this is getting awfully romspeccy. Why can’t I find the romspec thread?

The fandom appears to be extremely confused about what the recent Karkat updates mean in terms of shipping (because shipping is serious fucking business). To one side, people who think it totally confirms Karkat/Terezi; to the other, people who think it’s totally sunk; and there are both fans and non-fans of the pairing on either side of the fence, which is kind of hilarious, actually.

It’s an understandable point of contention, but if you read it carefully, the update doesn’t actually confirm anything: Karkat is extremely unreliable when it comes to people’s opinions and feelings on him, even as he’s pretty shrewd about people when the matter is removed from him. Mostly I came away with the impression that Dave is Ace, what with him reading as a “vegetable”. If there was any cue to be read (or misread) in him, Karkat would have gleefuly pounced on it, since he hungers for punishment that way. Dave simply isn’t all that good at hiding his feelings, fanon depictions of him aside.

I have my own opinions on the matter, but this post isn’t actually about Karkat/Terezi’s current shipping status. It’s about other comments made in relation to this update which I’ve read here and there and which honestly don’t make much sense to me:

  • Karkat’s capable of human love! Too bad his soulmate, Nepeta, is dead.

Ignoring for the moment the issue with calling Karkat’s feelings “human love” as if the only right way to love were the human way… I don’t think Karkat can point and choose who to have incomprehensible and untrollish feelings for, and I really doubt he’ll look into one particular Nepeta’s blank dead eyes and drop his messy Terezi feelings like they were a bag of moldy jelly. It’s been one whole year and they’ve wandered into any number of dreambubbles and it hasn’t happened, after all. Also, Nepeta already has a Dead God Karkat. Or at least 1 (one) Nepeta has acquired 1 (one) Karkat, and they likely belong to different timelines. Can one in the Alpha timeline carry a dreambubble relationship with someone from an alternate timeline? Probably, but Karkat’s romantic plot is complex enough without tossing an extra cog into it.

  • According to the law of inverse Ancestor fates: The Sufferer’s feelings were reciprocated, therefore Karkat’s will not.

That was Nepeta’s thing - not being reciprocated (in life) while her Ancestor was. The law of Inverse Ancestor Fates will certainly apply to Karkat, but definitely not in matters of romance. My own personal prediction is that it’ll pertain to the manner of his death: the Sufferer gave into Rage at his last breath, either as a result of his torture or because of a sudden vision/epiphany he had while in chains. Therefore, Karkat will die with a peaceful smile on his face, either despite the manner of his death or because of a sudden, different epiphany. Maybe he’ll solve the ultimate riddle and learn all that suffering was not in vain?

  • Oh, no! If Karkat wants Terezi in ALL his quadrants, does that mean he doesn’t care about Gamzee anymore?

Noooooope. Read back on the shooshpap scene. If you still somehow believe that such a beautiful moment would be thoughtlessly discarded just like that, then read Andrew’s followup to it. There was a polaroid snapshot with a beautiful diamond on it, and then this big paragraph about how they hug-bumped and became moirails forever. Remember? Andrew is a sneaky little shit, but straight-up lying in narration is beneath him.

No, I’m pretty sure Karkat is poly. He wants to shoosh all the bitches, and needs all the paps he can get. Expect him to be extremely upset about these unfaithful thoughts, and ashamed of his three-way feelings-jam fantasies. Also, expect Gamzee to be totally okay with them.

  • But what about Jaaaaade?

Same as above. His Terezi feelings didn’t stop him from going all ♠ at himself in the memo, so why would they block his other quadranty feelings? If we go ahead and assume that “human love” is a whole new thing, we might as well jam it into the grid and make it a quintdrant. The other four are still available for filling. Jade could totally be his matesprit while Terezi is his girlfriend. Hell, Nepeta could be his matesprit, while Jade is his auspistice, Gamzee his moirail, Terezi his girlfriend, and himself as his doomed, tragic never-to-be kismesis, sundered from his own arms by time itself. Or you could replace these names with any others of your preference.

What I’m trying to say is that his current Terezi feelings don’t magically invalidate all his other feelings for all other people, ever. That is ridiculously shallow, not to mention completely out of character. The day Karkat stops caring about everything and everyone, everywhere, is the day he goes completely fucking nuts in every possible way. That could happen, maybe, but I don’t see him even thinking about romance in such a case - and I still give it some insanely long odds because this is Karkat. He cares. It’s just what he does.

  • Yay, Terezi ♠ Karkat!

