I guess everything really got weird the first day of Easter Break. It started on a Friday, so I’d celebrated by sleeping in, then went online to rap with Gamzee. We were having a lot of fun, really getting into the flow, when Gamzee just went silent. He didn’t BRB or anything, he just went completely silent and idle for almost half an hour. I wasn’t too worried--probably his Gramps had dragged him off for something, possibly for enforced electric guitar lessons or just to smoke a bowl together--but in retrospect, that was probably the timeframe in which everything went weird.
Because when Gamzee got back to me he was being even weirder than normal.
TC: Is tHaT ReAlLy yOu?
AT: uH, wHO ELSE WOULD IT BE,
TC: I DoN'T EvEn kNoW, mAn
TC: I JuSt wOkE Up sOmEoNe's hUmAn hIvE AnD I ThInK I MiGhT uP aNd Be mOtHeRfUcKiN HuMaN ToO
TC: WhAt aBoUt yOu?
AT: uH, oF COURSE I'M HUMAN,
AT: wHAT ELSE AM I SUPPOSED TO BE,
AT: gAMZEE, aRE YOU OKAY,
TC: YeAh, I MoThErFuCkIn tHiNk i aM
TC: NeVeR BeEn mOtHeRfUcKiNg bEtTeR
TC: It's a mOtHeRfUcKiN MiRaClE
TC: JuSt lIkE ThE LiTtLe pUpPeT BrOtHeR SaId
TA: wHAT PUPPET BROTHER,
TA: gAMZEE, iS THIS SOME SORT OF ROLEPLAYING SCENARIO,
TA: bECAUSE I AM HAPPY TO PLAY WITH YOU, iF THAT IS WHAT YOU WANT,
TA: bUT I PROBABLY SHOULD KNOW WHAT WE'RE PLAYING
TC: NaH, iT AiN'T ThAt
TC: DoN'T YoU ReMeMbEr mY PuPpEt bRoThEr?
TC: ArAdIa uP AnD FoUnD HiM In tHe fRoG RuIn aNd kAnAyA Up aNd sEwEd hIm a mOtHeRfUcKiN ClAsSy SoPoR SuIt
TC: AnD ThEn tHe tWo oF Us...
TC: YOU WEREN'T MOTHERFUCKING around for that
TC: probably for THE MOTHERFUCKIN BEST
AT: gAMZEE, yOU AREN'T MAKING SENSE,
AT: i MEAN, mORE THAN USUAL
AT: aRADIA ISN’T EVEN AT ANY RUINS, tHAT’S JUST kANAYA
TC: It dOeSn't mAtTeR, tAvBrO
TC: It rEaLlY MoThErFuCkIn dOeSn't
TC: I GuEsS ThIs iS GoInG To uP AnD SoUnD LiKe a wEiRd qUeStIoN
TC: BuT YoU'Ve aLwAyS BeEn hUmAn, RiGhT?
AT: uH, yEAH,,,
TC: Oh hEy, SoMe mOtHeRfUcKiN OlD HuMaN WaNtS Me tO Up aNd cOmE DoWnStAiRs
TC: I ThInK He's mY HuMaN LuSuS!
TC: I'Ll tRoLl yOu aGaIn lAtEr, OkAy tAvBrO?
TC: KeEp sAfE
It wasn’t the most bizarre conversation I’d ever had with Gamzee, but it was definitely up there. I kept myself busy the rest of the afternoon, going through my therapy exercises, getting pestered by my best friend, Aradia, who wanted to know if I’d remembered dying for some weird reason, then getting pestered again by my other best friend, Vriska, about how her other best friend, Terezi, had freaked out for other, mysteriously similar reasons when she’d showed up at her house that afternoon, and I’d just started to fool around with my home-made broomstick lance when I heard Gramps Makara’s Satanic Helicopter land on the roof.
I’d been expecting it. After all, we’d planned a week ago that Gamzee would go with me and Rufio to Karkat’s Welcome Home Dinner. Karkat was Gamzee’s best friend and had been ever since Gamzee’s Gramps had left him at the farm for the summer that Karkat turned five while he went on a three month comeback tour.
