Karkat listened as Gamzee droned on about absolutely nothing. He kept his eyes on the sidewalk ahead of them, warning Gamzee where ever there was a curb or pot hole, because the other was too busy shooting his mouth of to watch where his own two feet landed. That was fine, though, because Karkat and Gamzee had an unspoken agreement: Karkat would make sure Gamzee didn't twist an ankle as they walked home from school to their apartment that they shared, and Gamzee would talk enough for the both of them, making the whole conversation himself so that Karkat didn't need to say a word.
"So you and I were all up and invited to Sollux's birthday party, which means I'm going to have to work a little longer at the club this week so we can buy him a gift and all that shit. It's on Saturday and I'm thinking of getting him some computer program or something," Gamzee babbled. He hooked his hands behind his head, his almost empty backpack bouncing up and down to his quirky walk.
Karkat squinted threw the sun hanging high in sky, the sound of other high schoolers around him making his heard hurt. Making his brain hurt. Gamzee and his apartment was a twenty minute walk from the school. They always fought for the shower once they got home because it was so darn hot, what with summer knocking on everyone's' doors , but Gamzee let Karkat have it first. He did every day.
"Hey, hey. Did you hear that?" Karkat asked suddenly, stopping abruptly. He took Gamzee's elbow, his head swiveling around to try and relocate the noise. "There it is again! What is that?"
Gamzee cocked his head. He didn't hear anything. Maybe he was too tall to hear things close to the ground like Karkat could. Gamzee was easily six feet, lanky, and a wreck. Karkat was about 5'6, having had a growth spurt a few years ago and ganging two more inches, and a put together wreck. They were the best of buds. They had always been. They would forever be.
Karkat walked over to an alley way. He eyed the scraggly bushes and the dead grass dying in between the sidewalk cracks. Was he imagining things? No, no. There was the sound again. Mewling?
He slipped his backpack off his shoulder. It thunked to the sidewalk. Karkat bent low to the ground as he searched for the source of the meows. It was a minute before he found the kitten.
He hesitated a second before picking it up under its front legs.
He didn't hesitate, however, to press his own cheek to the purring kitten's face.
It was a kitten with a smashed in muzzle and long brown tangled fur. It had a bunch of dirt and crap stuck in its coat, and Karkat plucked out a leaf.
"Put it down, bro, before it draws you in with those eyes," Gamzee said. He stood over Karkat's shoulder which was proudly holding out the kitten in front of his face.
"Oh my God, Gamzee, it's so cute! I can't fucking believe how fucking cute he is."
"Don't get attached to it. Just put it down and walk away slowly."
Karkat laughed. Ha. "What put this cutie pa tutee down? No way. No waaay~," he cooed to the kitten, making a face at it that made Gamzee blink. He was smiling a genuine smile. He was happy for once.
"Karkat, I need to walk you to the apartment before my shift at the club tonight," Gamzee said. "It starts at six and I can't leave you out here to play with a baby cat, no matter how motherfucking cute
it is." Gamzee petted the kitten and his words trailed off. It was too adorable. Its powers were overwhelming.
Karkat held the furry feline close to his chest, blocking Gamzee's attempts to continue to make it purr. "I must have this cat."
"All I want is to have this cat."
"We don't have enough money to take care of it, bro. We have to let it go back into the wild so it can go to its motherfucking mommy and shit. It's probably worried sick about it."
"I'm naming it Turd. I always wanted to name something Turd." Karkat turned to face Gamzee, his eyes daring the other to say anything against the unusual name.
Karkat nodded, rubbing his chin on top of Turd's fuzzy head. He couldn't believe how soft he was. Like a pillow, or a doll. Not that Karkat would know how a doll felt. Dolls were for girls. But Turd was making his heart swell with a feeling he had never felt before. He was both frightened and thrilled to have that riding-on-a-cloud feeling.
Gamzee sighed, face palming. He rubbed his messy black hair out of his eyes. This wasn't good. They couldn't take care of a cat. They could hardly take care of themselves. Gamzee downright refused to let Karkat get a job because the world was too dangerous. Gamzee, now he could handle it. He just couldn't let his Karkles face it alone, serving people hamburgers through a drive through window. That was unsafe.
He rested a hand on his friends shoulder, but Karkat only jerked it away, holding Turd closer to him. "We. Are. Keeping. Him," he insisted, putting emphasis on each word. Karkat didn't want this feeling to leave him. Turd only meowed and purred in his arms.
