crowry: (smooch)
C ([personal profile] crowry) wrote in [community profile] hso2012_r3s12012-07-21 11:48 pm

Illustrated Fic: Reach (John<3Karkat)

Summary: John and Karkat find themselves on opposite ends of the universe after the game.

Characters: John Egbert, Karkat Vantas
Ships: John<3Karkat


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A young man wakes in his bedroom.

He will sit on his floor for a very long time.

Sunlight assaults him through the window of a house he and Jane recognize as a replica of their own. The furniture is untouched, the fireplace roaring, every poster watching from the walls with familiar eyes and smiles.

A guest room barren of pressed suits and the colour grey will reveal Sburb has chosen to let the dead sleep.

When John lingers on the floor of his father’s memory, he will open his laptop to find his Trollslum had been eradicated with the rebirth of their universe, and with it, his only way of communicating with the trolls. His worry will plague his thoughts until he buckles under the weight of his own paranoia.

For now, he rests in a corner of his room until his head stops making the world shake.




The range of John’s search is boosted with the generous help of Jade and Dirk’s technological expertise. It begins as an extracurricular project, a program running in the background of his everyday life, but over the months, he adds another workstation, perches a few more satellites in the backyard, and heck, maybe he’ll add some programs for good measure, just to be sure.

When wires and cables and freshly built computer terminals begin littering the hallways, Jane forces John to take his operation to the guest bedroom.

He searches for them, every day, within the comfort of his father’s memory.

He paints the walls grey before he moves in.




Jade patents her technology for clean energy and her first inventions jettison her to Tony Starkesque ranks of fame and fortune overnight.

Dirk takes a break from life to single-handedly actualize blueprints for a life-sized mecha that will take him to space and back, just for the hell of it.

John still sees the final battlefield sparking green and black and red behind his eyelids.

Rose invites him to move to New York with her, to escape his small city and his fruitless efforts and enroll for university. There are MCATs and medical schools and residencies in her future, and he knows he won’t be able to keep up with her.

Instead, he shoulders the weight of their dwindled interest.

Being shitty at programming is nothing hundreds of hours of self-study and an addiction to energy drinks that taste like Satan’s urine can’t cure.

He pours himself over lines of code, buries himself beneath mounds of data for a chance sighting, a glimmer of hope. A good friendleader ensures the safety of everyone, even if it takes a year,

or two,

or three.

Someone has to care about them.




He’s napping at his computer desk when the message reaches him, his folded arms neighbored by a still-warm plate of Jane’s apple pie and a can town of caffeinated beverages.

It is a Thursday evening. There is no sunlight.

CG: 010010000100010101001100010011000100111100111111

The new message alert startles him. Drink cans clatter to the floor.

His swallow plunges ice cubes into his stomach.

The notification goes off again.

CG: 010010010101001100100000010101000100100001001001010100110010000001010100 010010000100100101001110010001110010000001000110010101010100001101001011010010010100111001000111001000000101011101001111010100100100101101001001 010011100100011100111111

