There was a time where the constellations lived and prospered.
Where the stars lived among the cosmos in relative peace and harmony, underneath the twelve main celestials- the gods among gods. The Zodiacs.
They were one of the most powerful stars and constellations within reality, each governing and overlooking an aspect of the universe.
Pisces was a gentle constellation, she looked over Life and was the Empress over the Celestial Palace, she looked over her star subjects and made sure that the palace where her fellow Celestials live in was in tip top shape. She was a kind and benevolent Empress.
Aquarius was the Guardian of the Pond, the Pond of Nebulas. It was a pond that over-viewed the wellbeing of almost every star within the universe. Even those of constellations. He watches over the pond and can even swim in it without any repercussions where others would find themselves lost and or even burnt or permanently put out. He also looked over positive emotions, as well as Hope.
Capricorn was one the one who roamed the Graveyard of Stars. He made sure that the dying were peaceful and that the dead stay dead, he corralled black holes into safe spaces and made sure that they died out without a problem. And despite his view over Rage and negative emotions, he was quite the gentleman, kind and someone you could rely on.
Sagittarius was one of the fastest in the universe, master of the bow and the messenger of the gods. He galloped on stardust and delivered messages from one side of the universe to the next, making sure that the constellations were capable of communication and took orders to heart. He carved a path and looked over the Void so no one else would.
Scorpio was a mischievous constellation but she meant well, a manipulator yes but a grand protector and warrior who flourished in the Light as she looked over it. She made luck her game and used it to protect the cosmos from those who tried to destroy it. She had a brash personality but was a good friend in the end. A formidable foe not to be gambled against.
Libra was a protector as well, though she mainly maintained justice and order within the universe. Her control over the Mind was as sharp as her wit, though blind, she was capable of seeing more than what others could see. She almost always had a back up plan and was capable of turning the tables in almost every impossible situation.
Virgo was a healer first and foremost, she was kind and loving but one should not underestimate her for she was a Celestial for a reason. She was strong in her own right and was capable of tearing apart those who erred her, she looked over Space and was mostly revered by the newborn stars and constellations alike as someone akin as their mothers.
Leo was a ferocious warrior who’s prowess could not be comprehended by anyone else other than her fellow Celestials, some may call her feral but she bore her Heart to the universe and reminded them that she looked after it within the universe. She wore it proudly on her sleeve and was strong for it.
Gemini was a rare sort of constellation, capable of halving himself with no repercussions and fusing into his main form without a problem. He oversaw the Palace’s knowledge and library, the ultimate source of what was to know. He was a duality that would seem to be at odds with himself and yet in balance and peace, he looked over Doom as he had twice the mind to comprehend it.
Taurus was someone who was free as the astral wind, with stars in his wings and a strong sense of freedom, he looked over Breath and freedom, he was a strong protector. Brave and compassionate to the interests he held, making sure that every star was free yet reminded them that freedom had a cost.
Aries was a fellow wanderer of the graveyard, overseeing the death and Time of stars and constellations everywhere, nebulas and galaxies whisper their deaths into her ear and she is undeterred nor disturbed by their whispers. In fact she takes comfort in their tales, making sure that the mistakes and regrets of stars were rectified and fixed.
Cancer, the last of the Celestials, was a hardy constellation. Some found him too angry and hateful to be a Celestial, and yet, he was. Despite what some would think, he was a perfect candidate for it, despite his apparent brash personality and rough attitude, he was kind and gentle to those he saw as his. He oversaw the Blood of others, their bonds and their kin. He kept the whole group together, and the Celestials themselves came to him whenever they needed to make an important decision.
These twelve constellations ruled over the universe with a fair and firm hold, their rule was the Golden Era of the Galaxy.
And like other Golden Eras…
It was bound to end.
He looks back to who calls his name, his usual neutral frown twitching into a slight smile at constellation that stood at the doorway. “Aquarius.” He greets quietly, glancing away from the violet-starred celestial towards the dark blue sky dotted with millions of lights and mists of glittering colors. “What brings you to my tower?” He asks as the celestial glides to his side despite his lack of aquatic tail like Pisces, his amphora floats beside him.
Aquarius chuckles, golden jewelry clinking slightly as he moves his arms to motion out to the beautiful city that was beneath both of them, on the edge of their Palace where their subjects lived their lives peacefully. “Must I havve a reason to come to enjoy this vvieww? I envvy your choice, I should havve asked Pisces for this towwer instead of my pond.” He jokes lightly, a needed action from the as of late heavy discussions between he and their fellow constellations.
“You jest, you love your pond, it matches well with your vase.” Cancer mused with an amused smile.
He gets another chuckle as a reply and a friendly swat on his shoulder, “’Tis an amphora Cancer, honestly, you and the others, you cannot just call it a simple vvase, you all vvery wwell knoww it is not just that.” He laments light heartedly.
