-- tentacleTherapist [TT] started pestering grimAuxiliatrix [GA] --
TT: Kanaya, listen.
TT: I know you’re in class, and you probably accidentally left yourself logged in on your phone.
TT: When you get this, I need you to check up on your roommate. As soon as possible, ideally.
TT: I don’t mean to cause alarm… Actually, I lied. This is absolutely a cause for alarm.
TT: Vriska was pulled out of the seminar we share by NYU security and the head of the Student Health Center. This was perhaps half an hour ago, and she is yet to return.
TT: At this point, I doubt that she will, to be honest.
TT: Knowing Vriska, a Shitstorm of Epic Proportions will closely follow whatever meeting she was just dragged into.
TT: So, it may be wise to make sure she doesn’t blow anything up, and see what this is all about.
TT: And… Let me know how things go?
TT: P.S. Don’t tell her that I expressed any shred of concern for her. Make it seem like my explaining her mysterious disappearance was the butt of a joke. Why would I ever be concerned about my girlfriend’s roommate who I obviously despise so thoroughly? How silly.
-- tentacleTherapist [TT] ceased pestering grimAuxiliatrix [GA] --
Kanaya Maryam wore a look of distress as she packed away her things at the end of class with one hand, scrolling through her logs on her iPhone with the other. They were sent at least three hours ago. Christ, why did this have to happen on a day where she had a four-hour long class? She looked sick enough that fellow classmates (who usually saw her wearing a kind smile or intelligently participating in class discussions) were starting to ask if she was all right. On multiple occasions she brushed them off with a forced smile and something that was supposed to be, “Yes, yes, absolutely fine, thank you,” but came out as a jumble of murmured words. Said classmates would not have an opportunity to press the issue, since the woman bolted from the room and out of Fred P. Pomerantz Art and Design Center once she gathered her things.
Upon reaching Seventh Avenue and Twenty-seventh Street, she hurriedly hailed a taxi, deciding against wasting precious time on taking the subway to her apartment. Kanaya was never particularly assertive when hailing taxis, but she didn’t need to be; she was a gorgeous, fair-skinned woman with short dark brown hair that was always styled to perfection, and striking jade eyes. She was always wearing dresses and other outfits that looked far too good on her—even on this breezy autumn afternoon she managed to look stunning. Taxis pretty much fought over her once she entered the street and raised her hand.
Not ten seconds after waiting for a cab, one pulled right up to her. She quickly entered, setting her messenger bag next to her and pulling out her phone. “Eighty-eighth and West End, please,” she said quickly, preoccupied with texting Vriska as fast as she was capable. If the cabbie responded, it fell on deaf ears.
Vriska Are You Home
Rose Mentioned Something Offhandedly And I Am Concerned
Please Respond In A Timely Manner
After firing off those texts, Kanaya felt anxiety and worry unpleasantly sloshing around in her gut, though nothing about her disposition would show that. Instead of focusing on how terrified she was that she was too late, that Vriska jumped off of the George Washington Bridge and she lost one of her best friends in the world because she didn’t check her phone in the middle of class—no, stop it, that’s not what happened—she forced herself to gaze out of the window of her taxi and watch New Yorkers do their thing.
The woman nearly jumped as she felt her phone buzz in her lap. She checked it at inhuman speeds, and she calmed down considerably once she saw it was Vriska. She seemed… off, using words that she normally wouldn’t. But she was alive. Kanaya saw no reason to complain.
Uuuuuuuugh what did the witch8itch say now? I’m fiiiiiiiine :::;) Safe ‘n sound in our cri8.
We Can Discuss Such Matters When I Get There In A Few Minutes
Mmmmmmmmyeeeeeeees, quite. Quit your fussing, Fussyfangs! See you soon!!!!!!!!
Yes See You Soon
Upon arrival to the eighth floor of the apartment complex, Kanaya noticed the scent of something…strange. Perhaps something not so different from a rotting skunk corpse. As she approached her room, the smell only got stronger.
“Oh dear,” she muttered to herself, knowing exactly what was in store for her as soon as she unlocked the door and entered room 8B at the end of the hall.
If she hadn’t been expecting the overpowering smell of weed smoke as soon as she entered, she might have fainted. Alas, she was prepared. Perhaps this explained Vriska’s odd word choice in the messages.
“Vriska?” Kanaya called out, taking her heels off and neatly placing them by the coat rack. Her trench coat was hung up on it shortly after, and she headed towards Vriska’s room, where the smell was even more pungent.
“Heeeeeeeey!” Vriska responded from her room.
Even though her roommate’s door was slightly ajar, Kanaya questioned, “May I enter?”
