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it’s a new state of mind

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Gorgug blinks up at his ceiling, just as tired as he has been for the past three hours, and just as unable to fall asleep. He sighs, pushing his bangs out of his face as he reaches blearily for his crystal where it sits on his nightstand.

There are no notifications, which is what he expected. Though the majority of his friends have supremely messed up sleep schedules, they also know that, for the most part, he doesn’t, so they tend to leave him alone past eleven. Normally, he appreciates this; tonight, however, with his mind racing and nothing able to slow his pounding heart, he resents it. He lays back against his pillow, the stillness of his body a sharp contrast to his anxious thoughts.

The worst part is that he knows exactly why he feels like this, but knowing is bringing him no comfort; if anything, it makes him feel more miserable.

The thing is: Gorgug isn’t 100% sure if he’s fully a guy. But it’s weird, because he still feels mostly okay being referred to with masculine terms, and he/him pronouns are mostly fine, but he’s also intrigued by using they/them pronouns. They’ve been trying, in their head, to imagine various friends refer to them that way, and they think they like it?

It’s very confusing.

And they know that they could go to their friends: Tracker has recently started using they/them pronouns, and they seem to be enjoying it. Gorgug has never been a person to rely on others to help sort out how he’s feeling, even if it would be beneficial. And, honestly, they don’t want to make a fool of themself, even if that fear may be unfounded.

All of a sudden, Gorgug is struck by a sudden need to go. To just take the van and drive, until his nerves feel less frayed and he doesn’t feel untethered from everything. Mere minutes later, with a hastily scrawled note left on the kitchen table in case one of his parents wakes up before he gets back, they’re behind the wheel of the van, the frantic churn of their thoughts already beginning to slow.

Driving helps, for a bit. At this time of night, the roads are practically empty, and the only light is from the dim streetlamps, his headlights, and the cloud-obscured moon. It’s nice, for a while, until the long stretch of road in front of him gives them just enough time for their mind to wander. His stomach twists in anxious butterflies once again, and Gorgug takes a slow, deep breath in, pressing their foot down just slightly on the gas pedal.

Despite everything, Gorgug still feels wound too tightly. Suddenly, he’s struck by a need to talk to someone, and they know exactly who they want to turn to. The realization alights his nerves all over again, but it calms him, too. If they can get the words out, maybe this terror thrumming through their veins doesn’t have to just belong to them.

Gorgug pulls the van into an empty parking lot, taking out his crystal and thumbing through his messages until he gets to the person he wants to talk to. Are you awake?

They chew their thumbnail absentmindedly as they wait for a response, which comes a minute later. yeah, what’s up?

Can I call you? He sends back, and when he gets the go-ahead, they press the call button with shaking fingers (since when were his fingers shaking?) before they can turn back and pretend that they never sent the text in the first place.

“Hey,” Zelda’s voice, softer than usual, comes through the line. Instantly, Gorgug feels calmer, and he smiles even against the anxiety that sits heavy in the pit of their stomach. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, yeah. I, uh, I wanted to ask you something? Or, well, not really ask, I guess, it’s not really a question-”

“Gorgug,” she says gently, cutting him off before he spirals into an endless cycle of filler conversation. It’s something that they’re both used to, anchoring the other while they sift through their thoughts, something that Gorgug greatly appreciates, especially now, when their thoughts are a barely-coherent spiral.

“Yeah, right. Thanks. Uh, what would you say if I was maybe non-binary?”

His heart pounds, and they hope that Zelda isn’t saying anything, because they’re sure the intensity of their anxiety would block them from hearing anything she had to say. Because holy shit, this nebulous thing that has been taunting him in the back of his mind, making him question every little thing about himself, for the past weeks finally sits somewhere outside of him. Now it’s tangible, which is equal parts terrifying and thrilling.

There’s silence on the other line for a moment, which doesn’t help Gorgug with his racing heart, but soon enough, she says, “What I would say is that I love you, and I’m really, really happy for you.” Gorgug bites down on a smile, nerves quieting, though not completely gone, for the first time in what feels like weeks. “Um, do you, like, want me to use different pronouns, or a different name, or something?”

Gorgug pauses for a second. Because of course this would be the next thing Zelda would ask, but it still feels - weird, in a way that they can’t quite comprehend. Like he’s trying on a new piece of clothing for the first time, and it doesn’t fit quite right and it doesn’t smell like the laundry detergent their parents use.

“Um, maybe, like, he/they pronouns? For now? But, uh, Gorgug is still fine.” The words feel clunky coming out of his mouth, unpracticed, but it’s still a tiny thrill to have another person know, even in a small way, how he’s feeling. How he’s felt, for what feels like so long.

“Okay,” Zelda says, voice soft and warm. “Do you wanna come over tomorrow? We can watch a movie, or just hang out, or whatever. That - that would be cool.”

Gorgug grins. “Yeah, that sounds nice. I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Zelda says, and when she hangs up, Gorgug breathes easier than they have in weeks.