They share a chuckle and slip into comfortable silence, looking over their beautiful kingdom with a sense of content.
That sense, unfortunately, was only limited and a simple illusion. They both knew that something was over the horizon, they didn’t need Libra to tell them that.
Cancer sighs, straightening and arranging his cloak, “That is enough star-gazing for now, I suppose Pisces wants an audience with everyone.” He states rather asks, knowing the answer already. His confirmation comes from Aquarius’ small but very heavy sigh, he further confirms it with a terse nod.
They leave his tower, traversing the glorious halls and corridors of their palace towards the war room where most of their important discussions were done in the private among them. No one else but the celestials were allowed within the room without permission.
They arrive, not the first but not the last. Pisces, Virgo, Aries and Taurus were present, but the others had yet to arrived.
“Capricorn, Leo, and Sagittarius will be absent for this meeting, Gemini should be coming from the library.” Virgo informed them as they went to sit down at their assigned and usual seats.
Cancer looked over to Aries who responded, “Libra is late but Scorpio will also absent for the meeting.”
He nodded, “Very well. Then let us start the meeting.” Cancer said, Libra would no doubt already know the moment she comes into the room, she always does.
A threat was looming over them, a darkness that was devouring the universe, something that was never seen before and it was not going to stop until it got everything in existence… Especially the celestials themselves.
H e’s been hit by something. It was an ambush.
He couldn’t breathe, there was something in. His. Chest.
“D-Don’t worry Cancer, we’ll get you to Virgo, she will heal you--” A scream. He knows that voice.
Karkat shouts, heart in his throat as he abruptly sits up, sweating and panting as he tried to gain his bearings. He can’t see where he is, he can’t remember where he is, he trembles as he wraps his arms around himself in an effort to comfort himself even as a small pain flared in his chest, it’s nothing but a psychosomatic and phantom pain that never should have existed. But it does. He grips his arms, grits his teeth and pulls himself together.
It barely works but eventually, he’s calming his quick pants to steady breathes. The pain throbs in his chest but goes away after he firmly tells himself it wasn’t real.
None of it was real.
“F-Fuck...” He breathes, the paranoia and anxiety is receding but not completely. Never completely. It always stays at the edge of his mind, ready to attack him once again but for now, it recedes and he calms. “… Not again...” Karkat gruffs, complaining as he sees the tinge of red of his vision, he looked down to his fingers and sees the slight red light that is one them, the source of it coming from his face.
He throws himself out of bed in the most ungraceful manner possible and trudges towards the bathroom, stumbling over the sheets that tangled his legs with a curse but managing to escape it and continue on. Karkat blindly walks through the darkness, something he used to be afraid of when he was younger but now didn’t really care anymore. Besides, ever since… then, he could see in the dark, a different kind of night vision.
Stumbling into the bathroom, he turns on the light, closes and locks the door, then faces the mirror.
Baggy red eyes greeted him in the harsh, bright bathroom light --his guardian must have finally replaced the dim light-bulb of the room-- as he leaned forward to tiredly observe himself in the mirror. He instinctively looks at his hair first, the black dye was finally wearing off, the white of his roots are now showing. He’ll have to dye it again later.
Forcefully moving on, he looked into his eyes, his freakish, red eyes. He scowled at them, he always hated his genetics. Being born an albino wasn’t an advantage in school, it was a nightmare really.
But if his natural freakish red eyes weren’t enough, the new state of his freakish red eyes was really something unnatural, something that didn’t involved his fucked up genetics.
His pupils were red and shining, the edge of his sclera had small moving veins that were trying to reach his glowing red eyes. It had really fucking freaked him out at first, but now, they just made him uncomfortable. Karkat huffed before closing his eyes and focusing on repressing it.
His eyes pricked slightly, and he felt a shiver go down his spine.
When he opened them again, he was actually glad to see his normal but still freaky red eyes. At least they weren’t glowing now. No red light was coming from his eyes at all. In fact, at least it was just glowing eyes this time, it all could’ve gone so much more worse.
Inhaling, he held his breath for a solid half-minute then let go.
Karkat looked away from the mirror, staring down to the sink and letting out a shaky breath as he remembered the name that left his lips the moment he woke up from… that shit.
“… Aries...” He mumbled before shaking his head, “No, fuck that. I’m not…” He looked back up to the mirror and saw not his reflection… But his reflection.
A man stood in the mirror, posture straight, confident and strong. He had wild shining white hair with a small thin braid that curled around his shoulders, above his forehead and nestled in his hair was a silver tiara-like crown with three spires, a red gem rested right on the middle spire with the silver brand of the astrological sign Cancer was on it. His eyes were glowing red, literal galaxies behind the strong gaze of the man. From his ear right earlobe was a metal earring of a small tribal-looking crab that seemed to hold on to his ear.
