in which gamzee is made to talk about his feelings
The thing you get told from wrigglerhood is that you’re better than this. You’re a motherfucking highblood, you get told time and again, by adults who look so disgusted by you it’s like it takes all their willpower not to gut you. Maybe make a fuckin’ snack out of you.
It brings a goddamn smile to your face every time you think of how pissed off those pieces of shit were when you moved out of New Alternia and into mixed society.
“What the fuck is this shit in your freezer?” calls a voice from the kitchen, and you wince, glowering at the night air. This dude won’t fucking leave, and now he’s judging your choices in groceries, sounds like. But you’re not done smoking, so Dave is going to have to wait.
He doesn’t give you a choice, and he comes out onto the terrace, plunking down next to you with a little groan. His ankle’s almost healed from last week, and he doesn’t like to show weakness, but he’s too tired to front right now. “Where’s mine?” Dave asks, nodding his chin at the cigarette you’re almost finished with.
“Up your ass. I only got this one left in the pack.” You take a drag, scowling.
“Yeah, but sharing is caring, babe.” He grins, like he thinks all these red nicknames are fucking cute. You stub your cigarette out on his naked arm to tell him what you think of that, and he hisses, but you gotta give him credit for taking it without a lot more noise. It’s one of the many reasons you can respect this particular human fleshbag as a legitimate kismesis.
“I’m just fuckin’ teasing you, you big whiny baby,” Dave grouses. You stiffen up when he leans against you. “It’s not like I wanna hold you tenderly, brushing your sparkling yaoi tears from your sparkling yaoi eyes—”
“From my fucking what?” You’ve got a gist of what he’s saying—you’ve got a fucking internet connection, after all—but you’re not sure you like it.
“Man, your sense of humor is fuckin’ dead tonight, you know that?”
And maybe he’s got a point. A couple of weeks ago you would have grinned at Dave’s weird human bullshit, clipped him one and maybe made out on the terrace, in full view of the neighbors. Fuck ‘em.
But then last week he got all red on you. Right in the middle of fucking. You ended up finishing anyway, but afterward you can’t take Dave’s pet names and irony shit the same way anymore. There’s that chance he’s being sincere, and it makes you feel sick. You’re almost 12 sweeps old, and isn’t that too old for all this quadrant-flipping bullshit? Or too young, maybe. You’re pretty sure it’s too old, though.
When you don’t answer, he sighs and gets to his feet. “I guess I’ll head out, then, if you’re not gonna fucking entertain me.” Dave starts to head inside, and you grab him by the ankle just as he takes a step; he very nearly crashes to the carpeting inside, and when he turns to look at you it’s with the dirtiest look he’s given you all evening. You finally grin.
“What.” He spits it.
Your grin fades into a grimace. “Look,” you say, gritting your teeth, “we gotta...” You brace yourself. “We gotta fuckin’ talk.” It feels like you just stabbed yourself in the thinkpan.
“I thought that was too red for you,” he taunts, wiggling his fingers at you when he says the word red. “Or too human, or something.”
“Yeah, well, it was my dumb ass who got into a quadrant with a dumbass human who don’t know no better,” you admit, and he finally moves back onto the terrace. “And you don’t fuckin’ listen to Karkat.”
“That’s because he never shuts the fuck up, so most of it is filler,” Dave snorts as he retakes his seat next to you.
“Yo Pot, have you met Kettle?” you snort in return, and he yanks on one of your horns. You get him back with a nick across the cheek, to match the healed cut you gave him at the fight club last week.
“Alright, so talk, now that I’m apparently not going home.”
This is the kind of shit you hate. It’s not just that you’re pitch as fuck for Dave; it’s that you swear to god you’re not built for redrom. Your moirallegiance with Karkat is unbalanced and it makes you feel bad, but the little dude never says anything about it.
“I’m waiting.” His impatience shows on his face.
“That shit you said last week,” you say at last, and you already want another cigarette. You can sense Dave settling next to you, though, like his whole body is saying Oh.
“Look, I know you trolls got like, all sorts of, I dunno, weird rules about how to date each other—”
“No more than humans got mad weird rules,” you interrupt.
“—But,” Dave continues, ignoring you, “if what I said about, you know, needing you and shit, if that’s freaking you out, you just pretend that shit never happened. We can be cool about this, right? I can play by your weirdo alien rules of ass-humping.”
“What.” It’s not so harsh this time.
“I think you need a fuckin’ matesprit. Somewhere else to channel all your dumbass red emotions, stop letting ‘em bleed into this.” You let your finger swing back and forth in the air between the two of you. “I’m pitch as fuck for your shitty self. Ain’t no room for anything else.”
“Fuck you,” Dave snaps, almost before you can finish talking. “Don’t you tell me what to do with my goddamn life, or where to stick my dick. I’m not gonna go running to some other troll for bullshit cuddles and tender lovemaking, I don’t do that shit. And I’m sure as fuck not gonna subject another human to your fucking quadrant shit when it’s still not that many humans who got even half the grasp I got on the topic.” He gestures violently as he speaks. “You say I’m a clueless fuck about quadrants? Imagine some other poor schmuck who’ll just think I’m being a two-timing piece of shit. And they’d probably be right.” He exhales hard at the end of it all, hugging his knees for a second before he lets go and straightens his legs out. “Why don’t you have any fucking beer in your fridge?”
“Because you fucking drink it all,” you answer, pretty mildly considering everything that just came tumbling out of Strider’s mouth. “Just try it, is all I’m saying.”
“Fuck you. I hate dating around.” He huffs again, upper lip twitching after the fact.
“I didn’t say you had to do all that,” you say, flicking him in the side of the face. “I already got the perfect motherfucker in mind.” This matchmaking shit feels weird, but then again interspecies relationships have no set rules.
“Oh yeah?” Dave couldn’t sound more skeptical if he tried, drumming his fingers on the terrace floor.
“Yeah. My bro Tavros.”
“Oh, fuck no.”
sorry it's such a short opening chapter but i was excited and kind of wanted to get it up and running! anyway more soon, including more tags ahaha
in which gamzee plays matchmaker with mixed results
When Gamzee messages you to tell you that you’re going on a date, you wince in real time and get ready to tell him, yet again, that you just don’t think it’ll work out between the two of you. It’s not that you don’t value him as a friend, really you do, but—
Then he clarifies that you’re going to be meeting up with Dave Strider. And you delete everything you’ve just typed, and swallow. Hard.
You say that’s not a very funny joke, Gamzee.
He says he’s not joking, and that you can kick his ass yourself if he turns out to be lying. You smile a little at that, because there’s no way you could ever beat Gamzee in a fight. It’s nice of him to pretend for you.
The restaurant Dave picks is pretty nice for one that will allow you in. It’s not that you’re a troublemaker, because really, you do your best to keep your head down. It’s just that once you hit 8 sweeps and applied to leave your district, you had to go in for a medical documentation like every other troll coming of age, and the medical officer had shaken their head after measuring your horns. A week after moving into your new apartment in New York, you received a letter from the city legally banning you from most forms of public transportation, as well as certain tourist-heavy neighborhoods during peak hours (which they helpfully listed for you). You did wonder how the city expected to enforce this completely, but then again you’ve seen human law enforcement in action. You’d rather not press your luck.
Dave pulls the chair out for you with a flourish, and you have to stop yourself from giggling. It’s undignified and probably uncool to do so. There’s no Alternian cuisine on the menu, which suits you just fine, because you don’t really have a taste for that stuff; the only ones who really partake of it are Alternia-hatched highbloods, and certain fetishistic humans who like to talk a lot of hot air about their refined taste buds. That, and it’s incredibly expensive because there’s not really a means to reproduce it faithfully, so certain ingredients have to be engineered.
You’re nervous, and it’s lucky for you that Dave can fill the silence so well. You’ve had an enormous flushcrush on Dave for sweeps now, embarrassing as it is to admit. He’s just so... What’s the word you’re looking for? Cool? Smooth? Gamzee tells you that that really isn’t the case, and you suppose you should believe someone who’s so close to Dave, but then again they are kismeses.
At his suggestion, the pair of you go back to Dave’s place after dinner. The floor is a tangle of wires, and you trip more than once; you try not to take it personally when he laughs, trying to laugh a little yourself. He looks like he respects that, though.
His DJ equipment way outclasses anything you have at home in your small-time efforts to create music. You have GarageBand—he has a rig and a proper set of turntables. Personally, you’re content to just admire his equipment, and you say as much before you can stop yourself.
“Admiring Dave Junior?” Dave asks, thrusting his hips out as he gestures at his crotch, his hands like a frame. You flush bronze and look away, because as much as you would like to, you know, admire that equipment, too, you’ve kept your crush a secret for so long you can’t shake those habits of denying yourself.
“Hey man, it’s alright, it’s cool,” he says, taking a seat next to you on the couch. “If you wanna look, I give you full permission. I’m Willy Wonka, and this is your golden ticket to the willy show.” That makes you snort-laugh, if only because you never thought you’d hear Dave Strider refer to his genitals as a willy. “I mean, this isn’t some friend-date.” He pauses. “Unless you want it to be, in which case I can just haul my ass all the way back to the Bronx just to yuk it up in Gamzee’s dumb face.”
“Wha—no, no, uh, it’s not a friend-date. It’s not. Ha, ha...” You put a tentative hand over his, which is currently resting on his own knee. You think you see a flicker of a smirk, and he squeezes your hand with his other one. Then he shifts to grasp that hand and pull you up from the couch, leading you to his DJ equipment.
“That’s a lot of knobs,” you say, and Dave is laughing again as you realize what you just said. “I mean buttons! And sliders! Ugh, why are there so many words for human bulges?” you whine, trying and failing not to blush again. You’re too old to be getting so embarrassed by silly bullshit like this.
“Because human ‘bulges’ are fucking great, that’s why,” Dave murmurs into your shoulder. You shiver a little bit, and not in a bad way. He’s really close to you, presumably just to watch you fuck up his presets, but he doesn’t say anything when you hit play and start pushing sliders experimentally. You’re not sure what he left in here last, until it becomes clear that it’s a remix of a sample dialogue from My Little Pony. Your own laughter takes you by surprise as much as the choice of music, but then again, you should have expected as much from a Strider.
“Just fuck around,” Dave suggests, and his voice is a little low for that to be totally innocent. You think. “We’re not doing any real work tonight, that would be time-consuming and kind of annoying.”
After a good 20 minutes, you’re actually having some fun with it; you haven’t changed the song drastically, but you like the added elements and you think it’s a pretty good beat. You let yourself smile, and that’s when Dave gets the drop on you.
“You’re pretty fuckin’ cute when you smile, you know that, right?” he says, which is when you realize that he’s pressed up against your back, so you’re not even sure how he figured out you were smiling. Oh, except probably you laughed a little, and you personally find it hard to laugh without smiling. “I mean, uh, pitiable. Pitiful. Whatever word it is you trolls equate to cuddly bullshit.”
“Dave,” you say with a sigh, turning down the music. “Did Gamzee put you up to this?”
He doesn’t move. “A little. Who cares?”
