AN: This turned into a completely different story then I thought it was going to be. Woah.
And I really need a beta reader...D:

On the note of Terezi's eyes, I'm writing it so you can still tell where the iris is and all. As in, when she turns to different things, you can see where she's looking. Sorry if that bugs you.

When he first throws the door open, he's expecting to come face to face with a scowl. When he opened the door, he expected to be angry. He's expecting all of these things, accusations burning under his skin. But the moment he opens his mouth, the words have all died out. All he's left with is a dry taste in his mouth.

Because he never expected Karkat to come tumbling in, breathing hard and uneven, his hands perched up on both sides of the wall in a way that makes Sollux realize that it was the only thing keeping him upright. When he notices how badly he was trembling, Sollux moved forward quickly, barely having enough time to catch Karkat before he fell.

"What the fuck, kk? are you planning on painting my hive red!?"

Adjusting his hold on him, Sollux turned him over on his back all dead weight as Sollux settles him on the ground. His stomach clenched as he looked him over. "How many...?"

Moving to brush some of the blood away from Karkat's head, Sollux nearly jumped when he felt something cold and wet wrap itself around his arm. Managing to keep his psyonics in check, he simply hissed again, "How many?"

As a response, Karkat grinned; fresh blood bubbling over his teath and pooling out of his mouth and down the side of his face.

"Two," Karkat wheezed, his splintering red-gray eyes shining from the answer, as if he really had the gall to feel proud in this position. Sollux didn't need to ask what he was talking about; Karkat had been getting in fights with Imperial Drones steadily more and more as time went on. Sollux had given up on trying to stop him; though he'd assumed he'd be safe...apparently he was wrong.

The more he stared down at him, the more attuned to him he seemed to become. Sollux almost didn't want to touch him yet; Karkat looked as though he could break. It was only when he looked into his eyes that Sollux realized that he was wrong. There was no fear or weakness, only fire that was waiting to be ignited.

"You're going to end up getting yourthelf killed, jackath! Why do you keep letting yourthelf get into thituationth like thith? Fuck, how hurt are you..."

Karkat's eyes have already closed, and Sollux can only curse, knowing that probably wasn't a good sign.

"Hey, dipweed. Open your eyeth. Thith ith a thit time to decide to take a nap."

When he didn't get a response, he cursed as he felt around his neck until he found a pulse - beating, but faint - and he couldn't resist rolling his eyes. Before he did anything else Sollux lifted Karkat up with his power, and looked at the doorway where Karkat had previously been holding himself up against; frowning at the color that was bled onto the hinges and the walls. It wasn't as though Sollux was unaware of his friend's blood color; he didn't really mind it either. He just frowned, staring at the blood before he swung the door shut. Depending on how many drones there were, and how many he actually managed to destroy...they may run into some problems.

"Chritht, kk," Sollux muttered, turning back to the troll that he was keeping levitated off the ground, "Dragging your problemth to me again. Thigh."

He couldn't have been too out of it, because he was squirming against Sollux's psychic hold. "Stuff it, Captor. I...fuck you," Karkat wheezed, a wet, hard cough gripping his body as he shuddered, trying to regain composure. Sollux just sort of laughed before carefully setting him down on the ground. True, it would be easy as hell to exert his power over Karkat, but he figured that he could spare a little niceness, as long as he answered his questions. Maybe now he wouldn't be so...

"About fucking time, Captor. I thought you were going to keep me up there for fucking sweeps!"

...or probably not. How does he think that Karkat and civil - or even behaved - could even be together in the same sentence?

"Quiet, kk. Now. Mind telling me exactly what the fuck you ran into? And thith wathn't tho much of a quethtion ath a demand, by the way."

Karkat makes what he assumed was a growl, ut it sounded more like gurgling air at this point. He spits a glob of bright red liquid off to the side, them continues to glare at Sollux like he had a death wish.

"Sollux, fuck you. I ca,e over here because you were the closest. Had Terezi or Gamzee been half as close as you are, then I would have gone to them. So if you plan on kicking me out, why don't you just do it already. I will be out of your hair so fast I-aagh!"

Karkat's angry rebuttal was cut short by an agitated groan; his hand latching tightly onto his abdomen, and it was only then that Sollux took note to the abnormally dark areas that were blossoming around the fist-full of shirt that he was gripping. Sollux found himself frowning again; Karkat, however, simply grimaced between his clenched jaw and ragged breathing.

"I wouldn't kick you out, jackath. At leatht not when even a newborn grub could keep you down. Tho what happened, and thave the bullthit for once."

If he was going to object, the psyonics sparking behind Sollux's glasses shut him up. "It was a Drone, which wasn't anything new, since they make for good practice. But some Sea Dweller had to come and see, and make things more complicated then it needed to be."

Oh. "Did you let them live?" Karkat just gave him this look, which was probably his way of telling him that was a stupid question. Pardon him for not understanding the extent of his bloodlust.