He has to focus to keep his hands from shaking.
EB: we can just chat normally here, dude!
CG: HOLY WHIMSICAL CROTCHCHAFING SHITFUCK LOOK WHAT FATE FINALLY DECIDED TO SHART OUT AFTER A SWEEP AND A HALF OF SQUATTING OVER MY DOORSTEP AND SPREADING ITS ASS CHEEKS PRECARIOUSLY
CG: HERE I WAS THREE SECONDS AWAY FROM RIPPING OUT EVERY STRAND OF HAIR JUTTING FROM MY SYMMETRICALLY CHALLENGED FOLLICLES AND USING IT TO KNIT A PILLOW WITH WHICH I COULD SUFFOCATE MYSELF.
EB: you mean if i ignored you for three more seconds i could have laughed at your shiny bald head?
EB: that’ll teach me to be impatient!
CG: ...
CG: YOU WEREN’T ACTUALLY IGNORING ME, WERE YOU?
EB: no. duh.
EB: how the heck have you been???
CG: FUCKING HELL, WHERE DO I EVEN START.
CG: OUR UNIVERSE COUGHED US UP AT OUR OLD HIVES IN A GIANT PHLEGM BALL DRIPPING IN THE ACIDIC MUCUS OF PERPETUAL MIGRAINES AND SEVERE DISORIENTATION.
CG: THE PLANET’S REARRANGED ITSELF TO ACCOMPANY THE CHANGES WE’VE MADE TO THE CONTINUUM. IT’S LIKE SOMEONE HIT THE RESET BUTTON.
CG: IF IT WASN’T FOR THE PESKY “PERMANENT PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA” THING, IT WOULD BE EASY TO THINK THE WHOLE GAME WAS THE RESULT OF A COMATOSE NIGHTMARE PENNED BY THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE FURTHEST RING WHILE THEY STEEPLED THEIR TENTACLES AND CACKLED AT MY FINELY CRAFTED MISERY. WHICH IS PART OF THE REASON WHY I LOOKED FOR YOU ASSHOLES IN THE FIRST PLACE.
CG: VALIDATION OF MY OWN EXISTENCE AND ALL THAT MASTURBATORY PHILOSOPHICAL BULLSHIT.
EB: calm down with the gross metaphors, i can barely understand what you’re saying.
EB: you were trying to find us again all this time?
CG: TROLLIAN CAN’T FIND A SINGLE TRACE OF YOU ACROSS ALL OF PARADOX SPACE AND I’M SUPPOSED TO SPEND THE REST OF MY MISERABLE EXISTENCE WONDERING WHETHER THE EIGHT SIMPLETONS WHO FELL ASS-SIDE TURNWAYS INTO THIS MESS MADE IT OUT ALIVE?
EB: it’s been three years.
EB: there is no way you are happier than i am to be talking to you right now.
CG: FUCK YOU, EXPRESSION OF JOY RETRACTED.
CG: HOW DARE YOU APPEAR ON MY RADAR AFTER ALL THIS TIME I’VE WASTED LOOKING FOR YOU. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH ALL MY FREE TIME NOW, YOU INCONSIDERATE FUCK?
EB: gee, i don’t know!
EB: what kind of loser spends all his free time looking for aliens from another dimension?
EB: sounds pretty lame if you ask me.
CG: O:B
CG: FUCKING RUDE.
EB: hehehe.
EB: it’s been so long, karkat. i want to ask you everything all at the same time like where you are and what you’ve been doing and what your new world is like and i don’t even know where to start.
CG: SLOW DOWN BEFORE YOU HURT YOURSELF.
CG: HEY DID YOU WANT TO WATCH A MOVIE?
EB: uh
EB: right now?
CG: YEAH.
CG: I REMEMBER YOU RECOMMENDING ONE THAT DIDN’T SOUND HALF BAD.
CG: SOMETHING ABOUT RENEGADES SPORTING HUMAN SPOUSE BASHERS.
EB: wifebeater, karkat!
EB: he was wearing a wifebeater.
CG: WHATEVER, DID YOU WANT TO WATCH THIS SHIT WITH ME OR NOT?
EB: yeah, dude!
EB: let me send you the file.

Karkat’s sudden offer to watch a movie strikes John as odd.

They press play at the same time and John can’t explain why the sight of Karkat’s text makes him tear up the whole way through.



Knowing the surviving trolls were doing well scratches the itch that’s been tickling the back of John’s every thought the past few years. Karkat is on the other end of his chat client, now, and the reconnect fills a void in John he never realized was there.



EB: hey, karkat?
CG: YEAH?
EB: what do we do now?
CG: IF YOU’RE GOING TO INTERRUPT THE TALENTED ANTICS OF TROLL WILL SMITH IN THIS SERIES THEN YOU AT LEAST OWE IT TO THE MAN TO CHURN THE TWO GEARS INSIDE YOUR THINK PAN AND GRIND OUT A BETTER QUESTION.
EB: troll will smith is as awesome as human will smith and i will provide his shrine an offering for committing this blasphemy.
EB: i meant now that the game is over. what are we supposed to do?
CG: YOU REALLY WANT MY OPINION?
EB: of course.
CG: RECOGNIZE HOW FUCKING LUCKY YOU ARE TO BE SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WHO GIVE A SHIT ABOUT YOU.
CG: GET THE FUCK OUT THERE AND DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIFE.
CG: IF WE DO ANYTHING BUT MOVE ON, WE’LL BE DOING NOTHING BUT PAYING A MAJOR DISSERVICE TO OURSELVES.




Whenever Karkat talks about how fucking isolated he feels from the rest of his kind, John’s chest tightens. It makes John want to pick him up and admit how much he’s missed him, tell him he never has to feel that lonely ever again because he’s here, now, and he’ll make everything alright.

A good friendleader ensures the safety of everyone, but Karkat was the only troll John bothered caring for.

Buried somewhere between three years of restlessness and worry is the moment he fell asleep a dedicated friend and woke up in love.

It scares him.




