=== Be Karkat Vantas

I rub my eyes tiredly, staring at my husktop with no real purpose. My eyes are drawn to the last lines on the still-open chat I've just finished with Terezi, lines that remind me how much ex-matesprits can still love and care for one another.

GC: SL33P

GC: 1TS GOOD FOR YOU

CG: I DON'T FUCKING SLEEP, TEREZI.

GC: M4YB3 YOU SHOULD ST4RT

GC: ❤

gallowsCalibrator (GC) has disconnected.

Sighing slightly, I lean back in my chair. Terezi and I both came to a realization, only a few months ago, that we aren't meant to be together. We still love one another dearly- hence the heart- but a matespritship is out. I don't hold anything against her, nor her me, but we function better as close friends than anything else.

A soft ping clicks from my computer speakers, barely audible over the music playing in the background. My eyes flick to the new IM and I sigh.

EB: hi karkat!

Egbert.

I don't really know how I feel about this human. At the beginning, he infuriated me - made me livid in ways only a kismesis should. But since then, he's kind of become endearing. Annoying still, yes, but not quite as mind-numbingly angering. There's some kind of weird feeling going on there that I'm not sure how much I like.

I shake my head, clearing my thoughts, and lean forward toward the computer.

CG: OH GOD IT'S YOU.

EB: um… yes, it is.

EB: hi!

CG: WHY ME.

CG: WHY ON ALTERNIEARTH WOULD YOU DECIDE TO TALK TO ME.

CG: WHAT HAVE I DONE TO ANGER THE UNIVERSE FOR THIS TO HAPPEN TO ME.

CG: WERE I RELIGIOUS BEFORE THIS, I MAY VERY WELL HAVE RECANTED THAT RIGHT NOW DUE TO THIS VERY EVENT.

CG: AND, THOUGH I'M NOT RELIGIOUS, I'M CONSIDERING BECOMING RELIGIOUS TO BEG GODS' FORGIVENESS.

EB: geez, sorry.

EB: nice to see you too.

EB: i just wanted to talk to you.

Gritting my teeth, I consider. Honestly, nothing too terrible could come out of talking to him for a while.

At least, hopefully not.

CG: FINE.

CG: WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT?

EB: well, i just wanted to talk to someone…

EB: and nobody else was available.

CG: ABOUT COOKIES AND TEA?

There's a pause. Too long of a pause.

CG: WHAT ABOUT, ASSHOLE?

CG: GOD, IT'S LIKE I'M TALKING TO A CHILD.

CG: A 17-YEAR-OLD CHILD WHO I DON'T PARTICULARLY LIKE, NOR DO I ENJOY TALKING TO.

CG: WHOOP-DE-FUCKING-DO, ME.

EB: nothing much…

EB: life, i guess.

CG: WHAT ABOUT IT? THERE ISN'T A WHOLE FUCKING LOT TO IT.

CG: YOU LIVE. YOU DIE. HOORAY.

There's another long pause. Almost too long, and, beside myself, I start to get kind of worried.

Oh, wait. New message.

EB: i… i guess…

EB: karkat, could I tell you something?

EB: i just need to talk, i guess.

EB: get these feelings out.

I sigh heavily. In reality, I… guess I don't mind this kid. And something sounds off- he doesn't sound like his usual obnoxious-bubbly-happy self.

If there's one thing I know, I know he's an obnoxious-bubbly-happy person.

And as much as I wish it didn't, this toned-down Egbert kind of concerns me.

CG: FINE. JUST PUKE YOUR EMOTIONS ALL OVER ME.

CG: LIKE I'M SOME EMOTION-VOMIT TOILET.

CG: CONGRATULATIONS, KARKAT, YOU HAVE BECOME THE NEWEST IN A LONG LINE OF EMOTION-VOMIT TOILETS, ALL OF WHOM ARE NOW YOUR KIN.

CG: HAVE A GOOD TIME.

EB: ew.

EB: it's just…

EB: the kids at school are always telling me i'm, you know, a bad person… annoying, too cheery, kind of an asshole you know… and how i should go kill myself.

EB: but now i'm starting to wonder if i should?

EB: i mean, i know i'm an asshole. this isn't new news.

EB: and i have friends. i have a lot of them! but…

EB: i don't know.