"No shit. I can come out on top over a fuchsia blood, no fucking problem. Even a fucking drone. But trying to fight them both while trying to make sure neither went off and squealed or some shit, is actually pretty fucking hard. The militia knows their shit when it comes to drones and fucking, ugh. Sea Dwellers. Feferi not included."

...Okay, so Sollux couldn't really blame him for that one. Completely.

"Move your hand," Sollux commanded. When he tried to reach his hand forward, Karkat growled, rather intimidatingly this time, with his teeth bared. Sollux actually pulled back, because he wasn't completely sure that Karkat wouldn't bite his hand off. Though even when he pulled back, Karkat kept his teeth shown and his eyes narrowed.

"Woah, chill! I'd like to keep my limbth in tact, thank you!" If he registered what Sollux was saying, he didn't show it. His grip on his gut tightened, and the only inclination that was given was a small hitch in his breath; the rest of him remained as stone. His breathing had shifted from rasps being forced from his mouth to short, controlled bursts from his nose. Sollux could practically see the restrained and the labor behind his chest as he struggled to keep his fierce appearance.

It was funny just how just a small burst of pigment in the eye could change the look of someone. Sollux's own eyes were already starting to golden, but Karkat''s were different. Even Aradia's were different; they were more of a dull red, and seemed to blend seamlessly with her whole person. Karkat's eyes seemed to pronounce him rather than add to a previous charm. Through the natural gray that was default in every young troll, the red that was starting to come out was electrifying; a spark against a flint. As amazing as they were, Sollux could see the problems that would cause. Aradia was the lowest color on the spectrum - she'd told him, at one point - and hers were several shades darker. You'd be able to catch his mutant blood miles away.

However, that didn't explain why Karkat was treating him like an enemy. It's not like he'd ever hand him over.

"Try to touch me again, and I'll cull you."

The venom in that glare. Fuck, if looks could kill.

"You want to thtumble into my hive, thmearing blood wherever you land, and want to command me? Yeah, that'th not flying with me. If you don't calm the fuck down, I will rethtrain you like a pathetic hoofbeast. Don't push me, kk."

He tried again to reach out, and when he got the same response, he rolled his eyes. Eyes glowing, Sollux swept both of Karkat's hands down to his sides and secured his legs on the ground. As he expected, the moment Sollux came up close to him, he growled, teeth barred and snapping forward with his whole body in attempt to get to him. All that Sollux was concentrating on was the dampening fabric of cloth that seemed to get darker with every struggle, making Sollux growl in frustration for his friend. Honestly, what a freak.

"Okay, you've brought thith upon yourself, kk," be breathed, himself growling as he moved a hand on top of Karkat's head, and on the base of his horns. The effects, as he expected, were instantaneous; Karkat's body went limp against his psionic hold, and his scowl fell into little more then a pained grimace. The fact that he was still able to hold such a venomous glare spoke millions in terms of physical endurance - the chemicals that are released when the base of the horns are touched normally knock trolls into the perfect picture of submission...And while Karkat wasn't bowing at his feet, he at least wasn't snapping. And unless he magically became a psyonic like Sollux, his glare would get him nowhere - no matter how deadly it looked.

"Sorry, bit theriouthly, you were being more trouble then you're worth." Shifting his hand down over the fabric of his shirt, Sollux had barely let his hands flutter over the wound in question before a sharp hiss left Karkat's lips; more of a whimpering sound, that Sollux had not been prepared for.

Ready to know regardless, he slowly pulled Karkat's shirt up over his head - practically having to guide his limbs, much to Sollux's annoyance - and tossed the bloody piece of fabric to the floor beside him. Unmarred by clothing, he couldn't help but feel a little sick when he got a clear view of Karkat's body.

His chest was littered with flurries of red-feathered gashes that were dotted and smeared with fuchsia, and if he looked closer, bits and pieces of metal as well. Some were already well on their way with healing, but those were all things that he could ignore - but one of them he simply could not. Directly in the middle of his stomach was a gaping hole - one that had two, smaller holes to the right and left of it. Sollux could guess what happened; the droid had gotten a hold of him, judging by the red marks on Karkat's neck, and the sea dweller had had taken advantage and shoved their trident in him. They were so predictable with their strife specubi. Feferi was an expectation, since she was using the weapon that her ancestor used. Everyone else was just being unoriginal.

However, he didn't see how he was still conscious; that should have been enough to knock anyone out...but when he met Karkat's gaze, he realized he was stupid for actually thinking that.

"Idiot. I'm fixing this. Next time, make my life easier.

Fixing Karkat was something that was normal. He was always in a fight, and Sollux seemed to always be cleaning him up. Neither of them cared, and it was eventually something like a bonding time between them. Fixing Karkat's wounds were easy. It was just skin and blood. But fixing other things...

"Shit! Shit shit shit shit what did you do!?"

