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Blood, Sweat, and More Blood

Chapter Text

He lifted the weights again, feeling his muscles start to strain. This was a feeling he felt often anymore, as he brought the weights back down, then up again. The light layer of sweat felt hot on his skin, and his hands felt slick. He sighed, setting the weights down on the bars above his head and standing, across the room in a moment, gulping down water from the bathroom sink and sighing.

“How many fucking times do I have to tell you, not to drink the fucking sink water? It's not filtered as well as the water made for drinking, moron.”

He stopped, and he smirked a little bit, looking to the crabby man.

“Karkat, why are you in my room?”

“I need to talk to you.”

“Then talk.”

“...We need to break into the indigo base already.”


“Look, I know you don't want to, but he's gone, okay?”

“He's not gone. You know very well he's in there.”

“Yeah, but the him we knew is gone Tavros. I don't like fucking saying it either, but he might as well be dead.”

“Just shut up. I'm not going.” Tavros was across the room again, laying down under the weights and going back to working out.

“My fucking God Tavros.” Karkat growled, glaring at him. “We're the leaders of this unit, we're supposed to agree on shit.”

“I'm sorry this is inconvenient for you,” was all he said.

Karkat glared after Tavros, a long, hard glare, then he sighed and left.

Tavros' thoughts were getting away from him, as the idea of long ago flowed into his think pan. He remembered when things were so much simpler. When he could walk to Gamzee's house without a care, when him and Aradia could wander around and not worry about stares, when he didn't have to shield himself everytime a highblood threw him a nasty look.

The last few sweeps has changed just about everything. Tavros remembered everything clearly, too clearly. He remembered the phone call, he remembered the voice on the other end the most of all.

“I... Fuck Tavros, just fuck!”

“Uh... Karkat, is something wrong?”

“...They took him. They fucking TOOK him.”

“...I don't understand?”

“M-my fucking God, Tavros!” That impatient tone he always took with the brownblood rung loud in his voice. Tavros swore he was crying.

“They took him. The imperial drones just up and took him the fuck away.”

“...Karkat, I, umm, I'm sorry, but... Who are you talking about?”

“...You're a fucking idiot, I swear. Tavros, they fucking took Gamzee. Okay?”

Tavros stopped, going silent for a while. Karkat yelled at him, and yelled at him, but to no avail, he just stared at the wall for a while. It took a while to process what Tavros was feeling, the raging, fire that was filling him up. Tavros rarely got angry. It just wasn't something he did, but right at this moment, he swore he hated the government, and all the highbloods that ran it.

“I hate them,” was all he got out, before hanging up.

That was the night he swore to himself that things were going to change. The night he swore he'd never bow another highblood or ride a different train car because he was on the lower end of the hemospectrum. He swore that this was going to be the last friend he lost to these highbloods.

If only he would've actually kept that last part true.

That thought rang loud in his ears and he stopped. This wasn't a thought he needed. He had lost a lot to the government.

First Gamzee, they took him against his will, and hell, that had Tavros beyond upset, but at least he was alive. Unlike Feferi. They killed her off quickly, a stupid move on their part Tavros thinks. Equius joined the army, but that was expected. But he made Nepeta join with him. Tavros hadn't heard from her since. Vriska has joined, working hard to become a general as far as he knew. He had a brief conversation with her over a riverbed and hoard of dead bodies. Karkat, Aradia, Sollux, and Kanaya stayed here. Terezi lived in the city, keeping her act in the rebellion silent, but useful as her part as a legislacerators. She often wired him information the government kept secret. It was quite helpful when he wanted to know plans to attempt an attack. When he knew what base was holding who, everything got easier.

Tavros sighed again, the almost drying sweat being refreshed, dripping, as he sighed and laid his hands over his chest, feeling his heart pound. Patches of his shirt were wet with sweat, and his skin felt warm to the touch, flushed a light brown. He panted and stood, ducking into the bathroom for a quick shower and change of attire.

He ignored the growling in his stomach as he laid down and closed his eyes. What was he going to do? They had attacked the near by blue blood base not long ago, and when him and Equius' eyes met, and he thought for a moment he'd have to kill him, what that would do with Nepeta, he hesitated. He couldn't imagine being thrown into an indigo blood base and... having to fight him.

He couldn't do it. He would never be able to fight Gamzee Makara. He just, wouldn't be able to. He'd drop his weapon in a heart beat if he ever had the chance. Or rather, running would be smarter. Running for his life. He sighed at the thought, coming eye to eye with the indigo, barreling down that hallway, just to be intersected by another, or to get caught by his friend himself.

His friend?

Tavros stopped, and he realized, Gamzee will always be his friend. There was no stopping that, unless the feelings went deeper. Or rather, redder.

Tavros stopped, eyes going wide. WOAH, UM, WHAT? He wondered if that thought had just happened. There was no way he let that slip. Gamzee was now a cold blooded killer for the army, not his old, joy happy friend. Tavros sighed, turning over and laying face down on his pillow.

He didn't get any sleep that night.

Chapter Text

He hated that gut feeling he got before he did something like this. His partner wouldn't agree, and it was going to be dark soon. They needed to act. Karkat growled to himself, shoving his hands into his pockets as he marched down the hall, the balls of his feet aching.

Why is he always trying to look like a badass? He certainly wondered as his leg came up, knocking the door open, shooting a sharp feeling up his leg. He cursed to himself and entered the room, a long string of grumbles filling the almost silence.

“Tho KK, failing at being awesome again. Tsk, tsk.” Sollux's voice filled his ears and he glared.

“Wow, screw you.” Karkat sighed, making his way over to the mustard-blood. He sat infront of a wall of computer screens, each one glowing lightly, colors lit up randomly and some shut off while others shut on. He had a single keyboard, sitting it in his lap.

“Tho, why are you here?” Sollux's hands sat on either arm wrest, using his psionic powers to type and switch focuses on each screen.

“Oh, well... Fuck Tavros... And his opinions. We have to attack the indi--”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever. Which squad? I'd thay thirteen and twenty-theven.”

“I'm thinking at least four squads.”

“Four? Holy thit KK. That's 200 trollth.”

“Yeah, but their base is at least 100 indigo bloods. They only normally keep about 10 to a base. This is where they train these fuckers. Do you know how hard this is? Hell, we might need five or six squads! Fuck, just message the leaders of thirteen, twenty-seven, eighteen, thirty, and three!”

Karkat was annoyed, wondering if anyone would understand this situation. Sollux was underestimating the highbloods, and Tavros might as well have an 'Out of Order' sigh taped to his back. He was now in the hall again, having stormed out.

His thoughts drifted back to his choices. The rebels had 30 squads, each with 50 trolls. That was about 1,500 fighters right there, armed and ready. And then, there were 20 other squads in training. They followed Tavros' daily workout and diet plan to a tee and were shaping out nicely. The squads were divided by fighting skills, and the numbered in order from these skills. The more common the skill, the higher the number.

Squad Thirteen was a popular squad, trained in their psychic powers. There were several squads of this sort, but many members of Thirteen are more powerful. More powerful than the government ever wanted them to be. Many of them had been slaves at some point.

Squad Twenty-Seven and Thirty were common skills. Thirty was one of the best firing squads any army leader could ask for. Twenty-Seven was a hard worked squad. They were trained in several different types of hand-to-hand combat, plus a handful of weapons. They were a great squad for unknown terrains.

Now, Eighteen was a squad trained in specialized bombing. Their skills ran long and far, from causing avalanches, to well-thought-out death traps.

Then there was Three, a personal favorite of the leaders. They were often nicknamed, 'The Invisible Squad.' The rebels had had several technological breakthroughs within the last season or two. The invisibility bracelets, were one of the best. A simple red button on a plain wristband, and you were gone. The squad had been moved and changed, taught to be silent and work this to their advantage. The leaders were once locked in a room with about twenty of them at one point. Neither leader suspected anything the whole time they were there. They carried on conversation like they were alone. Neither one knew anything until they were let out, and had several of their possessions handed to them by thin air.

Karkat was confident in his choices. They could have the place bomb infested and wired before the indies suspected a thing. It was insane how well these people performed when they had something to fight for.

These so called “lowbloods” were going to cripple the government, and bring this whole god damn planet on it's knees.

Karkat was in that state of mind again, where his body and mouth moved on it's own. His gear and armor was in place, sickles fastened to his side. He could feel his heart pounding against his vest, as he sucked in a deep breath.

He heard his mic go off in his ear, Sollux saying something about the squads being ready. It was hard to understand anything with that fucking lisp.

This wasn't going to be easy, that he knew. This could be one of their biggest accomplishments if they succeeded. He felt his feet move mechanically beneath him, and he tried to regain control, keeping up pace, down to the meeting room fast. They'd leave from here, down the cliff-side, along the beach, and onto land, and they'd file to the indigo base as fast as possible, rest and make decisions quickly.

Karkat made his speech, went over the plans and they were off. Night was falling now, and the sun was bearable. Karkat led on, beginning the march. A king must always lead his followers.

He felt his blood run cold, as the territories changed. He hated how deep these bases were in whatever surrounding area. These highbloods were either at the heart of a forest or a city. At this moment, the heart of a forest with a small city within. The aim for tonight was the base there, that trained the indigo bloods.

Karkat took a deep breath, glanced to his companions, gave them a salute, and gave them the que to start.

Chapter Text

The feeling of the brush on his face, the foreign feeling of the thick make up on his skin. These were the only real feelings of home he had left. He remembered the day they shackled him to a post on the beach, just to light his hive on fire. All the feelings of loneliness and sanctuary gone with the flames.

His heart felt heavy as the memories of that night surfaced. Karkat had agree'd to spend the night and day at his hive. They both slept on one of the few rectangular plush seating devices in the livingblock. They had spent the day flipping between shitty rom coms and horror flicks. Karkat's insults had been much worse that night. Gamzee often looked back on the night and wondered why he hadn't inquired as to what was wrong. Maybe Karkat was just being a jerk. It certainly wasn't past him.

It was late, and the sun was going to come up soon. They decided to go to sleep while it was still dark. Neither had suspected what was about to happen.

The drones broke in not much later. Rain was pouring that night, wetting the sand and smacking, drop by drop, against the tinted windows. The door was knocked down, Gamzee yanked from his makeshift bed in a heart beat. They roused Karkat as they were cuffing the struggling indigoblood. At his point, he knew exactly what was going to happen, and he wasn't planning on going down without a fight.

His struggles earned him a couple smacks and a face first of dry wall. Both trolls were pulled to the back, on the beach.

“Get home, Vantas.” One drone gave him a glance, but otherwise, didn't pay much attention.

“Can I at least go collect MY things?”

“Go home.”

Karkat flinched angrily. He then sighed, fixed his shirt, and just turned around and walked away. Gamzee knew he shouldn't be angry. What else could Karkat do? Scream and get in trouble as well? Gamzee had just been angry at everything in general. And, as they lit the house up in flames, the rain's factor seemed to all but disappear. Everything just burned so much. Gamzee was frozen to the bone at this point, drenched in rain water. The metal cuffs dug into his wrists after several strings of curses escaped his lips. He struggled, he screamed, he prayed, but to no avail, the supports gave way, and the hive fell in on itself. And as his home cased in, so did his fire. It was gone, every urge to fight, drained from him, put out in the rain like the highblood mutt he was.

Things only got darker from there on. They made him watch until sunrise, when they covered his eyes and carried him to what Gamzee guessed was some form of hover craft. He was locked in a quiet room, where the happenings of the evening finally sunk in. He was never going to see his friends again.

He stopped, this had bothered him. He had moved, slamming himself in the bars, over and over again, until he ached and was sure he at least cracked one of his rubs. No one came to get him.

The next several days had been spent in a cell in another dark room, except this was more like a cage. Gamzee got nothing to eat or drink. The room was completely soundproof, so the only sounds heard were Gamzee's paces and pants.

Gamzee remembered that cutting cold turkey hadn't helped either. Any traces of sopor has left his system. He was shaky, and would fall over at random. His heart pounded too loudly, and his hands felt clammy. He caught himself in many conversations with himself. He was always louder, but still himself.

To this day, Gamzee is still not permitted to sleep in a recouperacoon. This, often, caused many, many nightmares.

Gamzee shook his head, trying to clear it. Today was not the day to go into every detail of how he got here and why he was who he was.

His make up was fixed since the previous fight. It was just a training match, but the three he was helping, decided faces were their first target. A common and often unsuccessful tactic.

He sighed. It had been a long day, and his stomach hurt. He had thrown up several times that morning, but you don't whine about those kind of things here.

“Soldier Makara. Get your weapons together. There's an attack. We need back up in 7B.”

Gamzee stopped, clicking the head set in his ear. “Your Highest, are these rebel attacks?”

“As far as we know. We only recognize the leader as the one who took out Bluebase 3-7-9, and the three bases down south of the lake.”

“Alright, I'm on my way. Makara out.” He unclicked his headset and was across the room in a second.

A good fight was the exact opposite of what he wanted today.

Chapter Text

“He fucking went WHERE?” Tavros' head whipped around, eyes locking on Aradia.

She had always been beautiful, but she had really blossomed over the last few sweeps. Her hips were full, and her waist small. Her make up done like always, perfecting the graceful double curve of her lips, and the bright maroon color of her eyes.

“I know. I didn't want you to have to find out this way. Sollux said something to me, mentioned I should tell you. I agreed since he is my matesprit and he should know right.”

“Yeah, but I'm your moirail! This should be something you just come to be about!”

Aradia frowned slightly. “Tavros, calm down. I'm sorry, okay? I only found out a couple minutes ago, and they left over an hour ago according to Sollux.”

“FUCK.” Tavros growled. He remembered when there was a time where he was rarely angry, ever, but anymore he couldn't help it. Aradia normally could calm him down just by saying so, but right now, he couldn't believe Karkat did this to him.

No. Karkat doing this to him didn't bother him. Doing this to Gamzee is what bothered Tavros so much.

He growled to himself. “Contact the leader of Squad Nine. Tell them to gear up. I need a good stealth squad to get in. Who knows what Karkat has gotten himself into.” He bounded over to his station, changing his shirt quickly, donning his bullet-proof vest, yanking his boots and gear on, a black stripe on each cheek, and his helmet. The helmet was a dark brown, and the lenses covered his eyes. It has special spots for his horns, and a built in head set. It was something he'd never consider going into battle without. His symbol was no where to be found on him, that was the rule. No matter who you're fighting, you don't wear your symbol into battle. Then, they can find you. Even the government soldiers all wore the same outfit, and no symbol anywhere to be found.

