Gamzee distantly remembers the first time the Sopor worked its way out of his system.
It had been a day like any other on Earth – a day of building a hive for the twelve of them to share until such a time as they chose other places to build personal hives and settle down. The day had started like any other as well. Or at least, any other day since the group had run out of Sopor.
It had started with a pounding headache that beat a staccato rhythm against the bone of his temple, one that settled into a sharp throb made worse by sound and light. His chest was far too tight, and every breath was a struggle to take. And the further on the day went, the harder it was to fight for air. His hands shook and at some point he was fairly certain Feferi told him to go lay down out of the mild heat of the sun for a minute or two.
He’d only half obeyed her and found a nice place in the shade to sit down for just a moment.
He couldn’t sleep – hadn’t been able to for days. Beneath the face paint he wore there were dark circles beneath his eyes, ones only made heavier by the pallor his skin had begun to acquire. Sometimes he was glad the paint hid this from the others. Other times he almost wished someone would notice – no one noticed that he was getting physically ill without Sopor in his system.
A treacherous voice in the back of his head whispered that none of them really cared.
Another one screamed he’d be better off killing all of them.
Gamzee braced one arm against the trunk of the tree and vomited until his stomach had nothing left to offer but acid that burned his throat and made his eyes water.
It’s nearly an hour later before anyone notices he’s missing. He doesn’t remember what he was doing during that hour. What he does remember is that by the time they start to look for him, his entire body is shaking and the headache is exploding through every inch of his think pan. He feels like he can’t breathe even though he’s well aware of the air filling his lungs and pressing them against his too-tight chest. Every second is agony and suddenly he’s terrified that something is more horribly wrong than normal and no one will ever know.
It’s hard to think and those two voices are getting even louder. His mind is fuzzy and not in the pleasant way where everything is beautiful and amazing and miraculous but in the scary way where he can’t figure out where he is or who his friends are or why he suddenly feels like everyone would be so much more helpful if they were all dead. His thoughts are all jumbled and bleeding together and he can’t figure out why why why.
And then he’s staggering to his feet and suddenly the voices are right on top of him, coaxing his feet to carry his shaking body forward.
Everyone looks almost relieved to see him as he staggers back into the makeshift campsite, and the quieter of the two voices whispers that it’s too little too late.
The louder of the two makes his hand pick up one of Karkat’s sickles laying there on the ground, its blade glinting innocently in the light of the descending Terran sun.
Everyone is watching him and he wants them to stop it because he’s not some spectacle. He’s not some freak like the mutant staring at the weapon in his hand. No, he’s an Indigo Blood, and he’s better than all of them. They don’t deserve to be looking at him and they certainly don’t deserve to be able to just laugh and smile when he’s so sick because his head is finally starting to clear.
There’s nothing clouding his thoughts and obscuring every tiny detail of the world into something amazing and beautiful. There is only cold, harsh reality.
These trolls didn’t care enough to notice he was in pain.
These trolls were all beneath him.
And the worst reality of them all, the one his mind didn’t want to handle – there were no miracles.
The mutant steps forward, says something about the heat getting to his head. Both of the voices agree that he needs to shut up. The quiet one tells him that. The loud one tells him to get the fuck away.
He doesn’t listen, only says something else but this time they aren’t listening.
This time they’re running forward and using the sickle to carve a line from shoulder to hip and suddenly black fabric is parting and red is staining gray skin. The mutant has the gall to look shocked, and a grin curls on their features.
The green blood pounces on them, her claws rake their face as the others join her and pin them to the ground.
They don’t struggle – they don’t have the energy for it.
They laugh and cackle while the mutant freaks out over the bright red blood dripping down his front, and the blue blood – the strong one – ushers him away for medical attention. They don’t care because it doesn’t really matter. One day they’ll slaughter them all, because none of them cared enough to notice when they were in pain.
They were all beneath them.
And there were no miracles.
Gamzee tries not to think of that day much.
But every day there is a reminder staring him in the mirror as he paints his face, thin scars that paint obscures and hides from the others. Some days, he can’t stand to look at himself because the guilt is just too much. On days like those, someone has to put the familiar white and gray paint on for him. This task normally falls to Karkat, who has patiently learned the right place for each line and the proper brush motion to use to fill in each color so that it looks smooth and natural.
Sometimes, when he does this, Gamzee catches sight of the thick, ugly scar that still crosses his matesprit’s torso from shoulder to hip.
It was on those days – days like the one he just so happened to be having today – that he thought about the circumstances that had led to both of their scars.
It was on days like these that the guilt became too much for him to bear in silence.
It was when the guilt became too much that he would break down and cry, indigo making perfect streaks on his half-painted face while Karkat held him and promised him that everything would be alright.
And in those moments he almost believed it would be.
Almost; because he knew better.
Because there were no miracles, and there never had been.