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At two, Samar has dark, wild hair, soft cheekbones, horns that spiral back from his head. Dark-yellow, peaceful blood, the color of dull gold.

Gamzee cares for this boy. He thinks, in a way, it is like moirallegiance, but there is no violence in Samar. The feel of his hand in Gamzee's is the sturdiest anchor to peace Gamzee knows, deeper and stronger by far than the soft patter of touches from Karkat's hands.

(He has never known himself pale for Tavros. Tavros could never bind his capriciousness away as Karkat did, once; it would take blood and bone and probably destroy the both of them, Tavros at Gamzee's hands and Gamzee at his own, once he woke from the darkness. So for Tavros he binds himself.)

He wants Samar to have joy, all the miracles of the known and unknown, to be flushed and pale and ashen and black.

Samar is two, and barely talks, but when he does, he speaks Alternian with the accent the gentle call "Alternian-American" and the bigoted call "Earthborn," and speaks English with the slow full-throated vowels of Alternians. Sometimes Gamzee writes Samar's name in Alternian, presses the pen into Samar's tiny fingers, holds Samar's hand in his own and traces the letters out again, saying them as he goes. Seht-ayem-meht-ayem-roht, Samar, for the sign of the beast of rivers and the seas and the sky, who flies without wings, who carries the moons in his claws.

(He will never say Samar's full name. The human obsession with showing parental lineage through naming confuses him: Samar's proper second name should be Sinju, to honor his lusus, not the scrawling possessive ugliness of Nitram-Strider. The wrongness of it curls inside him, eating out his organs like a parasite.)

Some nights, he watches television while Samar sleeps, head on his lap, and he listens to the soft hiss of Samar's breath, his hand buried in Samar's riotous curls. Miracle of motherfucking life, feeling those curls on his fingers, soft and perfect and just-like his own, but different because Samar is different. Not just his own.

(Not at all your own, croons the rainbow laughing madness behind his eyes, not your own not allowed to be your own, kill the things in his way, kill the things in the way between the two of you)

and he picks Samar up, lays him back down still-sleeping so he can go have a slice of sopor pie, to quiet down the rage.

Sometimes the smiling painted chorus of joy inside him sings that Samar's blood was polluted before he reached the mother grub, and that if Gamzee bled him out long enough the red hidden inside would fade darker, bluer, to show how he was Gamzee's own instead of this sick human-made thing, but on those moments he holds his breath and presses his forehead to Samar's tiny chest breathes in and in and in and holds it until everything sheens purple behind his eyes and he can only smell Samar his son his own, and it is only a miracle but everything inside him goes surface-quiet (there is never silence deeper than that) and he has time, has peace, enough to have some pie before he can begin to paint in gold.

(Gold and purple are lovely together, even the humans know that. Paint with one, draw the other, Gamzee promises himself, and it is enough to hold his peace.)