You honestly can’t remember any point in your life when you were as morose as you are now. Maybe that morning you finally found your dad comes close. God you feel wretched about that to this day. Why did you have to fight him? Your dad was just trying to make your birthday as special as possible for you, just trying to bond with his only son and the last thing you did with him while he was alive was hit him with a fucking hammer. He was making you birthday cake; regardless of whether or not you can stomach the stuff, you should have been more appreciative. You should have thanked him. The last thing you did with your father should have been hugging him and thanking him, not screaming and flailing a carpentry tool at him like a lunatic. You regret so many things in hindsight but none quite as much as the way you treated your dad. He only wanted what was best for you and you treated him like a nuisance and an obstacle.
You spent so long looking for him after you entered the medium and he disappeared. You weren’t even sure what you’d have done if you’d found him, but in the end it seemed that you really didn’t know what you had until it was ripped out from underneath like a rug you and you went tumbling down. With your dad gone there wasn’t anyone there to pick you up and dust you off either. Maybe that’s what the game ultimately wanted. Maybe that’s why those imps took your dad away and brought him to the battlefield. The game wanted you to learn to take care of yourself so you could grow on your own.
Fuck the game.
Honestly, if the game wasn’t what had brought you and Karkat together in the first place you’d rue the day you started playing with every weary fiber of your being. A lot of the time you wish things could be simple. You honestly do. You wish you could have gone on living in blissful ignorance, unaware of the whole fantastic and horrifying experience. You could have grown up a normal kid with normal friends and gone to any normal school. You could have gotten a desk job like your dad, gotten your own house in suburbia with a white picket fence, had a wife and 2.5 kids and a dog. Sometimes you ache for the life you missed out on. You silently pine over that innocence lost. The more you think about it, however, the more you realize that knowing what you do now, you could never settle like that; there would always be something missing and it would drain you your whole life like a leak in a dam. No. Knowing what you do now you’d never take anything less than having Karkat glued to your hip for as long as… well… you can’t bring yourself to think it. It makes you stomach churn and you really need to change the subject of your own train of thought or else you might break down. You can’t stand that helpless feeling. You don’t want to let it all come crashing down again. Not yet. You can keep it together. For now.
Whatever. Happy moments. Whatever gets your mind off of… well thinking about what you’re trying to get your mind off of isn’t helping your cause any, so happy things. The way things are weighing on you now, you’re pretty sure there aren’t a lot of noteworthy happy things. In retrospect you’re sure you’ll disagree, or at least you’d like to hope. You’d like to believe that not too long ago the joy in life was plentiful and readily abundant like the fruit of your fresh new world, but in light of recent events, it’s hard to see the light through all the thick smog. It literally makes you hate yourself that you have to justify yourself for having a difficult time finding things to smile about when the love of your life is practically withering away to nothing on his deathbed and you’re not even allowed to fucking see him. That’s what this is all about in the end, isn’t it? This is the reason why lately you’ve been so perpetually miserable and completely unable to spring free of the vertiginous torrent despair and woe. You’re starting to understand how Karkat must feel saddled with layer upon layer of self-loathing 24/7. Well fuck you. You are not such a witless, pathetic sad-sack that you can’t find at least one reason to smile in the face of his painfully rapid decline. Just don’t focus on Karkat’s condition, focus on the positives.
If you’re being completely honest with yourself, you have a limited supply of top-tier happiness enhancers that don’t tie back into Karkat in some way or another. You’re your own person, of course, it’s not like he and you are sharing a vascular system or anything, but he gives you more reason to smile than all the other fond memories of your friends and father you’ve got gathered up in your teenaged grapefruit. You’re not sure if that’s really endearing or really lamentable. For the time being you’ll settle to believe the former over the latter. There’s no desperate ultimatum like “there is no John without Karkat.” You know perfectly well that your life does not depend on his, and that even if… well, again avoiding the subject, you’re a god and you’ll be around for a long while. At the same time though, you would be an entirely different creature without Karkat. Take Karkat out of the picture at any point in your timeline and given a few years’ time you’re sure you’ll be an entirely different person. That’s why it doesn’t really surprise you so much that your happiest, most valuable moment is something specifically to do with him.
It’s not too old of a memory, either. It was actually not long ago at all, maybe a couple of months; well before things started going to shit. It was even before Karkat’s nightmares—not before he started having them, of course, he’d always had them, but before they went from bad to horrific. At any rate, it was around this time when your relationship was starting to leave the heaving seas of ‘matesprit versus boyfriend what do we even address our relationship as?’ and taking shelter in to the placid bay of ‘we don’t need to call it anything as long as we make it together’. It’s kind of a weird thing to think about, but Karkat’s always been pretty adamant with his conformity to the quadrant system; a little gift left over from his extinct culture, you suppose. It didn’t help anything that you had developed a kind of compulsion to label every aspect of your life, right down to the big sign you pasted across Karkat’s chest reading ‘boyfriend’, not ‘matesprit’. You’d argued. A lot actually. That first few months were rough and you had to take a break or two just to get your feelings sorted out, but in the end you always came back for each other. What a couple of saps.
That first year was a struggle, and you’re pretty sure you wouldn’t have made it without the overwhelming support of your friends; Rose was particularly helpful in the relationship counseling department. When you’d worked past your hang-up on distinct classification, you held Karkat’s hand as he worked through his feelings and how, in the same vein as you, he had difficulty defining them. One night he confessed that he didn’t pity you, and you nearly broke down. You were entirely convinced that you’d exhaustively worked through your own personal issues for him just in time for Karkat to let you know it wasn’t working out. You never expected him to turn it around, pushing his culture aside to make room for you by pushing pity aside to make room for love.
That was definitely a turning point in your relationship, and you’re still not entirely sure what prompted the transition from pity to love. It’s been a while but somehow you managed to keep that memory with you, like a ticket stub tucked in your wallet. He’d been skittish with you for the better part of a week before finally he holed himself up in Kanaya’s block for what you assume was some much needed one-on-one time with his moirail. In retrospect you’re sure he was working out some kind of existential stuff—she probably helped him sort out all of his emotions before he came to you with the conclusion—but at the time you’d been nothing less than jealous of Kanaya. It wasn’t that you were clingy and needed to hog Karkat to yourself like a selfish child, but you were so furious at the time that while he was still apprehensive about his relationship with you, he could take a pale retreat with her and divulge everything to her that he wouldn’t dare bring up to you.
Of course now you can really appreciate Kanaya, even if she still hasn’t really accepted you yet. Keeping any troll, especially Karkat, emotionally balanced is a lot more difficult than you’d originally thought and you’d be lying through your teeth if you claimed you could do it all alone. She’s always been so selfless in helping Karkat to deal with his trauma and his emotions in ways you could never hope to understand. Even more recently she’s been invaluable. You know she probably hates you for being a worthless hovering shitheel and for getting in the way or not getting help for him sooner. That thought always plays cat’s cradle with your guts. On some innate level you’re still really sure there’s more you could have done, something you could have done different or better and Karkat wouldn’t be… dying.
Fuck. Karkat is dying and there’s nothing you can do about it. You think you’re going to be sick.