“It’s not right. You don’t really like me like that.” You feel stupid for saying this stuff, but you’d rather not become what humans refer to as a “pity-fuck”, as nice as the term actually sounds to you.
“Whoa. Stop.” He detaches from you and moves to your side, where he can get a look at your face. “Did you or did you not have fun tonight?”
“Well, yeah.” You shrug.
“And what have I done tonight to make you feel like I don’t like you?” His eyebrows pop up from behind his shades.
“I mean, nothing, I guess,” you admit, laughing a little bit at even that brief bit of expressiveness.
“So quit it.” Like it’s that easy, and he catches you rolling your eyes. “’Sides, I mean, it’s nice with you, you know?” You don’t realize right away that Dave’s leading you by the hand again, this time back to the couch. “It’s not all strict rules about what kind of a relationship we’re in, or what we’re not allowed to talk about, it’s just, you know.” He sits down, and you follow. “It’s nice. Easy.” Dave’s leaning in. “Fun.”
The thing about kissing Dave is that nice doesn’t quite cover it. You’re not that great at kissing, especially because you’re trying not to tear Dave up, but he’s pretty good at making up for your ineptitude and dodging your teeth. His fingers push into your mohawk and tangle there, which gives him a better grip to push deeper into the kiss, get wilder with it.
And then he’s actually pulling at your hair, yanking your head back to bite at your neck, very goddamn suddenly. You gasp more with surprise than anything else; his attentions do feel pretty good considering his teeth could never hope to pierce your skin, and he’s definitely passionate about it, breaking up the bites with kissing and sucking. It’s just... You push at his head, and he comes up immediately with kind of a confused fish face that makes you laugh inappropriately.
“What?” he asks, trying to rearrange his fish face to something a little more dignified.
You rub at the patch of scalp he’d been pulling on, grimacing. “You’re just a little, uh, that was a little black? I mean, for me.”
“The fuck?” There’s anger in Dave’s eyes for a hot second, but it quickly gets replaced with understanding and even a little embarrassment. As much embarrassment as he’d willingly show you, anyway. “Oh. Oh, Jesus Tav, are you a fucking stickler for these dumbass rules too?” That might be as close to an apology as you’re gonna get.
“They’re not dumb,” you say with a frown. “It’s my culture. Which, uh, maybe you didn’t notice but there’s not that many of us? And there’s all kinds of laws prohibiting us from being ourselves?” You pause and listen to what you just said. “I mean, uh, wow, not like that. I didn’t mean to get that angry, over you just pulling my hair a little, I mean it’s not that big of a deal—”
You look at him, rolling the side of your lower lip between your teeth.
“It’s okay, alright? I’m sorry, I’ll like, respect your culture and shit.” He does look adequately sheepish, you think. “The sweetest, gentlest makeouts you ever had.” He leans in again.
It’s incredibly difficult to resist him. So you don’t.
In the end, “nice” doesn’t do this night justice. Maybe you really should thank Gamzee later, sincerely, is what you think with Dave’s dick in your mouth. He told you to watch the teeth so you do, maybe a little too much but that’s probably your own paranoia that you’re terrible at everything you do. Right now that fear isn’t getting much validation, because Dave’s whole body is undulating with what your tongue is doing to him. You don’t have a lot of experience with human genitalia, but it seems pretty simple in comparison to yours. Light touches make him shiver; massaging circles along the shaft do even better.
After he comes, he exhales a short puff of air and sinks down against his couch cushions. “Holy shit,” he says, laying the back of one loosely curled hand against his flushed forehead. “I, uh, wasn’t expecting that. From you. I mean—”
“I’m not a prude,” you say as you lay your head on Dave’s naked thigh, making sure your horns are parallel to his hips. The skin feels like burning. “I like the traditional rules for quadrants? But, I also like having fun? So, uh...” Oh good, you’re resorting to up-speak. You want to slap yourself a little.
“You’re a fuckin’ dreamboat is what you are,” Dave murmurs, running a rather affectionate hand through your hair, and you blush bronze. “Lemme do something for you.”
“Uh, let me just get a glass of water,” you say, rising. As much as you hate to break the mood, the aftertaste of Dave’s genetic material is kind of like what your mouth tastes like in the morning, and it’s not pleasant.
“Sure, Tav,” he replies, his eyes starting to clear of afterglow. As you move toward his kitchen, you see him pull out his phone. You can already see greyed-out purple text from previous conversations, which means he’s texting Gamzee. That makes you smile briefly.
Then you realize that he's texting his kismesis, casual, friendly even, and the smile drops. You hurry to the kitchen, and stay there long past finishing your glass of water.
i've really been building this au in my spare time and you guys i'm, wow, incredibly excited to write this? so stay tuned!
in which tavros is the most mature troll in his social circle today
It takes you a week to muster up the courage to ask Gamzee about what you saw. When he messaged you the day after the date, you did thank him. A lot. Then Dave asked you on another date, seemingly of his own volition, and you’re not sure you wanna question it. Or, you know, ruin it, as you’re wont to do.
But it’s eating you up inside, knowing that you might be interfering in someone else’s red romance. Especially Gamzee’s; he’s one of your best friends. So you walk to his place, from the apartment you share with Aradia in Red Hook, to his place in Kingsbridge. It takes you forever, but you’re used to it. After all, it’s pretty much the only way you get anywhere, especially with the danger you pose on a bike at speeds above 5mph.
Besides, you think this is worth saying in person.
When you arrive, Gamzee laughs at the way you have to sidle to get through his apartment door, but it’s a friendly laugh. You can tell he’s been taking his medication, and despite your feelings about anti-troll laws you’re glad. The powdery blue pills do a lot to curb a lot of his more unpredictable behavior, and in your humble opinion that lets his real personality shine through.
“Hey, Tavbro,” he says with a wide grin as he closes the door behind you. “In the neighborhood, huh, motherfucker?”
“Ah, well, you know. I was just out for a walk,” you say, waving it off. He actually hates it a lot when he hears about how restricted your movement is. And you hate how that makes him act, in turn. “And, uh, I wanted to talk to you! So, I, dropped by. Yeah.” You look around, shrugging your thumbs into your front jeans pockets nervously. “Jesus, Gamz, hire a maid.”
“I’m comfortable with it, and so’s Dave,” Gamzee says with his own shrug. It unnerves you how he doesn’t even seem to notice how he brings Dave’s opinion into it. “Is it really bothering you that fuckin’ much?” He tries not to swear as much around you, knows how even though you know that’s just how he talks, it makes you feel threatened.
“I guess not,” you say, stepping over something you can’t quite identify in the dark. You’re glad you’re wearing shoes.
“I do admit it’s kind of a fuckin’ mess in the living room, like, the couch is kinda swarmed,” he admits, scratching the back of his head as he looks at the mess in question. “Let’s go chill in the respiteblock, I’ll grab us some drinks. What you want, Tav?”
You don’t correct his terminology; he grew up in New Alternia 5 after he left the nursery, and the highbloods of that district liked to use old world terms for things. You hear that it wasn’t like that when they first landed, that things like “ablution trap” were considered words used by lowbloods like you. Funny how things change.
You say water is fine, and head into his bedroom. As you sit on the corner of the mattress you wonder if he ever had access to sopor slime, if it’s even possible to create here on Earth. Maybe some kind of substitute. And you wonder what that might have been like.
When he returns he’s got a sweaty glass of water for you, and a glass of purple fizziness for himself that matches his blood color. You wrinkle your nose; for a guy with a fair amount of money, you don’t understand why Gamzee drinks Tropical Fantasy. When you were between nursery and adulthood you and the other young beings you hung out with called it “cancer soda.” It’s fifty cents for a 21oz bottle for a reason.
“You sure you don’t want some?” he asks as he sits down, and you hold your hand out immediately—no, you’re good. You take a sip of your water to show just how good you are without purple-flavored soda. He shrugs again, as if to say Your loss, and you try not to look grossed out again when he takes a long swig. “So tell me what the fuck’s on your mind, aside from that magnificent rack you got to either side of it.”
“Uh, well,” you begin, rolling your glass between your hands before it proves too slippery to keep doing that. Gamzee’s put you on the spot now, and despite going over just what to tell him on your walk uptown, you hadn’t quite rehearsed how to begin. “It’s, uh, it’s Dave. It’s about Dave.” You look at Gamzee with apprehension, rolling your lower lip.
“The fuck do you mean, about Dave?” he asks, brow furrowing. “I thought you were having a lot of goddamn fun after I set you cats up.”
“W-well no, I mean, yes! Definitely, ahaha, definitely fun.” You blush just thinking about it, which brings a grin of mischief to Gamzee’s face. “But, that’s not what this is about.”
He definitely looks more troubled now. He takes another short sip of his soda and sets it down by the side of the bed, where he won’t kick it over by mistake. “So talk to me, Tav.”
You hesitate again, looking down at your glass. “Do you um, do you notice, maybe? That you and Dave, you kind of... You kind of vacillate.”
The way he tenses tells you that maybe this isn’t the big surprise to him you thought it was. “I dunno the fuck you mean,” he mutters.
“Look, I mean, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing!” you try and assure him, hand hovering around his shoulder like you’d like to pat it comfortingly. (You don’t.) “It’s a relationship with a human, things are bound to get, uh, confusing. Or just different.” Your hand withdraws, and you take a drink to wet your suddenly very dry mouth. “It’s okay to blend quadrants, I mean, it’s the 21st century. I just, um, I don’t want to come between you two. You know.”
“We are motherfucking strictly pitch,” Gamzee snaps, and you hate the way his expression makes you flinch. You feel like a shitty friend, especially when he softens up immediately, looking guilty and sad. “Tavros...”
“No, no, sorry, just, old habits is all, it’s not your problem,” you babble, not looking him in the face. “You’re doing a lot better these days. I’m, uh, we’re all proud of you, Gamzee.”
He sighs loudly, and then Gamzee is leaning into you. It’s kind of pale, the way he seems to be looking for comfort in you, and you’ve already filled that quadrant with Aradia, but you don’t mind. It’s Gamzee. He needs you. Aradia’s told you as much before. “I’m fucked up, Tav,” he croaks, and you tentatively stroke the hair between his horns. “This dumbass human got me all kinds of twisted up and I don’t know what to fuckin’ do.”
“Just, uh, go with it,” you try and advise. You worry that any advice you give will backfire, but that at least seems to make sense. “See where it goes?”
“I know you’re flushed for him, that’s why I set you fucks up,” Gamzee mumbles. “And that asshole seems to like you.”
“He hangs out here a lot, just for fun,” you point out. “You text each other just to shoot the shit. You, uh, you give a shit what he thinks of the state of your apartment.”
“That don’t mean shit,” he says as he buries his face in your shoulder, like that’ll make the facts go away.
“You buy the brand of beer he likes,” you add with a sigh. “I know you don’t like Arrogant Bastard.”
“I’m not fuckin’ flushed for that piece of shit!” he shouts, but it’s muffled by flesh and fabric. “I just don’t wanna hear his bitching about my beer when he comes over and won’t leave!”
“He’s human. You could, uh, literally kick his ass out the door.” You rub at the base of one of his horns a little; you know that helps to soothe you, sometimes, and you see no reason it wouldn’t work for another troll.
