(and that was a shitty idea, what part of everything hurts hadn't he managed to understand?), and then-

"You're a god damned- how could you ever think this was a good idea, what the hell were you thinking, you're gonna get yourself killed faster than an infant on a racetrack and I won't always be here to protect you you incompetent douchenozzle" and, oh. All the tension bleeds out of his body(haha, bleeds) and he slowly lets himself relax. It's okay, now.

"Hi, Karkat," he pipes up weakly, but Karkat just keeps on talking right over him, -"what the fuck made you go out alone if you can't even protect yourself-"

"Hey," Dave protests(still weakly), because dude, pride, "I was holding my own perfectly fine until he brought in backup!"

Karkat just snorts. "Yeah, sure, if 'holding your own' entails nearly getting yourself killed-"

"And killing a demon-"

"-sure, you were 'holding your own'. God, it's like you've never even learned basic fucking self-defence-"

Karkat steps up and away from him, beginning to pace back and forth, gesturing agitatedly as he keeps ranting about Dave's inability to behave like a normal person and/or protect himself properly. Dave watches him, vision slowly going back into focus. He still hurts like hell(aaaand will probably need medical attention. maybe jade's got some magic-y stuff for that? he can dream, right?), but there's no immediate danger(he doesn't think he's going to bleed out, and Karkat doesn't seem to be all that worried about the possibility either so it's probably fine,) and he's something more important on his mind, and Karkat gave him the perfect opening for it.

"So teach me."

"What." Karkat stops dead in his tracks and turns to stare at him. Dave fights down the urge to squirm under his gaze. He never- never wants to feel that defenseless again. He needs to learn.

"You say you don't want me dead, and that I'll get myself killed walking alone without proper fighting skills. Well, I'm not gonna stop walking alone, so." Deep breath. "Sounds like the best solution is for you to teach me proper fighting skills."

"I- You-" Huh. Looks like he actually managed to make him speachless. Current score, Dave:1 Karkat: negative one hundred. Or something.

"Don't stress it, dude, we have all day," he says and is rewarded by a vicious glare.

"Why don't you just ask your little exorcist friends? I'm sure they wouldn't mind teaching you how to fight if it meant you going out to violently extinguish my entire god-forsaken race, hell, they'd probably be delighted, ask nicely and they might even help you do it!" By the end of it, his voice is sounding more like a snarl than anything, and Dave's breath catches in his throat(but this is Karkat, and he wouldn't hurt him. Probably).

"Careful, sounding a little bitter there." This time, the look he gets actually makes him wince. "Sorry, too far. Anyways, I just… I dunno. Jade uses firearms and John has his weird hammer thing. At least your weapons are bladed." He shrugs. "'sides, I'll be fighting demons, won't I? Might as well spar against one, too."

"...so you want me to teach you how to fight."

"Yeah."

"You want me to teach you how to kill my own kind, fully aware that I'm not human-"

"Haven't we already had this conversation once? Yes." Dave meets his eyes dead-on and tries to hold his gaze steady. "I want to learn. I want you to teach me. Will you?"

There is a breathless moment before he answers, a few, endless seconds where he cannot feel his heart beating and his blood runs cold because what if he says no-

"...yes."

Before Dave's able to properly register the word, Karkat is gone again, just as quickly and quietly as he came, and he is alone. Dave's head falls back against the pavement(ouch.) and then it hits him. He said yes. He's actually going to be sparring against a demon(sparring sessions that might, he very deliberately does not think, also come with the added benefit of hot make-out sessions. okay, who is he kidding, he is totally thinking that). Hell. Fucking. Yes.

He punches the air in victory before locating his phone and making a call.

"Rose? I might need you to pick me up."

-x-x-x-

...ta da!

Comments are as appreciated as always(and I really am grateful for last chapter. you pulled through and it was amazing 3 3 3), and I'll try to get next chapter up sometime next week!
(spoiler; there
will be karkat.)