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The Kids Aren't Alright

By noegenesis

Other / Romance

Say Hey (I Love You)

Your name is KARKAT VANTAS. You are the protagonist of this tale, but not the hero of it, largely due to the fact that you are generally more abrasive than heroic. Your life is made challenging by the myriad of aspects of your character which society deems a great fault, and which you therefore do your best to hide. These include your ethnicity (German-American, meaning people call you white unless you tell them about your ancestry, in which case they call you a Nazi), your sexual orientation (entirely queer), and your religious preferences (decidedly atheist, though your father is a preacher). Despite these ‘flaws’, or perhaps due to the fact that they are considered flaws, you aspire to become an astrophysicist. You are sixteen years old- nearly sixteen. It's hard, being a queer German kid and growing up in America less than twenty years after World War II. It's hard and nobody understands.

You let yourself into your considerably small house, noting almost immediately that your father is also home. He tells you to check for mail. You grumble and trudge back outside.

As it happens, there is, in fact, mail. Amongst the usual bills and business-related things for your dad, you find a crisp white envelope stamped for international delivery and addressed to one Karkat Vantas of Ballard in Seattle, Washington in all-too-familiar handwriting. Dropping the rest of the mail (completely pointless mail, you think) on the breakfast table after running back into the house, you continue to race up the stairs to your bedroom.

Once there, you flop onto your bed and tear open the envelope. This has become an occasional ritual for you. He seems to have typed his letter this time, the pretentious fuck.

hey kar

i hope this letter finds you wwell

God, he's still doing the weird accent-stutter thing. It started as an occasional joke between the two of you, imitating the odd, ambiguous accent-stutter he has (had? You haven't heard his voice in years, you have no idea what it sounds like) in real life, but now you can't escape it. You find it annoying and somewhat endearing.

i havve to admit i recievved your most recent letter a wwhile ago but i havvent made the time to respond until noww

noww bein the third a january

but i did take the time to TYPE my response for you so maybe that makes up for it?

thisll be a long-ass response too so that should help too

i knoww i knoww i just used too twwice in the same sentence but i cant vvery wwell do anythin about it wwithout havvin to rewwrite this entire thing

an as much as i vvalue our friendship there is no wway in hell that im about to do that

an as you may havve noticed by noww ivve also decided that capital letters an punctuation are a WWASTE A TIME on a typewwriter

anywway

hmm

i dont really knoww wwhat to say

wwell im in amsterdam noww an its beautiful kar youd lovve it

evven though you wwouldnt admit it

also i wwent on a wweekend trip about a month ago to the berlin wwall

got a rock from it

you probably knoww all about its history an such

oh god i miss you

i knoww wwevve got this kinda unspoken rule not to talk about it but i fuckin miss you so much

i mean i miss evveryone some a course but you most of all cause you're my best friend an evverythin

i also miss kan i guess

givve my lovve to her

an jake

tell him from me to keep his head up an evverythin

an fef

christ i miss fef

but honestly i think if i could havve one person wwith me right noww id choose you not her

an noww i cant think a wwhat to wwrite

ivve been a lot a places but its been pretty unexcitin an lonely

all i really wwanna do is hear from you

howw are you

howws evveryone

is ter still blind

(that wwas a joke kar im not an idiot)

are you still plannin on gettin that scholarship for college

has sol fallen off a bridge yet

jake doin alright an evverythin

anywway

damn i hope i get to vvisit sometime soon

until next time i guess

~Eridan Ampora

You sigh softly. As much of a pompous dick as your best friend may be, you miss him too, God help you. Wait, that was pretty good. You'll have to tell him that. It's kind of funny that the two of you are still best friends even though he's been abroad for years, thanks to his dad's stupid business. By which you mean the stupid business which his dad owns. Eridan is the most privileged little rich kid you've ever had the misfortune to meet- another reason it's weird that you're his friend. Then again, his concern for Jake's wellbeing is testament to the fact that while he may also act like a spoiled, privileged prick, he's a pretty okay guy once you get to know him. Honestly, he's a jerk (though clearly not a bigoted jerk) most of the time, but you like him.

There is a problem here, though. Eridan has kind of totally one-upped you with the typewriter thing. This cannot be allowed to happen.

You go downstairs. After a long conversation with your dad, you have located the old typewriter in the basement. You carry it upstairs (the noise it makes when scraped against the wall is not comforting) and dust it off, checking that all the keys are in working order before acquiring some paper, putting some random gray ink in the machine, and sitting down. This is a commitment, you decide. There can be no editing of letters once the ink is on the paper. You have no room for error or redaction.

ERIDAN

OK, APPARENTLY THE CAPS LOCK KEY ON THIS VERITABLE DINOSAUR IS BROKEN. YOU'LL JUST HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT.

TO ANSWER THE SECTION OF YOUR LETTER IN WHICH YOU ASKED ME A FUCKTON OF QUESTIONS:

GENERALLY SICK AND TIRED OF LIFE

FINE

YES

(I BEG TO DIFFER)

YES, AND I'M BITTERLY REGRETTING IT EVERY MOMENT

NO, AND IT'S A TRAGEDY

AND YEAH, I'M FAIRLY SURE JAKE'S DOING AS ALRIGHT AS SOMEONE IN HIS SITUATION CAN BE. I FEEL BAD FOR HIM.

TO ANSWER THE QUESTION YOU DIDN'T EXPLICITLY ASK BUT THAT WAS PRETTY OBVIOUS YOU WERE WONDERING:

I MISS YOU TOO, GOD HELP ME.

OTHER THAN THAT, THERE'S NOT MUCH HAPPENING. MIDTERMS WERE TERRIBLE, AS PER USUAL.

