Fame and Games

Chapter 9: Confession

"Wait, that douche is your best friend?" Karkat gawked at John disbelievingly. "Dave? How do you even stand him?" It was sometime during the evening after Karkat's piano lesson Tuesday, and they were sitting in his room with a bowl full of popcorn, a bag of chips, a couple of sodas, and some of Karkat's shitty, cheesy romcoms. "And, hold on. If you're really EB, then Jade is your sister, right? Damn, you guys look nothing alike! She's so... Asian! And you're not!" He was staring at John with complete disbelief. "It's not possible."

John grinned. "It is so possible, Karkat. I told you, we don't have the same mom. Wow, I can't believe it took you almost a whole day to figure that out!" He frowned as Karkat sneezed and cuddled closer to him, wrapping an arm tight around his shoulders. He'd been sick since the shower incident yesterday, even if he didn't really say anything about it, but John wouldn't worry him about it as long as it didn't seem to be getting any worse. He guessed that Karkat wouldn't like that to be pointed out and treated as any kind of weakness, even if it wasn't.

"Well, sorry!" the paler said once he was done sneezing, rolling his eyes. "All that really connects you guys are your hair colors and annoyingly chipper attitudes, dumbass. It's like you both have the abilities to pull fucking grins out of thin air and plaster them on the faces of people who just want to be left alone and don't feel like smiling." Seeing the bothered look on John's face at this, he quickly added, "If I stop all this sneezing before tomorrow, I have a baseball game at five. Last one of the season. You should come see me take out my anger on innocent baseballs, fuckass. Even though it never really helps." He sank a little deeper into John's arms, settling his head on his chest.

There was a short silence before John piped up, bright and hopeful, with a bucktoothed grin on his face, giving Karkat his best puppy-dog look. "Any chance you want to tell me about the rest of our group, Mister Grumpy-Butt?"

"First of all, Egbert, how the hell would you know if my butt is grumpy? Maybe it just doesn't like you!" Karkat said with more than a hint of sarcasm, rolling his eyes. "Secondly, that would be taking our pact and ripping it to shreds before our very eyes, and you're the one who first enforced it upon all of us by your terrible wrath, oh Mister Great-And-Powerful-Lord-Of-The-Gaming-Realm. If you just cut the shit and faced up to your best friends, we'd like you for who you are, not some stupid fucking title media has bestowed upon your stupid head." He suddenly stopped, seeming to remember something, and pulled away from John to stare into his face. "Okay, shitstain, you're coming as my date to the meeting this Saturday. We're going to surprise everyone and make a big fucking show about it, and you're going to happily enjoy your friends and the company they give you, and you are going to affectionately cuddle your stupid albino boyfriend in public. You are going to enjoy yourself and give no fucks about your own pianist career for a change, do you hear me?"

John nodded, raising his eyebrows in slight surprise- but of course, knowing Karkat like he felt he surely did (Having recently learned they'd been playing Sburb together for three years, of course!), he wasn't actually particularly stunned with his words or actions. After a couple of seconds, he was grinning again, then he was laughing. "Ha! Yeah, Karkat, of course. I think that if you're there, I'll be fine. Besides, it's not really like most of them will actually know who I am, right? I mean, Rose is probably the only one, haha! Man, I still can't believe I dated her, though, and now she's with GA and I'm with you…. It feels more natural like this for some reason. Rose is a good person to talk to about emotions and problems and stuff, but I feel more like I connect with you."

He leaned forward to place a light kiss on the tip of Karkat's nose, making his pale face flush bright red. He turned back to the screen and mumbled something inaudible, but John thought it sounded a lot like "I love you." Then a sound of rushing air came from him as he blew a puff of air from his cheeks, making a sound similar to a sigh, but not quite. John combed careful fingers through Karkat's hair and said, "Hey, have you ever considered dying your hair? I think black hair would look good on you. Not that I don't like your hair now, it's really unique, especially since it's your natural hair color. You kinda look like you'd be someone from an anime that I would've watched when I was younger, like Inuyasha or something."

Karkat's reply was a soft snort that may or may not have been meant as a laugh, or maybe even a sound of scorn (teasing scorn, though, John reminded himself). "Haha, very funny, Egbert. I am the very personification of Inuyasha himself. I hardly even know who that fucking is! I don't really watch animes, dipshit. I actually tried watching that one when I was about ten, but it was such a piece of shit that I couldn't keep watching it." Another huff of breath emerged from his lungs, and John frowned.

"Karkat, are you okay?"

