CHAPTER 16. Welcome to my Secret Lair

Karkat stays for longer than John thought he would. They talk a bit, but mostly they are quiet. Eventually, Karkat gets called away on yet more important war business, leaving John with one final touch on the shoulder. John leans into it in response, though he’s a bit ashamed of chasing down a sliver of physical affection so soon after obliterating Karkat’s evening like he had.

When Karkat is finally gone, John still doesn’t move. It isn’t as though he has nowhere else to go, since there are quite a few places he might attempt to make himself useful, for better or for worse.

He just doesn’t feel ready for that yet. The remnants of his house are still smoldering, and he can’t stop staring at them. It would make sense, he thinks, to want to root around through the rubble for anything that’s still intact; some half-charred keepsake to claim as the last thing left that’s still his. But he doesn’t want to do it, and he doesn’t want to think about it. And he still can’t move.

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