I hesitate for a second. I have friends who have been bullied; I have acquaintances who have been bullies. And I have friends who have been told to kill themselves, friends who have tried to kill themselves.

I don't like that, not at all.

EB: it's not like i haven't tried before.

And THAT concerns me.

CG: WHOA WHOA WHOA.

CG: BACK THE FUCKING TRAIN UP.

EB: what?

CG: DON'T KILL YOURSELF BECAUSE SOME FUCKWIT HALF-BRAINED DOUCHEBAGS WITH NO LIFE ARE BULLYING YOU.

CG: COME ON, YOU'RE BETTER THAN THAT.

CG: THEY'RE ASSHOLES.

CG: YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE TOO, AND AT LEAST YOU RECOGNIZE AND OWN THAT, BUT AT LEAST YOU HAVE SOME REDEEMING QUALITIES.

EB: well, i just don't think anyone wants me around anymore.

CG: I'M SURE SOME OF YOUR PATHETIC HUMAN FRIENDS CARE.

EB: i don't know about that.

EB: they don't really seem to sometimes.

EB: i know they probably do, but i don't ever internalize it.

EB: it doesn't feel real.

EB: nothing does.

CG: ARE YOU JUST GOING TO FUCKING DESERT YOUR MORAIL?

CG: I MEAN, I MAY NOT LIKE HER, BUT SHE'S THERE FOR YOU.

EB: i don't know about her either…

EB: karkat i really just don't want to live anymore.

CG: I BET SOMEONE WANTS YOU TO LIVE.

CG: YOU'RE VERY NOTICEABLE, YOU'RE BOUND TO HAVE AT LEAST A COUPLE PEOPLE WHO REALLY FUCKING LIKE YOU.

CG: YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS. NO, REALLY, YOU DO.

CG: YOU PROBABLY HAVE MORE FRIENDS THAN I DO, AND I'M BASICALLY THE MOST POPULAR GIRL IN SCHOOL.

CG: YOU HAVE A CREW.

EB: i know i do.

EB: in my head, anyway.

EB: but it doesn't feel like it sometimes...

EB: i don't think anyone really cares.

CG: GOD, EGBERT.

CG: WHAT'S YOUR DEAL?

EB: i don't know.

EB: everyone's so far away.

EB: they don't really seem to want me anywhere.

EB: i'm the class clown. the asshole who makes everyone laugh.

EB: but i don't DO anything, karkat.

EB: i'm a random background character in my friends' lives.

CG: WELL, I FUCKING WANT YOU TO LIVE.

Fuck. Did that just slip out? I usually don't say things quite that rash.

Well, it's out there now.

EB: really?

EB: i'd think that you would be the happiest.

EB: i mean, you hate me.

EB: right?

I groan slightly. This is not a place I want to be.

I like to keep up the angry face, because actually interacting with people is weird and uncomfortable to me. I don't like interacting with people on a personal basis - it makes me feel vulnerable, and vulnerability is something I'm not comfortable with.

But… I need to save this kid's life. Even if he's just thinking about it, I can't lose another friend. Not if I CAN save them.

Wait, did I say friend? I meant not-enemy.

Something like that.

CG: NOT AS MUCH AS I PUT ON.

CG: I MEAN, I TELL MY FRIENDS TO GO DIE EVERY OTHER FUCKING DAY.

CG: DOES THAT MEAN I REALLY WANT THEM TO?

CG: FUCK NO.

CG: THEY'RE MY FRIENDS. MY LIFE WOULDN'T BE THE SAME WITHOUT THEM. FOR FUCK'S SAKE, THE GODDAMN WORLD WOULDN'T BE THE SAME WITHOUT THEM, AT THIS POINT.

CG: DO I LIKE EVERYONE? NO! IN FACT, I HATE 95% OF THE WORLD'S MISERABLE INHABITANTS, AND 99% OF ALL TROLLS AND HUMANS THAT HAVE COME BEFORE ME.

CG: BUT YOU'RE ACTUALLY PRETTY IMPORTANT. TO A LOT OF PEOPLE, NOT JUST ME.

EB: i… i guess.

EB: but you just want me to live so it's not your fault.

EB: right?