“I’m not goddamn fucking flushed for Dave Strider!” he protests again, and before you can give more evidence to the contrary, he blurts out, “I’m flushed for you, you stupid fuck!”
Your hand drops away from his horn, but you don’t push him away. Not immediately, anyway. Gamzee confessed to you when you were both six sweeps old, when he was still living in the district, and you convinced him back then that he didn’t really know you, it was just over the internet, and a flushed quadrant is too big of a deal to treat so casually. You added something about pheromones and chemistry, too, you think. But now he’s been living in the city, and you hang out in person a lot. You’re not stupid; you can pick up signals. But with the way things have been going between him and Dave, you thought maybe his flushcrush on you would fade.
“You know I can’t,” you say carefully, pushing at Gamzee gently to make him sit up.
“Sure you can,” he says unhappily, staring at where the wall meets the floor. “All you gotta say is, ‘Yo Gamz, I’m open to that, let’s give this shit a shot,’ and we’re in like sin.”
“Please, Tav,” he whines. It agonizes you to see him like this, and now that he’s confessed yet again you’re definitely sure you’re the only one he’s willing to show this side of himself. (Unless he’s unwittingly given Dave that privilege, too.) “I shouldn’ta fuckin’ set you up with that dick Strider, I’m sorry, really. I shoulda just been brave, shoulda just...”
“No,” you say, and it takes everything you’ve got to say it with conviction, even though your voice shakes anyway. “I just, I can’t deal with, um,” you wave in the general direction of his thinkpan, “all of that. When you get angry, or violent...”
“I wouldn’t hurt you,” he says, mumbling again. He looks sick. “Not fuckin’ ever.”
“I can’t,” you reiterate.
“I don’t know why you even fuckin’ came over here to tell me I must be flushed for my fuckin’ kismesis, anyway,” Gamzee spits out, bitterness overtaking his features. “I ain’t fuckin’ made for redrom, that much is motherfuckin’ clear.”
“Gamzee, stop,” you sigh, and this time there’s no hesitation when you massage your thumb around the base of his nearer horn. “Just because we can’t be together like that doesn’t mean you can’t be red with someone else, you know.” To be honest, you think Gamzee’s being kind of a brat right now, but saying so would just worsen things. “Mixing your quadrants isn’t, uh, the worst thing in the world. I think Karkat does it?”
“Karkat’s a fuck of a lot smarter than me,” Gamzee says quietly, but he seems to be chilling out. Good. You don’t know what to say to that, though, so you scoot closer so you can work both horns, and he ends up scooting his ass away so he can lay his head in your lap. “I’m sorry I’m such a piece of shit, Tav.”
“The only thing you have to be sorry for, is drinking that terrible soda,” you say, and that gets a laugh out of him. Whew. “Look, just uhh, just talk to Dave, okay?”
“I already talked to him goddamn enough playing matchmaker,” he snorts.
“You text him all the time,” you remind him, tapping him on the cheekbone to emphasize each of the last three words. “You can talk to him a little more about, um, quadrant stuff. It’s important. I want you to, okay?”
“You’re not my moirail,” he grumbles, but there’s no anger behind the words, and you smile despite yourself.
When you leave, Gamzee is almost as calm as when you arrived, and despite polite protesting you let him hail you a cab. You’re allowed in those, so long as the driver is okay with it, and so long as that same driver has troll insurance. It takes a few tries (okay, more like ten) but Gamzee finally manages to flag down a driver who will drive you all the way back to Red Hook, and he presses a handful of twenties into your palm, stepping back onto the curb before you can give them back.
If you’re honest with yourself, you really do like Gamzee. A lot. If he were a lower blood color, something green maybe, you’re pretty sure you’d already be matesprits. When you were young, before you really understood how Gamzee functioned, you were head over heels flushed for him, after all.
You just can’t take that chance. Not again.
Faygo isn't really widely available in NYC, so I substituted... Tropical Fantasy soda. It's a really generic-looking soda with a low low price that's generally only sold in areas with a heavy minority population, and it's got a weirdass history if you google it. I'm not actually sure if it's sold outside of New York. :T
in which vriska is a 8ig fat tattletale
wow this fic is going.... fast!! i hope my actual brainstorming can keep up with the pace i've been churning these babies out. :> and i'm glad to see so many people like it, ahhhh thank you all so much!
we have our first ever fanart!! :D (by narco here on ao3, or narcoleptic95 on tumblr)
and i did a really quick shitty sketch of what nuclearstuck!dave looks like, in all his black albino irony-loving glory with a gumby fade
anyway i hope you guys enjoy this next chapter! the sheer amount of comments have been a great incentive to keep me writing, and don't be afraid to say anything you'd like to see, or think might happen. :>
You are the last of your circle of friends who lives in New Alternia 5. True that it’s a bit lonely; true that the district is a bit desolate. But you’re 12 sweeps old already, and it seems to you like it’s too late to adjust to mixed society.
That and you don’t really care for humanity. As a rule they’re puny and soft, and you resent them for being able to exert so much power over their betters.
New Alternia 5 is mostly purplebloods, with a smattering of indigobloods such as yourself. There’s not a lot of Earth-hatched trolls; you suppose to most young trolls, mixed society seems a lot more exciting. For you, the district is safe and familiar, and you like that. You’re also one of a very small number of young trolls who knows their parent. Darkleer lives in a different part of the district, but it’s not a very big place; you visit him sometimes, with his permission, and he educates you on the history of the Alternian Empire, as well as how to handle various kinds of weaponry, and how to channel the brute strength he’s passed on to you.
The downside of the district is that the human government was able to choose where it got built. Earth-hatched trolls have been able to adapt to the heavy pollution, more or less, but to the Alternia-hatched trolls, the Earth’s atmosphere is already foreign, full of antigens. By their own accounts, they are not the trolls they used to be.
The most important troll in the district is, without a doubt, the Grand Highblood. The human government recognizes him as a local leader, so they go to him when they want to enforce more horseshit on the segregated troll population. With an armed guard, always. Thanks to human meddling he’s forced to sign paperwork with what they deem to be a “proper” name. The name is stamped on all the paperwork you have to do in order to receive visitors, as well. It galls you to know something so intimate about one so respected.
Usually it’s Nepeta who bothers to visit you, but today you’re entertaining someone who doesn’t come by very often. She’s not even originally from this district. Nevertheless, you’re quite sure Vriska wouldn’t go through all the trouble it takes to see you in person if there weren’t a reason.
“Ugh, this place is a dump,” she says when you meet her at the gate, waving her hands around melodramatically. “Look at this shit. The sky is so dingy.”
“You had to sign nearly as many pieces of paper as I did,” you reply quietly as you hand in your stack of said paperwork. “You could have stayed at home. Emailed me.” The guard looks bored; she rifles through the bottom right corners to make sure everything is signed in more or less the same penmanship, and hands Vriska a sticker badge that gets shoved in her front pocket once you’re both a decent distance away from the gate.
“Email’s not nearly as fun,” she says in response to something you said five minutes ago. “Besides, mixed society can get so boring. So many rules! And humans don’t like me much.” She gestures at the hives dotting the streets here. “At least here is kind of cool, what with all the old creaky highbloods from the homeworld murder planet. If they weren’t so dusty and self-involved I’d want to hear their stories of what it used to be like.”
“Darkleer has told me many stories,” you say, a lot more warmly than before. You really do admire him. “Perhaps—”
“No, stupid, I came here to talk to you.” You’ve reached your hive, and like the gentleman you are, you let her in first. “At least the inside of your hive is like, eighty percent less shitty than the rest of this place. But of course you would be obsessed with upkeep on a place nobody but you and Nepeta ever see.”
“And you,” you remind her, but she just rolls her eyes and takes a seat in your recreationblock.
“Please tell me you’ve got something from the outside world for drinks,” she drawls, and you sigh as you serve two glasses from the enormous plastic container of spring water in your thermal hull. The water that comes through the taps is not fit to drink. “This is it?” she says as you hand her a glass, but she drinks it regardless; she knows the selection is bound to be limited.
“So what have you come to tell me?” you ask as you take a seat in the armchair catty-corner to the sofa. “I appreciate the company,” you add before she can stall with some rant about how tooooooootally ungrateful you are that someone came to visit you at all. “But you could have messaged me, and you’re not one to visit me on a whim.”
“Oh, I just wanted to see your face for this one,” she says, smirking into her glass as she crosses one leg over the other. “I heard there’s trouble in pitch paradise for your old kismesis.”
“Heard from where?” you ask sharply, trying not to seem too interested. You put your glass down gently on the coffee table; yours is actually titanium as opposed to Vriska’s guest-only glass, made from actual glass.
“Tavros, of course,” she says with no small amount of self-satisfaction. “He didn’t want to tell me, said it was none of his business, but I told him there was no way he could handle the burden of whatever Gamzee had told him on his own.”
“You are very manipulative,” you scold her, and she just laughs.
“No shit, Troll-lock Holmes!” Her language makes you frown, but she just laughs some more. “But look, see? It was for good reasons. I thought you might like to know what’s going on with him, after all. Do you two even talk anymore?” She puts her glass down too; she seems to make a point of putting it down with enough force to make a large clanking sound.
“Yes,” you say, taking a deep breath. Next time you’re going to deny her visitation request, you swear. You’re not so lonely that you have to put up with this. “Occasionally.”
“Basically what I’ve gathered is that Dave is a shitty kismesis,” she says, leaning back as she puts her feet up on your coffee table. You’re not sure your frown could get any deeper. “I knew this would happen, but nobody ever listens to me, so I didn’t say anything. Too bad.”
“What do you mean, a bad kismesis?” There’s no point in correcting her language; saying anything will just encourage her.
“He’s not just vacillating between quadrants. He’s mixing them all up. Black, red, even a little pale, I’ve heard.” Her shrug looks rehearsed.
“Tavros is not a very good troll, but he would never be so forthcoming about Gamzee’s personal business,” you say. “How do I know anything you’re saying is true?” You fix her with a stony look. “You are not known for being straightforward, you have to admit.”
“So I’ve got a bad rep. So sue me! Ugh, I go to all this trouble just for you, and you go and call me a liar.” She pulls a face that involves her tongue sticking out; you want to push it back inside her face. What an utter lack of class. “Look, all I know is, Dave is mixing quadrants on Gamzee, and it’s making Gamzee really miserable in a non-pitch way.”
“He’s a disgrace,” you say, dismissive and swift. “If he wishes to ruin his own quadrants, that’s none of my business. We were not good kismeses, anyway.”
“But you miss him, don’t you?” When you look up, there’s an oddly sincere look on Vriska’s face. Your silence tells her everything she needs to know, though, and the sincerity is interrupted by a wide smirk. “Yeah, I knew it. You’re a better kismesis for him, anyway; I’m pretty sure Dave can’t even break Gamzee’s skin.”
“That is his business,” you reiterate, but you falter.
After you’ve led Vriska out, you take some time to think, sitting alone in your hive. There’s a few things to weigh, but really, it doesn’t take you long to reach your conclusion. By the end of the night you find yourself in front of a door other than your own, and your fist raps out three nervous knocks.
