Set in a non-Sburb AU where both the kids and trolls are human, it focuses on Karkat's years throughout elementary, middle, and high school, his friendship and eventual romance with Dave, and most importantly the struggles he faces as an FTM transgender.
Tropes used in the work:
- Arc Words: "Hey! Leave him/her alone!" First used by Dave when defending Karkat against a gang of bullies in first grade, then again when speaking up for him against a rude teacher as a sign that he wants to make things better.
- Adaptational Heroism: Kankri is softened by giving him multiple Cool Big Bro moments with Karkat, including helping him come out as transgender to their father.
- All of the Other Reindeer: From his first day of kindergarten, Karkat is mercilessly bullied by the other students — first for "trying to act like a boy" as a girl, then for becoming one.
- The Atoner: As of Chapter 15, Dave is trying to make it up to Karkat for abandoning him in fifth grade. Karkat hasn't forgiven him quite yet.
- Cool Big Bro: As expected, Bro is one for Dave, teaching him and Karkat to swordfight.
- Disproportionate Retribution: In Chapter 10, Karkat is too afraid to tell Dave about secretly being trans. Dave abandons him as a result and stops speaking to him for nearly two years.
- First Period Panic: Karkat (a trans guy) gets the first period in Chapter 14, and is flat-out horrified.
- Foregone Conclusion: Even after Dave breaks off his friendship with Karkat in Chapter 10, the reader knows they will make up.
- Hypocrite: During their argument in Chapter 15, Dave calls Karkat self absorbed ("like everything I ever do has to revolve around you"). Right, because Dave didn't abandon Karkat for two years for the supposed travesty of not informing him about his biggest secret.
- Important Haircut: After coming out as trans, Karkat's father takes him to get a boy's haircut.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kankri grates on Karkat's nerves, but he helps his little brother when he needs it, most importantly helping him start coming out as trans.
- No Periods, Period: Averted. In Chapter 14, Karkat gets his and is horrified because it's yet another indicator that he has the body of a girl despite being a boy.
- Only Friend: Karkat's only friends are Dave, Nepeta, Kanaya and Gamzee. Everyone else either ignores him or picks on him.
- The Stoner: Gamzee, of course, but since the trolls are human he smokes weed instead of eating sopor slime.
- Tomboy: Karkat as a young girl, before coming out as trans.
- We Used to Be Friends: Dave and Karkat's relationship enters this stage in Chapter 10 after they fight and subsequently "break up" over Karkat not trusting Dave enough to tell him his biggest secret.
- Wham Episode: Chapter 10. Dave abandons Karkat, leaving him with no friends.