EB: it’s not like i haven’t tried. and college is going to give me a lot more tries! but it’s weird going out with someone who didn’t go through what we went through.
EB: it’s like i’m spending the whole relationship hiding this huge part of myself because if i ever told them about the game they’d think i was crazy.
CG: I’M SURE YOU AND ROSE ARE JUST GOING THROUGH WHAT YOUR SPECIES LIKES TO CALL “A ROUGH PATCH”.
CG: PERHAPS YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS DUE FOR A “BREAK”, AFTER WHICH YOU’LL SIMULTANEOUSLY REALIZE HOW MISERABLE YOUR EXISTENCES ARE WITHOUT ONE ANOTHER AND YOU’LL EXPERIENCE A JOYOUS BOUT OF WHATEVER PATHETIC EXCUSE OF A RITUAL YOUR KIND DEEMS RECREATIONAL SEXUAL CONDUCT.
EB: wow that sure was out of nowhere.
EB: how many times do i have to tell you rose is with jade now?
EB: she is better off with someone as super-smart as her, anyway. i would just be holding her back.
CG: THAT ISN’T TRUE.
CG: A GOOD RELATIONSHIP ISN’T ALWAYS CALCULATED BY INTELLIGENCE, YOU’RE COMPASSIONATE AND RELENTLESSLY OPTIMISTIC AND THESE ARE SOLID TRAITS A ROMANTIC PARTNER WOULD BE LUCKY TO HAVE.
EB: dude, they’re in the middle of becoming doctors together.
CG: SHE’LL COME AROUND.
EB: jeez, you’re really invested in my relationship with her, aren’t you? why you even care about us getting together so much?
EB: i’m not thirteen anymore. maybe i’ve stopped caring about what you said about her and i getting married.
EB: maybe i found someone else, you prick.
CG: YOU DO KNOW VRISKA’S DEAD, RIGHT?
EB: jade told me on the ship years ago, that’s not what i
EB: what IF there was someone ELSE, i mean?
EB: heck, what if it was you?
EB: all your dumb romantic analysis, i wouldn’t be surprised if you thought about it once or twice.
EB: not that i’m saying you have.
EB: have you?
EB: i mean.
EB: thought about us? together?
CG: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
CG: LOOK AT ALL OF THESE AMUSED NOISES SCATTERING ALL ACROSS OUR CHATLOG.
CG: FOR FUCK’S SAKE, IF YOU’RE GOING TO PRANK ME TRY NOT DOING IT WHEN YOU’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF AN EMOTIONAL CRISIS.
CG: IT MAKES YOU LOOK EVEN MORE PITIFUL THAN YOU ALREADY ARE.
EB: lol, sorry!
EB: this amazing gambit is hard to put a lid on sometimes.
CG: STOP KIDDING AROUND WITH RIDICULOUS NOTIONS AND KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE.
EB: right. yeah.

Such ridiculous fucking notions, indeed.


┌┘└┐


A young troll sits in his respiteblock.

He will stare at his monitor for a very long time.

The next hour and a half is wasted over-analyzing the word ‘together’ as if the moment after next,

after next,

after next,

would inject authenticity into (meaningless) letters and fulfill something he never wished for.

He will fall asleep at his monitor, and dream of nothing.




Without the influence of Her Imperious Condescension, post-Sgrub Alternia is rebirthed to archaic, peaceful ways, where life isn’t threatened by the presence of Imperial Drones and survival doesn’t hinge on a caste system.

The new Empress looks so much like Feferi it hurts.




Distance was placed back between him and the others, and it doesn’t take long for the others to settle back into their routine.

Things were never the same with Terezi after the game.

Whatever slim chance there was of rekindling their relationship was smoldered as Terezi submersed herself in her studies of new Alternian law and directed all her efforts into developing her own brand of justice. Over the sweeps, she grew powerfully psychic, ruthlessly ambitious, and admirable in the fucking extreme.

No matter how hard he tries to stifle it, Karkat finds himself frightened by just how good the rope looks in her hands.




Gamzee only visits as long as he needs to.

They spend most of their nights together looking at the sky because the stars no longer scare them.

if those motherfuckers are getting their motherfucking float on out there

FINDING THEM WILL TAKE A MOTHERFUCKING MIRACLE.

but we’re surrounded by miracles, brother, breathe too soft and they dance their jubilwicked merryjig across your eyecorners and scatter when you turn to greet them, breathe too deep and they get all up inside your chest and burst sparklewhimsy right out your motherfucking heartcage.

LOOK TOO HARD AND YOU’LL MISS IT.

look just right and you’ll find them.

Being talked to in a horn pile while getting the shit papped out of you is much different from watching nonsense indigo text pile up on a screen.

Karkat begins searching with the hope finding the humans again will be one thing he finally gets right.



And he does.