The Grand Highblood welcomes you into his hive.
mostly gratuitous smut sorry i'm not sorry
To say Tavros’s apartment with Aradia is cramped is an understatement. When the wind comes through the windows just right, you can smell the water, and it’s not pleasant. The whole “take your shoes off by the door” thing seems pointlessly mannerly when the apartment itself is not much. The whole place is just two rooms with a bathroom and a few closets, although at least the bedroom is big enough for two twin beds.
“I thought moirails were kind of like, friends with benefits,” you say as you walk into the bedroom, and Tavros looks at you funny. “But you guys have twin beds like a TV couple from the 50s.”
“What benefits?” He sits on what you assume is his own bed.
“Dick-sucking benefits, obviously,” you reply as you come to stand in front of him. “Or, you know, the troll equivalent.” Being straightforward like this isn’t your usual style, but it riles Tavros up so easily that you can’t resist. Definitely right now he’s blushing, and looking away from your crotch.
“Dave, please! It’s not like that with Aradia!”
“But it is with me, right?” Your voice goes low, and when he looks up you’re already straddling his lap, knees on the bed by his hips.
“W-well, yeah,” he says with a nervous smile, and you’re off to the races. The thing that you’ve learned about Tavros is that even though in general he can be kind of prudish and shy, once you get him started he turns into this sex-starved maniac. Which is of course, you reflect as his enormous grey hands push your shirt up, incredibly fucking hot.
Your shirt flies into the corner of Tavros’s shared bedroom, and his thumbs graze your nipples more than a few times. You don’t think you’ve ever met a troll who didn’t get all weird and obsessive over human nipples; even that short fling with Sollux ended up being kind of a nipple party. Before you started fucking around with trolls, it didn’t do much for you, but you guess it’s kind of an acquired taste, because when Tavros drags his scary-ass teeth over your left nipple and then sucks it better, you throw your head back and groan a little. It’s damn good.
His shirts are all button-downs, because he can’t fit a standard T-shirt over his giant horns that span slightly wider than the bed you have him pinned on. With each button you undo, you kiss the skin it reveals. Tavros is a lot shorter than Gamzee, although still taller than you, but he’s a lot more solid, a lot of muscle with a layer of fat over it. His arms are as big around as your fucking skull, and sometimes it still amazes you how gentle he can be. Like right now, when he’s kissing you sweet and gentle, even though his hips are on another trip entirely. You can feel his bulge filling what little space is available in the front of his pants, mostly because he’s grinding up against you like it’s a goddamn contest.
When you pop open his pants and slide your hand down, his bulge comes up to say hello and twines around your wrist, already dripping. “Didn’t think you’d be the type to freeball,” you say with a grin, letting your fingers drift a little lower to tease the top edge of Tav’s nook.
“Free-what?” Tavros gasps, but you shut him up when you slide a finger inside. The first thing you notice is that his body temperature is like burning compared to Gamzee’s. His bulge is a lot smoother than Gamzee’s, but already you can tell the inside of his nook has a lot more folds and ridges. For a moment there you realize how much you keep comparing him to Gamzee, but you shrug it off as the fact that you can count the number of trolls you’ve slept with on one hand. Of course you’re going to compare them all, especially to the one you’ve fucked the most.
“Man,” you breathe as you add your middle finger to the party in Tavros’s nook, “you know, I thought I was gonna be good with like, I dunno, frotting, but Jesus, Tav.” He whines as you fingerbang him, his claws threatening to sink into your shoulders, and his bulge coiling up and down your arm for friction. “I can already tell your nook would be like goddamn heaven to fuck.”
“Y-you can,” he stammers, hips bucking up against your fingers. “You can do that, if—if you want...!”
“Is that what you want?” you ask, trying not to let your grin get too fiendish. “You jonesin’ for a taste of the infamous Strider cock, Tav?”
“Ugh, yes!” For all that he looks kind of delirious, Tavros manages to grab a pillow from above his head and smack you in the face with it. “I-I mean, jeez, what do you want me to say? ‘Please, Dave Strider, please put your weird rigid human dick in my nook, I uh, I need it so bad!’ There, I just said it, if that’s what you wanted!”
“Hey, I’m not complaining,” you say as you finally unzip and kick off your jeans, underwear and socks included. “I’m fuckin’ dying to bury myself in that sopping mess.”
“J-jesus!” Tav shrieks, and it strikes you that he’s not used to language like that. Too goddamn bad. You pull his pants the rest of the way off, let them fall anywhere that isn’t on the bed, and position yourself at his nook. “Sopping” is definitely an accurate description for it. And that’s definitely okay, because it’s not your sheets that are in danger.
“You definitely sure?” you ask again, because Striders are gentlemen, first and foremost. That’s the rule you’re going with today, anyway.
“I’m gonna hit you with the pillow, again, Dave...!”
You find out that Tav’s nook is fucking amazing. It’s hot and textured and those features get amplified when it squeezes around your cock. You can’t even move at first, because you’re pretty sure if you don’t take a minute to calm your shit you’re gonna blow your load instantly. And you tell him exactly that, which makes him turn a deep copper.
His bulge curls around your arm again as you pump the base in time to your thrusting, although it gets pretty erratic the closer you get. Those are definitely scratches Tavros is leaving on you, and there’s definitely a little bit of your blood on his lips when he meets your rough kisses with a moaning mouth, but right now you can definitely forgive him. He’s gasping something about a towel or something, but you’re kind of too buzzed out to hear and you come first, slamming your hips home and holding them flush.
By the time you come back around, hand still stroking around Tav’s bulge in short shallow movements, he’s already starting to spill onto his own stomach. He doesn’t come as much as Gamzee does, but you think he explained that to you once as a difference between highbloods and lowbloods. Or coolbloods and warmbloods, as the kids these days sometimes say, because some people try to pretend the bloodcaste system is completely obsolete.
“Holy shit,” you wheeze as you pull out and flop down next to him on the narrow bed. “Tav, you’re a beast.”
“S-sorry?” he says, anxious as he glances at you in his peripheral vision, not really able to turn his head when he’s flat on his back like this.
“No, no man, it’s... It’s a good thing,” you reassure him with kind of a laugh. “Jesus, how could you think that was an insult? What a weird fucking kid.”
“I’m probably a little older than you,” he says with a baby frown, looking down at his thumbs.
“Actually, I asked Gamzee and he assured me I’m a few months older. Like, six months.” You flick Tavros across the nose gently. “So shut the fuck up, whippersnapper, and take the compliment.”
He falls awkwardly silent, and you wonder just what you said wrong. Should you not bring up Gamzee ever? He should know by now you two are in a relationship, or else he’s as dumb as he comes off sometimes.
“About that,” he finally says when you open your mouth to ask. “Um, I know we’ve been.... We’ve been having fun. Like, lots of fun.”
“You mean like just now,” you deadpan.
“Y-yeah! Definitely, I mean, wow,” he says with a sincere smile. “It’s really good! Really fun. It’s just, uh, look.” He clears his throat. “I don’t... I don’t want to be in the way.”
“In the way of what?” You sit up a little, looking down at him.
“It’s just, I can tell you two have more than just pitch feelings? Like, you’re both just, really affectionate to each other sometimes, without any sarcasm or irony involved, and uh, there’s no place for me in that.”
“Dude, you can’t just fuck a dude and then lay this kind of shit on him. You know that, right?” Your knees come up and you fold your arms over them.
“I’m sorry! I mean, I just, wow, you’re right!” Tavros covers his face with both hands, clearly humiliated, and you sigh.
“Come on, Tav, I didn’t mean it like that. Quit it.”
“I didn’t mean to be, uh, I dunno, a tease? Wow I’m sorry—”
“Jesus Agatha fuckin’ Christie, Tavros, you’re fine, okay? We had good sex and you’re acting like that’s a crime against nature.” You pull his hands off his face, but he’s not having any of it, and you huff in frustration.
“Look, I try to adhere to all your weirdo troll rules about romance so long as I’m dating you guys, and no matter what I do it looks like I’m doing wrong! I stay monogamous, get a little friendly with a dude, and bam, I’m ‘mixing quadrants’ which is a huge fuckin’ no-no, I guess. I go out with another dude to be friendly with him instead since apparently those are the rules, and now that’s wrong, too. It already felt weird enough, like I’m fucking cheating on Gamzee, but here I am trying to be culturally sensitive and what the fuck do I get for it?” You throw your hands up, and fall back all over again. “Aaaarghh!”
The longer Tav’s silence lasts after your rant, the worse you feel. You didn’t mean to make the saddest troll you know even sadder.
“I think you guys are, uh, really well-suited to each other,” he says at last. “In both quadrants.” He’s very quiet. “And I don’t really fit in anywhere in that equation. It’s okay.”
“I feel like you’re leaving something out.” You turn over onto your side, and based on a few things you’ve heard here and there, you massage at the base of one of Tavros’s massive horns. Your guess pays off, and you can see his body visibly relax, sinking down into the mattress a little bit.
“It’s nothing,” Tavros murmurs, leaning into your touch a bit. “I don’t think we should see each other like this anymore, though.” That makes you frown. “Uh, stick with Gamzee.”
“I thought you were in troll-love with me, or something.”
“Wow Dave, uh, it’s not all about you, you know,” Tavros teases as his eyes shut. “But what I think or feel isn’t the point.”
“Bullshit.” You let go of his horn, and he opens his eyes again.
“Seriously though, Dave, you should talk to Gamzee about all this quadrant mixing business. And if he, um, gets fresh with you about it, say I told you to do it, and maybe he’ll listen?”
“Yeah right,” you snort, but you have to admit, the idea has taken root.
You both get cleaned up and dressed and spend a decent day playing video games that Tavros is way too good at, and watching cartoons that Tavros can quote way too easily. You call him Fluttershy at one point and he just stammers in a way that proves your point. He sees you out around 11pm, and you’re in such a good mood that you don’t really notice the strange blueblood that enters the building as you leave.
ok i've gotten to a point where i need to start drafting an outline so, nightly updates may not be such a thing anymore, but expect them pretty quickly anyway!! C:
mostly pesterlogs?? and we finally see john!
Sometimes you’re lazy about heading up to the Bronx, and you make Gamzee come over to your place instead. It’s not like you exactly enjoy transferring at Atlantic, although the long walk from the 1 train can be nice depending on your mood. You don’t pull this often, though, because Gamzee’s got a partial ban from the trains—he can take the trains between the three basic rush hour blocks, but otherwise a single step onto a train car is enough to earn him jail time.
It’s late morning though, and he’s got a few hours before all the grade school kids flood the subway, so you fucking insisted. Until he gets here, you’re languishing on your couch, messaging John as you continuously channel surf. You’re not sure why you keep paying for cable TV when everything seems to be shit programming.
TG: should i watch buffy the vampire slayer i mean that looks to be the only thing even close to quality thats on tv right now
EB: i thought whedon was too nerdy for you. :B
TG: im too old to explain my ironic ways to you egbert
EB: you’re also too old for this irony horseshit! i hope you know that.