When he turned around, Aradia was gone. She mostly acted as a secretary, and sometimes a sparring partner. Or she would assist in Tavros' training. It just depended really, on what you needed her to do.

He made a run down the several halls, to where the weapons were stationed, ducking into the room to equip several knives, and his lance.

The squad was ready within minutes, and Tavros was directing them and leading them out in no time. None of this was going to be easy, but he had to make sure Karkat was okay. If he didn't have Karkat he'd.. Lead the same as he always did.

He shook the thought from his head. He had appointed Karkat because he was a good leader, Tavros needed him. Okay, not really, but Tavros was prepared to keep telling himself that.

After plenty of marching and several thought sessions later, they were there and he was back in his fighting state of mind. The indigo base was highly armed at the moment, and it looked like there were plenty of them dead out front. All the fighting had already began. Tavros sighed, trailing down the edge of the fence on one side, having the squad take other routs, surrounding the place.

Before he knew it, he was over the fence, knocking out a lone guard from behind, eyes darting around and he darted across the ground, nearly running into the wall of the building, putting his back to it as a loud explosion echoed and shook the ground. Well, there goes an entire wing of the building...

Tavros sucked in another breath, peeking around another corner and darting along the back side of the building, before coming to a huge hole in the wall. This part of the building was obviously already hit. He just hoped that there were no other bombs in the area...

He debated for a moment, then walked in, his feet crackling against the broken shards of glass on the ground. Must have been a window or something. He noticed several charred bodies on the ground, some of them still smoldering slightly, the smell strong in his nose. He tried breathing through his mouth, but smoke was still in the air and made his throat feel scratchy, so he settled on smelling and feeling slightly sick.

It could be worse, he reminded himself. He continued breathing, keeping his eyes off the scattered bodies, he was afraid some of them would be his own men. He continued walking, eyes darting around, looking for any form of movement, anything that could be dangerous. Nothing quite yet, this whole part of the building seemed almost abandoned. It probably was, since none of his men would've stayed there for the bomb, and all the highbloods there would be dead.

He ducked down another hall, a quiet dripping sound in his ears. Only one of the ceiling lights was working, a little over halfway down the hall, flickering on and off. He couldn't help feeling like he was in some sort of bad horror film, but he threw that thought aside. The men rarely survived in those flicks.

A couple footsteps down the hall, and there was a puddle. He glanced down, and it was just water, and he glanced up. The ceiling above was nothing but pipes, probably the source of the dripping he heard earlier. How did they not get blown up? He glanced back, thinking that the bomb must've been in the other direction, just as another explosion rung loud in his ears and the ground rumbled under him and he struggled to keep his footing as a pipe let loose, coming apart and falling to the ground, water streaming from the part still attached to the ceiling and soaking Tavros.

He moved, the water was hot, not boiling, but still hot enough to burn slightly. He sighed, wondering down the hall some more, wondering what part of the building just got blown to smithereens. And how many people probably just died for that matter. He also threw those thoughts aside. By the time he was done throwing thoughts aside, he was going to have a huge thought pile, and he knew one day he'd have to sort it out, and that thought filled him with more dread, so he also threw it aside for later as well.

He was down the hall pretty fast, and he was at a fork in the road, or hall. There was a hall going left, and one going right. He glanced down each, the right hall was more pipes and bad lighting, the left wasn't as poorly lit, but it wasn't a great improvement, and it looked like it took much less damage from the explosion. He decided that would be his best choice, walking down the hall, trying to keep his footsteps silent. It was hard, between the damp ground and his wet clothes. The clothe brushed against itself too loud and the splashes could barely be covered. He growled to himself, annoyed.

He stopped, as the another explosion rang , but it was farther away. He glanced up, just as the lights died, and he stopped and glowered silently. Now he was loud, wet, and in the dark. Whenever he found Karkat, he was going to give him a nice big friendly kick in the crotch.

Tavros continued walking, glancing around and he stopped at the sounds of footsteps, ducking against a wall. He glanced up, as the footsteps seemed to draw closer and closer, and he paused his breathing, unable to see anything.

Then suddenly, loud static, then a voice. “You did not fucking follow me, did you? You fucking idiot, where are you?” Tavros froze, as his walkie-talkie broke the almost silence, and he brought a hand down, clicking the button to silence it and listened, the footsteps had stopped.

He saw a flash, it being a pretty indigo color, coming at him and he ducked as whatever was lightly glowing now, smashed into the wall and broke right through, and he ducked away, looking up just as another swing came his way and he jumped back, it barely missing him. His hand moved to his side, grasping the knife in it's sheath, the one bad thing about his lance, he couldn't use it in such close distances, especially when he couldn't see the enemy.

He ducked again, barely avoiding another hit and managing to lodge the knife into the indigoblood's side. He let out a loud grunt, jumping back, Tavros yanking the knife with him. He looked back up, just as the object came down, hitting him on the helmet, and he wasn't sure where the flash of light came from, but he assumed, either back up generators kicked in, or he had been hit way too hard, but he felt the ground under him now, as his helmet bounced and rolled away, the knife clattering loudly on the concrete there, and he looked up, just as the highblood was about to swing down again, and he froze, brown eyes meeting purple.


Chapter Text

He was frozen, eyes wide as he stared at the brownblood below him. He could feel his hand go limp, as his club tumbled to the ground. He could feel as he took an involuntary step back, eyes a bit fuzzy from the lighting change.

“...Fuck...” he blinked, staring. “Tavros? I-I....” Before he knew what he was doing, he was bounding the other way, feet slapping the concrete ground loudly, splashing in the puddles.

“W-wait Gamzee!” He could hear Tavros running after him. He couldn't face him, he just couldn't. After everything he's done? Tavros would surely try to kill him, or call him a traitor for that matter. Gamzee wouldn't be able to handle that, not at all.

He ducked around another corner, catching sight of a door, and hiding behind it. He sighed. It had to be a closet, so all things.

He tried to calm his breathing, but it was coming in gasps and he could feel how warm his face was. No tears though, highbloods don't cry.

He froze as he heard footsteps behind the door, shutting his eyes tight. His hands were together, shaking slightly. He wondered why he even bothered praying, but he always found sometime to slip it in. It was the only source of hope he really had left.

He sunk back into the closet, against the back wall, his foot lightly hitting something and he shut his eyes tighter, holding still.

He could hear Tavros outside the door. Gamzee wasn't stupid, he knew he had been caught.

He shut his eyes tighter as the light got bright. He stayed silent, unbreathing.

Then the last thing in the wold he ever thought would happen, happened. He could feel Tavros' arms wrap around his midsection, their chests together. He could feel Tavros' head buried in his shoulder, and feel his stressed breathing, which was going a little too fast for liking.

“I... What?” Gamzee stared, ignoring his lungs cry for air as he was knocked back.

“I can't believe it's you,” he muttered, grip tight. “I haven't seen you since we were eight..”

Gamzee's mind wasn't working right. “I... What?”

Tavros stopped, looking up at him. “Gamzee, please, just calm down. You're all tense, it's just me.”

Gamzee stopped for a moment. Those words, they were strong, and they pulled him back. He took a deep breath, trying to keep it steady.

“I... W-”

“If you say what again...” Tavros started, as Gamzee sucked in another breathe, worming his arms around Tavros' shoulders.

It was just Tavros, his old rapping buddy, the small, lonely boy who wouldn't hurt a fly, the smiling face Gamzee had fallen in love with dozens of times over.

This was Tavros, and he was Gamzee, and for the first time in a long, long time, he felt like things were okay. Every little thing was perfect for a moment, until another explosion shook the walls.”

“Oh right, middle of a war zone...” Tavros mumbled against Gamzee's chest lightly, and Gamzee managed a chuckle.

“So easy to forget, huh?”

“Yeah... I need to go back and grab my helmet....”

“Yeah, I left my club back there to...”

Despite their words, neither made any attempt to move for a couple minutes.

“Gamzee... What are we going to do now?”

“I.... have no mother fucking clue.”

He felt Tavros' smile through the fabric of his clothes. It made him happy.

“Neither do I... What do you want to do?”

“Never letting go sounds pretty damn good right about now.”

“Well... You never have to...”


“Gamzee, I know this is a big decision, but please, jo--”

“I'll do it. I want out of this hell hole, being able to leave with you just makes it so much better.”

Tavros smiled even wider, hands on Gamzee's shoulders, and in a moment, his hands slid to Gamzee's cheeks, as he pulled back to stare into his eyes.

“...” Gamzee stayed still, not sure what Tavros was going to do, but he wanted so badly, to lean in, to place his lips to his cheeks, nose, forehead, and definitely those lips.

“...Can I?” He inquired, his brown eyes smoldering with intesity.

“Why would I ever even dream of saying no?”

“Well... I did reject you when we were little...”

“Tav, that was like eight mother fucking sweeps ago or some shit.” Gamzee rarely cussed anymore, but he couldn't help but let his old dialect fall off the tongue when he looked at the lowblood. It was just natural.

“True.” Tavros gave a small smile again, before leaning in and locking lips with the highblood.

Gamzee felt eager, his hands gripping at the back of Tavros' damp shirt. Why was he soaked? And god, he was so warm. Gamzee's thoughts drifted to every aspect of Tavros' being,, how muscular he felt through his clothes and armor, the fast pace of his pulse, the soft feeling of his warm lips against Gamzee's, and the slight smell of chocolate that cologned the air. Gamzee was in utter bliss as their lips danced together, but all too soon, Tavros ended it.

“We really need to get moving. I need my helmet back, and we're probably leaving soon...”

“Alright.” Gamzee laced fingers with his, as he was pulled from the closet and down another hall.

“So... You're part of the rebellion?”

“Something like that.”

Gamzee didn't understand this answer, but he didn't question it yet.



“I don't know. I just want to talk.”

“Hmm. How's Eridan? And Equius? Oh and how about Nepeta?”

“Equius is a general at a base down South with Vriska. No one had heard from Eridan, but I hear he's the Condesce's private slave after he threatened her for killing Feferi. Nepeta works in a BlueBase to our East. Don't talk to her much.”

Tavros nodded, going down another hall and spotting his helmet, running over and grabbing it. Gamzee followed, getting his club back.

Tavros pulled his helmet on, and stopped, listening to something.

“Yeah, yeah Karkat, calm down, we're coming... Yes, that was plural.... Who do you think?... No I am not shitting you...”

Gamzee listened to this, not sure how to feel about Karkat at the moment. Tavros nodded, said a few more things, then grabbed Gamzee's hand again and they both headed outside.

“Karkat has out bomb squad ready to blow this place to hell...”

Gamzee gave a nod as he was lead out to the surrounding forest, and Tavros gave a signal into his mic.

Gamzee had to freeze for a moment when the explosion rang loudly behind Tavros. “Glad I'm not in there...” Gamzee muttered and Tavros nodded in agreement.

“So... Where's this rebel base?”

“By my old hive kinda.”


“Why not? It's underground anyway.”

Gamzee stopped for a moment. “Woah... I thought you guys lived in tents?”

“Pfft. Totally Gamzee, we're housing thousands of people in tents and have yet to be noticed.”

“I... Wow, yeah, good point. But holy shit, underground?”

“It took a while to build..”

“Well obviously.”

Gamzee started walking again, following the voices that got louder as they got closer. It sounded like cheering, a celebration of sorts. Probably for this win.

A smile broke across Gamzee's face, and he called out. “You guys gonna party without me?” Tavros couldn't help but chuckle.

The cheering stopped for a moment, then laughing as heard. Tavros, after a moment, broke into the little clearing, pulling Gamzee along. There were plenty of soldiers gathered in the small area. Once in the clearing, they all stopped, eyes locked on Gamzee.

“Yo Tavvy, who's the indie-boy?” A greenblood leader inquired, with a lean figure and thick eyebrows.

“He's an old friend I found in there. You're all going to be nice to him, right?”

Gamzee wasn't stupid, that wasn't a question, or a request for that matter. That was an order. A couple of the men nodded, then went back to their business.

Tavros' gaze went to Karkat now, who was avoiding eye contact. “So my orders don't matter, do they?”

“You should be fucking happy!” Karkat turned, his voice spiteful. He had a glare fixed in his thick knit eyebrows, eyes a dark color, hard to identify in this lighting.

Tavros sighed loudly. “I am, but I am still mad.”

“I'm the leader to, asshole! My orders mean just as much as yours do!”

Gamzee put that note in his head, Tavros and Karkat were equal leaders of some part of the rebel base. He wasn't sure how much authority they had though.

“I don't care! When I appointed you as my equal, we decided that we'd always have to agree on orders!”

“Yeah, unless one of us was acting unfit.” Karkat spat, his glare becoming slightly more defined as Tavros stared at him for a moment, then shut up. Gamzee wasn't fond of how quiet Tavros stayed for the rest of the trip back, but he held his hand tightly and said nothing.

They ended up on the beach by the cliffside where Tavros' hive was located. Gamzee stayed close to his side, since they were infront of the group. Karkat walked a couple feet away, semi-infront of them, ignoring them the entire trip back. “So... How do we get in?”

“You'll see.” Those were the first words Tavros had managed the whole time. He seemed so lost in his thoughts. They got to what looked like a large rock, and Karkat pulled out a walkie-talkie.

“Captor, let us the fuck in.”

“What'th the pathword?”

“Fuck you. We're tired as shit and want to sleep.”

“You're no fun KK.”

And with that, the rock moved, revealing a dark hallway, Gamzee gaping at the technology. Tavros chuckled at his expression, before pulling him inside and the lights above flickered on as they made their way down the hall.

“This is amazing...” The indigoblood murmured, looking around as they walked.

“Yeah, wait until you see the rest of the place. You'd be amazed how big this place is. But we're heading to my room first. I'm so tired...”

“...Will we be sharing a room?” Gamzee asked hesitantly. He wasn't sure if Tavros even wanted him in there for the matter. He wasn't quite sure what their relationship was at all.

“If you want to.” Tavros glanced up at Gamzee, as they climbed some stairs and he opened some double doors. There was another hard, the floor lined with hard wood, and the walls a pretty burgundy color.


“I think it's going to be a while before you register just how well off we are.”

“... I seriously thought tents. Lots and lots of really well hidden tents.”

Tavros rolled his eyes, leading Gamzee down another hall. “We can pitch a tent in my room if you're that fucking determined.”

“Okay, let's do it!” Gamzee smirked, imitating an excited child.

Tavros snickered. “Maybe in a bit. I'm exhausted. I should be sleeping by now. It's almost time to get up.”

Gamzee nodded. Sleep sounded great at the moment.

They were alone now, as they ducked down another hall and Tavros stopped at a door, pulling out a key and unlocking it, flipping on the light. It was a large room, the door was towards the right side of the room. Along the right wall was a bed in the middle, a nightstand on either side, each holding a lamp. Behind the bed, against the back wall, was another door. Towards the left of the room was more furniture. Along the wall that housed the entrance, all the way on the left was a small closet. On the left wall were two couches and a coffee table. The back wall held a dresser and a vanity, with a array of combs, war paint, and a couple other things.

Tavros went right to the vanity, setting his helmet down. “Just make yourself at home. You can wear any of my clothes.” He turned, walking to the door behind the bed. “This is the bathroom.” He left, the sound of rustling fabric and running water heard. Gamzee made him way over, peeking inside to Tavros washing his face, only in a tank top, most of his armor and shirts on the counter and scattered on the floor. Gamzee wondered how Tavros undressed so fast with those horns.

Tavros pulled back, getting a towel and wiping his face off. Gamzee admired how muscular his arms were, and wished he could get that baggy tank top off. Tavros had always had a bit of upper body strength, but it was obvious he'd been working out for the last couple of sweeps.

Gamzee shoved those thoughts aside. He bent over the counter, washing his face paint off quietly, wondering when he'd get more. He relaxed though, as the warm water washed all the sweat and make up from his face, giving him a nice, clean feeling. He felt Tavros brush past him, and out of the bathroom.

After Gamzee washed and dried himself, he set his clubs aside, making sure they weren't in the way. He yanked at his clothes and armor, ridding himself of everything but his underwear. Normally, he'd sleep stark naked, but with Tavros... Gamzee wasn't sure if he was as shy about these kind of things as he always had been.

Gamzee walked out, blinking. Tavros was on the bed, adjusting some pillows to sleep on his stomach, the blanket covering most of him.

“I sleep naked, hope you don't mind.”

Gamzee blinked, then laughed, yanking his boxers down and throwing them across the room, diving on the bed and hugging him. “I do to.”

Tavros snickered, moving and laying down, hugging a pillow. Gamzee adjusted himself, crawling under the blankets and wrapping his arms around Tav's waist, nuzzling against his back.

“How many fucking blankets do you need?”

“Shut up. I get cold easily.” Tavros muttered into the pillow, as the highblood counted the three blankets and glanced back to him.

“How can you breathe like that?”

“Used to it. I can only lay on my front and back. And awkwardly on my side-ish. And I hate sleeping on my back, so this is my only real option.”

Gamzee nodded, nuzzling against his back, face a little flushed. He, was naked, in a bed, with Tavros. Life, was perfect.

Chapter Text

“They're becoming too pesky for my liking Sodmis.”

“I apologize her Imperial Condescension.”

“Your apologies are running thin. I should throw you to what is left of the subjugglators.”

“P-please your highness, I am sorry for your displeasure! I can increase our research on the rebels, and i-increase our numbers! Maybe more severe punishments for crimes of t-treason! Please, just give me another chance!”

She growled quietly, crossing her legs, glancing back up, eyes shining with devilishness. “I think it is you, who is the problem. Take him to the gallows. I want Pyrope on his case. And she better not screw this one up. Her apologies are also running rather thin.”

Sodmis' eyes went wide as guards seized him by either arm. He thrashed and screamed, begging and pleading for his life, as he was escorted from the room with the slam of a door.

“Soldier Urnali?”

“Yes, your highness?”

“Take Ampora to the lunch room. Don't let him eat though, just watch.”

The blueblood nodded, walking over and unchaining the seadweller from the wall. She led him from the room, walking behind him, weapon ready.

“I hate goin' to this fuckin' lunch room to watch all these assholes stuff their faces and laugh at me.”

“Trust me, I don't want to drag you there either Finny. When's the last time you ate?”

“Like I could even remember.” The purple blood ran a hand through his overgrown hair. He was in desperate need of having it cut, having shoved a lot of it behind his fins so it didn't hang in his face, in the shaggy mess it was. Big bad, king of the sea Ampora, had been reduced to thin, ragged mess.

Urnali sighed, walking with him as his chains dragged on the ground, jingling lightly.

“Maybe I could...” The blueblood started and was shushed.

“Quiet, the w-walls have ears, 'member?”

She stopped, then nodded. “I should probably know that better than you...”

“Eh, you're a new-wbie. It's a'ight. Got a name?”

“Chrona. Chrona Urnali. How long have you been a slave?”

“Got it. Name's Eridan. Not quite sure. Time doesn't move normally here. Been a w-while.”


“So, you do know-w w-we're w-walkin' the w-wrong w-way, right?”

“....God, I hate how big this place is... You lead.”

“A mere slave leadin' 'round a guard? W-well ain't that pretty fuckin' ironic.”

“Oh just shut the hell up and walk fishboy.”

“Yer actin' like a fish outta water. No pun intended.”

“Well, I an new here you know.” She sighed, following the seadweller. “And a lot of the guards are indigobloods.”

“Fuckin' blasted indies. Get on my every fuckin' nerve.”

“Yeah, I agree. They all pretty much look down on me here..”

“That's because you're not even a fuckin' nobel class. They look dow-wn on everyone, higher than them or not really. Don't matter, they think they're superior even though I'm the one w-with royal blood flow-win' through my veins, they're just nobility. Each one is just as replaceable as the last.”

Chrona pursed her lips. The seadweller, despite being stripped of his sign, home, and class, still acted like he was above others. It was shocking, and yet, Chrona couldn't look down on it. At least the guy wasn't wallowing in self pity. “So why are you a slave anyway?”

“That fuckin' piece of shit killed my moirail. So I fuckin' w-went after her.”

“And it didn't end in your favor?”

Eridan scoffed. “Fef was dead, no matter how-w it w-would've ended, nothin' w-would be in my favor.”

The blueblood was sure that was the most non-spiteful thing Eridan had said the whole time. Within minutes, they were in the lunch room.

“My cod, it smells so fuckin' good...” Eridan whined. The most he had gotten since being here was water with soggy pieces of bread in it, and it had been a couple days since he'd even gotten that. He could feel his stomach grumble, acid picking at his insides. It hurt, and he gripped his stomach, feeling his mouth start to water lightly.

“I'm going to get lunch.” And with that, Eridan was left alone to watch other's eat, watch as food came so close, but out of his grasp. His eyes darted around, watching highbloods eat and converse, and he wiped his mouth, cursing himself for drooling. He needed to control himself. Ths is the exact reaction Condesce would want from him.

Then he felt something hit his forehead, never saw it coming. He was half blind without his glasses. By instinct, he caught it with his hands. It was partially wet, but it was a piece of bread, and before he realized what he was doing, he shoved it in his mouth. He glanced around, spotting the thrower. An indie, with a wry, patronizing smile plastered on his smug face. He broke off another piece, spat on it, and tossed it at Eridan, it landing on his open hands. Eridan wanted to slap himself.

Here he was, actually debating eating this spit-coated bread from this asshole. It took so much will power, but he pelted it back at the highblood. He turned his back as the laughter started. He growled, feeling sick, sick at himself, sick at the highblood, just sick at everything in general. He'd love to shoot so many of these fuckers in the face.

Chrona was walking back now, tapping Eridan's arm.

“W-what?” He turned, having a rather defensive tone.

“...We should go find a seat.” Soldier Urnali returned, looking annoyed, but left no comment.

“Fine. You lead. Hopefully you can find your way around here.”

She growled but didn't whine. Most of her lunch was going to this guy, he should be more grateful. They ended up at a table in the back, which was accustomed by a couple blue bloods, but was mostly deserted.

Chrona snuck him a piece of her sandwich, and he scarfed it down.

“I feel really fuckin' stupid stuffin' myself like this.”

“Well you're hungry.”

“Don't matter, still look stupid. Is anyone w-watchin'?”

She glanced around then slipped him another piece. “I want to go home..” She wasn't sure why she said it, but there was no undoing it after the words slipped out.

“Yer tellin' me.”

“Do you have a numbered sentence or...?”

“'Til she finds a better use fer me, 'cordin' to her.”

“That's hopeful.”

“Sure is.” His sarcasm was very thick, angrier sounding in his wavy accent.

Eridan reached for another bite and froze, as the light lit up red, and a nasal sounding siren blew deafeningly loud.

Chapter Text

“Hehehehehe!” She cackled, her fingers slipping over the buttons hastily. This report was due to Sollux three days ago, but deadlines didn't exist in her mind. She hit the last few lines, smirking and leaning in a bit. Saliva marks coated the screen, places where she'd been met by vibrant flavors and boring medleys. She found the spot she was looking for and sent, closing her computer. The rebel computer sites and emails were messes of codes and hacks, long passwords and destructive viruses. One wrong move and you could crash every computer on that system. Terezi had considered that many times, taking out the government computers easily, but Sollux constantly advised her not to.

“Terezi...” Pyrope turned, facing her head toward the voice of her second-in-command.


Rodite stared at her, rather terrified by Terezi.

“Um, you have another job.”

“Oh, let me guess!” She turned her body, knees finding their way into the butt of the chair, clawing at the wood of the backboard. The chair leaned back, squeaking in protest as it came close to being a victim of gravity. “More crimes of displeasure to the queen? Hehehehehe! Lovely!” She was nearly yelling now, over pronouncing her words, teeth sharp and intimidating. She looked crazy, especially in the dark of the room, with only the light from the hall. Terezi never had the habit of turning on the lights when she entered a room. It made no difference to her.

Rodite's heart was raging. She never felt okay around her superior. It was almost like, when Terezi lost her sight, she gained the ability to see right through people.

“Yes... Sodmis Tanins, the general. He is incriminated on several accounts of failing the queen..”

She threw her head back and cackled. She left to her feet in the chair, kicking the back board so the chair fell back. Rodite felt like she was watching this in slow motion, like in shitty action movies. The chair was close to hitting the ground now, as Terezi moved, standing on the butt, then moving a foot to the top of the back board, and jumping off, landing on her feet without a sound, and a moment later, the chair loudly clattering onto the wooden ground. “That's great! Absolutely splendid!”

Rodite stared, eyes a bit wide. She figured she should be used to this kind of behavior, since there was a constant replacement of chairs when Terezi was around. The blueblood took a moment to wonder why she got stuck working under Pyrope of all legislacerators.

Pyrope was next to her now, brushing her side purposely. She let out a loose cackle, snorting sometimes as she did. “What room?”

“Your favorite...” Terezi had always loved the room closet to the back door, which led to the gallows.

She gave a nod and slapped Rodite's arm. “Lead the way missy! You can watch me in action!”

“I.... Alright....” She said, rather reluctant. She had only ever paid attention to Terezi's interrogations one time, and well... Let's just say, they had fun getting his head out of the table. He probably would've been picking splinters for a week if he wasn't hung that night.

They went down the hall, Terezi tossing her cane back and forth between her hands, smirking wide. There was no conversation, just their foot steps, the slight slapping sound of the cane being tossed, the jingling of keys on either belt, and Terezi's occasional small cackles that slipped, almost like she didn't know she was making them. Then, as they approached their destination, the tealblood ducked into the room and Rodite observed from behind tbe glass.

“SOOOOOOOOOO?! Mr. Tanins! Is that even your real name?” She smiled wide, cane on the floor, hands now on the table, fingers splayed.

The purple blood glanced up at her, then to the wall. “Shut your mouth Pyrope. This isn't even funny.”

“Oh, it's plenty funny! Look at you, Mr. Big Bad Seadweller, pulled from his position! So you failed the queen, huh???”

“Why else would I be here?” He looked defeated, eyes on the ground, but they had paled. He knew he was going to die here, and he was going to die a failure and in the hands of a lowly tealblood psychopath.

“This crime gets committed quite often!”

“Yes, I guess it does. The queen has high expectations.”

“Hmm, yes, I guess she does. Now sweetheart, what's your real name?”

“You already know that. It's Sodmis Tanins.”

“Oh sure it is.” The sarcasm in her tone was like acid, thick and it stung.

“Can we not play this like a game? We're both grownups here.”

“Hehehehehe! But that's all you are! You're a game piece and the empress is the player!”

“Then what are you Pyrope, huh?”

“I'm the sore loser who flips the board over halfway in.” She gave a wild smirk. “Too bad we're winning.”

“...I don't understand.”

“You have two options Sodmis. I can be your executioner, kill you myself, and dispose of you accordingly.”

“What's the other choice?”

“If you can figure it out, it will become an open option.” She sat down, kicking her feet up onto the table. “Ro-Ro, get me a drink, will you?” She chimed, cocking her head to the one sided glasses, that from the inside, looked just like a wall. Not that Terezi would know this.

Rodite stopped, outside, face close to the glasses. She nodded. “Anything in mind?”

“Surprise me, sweetheart!” She cackled, and adjusted her glasses on her face. The blueblood nodded, and left, ignoring the chill that ran down her spine. She'd only ever seen Pyrope's eyes once, and that was once too many.

“I... Pyrope, you're making this hard.”


“Give me a hint.”

“We;re winning. The EMPRESS is a player. I'm giving you the choice to not die, something against her wishes. How can I even give you another hint without completely spoiling it!”

“..Aren't there federal cameras in here?”

“Disabled. My friend is one hell of a hacker.” Her smirk grew, cheeks riding, teeth sharp. She looked wild.

“...You're part of the rebellion...”

“Ding, ding, ding! Hehehehehehehehehehehehe! We've got a winner! Now, pick your prize! Your lovely options today are a vacation to the land of the dead, or to keep your life!”

“I... could never betray my queen. OUR queen.”

Terezi smirked again. “What other crimes have you committed because failure is not a crime.”


“The she's making me kill another innocent man?”

“Good. You should do as she says. You can't beat her.”

“Oh people like you...” She started.

“What about them?” He inquired, a disgusted look on his face. This tealblood was pure disgrace to blood castes and laws everywhere, yet here she was, carrying out her judgments on those she saw fit. Filthy.

“They make me smile as a I wrap the noose around their neck!” She cackled again. Sodmis couldn't take his eyes off of her for a moment. This girl was far past insane, that was for sure. But she was blind, everyone knew that. She was the first blind legislacerator. He quietly wondered how she even scored that job. When her disability came about to the government, she shouldn't had a culling fork impale her in a moment.

His eyes stayed wide as he lulled over his thoughts. She stood, leaning over the table, gripping the front of his shirt, yanking. They were face to face, and her breath smelt of fruit.

“The winner has made his decision! The prize he wants is for I, Terezi Pyrope, head legislacerator, and third head of the Rebel Operators, to be the last smile he'll ever see. I'm honored.” She said that last part so convincingly, he was quite sure the tealblood was honored to bring death upon him. It wouldn't surprise him.

She dropped him back in his chair, leaving the room. “Roooooooooo-Ro! Ring the town bell! We need an audience!”

Rodite stopped, right down the hall, drink in her hands and eyes wide. She hated how Terezi always seemed to know exactly where she was. “I... Alright, as you wish Ms. Pyrope. Which stage?”

“My favorite of course! It's such a lovely, wood. Mahogany, am I right? It tastes lovely~,” she cooed, like referring to a wriggler.

“I believe so... Your drink?”

“Bring it here, then ring the bell!”

The blueblood did as ordered, then departed.

Terezi snickered and snorted, gaining stares from the prisoner.

“Your time as come, Mr, Tanins!”

“Good. Make it quick. I'd rather die then stare at your face any longer.”

She threw her head back, letting out a loud laugh. It managed to last for what seemed like minutes. It was startling really, how much she sounded like a character in a movie. Or a cartoon for that matter. The evil villain, really.

“You make me laugh, so hard! You're a failure, and doing this is going to be riveting!”

“Get it over with.”

“Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.” She whined, grabbing him by the collar, yanking him from his seat and down the hall. He stumbled a bit, but followed. “Oh, but we have to wait for the towns people!”

He groaned. “God dammit.”

She gave a loud snicker, shit-eating grin in place. “This is going to be the long wait.”

“This wait is bullshi--” Suddenly, the walls vibrated as the bell rang loud, deafening ears. “Holy shit...” Sodmis muttered after a second, hearing gone.

“It's louder inside.” Terezi added, back against a wall. She could barely hear anything, and with so many senses limited, her stomach churned in nervousness. She unhooked her water bottle from her belt, and took an uneasy gulp.

“Something wrong Pyrope?” Sodmis couldn't hear much at all, so he spoke loud, but he knew Terezi must be the same way. He still had his sight though, so he knew he already had the upper hand. He brought up his hands as Terezi refastened her open bottle to her hip. She had dropped the cap.

“Fine, just lost my cap is all Mr. Tanins, if that's your real na--”

“Oh, can it already Pyrope!” His hands came down, the cuffs landing a blow on the side of her head. She yelped, swinging her knee up and jabbing it into his side.

“Ms, Pyrope!” A voice sounded, as Sodmis swung his leg around, slamming the tealblood into the wall.

“She's a traitor! A rebel! She should be the one dying, not me! This isn't justice!” He yelled and thrashed as Rodite grounded him with a tazer.

Terezi shuffled to her feet, soaked and blood dripping from the side of her head, soaking her hair.

“You're right Mr. Tanins... This isn't justice.... This is madness!” She cackled, loudly, head tilted back again. “Oh, and I found my cap!” She continued laughing, waving the little cap between her fingers, then she closed her water bottle. Her whole right leg and hip were soaked, along with a wet spot on the floor.

“Are you alright?” Rodite looked her over, foot on the back of Sodmis' head.

“Fine and dandy sweetheart!” She giggled, fusing herself off. “Just a headache!”

“Terezi, your head is gushing blood.”

“Just a flesh wound?” She gave an ear-to-ear grin.

Rodite sighed loudly. “Someone needs to look at it.”

“After the hanging! You can drag me wherever you please once it's done and over with!”

The blueblood gave her a long stare, then decided she wasn't going to win and nodded. “Fine. The town should be gathered.”

Terezi nodded and headed for the door, making sure to step on Sodmis a couple times. He grunted, then yanked himself to his feet. They walked out to the crowd, shrounded in black cloaks, and sad faces.

The weather seemed perfect, dark clouds, hot and misty, sweat clinging to the humidity's victims. Terezi made a silent prayer for rain, or lightning. She loved both.

Rodite pulled Mr. Tanins onto stage, and Terezi took her place, pulling him onto the trap door, and prepping the noose. She pulled it tight and he made a slight choking sound, and she put on a maniacal smile.

“Ready, Mr. Tanins? If that's even your real na-” She halted as the bit of hot spit hit her cheek. She stayed still for a moment, before wiping it off with her hand and smacking him hard across the face. She then stalked across the stage and to her lever.

“You are all gathered here today for a fine execution! This man, Sodmis Tanins, if that's even his real NAME,” she emphasized the word, the sarcasm on her tongue like acid. “He has been charged with failure to the queen! What a disgrace! Tsk, tsk, tsk.” She shook her head, in mock dissapointment. “Any last words, darling?”

“Plenty. I have spent many sweeps under the queen. I was obsolete. I was replaced because I can't do my job, but my job was to stop the rebels. Rebels like Ter--,” his breath caught as the floor under him gave way, gasping and coughing as his neck let out a sickening crunch. His body fell limp, tongue sticking out lightly, head turned at an unnatural angle. Some people adverted there eyes. Some people stared.

Terezi wore a huge grin, shrugging as she looked to Rodite. “My hand slipped.”

Chapter Text

"Just do it girl, don't complain!"

"But you know I hate doing it!" She yelled, hands in fists at her sides.

"No one gives a fuck girl! You're here because your sweat sack of a moirail thinks you're worthy! You wouldn't want to let him down, would you? We all know, ain't nothin' gonna change the mold runnin' through your veins, so you might as well give up!"

"No! He wants me to do well, and I will, so you can shut your mouth! You're just a big jerk!" She knew she was trembling and needed to calm down. She should be used to it by now. The highbloods often dumped this punishment on her because it made her uncomfortable.

She studied the blade in her hand for a moment, freshly sharpened. She could do almost anything else, besides culling. She only killed things she planned on eating. That was her rule. She sighed, knowing she ALWAYS got stuck with this. The blueblood led her into the next room, where two of them were shaving the head of a brownblooded girl. She looked like she might be a bit older than Nepeta, but close to her in size. She wore a glare, her eyes a piercing chocolate brown. They trailed over to Nepeta after a moment, and her eyes went wide with shock. She took a moment to let this sink in, before she looked furious, her brows lowering and her nose crinkling in disgust. Green bloods in the army were disrespected by the highbloods they worked with, and viewed as traitors by the other lowbloods they left behind.

"Well this is a sick fate. Done in my by own kind." She let out after a moment, her voice was thick with an accent Nepeta didn't recognize. It was almost hard to understand what she was saying.

"We're not going to kill you, fudgeblood, so shut the hell up. What we're going to do is going to hurt much worse." The blueblood with a razor, Thorin, said loud and clear as he cut off the last of her hair. "Leijon again? We might as well make this her permanent job."

"I'll make sure to recommend that to our general." The highblood infront of Nepeta turned to give her a mocking smirk. She glared at him and made her way around him, to the girl.

"I rather enjoy my station as a field nurse, thank you very much." She added, not even looking back at Rodkin. She let her eyes meet the brownblood's, before retreating to look anywhere but there. "What's your name?"

"Aleesh Taarad." She admitted, staring Nepeta down with her heavy gaze, her tone spiteful. Nepeta felt like the girls eyes were weighing her down, it drove her insane.

"Well Aleesh... I'm sorry..." Nepeta sighed, as she blindfolded the lower blood. She was thankful to be out of her gaze, but she wasn't sure if the girl could somehow burn holes in the clothe with her eyes. She griped one of the girl's horns lightly, wanting to make sure the girl moved as least as possible. She moved her knee against the girl's chest, to hold her back in the seat, leaning on her heavily. She brought the knife up, and slid it along her scalp, making sure not to cut anything, before to clinked lightly against the base of her horn and she could feel every muscle in the girl's body tighten. Nepeta took a deep breath to steady herself, before she got a firmer grip, and started to slide the edge of the knife back and forth over the base of her left horn. The girl let out the most ear splitting screech, and Nepeta jumped the slightest, before regaining control and continuing, as she got deeper into the horn, now slicing through the sensitive veins inside. The girl tried to thrash, but was tied down well, and was failing.

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? GOSH, STOP IT DAMMIT PLEASE!" She begged, tears running down her cheeks, soaking the dark clothe over her eyes. "PLEASE STOP IT! YOU'RE A LOWBLOOD TO! YOU SHOULD BE TRYING TO HELP ME, NOT TOTURING ME!" She screamed, moving to try and bite Nepeta, failing.

"She's a wannabe. She's pretending to be something she's not so her moirail will love her."

"That's not true!" Nepeta burst, shoving the knife in harder, taking the horn clean off and it fell, clattering to the ground lightly as she crawled off the girl to glare at the blueblood. "He loves me plenty! He always will!"

"If you believed that, then you wouldn't be here." He said flatly.

"I..." Nepeta couldn't find words to express her anger. Her pure hatred for the man standing infront of her, so she said the first thing that came to mind. "..Fuck you! Just fuck you, and fuck this!" She threw the knife down, ignoring the brown blood that was cooling on it's surface, managing to get past Rodkin and out the door, bounding down the hall, trying to resist the urge to get on all fours. That's how she spent a lot of time running back home.. Her thoughts were jolted from her mind, when someone grabbed her arm hard, yanking her back.

"Let the hell go!" She turned to bite his arm, sinking her teeth deep into the skin there, the taste of blood squirting into her mouth and making everything taste like salt and dirt. She felt someone grab her other arm, yanking her off of the guy she was biting. She wouldn't let go without a fight though, until she got a sharp hit to her lower back and she yelped, mouth opening wide as she was yanked back, blue dripping down her chin.

"Rodkin said you were giving him hell, soldier." The one without the bite, Highblood 1, said in a lifeless voice.

"No wonder. She doesn't fucking belong here anyway." Highblood 2, the one of her right, who's arm was bleeding profusely, spoke.

"Maybe she just needs a little bit of training." Highblood 1 hinted, as he yanked both of Nepeta's arms behind her back. "She is a cat after all."

"Sounds good to me." 2 moved, ignoring the blood gushing down his arm. He brought his knee up, slamming it into Nepeta's stomach roughly. She coughed, yelping out as she tried to back away but couldn't. He grabbed either side of her head in his big hands, bringing it down and smashing her face into his knee. He yanked her back again, by her hair. Her nose was gushing, tears at the corners of her eyes, threatening to spill. He spat in her face.

"Does it hurt, pussy cat?" 1 laughed quietly, yanking on her arms harder. She felt her shoulder pop out of socket, and swallowed back a cry. 2 clicked his fist to her face, and she felt a squirt of fresh blood in her mouth.

The highblood behind her moved, shoving his knee into the middle of her back, causing pain to shoot throughout her whole body as she was pushed to the ground. 2 moved, slamming his foot into her stomach and chest repeatedly. She yelped, trying to crawl away, but unable to, the other highblood moving to stomp on her hands behind her repeatedly.
At that moment, she wished she could be sitting at home in her cave, petting Pounce and fantasizing about her ships.

She blocked the world out; it was all she had left to do. She closed her eyes, let her thoughts wander. She wondered about Pounce, the lusus she left behind to join this forsaken place. No, Pounce led to thoughts of war. Equius was out of the question. Then her thoughts drifted to a kinder place, someone innocent, someone she hadn't talked to in almost five whole sweeps.

Tavros Nitram.

Her old friend burst into her mind, his bright smile and flushed cheeks. The way his voice cracked or how he stuttered over his words. He was always so innocent minded around her. She missed it.
She remembered when sometimes, she'd slip up and confess one of her ships. An old conversation came to mind.

AC: :33 well i can s33 it an awful lot! they would be pawsitively puurfect together! so any others youd like to know about?
AC: :33 no! tell me tavfurros! purrlease!
AT: gOSH,,, fINE,,, wELL, gAMZEE,,
AC: :33 oooh!
AC: :33
AT: ,,,
AT: ,,,oH,,, uM, wOW, rEALLY,
AC: :33 duh! its obvious he likes you! and you like him to!

She remembered countless conversations over the next couple of minutes. Anything to keep her mind off the situation at hand. She wouldn't allow herself to fight back. When a green blood in the army attacked someone, they could lose their position... Or be executed.

Then, she opened her eyes. They were gone. She wondered if she passed out, sine all the other feelings had ceased. The dry blood on her face itched, and she was pretty sure several of her ribs were broken. She struggled to her feet, pain shooting through her body. Everything felt sore, and she hated it. She managed to get back to her room, with the help of the wall and she crawled into bed. She slowly yanked off layer after layer of clothing, until she was naked.

She needed to go get into the ablutionblock and wash up, but couldn't bring herself to get up. Everything hurt far too much. But the hot water was only turned on for a certain amount of time. And a painful, cold shower doesn't sound too appealing to Nepeta.
She pried herself away from the bed, stumbling into the small bathroom. The ablutiontrap was against the back wall. She sighed, stumbling her way over and crawling into the tub. Normally she'd shower, but she was so sick of standing. She turned on the faucet and let the luke warm water cover her ahnds. She clogged the drain and washed away the blood slowly. Her ribs sent sharp pains through her body and made her wince. She threw those thoughts to the side to. She blocked out ht epain and stayed until the water became cold. She gave an angry sigh, and pulled the drain with her toes.
She frowned as the water quickly ran out, and she stood, wobbly, and wrapped a towel around herself. Her sides were throbbing, and dark patches of black, purple, and green were beginning to show up on her skin. She'd been thrown around a bit by the higher bloods before, but nothing this bad. She made it to the bed, discarding the damp towel. She'd clean it all up in the morning; if she could, that is.

She closed her eyes, willing sleep to come over and take her. But, as soon as she was drifting, her communicator went off. She jumped, then sighed and grabbed the thing, hitting the speaker button. "Nepeta here." She mumbled.

"Nepeta. Why did you not tell me?" She froze, her moirails voice firm, urgent tone yanking her from her near slumber.

"E-equius... I..." There was no way the news could spread that fast.

"Why didn't you call and tell me after it happened?" He questioned. His tone was so serious, more than usual.

"I couldn't, gosh Equius, I-"

"Well, I guess jumping ranks would make you more busy. But I'm sure you could've found yourself a couple minutes to tip off your moirail on the news of your promotion. It makes me proud Nepeta, to see my own moirail, a green blood who lived in the wild her whole life, to surpass ranks like this in a highblood camp."

She stared at the communicator for what felt like forever. She couldn't bring herself to speak. Rodkin's words from earlier popped into her head. "I'll make sure to recommend her to our general." She never dreamed he was serious.

But that's how this all worked. The higher bloods hated her. They'd do anything to make her miserable.

"Nepeta, are you there?" She was yanked from her thoughts.

"O-Oh yes! Sorry, gosh, I was close to sleep when you connected.."

"Sleep? This early?"

"I had intensive training all morning.." Nepeta lied.

"Well alright. I'll leave you to your slumber. Call me back in the morning. Goodnight, Nepeta."

"Night, Equius..."

Nepeta let the communicator fall to the ground, clattering and spinning before becoming still. Equius was proud of her. That's what she wanted, right?

Tadara's words from earlier popped into her head. "She's pretending to be something she's not so her moirail will love her."

"That's not true.." She muttered, trying to convince herself more than anybody. He felt the tears slip down her cheeks, hot and salty.

She didn't call him back in the morning.

Chapter Text

“Well alright. I'll leave you to your slumber. Call me back in the morning. Goodnight, Nepeta.” She watched the blueblood with a close eye as he hit the button of his communicator.

Vriska turned up her nose disapprovingly. “You're really stupid sometimes. You know that?”

Equius turned. “You will quiet yourself, Serket.”

“Why should I, Zaaaaaaaahhak?” She mocked his formality. “If you paid the slightest bit of attention to your moirail, I wouldn't have to nag you!”

“I pay more than enough attention to Nepeta, thank you very much.”

Vriska rolled her eyes. Sometimes she really hated sharing a room with this guy. “If you paid even half of enough attention, you'd realize she's miserable.”

“She is not miserable Serket. She is just tired.”

“Aren't we all?” She questioned.

“I guess you could say that.”

“I know I can. We're all tired little wrigglers who want to go home and cry to our lusii.” Her voice was shrill and mocking, like always.

“Serket, I would appreciate if you could shut your mouth.”

“Make meeeeeeee!”

“I am trying to refrain from doing exactly that.” He turned, his brow glistening with sweat. His fists were in balls at his side.

Vriska quirked a brow with a smug grin. She loved getting under people's skin.

“Ooooh, it big, bad Zahhak getting upset?”

“We may be equals here Serket, but in the hemospectrum, I have every right to kill you here and now.”

“You wouldn't dare.” She countered, her muscles tensing out of instinct.

“With my strength? It would be easy.”

“Your strength is a mutation! The fact that they let you live with it is stupid! Besides, my men would have your head!”

“Your men hate your guts.” Equius spoke, blunt.

Vriska flinched. She couldn't deny that.

“Face it Serket. Though it is not my place to lecture you, the only person who would probably fret over your demise, would be your moirail. When's the last time you spoke to her?”

“...It's been a couple seasons....” The cerulean blood admitted after a moment.

“Exactly Serket. You dare lecture me about how I treat my own moirail, yet look at yours.”

Vriska growled, turning on a heel and leaving the room. She purposely made her feet stomp into the ground too hard, the noises of her heels hitting the metal bouncing in loud echoes off the walls.

“Stupid, no good, tight lipped, over bearing asshole! What does he know? Me and my moirail have a very different situation!” She spat, never having grown out of the habit of talking to herself aloud when she was emotional. She'd been doing it for sweeps.

“Are you sure about that?” The voice threw Vriska off, stumbling a bit, before coming to a halt. She looked up, her eyes darting around, until it spotted the silhouette of a man.

“What do you want, Ilitag?”

The navyblood pushed away from the wall, leaving the sanctuary of the shadows. His dark hair hung in his face, his eyes a dark blue. A scar marred the skin around his right eye, a mark from an old war accident.

“Just standin'.” He shrugged, approaching the other. He had at least a foot and a half on Vriska.

“Bull. Shit.” She emphasized each word.


Vriska stopped, her blood pusher skipping a beat. That familiar rush of black feelings flooding into her think pan and through her veins. She hadn't heard that name in sweeps, and the thought of him did the same thing to her now as it did when she was 6. “...What about Pupa?”

“Give me full names, symbol, history with him, everyone he could be associated with.”

“Why? That boy couldn't bring himself to hurt a fly.”

“Now I'm the one calling bullshit,” he growled. His canines sparkles in the dim light, as he flashed them, a warning. “Follow me.” He turned, starting down the hall. Vriska didn't budge. “I am your superior Serket. Follow. Me. Now.” He mocked her word game, continuing to make his way down the hall.

Vriska hesitated. She could away now, run really, and keep her pride. Or she could find out what was going on with Tavros.

“Fine.” She let out a sigh, before falling him.

“Start. How do you know him?”

“I used to FLARP with him as a wriggler.”

“Associates? Quadrants? How'd you communicate? Would anyone else in the government here know him?”

“Moirail, Aradia Megido. She's a rust blood, nothing too special. He used to FLARP with her, myself, Terezi Pyrope, a legislacerator, Eridan Ampora, a slave to the queen, sometimes Sollux Captor, a mustard blood and experienced hacker. He was totally flushed for Gamzee Makara, the indigo base 956723 berserker, though he'd never admit it.”

“Makara escaped the other night.”

“What? Where'd he go?” Vriska perked up, her interest beyond triggered.

“He left with a brown blood according to what was left of a security camera. Most of them were destroyed during the rebel attacks, except a couple we have hidden in closets, that are hooked up to another monitor at a main base in the area.”

“You guys monitor the closets?”

“A lot can go down in a closet Serket. We could find out the figurehead of this entire rebellion right here and now. We can find out his weaknesses and take him down.”

“Then I have a condition.”

Tsuman Ilitag was getting real tired of this shit. He turned to her, with a skeptical look. “What?”

“I will give you as much information as you want, if I can kill him.”


“Yes. If this is the Tavros I think we're talking about, I want to be the one to take him down.”

“What is your motivation?”

“I have a lot of irons in the fire with this guy.”


“...It's a special kind of hate. It doesn't make a lot of sense, and it never goes away.”

Ilitag lulled this over. Right about now, his only choices were Serket, Ampora, and Pyrope. “..Fine.”

Vriska smirked. “Give me some paper, I'll scribble down some symbols. I know where he lived to! Ask away!”

The navyblood sighed and let Vriska into a room, forcing her to sit down. He hated how she suddenly seemed so excited. He placed some paper infront of her. “I want symbols, his, Pyropes, Ampora's, anyone else you can think of.”

Vriska nodded, and she ended up with a handful of symbols on the page. First was Tavros', the circle not perfect, which irked Vriska. Under it was Terezi's, then Eridan's. Afterward, was Sollux's and Aradia's, and then she threw Vantas' in there for good measure. She hadn't heard anything about him since the day she joined the army. She lulled over important people for a moment, then put down Nepeta's and Equius', and then neatly scrawled their names next to each symbol. “There. I think that's everyone.”

Ilitag looked it over and nodded. “Good, this is very good. Tavros Nitram. Where does he live?”

“Up north, along the cliff sides. He lives right off a path along that brownblood community next to the town.”

Ilitag nodded.

“Aradia lived on the other side of that town, in a red blooded area, but on the outskirts. She dug up the majority of her yard. Her house is so easy to spot, it might as well have a giant sign with her name on it.”

He ignored her comments, finding her quite annoying. “Medical history? Any psychic powers?”

“Huh? Oh yeah, Nitram. Healthy, until he was about 5 and a half, almost six, I pushed him off a cliff. Crippled him. He can also communicate with animals, but really, they only listen if they want to.”

“Wait, so he can't walk?”

“No, he can now. As far as I know. I don't know what happened..”

“...I... let me go get the footage. You might recognize him, despite it being a bit dark.”

They navyblood left, closing the door with a quiet creak. Vriska was left to her thoughts.

This could be her Tavros. The Tavros who she'd fallen for as a girl, hated, tortured, and attempted to better. He was weak, and feeble minded. Innocent. If this was the guy behind these huge rebel attacks, thousands of deaths and tragedies, many lost soldiers, then Vriska might just fall for him all over again right there on the battle field.

Ilitag took no time returning, turning on a television screen that was on the wall. He slipped a small flash drive into the side. A couple options appeared on the screen, and he slipped his fingers over the screen hastily. Then he sorted through a couple video clips, before clicking one, choosing a time slot, and hitting play.

Vriska had only ever seen Gamzee once or twice, but she easily recognized the painted face that entered the closet, wide eyed and stumbling as he slammed the door. The sound was slightly more static than to her liking, the image quality was horrific, but she guessed she couldn't expect much more for a closet camera. She listened to the haggered breathing of said subjugulator. She watched as some light flooded into the room, and a moment of silence before a man nearly tackled the clown into the back wall.

Her eyes glanced him over, and she felt a smile pull at the corner of her lips. Those giant horns, that ruffled mohawk. It was obvious.

“That's him, no doubt about it!” She laughed, smiling and standing in her seat. She could feel excitement coursing through her. “Do you know his position?”

“No, but he has been recognized as someone of power. I have talked to several soldiers who recognize the horns or voice as someone who was giving orders, or someone addressed as leader. Tavros Nitram, is what you said?”

“Yes, I did! Ha! Pupa of all people. I would've never guessed. I knew he was changing a bit, but gosh!”

“When's the last time you saw him?”

“About two sweeps ago, in battle, but gosh, I never really thought it was him! I mean, I saw the horns and all, but my mind couldn't wrap around such an idea! And if anything, I thought he'd be playing a minor part!”

Ilitag nodded. “Return to your room Serket, plans will be formed in the morning.”

“You've got it, boss!” She scoffed, pushing a strand of hair behind her ear and waltzing out, feeling prideful and spiteful all at the same time.

She made it back to her room in a matter of minutes, noting the sleeping navyblood in his recuperacoon. She made her way to the bathroom, stripping and shower, because crawling into her own case of sopor slime, and sinking into the sweet smelling slime. Her mind wandered over previous flarping adventures, the last times she'd seen anyone.

Tavros Nitram, a leader in the rebellion army.

She wouldn't believe it until she saw it.

She chuckled, and let herself fall into a deep sleep. Before she knew it, it was time to wake up, and made her way out of her sleeping spot, slimy and indecent.

“Serket, please, clothing.” Equius glanced up, sitting in on a couch in the other corner of the room, his communicator on his leg, silent.

She rolled her eyes and pranced over to the ablutionblock, and into the trap. She washed away any slime, and dressed. She leaned against the door way, watching the navyblood stare at his communicator, waiting for a call from his moirail.

That call never came.

Chapter Text

He tossed and turned for a quiet moment, before cracking his eyes. The dark met him, and it was more than welcomed. He coughed quietly, his throat unpleasantly dry. He pushed up from his spot on the pillow, eyes drooping and his sleep induced stupor forever remaining present. He made his trip tot he ablutionblock, hitting the light and instantly regretting it. He winced and glanced around, freezing for a moment. This wasn't his bathroom. He could feel his blood pumper jump in his chest, and he whipped around. “Shit, shit, oh shit.” He closed the door, locking it. His mind was racing over question after question, before glancing around.

That brown.

His eyes locked on the towel rack, which was stocked with clean, peanut butter brown towels. He then glanced to the counter. Brown tooth brush, brown bottles in the shower, and extra large container of horn shining goo, hair gel.

It took a long moment, but then his mind wrapped around everything. Of course this wasn't his bathroom. This was Tavros' bathroom. This was the rebel base. This was his new home. He took a couple deep breaths, glancing to the mirror. His eyes seemed a little too bright for his liking, but he ignored it. He was just being paranoid. Everything was new. For all he knew, it could just be the lighting or some shit. He shook his head, clearing it as well as he could. He splashed some cold water on his face for extra measure, took a deep breath, and opened the door and left the ablutionblock.

He let his eyes run over the room, taking in the sights and memorizing as much as he could. He was going to have to get used to all of this, despite how hard it was. He let himself stumble over to the bed, naked and his body feeling worn and tired. He slipped back into the bed, his eyes finally adjusting to the dark. He could see Tavros, laying face-first on the bed. His face was buried in a pillow, and the muscled contours of his back rose and fell with his quiet breathing. Gamzee let himself fight with the blanket for a moment, before getting situated and scooting close to the lowerblood. He was eminating heat like a radiator, and it felt nice.

That was one thing Gamzee liked about lowbloods. Their blood felt so warm and pleasant in your hands. Highblood's felt cold, shocking. Gamzee let his fingers trail up Tav's spine, admiring the small pulses he felt under the skin. It mesmerized him, the warmth inviting. The idea of the brown liquid, slipping through his fingertips. His mind made it seem all too wonderful, intimate even. He watched his nail trace the jugular, the brown showing through the skin, the pulse under his nail sending feelings of amazement and dominance through his being. It wouldn't take much, he thought, as his finger scraped the surface of the skin, Tavros shifting slightly beside him. He watched the brown drip, just a little, but enough to irk his interest even further. He ran his fingers over the small cuts, studying the salty bodily fluid dripping and drying on his fingertips. He leaned it, trailing his tongue over his digits. His taste buds were met with the familiar taste of salt and warm sensations of it trickling down his throat. It made him think of how much fun taking these filthy lowblo--.

He nearly choked, yanking his fingers from his mouth. He stared at them for a moment before darting to the ablutionblock, having to inconveniently untangle himself from a mess of blankets. He made it to the load gaper in time, to release the very limited contents of his stomach. Most of what came up was stomach acid, that burned at his throat and left a bitter taste on his tongue. He moved to the bathroom sink, washing and spitting a couple times.

He was so disgusting.

He hunted for a wet rag, and some bandages. It had been a small cut, only a little blood, but still. He'd been thinking about his matesprit. He'd compared his matesprits to those he'd culled in the past. If he hadn't caught himself, he could've killed Tavros right there.

He made his way back out into the room, to his sleeping matesprit, frowning. He sighed and moved onto the bed, cleaning the bleeding wound as gently as possible. The last thing he wanted was to have to wake him and explain this whole mess. After a moment, he dried the spot gently and put a couple bandaids over it. It looked more like the job of a 2 sweep old with a hand twitching problem, but it would do. He left to the ablutionblock, setting all the stuff down before returning to bed. He crawled in, nuzzling his face into Tavros' shoulder and closing his eyes.

How could he be so terrible? He tried to break through the initial thoughts, the shock, looking for purpose. Why would he do something like that? It wasn't his normal behavior.

Except it was.

He'd spent the last 5 sweeps of his life culling. And culling, and more culling. He'd spent the last 5 sweeps of his life, bathing in the blood and listening to the violent serenade of pleading cries, screams or otherwise. All of them begged for life, and he took it. Because he was better than them.

Except he wasn't. He was terrible in every way possible. He threw all of his thoughts aside, focusing on what he knew. Lowbloods were happy people, especially in their younger years. Their bodies radiated warmth, and their smiles brought even the most depressed back to the happy place in their minds. Their traditions and towns were beyond envy-able, at least to Gamzee. Everything as so homey, it made you feel welcome. Small, quadrant run bakeries. Clothing shops, where red bloods in their final sweeps, knitting and sewing, providing for the younger. Around every turn was something small, yet everything was so explorable. He'd gone to a couple towns with Tavros when he was younger, and despite the stares he sometimes got, everything was always beyond perfect.

Highblood towns were another story completely. Metal buildings, tons of them, packed in thin streets. Towers that made even the tallest of people feel like ants under the foot of a larger being. Everything was overly professional, snobby really.

He was jolted from his thoughts, at the feel of movement below him. He moved, glancing up as Tavros' head lifted a bit, mumbling something.

“Speak up, I've only got two ears, and behind all this mother fuckin' hair, ain't no sounds getting' through.”

Tavros stopped, glancing back then chuckled. He moved to sit up, and Gamzee got off his back so he could. Tavros adjusted himself, now sitting down, the blanket sitting in his lap and Gamzee laid down, curling against his thigh and sighing. The brown fabric smelt like him, and it felt soft. It was pleasant, and Gamzee knew he'd enjoy many nights sleeping in this bed.


He shoved that thought aside, rolling over to smile up at Tavros. Tavros was already looking at him, and sighed, chuckling. He reached down, grabbing a handful of his hair.

“Gamzee, if we don't do something with this, I might get lost in it one of these days.”

“If I ever can't find you, it'll be the first place I check.”

Tavros chuckled, letting his fingers trail down through Gamzee's hair, and over his eyes. He closed them, and Tavros felt the thin skin and lashes. Gamzee just being there, was amazing. He couldn't help but smile, letting his fingers trail down Gamzee's nose, pinching the tip gently, and releasing a chuckle. He let his fingers slip over Gamzee's lips, and shuddered when his lips parted, his breath hot and slightly damp against the digits.

Gamzee kept his eyes closed, relaxed and just letting Tavros do what he wanted. The little touches felt comforting, clearing his mind and letting him focus on how happy he was. He couldn't say he felt alive for the first time in a long time, because it's hard to not feel alive when you're striking lowbloods dead left and right, but he felt, different. It was a good different, everything felt nice. He felt, like a whole troll. He didn't feel hollow, like he had for sweeps and sweeps.

Tavros moved, pulling Gamzee up and into his arms and laying back, yanking the blanket over the both of them impatiently and nuzzling into his hair. He littered Gamzee's hair and face with small pecks, just so amazed to have the other troll just in his presence. It was, as Gamzee would call it, a miracle.

He let his hand trail up and down Gamzee's back, sighing and relaxing as Gamzee worked his lips against Tavros' shoulder, a mix of soft and sloppy kisses. Any tension in Tavros' body relaxed, but then he noticed a strange sensation. Something poking into his neck? He brought his hand up, feeling the bandage. “Huh?”

Gamzee's mind went blank, his heart beat going erratic. “Uh.. When I woke up, I noticed you.. Had a mark on your neck, so I cleaned it up and all..”

Tavros blinked, wondering why Gamzee seemed so nervous about said subject, but tossed those thoughts aside. “Ah, I probably managed to get myself hurt yesterday somehow without noticing it.”

“Yeah, it was just a small cut after all..” He sighed, nuzzling his face into the crook of Tavros' neck, before his stomach growled.

Tavros chuckled. “Maybe we should get some clothes on and something to eat.”

“Ew, pants.”

Tavros rolled his eyes, pulling the blanket off of them and Gamzee shivered and clung.

“Wow fuck, it's got to be 10 mother fucking degrees in here, at most.”

“Do pants sound like a good idea now?”

“Nah, you can keep my dick warm.”

Tavros arched a brow at Gamzee. “I'm not bringing you food.”



“....Fine.” Gamzee pouted. “I have no pants to wear though.”

“You can wear something of mine.” Tavros added, as he got out of the bed, blinking as Gamzee continued to cling to him. “Am I going to have to carry you to the closet?”

“Hell mother fucking yes.”

Tavros sighed and slid his hand to the small of Gamzee's back, pulling him up off the bed and slipping both hands under his backside to hold him up. “You are way too tall for this.”

“Shhhh. Only butt touching now, Tav.”

Tavros rolled his eyes, walking over to the dresser, freeing one hand so he could grab some boxers out of the top drawer, and some socks. He handed both to Gamzee, who put the boxers on his head.


“I'm hungry, bored, and overly happy to have you back. I haven't been able to be silly in how many mother fucking sweeps? Let me wear your underwear on my head for a couple minutes. Gosh Tav.”

“I love how you sound so offended. I only said your name.”

“In an offensive tone.” Gamzee added sarcastically, smiling his lazy smile, arms wrapping around Tav's neck. Tavros smiled back, leaning in and gently kissing him for a moment, before pulling back and heading to the closet. He moved to set Gamzee down, much to his disappointment. Gamzee took the time to pull on the boxers, watching them droop around his hips, and yanking the tightening strings and tying them. They spent a couple more minutes dressing, and laughing at Gamzee's long lanky body. Tavros ended up in a pair of brown sweats and a white wife beater, and Gamzee in a pair of brown sport shorts.

They headed off to the kitchen when smiles on their faces, arms around one another.

“What do you want?”

“Man, I have no mother fucking idea.” Gamzee said as he sat down, thinking. “Pancakes sound like the best shit right now.”

“Remember when we were little, and we made peanut butter and jelly pancakes?” Tavros chucked, getting a frying pan out. He moved to get the other supplies, walking around one of the dozen or so small kitchens in the base. “And we nearly burnt everything.”

“Peanut butter doesn't mix into the pancake batter as well as I thought. Eh, mother fuckers just didn't want to get along. And the frying pan did a shit job at auspiticing those fuckers.”

Tavros smiled, pouring a pancake's worth of batter into a pan and waiting for it. “Yeah, maybe we can just, put the stuff on top.”

“Make tiny pancake sandwiches. Those mother fuckers would be amazing.”

“See? You're always been good at this cooking stuff. The only thing I can cook is vegetables.”

“That's because you eat like a god damn rabbit.” Karkat said loudly from the door, leaning on the frame. His arms were crossed, and he was dressed in his usual day attire. His thick eyes brows were knit together in a look that was half-uncomfortable, and half-knowing.

Tavros glanced over. “Rabbits don't eat fish.”

Karkat rolled his eyes, moving to shove his hands in his pockets. “The Condesce is making a broadcast in 20 minutes.”

“Wow, rude. She's going to interrupt our breakfast.”

“Scarf your fucking breakfast, asshole.” Karkat's eyes never met Gamzee's, though he could feel the other troll looking at him. “This shit is probably going to be important. She's only been back on Alternia for a week, and we have no fucking clue why. She hasn't come back in well over 50 sweeps. So some shit must be going down.”

“She's probably back because we're such a thorn in her side..” Tavros added, plating a couple pancakes and moving to set them infront of Gamzee, before going to making his own.

“Yeah, but this hasn't happened in forever Nitram. Are you fucking stupid? Sometimes I wonder if you know half the shit that is going on. This bitch doesn't come home just for any thorn in her side. Normally her fucking millions of trolls that worship at her god damn feet fix it.”

“You remember though, that they recently started sending about 12.4% more trolls into space every sweep. She's had less soldiers on Alternia because of this. Her army is so distanced between attacking and overcoming over planets for her own needs, and trying to work things back here, that she doesn't have enough men to spare. This is probably her last resort, coming back and planning, before launching a full blown war. Yes, I am fucking stupid Karkat.”

Karkat stared at him for a moment, before sighing and pushing away from the wall. “Meet us in the computer lab. Sollux will be airing the broadcast. Be there in 15 minutes. We're not recording anything if you miss half the shit.” He turned on his heel and left.

Tavros sighed, moving to plate his own breakfast. He grabbed some forks, glancing at Gamzee who had made good work with his hands, almost half his plate clean, and a mess of peanut butter and jelly on his lips and fingers. He tried to copy Gamzee's actions, layering on peanut butter and then jelly between some pancakes and eating them. He sometimes wished Karkat wasn't so quick to ruining his mood. This is why their austpitice needed to stay in the base more. He knew she was busy, working and getting secrets for them and all, but he really missed her. It had been a little over a season since her last visit. Even if the auspitice was forced, considering she had been the best candidate at the time it was formed, feelings or no feelings, he just needed her.

Gamzee watched him, frowning and chewing. “Tav, what's going on?” He asked after a quiet moment. Tavros looked up and sighed.

“Me and Karkat have.. A very rocky relationship I guess you could say. It was always like that, but it just got so much worse after I appointed him and Terezi to be my equals. Now, he constantly gives orders behind my back, sends soldiers random places, and attacks bases I hadn't planned on attacking yet. And Terezi is always busy, with her legislacerator stuff, and well, she's never here. When we first founded this thing, we thought making her our auspitice would make things easier between us, and for a while it did until she started working. I mean, it's good for our base and all, but it takes a lot of strain on our quadrants...” Tavros sighed, glancing up from his food once again. “Sorry, I'm rambling.”

“...Wait... You guys founded this shit?”

“Yeah. About a sweep after you were taken, we got all of this together and well, with a lot of help from everybody really, we became a rebellion.”

“...Holy shit...” Gamzee stared at him, rather in shock. He knew Tavros had some rank in this, but he hadn't expected him to be the leader.

“It wasn't as hard to start as I thought though. You get a couple angry lowbloods and a few really good speeches, and suddenly you have half of Alternia knowing you exist. Secret websites and emails that change every couple hours. Anonymous fliers and advocates that go to factories and slave traders and preach. In a way, a lot of the work did itself. It's amazing how you can get a group of people together, and use them to make dreams come true. When enough people want something, we can make it happen.”

“That's... Wow, holy shit. Just... Damn. But, why?”

“Why what?”

“I mean, I know this is a good cause and all.. But why did you start all of this?”

“I was sick of everything, I guess.” He sighed, leaning back in his chair. He let his head lean back, eyes on the ceiling. Gamzee thought he looked wise for some reason. He was so different from the Tavros he'd grown up with, but at the same time, so similar. The war had changed him, secured him really. He was muscled up, and looked strong. But he also looked like he'd been through hell and back, twice, and still managed to smile.

But then again, that was the story of Tavros' life, wasn't it?

Gamzee realized Tavros was talking, and tuned in. “..when you can't even walk through a alley without being jumped and mugged because of your blood color, it just has a way of setting someone off. Remember the first time I ever came to your house? When I finally got off the train after an hour or two ride, I was tired. And you had told me to take the left path once I got to that one fork in the road? And I had that GPS on my PDA? And I had noticed the left path just takes me into a really long, loopy path through the forest until I get to a mountain region, that then leads down to the beach, and the right path would've cut 10 minutes of walking time out of that, and would've taken me through the neighbor hood and then down another long path to the beach. Remember how I took the right path, thinking nothing of it. I honestly thought you told me the left because maybe it was just more colorful or something.. But then when I was walking and I got jumped in that neighborhood?”

Gamzee frowned, nodding. “Yeah, I remember having to bandage you up when you got there... You had bruises everywhere to...”

“Exactly. That's happened to me well over 10 times, because I literally have the worst sense of judgement when it comes to directions and I end up in highblood areas. I'm sick of that. I'm sick of being treated like I'm a damn animal because I am not naturally as strong or fast or as a highblood. I'm sick of being looked down upon because I don't even live half the time a teal blood can. I'm sick of the people around me being enslaved or hurt, and me not being able to do anything about it because of my blood color and my rank in the world. I wanted to make a difference. I never wanted to lose another friend to this. So I made a stand.”

Gamzee blinked, running over memories in his head. He knew Tavros wasn't really a weakling when they were younger. He'd had quite a bit upper body strength and really knew what he was doing. But, he never knew how to use it. He'd always been so nice, even to people who raised hell for him in every way possible. It almost saddened him, to think that this war has made him grow up. This war has forced him to throw away his old ways, and become something different.

“Wow, it's already been ten minutes... We'd better start heading over there..” Tavros moved to stand, grabbing their plates and rinsing them in the sink.

Gamzee watched him, standing and licking some more peanut butter off of his fingers.

“You're not going to wash your hands, are you?”

“Not a mother fucking chance. So, what's gonna happen after this broadcast?”

“I could just show you around.” Tavros blinked, moving to Gamzee's side, one hand in his pocket and he wrapped his other Gamzee's hip and shoving his thumb under the waistband, so his hand would stay there. Gamzee smirked and put an arm over his shoulders, walking out the door with him.

“Sounds wicked.”

Tavros smiled, relaxing his cheek against Gamzee's side, the back of one of his arms across Gamzee's chest. He didn't mind though, Tavros was warm and his horns may be big and clunky, and kind of dangerous, but they were an amazing feature. They made him look strong, and he was recognizable.

Tavros walked him down a couple halls, drumming his fingers against Gamzee's hip bone in a way that was both adorable and slightly annoying. Gamzee got over it quickly, watching as Tavros waved to several people who walked by. They'd all stared at Gamzee, but really didn't look surprised. Tavros had just told him word travels fast around here, and he left it at that.

After a couple long minutes they made it to the computer room, Tavros moving to push open one of the double doors and holding it for Gamzee. Gamzee chuckled, walking in. “Am I lady now?”

“No, but that doesn't mean I'm not a gentleman.” Tavros smirked, walking in. Right on the left wall, Sollux sat, in the middle, the entire wall nothing but computer screens. It amazed Gamzee, all the flashing lights and words. It was amazingly weird how well that guy would work shit like this.

Tavros lead Gamzee over there, where Karkat and Aradia were also standing.

“Evening, Tavros!” Aradia smiled. “How are you and Gamzee doing this fine night?” She tucked her hands behind her, intertwining her fingers and leaving them behind her back. She wore her usual, a pleaded shirt, that cut off a little before her knees, tube socks, flats, and a vest over a dress shirt. A small portion of her hair was pulled back into a bun, a pencil and a pen sticking out in either direction from the hair accessory. The rest of her hair traveled down her back, in need of a good brushing.

“I'm good. A little tired from the long day.”

“Same.” Gamzee relaxed, leaning on Tavros. “It's good not to be in training right now though. I feel lazy though.”

“You made me carry you to the closet this morning.”

Gamzee made sure to put all his weight on Tavros, smiling like an idiot.

“Gamzee if I move you're gonna fall.”

“I know. That's why you won't move.”

Tavros stared at him, then chuckled and rolled his eyes. “You are impossible.”

Sollux made a noise, and everyone looked to him. He typed a couple more things. “It thays it'll be tharting in about two minutes.”

Tavros nodded, relaxed and rubbing Gamzee's back absent-mindedly. “'Radia, I'm gonna have to brush your hair out.”

“Sounds good. You better braid it.” She glanced to him. “You are literally the best braider.”

“I just fucking pictures Tavros with his damn mohawk braided back against his head.”

“...I'm going to do that one day.”

“Oh my god, no.” Tavros made a fake, horrified face, then chuckled. “I would look silly.”

“That's the point, duh Tav.” Aradia smiled, letting one hand slide onto Sollux's shoulder. “You should try braiding Gamzee's hair.”

“I think my hand would get stuck.” Tavros moved to look up at Gamzee's hair. “Or, it would eat it.”

“I sometimes lose shit in my hair. Like legit, I mother fucking up and lose pens, and all kinds of shit in my hair.”

“It's like having to check your pockets before you wash something, you have to check your hair before you shower.”

“If I remember to check it.”

“Oh god, Tavros, you're literally going to be siting there for an hour trying to check Gamzee's fucking hair with your damn hands tangled in all of it.”

“Guyth, thut up. Gosh, it's tharting.” He moved, hitting the enter button on his keyboard and suddenly all the screens went black, then a newscaster was on screen with a microphone. Each tiny screen added to the picture, to form one large screen.

“We come to you all, here live today from the Second Street, Palace entrance. Where inside, her Imperial Condescension is preparing herself for a broadcast. She had noted absolutely no one as to what she will be addressing, but it can only be assumed it will be a shout out to the rebels and those participating in said rebellion. We will take you other to Jakone, who will fill you in on the latest attacks.” The screen switched to an emerald blood, adjusting the lapels of his dress jacket.

“Thank you Carlyn. Now, there was an attack on Indigo Base 956723 down South yesterday. Over 300 casualties were reported, and well over 40 people left injured. Only two men were found, who did not belong to the base, both dead and burned beyond recognition.”

“Any clue who they were?” Tavros murmured to Karkat.

“Lototo and Mallen.” Karkat muttered. Tavros frowned, quite a bit. Just yesterday evening, he'd split half a peanut butter and honey sandwich, and later after midnight, he'd given Mallen a couple stance tips.

“These rebele don't seem to notice the damage they are inflicting. What a shame, so many lives lost in bloodshed.” Jakone sighed on television. “Back to Carlyn, who will then redirect you to the empress herself.”

They switched screens back to the cerulean blood. She was now, walking down a hall. “We are now officially in the palace. What a true honor this is! Simply exciting. A chance to meet the empress in person is something someone experiences not too often. I am completely honored to even be graced by her presence. We are not waiting outside the door to her throne room.” Carlyn moved her arm behind her, gesturing to two huge, magnificently engraved gold doors.

“We are waiting for the OK, then we'll head inside.” She smiled, rocking back on her heels and watching the door. After a couple of minutes, it opened just enough for a guard to step out.

“Hello today ma'am. May I ask your name?”

“Chrona Urnali.” The guard said, a blue blood, shoving a bit of her hair behind her ear.

“Are you a usual guard here?”

“Well, I only go assigned about two days ago to the palace, but for those last two days, I have spent my every waking moment, protecting our empress from any harm presented to her.”

“Good, good. You sound like a very dedicated guard.”

“I take my job with the utmost seriousness.” Chrona gave a small smile, lying through her teeth. Just yesterday she was sneaking food to a slave.

Carlyn smiled, then arched a brow. “Are we allowed to go in now?” Chrona just gave her a nod, and opened the door and they shuffled into the room and set up the cameras.

The Condesce smiled a wicked smile, crossing her legs, her trident leaned up against the side of the solid gold throne. It was beautiful, adorned with detailed engravings and cushioned with hand made pillows, dyed with blood for the empress herself.

Carlyn was jumping out of her skin, as she watched. The queen adjusted her crown on her forehead, then began.

“Trolls of Alternia. I hope you are all having a simply lovely night. I have come back, for a visit that will last until the end of next week. I am back for some very important duties. I have a couple messages for the lot of you, so I hope everyone is listening with open ears and strict mind sets.”

“It has come to my attention, that there is a group of trolls that... well, do not like how I rule. Now, I would've taken this rather lightly, if they weren't going around, destroying my basis and sending my war leaders into turmoil over failed attempts.”

“I will warn anyone now, laws are going to become much stricter. If you are even suspected of having anything to do with said rebels, you will be culled on spot. We will be holding house searches and we will not tolerate any sort of law breaking.”

“Besides, why would you all want to join the rebels? Especially highbloods. You are disgracing yourself, and your people. Besides, haven't any of you realized their objective?” She was silent for a moment. “They are not striving for equality, or anything like that. No, not at all. They, are trying to reverse the bar. They want the power. If they were to even win, every highblood would be taken into slavery, and used. These leaders, who preach to everyone, they're trying to suck you in. They want you to corrupt your government, so they can corrupt the rest of you.”

“This is ridiculous.” Tavros sighed and moved, leaving Gamzee behind and approaching the microphone along the side of the desktop. “Sollux, get ready the hack into the channel.”

Sollux gave a curt nod, licking his lips quickly and going to typing, before suddenly the screen went black. The emblem of the rebels appeared, a rainbow emblem that was a mix of Tavros', Karkat's, and Terezi's symbols, but made it complicated enough so none of them would be recognized.

“You are quite the charmer, my dear empress.” Tavros smirked, his voice being played back by the speakers. The microphone deepened his voice past the point of recognition. “But you seem to have lost your way. You cannot hold yourself to your words. We have so many men everywhere, you can't possibly begin to find them all. For all you know, your entire palace could be swamped with my spies. You have no way out, and you never will. Enslaving of the highbloods? What a joke. If we even tried, we'd have all the possibilities of the tables being turned yet again. We do strive for equality, and peace. It is you, who is wrong. You are the disgrace to our kind and what we should stand for. I will end this preaching now, since I know I am right, and the other half of Alternia knows what side they are on. This have been your private sermon with The Answer, my darling Condesce. Goodnight, and goodbye.”

The screen went back to normal, Tavros watching it. The Condesce was given a queue by a near by camera man, and she returned to talking. “Well, well, well...” She smirked, leaning back in her throne. “What a hefty surprise. A rebel leader himself, has given me a message. Very well, The Answer. I enjoyed your silly sermon, as you called it. It is full of nothing but lies, but I enjoy your attitude. You seem special to me. I have a message for you to.”

She moved, leaning forwards, arms folding over her knees. She got a wide-set, smug grin on her face that shown her feral-like teeth. “The war is on.” She hissed, before pulling back and the screen went black, her symbol the only thing left besides quiet static.

Tavros stared at the screen, took a deep breath and looked to Karkat. “You hear that? She's just realizing the war is on. And you call me stupid.”

Karkat stared at him for a long moment, before letting out a quiet chuckle. Then he moved, grabbing the microphone and the rebel symbol shown on the screen again. “This is The Leader, little miss priss. I will make this short and sweet.” He coughed, clearing his throat.

“The war is on, the rebels are pissed, and your shit is wrecked.”

Chapter Text

Tavros sighed, letting a hand run through his hair, breathing fast and heavy. He let his eyes trail to the side, at the green blood who was humming as he lifted another weight above his head. His muscles flexed lightly, the veins in his arms a little more prominent from said strain. His dark hair was cropped short, and his eyes brows were thick and knitted together in concentration. He hadn't said a word in over an hour.

“You've been awfully quiet all evening....” Tavros pointed out, after a silent moment of admiration.

“Have I? I hadn't noticed.” Ronasu's voice held a highly disapproving tone.

“What's wrong?”

“You know exactly what is wrong.” He sighed, giving Tavros an annoyed look, hands still resting on the bar above his head, which was now supported by the side beams of the work out bench. The steel felt cold in his hands, and his hands held on with about as much will power as a slave after hours of working would have.

“No, I don't know.” He snapped. What could be wrong?

“When Terezi calls you Highblood Fever, I thought it was a joke.” He spat.

Tavros had to stare at him for a long moment. He'd never been one for confrontation, but it was something he'd learned how to deal with within the last couple of sweeps. It still took him a couple moments to come up with the right words though.

“I don't discriminate.”

“That is bull Tavros.” He sat up, his brows set in a tight glare, a sharp look in his eye. “We go around slaughtering highbloods.”

“We take out the ENEMY, Ronasu. Whether it be a higblood, or lowblood, I don't care. If you get in the way, we will take you out.”

Ronasu glared, then stood. “I'm done with my workout for now.”

Tavros sat up, watching him. “I can't believe this. What is your problem, Ronasu?”

“I already stated that, Tavvy.” He turned, then guzzled down half of his water bottle with a sigh.

“You've never had a problem with any of the other highbloods who've worked with us. What is wrong with you? What is really bothering you?”

“I'm done with this topic.” He grabbed a towel off the rack on the one wall. “I am going to go work with my squad.”

“You don't have permission to.” The words left Tavros' lips because he could even think them over. He put a hand over his mouth, Ronasu looking incredulous. He sighed. “Shit, I didn't mean that. Look, you are one of my best friends, and best men. I just worry about you, bro. Okay? I want to help.”

Ronasu stared at him for a while. “Tavvy... I... This is really awkward. I don't know how to say half of what I want to. I give up. I'm going to go find my squad.” He turned on a heel and left before Tavros could argue.

Tavros watched him, then sighed again. Gamzee had only been there two perigees and he was already getting hell for it.

He reached next to himself, grabbing the wet, half-melted bottle of water from the floor and taking a couple of gulps. It felt cold and shocking against his insides, but was more than welcomed by the brown blood's dry throat.

“Tavros.” Aradia called, from the entrance of the almost empty weight room. “Shower, dress, go to town with me.” She smiled as she walked over, her hair done up in a messy bun, pencils in place. She wore a red dress, her symbol embroidered in the neckline. It clung to her upper half, then turned in a shower of ruffles at her waist, and ended about mid-thigh. She wore black stockings, and a pair of maroon flats.

“That sounds dirty.”

She giggled, and smacked his arm. “But seriously, we haven't gone to town in almost a season! The dark seasons only last so long! We have a couple hours. And I also, desperately need you to braid my hair.”

“What about Gamzee?”

“He can catch up with Karkat?”

“I don't know how well that is going to work.”

“Tavros, we are in need of some moirail time. We can get lunch and go shopping!”

“You hate shopping. You'd rather be digging up artifacts.”

“That may be true, but I mess spending time with you. And you love shopping. So we're going shopping.”

“I... Guess I can't argue with that.”

“Exactly. Now go get your ass ready.”

Tavros sighed, standing and holding his ice cold water bottle to his forehead as he left the room. He slipped the bottle to the base of a horn, once he was in the clear. He could almost feel his body temperature drop. It felt heavenly. He kept it there, until he was back in his room.

He laughed at his matesprit, who appeared to have fallen off the bed. He'd pulled all the blankets down with him, having almost cocooned himself, with a lovely circle of pillows around his being, for decoration.

“Gamzee, you're a mess.” He sighed, walking over and slipping his hand under Gamzee's thin structure. He cracked open an eye.

“I was comfortable.”

“You were on the floor.”

“The comfortable floor.” Gamzee corrected, snuggling. His smile turned to a quick pout as he was sat down on the bed. “No mother fuckin' cuddles?”

“Aradia wants me to do stuff with her, so I'm forced to shower.”

“But you smell good.” The highblood made a quiet whining sound, yanking on Tavros' arm.

“Gamzee, I'm so sweaty.”

“Man, we already up and had this argument. Cuddle.”

Tavros chuckled, then shook head head. “I'm gonna go take a shower.”

“...Then naked cuddles.”

“...Fine, but only for a couple minutes.”

“Yay.” Gamzee hummed blissfully, He then crawled to a comfortable spot on the bed, hugging a pillow. He curled up and sighed, watching Tavros strip; he'd been comfortable enough with Gamzee to just lean the door open.

“This is mother fucking wonderful.”

Tavros glanced to him and smiled. “Yeah, it really is...” He discarded the last of his clothing, stretching his arms above his head.

“So... You've certainly... Grown, quite a mother fucking bit while I was gone.” He waggled his eye brows.

Tavros glanced up, having bent down to get his clothes off the floor. It took him a moment to understand what Gamzee was saying, then his cheeks flushed. “Wow, um..”

Gamzee smirked. “That's the old Tav.” He snickered, yanking the blanket up a bit more. “But fuckin' seriously, you have all kinds of up and grown, like a lot.”

“Yeah, there's this thing called the natural growing cycle.”

Gamzee chucked, watching Tavros disappear behind the door way, and the sound of water starting in the ablutiontrap. “You're silly sometimes.”

“Silly? How?”

“You just are.” Gamzee smiled and nuzzled into a pillow. He listened to the water in the trap, splashing against Tavros and the metal walls. He listened to Tavros hum a tune. It sounded familiar, but Gamzee couldn't place it. After a couple minute the water cut off, and Gamzee listented to the dropping and quiet footsteps instead.

After a moment, Tavros walked out, drying his hair, and smiling. He walked over, and Gamzee moved to hold the blanket up, Tav dropping his towel and crawling under the covers. He wrapped his arms around Gamzee. “Hi.”

“Hey bro.” Gamzee smiled and kissed his forehead. “What tune were you just up and getting your lip vibrations all in a fuss about?”

“...What?” Tavros blinked, not quite used to how Gamzee talked anymore. He was so used to the grammar used around here, that anything less still threw his think pan off balance.

“What were you humming, Tav?”

“Oh...” His eyes retreated, glancing to the most interesting spot on the metal wall. “Well... The Pupa Pan theme song...”

“My mother fuckin' god Tav, you are unbelievably adorable.”

“Wow, no I'm not. I think we're not looking at the same thing.”

Gamzee rolled his eye balls. “Man, you're beautiful, shut your word flapper.”

Tavros rolled his eyes right back at him, and buried his face in Gamzee's hair. “I am going to get lost in this shit Gamzee.”

“I'll up and get my look on in my bitch tits wicked locks, if need be it, babe.”

“Have I mentioned yet, no matter how confusing, I honestly, and terribly missed the way you talk.”

Gamzee chuckled, leaning in and kissing his neck repeatedly. Tavros relaxed, lips parting and eyes closing. “You don't understand half of what I say.” Gamzee argued playfully, before sucking on a small patch of skin around the hallow of Tavros' collar bone.

“I-its doesn't matter...” His voice shook a bit, his fingers knotting in Gamzee's hair. He tilted his head back, licking his lips.

The moment was short lived, and ruined by a knock on the door. “Tavros, are you ready yet?

“Uh... Shit, sorry 'Radia. Give me a couple minutes.”

“Do you need help?”

“Nah, we're fine.” He muttered, massaging Gamzee's scalp with his trimmed claws.

“You owe me more cuddles when you get back.”

“Fine by me...” He murmured and moved to get out of the bed. He went to the closet and dressed. He ducked into the bathroom, fluffing some gel into his hair until he was satisfied. He walked out, smiling and looking pretty good. Gamzee took a moment to take in everything he'd been too excited the last one or two perigees to even notice.

He wore a brown, button up shirt, with white and grey plaid strips. His symbol was sewn into the breast pocket in black. He had a silver nose ring in, that almost gave him the appearance of a bull. His pointy ears, which laid flat back against the shaved sides of his head, now each held five ear guages, all black, will holes in the middle. They started with the biggest on the bottom and got tinier and tinier as they got to the tip.

“Wow, I'm thinkin' my eyes like to up and hide shit from me.”


“I just noticed your ears.”

Tavros scoffed, walking over and sitting on the bed. “I had Kanaya do them. I had to kiss her ass for a week so she wouldn't hurt me as much just to make me mad.”

“Jade sis is here?”

“Yeah, her and the mother grub. She recruited herself last season. They haven't been talking about it?”

“Nah, I haven't heard anything.”

“Weird, we've been trying to use it against the Condesce, as well as eliminate the need for the caverns and lusii.”

“Wait. How?”

“Troll quadrants raising their young together. It's really just an experiment at the moment. Just within the base.”

“That... Is so weird. Like holy shit.”

“Well, it's just, instead of having a population slurry and imperial drones and filial pails, we just keep genetic material separate from others. And, we've developed a form of adoption, for any of the wrigglers who've lost their parents.”

“Tavros.” Aradia called from outside the door. “He doesn't need 20 million facts about this place today.”

Tavros glanced to the door and chuckled. “Sorry, sorry 'Radia. I have this terrible habit of getting caught up in stuff like this.”

“Well, say your goodbyes, before I drag you out of there by your nose ring.”

“Jeez, calm down.” Tavros chuckled, leaning down to kiss Gamzee. “I shouldn't be too long.”

“Alright...” Gamzee murmured against his lips, before opening his eyes to look into his. “I love you.”

Tavros flushed and Gamzee lost his train of thought. The color, bold and wonderful against Tavros' grey skin. The idea of his blood, sifting through his veins, hot and wonderful. Gamzee wanted it. He longed for it, to drip on his face, on his body, down his skin, to feel, the warmth, the heat, the salt, soak into his being. It took him a moment, before Tavros' words broke through his stupor and he looked to Tavros. He blinked, wondering why the brownblood was restraining him by both wrists.

“Gamzee? Can you hear me?”

“What?” Gamzee was confused, wondering if Tavros could somehow read his thoughts. His think pan slowly sunk back into normal thought, and he felt worried.

“You were squeezing my shoulders really tight... Do you not want me to leave? Because I can stay if you want... I don't want to leave you alone if you're uncomfortable with it..”

“I... Nah, Tav. Go ahead. I just kinda spaced out it all.” Gamzee moved, pulling on his wrists, then had them gently released.

Tavros blinked, then nodded after a moment. “Alright...” He pulled back, brushing some hair from infront of Gamzee's eyes, before leaving the room altogether.

“Finally.” Aradia chuckled, yanking the bun out of her hair, and handing her moirail a hair brush. He walked behind her, patiently brushing out every knot and tangle with the utmost care.

“Your hair is so long...” He smiled, letting his fingers run through the silky locks, despite it being thick, it was wonderful when it was brushed properly. It shined so perfectly, showing off the natural red highlights she had hidden in her hair. It was rather funny, how she was the epitome of all things wonderful and beautiful, yet her personality sometimes contradicted it so harshly, it was shocking.

“It always has been.” She chuckled. “You know that as well as anybody.”

He smiled, and began French fishtailing her hair, smiling. “It's gorgeous, though. It compliments you well.”

She rolled her eyes. “You compliment me far too often.”

“Well there's plenty to compliment.”

“Oh would you just stop talking.” She turned, a delicate brow raised on her forehead. Her deep, rust-colored eyes always had this look, like she knew something, or everything for that matter. She seemed so destined for great things, but her caste hadn't yet allowed her. He wanted to change that, while he still had time.

Life spans were a huge matter that hindered so many. The average redblood, who was often a poorly cared for slave, lived about two or three dozen sweeps. A healthy one, could strain four or maybe even five dozen, a similar time to a brownblooded slave. A healthy brown blood could live maybe six or seven dozen sweeps, if lucky. Tavros, at the moment, was fourteen and a half sweeps.

It suddenly dawned on him, that it was nothing for an indigoblood to live 800, to well over a thousand sweeps. Gamzee could love seven or maybe eight brown bloods in his life time.

“Something wrong?” Suddenly Aradia had a hand on his face. “You look rather upset.”

“I... Am just thinking.”


“Well... Me and Gamzee's lifespans are so different...” Tavros sighed, eyes trailing to the side as they approached the exit.

Aradia frowned, sighing. “Well, Sollux once told me to look at it this way. At least you die first, and aren't the one dealing with it.”

“Sollux is fucking terrible at advice.”

She couldn't help but chuckle. “I know... But in a way, it made me feel better..”

Tavros nodded. “Well... In a way, I guess, even though it's selfish, it's a huge relief it's not reversed and I won't have to move on with out him. But.. I can't help but think of what's going to after I'm gone.”

“You'll be dead. It won't matter.”

“I'm talking about Gamzee's feelings, 'Radia.” He sighed, punching in the series of long codes to leave the base, then they both exited onto the beach after a group of metal doors opened and let them through, one at a time. The night was reaching it's midpoint, and stars dazzled the sky in bits of blue and yellow. It was heart wrenching and beautiful, and Tavros lost himself in it for a moment. Nature had always astounded him.

Aradia moved, holding her sandals in her hand, and letting the cool sand slip through her toes. “I love it out here...” She hummed, turning to look at her moirail. “Everything out here is wonderful. It makes me almost wish I had a beach hive when I was a wriggler.”

He smiled, watching her spin a bit and twirl, her dress flaring out and her braid swinging in the air, almost hitting Tavros.

“Watch it, you're going to kill me with that thing.” He laughed, hands in his pockets.

She turned and rolled her eyes. “Doubt it!” She smiled and looked to the water. “The trail to head up is coming up soon.”

“Yeah.. The forest is rather still tonight. I only sense a couple nut creatures and a bounce beast or two.”

“You should make a bounce beast come to us!” She turned to look at him. “You used to do that when we were little!”

“Yeah, and you'd try to kill them and bring them home for dinner.” Tavros gave her an annoyed look, his brow arching. The thought of letting any type of animal get killed in his presence upset him.

She smiled. “I wanted to eat them and look at the bones! You know bones are one of my favorite things Tavros.” She gave a wry smile. “Though I prefer them older, finding any ol' bones will do. Looking for cracks and other markings! It's just so interesting!”

Tavros rolled his eyes as they reached the path, Aradia slipping her feet into her sandals before heading up the dirt trail. Everything was beautiful, the plants lush green, even in the night. The quiet chirping of hopping insects and flashes of light, coming from the glowing pests. Glowing pests, despite their name, were one of Tavros' favorite bugs. The beautiful light they produce at night, their orange-red wings, the little dot on their back. They were cute. When he was younger, Tinkerbull would smile and watch him catch a few in a jar and they'd keep them for a little while, watching them light up, before releasing the creatures. It rather ruined his childhood when he was taught that the light they were producing was them attempting to attract mates, and he had probably just been putting them in a jar to have a large orgy.

They made it to town in little to no time, passing many small hives on the way there. The town was bustling with activity, and Aradia quirked a brow. “Why are there so many lights?” Lanterns hung from light posts, across buildings, in windows. Posters decorated the walls and people were out and about, in costume and many wrigglers running around. Aradia took a couple steps before kneeling down to pick up a paper. “Some kind of fair is in town.”

“It's a big celebration for a fair...” Aradia turned, blinking.

“Yeah, I guess it is..” Tavros walked forward and she stood. They made their way down the street, taking in the smells of funnel cake and grease. A loud chorus of explosions and booming noises rung in their ears, and they tensed. They glanced up, watching the lights cascade across the sky in miraculous colors, pleasing the eye while earning a disproving pain from the ears.

They stared, in awe for a long moment before being bumped by impatient people who'd already had their fill of the sights and sounds, and had places to go. Tavros slipped his fingers around Aradia's wrist, worming her through the crowd along with him, to what seemed like the main entrance to the fair. They entered, booths and games everywhere. The excitement could almost be tasted. They walked around, eyes wandering. Finally, Aradia spoke up.

“I don't think we're going clothes shopping.”

Tavros let out a chuckle, glancing to her. “Yeah. But this looks fun.”

They walked around for a while, having their fill of terribly unhealthy but delicious food, taking in the sights and sounds, watching some fireworks, playing a couple games.

“Hey, I'm gonna go play the ring toss, okay?” Tavros blinked.

“Alright, I'm gonna check what's over here.”

“Got it. I'll be right back.” And with that, Tavros left, and Aradia took a look around. She smiled, her eyes trailing over booths, before her eyes locked on one. It was a single person booth, small on the inside. A tired looking, rather handsome man stood inside, looking almost annoyed. Aradia's curiosity got the best of her and she walked over.

“You don't look too pleased.”

“I've been standing here for four hours kissing strangers. I can't leave for lunch break because my friend who was supposed to take over isn't here.” He sighed, glancing Aradia over.

“...Well..” Aradia almost smirked. “I have a friend here, who's mighty attractive. I don't think he'd have any problems filling in for you. He's right over there.” Aradia turned, pointing out Tavros who was failing at the ring toss and looking annoyed.

The man looked him over for a second, before shrugging and nodding. “Fine.” He moved, coming from behind the booth and stretching. “I'll be back in an hour. Don't rob us, please.”

“No promises.”

“...Fine by me.” He sighed after a moment, before leaving and yawning. Aradia expected him to be gone longer than an hour.

“Who was that?” Tavros asked curiously, coming back with a couple stuffed animals in his arms. He'd won several already, and was planning to decide who gets what he returned home.

“I was signing you up to work a booth for a little while.”

Tavros tilted his head. “Sounds fun. Which one?”

“That one.” She gestured her hand to the kissing booth infront of them, decorated in a mess of red hearts and black spades. It read a beetle per kiss, or 10 Troll Caegars. He just continued to stare, then he glanced to Aradia, then back to the booth.

“Are you serious.”

“One hundred and ninety-two percent serious.” She couldn't help but let her face light up in the most wicked smirk she's ever delivered. He stared her down, before sighing and moving to enter the booth from behind.

“This is ridiculous and I feel like a prostitute.”

She smiled and sat back, watching Tavros be lavished and smooched by numerous people. Aradia decided to find a chair, taking a spot next to the booth and pulling out her palm husk, scrolling through her messages. “Having fun?”

There was no reply.



Aradia sighed and lifted her head, to find him staring off. She blinked and moved, craning her neck and leaning in the chair to attempt to get a look. If she leaned any further, she might just--


She squeaked, as she slipped to the ground and the palm husk skidded across the dirt as the chair creaked and gave out under the gravity and slammed into the ground, hitting her legs in the process. Tavros jumped, looking to her.

“Oh gosh, are you alright?” He moved, hitting the inside of the booth with his horn and cursing.

“Fine, I'm fine!” Aradia sat up, reassuring him. She moved to brush herself off, then noticed a hand help out to her. She glanced at the pale grey, spindly fingers. Her eyes trailed up the arm, and into a face she hadn't seen in sweeps.


“Well, well, well, long time no see Megido!” She smiled, reaching forward and lurching Aradia up by her arm, before placing the palm husk back into Aradia's hand and patting it. She looked to Tavros. “Puuuuuuuupa!” She chuckled, pulling her hands away. “What a surprise to find you guys here! I certainly thought you'd be slaves by now! Or be stuck in the factories or something!” She let out a shrill laugh, her eyes glancing to the red blood, before returning to Tavros. “...A kissing booth?”

“Blame her.” He jerked his head to Aradia who just laughed.

“I signed him up when he wasn't looking.”

“Good one!” Vriska chirped, raising her hand for a quick high-five with her old buddy.

Tavros rolled his eyes and sighed. He watched the two converse for a moment, but he felt like something was off. The way she smiled, the way she acted, it all seemed... Planned.

He wondered if he was just losing it.

“Tavros, are you even listening to me?” She inquired and he glanced up, shaking his head.

“You said something?”

“Gosh toreadumbass! I thought you would've actually gotten a decent sponge by now, but I guessed wrong!”

“Vriska, please just shut up.”

“Oh man! Did Tavros just tell me to shut up? Look's like somebody finally pulled the grubloaf out of his spinal crevice!”

“You two are a mess.” Aradia sighed. Vriska glanced to her, before approaching the booth table and pulling something out of her pocket.

“One...Two...Three...Four...Five...Six...Seven...” She looked up with the biggest smile, as she sat the last beetle down. “EIGHT! What can I get for that, hmm?”

Tavros stared her down, a bead of sweat dripping calmly down the back of his neck and he swallowed. “Depends, what do you want to get for that?”

She gave a smirk, before leaning in and locking lips with him. Her fingers slid to his shoulders, and he kept his on the table. Her lips mashed against his, biting, suckling, her nails leaving marks in his neck and on his scalp, possibly even scraping along his horns. Tavros finally gave in, his arms sliding over the bench to grip her waist, yanking her close as a hand slid back, knotting in the back of her shirt as he tried to desperately pull her closer. All too soon, it was over.

She pulled back, smirking and leaned in, nipping the top of his sniffnode, before turning on a heel and starting to walk off. She turned for a moment, wearing a victorious smile. “See you later, pupa!” She called and was gone.

Tavros looked to Aradia. “...Did that just happen?”

“I think that totally is a thing that just happened.”


“Yeah...” Aradia glanced off, the mood seeming awkward, really. The other man returned, glancing between the two and deciding not to question it. Tavros had left the money where it was supposed to be and they were off, walking home. Tavros shoved his hands in his pockets.

He sighed, her taste still in his mouth and her eight beetles jingling in his pocket.

Chapter Text