He had received a call from John, of all people, telling him that something had happened to Karkat. When he'd asked why he hadn't just told him himself, John didn't have much in the way of an answer. Just said that it had sounded like he didn't know who he was, since he asked to voice call, and he sounded really hurt. He'd just said that he wanted John to contact Sollux himself and to hurry over, and to tell Terezi as well. He'd done that last part soon after, so that just left him. Sollux felt a bit bad for hanging up on the kid without giving any answers, but he had a good reason to rush. Karkat puled himself to his house when he was half dying, so this must have been really bad if he wasn't even able to do that...

He wasn't sure what he was expecting when he walked in there. But he did know that he wasn't expecting to see Terezi hugging Karkat against her, crying. He wasn't expecting to be staring into a set of blood-red eyes that didn't belong to TZ.

"kk, what the fuck did you do."

Neither of them would say anything, and Sollux was getting fed up, and anxious, from the silence. So he strode over and grabbed Karkat by the collar of his shirt, yanking him away from Terezi and off the ground and close to his face; teeth clenching as he tried to keep calm. But when Karkat turned his head in Sollux's direction, he couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt hit him. Couldn't help but feel like he'd failed. And when he glanced down at Terezi, he knew she felt the same. She'd never known Karkat's blood color, not really, and this was the last way she'd wanted to find out.

"I...kk, what did you do..."

Sollux asked the question again that no one else wanted to ask. Truthfully, neither of them completely wanted to know, for sure, what they were already thinking.

"What t...the fuck do you think I did, idiot. I blinded myself."

Terezi just stared up at the two of them silently; teal tears cascading steadily down her face. She'd never admit to Karkat that she'd cried...maybe. Or maybe she was just in too much shock. She'd been blinded the same way, having to stare into the Sun. And he had done this himself. Troll's were designed to naturally hide away as a defense of the blinding rays; Terezi only managed it because Vriska had been forcing her to. Once again his willpower had lead him to conquer another feat...though everyone would have rather he hadn't. To Sollux, it seemed as though Karkat was always moving forward; it was like he was always a step behind. Sure, he had a knack for coding, but it he was honest with himself, the gap between them was steadily increasing. Ever since the game, where they had all been pretty equal (god tear notwithstanding), the gaps were becoming more prominent. Karkat may have been a shit leader, but he'd grown into it. He'd grown into it and owned it and moved so far past it, and everyone else seemed to be falling aside in his light.

And then the idiot does this. But even while he's practically kneeling there, in pain from having his eyes burned out and bleeding from them, his power has not faded; has has not faltered. Even as he stares at neither of them, seeing nothing, his lips are pressed into a thin line of defiance. He'd pressed them into a line with his jaw clenched and his fists bundled in Sollux's shirt, but he says,

"This was no mistake. This was an act that will start the fucking changes that should have happened after that fucking game."

Sollux doesn't know what to say to that. Neither of them do. For all he knew, this was just the delusional ramblings of an insane troll who had intentionally burned out his retinas.

"All right, Karkles. I'll say I believe you. And if you've convinced me, then Mr. Appleberry Blast here agrees as well. Even if he hasn't realized it yet."

Sollux couldn't even object. Terezi was right. Even if he didn't know what he was agreeing to, he knew that he'd follow Karkat anywhere. The term "blind leading the blind" halfway applied.

They still made a deadly team.

Terezi had taken Karkat to her Lusus, who had allowed her to see things with her other senses. Apparently while it was in its egg, which it had gone back to after the game, it could do that. But only with certain people. Vriska had tried it before once, only to have a rather nasty recoil. When Sollux himself had tried, he simply got a bad taste in his mouth that lingered there for days. Though it had worked perfect for Karkat, much to Terezi's delight. She'd dove right into teaching him how to do things - he was smart in never mentioning the color that would occasionally splash down her face from her eyes.

While they were working on that, Karkat had asked Sollux to start encrypting messages into internet servers. Messages of a rebellion. Messages of the hemospectrum dominance coming to an end. Calling to a silent army. Calling for a Change. A message alerting people, certain people, that Alternia was going to change.

Their friends were the first ones they contacted; Gamzee was instantly on board. He'd gotten better with his sobriety - learned to tame his natural Blue-blood urgings. Terezi had protested against telling him; it wasn't out of mistrust of him exactly,but his company. Not everyone had played the game that they had, being forced to really interact with those of different blood levels so intimately. They were not so understanding, and it was an understandable fear. People did not know Karkat's blood color; with his burned retinas, he was masked in anonymity. He refused to bleed, and that was enough for the high bloods to suspect a low hemospectrum rank. The fact that he still bore a gray insignia on his person was largely a contributing factor as well.

Bur Karkat was saved simply because he was Gamzee's morail. And that was why he needed him. He was a key chess piece and secretly Terezi knew it, Sollux knew it. He needed the aid and protection of someone so high up on the spectrum. As much as they all fought and argued during their time during the Game, they had become friends. They would support one another. And that was what Karkat was banking on.