Karkat knows a kismesissitude when he sees one. He also knows quadrant flipping, and would call it that if it were the case. His problem isn’t that he’s flipping back and forth; it’s that he’s feeling an unidentifiable mish-mash, like a quadranty porridge. He wants to hug Terezi. He wants to verbally spar with Terezi. He wants to kiss Terezi. He wants to have a silly slap-fight with Terezi. He wants to hang out and shoot the breeze with Terezi. He’s unreasonably affected by the sight of her hanging out with Dave, even though they’re just drawing shitty drawings together and Dave pings him as a “vegetable”. And all of this is simultaneous. I really don’t think this’ll resolve as a kismesissitude, if it ever defaults into a quadrant at all.

  • Karkat is creeping on Terezi! He’s Eridan now.

Nooooope. There are two very fundamental differences between them:

  • Eridan did not have one whit of self-awareness, and once his main target made her feelings known at large he turned around and started creeping on anyone who gave him the time of the day without ever seeming to get why they weren’t reacting positively;
  • Karkat is self-aware enough, and pessimistic enough, to immediately assume he has lost his chances by giving mixed signs, and isn’t even making a token effort to move on to anyone else. Instead, he’s hiding into his room and angsting it up like any other teenager in love.

Those points aside, yeah, he was kind of creeping on Terezi. Though there’s really no fucking way Terezi didn’t know he was behind that chest. She can smell colors, of course she could smell a troll in the same room as her…

  • Terezi and Dave are hanging out and having fun together! THEY ARE TOTALLY KISSING.

People who are not kissing are allowed to have fun together. Also, you’re ignoring WV. If building Neo Can Town makes Terezi and Dave a couple, then they’re having a threesome with WV. Not sure if want.

Kidding aside, it’s entirely possible that Dave and Terezi are now a Thing — though that would require Dave’s poker face to have reached God-Tier as well. If there’s any reason for Dave to expertly conceal concuspicent feelings of any sort while having perfectly innocent fun with Terezi, we might as well wait for it to be revealed before assuming the feelings are there.

Not to forget that, had Terezi made any overt moves on Dave and/or expressed desire to do so in public (and why wouldn’t she do it in public?), Karkat would have moaned about it for twenty minutes, not ten. He’s not really seeing red there, he’s just convinced it’s red anyway and the lack of visible clues means he’s failing to spot them. (I personally believe it’s pale.)

  • Karkat has human feelings because he’s closer to human because he’s got red blood. A true troll can’t fully experience these feelings! BECAUSE THEY’RE FOR RED-BLOODED HUMANS.

What about the Disciple? And the Dolorosa? And the Psionic? They were not red-blooded, yet were distinctly un-quadranted. The problem lies in assuming only humans can ~*=love=*~. There’s nothing actually strange or new about what Karkat’s feeling; in fact we’ve met plenty of trolls with messy, unquadranty feelings before.

Vriska had no idea what was going on between her and Tavros - she assumed it was flushed because her ancestor was told she would be flushed for his, while in reality she was frustrated because he refused to live up to her expectations, which pissed her off, which was a black thing… but she couldn’t stop pursuing him red! And when he didn’t react favourably to her advances, she dropped the romance shenanigans for a while and just hung out having fun with him, and she looked perfectly happy while doing it! Until Aradia beat her into a pulp and the God-Tier debacle took place. In the end she decided to go black all the way. It didn’t work out for her either.

Dualscar. Remember his jealousy over Mindfang pursuing someone in a completely different quadrant from the one he was in? ("YOU ARE THE SAD JOKE CHARACTER IN THE ROMCOM(…) WHO’S GREEDY AND INDISCRIMINATE ABOUT FILLING EVERY QUADRANT, TOTALLY OBLIVIOUS TO IT, AND IN THE END HAS FUCKALL TO SHOW FOR IT.”) Welp. Of course, Dualscar was a complete douche and had no business killing Dolomom, but he was probably obsessive, confused and tired of being confused. The whole breakup could be read as him trying to move on and get rid of this person who brought him painful, baffling feelings. If she died, maybe it would go away! Right?

The point here is that romance is never as clear cut as they’re depicted in romcoms. Trolls doubtlessly had non-standard relationships which worked perfectly fine for them, but which were generally looked down upon. Or maybe not even that: quadrants in the “real” world and for “real” troll adults are probably not at all cut-and-dry as they’re presented in movies. Maybe they’re a spectrum, and they’re arranged differently for different trolls! Like, you know, people and their widely varied romantic preferences. Since we’re comparing them to humanity and its colorful variety of interpersonal relationships…

Well, I think that’s all I wanted to touch upon. Can’t think of anything else to add for now.

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