“Pffffffff, why wouldn’t you be able to enter? You liiiiiiiive here, silly!” she cackled, a little too loudly.
Oh my. How much did she smoke?
Vriska’s room was as messy as it usually was—which meant it was almost impossible to walk around without slipping on some dice or accidentally stepping on a stuffed animal or empty game case. The woman in question was sitting on her bed, wearing nothing but an oversized black t-shirt and large, endlessly classy “I <3 BEER” boxers. Her disastrously messy black hair was falling into her eyes. Her bong—a tall, impressive piece of glassware that was black and covered in deep blue spiderwebs—was sitting right in front of her. Plenty of ash was dumped on her bedside table, which informed Kanaya how much she had smoked in the last couple of hours.
Vriska greeted Kanaya with a toothy grin and beckoned her inside before lighting fire to her bowl once again, taking a large hit. Kanaya frowned in response.
“How long have you been here?” she asked, cautiously making her way to take a seat at the edge of Vriska’s bed, which obviously hadn’t been made in days.
Vriska held up a single finger, gesturing for her to wait a second, while she lifted the slide from the piece and cleared the chamber. She held her breath for three seconds before exhaling contentedly. “… I don’t even know, dude. Like. Uhhhhhhhh… two hours ago…?”
“And you’ve been smoking this entire time?”
“Not the entiiiiiiiire time! What do you think I am? A fucking stoner? Like fucking Makara?”
“I am beginning to suspect that you are ambling comfortably in that direction.”
“Oh shush. I took breaks! Like, to masturbate and shit like that!”
“I really appreciate that mental image. Thank you kindly, Vriska.”
“Don’t mention it, babe,” Vriska winked, lifting her water pipe slightly in Kanaya’s direction. “Wanna hit?” Vriska’s shaky hands did not go unnoticed, and Kanaya feared that it might topple over and spill awful-smelling water all over the room. She took the bong, but did not smoke from it.
“The offer is appreciated, but I am afraid I will pass,” Kanaya forced a smirk, getting up and placing the pipe on Vriska’s desk, then returned to her spot at the foot of the bed.
“Awwwwwwww! Come oooooooon! Marquise Spinneret Mindfang misses you, you knoooooooow,” Vriska hummed. Out of nowhere, she slowly fell down onto her back, wiggling her toes and staring at the ceiling with bloodshot cerulean eyes.
“I do not doubt that, but I am afraid I want to be sober for this conversation that I am about to have with you.”
The air in the room became tense. Vriska did not respond, though it was unclear whether it was became she was lost in her stoned little world or because she did not want to initiate the conversation. So, Kanaya obliged.
“What happened at school? Rose told me that you were taken out of class and never returned.”
“Zahhak’s a fucking asshole,” Vriska said as evenly and calmly as ever in her inebriation, despite her venomous words when referring to the head of psychological services.
“Oh? What did he do, now?”
“Decided I was unfit for continuing at Gallatin for the time being. Forced me on medical leave.”
It was Kanaya’s turn to fall silent. This was definitely going to be a problem. If she wasn’t in school, then she didn’t have any actual obligations to fulfill and nothing to distract her from the dangers of her own mind. Sure, she could still see her friends and do things in the city, but Kanaya had a feeling that wouldn’t be nearly enough to keep her sane.
“…For how long?” she finally said, breaking the silence.
“At least for the rest of this term, and maybe even the following one. Fuck, Kanaya,” Vriska swore, her voice finally cracking with frustration. “I’ve been trying. Really. Fucking. Hard. Is it really not enough?”
“I know you are trying… Maybe you should try to fight to stay in?”
“Already did. Probably not as calmly and politely as I coulda, but I definitely made it veeeeeeeery clear that I was unhappy with this decision, and did not want it going through. Then, they gave me a really fucking stupid ultimatum: either take medical leave now and walk out the door without restraints, or be taken to a psych ward. They’re convinced I’m more coo-coo than I fucking am.”
Kanaya almost said something along the lines of, “They definitely have a reason to be that concerned,” but decided it would be far from productive. Instead, she silently got up and lay down next to Vriska, taking her into her arms. There was no resistance, but Vriska didn’t do much aside from lay her head on Kanaya’s chest.
“It will be alright. We will figure out what can be done. I will go in and talk to Zahhak if I must. But, if you, indeed, cannot return to school for the time being, it will not be so difficult to figure out alternative ways to keep you entertained.”
“Ha, yeah. True. School was getting boring, anyway,” Vriska muttered. Slowly, she repositioned herself so her face was buried in Kanaya’s bosom.
“… Can I help you?”