Gamzee and I were pretty good friends, I guess? I had really big and complicated family and so there were a whole bunch of kids who were my cousins in one way or another, and all of which I got along with pretty much okay, but Gamzee was one of those I got on better than some of the others. He wasn’t all that into gaming--not like Aradia or Vriska or Terezi--but I liked having rap-offs together and generally hanging out together. He was fun to be with, even if he was stoned out of his gourd half the time.
And, well, when the pain got to be really bad, it was nice to have a friend who’d share his pot.
He wasn’t wearing his horn headband when he got downstairs. I remember, because before that day, he used to wear it everywhere. It was like the one his Gramps had, only smaller.
“Uh, hey,” I said. “Good to see you again.”
“Tavros,” he whispered, his entire face transfixed. I wondered if he’d finally broken into his Gramps’ supply of harder drugs. “Tavros, you’re motherfucking standing on your motherfucking own feet. It’s a motherfucking miracle.”
I laughed nervously. Did it count as standing on your own feet when you were being kept up partly by leg braces? “It’s from the experimental surgery, remember? You came to visit me in the hospital.”
“Oh. Right. I motherfucking up and did that, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, you did,” I said. “You sure you’re okay, Gamzee?”
“I’m motherfuckin bitchtits,” said Gamzee. “Can I give a brother and his miracle legs a motherfucking hug?”
I blinked. “Um, sure. Why not?”
So he hugged me, lanky arms wrapped around my pudgy frame. Gamzee was the baby of the family and I was fourth oldest of the cousins, after Eridan, Feferi, and Aradia, but you really wouldn’t be able to guess that by looking at us. He was taller than any of the other kids and as for me, well, I still had a lot of babyfat.
He smelled of Faygo, pot, and greasepaint. It wasn’t exactly a nice smell, but it was reassuring in its own way.
“You have no motherfucking idea,” he said, “how glad I am to see you.”
One of the other reasons I know that everything got weird that day was that Karkat came home from military school completely screwloose. Like, he acted like everyone was going to attack him and he didn’t want people to touch him and he looked at the grown-ups like he wasn’t sure if they were going to kill him or eat him or lock him in the cellar for life. While Karkat had always had a problem with authority, but he’d usually respected the adults on the farm and most of our parents and older siblings--well, except Octavia, but she was kind of crazy--and Gamzee’s Gramps who was also crazy--and the senator, but he was a Republican--and the old witch, of course... well, the point is that the adults at his welcome home dinner were the adults he’d never had a problem with before he’d started acting like a petty dictator that needed a nap.
It was really disturbing, actually, to see him that way. A lot of us thought he’d been abused at the school and that was why he’d been lashing out. Even before he started acting insane, everyone could tell that Karkat hated it there.
We ended up still having the sleepover in the barn that Nepeta and Equius had planned on, even with Karkat being a crabby jerkface to everyone. And it was nice, really, to go to sleep where I could watch the stars. Rufio had taught me most of their names. He liked stars too. We’d used to go looking for the second to the right together. Karkat and his dad would join us, when we were at the farm, but Karkat was a twitchy little ball in the corner of the barn, and his dad was with my dad and they were all having a grownup meeting...
I looked for the second star on my own, anyway. I’d almost found it by the time I fell asleep.
I woke up sometime past midnight to find Gamzee’s face inches from mine. “Tav? You awake yet? I’ve got something to motherfuckin up and say to you and I want do it while I still have this much motherfuckin courage up and on.”
I blinked. “Whuh?”
“I pity you,” Gamzee said, as if it was the most important thing he’d ever said in his life. “I’m motherfuckin flushed for you. Will you be my matesprit?”
I was pretty sure I wasn’t awake yet, because that sentence made no sense to me. I even said so.
“Sorry,” he said. “What I motherfuckin meant was... I love you? And I want to be your, fuck, what is it, your girlfriend? That’s motherfuckin right, isn’t it? Boy humans have girlfriends, girl humans have boyfriends. I know how it works, Karkat had that blue-text motherfucker he was up and black for, but he wasn’t a homosexual.”
“Gamzee,” I said very slowly, “you still aren’t making sense.”
“I don’t motherfuckin mind becoming a girl for you,” he said. “I already became human for you.”
“And we’re family, uh, I think. Your Gramps is my... is... kind of my uncle?” Or maybe my cousin. I was never quite sure if Grandma Dolores was supposed to be my grandma or my mother--she was Rufio’s mom, after all and he was my brother, only he'd raised me so he was sort of my dad too. And pretty much everyone in the family was adopted, because Grandma Dolores and the old witch were adopted, but still...