TG: ugh touche if you ever catch me sporting an unmarked baseball hat over my balding dome and a pair of bullshit anime shades well into my thirties dont even confront me about it just take me out back old yeller style
TG: a single tear slides down your face as you cock the rifle
TG: im so sorry you whisper as you take aim at my unsuspecting smiling face full of trust and love for you
TG: at my funeral you sob uncontrollably for about a half hour until your dad hugs it out of you and then tells you hes made tiramisu
TG: and you run back inside tragedy forgotten
EB: you’ve thought about this way too much.
EB: also, I’m pretty sure I would cry over you for at least a whole day before forgetting you ever existed.
TG: thats harsh bro
EB: it was your idea!
You do end up settling for Buffy because it looks like there’s a mini-marathon happening on Chiller, and you’re mature enough to admit it’s got a lot of entertainment value. They look to be Spike-heavy episodes anyway, and that works for you.
TG: so listen i wanted to ask you a question about you and your troll wife if thats cool with you
EB: hehe, don’t let karkat hear you say that.
TG: ugh god i know it would be like the second coming of yellsus christ
EB: that was terrible and you know it.
EB: i hope you feel bad.
TG: shut up and let me ask you a question dipshit
EB: well maybe now i don’t want to answer! you’ve insulted my honor and my wife.
EB: haha jeez okay WHAT
TG: thank you jesus its like karkats inability to ever shut his fucking yapper is rubbing off on you
TG: look im just having an issue with this whole quadrant thing
EB: i thought karkat gave you a crash course?
TG: for one thing you know i dont listen to karkat
TG: for two a crash course leaves a man ill prepared for the reality of a bunch of trolls who want to hop on his dick but only with a whole bunch of strict nonsense rules about what kinds of affection hes allowed to show
TG: everything these stupid grey fuckwits say leaves me stranded out in the far reaches of the troll love galaxy
TG: confused and alone with only a weeks worth of tang
TG: and its not like i can ask just anyone
TG: not everyone is tolerant of interspecies lovin you know and i dont wanna end up on maury or something
TG: god forbid maury povich ever look me in the eyes
TG: he will fall down dead from the sheer hatred he finds there
TG: i turned that shit on ONCE in the past ten years and i was just really glad that there were no trolls in the room because wow
TG: seriously the day i meet him the last thing hell hear before death is an invitation to hell for every episode hes ever produced involving the word bug in the title
EB: wow dave, strong feelings.
EB: not that i blame you, i mean it’s utter shit.
EB: but uh, you got kind of off-topic. what did you actually mean to ask me?
TG: ugh no i know sorry it just really pisses me off
TG: gamzee doesnt know he has a vchip in his tv he thinks its just the government fucking with him again
TG: i blocked that channel on his tv though
EB: i thought you guys were kismeses?
TG: ugh see thats the problem i have you know the usual human attachments developing and its freaking him out
TG: like i really like our whole hatefuck rivalry thing going on but sometimes its kind of tiring and like
TG: sometimes i just wanna chill i mean tav talks about what a laid back dude he is and i wanna experience that too
TG: and hes all NO DAVE YOURE BREAKING THE RULES and tav agrees and i’m like you all fuckin suck why cant you just go with it
EB: have you talked to gamzee about it?
TG: its fuckin impossible
TG: but tav told me he talked to gamz about it a little bit and that hes taggin me in so
TG: i’m waiting for him to get his ass over here from the bronx
TG: hes only got a limited amount of time before the cops get on his ass for takin the train but he moves so fuckin slow some days
EB: haha wow.
EB: you just sound really invested in him, it’s impressive.
EB: when are you proposing, romeo? :B
TG: ugh shut up shut up shut uppppp
TG: you and karkles do that whole mixed quadrants thing right?
EB: oh i mean, uh, i guess? kind of?
EB: we don’t really think about it anymore, we just kind of let it happen however it wants to.
EB: although yeah come to think of it karkat used to have the same kind of quadrant panic?? haha so stupid.
EB: when you and i were on the verge of breaking up he apparently was having some kind of breakdown about giving me "pale" affection and something something, cheating, something something.
EB: not me! i wasn't the potential cheater in this situation. jeez dave.
TG: i didnt say anything
EB: i know what you were thinking, though! i did not cheat the entire time we were going out.
TG: i knew you wouldnt though im dave strider
EB: no dave stop. stop. this is going to be another stupid time-wasting rant.
TG: im irresistible even across state lines
EB: cut it out!
TG: ok fine whatever
TG: but okay so basically the answer im looking for is that everything worked out right
TG: with quadrant mixing
EB: basically yeah. it was a little bumpy at first with karkat always freaking out but he lets me get cuddly with him whenever now, without too much bitching. :B it’s nice.
TG: ok cool good to know
TG: ah shit i think thats him
TG: he always gets obnoxious with the doorbell that piece of shit
TG: go be with your wife egbert
EB: shut your stupid face! go romance your giant murderclown.
TG: wait what
ectoBiologist [EB] ceased pestering turntechGodhead [TG] --
You don’t have time for John’s stupid cryptic bullshit. That is definitely Gamzee abusing the shit out of your doorbell, and you swoop into action to go put a stop to that. You yank open the door and he ducks to come in before you can actually invite him in, but that’s par for the course. And just the same way he keeps your favorite beer on hand in his apartment, you keep 2-liter bottles of Tropical Fantasy around that go untouched except for when he’s around. You pour him a glass and bring it out into the living room to put it next to your own drink on the coffee table.
And he glares at it, the asshole.
“Ugh, just drink your shitty soda and don’t make a big deal out of it, for fuck’s sake,” you groan, swiping your own glass up to take a sip. “I mean, that’s like half the reason I invited you over. Tavros said he’d kick your ass if you got fresh with me about this.”
“Oh.” He doesn’t look all there today, and you have to keep your hands to yourself. Even if he’s less prone to freakouts than Karkat, he’s still got those hangups and you guess if you want this to work, you have to slow down a little.
“So, look, I don’t know what I’m supposed to say besides, uh, if you wanna give ‘quadrant mixing’ a chance, all you really gotta do it let it happen however it wants to happen, you know?” You feel so fucking awkward. “Like, if we wanna kick each other’s asses, then fine. We both know I’ll win anyway.”
“Fat chance, motherfucker,” he growls, but there’s a little smirk growing. This is familiar territory for him.
“And if we happen to stock each others’ favorite beverages, it’s not a big deal. And like if, I don’t fuckin’ know, you look all freaked out and I happen to give you a scalp massage around those weapons on your head, that’s no big either.” You try a shrug to mitigate your words, but Gamzee actually looks kind of nervous.
“Say something, asshole.”
“The fuck do you want me to say?” he says, an undercurrent of whining in his voice. “It’s not like I give such a huge shit about rules or nothin’, I mean I’m not fuckin’ Karkat or anything with his silly fuckin’ obsession with romance.” He snorts a little, smiling at the thought of his moirail. He does that a lot. “Just, you know, you get raised with certain ideas and it doesn’t occur to a motherfucker to that those ideas are rules.”
“What.” He spits the word out like a loogie.
“Just... Just come the fuck here. I’m gonna give you that fuckin’ scalp massage.” You gesture to your lap.
“Fuck no!” He takes a swig of his cheap soda, scowling at Dawn Summers being a brat onscreen.
“For someone who says he’s not hung up on rules you sure are acting like it, Gamz.”
“Fine! Motherfuck, fine!” He slams his drink down on your coffee table so hard you’re afraid he’s gonna break the glass, and then he’s actually moving into position, laying his long body along what parts of the couch it’ll fit on. He’s careful enough not to gore your neck or face as he lays his head on your chest. Your own head ends up being framed by them, and you take a moment to appreciate just how much bigger Gamzee is, physically. Even his head is probably at least 25 percent bigger than yours. And you start massaging, all over his scalp actually but concentrating around his goat horns.
You can actually start to feel him relaxing, and even though you knew that would work, especially after trying it out yesterday on Tavros, it still feels like a victory. Gamzee pulls out his phone as you work, checking his messages lazily.
“Yo, Dave?” he asks, and it’s weird to you how much softer his voice sounds when he’s all sacked out like this.
“You been hearin’ back from Tav? Only I keep messaging this motherfucker and getting nothing back, and that dude never leaves his client just fuckin’ open like that.”
“Uh, no, come to think of it, but I thought it might just be some kinda fluke. Like maybe Aradia messed with his laptop by accident.”
“Check your phone.”
“I’ve been on my phone all day talkin’ to John, I didn’t see anything from Tav.”
“Just check your fuckin’ phone!” Gamzee barks, and you roll your eyes as you comply.
Ducking under Gamzee’s horns, you reach for your phone on the table, and glance at the screen. Same weird ending from John. “See? Look, noth—” Oh, there’s a tab with Aradia’s username open. Thanks, Pesterchum, for not flashing ever. You tab over, and swallow before passing your phone to Gamzee from between his horns.
AA: have y0u seen tavr0s
AA: i cant find him anywhere
AA: his keys are still here
AA: is he with y0u
You almost get clipped by Gamzee’s horns as he rolls off your couch and up to his feet, and he almost takes a chunk out of your ceiling, too. Both drinks are spilled, the glasses broken, but that’s something you can worry about later. You follow Gamzee out the door, not at all sure of what he thinks he’s doing, but you have to at least trust he understands troll shit better than you do.
i lied! i'm still totally aiming for nightly updates, haha. but this time not at buttcrack o'clock!
thank you guys so much for all the comments so far C: they are definitely a HUGE motivation to keep writing, the more the better!
in which gamzee is described as a big bratty baby
we've got more fanart! :D from narco again, and wow I just really love this???? aaahhhhh I love getting fanart so much??? !!!
there's also this but i doodled it so it's not as exciting as fanart.
anyway thank you guys so much for the comments so far :D every comment and kudos pushes me to write even more!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When you get to Aradia and Tav’s apartment, Aradia looks like she’s going out of her mind. She’s not crying; she’s not the type. But she’s definitely wringing her hands, biting her lip, pacing. You and she both know that calling the cops is a waste of time, and Gamzee doesn’t suggest it either, although you’re pretty sure that’s got more to do with some kind of Batman complex he’s got going on than anything else.
“I found, over here,” she says, waving you both into the bedroom, “some brown blood...” She points to the lampshade next to Tav’s bed, with his keys that he left behind. “I wish I’d been home.” She works an overnight shift at a local hospital’s desk, one of the few in the city that has a troll wing.
“Did you, uh, call your hospital? Like maybe he got into an accident while you were on your way home, and he got put in an ambulance before you got back.” It’s really unlikely, but you wanna give her some hope.
“I called, just in case,” she sighs. “He’s definitely not there.” So much for that.
You feel like shit. Obviously it happened after you left him for the day, but you should have stayed over. You knew Aradia would be out all night, and possible predator aside he might have liked your company. “It must’ve been a bunch of ‘em that got him,” you say, which is probably meant to make yourself feel better but then you realize you’re not doing Aradia any favors making her imagine her moirail get beaten and kidnapped by a group. “I just, you know, he was kind of a strong guy, he probably could have defended himself... Against the one....” Aradia looks ill and you shut the fuck up. Even Gamzee elbows you for that.