Early on, Terezi had notified Sollux of a very possible outcome that would cripple them, and also lead the cause to victory.

She made a point never to cry again.

The first person Sollux had asked was Aradia.

After regaining her body at the end of Sgrum, she'd gone back to her usual self. Though her lust for ruin exploration was gone, it had been replaced by people. Having spent time as a ghost, a ghost frog, and then a blue-blooded robot, she'd realized many aspects that are key parts of a personality; she'd realized that she wanted to explore so much more.

So Aradia spread the word, verbally. Taught those that she deemed worthy to access to Sollux's encryptions of Karkat's words. She knew how to shape herself around people, so she was easily able to mingle with the higher bloods; her quadrant-jumping relationship with Equius helped as well. It got her recognized, due to the vast diversity they held. Karkat used that to his advantage, telling her little phrases to tease and hook people in with. She got the most followers, and Sollux was proud.

Vriska gathered fighters. For as much as she was a bitchy loudmouth, she knew how to get things done. Whether her motives were in Karkat's favor or otherwise, it didn't matter. She did as she was asked, and he knew she wouldn't betray them. She was good with description, but Terezi had made her 'promise' to be good. Heavens knows what she said, but Sollux assumed he didn't want to know.

He just knows that Vriska looks a little sad whenever she looks at her and Karkat.

The sea dwellers do their best to keep them updated on what went on in the Empire. Karkat appreciated it, seeing as they could get culled if they were found out. Feferi's reasoning was that they all would too, if they were found out. She couldn't feel okay with being safe and secure while people - her 'friends' - were trying to change things in her own kingdom. Karkat was sure to tell her that he appreciated the lengths her and Eridan were willing to go.

Everyone played their role as well, but whey were the main pieces. The one with the most power. But the more talk and rumors that flooded the streets, the sooner the new plan of action was approaching. Nobody wanted it to happen.

Terezi recorded everything that Karkat said. The two of them - her and Sollux - had never even thought he was capable of such linguistics, if they were being completely honest with themselves. It was the fact that he had always wrapped himself up in angry words and incomprehensible rages, that no one had ever taken him serious enough to listen. It was amazing how he wove those metaphors seamlessly in conjunction with one another, like he'd been preparing for this his entire life.

But this had gotten big. Big enough that the high bloods were taking notice - the ones that were pro-hemo separation - and the next phase had to be carried out. Karkat could no longer hide behind his moiraligence.

He had to run.

Sollux had given him a husk top with a camera, so that he could continue to stream. Terezi had given him promises and affirmations and she didn't cry, but they could both tell she was trying so hard not to. They had been all business because they had to be, this was not something they could afford to get emotional over. They could not afford to have mistakes due to an emotional folly.

They could not be selfish.

So Karkat left, and it was almost like when they had first met. They only spoke on a protected version of Trollian, and they were speaking like they didn't really know one another; everything had been reduced to professional words that they could not seem to break out of, no matter how many times they went through it.

It was like the shadow of what was to come was looming over them, and no one wanted to make things worse. Every once in a while there would be a video sent, which Sollux would release at set intervals, and that was all he saw of him. There was such...strength, behind his features, and it's hard to believe he's the same Karkat that would stumble into his hive, bleeding, in desperate need for help. Nothing was the same, because Terezi was in love with him and Sollux was in love with him and...

He was going to die. Karkat Vantas was going to die.

it was known from the beginning. To push his followers over the edge, he would be prosecuted by the highbloods due to his mutation.

For all his posts and messages, Karkat's text had remained gray and ambiguous. It was kept that way for a reason. His eyes were burned red and his blood was a mystery, but it was repeatedly stated in his messages that he was 'lower than low.'

Sollux had sent out the video announcing his actual appearance, hours ago. The courtyard was now filled, leaving bystanders confused about the congregation. Amongst the crowd was Terezi and Gamzee, the latter already staring at the empty stage with his hands clenched and blue tears pricking against the corners of his eyes. Terezi was as still and emotionless behind her glasses, and she stood like a statue. They stood apart, but they were equally hurting.

Vriska and Aradia were there as well, curious, but not knowing. They received word of the video, but knew nothing of what was to come. Nepeta and Kanaya were in attendance as well, and the others were watching through a stream that Sollux had going. He himself was hidden; not being able to afford getting caught.

But when Karkat walked onto the stage, everyone quiets. Sollux holds his breath.