OH, AND I CAN'T REMEMBER IF I'VE ALREADY TOLD YOU ABOUT THIS, BUT THE WORLD'S FAIR IS GOING TO BE HERE.

I AM REMINDED OF THAT FACT AS IT IS ENDLESSLY HERALDED BY A JOYFUL CACOPHONY OF VARIOUS CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT. THEY'RE BUILDING A SHITLOAD OF STUFF OVER THERE. SHOULD BE PRETTY COOL. ACTUALLY, IT BETTER BE. IT BETTER BE WORTH THE COUNTLESS MIGRAINES I HAVE SUFFERED SO THAT IT MAY BE BORN.

YOU MIGHT HAVE HEARD ABOUT THE FAIR, COME TO THINK OF IT. THEY HAVE A BUNCH OF SHITTY TELEVISED ADVERTISEMENTS. IT'S GOING TO LAST LIKE SIX MONTHS. APRIL TO OCTOBER, I THINK. SHOULD BE A MAGNIFICENT RACKET.

ANYWAYS, YOU WERE ASKING ABOUT HOW THINGS ARE GOING OVER HERE. I COULDN'T ALWAYS MAKE OUT WHAT YOU WERE ACTUALLY SAYING AMONGST THE INFINITE SEA OF V'S AND W'S THAT WAS YOUR LETTER, BUT I GOT THE GIST OF WHAT YOU WERE ASKING.

SPEAKING OF JAKE, JOHN EGBERT IS AN INSUFFERABLE PRICK.

ALSO SPEAKING OF JAKE, GAMZEE IS LIKEWISE DOING AS ALRIGHT AS SOMEONE IN HIS SITUATION CAN BE, DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE'S BEEN TURNING TO SOME SUBSTANCES HE MAYBE SHOULDN'T BE. AND HE'S STILL IN THAT BIZARRE CULT, BY THE WAY.

SPEAKING OF TEREZI, TAVROS IS ALSO STILL AN INVALID.

KANAYA IS COMPLETELY HEAD OVER HEELS FOR ROSE LALONDE, ALTHOUGH I'M NOT SURE EITHER OF THEM KNOW IT YET.

AND YOU CAN ADD ARADIA TO THE LIST OF PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING AS ALRIGHT AS SOMEONE IN THEIR SITUATION CAN BE (WHICH INCLUDES TEREZI AND TAVROS, BY THE WAY). A FEW DAYS AGO SHE GOT THROWN OUT OF A RESTAURANT BY THE MANAGER, WHO CALLED HER SOME INCREDIBLY RUDE THINGS INCLUDING A CERTAIN SLUR DERIVED FROM A SHORTENING OF THE WORD JAPANESE.

NEPETA’S BASICALLY FINE. SHE STILL WEARS THAT STUPID BLUE HAT.

Nepeta is your half-sister, and only you are allowed to call her hat stupid. The only time you and Eridan ever really fought was one time in junior high, when he flirted with her. You are proud to say that you proceeded to break his nose.

AND I HAVEN’T HEARD FROM FEFERI IN A WHILE. SHE’S JUST DOING WHATEVER YOU RICH KIDS DO WHEN YOU AREN’T TALKING TO YOUR PLEBEIAN FRIENDS, I GUESS.

AS FOR ME

I DON’T KNOW.

I MEAN, COMPARED TO ARADIA OR GAMZEE OR TAVROS I’M LIVING THE GODDAMN AMERICAN DREAM UP IN THIS SHIT.

I’M BUSY WITH SCHOOLWORK AND KEEPING MY EYES ON THAT SCHOLARSHIP UNLESS I WANT TO GO TO COMMUNITY COLLEGE, WHICH I DO NOT. COMMUNITY COLLEGE IS FOR VACUOUS HAMSTERS TRAGICALLY DEVOID OF ANY TRACE OF INTELLIGENCE OR MOTIVATION, AND I VEHEMENTLY REFUSE TO BE A HAMSTER. I AM GOING TO BE AN ASTROPHYSICIST, NOT A HAMSTER.

OTHER THAN THAT, EVERYTHING'S PRETTY MUCH THE SAME AS ALWAYS, I GUESS. MY DAD'S BEEN MOSTLY STAYING OUT OF MY WAY, WHICH IS GOOD. I APPRECIATE NOT BEING CONSTANTLY INTERROGATED ABOUT THAT CHURCH THING. ALSO, THE LESS TIME HE SPENDS WITH ME, THE LESS LIKELY HE IS TO MAGICALLY NOTICE HOW GODDAMN QUEER I AM.

You did not mean to type that. Eridan is surprisingly open-minded compared to the majority of society (considering he's privileged as all hell). Still, you’re tempted to just rewrite the whole letter. You made a commitment, though, even if you were kind of joking, and Eridan didn’t rewrite his letter through rain or sleet or grammatical trainwreck. He typed exactly what he wanted to say to you, as he wanted to say it, knowing that there were no take-backs, and there’s something genuine and meaningful about that that makes you feel like you kind of owe it to him to do the same. This is big. Really big. If-he-tells-your-dad-you'll-be-out-on-the-streets-at-best big. But. If he can keep his stupid mouth shut about Gamzee and Jake's shit, why not yours, too?

SO, YEAH. THAT’S ME AS OF NOW.

I EXPECT A *MUCH* FASTER RESPONSE OUT OF YOU THIS TIME, AMPORA.

KARKAT

There. You’re fucked. You quickly seal the letter in an envelope, hurriedly scrawl Eridan’s temporary mailing address on the front, and carry it out to the mailbox before you can tear the letter into several thousand little indecipherable pieces.


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