“I don’t know what I’m gonna do,” she says, still not crying, but she definitely looks close to puking. “The cops are never gonna care, they’re gonna look at his horn measurements on his documents and tell me he’s probably fine.” She sits down hard on her own bed, cracking her knuckles over and over again.
To your surprise, Gamzee is the one who sits down next to her. He leans his head against her curling ram’s horns, and mumbles something you don’t quite catch. She nods ever so slightly. It makes you feel pretty goddamn third-wheely, so you back out into the other room and sit on the couch while they troll it out. Or whatever. Sometimes you wish you’d just stuck to dating humans; you feel out of place sometimes among all these giant literal aliens. “Once you go troll, you lose all control,” you mutter as you slide down the cushions. That really is a fucking truism, even though it was made up by some asshole young Evangelical pastor warning against xeno relationships in the 80s.
When Gamzee and Aradia come out of the bedroom, you’ve dozed off a little, although by your phone’s clock it’s only been like 15 minutes. Who knew playing Scooby Doo to troll Fred and Velma was so tiring?
“There’s not much we can do for now,” Aradia says with a long-suffering sigh. “I’m going to call whoever I can in our little network, see who can actually help. I wish Terezi was on the east coast...” She looks at you, and then Gamzee. “You should go home before rush hour starts.” He nods, although he still looks pissed about it, and heads for the door, which is when Aradia leans down and whispers to you that you should take him home and make sure he takes his medication. It’s a little surprising, but you guess that makes some degree of sense. After all, Gamzee is kind of like a big bratty baby.
You tell him you’ll just wait on the platform with him, since to get back home all you’ve got to do is hop the G back to Bed-Stuy, but when the F rolls in you step on with him, and by the time he’s really processed this the doors are already closed, and you tell him to sit his giant troll ass down in the corner seat. It doesn’t leave much room for you to sit next to him, and you’re tempted to sit in his lap to piss him off, but you know better. People are already staring at him. So you just sit catty-corner to him, arms crossed. You resist the urge to flip off the nervous-looking people who move to the next car, even if their fear is probably a little justified.
Rush hour is getting close, and it’s making you nervous because once you get off at Bleecker, there’s still over an hour of traveling left, even though the 4 goes express through Manhattan. You’ve seen what happens to trolls on the subway when they shouldn’t be, and the cops never care how long they were riding or how close they are to their destination. It looks like you’re doing all of Gamzee’s worrying for him, too, because he just looks fucking lost in thought, probably still thinking about Tavros.
You hit Grand Central, and you’re starting to see blue uniforms everywhere. Gamzee has to hunch and bend his knees to fit, because there’s no more seats left and the MTA has never seen fit to budget for troll-friendly tunnels and cars. You press close to him in your anxiety, as if that will transfer some of your humanity to him. Sometimes if you keep your diction nice and neat, you can trick the cops into thinking you’re white before they get a better look at you, and if you get stopped today that might just give you the small amount of leeway you need to get him to the surface. But you don’t want to fucking hoof it to the Bronx if you can help it.
By Grand Concourse there’s a cop riding the train just a door away, identifiable through the crowd by his hat. You might be grinding your teeth. If you can get to 161st, if you get trouble you can probably just kiss cop ass and back off onto the platform, since that’s the first above-ground station. You think. You’re not used to actually paying attention when you go to Gamzee’s place. And right now you really wish you could do something to hide Gamzee’s fucking horns, but there’s not enough room to make him squat or something.
The cop leaves by Burnside, having been looking at his phone the whole time, and you breathe such a huge sigh of relief that you pretty much fall against Gamzee, who tells you to stop being such a clingy motherfucker. Ooh, you are gonna kick his ass for this when you get inside.
As soon as you hit street level, you explode. “What the fuck was that?!” you demand, shoving Gamzee toward the road. “Here I am fucking sweating bullets for your ass, and you’re off in fucking la-la land! And then you got the fuckin’ nerve to call me a ‘clingy motherfucker’?! The fuck!”
“You need to calm the fuck down,” is all he has to say, hooking his thumbs in his front pockets as he slouches along.
“What!” You jump up to get a handle on one of his horns, and yank his head down and to the side, which makes him yell with displeasure. “You didn’t see that fuckin’ pig chillin’ on the same fucking car we were in? Because I sure as fuck did, and I sure as fuck was worried about keeping you out of jail!” You release his horn and he rubs at the base of it, scowling down at you. You’re breathing hard, glaring as you keep walking; fucking ingrate!
“I just got more important shit to be worrying about than my own ass!” he protests. “Like Tav, remember him? Remember how we can’t find his fuckin’ ass, and you’re all naggin’ me about dumb shit like—”
“What the fuck good do you think you’re gonna do Tavros sitting in a jail cell?” you interrupt, grabbing him by the collar to pull him down, which makes him stumble a little. “The fuck good you think that’s gonna do any of us?” Like me? you don’t add, because you’re not sure he can handle that right now, and to be honest you’re not sure you can handle that right now.
Gamzee falls silent for the rest of the walk to his apartment, and when he lets you both in he leaves the door open as he wanders off to his bedroom. You lock up, use his bathroom, and then you follow him into the bedroom. He’s flopped on his side, back to the doorway, shoes still on. Tsk tsk. With a sigh, you throw your hands up and go to stand by his feet.
“You really,” you grunt as you pull off one giant sneaker, which is in a size that you’re pretty sure only Vans manufactures, “piss me off.” You pull off the other one. “I don’t even know why I’m with you. I mean,” you add as you crawl onto the bed next to his back, “besides the amazing hatesex, that’s pretty fuckin’ good.” You kick off your own shoes. “And you’re a pretty good fighter, you know, not a lot of folks of either race can really tear me up like you can.” Gamzee shifts, and for a second there it looks like he’s glancing over his shoulder at you, although you can’t really tell past all that coarse black hair. “Ain’t nobody can insult my honor like you can, Gamzee Makara.”
“You don’t have to fuckin’ butter me up like that,” he growls. Instead of backing off you drape yourself all over his upper body.
“I want to make violent love!” you squawk in your best Danny Elfman impression. Which is shit. “To you by the moon abo-ove!” You flail your arms around melodramatically as you pseudo-sing, and Gamzee makes some weird confused honking noise through his nose that makes you ugly-laugh. He throws you off and then pins you to the bed, where you’re still laughing, but when you get a good read on his face he’s finally fucking grinning.
“You know, I almost forgot you had a sense of humor?” you tell him with a smirk. “You’ve been like, the pissiest, most serious fuckin’ troll since the other week when I made you start freaking out.”
“Yeah, well you try bein’ your own hilarious fuckin’ self when you’ve got a dumbass kismesis-matesprit-whatever like Dave fuckin’ Strider, who can’t fight for shit and whose rap suck ass.” The grin he’s sporting could split his face.
“After all the nice shit I said about you! Well, I fuckin’ never,” you say, putting on your Offended Grandma face, which honestly was not ever a thing until just now. “Besides, I beat you in the ring all the time.”
“Cuz I let you,” he says, laughing low and kind of menacing, which kind of sends a current of electricity straight to your dick. Maybe it’s inappropriate to hatefuck (or fuck at all) when there’s a crisis happening, but you’re sorely tempted.
You take the high road, though, and you knee Gamzee in the abdomen to loosen his grip enough to escape. “Settle the fuck down,” you say as you push him onto his back, although you’re pretty sure it’s you that needs to settle down, here.
“Ain’t me that needs settling,” he snorts, like a fucking mind-reader, but he stays down. One thing you’ve got to give trolls, or at least every troll you’ve ever met—they’re pretty fuckin’ stellar at consent, even in kismesissitude. You climb over him and take up the position of little spoon, which you keep telling him is an amazing privilege that he gets only by virtue of being so goddamn huge you can’t really curl around him from behind.
Of course, neither of you can help yourselves, and within 20 minutes both your pants are open as his bulge curls around your cock, his claws leaving beads of blood wherever they trace along your arms and stomach.
Later on you wake up from your orgasm-induced nap, and extricate yourself from Gamzee’s arms to check out the contents of his fridge. Of course, he almost never goes grocery-shopping; he’s so bad at taking care of himself. All you see is shitty soda and good beer (picked out by you, of course, with your superior taste), and you’re not in the mood to get drunk. Buzzed, though, that sounds like a good option. You open a bottle and take a bigger gulp than you meant to; sex left you thirsty, looks like. You haven’t had much to eat all day, though, so the alcohol is already going to work. You figure you’d better do something about food before you drink any more, so you leave the bottle on the counter and head out to the corner store for some chips or something.
Later on you blame the alcohol for how easily that pack of bluebloods got the drop on you.
When you wake up, you feel like you’ve been dragged through hell in the nude, if hell was paved with boulders and spikes. Most of all your head is pounding. Oh, and your arms are tied behind your back. Great.
As your eyes focus, you look around in the dark, and really nothing is helpful at all. You can’t even tell what kind of a building you’re in, although once your eyes adjust a little more you can make out the shape of the door, which looks rounded and weirdly organic. That, and the only other thing in the room, which just shifted, giant horns scraping against the wall.
Your heart jumps into your throat and you maneuver yourself violently off the floor and onto your feet to stagger over to him, and fall against the wall by his side. “Tav,” you whisper, already figuring that talking loudly won’t be in your best interest, “Tav, is that you? Wake up!” You think you can see some bruises, even without any light.
It’s definitely Tavros, groaning as his eyes flutter open. “Dave?”
“Fuck, where are we?” you hiss. You wonder how flexible you still are—maybe you can loop your arms around your legs so you can do something to get this twine off.
“It’s, uh, not good,” he whispers back, and even in the dark you can see the fear fill up his eyes.
“Okay, so, where?” you ask, wriggling to get your wrists under your ass.
“It’s, uh,” Tavros swallows, “the Grand Highblood’s hive.”
“Oh.” You sit back, wrists still bound under your knees. “Well, shit.”
the song dave sings btw is "Violent Love" by Oingo Boingo and i feel like in the nuclearstuck universe that would actually just have been written about interspecies blackrom from a human pov or something, idk Danny Elfman would have totally been into that in the 80s I think
in which everything goes to shit
alright guys, home stretch! all i got for you artwise is a little height wip i've got here; you can imagine tavros as being somewhere in between.
also, i really do want to make nukestuck a series, branch this universe out to other characters, so be on the lookout soonish for new stories. especially, uh, with the turn this one's taking.
You wake up all alone.
At first, your arms clutch around air and you growl at the feeling of nothingness, punching the other pillow. Dave always likes to fucking get up before you do, although it’s never bothered you much before. Or you didn’t acknowledge how much it bothered you, anyway—but fuck that, that’s a lot of nonsense you’re not in the mood for right now. You roll out of bed, cracking your neck, and head off to the kitchen.
Dave’s left a half-drunk bottle of beer out on the counter, and he’s nowhere in sight. You snort as you swipe it for yourself and sip on it as you go to check the living room properly. If he’s going to bitch about stocking the fridge with shit he likes, he needs to be acting more grateful about it. You don’t like the taste a whole lot, but you do like its effect on you.