“Your tits never fail to provide the most luxurious of comforts,” Vriska hummed into them, motorboating Kanaya’s decently sized chest for a moment before settling down in her boobs. “Best. Pillows. Everrrrrrrr.”
“I suppose I will take that as a compliment,” Kanaya smiled in response, closing her eyes and gently caressing Vriska’s hair. The two lay there in an unusual silence, but it was comfortable and lovely nonetheless. It was a rare moment that, despite the circumstances, Kanaya was happy with.
-- grimAuxiliatrix [GA] started pestering tentacleTherapist [TT] --
GA: Vriska Was On Forced Medical Leave
TT: Oh good god.
GA: Yes Oh Good God Is Correct
GA: It Is Very Unfortunate This Has Happened
GA: I Am Incredibly Worried About Her And Cannot Help But Wonder What Made The School Decide She Was Unfit To Continue
TT: She hadn’t been fairing well in the class we shared. Never turned in her work, never concentrated in class, so on. Perhaps that was the case in all of her classes.
TT: Did anyone in psych services officially diagnose her when she was seeing them? Do you know?
GA: As Far As I Am Aware She Simply Went Into Her Sessions To Bitch About The Latest Unfair Misadventures In Her Life
GA: She Has Never Had The Patience To Deal With Therapists
TT: At any rate, I must leave for class in a moment. But thank you for the update.
TT: Discuss further at dinner, assuming you aren’t on babysitting duty?
GA: No I Can Get Terezi To Look After Vriska Or Something
GA: I Look Forward To Seeing You Tonight Rose Dear
-- tentacleTherapist [TT] ceased pestering grimAuxiliatrix [GA] --
Kanaya’s dates with Rose typically involved picking a fancy (or not-so-fancy) restaurant in Manhattan, drinking the fanciest wine they could afford, dressing as elegantly as possible (but never repeating exact outfits) in a subtle attempt at one-upmanship, and engaging in witty banter so snarky that any horseshitometers within the immediate vicinity would promptly burst. Of course, Rose and Kanaya mutually viewed this phenomenon as “flirting”. Further, they would figure out new, creative ways to chivalrously pay for their date’s meal behind their back. Every so often they would reach a stalemate, agree that they grew weary of out-gentlemaning each other, and then go Dutch and call it “gentlemanly teamwork”.
Some rituals were safe and unmolested on this fine October night, but a lot of them were put on hold in favor of more important matters. Sadly, not as many horseshitometers combusted that night. It was truly a tragic loss for the couple, but they knew that they would make up for their snark deficit soon enough.
Tonight, the pair met up at one of their favorite fancy restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen, but didn’t go all out with their outfits like they usually did. Kanaya wore the same dress, heels and coat that she was in earlier in the day; Rose met her outside the restaurant shortly thereafter, donned in jeans, red and black plaid, her trademark silver headband, a leather jacket and lavender Converse. Instead of embracing and giving each other a peck on the cheek like most couples, the two simply regarded each other with a nod and a smirk; the first things out of their mouths were comments on each other’s outfits.
“Casual today, aren’t we?”
“I was aiming for ‘sickeningly typical lesbian hipster’, in honor of my dearest brother. You look like you’ve been wearing that all day.”
“I did not have enough nerve to pick out a different outfit.”
“Oh my. You’ve gone through a lot of nerve today, then. This is a rather rare occurrence. Should I phone the New York Times? Or, will telling you that I’m honored to be witnessing such a historic event suffice?”
“The latter would be plenty. I appreciate the sentiment.”
Both knew that they had reached the point of no return. It was impossible for the conversation to not segue into talking about Vriska. So, they prolonged their typical banter as long as they could, until they were seated and immediately ordered their food without needing to look at the menu. Once they took their first sips from their glasses of Cabernet, they got down to business.
“So Vriska was not seeing the psychiatrist on staff, correct?” Rose started, gazing at Kanaya over her wine glass.
“It may be wise for her to take advantage of this medical leave and figure out what exactly is wrong, and get proper treatment for it. However, I doubt that she would seek much attention without proper intervention.”
“Indeed. If she had things her way, all she would do is smoke and drink and play video games.”
“Which is far from the healthiest solution,” Rose sighed, taking a sip of her wine. “She’ll listen to you if you force her into seeing someone to get a proper diagnosis, right?”
“One can only hope,” Kanaya muttered, mimicking Rose’s actions. “Would it not be easier for you to use your uncanny psychoanalytic prowess?”
“I can and I have, and while I am confident in my ability to tell different personality disorders apart, among other psychological impairments, you know Vriska would rather sell all of her belongings, move to Los Angeles and become a street performer with no possessions than listen to me. Also, I can’t fill out prescriptions. Even if I could, I only know the basics of pharmacotherapy—not nearly enough to be her primary caretaker in that regard.”