"So. I'm pretty sure you all fucking know why I called you here. At least some of you, and even then, you only know a bit."

twinArmageddon [TA] has established a stream

adiosToreador [A T] has begun viewing stream

caligulasAquarium [CA] has begun viewing stream

cuttlefishCuller [CC] has begun viewing stream

centaurTesticle [CT] has begun viewing stream

ectoBiologist [EB] has begun viewing stream

tentacleTherapist [TT] has begun viewing stream

gargenGnostic [GG] has begun viewing stream

turntechGodhead [TT] has begun viewing stream

A few people stirred, but the majority of them silenced. Karkat stood strong atop the makeshift stage; gray jeans and a black shirt with his white symbol adorned on it, much in reminisce to what they wore before. Sollux was puzzled as to why the symbol was all white, but he supposed he'll have to wait and see like everyone else.

Despite everything, Sollux can't seem to shake the sinking feeling that is building in his gut as he turns away from his computer to look at Karkat, just as he begins speaking once again.

[EB] woah! we finally got in, sweet! i haven't been able to speak to karkat in foooooooorever!



[TG] whats up bro

[TG] you got a problem with us humans seeing our friend, tav?

[A T] uH,

[CA] oh wwhatevver cape boy, you havve no idea wwhat has evven been goin on so maybe you should shut it

[TT] Perhaps you both should quiet yourselves. It seems as though he is about to speak.

[TG] hey lay off the cape thing already

[TG] but sure

"I'm here because this system is flawed. All of it. This order by blood color? Complete nonsense!

[GG] order by bloodcolor? that sounds so silly!

[CT] D - I can assure you, it is not "silly" in the least. I had always believed that it was an e%ceptionally STRONG aspect of our advanced society.

"Do you want to know why we evolved to have different shades of blood in the first place? So that Lusus' wouldn't have such a hard picking up little grubs! So that everyone would have a chance to be raised, and not abandoned because none of them knew which ones to pick!

[TG] woah what that shit happened

[CC] glub...I'm afraid so. In the beginning w)(en Alternia was in its early stages, t)(at was )(ow t)(ings went. Little grubs weren't being picked up properly!

[GG] oh no! that sounds terrible!

"It was established so there would be order; not complete segregation and oppression!

[EB] woah, so wait, segregation? oppression? i think i remember karkat talking about that when we were in the game, but didn't your world get a good outcome though? like ours did? i thought everything was supposed to be perfect!

[CA] wwe wwere not that lucky.


"Because you know what? Blood is just blood, and color is just color. Wanna know what happens when people bleed? When all this pointless slaughter over bloodshed leaves people dying, showing their color on the outside? It all. Fades. And Joins. To Gray."

As he enunciated the final words, Karkat equips his sickle and drags the back end across his palm; holding it up and out so that all the people in the plaza could see. Many gasp, and some yell...

And then he drags his bloodied-red palm across the symbol on his shirt, the red bleeding into the white, and Sollux understands.

[CC] IS )(-E CRAZY?!

[CT] D - It seems e%actly like he has lost his mind!


[TG] what why am i missing something here or what

[GG] i dont know! everyone is acting like hes done something really bad and i dont get it! maybe they are reeeally against self harm?

[CA] kar has completely lost it indeed! not evven fef and i can bail him out of this one!

[EB] rose? do you know? because i am really, really confused, i don't see why this is such a big deal...

[TT] ...I think it would be safe to assume that, given the circumstances, I don't believe the Troll's were exaggerating when they spoke of the importance of blood color in their society. And if I am correct in remembering that Vantas' is the lowest, even going so far as to call it a 'mutation'...

"Yeah, my blood color is red. Candy-fucking red. I might be even lower than the rust-bloods, but I'm brighter than any of the other colors on this seperational spectrum! I have had to hide this color for so long - even from the people that I had become the closest to! And do you want to know the funny thing about all of this? I blinded myself in order to keep my blood a secret - to keep myself alive! And the ultimate irony?"

[CC] No, you're exactly rig)(t! Alternian law, even under my rule, takes t)(e )(emospectrum very seriously! It's...It's a stupid glubbing rule, and I've been trying to fix it, but it's still a kill-order to anyone w)(o possesses unusual blood! Karkat's isn't even on the spectrum!

[CA] this isn't your fault, fef. somfin tells me there isn't a thing we could have done here...

[CT] D - What f001ishness. Showing his b100d like this is e%actly the same as having a death wish. I never thought he would...

Karkat pauses, and Sollux can already see members of the militia trying to push their way through the crowd, but Karkat ignores them completely.

"I've had my color plastered on me like a badge this entire fucking time! My burned eyes - ruined by the Alternian sun - are the same color as my mutant blood! It's a symbol, that when people learn to close their damn eyes, blood color doesn't matter in the least! We wear it without anyone caring-"

[EB] no! karkat!

[TT] Vantas...

[GG] oh my god!

[TG] fuck someone go fucking help him or something i swear to god

[CC] glub...

[EB] twinArmageddon...sollux, sollux right? look i know you have to be there, you're the one streaming all of this, please! karkat's our friend you have to help him!