“Dave, where the fuck you at?” you grouse as you choke a little bit on the aftertaste. You have pretty good vision in the dark, but it’s not great when you’re still just waking up, and you flip on the light switch.
“Not here, brother,” says the purpleblood on your couch, sending a lazy grin your way.
In an instant you’re moving with every intention to smash the bottle over this intruder’s head, but he catches your wrist in a grip strong enough to at least stop you. You break the hold immediately, arm circling over and out to break the bottle across the side of his face. He spits out broken glass, purple blood running in tiny rivulets over the impact site, but he won’t stop grinning.
“Chill, brother, I’ll tell you where they’re all up and bein’,” he says, even though his breath is coming a little rough now. “If you’ll stop tryin’ to break my facebone all ‘cause you bein’ mad ‘n’ shit.”
You step back. “You’re gettin’ blood all the fuck over my couch,” you growl.
“Ha ha! Oh, excuse the fuck outta me, I didn’t know I was all meetin’ the motherfuckin’ Troll Martha Stewart!” he laughs, then coughs out a little more blood. It’s not cute. And it’s all over your couch.
“Tell me where the fuck they are.” You cross your arms, stance wide.
“I can take you—”
You grab him by one horn, wrench down hard until you hear breaking. Most of the break is away from his scalp, but the crack in the keratin takes a bad turn and there’s purple blood welling up at the base where you tear the horn away. You slam the heel of your other hand up against his chin to stop his screaming, or at least muffle it.
“I said,” you tell him in a low voice, “tell me. Not take me, you deaf motherfucker. Or do your hear ducts need some motherfuckin’ cleaning out? Cuz I got a knife for that,” and you pause, bending to meet him at eye level, “brother.”
When you let him open his mouth again he wheezes, spits out more blood where you made him bite his tongue. “You ain’t done taken your human pills tonight, have you brother?” he says with a dark chuckle, which makes him flinch when even that small amount of movement aggravates the nerves around his head wounds. “Actin’ all kinds of unacceptable!”
“You wanna have two horn nubs, or you gonna tell me what I wanna motherfuckin’ hear?” you ask, resting your hand threateningly on his other horn. He’s too weak from pain to fight you off, you’re pretty damn sure.
“New Alternia 5, gettin’ their sup on with the Grand Highblood,” he says at last, his grin flagging. “I’m sure your daddy’s playin’ real fuckin’ nice with your little whores.”
You throw two curved horns into your little red jansport, and the pair of juggling clubs you’ve pulled out of the back of your closet. The handles stick out, but you just zip around them. You want to add a knife, but if you get stopped by a cop you don’t want them to find an indisputable weapon on you. You’re not sure how you’d actually excuse the horns, but then again you get a feeling a human cop wouldn’t give a shit what violence you’ve inflicted on another troll.
The intruder is out cold. You tape his wrists together behind his back, then his ankles, and you drag him out of your apartment by the hair, locking up behind yourself. He gets left out back, behind the building, because you’re not a cruel motherfucker; if you’re not back for a while, maybe someone’ll find him, free his heinous ass and make sure he lives. That, and you don’t want him looting your apartment if he gets loose of your restraints.
The ride is fucking interminable; sometimes you wonder why this city is so fucking big. The 4 takes you down to 14th St, the L takes you to 6th Ave, and from there you still have to transfer one more time on the PATH. And then from the dead-last stop, you still have to take a shuttle bus to New Alternia 5, which only comes once every hour this late at night.
All in all, it takes you almost three hours to arrive at the gate. You’re supposed to do paperwork to get in, but the guard recognizes you from all the sweeps you spent here growing up, and she just waves you in with a smile. Whatever’s happening, you can tell she’s got no clue. And you give her a little smile in return, thankful she can’t see the purple blood flecking your clothes. You can always say it’s yours, though.
The first troll you see within the confines of this shit hole is Equius. Once you get close enough to see his face, he looks downright un-fucking-happy. “Highblood,” he says, voice brimming with guilt. You don’t understand.
Until he tells you to follow him.
“You got something to do with all this bullshit?” you demand as you stride to catch up, which with your long legs doesn’t take long at all.
“The Grand Highblood has asked me to bring you to his hive upon your arrival,” he says, neatly sidestepping your question.
“So that’s a yes,” you mutter, but he doesn’t reply, so you just follow along. As you walk you pull both juggling clubs from the dinky little backpack, the bag swinging from your free hand. Equius says nothing about that, either.
You don’t miss this place. When you first moved out, true, the sharp angles of human architecture seemed weird, but the mishmash of organic-looking troll buildings with bits and pieces of human aesthetic is uglier to you now than ever. The loneliness of this place is suddenly more stark, too, in ways you didn’t know how to feel when you were only six sweeps old.
Of course, this is the only place you’ve ever known that had doors you didn’t have to duck through.
Equius opens the door to one particularly large (for the area) hive, and like a fucking butler or something he holds it open for you. It’s dimly lit inside, but your eyes are already picking out the details. Purplebloods of all the same shade dot the walls, faces painted up in greyscale clown paint, and you’ve got no doubt they’re just here for show, because you’re pretty sure the earth would implode before the Grand Highblood would ever house these motherfuckers. Even if they are his disciples.
And like the most grave of centerpieces ever, there’s the Grand Highblood himself. He’s fucking ancient, although thanks to his blood color it’s not due to show for probably centuries. He’s so huge he makes you look like a wriggler, still. There’s some weird color differences near the base of his long, twisting horns, from when the American government sawed them off in the 70’s. It’s the reason his horns aren’t as long as they apparently used to be, and it’s the reason highbloods living in mixed society are legally forced to pop pills that sublimate their natural impulses. So you’ve been told, anyway.
“Gamzee mothafuckin’ Makara,” the Grand Highblood says, his face splitting in half with that evil fucking smile. His voice could be borderline seductive if it didn’t sound like a fucking death rattle. “So you all up and graced us with your mothafuckin’ presence at last.” His face paint isn’t so much clownish as it is a death mask, black and grey mottled into the image of a skull, which bounces off the fact that whatever he’s wearing over his upper body looks like ribs, though you’re not sure there’s a troll alive whose ribs would fit over his.
“Goatfucker,” you greet in return, nodding your chin. The purplebloods tense, but none of them move; they know better than to act of their own accord when the Grand Highblood is talking to somebody. Especially not his heir.
“So see, I was all kinds of missing your mothafuckin’ ass,” the Grand Highblood says, leaning back in his throne-like chair, “so I sent a little, you know, singing telegram kind of invitation, make it all the more fuckin’ personal.” He licks his lips, and it’s fucking obscene.
You throw the open backpack with the “singing telegram’s” horns inside, and as the bag slides across the floor the horns skitter out, the purple blood mostly crust now.
The Grand Highblood’s eyes flick down at the horns, and then back to your face. He sneers. “You ain’t even changed not one tiny iota, chucklefuck. All them fuckin’ human rules and pills and you’re the same ol’ highblooded little shit.”
“Just tell me what the fuck you want,” you say, shifting your clubs so you’ve got one in each hand.
“You did drop the mothafuckin’ accent, though, I did get my notice on all about that,” the Grand Highblood smirks. “What’s the matter, little bit, you ain’t proud of your heritage or somethin’? Get all up and embarrassed in front of your little piece of shit human friends?”
“It’s not a fuckin’ accent, it’s just how your clowny ass talks,” you huff, pointing with one of the clubs.
“You’re the one all got your mitts on a pair of clown paraphernalia, little bit,” he laughs. “But in all sincere motherfuckin’ reality, I been lettin’ you have a world of freedom you aren’t all up and needin’, see? All sassin’ me up, all puttin’ your bulge where it don’t mothafuckin’ belong.” The grin vanishes like someone deleted it, and what takes its place would destroy a lesser troll with terror.
You want to ask where he heard that from, but it’s not gonna help you now. It’s not like you were keeping your relationship with Dave on the down-low or anything. “Ain’t none of your business what the fuck I do with my own fuckin’ junk,” is what you tell him, chest puffing just that little extra bit. “Maybe it’s you oughta stop thinkin’ about your progeny’s motherfuckin’ genitalia.”
“Ha ha! Ha!” The Grand Highblood’s laughter is booming like cannons, makes you feel like there’s a headache brewing at the back of your skull. “You’re funny, little bit, you ain’t lost that even a little.” He wipes an imaginary laugh-tear away from his eye, and gestures to some of the purplebloods in the corner. “Get the trash out, brothers.”
They move and in a hot few seconds, they drag out two bodies, and toss them across the floor like they’re playing horseshoes.
Dave and Tavros.
Tavros looks worse out of the two, dark brown scabs and bruises like fucking polka dots on his skin. There’s a fairly deep groove in the middle of one of his horns where it looks like someone tried to saw through before they got bored. His shirt is torn where it looks like a blade’s been having itself a party, although you can’t tell with the black fabric how much blood is involved. You’re not sure whether to be relieved or pissed off that he doesn’t look conscious enough to be experiencing most of that pain.
Dave, though, he’s awake. Gritting his teeth, too, and you can’t blame him with the red and brown blotches that dot his white shirt. There’s a long cut across one side of his face that’s probably gonna scar. He looks you dead in the eye, and you can feel his anger at being your fucking damsel in distress.
“Don’t you be puttin’ your fuckin’ see-balls all over those heaps of shit,” the Grand Highblood says, and you hate how quick you look up to meet his gaze. “I got some words you need to all up and be takin’ in through your hear-holes, so clean them shits right the fuck out and pay some mothafuckin’ attention.”
He stands up, and it’s a miracle of troll architecture that there’s room for him to do it at all. He approaches the bodies on the floor, though, coming to a stop right behind Tavros’s head. “I hear tell that you’ve been gettin’ your think-pan all set to believin’ that this shitblood here is all up and what your matesprit should be,” he says, his voice a deep, menacing rumble. Before you can even finish processing all that twisty bullshit, the Grand Highblood has picked Tavros up by his intact horn and flung him across the room like a fucking rag doll, and it takes everything in you to not shout, or flinch, or run to him. You know how well that’ll turn out for the both of you.
“WELL LET ME TELL YOU SOME SHIT, LITTLE BIT!” the Grand Highblood bellows, taking another step forward. Tavros isn’t moving, he doesn’t even look like he’s breathing out of the corner of your eye. “THAT’S A FUCKIN’ SHITBLOOD! THAT’S A GODDAMN LIVING, BREATHING WASTE OF SPACE GARBAGE PIECE OF SHIT WHAT AIN’T GOT NO RIGHT SHARIN’ THIS UNIVERSE WITH YOU AND I, WITH ME AND YOU!” He fixes you with a lidless look that’s got even you scared. “YOU LIKE STICKIN’ YOUR BONE BULGE INTO SHIT, MOTHERFUCKER?” You hope to fuck that’s rhetorical.
The Grand Highblood takes another step, and now he’s next to Dave, who’s still hyperventilating with rage and agony. “And this,” he whispers, though his idea of a whisper when he’s like this is like a quiet scream, raspy and painful to hear. “THIS SOFT FUCKIN’ SACK OF BLOOD AND TOOTHPICK BONES, THIS IS THE MOTHERFUCKIN’ ENEMY!” He picks Dave up by one arm so fast that even from here you can hear that sick wet pop. Dave bites his lip so hard blood wells up around his teeth, and he groans around it to stop from screaming, but you can hear the pain in it. “THIS IS THE SPECIES WHAT ALL UP AND WANTS TO WIPE US THE FUCK OUT, BIT BY MOTHERFUCKIN’ BIT! AND YOU BEEN HATEFUCKIN’ HOW LONG?”