He wore a silky grey cloak with red embroidered thread holding it together and giving it a regal design. Underneath the cloak was clothing that befitted of a noble prince, a dark red tunic with small golden designs, on the left breast of his tunic was the sign of Cancer again and around his waist was a black belt that held a wicked looking weapon, a dangerous-looking sickle, its metal was blood red with ancient lettering carved into it.
He was Cancer. One of the Twelve Zodiac Celestials. Millions of years old and ancient, wise–
Karkat closed his eyes tightly as his chest clenched, the phantom pain coming back as he tried to clear that image of Cancer out of his head. “I’m not Cancer, I’m not Cancer,” He muttered, over and over again as he slowly sunk to the ground. Cancer was dead. He wasn’t Cancer, he wasn’t a god, a constellation or whatever. He was- is, Karkat Vantas, utterly human, sixteen years old and weak.
From the mirror, Cancer looked down to his human self with sadness and closed his eyes, fading from the mirror and back into the deep dark depths of Karkat’s mind. He wasn’t ready, unfortunately that did not matter. They didn’t have much time after all.
Not with the tumor in his heart.
“I’m sorry Mister Vantas, but it seems that you have cancer.”
Karkat looks at the doctor with a stunned face, “I-I… I have c-cancer?”
“It seems you have a primary cardiac tumor, or rather a tumor in your heart.”
C a n c e r…
“I will tell your custodian as soon as he comes by and –“
Karkat panicked, he didn’t know what happened but he panicked, “No! Don’t tell him I have cancer!” He flinched back with his vision flashed red. Across him, the doctor’s eyes flashed red as well.
Kasper, or crabdad as little Karkat had called him before, doesn’t find out. All he knows is that Karkat has depression and an elevated blood pressure. Nothing much to worry about, Karkat is confused by the doctor’s actions as he didn’t tell him or anyone else about his illness.
Then the drea-no, the memories and nightmares began to happen...
Karkat barked a harsh laugh as he thought about it. Just as soon as he had been diagnosed with cancer, he finds out he was Cancer, as in the constellation. Whatever reason, the memories of his past life, the life of a fucking celestial being, got jogged out from being diagnosed with cancer.
He had the memories of a god in his head, he couldn’t make sense of most of them, he forgot a lot of them but it was an irrefutable fact – the proof was in his head, in his veins. Karkat glanced down to his arms and hesitantly, he rolls up his sleeves to see what was underneath the cloth, the thin lines on the inside of his elbows that went to his shoulder made his head swirl a bit but it’s a somewhat comforting sight to see for him, he bit his lip and focused on his finger. His nail glowed red and slowly, he dragged a small but thin red line on his arm, he watches the glowing blood that escapes the line he made and he gulps in an intake of hair.
His nail stops glowing and for a while, he stares at his glowing blood, it glittered slightly, dying and barely living embers of light trapped in his blood, so different from the blood from his dreams, the ones he could remember and woke up crying out and screaming had blood that shone like stars. He’s just glad that his room was somewhat sound proof for whatever reason.
Karkat doesn’t move from his place on the bathroom until someone knocks on the bathroom door, Karkat washes and wipes the glowing blood away. It never dries, he has a small jar of his own blood hidden underneath his bed and it smells and seems like it was brand new even though it was fucking weeks old. The line heals easily and he rolls down his sleeve, steeling his face, he splashes water in his face and flushes the toilet.
It tricks whoever was outside to think he had been pissing or something. He wiped his face dry and unlocked the bathroom door to face his older brother.
Kankri looks at him blearily through a mess of white hair, albinism runs in the family unfortunately.
“The bathroom’s yours.” Karkat mumbled as he walked past his older brother, intending to head back to his room and try to get a few more hours of sleep. It was too early to be awake but who cares. It wasn’t really his fault, it was his fault, fucking Cancer.
Kankri nodded and wordlessly entered the bathroom. Kankri is thankfully, not as chatty during the late of night or early morning. A blessing on the world, truly.
The reincarnated constellation went back to his room, locking the door and sighing heavily, trudging back towards his bed. Flopping down on it, he tiredly curled up on the bed and tried to get comfortable even though he knew that he wouldn’t be getting back to sleep any time soon.
“Shut up...” Karkat muttered to the random thought that popped up in his head, Aries was likely dead, was somewhere reincarnated –Aradia, she’s Aradia, it’s so fucking obvious it hurts– and was fine. Lucky for her, she probably doesn’t remember her death. Lucky bitch.
He tries to sleep. He fails. He curses and gets up to mess around in the internet.
No point in trying to waist any more time sleeping, he had school today anyway.
Karkat didn’t bother restraining his groan, he was in the safety of his room.
Another shitty way, to start a shitty day.
He couldn’t possibly wait for all the good shit that would happen at school today.