Eventually.



It's obvious the moron can’t look out for himself, who else would take responsibility for him?

It’s the reason the sight of John logging on makes Karkat’s gut feel funny, why John becomes the first and last person Karkat speaks to every day.

Dedication, nothing more.

He assumes this until he finds himself daydreaming during their bi-monthly rewatch of Zoolander about what it would feel like to have John in his arms while it played, and what his hair would smell like if he buried his nose in it when human David Duchovny gets his flawless hand stepped on.

He assumes it less when he catches himself with a hand on his own face, smiling.

This is wrong.

This is all fucking wrong.



EB: rose told me about your freakout.
EB: what happens between her and jade is none of our business! i thought you said you were going to give up meddling, isn’t that what messed things up between you and terezi??
CG: THIS IS DIFFERENT.
CG: I’M ACTUALLY TRYING TO LOOK OUT FOR YOUR HAPPINESS HERE, FUCKWAD.
EB: that’s what YOU think.
EB: dude, if you keep trying to control everything you’re just going to fuck yourself over! you don’t want to make rose or jade mad, let alone BOTH of them. AT THE SAME TIME.
EB: ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY.
EB: if you want to take control of something, take control of your own life! stop being ashamed of who you are and grow the fuck up, man.
EB: you finally doing something good for yourself would make me happier than anything.




Alternian Threshecutioners are given the task of travelling to different parts of the galaxy and taking measures of resources, terrain, and native populations of different conquered planets to weigh the pros and cons of the habitat and separate the useful from the useless.

John is there to cheer him on when he begins his training.

He dons his armour and discovers red looks good on him.





EB: wait, you’re going to be gone a whole SIX MONTHS this time??
CG: THAT’S HOW LONG THIS NEXT EXPEDITION IS GOING TO TAKE.
CG: I WON’T BE ABLE TO BRING THE COMMUNICATOR WITH ME.
EB: we watched the thresh prince together, though!
EB: your job doesn’t seem THAT hard.
CG: IT’S A COMEDY SHOW, JOHN. SURPRISE SURPRISE, IT ISN’T AN ACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF THE PROFESSION.
CG: IT’S LIKE SAYING M*A*S*H IS AN EXCELLENT MODEL OF HOW EARTH WAR DOCTORS WORK. OR THAT THE BRADY BUNCH IS A FLAWLESS EXAMPLE OF THE HUMAN FAMILY DYNAMIC.
CG: SHIT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY.
EB: but still, six months...
EB: who’s going to watch all my movies with me?
EB: who’s going to watch all your movies with you??
EB: who am i going to talk to while i am procrastinating studying for my exams??
EB: liv tyler???
EB: that’s stupid, karkat. she exploded.
CG: CAN YOU NOT MAKE ME LAUGH RIGHT NOW, IT’S UNBECOMING OF THE UNIFORM.
EB: ...i’m gonna miss you.
EB: i will probably go up a whole point in my gpa without you around to distract me this semester but it isn’t worth it. ):
CG: DO IT ANYWAY.
CG: BEFORE I LEAVE, THOUGH, THERE’S
CG: SOMETHING I WANT TO TELL YOU.
EB: yeah?


His heart beats hard against the inside of his chest.

> YOU SHOULD KNOW TH|
> I THINK I MIGHT BE FALLING |
> I’M SO FUCKING SOR|

He draws a breath.

CG: TRY NOT TO FUCK THINGS UP COMPLETELY WHILE I’M GONE.
EB: when i fuck things up on purpose now, i will think of you.
CG: OH.
EB: gonna fuck up all of the things, karkat!
CG: GODDAMN IT.
EB: ...promise you’ll stay safe, okay?
CG: I PROMISE.
v

> <3|
> |


Karkat finishes his Threshecutioner training in just under a sweep.

John gets his masters in Software Engineering and opens up a joke shop.

Karkat doesn’t really know what he was expecting.