There’s a pause—you don’t think he expects you to answer, and you figure it out too late when he shakes Dave at you, which makes Dave actually scream, and it’s a sound that cuts you to the bone. “How fuckin’ long, CHUCKLEFUCK?”
“Half a sweep,” you answer, keeping your voice strong, your shoulders square. You’ll be fucked if you buckle to ol’ Goatfucker.
“That’s half a fuckin’ sweep TOO LONG, MOTHERFUCKER!” He throws Dave down and your kismesis bounces a little, hissing with ill-contained pain.
The Grand Highblood looks down at you, almost contemplatively. “You been away from home too long, little bit,” he says in that same scream-whisper. “All forgettin’ just who the fuck you were meant to be, all the fuck along.”
Be who, the king of the troll slums? you almost ask, but the Grand Highblood is still too close to Dave for you to take that chance.
“I’m all and bein’ a kind, understanding motherfucker, I’ll give your ungrateful ass a choice,” he says, cracking massive knuckles in the palm of his opposite hand. “You leave the district, get your livin’ on in the city again, and they,” he indicates Dave and Tavros, “get to leave this plane of existence, tonight.” He cracks the knuckles of the other hand. “Or, motherfucker, you stay here all like you were always meant to be, and I let the trash get taken out all the way back to Brooklyn.” You’re almost surprised he even knows Brooklyn exists, or what its name is. Then again, he does know where at least Tavros lives, that much is fucking clear.
Your clubs fall to the floor with a clatter. You knew from the start this wasn’t a fight you could win. Not against the Grand Highblood, not on his fucking turf, in his motherfucking hive. And unpredictable as he is, you’re 99% sure he’ll keep his word about letting Dave and Tav go. (If Tav is even alive anymore.)
“You’re gonna fuckin’ get your stay on in the district,” the Grand Highblood is saying, and you’re forced to watch his purpleblood disciples haul Dave and Tavros up. Tavros is still unconscious, so they take him out in a fireman’s carry. You’re not sure if they’ll actually tell you if he’s dead; you can’t tell the difference from here.
“You ain’t never gonna be makin’ relations with lowbloods or humans, never a-fuckin’-gain. And you,” he says, standing right in front of you now so you have to crane your neck way back, “are gonna get that paint all up and on your smile-maker again, rejoin the brotherhood what you so casually up and left. When this shit is your motherfucking destiny.” Dave and Tavros aren’t in the building anymore.
You give in, and you let the Grand Highblood’s disciples lead you to your old abandoned hive, where you can wake up all alone every morning for the rest of fucking eternity.
in which karkat arrives at the very end
Your left arm gets put in a sling, and you’ve got some bandages that you’re either going to have to maintain one-handedly or get someone else to help you with. Probably the latter, or you’ll never hear the end of it from your sister. Other than that, though, you came out of this okay.
Physically speaking, anyway.
What’s ironic is that Tavros came out of it better than you did. Thanks to tough troll physiology he didn’t break any bones when he hit the wall, although he’s still pretty sore a week after the fact. The crevice in his right horn gets filled in with putty for now, which will get pushed out as the keratin grows back. He’s got some big bandages of his own, but at least the dude’s got use of all his limbs.
For the first week you can’t make yourself sign in to Pesterchum. You don’t know if Gamzee’s got an internet connection where he is, but you’re not sure you could handle it if he did. Sometimes it feels like it’s better to pretend he’s dead.
John starts texting your phone after the first two days, and when you don’t answer he upgrades to actual calls. Rose is almost as persistent, but you both hate real phone calls, so it’s only John who’s taken that step. It takes you five days before you finally answer with a grouchy “What?”
“Really, Dave, you’re out of commission for five days and that’s your opening line?” John snaps, and you groan, wishing you had your other hand to massage the headache out of your temples before it has a chance to start.
“It’s been a lot of shit happening, okay?” you say, trying to maneuver your elbow to mute Say Yes to the Dress. All you manage to do is pull up a menu screen, and you give up.
“Oh, you mean like my best friend being injured by some psycho troll who’s literally from another planet? Or how about the fact that Karkat is going out of his mind because Tavros told him his moirail’s been, I don’t know kidnapped or something!”
“Tavros told him that?” You make a mental note to kick Tavros’s wide behind for that. Not that you’d sworn him to secrecy or anything, not outside of your head anyway. Maybe you could leave his ass unkicked. But still, not cool.
“Seriously dude, I know you’re probably feeling pretty shitty but that’s not a reason to leave me in the dark!”
“Fuck you, Egbert,” you mutter, which you regret because apparently Karkat heard and is here to defend the honor of his partner by grabbing the phone and screaming into it. You press End Call almost immediately.
Five minutes later John calls back, apologizing on Karkat’s behalf as he laughs; it sounds like he’s fighting Karkat off, a little bit. “But really, honestly, seriously, I thought you might also like to know we’ve been in New York for like, two days now?”
You sit straight up. “Wait, what? Who are you staying with?”
“Uh, your sister? It’s really cramped, though, and she keeps cracking on Karkat. It’s really funny, actually, but I’m almost worried he’ll have a goddamn aneurysm if we don’t get him somewhere else.”
“Well Gam—” You stop yourself. Gamzee’s apartment would have had room for them, but obviously that’s not an option anymore.
John only allows so much of a pause to go on before he speaks up again. “Look, we can come over to your place and share the couch, how about that? Rose told me you need help with your bandages, anyway, and that you’ve been kind of holed up by yourself.”
Sometimes you miss the days when there was a phone cord to fiddle with in distraction. “Yeah, alright. Let me just try and get myself looking like less shit while you guys are on your way.”
“Don’t even worry about it,” John laughs before hanging up. You mutter You’re not my mom to the phone and then toss it on the other end of the couch.
Having them around is not as bad as you’d expected; Karkat is still fairly insufferable, but the loss of Gamzee affects him, too, and sometimes you’re both just lonely together when John is out. You invite Tavros over for one of these sessions, because misery loves company, you guess. And you all crowd onto the same couch, a pile of lethargic limbs draped all over each other. John gets kind of weirded out by it and leaves to visit his cousin.
“He was a shitty moirail,” Karkat grumbles from his end of the couch. Tavros is the biggest of the three of you so you’re both kind of leaning on him, although you take up more Tav real estate than Karkles. “I’m glad he’s gone.”
“Karkat!” Tavros admonishes, looking shocked.
“He’s just being tsundere as fuck,” you say dryly, shifting down so you can wiggle your toes in Karkat’s face, who yelps. “He misses that giant asshole too.”
“Fuck you,” Karkat says, turning over so his back is braced against Tav’s arm, legs thrown over the arm of the couch, and crossing his arms.
“Man, when my arm gets better we should just, I don’t fuckin’ know, search and rescue that motherfucker,” you say, glaring at the arm in question. You think that’s the most obvious plan of action, so honestly you’re pretty confused when both trolls kind of deflate and look at you sadly. “What?”
“He’s not gonna be the Gamzee you knew,” Tavros says softly. “It’s, uh, a really bad scene in the districts.”
“I mean, yeah, I saw it looks like fucking Trollwitz in there, but what’s that got to do with it? I mean, if he’s got PTSD or something, it’s nothing I can’t fucking handle.” You’d pound your chest if you were at a better angle for it.
“He means Gamzee’s not gonna be medicated anymore,” Karkat snaps. “And he’s gonna get reprogrammed by that stupid fucking Mirthful Messiahs cult.”
“You shouldn’t call it a cult,” Tavros mumbles, twiddling his thumbs.
“Oh, yeah, like they wouldn’t cull you if you weren’t a fucking bargaining chip.” Karkat snorts, and Tavros loops a big arm around his chest placatingly. It doesn’t placate him very much at all.
“The point is, he’ll go back to being his, uh, old self,” Tavros tells you, meeting your eyes with a deadly seriousness. “And his old self is, um, is violent, and unpredictable...”
“That’s nothing new.” You shrug with your good shoulder.
Karkat moves too fast for Tavros to stop him, and he hitches up Tav’s shirt, points at some ugly scarring on the side of his stomach. “See that?” he growls, before Tavros pushes him back and yanks his shirt back down, looking more mad than embarrassed before it passes.
“Yeah? Tav told me that was an accident.” You’ve seen his scars before, and you know better than to press for information about wounds like that.
“Yeah, an accident called Gamzee Makara. Apparently the stupid fuck was so flushed for Tavros that he almost killed him.”
“It wasn’t like that!” Tavros protests, and you have to duck the sweep of his horns as he turns to glare at Karkat.
“Really? I must have fucking imagined it when you almost bled the fuck out, silly me!”
“Just, just stop it, Karkat!” Tavros is flushed bronze as he rises abruptly, which in turn upsets your sitting position, and you whack your bad arm against the couch arm. “Oh, fuck, I’m sorry Dave!”
“It’s fine,” you say with a grimace. “What happened with Gamzee, though?”
“He just,” Tavros says, sitting back down carefully and pointedly ignoring Karkat, “I don’t know, I already knew he was kind of violent so I rejected his flushed advances when he first moved into mixed society, when he was still adjusting to his meds...”
“And Gamzee literally tore him open for not wanting to be his fucking matesprit,” Karkat finishes, glowering. “Look, he was my moirail, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna excuse his murderous fucking behavior. That’s why I’m his moirail.”
Tavros doesn’t say anything, although he looks like he’s going to cry. Karkat rolls his eyes, and pats Tavros awkwardly on the shoulder. “There, there. Stop that.”
“But, uh, basically,” Tavros says after a solid ten minutes of awkward silence, “you should just, give up. It’s shitty, but, we’ll all have to move on.”
“Don’t they have internet in those districts? Can’t we still fucking talk to him?” you ask. Karkat leans across Tavros’s lap to put a hand on your good shoulder, and for once he looks sincerely sorry.
“Give it up, Strider. The Gamzee you knew is gone.” He flicks all his fingers outward, like a little firework. “Poof.”
You all spend the rest of the night almost watching one of Karkat’s terrible choices in movies, but you say it’s your goddamn apartment and you’ll be damned if you’ll be forced to be injured and watch Fifty First Dates in your own home. You end up settling for 2012 on Netflix because Karkat likes John Cusack and Tavros has a weird love for disaster porn, and it’s still a better choice than a shitty romcom starring Adam Sandler. Tavros actually whoops when Cusack’s tiny little car sticks the landing as it drives through one disaster after another, and Karkat shrieks at the whooping sound.
And you let them believe that you’ve agreed to their plan of giving up. But you think maybe they don’t know Gamzee as well as they thought they did, and you definitely think that you refuse to give up on Gamzee Makara.
...so, yeah, stay tuned for part 3 of Nuclearstuck! I promise, this isn't the end of Gamzee's story. not by a long shot.