“Well… even so. What do you think are the primary problems?” Kanaya asked, voice lightly tinted with fear. Rose was usually right about these sorts of things, so she always expected the worst.
“Vriska…” Rose started, her mouth forming a tight light and her brow furrowing as she lapsed into thought. She was silent for a few moments before, rather suddenly, downing most of her glass of wine. “Okay. There are a number of things that could be wrong with Vriska Serket. For one, I am confident that she is at least a little bit histrionic and narcissistic, but I don’t think those are the main problems. She does poorly in classes that she is not interested in, simply because she doesn’t have the attention span for ‘useless shit that she thought she’d stop learning in high school but apparently not;’ even when she is interested in something, sometimes she has trouble keeping up. As a result, no matter what she does, she is rarely at her optimum. Vriska needs to be actively participating in something to remain consistently engaged, but oftentimes it seems as though she does not have the motivation to start participating at all. This could be a sign of depression. But, she does seem to have episodes where she is more active, more productive, and overall has a better outlook on life. Of course, that is often fueled by her histrionic characteristics, making her feel like she has ascended to Godhood. These phases do not last long, however—she crashes and resumes wanting to do nothing but sleep, eat, indulge in vice, and maybe feed her normally insatiable sex drive. It is possible that she is bipolar.” The blonde paused, noting her girlfriend’s expression of bafflement and worry, and concluded, “…This is taking into account things you have said to me and what I have personally observed. I could be entirely incorrect. There could be more that we’re missing, since Vriska can be secretive when it comes to her inner turmoil. Have you considered making her go into therapeutic assessment?”
“I feel as though she would not take it seriously or blow it off entirely,” Kanaya frowned. She reached out for her wine glass, only to disappointedly realize she most likely chugged the rest of it while listening to Rose and her trademark psychobabble. “It is probably not worth the thousands of dollars it would cost to enroll her.”
“Bluh, true. It was worth a mention,” Rose exhaled exasperatedly. She made eye contact with their waiter, who, knowing the two ladies well, came over and refilled their wine glasses wordlessly, and quickly retreated thereafter. “Well… the best course of action, for now, is to try to get her to see a psychiatrist, make sure she stays in therapy, and ensure that she has company as much as possible. My relationship with Vriska always feels inches away from rock bottom, but I would be rather unhappy if something happened to her.”
She tried to make eye contact with Kanaya, who was gazing absently at the dark liquid in her glass, head in her palm. One of Rose’s hands ventured out to grasp one of Kanaya’s and, in a rare public display of affection, kissed it. Kanaya finally looked at her companion, startled by the action.
“Chin up, Kanaya. This will get sorted out.”
“But…” It was rare to see her girlfriend so bent out of shape, and it made such an impression on Rose that she felt a tiny bit of her icy, sarcastic heart warm up. She squeezed Kanaya’s hand reassuringly.
“I promise. I’ll also try to get in touch with Dr. Zahhak and see what his thoughts on the situation are.”
“Would it not be good for me to speak to him myself?”
“Honestly, he might say something different to you, who is in danger of being biased in favor of your roommate, than to me, one of his favorite students in the psych department. I promise I’ll translate all of his psychobabble into comprehensible English. And keep count of how many times he incorporates the words ‘strong,’ ‘strength,’ or other words of that genre into his speech.”
Rose considered it a victory when Kanaya cracked a small smile in response to that. “Now. Shall we steer our ‘date’ back on track, and resume our usual snarky lesbian bullshit?”
“Yes. That sounds lovely.”
Horseshitometers continued their usual exploding business shortly thereafter. After dinner, the two wandered around the city and played some of their favorite games related to people-watching, such as “Guess That Guy’s Life Story,” “What Is The Deal With That Couple” and “On A Scale Of One To Flaming Homosexual…” Rose was oddly affectionate, holding hands with Kanaya for most of the evening and even leaning into her side. Kanaya would be lying if she said the sentiments weren’t welcome; in fact she greatly enjoyed being part of a “typical adorable couple” for just a short while. At around eleven PM, Rose had escorted Kanaya back to her apartment and was gently kissing her on the lips outside 8B. The two didn’t linger for long, though, as Kanaya overheard Vriska shouting something at Terezi from inside, and decided it would be best for her to tend to them.
After they shared a quick but tight hug and another peck on the lips, Rose headed back downstairs and Kanaya entered her apartment, automatically bracing herself for the worst.