"Oh, ladies and gentlemen, the completely oblivious fuckass finally notices! Give him a hand!" Karkat sighed, though he leaned even more into John with these words, trying to hold in a few weak, bare-there coughs. "Yes, John, something is bothering me. Yeah, I was just thinking…." He frowned- or at least, his usual frown deepened. "I want you to help me tell my dad and brother that we're going out. I don't think they'll really mind, but you already said that your dad has no problem with it, and maybe your courage could rub off on me or something. Not that I don't already have enough of my own, but nobody ever went wrong with a little extra bravery."

A soft smile crossed John's face before it evolved into a full-blown encouraging grin. "Come on, Karkat! I'm sure they'll be fine with it." He stood and pulled Karkat up with him, grabbing the remote from where Karkat had earlier set it and pausing the movie. (Not that they'd been paying much attention to it.) "Come on, might as well do this now while we're thinking about it! I'm sure it'll be fine, Karkat, come on!" He pulled Karkat along with him, walking backwards with a slight skip in his step.

The smaller boy had to admit, his enthusiasm was terribly catching, and he soon found himself resisting the urge to smile back at John. Eventually, he began leading the way himself, since John had no idea how to navigate the entirety of the house (yet, he claimed, yet!) and Karkat didn't feel like trailing behind him forever while they went in pointless circles. They eventually reached his father's office, where they were met with the sound of two voices conversing behind the door.

Karkat fearlessly and without hesitation raised his hand and pounded on the door to his father's study. "Dad, Kankri, I know that's just you guys in there, you don't have any Tuesday appointments this late!" He glared at the door (after coughing a couple of times after that yelling) until it was flung open with a powerful force.

"Karkat! What have I told you about interrupting our business meetings? That could trigger anger in many businessmen, even if you are related to them!" Kankri berated his little brother, who just waved it off and peered behind him at their father, seated behind a desk with a look of mild amusement on his face. Kankri seemed to finally notice John, and his eyebrows lifted a bit in surprise, then he gave a short nod and stepped back. "I assume it's important, then, if your tutor is involved."

"Yeah, it fu- kinda is," Karkat snapped, having to cut himself off before he began streaming obscenities, striding into the study. Getting a closer look a closer look at Karkat's father, John was able to see similarities in their facial structures, though Kankri and Mr. Vantas looked more similar, since they both had what seemed to be the family's actual trademark; black hair and dark brown eyes, along with skin that wasn't quite a right tone to be entirely Caucasian, though John could only really guess at their heritage, since it looked like with time whatever it was had been worn out of their bloodline until it barely showed. John liked the way Karkat looked even more now, though- being different from the rest of his family made him seem even more wonderful and original than before.

"John?" Karkat was nudging him in the ribs with his elbow, which was actually pretty painful. Boy, did Karkat have a sharp elbow! He focused back on Karkat and smiled apologetically, willing his boyfriend to continue with whatever he was saying silently, having zoned out in favor of comparing the Vantases. Karkat took a deep breath and turned to his father. "Dad, I think I'm old enough to know what's good for my future, and in all honesty, I think I've found something better than most are lucky enough to have. It's an once-in-a-lifetime thing, and John here helped me find it." Karkat took a deep breath. "We're going out now. Turns out we've known each other for almost three years and didn't realize it, because we met on a game website. And I think I love him. If you can't support that, then so be it. I'll find a job and some other place to live."

"My dad would accept him, even If you wouldn't," John said pointedly, clearly offering.

Kankri and Mr. Vantas were silent for a moment, staring at them; then they exchanged a look and smiled.

"My little brother is finally growing up," Kankri said, seeming satisfied as he ruffled Karkat's white hair, though not without a menacing scowl from the boy himself.

"Would you like to join us for dinner tonight, so I can meet my apparent future son-in-law?" Mr. Vantas invited kindly, looking at John and clapping an affectionate hand on the shoulder of Karkat, who blushed lightly at the statement he'd made. John just laughed; he knew a good prank when he saw one, even if it was subtle. Those could be the best ones!

"I'd like to accept your invitation, Mister Vantas," John said politely, smiling, "but I'd have to call my dad first to see if it's okay."

"Then by all means, go on ahead," Mister Vantas said, nodding in his direction. "Your answer needs to be had as soon as possible, so we can tell the staff. While you're at it, why don't you ask your old man if you can come to Karkat's game tomorrow? It's the last one of the season."

Two hours later, John was dining with a surprisingly friendly family of Vantases, and all seemed perfectly right with the world. Nothing could go wrong.

I hope you all enjoyed this chapter, my friends. ^^ PesterChum is still an open invitation, by the way! I live by Eastern Standard Time, so if you feel the need to contact me after this chapter (due to confusion or somesuch, or if you just want to chat, I don't care) good times to contact me would be between twelve and seven. I should be on most of the time during those hours. (Nothing much to do this Saturday, ha.)