Sollux frowns at the screen in front of him but he's still watching the scene play off in front of him, watching as Karkat wasn't able to get out another word, because he's being shoved to his knees and a hand is covering his mouth from behind, and his captor is screaming-

"Public Execution,"

And he knew this was coming, all along, but it doesn't save him from the hurt that shoots through his body like poison. And when he stares at the computer, of these people begging him to do something, he can't afford to be emotional-

[TA] no. ii know he'2 my friiend, but ii cant do anythiing two help hiim.

[TA] he made hii2 decii2iion a long tiime ago.

[TA] no one iis iin any po2iitiion two try and que2tiion thii2, or change thii2.

[TA] iit 2iimply needed two happen.

He watches as the humans argue against his words, but he doesn't respond to them again.

twinArmageddon [TA] has closed the stream.

Alternia abides by the rule of a slow death, rather than a quick one when it comes to executions, unlike those at Earth, as Sollux had learned much earlier. They favored hanging, and did not allow the rope to break the victim's neck. The point was slow asphyxiation, because the crowd, and the militia, liked to see the convicted suffer for their crimes, no matter how trivial or menial. Alternia was a society built on suffering, and they certainly lived up to the title.

They were advanced enough to heal cuts and gashes with a cream or with a simple shot. They could certainly kill someone painlessly - there was just no 'fun' in it. This sort of thing was what they were all hoping to fix, when they had Won. The planet that they made, Earth, had improved immediately upon its restoration. It had been a constant thorn in Sollux's, and everyone's, side.

So this was where they were. The moment that would take their cause to victory, and cripple them.

The public execution of Karkat Vantas would be the push their following needed. It would push them to take complete action.

But for his friends, the people close to wasn't worth the sacrifice. Not at all. But Karkat was ready for this - he was a leader, and a good one. So when he had heard the option from Terezi, he accepted it without question. She'd told them they could work on thinking of other ways, anything, but he'd told her that they both knew that it would be pointless. Death was something they understood, and this, to their followers, would be seen in the same light as murdering their leader. They would act, and Terezi would stand in his place.

Karkat stands proud on a silver platform atop the stage, noose around his neck and his unseeing eyes staring straight ahead, much like a soldier. Sollux felt sick while he sat in his hiding spot, making sure to keep the stream open for those who weren't able to make it. Terezi and Gamzee were ever present in the audience; Gamzee was yelling, raging in the audience against his restraints, and Sollux felt bad for him. He was losing one of his quadrants. Karkat had never allowed anyone into a Kismesissitude, or a matespritship, or an auspisticism, but Sollux knew that he cared for him - he admired his strength. But Terezi felt the same, and maybe that was one of the reasons he said nothing. Karkat wasn't heartless - he was goal oriented. He also didn't want to hurt the two people who were the closest to him; he was sort of a sap like that.

On the stage his arms were locked behind him in metal restraints, and his legs were barred at the ankles. Two guards stood off to his side, and from behind, a third prodded him with an electrically charged pole. The audience, most of them, were silent. His Silent Followers. Their silence was a sign of their commitment; something that had been a rule implied at every public execution. "The convicted are still Trolls," Karkat had said. "And the imperial army wants a good show. We won't be the ones to let them indulge in such a putrid fantasy."

The silence of so many eventually spread to the oblivious, so soon, all that stood before Karkat was silence. His army. Sollux could see a ghost of a smile pass over Karkat's lips, and Sollux couldn't keep a sob from choking itself in his throat, even though he tried to play it off. From his view frontward of Karkat, and the view of the crowd from one of his cameras, he could broadcast the full effect. "Hey, kk," Sollux questioned to the small earpiece they hadn't managed to catch. "Do all thothe multi-colored tearth tathte like that shit gray color you alwayth type in?"

He didn't get a response, but a dry laugh passed through Karkat's lips, followed by a grimace. The chat was exploding, and he wished he could show Karkat just how much they really cared. Some of his friends had flat out chosen not to attend. Couldn't stand the fact that this was happening. Some people showed it differently, but it changed nothing. Crying or anger or even silence, it was all the same and they knew it. When Karkat took another shock, Vriska, who was in the front row, hissed as she stood at attention. Ever the soldier.

Ordinarily, when an execution happened, they brought fourth the troll's loved ones to watch up close. Gamzee was the only one that had been official, and that was why he was in chains - another reason why he kept Terezi and Sollux safe out of his quadrants. They were needed, and it would do no one any good for them to have registered, active relations to him. They couldn't afford it, and they all knew it.

[GA] I Cannot Believe That This Is About To Actually Transpire...Of All The Outcomes We Have Ever Encountered, I Never Once Believed That We Would Come To Lose Someone After Everything Was Said And Done.

[AA] and this has been in the making for a little 0ver 2 sweeps! i had n0 idea that s0mething like this w0uld ever happen...n0 0ne t0ld me this at all!

[TT] How long is that in human years, if you don't mind me asking?

[GA] Aradia Is Being Shy On Her Numbers. If We Are Being Literal About The Time, It Would Be The Equivalent Of About Five Of Your Earth Years.

