First, you have to find him.
After your departure from the Green Sun, you trail along behind while the humans are getting acquainted with the place: the empty corridors, the ransacked, deserted labs, the bloodstains on the walls. Yeah, if anybody manages to last a sweep and a half here without going totally shithive maggots, it’ll be... well, past Gamzee would have said what it’ll be, but you’re sure as fuck not going to.
You slip away when you’re pretty sure no one will find your absence remarkable. The humans are already talking about getting some sleep; it’s like they never heard of endurance in the name of duty. Okay, you don’t expect the Rose human to stay awake the whole time, but a token effort might be nice, since she’s the leader now. Nominally. You guess. You’ll wait and see how that plays out – not that you’re in any hurry to take up the job again, but just in case.
For now, though, you’re not in a position to be thinking about how everyone on this godforsaken piece of rock needs a sensible person dedicated to looking after them lest they trip on the trailing end of their own incompetence and get their head stuck in something inconvenient. That quadrant is occupied, even if the occupant you’ve landed yourself with has made himself scarce.
You take a moment to test the structural integrity of one of the walls. It’s not that you have any kind of temporary problem staying upright, no matter what it looks like or how tired you are, and you’re ready to say so to any asshole with the temerity to question you about it. But there’s no one. You left them all behind, and there isn’t a sound. You try to imagine a sweep and a half of peace and quiet, after the last six hundred hours, and the idea makes your thinkpan want to fold in on itself, like no one’s told it yet that it’s okay to stop feeling anxious and powerless and hunted. Silence is the sound of something creeping up on you.
Sweet mother grub’s festering sphincter, when did you become this much of a nervous wreck?
To distract yourself from yourself, you pick up the search for Gamzee again. It’s a staple subplot in movies, you think as you trudge along, where the main character vanishes and the suitor for their moirallegiance has to demonstrate that it’s true serendipity by finding them against all odds, and sending them on their way to fill their other quadrants. The movies never explain how the moirail knows where to look; they just know. You don’t.
If there were some fount of shitty soda on the meteor, or a big lopsided circus-tent with eerie music oozing out of the gaping flap, you’d know. You’re pretty sure Terezi mentioned something about a room with headless bodies stored in jars, which sounds promising, but you forgot to ask her where. You keep an eye out for a trail of yellow blood from Sollux’s body, but that ran out six transportalizers ago.
For a moment you actually, seriously consider the possibility of starting a new memo to ask future you where you’re meant to go next, because even a conversation with that stupendous bulgesprout sounds like a better idea than wandering these corridors until you finally curl up to sleep at a dead end and have to admit to yourself that you’ve been a moirail for less than one night and you’re already terrible at it.
You keep walking, until you can truthfully say you don’t know where you are, and that’s it, you think. You’re done. End of the road. You’re leaning against the wall again – no point pretending that isn’t what you’re doing – with your eyes half-closed, when you hear the honk.
It’s like a kick in the back of the head. You start back onto your feet, looking around, down, up... there’s a grate in the ceiling, too high for you to reach, but a few moments’ examination of the wall you were leaning against reveals a sliding panel with a switch underneath, and when you activate it, the grate swings open and a ladder descends.
“Found me, bro,” Gamzee says at the soft end of his voice. He’s curled up in one corner all gangly legs like a spidermom trying to make itself small, with his usual lazy smile.
“Gamzee, what the fuck,” you say, casting about for the switch to bring the ladder back up without really thinking about it, taking apprehensive inventory of the room while you do. One disgrace of a juggalo; no corpses, thank jegus, he must have them stashed somewhere else; one setup with chains and shackles on the wall, you do not want to know; one weird thing that looks like a lumpy carving of an egg, green and red and patterned with two swirls, dormant in the far corner. “Okay, so you run off with Sollux’s body, for reasons I don’t even want to think about, and you make me leave the humans to their own devices to chase you through the meteor like an idiot, and what even is this place? Just, explain to me why you thought this was necessary.” You cross your arms and try to summon up a glare but you can already feel it’s not going right; you’re too tired even for that.
“Shoosh,” Gamzee says.
“Oh, do not try that on me,” you say half-heartedly, but he’s patting the floor beside him and fuck if it doesn’t look comfortable, so you go and sit down.
“I just got my think on that a motherfucker might benefit with all being in a place where no one else is at.”
“Yeah, well, it all sounds good, but you’re here, which kind of puts a grub in the works of the ‘no one else’ part. So let me just put this down as another of your fucking brilliant and entirely mysterious strategies, right up there with stealing corpses.” You poke at the scratches on his face. They’ll probably be okay; what highbloods lack in mental stability, they tend to make up for in vigour. He starts poking at your face too, for no discernible reason. Idiot. “Seriously. If you wanted us to go somewhere quiet, you could just say that, you didn’t have to make me search for you.”
He shrugs a little sheepishly, smiles. “Wanted to see if you’d get up the time to motherfucking look.”
You pull his hands off your face and stare at him. “Oh, fuck no,” you say. “Don’t tell me you were actually trying to... what, court me? Oh my god.”
“Just like in your movies, best friend.”
You want to bang your forehead against the wall, but find yourself burying it in his chest instead. He pats your hair. How is it soothing to have your hair patted by a murderclown who doesn’t even know how his own hair is to be approached, let alone anyone else’s? And the quiet room, hidden away from the others, that’s kind of soothing too. You guess they can manage by themselves. They don’t need you hovering over them like an imperial drone with an empty bucket and a deadline while they sort out sleeping arrangements and food supplies who gets to have interspecies sloppy makeouts with whom. You guess if you think about it you’re actually kind of glad Gamzee lured you away from all that.
“I don’t know if I should go to sleep,” you mumble, not sure if he can even understand what you’re saying, since you’re saying it into his shirt. He doesn’t answer, anyway, but with your eyes closed and a comfortable place to rest your head, you figure your doubt will take care of itself, sooner or later.