"Yo," Dave Strider said, coming up behind Gamzee. He had his thumbs in his pockets, the chains on his jeans jangling. His eyes were shrouded by his shades which, for once, fitted because the sun was blinding.
"Strider," Karkat and Gamzee greeted simultaneously, not to enthusiastic.
"Is that a fucking cat?" the blonde teen asked.
"Yes, it's a cat, fuckass. It's not a dog or a John," Karkat snapped. He petted Turd's back, looking like Dr. Evil from Austin Powers. He was gradually feeling guarded again as Dave threw back his head and laughed. He grinned; his white teeth made Karkat have to look at him at another angle.
"I would have never thought that I would see you," Dave said to Karkat, "Holding a cat. No, petting a cat. I need my camera."
"Bro, go. Me and Karkat are having a discussion," Gamzee commented hotly.
Dave held up his hands, his palms upwards. "Sorry if I was intruding. I was only going to let Karkat know that some motherfucker took off with his backpack."
"What?!" Karkat shouted. Turd yowled when Karkat held him in a death grip. "Where did they go?"
Dave lifted his glasses a little so he could wink at Karkat. "Just kidding. Careful with that cat, you're going to squeeze all its guts and organs all over you." Karkat's face was horrified.
Gamzee pushed Strider's shoulder, saying, "Okay, enough fun for one day. Out of here."
Dave only smiled, but he knew when he was pushing it with Gamzee. If he went too far, Gamzee would make a point to stop him in the hallway at school and make a fucking scene. Both didn't need anything of that shit.
Dave walked away backward, picking up Karkat's backpack on the sidewalk and tossing it to Gamzee who caught it in mid air. The chains on his pants jingled again, and Turd jumped from Karkat's arms and attacked the chains, swiping them with small paws.
"Look at that, Gamzee. Look at that. I can't leave that all alone here," Karkat exclaimed, pointing to Turd with a sweep of his arm. "Someone like Eridan would take him and rape him or something, and I can't let that happen."
"Eridan is more likely to rape you than the kitten," Gamzee pointed out. He put Karkat's backpack over his shoulder along with his own. The thought didn't settle well in his stomach. He would never let anyone defile Karkat.
"You have to understand that we just can't feed it. Our apartments don't allow pets, anyways. There is no way we can take
Turd in." Gamzee faltered a little on the cat's name. Turd? What had brought that name on?
"If only you would let me get a fucking job," Karkat shouted, "Then we could afford some fucking food for ourselves and Turd. We can always keep him a secret."
Gamzee shook his head. It wouldn't work. He couldn't let Karkat go no matter how much they needed the money. Dave's jingly chains were getting on his nerves. "Dave, you're very distracting right now. I up and need to talk to Karkat in some peace," he said. He held his hand to his forehead, closing his eyes.
Dave picked up the kitten and handed it to Karkat. Turd meowed. Strider began to walk away with gracious swag before turning around. "Saw Eridan prowling around nearby. I would watch where you dump that cat." And with that, he turned the corner and was gone.
Karkat turned back to Gamzee. He was fully ready to continue the argument, but Gamzee only stepped closer to him, embracing him in a hug. "I don't want to fight anymore, motherfucker," he whispered.
"You call that fighting? I can show you what a real fight is like," Karkat murmured back, but softly and only with a tiny bit of sarcasm.
Gamzee laugh quietly into Karkat's hair, slowly easing Turd out of his best friend's arms. Karkat resisted at first, but soon let Gamzee have him. The cat plopped to the dirt, walked a few paces, and started cleaning itself.
Karkat embraced Gamzee back now that his arms were free. He had to stand on his tippy toes in able to rest his head on his shoulder. It wasn't as soft as downy kitten fur, but it was familiar. That's all he wanted.
Gamzee gradually shuffled his feet so that he was backing Karkat up to the wooden fence of the alley. He nuzzled his chin into the crook of the other's neck. Karkat tried to do the same, stepping onto a brick and using it as a step. They breathed into each other's skin, the sticky heat of the hot summer day being blown back by slightly cooler, sweet air.
Gamzee moved his hands to the back of Karkat's jeans, tucking his hands into the back pockets. Karkat made a whirring sound in the back of his throat, and it vibrated through Gamzee's chest, straight to his heart. The shorter teen slipped his hands around the taller one's waist, leaning his head onto his chest. They swayed to the sound of Turd's purring and the small breeze blowing.
"Karkles, you're my kitten."
"And you're my guard dog."