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Farther Away

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The thing is, it isn’t a motherfucking miracle. It’s a lot of things, like destructive and ill-advised and desperate, but no matter how deep you sink into Eridan Ampora, it isn’t a miracle. You’re still Gamzee Makara and you’re back on the slime again, but you can’t find any miracles, especially not in the company of others. If there were ever miracles - if you didn’t dream them - you surely killed them; wrapped your hands tight around your club and swung, swung, swung, reveled in the CRACK as they broke. Smiled, licked your lips, and trod on them.

Maybe existing after The Scratch is a miracle. You don’t think so. You think it’s a travesty, and you don’t know why Karkat insisted that you be taken along, when he won’t even look at you any more even though you can’t hardly even keep your eyes off him.

He was the first place you looked for a miracle after Kanaya and Vriska got you doped up again. “Karkat,” you said to him, voice wavering like a drunk, “Karkat,” you pleaded because he wouldn’t look at you. He was tense, frightened, and when you said, “Tell me Tavros isn’t motherfuckin’ - “ and he was screaming at you before you could even finish your question, aiming for angry and getting terrified and grieving instead.

Karkat did not give you a miracle. He gave you a wake up call. YES, YOU UNBELIEVABLY UNSTABLE CROTCHMUNCHING SHITSTAIN, HE'S FUCKING DEAD YOU GRUBFUCKING SHITPANNED USELESS GODDAMN JUGGALO; VRISKA SHOULD HAVE KILLED YOU WHEN SHE HAD THE BILEHUMPING CHANCE, BUT YOU'RE ALIVE AND HE'S DEAD SO GET YOUR NOOKWHIFFLING BULGEBITING UNBEARABLE FUCKING SELF OUT OF MY SIGHT AND TAKE YOUR DISGUSTING HEMOPAINTED HORNPILE WITH YOU!

Brave enough to yell at you, but still not brave enough to look at you. None of them are - even the humans won’t. They all look at Eridan, though. Even you look at him now, and he has taken pains to perfect the art of hiding. Even when you make eye contact, he is really just staring through you, and that almost hurts except you are snugly wrapped in your drughaze and so it is just a motherfucking disappointment, motherfucker, only it’s not only that because all you can feel is tired and guilty and more guilty.

The first time he comes to you, it’s because he’s still awake and it'd been two nights since everyone escaped to live a better life, free of the game, and you’re the only one awake or maybe the only one who hasn’t told him you wish he’d have died or ceased existing or something. The dead of the day, the sun as bright as it’s fucking going to get, and he fings you standing just inside the frame of a door, contemplating low, rolling hills. "Wwhat, are you leavvin'?" he asks you. At the time, it sounds abrasive. Are you runnin awway, you cowward? Can't deal wwith the wway they look at you? Later, you realize it was jealously, because Eridan had always wanted people to look at him, before, but once he had everyone's attention, all he wanted to do was go back to being a joke.

You turn away from the brightly lit day. He has abandoned his cape and his glasses and his stupid romantic notions; he looks pretty and by pretty you mean he looks just as alone and guilty as you are. "No, just motherfuckin' enjoyin' the sunshine, motherfucker," you say, but of course this falls flat. No one is reassured by you anymore, and that’s motherfucking fine, except it isn’t because Tavros always said how reliable you were at being comforting but now all you are is numb. You used to make Tavros smile even when he was scared, but you can’t even reassure yourself anymore, not to even motherfucking Eridan Ampora who breathes only shallowly and looks at you when no one else will.

You and him don’t talk about anything important. You hardly even talk at all. Eridan says, “I don’t suppose you’d lowwer yourself to fuck me, wwould you, Makara?” like a robot, body casually posed for violent rejection. More like he’s asking to borrow a piece of paper than propositioning you. It feels cheap and insincere but you haven’t touched anyone since - so you take him at face value.

It’s hard to say who’s more surprised when you press him against the wall of the entrance way, say, “Sure thing motherfucker,” before you cover his mouth with yours and try desperately to feel something.

 

The first time it's a fucking conquest. You just motherfucking want to prove that you can feel something, and you do. Only, all you feel is his skin and his breath and it's not like you motherfucking wanted. But you take it anyway because you know you can’t have a miracle and sometimes his skin tastes familiar, sweet and sugary if you close your eyes and don’t focus and pretend he’s trembling with nerves. You’re gentler than you mean to be and you get just lost enough to call him Tavros and not be sorry.

He’s still just pathetic enough to not even flinch. It isn’t a miracle.

Eridan doesn’t spout any romantic bullshit like you’d expect. He's outgrown that. Well, more like he shot it through the torso and left it behind. But you don't mind the blood on his hands because you've got it on yours, too, and sometimes you pretend to lick the blood off him. But he doesn't appreciate it of course, and anyway you can’t make him clean; only he can do that and he tries to do it with you.

You guess he thinks someday, you're going to go crazy again and maybe he'll get to live. But that’s when you’re feeling hopeful because most of the time you’re sure he thinks you are going to go crazy some day, and maybe he'll get to die first, and horribly. But both of those are stupid things to think because you already are crazy, because you think it's sweet when he’s sleeping and you honkHONKhonkHONK and he whimpers, clings closer to you for protection and you get to kiss his forehead and he relaxes.

When he’s asleep, you like him the best. His face smooths out and he’s said that he likes that you’re warmer than him and you get to hold him and pretend like he’s Tavros. You miss Tavros.

 

Sometimes you lose yourself in the slime and Eridan is suddenly Tavros, then that's okay because Tavros was always afraid, too, and when you think of Eridan as Tavros suddenly it's much easier to be gentle. You wonder where his robotic legs are, but it doesn't matter because aren't you glad to have his sugared skin back? He doesn't tremble like he usually does but Vriska isn't looking for him anymore, and maybe he misses you, too. You kiss his mouth and lick his neck and you bring him back to life with skilled hands and tongue and you motherfucking apologize the whole way through, sometimes you barely even get your lips on his skin because you've got to let your motherfucking best bud know how sorry you are, so you just stroke him with your wide hands. You ignore the fins. You see only Tavros because you are buzzed out of your mind and you’re sure you know what love is.

Then, you ask yourself why you are apologizing. And you remember. Because he's dead. He's motherfucking dead and he used to have such sweet skin, but you didn't ever tell him how much you liked his skin enough, and now you’re telling Eridan, not Tavros, and it’s all make-believe. Clandestine meetings, never enough time, too much sopor to admit how much you like what you get to do to him and the breathless little noises he makes, and then by the time they’d drugged you, Vriska is sitting in front of you in her stupid god tier outfit again with Kanaya fucking Maryam standing next to her and glowing.

She is answering a question you don’t even remember asking, sounding condescending and broken at the same time: You can’t speak to Tavros. Don’t you remem8er?

You’re still Gamzee Makara but you can’t find any miracles, anymore.