CG: NO, YOU PILE OF ROTTEN CARROTS AND VEGAN MEATBALLS. GET YOUR HEAD SIX INCHES OUT OF YOUR ASS FOR HALF A SECOND.

CG: HOLY FUCKING SHIT, IT'S LIKE TALKING TO A RECORDING.

CG: I BELIEVE IN YOU, I REALLY DO.

EB: well, why would you care?

CG: GODDAMMIT.

CG: YOU'RE GOING TO MAKE ME COME OUT AND SAY IT, AREN'T YOU?

CG: YOU CAN'T TAKE A HINT.

CG: CAN'T READ BETWEEN THE LINES.

CG: CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M SAYING UNLESS I LITERALLY SPELL IT OUT FOR YOU.

CG: HEY, CALL THE PRINCIPAL AND GET EGBERT OUT OF THE SPELLING BEE, PLEASE.

CG: HE WON'T BE ABLE TO PROGRESS MORE THAN ABOUT A ROUND INTO THE THING UNLESS YOU GIVE HIM THE WORD "BEE" EVERY TIME.

CG: GODDAMN.

EB: say what?

Fuck it all.

And then I take a step back and realize that I can't put my pride over saving Egbert's life. He's not a terrible person, he doesn't deserve death.

So I do say it.

CG: YOU'RE A FRIEND OF MINE.

CG: A PATHETIC, SAD, UNFORTUNATE FRIEND, BUT ONE NONETHELESS.

EB: wait, really?

CG: YES.

CG: UN-FUCKING-FORTUNATELY.

EB: wow…

EB: i didn't know that!

CG: THAT'S BECAUSE FRIENDS ARE NOT SOMETHING I FUCKING TALK ABOUT.

CG: EVER.

CG: I TRY NOT TO HAVE VERY MANY.

CG: THEY'RE NOT REALLY A THING I PRIDE MYSELF UPON.

CG: I LIKE TO BE KARKAT VANTAS, THAT ONE ASSHOLE WHO STANDS IN THE CORNER AND SCOWLS, AND NOT KARKAT VANTAS, THE LOVABLE FRIENDLY TROLL.

I actually end up with a lot of friends, because I'm an emotional asshole, but Egbert doesn't need to know that.

EB: oh.

EB: well, seeing as you're my friend, would you mind coming over here and helping me?

EB: i kind of… need to go to the hospital, haha...

It takes me a few seconds before I realize what he's getting at.

Suicide attempt. Ugh.

I've had to help someone through these, and it was hard. Plus, I might have to take the kid to the hospital, and that wouldn't be a lick of fun.

CG: GOOD FUCKING JOB, ASSHOLE.

CG: JESUS FUCK, I WASN'T EVEN PLANNING ON LEAVING MY HOUSE TODAY. I LOOK LIKE THE LITERAL SPAWN OF SATAN RIGHT NOW. I DIDN'T EVEN GET DRESSED.

CG: WHATEVER, SHITHEAD.

CG: I'LL BE RIGHT THERE.

CG: DON'T DO ANYTHING UNBEARABLY ASSHOLISH OR MISGUIDED UNTIL I GET THERE.

EB: okay.

EB: see you then.

ectoBiologist (EB) has disconnected.

I close my husktop and rub my temples slightly, trying to mentally prepare myself for this. I don't know what I'll find, how he's tried to kill himself, how far GONE he is.

It's actually legitimately terrifying.

And it's that terror that makes me get up and walk briskly down to the kitchen. I pop my head in the doorway to see my lusus cooking dinner. "Carmine, I'll be back later," I sigh.

He looks up to me and cocks an eyebrow. Apparently, back on Alternia, lusii were these weird animal things. Now, though, after grubs are hatched, stable trolls are supposed to go find one that matches their blood color and raise it until it's also stable. It's more like a human parent, I guess. At least it's not a big white monstrous son of a fuck. "Where are you going?" he asks, dark eyes questioning.

"Can't tell you until he tells me I can, but someone just tried to seriously fuck their life up and I have to go attempt to put them back together somewhat."

He sighs. "Don't get into trouble and stay smart." He kisses my cheek and I make a face, though more from habit than anything. I love my lusus to death, and he knows it.

Walking quickly, I make my way to Egbert's house. It's not far, but it's still far enough that I start to worry.

I have to hope that I'll get there in time.