Much to her relief, nothing seemed to be broken. Not yet, at least. That must have meant that they didn’t LARP tonight. Kanaya couldn’t help but feel grateful. She took her shoes off and hung up her coat, then headed towards her room. On her way, she passed Vriska’s door, which was opened a crack, and overheard a snippet of loud conversation. She paused with masochistic curiosity.
“—Jesus fucking Christ getting fucked in the ass by Judas can this fucking tank pull any slower—“ Vriska swore angrily, her voice raspy from what must have been hours of shit talking.
“Can someone fucking heal me please—fucking shit ignore Mindfang—I know there’s a reason you blocked her from vent but don’t you realize that she’s only going to yell louder so you all can hear??” Terezi’s equally exhausted voice snapped. “Vriska, shut the fuck up! They’re getting all butthurt at me, too—thanks for the heal gog it took long enough—“
“Then stop holding down your hotkey like the cock licker that you are—Ooooooooh my GOD Rezi I’m going to punt you to the fucking MOON if you out parse me AGAIN because these fuckers hate me so much and won’t heal me—ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME.”
Kanaya winced, inching back towards her room. Reevaluating the situation, she may not escape the night without broken eardrums.
“HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s what you get for pulling so much hate, you fucking loser!” Terezi cackled. Vriska must have died in game.
“I SWEAR TO GOD I AM RAGEQUITTING AND CLOSING MY FUCKING LAPTOP IF I DIE ONE MORE TIME IN THIS FUCKING RAID. I AM NOT KIDDING AROUND. THIS GUILD FUCKING HATES ME. THIS GAME FUCKING HATES ME.”
“You’re good at DPS but fucking suck at interacting with people. I bet I can out parse you, just by playing with my nose and my tongue! Hehehehehehe!”
“Pyrope I am going to end you in a second—OH MY GOD. OH. MY GOD. YOU CAN’T… I’m done. Retards can’t fucking heal to save their fucking life, much less my own.” There was the sound of a laptop getting slammed shut, and Terezi’s laughter echoed throughout the entire apartment.
“Mindfang the rogue has forfeited! Redglare the hunter dealt the most damage! Redglare WINS!”
Kanaya shut the door to her room, muffling the sound of Vriska’s screams and Terezi’s evil giggles as they continued to fight over their game. Now would be a horrible time to confront Vriska. Tomorrow. she resolved, sitting down at her desk and loading up her computer to browse the internet for a while.
Thankfully, they probably passed out on Vriska's bed shortly after exerting themselves so much, so Kanaya was able to get a decent night's rest.
It took longer than anticipated for Kanaya and Vriska to properly reconnect. Kanaya had class and work, and Vriska was most likely out partying when Kanaya returned to their flat that evening (it was a Friday night, after all); so, she decided to take the night off and spend it with Rose. At about eleven PM, Vriska sent Kanaya a text that read, Spending the night at Rezi’s. Not eight feet under. Promise. Bone your girl dead. ::::)
It took a while for Rose to convince Kanaya to follow Vriska’s advice, but once Rose teased Kanaya to the point where desire replaced worry and hesitance, the two took full advantage of having the apartment to themselves for the night.
Thus, Saturday afternoon was the first opportunity Kanaya and Vriska had to discuss plans from this point onward in a mutually sober manner. Kanaya managed to coax Vriska out of her cave with aspirin, coffee and a cigarette (This Will Be One Of The Only Times I Will Allow You To Smoke Such Things Indoors But Trust Me I Am Desperate To Speak With You was the text message that finally drew the hungover woman out of her room). Vriska finally emerged and indulged in her offerings, which were neatly laid out on the kitchen table. Once her Marlboro lite was set ablaze and she took a healthy drag, she gazed at the woman sitting across from her with tired eyes.
“Let me guess. You broke up with the Lalonde bitch,” she drawled out, her voice raspy and drained.
“Sorry to disappoint you, but that is incorrect,” Kanaya couldn’t help but smirk at the notion of it. Vriska sure would like that.
“Balls. Are you confessing your love for me, at long last? Gonna pamper me and treat my hangover, then throw me onto your bed and beg for me to fuck you until you can’t walk for a week?”
“I am afraid that these matters only minimally involve me. Also, no.”
“Ugh, fuck. Got my hopes up for a second, wench,” Vriska gave her trademark sarcastic grin, leaning back in her chair and taking another significant drag and exhaling it in Kanaya’s direction. “What’s so damn important, then?”