Sollux actually frowned a little bit at this as he read Aradia's words, knowing that she probably felt betrayed. He didn't blame her. They'd used her, without telling her what she was really getting herself into...not really.

[TA] sorry AA. we all thought iit would have been better two keep thii2 part a 2ecret.

[TA] we needed everyone to 2tay focu2ed and do theiir job.

[TA] you all wouldn't have been able two do that iif you knew thii2 wa2 what we were workiing toward2.

And that was the truth. While Terezi and him had managed to maintain face throughout this whole operation, they didn't want to risk testing that same restraint with the rest of their group. They needed focus. To believe that everything was going to be alright.

[GG] oh no! they keep poking him with that stick! :( isnt there a law against this kind of torture?! this isnt fair at all! :(((

[AC] :33 none! it isn't fair, and people who have sought out change in the past have peen purrsecuted...

[AC] :33 i think that karkitty is impawssibly brave for being able to do something like this makes me sad.

[CT] D - Indeed. For a mutant b100d, he is e%ceptionally STRONG. I have the utmost respect for him.

Small things like that were the things that were keeping Sollux from having a complete breakdown. Honestly, if he'd been able to see this, he'd laugh. He's spent sweeps working out this plan, trying to get so many supporters, but the truth was that he honestly wanted the respect of his peers more than anything. Yes, he wanted change, and he wanted Alternia to usher in a new way of life. But he was still Karkat, the guy who spend his whole life paranoid, and was trying to get everyone to follow him and respect him.

"Hey, I think hell jutht froze over," Sollux says, leaning back against the trunk of the tree he was hiding in. "That blue-blooded freak Equius jutht pretty much confethed that he'th got it hard for you."

Sollux turns his eyes down to the video stream where he has a closer look at Karkat, and watches as he spits a blob of red off to the right to the stage. He pants once before he inhales a shaky and wheezy breath, but looks up to one of the cameras that he has positioned, and smirks. "get a towl, fuckweed."

It was a small sentence, barely being spoken in a breathy tone, but the microphone was able to pick it up near perfectly. A few in the front row were also able to hear, which caused some of them to cast each other a weird glance, but Vriska's face nearly lit up with her trademark grin.

[EB] woah! can karkat hear what's being said on here?

[CT] D - ...oh my.

Sollux laughs, but the humor is short lived as he watches one of the guards sneering at Karkat on the stage.

Time is almost up.

[TA] no, he can't 2ee what'2 beiing 2aiid here. he'2 got an earpiiece iin, 2o ii've been able two 2ay a few thiing2 to hiim, iincludiing what CT saiid just now.

[TA] they're goiing two clean thii2 up very 2oon, iit look2 liike.

[TA] ii've enabled voiice chat. 2o iif you want two 2ay somethiing quiick two hiim, now would be your chance.

[TA] keep iit 2hort. we certaiinly do not have all day, and don't want them two diiscover that he'2 got a feed goiing to hiim.

Sollux took in a deep, shaky sigh, and looked out past his laptop, and to the stage. The guards around Karkat were trying to work up the audience, and he was proud of them all for keeping their cool, and staying quiet. Gamzee, even, was quiet at this point, and Sollux can't help but feel bad for the poor soul that has to uncuff him at the end of this. It's the calm before the storm with him, and he will absolutely get away with murder.

There's static in his earpiece, and it's John's voice that comes through first. Sollux can honestly say that he's surprised, since he never expected the humans to care. Not really. They had their perfect planet...he'd figured that they would have all cut contact with them immediately after. He didn't think that they would care.

[EB] Hey, uh...Hey, Karkat. I mean, I'm assuming you can hear me, ...but just to be sure, can you Blink twice for yes?

Not only does Karkat blink twice, but he rolls his eyes as well. It's a small gesture, something that could easily be missed if you weren't looking, and it just magnified how tired he looked. There's more static, like someone is moving around, bit he continues.

[EB] Okay! uh, great! Look, I didn't...I wish this wasn't going to happen. We were both friend-leaders at some point, just trying our best to fight all these horrible battles, and it wasn't easy. We weren't just carrying our own lives on our shoulders, but also our friends and our planets! There was so much pressure, pressure to do everything right and lead everyone in the right direction and to just, not mess up, to make sure everything went okay, and I remember thinking that, all we had to do was survive. Once we won, the game would take over, and things would be good again! Our job was to live and survive and guide.

Sollux peeks down at his laptop displaying Karkat's images, and notices how stiff he looks. He's about to tell John to hurry up, but he continues.

[EB] I guess...I thought everything was going to be okay for you. Like it was for us. I feel so bad, that you've had to take up the role as leader again, and...and do everything right. I'm sorry Dave or Jade couldn't be here; they didn't want like this. But I'm here. On behalf of them. Because...from one friend-leader to the did a great job, Karkat. No time-jumps or scratches. You did everything right. And...I'm really proud of you.