EB: hey, karkat?
CG: YEAH?
EB: what do we do now?
CG: YOU ASKED ME THAT QUESTION ALREADY.
EB: yeah, like six years ago.
CG: YOU’RE OUT OF LUCK, TURNOVER’S AT THE DECADE POINT.
EB: damn!
EB: think we’ll still be friends then?
CG: ...LOOK, I’VE GOT A CONFESSION TO MAKE.
CG: I MIGHT’VE HAD THIS RIDICULOUS FUCKING CRUSH ON YOU WHEN WE WERE YOUNGER.
CG: I THREW RED AFFECTIONS AT ANYONE WHO GAVE THE SLIGHTEST SHIT ABOUT MY EXISTENCE, SO I’M SORRY.
EB: hahaha, um.
EB: had?
EB: as in past tense?
CG: OH.
CG: WELL.
CG: IF I’M BEING COMPLETELY HONEST HERE, NO.
CG: IT’S MORE OF A CAREFUL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THAT THERE WAS NEVER A CHANCE IN HELL OF ANYTHING PANNING OUT. I HAVE A LOT OF THOSE.
CG: AFTER WE FOUND EACH OTHER POST-GAME, YOU’VE MIRACULOUSLY ACCOMPLISHED THE FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE AND MADE ME HATE MYSELF A LITTLE LESS.
CG: I WOULDN’T BE WHERE I AM TODAY IF IT WASN’T FOR YOU.
CG: NOW THAT I’M NOT AS PATHETICALLY INSECURE AS I WAS, I’M COMFORTABLE SAYING THAT YEAH, I STILL CARE ABOUT YOU.
CG: I WANT TO SEE YOUR STUPID ASS THRIVE AND SUCCEED.
CG: AND
CG: FUCK, I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M ACTUALLY TYPING THIS BULLSHIT OUT AFTER ALL THIS TIME.
CG: I FUCKING LOVE YOU, OKAY?
CG: AND AS LONG AS YOU EXIST I DON’T THINK I’M CAPABLE OF STOPPING.
CG: ...JOHN?
CG: FUCK, I DIDN’T SCARE YOU OFF WITH THAT, DID I?
CG: JOHN.
EB: i love you too.
CG: OH.
CG: THAT’S GOOD.
EB: no you magnificent idiot you don’t understand just
EB: turn on your audio.
EB: please.
EB: i can’t do this over a chatlog.
v



Neither of them have ever cried over the phone before.

There’s a first time for everything.



At John’s behest, Jade begins developing the proper technology for a cross-universe transfer, technology that wouldn’t be possible without the specialized powers granted to her by the game. Construction takes another year. They wait.



John arrives somewhere isolate.

Karkat can’t rush through the forest fast enough.

John feels bigger in Karkat’s hold--shoulders broad, strong hands welcoming, choked breath stifled against Karkat’s chest.

Karkat shot up four feet from the last time John saw him, he could barely wrap his arms around the troll.

John’s hair smells of peppermint.



JOHN: your horns are still stubby as hell.
KARKAT: fuck off.


Oh my babies

[personal profile] kitari66 2012-07-26 05:16 am (UTC)(link)
This was so wonderful, thank you just thank you so much! I don't think my OTP an get any more beautiful! *sighs contentedly* Its just ahhhhhhhhh!<3
magnificentbastards: (Homestuck: F4SH1ON)

[personal profile] magnificentbastards 2012-08-04 07:11 pm (UTC)(link)
OH GOSH, THIS IS REALLY GOOD.
megaparsecs: (terezi is pleased)

[personal profile] megaparsecs 2012-08-06 02:53 am (UTC)(link)
NO OH NO

My darling terrible otp, thank team JohnKat.

Thank .

( : B
oxfordroulette: Minamalist woman with a black bob smoking (Default)

[personal profile] oxfordroulette 2012-08-08 05:53 am (UTC)(link)
perfect
deadkidsclub: Made by spritedave for the HSO!! Yay! (Default)

[personal profile] deadkidsclub 2012-08-12 07:15 pm (UTC)(link)
WOW! Gorgeous entry. I've got feelings falling everywhere right now because I can't hold them all.
napple: (misc; perfect)

[personal profile] napple 2012-08-14 08:51 am (UTC)(link)
THIS IS SO FUCKING GOOD MY CHEST MIGHT HAVE ACTUALLY IMPLODED BUT I DON'T CARE BECAUSE I AM JUST ROLLING AROUND IN FEELINGS HOLY SHIT

THIS

WAS

AMAZING
lionpyh: A glass liquor bottle with a panther shape molded into the glass. (Default)

[personal profile] lionpyh 2012-08-17 07:12 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, damn, this had me from the first picture – the art here is beautiful – to the last line of text. Those deletion-bars are a nice touch. I love all the side-glances at the other characters – Rose and Jade in love, and TEREZI, wow. Really good.
askerian: Serious Karkat in a red long-sleeved shirt (Default)

[personal profile] askerian 2012-11-12 06:16 pm (UTC)(link)
I am AWWWWing all over the place, oh babies ;;____;; Love the characterization.

also the art is gorgeous, wow karkat. unf.
tiferet: cute girl in pink dress captioned "not all bad girls wear black" (Default)

[personal profile] tiferet 2012-11-12 08:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Just beautiful.