“I…” Kanaya felt the lump in her throat already beginning to form, and her smug expression vanished instantly. This was not going to be an easy conversation and she knew it. “I think that you should… get help.” The lump tripled in size as Vriska’s expression grew dark. “G-Get a proper diagnosis for what is going on, and receive proper treatment so you can resume your life in a normal fashion—“
“There is nothing fucking wrong with my head,” the woman across from her hissed, ashing into the empty mug before her. “NYU is fucking insane and they didn’t want me around for god-knows-what reason. They were intentionally trying to make everything so hard for me that I’d get the boot. Ironically, it seems like Doctor Equius ‘Asphyxiate Me Oh Dearest Borderline Patient Of Mine’ Zahhak is the one that needs to see a fucking shrink, not me. I’m fine.”
Kanaya was stunned into silence. Her eyes were wide and terrified. She knew this would go poorly. She absolutely saw this coming. She was usually pretty good at confrontation, but her not knowing mental illness very well in conjunction with how impossible it was to talk to Vriska seriously made this very, very difficult.
“Do I win? Do I get to go back to sleep, now?” Vriska growled, her eyes narrowing dangerously at Kanaya.
“I know you are hurting. I know things are not easy right now. But sitting in our apartment, hoping it will gradually go away and you can go back to everything normally is unrealistic. Smoking and drinking all of the time will not make the pain go away. You need to see an expert who can assist you. I am sure that your life will be significantly better after that. I…” She froze up, unsure with how to continue. In her head, she was shouting, I do not want to lose you and I want to fix you but I cannot do so myself! It is hurting me to see you suffer.
Vriska’s expression softened suddenly, though she still seemed unhappy. “Well, geez, if you put it that way…”
Kanaya worried for a moment that she accidentally let her thoughts slip out, but she decided not to ask. The following silence lasted a couple of minutes, with Vriska finishing her cigarette and Kanaya awkwardly twiddling her thumbs and staring at the table before them. She snapped out of her trance as she heard her roommate sigh and drop the cigarette butt into the mug.
“I’ll fucking think about it.” Vriska got up, and was about to leave, before Kanaya quickly rose and grabbed her shoulder, stopping her from leaving. The two made eye contact, cerulean eyes finally meeting Jade ones.
Kanaya whispered, “I am simply trying to ensure your safety and contentment. And someone who knows how to make things better would, hopefully, be more useful than having me try and fail miserably to do it for you.”
“… All right. So assume I go find someone. See a shrink, do therapy, what-the-fuck-ever. Will you be able to sleep soundly at night if you knew I was getting treatment like I’m a fucking loony?”
“You are not a loony,” Kanaya responded, smiling gently. She squeezed her shoulder reassuringly. “But, yes. I will sleep soundly at night knowing that you are getting the help that you need, and that you will become a happier person once all of this is through. That is all I want. I want you to be happy, Vriska.”
It was Vriska’s turn to be stunned into silence. Her face was tinged pink, and with a small shake of her head, her hair was covering up a significant portion of her face. This was something she typically did when she was embarrassed and didn’t know how to cope with it. Some little part of Kanaya was proud that she elicited this reaction from Vriska, that her violent outburst was not as significant as it would have been with someone else. She did not want to imagine what would have happened if Rose or Tavros or Terezi had this conversation with her. Broken limbs and shards of glass might have been involved.
“… Yer sweet. I guess,” Vriska eventually answered.
“That’s all you’re getting from me, Maryam. I appreciate your pity. But I can’t promise that I’ll keep up with this bullshit if it ends up making me worse.”
That sounded fair to Kanaya, so she nodded. “Okay.”
“Good. Can I go back to bed, now?”
“Yes. Shall I ask around for good mental health professionals?”
“So long as you don’t send me to Lalonde or someone directly affiliated with her, fine.”
“It is a done deal, then.”
The two women gave each other a firm handshake and smirked at one another, and then went to go about their usual business. When she was on her own, Kanaya privately celebrated her victory.
Numerous Google searches, referrals (none of which came from Rose), phone calls and emails later, Vriska Serket finally made contact with a psychiatrist that had time for her. On an unusually warm Wednesday afternoon, she found herself in a cramped, spartan waiting room, seated in an uncomfortable chair. It was at least twenty degrees warmer inside the building than it was outside, and the fan set out on a table across the room was weak. Vriska was getting crankier by the minute as she waited for her doctor.
After what seemed like hours of sitting in the heat, the door to the psychiatrist’s room finally opened. A tall, lanky man peeked his head out, eyes falling on Vriska. He looked way too much like a Williamsburg hipster for her liking: giant black-rimmed glasses, a streak of blonde in his mousy brown hair, and too many scarves. The guy was covered in them. That was all Vriska could focus on.
“Vriska Serket, I assume?” the man questioned, stoic.
“Yerp,” she apathetically responded, rising to her feet.
“Doctor Ampora. Pleasure,” he extended his hand for a rather weak handshake, and then withdrew into the doorway. “Follow me.”
Eridan Ampora, MD, PHD. It was hard for Vriska to come to terms with the fact that this guy looked like one of those asshole hipsters from Sarah Lawrence or Eugene Lang, someone that was her age, but he was apparently much older and much more experienced. He led her into an office that was about as cramped as his waiting room. This room, too, was unremarkable: the walls were white and untouched, and the few pieces of furniture in the room—a desk, a desk chair, and two couches—were solid black. Way too boring for Vriska. There was nothing that informed her of Ampora’s person, aside from his outward appearance. How are you wearing those many scarves it is so hot in here you fucking asshole--
“Have a seat. Make yourself at home,” he said, completely deadpan. He almost seemed disinterested in Vriska and his job, and it really showed with how he carried himself; he lazily grabbed at his moleskine notebook and pen that would be better suited for an artist than a psychiatrist, and casually sat down on the couch across from the one Vriska situated herself at. “Now. Tell me why you’re here, Vriska.”
The conversation was drawn out and irritating for Vriska. Whenever she would start saying that she didn’t think something was wrong with her, Ampora would insist that there must be some reason for her being there. Then she’d say something that Kanaya or Rose or someone else pointed out that was weird about her, such as her lack of motivation, her lack of attention span, her occasionally reclusive, “depressed” nature, and her borderline drug and alcohol abuse--though, she’d quip after every complaint, “But I think they’re crazy and I don’t think those apply to me at all”. Often, Ampora would cut her off and ask her to elaborate, which would make her angrier.
“I don’t fucking know how to describe it! It just happens, okay?” she’d snap. For some reason, the psychiatrist would barely even flinch at her, and simply continue taking notes. For some reason, that infuriated her more.
Once they were through with identifying the symptoms that Vriska was aware of, Ampora asked her weird questions like, “How would your friends describe you? Do they ever have complaints about you? Praise?”
The most conclusive thing that they came up with was that Vriska was often accused of being full of herself and selfish, but she attributed that to her being better than everyone else.
The session lasted less than an hour, which simultaneously surprised and delighted Vriska. She was sick of this asshole and wanted to know what he had to say about her. He readjusted his glasses and twirled some hair around his finger as he gazed over his notes, frowning.
“I’m… not entirely sure you’ll like what I have to say,” he said quietly.
“Well, out with it. I am paying you to diagnose me as what the fuck ever.”
“Alright. Well, from what you have told me, I am fairly sure that you have narcissistic personality disorder, with amorous and fanatic subtypes.”
Ampora heaved out a sigh before making eye contact with her. There was an odd apprehension in his eyes that wasn’t there before as he began to explain the diagnosis. “Well, it is what it sounds like: people with NPD tend to require attention and admiration at all times, else they will feel as though their existence is invalidated. They believe they are entitled to special treatment, and have a powerful sense of self-importance—they feel as though they are better than everyone else, thus they are perfect. This is because those with NPD have incredibly weak, fragile senses of themselves: they overcompensate with their outward presentation. This presentation can change on a regular basis, based upon what will garner the narcissist the most attention. They are known to appropriate minority identities in order to get special treatment and to ‘fit in’. Further, their weak sense of self leads them to not be able to cope with making a mistake or being told that they are wrong. The self-esteem of a narcissist is very low, even if they do not show it. If they make a mistake, their thought process is not, ‘I made a mistake, I did something wrong, I need to fix it,’ they can’t help but think, ‘I am a mistake, I am wrong, I need to be fixed but I cannot be fixed.’ Bringing a narcissist out of this funk can be somewhat difficult, but once they’re out of it, they resume their normal flamboyant, faux charismatic behavior. They are also prone to taking advantage of others and using loved ones as accessories in order to keep them around, leading to abusive relationships—“
“That’s enough, Ampora,” Vriska murmured darkly.
“Have I upset you, Vriska?” Her response was silence. Upon inspection, her head was cast downward at her shoes, her head in her hands, rubbing her temples, seemingly exhausted. “… I am sorry. Sometimes, that is a lot to take in. Very difficult. NPD is one of the most destructive personality disorders out there, and one of the most difficult ones to cure.”
“But I don’t think that’s me…”
“That’s a very narcissistic thing to say,” Ampora said candidly. He winced back as Vriska snapped her head up and snarled at him. He definitely struck a nerve. “My apologies. Do you want to know treatment plans?”
“Alright… Most treatments for NPD involve extensive cognitive behavioral therapy, and perhaps other methods of therapy. I can refer you to good therapists there.”
“But what about crazy pills?”
“Erm… you see…” Eridan hesitated, biting his lip and averting his gaze. “There isn’t much one can take for NPD. I suppose you could treat some of the symptoms, like the anxiety and depression that comes from those funks that you can fall into, and deal away with paranoid thoughts that may paralyze you in weakened states.”
“Fine. Give me something. Fucking fix me. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right?!” Vriska snapped. Her voice was cracking slightly, but it was unclear whether or not she was about to cry. Even she didn’t know.
“Alright then…” The doctor pondered for a second. He withdrew another pad of paper from his desk and started writing on it. He gave her one of the small slips of paper, and began translating what was written on it as he worked on the second prescription. “That is a prescription for Xanax, a benzodiazepine. You’ve probably heard of it. It helps you come down from panic attacks and lessens anxiety. It works quickly, but does not last that long. Be careful, as it can have addictive properties, so I recommend having someone else administer the drug for you when you need it. And…” He passed along the second slip. “Prozac, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI. Again, I’m sure you’ve seen commercials for it or heard of it. It’s an antidepressant. I’m starting you off at the regular adult dosage, 20mg per day. Keep track of side effects, and talk to me in a month when you’ve fully started feeling the effects of it. Then, we can decide whether or not we need to raise the dosage, or even switch you to something else entirely. If you suffer from any awful side-effects, then call me.”
“… Fine.” Vriska repeated, taking the slips of paper and getting up. “See ya.”
Before Ampora could stop her to ask if she had any questions, or go into what side effects there were, she was slamming the door shut behind her.
Vriska must have been giving off some sort of energy that warned passers-by that she would effortlessly rip arms off if anyone got in her way, since the normally packed crowds of SoHo were parting for her like the Red Sea. She stormed towards the nearest Duane Reade, dropped off her prescriptions, and busied herself by browsing random aisles while waiting for her pills to be ready. She growled at anyone that came near her, so no one tried to make conversation with her. Even when she was paying for the pills (Why the fucking fuck are these useless fucking things so fucking expensive Jesus Christ I am going to tear every pharmaceutical company a new asshole until they lower these fucking prices), a large can of Kirin Ichiban and a carton of Marlboros, the clerks said a maximum of five words to her. She took a cab home because she didn’t feel like dealing with people on the subway, though she started to regret the decision when she had to repeat the destination to the ethnic cab driver five times before he finally got it—even then, he took her a couple blocks north. His tip was Vriska flipping him the bird as she stomped out of the car and down the street.
Her flat was empty. That was no surprise, considering Kanaya had class that afternoon. Or was at work. Suddenly Vriska didn’t remember what day it was. Her mind was focused on the fact that she had two bottles of pills in her possession. Or, well she thought they were. They must’ve dropped onto the ground as soon as she walked in the door. So did she, apparently.
Vriska hyperventilated, taking in her surroundings. The room was spinning. For a second, she had to remind herself where she was. Who she was. What she had with her.
Pills. Right. Pills.
She tore open the two bags that held her medication, and she withdrew the bottles, gazing at both of them.
Fluoxetine--twenty milligrams--take one tablet by mouth daily—
Alprazolam—two milligrams—take one tablet by the mouth twice daily as needed--
Off came the child-safety caps. She emptied out the containers enough to have two Xanax and one Prozac in front of her. Vriska fished for the can of Kirin that she got. She forgot that it would explode as she opened it. She yelped as it sprayed all over her, and the string of curses that came out of her mouth was on the creative end of the spectrum.
Once the beer stopped erupting from the can, the pills were popped into her mouth and she took an admirable swig of her beverage. She still panted, trying to regain control of herself, trying to silence the panic attack.
I’m one of them. I’m one of those crazy assholes that everyone bitches about. Fuck the blue pill, I just downed so many red pills. No turning back now. Fuuuuuuuucking fuck fuck fuuuuuuuuck...
Vriska was suddenly reminded too much of one of Egbert’s or Vantas’ stupid movies. Or maybe this was one that Makara showed her during one of his movie nights. All she remembered was a red-haired old woman, trying to fit in a red dress, taking too many diet pills. And then her fridge started attacking her. Vriska couldn’t help but grin to herself at the mental imagery as she leaned against the closed front door of her apartment, her head lightly clunking against the wood.
She glanced around the room again. Nothing seemed to be attacking her. In fact, everything seemed to slow down. Become more manageable. Her head and heart weren’t pulsating on the carpeted floor anymore, but instead, calming themselves in their proper places within her body. She realized she wasn’t shaking anymore. Her mind did a double take as she processed the fact that she didn’t even know she was shaking in the first place. Guess this shit works after all.
Her grin grew wider and she continued sitting at her door, thinking about nothing, ignoring everything. The only thing she didn’t overlook was her half empty can of beer, which she serenely started drinking again.