"Karkitty hasn't been to school in a while," comments Nepeta ever-so-casually, looking at you across the lunch table.
"Thame with GZ," adds Sollux. "But that'th not tho weird."
"Isn't it just the smallest bit w-weird that Kar an' Gam are gone at exactly the same time?" offers Eridan.
It's obvious your friends want to know what's up with your cousins. To be honest, you haven't seen them either. "I'll stop by Gamzee's house on my way home," you offer finally.
"But what about Karkat?" asks Nepeta, furrowing her brow.
"Well, he's the reason I'll be stopping by Gamzee's at all," you say, "if he's there, then he's okay."
The group around the table seem confused, but no one says anything. None of them have ever been to Karkat's house. They wouldn't know what you meant.
At the end of the day, you say your fond goodbyes to your friends and head off. You sling your bag over your shoulder and start on your way to your dear, dear
Finally, you reach your destination, and knock on the door. You dearly hope that Karkat is there. You'd rather not think about the other option.
The door opens. "Hey, how's it all goin' sis?" Something is off. His usual light, careless air seems forced. His makeup seems, at first, entirely absent, but then you see white streaks on his cheeks that show he has not taken great care in washing it away.
"Is Karkat here?"
He nods, frowning just ever so slightly. "Yeah, Karbro's all passed out in my room. Brother's not feelin' his most greatest these days."
Your stomach tightens. "May I come in?"
Gamzee steps aside to make way for you. You walk quickly to his bedroom, thinking briefly about the fact that you've been here enough to know the house by heart.
The first thing you notice is that Gamzee does not seem to have moved anything in his room since you were last in it, at age thirteen. The second thing you notice is he has
in fact moved something, his water pipe has come out of hiding. The third thing you notice is a small lump of blankets on the bed, which is beginning to move.
Karkat sits up and looks at you tiredly. "Kanaya?" he mumbles, not seeming to comprehend your presence. You let out a sigh of relief. At least he's conscious.
"You've been missing school again," you say, cutting to the chase.
"Oh, I..." he trails off and stares blankly for a moment. "I, uh..."
You carefully make your way across the floor, wrinkling your nose at the mess, and sit down next to Karkat. You reach toward him, and he flinches. Then, grimacing, and undoubtedly ashamed, he leans toward you. You brush back his dark hair, feeling his forehead and examining his face all at once. He feels fairly warm, and there is a bruise on his cheek, which looks bad, and probably looked a lot worse when he first got it. You hum softly. Then, a thought occurs to you.
"Do you... share his bed?"
Karkat laughs, and it doesn't sound good, and quickly devolves into coughing. Once he's caught his breath, he answers. "Usually I crash on the couch, but Gamzee made me take the bed."
"You sound awful," you say, fussing over him just a bit. "How long have you been unwell?"
He shrugs. "Few days, I guess. Since... last Tuesday? Monday, maybe."
It's Friday, and he's only been out of school since Tuesday. He'd been ill for a week
before doing anything about it.#### want to admonish him for not taking better care of himself, but decide to leave the scolding for Gamzee. It isn't really Karkat's fault, after all, due to circumstance, and as the eldest cousin, he should be more responsible and take better care of your young relative, and just because his late mother and your mother were sisters, does not mean you will not beat him to a pulp. Really, giving your cousin an earful is all you can do. You could
insist that Karkat come home with you, and let your mother take care of him, but you know he wouldn't agree unless he was unconscious. Having such strange, stubborn cousins is rather taxing. Finally, after fussing over him, insisting he rest, and making sure he knows to not be that stupid next time,
you stand up.
"Call my cellphone should you need anything. Even during school." You tell him this every time you see him. He has rarely taken you up on the offer.
You are about to stop and chew Gamzee out, but you see him sitting at the table with his face in his hands, looking exhausted. He probably has
been trying his hardest to take proper care of Karkat. The both of you do love him rather dearly; this is the only thing you have in common.
"If anything happens to him under your care, I will not hesitate to end you in a very unpleasant manner," you say.
"I don't really have to be doubting you for a second, sis," he answers quietly.
You briskly walk out the door, with a feeling that everything will eventually turn out fine.