The line cuts abruptly after that, and Sollux knows he's done. Karkat seems to take in a slow, struggling breath, and then closes his eyes for several moments. When he opens them again, he stares right at the camera, and nods. He nods, and the line cuts back on, and he wonders if it's John again.

Instead, he's greeted by the other female human - Rose, he remembers - who speaks in an eery low tone.

[TT] ...John said everything perfectly. I don't have any words for you, Vantas. For once, I have been beaten in linguistics. All I can say is, I am proud of you as well. I'm sure...your cause will prosper. They must with such a terrific leader.

On the stage, Karkat smiles, though something seems to happen because he's suddenly coughing, leaning forward like he's trying to curl into himself. The line instantly opens again, and Nepeta's worried voice fills his ears.

[AC] Karkitty! Oh no! I...oh gosh, I don't...This is pawful! I don't even know what to say since saying "be okay" would be...oh gosh. I...thanks for always being there for me...Despite how grumpy you always were, you still would do things with me and were sure to take care of I knew you really did care. Hehe, I know you'd never really have flushed feelings for me but...G'lyaan Sh'iof, Karkat.."

Seeming to have recovered his barrings, Karkat bowed his head just enough, but his mouth was still clearly visible. Sollux could see him mouth the words 'Sh'let et t'res,' and Sollux couldn't help but hate this situation even more. They both knew that Karkat couldn't have the right feelings for her, and maybe that was a good thing. Losing someone of that quadrant would have destroyed her.

There was silence on the line, and Sollux's attention was drawn to the short of the crowd, where he noticed Terezi brushing past Vriska, who just looked at her as she exited herself from the crowd. She kept up the same stone-faced expression that she'd worn the whole time while standing there, and she was soon out of shot of any of Sollux's cameras.

Karkat's eyes has followed her, and he had his lips pressed into a slight frown the whole time. Sollux could only assume that she had left his 'sight' as well, because he soon turned his burnt-red iris's back to the audience.

"Hey, Mr. Candy-Red. Straighten yourself up; you're supposed to be our 'almighty leader.' I don't think I want to be associated with someone who would cower at a little pain."

Startled, Sollux's eyes widened and, he could see Karkat having a similar expression. None the less, he straightened himself back up, and he swore he could detect a hint of a smile pass his features when Terezi started speaking. She was wearing the same device that Sollux and Karkat, though they hadn't expected her to actually say something. But it didn't seem like she was done yet.

"Much better. Now was that so hard? Hehe, the answer better be no. But I don't have much time. We don't. You. I think you know what I mean. You are going to die, Karkat Vantas. You are going to die, and I'm going to take over this operation and become it's rightful leader. Do you understand that? You're no longer the Rebellion team leader. That's me. I'm the leader. It's been decided on an official basis. You can make a big stink about it but it won't do any good because I'm the leader and that's all there is to evacuate through your protean chute on the matter.

"So now that we have that cleared up, have fun on the other side. I'll be sure to take extra care to my team, because we all know I would have been a great Red Team leader if you hadn't come in and taken it form me. Not that I really cared. But I do care about this. So I'll be sure to lead it to victory like always, because failure is something I simply won't tolerate. So you better stand strong up there, Mister. You are saluting my victory, and will oversee it from the vantage point of the sun."

And that's all there is.

Sollux watches as Terezi makes her way back into the crowd, and Karkat doesn't even make a gesture to look at her. But Sollux can clearly see the liquid teal staining her face and he knows Karkat does too, but no one makes any moves. There is red pricking the edges of his eyes, but no tears fall. He remains perfectly still

No one but the guards who are fastening the noose around his neck, tightening it, making sure there is no chance or escape.

"Hey," Sollux says one more time, his voice low and quiet as they continue to shove Karkat's body around. "You did great. I'm glad I chose you to be our leader."

And again, Sollux can think he sees a smile, but it's instantly flushed away by the instant anguish that eclipses his features as the stool is kicked away from him, and he's choking,


for air that will never come.

Sollux thinks Karkat is too good for the current air that Alternia carries anyway.

They'll create a world worthy of him, soon.

He tries not to think about how the world will be a little less bright without him in it.

AN: Few notes:

Tavro's handle is spaced because if I don't, it deletes it for some reason.
Equius' D - is how it is because this site deletes the greater-than symbol.
Nepeta's :33 is how it is because this site deletes the less-than symbol.

Anyway! Yeah...xD I don't know why this turned into what it did. But, I hope it's okay? I wrote it in a composition notebook while I was in the 'mental health facility' for ten days. Needed something to do there. Bluhh.~

And yes. Terezi totally mimiced the convorsation her and Karkat had about the leader thing. "That's me. I'm the leader." That whole thing just seemed like it would be something she'd say, because I can never see Terezi being someone who gave into sentiments - she sort of has her own way of doing things.~

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed!