Some days just wake up bad.
Yours starts with a nightmare where you’re lost in a maze of white hallways and Sollux won’t stop yelling at you. At one point he starts floating like some fucked up scarecrow crackling electricity everywhere. His jaw unhinges horribly and all the twisted, hateful things he’s saying derail into enraged howling.
Then the dream goes all fuzzy and suddenly Sollux is gone and it’s you yelling at you, awful, gutpunching truths about how stupid and useless you are, how everything good you touch ends up ruined. Your doppelganger hovers near no matter how many corners you turn. Sometimes he’s behind you and you can hear him laughing. Sometimes he’s in front of you and you can hear him screaming and punching walls.
You catch up with yourself and he’s off in his own head, slamming doors and breaking shit, and at that point he stops sounding like you and starts sounding like Dad, ranting about that bitch, that stupid fucking bitch, did she honestly think he wouldn’t FIND OUT?
You wake up making these little choked gulps and tears are streaking down your face. Eridan is jiggling your shoulder and looking uncomfortably horrified, like he’s nervous about touching you. You can’t help it, you sit up and drag him into your arms because you need somebody now.
He goes all stiff and awkward and pats your head like he’s afraid your hair’s gonna up and bite him. “Shoosh Gam, c’mon, it’s fine, you were just dreamin’. C’mon, let me go. Go the fuck back to sleep you poor idiot, it ain’t even 7:00 o’clock yet.”
You sniffle and loosen your arms. “Shit.”
“Yeah, I know.” He is smiling slightly in the sliver of light shining in from the hallway. “But now you can go back to sleep and dream a ninja titted bitches or whatever goes on underneath that sad fuckin’ mess a curls you got.”
You wipe at your face and nod as he crawls back into his bed, even though you know sure as speckled eggs that you’re not sleeping anytime soon. You lie down. Your chest hurts all over again with this deep, awful sadness and you almost prefer the fucking nightmare to the knowledge that you pissed off Sollux yesterday and now he ain’t talking to you no more.
You hadn’t mentioned the incident to anyone—it felt too raw and you were terrified anyone you told would judge the shit out of you for messing with some poor fucked up kid who just wanted to be left alone and you were too stupid to see. You stayed quiet and withdrawn, and nobody pressed you too much. You’ve had bad days before, when expressing the tangled snarl of thoughts in your head felt so hard that you felt like you couldn’t even open your own mouth, and they know when it’s best to leave you alone for awhile.
You guessed Sollux didn’t bring it up with anybody either. You don’t know what to feel about that.
The rest of the day had passed in a blur while you played the incident through your mind so many times your head ached from it. Even after all that you still couldn’t parse just what you did to set him off. After awhile you gave up on trying to figure it out and just kept on dwelling, hurting yourself with the memory of him shoving you, how his eyes blazed over his glasses, how he seemed to slow time down with just how angry he was, how he threw his arms up in the air when he stalked off as if he were done with you, done with everything.
You don’t realize you’re doing it again until you blink and notice stripes of sunlight streaked across the wall.
Eridan’s bed is empty. Either something must have dragged his ass out of bed in a hurry, or you were off in your head for a hell of a lot longer than it felt—
The clock reads 9:19.
You’ve missed breakfast and you’re late for art therapy.
On a normal day you would be scrambling out of bed and throwing on clothes like the building was on fire, but not today. Today you huddle on the edge of your bed, bury your face in your hands, and try to stop your throat closing up because you missed breakfast and now it’s over and you missed the chance to start the day with everyone and nobody came and got you.
You fucking hate it when time gets away from you like that, like it’s too fast or too slow. Everyone’s running at a different pace than you and leaving you behind, and fuck, you want Tav, you want Tav, the realization hits you so hard that you blurt a choked sound into your hands and rock—
Equius’s voice. You don’t have to look at him to know the sight of you like this disturbs the fuck out of him. You feel his hands on your rounded shoulders and burrow into him. He shifts, keeping a polite distance between your bodies—you try not to take it personal; he’s never been much of a cuddler—but he rumbles this pitying ‘hmm’ like you’re this broken thing he wants to fix. His hands stay on your shoulders and you feel slightly better.
You talk to his knees. “Bad news all around, bro. I need Tav, you know where he’s at?”
“I’m afraid Mr. Nitram is out sick today—”
What little composure his presence lent you promptly evaporates, and the sudden absence of it leaves you no less dismayed than if the fucking floor went and dropped out from under you. Your face crumples and you start bawling in a way you haven’t since you first arrived here, these great, heaving sobs that leave you shaking. You feel Equius startle.
“Gamzee. Gamzee. Please calm down—”
“Oh fuuuck, oh fuck, oh fuck-”
You’re trying, you really are, but it’s like you’re possessed or something, once it starts this shit just won’t stop. Some distant part of you stands aside, separate and baffled, as you completely lose your shit in Equius’s arms.
“Shitshitshitshitshit oh g-god fucking damn it this is motherfucking awful man what do I even do—”
“Gamzee.” His voice is sharp enough to stop up the words rushing out of you, but it doesn’t boom in that way it does when you’ve genuinely fucked up. You manage to clamp down on yourself. He waits, making absolutely certain you’re not going to start up again. When he speaks his voice is gentler. “Language, please.” You cringe more, but he gives you a pat and continues. “Would you like to stay in the comfort room? Did you need to speak with someone?”
You don’t know. Decisions are hard. You’re still hiccuping like some little kid, your face is a mess, and your head is goddamn pounding right behind the backs of your eyes, little sharp flares of pain moving in rhythm with your pulse.
“My head hurts so motherfucking much.”
The words come out all strangled, your voice cracking on the last word. You dare to look up at him and the worried way his eyebrows are all scrunched up over his shades makes you hurt to look at.
“Let’s get you to the comfort room. We’ll turn the lights down low, I’ll get you some water and some Tylenol, and you may stay there as long as you need to.”
You nod, and the relief that shudders through you is overwhelming. He knows you so well it’s scary sometimes. You’d hug him if you weren’t already hugging him. When you wipe at your face with your hands, he produces a kerchief from some magic pocket you can’t see. You notice his nails are painted this beautiful shimmery green, like beetle wings, and smile a little.
His voice is like a steady hand on your head as he helps you stand and lets you lean on him.
“Come along. Don’t worry about changing out of your pajamas for now, just put on your slippers, please. Are you cold? I’ll fetch you some blankets. Here we are, it’s just this way.”
The halls are mercifully empty when he leads you out of your room, leading you by your arm like you’re a little old lady. You sigh and press your face into his shoulder, away from the lights.