My family is complicated.
“I don’t want to motherfucking get my cognition on for that human genetic shuffle,” he snapped, sounding actually angry for a second, and then he blew out a long breath through his teeth. “Tav, my brother, we’re all family now, it’s miracles, you get me? We’re all up and motherfucking being a part of this bitchtits human family and friendship shit.”
“Gamzee,” I repeated, rubbing my eyes. “Gamzee, you’re still not making sense. And what makes you think I would want you to be a girl? Maybe... maybe I’m like Rufio.”
I hadn’t really told anyone that, yet. Not Vriska, not even Aradia. So of course right away I started blushing. It wasn’t that I thought my family would give me trouble for it--no one at the farm would care and most of rest of them--except the Senator and the old witch--were okay about that sort of thing. I guess I just felt like it if I started to tell people, it would get out to everybody eventually and I got called a fag by the troglodytes at my school enough without them having an actual reason to call me that.
I liked girls as friends, of course--except for Gamzee, all my best friends were girls--but I had a hard time picturing myself kissing any girl these days. When I was little all I wanted was to kiss Wendy Darling, or maybe find a Wendy of my own to kiss. But even then...
“Of course you’re like Rufio,” Gamzee said. “Everyone’s motherfuckin like their human lusus. It’s part of the miracle. I up and made it for you,” he added, sounding proud and incredibly smug. “For everyone. But especially you. You were dead and everything was motherfuckin wrong but my puppet brother helped me and now we have a new world where everyone is human and happy and taken care of, a beautiful miracle paradise.”
“Gamzee,” I said, very seriously. “What the heck have you been smoking?”
“Tav,” he said quietly. “I really did it. I really made this world today. I know you don’t remember it, but you were dead. Half of everyone was dead. I guess they had to be for the miracle to happen. I don’t know. Miracles, how the fuck do they even work?”
“I have no idea,” I said.
“Motherfuckin magnets, probably.”
“Uh, okay.” I pushed myself up a little bit, so I could sit. “So, uh, say we state for the record the hypothesis that you did recreate the universe somehow, which may or may not have involved dead people and possibly magnets. Which is kind of silly, but there are probably crazier things.”
“It’s motherfuckin true,” Gamzee said, his face absolutely sincere in the moonlight.
“Okay, sure. So, uh, what did you recreate it from?”
“A motherfuckin unrighteous shithole of a universe,” Gamzee said, moving so that he could sit next to me. “Where we were all trolls.”
I squinted at him. “Trolls.”
“As I motherfuckin up and said.”
“Like Nepeta said Karkat had made up a game about.”
“Oh yeah, she did up and say that, didn’t she?”
“Gamzee,” I said. “Is this some sort of weird joke you’re playing with Karkat? Not that he’s much one for jokes, but still.”
“No, man, it’s all motherfuckin true. I swear it is. Katkat just didn’t get to forget like you did, so he’s all up and twitchy about being human I guess. Silly fucker doesn’t realize how much better it is to be this way.”
“Really?” I asked.
“Really. Being human is bitchtits. This whole walking around when the sun is out is like the biggest miracle of all.”
“Okay,” I said and I took a deep breath. “Okay, so you recreated the universe. We’re going with that for the moment. So... how? Or, I mean, why? I mean, what is it that makes you in particular about to recreate universes? Besides, uh, death and magnets.”
Gamzee just grinned at me. “I’m a motherfuckin messiah, man. I’m magic.”
“............... I should have expected you’d say something like that.”
“Probably,” Gamzee said agreeably, leaning close. “So, like, can I be your girlfriend?”
“Boyfriend,” I said. “And, uh, we could probably try it, maybe? Would you, uh, be cool with going to the Renfair with me?” I could feel my cheeks heat up. Of all the conversations I’d ever had with Gamzee, this one was definitely the strangest and awkwardest.
“Hell yeah,” said Gamzee, “whatever the motherfucking fuck that is.”
“Then, uh, sure. I’m willing to try.”
“Bitchtits,” said Gamzee, and he leaned in to kiss my cheek.
“Don’t worry, Tavbro. Everything is going to be upright rainbow miracles from now on.”
I hoped he was right.